Tuesday, September 29, 2009

The Redskins Real Problem

I'm a Patriots fan at heart, but I love the Redskins as well. For those of you not from DC, the Redskins reign supreme around here. In fact, no other team really comes close. Redskins fans are deeply loyal to there team, almost to a fault. For Skins fans there is always next year. One of my friends once said about the Redskins, "Loyality is a bitch" and that is so true. The Redskins always have great offseasons on paper. Then the product on the field always ends up not living up to the expectations. Take Albert Haynesworth for example. He could be the Defensive MVP this year and he wouldn't be worth his contract. The guy only plays 60% of the snaps, so even if he's dominant is that worth the $41 million guaranteed money? The answer to that is of course no.

The problem with paying these players so much money is that they lose motivation. Everyone plays hard in the NFL, but it's natural to play harder when you have money on the line. Therein lies the Redskins real problem. It isn't Campbell or Zorn, but rather the organizations fault, specifically Daniel Snyder. Zorn was never qualified to be a head coach in the NFL but Snyder brought him in anyway. That isn't Zorn's fault, it is Snyder's. As for Campbell, the guy is an average NFL quarterback, why do people expect anything else?

The Redskins do everything the opposite of the Patriots. They sign big name free agents and pay them a ton of money, then use the draft as a secondary talent source. The way you should do it is pay your big name players who have produced for you for years, and build through the draft. Then you have hungry, young players with something to prove. Until Dan Snyder releases ownership of this team they will continue to dwell in mediocrity.

Now on to the Patriots. I love Bill Simmons but he tends to lose hope on his Boston teams too early. The Patriots handily defeated a good Falcons team Sunday and the defense had another stellar effort. They've let up 16 and 10 points in the last two weeks without their best defensive player. The offense is going to come, but the defense was the big question mark. Do you really think Brady won't start being the Brady of old later in the season? The guy missed a whole year, do you expect him to throw 6 touchdowns his first game? It's a process but as fans we want immediate results. The fact is the Pats will be right there in the end and one of the best offenses in the league.

In other news, I got last place in my office pool last week so get to play for free this week. I'm also last in my two fantasy leagues. Why am I writing a sports blog again? As always, comments are appreciated. Have a great day!

Friday, September 25, 2009

The death of the pick up game

Technology is a great thing. I don't know what my life would be without the Internet, HD, or my Ipod. But technology also makes us lazy and encourages stupidity. For example, I'm terrible with directions and have lost all hope in my ability to read a map. Therefore, I got a GPS and find myself typing in directions from the grocery store down the street. Not really, but you know what I mean. What does this have to do with pick up games? Well, with this updated technology people would rather sit around playing video games, then go outside and actually play sports. I never understood it. I'm going to be that 75 year old guy stumbling around trying to guard his grandkids.

As a kid all I did all day was sports. I'd play pick up baseball in my neighbors backyard and shoot hoops all day and night. I played so much that my basketball actually lost its grip. I hated being inside and still do. In high school when I wasn't practicing for a sport, I was playing pick up with the " Great Falls Crew". I was lucky enough to be good friends with people who all loved playing pick up hoops. We would battle almost everyday in the summer, and every weekend during school. This continued during summers in between college. Binns, Brett, Zane, Zo, Chow, Rich, and a variety of others would play almost everyday at Zane's court, or the courts at Village Green. Binns and Brett would talk a lot of shit, but they'd always back it up. Really we all talked a lot of smack to each other but it was all in fun. The important thing is we were all out there playing sports instead of sitting in a dark basement in our pajamas wasting away our youth. The exception to this is ofcourse Justin Chow who made a career out of playing Madden and has won a ton of money off it.
During college I had some of my best pick up games. We had a crew of 5 that played together everyday and would repeatedly go days without losing a single game. Everyone worked well together and we had Steve Perry, who is probably the player I've most enjoyed playing with over the years. He could take over a game when he wanted to, but was always a pass first player. I will always miss those pick up games.

Today I'm still always down for a game. Lately I've been frequenting the courts around Arlington and have rounded up a solid group of players to play with. Of course, I have to mention the battles that go down at the Dolly Madison courts in McLean. The main battles are with my arch basketball Nemesis's Waleed and Tarick Gamay, better known as the "Gamay Package". Nothing pleases me more than beating them in basketball, and conversely nothing makes me angrier than losing to them. They have perfected the "Gamay shuffle" and the "Gamay excuse." They have turned into some solid basketball players though, and have beaten me in about 10 straight games to this point. I can't forget to give a shout out to Kareem Yakub, the most improved player. He still can't cross over and look up while dribbling, but he has an automatic three point shot from the top of the key. This is all just friendly smack talk for all you sensitive types out there.

