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Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Shady Loves Chutes & Ladders: The Giants in Free Agency - Part I

Shady McCoy obviously was not a Gators fan.



As we've all probably seen by now, LeSean McCoy told "reporters" (and by "reporters" I'm referring to a camera man working for TMZ, an outlet know for it's tough nose journalism -- and by "tough nose journalism" I'm referring to absolute crap that really doesn't qualify as news, but that I read about and watch anyway since I'm a sucker for manufactured controversy and poor reporting mixed with snarky commentary...wait, that reminds me of something...) that if it came down to taking Tim Tebow or his 2-year-old son for his football team, he'd go with his son.


Little did we know that LeSean McCoy's son was a prodigy.
Sounds mean, doesn't it?  Now, in context, the camera man was asking about "the most talented player not currently on a roster".  But perhaps Shady misunderstood the question.  Perhaps he was thinking "who was the most talented Chutes & Ladders player not currently on a roster."  Heck, for all we know, Tebow could be a terrible Chutes & Ladders player.  Perhaps he always ends on the chutes and is always last.  Or maybe Shady thought the question was "who was the most talented Hide & Seek player not currently on a roster".  And Tebow could be one of those guys who's just too big to find a good hiding spot in 20 seconds.  That's not a lot of time for us normal people, but Tebow is a pretty big guy.  Can't imagine that hiding under a table or behind a curtain is going to work for him.  So let's not all go jumping to conclusions here.  I'd take Shady's 2-year-old son over Tebow too if I needed a Chutes & Ladders or Hid & Seek partner.  Of course, I'd also take his 2-year-old son over Tebow if I needed a quarterback...but I digress.


Remember when this was popular?  What in the world were we thinking...
One thing there's no confusion about is that the New York Giants had a lot of work to do in the off season, and with the way that Eli Manning played last year, Shady's 2-year-old son might be an upgrade for the Giants as well.  So let's take a closer look at who the Giants Kept, Ditched and Picked Up in free agency, starting with significant players the Giants Kept.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Where's the Beef, Veronica Mars?: The Packers in Free Agency - Part III

Why didn't I have a Veronica Mars at my high school?



To those who don't know, Veronica Mars is the old defunct TV show come Kickstarter movie staring a wise-cracking Kristen Bell as a high schooling (and later college going) private detective.  Sure, I thought it was kinda goofy at first, but since I'm a slave to Rotten Tomatoes (the movie review site) and always troll the site for what new movies are "fresh", I ran across the remarkably "fresh" review of the new Veronica Mars movie.  This movie, if you didn't know, was actually made on money raised on Kickstarter.  So you know the show must be good if there are enough people who want to blindly donate money just to see a movie made seven years after the TV show was cancelled.



Now I know it's been a long time since I've been in high school, but I really don't remember having a resident detective in my high school.  But I imagine it would have made life a lot easier. Like I could have finally figured out where I left my favorite pen.  Or where all the doors on all the bathroom stalls went.  No kidding, you'd think that of all the things you'd want to save money on in a school, the doors on the bathroom stalls wouldn't be one of them.  Or perhaps I'd finally figure out why the school cafeteria only served Grade D beef.  I mean, I'm not expecting Grade A Prime here, but Grade D?  Seriously?  I'm not even 100% sure what that is, or whether it actually qualifies as beef.  I've heard some have said there's no such thing as Grade D beef.  I've also heard that it meets only one requirement: "fit for human consumption".  Conspiracy?  Where was Veronica Mars then?  

I not 100% sure if these are burgers or some sort of new leather Frisbees.
OK, so you probably figured out that my high school wasn't among the most exciting places.  And it's usually more likely that you've managed to dream up a conspiracy than there actually being one.  But some might disagree when it comes to sports.  Anyone ever hear of "Suck for Luck"?  Yeah, I know you Indianapolis Colts fans have.  And how about Philadelphia 76ers tanking to get a high draft pick?  Well, OK, that team just might not be capable of winning games, so perhaps I'm wrong on that one, but you get what I mean.  Packers fans might be thinking there's some conspiracy in Green Bay right now, as management doesn't seem to be taking free agency very seriously.  Conspiracy?  Or all part of the plan?  Now that we've talked about who the Packers Kept and Ditched, let's see who they Picked Up.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Grumpy Cat Loves Sarah Palin: The Packers in Free Agency - Part II

Having a bad day?



