Stars road trip ends with a loss …
Dallas dropped to 5-1-0 and missed out on the opportunity to tie the franchise record (set in 1996-97) for most wins to start the season. San Jose raised its record to 5-1-0 and now shares the Pacific Division lead with the Stars, but Sharks coach Ron Wilson said his team had an advantage.
"Part of it was us, part of it was Dallas may have been a little leg weary," Wilson said.
Still, the schedule is what it is, and each team has to deal with challenges. The Stars did a good job navigating a tough trip in which three teams were laying in wait. Los Angeles played the Stars twice in the middle of a six-game homestand.
Dallas played Anaheim on Sunday after playing in Los Angeles on Saturday. The Ducks were coming off a three-day rest. And then the Stars had to take on a Sharks team looking to make a statement.
"At the end of a trip, we're trying to find every little bit of gas we can," Tippett said.
And the Stars punched the accelerator at times. Mike Modano streaked in on a first-period rush and deflected a shot that half the arena thought got past Sharks goalie Evgeni Nabokov. But Nabokov was spectacular in making 32 saves and securing his 29th career shutout. In addition to Modano, he stopped Niklas Hagman in close, Matthew Barnaby on a breakaway and Jeff Halpern with a wide open net.
Rafeal Vela Blogs about the Cowboys current state of affairs …
Half Full or Half Empty?
Here are some troubling stats to consider:
– The offensive line had allowed Bledsoe to be sacked 10 times through five ‘05 games. This year he’s been bagged 12 times. That’s still a decent pace, so long as nobody gets injured. The protection has been very erratic though. In the three wins Bledsoe has been sacked just three times. He’s been caught nine times in the two losses. Most of the pressure has come off the left edge, where Flozell Adams has endured a rocky rehab. To be fair, Kyle Kosier also struggled against Philadelphia and when one side of your line isn’t working, the passing game won’t work. Last year, Adams was the guy who glued the line together. This year, he may be the guy who pulls it apart.
– The pass rush is even more pedestrian than ’05’s. The Cowboys had 12 sacks through five last season and have 12 this year. Six of those game vs. Washington, which means Dallas has only six in the remaining four games. That’s a 24 sack-per-season pace. That’s a cellar-dweller number.
Here’s a very encouraging stat to think about:
– Dallas leads the NFL in rush defense, giving up just 67 yards per game. Dallas has yet to let a team, much less a running back, top 100 yards on the ground. Last season the Cowboys were yielding 96 yards per game and had only held one team, the woeful Eagles, under 100.
Here’s one stat with no obvious interpretation:
Terrell Owens has 22 catches for 277 yards and four TDs thus far. At the same point last year Keyshawn Johnson had 19 receptions for 218 yards and three TDs. Owens averages 12.6 yards per catch. Johnson was averaging 11.3. That’s not that big a difference. That said, Owens shows the ability to get deep. His long is 46 yards against Tennessee. Johnson had only one catch of 25 yards or more all last year. Dallas is using T.O. in the same way they used Johnson, to do the dirty work in the short and intermediate routes, but his average could improve.
Story of the morning: Tiki to retire? …or does he just want to be discussed for 3 hours on Monday Night Football?
Giants running back Tiki Barber, the leading rusher in the N.F.L. this season, said yesterday that he was likely to retire at season’s end to pursue his ample off-field opportunities.
During a promotional book tour in Manhattan, Barber said he was “leaning toward” retiring, and that he had “pretty much” made up his mind. Asked what would force him to reconsider, he said, “Nothing.”
Barber stopped short of announcing his retirement from football. His business agent, Mark Lepselter, who manages Barber’s off-field career, said it was possible that Barber could change his mind.
“He’s seriously leaning toward it,” Lepselter said of retirement. “I think he feels he’s perfected his craft, in a way, and is ready for something else.”
Ernie Accorsi, the Giants’ general manager, said yesterday that he did not want to comment on Barber’s retirement plans until he heard them from Barber.
