Friday, February 29, 2008

Wow. Watercooler Topics Everywhere!

Wow. I did not accomplish my full mission from last night, as Lost has not been viewed. But, boy, what a sports night. 2 lead stories today for sure.

1) The inexplicable stupidity of Avery Johnson.

2) The amazing brilliance of Brad Richards.

Both deserve top billing. I just don’t know what Avery was thinking. That was impossible to justify. He really should and will be grilled all day by pretty much anyone who watched the game. Jason Kidd is the be-all end-all that you claimed he was. Then, against the hated Spurs, you have one possession to win or tie. And you sit him? Like I said, amazing stupidity.

Then, Brad Richards raised the bar so high for himself yesterday. 5 assists is his career high, and is the most assists of any Dallas player in the history of the NHL in Dallas. The Stars look crazy-loaded, and now you can dare to dream how good this thing can get for them. I am so fired up for this Stars stretch run because I think they might be Sergei Zubov away from being the best team in the league. Wow. Stanley Cup dreams return?

Oh, and the Cowboys, in what might be the most important story of all, secure their Left Tackle.

All in all, a note-worthy sports day. We should likely do a talk show today.
Mavericks Links, first:

Mark Stein says it all very well

Five games.

Or make that four games and one TNT Thursday showdown in San Antonio that had an undeniable playoffs-in-February kind of feel.

Either way . . .

It didn't even take two weeks for Mavericks coach Avery Johnson to make us question why he pushed for the Jason Kidd trade.

Not even two weeks to register fresh doubts that Johnson's ego can prevent him from overthinking or overtaking the game or that he's really ready to relinquish control of his offense to a veteran point guard who doesn't need to be micromanaged.

In just the fifth game of Kidd's Dallas rebirth, Johnson stunningly and inexplicably benched Kidd for the Mavs' final two possessions in crunch time against their biggest rival. Two possessions, spanning nearly 35 seconds.

That's the same Kidd who Dallas worked so hard to bring back because, in Johnson's words, this team needed someone after those playoff collapses against Miami and Golden State who "knows how to finish games."

On this night, though, it looked as if Dallas' own Lil' General had already forgotten the new game plan. With the Mavs down two points in the final minute of a certifiable thriller that they would up losing 97-94, Johnson came out of two straight timeouts with a play call that -- unfathomable as it sounds -- he thought would work better without Kidd's involvement.

Both calls were from the Mavs' catalog of trusted isolation plays, designed to get Dirk Nowitzki to attack the Spurs' defense from the middle of the floor. Johnson explained afterward that he wanted to make sure Nowitzki was surrounded by shooters after catching the ball to discourage San Antonio from double-teaming, leading him to hold Kidd out because he feared Spurs coach Gregg Popovich surely would have ordered Kidd's defender to immediately double Nowitzki.

Yet there are at least three major flaws in that thinking.

1. Kidd has never been a shooter. You can't trade for Jason Kidd to be your ace closer and then worry about his shooting. Kidd actually said earlier this week that Dirk has been "helping me with my shot," but it's not going to improve fast enough to prevent this from being an issue in every playoff game Dallas plays. The solution? You trust Kidd's resume a closer, put him in pick-and-roll situations with Nowitzki at game's end and thus give your trade maximum opportunity for success as it was conceived.

2. Johnson himself has likened the Mavs' final 20-odd games to a learning-on-the-fly training camp. So why would you delete Kidd from the exact situation that you, as head coach, described as his specialty just days earlier?

3. When the Mavs came up with offensive rebounds after two Nowitzki misses in that final half-minute, they ended up with a busted play to decide things. But instead of a Kidd/Nowitzki pick-and-roll for the Mavs to force overtime or win it, their combo was Jason Terry and Nowitzki. You saw the result.

Nowitzki did get open briefly on the screen/roll, but Terry couldn't get the ball to him. Nor could Terry avoid getting his shot blocked in the lane, sealing Dallas' defeat.

Meanwhile . . .

The veteran who has the ability to make something out of nothing -- Kidd -- was
rooted to the bench for that sequence as opposed to having the ball in his hands to try to slip it to Nowitzki or find a shooter in the corner like Jerry Stackhouse (or, say, Terry) for a clean look. Worse yet: Dallas' first play Nowitzki for didn't work and Johnson declined again after a second timeout to send Kidd in, even though you always want a Kidd or Manu Ginobili making that decisive play -- whether or not they've been with the team long enough to know all the plays -- because so many last-second situations in the NBA turn into busted plays because of sophisticated defenses.

No one's suggesting Johnson was the Mavs' lone culprit Thursday night. Nowitzki couldn't convert his final jumper or a lefty drive after sinking a strongly contested J with 1:38 to play to make it 94-94. Terry missed a big free throw and a wide-open jumper of his own in crunch time and, whether or not he was provoked by the Spurs' Bruce Bowen, earned himself a costly technical foul that triggered Dallas' loss of composure in the third quarter as soon as the visitors had seized a 10-point lead.

He was actually better defensively on Ginobili than he was at his preferred end, credibly pestering one of the league's hottest players but totaling just seven points on 3-for-10 shooting, four rebounds and 10 assists while struggling somewhat to impose himself in the halfcourt when the pace slowed in the fourth quarter.

Yet none of that can make sense of Johnson's reasoning in this one. Kidd was a diplomat in his postgame address -- telling reporters in San Antonio that "I understand and support my coach's decision" because he's the new guy -- but all of the above would have been just as mind-boggling had the Mavs pulled out a victory.
As discussed in this cyberspace on multiple occasions already my only skepticism regarding the wisdom of parting with five players, two first-round picks and $3 million to reacquire Kidd -- as well as the extra $11 million it'll cost Mavs owner Mark Cuban this season after his first trade with New Jersey collapsed -- was Avery-related. As in: Will Avery ever really be able to restrain his controlling instincts and relinquish lead decision-maker status offensively?

Now that's only one of the questions confronting Johnson entering Game 6 of the new Kidd Era at home Friday against Sacramento. You inevitably wonder what sort of messages Avery transmitted to Kidd, when they're just building a relationship, by holding him out of a such a high-profile finish on national TV.

If you're a serial optimist, by contrast, perhaps you're wondering whether Dallas can come out of all this unexpectedly fortunate, based on the idea that such an ill-conceived coaching decision happening so soon after the trade will generate such an outcry in Big D that Johnson winds up backing off faster than expected.

In the interim?

This might be remembered as the first Thursday on record that the studio assessment of TNT's Charles Barkley was met with near-unanimous approval:

"There's no sense in making the Jason Kidd trade," Barkley said, "if they're not going to play him in crunch time."

Tempers flared last night as these two teams don’t like eachother

The new blood pumping through the Mavericks didn't change the bad blood broiling between them and the San Antonio Spurs.

Emotions, tempers and controversy – all the things that helped build this rivalry – were on display Thursday night. New players might be on board for both sides, but the same, old Texas-style feud still exists.

The only things lacking in this one were execution by the Mavericks and an appearance by Jason Kidd at the end.

Dirk Nowitzki and Jason Terry combined to miss the Mavericks' last five shots over the final 65 seconds, and the Spurs got two free throws from Tim Duncan to secure a 97-94 victory at AT&T Center.

Bruce Bowen, who the Mavericks said threw an intentional elbow at Terry earlier in the game, blocked Terry's drive down the lane with less than four seconds left, ending a final Mavericks possession that included three missed shots.

"It was a heavyweight fight, and we just didn't have that last punch at the end to bring it home," Mavericks coach Avery Johnson said.

The Mavericks led by 10 points in the third quarter but were down a point going into the fourth. They shot 6-of-19 in the final quarter.

Gone is their modest three-game winning streak as they start a tough stretch of games with a heart-wrenching loss. After tonight's game against Sacramento at American Airlines Center, the Mavericks visit the Los Angeles Lakers and Utah, who like the Spurs, are division leaders.

And the Richards performance from Heika

As debuts go, Brad Richards' was, well, perfect.

The Dallas Stars' blockbuster trade deadline acquisition tied the franchise record – and set a personal best – for assists in a game, recording five to help lead the Stars to a 7-4 win over the Chicago Blackhawks on Thursday night at a sold-out American Airlines Center.

"Maybe I shouldn't have done that," Richards joked when asked about elevated expectations.

No, no, this is exactly why the Stars brought him in.

This is exactly why they sent Mike Smith, Jussi Jokinen and Jeff Halpern to the Tampa Bay Lightning.

This is exactly why they took on Richards' hefty salary, which will count $7.8 million against the salary cap for the next three seasons.

This is exactly why they decided to mess with the chemistry of a team that was winning.

Because it gives Dallas the chance to get better.

Stars coach Dave Tippett played Richards on a line with Niklas Hagman and Antti Miettinen, and Hagman responded with the first hat trick of his career. He left Mike Modano on a checking line with Steve Ott and Jere Lehtinen, and Modano finished with a goal and an assist.

Tippett rolled four lines, and the passing seemed infectious as the Stars danced around an outmanned Chicago team that had played the night before against Phoenix.
"That's certainly how you'd like to draw it up," veteran forward Stu Barnes said of the start of the Richards era. "When you bring in a player like that and you get a rhythm in your game and you're rolling lines, the confidence does really spread throughout the team.

"It is just one game, and you don't want to get too excited, but hopefully this is a glimpse of what we can be."

The Stars improved to 41-22-5 (87 points) and continue to chase Detroit for the NHL's best record. Dallas has won 13 of its last 15 games and finished with 12 wins in February – the most in one month in franchise history. These are heady times for the Stars.

"We brought in an elite player, and he is going to make us better," Modano said.

Hagman gets a hat trick and yet isn’t the lead story

New Stars forward Brad Richards remembers playing against Niklas Hagman when Richards was with Tampa Bay and Hagman was with Florida.

"I know he was a pain to play," Richards said with a smile. Thursday, "the pain" was Richards' biggest beneficiary.

Richards, acquired Tuesday in the five-player trade that sent Mike Smith to the Lightning, recorded a career-high five assists in his Stars debut as Dallas beat Chicago 7-4 at American Airlines Center.

