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  • Published: May 11th, 2010
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Sports Buffet for 05/11/10

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NFL

UFA Charles Grant (NO) had the involuntary manslaughter charge against him dropped. He agreed to a misdemeanor public fighting charge with a fine of $1,000, a year probation and a $20,000 payment to the victims of that confrontation. The charges stemmed from a brawl outside a nightclub that led to the death of an innocent passer by.

Texans LB Bryan Cushing has been suspended for the first 4 games for violations of the NFL drug policy. He was the D Rookie of the year last season despite having failed a test in September of 09. He appealed the decision but lost that appeal and now will serve the suspension.

RFA OG Daryn Colledge signed his tender with the Packers.

We will see a lot of RFA players signing their tenders between now and June 15th. On that date NFL teams can lower the offer and the period for players to get an offer from another team has already expired.

The political left is insisting that the NFL pull the Super Bowl scheduled for Arizona due to the recent law that enforces federal law in the state. I suspect that the gutless Commissioner Goodell will do that despite the fact that the left including President Obama is lying about the law to the public. He knows that the law exactly mirrors the federal law but continues to mislead the public with the help of the traditional media. Both he and Goodell (if he caves to the left) should be ashamed.

NBA

The Orlando Magic look like they are a sure bet for the Eastern finals. That is not the case with the Cavs. They took back home court advantage with an impressive win at Boston Friday but Sunday looked like they didn’t care who wins the series. The thing that concerns Cavs fans is that the team seems to exhibit no sense of urgency to close out the Celtics. If they play game 5 in Cleveland like they did game 4, the Celts will win back the home court advantage.

Los Suns was worn on the uniforms in an NBA playoff game. The team should have been fined for each uniform in the same amount that a player would have been fined for a violation of league uniform rules. Not only should the NBA stay out of politics, it should learn Spanish and at the very least get it right.

MLB

The game and the world will miss Earnie Harwell. He was a Hall of Fame announcer but even a better human being.

Indian closer Kerry Wood has been cleared to return to the mound. As always with Wood, the only question is how long he will be able to pitch?

A large part of the problems of the Red Sox has been the struggles of SP Josh Beckett. When 98 year old knuckle baller Tim Wakefield takes your place in the rotation you have really been bad.

A’s pitcher Dallas Braden threw a perfect game this week.

NHL

Although they got to the second round, the Red Wings looked very old in losing their playoff series 4 games to 1. Look for the team to be significantly different next season.

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 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,NBA,MLB,NHL,Super Bowl,Arizona,Packers,Goodell,Obama,Magic,Cavilers,Grant,Cushing,Colledge,Celtics,Harwell,Wood,Indians,Beckett,Wakefield,Red Sox,Red Wings,playoffs

The Titans will be at destiny's door again in 09 but will they find the key to open it?

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When the Titans were the Houston Oilers, then head coach Buddy Ryan said that they had knocked on the door of the AFC Championship a couple of times and promised to kick it down next year. They didn’t and he was gone a season later.

For most of last year, the Titans were considered by nearly everyone the best team in the AFC if not the NFL. Then they lost to the Jets and that seemed to take the heart out of the team. They ended up doing what they have for all the Super Bowls but 2000—watching from the sidelines. This year could be different, but don’t bet the house on it unless you have a balloon payment due on it soon. Chances are 4-1 they will be the second or third best team in the conference. It will take luck and avoiding injuries to get the Titans to big game.

Former starting quarterback Vince Young will be fighting a possibly terminal case of splinters from carrying the clip board all year. Kerry Collins is the starter and Young has done absolutely nothing to win over the coaching staff or the team other than run his mouth. Collins is calm, accurate, very instinctive and has an above average arm. Young has an above average mouth and arm but has yet to put in the time to learn the playbook or read defenses on the fly.

The Titans have an outstanding running game. The Titans knew that rookie Chris Johnson was fast but they had no idea that he could run inside the way he does. He is establishing himself as one of the top half dozen runners in the league and can take a simple plunge or wheel route to the endzone. USC second banana LenDale White will have the same role this year in Tennessee. White has slimmed down to 229 and looks faster while not losing his power. He is in a contract year and won’t be back in 2010. FB Ahmard Hall is vastly underrated.

The Titans got Steeler UFA WR Nate Washington to sign and he will start opposite last year wideout Justin Gage. Washington was the 3rd WR last year in Pittsburgh but is expected to be the deep threat and top option in 09. He is not a top 15 WR. Gage will be the possession pass catcher and is good at that role. The reserves are thin with that group including the talented but baby bean green Kenny Britt and a bunch of stiffs.

The team will use 2 TEs a lot again and have a couple of the best in the league. Bo Scaife and Alge Crumpler can both block and catch. Neither will get deep but can control the short middle of the field.

The O line isn’t full of brand names but the line works well together and is rock solid. LT Michael Roos, C Kevin Mawae and RG Jake Scott are all pro bowl quality and starters LG Eugene Amano RT David Stewart are good in this system and getting better. Backup C/G Leroy Harris is capable of filling in any of the inside spots.

The one question mark on the team is the D line’s ability to continue to play at a high level without the traded DT Albert Haynesworth. Tony Brown who played LDT will probably get that job with Jason Jones replacing Brown unless either Jovan Haye or Sen’Derrick Marks take his place. RDE Kyle Vanden Bosch is going to have to return to top form after a groin problem last year and Dave Ball will play opposite him on first and second down. The freak Jevon Kearse returns to the Titans this season and should be a force again in passing situations.

