Saturday, November 8

All-sport roundup

Thought I'd take a few minutes and get some thoughts out there on our favorite teams:

After blowing their second straight 13-point second-half home lead this Thursday against a Bronco club who apparently left all of their defensive players in Colorado, I'd say the Romeo Crennel era is essentially finished. He's just not good enough at his job.

I wrote already about the Raven game, but also had a few thoughts on the Bronco game. First off, Josh Cribbs is awesome. Easily my favorite player. I especially like his work on kick coverage - this guy made literally every tackle I saw on special teams last week. It's almost a joke. Combine that with him getting his explosive speed back, and the rowns special teams are back on top.

Solid debut from Brady Quinn. I think he'l be a very good quarterback and I was glad they finally put him in. Better late than never. The Browns smartly relied mostly on short passing, and Quinn showed good awareness and a nice touch. It will be interesting to see how he performs on longer throws in the upcoming weeks.

I ask this question all the time, but why the fuck doesn't Jerome Harrison get the ball more? I cannot fathom this. Thursday he was inserted on a drive spanning the 1st and 2nd quarters and did this on 5 consecutive plays:
- Rush for 13 yards
- Catch for 9 yards
- Rush for 2 yards (first down)
- Rush for 16 yards
- Rush for 13 yards

And...that's basically it. He got one 4-yard carry late in the game, and that was it. What does the coaching staff have against this guy? Jason Wright was also pretty limited in action. I point this out because I met him this morning at a tutoring event. Nice guy, volunteering his Saturday to help out kids. I'm talking about myself. Wright was friendly as well.

Kellen Winslow is vying with Braylon Edwards for the title of most frustrating player on the team. Yeah, he caught a lot of passes for over 100 yards, but in the second half he also managed a fumble, a stupid downfield penalty far away from the ball negating a first-down catch, and a drop on the Browns' final offensive play. K2, be smart. I didn't like him roaming the sidelines after the fumble yelling at no one in particular. Dude, you fumbled. Be quiet and wait to get back in and make something good happen.

Notice I didn't write much about the defense? Well, they didn't do much, so that seems fair.

The season is essentially over at this point, with the Browns at 3-6. Nothing to do now but enjoy the pressure-free last 7 games of the season. Maybe we can beat Pittsburgh.

I'm glad Mark Shapiro isn't pretending like we're going to sign CC Sabathia. Yeah, he's super and we'd all love to see him return to C-Town, but we're not going to pay him $140 million over 7 years. Not going to.

The Yankees, however, are. I'm not sure why the Tribe was tapped to open Yankee Stadium 2.0, but I'm thrilled about it. I'm positively enamored with the thought of the Wahoos going into the Bronx and just beating the tar out the Yankees after they've spent like a month in self-congratulatory ceremonies for their new park. That sounds like fun to me.

Congratulations to Grady Sizemore, who claimed his second Gold Glove award this week. Granted, the Gold Gloves are like the Grammys of baseball awards, as the voting is almost entirely based on reputation. How many BBWAA writers do you think even know what Range Factor and Zone Rating are, let alone used them to quantify their decisions? Bear in mind that this organization still has this website. The voting for this is entirely "gut-feel" and anecdotal, and thus lame. Still, you'd rather your guy win than some other team's guy. Rob Neyer singles out Michael Young and Ichiro as particularly poor choices for the AL awards. I usually complain about Greg Maddux winning every year (18 straight now), but Neyer has him listed as the best, and I respect Neyer's analysis because I know he actually puts some thought into it. Of course, the voters likely didn't consider anyone else, but at least they lucked into a good answer. Neyer also strongly criticizes the NL pick of Nate McLouth, comparing it to the legendarily bad selections of Derek Jeter from 2004-2006. Sorry, Pirates fans.

Still congrats to Grady, and good luck to Cliff next week.

The CaVs sit at 4-2 as I write this, prior to tonight's roadie in Chicago, and I think we have to be pleased with what we've seen thus far. Everyone's healthy, the club's defensive strength remains intact, and Mo Williams is fitting in nicely.