Niklas Hagman tallied his first hat trick off three of Richards' helpers, helping the Stars win for the 13th time in 15 games. Mike Modano had a dazzling goal and an assist and Richards' linemate, Antti Miettinen, had two assists.

And Richards helped the Stars continue their impressive climb in the standings. Dallas now holds an eight-point lead over second-place Anaheim in the Pacific Division and is only three points behind NHL-leading Detroit
Richards became the first Stars player with a five-point game since Modano had a goal and four assists Feb. 10, 2002, against Anaheim. Richards is the third player in franchise history -- and the first since the move to Dallas -- to post five assists in a game.

"He's just a good player in all situations," Stars coach Dave Tippett said. "The biggest thing Brad and I talked about is he just wants to come in and fit in."
Tippett said that natural fit, at least for now, is at center. He knows many would like to see Modano and Richards together but is cautious about pairing two natural centers.

"[Richards] has to be around the puck," Tippett said. "That's where he's at his best. And that's where Mo's at his best, too. To put them together and say, 'You guys just make this work,' it's too much of an adjustment right now. We'll just see how this pans out."

Richards was strong in every situation: 5 on 5, power play and penalty kill. And his chemistry with Hagman was undeniable.

"He's always in your face, and he's a pain to play against because he plays the right way," Richards said. "I know he's a good player, and Miets is a smart player, too."

Hagman now has 25 goals, one behind team leaders Brenden Morrow and Mike Ribeiro. Hagman said his first hat trick came seven years ago in a preseason game with Florida.

Cowboys were busy yesterday; consequently won’t be busy today …the money is spent…

In the chess game that was the negotiations with left tackle Flozell Adams, the Cowboys decided that keeping Adams to protect the blind side of quarterback Tony Romo was too important to lose.

The Cowboys signed Adams to a six-year contract extension for about $43 million Thursday, hours before he would have been eligible for free agency at 11 p.m.
"He will be one of the highest-paid offensive linemen in the league, and he wanted to stay, and they wanted him to stay," said Jordan Woy, Adams' agent. "He got enough money early in the deal; that is what I was concerned with."

Woy said Adams got a higher three-year average than guard Leonard Davis received in 2007 from the Cowboys. And Woy said Adams' signing bonus was $15 million, close to the $16 million Davis received as part of his seven-year, $49.6 million contract.
In other developments, the team is in trade talks concerning nose tackle Jason Ferguson, according to a source.

The Cowboys can't move Ferguson until today. According to the source, the likely destination is Miami.

The Cowboys have offered tenders to three of their four restricted free agents, including the highest offer possible to running back Marion Barber.

Barber received a one-year contract offer of $2.56 million. Although he is free to sign an offer sheet with another team, the Cowboys have seven days to match any offer. If they let him go, they would receive first- and third-round draft picks.
On Wednesday, the Cowboys had planned to give Barber the first-round tender of $2.017 million, but the expected demand for the Pro Bowl running back prompted the team to give itself more insurance.

Defensive end Chris Canty's offer was $2.017 million. The Cowboys would get a first-round draft pick if he signs with another team and they chose not to match.
Guard Joe Berger received the original draft tender of $927,000.

The Cowboys did not tender restricted free-agent running back Tyson Thompson.

In what may be a foreshadow of things to come, Favre’s retirement is announced by mistake …I have a disturbance in the force that tells me he is out…

Brett Favre Decision 2008 took an odd turn Thursday when a sprinkling of visitors to found themselves staring at the headline, "Favre to Retire."

Within a few minutes, the mysterious page was pulled off the Green Bay Packers' official Web site, but not before some visitors had copied the page and alerted media sources about its existence. A firestorm brewed as word spread of the unofficial announcement and forced the Packers to deny Favre had made a decision on whether to play next season.

Team spokesman Jeff Blumb told the Journal Sentinel that the posting was of a page that was created in case Favre announced his retirement. He said it wasn't intended to be posted live and was not created in anticipation of an upcoming announcement.

"As most media outlets have done, each year prepares its Web site to handle the traffic in case Brett Favre does retire," Blumb said in an e-mail. "The URL for this 'Breaking News' page, which also was used last year when Brett announced his return, was accidentally posted as live, when it should have been disabled until needed, if needed at all."

Blumb said a third party helped produce the content on the Packers' site with the supervision of the team.

Favre's agent, James "Bus" Cook, said he was aware of the Internet snafu but had not heard a word from Favre about his plans for next season. Cook said he didn't bring the subject up with Favre and expected a call when the decision was made.

Fueling speculation that the announcement was legitimate were comments Wednesday from team President Mark Murphy that the Packers might hear something from Favre before the week was over. It was easy to see why some people might be skeptical of the Packers' claim that an announcement wasn't imminent.

But general manager Ted Thompson adamantly denied that the Packers knew Favre's intentions for next season and said he was sorry for the stir created by the posting on the Web site.

"Obviously, it caused a lot of consternation and angst for our fans," Thompson said. "But there's nothing there. We'll look into it and see how it happened and make sure it doesn't happen again."

CBS signs up with MMA

CBS is bringing mixed martial arts, the bone-crunching combat sport popularly known as "cage fighting," to prime-time television this spring, the U.S. network said on Thursday.

Branded as barbaric by critics in the 1990s for its lack of rules, mixed martial arts, or MMA, has evolved into a more mainstream sport that bars biting, eye-gouging, head-butting and strikes to the groin.

But fierce punching, kicking, karate, judo and wrestling moves -- with no protective gear -- are still very much a part of the sport.

One of its biggest stars, the bald, bearded Kimbo Slice, has become a sensation for video clips showing him punching his adversaries into submission within 30 seconds. The sport remains unsanctioned in more than a dozen states.
Beginning in April or May, CBS plans to broadcast four MMA events each year as two-hour live specials airing on Saturday nights, a time period once reserved for such family fare as "The Mary Tyler Moore Show," "The Bob Newhart" and "The Carol Burnett Show."

Saturday nights have become a virtual dead zone for broadcast networks generally due to drastically changing viewer habits. CBS now devotes much of its Saturday prime-time lineup to movies, the news magazine "48 Hours Mystery" and reruns of its hit crime dramas.

But CBS executives are seizing on the growing popularity of mixed martial arts, especially among the young men most prized by TV advertisers, as an opportunity to build a lucrative franchise where none exists.

"It is a sport that has a very strong fan base and attracts a terrific audience," CBS Entertainment executive Kelly Kahl told Reuters. "We're putting it on Saturday nights, a night that has been underserved by all the networks for quite some time. So it's low risk and a potentially large reward."

CBS is bringing MMA fights to commercial network TV for the first time through a deal with ProElite Inc., one of the sport's leading promoters, which has produced mixed martial arts for the sibling cable channel Showtime since last year.
ProElite matches, and those of its larger competitor, the Ultimate Fighting Championship, also are big draws on pay-per-view television, and tickets to live events are often priced at more than $500 per seat.

Kahl said CBS would broadcast its MMA matches as they are already presented on Showtime, with no special rules or alterations to tone down the level of violence.

Predator and Alien versus Lloyd Christmas

Trampoline Gone Wild

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Busy Night!

How are we ever going to accomplish all the objectives for this evening?

Objectives for my Thursday:

• Attend the Dallas debut of Brad Richards as the Stars take the ice against the Blackhawks.

• View the Mavericks big road test at San Antonio

• Watch with total attention the new episode of Lost

There is no way these can all be accomplished, but it will be fun trying.

Meanwhile, the media likes covering some stories. Others, like Steve Nash being owned by CP3 does not get the headlines unless you go looking for them.

Here are the 4 meetings between the Suns and the Hornets:

Game 1 – Dec 15. NO 101, Ph 98. CP3 21 and 10. Nash 12 and 7
Game 2 – Jan 5. NO 118, Ph 113. CP3 28 and 10. Nash 23 and 11
Game 3 – Feb 6. NO 132, Ph 130. CP3 42 and 9 Nash 32 and 12
Game 4 – Feb 27. NO 120, Ph 103. CP3 25 and 15 Nash 8 and 13

Totals – New Orleans has won all 4 games.

Chris Paul averages 29 points, 11 assists. Steve Nash 18.7 points, 10.7 assists

I would be very interested in Suns-Hornets in the playoffs.

the report from Phoenix

It did not go well for the Suns during their first three meetings this season with the Hornets when New Orleans played without one of its four stars.

So it was bound to get worse when the Hornets were fully loaded with firepower and fire in the belly off a three-game losing streak.

If the teams' regular-season series were a playoff series, New Orleans' 120-103 walloping Wednesday night would have finished off the four-game sweep of the Suns.

It was a game that would make fans long for the Suns of old. Instead, Phoenix just looked its age while New Orleans took on the personality of the young, aggressive team that spaced the floor well and let its MVP-caliber point guard leave a defense carved up like a jigsaw puzzle.

What was a 59-55 Hornets lead at halftime blew open in the third quarter, because New Orleans had that familiar lineup balance, with the starters all scoring between six and nine points in the quarter to tally 38. New Orleans had been struggling offensively, with just one 30-point quarter since the All-Star break, but had two Wednesday.

Phoenix's familiar problems with quality opponents (6-13 vs. the West's winning teams) and its defense have resurfaced, putting the Shaquille O'Neal transition phase into something that makes the Suns look fazed. The Suns, who again have fallen to fifth in the West, are 5-5 since Shawn Marion left and 2-3 with O'Neal against a tough schedule. A tough transition was expected, but disconcerting losses by 17 and 30 points this week were not. Wednesday marked the fourth time that Phoenix has given up at least 120 points since the trade.

"These are a bit embarrassing," Suns guard Raja Bell said. "You don't like to get smacked on the bottom like that. A loss is one thing. But to get blown out, it's not a good feeling."

Though Suns point guard Steve Nash did not make a shot until there was 3:54 to go in the game, Hornets point guard Chris Paul continued to torch Phoenix. Paul had 25 points, 15 assists, six rebounds and three steals Wednesday, but the Hornets gave it to Phoenix from all directions.

"We've had some success against these guys," said Hornets forward David West, who broke a post-All-Star break slump with 27 points. "We felt confident coming in here. . . . We match up with them pretty well. CP (Paul) and our guards have an advantage over their guards with their speed and ability to get up and down the floor."

