Wednesday, August 06, 2008

A Win...and More Drama...

Wow. That wasn’t what we were looking for from CJ Wilson. Like I said, I don’t question CJ’s mouth, I question his ability to get people out. Apparently, they can both be questioned this morning. And he needs surgery....Are his days as closer already over?

Another win filled with story lines

On Monday, the Texas Rangers had a dramatic win over the New York Yankees. On Tuesday, they won a game that included a whole lot of drama.

And when the 8-6 win was over, the Rangers' third consecutive victory seemed a little secondary to the fallout.

While the Rangers remained five games behind Boston in the wild-card race and moved to within 1 ½ games of the Yankees by getting to six games above .500 (60-54) for the first time since June 23, 2006, the fallout is this: C.J. Wilson's days as closer appear to be over.

If not forever, probably for the year and certainly for the next two weeks. After a disastrous return to the mound for the first time since Friday, Wilson was placed on the disabled list with bone spurs in his elbow.

The decision was made after a 30-minute meeting that manager Ron Washington acknowledged was unpleasant. It happened after Wilson, who entered the game with a six-run lead, allowed a pair of walks, a hit batter and a grand slam to Richie Sexson. During his time on the mound, Wilson was vigorously chastised on one occasion by catcher Gerald Laird.

Things really got explosive, however, when Washington came out to get him and Wilson casually flipped the ball in the air and started walking off the mound. Washington caught it, yanked Wilson back up on the mound, handed him the ball again and told him to hand it to him.

"I didn't like it one bit," said outfielder Marlon Byrd, who followed up his game-winning grand slam, with three hits and a two-out, rally-starting walk in the seventh. "Everybody hits rough patches, but when the manager comes out to get you, you hand him the ball and show him the respect he deserves. I don't know how it looks to fans, but I know how it looks to 24 other guys. It doesn't look good."

Said general manager Jon Daniels: "Guys are going to struggle. That is part of the game. That's not the issue. There is a way to act and carry yourself. The way he left was unacceptable and disrespectful. He's somebody we need and somebody we have to get right. The physical issue becomes the No. 1 priority for right now, but that doesn't excuse what happened on the mound."

Dallas South Blog is on the story Here

Meanwhile, Peter King takes a run at the Favre situation

Ten nights ago, I sat in Brett Favre's Mississippi home, and a couple of times during our discussions he said he wanted Packers general manager Ted Thompson to release him. Folly, I thought, and I told him so. "Brett," I said, "the Packers will release you over Ted Thompson's dead body. They're not going to give you the chance to run through the tunnel opening night as a Viking." Favre was not moved. He heard me, but I don't think he believed me.

The next day, I was in Green Bay, sniffing around the Packers. At one point, I text-messaged Favre, telling him what I thought -- the team would rather pay him his 2008 salary and not have him play rather than cut him loose.

This text message came back from Favre's phone: "tell ted to release me."

We all thought this story had changed. We thought the Packers had softened their stance Sunday after prodding from commissioner Roger Goodell and that they had conceded a partial defeat. We thought they would let Favre compete with Aaron Rodgers for the starting job and that Favre was willing to give it a go.

Really, watching Favre leave the Packers facility Tuesday, nothing has changed in the past 10 days. Favre wants to choose his next team. The Packers, who have him under contract for three more years, will be damned if they let him because they're pretty sure the team he'll choose is Minnesota. For this story to have any kind of closure, one of them has to crack.

I don't know which one it will be. Favre has been on this "release me" kick for weeks. The Packers have been adamantly against it for months. They know Favre is a perfect fit for Minnesota, which has a Super Bowl defense and running game, but a neophyte quarterback in Tavaris Jackson. Furthermore, the Vikings have an offensive coordinator, Darrell Bevell, who runs the same offense on the same wavelength that Favre is accustomed. Plus, I've got to figure Favre would love sticking it to the team he feels hasn't been straight up with him in the past two months.

Favre has never said to me, "I want to play for the Vikings," but it's my strong feeling this is what he wants.