Well, so is Grumpy Cat, who somehow became famous after photo and videos of her un-Photoshopped face became viral in 2012.  Believe it or not, Grumpy Cat just became 2.  Yeah, I’m not terribly excited about that either.  But for some reason, I almost pulled the trigger on one of this Grumpy Cat toy:


I look like Ha Kung feels basically every morning.
It just goes to show that just about anything can be famous.  Silly things like Tebowing.  Or deep fried Oreos.  Or the Kardasians.  Or Snooki.  Or Sarah Palin.  Just kidding, I actually like deep fried Oreos.  But I digress.


Giving the thumbs up is still cool, right?
In 2013, the Packers had several unexpected occurrences much more surprising than Sarah Palin’s rise to stardome (and actually, her skit on Jimmy Fallon was kinda funny).  Yet, as we discussed before, they still managed to make the playoffs.  Perhaps unfortunately, some of those players who stepped up in 2013 are on their way out the door.  Since we discussed who the Packers Kept last time, let’s now turn to significant players who the Packers have Ditched in free agency so far.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Liam Neeson is Just Like Bacon: The Packers in Free Agency - Part I

Liam Neeson is indestructible.



Some time after being Qui-Gon Jinn in Star Wars: The Phantom Menace, someone figured out that Liam Neeson is better in movies with less dialog and a lot more guns.  In fact, this became such a revelation that Liam Neeson's last 5 movies have almost identical plots.  Let's take a closer look:

Taken - Someone takes Liam Neeson's daughter, Liam Neeson proceeds to kick everyone's ass until he get's his daughter back.

Unknown - Liam Neeson loses his memory, Liam Neeson proceeds to kick everyone's ass until he gets his memory back.

The Grey - A bunch of people crash in the wilderness with Liam Neeson, Liam Neeson proceeds to kick everyone's ass (including all the wolves in Alaska) until they get back.

Taken 2 - Someone takes Liam Neeson and his wife, Liam Neeson proceeds to kick everyone's ass until they get back.

Non-Stop - Someone takes a bunch of passengers on an airplane hostage with Liam Neeson, Liam Neeson proceeds to kick everyone's ass until they get back.


I'm surprisingly good at this for being 61 years old.
Yeah, I think I see a pattern here.  But the simple truth is adding Liam Neeson to anything makes it awesome.  Sort of like bacon.  So Liam Neeson is like the bacon of movies.  Imagine how awesome the Smurfs would have been with Liam Neeson.  OK, you're right.  That movie is so terrible, even Liam Neeson couldn't save it.  But I digress.



Unfortunately, unlike Liam Neeson and movies, it's not as clear cut what will improve a football team.  And it's even more applicable to a team like the Green Bay Packers.  As a testament to their ability, even without Aaron Rodgers for a significant part of the season, they still managed to string enough wins together to win the NFC North (unfortunately, at the expense of my Bears), but just fell short of advancing past Wild Card weekend.  So what have they done so far in free agency to ensure continued success in 2014?  Well, let's take a look at who they Kept, Ditched and Picked Up, starting with significant players Kept by the Packers.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Pick Up Lines Only Work for Thor: Da Bears in Free Agency - Part III

What is it with pick up lines?


I mean seriously, have they ever worked for anyone who didn't have a six pack?  And when I say "six pack" I'm not talking about "the only thing that was in my refrigerator in college other than day old Grog's pizza."  When I say "six pack" I'm talking about "really awesome abs that I will never have because I'm way too lazy for that.  And I had too many dime beers in college."

But seriously, I think that only Barney Stinson of "How I Met Your Mother" fame (and let's be honest, that's a show that jumped the shark about two seasons ago) could pull most of these off.  Let's take a look at a few of the more popular ones:

1) "You smell like trash, may I take you out?"

So first you say she stinks and then you ask to take her out?  Trust me, it took over a decade of marriage before I could call my wife stinky without severe repercussions.  So this one clearly only works for Hugh Jackman.

I can't believe how lucky I am that I'm not you.

2) Did it hurt when you fell from heaven?

On the one hand you're calling her an angel.  On the other hand you're saying she's a clumsy angel.  Nope, I think you'd have to be Chris Hemsworth to pull this one off.  Then at least you can say it with a Thor accent.  Which would be pretty cool.  

