Niblets for July 2010

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NOTE:  We will finish our question mark review for the NFC South and West Thursday.

Best comment of the month:

teeth whitening gets the comment of the month again. Comment on LeBron is LeGone to Miami I wonder if the incentives in the contracts for the beach boys are going to impose problems during their season? What if one of the players decides to pad their stats instead of playing team ball and set off the egos.

TW, I think we have a new name for the guys in South Beach–the Beach Boys. Well done and thanks for reading our site.

Updates on previous columns:

LeBron, Gilbert, Miami and Cleveland The Heat added F Juwan Howard, Joel Anthony, Zydrunas Ilgauskas, Jamaal Magloire and rookies Dexter Pittman and Patrick Beverley. Z is nearly useless and was at the end of the bench during the Cavs run in the playoffs last season. Howard is not what he used to be but will help. Magloire gives the heat some physical play inside at C.

The Cavs have done very little to add talent despite owner Gilbert’s statement. The fact is that if the team could not attract a top UFA with LeBron on the roster, they will have no luck getting one now.

Baseball Heads Down the Back Stretch The rich (Yankees) get richer and traded for Lance Berkman and Austin Kearns, along with reliever Kerry Wood. The Cubs and the Indians continue to be some of the best minor league teams in baseball by giving up talented players for nothing. Even so, the Rays took sole posession of 1st place by beating the Yankees 2 out of 3 last weekend.

The Rangers got the best pitcher on the trading block by getting ex-Indian and former Cy Young Award winner Cliff Lee from Seattle and catcher Bengie Molina from the Giants.

Questions in the NFC East and North training camps The injury to Cowboy 1st round pick WR Dez Bryant is the feared “high ankle sprain.” He may be ready for the opening game but that will give WR Roy Williams a chance to earn his money and establish himself as the starter. He won’t but will start for the first 6 weeks.

Niblets fresh from the cob:

The Raven’s D backfield took another major hit when Domonique Foxworth’s season ended with an injury. They traded QB John Beck to the Redskins for unproven CB Doug Dutch. Beck was at one time the QB of the future for the Dolphins.

The latest rumor is that Bret Favre is not coming back. We have heard that before and we will see. If he is not coming back, the Vikes will struggle to win their division let alone get deep in the playoffs.

The Pats have taken WR Wes Welker off the PUP and he is expected to be close to 100% by the start of the season. That is great news for Tom Brady.

There are only a couple of rookies unsigned as of today. That includes 2nd over all DT Ndamukong Suh. He was reportedly asking 50M guaranteed. But according to his agent, that is not the case.

Raven 2nd round pick LB Sergio Kindle fell and will be out for several weeks with a cracked skull. He has been diagnosed with Narcolepsy.

That’s what I think. Tell me what you think.

Bill Smith is a former coach of several semi-pro teams, has officiated both football and basketball, done color on radio for college football and basketball and has scouted talent. He is a senior writer for and edits http://fryingpansports.com. He has also published several novels on

and edits .

Technorati Tags: LeBron,NBA,NBA Playoffs,Heat,Cavilers,Cubs,Yankees,Indians,Rays,Rangers,Beach Boys,Trade deadline,Ravens,Patroits,Favre,Vikings
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Sports Buffet for 5/25/10

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Note: I will have a B I G announcement about getting back on the Internet radio very soon. We will also have Niblets this Saturday.

NFL

The NFL took a huge loss in the Supreme Court Monday. The Court in effect said that the league is not a single entity in regards to licensing producers of apparel but 32 separate businesses. For the details about what this means, check out my NFL News, Notes and Rumors on NFLDraftDog.com.

Vikings QB Bret Favre had the surgery on his ankle that he had said would be required to play in 2010. Expect him to be back this season the day AFTER the team breaks camp. At 40 timing is everything.

