Friday, December 31, 2010

Congradulations to Rodger Saffold, the number 4 pick overall in the Sports Illustrated Re-do draft




Don Banks, famed writer for CNN & Sports Illustrated just published his Draft Red-Do. It is interesting. The first three picks go in the same order, and then BANG! The first change is listed.

Banks would have the Redskins select Rodger Saffold (taken by the Rams at the #33 slot) as the #4 overall pick in the draft. Don Banks claims that Trent Williams was a good pick, but Rodger Saffold is better. According to Banks, Saffold is the consensus top tackle in the 2010 draft among NFL personnel men. Saffold has only allowed 2 sacks in 14 games.

How about dem apples? If the true, the Rams got pair of Top 4 talents in the draft. That’s quite a promotion from #33 to #4.

The Patriots? Bah… drivel!

The 7 time defending ESPN champs

So, unless you have buried under a rock, you know that ESPN has crowned the New England Patriots the Super Bowl XV champion… before the season is over… and before the playoffs begin. ESPN has crowned the Patriots champion in each and every one of the past 7 consecutive seasons. This includes 2008 when the Patriots failed to qualify for the playoffs. The Patriots are now the 7 time defending ESPN champs.

OH BUT THEY WERE RIGHT IN 2004, 2005, and 2007, and they were undefeated in 2007! Undefeated in 2007, aye? Tell that to the Giants who have big fat diamond rings on their fingers.

I’ll never forget the time last season (2009) when Chris Berman referred to the Patriots as the de facto champs. Q.E.D. quo est demonstratum. For those who complain that there is no east-coast bias at ESPN, you need some of the reality potion the New York Yankees are brewing a little south of your position. Like the Patriots, the Yankees are very close to Bristol. Grab some potion after work.

ESPN has a real bad tendency to get stuck in a groove. This is because the main man, Chris Berman, is a May 10, 1955 Taurus dude. Though he is my Earth brother, and I love the guy, I have to warn you that a Taurus like Berman is the most suborn and fixated character in the zodiac. The rest of the organization has modeled itself around his example. I’ll never forget the time Chris Berman picked the 49ers and Bills as his preseason favorites for the Super Bowl NINE years in a row! It took him almost a decade to give up on that one. I have heard rumors stating that he picked the Raiders v Cowboys nine time in a row back in 1970s. That didn’t happen either.

They say the only dude a Taurus will listen to is a Virgo. If so, I hope I can get this message across clearly, and I hope it will get some consideration. ESPN has been wrong about the Patriots 5 of the last 5 seasons. They have misidentified Patriot weaknesses as strengths in each of the past 5 consecutive years. This has lead to quite considerable error. Who can evaluate that track record of error and not see some form of bias back behind it all?

I’m not buying the Patriots

By now, you should realize that I’m not buying the Patriot theory. Why not? I’ve got some good reasons. Here they are:

1. This team is not the dynasty Patriot team. The one and only hold-over from the glory days is Tom Brady. That is not enough. This is practically an all-new edition, and quite unproven.

2. They just aren’t that talented. You will note that this team doesn’t have many Pro-Bowlers; just three Patriots were elected. Once again, coach Bellichick is doing a lot with a little. This isn’t as good a thing as some would have you believe.

3. Last year, the Ravens not only beat the Patriots in the playoffs, they beat the hell out of them. Until these Patriots prove they can beat these Ravens in a significant game, I favor the Ravens in the AFC.

4. The Patriots are benefiting from unexpectedly weak competition. The Dolphins unexpectedly collapsed in 2010. The Jets have been much weaker than expected in 2010. The Bills… let’s just say those games constitute two free victories for the Patriots. Tough games on the schedule, such as the Packers, turned out to be dramatically easier due to key injuries, such as the Packers’ loss of Aaron Rodgers. The Patriot win total is a little bloated this year, and deceptive.

5. Andrew Siciliano describes the Patriots as “a 10-6 football team with few playmakers, a suspect defense, who are vulnerable on the road. I am sure he was referencing the spanking the Patriots took from the Browns. I don’t see much wrong with his statement. Though their record is better than 10-6, it might easily be 10-6 under slightly different circumstances. We all know how they creep down the field. You witnessed the way in which Matt Flynn, the backup QB in Green Bay, put more than 30 points on the board against the Patriot defense. The Patriots won’t have to go on the road in this tournament, but home field advantage didn’t help them much last season.

6. The AFC is the second best conference in the league. The dirty little secret we’re all keeping in the closet is that the NFC is now the better conference. The AFC just ain’t what it’s cracked up to be. The NFC won the lion’s share of key matchups between contending playoff teams in 2010. The NFC also contains two of the past three Super Bowl winners. Note that the AFC Steelers nearly lost to the Cardinals in a dandy sandwiched between two NFC victories; one at the expense of the “undefeated” Patriots. My bet will probably be on the NFC champion when SB45 comes around.

7. Our best reasons for believing in the Patriots are the things we’ve heard in the echo chamber, and the echo chamber is dominated by the North Easterners at ESPN. I wonder what the prevailing national opinion of these Patriots would be if we weren’t living in an echo chamber dominated by the North Easterners at ESPN?

I’m making a non-fashionable choice

I’m taking the Ravens in the AFC. If you want to crown their ass (the Patriots) then crown them, but the Patriots are who I think they are, and this is why their opponents should take the damn field.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Green Lantern in the News

My favorite comic book

I was major fan-boy of Marvel and DC comics when I was kid. I collected non-stop between ages 4 and 13. It was only a life-long obsession with football that kicked me out of the ranks of the comic book geeks. I didn’t have any time for it once I began preparing for my future enshrinement in the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton Ohio.

Of all the comic books I read, Green Lantern was my absolute favorite. It was the best fusion of comic book superheroes with science fiction. The Fantastic Four was also fantastic, but not quite as good as Green Lantern. Hal Jordan was the dude I most wanted to be growing up.

As you may know, Hollywood is set to unveil their new live action version of Green Lantern. I am trepidatious about this movie. There are several general, and a few specific, objections I have to Hollywood attempting a live action version of Green Lantern.

