Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Mike Shanahan: What Dallas' Offense Needs

The only problem with acquiring Shanahan is that it would take at least a year to get the right offensive line for his zone blocking scheme. Or at least a year to teach it to a new crop. Besides that, it would be scary to see what he could do with Barber, Felix and Choice. If he can make Peyton Hillis look like a Pro-Bowler. No offense to Hillis.

Just a thought. It probably won't happen but I think it would be a good move. He seems to have his team's respect and I can't imagine Tony waving him off.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Matt Ryan: Offensive Rookie Of The Year

Matt Ryan beats out an outstanding rookie class that included Chris Johnson, Steve Slaton, Ryan Clady, Matt Forte and Joe Flacco. I think that Matt Ryan is the most deserving of the candidates. Leading a fractured franchise back from the brink into immediate contention. Granted some of that credit should go to the new head coach and workhorse Michael Turner. But ultimately, a team's success or failure falls on the shoulders of the QB.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Cowboys No Show

So, another NFL season ended without any damage done by the Cowboys in the playoffs. Once again, they're sent away whimpering into the night. Without a fight. Something is fundamentally wrong with this team. It's not talent, I think it's known throughout the NFL that the Cowboys might have the most talent on their squad. So, it's either playcalling or coaching or both.

I'm calling out Jason Garrett. I don't understand some of his decisions throughout the game. Passing more than running on third and short. He seems to outthink every situation in his young career. Sometimes, go with the obvious call. It's ok. We have almost two tons of flesh leading the way, with a lot of talent. You should be able to gain a yard every once in a while by running the ball. The inability to free up Terrell or Roy Williams is troubling. Atlanta, Tampa Bay, even Kansas City seem to be able to get it to their top wideout 6-7 times every game. And if Dwayne Bowe is getting his balls from Tyler Thigpen, Tony Romo should be having a field day with Roy AND TO out there.

Jason Garrett has to go. Or at least demoted. Which he probably won't take sitting down? So, he has to go.

Wade Phillips is a wonderful defensive coach. The things he's been able to accomplish with the defense in the past month has been amazing. However, we're not even in the post season this year. So, that means two things. Wade can't be our head coach and Brian Stewart can't be our defensive coordinator. Jerry says that Wade is staying, I just hope he gets put on defense only. I would like Bill Cowher to be the head coach.

What's missing from this team other than coaching? Not much, I look around and I don't see a lot of weaknesses. The only spots I have questions at are safety, wide receiver and maybe offensive line. In the Philadelphia game yesterday and in the New York Giant game, it seemed like Romo was running for his life the whole game. That's becoming a trend. it might be time to look into three spots along that line. Flozell, Columbo and whoever's at the left guard spot. They seem to get beaten off the line of the scrimmage on a regular basis. Safety, might be filled with the return of Pat Watkins. I thought Watkins took some positive steps this year before falling to injury. And wide receiver. I think the addition of Roy means the subtraction of TO, but I still think we need a speed WR.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Cowboys Lose, Still In Position To Clinch Playoff Berth

Not that the Cowboys deserve it, but they can clinch a spot in the playoffs if they can manage to beat the Eagles next week. Even after allowing two long TD runs (77, 82) at critical junctures in the game where you know Baltimore's going to run. We're still in it. Undeserving of a playoff run. Absolutely. This team won't get past the first round, especially since we're probably going to play the third seed and not Arizona, who just might be the only playoff hopeful playing worse than we are.

Monday, December 15, 2008

The D Is Back In Dallas

DeMarcus Ware is 3 1/2 sacks away from tying Michael Strahan's single season sack record. Terence Newman picked up two interceptions last night. The defense overall played like a championship caliber defense. Maybe Wade should have taken over some of the defensive responsibilty sooner. We wouldn't have been in a backs against the wall mode. Better late than never.

As the focus was primarily on the offense, particularly TO, Witten and Romo, the defense steps up and controlled the game from the outset. Eight sacks. Of course, it helps when Plaxico Burress and Brandon Jacobs are out. Their two best offensive threats. My ticker tape celebration is temporarily on hold. With two of the best defensive efforts since the Jimmy Johnson era, our defense is back on the map. We've always had the talent, but we finally are reaching that potential. No surprise that Roy Williams isn't on the field. Sorry, cheap shot.

Back to the Owens drama, it got reduced a little this week with the win, but it's still there. If we don't make the playoffs or if we get ousted in the first game, it'll rear it's ugly head with a vengeance. I think we have to win one playoff game for this to end peacefully. Or have a chance to end peacefully.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Dallas Loses In Double OT

What did you expect? The rivalry continues. It has the familiar faces, Terry, Duncan, Finley, Dirk, Dinobli and Parker. This season's additions promises to make it even more exciting. Jose Juan Barea might be the answer to that all important question from this team. Who's going to attack the basket? And ironically, it comes from the most vertically challenged member of the Mavericks. JJ seems to be able to consistently get to the hoop as he continues to play out of his mind.

I'm going to make an outlandish statement. And my friend already shoved this to the side. JJ Barea reminds me of Steve Nash. Obviously Steve Nash is a much more polished point guard but they both have similar games. They both can get to the hole, seemingly at will, distribute the ball, shoot the three at a successful rate and can frustrate defenses as a whole. With Jason Kidd teaching him the finer points of being a point, he could develop into a mini Nash. Ok, feel free to laugh now. I still stand by it.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Dallas Cowboys vs Pittsburgh Steelers

Tony Romo looked awful while the defense looked absolutely spectacular. I refuse to blame this loss on the defense. Yes, they looked a little futile on the game tying drive from the Steelers, but the unit was on the field for the entire fourth quarter, or at least that's what it felt like. I will put this loss squarely on the arm of Tony Romo. I don't care what route Witten was supposed to run on Romo's last two interceptions. Romo wasn't sharp all game. Wind or not, this was the worst game I've seen him play.

