Sunday, January 31, 2010

The NFC West will dominate the 1st round of the 2010 NFL draft

The four teams of the NFC West controls control 5 of the first 16 picks (31.25%), and 6 of the first 26 picks (23%) on the board in the 2010 draft. Both the Seahawks and the 49ers will draft twice in the 1st round.

The Rams will kick off the day with the absolute #1 pick. The Seahawks are next up with the #6 pick. The 49ers are next with the #13. The Seahawks follow immediately with the #14 pick. The 49ers will draft again 2 picks later at #16. The Cardinals will bottom out the order at #26. The Rams will draft again at #33, giving the West 7 of the top 33 picks (21.21%).

It should be noted, in passing, that the Rams appear interested in parlaying their top pick into multiple picks. It will be difficult to gain multiple first rounders unless they deal with other members of the NFC West, which seems unlikely at this point. Given their porus offensive line, the Rams are unlikely to want Ndomukong Suh in a 49er or Seahawk uniform.

The NFC West is commonly regarded as the worst division in the NFL. Over the past several years, the division has been noted for an almost total lack of franchise QBs. Now that Kurt Warner has retired, not one team in NFC West has an established, healthy, combat ready franchise QB. This includes Matt Hasselbeck. One theory holds that the NFC West will pull nearly every quality QB prospect off the board at some point in the first 33 picks. This would not be wise in year described as 'a bad year for Quarterbacks' by NFL Network draft guru Mike Mayock.

One thing that might prevent the West from grabbing QBs is the dominance of Defensive Head Coaches in this division. Mike Singletary, Steve Spagnuolo and Pete Carroll all come from the defensive side of the line of scrimmage.

Although the teams in the West are poor, they could be getting a lot better soon. They will be pulling a large and disproportionate number of picks off the board in 2010. If those choices are well used, the division stands to improve greatly in 2010 and beyond.

My poor Wolfman!

For those who don't know, Guillermo Del Toro and Benicio Del Toro have teamed up to create an authentic remake of the original Werewolf of London for NBC Universal. According to the many rumors, the battle does not go well.

First off, there were rumors of many mishaps along the way. Primary production did not go smoothly or without a hitch. There were rumors of considerable disorganization. All this would mean nothing if Universal had not pushed back the release date for the Wolfman some five times. Reports of the original schedule are somewhat contradictory, but the original release date was supposed to be October 12 2008! Feb 13th 2009 was the next scheduled release date. Aprl 3, 2009 was the next date. November 6th 2009 was the penultimate date. We now have the absolute final delivery date of Feb 12, 2010. That is something like 16 months late.

Why is the movie 16 months late? What the hell has been going on for the past 16 months? Rumor has it that there has been some major wrangling over the final cut of this movie. There are at least two major versions of this film circulating at Universal. The first was scored by Danny Elfman, and it has been thrown out. Evidentally, it did not do well in market tests. Executives believed there were obvious problems in the narrative that needed correction.

To fix these problems, Universal decided to seize control of the project and produce a studio cut of the movie. In the process of fixing this edition of the film, Universal has had three different editors, one of who is famed as a 'rescue editor'. That fellow is Walter Murch, a 911 emergency guy you call--at great expense--when you have a big-budget movie that is in danger of sinking.

Evidentally, the changes Mr, Murch and company made were so substantial, Danny Elfman's musical score no longer fit the picture. Not surprisingly, in 16 months time, Mr. Elfman had moved on to other projects, and could not be recalled to rework his original musical score for The Wolfman. Universal then turned to Paul Haslinger--a fellow I like a lot--to do a fully modern Electronica/Industrial style score.

To make matters worse, we are about 12 days away from the release of The Wolfman, and we have not a single professional review of the movie yet. This means that there have been no early showings for critics. There is still time for them to do this, but we have reason to be wary. This is always a suspicious move. Whenever a studio refuses to do early showings of a film for critics, it means that they are hiding something. Given the history of difficulties and the 16 month tardy release, I would suspect that they have something to hide.

Personally, I am extremely bumbed out by this news. I have usually liked Werewolf movies. I have usually like Guillermo's movies. I was looking forward to this film with great relish. I felt this could be a great movie because of its aparent fidelity to the original by Universal. At this point, the signs are pretty bad. I am greatly concerned that this movie will flop and flop badly. This could compromise Guillermo's ability to make "At the Mountain's of Madness".

In case you missed it, Avatar is now the all-time box office champion

I meant to blog on this subject a week or so ago, but we've had some action and movement with the Senior Bowl; ego I have been pre-occupied.

James Cameron now owns the top two grossing films of all time. A few years ago, it looked as if Batman: The Dark Knight might have a shot at the title, but it fell well short of Cameron's Titanic. Now Cameron returns after a long hiatus and breaks his own record.

There are many hilarious aspects to this story, if you ask me. I recall some (now) hysterical headlines in the Los Angeles Times Entertainment section which indicated that fan interest in Sherlock Holmes was far greater than interest in Avatar. According to this now infamous piece, box office experts were projecting higher earnings for Sherlock than Avatar based on fan interest. Try to take a breath in between belly laughs. You'll pass out if you laugh too hard. God knows I fell out of my chair when I found that old newspaper laying on the floor next to my easy chair.

By now, we know that Sherlock Holmes made a little less than $200m at the global box office. Many of us were stunned that this movie made so much money. Sherlock is now finished in the Theater. Avatar is still rolling and still #1 at the box office. Sherlock is destined to circle the drain at A&E Network sometime in the next 12 months. On the other hand, Avatar is destined to become the 3d benchmark for the new Blu-Ray era.

Recently, I monitored some hard push-back against Avatar on a number of film fan sites. In particular the forums at and had a few anti-Avatar and anti-Cameron campaigns running through them.

One of the focal points of this critical attack has been District 9, oddly enough. Critics of Cameron have stated that District 9 cost a mere $30m USD to make, while Avatar cost some $300m. They prompt you to decide for yourself which turned out better, especially on bang-for-the-buck basis.

For me, that is a no brainer: Avatar wins hands down. I barely even liked District 9. It is visually ugly film. It contains a very dim view of humanity and the Prawns too. This is dark movie, full of ugliness and gross-outs. I guess that's nice if you are 13 going on 14. It also has preposterous narrative moments, things no intelligent Sci-Fi fan could ever possibly buy into. Worst of all, there really is no hero in the movie. There is not one truly likable figure in the entire movie. On the other hand, Avatar is a visually beautiful movie. It has good characters, who are easy to like. It contains a decent and even optimistic view of both humanity and the Navi. I found Avatar far more enjoyable than District 9.

There is no doubt that Cameron has his detractors. They were vocal in predicting his failure before Avatar came out, and they are trying to play spoiler now. So why is that true?

The conventional wisdom in the media press says that it is 100% pure unadulterated jealousy. Hollywood is one of the most jealous places on earth. It is full of artists and money men who are absolutely distraught that the world does not recognize their greatness. It is also full of 'successful' producers with 50/50 records. Many long-time survivors in Hollywood have one economic failure for every success on their records. You can't even join the club until you have declared bankruptcy twice, according to most reports. This is primarily because they insist on boring audiences about their psychological hangups in (so-called) A-Films that no one wants to see.

In this environment, James Cameron is a marked man. You have to remember that Cameron is a dude with an undefeated record. Cameron has never had an all-out financial bust. The closest thing to it would be Strange Days (1995). Even this made a small modicum of money. Cameron has never bored audiences with emotional melt-down movies about one of his divorces, so he stands accused of never taking artistic risks. Ergo sum, he does not deserve his success.

A friend of mine, who happens to work at NBC Universal, put an even finer point on it: Cameron is not liked because he is not Jewish, and has never partnered with the Jewish financial aristocracy of Hollywood. He has never had substantial Jewish partners in his projects. He has his own little Anglo Canadian band he works with. When he wants visual effects, he doesn't do it in California; he takes the work down to Weta Studios in New Zealand. Since he has not contributed to the Holy Temple on high holidays, he does not deserve his success. It irks them that this Goy owns the top two box office blockbusters of all time.

It should be noted, in passing, that this particular friend {who will remain unnamed} is totally Jewish and from New York. He says all these things in a mocking and derisive tone, because he doesn't like the attitudes of some of his bosses in the business. He is a big James Cameron film fan, and wants to be just like him in a few more years.

In any case, Hollywood is a place loaded with Schadenfreude; these guys rejoice in each other's failures. Most of Hollywood still awaits a failure from either Cameron or Pixar.

Let's not break our ankles jumping on and off Tim Tebows bandwaggon

So Tim Tebow struggled at the Senior Bowl yesterday. He shot 8 for 12 for a total of 50 yards. He had two fumbles. One was particularly embarrassing. Don't worry too much about it. We already knew that Tebow would require a full red-shirt season to work on his mechanics. Besides that, there is a much larger story to the Senior Bowl.

