Busy day on the family front, but sometime around 6pm Eastern I wrote but never finished the following:
My, these college picks are bad. I don't even think they are worth that nickel. I still like Tennessee tonight so that probably means go Auburn. Interesting Saturday in that most of the trendy picks this week haven't come through.
At this point, I'm only standing by the Oakland selection. That one is the only one this week I've been tracking anyhow. The rest has been speculation.
I refuse to play along with this Atlanta newspaper's online demands to read their material. But from what I can get from google and espn, Jamal Lewis maybe talking about a deal in his drug case. If someone else picks up the story, I'll link it here.
After all that, Jake Plummer decides not to wear Tillman's #40 on his helmet.
According to a 'spokesman' for Keenan McCardell, the Bucs have turned down the Keenan for Johnson trade.
Footbal anaylists have been noting the Bucs D is much less cover 2 these days. It's been that way every since the offense stopped being able to hold the ball for more than 25 minutes a game. Here's a TBO article about it.
The Tennessean likes new Bears starting QB Jonathan Quinn.
Baltimore Sun (subsc) preview of this week's Monday Night game.
Saints already thinking they're not as good as their 2-1 record. At least, not with all these injuries. Local NO preview here.
Onterrio Smith's appeal put off until Oct 6. Still may be available for week 5. Bennett will be too though.
UPDATE: So here's the Lewis story via espn. It's 35 words.
I also overlooked a couple of stories. This one about Rod Smart being fined because he was in Lakeland for the hurricane. Ridiculous Carolina. Ridiculous.
Dante's Hall fat lip is making things even harder for the Chiefs to field a respectable offense on Monday.
UPDATE: With all this talk about how the Jags are like the 2000 Ravens (Del Rio was the LB coach then), I thought it'd be interesting to find out if Indy ever played Baltimore that season. They didn't, but they did in 2001. A lot was different, but Manning still threw for 310. Here's the boxscore.
UPDATE - SATURDAY: ESPN has sources that Jamal Lewis will go with a plea that will take effect at the end of the season. The big concern now is if the NFL will let him finish this season.
Thanks to a leaky AC turning my bathroom closet into a swimming pool, I'm running behind today. So in an effort to go with quality over quantity I'm going to give this a try. Nickel picks and Damn Near Lead Pipe Locks.
Notre Dame vs Purdue (+2.5) - Podolsky points out that Purdue hasn't won a game at South Bend in its last 13 tries. Everyone likes Purdue QB Kyle Orton, but more as a NFL prospect. This is still a team game and as Herbstreit points out here, 8 of the 11 starters for Purdue's defense are first years starters. This is a nice local rivalry, and with the home team getting points, it's worth a nickel's chance. This will come down to which team can get touchdowns instead of field goals. Yahoo
Oregon St. vs Cal (+7) - Looking for an upset? Another home dog. The line is at seven, but I think if it's close, OSU will take it all. If they don't win, I doubt the seven points will cover the loss. So for my nickel, I'd take the +250 and go for the upset. Cal has had three weeks off and everyone is saying that they'll be rusty. I'm sure they're aware of it too so I don't factor that much into this. There's also lots of talk of the Cal looking ahead to USC next week and there's also support for OSU since the Beavers almost beat LSU a few weeks ago. I don't think OSU will be underestimated by Cal, but it will come down to whether or not the Beavers can avoid beating themselves. So I say upset or blowout. Take the +250. Yahoo
Iowa St. at Oklahoma St. (+17.5) - OSU is 3-0, newly ranked and feeling good about themselves. But they do their damage on the ground and 17 points is a lot to give to a supposedly solid Iowa St. defense. I haven't seen ISU play this season, so I'm just going with the numbers here. It looks like they'll lose, but I'm thinking they can keep it within 2 touchdowns. Yahoo
West Virginia at Virginia Tech (-3) - The Mountaineers have taken two straight from the Hoakies, they are the better team here, and I tend to favor road teams in the noon games for some reason. Yahoo
Tennessee vs Auburn (+2) - Home dogs are my choice this week. And just like I usually go with road teams at noon, I go with home teams after 6. Especially at Rocky Top. Freshman QB Erik Ainge has impressed me enough for me to think that he'll get most of the snaps in this one. And after losing bad to Auburn in '03, this is one of those games that I think Tennessee has been waiting for. Once the Volunteers can control the clock, they should pull out the win. Yahoo
I usually like a lot of pro games and just a couple college, but this week it's the other way around. Week 4 in the NFL, there are lots of 2-1 and 1-2 out to prove something.
