Tuesday, October 31, 2006

LeBron on the Daily Show

I'm trying to find a YouTube link, but you can watch the episode here.

here's a link for LeBron's interview

Monday, October 30, 2006

Random Thoughts from the Weekend (extended edition)

1. I know it's just Minnesota, but 44-0 is still 44-0.

2. In addition, it looks pretty sweet when ESPN shows that "Top 10 scoreboard" and that 44-0 is sitting on top Michigan's 17-3 win, USC's 31-33 loss, and Texas, Auburn, Tennessee and Florida's close game.

3. It wasn't like OSU was running up the score either. The backup were in most, if not all, of the 4th quarter. And their last TD, if I'm not mistaken, was a drive full of Chris Wells runs (and punched in by a Zwick QB sneak).

4. USC's loss makes way for West Virginia to get into the title game. Everyone knows that WV can run the ball (and they run it extremely well) and that Ohio State has had some trouble with stopping that run. That's all well and good, but if you give Jim Tressel that much time to stop a one dimensional team, don't bet against the Buckeyes.

5. Anyone out there have an update on Buckeye receiver Ray Small? He took a huge shot during the game and looked like he was shaking. It was ugly. I never heard any more updates on him throughout the game.

6. Smith only had 183 yards and 1 TD, but he was 14-21. The one thing I love about Ohio State is that they don't really pad their stats. I mean, Smith could've gone out there and thrown 45 times, racking up big yards and TD totals. Sure, 44-0 is a pretty big beating, but like I said, a lot of that was the running game kicking ass.

7. The Heisman is Smith's to lose. I think it's in the bag unless he has a terrible game versus Michigan. Like 3 INT and a blowout loss. But, for some reason, I don't see that happening.

8. There's a lot of talk right now of a Michigan-Ohio State championship game rematch. For obvious reasons, I'd be all about this. However, for it happen, there cannot be any undefeated teams left. So that means West Virginia and Louisville will have to lose (and they play this week, so one will). Ohio State would have to win in a close one. An overtime or two could really put it over the top. That'd be the only way Michigan wouldn't drop out of the top 2. But even then... it's probably just a pipe dream.

9. Yes, West Virginia still has those 2 first place votes. I should really just let it go. But I can't.

10. So I was at the Browns game yesterday. My first Browns game ever in fact. I've been to the stadium before (Hudson Marching Band style) but I had not taken in a game (I've been Columbus for awhile, lay off). I feel privileged to have seen a Browns home win (I also saw one of the Cavs 17 wins in the season before LeBron, awesome).

11. What struck me was how different a Browns game atmosphere is from a Cavs or Indians game. If you go to a Cavs game (and I've seen a ton) it's very business like and, while there are a few people wearing jerseys, they aren't exactly everywhere. You'll also see other MLB or NBA jerseys at Tribe and Cavs game (especially pre-LeBron). But not so at the Browns games; EVERYONE was wearing Browns jerseys (one reason is that football jerseys are easier to put over coats and hoodies, but still). And not just the stars like Winslow and Edwards (and Frye) but 'second tier' Browns like Reuben Droughns and Joe Jurevicius. You'll rarely see stuff like that at a Cavs or Indians game (an Eric Snow jersey? sign me up).

12. I made a lot of jersey cracks throughout the day like , "A William Green jersey? There's a good investment". But this is coming from a guy who bought Maurice Clarett jersey. That was 50 dollars well spent.

13. Although, my favorite jerseys were some custom jobs. A number 2 Browns jersey with the last name of "Steamers". Well done.

14. Once the Browns got up 17-3 I turned to my buddy and asked "so, how are they going to blow this?" We came up with the Jets getting some kind a special teams play, and a turnover during a stretch when the Browns offense is going too conservative (either a Droughns fumble or a Frye pick off of a 3rd and 9).

15. Well, the Jets got a kick off return for a TD and the Browns offense went conservative. But no costly TOs. I have no idea how close that last play was, but thank the lord the Browns got the call. If they lost that game, I don't even want to know what the fans would've done.

16. I thought Frye looked decent; he got a lot of time in the first half and made some nice plays. He did have one INT, but I didn't think it was too bad. It was a long one; it wasn't as good a good punt, but it was as good as an average punt. Turns out it helped, cause the Jets went 3 and out and missed a field goal.

17. Speaking of that missed field goal, I'm sorry, but I can't root against Mike Nugent. Not happening.

18. Terry Pluto:
The Browns did more than beat the New York Jets 20-13, they looked like a team with a clue on offense.

Not every play worked, but at least the team knew what plays it planned to run -- and where guys should stand.

It's amazing you have to mention something so basic about a pro team, but these are the Browns. You've seen 12 men in the huddle, guys lining up offside and receivers running left, passes going right.

We won't even talk about the blocking assignments missed, the timeouts wasted because no one was sure what was happening on the field.

But Sunday was different, starting with the fact that the Browns actually won their first home game.

More Pluto here.

19. Honestly, a Browns home win is like freaking Christmas. They both come once a year (Hey-o!)

20. Roger Brown takes aim at Phil Savage. I can't say I totally disagree (I want more linemen dammit), but he makes a good point on the Oklahoma players (enough is enough). However, overall I think Savage has done a pretty decent job.

21. How is Oakland on a 2 game win streak?

22. I'm up 115 to 67 going into tonight's Monday night game. I also have Tom Brady, Laurence Maroney and Corey Dillon going tonight, hopefully I'll pull this one out.

23. Set the Tivo, LeBron's gonna be on the Daily Show tonight. Also, the Daily Show is filming on Ohio States campus all week long (for their Midwest Midterm Midtacular). The Daily Show. Ohio State. LeBron James. It's like a perfect storm of Ben's favorite things.

24. This is awesome:
NBA players routinely pay big money for watches, but not the one Drew Gooden is now sporting. Gooden is on a big 1980s kick, a current fad in his hometown of Oakland. The Cavs forward recently plunked down $300 on eBay to get a vintage Casio calculator watch.

He's growing a square patch of hair in the back of his otherwise shaved head, which he calls a ``ducktail,'' another '80s look. His left eyebrow also has two lines shaved into it, another forgotten trend from the time of the Reagan Administration.

Gooden, however, was a little upset he had to get into a bidding war for the watch. Apparently he's run into another trend, as fans of NBC's The Office are in the market because one is sported by favorite nerdy character Dwight Schrute.

``It was me and another guy and we were bidding back and forth and it kept going up and up,'' Gooden said. ``I was lucky I got it.''

No word yet on his bid for retro leg warmers.

25. With Drew Gooden's ducktail, Varejao's Sideshow Bob hair cut and the addition of Scot Pollard, the Cavs big men look entertaining to say the least.

26. Eric Snow is aware that you hate him.

27. Windhorst says the Cavs are the 6th best team in the league. It's hard to gripe with that (he has both Detroit and Miami ahead of them in the East), but I do think he (along with everyone else) is rating Phoenix way too high.


Q: So how many games will the Cavs win this season?

A: I'll go with 53.

Q: Only 53?

A: Since when did ``only'' and ``53 wins'' ever appear in the same sentence about the Cavs? That's a lot of victories. The East is better, especially in the Central Division, where Detroit will win at least 55 games, where Chicago has improved dramatically and where Milwaukee is solid.

Q: But they won 50 a year ago; shouldn't they win at least 55?

A: The idea is to have the team winning enough games for home court in as many playoff rounds as possible. Even more important, to be playing as well as possible in the playoffs. That means not playing James more minutes than anyone else in the league to win a few extra games. It means working on an offense that is more than pick-and-rolls -- or throwing the ball to James and letting him do something. It means growing on defense, and learning how to win close, physical games under pressure. It means making sure the key guys on the bench play enough to stay sharp. So 50, 53 or 55, there's no big difference if the Cavs can accomplish most of these goals.

I'm with Pluto on this. I think the Cavs should win somewhere between 50-55 games. I don't really see them challenging the franchise record of 57 unless the offense really comes together. Read the rest of Pluto.

29. Wednesday 8:00pm.Wednesday 8:00pm.Wednesday 8:00pm.Wednesday 8:00pm.Wednesday 8:00pm.Wednesday 8:00pm.Wednesday 8:00pm.Wednesday 8:00pm.Wednesday 8:00pm.Wednesday 8:00pm.Wednesday 8:00pm.Wednesday 8:00pm.Wednesday 8:00pm.Wednesday 8:00pm.Wednesday 8:00pm.Wednesday 8:00pm.Wednesday 8:00pm.Wednesday 8:00pm.Wednesday 8:00pm.Wednesday 8:00pm.Wednesday 8:00pm.Wednesday 8:00pm.Wednesday 8:00pm.Wednesday 8:00pm.Wednesday 8:00pm.Wednesday 8:00pm.Wednesday 8:00pm.Wednesday 8:00pm.