Anybody who watched the game knows that the North utterly dominated the South. It was not even close. Every lineup the South tried failed. Every lineup the North fielded did very well. This was particularly true for the North's defense. The North's defense routed the South's various offensive lineups. It was bad ugly, but not entirely surprising. In All-Star games, the defenses are usually well ahead of the offenses. It is easier to destroy than to create.

What I saw was a South offense that struggled to look even semi-organized. This was true regardless of the lineup. What I saw was a South offense that was very poorly coached. What I saw was North defense that executed extremely well, and by design. They had good individual efforts, but that defense was working schematically, as the DC called the shots. They destroyed and dominated a poorly organized South offense throughout the entire game.

Regarding Tebow, there is not much I can take away from the Senior Bowl. We suspected he would have trouble under center. Check. We knew he was charismatic and the players respond to him. Check. We knew he had a long windup. Check. No news here.

However, there are those who are saying that Tebow's draft stock is plummeting right now. His detractors are claiming victory. Several polls indicate that a majority now believe that Tebow will go in the 3rd round or later. He is also Mike Mayock's 4th ranked QB behind Bradford, Clausen, and McCoy.

Let's remember that the Draft is no democratic election. It takes just one powerful man to pull any player off the board at any point. NFL GMs are not likely to concern themselves with fan polls as they make such decisions.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

The importance of scoring for the Rams in 2010

At the risk of sounding like that 'Real Man of Genius' known as Mr. former sports commentator, the game of Football is about scoring points. Scoring more points will help you to win more games. Coach Dick Vermeil said something very similar to this to our 1999 Rams before kick-off in Super Bowl XXXIV. The importance of this saying cannot be overstated for a team that scored less than 11 points per game in 2009.

The Rams are the worst team in professional football for one reason and one reason only: We fielded one of the worst offenses the NFL has ever seen in 2009. We can make our statement even more pointed than that: We had the worst, most inept passing attack in league history. Our running attack was pretty decent, although 3rd and short situations were brutal in 2009. Our offense featured poor pass protection, even worse quarterback play, and thinnest core of injury prone receivers I have ever seen.

Do I have numbers to back that up? Oh fuck yes I do. How about some of these statistical facts:
  1. The Rams were dead last in the NFL in terms of scoring; #32 out of 32 teams averaging less than 11 points per game.
  2. The Rams were #29 out of 32 in terms of total yardage. We got 274.9 per game.
  3. Just 167.9 of those 274.9 yards came through the air. This gave us a total combined yardage of 2,686.4 for the season. Inexplicably, this was sufficient to put as at #28 in the NFL.
  4. The Rams ranked #20 in the league in rushing. We averaged 111.5 yards per game on the ground for a total of 1,784 for the season. As we all know, the lion's share of that yardage was gained by Steven Jackson through great blood, sweat and tears. He got 94.4 of those yards per game for a season total of 1,416 yards.
The most difficult claim to sustain is that we (the Rams) featured one of the most inept passing attacks of all times when 4 teams were worse than us in 2009. When the Raiders, Bills, Jets and Browns all passed for less yardage than we did, how can I claim we were worse?
  1. The Raiders finished lower than we did (159.8 yards per game) because they stuck with a fabulous Mel Kiper Jr pick named JaMarcus Russell for far too long. Once Gradkowski became the starting quarterback, they began to look good. The Raiders would have finished much higher than we did had Steve stayed healthy.
  2. The Bills passing attack died because they finally gave up on Trent Edwards, which I believe was a bit of a mistake. They were using one of our cast-offs by the end of the season.
  3. The Jets finished with fewer passing yards that we did because they were an even more obstinate run-first team than we were, and they were breaking in a rookie Quarterback. I am certain that the Jets are happy they spent 2009 breaking in Sanchez. They have a bright future now.
  4. As per usual, the Browns could not make up their mind whether they wanted to go with Quinn or Anderson, and they have an even worse offensive thinker than we do in the form of the Man-genius.
The Rams started three different QBs in sporadic patterns during 2009, primarily due to injury. There was no continuity in our offense from game to game, or from play to play. I cringed each time we one our quarterbacks dropped back in the pocket. I did not anticipate good things when this happened. I had a sense of impending doom each time one of our QBs dropped back to throw in 2009. Our passing game offered no credible threat, and our running attack suffered for it.

Speaking of our ponderous running game, we need to ditch the run-first mentality we have adopted. I know that run-first was mostly adopted out of necessity. We had just 1 wide receiver last season, and no franchise QB. What else can you do in this situation? We need to get out of this situation as soon as possible. As is so often observed on the NFL Network, it is now a pass-first league. You don't run to setup the pass. You pass to setup the run, just as Ed O'Shaughnessy, Sid Gilman, Don Coryell, Ernie Zampese, and Mike Martz have always said. The Colts, who are currently favored to win SB 44, rank dead-last (#32 our 32) in rushing. You know Lombardi is spinning in his grave, but that doesn't make his approach to football any less out-dated.

Make no mistake: The 2010 campaign is all about scoring more points. Improving our scoring prowess means everything. The focal point of this improvement must be the passing game. We need to ditch the ponderous run-first attack we are using now, and start throwing the football as the Rams always have during their glory epochs.

Conduct the following thought experiment if you like: Tack 10 points on to the Rams' point totals for each game played in 2009, and count how many games we would have won and lost. For those who won't try this little exercise, I'll give you the results. The Rams would have been 7-8-1. We would have averaged just under 21 points per game given those results. We would have scored a few more points than the 49ers who averaged 20.6 points per game and went 8-8. 8-8 is not a glorious of playoff bound record, but it sure looks pretty good if you finished 1-15 in 2009. A 7 game turn around would be pretty damn good in 2010.

We need a full offensive rebuild in 2010. Step one in this process means unloading Pat Shurmer and the West Coast Offense This is the difference that will make the difference.

I am very happy to see that Tim Tebow is still prominently featured on the Rams' website

You guys are making my day and my weekend a happy one. Keep featuring Touchdown Tim. This our QB of the future.

So how then shall we draft?

Having watched a week of Senior Bowl practices, and having heard the words of Mike Mayock on some of the top candidates, how then shall we (the Rams) draft in 2010?

Let's remember that we were the worst team in the NFL, and primarily because of our offense. I still believe our Defense and Special teams are sufficient to fuel and playoff drive in 2010, if only our offense can produced 23 points per game. That might be enough for 9-7 and a 6th seed in the NFC. Getting to 23 points per game is going to be extremely difficult. That is a 230% increase in offensive output per game. This will require firing Pat Shurmer and acquiring some high-end free agents {perhaps like Brandon Marshall and Michael Vick}.

Draft List #1

The Rams have only 1 pick in each of the first 4 rounds, and we will select first in every round. We aren't missing any of our picks, but we don't have any extras at this point until the 5th round. Presuming we make no trades, acquire no draft picks, make no changes in draft order, we could take all of the following players in the first 4 rounds.
  1. Ndamukong Suh, DT Nebraska: Mike Mayock says that Gerald McCoy is better. Mayock says McCoy is like Mike Williams of the Vikings, but could be better. I hate to break it to you, but that doesn't sound like a worthy #1 pick in the 2010 draft. I saw plenty of the Vikings this year, and Williams was not their best pass rusher or best defensive lineman. That was Jerad Allen. If McCoy might be better than Mike Williams, I leave him on the table and take Suh.

  2. Tim Tebow QB, University of Florida: This is my favorite kid in the whole damn draft. If he is a mistake, he is a mistake I am more than willing to make. I believe he is a great gamble, and precisely what we need at QB. He should be availible at the top of 2nd round. Don't even think about Clausen.
  3. Dexter McCluster, WR/RB Ole Miss. This is Mike Mayock's favorite kid, and my second favorite kid. He does nothing but make explosive touchdown plays. He takes nothing passes and turns them into 45 yard explosions. He takes simple pitchouts, and turns the corner against SEC defenses loaded with Sunday players. I think he is a super-weapon, and the perfect lightning to Steven Jackson's thunder.

  4. Myron Rolle, SS Florida State. This is the Rhodes Scholar from Florida State back in 2008. He's been at Oxford University for the past year. He had a good week at the Senior Bowl but is not expected to be drafted before the 4th round. I'll take him there, thanks. We could use a super-smart Strong Safety to lead our troops.
What happens if both Jimmy Clausen and Tim Tebow are both on the board at the top of the 2nd round? Let's hope that doesn't happen. Let's hope Seattle or San Francisco relieve us of Clausen in the 1st round. That would be the best thing for us all the way around.

What happens if neither Jimmy Clausen nor Tim Tebow are on the board at the top of the 2nd round? At that point I would try to re-jigger my draft order a bit and look for Colt McCoy, whom I like a lot.

