Orton and the Owl-Faced Goblin

January 15, 2009

Since I can’t really wrap my whole brain around the season right now, I’m just posting a few blogs based on coversation points I had with some assorted pals online; Ryan, Jim, Rob (from the blog Walker’s Point), Kenny (from Ask Dr. Kenny) and Matt from Belly Full of Hell). Here goes:

On The Never-Ending QB Controversey

Kenny: (In response to Tribune article “Kurt Warner Should be High on Chicago Bears Shopping List“) Probably the dumbest idea I have read in a long time. David Haugh should work for the Bears, because he is starting to think like them.

  1. Bringing in a 37 year old QB is pretty much playing a longshot. How did that work out for the Jets?
  2. Kurt Warner is terrible in cold games. Terr.i.ble. Last time I checked it gets Antartica cold in December.
  3. Why would we bench Kyle Orton after he has improved significantly over this past year? Because Warner has one, maybe two years at the most left in his arm? Plus his uber Christian wife has a bull dyke haircut. Which brings me to my next point…
  4. Uber slutty, tacky women or bull dyke Sunday school teacher?

or

Arms, Distance: God, I never get tired of that photo, or this one… http://www.theonion.com/content/node/34927
“Kurt Warner Cheered On By Wire-Haired Man-Goblin”

Kurt Warner Cheered On By Wire-Haired Man-Goblin

K: Kurt Warner’s wife mistaken for Jimmy Clausen — Kurt Warner thought his visit back to the Super Bowl would recreate fond memories of his former self at his best. The 1999 MVP performance. The 73-yard touchdown completion to Isaac Bruce. The game-ending tackle at the 1-yard line. Most of the attention instead has turned to Warner’s wife Brenda, who has accompanied him throughout Miami and has an uncanny resemblance to Notre Dame prized recruit Jimmy Clausen. Hundreds of Irish fans, in Miami because they thought their beloved team was selected to play in the Super Bowl, have flocked to the self-proclaimed grocery bagger seeking his wife’s autograph.
Jimmy Clausen or Brenda Warner?

A, D: Honestly, Orton is a serviceable QB, but we’ll never know how good he could be if we don’t get a decent receiver corp. One thing’s for sure though — he can NOT throw the long ball. I can’t count how many times he under-threw deep routes this year. (Sometimes, in the case of the Saints, it wound up being defensive pass interference because Hester couldn’t work back to the ball). But usually, it’s just going to wind up as an incompletion.

Ryan: I think Orton needs a fair shot… He was doing great until he got hurt and then he played the rest of the season injured. The Bears have way bigger issues than replacing a good player.


The Bear Market and the Wide Receiver Corps(e)

January 14, 2009

Since I can’t wrap my brain around the season right now, I’m posting a few blogs based on online coversation with some assorted pals; Ryan, Jim, Rob (from the blog Walker’s Point), Kenny (from Ask Dr. Kenny) and Matt from Belly Full of Hell). Here goes:

On The Poor WR Corp

Arms, Distance: I would have to support picking up Kurt Warner in one scenario — because Cards’ Anquan Boldin is not happy in Arizona either… if we’re willing to spend, we could pick up a QB/WR tandem that has PROVEN they’re effective together. That’s immediate offense.

  • Warner-to-ONLY Boldin (with missing a few games): 89 Receptions, 86.5 yds/g, 11 tds, 10 20+ yds
  • Warner-to-ONLY Fitzgerald: 96 Receptions, 89.4 yds/g, 12 tds, 20 20+yds
  • Orton-to-Hester: 51Receptions, 44.3 yds/g, 3 tds, 9 20+yd Catches

Imagine Warner/Boldin production if Anquan is the primary receiver.

Matt: The Bears are where receivers go to die.

Kenny: Said Muhsin Muhammed. I think it’s funny he said that considering he led the league in drops that year.
Muhsin Muhammed: where quarterbacks go to see their passes dropped.

Not so fast Braylon Edwards.

A,D: True. Though, you know what really sucks… Moose had more catches than our leading receiver (Forte) for twice as many yards and 1 more TD.

K: Well if you consider that Forte is our running back, I’d say that’s sad on both accounts.

M: I agree.

A,D: Sad all around.

The Bear Market

 

A,D: So, what’s the #1 thing the Bears have to do in the offseason?

If you answered “Sign a coach who won one game in the last two years”, you and Lovie Smith are on the same page. What do y’all think they have to do to not be a huge fucking joke next season.

“Fire Lovie” is not an option, dude’s got plenty of money left on his contract extension that doesn’t run out until 2011.

K: Coaches have been fired before with years left remaining. But yeah, I don’t think they are going to fire him. If they were going to, they would have by now.

Actually, Marinelli becoming the defensive line coach is good. He was D-line for Tampa Bay for a decade. He was pretty good there. I think certain coaches are better at specializing on one category. This is his category. He’s just not an overall head coach. But then again, neither is Lovie.

Ryan: Ron Turner and Bob Babich need the axe but they won’t get cut

A,D: Some of the more advanced teams nowadays are doing something called “The Forward Pass”. It may revolutionize the game. This Sid Luckman character may be just the ticket.