30. Red Auerbach passed away. The NBA lost a great one, there's nothing I can really say that people haven't already stated. But the guy was awesome. Read Simmons's interview with Red from a few years ago.

31. This is a delight. (hat tip to Sepe)

32. The new Scissor Sisters' album, Tah-Dah is pretty good. If I were to tell you that it was a lost Elton John album from the 70s, you'd be hard pressed to know if I was lying. Some of the songs get too 'dance-y' (the whole album is pretty overproduced, but the songs are catchy enough for me to get over it), but overall, it's a pretty solid album.

33. Fire Joe Morgan has been going insane on this David Eckstein business.

34. Rush Limbaugh is a douchebag.

35. I'm in two fantasy basketball leagues this season, and I missed one of the league's draft. Guess which one I missed.
Team 1:
Raymond Felton
Michael Redd
Tony Parker
Donyell Marshall
Chris Bosh
Dwight Howard
Yao Ming
Darko Milic
Rajon Rondo
Kyle Korver
Steve Francis
Joel Przybilla
Bonzi Wells

Team 2:

Mike Bibby
Vince Carter
Sam Cassell
Andres Nocinoi
Elton Brand
Carlos Boozer
Kenny Thomas
Brevin Knight
Damon Stoudamire
Mike Dunleavy
Chris Duhon
Damon Jones
Luther Head

Give up? I'll give you a hint, you think I drafted Damon Jones AND Mike Dunleavy?

36. I don't know about you, but I'm excited for No Laugh Track Thursdays.

37. I'm sure it's just a coincidence.

38. MMQB

39. SI.com's first power rankings... behind the Nets(?) but ahead of the Bulls.

40. I wouldn't mind him landing in Cleveland.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Hudson made Deadspin

Good job guys.

The best part of this whole story is having the Hudson soccer moms call up talk show (and appear on the local news) and say that they had no idea this could be taken as racist. Well done.


Thursday, October 26, 2006

Maurice Carthon Reactions

Doesn't this make you feel good?

"Carthon did a lot of criticizing guys," Coleman said. "Not to bash him, but I think J.D. is just a more laid-back guy and he knows football. When he explains things, you feel he knows what he's talking about. It gives you more confidence to go out and do what's asked of you."
Wow. Just wow. I'm just glad the Browns kept Carthon around as long as they did.

Former Browns quarterback Trent Dilfer told the Orange and Brown Report that Maurice Carthon's departure "doesn't hurt my feelings one bit."

He said it was obvious last year that he clashed with the offensive coordinator.

"Yeah, I made no bones about it," he said. "I didn't think he [Carthon] was very good from the second I got there. I think there [are] people that are good at what they do, and people that aren't.

So he saw this coming? "I'm shocked it didn't happen sooner."

I'm also glad that the Browns traded Trent Dilfer because he clashed with Maurice fucking Carthon.

One story from last year -- told by a player prior to this week -- seems to sum up what now appears to have been a dysfunctional situation.

It had then-quarterback Trent Dilfer telling Carthon that a play he called in practice had the wrong protection. Carthon responded by telling Dilfer to run the play the way he called it, protection or not.

That angered Davidson, who turned around and slammed his clipboard to the ground.

I don't care who you are, that's just good coaching.

With Dilfer gone, the Browns have no back up plan in case Frye can't cut or gets hurt. The Browns have failed Charlie Frye.

But surprisingly, not everyone is sad to see Carthon go:

Rookie fullback Lawrence Vickers was one of several players who complimented Carthon. Carthon, a former fullback, bonded with Vickers and showcased him, using him on two controversial third-down toss sweeps in the opener and then the infamous halfback option pass against Carolina.

"I'm going to miss Carthon," said Vickers. "He was kind of a mentor to me. We talked about a lot of things, football-wise and life.

"I just have to keep our friendship and relationship going."

He supported the three controversial plays Carthon used him on. "We just didn't execute the plays," said Vickers.

A) no way, the rookie player Carthon kept putting in the game liked him. You're kidding. B) the plays Carthon ran (the ones that featured rookie fullback Lawrence Vickers), Vickers liked. I for one am shocked. C) Vickers and Carton connected. Really, the rookie fullback and the former fullback? Awesome.

Hudson, Ohio


Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Eric Snow is not the Anti-Christ

Can we all lay off Eric Snow?

Cavs fans hate the guy and, I won't lie, I've taken my share of shots at him. But it's time to calm down.

We all know Snow's negatives by rote: he can't shoot, he's overpaid and he can't keep up with the league's quicker guards. And we know all Snow's postivie traits just as well: defends big guards well, a veteran presence, he can set up the offense and he tutors the young guys.

To a lot of fans, his offensive ineptness far outweighs his defense skills (especially since he's lost a step or two). I don't necessarily disagree.

But I think the contributions Snow has already made to the organization far outweigh the negative effects he has now, mainly this: trading for Snow enabled the Cavs to re-sign LeBron James. There. I said it.

Now before you start laughing, let's take a look at this.

Before the Cavs traded for Snow their point guards were... anyone? Come on, you know this. That's right, Jeff McInnis and Kevin Ollie. Wasn't that awesome? Anyone remember who came before them? Smush Parker and Milt Palacio. Hell, remember LeBron's rookie year, the "Darius Miles point guard experiment"? That worked for about a week until everyone figured out that Darius has no ball handling skills whatsoever.

So after LeBron's rookie season, the Cavs went into the offseason with Jeff McInnis and Kevin Ollie. Not good. Remember, the Cavs missed the playoffs that season, and they were already on the clock with LeBron's rookie contract. They needed to show LeBron (and the national media) that they were serious about winning.

Jim Paxson and Paul Silas knew they couldn't count on McInnis to stay a good solider for an entire season. He had already been run of Los Angeles and Portland, and with the clock ticking on LeBron's rookie contract, they couldn't just roll the dice with Jeff. They needed a back up plan.

So they traded Kedrick Brown and Kevin Ollie to Philadelphia for Eric Snow. Now, not taking the contracts into account, that is a good deal. A point guard who started on a team that went to the NBA finals for Brown and Ollie? Who wouldn't take that?

The problem was that Philly signed Snow to a terrible deal and Philly was basically just dumping his contract. But Cavs were behind the 8-ball. They needed a competent PG and they needed him now. They'd deal with the contract later on.

Trading for Snow enabled the Cavs to breath easy on McInnis and it allowed them make LeBron the permanent small forward instead of saddling him with the point guard duties. As we all know, McInnis eventually started to pout and began to wear his jersey backwards in practice (he meant it to mean something, but it came off as "retarded"). Eventually he was asked not to travel with the team for their last road trip (I think it was just one game, in Toronto).

That season the Cavs finished out the playoffs again (by one game). It was LeBron: Year 2 and still no playoffs. The Cavs were a mess; owner Gordon Gund sold the team to Dan Gilbert, a young, Daniel Snyder type owner. Gilbert fired coach Paul Silas mid-season and GM
Jim Paxson shortly after the season ended. Finally the Cavs settled down with the signings of Mike Brown and Danny Ferry.

Now, imagine if the Cavs didn't have signed Snow. Jeff McInnis would've submarined that entire season. Kevin Ollie was the back up and he'd have led that team nowhere. I guarantee that the Cavs would've finished more than just one game out of the playoffs. Who knows how bad they would've looked.

To me, Snow's tenure in Cleveland is very similar to coach Silas. Silas was brought in to bring legitimacy to an organization that lacked it for almost a decade. He brought order and stability and Snow did the same, just on a lesser scale. The Cavs didn't have a legitimate point guard on the roster. They couldn't risk a whole year of McInnis (or another season of Kevin Ollie's mustache). Snow brought some stability to the Cavalier offense; the Cavs didn't have to rely on LeBron to set the offense up and he took a lot of the ball handling responsibilities. Snow was also a guy who had been to the finals. He also had played with a star who dominated the ball (Iverson) and he'd bring a (winning) veteran influence to the roster.

And his contract? 1) The Cavs had a huge amount of cash to spend last offseason, so it wasn't like Snow's deal was stopping them from making moves. 2) If they stay with the McInnis/Ollie combo, they could've/would've been awful and who knows how happy LeBron would be here. What's the use of having that extra $8 million if LeBron doesn't re-up?

If the Cavs had a terrible season (ie: not only missing the playoffs by a game), who knows if the Cavs sign Larry Hughes (or Marshall and Jones for that matter). The Cavs looked like a team on the rise, which was part of the reason that the free agents chose to come here. I don't think you could say that if the McInnis/Ollie two headed monster was still roaming the Gund Arena floor.

But now it's 2006. The Cavs won 50 games last season, they won a playoff series and took the Pistons to game 7. Plus (and most importantly), LeBron re-upped. The Cavs are coming into the season as Eastern Conference contenders and have an outside shot at the NBA title. True, he stabled the Cavs ship and took the them to the playoffs but now he's older, slower and his offensive game is well, offensive.

