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  • Published: Sep 23rd, 2011
  • Category: Other
  • Comments: 2

Djokovic Wakes up from 2011 Dream Season

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Novak Djokovic training in Roland Garros durin...

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Coming off his incredible win over Nadal in the US Open tennis final, Djokovic was unable to complete his Davis Cup match due to a lingering back injury.  The injury first made an appearance during the final with Nadal.  With only a short rest period between the final and his Davis Cup match, Djokovic was unable to recover properly and retired after losing the the first set.

Novak Djokovic’s 2011 Season

Looking back it has been quite a year for the young Serbian player.  To start off 2011 he notched 41 consecutive wins that led him to hoist his second major Australian Open title, along with a slew of victories at other prestigious events.  He was indeed the man to beat, and for 41 matches no one was able to.

An on form Federer stopped the streak in the semi-final of the French Open at Roland Garros.  Federer played inspired tennis, dismissing the circulating rumors of his demise from the top of men’s tennis.  This was a temporary lull however, as Djokovic returned to form and snatched the Wimbledon championship to add to his list of major titles.

Fast forward to the present.  We have a new US Open champion in Djokovic, who has continued to impress the whole year.  His only other loss during the regular season was to Andy Murray, in a match where he had to retire due to injury.  The absolute dominance he displayed throughout the season has truly been something incredible to watch.

Discussions are still ongoing about whether or not this is the best season ever put together by a tennis player.  While the record alone may fall short of the best ever, the competition and depth of the men’s tennis field has drastically increased since earlier days of the tour.  Even guys knocking around outside the top 100 in ATP Tour ranking points can produce thrilling and inspired tennis.

How Will Djokovic Handle 2012

It will be interesting to see how the Serbian’s new found success carries him into the next season.  After producing such a high level of tennis consistently for an entire year, can he keep up the pace?  The back injury that has all but put an end to the rest of 2011 will be a big factor.  If Djokovic can get healthy again in time for the new year of competition he will be a fearsome opponent.

The confidence and experience he has gained makes the perfect combination with his youth and dedication.  He seems to have everyone’s number at this point, though Federer has continued to pose real problems for him.  If anyone is able to stem the flow of victories going into next year it will have to be the Swiss maestro.

Stay up to date with tennis news, articles, and information at TennisShoeView.

What did we learn from week 5 of the College Football season?

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My picks last week were pretty accurate. I was 5-1 with only NC State letting me down. Here are some thoughts about the top games last week.

#1 Alabama looked like a national champ again pounding #7 Florida 31-6 in a very physical game. This team has no visible weaknesses. No draft guys are talking about QB McElroy but I think he has pro potential in the west coast system. He does not have the great arm but makes the right decisions and processes info quickly.

#2 Ohio State struggled on O again beating Illinois 24-13. Even being a Buckeye grad, I would have ranked them behind Oregon in the poll at this point. This was the first game in the last 5 that QB Pryor did not throw for 200 yards.

#4 Oregon beat #9 Stanford going away 52-31. Even without 09 starter QB Masoli, Oregon looks better than last year. Little RB James is amazing. The scary thing about this team is that it is young.

#8 Oklahoma looked solid beating #21 Texas 28-20.

#24 Michigan State exposed the lack of a passing attack of #11 Wisconsin. MSU does not have a great D but schemed to stop the run and it worked. MSU won 34-24.

#12 LSU can’t throw a lick and Tennessee almost beat them because of the lack of O. The LSU 16-14 win at home did not score any style points.

#16 Miami looked good in a road win against a gritty Clemson team. Death Valley is not a easy place to play and the 30-21 win was solid.

#17 Iowa’s D showed the lack of passing of #22 Penn State and won impressively 24-3. Penn State is a year away from being in the top 4 of the Big 10 or 11 or 12.

#18 USC is a fraud and Washington showed them to be one. The USC D couldn’t stop a marble rolling down hill. The O is good but can’t score enough to win.

