Thursday, November 13, 2008

Mail Bag!

A Thursday Blog that has equal parts links and emails for you to read. Tonight, the Mavs get back to work in Chicago and the Stars face the Kings on home ice. Let’s hope for something better than Tuesday’s returns…

But, I for one, am far more interested in what Sunday in Washington holds for the city…

Roy Williams real debut is Sunday Night

Excuse Dallas Cowboys receiver Roy Williams if he sounds kind of flippant when it comes to quarterbacks.

Asked about the need to develop chemistry with Cowboys Pro Bowler Tony Romo, who will throw passes to Williams in Sunday’s game at Washington for the first time since Williams was acquired via a trade with Detroit last month, the former Texas star simply says, "I just tell him to put the ball in the vicinity, I will catch it."
Even though Williams officially has been named the starter opposite Terrell Owens, making Patrick Crayton the No. 3 receiver, he has not done any extra work with Romo in practice because he didn’t want to put undue stress on the fractured pinkie that has kept Romo out of the lineup the past three games.

Williams, however, can’t really help his attitude — which reflects a history of having to adjust to whoever is throwing the ball.

He had three quarterbacks in three years in high school at Odessa Permian. At Texas, he caught passes from Chris Simms, Major Applewhite, Chance Mock and Vince Young. And since being drafted in the first round by the Lions in 2004, the revolving door of passers continued with Joey Harrington, Jeff Garcia, Jon Kitna and Dan Orlovsky.
Of course, that was supposed to change when he came to Dallas for three draft picks and a five-year, $45 million contract extension. Since Williams won’t turn 27 until next month, it was supposed to be beginning of the quarterback-receiver combo of the future with Williams eventually replacing Owens.

The immediate benefit was for Williams to make opponents pay for double-teaming Owens and opening up what had become a stagnant Cowboys’ offense.

But that was before Romo suffered a broken pinkie against Arizona — two days before the Cowboys completed the trade for Williams, forcing him to catch passes from backups Brad Johnson and Brooks Bollinger.

The results have been a disappointing three catches in three games and more time on the sideline than he’s ever had in his career.

After being used only on passing downs and in the red zone in his first three games and the team facing a must-win game to keep its playoff hopes alive, the time is now for Williams to make a much-anticipated impact.

"I feel like it’s time," Williams said. "I felt like it was time when I first stepped foot in here. It was hard sitting on the sideline knowing that I can help. That was bothersome to me because I feel like I can make some plays out there. I don’t know if we’re going to do that anymore.

"Hopefully this week I can get in there a little bit more, especially with the quarterback coming back and getting everybody healthy. Hopefully this is a fresh start for us."

Portis seems likely to miss

Here is all you need to know to understand the tenuous nature of Washington's backfield.

Optimism was generated Wednesday because Clinton Portis was able to straighten his leg.

"It was hip, hip hooray," Redskins coach Jim Zorn said. "He's working hard to get back.

"It just remains to be seen if he can or not."

Portis suffered a second-degree sprain of the medial collateral ligament in his left knee in the loss to Pittsburgh 10 days ago. Zorn said it was, "pretty much a lock" that he wouldn't determine if the league's second leading rusher (995 yards) can play until a few hours before his team faces the Cowboys on Sunday night.

Portis did not take the practice field Wednesday. Backup Ladell Betts did.

"It felt decent," said Betts, who hasn't played since spraining his left knee a
month ago. "It's just a matter if I can go full speed on game day, whether I can take the hits and take the pounding."

If Portis and Betts are unable to play, the starting job will fall to Shaun Alexander. Rock Cartwright, who has only four carries this season, would also get some action.

If you wish to laugh at me or frustrate yourself or both, Here is the review of the first meeting between the Cowboys and Washington from earlier this year on this very blog …Feelings were different about both teams back in September…

Weekly Jimmy Burch has all sorts of angles

Mike Leach leaves Lubbock. Credit Texas Tech athletic director Gerald Myers with taking the high road by delaying negotiations with his football coach about a well- deserved contract extension until after the season. The idea, said Myers, is to minimize distractions while Leach and the second-ranked Red Raiders (10-0, 6-0 Big 12) try to build on the best start to any Tech football season since 1938.

Completely understandable. But Tech is idle this week. And a bye week is the most likely time for coaches curious about other jobs to squeeze in an interview or sound out feelers from other schools. No one is suggesting that is happening, or has happened, with Leach.

But it would be a shame if Leach left because Tech officials were too slow to show him the money and Tennessee turned his head with a high-dollar offer in the interim. As for distractions, they’re inevitable.

During a Monday media session in Lubbock, two players fielded questions about Leach’s potential departure. Safety Darcel McBath said Leach’s long-term employment status "isn’t any of my business."

Asked if Leach’s restrictive interview policies for players would work at a school such as Tennessee, quarterback Graham Harrell said, "I think he feels that winning football games is going to make him a lot more popular than having his players in the media. That’s his philosophy, and I think he’ll stick with it."