· The universe of the Green Lantern Corp is a complex thing. It’s at least as complex as the Federation of Planets in Star Trek, or the universe of Star Wars. I have great doubts that the typical Hollywood producer would want to do faithful justice to this creation.

· Hal Jordan/Green Lantern is not a particularly romantic figure. He cut an impressive figure in his uniform, but he was married to his work. He had even less time for Carol Ferris (his theoretical girlfriend) than Superman had for Lois Lane. Being an interstellar cop, and lead hero in the Justice League, is tough, serious work. Hal was only slightly less intense, serious and reclusive than Bruce Wayne. Further, Hal felt no need to put on airs as a playboy.

· For some strange reason, Hollywood finds it categorically impossible to shoot a superhero film without upping the romantic content of the story to fatal levels. They blow the entire fuel mixture of the comic book in the futile attempt to interest the female of the species in what is clearly a guy thing. I always suspected they would try to “Superman” Green Lantern if they made a Green Lantern movie.

· For some strange reason, comic book adapters find the need to inject stupid comedy into what is typically a serious comic book. They find the need to do something goofy, or set a goofy tone in these movies. Green Lantern is a pretty serious book for the most part. There is nothing goofy or comedic about this book. I have always doubted their willingness to

· Green Lantern does some astounding things with his power ring in combat. He also visits some amazing alien worlds. Surely the visual effects cost of implementing the real Green Lantern in a live action film would be prohibitive. A faithful live-action movie would cost several hundred million U.S. Dollars.

· Hollywood always seems to shoot the origin story. For some reason I don’t quite understand, they rarely start off a new Super Hero franchise with a great adventure. No, they have to give us countless origin stories. Sooner or later, the general public’s interest in Super Hero origins has to give out. We fan boys already know the story… and better than you producers in most cases. Will you bore us, the core audience, in order to tell yet another origin story?

They are upping the romance, and changing the fuel mixture

Ryan Reynolds has been cast as Hal Jordan/Green Lantern. It is worth noting that Scorpio Ryan Reynolds has recently been voted the World’s Sexiest man by People Magazine. Blake Lively get’s second billing as Carol Ferris. She recently hit #4 on the Maxim top 100 list. Do you see a pattern here? Does this not give away the central plan of the film? Res ipsa loquitur.

Lively is listed two slots higher than Mark Strong on the cast credits. Mark Strong is cast as Sinestro. I solemnly assure you, Carol Ferris never got top billing over Sinestro in the comic book. Sinestro was a far more important figure in the comic than Carol Ferris. Here we have Prima Fascia evidence that Hollywood producers have fundamentally altered the fuel mixture of Green Lantern. They are going to up-scale the romantic content of the film in a potentially fruitless move to interest women in the movie.

The effects look good

Based on the preview only, it does appear that this is another origin story, and we will be visiting with the Guardians on the planet OA. The effects look decent, but not spectacular. We’ll see if they do justice to the Green Lantern universe.

The tone is a serious problem

If you ask me why I think the Green Lantern movie is likely to fail, I will point the finger at the tone set by the director. Hal Jordan comes off as a little goofy. This is fairly typical stuff for Ryan Reynolds. Further, he seems to lack the courage and confidence to take his place among the officers of the Green Lantern corp.

Of course, the writers set this tone because they want to do the ‘ole hackneyed and cliché hero’s journey thing where a young man overcomes self-doubt and develops confidence as he rises to meet a crisis head on. How many times have you seen that one? Oh, several hundred times by now. All else being equal, I would simply find boredom in this theme, but all else is not equal.

Clearly, the writers don’t understand the Green Lantern comic book. Their choice of themes clearly shows this. A Green Lantern is chosen for his will power and his courage. The rings, themselves, seek out the individual with greatest will-power they can find. Like the sword Excalibur, they know and choose their masters. The ring will not select a weak willed individual who lacks courage or conviction.

By choosing this theme, the Hollywood writers have done some violence to the core principles of the book. This may well go over like a lead balloon.

The movie producers may be saved by the gossip columns

For those who don’t know it yet, Ryan Reynolds and Scarlett Johanson are married, but now starting the divorce proceedings. Ryan claims she ignored him, not making time for him. Sources close to Scarlett claim Ryan has an affair with his co-star Blake Lively.

This is now the lead story on the tabloid news. The “world’s sexiest man” is now divorcing one of the world’s most desired women. You know this will bring ladies to the movie. All the tabloid action will stir up interest in the female of the species. In your mind’s eye, can you not see the producers of this movie rubbing their little hands together with glee? Lots of free press.

The whole thing reeks with Astrological overtones

For those who don’t know it, Scarlett Johanson is a Sagittarius. This is a masculine mutable fire sign. We would expect her to have a high sex drive, but changing and superficial interests in the romance department. Sagittarius is notorious for developing and loosing romantic interests.

For those who don’t know, Ryan Reynolds is a Scorpio. This is feminine, fixed water sign of considerable intensity. Accordingly, we would expect him to have the highest sex drive in zodiac, we would expect him to intensely, obsessively fixated on his lady, making big demands for intense intimacy. He complains that he didn’t get what he wanted out his Sagittarius lady.

No shit, eh? I could have told him that. Although these two signs are side-by-side in the Zodiac, they are definitely characterized as being incompatible. Fire and Water don’t mix. Superficial and changing interests don’t mix well with a highly intense, fixated, obsessive involvement. I am astounded that they ever got married in the first place. It doesn’t surprise me at all that they are now getting divorced. She wanted her freedom to do her own thing. How Sagittarius is that?

Then comes Blake Lively… For those who don’t know, Blake Lively is one of the few human beings walking the face of the Earth who is actually more Virgo than I am. Virgo is a feminine, mutable Earth sign of considerable intelligence and precision. We tend to be home bodies, not adventurers. We tend to have a few good friends, not a lot of friends. The friends we have are very close. We are not players. We don’t move around the mating grounds like conquistadors. Although we are mutable, we don’t develop romantic interest easily or lose them easily.

According to the poop-sheet, Scorpio and Virgo are very well matched. Some even give this pairing a rating of 5/5. My mind harkens back to a video I once saw of two male astrologers, both of whom were Scorpios, discussing which sign of the zodiac yielded the most desirable maters. In less than two minutes both agreed that Virgo women were the most desirable women. They named their reasons.

