Not that I claim to be a guy who breaks stories, but in talking with someone with intimate knowledge of the Josh Howard v. Mavericks situation, I am now much more confident that something will get done before Halloween. It appears that the Mavericks realize how important it is to Josh (given all of his public comments) and they surely realize how important he is to them. Therefore, with only so much wiggle room to discuss anyway, I fully expect this extension in a 5 year/$40 million range will be going down before opening night. I feel much better now.
Avery is expecting more out of J-Ho …
Now, Johnson said, it's time for the 6-7 Howard to pick up his assists and steals. Basically, Howard is being expected to come up with three assists per game. And hockey assists, where there may be two or three passes that lead to an easy basket, count in Johnson's book.
"I got ways of watching film to see if you're trying to make your teammates better," Johnson said. "We like the points. And we like the rebounds. We want assists. We want steals, and we want the Mavericks to win. He's accepted the challenge."
Howard said he's trying to be a little like Dirk Nowitzki in that he wants to add something to his game every year. That's what Johnson is asking him to do.
And Howard has a high-road way of looking at this season, which will determine his financial future if, as expected, negotiations do not produce an extension between now and Oct. 31.
"I'm kind of going back to my senior year of college right now," he said. "I had a lot at stake after that season was over with the draft. So I'm just taking it like that again. I just want us as a team to get back to the same position we were last year. I just have to play my game and have confidence in my teammates."
ESPN.com ranks every play in the league …
Here are the Mavs:
3. Dirk Nowitzki, DAL
40. Devin Harris, DAL
41. Josh Howard, DAL
57. Jason Terry, DAL
164. Jerry Stackhouse, DAL
170. Erick Dampier, DAL
173. Austin Croshere, DAL
205. Anthony Johnson, DAL
210. DeSagana Diop, DAL
212. Greg Buckner, DAL
263. Devean George, DAL
So, Devin Harris is better than Josh Howard??? C’mon!
And a couple old favorites:
124. Marquis Daniels, IND
229. Michael Finley, SA
Mets force Game 7 …
Mets postseason lore is thick with unforgettable performances and signature moments. Most are of the individual variety — think of Tommie Agee, Ron Swoboda, Mookie Wilson — that propelled them to the ultimate team goal of a world championship.
There is nothing yet from the Mets’ joyous, if sometimes bumpy, ride through this postseason to match their forebears. But if they can again buck the odds and defeat St. Louis in Game 7 of the National League Championship Series tonight, names like John Maine and Paul Lo Duca will be on their way toward immortality.
On the brink of elimination, the Mets defeated the Cardinals, 4-2, in Game 6 at Shea Stadium last night because of many reasons. But the biggest of all was because Maine, a rookie, outdueled the Cardinals’ ace, Chris Carpenter, in the biggest start of his young career.
José Reyes hit a leadoff home run in the first inning that energized the crowd all the way through Lo Duca’s two-run insurance single in the seventh off the former Met Braden Looper, and the four relievers who followed Maine held up their end of the deal.
Maine departed with one out in the sixth, and Chad Bradford and Guillermo Mota induced inning-ending double plays in the sixth and seventh. Aaron Heilman got through an uneventful eighth before Billy Wagner made things interesting in the ninth.
To Football, Different City, same story …
Faced with a 2-4 record and a difficult road game coming up against the undefeated Indianapolis Colts, Redskins head coach Joe Gibbs said he was "not afraid of making changes"--but he emphasized that change would not happen at the quarterback position at this time.
"I'm not afraid to change anything and I don't think I would hesitate to change something if it's best for our football team," Gibbs told reporters in his Monday press conference. "Right now, changing Mark--I don't think that's the answer."
In Sunday's loss to the previously winless Titans, the Redskins scored touchdowns on their first two offensive possessions to build a 14-3 lead, but then struggled with consistency the rest of the game.
The Redskins got away from the ground game in the second half, running the ball only nine times for 17 yards. But once Tennessee grabbed the lead, the offense was forced to rely on Brunell.
Brunell completed 6-of-7 passes on the Redskins' first two drives, but he was 10-of-23 the rest of the way, including incomplete passes on his last six throws of the game. His last pass, a deep ball to Santana Moss with 1:06 left in the game and the Redskins trailing by three, was intercepted by Titans' free safety Lamont Thompson.
Gibbs has pointed to offensive inconsistency as a primary reason for the offense's struggles. He includes Brunell in that assessment, but he maintains confidence in the veteran quarterback.
"Mark is three games away from setting a record in the NFL," Gibbs said, referring to the Week 3 game at Houston when Brunell completed 22 consecutive passes in a row to establish a new league mark.
This morning, I watched the Falcons-Giants game. So did the guys at Blogging the Boys …And we had the exact same thought about that Giants running game so I will let him say it:
The Giants running attack is very basic and highly effective. They drilled Atlanta with the same plays over and over. They had a tendency to run towards their left and this is where they found most of their rushing yards through the first three quarters. They ran basic plays where the left side of the line blocks down with the tackle/or tight end sealing the edge, they pull the right guard to kick-out the linebacker, and Tiki Barber follows Jim Finn right through the hole. And the holes where huge. The Giants collapsed the Falcons right side of the line repeatedly.
Parcells wasn't lying in his press conference when he said Tiki had 12 runs straight into the second level untouched. They ran the same variation of plays to the right side, but only found success much later in the game and they were pretty weak when running up the middle.