The defense played it's best game to date. Adam Jones was spectacular. Ware was dominant. Bradie James made a serious bid for a Pro Bowl appearance. Jay Ratliff IS the best 3-4 nose tackle. The goal line stand to temporarily preserve a 10 point lead should have sealed the game for the Cowboys. That is, if the Cowboys offense could have mustered any type of drive in the last 8 minutes of the fourth. Anything, even driving to the Steelers 40 and punting would have sealed it. The way the defense was playing, it would have held 10 points.

What this loss does is put a lot of pressure on the Cowboys as they are competing with eight other teams for the last four spots. The only positive thing about this loss was the play of the defense, Tashard Choice and the fact that they were an AFC team. I feel like Dallas has to pull off two of the three remaining games to have a decent chance at a playoff berth. No easy task with the Giants, Ravens and the Eagles on tap. Personally, I think we got ousted from the playoffs when Romo went down against Arizona.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Mavericks Finally Over .500

It took a pretty stunning comeback capped off with a 3-pointer from JJ Barea, but the Mavericks finally have more wins than losses. They'll have to thank small ball and the zone for the comeback. So, kudos to Carlisle for switching it up. Let's see what they have against Phoenix as they're showing some signs of life lately.

Monday, December 1, 2008

The BS System

The BCS needs to change. There are too many teams with legitimate grips every year. This year, it's my beloved Longhorns. Usually, it's the SEC that preys on itself and eliminates each other. This year, the Big 12 falls victim and unfortunately, they're all from the Big 12 South. Texas Tech, Oklahoma and Texas all deserve to be in the Big 12 Championship game and in BCS bowls. However, at least one of those three will be out of the BCS.

I think people have been getting it wrong. Everyone is trying to make the BCS as fair to everyone as possible. Weighing in from the AP, Coaches and the computers. Computing averages and strength of schedules. Making sure every major conference is well represented. Making sure the "little" schools have a shot. Since when did sports become so political. Only the BCS could leak objectivity and doubt into an event that should leave no doubt. Only the BCS can make the easiest way to determine a champion into a formula. Coaches pleading and pushing their team into spotlights so that they can gain points in a poll.

Who the hell put these people in charge? Why is college football the only sport on earth with computer averages? There's gotta be money in a traditional playoff system. I'm sure the NFL isn't suffering from lost revenue due to a playoff system. Note to sponsors, just because my team is playing in the Fiesta Bowl doesn't mean I'll go buy some chips from you. You've heard it before, this rant. Pleading for a playoff system. I'm not the first or the last to grip about it. But people keep watching. So there's no reason for them to change. So, we'll continue following the figure skating model of determining a champion.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Pacman Back At Practice

The prodigal son returns. Maybe this time, he'll be a model citizen. Probably not. Personally, I'd rather have the other Jones back. Felix. Cross your fingers, Cowboy fans.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

My Favorite WR Returns Home

The Cowboys, a few hours after it lost Adam Jones for a minimum of four games, acquired Roy Williams from the Detroit Lions for a first, third and sixth round pick in the 2009 NFL Draft. A little bit of a high price but a necessary evil considering the coverages that teams have been throwing them to neutralize Terrell Owens. This gives the Cowboys a legitimate #2 wide receiver and an inability to double or triple cover TO.

Update: Mat McBriar is officially out for the season as the Cowboys have put him on the IR.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Pacman Jones Suspended Indefinitely

Well, we thought it would be coming. Goodell has suspended Adam Jones indefinitely for his violation of the Personal Conduct Policy. Add this to the list below.

Cowboys Season In Jeopardy

If Romo doesn't play in the next three weeks, Dallas' season might be over. Consider the next three opponents, St. Louis, Tampa Bay and the New York Giants. The Giants game is a loss. The Tampa game is at home so it helps but I see us losing that game as well. The only game that I have the Cowboys favored in is the St. Louis game. That puts us at 5-4 record at the bye week.

In the NFC, I have NY Giants winning the East and the Arizona Cardinals winning the West. That leaves Washington (4-2), Philadelphia (3-3), Green Bay (3-3), Chicago (3-3), Minnesota (3-3), Tampa Bay (4-2), Carolina (4-2), Atlanta (4-2) and New Orleans (3-3) fighting Dallas for the other four playoff slots. And we can only get a wild card.

Other reasons I don't think we'll make the playoffs. We can't rely on the defense. Terence Newman, remember, is also out for a month. Our defense, as highly touted as they are, has allowed 8 more points than the Saints' defense. I have serious doubts on whether or not our defense can carry us to wins. Brad Johnson? Everyone says he's capable, but the fact remains that he's about a 75 rating QB. We're struggling to beat opponents with a 100+ rating QB. Add to that, Felix Jones is out a month. Our most dangerous weapon besides TO.

Oh, and by the way, Mat McBriar is out for 8-9 weeks and Sam Hurd is out 6-8 weeks. At the beginning of the season, people were talking about missing the playoffs at 11-5 given the strong NFC East. We might have four of those five losses at the bye week. And then Romo has to win seven games in a row to put us at 12-4.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Start "Em or Sit 'Em

Start Em:

Ryan Grant, RB vs Seattle Seahawks, He's looking like last year's back again and against Seattle EVERYONE is looking spectacular.

JaMarcus Russell, QB vs New Orleans Saints, Gus Frerotte put up 222 yards against this defense. I'm thinking Russell has some success as well.

Any Jet or Bengal, This game might turn into last year's Bengals vs Browns game. Brett Favre and Carson Palmer vs suspect defenses. The ability and the will to score a LOT of points.

Sit 'Em:

Michael Turner, RB vs Chicago Bears, I know you can't and I probably won't either but he's been very average against the better defenses. If you have a back with a better ceiling, I would consider sitting Turner for this week.

Joseph Addai, RB vs Baltimore Ravens, Addai seems to be picking up his game lately but he and Manning don't look like last year's version....yet. But it won't be this week. Against a very good Baltimore squad.