Evidently, Ryan agrees. Although both Ryan and Blake are denying the whole story, I suspect the rumors are true. You know what they say about rumors, don’t you? They are all true. After he has given it some time, I suspect Ryan will be seen publically with Blake and they will be a couple. The producers claim they cast these two because they thought they had great chemistry together.

Will it last? If I had to guess, I would say I doubt it. Surely, Ryan is better matched with Blake Lively than Scarlett Johanson. Still, according my software their Synastry is not particularly hot. Here are the numbers:

Category Totals

  • Romantic and Sexual Attraction: 57
  • Similarity of Interests and Temperament: 171
  • Mutual Success and High Achievement: 129
  • Problem Solving, Communication, and Mutual Understanding: 152
  • Mutual Kindness, Friendliness, Pleasantness, and Peace: 55
  • Aggressiveness, Competition, Power, Success, or Violence 127
  • Adventurousness, Surprises, Disturbances: 86
  • Shared Creativity, Imagination, and Inspiration: 84

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Shurmur needs a dose of Jacob's Ladder

Intro

Well, my Rams got their 7th win of the 2010 season against San Francisco 49ers this past weekend. As a special added bonus, we knocked the 49ers out of the playoff picture (if you can believe that). As double bonus, we sunk their battleship. The 49ers responded by firing Coach Mike Singletary, a questionable move that does not strike at the heart of their problems.

Let’s not be too full of malicious glee, because we still have a lot of work to do.

Great improvements but…

During the draft, I completely scoffed at all notions of the Rams pulling turn a turn-around and making the playoffs. Many sanguine Ram fans declared that a Miami/Atlanta type turn-around was possible. I scoffed at that, declaring that we were a lot further away from victory than Miami in 2008 or Atlanta in 2007. I was just hoping we could win a game. Forget about the playoffs.

At the beginning of this season, I scoffed at the notion that we were “poised for a great leap forward.” I felt we had made nowhere near the amount of progress we needed to see a “great leap forward.” We had a highly suspect and unproven offensive line, a surgically repaired rookie quarterback, no receivers and a few upgrades to our decent defense. That’s not enough, or so I thought.

Well we have made a hell of a lot of progress; surprising and unexpected progress. Most experts are calling the Rams the greatest surprise story of the year. We have a 6 game turn around in hand, with the possibility of a 7th and a playoff spot. Winning the NFC West means going from worst to first inside our division. In a certain sort of way, this can be considered a great leap forward.

Let’s not be too full of ourselves. There is still a hell of a lot of home improvement we need to make before we can start talking about a Super Bowl run.

We’re still not playing good football

The Rams of 2010 are drastically better than the Rams of 2009. As I have observed many times, the Rams offense of 2009 looked like keystone cops at a Chinese fire drill. The defense was a work in progress that didn’t start to look sharp until the end of the season. Improvement was evident through the season defensively, but we still only fielded half a football team. The Rams of 2010 look more like a complete team, with both offense and defensive sides contributing to victory. This is the reason for the six additional victories we have had so far, and the highly competitive games we have lost.

With that said, we still aren’t playing good football. At the moment, we cannot compete with the likes of the Eagles, Falcons and Saints for supremacy in the NFC. We don’t have much chance of beating the Saints when and if they come to visit us in the playoff tournament. Granted, we never expected to be in the tournament in the first place, so we have a moral victory in hand. I am sure you and I will want and expect a lot more next season.

What do we have to do to get there?

In a nut shell, these are the things that must happen in order for the Rams to improve:

1. We need a deadly receiver. As I mentioned in a past blog, I am not speaking of a Pro-Bowl, or even All-Pro receiver. I am speaking of a historical figure who will blaze a path to the Hall of Fame and the Top 100 in NFL history. I am talking about a deadly threat that will give all the other 31 defensive coordinators in the NFL maddening nightmares before the game. I am talking about a game-changing playmaker who turns the tide of battle when everything is going against us.

2. We need a pair of behemoth offensive guards. Two copies of Carl Nicks (#77 for the Saints) will do very nicely. If I can get one Larry Allen and one John Hannah, I will be happy to take that as well.

3. We need a franchise defensive tackle. Although the selection of Sam Bradford has turned out to be the correct one, it breaks my heart that we just passed on the best defensive lineman since Mean Joe Greene. Ndamukong Suh would have fit the need perfectly.

4. We need to get Pat Shurmur some aggression training courses. Perhaps a trip through Marine Corp boot camp and Infantry school will do it for him. He must hone his killer instinct, or he will become a dead Marine.

Why do I say this?

First, the need for receivers is pretty obvious. I don’t think any Ram fan will contest this point. We all know we are going to pretty well flush and clean our receiver corp next season. If I were running the show, the only two guys I would bring back for sure would be Danny Amendola and Danario Alexander. Every other man better row for his life or lose it.

Second, although we now have a great center and two rapidly improving young tackles, our guards are pretty terrible. Anyone who has watched the past three games knows that the offensive line has allowed pressure from the middle, and failed to open any sort of running holes in between the tackles. When Steven Jackson has gained yardage, it has been off-tackle. I have been one of the foremost detractors of our offensive line. They have turned out to be quite a bit better than I thought, but this is damning with faint praise. If we want to take steps in the playoffs, we need to make sure we have devastating offensive guards who drive-block and slide-block. How the 49ers’ three man defensive line managed to dominate our offensive line is utterly beyond me. What a disgrace! If you observe what they did, they constantly pinched in, going after the guard gap.

Third, anyone who watched the game against the 49ers saw the 49er offensive line gashing holes in the middle of our defensive line. This wasn’t the first time either. Teams such as Cardinals have been able to run between our tackles with shocking efficiency. All of this points the finger at our suspect defensive tackles. Fred Robbins is a very nice pass rusher, but he is not the equal of Williams brothers in Minnesota. Of course, we know Ndamukong Suh would have been the perfect candidate… Perhaps we can acquire Albert Haynesworth cheap next season.