Meanwhile, tonight, let’s get ready for some MAVS – SPURS!

Just 51/2 games separate the leading Los Angeles Lakers from the eighth-place Golden State Warriors, with the Spurs and Mavs jockeying for position in between. In the Southwest Division, the Spurs lead Dallas and New Orleans by just one game.

"We're fully aware Dallas just added a Hall of Fame player to their club," said Spurs coach Gregg Popovich. "And that makes them even better."

That point has been debated in NBA circles since the league rubber-stamped the trade last week.

Dallas is 3-1 since Kidd's arrival, though all three victories came against teams
likely lottery bound and the loss was to New Orleans. In four games with Dallas, Kidd has averaged 8.3 points, 6.8 rebounds, 11.3 assists, 3.8 steals and has single-handedly revitalized Dallas' transition offense and passing game.

However, Kidd's return came at a cost: To get him, the Mavericks took out a second mortgage on their future.

Dallas parted with 25-year-old Devin Harris, one of the league's up-and-coming point guards, as well as DeSagana Diop, a 7-foot backup center useful for banging on the bigger bodies in the West (see Duncan, Tim).

That's part of the reason the Spurs player most likely to be affected by Kidd's return westward — point guard Tony Parker — declared himself "really happy" with the trade when it went through last week.

In part to make up for the loss of Diop, the Mavs signed another ex-Net, 6-foot-11 former All-Star Jamaal Magloire, on Wednesday.

"You can't say Jason Kidd isn't going to help them," Parker said. "(But) Devin Harris and Diop definitely caused us problems."

Whether Kidd can cause the Spurs the same sort of problems remains to be seen.

How do the new Mavs
matchup with the Spurs

The San Antonio Spurs are 4-0 in playoff series since the Mavericks defeated them in Game 7 of the second round in 2006.

And there's a belief among some Mavs that if they had taken care of their end last postseason, another Mavs-Spurs series might have prevented a fourth championship parade from chugging down the River Walk.

The Mavs loved the way they matched up with the Spurs. But that was back when Devin Harris matched point-guard speed with Tony Parker and the center tandem of Erick Dampier and DeSagana Diop clung to Tim Duncan as well as anyone has.

But that was before Harris and Diop were shipped to New Jersey and the Jason Kidd era rekindled four games ago.

"It's all new territory for us," Mavs coach Avery Johnson said. "We know how some of our players match up against their players, but we've added some new guys and we're not there yet."

Parker, the 2007 Finals MVP, perhaps speaking truthfully or trying to goad or maybe just trying to diminish the rivalry, smiled and said the trade pleased him. No Harris and no Diop, he said, was a relief for the Spurs.

As multiple storylines between old rivals unfold tonight, not the least of which has the Mavs trailing the Spurs by one game in the Southwest Division, one storyline in particular has captured the center of the Mavs' attention.

Suddenly, Dampier, their stoic 6-foot-11 center, is allaying fears that the Mavs won't be strong enough or deep enough at center in a playoff series against Duncan and the Spurs, the Lakers' retooled front line or the Suns' Shaquille O'Neal and Amare Stoudemire.

In four games since the All-Star break, Dampier has been energized on the defensive end. He had 16 rebounds and seven blocked shots Monday against Chicago. He's blocked 20 shots in the four games and is averaging 9.5 rebounds as his playing time has jumped to 31 minutes, almost 10 more than his average before the trade.

"It's just knowing that you're going to get the majority of the minutes," Dampier said, "knowing you have to stay on the floor, stay out of foul trouble, so I try to be a presence out there, whether it's on the defensive end or the offensive end."
He'll get help defensively tonight from Mavs newcomer Jamaal Magliore, a 6-foot-11 banger, and veteran Juwan Howard.

In the last four games, Dampier is giving the Mavs an offensive low-post presence. Of the players Kidd was supposed to help make scoring easier -- mostly Dirk Nowitzki, Josh Howard and Jason Terry -- Dampier is possibly at the top of the list.

Tonight, The Cowboys prepare for the opening of the free agency window

Free agency begins today with the Cowboys tendering contract offers to all of their restricted free agents. Barring something unforeseen, look for tackle Flozell Adams and the rest of the unrestricted free agents to hit the market at 11 p.m.

Team needs

Receiver: Finding a young playmaker at wide receiver has been a need for a couple of years. It's more so now. Terrell Owens will be 35 in December and Terry Glenn might not be back.

Cornerback: The Cowboys need a quality third cornerback to go with starters Terence Newman and Anthony Henry. Jacques Reeves played OK at times. But to compete for a title, an upgrade is necessary.

Running back: There are no running backs under contract, although they will certainly tender restricted free agent Marion Barber at the first-round level. Even with Barber, the Cowboys need a back in the draft and or free agency because Julius Jones will not return.

Offensive tackle: If Flozell Adams is not re-signed, left tackle shoots to the top of the list. They could move Leonard Davis from guard to tackle. Outside of that, the Cowboys don't have any immediate answers.

Franchise player

Safety Ken Hamlin (above)The unrestricted free agent was tendered a one-year, $4.4 million contract for next season, but is still in negotiations for a long-term deal.
Unrestricted free agents

Left tackle Flozell Adams Adams is one of the best left tackles in the league and is the top tackle on the free-agent market. The Cowboys want him back at the right price, considering his age (32). Look for Miami and its cast of former Cowboys to be a huge player in the Adams sweepstakes.

Safety Keith Davis He is the club's best special teams player. He is also looking for a starting role, which is not possible in Dallas. New Orleans covets him. So does Miami. Look for him to test the market.

Running back Julius Jones Jones wants a new start with a new team, especially since he is no longer a starter. The Cowboys will not get in his way.

Cornerback Nate Jones He might be brought back for his versatility. Dallas will still search for a younger player to fill his role.

Cornerback Jacques Reeves The team's third cornerback is expected to hit the free-
agent market. Miami is a possibility because of the presence of former Cowboys secondary coach Todd Bowles.

John Clayton looks at the market

Defensive tackle: This is a particularly thin market. The franchise tags given to Albert Haynesworth of the Titans and Corey Williams of the Packers wiped out the position. That leaves only three defensive tackles who played 40 percent of the defensive snaps -- the Vikings' Spencer Johnson (photo), the Saints' Brian Young and the Titans' Randy Starks. That doesn't include Raiders defensive lineman Tommy Kelly, an end who could convert to tackle, although there's a good chance he could re-sign with the Raiders.

Cornerback: This is one of the priciest positions on the market, thanks to Nate Clements' eight-year, $80 million contract last year. Asante Samuel (photo) will get his big deal. The Chargers' Drayton Florence is next. Brian Kelly of the Bucs might go to Detroit to reunite with former Bucs coach Rod Marinelli. After that, there's the Lions' Travis Fisher, the Cowboys' Jacques Reeves, the Pats' Randall Gay and the Jags' Terry Cousins. No wonder trade interest is heating up around the Falcons' DeAngelo Hall, the Eagles' Lito Sheppard and the Raiders' Fabian Washington.

Running back: The re-signings of Jamal Lewis (Browns) and Justin Fargas (Raiders) leave the Chargers' Michael Turner (photo) and the Cowboys' Julius Jones as the top backs available. After that, the only halfback on the field for more than 40 percent of the snaps last year is the Texans' Ron Dayne.

Quarterback: The Bears looked at free agency, trades and the draft and decided to take one more chance on Rex Grossman. Daunte Culpepper (photo) tops the list of quarterbacks, but if Josh McCown of the Raiders and Todd Collins of the Redskins re-sign, where does a team go? The Dolphins' Cleo Lemon and the Jags' Quinn Gray are the only other QBs who played more than 30 percent of the snaps.

The Free Agency list

Scott Burnside looks at the Stars big trade

Tampa Bay sends Brad Richards and Johan Holmqvist to Dallas for Jussi Jokinen, Jeff Halpern, Mike Smith and a 2009 fourth-round pick

This is the kind of deal that, at the end of the playoffs, we may look at and say, "This was the deal that brought the Stanley Cup back to Dallas."

And a year from now, we may look at this deal and say, "This is the deal that made the Tampa Bay Lightning contenders again."

Richards is obviously the best player in this multiplayer trade. He'll instantly help an already impressive Dallas team with his terrific two-way play and will almost certainly play with more talented players on a regular basis than he did in Tampa the past two seasons. Dallas, traditionally a defense-first squad, has opened things up this season and ranked seventh in goals per game heading into Tuesday's action. Richards will add to that without having to do it all. And come playoff time, Richards will prove his worth by killing penalties, taking faceoffs and contributing on the power play. Against teams like Anaheim, San Jose and Detroit, the Stars are now their equals.

On the other end of this trade, Mike Smith is the key. The Lightning failed to secure top-notch goaltending since they won the Stanley Cup in 2004. And while Tampa GM Jay Feaster will be scouring the free-agent lists for a No. 1 this summer (does the name Cristobal Huet ring a bell?), Smith was playing well enough that he may have pushed Marty Turco out of the No. 1 job in Dallas. Turco has re-established himself as one of the game's top netminders, but Smith has a lot of upside. He is 12-9-0 with a 2.46 GAA and .906 save percentage. He will no doubt get an early start at impressing Feaster and coach John Tortorella. Jokinen gives the Bolts some scoring depth (and shootout prowess) and Halpern is a gritty player who can fill in on the third/fourth lines and add some penalty-killing time.

Zach Randolph Sucks – so happy the Mavs didn’t move on him

Our guest today, Kevin Harvick blows his stack

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

The Pride of Wichita Falls

Big day today as Jaret and Chris from the Genius that is Bowling for Soup will be the first musical act we have had in studio since Andrew WK in 2002 or so. They are scheduled for 2:15, and I greatly admire their work.

We only have guys we like in studio, so unless U2 or Neil Diamond decide to join us, this is likely the last one for a while, too.

Meanwhile, the Stars made a bold stroke. Like I said yesterday, I am not sure it is the wisest decision ever because of the fiscal implications, but on the ice, it makes me very happy-

The word out of Tampa

The Fantastic Four is no more.