The word of Mike Mayock to the PMS show

The Petros and Money Show, AKA PMS show, is a evening commuter radio show that we here in Los Angeles enjoy greatly. You can hear it every evening on Fox Sports West KLAC 570AM.

Just last night, Petros and Money had my very favorite draft guru on the show: The NFL Network's own Mike Mayock. They emphasized the fact that Mayock actually strapped on a jock and played football, as opposed to the villainous adversary of all rebuilding NFL teams, the master of misguidance, Mel Kiper Jr.

I enjoyed the hell out of the show, and Mike said several things that blew my brains out. So what did he say anyhow? You can listen to the show here, but I will give you a quick summary also.

The most amazing thing Mike Mayock said was as follows: This is not a good draft year for Quarterbacks. There is no quarterback worthy of the absolute #1 pick, or even a top 5 pick. The most ballyhooed QB draft since 2004 turns out to be a bad year for QBs according to Mike Mayock.

Ndamukong Suh

There are two prospects who stand head and shoulders above the rest in this year's draft. Those two young men and Ndamukong Suh and Gerald McCoy.

Gerald McCoy

There are those who say McCoy is better than Suh and Mike Mayock is one of them. McCoy is the better pass rusher. Suh is stronger against the run.

Tim Tebow

Struggled early in the week when he fumbled some snaps under center. He got better as the week went on. Folks are breaking their ankles jumping on and off his bandwaggon. He's a tough competitor and has never been afraid to compete. History teaches us that this kind of kid makes it eventually. Just understand that he is going to be a project, and there will be a process of developing him and bringing him online. Tebow will need a full Red-Shirt year in the NFL as you work on his mechanics. Based on film, Tebow should be a 3rd rounder, but his great charisma & leadership will cause Tebow to go somewhere in the 2nd round. Mike is really sick and tired of talking about him. {He must have answered this question 6,000 times by now.}

Sam Bradford

Wasn't invited to the Senior Bowl and won't play because he came out as a Junior. The closest thing to a pure franchise QB in this draft, but not a sure-fire thing. He is injured, and that injury has to be evaluated. Has great vision and great accuracy. Mike is not in love with the kid, but freely states that he needs to do a lot more work on Bradford. Mayock is willing to say that Bradford is the best pure QB in a poor QB year. His value is likely to inflate (like JaMarcus Russel's did) due to the fact that he is the only thing close to a sure-fire franchise QB in the 2010 NFL Draft.

Jimmy Clausen

Wasn't invited to the Senior Bowl and won't play because he came out as a Junior. You either love him or you hate him. Mike Mayock says he doesn't like him {which I guess means he hates him}. He believes Clausen will ultimately become a late 1st round or early 2nd round pick.

Taylor Mays

Average week of practice. He needs to have a good game at the senior bowl. The jury is still out on this guy. Has true linebacker size and defensive back speed and agility, but he doesn't make nearly enough intercepts.

Toby Gerhart

Wasn't invited to the Senior Bowl and won't play because he came out as a Junior. He's going to run the 40 in the mid 4.6 range which is average, and not fast. Mayock loves his toughness and the way he pushes the pile. He'll probably be a fullback in the NFL, not a tailback. At this moment he has a 3rd round grade, but he is working on getting a 2nd round grade. Does not have the speed of Steven Jackson, a prototypical 230-240 pound big back who went in the 1st round. His status will not improve due to the WGC (white guy clause).

Dexter McCluster

Mike's favorite kid in this year's draft. Does nothing but make explosive plays out of thin air. Runs the football out of the I formation 2o times per game against vicious SEC defenses. Catches and runs with the best of them. He'll turn out to be just like Darren Sproul of the San Diego Chargers, who was just named the team's Franchise Player at the end of last season. Everybody in the NFL says McCluster will not be taken until the 3rd round. Mike Mayock thinks all these GMs are stone-cold crazy for ignoring Dexter.

Friday, January 29, 2010

ESPN just conducted a poll of 1 ring QBs and...

Brett Favre is getting way too much credit. Johnny Unitas is getting way too little credit. I appreciate the fact Kurt Warner is ranked in the top 5 on this, his retirement day. Ken Stabler and Lenny Dawson should command a bit more respect.

Overall, I find it interesting. The one glaring problem with the state of the current poll is that Brett Favre, all-time inteception king of QBs, is ranked higher than Unitas and Steve Young. That just cannot be right. That is just absolutely and completely wrong.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

What has happened to our Quarterback Draft in 2010

For the past 3 years, NFL draft fans have been looking forward to this years draft as a probable bonanza for quarterbacks. I heard a lot of comparisons to the draft of 2004 and the mythical draft of 1983. So now here we are in 2010, and all the candidates have arrived minus two: Mark Sanchez came out last year, and Jake Locker decided to stay in school for one more year. But what has become of our bumper-crop quarterback draft?

Right now I see a hell of a lot of volatility in the quarterback rankings. There is no agreement about who the #1 guy is. The most frequently mentioned prospects are Sam Bradford, who is injured, and Jimmy Clausen, who is now universally acclaimed. Then you have a crew of other kids who have been ballyhooed at one time or another as the Second Coming. All of them have serious knocks laid on them by one critic or another.

First I hear Mel Kiper Jr. declare that Tim Tebow is not a QB prospect at all; rather he is a Tightend project. Then I hear guys like Charles Davis and Mike Lombardi declare that Tebow will go in the 1st round, and as a QB. The I hear Chris Myers and Steve Hartman declare that he will be a 2nd day draft pick, and they don't know what he will play.

The only thing that seems clear is that Sam Bradford would be a slam-dunk #1 overall pick if he were not injured. Woulda, shoulda, coulda; he's got a surgically repaired shoulder, and everybody is arguing like Hell about how bad the injury is.

Lost in all this commotion are two guys I really like: Colt McCoy and Jevan Snead.

Many are saying that McCoy is going to be a backup at best. I say he is the next Joe Montana, and I ain't kidding. Once you remove the hyper-inflation that Montana's legend has experienced, what you are left with is a very smart QB who made great decisions {most of the time} and threw highly accurate soft passes at highly mobile recievers who could run. If you ask me which kid in this draft most resembles that perfect type, it is Colt McCoy. He has great vision, he makes really good decisions, and he throws highly accurate soft passes at highly mobile receivers who can truck with it. He is the spitting image of Joe. Don't be surprised if he is a lot more successful than they say he will be.

If Andy Reid were to draft him, the sky is the limit for McCoy.

Jevan is the kid who is really getting lost in the shuffle. People who did not watch the Tennessee game or the LSU game are harping on what a horrible season Snead had. They are also focusing on that brutal Cotton Bowl appearance in which everybody but McCluster got killed. Let's remember that Snead was still on the winning side of that bloodbath, and sometimes that's the best you can do.

Mel Kiper Jr. has freely stated that he believes that Jevan Snead made a big mistake in coming out early. He and just about everybody else believes that Snead would have benefited like crazy from another year in college. The talk is very negative. They say he came out because he was having problems with grades & academic eligibility. Not good for a QB. Others focus on the threat of a rookie salary cap in 2011 as driving Snead's decision.

It remains to be seen where Snead will be drafted. I still stick to my guns. He looks like a somewhat smaller and more athletic Phillip Rivers, with a better ability to run, but sans the football smarts at this point. Rivers is a tremendous thinking man's QB; easily the second best after Peyton Manning. Snead needs to reach for that model. Snead does have an M24 sniper rifle attached to his right shoulder. Believe me, he can throw it.

It is still very early. The Senior Bowl has not yet been played. We are no where near the combine yet. We have not yet argued about the combine results. Things are going to change; be sure of it. Still, if I read the tea leaves correctly at this point, only one quarterback is guaranteed to go in the 1st round. That QB is Sam Bradford. Some say Buffalo, some say Washington. Clausen is very likely to go in the first, but this is not certain. Some say Buffalo, some say Washington, some say Seattle, some say Carolina. Based on what I have read, no other QB is likely to go in the 1st round; Mike Lombardi and Charles Davis notwithstanding.

Can you image that? What if we get to 2010 draft day and just two (2) QBs come off the board in the 1st round? What if names like Tebow, McCoy and Snead are around in the 2nd and 3rd round? Does that sound like a QB bonanza to you? We'll have to see. This could be one of those years with a couple of all-pro Hall of Fame QBs going later rather than sooner.

There are some other QBs in this draft as well. I intend to get to know these kids and tell you about them soon.

The three most desirable HDTVs for your Super Bowl viewing pleasure

Super Bowl week is one of several "hot" weeks for HDTV sales. Everybody wants to host the Super Bowl party and impress their friends and relatives with the big view of the big game. I have enjoyed doing this since 2007. It is fun.