It is up to the youth of America to revitalize the pick up game. As we get older and more responsibilities come our way, we have less and less time to call up the boys for a game of basketball. Don't waste your youth. Before you know it you'll be 45 years old, with 3 kids, a wife and mortgage. You will be dreaming of the days when you had the ability to shoot a turn around J. All I know is as long as I can walk I'll always be down for a game to 11.

Thanks for reading everyone. Sign up to become a follower if you like the blog, or sign up so you can tell me how much you hate it every week! Happy Friday!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Getting over a loss

Sunday I watched my Patriots get manhandled by the Jets, and I got to think about how I've changed in my reaction to losses. In my younger days, yes I'm an old man at 24, I would've been depressed or angry at such a defeat. Now I realize the big picture. Life is still really good. In fact, I wrote the draft of this entry at sunset on the Potomac in the Nations capital. It seems almost foolish that people get so upset about their teams losing. How does a loss by your team really affect you in the long run. Get a life, and yes that includes me.

The same thing goes for intramural sports. Saturday we lost our flag football game and everyone was acting like someone just kicked their dog in the face. Who the hell cares. I understand we are all holding on to our youth and are competitive, but it is all in fun. We are past the stage where any type of sports we play truly matters so just go out have fun and laugh. Remember the fact that you get to play flag football on a sunny 70 degree day makes you luckier than 95% of the world.

It's all about perception. It's great to be passionate. You won't find a more hardcore Celtics or Tarheels fan than me. But the fact is, at the end of the day what do you have to gain by fretting over a loss. What's done is done, so just move on. The exception to this is of course the Giants win in the Super Bowl two years ago. Now that is hard to recover from.

As for the Patriots loss itself. The media is going to proclaim the Jets and Mark Sanchez as the upcoming team and in turn will bury Brady and the Patriots. Truthfully, I hope they do. The Patriots in 2007 weren't a typical Patriots team. New England plays better as an underdog, much like the hometown Redskins. Speaking of the Redskins....They looked bad, but not as bad as the score might indicate. They had there chances to score, but just couldn't do it in the red zone. They need to beat Detroit by at least 20 points this weekend, and not have it be a replay of last years near loss. Remember, this isn't college football, a win is a win.

Thanks for reading all 5 of my readers. If you do read this blog please comment or become a follower. You can say this is the worst blog ever written and it would make my day. No person is easier to please than me. Have a great night!

Monday, September 14, 2009

It's Week 1 People!

Yesterday was the first full day of the NFL season and the fans and the media are already overblowing everything. You don't know anything in the first 3-4 weeks, much less the first week, about how a team is going to fare the rest of the year. Let's start with good old Brett Favre. I thought it was amusing that one of the headlines on ESPN.com after the game said, "Favre and Peterson help Vikings beat Browns." No, Petersen and the Vikings defense won that game and will win most every game the Vikings play. Petersen is the best player in the league and the best running back since Barry Sanders. He is truly an amazing player to watch. The fact that they were playing one of the worst teams in the league in the Browns makes Favre's performance look even less impressive. Get back to me in week 8 when Favre has about 15 picks to his name.

I'm actually writing this paragraph over right now after that crazy finish to the Patriots game. I don't even know where to start. First off I don't know whether to be happy we won or disgusted cause we beat the Bills by a point. Look, the Bills played a great game but this is why you can never turn off an NFL game. I was jumping out of my comfy recliner when the Bills fumbled that kick off. Brady is back. He started off rusty but as the game progressed he got back to the Brady of old. I feel kind of bad for Bills fans, but at the same time, the Patriots were the better team for most of the night. That Jackson guy is legit, and whoever has him on their fantasy roster should be very happy. I saw a lot of hate on Facebook on the Patriots, and I think I should put my sports haters blog back up. Look, there are teams I don't like, but I'd never get to the point where I would wish injury or death even in a joking sense on a team. It's a game and we are living vicariously through these people. Jealousy is a bitch and the haters just wish they had a team as successful as the Patriots franchise. I really want to ask people why they hate Tom Brady. Probably cause he has everything that they never will. Anyway, awesome game and bring on the Jets next week!