The Cavs have outgrown Snow (like they did Silas). They could use an upgrade.

Everyone sees it. His (lack of) jumpshot hurts the offense, defenses don't even cover him. Plus, now that the Cavs spent their cap money, that contract looks a whole lot worse. But for all the bitching and moaning we do about Snow now, let's remember the other options.

Ollie and McInnis weren't gonna do it. The Cavs big priority two summers ago was shooting guard, not point. Even so, they signed Damon Jones, the starting point guard from a Miami Heat team that was a Dwyane Wade injury away from the NBA finals.

Plus (like my Zydrunas argument), who were the other options out there? In hind sight, who should the Cavs have went with? What point guard has been on the block the past few years? Gary Payton? Starbury? Steve Francis? What about this past offseason, where Snow's contract hampered the Cavs free agent aquisitions? Speedy Claxton? Bobby Jackson? These guys are the answers?

Look, I'm not saying Snow should be the guy. Hell, I've been one of the biggest Daniel Gibson supporters out there. Eventually, the Cavs are going to need a point guard who can hit the open jumper. I get that. But let's all remember that at the time, Snow was a good pick up. He filled a gaping need (a point guard who isn't insane or Kevin Ollie) and he enabled the Cavs to grow as a team (or at least not implode).

Trust me, I can't wait for the day where the Snow isn't starting for the Cavs. But for all his faults, the guy helped the organization a ton. He wasn't a bad pick up and he's not a bad guy to have around the team. At point he shouldn't be starting for a contender, but the Cavs could do a lot worse.

Jeff McInnis is probably available.

Tell me this isn't awesome

I really can't wait for the season to start, especially we'll get seeing a lot of this:

Zydrunas Ilgauskas is trying to prove you can teach an old Lithuanian new tricks.

Ilgauskas was a popular scapegoat when the Cavs failed to upset the Detroit Pistons in May's playoffs. He scored just eight points in the Game 7 loss when LeBron James badly needed offensive help. It closed a forgettable playoff performance: In the first round, he was often outplayed by the Washington Wizards' Brendan Haywood, and then it got really tough when he had to face Defensive Player of the Year Ben Wallace.

After Ilgauskas had waited eight years between playoff appearances, it wasn't the way he wanted to end the season.

So he's trying to keep it from happening again by taking the somewhat rare and challenging step of adding a facet to his game at the age of 31. He has slowly and surely been working on an old yet forgotten move: the hook shot.

Yes! A Zydrunas hook shot? He'd be stupid not to do it.

It is hardly a work of hardwood art. With Ilgauskas' long arms, the maneuver looks a little more awkward than Kareem Abdul-Jabbar's famous sky hook. But he's shown some consistency, especially with the right hand, and some range as well.

``Uh, it's a layup, runner, floater, half-hook, sorta jumper.... . . '' Cavs coach Mike Brown said, ``that he seems to start from his knees.''

Ilgauskas is still working on the left-handed version, which is especially critical if he wants opponents to worry about him from the right block and to not favor his right side so much. He doesn't quite have confidence in it yet, but fans and other centers can expect to see it at some point this season.

``I worked a lot on the left hand; I don't have enough confidence to use it yet, but I'm working on it, and in the future I want to use it more,'' Ilgauskas said. ``If it becomes respectable, they have to defend it, and it is a higher percentage shot than a fade.''

Oh man, Z hook shots. This is going to be sweet.

Roger Brown makes a good point

But first, he says some bullshit.

Let's begin:

Three reasons why we're happy Maurice Carthon has resigned/been fired/whatever as Browns offensive coordinator:
1. Assistant head coach Jeff Davidson, who replaces Carthon as offensive coordinator, is a future NFL head coach who deserves to run an offense.

2. Carthon's departure puts him out of his misery: He no longer has to be endlessly second-guessed each week after losses. It puts fans out of their misery, since so many are so positive Carthon is why the Browns have lost five games this season - and not that five teams were simply better than the Browns. It also puts Cleveland's media out of its misery: Anxious not to let fans have all the fun in the "Bash Carthon" feeding frenzy, it no longer has to twist itself into painful knots after every game - coming up with tortured logic to explain how veteran receivers dropping passes, offensive linemen whiffing on blocks and a quarterback who throws interceptions on against-their-body-across-the-field passes are all the fault of an offensive coordinator.

3. Carthon's departure will remove an easy scapegoat and end a distracting sideshow. And maybe, maybe, it'll draw attention to the real reason the Browns are 1-5 and on their way to a 3-13 or 4-12 record (rather than the 7-9 or 8-8 mark that some brown-and-orange followers thought before the season began): Because the Browns' overall talent is equal to that of a 1-5 team that's on its way to a 3-13 or 4-12 record.

OK, maybe the above statement is a bit too subtle. So we'll break it down further for you. Here are the ingredients that make up the 2006 Browns squad:

A few "not-yet-great-but-may-be-somedays." (Kellen Winslow Jr., Kamerion Wimbley, maybe Braylon Edwards.)

Several "not-bad-at-all-but-hardly-gonna-be-greats." (Andra Davis, Leigh Bodden, Joshua Cribbs, Sean Jones, D'Qwell Jackson.)

Several more "not-that-bad-but-likely-won't-ever-be-much-better" types. (Charlie Frye, Reuben Droughns, Brian Russell, Alvin McKinley, Dennis Northcutt, etc.)

A handful of "not-as-good-as-they-used-to-bes." (Willie McGinest, Hank Fraley, Ted Washington)

A large handful of "never-weres." (Start with backup quarterbacks Derek Anderson and Ken Dorsey, and work from there).

An even larger handful of "ain't-never-gonna-bes." (Go ahead, you can name them.)

That's your 2006 Browns team. Period. And, mark our words, someday - maybe even this time next year, when current Notre Dame star Brady Quinn might be starting at quarterback - folks will be shaking their heads at how so many people grossly overrated the 2006 Browns.

First of all, putting Dennis Northcutt into the "not-that-bad-but-likely-won't-ever-be-much-better" category is an insult to all Browns fans every where. Northcutt sucks. He's "not-that-good-but-not-gawd-awful".

And what self respecting Browns fan thinks that Carthon is the only problem with this team? Anyone? The defense can't stop anyone and the offense can't move the ball. Carthon's problem was the playcalling that didn't fit his personal. They have about 3-4 competent guys on offense, when you don't even use them, you got a problem.

Also, I'm actually with Brown on Andra Davis, I've neve really been that 'wowed' by him. A lot of people think the guy is really good, but I've never really been all that impressed. But the rest of that list is pretty solid. Cribbs, Jackson and Jones? I think those guys bring a lot to the table, plus they are really young.

The rest of his list I can't really quibble with, but at the end he puts forth a scenario in which Brady Quinn will be starting for the Browns next season. Look, I know Brown dislikes Frye and all, but if Brady Quinn is on Cleveland's roster next season, that means the Browns haven't learned anything. And if the Cleveland media is asking for Quinn, that means they haven't learned for any of this either.



Alright, the title of the post is "Roger Brown makes a good point" and by now you're probably wondering what that is. Here it is (and I couldn't agree more. I feel ill):

Jimy Williams, Davey Lopes, Alan Trammell and Art Howe are former major-league managers hired as coaches by teams since the regular season ended. Boy, it's wonderful that the Indians are so good that they don't need any experienced former major-league managers as coaches - people who might lend valuable, "I've been there" advice to manager Eric Wedge.

Monday, October 23, 2006

The fullback based offense is no more.

Channel 3's Jim Donovan (also the radio voice of the Browns) just reported on the 11 o'clock news that Browns OC Maurice Carthon is fired.

Random Thoughts from the Weekend

1. OSU looked good on Saturday, beating Indiana 44-3.

2. Did I say they looked good? My bad, they sounded good. Ohio State was on ESPNU this past Saturday, so I didn't get to see it. (Apparently, the bars in Columbus were freaking packed). I got some chores done with the radio on. It wasn't too bad, but I'd have rather, you know, watched the number 1 team in the country.

3. Smith was 15-23 for 220 yards and 4 TDs. Not really gaudy numbers, but he did get those 4 TDs in the first half. Also, no INTs, again.

4. Ted Ginn also threw a TD this game. They ran a Ginn pass last week versus Michigan State that barely missed a TD. They ran it again this week and here's what Smith had to say:

Smith was impressed by his former high school teammate's sudden passing efficiency.

"We had been practicing and practicing and practicing, watching duck after duck after duck," Smith said with a laugh. "After I carried out the fake, I turned around and saw a perfect spiral."

5. I was watching the Michigan-Iowa game and trying to root for Michigan when ABC decided to bring Brian Griese into the booth. So the booth had 2 Grieses and Paul Maguire. Needless to say, awful.

6. My Texas crack (from halftime of that game) made Deadspin.

7. Yes, West Virginia still has those two number 1 votes. In their defense, they did beat UConn 37-11.

8. Michigan moved ahead of USC in the BCS standings, but that really doesn't mean jack. If USC takes care of business, they'll be 1 or 2 after November 18th.