Jets at Miami (-6) - Well coached teams usually play well coming off bye week and I don't think there are any coaches out there better than Herman Edwards. He motivates well and adapts well, two things that don't usually go together in leaders. This is probably the last week Vegas will hesitate on taking the Jets for real. They face a Miami team who may probably improve their passing this Sunday, but still won't have enough to win. I don't really like the -6, as I see some garbage time points being put up by Fiedler, so it's not the DNLPL of the Week. Yahoo
Colts at Jags (-3.5) - Buy this to 2.5 and enjoy. It's still July in Florida and as long as it doesn't rain, Jacksonville doesn't have the players in their secondary to contain this Machine. Instead, they'll hope to get pressure on Peyton without blitzing. To counter, I think the Colts will finally unleash Dallas Clark this week. The tight ends are always the key to beating a defense that drops seven into coverage. It should be a fun game to watch. Yahoo
Cardinals vs Saints (+3) - As I've mentioned this week, the Cards could be 3-0 with a little better execution. And the Saints are lucky to be 2-1. It's hard for an NFL team to go 0-16, no matter how bad they are, so these are the kinds of games teams like the Cardinals need to win. I still like Josh McCown here and I still don't think Aaron Stecker is an every down back. But this will be one game that I'll wait to see the boxscore for. Yahoo
Raiders at Texans (-2.5) DNLPL - Another game I've tracked all week. Since I really do have a friend in Vegas right now getting me action on this, it's this week's Damn Near Lead Pipe Lock of the Week. I've pretty much already detailed why, so just track back here and here if you need to. Yahoo
UPDATE: Where I went wrong? Well, first of all, don't follow a sport two days a week and then try to make pics on the fly and without the necessary time to put enough of your own original thoughts into it. Second, despite being young, Purdue proved yesterday that it has real athletes on it's team and Notre Dame still has leftovers. Third, at least I was partially right about the Cal game. The seven points didn't matter. Fourth, well, it was just a bad today. I've moved on.
- posted by jrf @ 10/01/2004 03:04:00 PM
I've heard rumors around Tampa that this will be Tony Dungy's last year as a NFL head coach.
Doesn't LJ Smith look like a wide receiver when he runs?
I mentioned last week that David Carr's passing number are better on the road. Here's the stats. 7 TDs and 17 INTs at home. 14/15 on the road. Not only are they at home this week, but the Texans also have a rookie starting at CB, had Drew Brees complete 70% in week 1, 72% for Harrington in week 2, and 70% to Trent Green last week. Week 4, it's the new Raiders. Kerry Collins to Jerry Porter, Ronald Curry, and Doug Gabriel. With Dominick Davis still not practicing, I love the Raiders here so much that I'm sending a messenger to Las Vegas to put $20 on the -2 (pic soon to come). And as I was looking for that Davis update, I found this about the Texans pass D.
Here's a good 'reality check' story for the Eagles. With comparisons to last year's Cheifs.
This Orlando Sentinal article (subsc) expects John Lynch to be welcomed this weekend. With the Bucs 0-3, that's more than a sure thing. I'd say that he'll be cheered more total times than the Bucs get first downs.
Ben Watson is on IR. Daniel Graham and David Givens should get most of the red zone looks for the Pats.
JP Losman is recovering quickly. If the Bills keep struggling, look out for him towards the end of the year.
Jerome Pathon is hurting. So is Joe Horn and Talman Gardner. With Duece out too, look for the Cards to upset the undeserving 2-1 Saints.
Ex-Pitt QB Rod Rutherford subs for Mike Vick at the Panther's practice. Not exactly the same thing.
Look at the receiving leaders so far this season. Look at last season's stats. It's still early, but there's not really a pack that is leading the way like there has been in the last few seasons.
Steve McNair finally made it home from the hospital yesterday. Despite doubts that he will play this Sunday, I think Billy Volek can be a decent fill in for the Titans.