For the past 10 days, I've kept thinking Favre would relent and agree to go to the Bucs or Jets in trade, or he'd retire, or he'd try to make peace with the Packers and try to get his old job back. But now I think differently. Now I think he will press his case for a release or a trade to Minnesota, no matter how ugly this gets. He seems determined to play the kind of hardball that he believes is the only option to get what he wants.

This is a story that won't die, obviously. I'm not proud of the predictions I've made throughout because I've been wrong so many times about the endgame. But now we can see the two options for that endgame. Favre gets to go where he wants. Or he doesn't.

Now the question is, whose will is stronger -- Favre's or Thompson's? I don't have a feel for who will crack. But I'm at least entertaining the thought that Favre actually might win.

Do the Cowboys have a 2nd round curse

Since the Cowboys selected Flozell Adams in the second round of the 1998 draft, they have managed to find one reliable starter from that round — Andre Gurode. Not counting 2008 second-round pick Martellus Bennett, that’s one out of 11 second-round picks.

Former Cowboys coach Bill Parcells used to say acquiring talent was a 50-50 proposition. Using that equation, from the Cowboys’ perspective, the second round has been a hodgepodge of misevaluation, reaches and a host of disappointments.

The Curse

The curse includes the "quarterback of the future," Quincy Carter, who was eventually kicked off the team; "the next Michael Irvin," Antonio Bryant, who was cut and eventually suspended by the NFL for drug use; "the shutdown corner," Dwayne Goodrich, who was cut and charged with vehicle manslaughter in 2003.

And to extend the curse even further, by selecting the Carters, Tony Dixons, Bryants and others they missed out on players such as Devin Hester, Bob Sanders and Deion Branch, all of whom were selected in the second round.

Granted, every other team in the NFL can go through the draft history and lament their own misses, but the Cowboys run of whiffs in a round where the percentages are supposedly higher is ironically impressive.

The Hopeful

Burnett spent his first two NFL seasons in Parcells’ doghouse. He never started, and compiled 29 tackles in 2005 and 2006 combined. His primary function was on special teams.

Under Wade Phillips, Burnett emerged as a passing-downs linebacker. He had a career-high 52 tackles last season and demonstrated second-round ability.

"It hasn’t been that big of a change. I’m the same third-down player and I may play a few more plays," Burnett said. "I want a bigger role. One down to me is not enough."

Burnett is in the final year of his contract, and as of right now he remains behind Zach Thomas and/or Bradie James on the depth chart.

"You want players on your team who want to play and want bigger roles and who are hungry," Burnett said. "That’s what makes this camp harder is you have players everywhere and guys want spots. That’s a good dilemma to have from a coach’s standpoint. From a player’s standpoint, you gotta make some noise."

Phillips said Tuesday that Burnett will be given the chance to prove he can be a first- and second-down player. If he’s good enough, then perhaps he will take some of Thomas’ snaps.

Galloway talks 2nd WR

The Goose tackles the tackle

Middle linebacker Patrick Willis of the San Francisco 49ers was the NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year in 2007.

If you trust his statistics, he should have been the NFL's Defensive Player of the Year as well. Maybe even the NFL Defensive Player of the Decade.

Willis was credited with 226 tackles by the 49ers – a staggering 42 more than the league's next most prolific tackler, Ray Lewis of the Baltimore Ravens.

Willis collected 117 more tackles than the starting NFC middle linebacker in the Pro Bowl (Lofa Tatupu, Seattle Seahawks) and 99 more than the AFC starter (Demeco Ryans, Houston Texans). Was Willis that much more active, that much more proficient than any other defensive player in the NFL?

But I don't trust the statistics – not tackle stats, anyway.

Each NFL team employs a stat crew for its home games. That crew's final statistics are deemed official by the league office: yardage for rushing, passing, receiving and various kick returns plus field goal and punting distances, sacks, interceptions, touchdowns ...

But 28 of the 32 NFL teams do not acknowledge the press box tackle stats as official. On the Monday following games, NFL defensive coaching staffs break down the films on their own and award a new set of tackle numbers. Those are listed by each team as its "official" tackle count.

