Hey all – just passing along some news and updates on the blog front. We’ve posted the news to Facebook, Twitter and e-mailed our followers, but wanted to post it here as well. My blog has officially merged with EntryRevel.com (you’ll see a link to the site on my Home Page). We’ve been partners for a little while and wanted to make it official, so we’ll be bringing you all the content you need in one place now.
Latest edition of my Water Cooler Shorts…giving you the quick updates you need to know from this weekend’s game before you go into work on Monday morning.
My “conspiracy” might have been on the money
If you missed the article, check it out here. But basically, I theorized that Jay Gruden was trying to get RG III hurt intentionally. Well, reports have surfaced that he and his coaching staff don’t want Griffin around and even kicked the tires on potential trade opportunities (according to ESPN). So they’ve already named Kirk Cousins the week 1 starter – even though Gruden tried to back-pedal after that was reported. Simple fact is, RGIII is not in his long-term plans and there’s a good chance that both sides part ways before the season starts.
Packers should boycott preseason
A week after losing Jordy Nelson for the season, Mike McCarthy was smart enough to sit out Aaron Rodgers for their preseason game on Saturday. They were down three offensive linemen and McCarthy didn’t want to roll the dice. Makes sense – but he still played his other starters and right on cue, Randall Cobb landed awkwardly on their first offensive series and was seen walking to the locker room with a shoulder injury. Early reports are an injury to his AC joint, and it’s not considered severe. All the Cheeseheads can take a deep breath now, but the Packers should think long and hard before they play anyone that matters in their final preseason game.
Brady played and looked…un-Brady like
All preseason the Patriots have been in a tough spot while they wait for resolution to his ‘Deflategate’ suspension. They want Brady to get reps, but obviously need Jimmy G to be ready to roll week 1 if Brady’s not available. So I was curious how much run Brady would get in this game, one that is commonly referred to as a “dress rehearsal” for week 1. Well, Brady played the entire first half and looked pretty terrible for most of it. He threw two really ugly picks trying to hook up with Aaron Dropson, I mean Dobson…and didn’t build any rhythm for the first 28 minutes of the game. Thankfully, he ran the 2-minute drill to perfection and engineered an 80-yard TD drive at the end of the 1st half that should calm the nerves of Pats fans.
The real question, whoever is QB week 1, is whether they’ll have a complete stable of weapons around them. Edelman is still nursing an ankle injury and hasn’t been a full participant in practice, and Brandon LaFell was in a walking boot and has yet to participate at all. They signed Reggie Wayne this week, but that’s an addition that sounds better than it actually is. Wayne’s got nothing left in the tank, so if they’re relying on production from him to replace either LaFell or Edelman, they’ll be seriously screwed.
Eagles’ offense looked unstoppable
I know it’s just preseason, but the 1st half of their game against the Packers on Saturday was pretty impressive. If you missed it, the Eagles put up 39 points in the first half behind a perfect 10-10 effort from Sam Bradford (121 yards and 3 TDs), and a solid effort from Mark Sanchez in relief (13-19 for 150 yards and 2 TDs). They spread the ball around, got lots of different receivers and backs involved and Chip Kelly’s up tempo offense looked great. If Bradford can stay healthy (which was always the big question mark) he has big-time potential this year. Chip Kelly made a concerted effort this offseason to put his stamp on this roster…and he definitely did. So this is a big season for him to prove that his system works…so far the early results have been extremely positive.
That Tyler Lockett kid is FAST
It’s not like the Seattle Seahawks had major holes going into this season (after back-to-back Super Bowls), but their only criticism has always been the relative lack of weapons around Russell Wilson and Marshawn Lynch. Well, they traded for Jimmy Graham this offseason and then they drafted this kid…Tyler Lockett. Not sure how involved he’ll be in the offense, but he’s already made his presence felt on special teams with a kickoff returned for a touchdown in week 1 and a punt returned for a touchdown this weekend. Kid must be wearing his PF Flyers…
Julio got paid $$
The Falcons locked up star receiver Julio Jones with a 5-year contract extension worth $71.25M on Saturday. He then promptly sat out of their preseason game that night. Smart move – you locked up your stud…no reason to trot him out there anymore in games that don’t matter. He’s one of the best in the game and now it’s possible he’ll be doing the Dirty Bird and A-Town Stomp until 2020.