Now on to the hometown Redskins. Calm down Skins fans, you weren't supposed to win this game remember! You were playing one of the better teams in the NFC at their home field. Anytime you win one of these games it's a great win but the loss is nothing to be ashamed of. For all the Haynesworth haters, you probably don't understand football. Defensive tackles don't get many sacks or tackles. Their job is to take on blockers so linebackers can make the tackles. Haynesworth gets double or triple teamed every play. Again, people over blowing the good and bad when the reality is something in between.

Drew Brees showed he is prime for another huge season with 6 TD's. He is right behind Peyton Manning and Tom Brady in the quarterback hierarchy. If he can get a couple playoffs wins under his belt or a Super Bowl appearance he will be right there. The Broncos crazy finish cost me $140! I have a pool at work where you put in $5 a week and whoever gets the most games right wins the pool. With that game I went from 2 losses for the day, to 3. Should've known the Bengals would've found a way to screw up somehow. Jay Cutler had a nightmarish start to his career with the Bears. Cutler is one of those guys that you know just by looking at him is a prick. There is no chance he is a humble, nice, genuine person. If anyone knows otherwise please let me know. That coupled with Urlacher's season ending injury puts a damper on the Bears playoff hopes. McNabb's injury is unfortunate for an Eagles team that looked really solid yesterday. Picking up the greatest balding red headed quarterback of all time in Jeff Garcia was a great move.

A little tennis now. Congratulations Juan Martin Del Potro for beating the greatest player in tennis history on the biggest stage. This guy is only 20 years old and is only going to get better. Now Federer has a bunch of young guns going after him and I think he will raise his play accordingly. Also, congratulations to Kim Clijster for one of the great comebacks in tennis history. Just 18 months after having a child she is back on the circuit and winning the US Open.

Thanks for reading everyone. Remember Redskins fans and fans of other teams that lost this week. At least you aren't a Lions fan, they are the only ones that should be really depressed.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

NFL Season Begins!

It feels like Christmas. After months of anticipation the football season is upon us. This year is extra exciting because of all the subplots heading into the season. What kind of impact will Vick have on the Eagles? Will Favre last an entire season(hell no). Will Tom Brady be the Brady of 07 or will he show some rust? These are all questions that won't be answered right away, but by mid October we should have a better idea of how they have played out. The Patriots look great on offense this year, but I am a bit worried about their defense, with the loss of several key veterans. The good news is they actually have some guys that can run now, and our stud linebacker Jerod Mayo is one of the best young defenders in the league. If the defense can hold opponents below 20 there is no way the Patriots go any worse than 13-3.

As for my other team, the Redskins, it is really anyone's guess. I'm all for the build on your strengths strategy but the Skins needed to do more on the offensive side of the ball in the off season. It all comes down to Jason Campbell and if he gets the courage to take some chances and make some plays. The guy isn't a bad quarterback, but if you are going to win in this league you need an above average or great quarterback. The young receivers need to step up as well. If Antwaan Randle El is the 2nd leading receiver the Redskins aren't making the playoffs, that is a fact.

I'm not as high on the Vikings as everyone else. This is a team a quarterback like Jason Campbell would thrive in. Brett Favre is the exact opposite of what they need. They need a guy who doesn't throw interceptions and everyone knows Favre throws more interceptions than almost anyone. Plus the fact that he is about 67 years old and refuses to come out because of his pride. It is a recipe for disaster. I see the Seahawks as making a comeback in the pitiful NFC West, the Saints winning a tough NFC South, and the Giants winning an always brutal NFC East. I see the Giants coming out of the NFC because of their offensive and defensive lines. It is generic to say, but that is how teams win in the NFL, at the line of scrimmage. Just ask the 2007 Patriots.

In the AFC I see the Steelers, Pats, and Chargers as the only legitimate teams that could make a run to the Super bowl. I see the Pats-Steelers in the AFC Championship game with the Patriots using their home field advantage to advance to the Super Bowl. Then it is a Giants-Pats rematch with Karl having a massive panic attack before the game. Seriously if this happens I don't know if I can watch.

The truth is who the hell knows what is going to happen this year. The NFL is probably the most up and down league of any of the pro sports teams. Who is this year Atlanta Falcons? What teams will get hurt most by injuries? Injuries make or break a teams season. That is the reason why it is so hard to predict before the season. All I know is Kevin Faulk is the most underrated player in the league. The guy gets a 1st down every time he touches the ball. I named my Fantasy Football team after this guy. Watch for him this year on the Patriots. Him and Welker would give me a heart attack if I was an opponent of the Patriots.

Thanks for reading everyone. Keep the comments coming. If you hated the blog I want to know about it to make it better!