The quartet of pillars the Lightning built their franchise around is down to a trio after cornerstone center Brad Richards was traded Tuesday to the Dallas Stars in a five-player deal. In exchange, Tampa Bay received what it hopes will be a No. 1 goaltender in 25-year-old Mike Smith.

"I think it's a good deal," Lightning coach John Tortorella said. "And I hate saying that because Brad Richards is involved in it. But you put that aside and you think of the business part of it and how it helps your team."

Also in the deal, the Lightning sent goaltender Johan Holmqvist to the Stars and
received veteran center Jeff Halpern, winger Jussi Jokinen and a 2009 fourth-round draft pick.

Just before the league's 3 p.m. trading deadline, Tampa Bay moved free-agent-to-be left wing Jan Hlavac to the Nashville Predators for a seventh-round pick in this summer's draft. That completed a two-day frenzy that included Monday's trade of Vinny Prospal to Philadelphia.

Late Monday night, after the Lightning re-signed defenseman Dan Boyle - who along with Vinny Lecavalier, Marty St. Louis and Richards made up Tampa Bay's big four - to a six-year deal worth $40 million, it became clear Richards would be dealt. The highest-paid of the four, Richards has three years left on a contract paying $7.8 million annually.

"It ends up, unfortunately, that Brad is the odd man out, and Brad has that big ticket," Lightning general manager Jay Feaster said. "It isn't that he's somewhat expendable. It's a very, very difficult thing to trade Brad Richards. There's a huge hole in the hockey team. There's a hole in the community to have a guy like Brad walk out the door."

Richards, who has a no-trade clause in his contract, gave the Lightning staff a list of teams he would consider joining. Dallas, he said, was at the top of the list and likely the only team he would agree to before the trade deadline.

"I think I need to get refreshed with a new beginning," Richards said. "When Jay Feaster started talking about different teams, Dallas is one I had my eye on. They've got a good chance to win right now. They've got some great players that hopefully I'll be able to play with."

Finding consistent wingers to play with the past two seasons proved to be a struggle for Richards. Since signing a five-year contract worth $39 million after the 2005-06 season, his numbers have fallen off. Richards no longer played with either of former linemates Fredrik Modin, who was traded to Columbus, or St. Louis, now on a line with Lecavalier.

Richards, the 2004 Conn Smythe winner as the playoff MVP when Tampa Bay won the Stanley Cup, slipped to 70 points last season and had 51 points in 62 games this season. With a self-imposed salary cap of $44-$45 million the past two seasons, the Lightning have not been able to find an established winger to play on Richards' line, a big factor in the 27-year-old's lack of production.

Did the move put the Stars in the Stanley Cup mix? TSN says what they think

After 25 trades on deadline day, has the balance of power in the NHL shifted? Not according to TSN's hockey experts.

Before any trades were made on trade deadline day, four of TSN's hockey experts picked each picked five Stanley Cup favourites. When the dust settled, they had a chance to alter their lists, but few changes were made.

In fact, no new teams cracked the lists.

Pierre McGuire picked the Ducks, Stars, Wild, Penguins and Rangers - in that order.

''I'm staying with this list,'' McGuire said. ''I really think the Dallas Stars helped themselves with the Brad Richards acquisition. I like the fact that Minnesota didn't dispense with anybody on their roster, and the Pittsburgh Penguins have made their team better for the short run - it just depends on how well the goaltending and the defence holds up. The New York Rangers are starting to come on with a head of steam, but I don't think anybody's going to beat Anaheim.''

Darren Pang stayed with his original five teams; the Ducks, Red Wings, Devils, Stars and Penguins, but he moved Pittsburgh up to third and dropped New Jersey down to five.

''I like Bryce Salvador and all that, but I swapped them down with Pittsburgh because of the impact of Marian Hossa and how dynamic he could be, although the goaltending is still a bit of a question mark at this point,'' Pang said. ''Dallas stays at numbers four - I like what they did getting Bard Richards.''

John Ferguson picked the Ducks, Devils, Red Wings, Stars and Senators and did not change his mind after all the trades were done.

''My list hasn't changed. I've still got Anaheim in the top spot,'' Ferguson said. ''New Jersey adding Salvador - I like that move for them. It solidifies their defence. Detroit added Stuart, which shores things up - they've got some injuries. Dallas is at number four. Adding Richards, they have to be at least at that number. I'm not changing Ottawa out, even though Pittsburgh and San Jose made significant gains.''

Mike Milbury also stayed with his original picks, which included the Canadiens in a tie for fifth with Detroit, but he changed up the order. He moved the Wings up to fourth, and knocked New Jersey to fifth. Anaheim, Dallas and Pittsburgh stayed as Milbury's top three Stanley Cup favourites.

''Anaheim is still the team to beat,'' Milbury said. ''Dallas made the best deal of the day getting Richards. Pittsburgh is third because of the Hossa deal. Detroit and New Jersey and Montreal didn't do much, so they stay at the back of the pack.''

Meanwhile, Yao Ming is out; are the Rockets?

YAO Ming kept pausing to gather his emotions, as if he didn't want us to know how much he was hurting or how much he cared. The thing is, we knew.

"It's very disappointing," he kept saying.

Sometimes a city is lucky enough to have a professional athlete who's a role model in every sense of the word.

That's what Yao Ming has been during these six seasons with the Rockets.
It's hard to imagine anyone in sports caring more, working harder or being more admired by his teammates and coaches. Yao also was smart and funny, a people person in every sense of the word.

Those things are among the many reasons Tuesday was so difficult for everyone who cares about the Rockets. Yao's season-ending injury isn't just about basketball.
The Rockets will be competitive and interesting because general manager Daryl Morey has done a tremendous job of building a solid roster around the two superstars.

That 94-69 victory over Washington was built on heart and pride and professionalism, and those are things that can carry a franchise through the low times.

"It gets back to the same thing — the respect you have for each other," coach Rick Adelman said. "This team has really been building. Losing Yao is shocking, but we can continue to win. We're not stepping away."

Take two steps back and look at the Rockets without Yao. Luis Scola and Carl Landry have emerged as impact players and will split time at power forward and center.

Shane Battier is playing the best basketball of his career. Rafer Alston and Bobby Jackson are a nice tandem at point guard.

And there's Dikembe Mutombo, 41. After riding the bench much of the season, he stepped back into the starting lineup and set a tone from the beginning with his shot-blocking and rebounding.

"Just watch how he affected the game on the defensive end," Adelman said.
In the end, the Rockets will go only as far as Tracy McGrady takes them, but anyone that thinks this season is over is dead wrong.

"This team has responded all year long and hopefully, will do it again," Adelman said. "We have enough people to go out and win games. Our challenge is still the same."

Where, oh where, has RA Dickey been?

By all rights, R. A. Dickey should be working a day job somewhere, cursing twisted fate. Or he should be coaching at some Tennessee high school, telling kids what he once was and lamenting what might have been.

Instead, Dickey slipped on his Seattle Mariners uniform Monday, stepped on a bullpen pitcher’s mound and made his pitching arm do something it should not be able to do — throw a baseball. In an age when more and more pitchers have ugly scars crawling up their elbows, where surgeons’ scalpels have replaced their ulnar collateral ligaments in what is known as Tommy John surgery, Dickey does not need to worry about strains or painful pops.

He does not have an ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow. None. Dickey either was born without one, or the tissue simply disintegrated when he was a teenager.

A dozen years after discovery of his situation cost him a virtual million-dollar payday, when he was told to give up his dreams of becoming a major league pitcher, Dickey today is one of the most intriguing players in any spring training camp. He did not just prove skeptics wrong by building a career that has included brief stays in the big leagues. Now 33, Dickey has reinvented himself as a knuckleballer, one promising enough that he could prove quite valuable in 2008 and beyond.

“For him to be able to throw at all is pretty phenomenal in itself,” said Rick Griffin, the Mariners’ head athletic trainer. “But he’s doing it in the major leagues. People in sports amaze you physically, but this is something you’d never suspect. It’s like a running back in the N.F.L. having no anterior cruciate ligament in his knee. It’s amazing.”

Dickey, a huskily bearded father of three, said: “Doctors look at me and say I shouldn’t be able to turn a doorknob without feeling pain, and I shouldn’t be able to turn the key and start my car without feeling pain. But I’m still here. I feel I have a whole career ahead of me.”

Dickey’s knuckleball danced through the Pacific Coast League last year, when as a member of the Milwaukee Brewers’ Class AAA farm team in Nashville he went 13-6 with a 3.72 earned run average. (He went 9-2 with a 2.51 E.R.A. in his final 15 starts as the pitch started to become particularly effective.) The Minnesota Twins signed him in November, but he was soon snapped up by the Mariners in the Rule 5 draft, meaning Seattle must keep him on its 25-man roster all season or offer him back to Minnesota.
Bill Bavasi, the Mariners’ general manager, said that one of Dickey’s primary attributes is — of all things — his durability. “He can throw four innings in relief tonight and spot start tomorrow,” Bavasi said. “He can save your butt by eating a lot of innings.”

After pitching professionally for 12 years without any elbow discomfort to speak of, the man who was told the joint would never hold up can pitch almost every day if needed.

“It’s a real blessing now,” Dickey said. “I’m real resilient, simply because I don’t have to worry about that ligament being sore, or tearing it. There’s nothing to tear.”

Dickey’s route to this point was as tortuous as his knuckleball. It started with a picture that told a thousand words — at about $800 apiece.

A hard-throwing all-American pitcher at the University of Tennessee in 1996, Dickey became a first-round draft pick of the Texas Rangers and a starter for the United States Olympic team, along with Kris Benson, Billy Koch, Seth Greisinger and Braden Looper. Baseball America pictured the five of them standing side by side on the cover of its Olympic preview issue.

Dickey was ready to accept the Rangers’ $810,000 bonus offer when a team physician picked up the magazine and noticed Dickey’s right arm hanging somewhat awkwardly at his side. The doctor recommended that the team examine him further, leading to the bizarre discovery that Dickey not only had an elbow issue, he had no ulnar collateral ligament, the primary tissue that stabilizes the joint. The Rangers pulled their offer and wound up offering him $75,000, more out of guilt than confidence in his future.