9. It looks more and more likely that OSU and Michigan will enter that game undefeated. OSU has games versus Minnesota, Northwestern, and Illinois left, while Michigan has Northwestern, Ball State and Indiana.

10. Yes, I will be in Columbus on the 18th.

11. The Plain Dealer has been kind of annoying lately. There was that Branson Wright's "I just pulled this out of my ass: Wade, LeBron and Bosh are all going to sign in New York in in 4 years" article. There was Bill Livingston's "Troy Smith might've been an asshole in high school and I won't let him forget it". And of course, everything Roger Brown writes. Yesterday they ran an article about Jim Tressel possibly coaching the Browns. No one needs this. Not the Browns, not the Buckeyes. Not football fans in Ohio. Stop it.

12. Maybe the Browns should of messed with the offense a bit during that bye week. Bud Shaw is losing patience. That game was awful.

13. How about that play calling:

They do things that make you scratch your head. Like on third-and-10 when Steve Heiden was sent into the huddle and Kellen Winslow was dragged out. What play was called?

A tight end screen to Heiden.


14. From the PD:

Left tackle Kevin Shaffer said the Browns are sticking together. "If we start finger-pointing, we'll be looking at a 1-15 season," he said.
15. Um Kevin? Finger point all you want, you're looking at a 1-15 season anyways. Anyone think they'll beat the Jets next week? How about at Atlanta or San Diego the weeks after that? Well, then they go the Steelers, the Bengals and the Chiefs in Cleveland. Who thins those are winnable? The weeks after that they're in Pittsburgh and Baltimore. Enjoy that. And finally the last two weeks of the season they play Tampa Bay at home and they end the season at Houston. Which one of those games are they going to be favored?

16. What game do you they got a shot in? Tampa Bay? They seem to be improving (they just beat Cincinnati and Philly... That Houston game was looking promising, but Houston beat Jacksonville yesterday. So ya...

17. Speaking of, that Jacksonville loss kicked me out of my survivor league. Dammit.

18. Plus, how long is Frye going to be able to stand upright? He suffered a mild concussion yesterday. We're one big hit away from the Derek Anderson show. Or my dream scenario: the reuniting of Ken Dorsey and Kellen Winslow.

19. Fye didn't look bad yesterday. He didn't look that great either. It seemed he was holding onto the ball too long yesterday; he didn't run much. Part of me wonders if these past two weeks he was told not to look to run as much. He did have 1 INT, but it seemed the wind took it (it was a deep ball). I'm not sure how smart the play call or the pass was (the wind was awful all day) but it wasn't like he was throwing into double coverage or anything.

20. Browns have the best fans. Really. However, I'm not sure we're the smartest... we keep paying for tickets for this shit.

21. Peter Vecsey wrote about the Greg Anthony-Isiah Thomas feud thinks he figured out the real reason why Thomas is pissed:
Maybe the real reason he's been steaming all these months is because Anthony accused him of setting up Balkman and Mardy Collins (No. 29) with 3-year guaranteed contracts in order to make nice with agent Leon Rose, agent for both. Oh, yeah, he also happens to represent LeBron James.

As you recall, speculation was rampant at the time the Cavs' savior might not extend his contract, thus he'd be unrestricted to sign with New York, where he could make even more of an advertising killing than he is at present, after two more seasons. Shortly thereafter, James re-enlisted with the Cavs for five more seasons.

Is Thomas bent out of shape because Anthony figured out what he was up to; smart business, in my book. In fact, I conjured the exact same conspiracy when Thomas signed Jamal Crawford and Vin Baker, clients of Aaron Goodwin - James' agent du jour.

As I've written before, this is stupid. But let's go through this point by point

A) After the Larry Brown debacle, Thomas was given one year to turn around the Knicks. You would think that he would do everything in his power to make the Knicks good for this season. The idea that he would take players who share an agent with LeBron James, a guy who wouldn't be available for 2 more seasons, is laughable.

B) Balkman could've been picked up in the second round or even after the draft. Sharing an agent with LeBron isn't enough to justify taking him in the first round.

C) Vecsey says "speculation was rampant". Well, yes and no. ESPN and the New York media's speculation was rampant. Any sane person? Not so much.

D) More Vecsey: "he could make even more of an advertising killing than he is at present". Big markets don't really do much for star players. They're going to be stars no matter where they play. But for lesser players, that big market helps a lot. Would Rick Fox or Luke Walton be getting acting roles if they played for Utah? Would Greg Anthony be on ESPN if he spent his career in Portland? If Scott Brosius played for the Royals, people would've remembered him as a shitty player. But since he played in New York, he's a playoff hero. But Kevin Garrnett, LeBron and AI have seemed to do alright, haven't they?

E) Vecsey calls Thomas's manuevering "smart business". Really, signing players based on agents is good business? To make inroads with a player who won't be available for two more seasons? Especially when you only have 1 year to turn it around?

F) I know this might come as as a shock to people, but the Cavs can offer LeBron the most money. That's how the NBA works. So when his new contract is up, and he can sign a giant mega deal under the new CBA, you know what team can offer him that deal? The Cavaliers. This is why Ray Allen didn't leave Seattle, Michael Redd didn't leave the Bucks and Tim Duncan is still a Spur. The only way LeBron gets that contract with another team is if the Cavs agree to a sign-and-trade. Good luck with that.

G) I believe LeBron is more valuable in Cleveland (and Wade in Miami) than in New York. If the Knicks didn’t suck ass, the Garden would be rocking every night, and if they a starless contender (say, early 90s Cavs) then they’d still sell out road games (and draw good ratings) just cause they’re the Knicks and they are from NYC.

If the Cavs (or Heat) are decent/great but don’t have a star, they aren’t as marketable. Cleveland sells out a ton of road games, thanks to LeBron.

A decent/good Knicks team and a Cavs team with LeBron is more valuable to the NBA than a Knicks team with LeBron and a decimated Cavs franchise (and a pissed off fan base).

22. I'm also pretty sure Vecsey made this up.

23. Are you aware that the Cavs have lost their last two preseason games by a total of 3 points. To Atlanta and Toronto respectively. I know it's only preseason, but that isn't exactly inspiring.

24. Zydrunas Ilgauskas tweaked his knee in the Toronto loss. Dumb Cavs fans rejoice. Maybe now they can become a running team!!

25. Even more proof that Charely Rosen is dumb.

26. Liberal spoof of the Mac-PC ads. More (non-politcal) spoofs here.

27. Fark.com headline: Ohio State drops to 0-1 against elevators.

28. I never said that. Yeah, he never said that.

29. I've been asking this for a few weeks now, "doesn't Kenny Rogers know he sucks ass?" Well, it turns out maybe he did know. He might have some reasons for having that 'dirt' on his hand. It looks kinda poopey. Whatever it was, it overshadowed his good game 2. (My thoughts? I didn't see the game, I was finishing up the first season of The Wire. Fucking brilliant)

30. I've on a Radiohead kick lately, so I didn't really listen to anything new this past week. Well, kinda, I picked up the new Jerry Lee Lewis from the library, and while I haven't listened to all of it yet, it's pretty good. Also, check out Zombtorrents. I found some cool live stuff and some sweet bootlegs.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

That's easy

So it's halftime of the Michigan-Iowa game (I want Michigan to be undefeated for Nov. 18th, so I guess I'm rooting for them. I feel sick) and John Saunders says the following:
I want you to explain to me why the computer hate Texas
I'll take a crack at it. I'm gonna go with the following reasons:

1. North Texas
2. Rice
3. Iowa State
4. Sam Houston State
5. Baylor

I think that should end the confusion.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Pay No Attention to Charley Rosen


Erik has got a great post about basketball writer Charley Rosen. Basically, Rosen says that the Cavs are on a down swing and will need to be rebuilt in a year. I'll quote Erik, but you should really read the whole thing:
You can argue that the Cavs don't have all the right pieces. You can argue that they overachieved to get to Game 7 against the Pistons a year ago. You can argue that LeBron needs more help this season. You'd have valid arguments on all fronts.

But to argue that a 50-win team that was missing its second-leading scorer for almost 50 games last season, a team that needed stability more than anything else this summer and received it, needs to be imploded is just plain wrong.
Charley Rosen used to write about hte NBA for ESPN's page 2. Then, for some reason, he left ESPN and I really didn't care enough to search out his writing. I had no idea he was still writing about the NBA, at Fox Sports no less (also, Fox Sports still has a website? Who knew?)