Shurmur needs Jacob’s Ladder

Some have accused the Rams of calling a very conservative offensive game. I deny that. Rather, Shurmur is simply calling a stupid offensive game. We are passing more than we did last season, and we are looking more like a West Coast Offense, but Shurmur is not off the hook just yet.

Going to sleep offensively when you have a 9 point lead and chance to go up by 16 is stupid football. It’s not conservative, it’s stupid. It’s reminiscent of the worst aspects of Marty-ball. Some call this “playing it safe” and “playing conservative”. No, it’s being stupid. Call a spade a spade. This is stupid football. Shurmur is still calling a stupid football game offensively.

No lead is safe in this league, especially if you are playing a team like the Eagles in the Playoffs. When you have the lead, you attack to destroy and demolish. Fuck all that stupid shit about running up the score. You kill the enemy. When you have your opponent down on the carpet, you do not allow him to get up off the carpet. You put your pistol to his forehead and you pull the trigger. You blow his brains out. You burry your opponent. You finish your opponent.

Shurmur needs aggression training courses. He must hone his killer instinct. He has passed on several moments of truth when we could have killed our enemies and finished them good. How I wish I could give Shurmur a dose of Jacob’s Ladder before the game. For those of you who don’t remember the movie, Jacob’s Ladder was the code name for a hyper-aggression drug developed by the U.S. Military to motivate soldiers to extreme carnage in combat. A single dose would turn an ordinary home-town boy into an enraged psychopath, frothing at the mouth and ready to kill everything.

How I wish I could give Shurmur a dose of Jacob’s Ladder before the game against the Seahawks.

Monday, December 27, 2010

The Mutinous Rabble

Intro

Last night, whilst running a few errands, I noticed that head coaches on the hot seat, on fire, and inflames were the major themes of the evening on Sports Talk Radio. This was also the rage on the NFL Network. It looks like we are preparing for a firestorm of firings in the coming week. Mark Clayton of ESPN says 10-11 coaches will fall in total by the end of this week. That means about 33% of the teams in the league will fire a head coach.

I hate to toot my own horn, but I was forecasting this more than a month ago.

Mike Singletary fired

So the other shoe has dropped and Mike Singletary has been fired. I say fired in the past tense because they did the job on him last night, not after this week’s final game. When I saw this news, I was once again struck dumb by the horrendous turn around in the 49er organization this season.

At the beginning of the season, the 49ers were expected to enjoy a cup-cake walk to the NFC West title, and Mike Singletary was the face of the franchise. Everywhere you drove in the SF bay area, including San Jose, Mike Singletary’s face was visible on some bill board or poster somewhere. It wasn’t always a 49er advertisement, but it usually was. Mike was the super star of the team, and the reason to believe in a turn-around.

Now there are broken dreams and flying machines laying in pieces on the ground. The turnaround came, but it went in the wrong direction. There will be a new GM and a new head coach in San Francisco soon. The GM will be hired first, and that GM will select a coach. We’ll see if this turns out to be the Big Tuna or someone else.

The 49er Problems are deep and chemical

I live in the NFC West. I have been a Ram fan for more than 30 years now. I keep a close watch on the 49ers. My best buddy in life happens to a 49er fan. This is a biting irony, I know. I observe the 49ers very closely, in the same way that the CIA used to keep surveillance on the KGB. I know these guys pretty well. They are the prime enemy. Know yourself and know your enemy is the saying,

What I say to you now, I say in a spirit of scientific objectivity, not spite. The 49ers problems are a lot worse than Singletary or the QB situation. Further, I would question whether Singletary was a problem at all. You may have just fired a non-problem, even a solution provider.

Most would reply that Singletary lost control of his ship, and the 49ers became a rudderless shipwreck as the season went along. I don’t quite see it that way. I think Singletary had a mutinous rabble on his hands, and they took the ship from him. Yes, he probably mishandled an already terrible quarterback situation, but this was not the key to 49er defeat. He could have handled the QBs well, and the 49er Bust-Collective would have lost games anyway.

The key to 49er defeat is a collection of undisciplined, strong-willed divas on offense, who want to do what they want to do, and don’t get along with each in the process. That offense was a rabble. You only need to witness the conflicts that have occurred recurred between Frank Gore, Vernon Davis and Michael Crabtree to see what I am talking about. This group has no chemistry together. Surely it was never this way with Joe Montana, Jerry Rice and Roger Craig. Surely, it was not this way with Steve Young, Jerry Rice and Ricky Waters. Waters was a Diva elsewhere, but not in SF. Certainly, this internal conflict doesn’t make it easy to succeed as a QB with the 49ers, even if you have a good candidate.

Then there is the grand and sweeping problem of the 49er Bust Collective. During Sunday’s game, you had not one but two all-out bust #1 overall draft pick QBs, sitting on the bench, backing up a late-round, once-cut QB who was starting. Alex Smith, David Carr, Troy Smith… What a mess. Of course, the key issue here is that the 49ers have wasted 6 years waiting for Alex Smith to come around and bear fruit. It ain’t going to happen, so it is time to move on. It was really time to move on two years ago, but 49er organization has been very stubborn about giving up on Alex Smith. It cost them dearly over the last several years.

Now for the billion dollar question: If a leader as tough and single-minded as Singletary could not control that offensive rabble, then who can? I don’t think it can be done. The rabble, as currently constituted, will not be controlled. This is the problem the 49er organization needs to cogitate during the next several weeks while they are selecting a coach. You have had two highly professional and highly respected head coaches in a row in Mike Nolan and Mike Singletary. You even had Mike Martz in there for a time, and no man has successfully controlled that rabble yet.

Some, like Colin Cowherd would pile on the blame on the QB situation. Respectfully, I don’t think so. Certainly your Quarterback problems are terrible, but 49er problems won’t end with the acquisition of a franchise QB.

You can trade for the #1 pick and select Andrew Luck. You can hire Jim Harbaugh also. I doubt that will change things in 2011… if there is a 2011. No, the problem is lousy offensive chemistry, and not so great defensive chemistry. Certainly the defense is way ahead of the offense, and more talented also, but will they continue to be without Mike Singletary? I wouldn’t bet on it. I expect the offensive chemistry to remain lousy and the defense to get worse. We’ll see what happens.