Virginia Tech beat #23 North Carolina State at NCS 41-30. Another QB nobody is talking about I really like is NCS Jr. QB Wilson. He has a lightening release, strong arm, great touch, and good footwork. He will be an above average to very good pro QB.

Oklahoma St. stayed perfect beating a better than expected Texas A&M team 38-35. The OSU D gave up a lot of yards but came up big with a pick to secure the win.

Northwestern (5-0) stumbled into the bottom of the Top 25 this week by beating a really bad Minnesota team 29-28. They need to enjoy their 15 minutes of fame because their stay in the poll will not last long.

Florida State got back into the top 25 with a win over Virginia. While FSU has looked good even against Oklahoma in a loss, they are going to be tested this week against Miami.

We will look at next week’s games on Thursday.

Scouting Report — Jr. North Carolina State QB Russell Wilson.

Another QB nobody is talking about I really like is NCS Jr. QB Wilson. He has a lightening release and great vision which is a combination that is hard to find in college football. When makes a decision, the ball is out. He also has a strong arm and can throw the 15 yard out with a flick of his wrist. He also has the great touch to drop the ball over the LB but in front of the S where the WR can get it. He has good but not great footwork.

He needs to work on dealing with pressure better. He tends to trust his arm too much when falling back from a rush. That led to picks against Virginia Tech this past week.

He may not come out this season given the possibility of a strike in 2011. He also has pro potential in baseball so there is some risk taking him too high for an NFL team. But he has a lot of the qualities I look for in a pro QB prospect.

He will be an above average to very good pro QB and has the potential to be a quality starter.

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. His first non-fiction work is at the publisher now and he has also published several novels on

and edits .

Technorati Tags: NCAA Football,NFL Draft,Draft prospects,Alabamam Ohio State,Oregon State,Oregon,USC,LSU,Tennessee,Miami,Clemson,Iowa,Penn State,Michigan,Michigan State,Virginia Tech,North Carolina State,Oklahoma,Texas,Florida,Florida State,Northwestern,Minnesota,Virginia,Stanford,Wisconsin

96 Teams in the NCAA Tournament is the worst idea since the BcS selection process.

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In the NBA, they play 82 games to determine which 14 teams don’t make the playoffs. Anyone that thinks that the regular season of the NBA is great basketball has to have their vision and sanity checked. For the most part only the last 10 minutes of regular season games between contenders show a level of intensity that is “must see” TV.

Now the NCAA is considering expanding the tournament to 96 teams. The top 32 team would get first round byes. What?????

First of all, this tournament is the ONLY thing that the NCAA does that they haven’t screwed up. It is great just the way it is. Putting all those teams into the tournament is like a high school championship where every school gets to play even if they lost every game. That is just plain dumb.

If the RPI was used to pick the 96 teams this year, #96 would have been Arizona with a 16-15 record. Why in the world would you want a just above 500 team into the playoffs? It doesn’t make sense. In addition, it makes the regular season almost meaningless.

Second, if you have to expand the tournament, give the top 2 seeds in each region a buy that would add just 7 teams. That would make the last team South Florida from the Big East with a 20-12 record.

That would allow more teams in but not dilute the regular season nearly as much as adding all those teams. I hear the argument “I want to see more basketball.” Instead, I don’t want to see more bad basketball even if it does put a few more dollars into the pockets of the greedy NCAA.

Congratulations to Duke for winning the 2010 championship and Butler for making the game so exciting.

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

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.

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 is a regular contributor on Cleveland Sports Radio http://www.sportstalkcleveland.com/ Monday afternoons at 1 Eastern. He has also published several novels on

and edits .

Technorati Tags: NCAA Basketball,NCAA Tournament,NCAA Chapionship,Duke,Butler,Final four,96 TEAMS

What happened to Brown QB Anderson?

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In business competition is necessary to insure the best performance. Anywhere there is no competition like in education, the results seem to decline with time. But a QB competition for the starting spot on an NFL team nearly always ends in disaster.

Anderson rode into the stadium on a white horse to pick up the pieces of Charlie Frye that were scattered all over the field after the first half of the Steeler game to open the 07 season. We found out later that Frye had been traded away between the 3rd and 4th quarters of that game.