I have long hair, a cool accent and have a much better name than Fabio.

3) What’s a nice girl like you doing in a place like this?

OK, so first you're calling her nice, which could be good or bad.  But then you call her out for going to a terrible place?  Are you saying that she has bad judgment?  Or that she has bad taste?  Or both?  And aren't you also saying you have bad judgment for coming to this place?  So you also have bad judgment in speaking to her in the first place?  Did you figure out that I've made this mistake before?  

Even Barney isn't perfect.
Anyway, the point is that not everything that has to do with pick ups is a good thing.  But one thing is for sure, it can be be pretty challenging to make a good pick up.  And for more proof, now that we've discussed who the Bears have Kept and Ditched, let's look at significant players that the Bears have Picked Up.


Monday, March 24, 2014

Captain America Hates the Black Eyed Peas: Da Bears in Free Agency - Part II

Captain America is totally sick.



And I don't mean "sick" as in "affected by disease or ill health" as per Webster's Dictionary, I mean "sick" as in "crazy, cool, insane" as per the Urban Dictionary.  Or perhaps "sick" as in "what one is during days one has an important test or exam after failing to pay attention all semester, or to even show up for class since he thought it was really too early in the day and who in the heck uses math anyway?  Oh and I drank too much the night before because it was dime beer night." as per the Ha Kung Wong College Dictionary.  Well, actually, I should call that the Ha Kung Wong Life Dictionary since the corollary to that is "what one is during days one has an important day at work after failing to pay attention...well you get the picture..."  But I digress.


Ferris Bueller is my hero.
But getting back to the new Captain America movie, it's awesome that they've introduced the Winter Soldier.  And I won't spoil anything about that character for all you non-geeky types who never read the comic books, but I will say that the guy they have playing the Winter Soldier looks a lot like that fourth guy on the Black Eyed Peas that no one seems to remember and who basically contributed two to three words per song, usually consisting of repeating what Will-I-Am just said.  I've never spoken to Will-I-Am, but I'm suspecting that could get a little annoying, particularly if you're trying to order food at McDonald's at a drive through:

Will-I-Am:  I'll take a Big Mac extra value meal.

Fourth Guy on Black Eyed Peas:  I'll take a Big Mac extra value meal.


McDonald's Employee:  Uh, so that's two Big Mac extra value meals?


Will-I-Am:  No, just one.


Fourth Guy on Black Eyed Peas: No, just one.


McDonald's Employee:  Um, you mean one for each of you?


...and so on and so forth.  


The Winter Soldier and Taboo separated at birth?

But although I'm poking fun at Taboo (yeah, that's the name of the Fourth Guy on the Black Eyed Peas), I'm sure he's really important to the band, and that if they let him go, it just wouldn't be the same.  Heck, I bet without Taboo, Will-I-Am would be stuck latching on to random pop stars just to keep his career going, like Britney Spears and Justin Bieber...oh wait, he already does that?  And he's even more popular?  OK, bad analogy.  Anyway, my point is you don't know what you got until its gone, so since we discussed who the Bears Kept in the last article, let's take a look now at significant players the Bears have Ditched during free agency so far.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

March Madness is Da Bomb: Da Bears in Free Agency - Part I

Woohoo, March Madness!



OK, now that I have your attention, this has nothing to do with March Madness.  It has nothing to do with all the exciting last minute plays leading to surprising upsets by Dayton over Ohio State and Syracuse or Kentucky over the then-undefeated Wichita State.  Nor does it have anything to do with the awesome raccoon mascot in this Allstate commercial.  But I digress.  


I am an awesome mascot!
Since football is my favorite sport, and the Bears are my favorite team (and my March Madness brackets have already gone bust) what I’d really like to focus on, like I did last year at this time (here and here), is what the Bears have done in free agency so far.  Generally speaking, the Bears have played it close to the vest during the first wave of free agency.  They haven’t been quick on the trigger, waiting for the draft and the later waves of free agency to fill the gaping holes in their defense.  So let’s take a closer look, over three parts, at significant players who the Bears have Kept, Ditched and Picked Up in free agency.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

The Curious Case of Darren Sproles and the New Orleans Saints

No sooner had I penned my off-season report for the New Orleans Saints, predicting a quiet year where they manage to re-sign Jimmy Graham and draft a few linemen, did the Saints start throwing around surprises. Darren Sproles got cut, along with Lance Moore, while Pierre Thomas has reportedly been added to the trade block. In addition, Jairus Byrd was acquired.  These moves will likely have a transformational effect on the team, and I thought it would be worth investigating the fall-out for both club and player. 