DeAngelo Williams or Jonathan Stewart, RB vs Tampa Bay Buccaneers, It'll be a tough game for the running backs from Carolina. One will get the yards and the other one will get in the end zone, but i don't think you're looking for 6 points from either one of them.

Waiver Wire Work

Kyle Orton, QB, Chicago Bears - I know you want to laugh but he's posted more fantasy points than Warner, Cutler and Romo the past three weeks under traditional scoring.

Greg Camarillo, WR, Miami Dolphins - He leads the team in targets and he scored the first TD by a WR for the Dolphins. With Ronnie Brown looking like the back he should be, it's creating some room for Pennington and the WRs.

Mike Walker, WR, Jacksonville Jaguars - He's quickly becoming a favorite target for David Garrard. He does have a caution flag on him due to a MCL injury. But if he's good to go, he's worth a look.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Dallas Cowboys vs Washington Redskins, Week Four

Ok, I know officiating is part of the game and the Cowboys didn't exactly look very good yesterday but the missed calls were atrocious. The face mask on Adam Jones, the pass inteference no call on Terrell Owens, the false start by the Redskins and the 12 men on the field call to change a 50 yd field goal into a 30 yard field goal and taking an extra 2+ minutes off the clock. It felt like a screw job. Just saying. Those were all really horrible calls. Adam almost got his neck broken, the false start by the Redskins was a full second before the snap of the ball and the 12 men Troy and Joe couldn't find looking at two different replays.

The 12 men on the field call. I don't know if that's reviewable, but Aikman said it was reviewable and Wade Phillips had the red flag out. If it was reviewable, Wade Phillips made a huge mistake not throwing the flag. I know the arguments against reviewing. We only had two timeouts at that point. If we burn one with a bad challenge, we only have one timeout left to stop the clock. Either way, if the Redskins hit a field goal, it was going to come down to an onside kick anyway. Wouldn't you rather take the chance and make the Redskins hit a 50 yard field goal. If they miss, it's only one possession with 5 minutes to go. Timeouts become mute at that point.

Despite all that, the defense didn't do it's job yesterday. The secondary looked terrible as Santana Moss, once again, tore it apart. The defense did step it up and stopped them on some key possessions and the 12 men on the field call didn't help matters. But, overall, we couldn't stop Clinton Portis or Santa and it hurt us a lot.

The offense didn't exactly shine either. Marion Barber only got 8 carries and Felix Jones didn't get a carry at all. One thing that bothers me about Garrett is that he gets too impatient sometimes. Why did he shut down the run and become so one-dimensional? I realize it's only his second year as a coordinator so there's some learning curve to be had. But, we need to utilize every weapon we have and Barber/Jones is a major asset to the offense.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Dallas Cowboys vs Green Bay Packers, Week 3

So much for never winning at Lambeau Field. Dallas was a far better team as Wade Phillips and Jason Garrett decided to grind out the game with Marion Barber. Perhaps to keep the Green Bay Packer offense on the sidelines a little longer. Or maybe they just didn't think the Packer defense could contain him. Either way, it worked.

This is the best game I've seen from the defense in years. Ryan Grant was held in check and Aaron Rodgers struggled to find some rhythm. Most of their yards came in the closing minutes as the game was already decided. Is it a coincidence that Roy Williams was not in uniform that day? We'll find out more in the next couple of weeks? But my guess is yes. Roy's good for at least 80 yards and TD in each game. For the other team.

Tony Romo didn't look great and Terrell Owens was held to 2 catches for 17 yards. Very encouraging as we beat a very good Packer squad. Jason Witten is absolutely, without question the best tight end in the game today.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Dallas Cowboys vs Philadelphia Eagles, Week Two

So, Tony Romo had his big game jitters going again. It resulted in a interception and a botched handoff that resulted in 14 points for the Eagles. The final score ended up being 41-37. This game was a drag out, pull no punches brawl. It seemed like whoever had the ball last would win it. Anyway, the analysis.

Defense, C: They accounted for only 23 points but the game brought about many issues that we seem to be dealing with every season lately. I'm not going to blame this on the secondary since McNabb seemed to escape every possible pressure situation until their last series. But, something is wrong with this defense. For as much as we're touted for talent, it doesn't seem like we can consistently pressure the QB like the Giants do, WITHOUT Strahan and Umenyiora. I'll give some credit to McNabb but we need to see the QB go down a couple more times on crucial drives.

Offense, A: Without the two miscues, this was another finely tuned offensive game. There's really nothing else to talk about. Witten was amazing, Owens did his job, Barber was a beast and we even saw a little bit of Miles Austin. Even with the miscues, they played an amazing game. They did score 41 points.

Special Teams, A+: Felix Jones had his first career return for a touchdown. Folk nailed a couple of key FG's to keep the game close.

Injuries of Note: Jason Witten separated his shoulder but returned and is expected to play against Green Bay. Roy Williams is out for four weeks due to a fractured forearm. Isn't Roy being injured really a victory for the Cowboys as well.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Start Em Or Sit Em: Week Two

Start Em:

1. Any GB Starter vs DET, Did you see what Michael Turner and Matt Ryan were able to accomplish? Throw in a confident Aaron Rodgers and a much more potent offense and I see lots of points being able to be put up against Detroit. The only question is will Detroit be able to put up enough points to keep it competitive.

2. Chris Johnson vs CIN, He and Lendale White split the carries in week one but Lendale managed a paltry 2.7 yds per carry to Chris Johnson's 6.2 yds per carry. I'm thinking the load may shift over to the former East Carolina speed demon.

3. Any NYG Starter vs STL, Good night, St. Louis might want to think about drafting some defense. Marc Bulger is looking like Aikman at the end of his career. And didn't you see the highlights from the Philly game. Start em.

Sit Em:

1. Chad Ocho Cinco vs TEN, He didn't do anything last week and there's something wrong with this offense. Carson Palmer seems to be regressing. And Tennessee's defense ain't too shabby. Stay away.