He ended 07 with a slightly above average QB rating but there were signs of trouble for anyone that was watching. In the last 5 games of the 07 regular season he threw 7 TDs but 8 picks. When the pressure was on to make the playoffs with a win over the Bengals, he threw 4 picks and lost the game. He got his pro bowl status only after a gaggle of higher rated QBs backed out of the post season exhibition. The league had figured him out even if the Browns leadership had not.

But compared to the dismal QB play the team had suffered through since home town hero Bernie Kosar was released, Anderson looked like the second coming of Otto Graham. He was given a new deal and the team thought it was set at QB.

What happened to Anderson was simple. He was the victim of a pair of drive bye QB competitions. He developed a stiff neck looking over his shoulder at QB Quinn who the team had traded back into the first round of the 07 draft to take. Coach Crennel told the media he had “flipped a coin” to decide who would start at QB.

In the early games of 08, Anderson’s interception problems continued. When the bye came in week 5 he had thrown 3 TDs but 6 picks. For the rest of that year he and Quinn traded injuries and starts. The season was such a disaster that HC Crennel was fired and 5 minutes later Mangini was named the new football Czar.

The beginning of the 09 season was a disaster. It was a pre-planned 4 alarm fire because no one including the new HC knew who was going to start at QB. Quinn and Anderson split snaps during training camp and starts in the preseason. In game 4 in order to keep the Vikes guessing who would win the horse race for QB, Mangini didn’t play either one. That was a mistake but not as much as just picking one and giving him the best chance to succeed by giving his choice as many reps as possible prior to the first game.

Mangini proved to be a lot more patent than his predecessor. He started his choice–Quinn–for the first 2 games before pulling the plug. Anderson went in and continued to complete a high percentage of his passes. Unfortunately for the Browns he seemed to find defenders as often as he did his team mates. After the bye in week 9, Quinn was back and Anderson was an after thought. He did come back only when Quinn was hurt to play toward the end of the season but everyone in Cleveland knew his time there was over. He is not a has been. He is a “never was.”

Anderson is not the first QB to be ruined by a QB controversy. When there is an open competition, the locker room is automatically divided between the two guys. Some back each one. That is a formula for disaster. One of my favorite players of the “new” Browns, QB Kelly Holcomb, was also ruined by a QB competition. In 02, the Browns made the playoffs but starting QB Couch was hurt. Holcomb came in and threw for 429 yards against the Steelers in Pittsburgh in the wild card game. He ended up in that game with a 107 QB rating and the season with a 92.9 QBR. That was the beginning of the Couch/Holcomb QB competition and the end of both QB’s careers.

New football Czar Holmgren said that he will not allow a QB controversy but both Quinn and newly arrived former Seahawk Seneca Wallace both believe they will be the starter. We will have to see what happens.

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

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.

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 is a regular contributor on Cleveland Sports Radio http://www.sportstalkcleveland.com/ Monday afternoons at 1 Eastern. He has also published several novels on

and edits .

Technorati Tags: NFL,Free agent,Anderson,Browns,Vikes,Steelers,Holcomb,Mangini,Wallace,Quinn,Crennel,Holmgren

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
  • Author:
  • Published: Dec 22nd, 2009
  • Category: NFL Football
  • Comments: Comments Off on What did we learn from Week 15?

What did we learn from Week 15?

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It’s hard to be perfect.

The Saints couldn’t stand the pressure of the undefeated season. They played uncharacteristically badly against the Cowboys. The now have to worry about losing their #1 seed but got a break when the Vikes lost unexpectedly to the Panthers.

The Boys were more lucky than good. Phillips still have an up hill run to keep his job.

The Colts struggled to win at the Jags 35-31. They are still undefeated but may not care enough about a perfect record to play their starters in last two games. They are more interested in winning the Super Bowl. Their lack of a running game is a major concern going into the post season.

The Chargers virtually lock up the 2nd AFC Playoff spot with their win.