M: Haha Knute and the forward pass


NFL Playoffs: For the Birds

January 14, 2009

 Since I can’t really wrap my whole brain around the season right now, I’m just going to post a few blogs based on coversation points I had with some assorted pals online; Ryan, Jim, Rob (from the blog Walker’s Point), Kenny (from Ask Dr. Kenny) and Matt from Belly Full of Hell). Here goes:

On The Playoffs…

Arms, Distance: The bloody Cardinals did it again, as if I didn’t have good reason to hate Del Homme already. How ‘bout them Ravens eh? I actually used to hate them, now I kind of like ‘em.

Jim: I really enjoyed watching Delhomme fail. I loved all the slow-mo replays of his reactions to his interceptions. He’s the worst. These playoffs are insane. I’m kind of rooting for AZ. They’ve been horrible forever.

Also, Philly doesn’t deserve to be the NFL and MLB champions. Thats reserved for Boston.

Rob: Arizona has K(c)urt Warner and Jesus on their side, but Edgerrin James is weak compared to Tim Hightower, who lulls the defense with thoughts of Police Academy movies from their childhood.  Lary Fitzgerald jumps for catches that do not require it and Steve Breaston has an erotic name.   The online-educated home field advantage will be strong.

On the other hand…

Philadelphia has the Phillies World Series victory and the perception that the fix is in for them this year, compared to Boston since recent memory.  They also have Donovan McNabb’s lack of self-awareness and Kevin Curtis’ steely determination to make white people proud.
Westbrook is what Reggie Bush writes about in his diary and Andy Reid’s sons are tenacious addicts.  Plus, he stole the beard of a homeless man.

Kenny: I love Larry Fitzgerald. The past two games he has made career highlight receptions that were in the middle of two defenders. Sure, he jumps as much Derek Jeter on a routine grounder, but he’s also short. You are also forgetting that Warner is married to Gozer (The Destructor.) She is one apocalypse away from making Andy Reid’s sons sit beside her in the judgement of mankind for all of eternity.

A,D: What do you think about Marinelli coming to town and this Warren Sapp / Tommie Harris thing once the playoffs end?

PX00001_9.JPG

J: I don’t know. I’m just happy the Bears are making changes. It could be good.


Vikings and Bears NFC North Run-off

December 9, 2008

I’m not going to waste time talking about the Bears and Vikes games last week, but I AM going to focus on what happens now — with three games left apiece.

So far, all we know is that the Bears D is not good when playing other good teams.  They only appear to be good when playing games they’re expected to win.  It’s no coincidence their recent wins have been against the lousiest of the league — Jacksonville, Detroit, St. Louis — they remind me of a pouty Rec League group that plays in the lower levels just to feel good about themselves.

Lance Briggs said earlier this year that when the Bears defense wanted to play well they would play well.  Hmmm.  Well, sidestepping the most obvious question, (“As a professional athlete player, when do you NOT want to play well?”) question #2 is, “Do you find it odd that in games the defense SHOULD have been amped up, you actually played worse?”  Failures such as:

  • A chance to beat an undefeated Titans team.
  • A chance to claim first place in the NFC North by beating the division rival Packers at Lambeau.
  • A change to reclaim first place in the NFC by beating the Vikings in prime time

Were they not pumped up about these games?

THESE are the games you have to win, THESE are the games you win if you deserve to be the Division Champs — Tough games, DIVISION games.   It’s because the Bears can’t win to save their own hides that having to root against the Vikings is just maddening. 

If the Bears won games they were supposed to, we shouldn’t have to watch the scoreboard to see if Detroit is going to beat them (Or Arizona, or Atlanta, or New York) in the next few weeks.  Larry Mayer’s ChicagoBears.com Chalk Talk made it painfully clear what needs to happen for the Bears to make the playoffs:

There are two ways for the Bears to win the NFC North: They go 2-1 and the Vikings go 0-3, or  the Bears go 3-0 and the Vikings lose at least two of their final three games. Minnesota can win the division with two victories regardless of what the Bears do.

So, if I must, here’s who they both play in weeks 15, 16 & 17.

  • Vikes (8-5): Arizona* (8-5), Atlanta** (8-5), New York* (11-2)
  • —  combined record (27-12) .692
  • Bears (7-6): New Orleans** (7-6), Green Bay (5-8), Houston (6-7)
  •  — combined record (18-21) .462

(*Clinched Playoff Birth, **Wild Card Race)

So,  at first blush, The Vikings have a more difficult schedule. But you have to consider both Arizona and especially New York have nothing left to play for, so their only real difficult game is Atlanta.  Based on Mayer’s comments, I find it very unlikely that Minnesota — with the playoffs on the line, will manage to lose to the Cards and Giants; both disinterested teams.

Chicago, though their win% looks favorable, has to first play a New Orleans team with a matching record, healthy Reggie Bush, and a serious bone to pick with two losses in the last two years against the Bears — one a NFC Divisional Playoff upset.  Next up, Green Bay — historic rivals who, no doubt, would love to spoil a Bear playoff run.  Finally, you have a Houston team which the Bears should not even THINK about until they have beat both Green Bay and New Orleans and the Vikings have lost to Atlanta.