I stopped reading Rosen awhile ago, why you ask? Because of this line:
A note to long-suffering Cavaliers' fans: Don't get caught in the LeBron James pipe dream. The best King James can ever be is an average NBA player.
Honestly, how fucking wrong can you be? There's Sam Bowie over Michael Jordan wrong. There's "let's trade Ron Harper for Danny 'the next Larry Bird' Ferry" wrong. There's Dick Cheney "they'll greet us a liberators" wrong. There's the guy who passed on the Beatles because "guitar groups are on the way out" wrong. But this is "I get paid to write about the NBA and I think LeBron James sucks" wrong. I'm supposed to take his opinion seriously? Really? I think I figured out why he no longer writes for the world wide leader.
This guy has had it out for LeBron since the beginning and he hasn't seem to let up. The quote above is just a blurb from in an article about the East, he actually wrote an entire "LeBron will only be an average NBA player" column, but for the life of me, I cannot find it (My thoughta? ESPN made 'em hard to find out of embarrassment).

Am I surprised that he's still ripping the Cavs? Not in the least. But I am surprised that someone still pays him to write about basketball.

Zydrunas Ilgauskas: All American

I wonder how much hate mail Windhorst is going to get for writing something positive about the big guy. My guess? A lot (there seems to be no comments allowed for this article, I wonder...)

Z played against a European team, (Tel Aviv) for the first time in while, what he think?
It was sometime in between him openly complaining about rule differences and taking a certain pride in smashing Maccabi Tel Aviv on Tuesday night. It marked the first time Ilgauskas had played against a true European team in 10 years, a reminder that he's now spent a decade calling Cleveland home. It led to somewhat of an epiphany.

``I know now I'm an American player,'' the native Lithuanian said. ``Ten years in the NBA has made me one.''

Technically, once Ilgauskas married his wife last year he became an American. He's certainly paid enough taxes to Uncle Sam to make him welcome for the rest of his life as well.

Z signed one of the first max deals a few years back and now he's into year 2 of a 5 year, $50 million deal.

Z has taken some heat (not undeservedly) for wearing down at the end last season, it looks like he's trying to be healthier:

At 31, Ilgauskas is looking forward to this season with more vigor than any during his career. Last year marked the first time since his rookie season that Ilgauskas got to experience the playoffs. Like the other experiences in his past, he's trying to learn from it.

In each of the last two seasons, Ilgauskas has seemed to wear down at the end of the season. Now on the backside of his career, he's attempting to make changes to plan for the end of the season. Cavs coach Mike Brown has promised to keep a tight hold on Ilgauskas minutes to help out.

``You've got to take care your body better. The things you got away with at the beginning of my career I can't do any more,'' Ilgauskas said. ``I've got to go to bed at a reasonable time, watch what I eat before a game. The older you get, the first thing you realize is your recovery time takes longer.''

This can only be a good thing. If he's anywhere close to 100% by the time the playoffs roll around, it's only going to help the Cavs.

Finally, I wish Z would talk to the press more, he seems to be pretty funny and who knows, it might make people hate him just a bit less.
``I'm sure my family would like it at some point,'' Ilgauskas said. ``If I have a daughter, when she goes to prom I want to intimidate her date. I don't want to have to use a cane.''

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Rochester is Pissed the F*** Off

So the Cavs lost to the Raptors last night, no big deal. If you're wondering how the Cavs could've lost to the Raptors, don't worry, LeBron James didn't play. Coach Brown has been resting certain players (the starters but mostly James, Ilguaskas and Varejao) throughout the preseason and training camp. Usually this just means sitting out the evening practice or the second game of the back to backs (never mind that it is retarded to schedule back-to-back preseason games).

So Lebron sat and people were not happy.

The Buffalo Bills got a reprieve Thursday. Local sports radio had a new villain – LeBron James and his Cleveland Cavaliers.

“Many fans, whether they want to admit it or not, were sold a bill of goods,” said Hot Talk 1280 WHTK host John DiTullio.

Rochester fans dethroned King James during the first NBA game here in more than 20 years.

“Didn't they get an assurance LeBron James was gonna play?” said one caller to DiTullio’s show.

About 9,400 people attended Wednesday’s game, paying from $25 to $150 to see the superstar.

LeBron, however, was benched the entire game, prompting loud boos from the crowd. Some people held up signs saying “LeBron dissed Rochester” and “LeBron ruined my childhood.”

A promoter’s radio ad for the game touts LeBron as a main attraction.

The ad said, “Don't miss your chance to see NBA All Star and Olympian LeBron James in action as his Cavaliers take on the Raptors."

I do feel for this guy:
Rochester hadn't hosted an NBA game since 1981. And so Curtis Echols, 42-years-old and born and raised here, spent about $400 (all figures U.S.) on tickets to bring his three sons and three nephews to the see their hero, LeBron James, play in their hometown.

But just as Echols was about to commemorate the moment with a camera-phone snapshot of James taking warm-up jump shots, the news passed through Blue Cross Arena like a bad flu: "LeBron's not playing."

Said Echols: "LeBron's not playing? That's a heartbreaker."
Now, don't get me wrong here, I can totally understand how these guys are pissed. But let's be clear here, this was no fault of LeBron. First of all, it's a freaking preseason game, if you're paying $150 dollars for seats to a preseason, you already got ripped off, I don't care who is playing.

Secondly, one of the Cavs (and coach Brown specifcially) goals for this season is to limit LeBron's minutes so he's not out there all game. So does it really surprise anyone that Brown and Ferry sat him for a game played on a high school court the day after he played?
Cavaliers general manager Danny Ferry said they took the decision to play out of James' hands.

''If it was up to LeBron, he'd play every game,'' Ferry said. ''Mike and I stepped in and wanted to be cautious.''
Of course, LeBron did fuck with the fans a little bit. Every once in awhile he'd get up from the bench and pretend to take off the warm ups, only to go sit back down. I had the game playing on the radio (hooray Joe Tait) and trust me, they were not pleased.

But ya know what, end of the day, it's a preseason game. Shaq uses the regular season to get in shape and I'm pretty sure Robert Horry doesn't even start to practice til March. That pisses me off.

So ya, if I shelled out 150 bucks to see Sasha Pavlovic I'd be pretty damn pissed off. But then I'd take a look in the mirror, realize I paid over 100 dollars for a preseason game and kick my own ass.

The Cavs have gotten some bad press for this and if I were them, I'd schedule a game in Rochester ASAP.

Team Vice President for Communications, Tad Carper, said, “We feel bad...It's something we'll take a look at in the future."

Carper said the team was not sorry it benched LeBron, but that fans may have been misled.

“It’s something we’ll take a look at in the future.”

Carper said the Cavaliers would be happy to return to Rochester. But it remains to be seen if fans would welcome them back.

It really was the marketing guys who screwed this up for the people of Rochester, but the Cavs (and James) are going to get the bad press. They should schedule a game next season in Rochester and make the tickets really cheap (and find that guy who paid 400 bucks for 7 people and give him some freebies). It wouldn't make up for everyones night of Pavlovic goodness, but it could mend some fences and get some nice publicity.

Finally, a tip of the hat to the father of this kid.

You sir, are a great parent.

*Update 10/20 11:45 am* Cavs GM Danny Ferry said promoters were alerted two weeks ago that James will probably sit.
"It was a necessary evil," said Ferry, who indicated promoters were alerted to the possibility that James might not play as long as two weeks ago. "It was not an easy decision. . . . I am sympathetic to the fans, but it was the right decision for our team."
These guys got hosed, not by the Cavs or LeBron, but by the local media/promoters.

Where have we heard this before?

This made me smile, from Chad Ford's chat:

Andrew (Washington DC) : Who is more overrated coming into the season, Chicago or Phoenix?

Chad Ford: (12:10 PM ET ) Chicago ... no question. If Amare's healthy, I think the Suns will win it all this year. If he's not, they'll still be one of the top three or four teams in the West. My problem with the Bulls is that they were already a fantastic defensive team. Ben will make them even better, but their biggest weakness, low post scoring, wasn't really addressed. It may be down the road with Tyrus Thomas ... but not in the short term. I think they'll be better, don't get me wrong, but I can't agree with those who have them ready to take home the East crown.
See, I may even know what I'm talking about sometimes.

Of course, Mark Stein doesn't agree:
Shawn (Copley): You're going to feel very stupid for putting the Cavs behind the Bulls. One good playoff series? That's all you base it off of? ONE PLAYOFF SERIES MEANS NOTHING. Even the Cavs run against the Pistons means nothing. I'm a Cavs fan and they got lucky against the Pistons and the Bulls are no different in that regard. Like the Pistons the Heat took Miami lightly and it bit them back. Like good teams after do after a tough loss, the Pistons and Heat fought them off and won. The Bulls are still a jumpshooting team and have no inside scoring. PJ Brown is 1000 years old and Ben Wallace has only been good in Detroits system and he's not exactly young himself. The Bulls will be better but they will not be better then the Cavs in the regular season. Get off the bandwagon. The Bulls are like the Miami Dolphins. One big signing and everyone goes overboard with their predictions. Come back down to earth. Larry Hughes and Anderson Varejao missed a lot of time last year and Shannon Brown should be an upgrade on our second unit and is a potential starter. Not to mention the fact that our signings from last summer should be more familiar with the system and have a better year. There's no reason the Cavs shouldn't be better.