“You do not replace Tiki Barber, he’s a Hall of Famer,” Accorsi said. “You have to go beyond the statistics to completely appreciate him, but I think he qualifies on numbers alone.”
Big Shaun Rogers suspended …
League sources confirmed Tuesday evening that Detroit Lions defensive tackle Shaun Rogers, one of the NFL's most talented players at his position, has been suspended four games for a violation of the steroid and related substances policy.
The two-time Pro Bowl performer tested positive, sources said, for a product that Rogers used to help him control his weight. Those sources declined to specifically identify the substance, or to say when the positive test took place, but it is believed to have occurred either in the offseason or the preseason.
The substance that precipitated the positive test is not considered an anabolic steroid. But the violation still falls under the purview of the NFL's steroid and related substances policy, and not the substance abuse policy. Under the latter, a player must test positive multiple times to mandate a suspension. A violation under the steroid and related substances policy earns a player an immediate four-game suspension, even for a first offense.
As is, Former Cowboys great Matt Lehr …
An already troubled Atlanta Falcons offensive line lost starting guard Matt Lehr on Tuesday to a four-game suspension by the NFL for violating the league's substance abuse policy
Lehr is the first Atlanta player to be suspended due to an infraction of the policy since 2002, when cornerback Ray Buchanan drew a four-game suspension after he tested positive for anabolic steroids. Buchanan said a nutritional supplement containing ephedrine, a substance banned by the NFL, made him fail the test.
The NFL, in keeping with its steroid policy, did not reveal the type of substance found in Lehr's drug test.
Wow, who knew that one of the few Americans in the English Premiership is a soccer great and a Green Bay Native …Go Watford!
Three years ago, in Jay DeMerit's previous life, Sir Elton John didn't ask to shake his hand. Three years ago, before he scored one of the most lucrative goals in soccer history, yellow-clad Englishmen didn't chant his name, didn't wear his jersey, didn't burst into tears of joy over his flying header into a rippling net. Three years ago Jay DeMerit, late of Green Bay, was a soccer vagabond in a foreign land, an MLS reject plying the fields of London's city parks, a Sunday pub leaguer sharing a friend's attic bedroom in a dodgy part of town and subsisting on $70 a week and a steady diet of beans on toast.
Now, of all places, he's here: on the emerald grass of sold-out Vicarage Road, the cozy stadium of the English Premier League's Watford FC, a small-market outfit like DeMerit's beloved Green Bay Packers. It's an early-autumn afternoon 15 miles north of London, and this time DeMerit's foes aren't a bunch of hungover blokes from the pub but rather the superstars of Manchester United, the world's most famous team. The sight of the Red Devils should intimidate the Hornets defender (Welcome to the Premiership, Yank), but not today. Not after his journey from the sport's lowest levels to a league with a global audience of 600 million.
Something tells me Reggie McNeal’s Wikipedia page has been tampered with ….
In his senior season, Texas A&M earned a 5-6 record and was not invited to a college bowl game. McNeal's final game at Texas A&M was at home against The University of Texas on November 23, 2005, but McNeal did not play during this game due to injury to his vagina. Aggy lost 40-29. This poor season and inconsistent play by McNeal lead to a declining stock during his senior season.
I am guessing that will be edited before the day is over…
Mavs vs Josh Howard still developing …
In Josh Howard's assessment, it seems the benefactor isn't being all that generous at the moment, low-balling the fast-blossoming small forward as the two parties try to seek an agreement to a contract extension. The Mavericks have until Oct. 31 to keep J-Ho from becoming a restricted free agent following the season.
Howard feels he's reasonable in wanting Tayshaun Prince money, specifically, something close to the five-year, $47.5 million deal that Prince re-signed with Detroit prior to last season. According to Howard, the Mavericks first offer was about $20 million less. If my math is right, that means Dallas decided to start the negotiations by offering $5 million per year.
I'm not one to normally be consulting a self-made billionaire like Mark Cuban on how to handle his affairs, but to me, an offer that low, even as a starting point, would be a slap in the face.