This will be the first installment of a series I’ll release as a preview for the upcoming NFL season. Training camps have started for a few teams, with the rest starting this week, and as the old saying goes, “hope springs eternal”. Every loyal fan is optimistic that this year their team will be the one to hoist the Lombardi trophy. Or as I like to call it, everyone has a case of the Lloyd Christmas disorder…
So what I’ll attempt to do, one division at a time, is point out the reasons for optimism, for concern, and for some poor schmucks I’ll be destroying their dreams long before week 1 kicks off. We start with the NFC East.
Why they should be optimistic: It’s year 2 under Jay Gruden, so maybe just maybe there’s some hope that the offense will be better with a full offseason of building more comfort with his system. I mean, the additional reps can’t hurt right? Maybe with the extra reps the offense will finally click and they’ll be able to maximize the talent they have with RGIII, Garcon, D-Jax and Alfred Morris.
Why they should be concerned: Frankly, because this is a quarterback driven league and right now their biggest question mark is at that position. RGIII has shown major regression since his rookie season, and also hasn’t been able to stay healthy. He didn’t look comfortable in Jay Gruden’s system even before he got injured. He had the look of a wild bronco that had been tamed – no fight in him, and no play-making ability as he awkwardly sat in the pocket and took hit after hit. He threw only 4 TDs in 9 games last season…doesn’t take an expert to figure out that’s not going to cut it.
It doesn’t stop at RGIII though. The defense was awful last season. No pass rush, no ability to generate turnovers, and they gave up way too many big plays in the passing game. They tried to address those needs in the offseason, but weren’t successfully able to add any game-changing talent on that side of the ball…so the same concerns linger for another season.
What are their chances: Realistically, there isn’t a snowball’s chance in hell that this team wins the division. There’s talent on the offensive side of the ball, but the defense looks poised for another terrible season. My official prediction = 4-12; Gruden gets fired, and RGIII will be playing quarterback for another franchise in 2016.
Why they should be optimistic: They added the NFL’s leading rusher from last season, in DeMarco Murray, to Chip Kelly’s high-octane offense predicated on getting in as many plays as possible. So far Chip Kelly has a track record of success, despite them missing the playoffs last season and they’re in a very winnable division.
Why they should be concerned: Let’s start at the key position for every NFL team, quarterback. Granted Nick Foles didn’t look all that impressive when healthy, he was definitely better than Mark Sanchez…who reminded everyone why he’s known more for the ‘Butt Fumble’ than anything else. Fast forward to 2015 as training camp gets ready to kick off, and now the Eagles are banking on the health of Sam Bradford. A proposition that seems about as smart as betting that Jared from Subway never watched kiddie porn. Was that too far? I never know.
Don’t get me wrong, when healthy Sam Bradford has shown the ability to be an adequate starting QB. But the guy is coming off his 2nd ACL tear (albeit one in each knee) and has never shown the ability to stay healthy throughout an entire season. With the laughable Mark Sanchez once again manning the back-up position, I wouldn’t feel real comfortable as an Eagles fan with that duo at the helm of my franchise. Couple that with the fact that this offseason saw Kelly trade away LeSean McCoy for Kiko Alonso, and let Jeremy Maclin walk in free agency, and all of a sudden that high-octane offense looks a lot more like a Ferrari that you’re trying to make run with parts from a Toyota Corolla.
What are their chances: I think the Eagles will be competitive in a division that should be at least slightly improved from last year. If Bradford can stay healthy, which is a HUGE if, then they’ll be in the mix coming fighting for a playoff spot. If he goes down, then forget about it. Either way, the Eagles reek to me of a team that had an insane amount of fluky big plays last season (with all the special team and defensive touchdowns) that won’t repeat again. In the end, I think they finish 9-7 best case scenario, and my official projection is a 6-10 finish that gets Chip Kelly on the hot seat heading into next offseason.