Marc Stein: The Bulls had Miami on the ropes with NO bigs. ZERO. They now have two good ones (Ben and PJ) and a project big (Thomas) who'll eventually be quite good. That's why, going into the season, I like the Bulls better than a Cavs team that hasn't changed much.

Aside from writing a freaking giant paragraph, I'm with Shawn from Copley on this. I also like how Stein just discounted the fact that Hughes and Varejao missed boat loads of time last season.

Browns Stadium Targeted

Look, this is probably (and by probably, I mean the local TV news will cover it, but no one eles will give a shit) bullshit, but honestly, after sitting through 3 hours of Maurice Carthon-Jake Plummer football, it might come as a welcome relief.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

More Cavs-Tel Aviv

Windhorst seemed a lot more excited for this win than I did, check this headline out: Cavs defend honor of U.S. You know, that's the first thing I thought when the game was over, "Phew, thank God the Cavs defended the honor of the U.S."

He does make a good point that other teams have been having trouble with the European teams (the Clippers had a pretty bad loss to the Moscow team a few weeks ago):

Three NBA squads have been beaten in preseason games by European powers in the last two years, including the Philadelphia 76ers and Los Angeles Clippers this month. Tuesday night's guest was Maccabi Tel Aviv, which sucker-punched the Toronto Raptors last October in Canada.

No, the games don't mean anything, but with Team USA consistently bringing back bronze medals these days, the line has to be drawn somewhere.

So the Cavs showed extra fire just to make sure the game was quickly forgotten, not remembered as further evidence of America's regression. The result was a 93-67 dispatching of Maccabi as head coach Mike Brown let his front line play three quarters, just to be sure.

It was a good game for the first quarter or so. Tel Aviv played close, but the Cavs just finished them off in the second and third quarters.

However, at one time in the third the Cavs had six straight possession that ended with a turnover. That was awesome to watch. From the article:
The sore spot offensively has been the turnovers. The Cavs gave the ball away 19 times against Maccabi and are averaging 21 per game in the preseason. Part of it is general sloppiness, but some of it can be attributed to learning new sets in the offense and making more high-risk passes into the interior.
I think he misses the biggest reason for the TOs: the New Ball! I mean, that thing had to be slippery out there, they had been playing awhile. I mean, one could attribute it to getting a big lead, losing that edge and making sloppy passes, but I for one am going to blame all the Cavs early mistakes on the new ball. Bad passes/ New ball. Missed free throws? New ball. Lack of touches for Z? New ball. Ira Newble going 50 games without hitting a jumper? New ball. Anderson Varejao accidently breaking a guys face? New ball. It works for everything.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Cleveland 93, Tel Aviv 67

Some random thoughts from tonight's preseason win:

LeBron let the game come to him. He was passing early and often and didn't really force the action. He finished with 13, 8 and 8.

Drew Gooden looked like a monster. Gooden came out and hit his first 7 shots again (he did it in the first Celtics game as well). He was very active around the rim and got a lot of easy points by working around the hoop. I've hated on Gooden in the past (for good reasons I like to think) but if he can stay that active for every game (not every other game) the Cavs could have a borderline all-star at the power forward spot. So far he's had two nice preseason games and I applaud him for it, but let's wait to see if he can string some nice games together once the season starts.

Larry's finger looks fine to me. Hughes was 2-2 from beyond the arc and looked pretty solid over all. I really don't think the finger is going to be much of an issue this year.

Post play, wha? New announcer Fred McLeod was saying how James wants more post touches this season and felt he didn't get enough in the FIBA tourney. This statement warms my heart. James went to the post a few times tonight and either got the bucket or got fouled. I like this.

Speaking of Fred McLeod. So I know each anouncer has their own little catch phrases and obviously I'm still getting used to McLeod. But I can't help it, I giggle like a little kid every time he describes a jump shot as a "stroke job". I'm sorry, I just do.

I like the big men. As already noted, Gooden looked dominant, but Donyell Marshall and Z each had good games of their own. Z was 4-8, had a good hook going and shot the jumpers well (and he dove on the floor for a ball, say what you want about him, he hustles). Marshall scored 19 and looked really good. He hit the only 3 he took, grabbed 10 boards and just seemed to be everywehre.

Hey, what's that? Pump fakes? Multiple Cavs used the pump fake tonight and while this isn't exactly ground breaking, it showed some poise. Marshall and Jones both passed up 3s to take closer shots, Hughes used it as well and both Z and Andy used it in the post.

They passed on a lot of 3s. Jones and Marshall passed on a lot of 3s tonight, opting to drive instead. And while I like this, they aren't settling, these guys are the Cavs deep threats.

How 'bout those rookies, huh? Well, both Brown and Gibson didn't get into the game until late in the fourth quarter (6 min to go). They each made some nice plays, Gibson hit a jumper and had a steal, which led to a Brown fast break.

Varejao didn't play much either. Andy only played a bit in the first half and was his usual active self. He got 5 free throws (missed 4) but one of them was off a nifty up and under.

Coach Brown had a tight rotation for most of the game. The starters played some decent minutes (LeBron played the entire 3rd) and the only bench players that saw time until the 4th quarter were Jones, Marshall, Varejao and David Wesley. Scot Pollard didn't play til late in the 3rd and Newble didn't play at all.

Speaking of Wesley... He hit some jumpers and and passed the ball really well (actually, the whole team passed extremely well) but he seemed to foul a lot. He had 4 fouls and he wasn't on the floor a whole lot.

The game tomorrow should be interesting. The Cavs play the Raptors tomorrow, and if you wanna see how the rookies do, I would turn on Joe Tait. Coach Brown said he'll sit some guys on the second night of the preseason back to backs, so don't expect a lot of LeBron.

Take all of tonights performances with a grain of salt. Sure, Tel Aviv has played some NBA teams tough, but the longer this game went, the more they fell behind. They couldn't keep up with the Cavs and they just didn't have the talent to compete. They were a nice looking team (they shot and passed really, really well), but they just couldn't hang with LeBron and co.

Two weeks from Wednesday Two weeks from Wednesday. The season starts. This was the last televised preseason game, so the next time you turn on the Cavs, the game will count.

Okay, I'll ask the question

How can two offensive cooridinators have been fired today, and neither of them been named Maurice Carthon?

And speaking of that Cardinals game, did anyone else just feel sick. I mean, after that I wanted to vomit. And honestly, I felt like I was watching a Cleveland team. The Browns and this years Ravens game obviously come to mind, but the Indians (and their 1998 playoff loss to Boston) could fit as well. Just watching a team collapse. Ugh.

Sir Charles predicted this when Arizona didn't capitalize on their 3 turnovers in Bears territory (only 6 pts) (check out that Barkely video, man he could jump). They took their foot off the gas.

I mean, they kept handing the ball off to James even though it wasn't working at all. It was like they were thinking, "I know the running game isn't working, but this is what you do when you have the lead, you run the bal. I'll be damned if I stop nowl". It just reminds me of Browns games where they spend the first half running the ball to "establish the run" and then, once it's sickenly obvious that it isn't working, decide to throw the ball to their playmakers.

If Arizona had passed the ball and gone for the kill after those first half turnovers, we'd be talking about an historic upset. But they played not to lose and well, they lost.

Windhorst to Cavs fans: Calm down

He says that we're way too pumped for these rookies:

That's why there seems to be keen interest among the Cavaliers fan base in rookie guards Shannon Brown and Daniel Gibson, who get a special ovation each time they enter a game. After watching both score 10 points, including a combined five 3-pointers, in last Saturday's preseason game against the Washington Wizards, there might be a thirst to see more.

But the reality is, at this point, it doesn't appear as either will have a spot in coach Mike Brown's rotation once the regular season starts.

The Cavs got out of the in-game development business when they started signing veteran free agents to fill out the rotation. Improving young players is still on the list of priorities, but it won't happen at the cost of dealing with a high volume of youthful mistakes.

In other words, the Cavs have five veteran guards who appear to be ahead of the two rookies at this point in Eric Snow, Larry Hughes, David Wesley, Damon Jones and Ira Newble. Mike Brown has made it clear he will go with his veterans at the start of the season. It appears as if Shannon Brown might even have to serve some time on the inactive list and Gibson is a candidate to be sent to the NBA Development League at some point.

Well, that's pretty sweet. Playing time for Ira Newble. I think I speak for all of us when I say, "Awesome. Can't wait."

There's more:

This is a recurring process in the NBA. Every year, rookies with an upside have to bide their time even if there is an interest to see how they can handle themselves. While Shannon Brown and Gibson have impressed the coaching staff with their poise and sense of belonging, in the loss to the Wizards both were on the court as the Cavs gave away a 15-point lead and lost.