The longer other high-profile jobs remain vacant, the more such questions — and potential distractions — will surface.

Leach stays in Lubbock. Without question, Myers and Leach have a good working relationship. With incentives, Leach is scheduled to make $2.15 million in 2010, the final year of his existing contract. That’s below the $3 million that Texas coach Mack Brown will earn this year, but it’s hardly chump change. And the pay would go up in a restructured deal.

Also understand this: Leach’s current deal includes an $800,000 bonus if he remains at Tech through next season, which would be his 10th year at the school. Another $200,000 bonus kicks in if he completes the 2010 season as the Red Raiders’ coach. So there are plenty of compelling reasons, beyond base salary, to keep him in Lubbock.

Tech-Texas rematch. If the Red Raiders run the table and win the Big 12 title, their opponent in the BCS Championship ... Texas, if the numbers fall the Longhorns’ way when the final Game could be BCS standings are tabulated Dec. 7. There is no rule against teams from the same conference meeting in the BCS title game if they claim the top two spots in the final standings. Heading into Saturday’s games, Tech is No. 2 in the BCS and Texas (9-1, 5-1) is No. 3.

Other rematch possibilities. If Oklahoma (9-1, 5-1), No. 5 in this week’s BCS, runs the table — including a Nov. 22 victory over Tech — the Sooners could win the Big 12 title and face a rematch with Texas or Tech in the BCS Championship Game. Another possibility: Florida, the No. 3 team in the BCS, edges No. 1 Alabama in the Southeastern Conference title game Dec. 6, setting up a rematch between those two teams in the BCS finale. And leaving the Big 12 out of the big game.

South Division voting controversy. By now, most fans are aware that the BCS standings on Nov. 30 would be the tiebreaker used to decide which South Division team plays in the Big 12 Championship Game if Tech, Texas and OU all finish with 11-1 records and are 1-1 in round-robin play. But here’s the potential sticking point: Texas coach Mack Brown and Tech coach Mike Leach have votes in the coaches’ poll, which is part of the BCS formula; Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops does not.

Even better, coaches’ votes for the Nov. 30 BCS standings are not made public. Only the votes from the Dec. 7 standings that set the bowl matchups. In other words, expect lots of howling from OU fans about possible voting improprieties if the Sooners finish behind Tech or Texas in the Nov. 30 tiebreaker.

And now, because I think they are all worthy of being read (even if I don’t agree with them all) here is a good set of email to prove that I really read them all….even if I don’t respond very quickly…


Hey Sturm,

I have a question that is burning my sports brain. Now that it looks like their title window was closed (at least in the current form): When you look back on the Mavericks, will you remember them for all the winning (sustained regular season success, 2 trips to the WCF, finally beating the Spurs in playoffs, winning the conference & reaching the Finals, 67W regular season, Dirk-Nash-Fin-JHo on a regular basis), or the brutal losses (the first WCF series against the Spurs (Dirk's knee), the Kings series (plural), the Nash 3 on St. Patricks Day, the blown 30-point fourth quarter lead vs the Lakers in LA, Kobe's 62 in 3Q, the Heat, the Warriors).

My question is not whether we will look back on this era fondly (I have no doubt we will, as we got to see enjoyable players like Nash, Nowitzki, Terry, Howard playing an entertaining brand of basketball), but moreover will we remember this as a fun, really good bordering on great basketball team, or an team where underachieving, missing its potential and 'choking' reigned supreme.


P1 Juan


Boys, Boys, Boys,

Step back just a teensy weensy bit and appreciate what the Mavs have been the last seven or eight years. They did go to the finals. They have played with the big boys all those years. If I remember right, other than the Spurs, they have the best overall record over the last few years. Other than Tim Duncan, name the player that's racked up the championships in the last few years - Kobie and LeBron don't have any. Your comments make it appear the the Mavs are a bumbling franchise when in reality the majority of NBA franchises would love to have had the success of the recent Mavs.

I'm not saying the Mavs don't have problems. That's the nature of a franchise. You get really good and then there's some inevitible decline. No franchise contends for a title every year. The Mavs did try to shake up the team with the Kidd trade. People may not like it but they shouldn't keep saying they did nothing to shake up the team. I would also want to know what potential move they should have made. A big move may make them better or it may put them right in the lottery.

Anywho, I don't suggest we overlook their shortcomings or cheer a 2-5 record. I do think Mavs fans need to take a deep breath, put things in perspective, and realize their pretty lucky to have a team that's at least had shot the last few years. Even with all the jump shots and suspect defense, it's been a lot better than being a Sonics, Warriors, Wizards, Bulls, Nets, Bucks, Grizzlies, Nuggets, Rockets, Magic, Pacers, Clippers, Raptors, Kings, Pacers, Sixers, Timberwolves, Blazers, Hawks, or Knicks fan (and you could add the Hornets, Lakers, Cavs to the list since their records can't match the Mavs over the last few years).

One side note, last night, Rick Carlisle did say they weren't into moral victories.

Keep up the good work.