NBA

Most analysts are saying that the Magic just have not shown much effort in their series with the Celtics. They said the same thing about the Cavs. Could it be that the Celtics are just so good that they make their opposition look inept? Yes. The combination of very good coaching, experienced veterans that know how to play the game and the fact that for the first time all year the team is healthy have all contributed to the Celtics success in the playoffs.

The Magic did squeak out a win Monday in Boston. Don’t expect that to save them. The series will be over in 6.

Los Suns finally won a game. They trail the Lakers 2 games to 1. Los Suns will Los–e. The series will only last 2 more games.

The Cavs finally fired CINO (coach in name only) Mike Brown.  This will not keep LeBron in Cleveland.

MLB

The Astros are trying to trade SP Roy Oswald. There are a lot of challenges including his contract, history of injury and the fact that he can’t seem to find the plate. Because Roy is one of the faces of the franchise Astros ownership is not going to be willing to give him away just to make him happy. With most teams looking to reduce payroll, it is unlikely that the team will be able to get a deal.

The Reds are hanging in against the favored Cards in the NL. The Rays are hanging in to the always tough AL East. As long as both teams pitching stays healthy, they could be around past the All Star game.

Congrats to MLB for keeping politics out of the game. We don’t see that kind of guts out of many pro leagues these days.

NHL

The Black Hawks haven’t won the Cup since 61. Their goal tender Antti Niemi was driving a Zamboni not that long ago for a little extra cash. Now he is the toast of the city and the league. Great D helps win in the NHL but nothing will get you to the Cup Finals faster than a really hot goalie.

The Flyers will represent the East in the finals. This should be a great series. I have heard that the Flyers looked really good but since I don’t have the Verses network, I can not comment on that.

That’s what I think. Tell me what you think.

Bill Smith is a former coach of several semi-pro teams, has officiated both football and basketball, done color on radio for college football and basketball and has scouted talent. He is a senior writer for and edits http://fryingpansports.com. He has also published several novels on

and edits .

Technorati Tags: NFL,NHL,NBA,MLB,NHL Cup finals,Favre,American Needle v. NFL,Supreme Court,Celtics,Cavilers,Magic,Suns,Lakers,Astros,Oswald,Reds,Cardinals,Rays,Black Hawks,Niemi,Flyers,Verses Network
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What to look for in the Sunday Divisional round games.

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Cowboys @ Vikings

Cowboys

Prior to this season the Boys folded in December. When JJ issued his threat to blow up the team and the coaching staff this season unless the Boys got into the playoffs and did well, the team got the message. This team has played a lot better than they did in previous seasons but I am not on the Boy bandwagon yet.

The O has been solid but the last two games were played against an Eagle D that seemed to give up after being in a position to win the NFC East. In the upset win over the Saints, QB Romo had a QB rating of 104. In the two games against the Eagles he had ratings of 86.1 and 106. That is a great improvement over last year when he finished the year with ratings of 44.9, 66.2 and 55.8 in the 3 losses. The improved Romo is the key to difference in this years team. The Boys will need as much passing as he can generate because they will not be able to get much on the ground against the Vikes.

RB Jones ran for 148 yards but that is misleading. Take out the two long runs and he had a 4 yard average. That is VERY average. Starter Barber is probable but is coming off a knee and won’t be close to 100%.

The other key to the turnaround is the play of the O line. The line had been living on an undeserved rep. In the latter part of the season they started to play up to that rep. They will have to against an outstanding D line of the Vikes.

The Cowboy D has also had the habit of playing up or down to the competition. The key will be pressure on QB Favre. If they can pressure him, they will have a chance. The pass D ranked 20th giving up over 200 yards per game. Balanced offenses give them problems. The Vikes can be very balanced when they chose to be.

Vikings

The Vikes tend to throw too much on O. That habit tends to get them in trouble. QB Favre can light up the scoreboard but can also throw enough picks to kill the team’s playoff hopes. The Vikes ended the season just 2-3 in December including an embarrassing loss to the Panthers. Favre had a passer rating of 73.7 in that loss. The team ranked 8th in passing.