Why they should be optimistic: They won the division last season. Tony Romo had one of the best statistical seasons of his career, despite battling injuries for a portion of the year, AND had it not been for that questionable overturning of Dez Bryant’s TD catch vs Green Bay at Lambeau field…the Cowboys would have been the ones traveling to Seattle to face the Seahawks for a spot in the Super Bowl (in a stadium by the way that they had ALREADY won in during the regular season). Sorry to throw a little salt in that wound Cowboys fans, but the point is…last season was as successful a year as Jerry’s boys have had since the days of Aikman, Irvin and Smith.
They locked Dez up to a long-term deal, and signed Greg Hardy this offseason. They were recipients of a huge gift when his suspension was reduced to 4 games, so the hope is he regains his form and fills the gaping pass rush hole left behind by DeMarcus Ware last season.
Why they should be concerned: They lost DeMarco Murray and are faced with a tandem of Darren McFadden and Joseph Randle at running back. I know they have a great offensive line, but that’s still a massive downgrade. Plus, Tony Romo is getting up there in age and has dealt with injuries in each of the past few seasons, so there’s always some concern on that front. The larger concern has to be their defense, which has struggled in recent years – particularly in the secondary where Mo Claiborne and Brandon Carr have hugely failed to live up to expectations. They invested a 1st round pick in Byron Jones (shout out to my Huskies! UCONN!), but there’s still concern. The defense will need to be much improved for the Boys to make a deep run.
What are their chances: They’re probably considered the favorites by most people to win the division. I could definitely see it, but my gut is calling for a return to the days of 8-8 mediocre football. I think Romo gets hurt at some point, misses a couple of games, and the defense struggles to keep the team in games. My official prediction = 8-8 season that results in the firing of Jason Garrett.
New York Giants
Why they should be optimistic: three words…Odell Beckham Junior. I know Beast Mode is already trademarked by Marshawn, but DAMN – this dude is just nuts. I’m a Pats fan and even I get a half-chub talking about this guy (don’t judge me), so if you’re a Giants fan, there’s just no way you’re not jacked up about having him on the field for Big Blue. He put up video game numbers in his rookie season…91 receptions for 1,305 yards and 12 TDs – in only 12 games. It’s scary to think what he could do in 16.
Plus, Victor Cruz is coming back from an injury, and if he can ever come close to regaining the form that made him one of the most dangerous slot receivers in the league, the G-men would have a devastating 1-2 punch at receiver. They also signed Shane Vereen this offseason, who gives Eli another receiving threat – this time out of the backfield. Pair him with the combo of Rashad Jennings and Andre Williams on early downs, add in Larry Donnell at tight end (who at least showed flashes of talent last year), sprinkle in some underwhelming Rueben Randle…and you’ve got (at least on paper) potential for one of the best offenses in the NFC.
Why they should be concerned: Well, all that offensive firepower I just talked about, doesn’t really mean much if your offensive line is trash…which theirs was last season. They invested a 1st round pick in Erick Flowers, and he’ll be forced right into actual (probably at the all-important LT position) as Will Beatty went down with a torn pectoral in May and isn’t expected back before November. So can the revamped offensive line protected Eli enough to take advantage of his weapons? That will be a key questions heading into the season.
The defense meanwhile, particularly the D-line, is usually a calling-card for the G-men and it was a big disappointment last season. Jason Pierre-Paul had a pretty quiet season but came on strong late in the year and built some momentum that probably had Giants fans feeling better (and screaming that management should lock him up to a long-term deal). That was until JPP decided to break a rule that every mom tells their 4-year-old…”don’t play with fireworks”. He had one finger amputated and reportedly had serious injuries to other fingers to there is no timetable for his return. There’s just something about the G-men that makes their players commit major bodily harm to themselves…
There’s also the ever important Eli factor; i.e. which Eli Manning will they get. Will they get the good Eli who threw for 30 TDs against only 14 interceptions last season, or will they get bad Eli from 2013 when he threw a league-leading 27 interceptions with only 18 TDs. I don’t think any quarterback in the history of the NFL has had a more polarizing, Jekyll and Hyde career than Eli Manning. When he’s good, he can carry that team on his back (unfortunately I’ve had to witness it twice as a Pats fan). When he’s bad, he gives Mark Sanchez (back then) and Geno Smith (now) a serious run for worst QB in New York.