``I know the talent is there, the opportunities will come, but there will be bumps,'' said Snow, who has been mentoring the rookies and telling them stories of his rookie season, when he was stuck behind guards Gary Payton, Nate McMillan and Detlef Schrempf with the Seattle SuperSonics.

``The hardest thing for them is the transition. One can say all the right stuff, but if you have any kind of competitiveness in you, it is tough.''

As the season wears on, there will likely be chances when one of the veterans in front of them is struggling, or there are injuries. Until then, unless there is a significant philosophical switch by the head coach, the newbies will have to be patient.

If you read this blog with any regularity, you know I'm excited about these rookies. Well, mostly I'm excited to see Cavalier guards not named Eric Snow, Flip Murray and Ira Newble, but still...

The Cavs are on TV tonight, playing Maccabi Elite Tel Aviv, and hopefully we'll see some of the rooks before they hit the bench for the season:

Snow and Larry Hughes are ticketed to open the season in the backcourt for the Cavaliers, who face Maccabi Elite Tel Aviv in an exhibition game tonight at The Q. Veterans David Wesley and Damon Jones figure to get the bulk of the backup minutes, but rookies Shannon Brown and Daniel Gibson have been impressive.

Brown, a first-round pick from Michigan State, is averaging 8.7 points and 1.33 steals in 21 minutes of three exhibition games; Gibson, a second-round pick from Texas, is averaging 6.1 points in 15 minutes per game.

"[The rookies] have looked great," Snow said. "They have both worked hard and they have listened.

"The talent is there. The hardest thing will be the transition from college to the pro level."

So ya, am I too pumped for a late first rounder and a second rounder? Probably, but when I keep reading shit like this, I can't help it:
Brown, on rookie point guard Gibson, who is the quickest player on the roster: "I am not only surprised at the way he shoots the ball, but I expected him to get rattled, and he hasn't. He is smooth. He has been a pleasant surprise."
Honestly though, I'm not really surprised. Rookies make mistakes (even LeBron, remember that time he passed to Ricky Davis?) and the Cavs are 'blessed' with experienced guards. The problem is, these experienced guards can't guard quick players. So Cavs fans, we gotta be patient. Enjoy watching these kids play in the preseason, cause once the season starts up, get ready for heavy dose of Ira Newble goodness. However, I'll say it now, Brown and Gibson will have a bigger role on the team come March than they will in November.

(side note, my favorite part of the Windhorst article? The comment section. You'd figure the comments would be about, you know the article about rookie playing time, but no:
When is the Z trade going down? Z will hold us back in post season again and everyone knows it. Plus, his salary is killing our ability to retain Anderson next year. Z, Damon Jones and Ira or Sasha for a real point guard is inevitable.
I love it. Cavs fans HATE this guy. They can't get over the fact that he's slow. Never mind that he's skilled and he's the only other Cav to demand a double team. He's slow. I mean, I've never seen a center that actually tries, that is so hated. Most NBA big men, when they get that big contract they taper off. They don't hustle as much, they don't rebound as much; in short, they don't care. But Z is diving for loose balls and blocking shots and getting clocked by Rasheed Wallace. At least this guy gives a shit).

Monday, October 16, 2006

The LeBrons

LeBron has some new commericals for Nike coming out and they've been leaked on YouTube (they aren't done):


Now, one of my Monday rituals is reading Peter King's MMQB. If you care about the NFL at all, you read this as well. In today's column King gives us some thoughts on baseball:

9. I think I hate to do this. I really do. We're in Week 6 of the football season, but I have to give some advice to Joe Torre and Brian Cashman right now, because they are decent men, even if they do work for the Evil Empire. Get in a car sometime this month, and drive 3½ hours up I-95 to Foxboro. Visit the Patriots. Or if you're inclined to go a place where you might be more invisible, fly to Chicago, rent a car and drive north to Lake Forest, where the Bears are headquartered. Learn how to build a winning team and how to navigate through the noise that disrupts every big-market team today.

Football isn't baseball, you'll argue. Football is the ultimate team game, and baseball is more of a stars' game. But the one thing all good baseball teams have is the one thing all good football teams have -- role players. Guys who don't need the credit and who don't earn the big money. In baseball, David Eckstein is a winning player, much the same as Mike Vrabel is. It wasn't so long ago that both of them were on the street. The best team in football right now is the Chicago Bears. Look at their roster. Ever hear of Bernard Berrian, Rashied Davis, Mark Anderson, Tank Johnson, Alfonso Boone or Jason McKie? Don't feel bad. Not many football fans have, either.

Those are six of the 25 or 30 most important players on the team rampaging its way through the NFL right now. I'm guessing their combined salaries equal one month of Alex Rodriguez's. This is what Bears GM Jerry Angelo told me the other day: "One of the things I learned from the Patriots and Steelers in the last few years is they lost more than they gained in free agency, and they never were worried about it. They drafted rank-and-file players, developed them, were patient with them, knew the exact roles they wanted them to play and put them in those roles. Dan Graham, Asante Samuel, Eugene Wilson ... are any of them stars? No. Are they Patriots players? Yes. And that's all they care about.''

Before this season, Angelo was assailed for not getting a big-name receiver in free agency. He was in the game for Antwaan Randle El but didn't think he was worth $6 million a year, and lost him to Washington. "I got hammered by the local media for not getting a good receiver,'' he said, "but I said, 'Guys, we've got good receivers here. They fit the profile of what we want in a receiver.' But because we'd done a poor job of stabilizing the quarterback position, you couldn't tell what we had at receiver. We'd gone for five years playing three or four quarterbacks almost every year. How do you know if your receivers are any good? They never work with the same quarterback. Now that we've had Rex for an offseason and he's been healthy for the regular season, now we can judge the receivers. And what we have is pretty good.'' To say the least. It's a lesson for all other franchises, regardless of the sport.

The minute I read that, I was just waiting for the guys over at Fire Joe Morgan to have at it, and well...

Random Thoughts From the Weekend

1. Coming into this Saturday, I was kind of worried about the Michigan State game. I knew MSU has looked awful the past few weeks, but if Ohio State came out slow, they could've had a game. (And, of course, we all remembered that '98 season).

2. So what happened? Chris Wells fumbled on Ohio State's first possesion. Awesome.

3. At this point I was freaked; I mean, this is exactly what Michigan State needed to have a chance. But then OSU's defense (hey, did you hear they lost 9 starters from last season? OMG!!) stepped it up big time. They stopped Michigan state on a 1st and 3 (after a holding penalty negated a swing play) for negative 2. After a 2nd down incomplete, the Buckeyes sacked Drew Stanton on 3rd down to take MSU out of FG range. After that series, I thought Michigan State had no chance.

4. And they didn't. Troy Smith went 15-22 for 232 yards and 2 TDs, Ginn had a punt return TD and the defense shut Michigan State down (and beat the crap out of Drew Stanton).

5. Two of Smith's Heisman contenders suffered major setbacks this week. Adrian Peterson is out for the season after breaking his collarbone. He'll be in the NFL next season (and as I've said before, Peterson is the only non-lineman first round pick I'll accept for the Browns next year. If they can't get Peterson, draft linemen. No Quinn, no Calvin Johnson... linemen).

6. The other Heisman contender? Garrett Wolfe. Well, he was kind of a long shot, but he suffered a 18 carry, 25 yard day at the hands of Central Michigan. That almost certainly kills his hopes.

7. My argument against Wolfe (as is my argument against West Virginia) is his schedule. Sure, he has great stats, but he hasn't exactly been tearing it up versus a bunch of top teams (and yes, he did have good stats versus Ohio State. They also lost that game 35-12).

8. For West Virginia, well, it looks like the Disapointment Zone figured out the names of the two fucks who keep giving West Viriginia those 2 first place votes in the AP. I had figured they'd be from West Virginia or at least close. Nope, California. Honestly, I bitch about this every week, but WV has only played one team with a winning record. One team, freaking Maryland at 4-2. (The rest? Marshall 1-5, Eastern Washington 2-5, East Carolina 2-4, Mississippi State 2-5 and Syracuse 3-4).

9. Back to the Heisman. It looks like Troy Smith is on top of the boards.

10. As for the Polls, OSU is still number 1 in both of them, but the big news is that Michigan is no. 2 in the AP. Of course, I really want to see no. 1 OSU vs no. 2 Michigan to end the season, but to be honest, I as rooting for Penn State this past Saturday night. I know I would love to see that end of the season matchup, but I still can't bring myself to root for That Team Up North.

11. The first BCS has come out, and surprise surprise, OSU is number 1. What cracks me up is that Auburn is ahead of West Virginia and Texas is no. 9 even though they are ranked 5th in both polls. That's what you get for beating up Sam Houston State!

12. My question is this, say USC loses and going into the OSU-Michigan game, no other team besides those two are undefeated. Say Michigan loses and their only loss comes against Ohio State, in Columbus. How far do they drop? They'd only have one loss, to the best team, on the road.