Off-season Troubleshooting: Seattle Seahawks

The Seattle Seahawks climbed the mountain in 2013, going the distance to win the Super Bowl. They only lost three games all year, playing hard on both sides of the ball. However, recent history has not been kind to defending champions the year after their triumph. Players are suddenly worth a lot more on the open market, making it impossible to keep the whole team together. With a number of tough decisions to make this off-season, can the Seahawks be the first team since the Patriots of 04/05 to retain the Super Bowl? Let’s take a look at their situation this off-season:


Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Off-season Troubleshooting: San Francisco 49ers

This was another good season for the 49ers under Jim Harbaugh. In the three seasons Harbaugh has been the head coach, the team has gotten to at least the conference championship game. They entered the playoffs on a hot streak, and pushed the Seahawks harder than anyone else in the postseason. They remain well positioned for another run at the Super Bowl in 2014. Trouble is brewing behind the scenes though, with Harbaugh seemingly clashing with the front office staff, and Colin Kaepernick’s contract extension giving them headaches. Will the 49ers be able to overcome this and take that last step to Super Bowl glory? We’ll look at some things they can do to put them over the top:



Monday, March 10, 2014

Off-season Troubleshooting: Arizona Cardinals

2013 brought a return to the good times for the Arizona Cardinals, finishing the season with a 10-6 record, narrowly missing out on the postseason. The acquisitions of coach Bruce Arians and starting quarterback Carson Palmer, along with a terrific defense, made the Cardinals a challenge for any team in the league. They were arguably the best team in the league not to make the playoffs, but being in the notoriously competitive NFC West, they're probably concerned about their chances of getting there next year. What can they do to improve their chances? Read on to find out:


Sunday, March 9, 2014

Free Agency: Where do these guys need to be?

My name is Karan (I'm a man, no comments necessary).  And I'm an Indian living in Panama. And when I say Panama, I mean Central America. 

I've been a Vikings fan ever since I learned how the sport worked, but I'll leave this story for another day. I'm sure you may find some controversial thoughts in my first article (but then again, this won't be unusual).  My articles will continue to be a lot like this, so if you want to comment, knock yourselves out.

What is this article all about? Well, since we're days away from the beginning of Free Agency, I'm going to analyze the top free agents as ranked by NFL.com and their possible landing spots (don't get too pissed if one of the potential landing spots is the Vikings, have to show them some love).  You can find the NFL.com list, which ranks the top unrestricted free agents in the NFL, here.

Friday, March 7, 2014

Off-season Troubleshooting: St. Louis Rams

It was another season in purgatory for the St. Louis Rams, finishing 7-9 and bottom of the NFC West. Things are steadily getting better for a team looking for its first foray into the post-season in ten years. They have some good young players on both sides of the ball, but are hamstrung by being in a very tough division, as well as a starting quarterback in Sam Bradford who has missed fifteen games in the last three seasons. They boast a tough defense, so can the Rams overcome the odds and make the playoffs in 2014? We’ll look at some ways they could improve their chances:


Thursday, March 6, 2014

Off-season Troubleshooting: Carolina Panthers

The Carolina Panthers got off to a poor start this season, sitting at 1-3 at the end of week 5. This put coach Ron Rivera on the hot seat early, before they turned things around and won the next eight in a row. After a loss to the Saints, they won their final three games to seal the divisional title and a return to the playoff promise land. Quarterback Cam Newton even said afterwards that “Playoff football is a different speed.” Can the Panthers make the most of that experience and return there in 2014? Let’s look at what they need to do to make it back:


Johnny Manziel and The Vikings

It was bound to happen.  A mock draft had the Vikings taking Johnny Football in April’s draft.  USA Today speculated that the team would use its eighth overall pick on Texas A&M quarterback, and Heisman Trophy winner, Johnny Manziel.