I have been an apologist for Dirk Nowitzki for as long as he's been a member of the Dallas Mavericks. He led the team to the Finals, led the team to 67 wins, and has been the best player this team has ever had. But I will apologize for him no more. For the last several seasons, after the Finals debacle, this town has been begging him to show more leadership. Well, earlier this week, he did by calling out his team for a lack of effort. Great, I thought. Finally, he's being a more vocal leader. So, how does he and the team respond to the hated Lakers? Well, it seems to me that the team responded quite well. It was one of the best efforts I've seen from that group in quite some time. Sure there were mistakes that were costly, and the Lakers are clearly the more talented and balanced team. But this is the Lakers, and our Mavericks were up for the fight. Except for Dirk.

Let's put the 5-17 for 14 points aside. Everyone can have an off night shooting. What put me over the edge, was when the game was on the line with less than 30 seconds, the Lakers with the ball, and the Mavs trailing by 1, they desperately needed a stop. Four of the five players on the court at that time, played their hearts out on defense, and got (I think Fisher) to shoot an airball!!! Great...they got the stop!!! But wait, on what was probably the most critical possession in the game to that point, Dirk showed NO EFFORT in putting a body on his man, Gasol, to block him out. Easy offensive rebound, put back, and foul by Dirk. Game over. All because Dirk was too lazy to bother blocking his man out with the game on the line. Now, who knows what happens if Dirk actually blocked Gasol out and the Mavs got the rebound. But they would have at least had a chance on offense. But the man who called out his team for a lack of effort, showed no effort at the most critical point in the game.

It hurts me to say it, but while Dirk is the best player this team has ever had, and I have truly enjoyed watching his brilliance on the court, he can no longer lead this team anywhere but to first and second round playoff exits, if that.

The Cowboys and Jerry have their backs up against the wall. It appears that the Cowboys have to win at least five of their last seven games to make it into the Super Bowl Tournament. Unfortunately….based on their performance in their first nine games it seems much more likely for the Cowboys to go 2 – 5 rather than 5 – 2 in their final seven. Even if the Cowboys win five of their last seven games….they could miss the Playoffs.

The Perfect Storm all revolves around the downward spiral in the worldwide economy. Jerry is moving the Cowboys to Arlington next season to play in the beautiful state of the art new Cowboys Stadium. According to news reports Jerry’s sale of Personal Seat Licenses are not going well. Based on the way the Stock Market is going these days it does not look good for the PSL’s based on the price. Jerry is also going to have to sell an awful lot of Corporate Suites to a lot of business that have seen their Stock slide 50 – 90%.

Next season….Jerry will have to sell 85,0000 seats at the new stadium compared to 65,000 at Texas Stadium to achieve a sellout. Cowboy fans have to have a sellout at the new stadium to watch the home games on TV. It was in the 1990 season when the local Cowboy fan was not able to watch a Cowboy home game on television. Jerry needed Kroger to buy up a few thousand tickets for the first few home games in 1991 to get the games on TV.

For anyone that has attended a home Ranger game…..we all know what a Cluster F… it is to get in and out of the Ball Park in Arlington. It is going to be a lot worse to go to a Cowboy game! With the advent of big screen HDTV’s, watching a game in the comfort of your own home is a hundred times better than it was in 1991. After 9/11 it now huge beating to go a live sporting event.

What does it all mean????? The Cowboys will most likely miss the playoffs this year ( unless they can do a Big Time 180ยบ turn around ), Wade gets let go at the end of the season, Jerry finds out that he can only sell 40% of the PSL’s for the new stadium, Corporation’s budgets are slashed and cannot buy corporate suites, and the biggest blow will be that there will not be a local business to buy the 30,000 tickets each week to get the home games on TV next season.
The Perfect Storm is setting up!

P1 Mark
Mavs downfall can be traced to letting a 2-time league MVP (Nash) go without getting ANYTHING in return. He was the chance to get Dirk another “number 1” player. The Mavs have overachieved for years with Dirk and a bunch of 2nd tier players.

Why do you think Kobe never left LA or why the Cavs WILL get something if they don’t keep LeBron.
Somehow Cuban and Donnie Nelson were able to get rid of some wacky contracts ie Rafe LaFrenz yet they don’t get anything for a future league MVP…..
We have been lucky to watch our group of over-achievers for almost a decade now. They have just run out of gas.

The Stars need to fire Dave Tippett and replace him with Rick Carlisle, because Carlisle is able to get 3 good periods out of his team. ROCK ME!!!!!!

God Bless
Fr Mark+

Lebron from just inside the Free Throw line

Owens on Letterman


Flaco said...

<< "The Stars need to fire Dave Tippett and replace him with Rick Carlisle, because Carlisle is able to get 3 good periods out of his team. ROCK ME!!!!!!" >>


Ok that was funny.

Seriously, they both(mavericks and stars) stink out loud.

Josh said...

^^ very funny email


There ain't a damn thing to do in Green Bay! (how do you feel about that, bob?)