CJ Wilson blogs his way into trouble

The exhibition season hasn't yet started, and already Texas Rangers closer C.J. Wilson has found himself in a jam.

In his own clubhouse.

Wilson recently made comments about his teammates' lack of political education in an article and then made subsequent posts on a Rangers-related blog that referred to the average major leaguer by an obscene remark. On Tuesday, teammates confronted him about the comments.

"I had a very direct talk with him," said shortstop Michael Young. Young declined to elaborate further on the conversation. Kevin Millwood and Frank Catalanotto were also among those who questioned him after several players whispered about the comments during Tuesday's workout.

In the article about players' indifference to the presidential election, Wilson was quoted as saying "it's frustrating" in reference to the lack of political discussion.

That sparked plenty of political conversation. Teammate Brandon McCarthy criticized the article in a lengthy post on Wilson, who posts on the blog under the name "blueglovelefty," added several posts, as well.

In response to McCarthy's post, Wilson offered praise for the commentary, but added: "Come on man you have to admit the median or average guy in a baseball clubhouse does drive an SUV, drinks beer, golfs, likes college sports, chews or dips tobacco and is relatively a [expletive]."

In a later post, on the same thread, Wilson also commented: "I'm paying taxes no matter who the president is, just please god not hillary."

By late Tuesday, all of Wilson’s posts had been removed from
Although players didn't argue their affinity for SUVs or golf, they did take exception with the derogatory description.

"I think if you are going to be online, you have to choose your words wisely," Catalanotto said. "And if you have something to say to someone, I think you should say that directly to them. Otherwise, it can misconstrued, even if it was meant in a joking manner. That doesn't come across on the Web. Hopefully, C.J. has learned his lesson. You can say something online that makes yourself or your teammates look bad."

Wilson, who also has his own blog, twice declined to comment on the matter Monday afternoon.

It is quickly becoming a tradition for Wilson to be involved in a bit of Web-based controversy during spring training. Last year, he posted a captured image from a movie scene on McCarthy's Myspace page that could have been interpreted as racially offensive. After that was highlighted, Wilson removed the picture and apologized.

10 lies from every spring training. Starting with “I am in the best shape of my life”

The BSOML Club includes Mets prospect Eddie Kunz (who "is in what he called the best shape of his life" -- New York Times, Feb. 22), Dodgers catcher Russ Martin (On BSOML status: "Yep, no question" -- The Canadian Press, Feb. 17), Mets pitcher Duaner Sanchez ("Now I'm in the best shape of my life" --, Feb. 13), Padres outfielder Paul McAnulty ("I'm in the best shape of my life" -- San Diego Union-Tribune, Feb. 15), Rangers outfielder Nelson Cruz ("I've tried all winter to improve myself, to get in the best shape of my life" -- Dallas Morning News, Feb. 21), White Sox outfielder Brian Anderson ("I'm in the best shape of my life" --, Jan. 24), Rangers pitcher Kevin Millwood ("I think I'm in the best shape of my life" -- Associated Press, Feb. 18) and Nationals pitchers Chad Cordero (who "said he is in the best shape of his life" --, Feb. 15) and Ray King ("King arrived in camp in the best shape of his life" --, Feb. 13).

2. "I'm sorry if I caused a distraction for my team and my teammates."

3. "I only used HGH once and that was only to recover from an injury in my quest to help my team as soon as possible."

4. "We're going to run this year."

5. "He worked hard to come back from the injuries. The talent is still there. If he can stay healthy, he'll have a big year."

6. "We have healthy competition among guys competing for spots in the back end of the rotation."

7. "I'm not thinking about my contract. I'm happy here."

8. "This farm system is loaded. I've never seen so many good arms in camp. Our best prospects are in A ball, just a couple of years away."

9. "We're going to get him a few more days off during the season. He wore down last year toward the end of the year."

10. "They're a sleeper team."

$20 million to Pretty Boy to wrassle?

Floyd Mayweather Jr. is a champion boxer and has tested his moves on "Dancing With the Stars." Now the man many consider the best pound-for-pound fighter in the world is preparing to drop the gloves and do some wrasslin'.

A $20 million payday awaits the undefeated WBC welterweight champion when he takes on Big Show as part of WWE's "WrestleMania XXIV" at Citrus Bowl in Orlando, Fla., on March 30.

"It's entertainment. You have a chance to just be you and do what you want to do," Mayweather said Monday after a chaotic Staples Center event that masqueraded as a news conference.

The boxer nicknamed "Money" clearly likes the way WWE does business.

"Wrestling takes care of business right on the spot," Mayweather said. "Whatever they say they're going to do, they do it right on the spot. There's no waiting three, four, five months. Quick results, quick money. Quick big money, too."

His manager Leonard Ellerbee and WWE executive Shane McMahon confirmed Mayweather's eight-figure payday for the outdoor match to be shown on live on pay-per-view.

Mayweather incited the couple hundred of already hyped fans at Staples Center by whipping out a thick wad of cash and repeatedly tossing $100, $50 and $20 bills into the crowd that had nearly as many women as men.

A mad scramble ensued, with a light pole nearly getting knocked over and two small children caught in the chaos. One lucky man emerged from the pileup clutching six $100 bills.

Mayweather played to the frenzied crowd after appearing from behind a black curtain wearing a New York Yankees jacket and cap. Fans shouted insults and the name of hometown hero Oscar De La Hoya at Mayweather.

"I run Vegas and I run L.A. and I will run the WWE," he boasted.

At 5-foot-8, 150 pounds, Mayweather gives up big numbers to the bald Big Show, who stands 7-feet and weighs 430.

Coolness here: FC Dallas to televise every game in English! …and guess who is calling the season opener? Not some dude in the next cube…

We've finalized our local television and radio broadcast partners for 2008...

For the first time in team history, each of the 30 regular season games will be available locally on English language television, including all 15 home matches. Local broadcast partners KFWD-52 and FSN Southwest will air 19 games, with national outlets ESPN2, Fox Soccer Channel, and HDNet combining to show 11 matches.

As previously announced, 15 of the games will also be available through national Spanish-language channels Telefutura (Ch. 49) and Fox Sports en EspaƱol.

All games will also continue to air live on 1540 AM (Spanish). KFWD-52 will join Telefutura in broadcasting the season opener on Sunday, March 30 when FCD faces Chivas USA at Pizza Hut Park (live at 2 p.m. CT).

Star Wars from a 3-year old

How do you win the Lady Byng? Get beat by Olli Jokinen in a fight.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Tick, Tick, Tick

2pm nears...

Ah yes, trade deadline day in the NHL. I am not sure the Stars could do anything that would shake the city like the Jason Kidd deal, but on this blog, we actually prefer the hockey deadline to the NBA version. The funny part is that it seldom factors into the Stanley Cup. Remember last year? 40-some trades, and the Ducks win the Cup with only the small Brad May trade last spring. A small tinker, not a big splash.

Regardless, should the Stars do the Brad Richards deal?

My gut says no. But, I can’t deny that my hockey pants would likely go crazy if it were to go down. He is such a gamble, but his upside is the Conn Smythe. His downside is a huge millstone of a contract.

Heika looks at the pros and cons

The Stars are looking at trying to acquire Tampa Bay center Brad Richards before today's 2 p.m. NHL trade deadline. Here are a few pros and cons about Richards:


•Only 26, and under contract for the next three seasons

•Won Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP when he led the Lightning to the 2004 Stanley Cup.

•489 points in 552 regular season games and 47 points in 45 playoff games.


•Those three years under contract are at $7.8 million. Richards would become the highest paid player on the Stars.

•Struggling this season with 51 points and is a league-worst minus-25

•Is a natural center and could force some shuffling in the Stars' lineup when the team has won 11 of its last 13 games.

Here are the two links I use all day, and you should, too.


Spector’s Trade Rumors

Ross McKeon throwing this against the wall:

YAHOO! SPORTS: Ross McKeon reports a source claims the Dallas Stars will ship a package of goaltender Mike Smith, center Jeff Halpern and defenceman Mark Fistric to the Tampa Bay Lightning in exchange for forward Brad Richards. It's also expected the Montreal Canadiens will have outbid the Ottawa Senators for winger Marian Hossa, shipping at least a forward (possibly Michael Ryder) to the Thrashers.

WFAA.COM: Mike Heika of the Dallas Morning News reports Stars goalie Mike Smith has heard all the trade rumors and is learning to deal with them.

SPECTOR'S NOTE: My thanks to everyone who sent this in earlier this morning while I was catnapping. Much appreciated. I suggests both here and on my message forum that the Stars could be the front-runners as they had the depth to offer up the best package, particularly a goaltender. Smith has shown a lot of promise as a potential starter, splitting the duties in Dallas fairly evenly with Marty Turco earlier in the season until Turco got his groove back around mid-season. He's also affordable and right now that's what the Bolts would need. It'll be interesting to see if this deal happens but I wouldn't be surprised if it did. As for Hossa, expect more than Ryder to be headed to Atlanta if that deal goes down, as the Habs have a lot of promising young players and prospects they could offer up.

To the Mavs:
Jason Kidd makes Dampier look good

A festive atmosphere that comes only when the playoffs are in sight or a future Hall of Fame point guard makes his home debut was in full fever pitch Monday night at American Airlines Center.

Naturally, Erick Dampier gravitated to the spotlight with a dominating performance that was unexpected only to the untrained eye.

Dampier had 16 rebounds and seven blocked shots – both season highs – and was the ideal supporting actor for Dirk Nowitzki, Jerry Stackhouse and Jason Kidd as the Mavericks snuffed out the Chicago Bulls, 102-94, for their third consecutive victory.

Anybody who's been watching since Kidd arrived a week ago has seen a change in the Mavericks' only true center. Dampier knows with DeSagana Diop gone, he's going to play bigger minutes. He played a season-high 37 against the Bulls and has averaged a shade over 31 since the trade, a big increase from the 23 he averaged before the All-Star break.

He's responding with his most spirited play of the season.

"He got the game ball tonight," coach Avery Johnson said. "Damp understands that he's going to be playing more, and he's fired up about it."

On a night when the Mavericks had trouble shaking off the Bulls, they had plenty of key contributors. Kidd didn't disappoint in his first home game since the trade, flirting with a triple-double again before finishing with 11 points, nine rebounds and eight assists.