With that said, do I have any advice for those shopping for an HDTV right now? Yep, as a matter of fact I do. I will pick one projection, one plasma and one LCD HDTV just to be fair to all categories. Each one of these recommended models are the best of their particular breed. You would enjoy any of these models.

With that said, these models are not equals. You would enjoy some more than others. Some are a lot better for Football than others. Some are better for movies than others. I will give you the run down on this subject later.


Without questions, the most desirable projection HDTV on the market is the Mitsubishi LaserVue L65-A90. It is a Laser-based 65 inch projection television. It is 3d ready, so you are set to enjoy Avatar when it comes out on Blu-Ray. It also happens to be the most perfect unit for watching football. The 65 inch size is pretty close to ideal for most homes. It gives you a great canvas for the game. There is no such thing as jutter, motion blur or ghosting on a LaserVue. It does not matter how fast the action gets. The laser is more than fast enough to keep pace. This is the ultimate device for enjoying sports. It does not get better than this.

The problem is the price. The L65-A90 costs about $5,000 all in. If you can leverage it at all, I am telling you it is well worth it. You can step down to the Mitsubishi WD-65837 and get most of the performance and benefits of the LaserVue for just about $1800. You could also step up to a 73 inch version for about $2300.00.


At this moment in time, the most desirable Plasma HDTV is the Panasonic TC-P58V10. This is a 58 inch plasma screen. While not as fast as the speed of light, it refreshes the screen 600 times per second. That is pretty fast, and fast enough to avoid nearly all the motion blur, jutter and ghosting associated with LCD screens. Plasma vendors are correct when then they say they are capable of keeping up with the speed of sport. They lying or exaggerating when they say experts agree that there is nothing better than plasma for this purpose. Some uninformed Brunos might say that. Most experts would not.

One word of warning: HDTV critics have an extreme fetish with black levels. This fetish knows no logical boundaries, and is vastly disproportionate to the real importance of the color black. It is a type of mental illness, to be sure. This HDTV scored high marks in initial quality when it comes to black levels. There are reports circulating on Panasonic's customer support site, and other places, that the V10 series has a tendency to loose some of its deep black hues as time goes by. As a sports fan, this would not scare me out of a purchase. However, some HDTV critics will try to scare you out of a purchase for precisely this reason.

If you buy the TC-P58V10 for Super Bowl 44, the odds are you will be a very happy camper.


Full disclosure before we begin: I own the Samsung Luxia UN55B7000. With that said, we may begin a review of my least favorite category of HDTV.

After having looked at most of the offerings, I believe the Samsung Luxia UN55B8500 is currently the most desirable LCD screen in existence. It got some heavy competition from the Sony XBR8, but I believe it is better.

Readers of my blog will know that I have come to be totally dissatisfied with my purchase of the Luxia 7000. This is due to the motion blur, jutter, and ghosting which afflicts my football games. It drives me bat-shit crazy. I really hate that crap. Critics have noticed some uniformity issues, and off-angle axis problems in the Luxia series. I have no idea what they are talking about. I have not noticed any off-angle axis problems, and I sit all over the place in my living room, especially when guests arrive. No one has ever favored a particular spot in front of my Luxia.

With all that said, 1.5 generations have gone by since I purchased my HDTV. Samsung has made improvements. The 2ms, 240hz refresher rate (whilst not even close to the 600hz rate of plasma, or the speed of light) does help to reduce the blur, jutter and ghosting I see on my HDTV. I watched the better part of the 2009 USC vs. Oregon game on one of these units at Fry's Electronics in my Hood. I expected to see blur, jutter and ghosting in all the typical places I see it on mine. During the 1.5 hours I watched, I could not identify a clear-cut case where blur, jutter or ghosting occured. I am not prepared to say the 8500 is blur-free, but I will say that Samsung has made some strides.

The price is going to hurt. Be advised that the UN55B8500 is going to cost you something like $3,700.00.

It should be noted that LED LCDs are simple LCD screens which are back-lit by ultra-white LED lights. That is all. This is not really a new species or category of screen. It is just a new generation of the same old thing. They simply got rid of the florescent lights and went to LED lights. The units got skinnier and more power-efficient as a result. Color levels and accuracy also improved.

Most vendors are now making LED LCD screens. They seem to be the most popular choice among consumers. I will never understand the reason why. Remember: This is the least desirable choice for fast-action movies and sports.

In conclusion, if you get a Mitsubishi LaserVue L65-A90, a Panasonic TC-P58V10, or the Samsung Luxia UN55B8500, you will be able to watch Super Bowl 44 in some real style.

Logan's Run and the Blu-Ray effect

Logan's Run is a SciFi movie released in 1976 starring Michael York and Jenny Agutter. I was 9 going on 10 when it came out. I remember it well. I was a big-time Trek fan, so my folks usually sent me off to see most of the new SciFi movies. I can't tell you I was totally thrilled by the movie, as it had some obvious narrative potholes which even a 10 year old could figure out. Still, the movie developed a big following and got turned into a rather dreadful TV series which did not last long. That one died like the Planet of Apes series did.

Last night, Logan's Run arrived at my mailbox on Blu-Ray. It was sent to me my Netflix of course. I stashed it my queue only because I wanted to see how well the re-master would turn out. It turns out that they did a very nice job with the conversion. My biggest gripe about the disk is that they did not do a full DTS-HD Master Audio sound track for the movie. This makes a huge difference for anyone with even modest audio hardware.

Strangely enough, it turns out that I liked the movie better than I thought I would at this age. Issues of mortality and renewal are not that well appreciated by a 9 year old. The movie still has those dreadful narrative potholes I mentioned before. They are definitely still evident.

In short, the movie gets off to a flying start introducing you to their rendition of the 23rd century. It is a Utopia with fly in the ointment. Mankind lives only for pleasure in this society, but you only get to live 30 years. In your 30th year, you must go on Carousel which is a thrilling zero gravity ride that ends when your body explodes, as everyone in the audience cheers for you to Renew. That is, reincarnate in a new body.

It is obvious how the economics of this Utopia work. By maintaining an exclusively young population, you avoid all the medical costs associated with aging, costs that I myself and just becoming familiar with at 43 (after two knee surgeries). Geriatric care is a massive drain our on collectively resources. If you could avoid that, you would make an abundance of resources available for other purposes. I myself would not have needed any surgeries if I had died 13 years ago on Carousel.

It is a little interesting for a former 9 year old kid to watch this same movie at the age of 43 and realize that he would now be 13 years older than anyone in this civilization. It boggles the mind to think that you would be the most experienced, the most veteran, the most elder member of such a society if you showed up on their doorstep. It is hard to believe that it has been 34 years already.

The dreaded narrative potholes begin when Logan 5 receives special mission order 033-03 from the mainframe computer. He is ordered to penetrate the city seals, seek and destroy Sanctuary, and account for the 1056 unaccounted for runners who seemed to have escaped the system. Logan's life-clock is "retrogrammed" to indicate that he is approaching Last Day, when he should have 4 years left. Logan 5 makes a series of unwarranted saltations, big illogical leaping inferences, based on zero information from the computer. Now he is only 26 years old, so you can expect him to be a bit unreasonable. Still, those jumps are quite unwarranted, and they are critical to the entire course of action he chooses for the rest of this movie.

Still, I did find myself enjoying this movie more than I did when I was a kid. However, I have to give the major credit to Blu-Ray & HDTV. As per usual, Blu-Ray is so much more immersive and cinematic that it makes even weaker movies seem stronger. Dave's law says that Blu-Ray adds 10 points to the score of any movie, regardless of how weak or how strong. If you have a movie that scores 80/100 in the theater, it will be 90/100 at home on Blu-Ray. This is the Blu-Ray effect.

One little illustration for you: Just a week or two ago, my brother & my cousin Nick came over for a showing Inglorious Basterds. The first words out Nick's mouth were the following "It looks so much better than it did in the theater! When are the theaters going to get HD?" I had to chuckle on that one. They need 4K (at least) for the kind of screens sizes they employ, and they are working hard on it.

About 40 minutes into the movie, my brother declared that he was enjoying the film a hell of a lot more than he did in the theater. He saw it in Denmark, during the summer, when his band was on tour in Europe. The Danish used Danish captions, which made it tough for him to follow the French & German parts. He also mentioned that he thought it looked and sounded a lot better at home.

So the moral of the story is as follows: Check out a few movies you remember as marginal, just as soon as they become available on Blu-Ray. You might be impressed to see how much better they are.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Kurt Warner's retirement

Earlier today, I read a blurb on a West Coast website that Kurt Warner will make his annoucement regarding his decision on Friday. All sources indicate that he will annouce his retirement. When I got home, I found the NFL Network annoucing almost the same news.

My mood has been souring all evening long, and it has reached a point of deep melancholi. This is the news that has done it. I have not often spoken of Kurt Warner in this Blog, but I have always cheered for him. I was pulling for him like a muther in the last Super Bowl.

