I'm not an expert on sports, I just have a different angle.

Viewing sports from a different angle.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Political Correctness is Killing the Team

Professional players have turned into individual businessmen who support each other. At least it seems that way to those outside the locker room. When a player holds out, his teammates say "He needs to take care of his business. We will welcome him when he gets back." When a player talks trash before a game, they say, "Oh he's just being competitive. That's just the way he is." Or a player will criticize a teammate publicly and you never hear condemnation from leaders on the team. All of this adds up to money over wins. Personal enrichment over teamwork. I wonder where the locker room leaders are? Where is the leader who will stand up and demand that team comes first?

I don't ever support a player who holds out for a bigger contract. Especially one who already has a contract to honor. Holding out says I am more important than this team. The team will have to do without me until I get what I want. That is so selfish. If you are really that good, show up to work. You will be recognized with a contract when it is time. If your current team won't pay you, another team will step up. You will eventually get paid. I wonder what would happen if a player held out and his teammates called him up and said "You need to get back to work now." What if a player held out and he was met with a locker room beat down when he finally returned. I know that doesn't sound like a positive team experience but, it would make me feel better. Did Chris Johnson help his team when he held out this year? He only helped out his bank account.

Talking trash should not bring motivation to the other team. Winning should be the motivation. But, players are competitive and trash talking brings a little extra something out to put the trash talker in his place. This can put your team in a difficult place. Why make it harder on your team with your big mouth? There needs to be a leader in the locker room who demands no nonsense. Shut up or pay the price. If a player is put in his place by his teammates, then he will think twice before opening his mouth again. Where is the coach? There should be a fine. Call it the "Stupid" fine. Antrel Rolle made a fool of himself when he bashed the Redskins. The Skins players admitted that it gave them motivation.

Publicly criticizing a teammate should never happen. All players should be accountable for themselves and take responsibility as a team for poor play. What good does it do to slam your teammate in public? And what good does it do if you put down your teammate period? Players should challenge each other to perform their best. You don't have to call attention to yourself by running your mouth. If your teammate isn't doing well, get in his face and challenge him. I couldn't believe my ears when Ed Reed, veteran Raven, I stress veteran, said that Joe Flacco was rattled by the Texans. Flacco seemed more rattled by what Reed said. Ed Reed is supposed to be a leader. He should know better.

I believe that a team leader should speak up in these situations and pronounce we are a team and we won't stand for foolishness. Players should not allow division in the locker room. Instead they choose to be politically correct. Teams need leadership in the locker room. They need to hold each other accountable.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Longing for Christmas in April. How About a Quarterback?

The Colts, Rams, Vikings, Jaguars, Browns, and Buccaneers are the luckiest teams in the NFL. That is if you believe in the “Suck for Luck” campaign. If you are in position to pick Andrew Luck in the 2012 draft then you are golden, on top of the NFL world, in quarterback heaven. If Luck is not available, then Robert Griffin III and Matt Barkley can take you to the promised land. Because to a lot of football fans, a great quarterback is all you need. The franchise quarterback is the ultimate prize of the draft. If you look at the last three NFL drafts, you will find a few “franchise QB’s”. Cam Newton, Jake Locker, Blaine Gabbert, Sam Bradford, Matthew Stafford and Mark Sanchez are all top 10 QB’s from the last 3 years. The Panthers, Titans, Jaguars, Rams, Lions and Jets are the big QB winners. Fans of these teams have to be ecstatic. They got their man! These teams are winners! Or are they?

These “winners” have a 2011 combined record of 35-49. Only two teams, the Lions and Jets, have a winning record. And that is because they are more complete teams. It takes 11 players to run an offensive play, all working together in unison. A top draft pick doesn’t guarantee great play, a team of 11 good player’s guarantees great play. Building a good team takes hard work, good coaching and a little bit of good fortune. After drafting a top QB, there is still a lot of work to do. The end result that is desired is a great QB throwing touchdowns in the Super Bowl. Things don’t always go as planned though. That stud QB just isn’t enough to get it done. Here is a list of current top quarterbacks:

Current Top 10 QB’s and Draft Position
  1. Aaron Rodgers – 24th
  2. Tom Brady – 199th
  3. Drew Brees – 32nd
  4. Tony Romo – undrafted
  5. Matt Schaub – 90th
  6. Ben Roethlisberger – 11th
  7. Eli Manning – 1st
  8. Matthew Stafford – 1st
  9. Alex Smith – 1st
  10. Matt Ryan – 3rd
If you look at the current top 10 QB’s in the league, you will find that only 4 were a top 10 pick. And these guys have one thing in common, all are on winning teams. They win because they have a well built offensive line, a good running back, good receivers and a good coach. Another thing these top 10 QB’s have is experience. It took patience to wait for the QB to be ready to lead their team to victories. On draft day, fans expectations were high for Eli Manning, Matthew Stafford, Alex Smith and Matt Ryan. When Tom Brady, Tony Romo, Drew Brees, and Matt Schaub joined their teams, no one expected them to be so good. Everything had to come together at the right time.

This coming 2012 NFL Draft brings a lot of expectations for Redskins fans. According to some, the Redskins must pick Andrew Luck, Robert Griffin III or Matt Barkley in order to have a successful draft. Too bad the Skins are ruining all hope by winning a few more games. As of today, 12/19/2011, with 2 more games to go, the Skins will have a top 10 pick. What if the best QB’s are gone by the time the Skins make their first pick? Or what if the Skins are actually able to draft one of these godly studs? Who will he hand the ball to? Who will he throw to? Who will protect him from the pass rush? These answers are on the team right now. And these answers will be drafted in 2012 and picked up as free agents.

The Redskins need every position filled. Offensive linemen, wide receiver, quarterback (duh), cornerback, safety, defensive linemen, etc. And all of these players need to come together and play as a team. If we do find a good QB in the draft, Shanahan will not start him right away. We will watch as Rex Grossman continues to make mistake after mistake. Fans will call for Rex to be benched and the media will criticize Shanahan for being so incompetent.

 I think some fans are bored as they watch this team rebuilding. Things are moving too slow. Some want the coach to be fired because of another losing season. Some demand the team to lose in order to draft a quarterback. Maybe they miss the exciting offseasons with Cerrato and Snyder. Let’s fire up the DannyJet and go get Peyton Manning. Or maybe we could kidnap Bill Cowher and force him to sign a contract at gun point. That would be exciting! Offseason splashes have happened in this town many times in the past. But the splash you heard was the ship sinking.

Will draft day be exciting enough for fans and the DC sports media? I really don’t care. I just want to see a repeat of the 2011 draft. One good player after another. And I hope that we get two quarterbacks this offseason. I hope Rex Grossman comes back and plays until the franchise quarterback is ready. Whoever he is. I believe the Redskins are on the right track. Progress is being made. You can criticize Shanahan all you want and you can cry out for the big time quarterback to be drafted. And it won’t do any good because Shanahan will ignore the outcries and continue to methodically build an eventual winner. 

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

The NBA: the Land of the Mentally Weak

The NBA is full of mental weaklings. There is no such thing as mental toughness in today's NBA. You don't see a team grind it out for a championship anymore. The last team to do that was the 2004 Detroit Pistons. The reward of the crowd's admiration has become too important. Showboating players now feed off of the crowd instead of each other. In the NBA, there is too much emphasis on the "Big City Show" rather than an all around quality product. The NBA continues to shove the Lakers, Celtics, Knicks, and Heat down our throats. Big time players in big time cities are all that matters. And these big time players don't want to be caught in a small market without any big time help.
Players want to have it all. The big city nightlife, big money, and big time help. They don't want to have to work for a championship, they want to be in a fun town with the best players. They don't stop and think that they can make their team better by hard work and leadership. Instead they want management to make the team better by giving out big money and a key to fun-land in the big city. When the Celtics put together a championship team by obtaining Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen to play with Paul Pierce, everyone else wanted the same. The current Heat team was not formed by management, but by Dwayne Wade, Chris Bosh and LeBron James coming together. Having the best talent was not enough for the Heat. This Christmas the Heat will have to watch as the Mavericks unveil the championship celebration in Dallas.
This year, during the lockout, owners wanted to get closer to parity. But it will take a while before this can be accomplished. Players are at it again. Trying to maneuver themselves into the easiest path to exposure and easy championships.
Lamar Odom of the Lakers was offended by a possible trade to New Orleans. He had become spoiled by playing with Kobe and winning championships. God forbid he go to a team and have to work hard.
Chris Paul can't win in New Orleans. He thinks management hasn't given him enough help. I guess a $16M salary and Okafor is not good enough for him.
LeBron will try again as part of the big 3 in Miami. He couldn't do it in Cleveland and he didn't do it in Miami. There is enough talent on the Heat to win. But there isn't enough heart and mental toughness. LeBron crumbled in the playoffs in Cleveland, and he crumbled in the championship series in Miami.
Dwight Howard wants out of Orlando. He says he will stay if management can get him the players to win. He loves Orlando, but I bet he would love Hollywood even more. Howard has 4 teams on his list:
  • Orlando, just-give-me-some-help, Florida
  • Dallas, just-won-a-championship-duh, Texas
  • Lakers, Has-Kobe-and-Hollywood-double-duh, California
  • New Jersey, Owner-willing-to-spend, real close to NY City
I have hope for the NBA though. I like the way my Wizards are building the team. John Wall was the first building block obtained through the draft. I also like Jordan Crawford and JaVale McGee. This past year they drafted Jan Vesely, Chris Singleton and Shelvin Mack. The future in DC looks good. Around the NBA, there are also a few young guys I admire. Blake Griffin, who said his team is fine without Chris Paul. I also like Kevin Durrant, Russell Westbrook, and Derrick Rose. Hopefully these young guys can resurrect the NBA with good old fashioned hard work and teamwork. I have faith in these kids to bring mental toughness and hard work back to the NBA. Remember the good old days with Magic Johnson, Larry Bird and Michael Jordan? That is the NBA that I remember and look forward to watching again.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Sean Bishop and the "Shanaplan"