Howard played hurt this past postseason. He stood there with Avery Johnson, Dirk Nowitzki and Jason Terry as a major factor in the franchise's first NBA Finals appearance. When he scored over 20 points per game, the Mavericks were virtually unbeatable. Who drew the most difficult defensive assignments? Howard.
With the coach, Dirk and Jet taken care of, Howard has a right to wonder where he fits in. Obviously, getting an initial offer $20 million below your expectations isn't reassuring.
"I'm not even trying to break the bank," Howard told the Dallas Morning-News. "I've never been a guy who lets stuff get to me. I understand I'm a restricted free agent and they can wait until next year to sign me. But I was the other guy in that '03 class who made it to the Finals."
He's of course referring to Dwyane Wade, who joined the majority of the elite players in that recent draft class in cashing in on lucrative extensions. Howard hasn't attained superstar status yet, but he could eventually be considered on that level given his steady improvement. He hasn't hit his ceiling yet, and already the Scottie Pippen comparisons have been flying.
The Mavericks appear to be putting themselves at risk of having to match a much larger contract offer following next season, not to mention having a perturbed player on their hands all season. I realize it's been an expensive summer for Cuban, but holding out on Howard when he seems to be such a sound investment seems strange.
Don't you know that when you play with a man's money, you're playing with his emotions?
2 things that bothered me during the last few nights of sports viewing:
The perfectly flat bill of Anthony Reyes’ hat:
And the dork face mask of Scott Player:
Ken Macha gets fired because his players didn’t like him, either …
the primary reason the team parted ways with a man with the second-highest winning percentage in Oakland history was that a growing number of players had issues with Macha.
"There were things that transpired over the course of the year that the players were unhappy about,'' A's center fielder Mark Kotsay said. "There's no question there were things throughout the year, but the fact of the matter is that that by the end of the year, the players didn't have the same feeling about the manager as they did at the start of the year -- and that was at a point you'd think everybody would be happy, with a six-game lead. ... I believe there was friction.''
Third baseman Eric Chavez, the longest-tenured member of the team, said several times in a phone interview Monday evening that he likes Macha and got along with him well personally, but Chavez had seen enough happening around him to realize there were problems.
"The whole thing was a weird situation for me because ever since he came here, we had a pretty good relationship, but over the last couple years, I could see things unfold, and I kept hearing things,'' Chavez said. "He's always been very open and communicative with me, and with some other players, that wasn't true. I heard some things that were kind of disturbing. I think there are going to be a lot of guys who are happy about this.''
Many of the players thought that the tone set by Macha was gloomy, even when the club was playing well.
In Pittsburgh, the talk of tackling by the hair is continuing …
The NFL does not regulate how long a player can grow his hair -- and courts since the 1970s have said that hair length is a personal choice protected by the U.S. Constitution -- but the interpretation of tackling by the hair dates to 2003.
NFL director of officiating Mike Pereira, in a videotape distributed to the teams and made available to the media, ruled that the hair flowing out of Ricky Williams' helmet was fair game to a tackler after the former Miami back was yanked down by his dreadlocks.
"You've got the hair being pulled, and the locks are like the shirt, I guess," Pereira said in the video. "If you pull the locks, it's OK. If you're going to wear your locks like that, you're the one that's at risk."
Good Email from Brenn:
Bob, since you're my favorite radio personality, I'll give this to you.
The Giants played Atlanta yesterday.
Eli vs Vick
Both were 1st players drafted in their respective drafts.
Both were drafted by the Chargers and then subsequently traded for
players and or additional picks.
The Players acquired by San Diego by these two manuevers were:
LT, Brees, Rivers, Merriman, Kaeding
Thanks to Blogging the Boys for reminding and finding us the Jim Mora rant from Below …
Denny Green snaps Monday:
Jim Mora snaps years ago:
Flip Throw in Face
And the Cardinals beat the Mets.