2. Chad Pennington vs ARI, I'm thinking revenge was a fairly dominant motivation last week. Having said that, Arizona has built themselves a decent defense. I'd sit him. If you don't have any better options right now, you're in some trouble for the season.

3. Matt Hasselbeck vs SF, No receivers, no running backs. Stay far far away from Seattle. I'm thinking they are going to have a top 5 pick in the next draft.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Tom Brady Officially Out For The Season

Talk about karma. This is better than taking away their better first round pick in the draft. Losing their all world, model knocking up, egotistical QB. Unfortunately, I was counting on him this year with Randy Moss being my number one pick in every league I have. Oh well, it eliminates some competition from the Cowboys path to a ring.

By the way, he still thinks the Patriots will win the Super Bowl. Talk about ironic if that ends up being true. Reminds me of a story of a QB named Bledsoe.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Dallas Cowboys at Cleveland Browns, Week One

Ok, so week one is in the books and the Cowboys gained 487 yards against a suspect Cleveland defense. Besides one series in the game, Tony Romo seemed to have forever and a day to deliver the ball to anyone he wanted. Marion Barber got into the secondary with ease and so did Felix Jones, who scored a touchdown on his first NFL carry. Only an injury to Barber marred this victory.

The defense played exceptionally well, allowing only ten points to high octane offense that scored a lot of points last season. It might have something to do with Derek Anderson and Braylon Edwards being a little rusty as they didn't seem like they were on the same page all day. However, they were able to shut down Jamal Lewis for most of the day and Kellen Winslow seemed to disappear as the day went along.

The Cowboys offensive line still commits way too many penalties, but it didn't seem to matter on Sunday. But I would like for that to eventually fade out this season because we won't be able to overcome 1st and 30's too often in the playoffs. Overall, a very good start to the season.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Fantasy Football: Put Him In Or Yank Him

These will always exclude your obvious every week starters like Tom Brady, LT, Peyton Manning, etc.

Put Him In:
Michael Turner vs DET, It's Detroit's defense and Michael Turner is the featured back with Matt Ryan starting in his first NFL game. They will run early and often.

Thomas Jones vs MIA, Bill Parcells and Co lost Jason Taylor AND Zach Thomas. Who's going to stop Brett's boys in this game?

Kurt Warner vs SF, Gotta give it to the grocery boy. He can throw the ball and was a top ten fantasy QB last year when he started. With Boldin and Fitzgerald, you can't do too much wrong. Although he does fumble when touched.

Yank Him:
Ryan Grant vs MIN, First time starter at QB, Jared Allen, Minnesota's defense. Not looking good. He did rip off a huge game last year against this defense. But he had Favre at QB and Minnesota did not have Jared Allen.

Chicago Bears vs IND, Don't start anyone from Chicago, the Colts offense and defense are way too talented for this squad. Forte and Orton won't help in this contest.

2008 Cowboys Season Preview

It's the beginning of Tony Romo's second full season. The artist formerly known as Pacman was reinstated by the league. No one cares that Terry Glenn isn't on the team. We just resigned our special teams gunner Keith Davis. DeMarcus Ware will be a nightmare for offenses to handle. Marion Barber and Felix Jones look like a fearsome tandem in the backfield. The season is full of promises and the Super Bowl is in sight.

So what could possibly be a concern for a Cowboys fan? Wide receivers and defensive backs. Although, at this point, no one seems to worry about the loss of Terry Glenn, including me, it's a concern. For the first couple of games, we might be seeing TO, Crayton, Stanback and Pacman at WR. I don't know about you, but I'm down on Patrick Crayton. He's had serious problems or lack of focus in the past two playoff games. Dropped balls at key points in the game or drive. This is supposed to be our second best WR. Miles Austin, who I am incredibly high on, hasn't been healthy for consecutive months since Woodstock. Sam Hurd is a nice option. But the fact is the only wideout we can trust game in and game out is Terrell Owens. And he has his own issues with hanging on to passes.

Defensive backs. Roy can change his number all he wants. If I was a defensive coordinator, my whole game plan revolves around isolating him one on one and burning him deep. With anyone. The Cowboys staff has been disappointed with the progress or lack thereof by Mike Jenkins. Pat Watkins hasn't grabbed that SS spot despite the eyesore that Roy is. No one knows if Pacman Jones will be able to hold his wad for the whole season. And like it or not, Terence Newman is having some trouble staying on the field lately.

I know it sounds like I'm nitpicking, but in order for us to succeed in the playoffs, these issues have to be addressed or answered by playoff time. Especially since the ultimate goal is the Super Bowl.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Osi Umenyiora Out For Season

The New York Giants suffered it's worst personnel news of the offseason as they have lost their lone pro bowler for the season. The Giants had a tough task ahead of themselves to try to repeat with the losses of Michael Strahan to retirement and Jeremy Shockey to a trade. Now, they'll have to go without two very big reasons why the Giants upset the Patriots in the Super Bowl.

Especially this year, where the NFC East looks incredibly competitive, I don't think the Giants will even make the playoffs now. Tony and every other QB facing the Giants this year are smiling a little more.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Shawne Merriman's Season In Doubt

Merriman might be sitting out this season due to what's being called a loose ligament. He's still waiting on word from the doctors. More on this later.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Anquan Boldin Requests Trade

We'll take him and pay him what he's worth. Cause he might be a better receiver than Larry Fitzgerald. Maybe. He's definitely a bigger target and thus a bigger red zone target. But, I would give them a 2nd rounder, 4th rounder, Roy Williams and Patrick Crayton. Crayton would help fill the void left behind by Boldin. But, don't you think the Cardinals are wondering why they let Bryant Johnson go. Unless, this is all just a way for Boldin to get the media involved with contract negotiation.