Found a great article by Sean Bishop on TheHogs.net about the "Shanaplan". Well thought out article that brings into focus that this is a 5 year plan. This article shows more intelligence on Redskins football than most DC sports journalists.

Check it out here: "The Guide to Mike Shanahan's 5-Year Plan"

Sunday, December 4, 2011

NFL Musings, 2 Dope Heads, and a Lost Amnesty Clause

Fred Davis and Trent Williams are morons. Both have great potential and always seem to be playing just below their highest level possible. Fred Davis has 53 catches for 697 yards but only 3 TD’s. Tight Ends are built for red zone scoring but Fred Davis needs to work on getting open in the end zone. Trent Williams is often injured and is inconsistent and he looks out of shape. He is not a bust, but much more was expected out of a number 4 pick. These 2 idiots have tested positive multiple times for recreational drugs. They obviously don’t think of their teammates and how they let them down when they light up that joint. Now they are suspended for the rest of the year. I wonder how Shanahan will handle this.

Helu continues to run wild as he averages over 4 yards per carry. Why does Grossman throw 46 times with Helu on the team? Just run the ball. When Helu gets tired let Royster give him a break. The Redskins are starting to run the ball better. Why not focus on running the ball for the rest of the year? That will give this team more experience to carry over into next year.

Perry Riley is all over the field.  When the defense is on the field, you hear his name over and over. Looks like another young building block for this team. Could be the heir to Fletcher’s position as QB of the defense.

Brian Mitchell shares my opinion about a top QB pick. Today on the Post Game show on CSN he stated his points. They are unproven. They could be a bust. Skins should focus on building the entire team, piece by piece. I will say again, this team needs everything.

Building this team has gone well but has suffered a few setbacks this year:
  • Landry can’t stay healthy and is inconsistent. Will he be back?
  • Fred Davis suspended for drug use
  • Trent Williams suspended for drug use. Can’t stay healthy.
  • Injuries:
    • Jarvis Jenkins
    • Tim Hightower
    • Leonard Hankerson
    • Chris Cooley
    • Kory Lichtensteiger
  • Graham Gano is unreliable

Things are getting worse for the Bears. First Cutler goes down, now Forte injures his knee and could be done for the season. Caleb Hanie has thrown 6 interceptions in 2 games. Good bye Bears. See you next year.

Houston loses their first and second QB’s for the season. First Schaub goes down, then Leinart in the very next game. TJ Yates takes over and hands off to 2 of the best running backs in the game, Arian Foster and Ben Tate. The past 2 games the Texans have handed off for 73 times and passed for 53 times. They are rushing to wins in a passing league. Love it.

Speaking of the Texans, the 2nd most valuable player behind Foster has to be Wade Phillips. Houston has the number 1 defense this year. Just last year they were ranked 30th! Some coaches are meant to be assistant coaches. Wade Phillips is an excellent defensive coordinator and Norv Turner is an excellent offensive coordinator. They are both terrible head coaches. Assistant coaches get a lot of attention when they have success. This doesn’t mean they can be a good head coach.