Respectfully, you should consider dismantling your offensive unit, with the exception of the offensive line. If I were the new boss, I would release Alex Smith, David Carr, and Troy Smith. I would trade Frank Gore for anything I might get for him. I would try to acquire a ransom for Vernon Davis and Michael Crabtree. I would assemble as many picks as possible and do a full-rebuild in 2011. I would clean house on the offense side and see what I can do, rebuilding around a new QB.

Knowing them, they will select a QB #1 overall. I wouldn’t do that. I would look for Jake Locker later in the 1st round, or maybe the 2nd. I wouldn’t put all my eggs in one basket. I would distribute my picks around all the offensive skill positions. I would use my several picks to try to reconstruct and reform that offense completely. I would also consider restoring the West Coast Offense, which seems to work best in your home stadium conditions at Candlestick.

I would try to hire a good 3-4 coordinator, perhaps Wade Phillips, and leave the defense intact.

Rough ride ahead

Any which way you slice it, the die is cast. The 49ers are going to look like the 29ers next year. I think it is going to be a bust-up and rebuild situation. Certainly, any man willing to take on these problems will want the authority to fix it and fix it good. Any way you slice it, the 49ers should be in for a bumpy ride next season. I would expect it to get worse before it gets better.

The current epoch of 49er history can be compared to the early-to-mid 1970s 49ers. Certainly, those were not bad teams. Only a couple of monumental performances by Roger Staubach kicked those guys out of the playoffs. Then they blew up the ship, had a couple of really bad years with O.J. Simpson and Jim Plunkett before building a history with Bill Walsh and Joe Montana.

Right now, the 49ers are at the end of the mid-1970s.

All of this bodes well for the Rams

The augurs say this omen portends good things for the Rams. The Cardinals have landed. The 49ers, who looked poised for a good epoch, are burning as we speak. The Seahawks are still a franchise QB and some change away from competition. You can’t imagine my surprise as I look at things and realize that we might well be the favorite to win the division next year… if there is a next year.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Farewell to Pomplamoose

For all those who watch football and drive a Hyundai Sonata, you couldn't help but notice the last round of Hyundai Sonata commercials featuring Christmas classics such as "Up on the House Top" and "Tingle Bells".

These videos featured a San Francisco Bay Area Indie Rock duo called Pomplamoose. Pomplamoose is composed of Natalie Dawn and Jack Conte. Natalie Dawn is a 10/29/1985 Scorpio and Jack is best know for demoing effects peddles for Electro Harmonics. Evidently, he does the video editing for those videos in the same way he handles the Pomplamoose videos.

I was annoyed at the high frequency with which these commercials were shown during the early run up to Christmas. I confidently predicted they had only 12 days left before the commercial series dropped dead. Then I felt myself strangely moved by the strange magnetic powers of the Scorpion. I have to admit, that's the best recording of "Up on the House Top" I have ever heard, and I am 44 years old.

Well... Today is the day after Christmas and Pomplamoose has been replaced by an intesely pitiful commercial of the Hyundai Sonata crossing the Golden Gate Bridge. That is intensely boring! Jeeze man... what are we going to do without our Pomplamoose commercials during football now?

If I were her Hyundai, I'd keep on rolling with Pomplamoose. You can find other seasonal tracks for them to do. Get them to do a New Years tune like Auld Lang Syne, or something like that. The strategy was good. They are a real cute couple. They communicate the message that all cute couples who want that first good family car should look at the Sonata.



Thursday, December 23, 2010

Week 15 results, week 16 predictions



Last week was a dreadful week. I finished 8-8. Oh well, sometimes you win and sometimes you get the unholy shit beat out of you. I shouldn't complain. Many a money frontin' sucka cannot call an 8-8 record for the weekend. On the other hand, I still dream of an undefeated record in one week. I will settle for 13-3.

How could the Bengals, Bucs and Bills all upset in one weekend? Wow... The Jets also rallied and won that game against the Steelers, much as I suspected they would. I just didn't have the guts to call it. Dumb...

I'm not going to say much this week. I am just going to leave it as I call it. We'll see what happens.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

All I want for Easter is a deadly receiver



It is becoming clearer and clearer that Sam Bradford can be a special quarterback in the NFL, with two provisos. We need to keep him healthy, and we need to arm him with a deadly receiver.

Sam thrown for over 3,000 yards in just 14 games. He has two more shots at improving his standing. Only two other rookie QBs have ever done that, and they are not named Marino and Roethlisberger. Peyton Manning and Matt Ryan were those two QBs. Peyton threw for 3,700+ and Ryan threw for 3,440 yards. If Sam has two average games (218 yards) he surpass Ryan and fall short of Manning. This puts him between two very interesting figures. The augurs say this omen bodes well for the future.

Sam is frequently compared to Troy Aikman based on his size, accuracy, and Scorpio demeanor. If this be true, then I say it is time we find Sam his Michael Irvin. The most import thing we must do this off season is find a deadly receiver.

When I say deadly receiver, I am not speaking of consummate professionals who make the Pro Bowl and may have a shot at the Hall of Fame. Guys like Isaac Bruce, Torry Holt and Heinz Ward are fantastic, and I would like to have a few of them, but this is not what I mean when I speak of a deadly receiver. I am not speaking of Pro Bowl mega-talents. Guys like Vincent Jackson and Steve Smith are great, but these are not deadly receivers. I am not talking about divas with issues either. I don't want a Randy Moss or a Santonio Holmes.

I am talking about the best of the best of the best in the league. I am talking about impossible match ups. I am speaking of game-breaker, game changers. I am talking about a defensive scheme shredder who make DCs lose lots and lots of sleep before the big game. I am talking about a sure-fire, first-ballot Hall of Fame receiver who will give Jerry Rice a run for his money.

At the moment, I feel there are three receivers who qualify as deadly in the league this year. They are Roddy White, Andre Johnson and Calvin Johnson. Larry Fitzgerald and Brandon Marshall are having off-seasons this year, but they are also deadly. Young Dez Bryant is the fellow most likely to be joining this list in the near future.