RLB Keith Bulluck leads the backers and is outstanding. LLB David Thornton, MLB Stephen Tulloch are both fine but there is no quality depth so all three will have to stay healthy. Their success will in large part be determined by how well the D line makes up for Hayesworth’s absence.

The Titans have one of the very best D back groups in the league. CBs Nick Harper and Cortland Finnegan join FS Michael Griffin and SS Chris Hope to form a group all playing at a pro bowl level. Backups FS/Nickel back Vincent Fuller and SS Donnie Nickey provide both experience and ability.

OVERALL: The Titans are among the top 5 teams in the league in terms of talent. They have to stay healthy as do their competitors to get to the big game. But the Titans also have to overcome their tendency of losing to the Steelers, Pats and Colts in big games. Each of those teams seem to have the mental edge against Tennessee. This year they could well overcome their past losses and get to the Super Bowl but I doubt it. But at the very least, they should make the playoffs and be among the last 4 AFC teams on the board.

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 .

 

Technorati Tags: nfl,nfl draft,Titans,Johnson,White,Collins,Young,Steelers,Colts,Patroits,AFC,Thornton,Washington,Gage,Stewart,Haynesworth,Bulluck,Hope,Harper,Flinnegan

The Jets go all in on Sanchez

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The Jets got a bargain on USC QB Mark Sanchez but if he doesn’t work out, he will be very expensive—he will cost Coach Rex Ryan and the entire organization their jobs. They have pushed all the chips to the middle of the table and bet their future on him.

Nothing can destroy a new coaching staff faster than making a critical mistake by taking a QB that flops with your first ever pick. Just ask the 1999 Browns organization that picked Tim “I’m on the” Couch. A mistake on a 1st round QB will set the franchise back 5 to 6 years. Given the lack of experience in college and the question about Sanchez not being able to beat out Booty and the Jets have in effect doubled down on the bet.

The Jets will give Sanchez every chance in the world to claim the starting position this year. The Jets will never beat the Pats for the division title with Kellen Clemens at the helm. My feeling is that Sanchez is not Matt Ryan (Atl) or even Joe Flacco (Bal). He will be servicable but not ever become the superstar that the Jets hope.

Adding to the risk on the QB, the WR corps will be FL Jerricho Cotchery and anybody that can catch a cold on Broadway in January. The long time starter and under rated Laveranues Coles. Brad Smith started when Coles went down last year and has the inside track to start. David Clowney has the speed but inconsistent hands. Chansi Stuckey is an inside receiver and will play the slot. The TE is Dustin Keller. He is a receiver but not much of a blocker yet.

The running game will be on life support after 09. RB Thomas Jones is unhappy about his contract but is in a contract year and needs to produce to prove his value for his next deal wherever that may be. FB Tony Richardson is outstanding but in his last year or two. If there is a work stoppage in 2010, Tony won’t play again. The Jets believe that Leon Washington is starting quality. I don’t think so. He is a change of pace back but I am not sure he can carry the load in a run first offensive. Shonn Greene was a steal in the 3rd round and could be the guy if Jones fails to produce.

The entire O line is back. The players all have pass and run blocking ability but did not play up to their potential last year in pass blocking. They did help Jones win the AFC rushing title. D’Brickashaw Ferguson is among the top LTs in the league. LG Alan Faneca and RT Damien Woody are more than solid. Nick Mangold is a little inconsistent at C but getting better. The surprise last year was RG Brandon Moore. He is a former FA DT.

Defense is in the blood stream of the Ryans. That is the place that needs the biggest improvement overall. The Jets gave up more points that the Browns did last year. Ryan will be more aggressive than Mangini’s D was last year.

The D line is OK but not great. Kris Jenkins moved from DT in a 4-3 to NT in the 3-4 and stuffed the run. But age and back problems mean that the Jets will have to rest him more this year. Jets sent last year starting DE Coleman to Cleveland because he did not provide the pass rush that Ryan was looking for. Ex-Raven Marques Douglas takes that spot. He played for Ryan there. The other end is up in the air because of the possible suspension of Shaun Ellis. There is very little on the bench so any suspension will be a big problem.

The LB group was hit with a suspension. OB Calvin Pace is out for the first 4 games. Last year’s 1st pick Vernon Gholston will replace him and had better perform. This administration has no loyalty to him and up to now he has been less than expected. OB Bryan Thomas improved over his 07 season and IB Bart Scott played near pro bowl level last year. He still has room for improvement. David Harris starts opposite him inside if he is healthy. There is not much on the bench after Gholston.

CBs Darrelle Revis and Lito Sheppard are the strength of the D backfield. Revis is going to be a star. Both SS Jim Leonhard and FS Kerry Rhodes have to be more productive. The new scheme should help. More pressure will allow more picks. Drew Coleman, CB Dwight Lowery, CB Ahmad Carroll, and CB Donald Strickland all have some experience.

OVERALL: If the Jets were in another division,… Just kidding. The Jets will battle the Bills for 3rd. Neither team is talented enough to beat the Dolphins or Pats consistently. They are a middle of pack team that has the potential to be good if Sanchez works out and the D gets the pressure Ryan wants. If not, they will be OK and around 8-8.

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 .

Technorati Tags: NFL,NFL Draft,Jets,Patroits,Dolphins,Ryan,Flacco,Sanchez,Cotchery,Coles,Keller,Ferguson,Mangini,Browns,Revis,Sheppard

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