The NY Post and an AP source have said that Jay Fiedler will start this week against the Jets. It's being picked up everywhere now. Brock Forsey, who filled in for a few games last season for the Bears, was picked up by the fish and could get a chance at RB.
With Dominick Davis and Tony Hollings injured, the Texans may have to rely on Jonathan Wells this week. They face the Raiders, who I think will roll over this team. The line was -2 this morning. You can bet that'll be part of my Friday write up.
Three weeks into the season, many patterns have emerged. But even if you're 0-3 in fantasy land, hope is just a few smart moves away. 0-3 in NFL land, well, start paying attention to players on Saturdays.
The best thing anyone can do is to take advantage of some poor starts and to go out and get someone who may be undervalued. It's always about value.
A good place to start is with players who just had their bye week. Not only will you not have to worry about sitting them later on in the season, but their stats don't look as good as most everyone else. Jake Delhomme is a good example here. Not too many people have missed noticing the Jets are off to a great start, so Chad Pennington probably won't be cheap. But Jake is in a new kind of offense this year in Carolina. I think he'll put up some decent numbers for the value he's at right now.
At running back, I can think of no better opportunity than Rudi Johnson right now. With the patches that offensive line has had to put together, and Carson Palmer's first few starts, it's not surprising that Rudi hasn't had a big game yet. But he's still had decent numbers so far this season. And remember what kind of runner he is. He's Jerome Bettis minus 30lbs. The cold months should be his months. It's also not a bad idea to take a shot at LT. He started slow last season too and really finished well.
Wide Receivers are usually the easier bunch to pick up as the season goes on. But consider what the Kerry Collins change will do to Jerry Porter's future. Also Tyrone Calico has yet to play a game, and maybe somone has given up on him.
Some other notes around the National Football League.
The NY Times (subsc) has this story about Tiki being the featured back. Every year people seem to write him off, he comes back like this.
In his Monday press conference, Mike Martz answered questions regarding his lack of balance by saying "You can find another coach then. We're going to play fast and furious. That's what we do." Here's an article with more detail.
Lee Suggs expects to be back this week. Butch Davis comments on the offense.
Brad Johnson will remain the starter. At one point during Sunday night's game, I think I saw Gruden say something to him about how he was finishing that game no matter what. That's what it looked like, at least. I think Gruden underestimated the effect bringing in Simms last week would have. It's almost to the point where you can't bench the QB to light a fire under your entire team like it used to be done. Like it's done in hockey with the goaltenders.
Seahawks defense is getting a lot of recognition. They've played 2-1 NO, 0-3 TB, and 0-3 SF. I'm not saying they're not good, but let's wait and see.
Steve McNair is still in the hospital. Status for Sunday still uncertain.
Interesting story out of Green Bay about two of their CB's getting into a fight after the week 2 loss to Chicago. With that and the whole Mike McKenzie situation, it's no wonder they looked so bad against the Colts.
With not exactly the same violence, Joey Harrington talks about Tony Siragua's sideline comments.
The deal to move the Expos to Washington would be subject to government approval of funding for both a $13 million refurbishment of RFK Stadium and a new ballpark costing slightly over $400 million, which would be built along the Anacostia River in the southeast section of the city.
A move also must be approved by three-quarters of major league owners and survive legal challenges by the Expos' former limited partners and possibly by Baltimore owner Peter Angelos, who objects to having a team just 40 miles from his. Bob DuPuy, baseball's chief operating officer, went to Baltimore on Friday to negotiate a compensation arrangement with Angelos.
The Orioles owner told The (Baltimore) Sun that he could be persuaded to drop his opposition if he could be assured that his team and the state of Maryland's investment in Oriole Park at Camden Yards could be protected.
"If those two goals can be accomplished, and I feel the franchise would be secure and the revenue stream is protected and the asset value is secure, it might be possible to make a deal," Angelos told The Sun for a story Tuesday.
New Yorkers who want this project to happen should be careful what they wish for. Do they really need this monument? Does it really make a difference that the Jets play in New York City to anyone other than the Jets? Doesn't it matter more to NYC that businesses still find it an attractive place to keep and create jobs? Doesn't it matter more that public structures that can do a lot of good -- such as the school system -- get more attention, not less?