Above all else, the Rams must acquire a receiver of this sort. If we arm Sam with this kind of receiver, it could be lights-out for everybody in the NFC West next season. In 2012, they sky will be the limit.

How I wish we could steal Larry Fitzgerald away from the Cardinals. Imagine this: Sam Bradford throwing the football to Larry Fitzgerald. Does that sound interesting to you? Even the casual observer of NFL football during the past three years would be impressed by the possibilities.

Yes, there are many rumblings that Larry Fitzgerald would like to part company with the Cardinals. Yes the Cardinals are a stupid organization, and likely to deal him for picks that might bring them a QB. Even the freakin' Cardinals would never be stupid enough to deal Fitzgerald inside the division, where he would destroy them twice per season, much as Kurt Warner did to the Rams.

Setting aside the fact that can't happen, you have to wonder what it would be like. Would Sam Bradford and Larry Fitzgerald work together well as a pass-catch combo?

Well, I hate to break out Sirus 1.1 and use the Synastry engine again, but the results look too good to simply pass them over. Sam is a Scorpio born on 11/8/1987 in Oklahoma City Oklahoma, but he is not heavily Scorpio. Larry is technically a Virgo born on 8/31/1983 in Minneapolis Minnesota, however, the Sun is the only Virgo in his chart. What do the scores look like?

Category Totals

1. Similarity of Interests and Temperament: 229
2. Mutual Success and High Achievement: 87
3. Problem Solving, Communication, and Mutual Understanding: 369
4. Mutual Kindness, Friendliness, Pleasantness, and Peace: 180
5. Aggressiveness, Competition, Power, Success, or Violence: 172
6. Adventurousness, Surprises, Disturbances: 186
7. Shared Creativity, Imagination, and Inspiration: 135

As you can see the scores look pretty damn good. The two have great similarity of interest, absolutely phenomenal communication, great friendliness, good shared creativity. The two scores that give me pause are the Success/Achievement score, and disturbances score. One is pretty average. The other is too high. With all that said, the scores are more than good enough for me to roll the dice here. I suspect the two would work incredibly well together.

According to Astrological rumor, Scorpio and Virgo are highly compatible. You can't look to me for any evidence or testimony. After 44 years, this Virgo has little positive case information to submit. I have no evidence to provide the defense team in this case. I am an odd Virgo though. On the other hand, my birthday buddy, Terry Bradshaw, had a full-on Bro-mance going with Sam Bradford during their recent interview. I guess it can work.

Capricorn Season starts now


The Solstice

For those who don’t know, last night was the longest night of the year, the winter Solstice. This marks the official beginning of winter. It also marks the end of Sagittarius season, and the start of Capricorn season. Oh happy day! I’m excited.

Virgo and Capricorn

Readers of this blog will know, by now, that I am a Virgo guy. Virgo is 2nd of the three Earth signs. Capricorn is the 3rd of the three Earth signs. For the record, Taurus is the first. All three signs go together extremely well, but I particularly favor the Capricorn females.

According to Astrological legend and lore, Virgo and Capricorn produce one of the premier matchups on the Synastry chart. Virgo and Capricorn go together like corn flakes and milk, like peanut butter and jelly, like pork and beans, like apple pie and vanilla ice cream, like Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall, like Mickey Rooney and Ava Gardner, like Chuck Noll and Terry Bradshaw, like Don Shula and Dan Marino. Schottenheimer and Brees collaborated to turn the Chargers around 10 years ago. It’s not always perfect, but it’s usually a red hot matchup. It produces results nobody can deny.

I’m going to smoke-out the Capricorn girls

This season, I intend to track the birthday lists very closely. This is the good season when all those snuggly little Christmas bunnies get born; little bundles of joy for every Virgo boy. I’m watching the birthday lists on Imdb.com, Iafd.com, brainyhistory.com, my company birthday list, the news, etc. We’re going to smoke out the Capricorn girls.

The trouble is that, although I particularly favor them, the Capricorn females have never particularly favored me. We’re going to see if we can’t work through that this season. I'm going to see if I can't catch one this season.




For those who don’t know

The skeptic will say that there are hot women of every sign, born at any point during the year. The astrological purist will tell you Synastry is relative to the individual chart in question. Regardless, I say to you that the Capricorn females are some of the finest women walking the face of the Earth. I intend to show you. I am going to post a birthday list of the hottest Capricorn females I find as their birthdays pop up.

By the end of this list, I guarantee you that you will have seen some of the hottest women you have ever seen. Darwin will tell you they have to be hot. Otherwise, they could not survive the deep winter of their birth.


Correction/Retraction


It turns out I was given some bad information. Mickey Rooney was not a Virgo. It turns out that he is a Libra, born on Day #1 of that season. Libra and Capricorn don't blend so well together. My boss can tell you all about that. This must be the reason why Rooney and Gardner didn't last long. Such a sad thing. I feel bad for the poor guy.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Week 14 Results, and Week 15 Predictions





Week 14 Results

I shot another 12-4 record last week, which was a pretty strong showing given some of the major contingencies we faced. Who could have known Aaron Rodgers would suffer a concussion whilst running against the Lions? Who could have predicted a Lion victory over the Pack? This was only one example of the several upsets we saw.

The bad-call I wish I had back was the Broncos v Cardinals. I did the hommer thing, picking the Broncos for the sake of my favorite kid, Tim Tebow, and for the sake of my Rams. Stupid… I should have known how deep the disarray in Denver would be after the firing of Josh McDaniels. They had no strong assistant to step up and take his place, as is the case (apparently) in Minnesota. The game plan was horrid and the team was flatter than a Crape Suzette.

Week 15

I have to confess that I am very uncomfortable with five (5) matchups this week. Those games are as follows:

1. Chargers v 49ers

2. Cardinals v Panthers

3. Jaguars v Colts

4. Jets v Steelers

5. Packers v Patriots

The 49ers just laid an epic beat-down on collective skull of the Seahawks, and they looked better than pretty good in the process. They could easily win this game. The Chargers have fulfilled my expectations for a mediocre season, and some. They have even lost in the month of December for the first time in a long time. I see little reason to be confident in the Chargers.