Either way, I would love to have Boldin on the Cowboys.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Michael Phelps: The Best Olympian Ever

Well, by now, you should have found out that Michael Phelps went 8-8 at the Beijing Olympics. Immediately after, the debate heated up on whether or not Phelps was the greatest Olympian in history. There's no doubt that he's the best swimmer to grace this world, but it seems like people are on either side of the spectrum. The main question seems to be whether or not the number of events you can swim in cheapens the number of medals that Michael Phelps has won.

There are significant points that should be considered. Of the top 20 male medal winners, only three have been swimmers. The vast majority come from gymnastics. He won using three different strokes and three different distances. Not only did Phelps win every event he was in, he, along with some teammates, broke seven of the eight event's world records. Think about that, most of the other athletes train extensively on their one or two events using ONE stroke.

Not only do I think he's the best Olympian in history. I don't think it's even close.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Michael Phelps' Quest For Eight Remains Intact

In possibly the best race I've ever seen, the USA beat out the Alain Bernard-led French team in the 4X100 Free Relay race last night. Before the race, Bernard boasted that his French team would smash the Americans. Does Phelps really need to be antagonized? It seems as though every time Phelps is in the pool, something amazing happens. Last night was no exception. Five teams finished ahead of the old world record. Two of those teams didn't even get on the podium.

But, it wasn't Phelps who was the savior last night. That belonged to former scape goat Jason Lezak. Not only did he erase the .60 lead the French had going into the last leg. Lezak chased down the world record holder in the 100 meter Free by posting the fastest leg in the event, ever.

If you didn't watch last night, make sure you catch a replay or find it on the internet somewhere. It was spectacular.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Shan Foster Heading To Europe

Shan Foster is headed to Europe to work on his game while the Mavericks retain his rights. This is the same scenario that played out last year with Reyshawn Terry. It paid off with Reyshawn, as he appears to be a stronger player. Terry made a significant showing during the summer league and will be in training camp this year.

Fantasy Football 2008: Draft Board Movements

OK, for those of you who know me, I'm a fantasy sports nut. If it's draftable, I love it. So, in honor of my obsession, I thought it would be suitable to start blogging about it. Where you will get my deepest, inner most thoughts about who is worth drafting. As long as you're not drafting in my league. Anyway, on with the show.

Steve Smith: Suspended two games - Combined with the fact that his worth is dependent on Jake Delhomme and I'm not drafting him in the first 6 rounds or until I've already filled my starters at QB/RB/WR.

Brandon Marshall: Suspended three games - Even though it's an extra game, I would draft Marshall as a third receiver. Before the suspension, I had him behind only 5-6 receivers in the league. He'll help you down the line when it really matters.

Aaron Rodgers: Now that Brett Favre is gone, you know he'll start. How good is he? The Packers played better against my beloved Cowboys when Favre was off the field. Nothing against Favre, but it looked to me like the kid had something. He's not your typical first year starter. I'd take him ahead of Marc Bulger (injury risk, line shaky), Eli Manning (game plan), Garrard (game plan), Rivers (questionable talent), Jake Delhomme (injury risk) and Jon Kitna (questionable talent, game plan).

Brett Favre: Only concern is the Jets offensive line. I know they "upgraded" their O-line with Damien Woody, Alan Faneca and Calvin Pace. But Favre's blind side is being protected by D'Brickashaw Ferguson. And lets face it, he hasn't exactly been all pro over there. Plus, the offensive line is about continuity. Knowing what the other teammate will do in certain situations. And they just haven't played together enough to convince me they can take it to the next level. Having said that, having the threat of a pass game will help. I'd draft Brett Favre normally.

Laveranues Coles & Jerricho Cotchery: I'm lumping them together because who knows which receiver will end up the Donald Driver of the Jets. But either one will take a significant boost in draft stock. Maybe one or two rounds ahead of where you had them originally. They should leave the board as the 18th to 25th receiver.

There it is. Hope it helps you out.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Favre Goes To The New York Jets

In a relatively untouched subject, Brett Favre has left the Green Bay Packers. Obviously kidding about the untouched part. But, the drama involving what will happen between the Packers and Favre has ended. No details about the trade were released yet. But I'm sure the Jets caved to the Packers and sent a round one draft pick.

Green Bay, despite the legendary status of Favre, went in the right direction. You can't continue to rely on Brett when he is obviously wavering year to year on whether or not he wants to play. Let alone where he wants to play. In addition, you have your future waiting in the wings. There's no possible way you can rent out the year to Favre while making sure your future walks out the door via free agency.

In the end, I think this trade will prove more beneficial to the Packers. Jets, even with Brett, are still light years away from the Chargers, Colts and the Patriots. Hell, they're not even close to the Jaguars right now. It's going to be strange seeing Favre in a Jets uniform. At least there's some green in it.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Another Player Headed Overseas

Nenad Krstic has signed a two year contract worth $9 million a year to play for the Triumph Moscow. He now joins Bostjan Nachbar, Juan Carlos Navarro, Jorge Garbajosa, Carlos Delfino, Primoz Brezec, Brandon Jennings and Josh Childress. These are the players I know about. Can you feel the competitive level drop?

Ron Artest Coming To Texas, Just Not As A Mav

The Sacramento Kings have decided to trade Ron Artest to the Houston Rockets for ex-King Bobby Jackson, the rights to Donte Green and a 1st round pick in the 2009 draft.

Looks like Josh Howard will remain a Maverick. I think it was a mistake not to trade him. Again. We've now kept Mr. Howard despite having a chance to attain Pau Gasol and now Ron Artest. Both of whom are far more talented than Josh Howard. Even when he was playing well. Hopefully, he'll prove me wrong.

The Rockets, IF they stay healthy, will contend for the championship next year. Yao Ming, McGrady, Rafer Alston and Artest with one of the best defenses in the league. They're going to be tough to beat.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Injury Report: Cowboys Training Camp

Terence Newman missed Monday's practice due to a pulled groin midway through as a teammate accidentally kneed him in the thigh. Details about the severity of the injury are unavailable at this time, although he was seen walking without a limp. Mike Jenkins, the first round corner, spent some time with the first team in his place.