He was the reason the crowd was buzzing, and the game had a playoff feel to it, even if it was against the 22-34 Bulls. This was the third non-playoff team in a row for the Mavericks, who face division leaders in three of the next four games.

During pregame introductions, Kidd was announced last in the starting lineup, giving fans the chance to give him a long standing ovation.

"I just wanted to make a good impression at home since we've been away awhile," Kidd said. "I'm so excited to have this opportunity and this second chance to come back and play for the franchise."

And then, he did what he does, orchestrating the offense over 100 points for the first time since his arrival. The Mavericks also had 22 turnovers, proving they have plenty to work on.

"If I was 20, I might get frustrated with the turnovers," Kidd said. "But I'm a little bit older now."

Meanwhile, Nowitzki had 29 points, and he's had at least 27 in all four games since Kidd's arrival. Stackhouse, now cemented as sixth man again with Jason Terry starting, had a season high-tying 23 points.

And yet, the Mavericks had trouble closing out the Bulls, who trailed all night but were pesky enough to slice a 17-point lead to two in the third quarter.

NFL Rumors abound …involving the Cowboys…

• The asking price for Patriots cornerback Asante Samuel is somewhere between $10 and $11 million per season. The Saints are currently the leader to land Samuel, although that could change. Samuel's price got this high because Atlanta's disgruntled DeAngelo Hall is asking for $10 million. The Giants aren't really interested because they won't pay Hall's price, but there is no doubt Atlanta will trade him for a first-round draft choice.

• The Patriots and Randy Moss really aren't close to a new contract, although the Pats believe Moss will give them the option to match whatever deal he does receive on the open market. That makes sense because the clubs pursuing Moss will be limited because he wants to play for a contender. The most interesting rumor is Moss joining the Dallas Cowboys. The Cowboys can pay up, and wouldn't T.O. and Moss be interesting to watch, not to mention impossible to defend? blog responds

It’s a common mindset. A star player announces that he either wants to be traded from his current team and we automatically see if he fits for the Cowboys.

We all do it.

And in this case, it made sense because the Cowboys actually have a need at cornerback.

But at this point, it doesn’t appear the Cowboys have any strong interest in acquiring Atlanta’s disgruntled cornerback DeAngelo Hall, who has recently stated he will not play for the Falcons in 2008.

Hall, a first-round pick in 2004 (eighth overall), is so unhappy in Atlanta that it seems the Falcons are just as ready to ship him out.

In fact, the Falcons have called a few teams inquiring a trade, including the Cowboys.

The word is, the conversation didn’t even last long enough to see what it might cost to acquire him.

At this point, the Cowboys are focused on signing Flozell Adams and figuring out what to do with Marion Barber. And by figuring out, I’m talking about in terms of playing for a one-year tender, which tender to give him or getting a deal done right now.

The Cowboys might trade up in the draft, but it seems very, VERY unlikely that Barber will be included in that. So don’t hold off on buying those Barber jerseys.

And since we’re speculating here, word out of Indianapolis is that the possibility of Randy Moss to the Cowboys is starting to surface. Not sure if that has any legs at all, so for now, let’s keep that strictly in the “rumor category.” Sounds tempting for Jerry Jones, considering he still might haunted by not taking Moss back in 1998. But still, you wouldn’t think the Cowboys would have the cash to get that done. And T.O. and Moss together? That deserves a “wow” for so many reasons.

But I can’t see Moss actually leaving New England. He’s been able to help good quarterbacks have great seasons. But he got paired up with a great quarterback and they both shattered records and were less than a minute away from becoming the best team in NFL history. I’d say he’s figured it out enough to return for at least another year.

Darren McFadden puts up impressive numbers …in the 40, and in fatherhood…

Looking for a number that can equal $30 million, the expected guaranteed money for a No. 1 overall pick, plus possible character concerns?

Try "4.33."

That's the new math, NFL-style. When Arkansas running back Darren McFadden blazed a 4.33 40-yard dash Sunday at the NFL Scouting Combine, it might have been exactly what was needed to seduce a team into trading up to get him. Maybe trading up all the way to No. 1.

The general feeling is the Dolphins would have trouble trading out of the No. 1 spot for more picks to address more needs because no player had separated himself as a can't-miss, franchise player enough to make a team want to invest the $30 million to $35 million in guaranteed money the pick will get. That went double for running backs, whose durability is in doubt.

A 4.33 40-yard dash at 6- ¼, 211 pounds can create some separation, even if it was only second to East Carolina's Chris Johnson's 4.24 among running backs. Now, the only questions the 2007 Heisman Trophy runner-up has to answer are about off-the-field issues.

Nobody is likening McFadden to Pacman Jones or several members of the Cincinnati Bengals, but as Tennessee linebacker Jerod Mayo said, he could tell teams were taking character seriously because, ``I've answered more questions [in team interviews] about character and things I like to do in my off time than I have about football.''

After a January bar fight, McFadden was handcuffed and released. He has to take a second paternity test for a child born last autumn after the first test, which declared he wasn't the father, was found to have problems with the chain of custody of McFadden's sample.

McFadden's agent, Ian Greengross, confirmed the running back might have fathered two other kids, expected to be born in July and August, and paternity will be determined after the children are born. Greengross said McFadden has no other children.

Texas gets a nice road win

Texas (24-4, 11-2 Big 12) didn't get much production outside of its two speedy guards, but the Longhorns put the squeeze on Kansas State with their stingy defense and improved to 8-0 in February to match a school record set in 1962-63.

Connor Atchley scored 12 of his 14 points in the second half after struggling with foul trouble for the Longhorns, who have held their last three opponents to a combined 23 percent shooting.

Texas leads the Big 12 by 1 1/2 games over Kansas and needs one win in its final three games to match the school record of 25 regular-season wins, set two seasons ago.

"They've been playing better than any team in the country," Kansas State freshman Michael Beasley said. "They're a good team. They defend. They've got a whole army."

Kansas State (18-9, 8-5) got another big night from Beasley -- 30 points and 15 rebounds -- but had trouble solving Texas' aggressive zone and lost its third straight. The Wildcats shot 32 percent and got almost nothing from second-leading scorer Bill Walker to see their 10-game home winning streak end.

Kansas State's biggest problem was shooting from the perimeter. The Wildcats were 7-of-27 from 3-point range, a mark that would have been much lower if freshman Jacob Pullen (19 points) hadn't gone 5-for-9 from behind the arc.

"They're big. They're so darn big," Kansas State coach Frank Martin said. "They're long and they pressure you. They're a good team."

Augustin gave Kansas State all kinds of problems at the other end.

The 6-foot sophomore seemed to get where he wanted whenever he wanted, dribbling around the perimeter, poking and prodding Kansas State's defense to open up 3-pointers and drives to the basket.

Augustin had 12 points by halftime and helped Texas to a 57-50 lead midway through the second half, scoring on a floater then a three-point play after snatching the ball from the hands of Kansas State guard Fred Brown. He also had five assists and four steals.

Mike Bacsik – celebrity

It has been 6 1/2 months now since that fateful night by the San Francisco Bay, when, on a 3-2 count in the fifth inning, Bacsik reared back and fired an 86-mph fastball that San Francisco Giants slugger Barry Bonds crushed into the seats -- the home run that broke Hank Aaron's cherished all-time record and that thrust Bacsik, at the time a 29-year-old journeyman, into the sort of spotlight no pitcher covets.

But a funny thing happened. Bacsik seemed to . . . well, if not embrace the moment, then at least not push it away. The goofy, talkative lefty with the bald head and the love of the television cameras became a media sensation, then a cult hero, then -- this offseason -- a bit of a cottage industry. He started doing a radio show in his home town of Dallas, and appeared on ESPN as an analyst during the playoffs.
That one moment of infamy, it seems, has been very, very good for Mike Bacsik.

"For 12 years of my career, I'm a nobody that nobody goes up to and asks for anything, and now people actually want my autograph," Bacsik said. "Hopefully, I can improve this year and maybe people will want my autograph for being a good pitcher."

The chances of that happening with the Nationals, while not impossible, have gotten longer this spring, as the franchise has beefed up the stable of pitchers in its farm system to the point where it is far less likely for a now-30-year-old journeyman with only 51 big league games under his belt to make their roster, let alone thrive there. Though he made 20 starts for the Nationals last year, going 5-8 with a 5.11 ERA, he warranted only a non-guaranteed minor league contract this year.
"In the situation we're in right now it's probably a little tougher for [older] guys to do it, because we are making progress," Manager Manny Acta said, speaking about the team's pitching in general. "And obviously, a couple of years ago the lack of talent that was here kind of helped some guys."

Bacsik said it would be "going too far" to say the Bonds home run has changed his life. "I'm not rich because of it," he said. "I'm not guaranteed a big league contract because of it. At home, I'm not treated different because of it. Have I had phone calls and stuff because of it? Yeah, maybe."

Have any of those phone calls come from Bonds himself? Bacsik is coy when asked that question. The most he will say is that he has a cellphone number for Bonds. "But it doesn't even go straight to him," Bacsik adds. "It goes to a secretary or something. And besides, Barry has enough things going on right now without me bugging him."


Levy also gave Bacsik high marks for his insight and "passion for the game," but stopped short of saying there is a future for Bacsik at ESPN. "The timing was right this time," Levy said. "But down the line, I wouldn't close the door by any means."
If Bacsik makes it back to TV, he promises never to leave his cellphone on during a live segment, the way he did during a "First Take" segment one morning. Bacsik was chatting with host Dana Jacobson when all of a sudden his phone started ringing in his pocket. He cringed, but otherwise made it through the segment until a commercial break. When they came back from break, Jacobson teased him about the ringing cellphone.

"That was just Barry calling," Bacsik deadpanned. "He signed with a team, but he made me promise not to tell which one."

With one quick sound bite, Bacsik had taken a potentially embarrassing situation -- something no one in that chair would ever wish to have happen to himself -- and turned it into a positive. Apparently, it is something he does extremely well.

Tom Hicks is selling! …or so they say…

Liverpool co-owner Tom Hicks has denied reports that he is preparing to sell his stake in the club just a year after buying it.