So… speculate all you want, they don’t deserve to win the division.  Why?  Because they’ve had TWO chances to do so within a month, and they’ve failed.  WHY DO WE WANT TO MAKE THE PLAYOFFS ANYWAY?

To get blasted by whomever we play?  To give the Bears Franchise an excuse not to make any major shake-ups in the off season? To get a higher draft pick?  Seriously, why?


NFL Power Rankings and No Love for Team X

October 1, 2008

Leave it to Bristol Connecticut-based ESPN to release a Week 5 Power Ranking that puts the entire NFC East Division in the top ten: New York Giants (1), Dallas Cowboys (3), Washington Redskins (6), and the Philadelphia Eagles (9), while their troubled .500 Patriots still get to linger near the NFL elite.

Obviously, the Giants look hella-good right now but prime-time darlings, the Cowboys, are over-rated as usual. The Redskins did well in Week 4 by beating Dallas but in my opinion, that should devalue “Americas Favorite Team” more than improve Washington’s standing. Keeping Philly in the top 10 after their loss to the Bears is also strange — granted they were sans Brian Westbrook, but that injury situation won’t be resolved before the next kickoff.  What’s more, shouldn’t the Eagles loss to an out-of-conference 1-2 team sink the East’s much-vaunted elite status?  Guess not.

 ***

Let’s do some abstract math. Let’s call a team, “Team X“. Mind you, this is all hypothetical…

Here is how Team X had fared so far:

  • Week 1: Beats #17 Ranked team (away)
  • Week 2: Loses to #7 Ranked team by 3 (away)
  • Week 3: Loses to #10 Ranked team by 3 in OT (home)
  • Week 4: Beats #9 Ranked team (home)

By these stats alone, where would you rank Team X? A team that has beaten the #9 and #17 teams, and has narrowly lost to the #7 and #10 teams. Well, certainly not at #18th (ranked BELOW the two teams they have defeated), right? RIGHT?!?!?! 

 ***

Purely coincidentally, Team X is exactly where the Chicago Bears find themselves in these rankings. As a local fan, this is very off-putting. The Bears are a 2-2 team, ranked 18th, which seems about right until you compare who sits above and below them…  They remain in the lower tier of .500 teams, just above the Jets (19), and Cardinals ( 20), with the 49ers (22) and Falcons (24) bringing up the rear.  What’s MORE questionable in the rankings is the SEVEN two-win teams ahead of them, and even a sub-.500 club, the 1-2 Colts (17), still ahead of them. 

What’s going on? You lose two games by the margin of a field goal to two top-10 teams (Bucs, Panthers) then you beat the Eagles and you wind up below ALL FOUR of them in the rankings?! It makes very little sense outside the NFL Buzz Bubble.

Meanwhile NFC North Rivals, the Favre-less (and now Rodgers-less) Green Bay Packers sit at #15 in the power rankings. The Pack went 2-0 early after two divisional games, beating the sputtering Vikings and lowly Lions. Then they lose to the Cowboys (who narrowly beat the Eagles), and then lost decisively to the Buccaneers, winding up at 2-2.

Would you not think that (*ahem*) Team X should be ranked above them? Considering Team X‘s wins came at the hands of lesser opponents and their losses were to teams that are on-par with those Team X has played. No?  Well then, you must live around Bristol.

***

For instance, the dude over at BeatPaths has a different way of visually-representing NFL Power Rankings which is easy to read, and even, dare I say, borders on functional art.  I’m really enjoying this site:

BeatPaths’ Post Week 4 Visual Ranking:

2008-4-Nfl-Clean

The site ranks team SOLELY on record, eliminating and subjectivity, and ranking teams directly based on two criteria: Number of wins & number of losses. It goes futher by color-coding the teams by divison, so if you’ll note, the NFC East is strong (but not ESPN strong), and the AFC North is being dragged down by the horrible play of both Ohio teams.  Meanwhile, the mediocre NFC North is just that — at about 5th/6th Tier with both 2-2 teams sitting alongside most other 2-2 teams.

These rankings are based on “beat paths” (strings of teams which successivly beat one another), and “beat loops” (groups of teams which have both won or lost to eachother).  

The divisional aspect comes into play because only teams in the save division play eachother twice in the regular season, “beat loops” in which teams split their divisional  help give us insight on how competetive each individual division is.  Click here for more details.

Also, the peeps over at BeatPath were inspired to do there thing because they have the same issues I have with subjectivity:

Seems like all the other major power ranking lists out there are in this category. A sportswriter or a committee applies their subjective judgment to all the teams and ranks them however the hell they want. You’ll see huge changes in the lineup every week because of the upsets. The main flaw with these lists is that they aren’t scientific, have huge variance in week-to-week performance, and aren’t really reflective of the overall quality of a team.

 Rah-rah, BeatPath.  Please meet my “Add To Favorites” button.