The running game is solid with the leagues best back Peterson. But he has 1 100 yard game in the last half of the season. The O line had not been opening holes for the running game and Peterson has gotten beaten up. Peterson has to get over 100 yards for the Vikes to win. That is going to require the O line to play at a higher level. G Hutchinson is probable for the game. He would help the O line a great deal.

The Viking D is solid as well. It ranks 2nd against the run but 19th against the pass. The key to the Vikes winning the game is shutting down the Boys running game and forcing Romo into mistakes. Given enough pressure, he will make errors.

This is a very hard game to call but I think the Vikes have just enough to beat the Boys. The Cowboys will not be able to run and will not be able to keep up with Favre and the Vikes.

Jets @ Chargers

Jets

The Jets beat a Bengals team that was inexperienced in the playoffs. That is not the case with the Chargers. The game will depend on how hot Jet QB Sanchez can get. The Jets took advantage of an easy schedule and even then needed gifts from both the Bengals and the Colts to get into the playoffs. The O has the top ranked running game. That is a good thing because in the last 3 weeks of the season, Sanchez had passer ratings of 49.7, 78, and 60.2 and threw just 1 TD with 9 picks. That is not going to scare experienced playoff teams. RB Thomas is their top guy but he had only 3 100 yard games in the last half of the season. He is 31 and they hope it is not an indication that he is showing his age.

The Jets are going to have to be able to throw better than that to win.

The Jet D ranked 1st in scoring D, passing D and yards. They are 8th against the run. They have been playing very well under Coach Ryan. However, they have not beaten an O like they will against the Chargers.

Chargers

QB Rivers has had an outstanding season. He has a passer rating of 104. The running game is ranked 31st which caused Rivers to throw a lot. The passing game is ranked 5th. He has a solid group of receivers WRs Jackson and Floyd and TE Gates. The running game has Tomlinson but he is a shadow of what he was a few years ago. Neither he nor RB Sproles has gotten the running going. The Chargers used the franchise tag on Sproles. That was a mistake because he will never be able to be a starting RB. The O line came together after recovering from early season injuries. It still can not run block.

The Charger D is middle of the road in terms of yards but ranks 11th in scoring D. NT Scott is their 3rd guy in that spot but has come on nicely. The loss of All Pro NT Williams has reduced the ability to stop the run and the team ranks 20th in that department. They are 11th against the pass and have a pair of pro bowl LB in Merriman and Phillips. They have not played up to their rep this season. The D backfield is led by CB Cromartie. The D can play at a very high level but is inconsistent.

Given all that, the Chargers should be able to score on the Jets through the air. I am not sure that QB Sanchez can keep up with Rivers. The Chargers win.

Your fantasy football doesn’t have to be over. Run a pro football franchise all year long for free at . Tell them Coach Smith sent you.

26-7.

That’s what I think. Tell me what you think.

Bill Smith is a former coach of several semi-pro teams, has officiated both football and basketball, done color on radio for college football and basketball and has scouted talent. He is a senior writer for and edits http://fryingpansports.com. He has also published several novels on and edits .

Technorati Tags: NFL,NFL Football,nfl playoffs,divisional round,Cowboys,Vikings,Favre,Peterson,Jets,Bengals,Chargers,Colts,Thomas,Thomlinson,Sproles,Rivers,Sanchez
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  • Author:
  • Published: Aug 18th, 2009
  • Category: NFL Football
  • Comments: Comments Off on HE'S BACK!! Bret Favre signs with the Vikings.

HE'S BACK!! Bret Favre signs with the Vikings.

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The 08 Vikings had an outstanding D, solid O line, the best RB in the league but no quality WRs and not much at QB. The result was an good season including winning the NFC North title ended without success in the playoffs. Now Favre steps into the huddle. But having Favre at QB doesn’t answer all the questions, it just creates others. The QB question is will Favre last the whole season? Probably. Is he an upgrade over what they had? Definitely.