Hicks and George Gillett Jr. had been rumored to want a quick profit on the Premier League club, and The Times of London reported Tuesday that the pair let Dubai International Capital examine the accounts ahead of a possible takeover bid next month.

DIC, the private-equity investment arm of the Dubai government that competed with the American businessmen to buy Liverpool last year, declined to comment, but Hicks rebuffed the story in an e-mailed statement.

"Reports in the UK media that I am about to sell my stake in the Liverpool Football Club, or to invite DIC to examine the club's books in preparation for such a sale — like other such reports planted in the UK press in recent weeks by parties with their own self-interested agenda — are absolutely and categorically false," Hicks said.

"The reality is that I am personally, professionally and financially committed to the club and its supporters and that I will continue to honor that commitment to the best of my ability now and in the future."

Hicks, who also owns baseball's Texas Rangers and the NHL's Dallas Stars, did not elaborate upon who the parties he referred to were, or comment upon speculation that he and Gillett had fallen out over their plans for the club.

The Times had reported that Gillett, who owns the Montreal Canadiens, would be happy to sell his 50 percent stake.

Gillett and Hicks bought Liverpool for $431 million in March 2007, which included an agreement to pay off about $89 million of debt and a pledge to build and finance a 60,000-seat stadium.

The Times said that Liverpool was now valued at more than $788 million, including an increased debt. Gillett and Hicks refinanced their Liverpool deal with a $690 million package from two banks on Jan. 25.

Tommy Hicks have a great experience at the pub

The son of Liverpool co-owner Tom Hicks was reportedly spat at and doused with beer when he went to a pub near Anfield stadium.

Tom Hicks Jr. went to the Sandon pub after Liverpool's 3-2 Premier League win over Middlesbrough on Saturday, according to the Liverpool Echo's Monday edition.

The American took photographs of the exterior before ordering drinks at the bar, where the club's most fervent fans congregate before and after matches.

The atmosphere changed when Hicks Jr. began to get recognized, the paper said, with fans directing negative chants in his direction.

"As his bodyguards got closer one fan swilled Hicks junior with a pint of lager - and given the price of a pint in the Sandon after the match that's quite a protest," wrote Liverpool Echo reporter Tony Barrett, who witnessed the exchange. "Another spat in his direction."

Fans have grown increasingly unhappy with co-owners Hicks and George Gillett Jr. over the past six months, particularly after their falling out with manager Rafa Benitez.

Hicks Jr. said he went to the Sandon with friends because he wanted to see the birthplace of the club.

"I also wanted the opportunity to have a direct talk with some of the supporters," Hicks Jr. was quoted as saying by the Echo.

"I respect that some patrons have major disagreement with us, but that comes with the territory. I did have several constructive conversations in my short visit and look forward to following up with them next time I am in Liverpool."

Tim Goodman deconstructs the Wire Ep 8

Time Wasting with Super Mario

What kind of save?

Monday, February 25, 2008

He is a Basketball Genius

Jason Kidd’s era is 3 games old. 2 against awful teams, which are the same 2 games the Mavericks have won. And yet, it all is starting to make sense when Jason Kidd is on the floor.

Look, I have no idea where this story is going to end, and if I were to guess it likely won’t be the NBA Finals, but the offense already looks different when he is in the game. He does things that would not even occur to Devin Harris. On Friday he had 15 assists and last night he had 17 more. 32 assists in 2 games from a Mavericks point guard? You have got to be kidding me.

Harris had more than 10 one time this year. It is a different offense. Further, he is ever-present on the defensive glass, making the Mavericks defense look more and more like a one-and-done for the opposition.

Chicago tonight, Spurs on Thursday. The beat goes on.

Kidd brings home the win from Minnesota

On top of everything Jason Kidd has accomplished in his career, he flashed perhaps an unexpected asset Sunday night.

He can pull off the rope-a-dope.

Having dished out pass after pass for three quarters with the Dallas Mavericks getting nowhere on the scoreboard, Jason Kidd became an offensive machine in crunch time, leading Dallas to a tougher-than-it-sounds 99-83 win over Minnesota at Target Center.

Playing in his 1,000th game, Kidd missed his 100th triple-double by three rebounds.
But with Minnesota geared to stop his passing, it was the three baskets he hit during a big fourth quarter that cleared the way for the Mavericks' second win in a row.

So what if it came against the two worst teams in the Western Conference, who own a combined 25-84 record? It still brings the Mavs joyfully back to American Airlines Center tonight for Kidd's home debut after last week's monster trade.

He's already shown why the Mavericks believe he's crucial to playoff success this season. Against the Timberwolves, Kidd piled up 14 of his 17 assists through three quarters. Yet the Mavericks were tied after each period.

They won the fourth quarter, 28-12, largely because of Kidd's assertive play.
"How many triple-doubles has he had in his career?" Jerry Stackhouse said. "You've got to have at least 10 points to get them. There are going to be games when we need him to be an effective scorer. They'll play off of him and he's very capable of making them pay and having big scoring nights for us.

"He set everybody up and then all of the sudden, they kind of forgot about him."
Kidd's line was eye-popping: 12 points, 17 assists, seven rebounds, four steals and just three turnovers.

But in the fourth quarter it was even better: seven points, three assists, 3-of-3 shooting, a steal and no turnovers.


The assist total tied Kidd's season best and for the second game in a row, established a Mavericks season high.

In Hockey news, deadline day is tomorrow:

Sergei Zubov now needs surgery? …wow. That is not good…

After a hairline fracture in his right foot was slow to respond to rest, Dallas Stars defenseman Sergei Zubov had surgery Sunday to insert a screw in the bone and will be out for three to four weeks. The move was scheduled to make sure Zubov has enough time to heal and be ready for the playoffs.

"If everything goes as planned, he should be back by the last week of March, and then we'll have that week and a week and half in April," Stars coach Dave Tippett said (the playoffs start April 9). "That's the plan."

Zubov, 37, was being mentioned as a Norris Trophy candidate at midseason when he was among the league leaders in defensemen scoring. He has four goals and 31 assists in 46 games. He hasn't played since Jan. 17, missing the last 17 games with problems caused by the foot and a subsequent groin injury. He has missed 20 total games on the season.

"He's a huge part of our team, and he was having a great season," Tippett said. "We're hoping we can get this right, and he'll be ready to go."

Stars co-general manager Les Jackson said Zubov's surgery doesn't alter the team's outlook heading into Tuesday's trade deadline.

"We have an idea of what we're looking for, and this doesn't change it," Jackson said.

"We're happy with what our team is doing, and we're happy with the way it's developing."

The Stars have been running with six defensemen for most of the season, including three rookies in Matt Niskanen, Nicklas Grossman and Mark Fistric. Veteran Philippe Boucher, who has been out since Dec. 3 with shoulder surgery, is practicing with the team and could return as soon as Thursday.

The Stars are open to making a move for a scoring forward and have been in talks with several NHL teams. Jackson declined to get into specifics on any possible trade but said the Stars feel they have proven a lot in their 11-2-0 run.

Now, what is this? Stars are being linked by many media sources with Brad Richards

Yes, the same Brad Richards who will be paid $7.8 this year, $7.8 next year, $7.8 the year after that, and $7.8 the year after that!

And yes, the same Brad Richards who is dead last in the NHL in +/- with a -25.

And yet, I wonder if this would be a genius move for the Stars if the cost is only Mike Smith and Nik Grossman…

Spector’s Says:

TSN: - The Vancouver Canucks and Dallas Stars have reportedly made their offers to Tampa Bay for Brad Richards, while the Columbus Blue Jackets offer could be coming soon. Dreger suggested the Stars might offer goalie Mike Smith, and suggested the Jackets offer might include "Brule and Fritsche"

- In the second period intermission, Dreger claims the Lightning have stopped short of asking Richards to waive his movement clause. He noted the Blue Jackets have now made their pitch for Richards.

SPECTOR'S NOTE: The panel also suggested other teams could get involved in the Brad Richards sweepstakes. I think the Stars could have the inside track as they have depth in goal and on the blueline to make an offer that affordably addresses the Bolts needs. As for the rest, your guess is as good as theirs, although it's believed Sundin's decision could come as soon as tonight.

Tiger Woods is so awesome it is silly

All of golf owes a hearty thanks to Tiger Woods, who helps make the game cool, enriches his peers through astronomical purses and gives the sport a higher profile in a crowded landscape.

But that gratitude should extend tenfold from those who run and administer the World Golf Championship events, another of whose trophies Woods will try to wedge onto a mantel someplace after his victory Sunday at the Accenture Match Play Championship.
These WGCs were an idea poached from Greg Norman, ostensibly with the idea of bringing the game's best together around the world on a more frequent basis. A decade later, the WGC events have some flaws, but all is well when Woods continues to win them.

If you are scoring at home, that is three straight WGCs, five of the last six and seven of the last 10.

He also has won four straight PGA Tour events and six of the last seven while winning five straight official tournaments around the world.

The game's No. 1 player continued his domination in record fashion, defeating Stewart Cink 8 and 7 in the 36-hole final at the Gallery Golf Club. It was his 15th victory in 26 WGC tournaments, an incredible success rate when you consider the fields typically are filled with no less than the top 50 players in the world rankings.

Take it further.

He has won 12 of 17 stroke-play WGCs, with his worst finish a ninth at the 2004 American Express Championship -- the year he won just once on the PGA Tour because of swing changes.

Counting both types of events, he has those 15 wins, plus two seconds, two fourths and two fifths. And he has won more than $19.8 million in the events (including another $1.35 million Sunday), a figure that by itself would put him 17th on the all-time PGA Tour money list.

The Cowboys go get Zach Thomas …which I would label as confusing given all of the money already allocated to the Linebacker position. Is somebody about to be sent away?

Former Miami Dolphins linebacker Zach Thomas has agreed to a one-year, $3 million contract with the Cowboys.

The seven-time Pro Bowler, who was released by the Dolphins on Feb. 14, met with Cowboys officials Friday night and agreed to terms Saturday.

Thomas, 34, had visited New England and New Orleans and had also received interest from the Texans. But his ties to Texas were too strong. He was the 154th player chosen in the 1996 draft out of Texas Tech.