Another team with a QB situation won today by running the ball. Miami beat Oakland by rushing for 44 times. Oakland rushed for 46 yards. This has been a passing league this year. But some teams are proving that you don’t have to pass in order to win games.

Tim Tebow and company won again! Tebow completed 10-15 for 202 yards, rushed 4 times for only 13 yards. The team rushed 32 times for 150 yards. Tebow wins last week by rushing the ball, this week by throwing the ball. But there are 11 offensive players and 11 defensive players that help this team win. Tebow does his part as a player and most important as a leader. Another reason the Broncos keep winning is the defense. Today they had 2 interceptions, 1 for a TD, 3 sacks, 6 tackles for a loss, and 5 defended passes.

As I write, the Lions are taking on the Saints. They are keeping it close. Probably could be a little closer with Suh’s help. But that selfish bonehead is sitting at home because he can’t control himself. I saw a Lions player get in another’s face after he cost the Lions a potential touchdown. Are they getting in Suh’s face? They better start and hold that punk accountable. He needs a locker room beat down.

Baseball players are taking their talents to South Beach. Heath Bell was signed for 3 years on Thursday. Today, Jose Reyes signed a 6 year $111M deal. The Marlins are now reportedly going after Albert Pujols. They got a new manager this year when they signed Ozzie Guillen. Oh crap! My Nationals have to play in the same division as these big spenders.

Stan Kasten joined Magic Johnson’s bid to buy the LA Dodgers. I like that partnership. These guys know how to win. Kasten built a winner with the Braves. He then came to the Nats and helped restore the farm system to be top notch. I hope they are successful in their bid to buy the Dodgers, this team will be good for baseball.

Funny story about the Wizards. The new labor agreement allows teams  to use an amnesty clause to get out of one bad contract. The Wizards have Rashard Lewis on their roster who is the second highest paid player in the entire NBA! He is paid over $21M per year and averaged 11.8 points per game last year. The Wizards are not using this amnesty clause because they will be under the minimum salary cap if they cut him. They are not ready to spend money elsewhere so they are overpaying Lewis. Funny but smart.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

To Win or Lose? That is the Question

“Suck for Luck”, “Whiffin for Griffin”, and “Park it for Barkley” are terms some desperate football fans cling to when their team is missing the all important franchise quarterback. (The last 2 I came up with) Andrew Luck, Robert Griffin III, and Matt Barkley are the top QB’s in college right now. And they have thousands of admirers. Some of these admirers are so smitten that they recoil in horror when their team wins a game and moves further from the number 1 draft pick. These admirers are so sure that these QB’s are the savior for their football team. I personally don’t like the idea of rooting for my team to lose and complaining if they win. My hope is that the Redskins win the rest of their games all the way to the Super Bowl. Sounds almost as crazy as rooting for your team to lose. There are 2 problems with putting all your hope in Luck, Griffin and Barkley: 1) There is no guarantee that these guys will be successful in the NFL. Remember Heath Shuler or Ryan Leaf? 2) It takes a team effort to win football games. You need blockers, runners, and receivers also. On the other side you need a good defense. Ask Dan Marino (one of the greatest of all time with no SB rings). Football is a very complicated sport. It takes 11 guys and multiple coaches working together on every play of every game.

A great quarterback is not always found with the number 1 pick. Here are the current top QB's in the league: Tony Romo-undrafted, Aaron Rodgers-25th, Drew Brees-32nd, Matt Ryan-3rd, Tom Brady-199th, Joe Flacco-18th, Ben Roethlisberger-9th, Matt Schaub-90th, Carson Palmer-1st, and Peyton Manning-1st. All the QB's I listed above are on winning teams (except for 2011 Manning). Only 4 out of 10 were picked in the top 10. But why are these guys so successful? They play on good teams in a good organization with good coaching. I doubt that Tony Romo and Tom Brady had stupid “please lose” campaigns from NFL fans when they were in college. “Win no mo for Romo.” “Play like a lady for Brady.”