Favre can do what the Vikes want to—pass just enough to keep the D honest. Will he? Probably not. Favre wants to put the ball down the field. But he will do what he is asked to do most of the time because even more than long TDs, he wants to stick it to the Packers.

Another question is does Coach Brad Childress lose credibility with the locker room? That depends on what he told the team vs. what he said publicly. If he was honest with the team, he will be fine. If he wasn’t honest with his team there will be a problem.

Favre has some nice weapons in his quiver. WRs Bernard Berrian and Sidney Rice will start despite what you have read about Bobby Wade. Favre loves the occasional deep ball and both can go deep. Rookie Percy Harvin will challenge Wade for the slot receiver. But if Wade doesn’t win a job to start or be the 3rd WR, he my not make the team. The TE is Visanthe Shiancoe. After a year and half struggle, he finally came on at the end of 08 and has the potential to be outstanding.

There is no doubt about the running game. Adrian Peterson is the best back in the league and will get even better if Favre can complete enough passes to keep 47 guys out of the box. AP should be the first draft in most Fantasy drafts this season. RB Chester Taylor is starting quality and gives AP a blow. You won’t hear his name much because the announcers can’t pronounce it but Naufahu Tahi is solid at FB.

The line of LT Bryant McKinnie, LG Steve Hutchinson, C John Sullivan, RG Anthony Herrera and RT Phil Loadholt is outstanding. Rookie Loadholt and C Sullivan are the new comers. Loadholt has potential and looked good in the first preseason game. Sullivan replaced the aged Matt Birk who went on to Baltimore. Hutch is all pro and plays like it. McKinnie seems to have gotten the message after being suspended last season for substance abuse and played well. Last year T Ryan Cook started most of the season and is the backup plan if Loadhold faulters. G/T Artis Hicks provides versatility as a backup as well.

The league tried to suspend DTs Pat Williams and Kevin Williams but they went to a state court and got the suspension put on hold. The issue is still not fully decided. The Williams boys are the best pair of DTs in the league. They join DEs Ray Edwards and Jared Allen, although Allen was injured recently and his status is undetermined. The line when healthy provides an excellent pass rush and stuff the run with authority. DE’s Brian Robison and Kenechi Udeze (assuming he is healthy) provide depth and Robinson will challenge Edwards to start.

SLB Chad Greenway and MLB E.J. Henderson are athletic and fast. They are a perfect complement to the D line. The team missed Henderson who lost the last 12 games of the regular season to injury. WLB Ben Leber is solid against the run and above average vs. the pass. Heath Farwell is back from injury to provide depth and rookie Jasper Brinkley has speed and potential.

The D backfield has some issues. CB Antoine Winfield was all pro last year and wanted a new deal but at 32, the team was slow to offer it. They got it done and Windfield is happy and richer. CB Cedric Griffin came on nicely last year. S Tyrell Johnson is a first time starter and is unproven but has potential. S Madieu Williams is coming off an injury. The nickel back is undetermined. CBs Marcus McCauley, Asher Allen, Karl Paymah, and Benny Sapp will battle for the spot and the bench positions.

OVERALL: The Vikings are now a real threat to win the NFC and the Super Bowl. They have all the parts and less holes than most of the other teams. The big question is Favre and the DBs. Favre should be at least better than the rest of the QBs. The DBs will have to hold up under a lot of passing attacks. The Vikes will score a lot of points and teams will have to pass to try and catch up.

That’s what I think. Tell me what you think.

Bill Smith is a former coach of several semi-pro teams, has officiated both football and basketball, done color on radio for college football and basketball and has scouted talent. He is a senior writer for and edits http://fryingpansports.com. He has also published several novels on and edits .