What are their chances: As much as it pains me to say this based on my hatred for G-men, I think they’re going to win the division. I think their defense will be good enough, and their offense will carry them to a 9-7 or 10-6 record – which will be good enough to win the division. Plus, look at their schedule – the NFC east plays the NFC South and AFC East this year…hardly a grueling gauntlet of teams they’ll be facing. The official prediction = 10-6, 1st place in the NFC East and they lose on the road in the Divisional Round of the playoffs.
The past few days seemed to have inexplicably erased the last 3 miserable months of baseball for many Red Sox fans. The Sox had won three straight and 9 out of 14…”here they come, they’re making a run now” some people said. My only responses to that are…stop drinking the bong water, and remember it’s puff, puff, PASS.
In all seriousness, this team is an utter joke, so let’s pump the brakes on any good vibrations that are being built up right now. Yes, I’m talking to all you Sox fans who have a little Pedey in your pants because they won a few games in a row. But this isn’t an article about how OVER the Sox season is…that should be understood by now. This is about something that this afternoon’s game reminded me of…that the Red Sox made the WORST INVESTMENT IN THE HISTORY OF THE FRANCHISE THIS YEAR. Three words:
What a hot bag of garbage this guy is. The contract extension that Red Sox management gave him this season will inevitably go down as the worst contract (at least to-date) in the history of this franchise…and that’s saying something (yes I consider it worse than each of these masterpieces: Carl Crawford @ 7yrs $142M, John Lackey @ 5yrs $82.5M, JD Drew @ 5yrs $70M, Julio Lugo @ 4yrs $36M and Dice-K @ 5yrs $52M). Let’s get to the details…
The Sox acquired Porcello this offseason from the Tigers for Yoenis Cespedes. Seemed like a solid move. Both guys in the last year of their respective contracts and the Red Sox had a plethora of outfielders with a HUGE, gaping hole in their entire pitching staff. So far we’re good – no major objections.
Then, for a reason that I will NEVER, EVER understand, the Sox decided to sign Porcello to a 4-year contract extension for $82.5M. That’s right, $20.6M per year, for a guy who at the time had not pitched a single inning in a Red Sox uniform. The contract was signed before Porcello even made a start this season, which begs the question…WHY NOW?? Why not wait until the guy actually pitches for you and you figure out if he can hack it in this market (one that quite frankly has made much better pitchers than Rick Porcello crumble under the pressure). Instead, they panicked after losing Lester in the offseason and having nothing to show for it long-term. So they gave a massive contract extension to a starting pitcher who doesn’t strike anyone out (because he’s a sinker-ball pitcher), had a career win-loss record of 76-63 coming into this season (worse now), and a career ERA coming into 2015 of 4.30 (much worse now). That’s right, 4.30…if that is now validation for a $20M/Year contract, then every young boy in the world should be picking up a baseball and learning to throw.
I know what they were hoping for…Porcello is only 26 years old and coming off his best season (also his only season with a sub-4 ERA), so management was hoping to lock him up before his prime. It makes sense conceptually. The issue is that securing him for his “prime” doesn’t mean anything when that’s just securing 4 more years of a mediocre (and that’s being REALLY generous) pitcher. Management must have been hoping for the best case scenario instead of being realistic about who this guy really is, because I would hope that any of their scouts could easily point out that he lacks elite stuff. He’s not a front-of-the-rotation pitcher…and that’s what you expect when you pay a guy $20+ million per year.
So how has the return on that $82.5M investment fared so far? Well, he hasn’t won a game since MID MAY, so needless to say it’s been a disappointment. Porcello’s stat line this season is just brutal…
4-9 record with a 6.08 ERA, 1.40 WHIP and only 75 strike outs in 94.2 innings pitched.