The only thing that causes me to trend this way is the even greater mediocrity of the 49ers. Like many, I picked the 49ers to enjoy a cake-walk to the NFC West title. Look at what has happened… The 49ers have added considerably to my loss totals, so I just can’t muster the will to pick them two weeks in a row.

The only reason I am taking the Chargers is this: It is a Phillip Rivers v Alex Smith duel. In a tie situation, the team with the better QB wins the first breaker. I’ll take the Chargers… very reluctantly

The Cardinals v Panthers is another woeful matchup of woeful teams suffering woeful QB problems. This is probably the single hardest game on the board to predict this week. Which turd will step up and win the Tidy Bowl game? Ultimately, after the Cards ran up the score on Denver, I believe their offensive punch is simply better than that of the Panthers. I’ll take the Cards… very reluctantly. This will be the most unwatchable game of the week.

The Jaguars v Colts is headache of a different persuasion. The experts say that the Colts win this game on paper. I say that just isn’t true. Peyton Manning’s numbers are not as fantastic as you think they are, and if you take those away, the Colts numbers look really bad. This will be a year to forget for the great one, and the distinguished Colts. The Super Bowl loser’s jinx is eating at their balls. The Jags can easily win this game, and this might even warrant an upset special of the week. I’ll take the Colts… very reluctantly.

The rats are bailing out of the crashing Jets faster than they ever abandoned any sinking ship. Don’t be so quick to write them off. They executed a major swoon last year before rallying in the playoffs. The real problem is that the Jets are weak in the lines. Their once elite offensive line is really showing the loss of Alan Faneca. Further, their defensive line is having big problems generating pass rush. The dirty little secret everybody keeps in the closet is that the Jets can’t seem to sack the QB this year. But then again, the Steelers are having trouble mustering a pass rush also. I see little reason to be confident in the Steelers. They seem to struggle along, and gather wins in the process, but they sure do fail to impress. I can see the Jets winning this game, but I will pick the Steelers… very reluctantly.

Finally, we have the Patriots v Packers. Of course, the media has already crowned the Patriots the SB 45 champions. Unfortunately, we just haven’t played the Super Bowl yet. If the Pack had a healthy Aaron Rodgers, they would be my favorite in this game. Unfortunately, they do not have a healthy Aaron Rodgers. Further, his medical status for the game is UNLIKELY as I pen this entry. Without Rodgers, I see little chance of the Packers beating the Patriots in their house. I’ll take the Patriots… very reluctantly.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

I knew it! Salt is absolute rubbish.

I can't believe it... they conned me into watching Salt (2010). I knew nothing good could come from this in advance, even though my best buddy and father both swore it was good movie. Never the less, I allowed them to con me into it, and now I am going to make the producers and director pay the price for it.

Get ready for a turbo fed fuel-injected blast of Virgo ultra-criticism.

Folks, Salt is a wretched narrative quagmire. I am talking about an all-out cinematic disaster based on an utterly preposterous premise, unbelievable plot moves, flat acting, and a horrid ending. Not only this, but it is incredibly out-dated and out-modded, being both set and made at least 20 years to late in the history of the world for any success at all.

I am horrified that the critics recorded a 61% tomato meter for Salt on RottenTomatoes.com. This is a disgrace. That is not just a failure on the part of the critical community, it is an indictment. You guys fucked up completely.

What is wrong with this movie? Let me just give you a couple of key points. Believe me, I could write 100 pages slicing and dicing this one.

What's wrong with the plot?

The plot is an old fashioned cold-war sleeper agent one, in which the old KGB master spies raised changeling children in the old USSR to infiltrate the U.S. Government in one capacity or another.

We are asked to believe that--in our present historical moment--former KGB bosses (who presumably no longer have any official authority) have decided to activate this network of sleeper agents to:
  1. Assassinate the current Russian President.
  2. Assassinate the current U.S. President.
  3. Launch U.S. nuclear weapons at Iran and Saudi Arabia.
  4. And that this will all lead to the restoration and glorification of the former Soviet paradise.
  5. We are asked to believe that sleeper agents of the former Soviet KGB would be unquestioning in their support for such a move... with the sole exception of agent Evelyn Salt.
  6. More over, we are asked to believe that they get astoundingly close to their objectives, even assassinating the President of the United States (inside his super-secure war room no less) and then issuing the launch codes, which are... somehow... countermanded in one of the most pitifully unbelievable and predictable twists in this plot..
Let me ask you a question: how can a launch code be 99% approved, and how do you revoke an authentic launch code by pulling the plug on a laptop? I have never heard of a progress meter for security authorization codes which roll from 0% to 100%. That's a funny thing too, because I write secure business software for living.

God damn it, that was intensely stupid! I groaned and then I cried laughing... at the writer.

Do you sense any problem here? Is there anything that lacks street cred in this sequence of points? Perhaps at the very height of the cold war when tensions were at their highest, you might have been able to sell this plot line to some thinking men, but not now. The whole thing, as stated, was completely unbelievable. I never bought in at any point. I was laughing out-loud at some of the ludicrous plot points.

What's wrong with the star of the show?

We are asked to watch the emaciated and now middle-aged Angelina Jollie do stunts neither Jason Borne nor James Bond did... except in their worst movies. I tell you, this woman gives John McClane of Die Hard fame a serious run for his money. The only problem is that not one stunt of it is believable.

To make matters worse, this movie is allegedly and purportedly an A-Lister vehicle. Accordingly, there is no other reason to make this movie except to put Angelina in front of her adoring fans. Accordingly, she is supposed to be a very likable and winsome character we are to cheer for. What do you think of woman who rescues her dog in an amazing get away, and then later cold-heatedly watches her beloved husband drown? How 'bout dem apples?

The only explanation we have for these rancid plot moves is utterly poor taste on the part of the story craftsmen themselves. These guys simply don't know how to write a good movie and create a compelling character that is believable. As such, we must call this movie dramatic and narrative failure. In the vernacular, it is a stinker.

Doubt creeps in...

Man has this movie caused me to doubt my friends and relatives. Both Colin and my Dad have had spine problems in the past, but never so bad as this. Specifically, they both have difficulty going against the prevailing opinion on a movie, especially when it contains a so-called A-Lister, because this would put them up against the majority.