Technorati Tags: nfl,NFL Draft,Fantasy Football,Fantasy Draft,Vikings,Packers,Favre,Peterson,Berrian,Rice,Harvin,Taylor,McKinnie,Hutchinson,Williams,Edwards,Allen,Greenway,Henderson,Winfield,Griffin,Johnson
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Niblets for 5/9/09

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By Bill Smith

Best Email of the week:

Comment from Alex on “Anatomy of a blown draft—Browns and Raiders”:

you are completely wrong about the browns draft. i’m not even of fan of theirs but can you really not understand what they were trying to do? the team is in rebuilding mode because their last coach and GM had a terrible roster. they trade down and add depth. you know who did that? the patriots as soon as belicheck took over. the browns got players that are familiar with mangini’s system and added a bunch of depth. the draft value chart is a guide and not a strict rulebook. many people have even argued that those figures are out of date based on when it originated and how the cba has changed. in conclusion, you’re a dumba**

This was just one of a number of rather less than complementary comments I received about that column. First of all, I agree that the Browns were smart to trade down. However, they did not get anything close to market value. I am not the only one to say that. For example, several teams traded down a couple of spots in the second round and got a 4th round pick in the deal. The Browns traded down in the first round and got only a 6th. The value chart is used by almost every team. While each deal is different the Browns got less than 70% of the value of the pick trading from 5 to 17.

Mangini likes guys he knows. That is clear from the fact that the Browns second color is now Green rather than Orange. However, the 3 players that the Browns got were not in the starting plans of the Jets. What the Browns got were 2 free agent fill in starters from last year’s Jets D that gave up more points than Cleveland’s did.

QB Brett Ratliff will be a clip board jockey 3rd or 4th string QB that can maybe run the scout team. He has some upside and might someday be a starter.

DE Kenyon Coleman came to the Jets as a Cowboy reject in 07. In his last 32 games, he has a total of 2 sacks and what is worse—he is 30 years old. He is not the pass rusher the Browns needed.

S Abram Elam was a restricted FA this off season and someone that Mangini wanted. The Browns made an offer but the Jets matched it. Elam was not going to start for the Jets. In the last two seasons he has played in 29 games and has one—that’s right 1 single interception. He will be 28 half way through the season.

I stand on my original position and Alex, learn to use the shift key. I love the passion but it makes your email hard to read.

NOTE: This article did get picked up by more than a dozen web sites.

Updates on previous columns:

Brett Favre is messing with his legacy. ESPN and Sporting News Radio are all Favre all the time. Farve said that he is definitely retired and has no intention of playing now. That was just before he sent his X-rays to the Vikings. Take it any way you want but Favre loves the attention.

The Commissioner suspends the entire National League for 50 Games! Since some of the names on the 2003 list were leaked, Baseball owes it to the fans to release the other names or fire anyone that was involved in the leak. If they have problems finding out who it was, fire everyone in the league office that was involved. That would send a message to the rest of those pinheads that leaking confidential info is not to be tolerated.

Niblets fresh from the Cob:

Former Bills QB Jack Kemp passed away. Kemp was a guy that used every ounce of his talent and energy in everything he did. After football he was a Congressman from NY and a candidate for VP. Players today could use some of his dedication to the game. He gave it everything he had every day.

Former NBA and Olympic coach Chuck Daly passes away. When you think of an NBA team playing like a unit, Daly’s teams are among the first that come to mind. In the hardest sport to coach because of guaranteed contracts and a bench full of head cases, Daly got the best out of any team he coached. The teams seemed to take on his character—tough, physical, and disciplined. He will be missed.

The NCAA is looking at changing the charging/blocking rule in college basketball. Having refed an industrial league with some pro rookies, I can tell you that the charge/block is the toughest call there is. Mike DeCourcy of Sporting News Today reports the rule committee has recommended a change so that a secondary defender must not be under the basket and must make an attempt to defend the basket to get the call. Otherwise it is a blocking foul. That is a good change. The committee looked at the issue of a player unable to take a foul shot but decided not to propose a change at this point.

The worst thing that can happen to a manager is to win the Manager of the Year award. The Diamondbacks fired Manager Bob Melvin yesterday. The team was 8.5 games behind the Dodgers before last nights game. Melvin had won the MOY award in 2007 and now his history. Winning that award is almost as deadly to a career as the owner making a public statement of support.