Alex Smith-1st, Sam Bradford-1st, Matthew Stafford-1st, and even Phillip Rivers-4th have not been the savior to their respective teams. All top 5 draft picks. Phillip Rivers, an excellent QB, is a loser. He is a loser because his coach sucks. Alex Smith was a failure. He was a failure until this year when a great coach took over his team. He is now a winner because of a great team around him and great coaching. Sam Bradford has done well, but he has had injuries and he plays on a lousy team. Matthew Stafford has had trouble staying healthy in his first 2 years. He is now winning because of a great defense and throws to Calvin “Megatron” Johnson. All of these teams placed hope in these quarterbacks to be the essential part of a winning team.

I have hope when my team goes into the draft every year. I hope that every player works out to be a stud NFL player for years to come. I hope the Redskins draft a franchise quarterback soon. I also hope they draft good cornerbacks, safeties, offensive linemen, wide receivers, etc. That’s because, the Redskins are not a good team yet. Allen and Shanahan are trying to build a good team. The 2011 draft was successful in my opinion. Ryan Kerrigan, Jarvis Jenkins, Chris Nield, Roy Helu, Leonard Hankerson, etc. All of these guys have shown potential. All of these guys make up a team. There are pieces in place here. But there are also missing pieces. QB is the number 1 missing piece. I believe we will eventually get that QB. Is it this year or next? Who knows what this team will do. When that QB does get here, Shanahan will make sure that he is ready to play before he starts.

 It can be hard to find a franchise quarterback. Sometimes you are in the right place at the right time on draft day. The Indianapolis Colts have the possibility of being able to draft another franchise quarterback in the 2012 draft. It isn’t fair if Andrew Luck actually turns out to be a great one. To go from Peyton Manning to Andrew Luck will drive some fans crazy. The Packers went from Brett Favre to Aaron Rodgers. How awesome is that? Who knows how the 2012 draft will turn out. Who gets Luck? Who gets Griffin? Who gets Barkley? Will they stay in college? All 3 are juniors in college. Will there be another number 1 pick success like Peyton Manning? Or will there be another Tom Brady picked in the late rounds? Obtaining a franchise quarterback takes hard work from the scouting department and being in the right place at the right time. It’s not as simple as being able to pick first. It doesn’t always work out. Losing to get that first pick is a huge gamble. I am glad that NFL teams are more professional than that. I will never root for my team to lose. I always root for my team to win.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Tim Tebow, the Winner, the Leader

I was recently asked my opinion on Tim Tebow. I don't get to see him play much since I live in DC, but you can't help but notice Tebow mania in the land of the NFL. There are as many haters as lovers of this beast of a man. Some don't want this guy to succeed because he talks too much Jesus. Some don't like him because he is not a typical NFL quarterback. He has his admirers because he is pretty. He has his admirers because he gives props to Jesus on his success. He has admirers because he wins. He also has admirers because of his leadership.
Lately, he has had success. Since taking over at QB in Denver, he is 5-1. It has been surreal as he wins game after game in the most unconventional way. "Football guys" can't believe what they are seeing as they watch Tebow in clutch time deliver a win. Speaking of unconventional, his last win he rushed 22 times against San Diego as he led Denver to another 4th quarter comeback and eventually won in overtime.
Tebow doesn't win alone though, he has a lot of help. Football is the epitome of "team" sports. Denver has an excellent running game and defense. Willis McGahee and Tebow lead the team in rushing. An excellent defense is led by Elvis Dumervil, Champ Bailey, and rookie Von Miller. A successful NFL team is defined by a good defense and running game.
Tebow has the pleasure of being on a solid team. His stats are below average. His completion percentage is only 45%. And his QB rating ranks at the bottom of the league. One thing stands out in his stats tho, he has only 1 turnover in 5 starts. He also has 8 passing TD's and 3 rushing TD's. Only 1 turnover in 6 starts will help you win games.
What is it that gets Tebow so recognized and makes him successful? Is it all the Jesus talk? There are a lot of players in the NFL who love Jesus. Is it the unconventional style of play? Michael Vick is different but he is 4-7. I know what makes him successful. It is leadership. His team believes in him. Tebow believes in himself and the God who created him. Tebow will always be a leader, whether he is a QB or a tight end who blocks and catches passes from a more conventional QB. I don't think Tebow will be a QB his entire career. He could be a stud TE for years to come. Maybe even a hall of famer. One thing will never change tho is his ability to lead his team to victory. And that leadership comes from his ability to humbly recognize that he has a gift from God and it takes a team to win.