He’s also given up a whopping 16 home runs this season…did you see the absurd jacks that Encarnacion and Justin Smoak hit off him today? Those blasts might not have landed yet. Fun Fact: Porcello ranks dead last among American League starting pitchers in ERA (among those that qualify based on innings pitched) and 97th out of 98 pitchers in the entire Major Leagues. Everyone as excited as I am to watch 4 more years of this trash?
Only solution is to drink heavily while watching this bum…maybe we can make a drinking game out of it! Every time he gives up a run you finish your beer or mixed drink. Every time he gives up a homer you take a shot. That’s a sure-fire way to get really f**ked up, and probably the only way you’re going to convince people to watch his starts.
It’s that time of year…4th of July is just around the corner and everyone is refilling their gas tanks and loading up the charcoal for the grills. Sam’s Summer is on tap at every bar and it’s light out until 8:45pm every night. Yes, it’s Summertime…and as the Fresh Prince would say, time to sit back and unwind.
Unfortunately, that also means we’ve entered the dark ages of every sports season. The NBA season is finally over (and ended just as I predicted by the way), NHL finals finished a few weeks ago, and we’re even halfway through the golf grand slam with the U.S. Open in the books. Literally all that’s left is baseball. For Red Sox fans, that means there is NOTHING left. So it’s time to get the countdown started to NFL training camps and preseason games, because until then I’ve got nothing to live for.
Even Game of Thrones is over…I’m going to resist the urge to really dig into how upset I still am about that season finale….but WTF?!?! I hope the whitewalkers kill every last one of those crow bastards. That was my shortest GoT rant possible, so you’re welcome.
But seriously, what the hell am I supposed to watch all summer? The Women’s World Cup? Sorry ladies, no disrespect but that’s not going to cut it. Until football starts up I won’t have any valid excuse to skip out on Sunday morning trips to the farmer’s market. No excuse to graciously bow out of Monday night walks around the neighborhood. Basically, I now have nothing to get out of “busy Sundays” like this…
As you can imagine, football can’t come fast enough. Until then, alcohol, weddings and barbeques will be my only escape (at this point they’re synonymous – all result in the same end game). But I can’t watch the Sox all summer…please save me football season, I beg you.
If there was any lingering hope that Tiger Woods could regain his form and once again compete at golf’s highest level, let’s put that to bed. I’m not sure who was out on that course playing the Memorial this past weekend, but it sure as hell wasn’t the Tiger that I grew up watching. Tiger Woods never had to battle just to make the cut (keep in mind this wasn’t even a major) and he definitely NEVER was the first person teeing off on Sunday morning (playing by himself by the way – which Tiger has probably had to do a lot more of since his sexcapades became public knowledge).
I’ll give Tiger some credit for at least keeping his composure out there, because I fully expected him to go Happy Gilmore and start screaming at the ball. “Are you too good for your home ball? ANSWER ME!!!! “ As someone who grew up watching him in his hay day and only took up golfing because of how popular he made the sport, it’s really depressing to watch what he’s become. Don’t get me wrong, seeing him go from one bunker to the other, absolutely butchering that par 3, definitely made me feel better about MY golf game. But people don’t tune in to watch Tiger embarrass himself. Although at this point that might be the only option.
He’s saying all the right things publicly. That he’s working through ANOTHER swing change and hasn’t played much golf in the past year. Both true – but let’s be real…his career as we all know it, is over. I think Tiger knows too…he just isn’t ready to accept it yet. The great ones never are. It’s rare for those in the ‘greatest-of-all-time’ conversations to ever hang them up willingly. Usually it has to get real ugly before they call it quits, and that’s exactly where we’re at with Tiger.
Remember those days when Tiger used to intimidate all the other golfers? When Tiger in red on Sunday actually meant something? It’s just a distant memory now. I don’t think guys like Fowler, Spaeth, and McIlroy even think twice about Tiger anymore. He’s now ranked #181 in the world, and even that could be generous. If you want to see vintage Tiger again you either need to watch some YouTube highlights or dig out your PS2 from the attic and throw in Tiger Woods PGA Tour 2008.