I agree that stadiums should not be at the top of the list of items to be funded by public money, but at the same time I've seen first hand the effect the building the Tampa Bay Lightning play in has had on downtown Tampa. The biggest concern I have for the NYC proposal is that there is a great deal of public housing in and around the proposed area and I wonder where those people would end up.
UPDATE: I just found this site, Field of Schemes. They are pretty much dedicated to discussion about frachises, stadiums, and cities. Today's post is about the NYC hearings.
Kevin Jones is out for at least two weeks. Pinner has been average with his opportunities and I know Mariucci likes Bryson's versatility. Mooch will never go with just one back, and even though Bryson doesn't have much upside, he could easily get 40 yards and a TD one day soon.
Losing Rex Grossman for the year doesn't seem like a huge loss statistically, but he brought a lot of energy and spunk to that offense. It's Thomas Jones' offense anyway.
Rich Gannon will be out for at least 6 weeks. Before that was announced, here was an article calling for Norv Turner to make the change to Collins anyway. Many people following the situation didn't think Gannon would finish the season as the starter anyway. This completes this chapter of the story. I think Oakland will have a good second half of the season.
Jon Ritchie is out for the year too. Having a FB that can do all kinds of things is pretty important in an offense like Philadelphia's. There are always people at UPS who could play fullback, but Andy Reid will have just one less weapon as the season goes on. LJ Smith's injury doesn't sound serious yet, but we're still waiting to hear officially.
Michael Pittman's first day back is today, and it couldn't be at a better time. With Charlie Garner lost for the year, expect Pittman to become an immediate impact in the passing game. He may carry the ball 15 times for 40 yards too.
Denver limited LT to just 2.6 yards per carry on Sunday. Before the season began, I didn't think the Broncos would finish better than 8-8 because of their offense. But it was clear that they would be better defensively. Their only real weakness will be exploited by a team who has good depth at WR. Obviously, San Diego is not one of them. Denver plays Tampa in week 4.
The Chiefs have shopped Larry Johnson to the Dolphins, perhaps trying to capitalize on the Fish's poor judge of talent. In a related story, Lamar Gordon is listed as doubtful for week 4.
Jags impressed will Chris Brown. I still think he won't finish the season healthy.
Here's a story that makes me think even some of the Rams are raelizing that Mike Martz is not a good head football coach.
The Vikings are just getting hammered with injuries. They have depth, but do they have this much?
PFBW's Whispers are out. Lots of good stuff. Lots.
Here's a story about grumblings in KC. Vermeil and Martz having trouble?
A local Denver writer says the team needs more than just Quentin. I tend to believe that as well.
My roof did finally stop leaking. Landlord was notified.
By this time next week, we'll be looking towards the playoffs. Teams have exactly one week to either make their move or to do something that will give fans hope for 2005.
Some interesting things of note:
Vinny Castilla leads the NL RBI race by 7. Vinny Castilla!
Johan Santana's last bad start was on May 23. Since then, he's gone at least 6 innings in every start and has not given up three runs or more in all but three. He's only given up more than 2 ER once since June 3. But really, we haven't seen anything like this in quite some while. This is his line since the beginning of June:
The thing speaks for itself. Except for one final fact: his bio says he's 25 years old.
Beltre, Pujols, and Bonds are 47, 46, 45 respectively in the HR Race. Interesting that they are all NL players.
Bonds and Ichiro are one thousandth of a batting point apart. One of them is hitting .373, the other is hitting .372. One of them has 673 AB, the other has 360. One has 58 K's, the other has 39. And if it were not for Ichiro's 250 hits, Bonds would have more walks (222) than anyone else had hits.
I've been planning on writing something about Jake Peavy for about a week now but I haven't found the time to. His numbers are pretty shocking too. A lot of it is that ballpark he's in but it has to be a lot of him too. I don't know much about him other than he has been a top prospect for a few years now. Sometime this week I'll get to figuring out his story and delivering my book report.
Lots of big pitching matchups tonight. Every game I see someone I'd like to favor, there's someone else opposing him that is in a good position too.
1:53 - Onterrio Smith just doesn't have the body control and balance to be a great running back. He's got good instincts and quickness though, but doesn't protect the ball real well.