Willis was credited with 174 tackles by NFL stat crews in 2007. Upon further review, the San Francisco coaches gave him credit for 52 more tackles, bumping his "official" count to 226.

How is it possible for stat crews league-wide to miss 52 tackles by Willis? That's a 23 percent increase in his tackle count. That's like the New England offensive staff studying weekly game tapes and uncovering 1,400 passing yards that stat crews missed in Tom Brady's 2007 season.

New England finished fourth in the NFL in defense and was one of only two teams that did not credit a player with 100 tackles. Miami was the other. Indianapolis finished one rung ahead of the Patriots on defense at third – but had a league-high five players with 100-plus tackles.

The Indy defense was on the field for 980 snaps last season. But there were no tackles on 199 of those plays because they were either incomplete passes, interceptions or offensive touchdowns.

That left 781 defensive snaps that involved a tackle – and the Colts' coaching staff awarded a league-high 1,416 tackles. That's an average of 1.81 tackles per play. The Indianapolis staff awarded 891 "solo" tackles in those 781 plays. Figure that one out.

Tim Griffin’s Big 12 Power Poll

Big 12 Power Rankings

1. Missouri Won't be satisfied unless they claim school's first conference title in 39 years.
2. Oklahoma Defensive playmakers needed if Sooners have three-peat hopes.
3. Texas Tech Highest expectations on the South Plains since Steve Sloan's tenure there.
4. Texas Mack Brown has got to be loving playing the underdog card -- for once.
5. Kansas Jayhawks could be better than last season -- even if their record won't reflect it.
6. Oklahoma St QB Zac Robinson might be the Big 12's most underrated player.
7. Texas A&M Conference's best set of backs might be running behind greenest line.
8. Nebraska Bo Pelini promises to pump passion, energy into underachieving defense.
9. Colorado Hopes hinging on quick development by freshman TB Darrell Scott.
10. Kansas St Juco infusion on defense could determine Ron Prince's job status.
11. Baylor Killer early schedule could wreck season before conference play begins.
12. Iowa St Too many questions to pick them from crawling out of the cellar.

Sherman wants Jorvorskie to mix in a salad

Texas A&M's Jorvorskie Lane, accustomed to carrying the football, instead toted a Subway sandwich Tuesday.

For a hefty fullback charged by his coach to lose about 30 pounds over the next couple of months, it's a start.

“I'm going to continue to work hard,” said the 290-pound Lane, whom new coach Mike Sherman converted from tailback in the offseason. “The process is hard, but I'm just going to continue to do it.”

That process, Lane said, means staying away from items like alcohol and “stuff like that,” and watching what he eats through training camp.

“I've just got to do what's right,” he said.

For starters, Lane, a senior from Lufkin, agreed to the position change — even if he was given little choice.

“If you ask 32 NFL teams where you would play this guy, they'd play him at fullback,” said Sherman, a former Green Bay Packers head coach. “He didn't really have an opportunity to debate it with me.”

The 6-foot Lane, no slouch at tailback, has rushed for 2,100 yards over three seasons, and his 44 rushing touchdowns are tied for the school record. He's developed a cult following at A&M for his ability to move the pile in short-yardage situations, and for his sometimes heated demands for the ball at crucial times.

“I'm sure he'd rather play tailback, which he's more naturally — in his mind — suited for,” Sherman said. “But for us to win, and for his future success, fullback is a position where his talent will be highlighted.

“He has excellent hands and the mass that allows him to block people — and he's still a talented runner.”

Lane said the position switch upset him until offensive coordinator Nolan Cromwell explained his new role.

“It was devastating, just by seeing what a typical fullback does,” Lane said. “Until coach Cromwell and the staff really sat me down and told me my role. They're going to utilize me, and not keep the ball away from me.”

Try watching this without laughing

So Sad…

1 comment:

Tony said...

Is CJ Wilson the Mike Vanderjagt of the Texas Rangers? OMG...The Memories