Thomas missed most of last season with concussions and migraines and was placed on injured reserve in December. But he has said he is healthy and ready to resume his career in 2008.

Mac Engle gets some time with Jerry Jones …and McFadden has a goofy 40 time!

Jerry Jones wants to "wow" his team this off-season. Seemingly content that he has addressed his defense enough in the NFL Draft and in free agency the past few years, the Cowboys' owner aims to add a new toy to his offense, either through the draft, free agency or possibly a trade.

"I think we have a chance to put some more 'wow' in this offense. That's my No. 1 goal in this off-season," Jones said late Sunday afternoon while at the NFL's Scouting Combine. "But without [running back] Julius Jones signed, it's obvious we need to look at running back. How we get there might surprise you."

But on the same day Arkansas running back Darren McFadden ran a 4.27 in the 40-yard dash, Jones quelled the speculation that he would sacrifice his roster to move up in the draft to select his fellow Hog. In Jones' eyes, the price to move up and then pay McFadden is simply too high.

"I'd be reluctant for those reasons -- the cost of getting up there and the price after you get up there," Jones said.

Because of Flozell Adams' situation [as a free agent], are you comfortable moving Leonard Davis to left tackle?

Yeah... that was a good reason to sign Leonard Davis, that he's a very viable option at left tackle. The obvious is the obvious. You lose a Pro Bowl right guard, if he goes to that tackle, which is a major consideration.

You've said you would be reluctant to move up to draft McFadden, but that is different than "no."

It is, it definitely is. We should as a team consider, and not discount, anything we might do in moving up. That is really one of the things you get when you forego your first-round pick one year, or make the trade we made, and get two the next. That's what you get. It really has about as much value as the pick itself, the option of how you can go up and down.

Because your team is tight against the salary cap, will that hinder your ability to pursue players?

When you have 13 Pro Bowlers, you're going to be tight with the cap. That's almost a given. Does tight mean you can't go out here and do some things? It doesn't mean that at all. You can get a creative scenario, where there's enough room. Within a rational parameter of what you might get a chance, or what you might want to do or who you might want to extend, while it's going to take some sharp managing, that's not a huge obstacle to us getting some things that will help our team.

Great email:

No idea if yall had touched on this but....Some new thing where you can talk to nash while he drives home after his game.

Go spurs! Ha!

Mike Klein

Steve Nash Video Link

Then I found these great Nash Videos to share:

Steve Nash very cool soccer video

Steve Nash – Can I Kick It?

More Email:

Bob —

I'm selling this badboy to add towards an engagement ring fund. I've had this since pre-cup days. Thought you might want to see it or pass this along to any of your hockey brethren or collectors. Buy It Now price was the appraisal quote but if it goes to a stars fan its all good.

EBay Item

p.s. please do not pick Vancouver in 7 ever again. that was a difficult series but if the Stars are the underdog you gotta stick with em... you have the power to spread positive vibes through the speakers of thousands of fans.... and the players.

later holmes. see you at the no.7.



It seems that the “Oceanic 6” that got off the island are all feeling extremely guilty because they are being forced to live a lie. When Jack was being questioned at the trial he once again mentioned that there were only 8 survivors of the crash. We know there were many more than that. For some reason the 6 can not say anything about the other survivors. Therefore, it seems that they are all feeling guilty because they know that they are being treated as heroes as being the only survivors of the crash when they know that there are many more, AND the other survivors are still alive on the island.

We now know 5 of the oceanic 6. (Kate, Jack, Hurley, Sayid and baby Aaron). If Claire supposedly died in the crash, then she could not have given birth, therefore Kate has to pretend that this is her baby. Jack knows this is all part of the big lie that they are living which he is feeling extremely guilty of, and this could explain why he refuses to see the baby because he knows Claire is the real mother and she was left on the island. He even tried to kill himself by almost jumping of the bridge but fate jumped in and stopped him. I think he is trying to convince the other 5 to go back and save the rest. Of course if there were 8 survivors, and only 6 were “rescued” they were able to explain the 2 more survived the crash but died before the rescue.

I also fear the 30 minute time warp concept that was introduced last week. This could severely cheapen the show.

All I could think of when I saw this was, why? Why throw two or three mill at a weakside interior LB in a 3-4 alignment, especially for a guy who's never played that alignment? Why bring in a guy who's either at the end of his career or has no more than a couple years left? Why not take those millions and add them to your offer to Flozell, rather than sign yet another LB? Why put more money in the LB position, given what you've got tied up in Ware, James, Ayodele and, yes, even Carpenter (as a first rounder)? This just seems like a pointless football move and not a good sign of what Jerry is going to do back on his own as GM.

Dave in Tulsa
Bob -

Why is it that everybody seems to think that Flozell Adams is this other wordly left tackle? Rads today, and Mickey *constantly*, put on their "I (heart) Flozell" shirt and lead the parade around downtown for this guy. I agree that he has some talent, but his false starts and holding penalites are KILLERS. Why do we have to take the good with the bad? Ok, he's not giving up sacks, but the effect of his false starts is almost the same – it blows up scoring opportunities. Hell, in the Division Championship game, in the third quarter we had 3rd and 7 on the Giants 11, but we had to march it back 5 yards to a 3rd and 12 and eventually settle for a field goal.

Why is it sacrosanct to even suggest that he give 5 yards to the opponent in another city? Of course the next question is "Well who do you get to replace him?" Are they on our roster already? Can we get them in the draft? I don't know. But we can't be held hostage by the devil we know anymore. That's what happened to us in the Campo years, and it's what continues to happen with

I went back and looked at every game this season and ol' 76 had 15 penalties over 17 games (I didn't count week 17). Of those 15, 8 resulted in something other then a touchdown (INT, punt, or FG). Even more of note is his holding calls which called back three first downs, with the shortest of those being 13 yards. He also seems to perform vastly better on the road, which perhaps
speaks to a lack of focus.

Thanks to the big play potential of this offense we could continually bounce back from these penalties and actually score.

"I say, let em crash!"

Week 1:
1st Quarter:
1st and 10 - Holding - becomes 1st and 20 - result: punt

4th Quarter:
2nd and 7 - False start - becomes 2nd and 12 - result: TD

Week 2 (DAL: 37 - MIA: 20):
2nd Quarter:
3-2-MIA 7 (3:21) PENALTY on DAL-76-F.Adams, False Start, 5 yards,
enforced at MIA 7 - No Play. - result: TD

4th Quarter:
1-10-MIA 19 (13:36) PENALTY on DAL-76-F.Adams, False Start, 5 yards,
enforced at MIA 19 - No Play. - result: FG

Week 3 (DAL: 34 - CHI: 10)
1st Quarter:
2-8-DAL 42 (2:20) (Shotgun) PENALTY on DAL-76-F.Adams, False Start, 5
yards, enforced at DAL 42 - No Play. - result: INT

2nd Quarter:
2-10-DAL 35 (1:05) (Shotgun) 24-M.Barber right guard to DAL 36 for 1
yard (55-L.Briggs). PENALTY on DAL-76-F.Adams, Offensive Holding, 10 yards,
enforced at DAL 35 - No Play. - result: Punt

4th Quarter:
2-5-CHI 26 (14:55) 21-J.Jones right guard to CHI 4 for 22 yards
(38-D.Manning, 54-B.Urlacher). PENALTY on DAL-76-F.Adams, Offensive Holding,
10 yards, enforced at CHI 19. - result: FG

Week 4 (DAL: 35 - STL: 7)
No Penalites (for once)

Week 5 (DAL: 25 - BUF: 24)
No Penalties (hooray!)

Week 6 (DAL: 27 - NEW: 48)
3rd Quarter:
1-10-DAL 20 (4:56) 9-T.Romo pass incomplete to 82-J.Witten. PENALTY
on DAL-76-F.Adams, Offensive Holding, 10 yards, enforced at DAL 20 - No
Play. - result: Punt

Week 7 (DAL: 24 - MIN: 14)
No Penalties (whoop!)

Week 9 (DAL: 38 - PHI: 17)
3rd Quarter:
1-10-DAL 22 (7:37) PENALTY on DAL-76-F.Adams, False Start, 5 yards,
enforced at DAL 22 - No Play. - result: TD

Week 10 (DAL: 31 - NYG: 20)
No Penalties (yes!)

Week 11 (DAL: 28 - WAS: 23)
4th Quarter:
2-8-WAS 41 (12:05) PENALTY on DAL-76-F.Adams, False Start, 5 yards,
enforced at WAS 41 - No Play. - result: TD

Week 12 (DAL: 34 - NYJ: 3)
1st Quarter:
2-4-DAL 43 (14:28) PENALTY on DAL-76-F.Adams, False Start, 5 yards,
enforced at DAL 43 - No Play. - result: TD

Week 13 ( DAL: 37 - GB: 27)
4th Quarter:
1-10-DAL 38 (11:39) 9-T.Romo pass short left to 82-J.Witten pushed ob
at GB 49 for 13 yards (50-A.Hawk). PENALTY on DAL-76-F.Adams, Offensive
Holding, 10 yards, enforced at DAL 38 - No Play. - result: TD

Week 14 (DAL: 28 - DET: 27)
No penalties (go 76!)

Week 15 (DAL: 6 - PHI: 10)
2nd Quarter:
1-10-DAL 20 (13:38) (Shotgun) PENALTY on DAL-76-F.Adams, False Start,
5 yards, enforced at DAL 20 - No Play. - result: INT

Week 16 (DAL: 20 - CAR: 13)
2nd Quarter:
1-10-DAL 25 (11:10) PENALTY on DAL-76-F.Adams, False Start, 5 yards,
enforced at DAL 25 - No Play. - result: TD

Week 17 ( WHO CARES)

Playoff (DAL: 17 - NYG: 21)
3rd Quarter:
3-7-NYG 11 (7:06) (Shotgun) PENALTY on DAL-76-F.Adams, False Start, 5
yards, enforced at NYG 11 - No Play. - result: FG

The combination of Reality TV stars and soccer coming to San Antonio next month. What could be better?

Can you please publicize this link on your blog?


The Popsicle Stick Chick

Shawn Bradley Highlight Film