Other injuries involve cornerback Quincy Carter. Just kidding. It's cornerback Quincy Butler (leg), linebacker Justin Rogers (stomach virus) and linebacker Tearrius George (knee).

Monday, July 28, 2008

Mavericks Summer League

The summer league is finished. A few names impressed, some expected and some were a surprise. Gerald Green was our best summer league player and has raised a few eyebrows. Maybe he has figured some things out? But he wasn't the only one with a strong summer.

Reyshawn Terry and Shan Foster are expected to be in camp, but that was expected considering the expectations that this team had when they were drafted.

Charles Rhodes leads the "out of nowhere" camp. A 6-8, 248 lb. rookie power forward who averaged nearly 10 pts and 5 rebounds a game while shooting over 60 percent. However, Brandon Bass has been the anointed backup for Dirk so making the Mavericks squad would probably require Brandon or Dirk to be traded off the squad. I don't see either of those scenarios happening. Especially with the Ron Artest trade at a standoff.

The other notable was James Singleton. A spare off of the Clipper squad played solidly in the Vegas league but wasn't played often in Utah.

Overall, it was a good summer or promising summer as our squad might be a little more athletic next year.

Friday, July 25, 2008

My Favorite Notre Dame Player

The Chicago Cubs, after placing Kerry Woods on the DL, have called up ex-Notre Dame football star Jeff Samardzija. Samardzija has gone 4-1 with a 3.13 ERA in his last six minor league starts.

Lou Piniella has said that he will use him in the bullpen as a middle reliever.

Update to Warning Shot To NBA

Sasha Vujacic, from the LA Lakers, is prepared to accept an offer from a European team if the Lakers don't re up a better offer in the next few days.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Texas Longhorns Football Preview '08

Most of the polls have Texas ranked outside of the Top 10. Not a bad estimation, much to the chagrin of the Longhorn Nation. We lost Limas Sweed and Jamaal Charles. That's enough to make any Longhorn fan sweat a little. Especially since Charles won a couple of last season's games by himself. Colt McCoy, our lone returning star on offense, threw 18 interceptions last year.

Foswhitt Whittaker is supposed to be quick and elusive. Which will be essential in the zone read play made famous by Vince Young. Other than Whittaker, Vondrell McGee will look to pick up the slack left by Jamaal Charles. The receiving corp has two dependable receivers in Quan Cosby and Jordan Shipley but won't threaten the secondary deep. Redshirt freshman Malcolm Williams will have to fill that void. Overall, the Texas offense just doesn't seem like a dangerous offense to face off against. There isn't that dynamic player that can score from any point on the field.

On defense, it doesn't look any prettier. The defense ranked 70th in pass efficiency defense and 109th in average passing yards allowed. Combine that with the fact that Texas might be relying on three redshirt freshmen at safety and new defensive coordinator Will Muschamp has a long season ahead of him.

Texas will face off against nine 2007 bowl teams and five opponents who ranked in the top 17 in passing offenses last season. In my opinion, Top 20 might be a little too high for Texas and I certainly don't think Mack Brown will extend his streak to eight straight ten win seasons.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Warning Shot To NBA

Josh Childress, a 25 yr old forward for the Atlanta Hawks, has opted to sign with the Greek Olympiakos. Details were not given but the Greek team offered Josh substantially more than the 5 yr, $33 million offer from the Hawks. This doesn't just leave the Hawks scrambling. I think this is just the beginning of a trend.

Brandon Jennings, who was considered the top high school player, decided to join an Italian team just last week rather than accept a scholarship offer from Arizona. Bostjan Nachbar signed a three year deal with Dynamo Moscow. Both Nachbar and Childress have options after every year to buy out their contracts and return to the NBA.

This trend will continue as long as NBA teams are handicapped with salary caps and/or the inability to match offers from foreign teams. This won't necessarily affect the Kobe Bryants or the Lebron James of the league but it will affect the next tier of players who have to take a hit in salary because of the bigger names on the team. If the second tier of players can sign deals equal to or greater than the superstar deals, why wouldn't they leave?

This will severely downgrade the quality of basketball within the NBA. With the Donaghy controversy still fresh in everyone's minds, how many more hits can the NBA take? Does anyone still think that David Stern is a "great" commissioner? Better question, can I get any of these European leagues on Dish Network?

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Nowitzki Breaks Thru

If you don't think this guy cares about winning, you need to pay more attention. After getting close for years, Dirk and the Germany squad is headed to the Olympics. After realizing his lifelong dream, he broke down in tears as his teammates celebrated with him.

Germany is within Group B, which contains Spain, Greece, China, Angola and the USA squads. It took Dirk 32 points and a win over a JJ Barea led Puerto Rico squad to qualify.

It's nice for Dirk to feel some sort of success.

Celtics Interested In Devean George

After losing James Posey to the New Orleans Hornets, the Celtics are reportedly interested in Devean George. Ainge is taking the stance that his team is set and will wait for any offers to be proposed to them. Which makes sense since they just resigned Allen and House. Although losing James Posey was a big hit to their team in my opinion.

James Posey reminds me of Devean George or Robert Horry in their prime. Never a primary option but a guy who knows how to win.

Jeremy Shockey Sent To New Orleans

In yet another move by a NFC East team, Jeremy Shockey was traded to the New Orleans Saints for a 2nd and 5th round pick in 2009. The New York Giants are more than happy to get rid of their disgruntled star tight end after Eli and Kevin Boss seemed to develop an immediate rapport with one another. It seemed like Eli Manning played better when Shockey was not in the lineup. So, the Giants will have to repeat without the ex-Miami Hurricane star and Michael Strahan.

On the otherside, the Saints have rejoined Sean Payton with Shockey. While Payton was in NY, Shockey had his best season as a pro posting 891 yards and 7 scores as a rookie. The Saints were looking desperately for another weapon to put alongside Marques Colston. With Reggie at full strength, the Saints looked poised to continue building momentum after a dismal season last year.