Monday, September 7, 2009

Seymour to the Raiders

Happy Labor Day everyone! Lot's to get to today. Let's start off with the trade of Richard Seymour from the Patriots to the Raiders for a 2011 First Round pick. My first reaction to this trade was utter confusion and anger. Why would the Patriots trade their best defensive lineman for 8 years running, for a draft pick 2 years down the road? After I thought about it more it makes sense. The Patriots weren't going to sign Seymour, who has been injury prone the last few years, to a big new contract so they figured they should at least get something for him in return. I've learned to never question Patriots management, and so I am going to trust them on this one. The good news is, the Raiders almost always have a top 5 pick so the Patriots will most likely get a high draft choice or use that pick to acquire someone like a Julius Peppers. They also need the money to re-sign Brady, the only player that is non-tradeable on the Patriots. The Patriots will hopefully pick up Jeff Garcia, who was mysteriously let go by the Raiders a couple days ago. Everyone knows there aren't enough balding red heads in this league and the guy can flat out play. Plus, we need more than 2 quarterbacks.

College football started last weekend with a bang. Ohio State almost lost to Navy and BYU beat mighty Oklahoma. The loss of Sam Bradford was a crushing blow to Oklahoma's season. College football is crazy in that your season can literally be over the in the first week. I don't know if that is a good or bad thing but it sure keeps it interesting. I was at a wedding Saturday night so I missed the Tech game, but heard they looked pretty bad, especially on offense. One of these days the offense is going to have to catch up with the defense and special teams if they want to contend for a championship.

I had my first fantasy football draft last night. I picked up Steve Slaton and Michael Turner as my running backs, and Aaron Rodgers as my quarterback. The fact that I have Chad Ocho Cinco on my team puts me over the top(chuckle). Fantasy football is extremely nerdy but I love it anyway. I still can't believe there are people paid to simply analyze and give advice on it. You gotta love America!

The US Open saw Venus Williams and Andy Roddick go down last weekend. I don't know why Venus and Serena are considered even close to equal, as Serena is clearly the more dominant player, and has won on every surface. The men's draw should be really interesting, but in the end the Fed Express should take the crown.

Thanks for reading everyone. NFL preview blog is next!

Friday, September 4, 2009

I love Fall

The weather is getting cooler which means football is upon us and the horrid month of August is over. Seriously, I love Northern Virginia, but the summers here are not pleasant. This summer was surprisingly cool, but still, the humidity is oppressive. I don't get why people are so sad to see summer go, especially when you work an office job. Sure, you get to go out and do things after work in the summer, but it's not like college where you have summers off and can sleep your way through a crummy summer job.

The fact is fall is the best season in Northern Virginia. In fact, there are probably few places in the country with better weather than early fall in DC. I love that first time I get to put on a sweatshirt and when the leaves start turning color. The river is absolutely incredible in the fall. The water gets deeper and bluer. Kayaking down the river in the fall is the greatest feeling in the world.

With fall also comes the start of football season, the exciting part of baseball season, and the start of school, or for those who work, the celebration of another year of no homework. It's weird this is the third fall I haven't been going back to school and I don't miss it one bit. Why would I want to be broke living in an apartment on the Amtrak line again? Plus, I live in Arlington and there is always tons of stuff to do and people to meet. Money isn't everything, but being broke just sucks. I hope to never have only $5 to my name like I did in college again.

With football season also comes fantasy football season. The time when us sports nerds get together for online drafts and smack talk. It's crazy, if you had told me 10 years ago there would be actual people whose jobs it was to give advice and analysis on fantasy football I would've laughed. But here we are talking about and hyping up our fantasy drafts. Gotta love the internet!

As much as I loath baseball at times I'm getting excited that the Yankees and Red Sox should both be in the playoffs and hopefully face each other in the ALCS. This is how it should be every year. The people that say parody is good for sport are dumb. Dynasties and great teams in big markets are good for sports. You aren't getting the casual fan with a Rays- Diamondbacks World Series, sorry.

The US Open in tennis has also started. This is my favorite tournament of the year and I would love to go to it at some point. I'm thinking Federer-Murray in the final with Federer winning a 6th straight US Open crown. This is yet another reason why I love this time of year. The first sunday of the football season will also have the US Open championship. I will be glued to my recliner all day.

It is a ghost town at work today with everyone leaving for the Labor Day weekend. I'm going to my friend Brian Crane's wedding tomorrow. It's crazy that one of my friends is getting married, I'm getting old. Thanks for reading everyone. Hope to write again very soon!