Before the combine, virtually all of the mock drafts had the Vikings taking a quarterback.  The majority of writers had the team taking Derek Carr out of Fresno State, depending on how Blake Borltes and Teddy Bridgewater fell.  Carr felt like another Christian Ponder pick to most Viking fans.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Off-season Troubleshooting: New Orleans Saints

The return of coach Sean Payton and the players suspended in 2012 following the bounty controversy saw a resurgent New Orleans finish the season 11-5 and, although the Panthers edged them out for top spot, a return to the playoffs. They beat the Eagles in the wildcard round, but were knocked out by eventual Super Bowl winners, the Seahawks. It was still a very successful season in New Orleans that got people talking about what they did on the field once again. Can they go a few steps further this year, and get back to the Super Bowl in 2014? We’ll look at what they need to do to get there:


Off-season Troubleshooting: Atlanta Falcons

2013 was a big crash down to Earth for Atlanta Falcons fans, as the team went from the NFC Championship game in 2012 to a hugely disappointing 4-12 season. The Falcons were ravaged by injuries, but also guilty of possessing a defense largely devoid of real talent. The NFC South has potential to be a nightmarishly tough division, but the Falcons still have a lot of useful offensive weapons. So what can they do to get back to their winning ways (and possibly reunite us with Tony Gonzalez down the stretch one last time)? Find out here:


Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Off-season Troubleshooting: Tampa Bay Buccaneers

What a tumultuous season in Tampa. Having spent big in free agency on Dashon Goldson and trading for Darrell Revis, the Bucs seemed set to challenge the NFC South. Their season was destroyed by a ludicrous public argument with starting quarterback Josh Freeman and constant rumors of unhappiness with the way coach Greg Schiano managed the team. Having released Freeman mid-season and fired Schiano, the Bucs are looking to bounce back in 2014. What can new coach Lovie Smith do to get this team into contention in a tough division? Let’s put the Bucs under the microscope:


Monday, March 3, 2014

Vikings Leery of Prospect’s Tweets

Some of the more interesting news to come out of the combine was that the Vikings have red flagged draft prospects because of their Twitter feeds.  General Manager Rick Spielman told USA Today that of the 60 college players they have evaluated, eight of them that were red flagged due to items that were posted or re-Tweeted on their Twitter accounts.

Spielman was gracious enough to call the players “immature”, instead of telling the truth and labeling them “stupid”.  These are players who should know that they are very likely to be drafted by an NFL team.  Yet, they find it necessary to post the exploits of their partying habits and drug use on Twitter.  The red flag shouldn’t necessarily be about the partying or smoking a joint, the red flag should be that they were idiotic enough to advertise it to the whole world.  

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Obi Wan is a Mean Dude: 2014 Draft Class Preview - Blake Bortles

Help me Obi Wan Kenobi, you're my only hope.



Or perhaps he can just give a hand to one of the many quarterback needy teams in the NFL.  And by Obi Wan Kenobi (or "Ben Kenobi" to his pals) I'm referring to former UCF quarterback, and top draft target, Blake Bortles.  Obi Wan, to those who don't know (and come on, if you're one of those people, please crawl out from under your rock and watch Star Wars.  And if you hate it, well, you're in good company, since Sir Alec Guinness, who played Obi Wan, also hated Star Wars.  I kid you not, Sir Alec Guinness actually told a 12-year old boy who was a huge Star Wars fan and absolutely starstruck about seeing his hero in real life, to do him a favor and never watch Star Wars again.  Dick move, Sir Alex Guinness. Dick move.  But I digress...) was the wise Jedi Master that got Luke Skywalker on the path from whiny kid to whiny adult with a lightsaber.  He also had to be the bearer of terrible news to Luke during the Star Wars movies.  He had to tell Luke that the only good looking girl in the galaxy, Princess Leia, was actually his sister.  And that was after Luke and Leia kissed.  Whoops.  Someone has to work on his timing.



The point is Blake Bortles is the Obi Wan Kenobi of quarterbacks in the 2014 NFL Draft.  Unlike Teddy Bridgewater (check out my article on him here) and Johnny Maziel (my article on him here), Bortles is much closer to the prototypical quarterback that NFL teams have targeted before the likes of Cam Newton, Colin Kaepernick and Russell Wilson blew the doors open.  Does that make him better than the other quarterback draft targets?  Well let's take a closer look.