In my opinion, I think both teams benefited greatly from this trade. The Giants got rid of Manning's main distraction, the Saints finally have another legitimate passing threat and Shockey is rejoined with the coach that made him a star a couple of years ago.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Romo's New Nightmare

The Washington Redskins trade a 2nd round 2009 pick and a 6th round 2010 pick for Jason Taylor. This move came nine hours after a season ending injury to Phillip Daniels during the first day of training camp.

No offense to Phillip Daniels, but it's not a bad move when you can immediately upgrade your starting defensive end for a 2nd rounder. With an improved offense, the Redskins can make some noise in the NFC East. This is entirely dependent on whether or not their defense can continue the momentum built by ex-defensive coordinator Gregg Williams. Their defense is headed up by Greg Blache now.

With the NY Giants coming off a Super Bowl win, it's going to be another rough year in the NFC East.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Trade Offer For Ron Artest

The Dallas Mavericks have made a trade offer for Ron Artest. Unconfirmed rumors are saying that Brandon Bass and Jerry Stackhouse have been offered for Ron Artest.

Sacramento Kings want to unload both Ron Artest and Kenny Thomas. Kenny Thomas is for salary purposes. The Dallas Mavericks would be giving up on their best low post option right now. He's a bruiser down low and takes it strong back up to the hole. No other Maverick does that right now. I definitely do not want to lose Bass. I would offer up Josh Howard instead.

Artest is a better defender, rebounder and low post player than Howard. It's just whether or not he is mentally there with the team or not. I think they should trade Howard for Artest. As currently constructed, they're not going to win the championship anyway. And at this point, it's all about winning that championship.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Ken Hamlin Gets Resigned With A Six Year, $39 Million Contract

Ken Hamlin now joins Terrell Owens, Flozell Adams, Marion Barber and Terence Newman as another pro-bowler with a long, healthy contract this offseason. Hamlin hasn't participated in the offseason workouts after the Cowboys tried using the franchise option on him.

The deal is similar to what Gibril Wilson and Kerry Rhodes were offered by the Oakland Raiders and the New York Jets, respectively. It's not a horrible contract for the Cowboys but the problem is that Seattle had to cut Ken because of performance issues after he received a lucrative contract from them. So, it remains to be seen whether or not Ken Hamlin is just a pay check player.

Regardless, Ken Hamlin is the best safety that the Cowboys have on the roster so it serves them well to keep him happy.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Should He Stay Or Should He Go?

Ah, another star caught in the dilemma of whether or not he should continue playing. Of course, this edition features Brett Favre. Perhaps one of the most beloved quarterbacks. Ever. Wants off the team that has made him a legend. This isn't the first time that a perennial hall of famer has wanted out of his city. A tussle with Jerry Krause comes to mind. And nothing is more tragic than a guy who has defined a city wanting to play for another team.

The favorites to receive Brett's services are Chicago, Minnesota and now Tampa Bay. It's scary to think of Brett Favre going to Minnesota. It would make the Vikings a favorite to reach the Super Bowl. But I can't imagine it. Seeing Favre in purple would send chills through my veins. It's almost as bad as Michael Jordan in Washington Wizard colors.

I didn't mind it when Emmitt left for Arizona, Shaq for Miami or Nash for the Suns. There are just certain players that should never be allowed to put on another uniform. Michael Jordan was one of them. Magic Johnson, Larry Bird, Jerry Rice, Mickey Mantle, John Elway and plenty of others. But Brett Favre is definitely one of them. Love them or hate them, they belong in their respective team colors.

So, I say he stays. Either in Packer colors or in retirement.

Monday, July 14, 2008

The New (And Renewed) Mavericks

DeSagana Diop: The right move, even though it cost us our entire mid-level exception. Dampier will not be able to keep up consistently with the run and gun offense. Plus, Gana is by far a better defender than Dampier will ever be.

Gerald Green: If this kid ever figures it out, this will beat out the acquisitions of Brandon Bass and Gana Diop. He has the speed and athleticism this team desperately needs. And surprisingly he even has a three point shot to boot. It's everything else that Gerald has to figure out. It's a good thing he's the age he would have been if he came out of college.

Antoine Wright: Hoorah for this resigning. I liked what I saw in limited time last year. He could develop into a very good on the ball, wing defender. Plus he's some more of the athleticism this team has lost over the past five years.

James Singleton: Don't know too much about this guy except he's been nonexistent in the LA Clippers plans for the past several years. Although that's been the MO for players such as Gana and Bass. He's athletic and he's making some noise in the summer league thus far.

Keith McLeod: Seems to be a career 7th or 8th man off the bench. Averages of 5.5 pts, 2.7 assists and 1.3 rebounds. Not much to say except we're 5 for 5 on the athleticism front.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

2008 NBA Draft

Well, I haven't been overly excited about the NBA Draft because the Dallas Mavericks don't have a first round pick. Yet again. But I decided to blog about the question on who should be the No. 1 pick.

Derrick Rose. No doubt. Especially the way penetration is paramount in the NBA. The way games are officiated. If you get into the paint, you're usually rewarded with a layup, free throws or a wide open shot. Everything you wish for on every possession in basketball. I don't even think Beasley has the most talent. Did they watch Rose during the Final Four tournament? The guy has every chance of being THE best point guard in the league for a very long time. Think of a taller, stronger Chris Paul.

Now, Michael Beasley has all of the physical tools to become a franchise forward in the league but watching him play brings back memories of Derrick Coleman. Almost to a tee. All the potential in the world but missing that one element to make his team win. Don't get me wrong. He'll put up numbers for you, but his team will lose.