1:55 - Randy Moss can snatch the ball out of the air like few others. It looks like Roy Williams may have a similar style.
1:55 - My roof is leaking...
1:59 - The Detroit defense looks very fast. They make mistakes and don't have much of a secondary, but if you watched Brian Westbrook cut his way through the Vikings last week and see how he's much more contained today, it's surprising.
2:05 - The Eagles are throwing touchdowns to their long snapper before the first half is over. Shame on those who thought the Lions had a chance today (I guess I was one of them).
2:10 - Announcers today are talking about how defenses are trying to strip the football just as much as they are trying to tackle the ball carrier. While that may be true, it's nothing new. It really just looks like offense players are slow to realize how much more important it is to keep the ball instead of gaining two or three more yards.
2:16 - Don't the Texans realize that Tony Gonzalez is the only above average receiver on that team? They're running zones like they're playing the Vikings.
2:19 - What does it say about the Dolphins run blocking that the Jets and the Ravens have had their way with the Bengals, but Gordon could only manage 22 yards? And what do you think the Steelers are going to give them tonight?
2:21 - My roof is still leaking.
2:22 - With the Pitt/Miami game delayed until tonight, the only game the Tampa Bay market is getting right now is the Saints/Rams game. Today alone is worth the entire directv season package.
2:37 - The Chiefs D looks more disciplined today, but their offense still can't get things going. It's 7-6 at half. My +10.5 is looking pretty good.
3:13 - With the score 14-6, I was typing some words about how the Chiefs offense was finally moving the ball. But I've just backspaced over those as I watched Coleman run 102 yards. The score is tied now. The Chiefs have looked better this half, but when you see this replay, it's clear that they are still out of sync.
3:23 - If the Cardinals could just score points off of turnovers, they'd be 3-0. Sure, that's a big if, but it's more a comment on how poorly the teams they have played are executing.
3:49 - The Titans have played all day to lose. And now they're about to. What stuns me about Leftwich's 4th quarter drives this season is the amount of time he has had to throw. He just stands back there and fires passes. Hardly ever pressured, he has time to unleash that giant wind up he has. I figured this game would be close, but the Jags are 3-0?
3:52 - The Bears are another team I stayed away from this week. That line was at 11.5 by game time. The Vikes were gonna win, but this Bears team is obviously much better than whoever is responsible for setting that line thinks.
3:55 - There's a line for tonight's game for Jerry Rice's total receptions. It's 2.5. With all the talk about his streak being snapped I'd be interested in that. They're playing the Bucs, and if there's a type of defense Rice can still catch passes in it's this kind.
I'd like to pick up Reggie Bush in my keeper league please.
I'm gettin weary of my three NFL picks. Hank Goldberg reports Bill Parcells is 11-6 all time against Joe Gibbs and Dallas has won 12 out of 13 against the Skins.
Also from Hank is that Tennessee has covered five straight against Jacksonville. The Saints are 12-3 ATS at St. Louis. And, something most know by now, Brett Favre has a very poor record in domes (4-15). Hank went Ten, NO, Ind, and Dallas and since he rarely, if ever, goes 4-0, maybe I shouldn't be too worried.
There are some players that may be surprise performers today. Andre Davis could be one considering 1)he's facing the Giants secondary, 2)the Browns figure to be throwing a lot today, 3)Winslow's out. I also sort of like Ron Dayne today. He really hasn't done anything yet. And as banged up as the Bears secondary is, they're gonna have to blitz a lot to keep the Vikings from throwing deep every down. Still, someone like Kerry Campbell has a good chance to catch a long TD pass out of the slot today. I also think Tennessee will really be throwing the ball today. Mason and Bennett and even Kinney could have nice days. Donte Stallworth should be the primary weapon versus the Rams.
UPDATE: Mort reports Ron Dayne is inactive. Suggs, Ulracher as well.
Other news, Mike McKenzie is out. Warrick Dunn will start. Eddie Kennison it out. Dante Hall will start. Travis Taylor is out. I still have power (hope, hope).
And hey how about Marcus Robinson versus his former team? Daunte likes the tall guys in the red zone. Maybe he'll force one in to Marcus like he does to Randy all the time.