I'm guessing they prefer running behind the left side of their line, so Chris Canty, DeMarcus Ware and to a lesser extent Anthony Henry need to come up big. Canty has to stand up the edge of the line and force the play wide. Ware needs to beat the pulling guard or the fullback to turn the play back in and Henry needs to be last line of defense outside. Bradie James and Akin Ayodele have to be quick to fill the hole. From what I saw, we should be cheating our run defense towards the edges; the Giants didn't have a lot of success moving the middle of the Falcons line. Jason Ferguson and the backside linebacker have to stay at home and guard against Tiki cutting back.
Seriously, they ran the same play off left tackle over and over and the Falcons acted like they had never seen it before…
In Miami, what do you do when America has been taking shots at your team all week? You blame the media and defend your Hurricanes …
Did these same journalists call for the dismantling of the South Carolina and Clemson programs when they had their ugly brawl in 2004? Have they called for the head of Florida State's Bobby Bowden, who in the past five years has had players arrested for felony grand theft, drunk driving and soliciting sex from an undercover police officer?
Did they care that former University of Cincinnati basketball coach Bob Huggins went years with a zero percent graduation rate?
And where was the coverage of the on-field brawl last weekend at the end of the Dartmouth-Holy Cross game? Holy Cross players, after winning the game 24-21 in overtime, stomped and danced on the Dartmouth ''D,'' fueling a melee that required police officers to intervene.
There is no question UM football players were out of line when they fought with LSU players at the Peach Bowl last year, and they looked foolish dancing on Louisville's logo earlier this year. But they are not criminals. Butch Davis, Coker, Dee and Shalala have worked extremely hard to spruce up the program during the past 10 years, and they should not be skewered for indiscretions of the past.
Get ready to bid up Gary Matthews …
Here is a question about GMJ. At what point are you over-paying? I admit I love the guy, but when his salary gets close to Vernon Wells and Torii Hunter, isn’t it goofy for a 32 year old who has had 1 year?
Matthews' representative, Scott Leventhal, said Wednesday that his client will at least explore the free agent market before making a decision on where to play.
"We're going to exercise our right," Leventhal said. "But that doesn't mean that we're closing any doors. We're still going to take a long look at Texas ... but players have to go through six full seasons to get a chance at free agency."
Matthews can file for free agency after the World Series, and other clubs can start negotiating with him two weeks later. The Rangers recently extended a formal offer to Matthews, but it was declined. They had hoped to reach an agreement with Matthews before the free agency period because he is expected to be a hot commodity. The Los Angeles Angels, Chicago Cubs and Boston Red Sox – all deep-pocketed clubs – could be in the market for a center fielder.
Matthews, 32, had a huge year for the Rangers. He could win a Gold Glove award. He hit .313 and set club records for runs scored (102), RBIs (79) and extra-base hits (69) from the leadoff spot.
Champions League: Chelsea 1, Barcelona 0 …
There could be none of the wild exultation with which each club has marked success over the other in the knockout phase during the past two seasons, but the victors' happiness will be prolonged. Didier Drogba decided the game, but there was as much satisfaction for the team in seeing their system restrict Barcelona to very few chances as Hilario kept a clean sheet without being unduly exerted.
Despite talk of Ronaldinho's return to form, the Brazilian came as close as is conceivable to being cowed. Khalid Boulahrouz, at right-back, forced him deep and when he attempted to slip into the middle he was stepping into congestion and eager challenges. Michael Essien, with his new-found composure, showed that he offers a hope of improvement for Chelsea, who have been not quite good enough in this tournament.
Week 8 College FB Schedule tells us that Texas at Nebraska is on ABC HD! Hurray.
The Wire back for 1 more season …
One episode into its fourth season, HBO's gritty cop drama The Wire has been picked up for a fifth and final round.
The pay cable network's decision was triggered by very strong reviews for the current season of the show, set in the drug-saturated streets of West Baltimore.
"I had no question in my mind about the quality of the show, but you never know," HBO Entertainment president Carolyn Strauss said of the uniform critical praise. "The show is extraordinary and breathtaking."
The number of episodes for season five, which will focus on the role of the mass media, is yet to be determined.
After depicting for four seasons "that part of urban America that has been left behind by the economy and by the greater society," the show's final chapter will ask why, Wire creator-executive producer David Simon said. "What is it that we see and sense about these problems? How do we actually see ourselves?" he asked.
After a two-year hiatus, The Wire returned Sunday with not-so-impressive 1.5 million viewers, down from the 1.9 million who tuned in for the season four premiere in September 2004.
Today's SI rumor mill, if you haven't already seen, quotes someone from San Antonio as telling us not to be suprised if Jerry Jones "makes a run" at Charlie Weis after the Tuna is gone. Obviously Weis has a comfortable contract and has only been at ND for a couple of years, and who knows if he would even have any interest in the circus that is the Dallas Cowboys or pro football for that matter. (although ND is probably the college equivelant) With all of that aside, however, do you think he would would be a good fit in Dallas? The gentleman on SI did remind us that Weis is familiar with the 2 TE formations as well as the 3-4 DEF. It would also be a great opportunity to give him a nick-name such as "the minnow" or "the sardine" being he his somewhat of a Parcelles protege.
Jerry Jones says the Cowboys will stick with the 3-4 defense and a two-tight end, one-back offense even after Bill Parcells is gone. With that in mind, don't be surprised if Jones makes a run at Notre Dame coach Charlie Weis, who is familiar with both systems.
-- San Antonio Express-News
Chicken - No idea why this is blogworthy
Cardinals – Vikings 2003 Video (happiest sports moment in a long time)
David Blaine – 4:42 (Language Warning)