I feel it is a little untoward for a 43 year old 30 year veteran Ram fan to endlessly remember the glory of the Greatest Show on Turf. Still, there is no doubt that Kurt, Marshall, Issac, Torry, Az took us to the highest point I have ever seen in my 30 years. The Rams of the late 1940s and earl 1950s might have been greater, but those Rams of 1999 were incredible. One of these days--and soon--I am going to have describe what that meant for me. 'Dems was the best days that ever was, or that's evers gonna be... but let's hope not. Let's hope that there is a brighter epoch than this at some point in our futures.

I always felt that Kurt was my little brother from another mother. It is very hard for me to watch him retire. I know there are other members of the 1999 Rams still in the league. Fletch even made it to the ProBowl for the first time this year. Still, as Kurt passes out of the league, I feel as if it is the last of the Mohicans departing. It is hard to watch that.

Kurt, if you feel like it is your time to go, then God bless ya, but if there is anyway you can see your way clear to playing just one more season, I would greatly apreciate it.

Did we get any technological progress today?

For those burried under rubble in Hatti, or busy tracking Tim Tebow, there was another event that took place on Wednesday. Apple introduced their new tablet computer called the iPad.

What is it? Essentially, it is just a larger and flatter iPod Touch on steroids. It runs the iPhone OS. It will run most iPhone apps unaltered. It is powered by that unfortunate 1Ghz A4 processor. It has no telephone or video phone capabilities. It has a resolution of 1024 x 768. It does not support multi-tasking at all. This is intended to be used as an eBook reader, and they say it kills Kindle in this regard.

What do I think? I think Apple aimed too low. I would have greatly preferred 1280x720 resolution (at a minimum), and better still 1920x1080. I would have greatly preferred a Core 2, or Core i3. Multi-tasking is imperative. I would have greatly preferred full video teleconferencing in a tablet form. In short, it is too much of a pad, and not enough of a tablet.

I would have been willing to pay $1,299 for the device I wanted. Nope, they were set on an intro price level of $499. Hence we have a device weakened by consumerist pricing.

I am going to call it right now folks: Unless Apple greatly extends this bitch's capabilities quickly, it is going to be an epic failure.

So Las Vegas is running away with the Colts?

So, shortly after the NFC Championship game finished up in New Orleans, I heard reports that the Colts had been selected by Vegas as the favorite in SB44. I was mildly surprised. I would have expected them to go the other way. It would appear that a lot of gamblers jumped on the Colts' ship immediately, because the point-spread increased 2 points.

Let me give you a wise piece of betting advice. Take the Saints and the points. You can't go wrong. Either the Saints will win out-right, or the Colts won't cover the spread. Either way, you win money.

Why is Vegas making his mistake? Maybe they are not making a mistake. The system of favorites and point spread is designed to attract roughly equal quantities of money to both sides of the equation. In this way, the house always wins. It is not important for Vegas to correctly pick the winner. It is important for Vegas to manipulate the numbers to maximize profits. Vegas wasn't built on winners. Vegas was built on loosers. If they lead you to believe that the Colts will win when they are about to lose, Vegas wins.

If you think the Colts are going to scarper off easily with the title, your on drugs. If all goes according to plan, this is going to be an ultra-shootout. The last team to hold the football wins. The common logic says that these are two offensive juggernaughts. But are they really both offensive juggernauts? Let me tell you a few things you might not know.

1. The Saints are #1 in the NFL in total yardage with 403.8 yards per game.
2. The Saints are #1 in the NFL in total points with 32.9 per game 510 total.
3. The Colts are #9 in the NFL in total yardage with 363.1 per game
4. The Colts are #7 in the NFL in total points with 26 per game and 416 total.

Clearly, the Saints have the offensive advantage. #1 is a Juggernaught. #7 is not. The Saints offense is almost 7 points per game better than the Colts offense. That is not equal, especially when you are talking about high scoring teams. What about defense?

1. The Saints are #20 in the NFL in Defensive yardage per game with 341 per game.
2. The Saints are #13 in the NFL in Defensive points allowed with 21.3 per game
3. The Colts are #15 in the NFL in Defensive yardage per game with 339.2 per game
4. The Colts are #8 in the NFL in Defensive points allowed with 19.2 per game

The way I see it, the Saints offensive advantage is larger than the Colts defensive advantage. Colt defense is basically 2 points & 2 yards better per game than the Saints defense. That is pretty equal.

So if the Colts defense is 2 points better than the Saints, and the Saint offense is 7 points better than the Colts: the Saints win by 5 points. Add & deduct; you'll come out with the same figure. I would suspect it will be closer than that. A last second field goal will make the difference.

So why favor the Colts? I have only heard two answers for to this question:

1. The AFC defeated the NFC 37-27 this season
2. Peyton Manning plays for the Colts.

Don't read much into the AFC/NFC thing. This is only true because the worst teams in the NFL are concentrated in the NFC. The Saints were 4-0 vs the AFC. They were not subject to this statistical rule. If you want to bet on the Colts because of Peyton Manning, you have taken a reasonable stance. I do not object.

Shortly after the NFC Championship game, Prime Time and the Playmaker were giggling to themselves about the pending Super Bowl. Prime declared that Reggie Wayne would run wild against the Saints Secondary, but it would make no difference. The Saints would kill the Colts.

Now wouldn't it be nice for Vegas if it worked out that way? You install the Colts as the favorite, a lot of people bet that way, and the Saints win. Vegas cleans up.

I don't think I would go so far as to say the Saints will kill the Colts, but I do believe the Saints have to be favored to win... Presuming you are not a Vegas bookie. I think they are the stronger of two very equitable opponents. I have a ton of respect for both of these opponents. We have the two very best teams in the NFL slapping iron. This is the best possible matchup. It should be fantastic and high scoring shootout.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

So Charles Davis and Michael Lombardi are breaking my heart

Just finished watching a segment of NFL Total Access in which the guys discused Tim Tebow's future... Partially with Touchdown Tim himself. Then Charles and Michael dropped the bomb on me. When asked what round he would finally go in, both Davis and Lombardi agreed that it would be round #1. "All it takes is for one team to fall in love with this kid and pull the trigger", said Michael Lombardi.

That wasn't all he said either. Lombardi also feels that Tebow must be drafted by a team with an offensive head coach; that is a former Offensive Coordinator. He does not believe that a team with a D.C. Head Coach (like the Rams and Steve Spagnuolo) can correctly develop this kid. Michael believes this is so because the Head Coach is going to have to develop a plan and program for Tebow and he's going to have to have the authority to carry it out. Lombardi suggested that the Denver Broncos and Josh McDaniels would be an ideal candidate for Tebow.

It should be noted, in passing, that Josh McDaniels was the guy responsible for turning the New England Patriots into a Spread-Offense team. The Spread is that "very quarterback friendly" system that McDaniels likes to talk about. The Denver Broncos favored their running game a lot this year only because they were nursing an uncertain defense and they lacked a franchise QB.

I find both of these points crushing. If Tebow goes in the 1st, we are going to have a very hard time getting him without making a deal. We might have to make a deal with Denver to ensure they can't get Tebow and we can. If it is true that only an O.C. headcoach can develop Tebow, we are sunk. We are happily installed with our D.C. headcoach Steve Spagnuolo.

I, however, disagree with Lombardi on this point. I think it would be easier for Spagnuolo to adapt to Tebow than any O.C. Headcoach around. All he has to do is turn to Pat Shurmer and say "You fired". Then all he has to do is make a phone call to Mike Leach and say "Are you interested in a job?" We would be set. Easy as pie. Easier for Spagnulo to do than McDaniels.

These were some mighty discouraging words though.

So why make Tim Tebow line up behind the center?

Reports are begining to flow in from Senior Bowl practice sessions. Tim Tebow is having a rough outing with the default NFL offense. This means lining up under center, taking the snap, doing a 3, 4 or 5 step drop-back and throw. The battle does not go well. They say he is struggling.

Specifically, they say he has had a few problems with the center exchange, and he is having difficulties with accuracy when throwing from the drop back position. Throwing in the NFL is about threading the needle. It is about getting the football through a tiny window of time and space so it reaches your man, and doesn't get intercepted. Tim didn't have much problem with this in college, and against NFL caliber defensive players in the SEC. The new variable causing the problem is the drop-back. Reading whilst dropping is a skill every NFL QB needs to learn. His long throwing motion is expected to be an issue in the NFL, but so far this is not causal in his current problems.