The schedule has been sort of bimodal in its difficulty. They've had three easy home games and have won all three, over Charlotte, Chicago, and Indiana. Only the Pacers gave the Cavs any real trouble, as Cleveland came out flat and needed a late rally to win. Still, I like that they can turn it on when necessary and beat teams they need to beat. They've also had two close road losses at elite teams (New Orleans, Boston), and there's no shame in that. The outlier is a solid road win over a good-not-great Dallas Maverick team.

One thing I'll be watching closely is Coach Mike Brown's rotations. Thus far, they look fairly random to me. I'm not sure if he's just using the early season to try out all the combinations he has, but I can't discern any sort of pattern. My favorite lineup I've seen so far is Daniel Gibson, Williams, LeBron, Z, and Varejao. That's a formidable force.

As for LeBron, he's playing excellent as always, putting up 26.0/8.2/7.5 through six games. He's hitting free throws at 75.8%, not great but above his career average. He's also shooting threes at 5.3%. That's not a typo. Dude, stay inside that arc.

I still think the Cavs are a 50+-win team. I see them winning at least 31 at the Q this year and maybe topping .500 on the road as well.

Sure, I wanted OSU to beat Penn State, but I wasn't too broken up when the Lions pulled it out. Hey, at least it wasn't Michigan. We're still having a good year and have a solid shot to make the Rose Bowl. Having been a Buckeye fan for over 20 years now, I'm going to make sure to continue to appreciate the success of a 10-2 campaign and yet another shot at a BCS game. No, we're not going to the title game, but these are still heady days for OSU football.

As I write this, the Bucks are up 17-7 on Northwestern. It's too bad N'Western don't play in Dyche Stadium anymore - that was always good for a laugh. They're in Ryan Field now, which is funny because there's a dude on FSN Detroit also named "Ryan Field."

Saw a few articles about the Ray Small saga in Columbus, where Small's dad criticized the Buckeye coaching staff's handling of his son's career. Ken Small said, "We see it as a family that they are intentionally blowing his whole career. Whatever it is, it's personal.

Yeah, that's how the Buckeye program has gotten so good, is by intentionally throwing away the careers of talented players. Ken, is it possible that maybe your son keeps making dumb mistakes like skipping class? Like, not so much personal, but maybe fucking up and violating team rules? Just a possiblity.

I also read Jim Tressel's Thursday press conference, which consisted entirely of fielding questions about Small and absolutely nothing on the game coming up on Northwestern. Nice job, reporters. I can see where this would annoy Tressel.

Back to game action, man, Chris Wells is good. You'll be seeing that long run on a lot of highlight reels.

After I initially published this, I saw Penn State's surprising loss to Iowa. Now if Ohio State Wins out (and they certainly should), they'll claim a share of the Big Ten title. If Penn State beats Michigan State, they have the tiebreaker over the Bucks; if Michigan State topples Penn State (however unlikely), OSu has the head-to-head tiebreak over the Spartans. Then again, I seem to remember the Big 10 having odd tiebreak rules depending on who last claimed a championship. Maybe that's only when there was no head-to-head matchup during the season.


Figgs said...

Dumb tie breakers would give Michigan St the conference title over Ohio St because we played Youngstown St, a FBS team, which technically doesn't count as a win. Therefore, MSU's overall record of 10-2 would be better than our "9-2." So the only way we can win the title outright would be a miracle upset of Indiana over Penn St next week, then PSU to beat Michigan St.

Nick said...

I see what you're saying about Gold Gloves, but I'm vehemently anti-Range Factor. A couple years back it suggested that Jhonny Peralta was a better SS than Omar Vizquel. C'mon Range Factor, that's bullshit.

I think the Cavs are going to fly under the radar for a while here, but they're going to be a force in the playoffs. They still can pick up an extra piece or two because of expiring contracts, and Mo Williams is a terrific addition. Most of his contributions don't show up in the box score, so his presence may go largely unnoticed by the national media for the time being. People are quick to forget that the Cavs were only a few points away from knocking out the Celtics last year.