13. For those of you that haven't heard, next weeks Ohio State-Indiana game isn't going to be televised locally. It's only on ESPN-U. Good call on that one. Let's not show the number 1 team in the country. Good job.

14. How about this brawl? One part reminded me of a line from Happy Gilmore:
"During high school, I played junior hockey and still hold two league records: most time spent in the penalty box; and I was the only guy to ever take off his skate and try to stab somebody."
Taking off your helmet and hitting people, fucking awesome.

15. 31 players suspended. Amazing.

16. So how soon after the season ends will Larry Coker be fired? During the post game interview? Half time of the last game? 20 minutes from now?

17. And what about the Miami announcer? This guy won't be around for too much longer.

18. Hey college football fans, tomorrow night, Desperate Housewives! Come on football fans, this show is for you. (I've seen enough of those commericals).

19. Also, enough with the Iron Man truck commericals. Honestly, stop it.

20. Since the Browns had the week off, it was a pretty stress free Sunday. No fullback option passes, no across your body 4th quarter INTs.

21. Roger Brown took to task all the Maurice Carthon haters and took it to Charlie Frye on Sunday. Let's see if you can spot the flaws in his argument:

Well, guess we struck some deep nerves with a recent column suggesting that it's wrong to largely blame Browns offensive coordinator Maurice Carthon for the team's 1-4 start - it's produced angry calls, e-mail, letters and nasty words on Browns fan Web sites.

We'll sum up our position with two more thoughts:

No. 1. Is Carthon the most brilliant offensive mind since Bill Walsh prowled the sidelines? Absolutely not. Could Browns assistant head coach Jeff Davidson do a better job calling the plays? Probably. But we'll say it again: Bashing Carthon has become a convenient, handy crutch for frustrated fans and pandering-to-the-crowd media pundits who tiptoe around the real problems with this team's offense. Like:

A second-tier offensive line.

A running back who's better than mediocre but may be a bit overrated after a 1,000-yard season in 2005 (Reuben Droughns).

A limited, still-unproven quarterback (Charlie Frye).

Pass catchers (Kellen Winslow Jr. and Braylon Edwards) who do have considerable potential - but hardly are the second comings of Tony Gonzalez and Jerry Rice. (Yet.)

No. 2. Frankly, we feel like we're living in a parallel universe when we're debating some folks about Frye's effectiveness as a starting quarterback. They see a tough, confident, commanding field general with an NFL arm that's beyond question. A guy who's the next Brett Favre - if only Carthon's presence wasn't holding him back from his rightful greatness.

We see an admirably tough guy whose arm - while better than 2005 - still doesn't appear to scare opponents with its strength, accuracy or touch. A quarterback who has nearly twice as many interceptions (9) as touchdown passes (5) and the most picks of any league passer. One who yields a mere 9.8 yards on every pass he does happen to complete. And one whose field judgment in tough, critical situations is inconsistent and often unreliable. In short, a quarterback who has been remarkably average and largely unspectacular.

We can confirm our impression of Frye with three sources - two open eyes and cold reality. What are Frye's boosters using to support their optimistic view of him as an NFL quarterback - besides stubborn hope and delusions that firing Carthon will solve all?

There are so many things that piss me off about this, in no particular order:

A) So Carthon doesn't deserve the blame for running fullback sweeps? Fullback option passes? Not using his teams strengths (Winslow and Edwards)? We can't gripe about these things?

B) How can he rip the Brown's line and running game, and then proceed to rip Frye? He has to hand the ball off to that crappy running back and stand behind that crappy line.

C) What is he trying to say about Winslow and Edwards? He lists them under problems that we're overlooking in the zeal to bash Carthon, but he says their faults are that they aren't Hall of Fame players. Um?

D) He called the O-Line second tier. Bullshit, that line is at least 3rd tier, if not 4th or 5th.

E) Nice straw man argument. What Browns fan out there think that Carthon is holding Frye back from greatness? Who has said ever said this? Who thinks that Frye can be this Hall of Famer if only Carthon was gone? I'm pretty sure Brown just made that up.

F) Also, I'm pretty sure he wrote that whole thing about Frye and Carthon just to infuriate Browns fans. "Well, you hate this coach and love this player, huh? Well, let's defend the coach and rip that player. Yeah, that's a good column."

Look, Browns fans main beef with Carthon is that he doesn't play to the teams' strengths, you know: Frye's mobility, Winslow, Edwards and Joe Jurevicius. Just simply running the ball to 'establish the run' pisses us off, because, well, the Browns have no running game. And when it's third and short do they use the 1,200 yard rusher? The 6-4 mobile quarterback? The beast of a tightend? The game breaking reciever? No, they use rookie fullbacks. Poorly.

If anyone argues that Frye is a HoF'er once Carthon is fired (and trust me, he isn't coming back next season) they should be shot in the face by Dick Cheney.

22. I first saw this on a Real Cavs Fans message board (from scout.com):
Word is, there are rumors floating around town that Plain Dealer “columnist” “Radio” Roger Brown is out of a job.
Word is, the controversial “columnist” was either fired or accepted a buyout or was forced to accept a buyout instead of being fired.
What a shame. If true, it’d be a great loss to the Cleveland journalistic community.
23. Now, I didn't really believe it, but then I pick up today's PD and his Monday Media column is nowhere to be found. So... could it be true? Could he be gone? I'm still not convinced, but lord we can all hope.

24. Calm down everyone, Larry Hughes's finger should be ok.

25. So I've recieved my copy of Robert Randolph and the Family Band's Colorblind and... meh. Don't get me wrong, it's a solid album, but it's missing that extra something. It sounds over-produced; it's too glossy for my tastes. There's nothing that comes close to 'Nothing', I Need More Love' or 'Squeeze'. My biggest problem with Colorblind? It's boring. Ouch.

26. That being said, it came with an EP of their set at this years Bonnaroo (which I attended... I think) which kicks major ass. Robert Randolph live is something that you must experience, I can't say this enough. If you ever get that chance, take it.

27. Speaking of live experiences, check out 'S.R.' from Reel Big Fish's new live album. Go to iTunes and spend that dollar. Just do it. For me.

28. This is bad. This is worse.

29. Paranoid?

30. Some music I have been listening to (and I like)? Ray LaMontagne. He's a singer-songwriter type, very mellow. He has two albums, Trouble and his new one, Til the Sun Turns Black, and I like 'em both, though I think Trouble is the stronger of the two (or at least more diverse), but I would recommend both of 'em to you Cat Stevens, Paul Simon and Jack Johnson lovers out there (whats up Sepe).

Sunday, October 15, 2006

More Daniel Gibson

Am I too excited for a second round pick? I don't care. I don't know about you, but this makes me very happy:
He had to make several adjustments, including raising his voice.

"I've never been that vocal out there on the floor because I've always tried to lead by example," Gibson said. "In this league, the point guards are looked upon as leaders, so you have to be able to tell guys what to do. Eric Snow told me regardless if I'm a rookie or not, guys have to feel comfortable when you tell them stuff."

Becoming a vocal leader is only half the battle. A successful point guard must know what he is talking about while directing traffic. That means plenty hours of study once practice is over. Gibson routinely takes a DVD of that day's practice or game home for further viewing.

"That was a big difference," Gibson said. "We have plays with more than one option and as a NBA point guard, I have to do more than just know what I have to do. I have to know what everyone's doing. I'm watching film to do everything I can to be prepared so I can be ready when coach calls my name."

Getting young guys to study game film is one thing. But a guy watching DVDs at home of practice? We're talking about practice! Me gusta.

There's more:

Once Gibson returns to practice the following day, he follows the same routine of getting to the gym early to work on shots and participate in drills. He's also one of the last players to leave because he finishes the day with more drills and more shots. Gibson also spends time with veterans David Wesley, Damon Jones and Eric Snow.

"I like his willingness to learn and ask questions," Snow said. "The talent is there. His work ethic and his willingness to learn means it's only a matter of time before he gets better. It's extremely tough for a young guy to play this position but Daniel's been doing a good job so far."

I like this a lot. I've said it before and I'll say it again, I love the Gibson pick up. He was one of the top ranked college players to begin last season and he had a down year. Then he fell in the draft (many experts had the Cavs selecting him in the first round, but they grabbed him in the second) so I thought the Cavaliers had a steal.

For the record, Gibson went 3-5 from 3 point range in Saturday's preseason loss to the Wizards. From Cavs.com:

"Daniel Gibson showed a lot of poise," said Mike Brown. "He tried to get the team into the offense and I thought he took the right shots and he tried to defend. Shannon, he scored, he worked hard at times, but they both have a ways to go."

"They looked impressive tonight," quipped LeBron. "They shot the ball very well. Daniel Gibson, late in the game, tried to put (the team) on his back and win a ball game for them. He came up a little short, but the confidence in those two guys looked pretty good."

I cannot wait for this season to start.