That’s what I think. Tell me what you think.

Bill Smith is a former coach of several semi-pro teams, has officiated both football and basketball, done color on radio for college football and basketball and has scouted talent. He is a senior writer for and edits http://fryingpansports.com. He has also published several novels on and edits .

My email is wesmith2001@hotmail.com.

Technorati Tags: Favre,steroids,Kemp,Daly,Sporting News Today,Diamondbacks,Manager of the Year,Melvin,NFL Draft,NFL,Browns,Raiders
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  • Author:
  • Published: May 7th, 2009
  • Category: NFL Football
  • Comments: Comments Off on Brett Favre is messing with his legacy.

Brett Favre is messing with his legacy.

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By Bill Smith

Several sources are reporting that Brett Favre is going to meet with the Minnesota Vikings coaching staff this week. It is a stupid move for Favre because it is the one thing he could do that will damage his reputation. Favre has seen Dr. Andrews and is considering surgery that would enable him to be ready to play in training camp. This is another signal that he is considering a comeback.

If he decides to come back and play, he will have again un-retired. But this time it is different. At the beginning of the 2008 season, it was the Packers and not Favre that decided that his services were no longer required. If he come back to play again, he will have broken his word to his fans and the media. His greatest fans will be hurt but will forgive him. The media will be less forgiving.

When he came back he hurt the Jets and it took a gift by Cleveland to get the team out of the mess that signing Favre created. The Jets had a QB that fit Coach Mangini’s offense perfectly. Chad Pennington was extremely accurate in the short and medium throws that the game plan was based on. Against the advice of Mangini, ownership decided to make a splash by signing Favre. Then salary cap considerations forced the team to cut Pennington. Pennington was signed by division foe Miami and the rest is history. After a disastrous last 5 games of the season, Favre was history as well and the Jets fired Mangini. After all, even ownership needs a scape goat.

Favre was injured in the last half of the season and for that reason gets some forgiveness for his poor performance.

Sports fans have a short memory. Like most humans, it is what happened last that sticks in our minds. It will be hard to forget how Favre looked during the collapse of the Jets, particularly in the game against Miami and Pennington. Had the Jets not been able to get the bargain basement price to move up from 17 to 5 in the draft from their former HC, the team would have been sucking bilge water for years. Favre’s availability would have been the cause.

Then there is his legacy in Green Bay. Right now, the Packer fans would welcome Favre back to retire his jersey and put him into the Packer Hall of Fame. If, however, Favre ever plays for the rival Vikings, that love will will turn to hate. Favre would irreparably damage his legacy with any fans of the Pack.

However, if he comes back and plays for the Vikings, he had better be very good. If he is not much better than he played for the Jets in that 5 game run, he will destroy his legacy. The Vikes would have been the second team in 2 years that he disrupted and failed to lead to the playoffs. The Vikes are now ready to win. They have one of the top defenses in the league, an outstanding running game and enough talent on the O line to protect a passer. There will be no excuse for failing to win with the Vikes.

He will also turn any camp he goes to will make the Raiders camp look organized. Like the Jets, he will divide the locker room, draw reporters like mosquitoes to a camping trip, and make getting things done impossible.

Favre is a Hall of Fame player. But with another disaster like the Jets Favre risks no longer be automatically be mentioned with the great QBs in league history. That means a lot to players like While some player like Jim Brown quit at the height of their careers, others stay too long. We all remember those great athletes that are a joke at the end of their careers. Favre’s time is over. Let’s hope that he realizes that.

That’s what I think. Tell me what you think.

Bill Smith is a former coach of several semi-pro teams, has officiated both football and basketball, done color on radio for college football and basketball and has scouted talent. He is a senior writer for and edits http://fryingpansports.com. He has also published several novels on and edits .

My email is wesmith2001@hotmail.com.

Technorati Tags: Favre,nfl,Packers,Vikings,Jets,Mangini,Pennington,Hall of Fame,Browns
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