Saturday’s Niblets from around the net for 03/14/09
By Bill Smith
Best comment this week:
From Sportsbook on Capologist is the NFL MVP
You are right and it is unfortunate, but I have a feeling that this will get settled in the 11th hour like it was last time. Last time, the economy was good. This time, the NFL will look even worse if they can’t settle this mess and keep the fans happy.
Also, this will be Goodell’s first test. Yes, we know he’s a sheriff and can suspended players when necessary, but what about the labor talks? How competent is he with that?
My Analysis: we will all find out how good a negotiator he is soon enough. But it takes two parties committed to getting a deal done to accomplish a contract. My fear is that the campaign rhetoric coming from the candidates to replace Gene Upshaw as the Executive Director of the NFL Players Association indicates that Goodell may not have a reasonable partner with whom to bargain.
UPDATES ON PREVIOUS COLUMNS:
The 08-09 Cavilers are not your fathers team.
Thursday night the Cavs on their west coast road trip came back from a significant deficit to beat the Suns. While wins on the road don’t necessarily translate to NBA Championships, their road record against really good teams shows they have taken another step toward becoming a championship caliber team.
My Analysis: They are showing the physical style of play to beat teams in the east but can also play an up and down game to compete with the wide open style of the western conference.
Big name cuts in the NFL have little to do with the salary cap.
Big names continue to get cut. The Rams cut both OT Orlando Pace and WR Torry Holt. The Ravens cut CB Samari Rolle. We usually see these cuts after June 1 so that the cap hit can be spread over a couple of cap years. This year there is no cap in 2010 onto which a team can spread the hit. As a result, the teams are making all their cuts now.
News from around the net:
A-FRAUD Jersey has been baned by MLB.
One of the fastest selling jerseys in the MLB has been banned. The Commissioner’s office announced that it will outlaw the shirts.
My Analysis: While that may not be a violation of free speech guaranteed in the Constitution, it is at least proof that the truth hurts. A-Fraud probably called the Commish and complained that it hurt his feelings.
The Cincinnati Bungles do something right!
The Bengals signed WR FA Lavernious Coles. Former Jet Coles is not only a vet, he is a true professional and a gentleman.
My Analysis: Maybe the Bungles have learned that players that hang out in the Hamilton County Correctional facility don’t really help you win games.
Syracuse basketball team shows real grit in the Big East Tournament.
Syracuse and Connecticut played a marathon 6 over time game Thursday night. Despite the fact that both teams will be in the Big Dance, the teams fought it out until after 1AM eastern time. Syracuse finally won the game. It was one of the most exciting games I have seen in a very long time.
As the winner, they got to play a tough West Virginia team on Friday night. The team showed great grit in fighting all the way against a much more rested Mountaineer club. Orange was behind much of the game and clawed their way to as much as a 5 point lead late in the second half. But for the Orange, this year nothing is easy. WV tied the score and forced the game to overtime. Even though the Orange looked deflated as the clock hit 0.0, they somehow found the energy deep inside them to win it in overtime.
My Analysis: In many ways, the grit of the Orange reminds me of the way that the Cavs grind out wins. This game was sloppy at times due to fatigue but the intensity of play is what makes college sports so special. Things only get screwed up when the “adults” get in the way of the kids playing the game.
Two Ohio State NFL Draft prospects use their pro day at OSU to try to recover from bad 40 times at the combine.
CB Malcolm Jenkins ran a relatively respectable unofficial time of between 4.46 seconds and 4.53 seconds in the 40-yard dash at his Pro Day according to Plain Dealer reporter Doug Lesmerises. His teammate RB Chris Wells unofficially ran between 4.34 seconds and 4.46 seconds.
My Analysis: The pro day will help Wells much more than Jenkins. Times between 4.46 and 4.53 will cause some teams to categorize him as a safety rather than a CB. That could drive him down in the draft to at best a late 1st early second round pick. Jenkins has to hope that his work on the field will convince at least one GM that he can be a shut down corner worthy of a top 15 selection.
Wells should regain the status as the top running back in the draft with his time. However, his durability will still be a concern.
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 https://fryingpansports.com. He has also published several novels on and edits .
My email is [email protected]