The Bengals played well at SD and even getting the game to a tie in the 4th quarter. But the momentum of the Chargers was just too much to take. After 2 straight losses they are just 1 game ahead of the Ravens. The Bengals hold the tie breaker. They will win the division title but stumble into the playoffs and will be an early out.

The Chargers look good. They are playing at a very high level and will be a tough matchup for the Colts if they meet them in the AFC Championship. The Colts have always had trouble against the Chargers.

AFC Playoffs

The seeds at this point are

  1. Colts

  2. Chargers

  3. Patriots The Pats are locks to win the AFC East with games against the Jags and Texans left on the schedule. The Pats will get into the post season but won’t go far because their D is pathetic.

  4. Bengals

  5. Ravens To hang on to this spot, the Ravens need to win next week at the Steelers.

  6. Broncos The Broncos are going to have to win against the Eagles next week to stay in the playoff picture. They won’t and could be replaced by the Steelers. They can help themselves a lot by winning out against the Ravens and Fish.

  7. Jaguars IF they can beat the Pats this week, they could get into the playoffs. But that is a very big if. They have lost 2 in a row but played very well against the Colts. They finish up at Cleveland. If they win out and get help by the Broncos loss to the Ravens, they hold the tiebreaker against Denver.

  8. Dolphins The Dolphins lost any chance to catch the Pats with their loss to the Titans last week. Now they will struggle to climb back into the playoffs. The Fish have to play a resurgent Steelers in week 17.

NFC Playoffs

  1. Saints

  2. Vikings The Vikes are going to have to win out to keep the 2nd spot. They are only 1 game ahead of the Eagles and would lose the tie breaker. The Vikes have to beat the the Bears and Giants to keep the bye week.

  3. Eagles The Birds have no easy walk to the 2nd spot because they play the Broncos at home and finish up at the Boys. They should win both and get the bye week which they really could use to get healthy.

  4. Cardinals The Cards continue to play up and down. The problem seems to be the D and the O line. When they play solid D and protect QB Warner, they can beat anyone. They won’t be able to in the playoffs and will not return to the Super Bowl. They have clinched the NFC West. With no chance of moving up to the 2nd seed, they may rest their stars in week 17.

  5. Packers The Pack should have beaten the Steelers but it wouldn’t have made any difference to their playoff hopes. They are 9-5 and should win both their remaining games against Seattle and at Arizona. If they do, they will play at Arizona in the wild card round.

  1. Cowboys The Boys are in serious danger of falling out of the playoffs unless they can beat the Eagles at home in week 17. That will mean that Owner Jones will likely blow the team up and rebuild with a new head coach. It won’t be coach in waiting OC Jason Garrett. JJ will look for a brand name to get the Boys turned around.

  2. Giants NYG is bearing down on the Boys and holds the tiebreaker against them. They will have to win at the Vikes in week 17 but the Vikes will likely be resting key players for the post season. That is something to look out for in Fantasy Football.

  3. Falcons The Falcons are waiting and should win out. But they need help and their injuries may keep them out of the post season.

Holmgren joins the Browns as Football Czar.

As a long suffering Browns fan, I am very glad to see him take the Presidency rather than the GM spot. He will hire a solid GM and head coach. Mangini is almost certainly history no matter what happens in the last two games. DC Ryan may well get to stay depending on who Holmgren brings in as HC. The Browns will end up with the 5th 6th or 7th pick in the draft. You can bet that this one won’t be traded to the Jets for a bag of balls and players to be named later.

Washington gets Allen as their new GM.

Hall of Fame Coach George Allen’s son is the new GM in DC. George Allen Jr. is a no nonsense guy with an outstanding history of drafting and picking free agents. He also can stand up to ownership which has been a problem at DC in the past.

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 Playoffs,NFL Football,Fantasy Football,Saints,Panthers,Colts,Jaguars,Chagers,Bengals,Cowboys,Phillips,Jones,Ravens,Patroits,Broncos,Eagles,Browns,Dolphins,Titans,Steelers,Vikings,Cardinals,Packers,Giants,Falcons,Holmgren,Redskins,Allen,Mangini

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