So I have a couple of simple questions for you? Why do you want to line Touchdown Tim up under center anyway? Is it just because you are an old-fashioned West-Coast hard-ass? Let me let you in on a dirty little secret that the NFL likes to keep in the closet. The New England Patriots have been running a slightly modified spread offense since 2007. It worked great until they (a) lost Tom Brady with a serious knee injury, and (b) lost Jabbar Gaffney who was their 4th reciever. According to some sources, Tom Brady lined-up 76% of the time in the shotgun in 2009. The Patriots controlled the ball by passing.

Let me inform you of another dirty little secret that everybody seems to know about: The Wildcat, our current state of the art running system, is played from the shotgun also.

So let me ask you a question in the spirit of Air Coryell and The Greatest Show on Turf: Why don't we taylor our system to maximize the production of this dynamic player? Why are we so set on running this outdated and outmoded system known as the West-Coast offense? I have despaired of the idea that we are ever going to get this boring piece of shit offense working with the Rams. Why shouldn't we use motion and formation to exploit the playmakers we have, and the playmakers we can have? Why shouldn't we construct mismatches? Why shouldn't we overwhelm defenses by putting our strength against their weakness? Why shouldn't we taylor our offense to suite the strengths of the players we have?

I personally would love to see us fire OC Pat Shurmer and replace him with a fellow like Mike Leach. I would love to see us work out of the gun, and wing the football all over the frickin' place. I wouldn't mind seeing Tebow execute a few Wildcat plays. Certainly this approach would be vastly superior to what we did in 2009, which was to field one of the worst offensive units the NFL has ever seen.


It would appear that some of Tim Tebow's difficulties revolve around strep throat. It seems that Tim was hospitalized for this malady on Monday night. His fever has been as high as 103f. Having just gotten through a really bad cold myself {I was immuno compromised after my knee surgery} I can tell you that a fever that high walks hand-in-hand with shivers and cold sweats. I can hardly imagine doing anything that physical while suffering that kind of fever.

In short, I am willing to disregard the practice performance reports we are hearing.

In other news, it appears that Dexter McCluster has been interviewed by the Rams. I am very happy about this.

If you are a Netflix subscriber, you know Blu-Ray is hot... unfortunately

Well, I just looked at my Netflix queue a few moments ago to see if they sent me any of the latest releases. Drat! Fucked again! They sent me some second tier stuff. I did not get Surrogates, or Gamer. I am a long-term Blu-Ray renter too! Since the very beginning!

Now whenever I scan down the list of most desirable Blu-Ray releases I see nothing but "Long Wait" and "Very Long Wait". It used to be that I score all the new releases within days of the release. Now you won't see one for a month or longer. This really sucks. What happened?

It's pretty clear that Netflix is suffering a resource allocation issue. They are not buying enough copies of the Blu-Ray to supply their renters. Presuming that this is a smart company, and I think they are, why do you think they've fucked up the resource procurement end? Probably because there are a ton of new subscribers applying pressure to the system. The N00Bs are probably screaming for Blu-Rays as well.

Blu-Rays are still very pricey to buy, and you can understand why everybody purchasing a new HDTV & Blu-Ray player falls in love with the media immediately. Everything else pales in comparison. Netflix is one of the few places you can go where you can (theoretically) rent absolutely anything that has been released on Blu-Ray.

All of this tells me we are drawing nearer ever nearer to the mythical crossover-point where Blu-Ray becomes the user standard, and DVD becomes the obsolete object of scorn. Most folks I know, hate to even plug in a DVD. Netflix needs to recognize this and start supplying the house accordingly.

Don't trade for Brandon Marshall

Denver Post columnist Dave Krieger floated a trade balloon yesterday, suggesting that the Broncos should trade Brandon Marshall and Bears' #1 pick to the Rams for the absolute #1 pick in 2010 draft. Presumably, the Broncos would use this pick to select Suh. Naturally this lit up the conversation wires among Rams fans.

Let squash this one with a simple principle from warfare and business: Never pay for anything you can get for free. Everyone is presuming that Denver still owns the rights to this 4th year player. That is only true if 2010 is going to be an uncapped year. This question is still uncertain. If we have a labor accord, and 2010 is not uncapped, Brandon Marshall can move as he pleases, provided they don't franchise him. Can you imagine how fucking stupid we will actually be and look if we deal Suh for a 1st and a guy we could have for free? What if we don't get a good contractual hold on him immediately? We would look about as stupid as Al Davis is about to look trading for Richard Seymour.

There may well be a series of late-preseason free agents because of a latter day labor accord. Wait and watch for this moment.

No my friends, you get Brandon Marshall in free agency by signing him to a good contract, or you don't get him at all. A trade involves massive risks that, from my viewpoint, are unnecessary. I'll chase Brandon Marshall all day long in free agency. I won't trade for him.

I understand Dave Krieger's desire to get something for Marshall rather than merely allowing him to walk away as a 100% loss to the Broncos. This is human nature. I just hope we aren't stupid enough be on the other end of that transaction. Given the highly tenuous legal hold the Broncos have on Brandon Marshall, they are really in no position to be talking trade deal with anyone regarding him. This is a sucker's trade. Don't be the sucker.

Monday, January 25, 2010

So what is being predicted for the iTablet

What follows is a hard and fast summary of pundit words regarding the upcoming release of the Apple iTable on Wednesday. No attempt at attribution will be made.

The Apple iTable is a new portable platform for media consumption and communication. It is framed within the body of a 10 inch touch sensitive LCD screen. You will need to learn a lot of gestures to make it go. The iTablet will do everything the iPod Touch does, but it will add the following:
  1. The ability to enjoy high resolution media.
  2. The ability to take high resolution snapshots
  3. A webcam that will enable video teleconferencing
  4. Automatic support for a local wireless-N hub.
  5. The ability to plug into an Ethernet gigabit hub.
  6. The ability to truly read PDFs and eBooks of various formats.
  7. The price will be $999.95 USD
This ends the summary of the punditry.

Such a machine would be impressive, but I don't know that it would be world changing. As Leo LaPorte has said, if Apple doesn't surprise everybody, this announcement will be a failure. They are going to have to more than anybody expects if they want to change the technological landscape again.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Justice has been served

The match-up for Super Bowl 44 has been set. As expected the Colts will play the Saints in a true #1 vs #2 match up. It's justice. As John Madden used to say, you could see this match up coming all year long. These were the two best teams all season long. They both walked in and out of week 13 undefeated. Now we have it: The dream match up of 2009. Frankly I would have been tremendously disappointed with anything else.

Long suffering Jet fans will be upset with me for saying this, but this just wasn't there time. They just weren't good enough this year to get there. Congrats on making epic improvements. You do have a bright future.

Brett Favre fans, whoever they are, will also be mad at me for saying this, but the Viks were always ice-skating up hill in 2009. Congratulations on defying gravity and time so well, but I doubted you the entire way. Congrats on smashing and unexpected playoff victory over the Cowboys.

I just need to file one complaint with the NFL. The Commish needs to investigate whether the Refs were oiling down the footballs for the NFC Championship game with WD40. I have never seen so many slipups, juggles, fumbles, muffs, jars, botched snaps, and double clutches. I think WD40 is about the only logical explanation for it.

I hate to boast, but if you look way back at my August 2009 blog, you're going to see that I called Saint vs. Colts all the way back there. Not bad for an ordinary guy, eh?

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Technological progress... this Wednesday?

So some people believe the world is going to change on Wednesday. Apple has whupped them up into a frenzy. It's a downright 2nd Coming of the Lord revival meeting among certain members of the Cult.

For the record, we should remember that Apple was not technology company during the middle epoch of it's history. It was a religious cult like Scientology, or the People's Temple, or the Jehovah's Witnesses. It was that kind of thing. There are many who believe that they have not stopped being a cult yet. Some say they have. Actual books have been published with the title "The Cult of the Mac" and they feature photos of people carving the Apple Logo into their skin, cutting the Apple logo out of their hair (showing the scalp), and tattooing various corporate slogans all over their bodies (like 'I'm a Mac'). These are some sick puppies. Absolute slaves to a corporation. They chose this path of self-mutilating slavery as well.

I will be kind, and say that Apple is trying not to be a Cult these days. Like the Mormons, they want reform.

There is no doubt that Apple changed the world of technology at least three times. The Apple II was the world first widely adopted personal computer. The Macintosh popularized interface technology stolen... er... copied... from Xerox's Parc and Smalltalk. The iPod one-upped the Diamond Rio by providing a full-scale hard disk, and software even a moron could use. There is little doubt that the world changed on these three occasions. Ideas others had been fumbling about with were finally encarnated in usable forms everybody could grasp. That's when the concept took off.

It should be noted that Apple's reputation for innovation is vastly overstated. Let's just say Steven Jobs was never introduced to an idea he didn't invent.

So what the fuck is happening on Wednesday anyhow? Why the hell is there a Come to Steve... er... Jesus Revival being held by all the Apple cultlings right now? Why are they staying vigilant for the coming of the Lord?