NOW HERE THIS: FUCK THAT SHIT!

If the majority says 2+2=6 the majority is wrong, period. If I am the only one who says they are wrong, I am correct, no matter how they abuse me.

Salt is a piece of stinking, stenching, wet, runny, steamy cat poo-pooh, and no Angelina fan will ever convince me of the contrary. It would be a stinker even if it had featured an absolute favorite of mine, such as Paz Vega. The script simply does not pass muster. Better stated, the script gets an F-, with two middle fingers high in the air.

Salt is one of the worst movies of this or any other year. Don't get fooled. Don't waste a piece of your life watching this drivel.



Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Sam Bradford's report card


I was going to publish this report card on Sam Bradford at the three-quarter mark of the season. I decided to postpone until after the Saint game for several reasons. I was expecting that to be a bad loss. The Saints are beginning to peak, and the Rams have lost several key players on defense. I expected them to put a lot of points on the board, more than they actually did, thus leading to considerable down turn in Ram-fan moral.

Having a look at the accomplishments of this season should snap them out of it in time to make this stretch run through the final three games. We have good reason to be optimistic about these final three regular season games of the 2010 season.

Does anybody remember Edwards' Law?

Months ago, I wrote a piece laying down a framework for grading Sam Bradford's rookie year. I quoted Herman Edwards liberally in that entry. Edwards' law says that a franchise Quarterback is worth 4 more victories than you would have had without him.

Under that principle, we would project the Cardinals 6-10 football team in 2010 due to the retirement of Kurt Warner. I said 5-11 due to other loses. If the Rams actually acquired a franchise QB in the 2010 draft, we would expect the Rams to finish +4 at 5-11 in 2010.

What actually happened this year? Sure enough, the Cardinals have fallen hard, and worse than expected. At this point it seems unlikely they will reach 6-10. 5-11 might be difficult as well. On the other hand, the Rams are already 6-7, hold first place in the NFC West. Further, many believe they can win out against Kansas City, San Francisco and Seattle. The Rams continue to be the projected eventual winner of the NFC West.

The Rams are already +5 over last season with three more shots at victory; three shots in which we will be favored to win. You have to admit, that looks awfully good. What would you say to an 8 game turn around for the Rams? How does a 9-7 winning record and an NFC West title look on that resume? I would have to vote for Spags as the coach of the year, and Sam Bradford for AP Offensive Rookie of the year.

Even if this turns out to be a 7 game turn around, I would still favor Spags for coach of the year and Bradford for AP Offensive Rookie of the year.

Herm Edwards law is looking pretty good, and maybe even better than expected. In truth we shouldn't give all the credit for these changing records to the presence of a franchise QB, or lack thereof. The Cardinals lost Anquan Bolden, Karlos Dansby, and Antrell Rolle. The Rams also acquired Rodger Saffold, Barret Robbins, N'ail Diggs, and Michael Hoomanawanui.

Much depends on how the Rams finish, but I can tell you this: Herm Edwards' Law is looking pretty good, and Sam Bradford is looking pretty good according to Herm Edwards' Law.

How does Sam compare to Marc Bulger?

If you look at some game film of 2009 and 2010, you see quite a stark contrast in the Rams' offense in these two seasons. Under Bulger et al, the Rams were a run first and run second team. We threw the forward pass only as a last resort. In 2010 the Rams are very much a pass-first team, with counter-punch alternatives provided by the running game. Last year we were nominally a West Coast Offense team, but much more a grind 'em out running team. This year, you can actually say--with some intellectual integrity--that the Rams run a version of the West Coast offense.

Does that show up in the stats? Yep, you bet it does.

In 2009 Bulger completed 140 of 247 passes for a paltry 1469 yards, 5 TDs and 6 ints. In just 13 weeks, Sam has completed 286 of 474 passes for 2,884, 17 TDs and 12 Ints. Marc Bulger finished 2009 with a QB efficiency rating of 70.7. After 13 games, Sam Bradford has an NFL passer rating of 79.123. It was higher before the Saint game, nearly 81.

Most importantly, Bulger et al managed to produced a total of 175 points last season, an average of 10.9 points per game. This year, Bradford's offense has managed 245 points in just 13 games, or an average of 18.85 points per game. We are on pace to score 302 points in 2010.

Remember, Sam still has three games to pad his margins.

The conclusion is pretty clear cut. In slightly less than twice the number of attempts, Badford has more than doubled completions and yardage. He has more than tripled our number of touchdown passes, whilst only doubling the number of interceptions. As a result, point production has nearly doubled.

Last year, the Rams were dead-last (32nd) in points scored. This year, we are 25th in the league. Whilst a 25th in the league ranking is nothing to boast about , it is much better than last year, and better than I expected.

During the deep off season, I set down some goals for the Rams, and I hoped that we could nearly double our scoring from 10.9 to 20 points per game, for a total of 320 points. We are close to achieving this goal. If we win-out during this stretch run, we could very well make the 320 point goal.

A few words about the Playoffs

Some guys are ridiculing the notion of the Rams in the playoffs, detesting the fact that good team like the Packers may be left out because the NFC West gets an automatic bid. The same thing was said the Cardinals two years ago. Don't think I am predicting a Super Bowl, I am simply saying that those locked out of the playoffs always find a way to complain about their outcome.

Should we win-out and take the NFC West, We may well become road-kill for another team in the playoffs, but I wouldn't count on it. If we should happen to get a team like the Bucs, which is still hypothetically possible, we could and should be favored to win. It is more likely that the Giants and the Saints will be the NFC's two WC teams. Either would be a very difficult opponent.
Ultimately, the outcome of the playoffs is of no importance. The 2010 season will be a very memorable one indeed if we just get to 9-7 and make the playoffs. Most of us did not expect anything like this sudden turn around. Most of us didn't think the club had made anywhere near this level of progress during the off-season. No one in his right mind was talking about us contending--even for the NFC West--this season. Even the most sanguine among us believe the team needs one more super-strong off season before we can compete seriously in the NFC.

Just remember, if the 2010 season proves anything, it proves this: One more super-strong off season in 2011 will put us in position to dominate the NFC West and contend in a serious way.