Apple is going to introduce a Tablet computer on Wednesday. A lot of people have been fumbling around with the concept of a portable computer with a touch sensitive LCD screen. Dell & Compaq have been doing it since 2003. Still haven't made much of spash yet. There have been things like iPod touches, and iPhones, but they aren't physically large enough to be considered anything like a tablet. Sony and Amazon have been fooling around with eReaders like the Kindel. That's interesting stuff, but it ain't just quite right yet.

Supposedly, Apple is about to innovate big again. This tablet will be tablet 1.0. The first tablet that can actually be called a tablet. This will be the first tablet done right. This will be the tablet that makes owning a tablet imperative. This will be the first tablet everybody has to have. To the slaves, Apple is declaring that this is year 0 and no tablet has ever existed before. To those in the know, they are pretty frank that they have conducted a lot of user studies of these forerunners and figured out why they don't work so well for everybody who isn't interested yet.

Well, I am all in favor of technological progress. If you show me a computer which is portable, has balls, a good battery life, a rich high-res color screen, works like a good reader, allows me to do mobile video phone, I will certainly buy it. However, I refuse to join the cult on principle. I will never be a Cultling like the slaves who tattoo Apple logos on their skin.

Mike Mayock and I seem to think alike

Do you remember the dawn of 2009 draft, just one short year ago? At that time, the burning issue for the Rams was the offensive line; most particularly the Left tackle. This was before the combine and the assortment of ProDays and senior games that help us to evaluate talent.

The Rams & their fans were not happy. There did not seem to be a good tackle we could take with the 2nd overall pick in the Draft. Mel Kiper Jr. claimed there was. Andre Johnson of Alabama was supposed to be a potential #1 overall selection according to Mel. He turned out to be the guy the Bengals' took with the #7 pick, and he could not crack the starting lineup... at any point in the 2009 season.

The Rams and their fans did not see eye to eye with Kiper. We felt Andre had a serious weight problem. Most agreed when they saw those sagging man-boobies flopping around in the wind when he ran his 40 yard dash bareback. We all wished he had found a T-shirt.

It took Mayock a bit of time to finish his evaluation of Andre Johnson, but he went against both Kiper and Casserly, declaring that Johnson was in poor physical condition, and lacked intensity. Me and Mike saw eye-to-eye on that one. I am glad the Rams paid no attention to Kiper and Casserly. I am glad we took Jason Smith, Mayock's hand-picked #1 tackle. He's a good one. We played some head-games with him during camp, but he took it well. He's going to be great.

Yesterday, I saw Mike Mayock on the NFL Network giving us a quick look at the WRs in the Senior Bowl. He focused on one of my favorite guys: Dexter McCluster. Just like me, Mike said he was a big play maker and compared him to Darren Sproul of the Chargers. I did that about 2 months ago. Mayock says that McCluster is one of his favorites in this draft. He's one of mine too!

I was so excited I wanted to write this blog entry right then, but I did not. I wanted to blog that great minds think alike... but waited. Why? There was one burning issue out there that I needed some feedback on before making this post. What does Mike Mayock think of Jimmy Clausen? You know what I think of Jimmy Clausen...

Well the word just came in. Take a look here. To summarize quickly: Mayock believes that the Rams are in need a QB, but there is not one to be had at the top of the draft. If there is one, it would Bradford, not Clausen. Mayock is not a big fan of Clausen, and he thinks there is no way Clausen can be projected at the top of the draft. I am paraphrasing due to the poor quotes chosen by the article writer.

Guess what partner? We're on exactly the same sheet of music. I'm in total agreement. To make one clarification, I would add the following. The only reason Bradford is not worthy of the absolute #1 is the injury issue. As I have said several times before, he injuried and re-injured his passing shoulder. Now Bradford will enter the combine with a surgically repaired right shoulder. That is a medical flag if I have ever seen one. If you are about ready to lay down $50 million, you better be worried about damaged goods.

For this reason I am in total agreement with Mayock: The Rams either take Ndomukong Suh, or trade the pick. Clausen is out of the picture; he is not an option.

For those still chanting for Clausen and siting Mel Kiper Jr. as their gospel writer I want to issue you a stern warning. Mel Kiper Jr. has given ringing endorsements to all of big-bust quarterbacks that have come down the pike in the past 20 years. Names like Rick Mirer, David Klingler, Andre Ware, Ryan Leaf, David Couch, Joey Harrington, Alex Smith and JaMarcus Russel all got great reviews and ringing endorsements from Mel Kiper Jr. If he had accurately forecast the bust of even one of those guys, I would think better of him. Nope, Mel Kiper has never accurately projected a bust, not even one time. Don't look to Mel Kiper Jr. as an early warning system when approaching a candidate with high-bust potential.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Jason La Canfora said it is a matter of who and when, not whether

A very interesting blurb was released on the NFL network last night. Jason La Canfora was asked how soon we would see NFL football return to Southern California. He said it was now only question of who and when, not whether. It is going to happen. Jason is just not certain which team(s) and by what dates. According to the NFL Network insider, three teams have been explicitly approached with financial offers to make the move. They are:
  1. The Buffalo Bills
  2. The Jacksonville Jaguars
  3. The St. Louis Rams
All of them are reportedly considering these offers. When the children of Georgia are about to sell, how can they be mulling over this offer? My reply is as follows: How can they not? The Rams were once valued at approximately $929 million dollars. It now appears that Georgia's kids are going to fetch a price for their stock that will actually value the team just under $800 million. We aught not to be surprised by this meager figure. This is what happens when you are:
  1. The worst team in football.
  2. Playing in the 54th largest market in the United States
  3. Selling during the worst recession since the Great Depression
Georgia's kids are not going to be pleased with this figure, to say the least. They need to do everything they can do to bolster the perceived market value of the Rams. If that means spelling out offers for better revenues in Los Angeles, then that is what you have to do. I am sure Goldman Sachs folded the Ed Rosky offer sheet right into the prospectus, and passed it straight to serious candidates.

Now let's evaluate things carefully for just a moment. J. Wayne Weaver, the 75 year old owner of the Jags, is on the record saying that he will never move his team, and he will never sell to anyone who will move the team. He says he will own the team until he dies. His estate will sell the Jags, but a condition of sale will be that the team stay put. Many do not take this seriously, but this is the most recent word of J. Wayne Weaver.

The last I checked, the Bills were close to inking a deal to split their home games between Toronto and Buffalo: Four games in Buffalo, four in Toronto. If this is true, forget a move to Los Angeles.

Once again, this leaves the Rams: The only team for sale right now, and the only candidate with a history and following in Los Angeles. Right now, my esteemed brethren in St. Louis are wisting past the grave yard with all manner of specious arguments claiming that "The Rams are unlikely to move."

This once again proves the power of craving and aversion to impact humanity's perception of events. When the Browns moved to Baltimore and became the Ravens, I remember hearing radio call-in shows featuring Cleveland fans who were in absolute denial until days before the first preseason game. We may see something similar in St. Louis.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

So the Rams will have a new owner by April, aye?

Word has been circulating on the web today that the children of Georgia have three solid offers for their stock. They have vowed to select a bidder by April, or keep the team, one or the other. Given their tax situation, I have no idea how they can keep the team. This means we should have a new owner by April.

One offer, worthy of particular scrutiny, is a bid for 100% stock ownership. Logically, this means buying out Kroenke as well... unless that bid is from Kroenke himself. What about the rumors of movement? One group, purportedly Dave Checkett's group, wants to keep the team in St. Louis. The second bidder is "on the fence" regarding this question. The final bidder is point-blank in favor of the move. Wanna bet that is the 100% bidder?

Unless Kroenke is the covert 100% bidder, I am stunned that his name has not factored into this discussion more prominently. Current league rules do forbid Silent Stan from owning a controlling interest in an NFL franchise, but the insider-scuttlebutt suggested that this rule could be got-around if a simple political effort were made. Perhaps this is not the case. Perhaps Kroenke has run into unexpected heavy seas in his efforts to negotiate a solution to this rule problem.

Of the dozen or so URLs I have read today, the name that stands out most prominently is that of Texas banking tycoon Gerald J. Ford (no relation to president Ford). Ford is #289 on the Forbes 400. He is an investment banker who used to be chief executive of Golden State Bankcorp before he sold to Citigroup in 2002 for some $6 Billion.

We shall see. Time will tell what's going on here. I will be tracking reports on the NFL network closely.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

I was very pleased to see Tim Tebow's grill on the front page of the Rams' website today

Sometimes God gives you a little something to smile about. Today, I surfed by the Rams website to check Leonard Little's status. We're all wondering if he's coming back. He did a bang-up job in 2009, and most of us Ram-fans are hoping that he will not retire. He's obviously got some ammo left in the magazine.

To what did my wandering eye did appear? Tim Tebow's grill loud and proud on the front page of the Rams' website. The caption reads "A look at the offensive prospects participating in next week's Senior Bowl in Mobile, Ala." The link is a very basic run-down of who is playing; nothing more, nothing less. The Rams have not announced that they are interested Tebow, however, there is hope.

This morning on the NFL Network, Charles Davis and Rich Eisen kicked around the question of Tebow's participation in the Senior Bowl. Davis laid it on the line when he said that all NFL personnel experts he has talked with put Tebow in the 2nd round or lower. This is primarily because of concerns about his throwing motion. It should be noted in passing that we draft first in all rounds.

That is music to my ears. If Tebow is rated as a 2nd rounder, we should have no issues or problems drafting him with our 2nd round pick. This means that means we can have our Suh and Tebow too. Jesus! What a fantastic draft that would be! That is two pieces of championship caliber material there. Now if we can just score Dexter McCluster in the 3rd or 4th round, we're going to be in business.

Because of the desperate need we have on the offensive side of the football, I would still be inclined to deal the absolute #1. Although it pains me to say this, I covet Coach Pete Carroll's #6 and #14 picks. I know this would mean putting Suh up against our line, which is not a desirable thing to say the least. However, we can get a pair of offensive players; perhaps Russel Okung and Dez Bryant, both from Oklahoma State.

I want to emphasize that I am okay with Suh as long as we get Tebow and McCluster. Many believe, and rightfully so, that Suh would make life awfully easy on Chris Long and Adam Cariker. As long as Leonard Little comes back, we should be in dynamite shape on the D-Line.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Twin brothers separated at birth: Jim Caviezel and Kurt Warner

For the record, Jim Caviezel and Kurt Warner are twin brothers separated at birth. When the time comes to make the Kurt Warner story movie, Jim is the guy. Here is the physical evidence proving the case. The facts of the case are these:

The Rams will make a catastrophic mistake if they draft Jimmy Clausen of Notre Dame

Now they are really trying to piss me off. For those who do not know about the, it is one of several places where amateur and semi-pro sports writers sharpen their skills.

Two posts have outraged me in the past 48 hours. You will find them here and here. Both suggest that the Rams will use the #1 pick in the draft to select Notre Dame QB Jimmy Clausen. The first link is a Mock 2010 draft. The second is an attempt to defend Jimmy Clausen as top NFL Quarterback prospect.

There is only one witness for the defense. That is ESPN's Mel Kiper Jr. The defense begins as follows:

Breaking news: Mel Kiper Jr. has actually accurately evaluated a player in the NFL Draft. I know he is one of the biggest idiots among sports personalities, but Kiper's evaluation of Notre Dame quarterback Jimmy Clausen is completely on target. Clausen is going to be a solid pro quarterback at worst and possesses the intangibles to be a star.
Boy you want to talk about pushing all my buttons? You wanna talk about raising my blood pressure to 190 over 140? Do you want to talk about flipping my lid? You just put together all the bad rankles in one short burst. Now I am pissed.

For the record I will say it loud and proud right here and right now. If the Rams fuck up the next 5 years, it will not be my fault. I will have warned them.

Jimmy Clausen is not an NFL Quarterback. Jimmy Clausen is not an NFL player. Jimmy Clausen will not play on Sunday well or for long. Jimmy Clausen is going to be somebody's draft day bust. He is the next Rick Mirer, and that is all. Jimmy Clausen is going to get an NFL GM (and probably a head coach) fired.

Furthermore, Mel Kiper is one of the worst evaluators of talent out there because he has a very narrow minded focus on tangibles and the fact that he almost always ignores intangibles. Now he wishes to defend Clausen on the basis of intangibles? No bitch, we aren't going to let you reverse your field now. Not here. Not now. Not with this candidate.

I speak for a skeptical nation that has watched Jimmy Clausen do little and nothing for 3 years at Notre Dame. This is the same Notre Dame where Charlie Wies just got fired for running very tepid and mediocre program. Now you are trying to tell me that this same QB is worthy of the absolute #1 pick in the 2010 draft? You are trying to tell me that the Rams would be well advised to draft this kid? Bullshit. Bull fucking shit.

I think the entire NFL would be very wise to pass on Clausen in the first round. I do not believe that anyone is well advised to take him in the 1st round; not even Carolina. I think the entire NFL would also be well advised to pass on Clausen in the second round. If he is the next Joe Montana, then take him in the 3rd round. You can afford a 3rd round bust better than you can afford a 1st or 2nd round bust.

I want to warn coach Spagnuolo, who I believe has a bright future ahead of him, that Clausen will wreck his career. Going wrong with the absolute #1 and going wrong with a QB kills almost any head coach almost every time. Don't do it. Just don't do it. Trade the pick, or take Suh. Play it safe for you and for me.

I thank God the Rams have not selected a QB in the First Round since Bill Musen (Utah State) in 1964. Clausen will be a name just as memorable as Musen in Ram history if we take him.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Your quick guide to ABC's Lost

So, whilst recuperating from knee surgery, my brother and I got caught up on Lost, a series we both used to be into. This catchup involved buying a copy of season 5 from Barnes & Noble on Blu-Ray, and letting it rip. I stopped watching a few episodes into season 5 because it became un-fathomable.

For those who do not know, Lost follows a bunch of characters through a broken timeline. You can flash back, flash forward, and flash to the present moment (when ever that may be) at any given moment in the show. This combined with the fact that they are progressively developing a complex science-vs-super natural series of plot points makes this a challenging show to understand. Commercial interruptions and 1 week delays between episodes do a tremendous amount of violence to the story, and your ability to follow what is happening. It is very difficult to follow the show as it is presented on commercial television. It would work better as a mini-series on HBO.

So, in the interests of promoting season 6, which should be the end of the series, I have decided to publish a little mini-primer giving you the absolute idea of each season. Each season has had an organizing principle. Each season has had a different organizing principle. If you understand the one key principle of each season, it makes every little development much easier to understand.

Season 1

In season 1 a bunch of different people from different cultures and background crash land on a strange island when Oceanic flight 815 breaks in half just off-shore of said Island. The absolute idea is survival. How do a bunch of fully modern humans, totally dependant on a complex division of labor, manage to survive in a natural environment? With no training and experience as hunters and gatherers, can they survive in this strange, but lush, environment they know nothing about? There is also a political formation story here. These people do not agree with each other about the correct course of actions as they seek food, shelter and water. They also encounter many bizarre things about this tropical island as they forage inland for food and fresh water. Will they be able to form a cohesive unit and survive? Will they break into warring factions?

Season 2

Season 2 makes the jump from a survivalist tale to a Twilight Zone story of science fiction and mysticism. The survivors of 815 discover a "Hatch" in the ground, belonging to a group called the Dharma Initiative, a mysterious group they know nothing about. The hatch is occupied by a Scottish fellow named Desmond. Desmond was not a member of the Dharma Initiative. He was marooned on the island in a sailing accident. He pushes a series of numbers into an Apple IIe computer on an exact time interval every day. He says he has too to avoid catastrophe. He doesn't know what will happen if he fails. He flees the "Hatch" presuming that the survivors of 815 are his relief. Much chaos and conflict ensue.

Season 3

This season is follows a theme of capture and oppression by a group called "The Others" who live on a small neighboring Island. We do not know if they are Dharma people, or something else. The conflict between the survivors of 815 and "The Others" dominates all of season 3. Season 3 basically ends with the survivors of 815 breaking the yoke of The Others.

Season 4

The theme of season 4 is all-out war, as forces behind the Dharma Initiative return to the Island to reclaim their prize research outpost... or so we think. The shit gets pretty hairy as a crew of ruthless and vicious mercenaries are unleashed on a band of simple air-wreck survivors, and The Others, neither of whom seem up to the task of battling seasoned, hardcore, elite, fighting men. The Others and the survivors of 815 are forced into an uneasy alliance to survive this onslaught.

Season 5

I have not finished season 5 quite yet, but I am drawing very close to the end. The theme is pretty clear. The theme is absolute time-paradox as a prelude to soap-opera. There has always been a bit of time paradox in Lost. There has always been a bit of soap-opera in Lost. They kicked both into over-drive mode this season. There is also a great extension of the super-natural aspect of the Island. We discover that the spirit of the Island called Jacob is actually Christian Shepherd, the father of Jack Shepherd, who is the 815 resident doctor/surgeon. We discover that there is a bizarre Mayan/Egyptian temple on the Island. We discover that the smog-monster is that temple's supernatural guardian. We also see the Island bring Mr. John Locke back from the dead, which ain't never supposed to happen in any scientific universe. Dead is dead.

So where are we going from here? God only knows. I would expect the survivors of flight 815 to be assimilated into the body of "The Others", for them to destroy the last vestiges of the Dharma Initiative, and for this new polity to live happily ever after on the Island.