Well, there's my quick blog about the draft. Here's hoping the Mavericks pull off a miracle trade and pair up Nowitzki with Derrick Rose.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

The Return Of Tim Donaghy

So, the proclaimed "rogue, isolated" official is in the news again. This time he is alleging most notably that "company men" officials rigged the 2002 NBA Playoff matchup between the Sacramento Kings and the Los Angeles Lakers. In the game referenced, the Los Angeles Lakers shot 27 free throws in the fourth quarter.

Now, I know most of you consider Tim Donaghy as the lone official who would ever alter the outcome of a game. Because that's what David Stern and the NBA want you to believe. And because the FBI has cleared the NBA and other officials of any wrongdoing or illegal activity. Whether or not that just means that David Stern is intelligent enough not to have those conversations recorded is up to you to decide.

But ask yourself this. How did David Stern know without a doubt that Donaghy was the only official involved? Or fixing games in general for another reason? Wouldn't a CEO of a major company extensively research film to determine whether or not other officials were involved? What would have happened if they only investigated one executive from Enron?

Furthermore, for a league that freely admits to treating "superstars" differently and repeated altercations between certain players and officials, is it really that far fetched for the league to make games or playoff series more exciting through a little more manipulation? Isn't keeping Shaquille O'Neal from fouling out during his glory years manipulating the game in Shaq's team's favor? Why is protecting Kobe Bryant or any other superstar from fouling out any less of an offense as Tim Donaghy protecting a spread? And that's just one of the "rules" that Stern has implemented. We won't even delve into traveling and hop steps being "legalized".

Since Jordan's retirement, the NBA has experienced a sharp nose dive in ratings. Since an 18.7 rating during Jordan's last championship series, the NBA Finals has only surpassed a 10 rating five (now probably six) times. Only one of those series hasn't involved the LA Lakers. I've heard the media suggest that it would be the New York Knicks that would receive Stern's bias if it existed. What they fail or refuse to recognize is that the Lakers have far more appeal to the general public than the New York Knicks.

So, what does that mean? For advertising dollars, receiving half the amount of viewers could and has cost Stern and the league billions of dollars. What would you do to recapture billions of dollars? Do you think that might affect his paycheck just a little bit? Funny, the NBA Finals featuring the San Antonio Spurs and the Cleveland Cavaliers last year captured an all-time low 6.2 rating. This year, it featured two of the most storied franchises the league has to offer. The Boston Celtics and........the Los Angeles Lakers.


Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Pacman Watch

Adam "Pacman" Jones still can't get on the field for the Cowboys or participate in organized team activities. Unlike Tank Johnson, the commissioner hasn't granted Jones permission to join the Cowboys' activities prior to the lifting of the suspension. Goodell has insisted that he will review Pacman's case before the onset of training camp. 

One thing going for him. Tank Johnson has taken Jones under his wing. As a fellow member of the ousted, Tank can provide a unique view on how to get under the good graces of the commissioner. Having taken the necessary steps, Tank is returning the favor that Nate Newton, Michael Irvin and others paid to him. Giving Pacman support. 

Whether or not Pacman has actually turned a corner and realizes that playing in the NFL is a privilege is a question no one can answer. Perhaps not even by Adam Jones. But I don't think what Adam has done mandates a suspension longer than a year. Wouldn't cheating at the game deserve a much bigger punishment? Instead of focusing on personal lives, I would like to see Commissioner Goodell take a stance like that on the Patriots. Perhaps a first round draft pick for each tape made? 

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Cowboys Sign Barber & Newman Through 2014

Terence Newman signs a six year extension worth more than $50 million dollars. The new contract puts him in the same range as Asante Samuel and Marcus Trufant salary wise. As the lone stud in the secondary, this is a wise move and T New deserves the contract. 

I would like to see more interceptions or turnovers in general from Newman. But overall,  he's one of the best corners in the league. He should receive some much needed reinforcements with the additions of Pacman and Mike Jenkins. So, he should receive more opportunities to see the ball thrown his way. 

Marion Barber is a much happier running back as he receives a seven year, $45 million contract with $16 million dollars guaranteed. He is a fan favorite and I love the way he punishes defenders who try to tackle him. But not for a part-time back. With the addition of Felix Jones and Tashard Choice, Barber will not be a full time back. 

Given that, the fact that he hasn't proven that he could even handle a full load of carries with his aggressive running style plus his average pass blocking skills. I believe that this is a mistake. Not a Roy Williams mistake but a mistake nonetheless. Not because I don't believe he's a good back. I think he's a wonderful running back but $45 million dollars for a player that's not on the field every down.

If you're not convinced that he was overpaid, consider this. Only LaDainian Tomlinson is guaranteed more money. Is Barber the second best back in the league?

2008 NHL Playoffs: Stars vs Red Wings (Post Series)

So much for a lack of poise or confidence. The Red Wings jumped all over the Stars in the first period by scoring three goals in a series ending twenty minutes. The series ended the way it began. With the Red Wings being the best team on the ice and spending, virtually, the entire game in Dallas' zone.

Not there's anything wrong with losing to the Red Wings. They have been the best team in hockey this year. They proved it by getting to the Stanley Cup Finals in a dream matchup with the Penguins. Whether or not the series would have been closer if Dallas could have finished off San Jose in four games is mute. I still believe that Detroit would have won the series. Probably in the same number of games.

Regardless, the Dallas Stars went far beyond anyone's realistic expectations this year. Mired in an inability to win a first round series, reaching the Western Conference Finals is a remarkable achievement. The foundation that was built this year looks promising with Joel Lundqvist, Loui Eriksson, Matt Niskanen, Mark Fistric and Nicklas Grossman attaining invaluable experience in a deep playoff run.

Mike Babcock said that playing in playoff games was like a growth hormone for his young players. Hopefully, his words will ring true for our squad.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

2008 NHL Playoffs: Stars vs Red Wings (Game 5 Postgame)

Marty Turco finally breaks the win barrier in Joe Louis Arena. After going 0-9-2 in his career, Turco made 38 saves to keep Dallas in the Western Conference Finals. Not only did he stop 38 shots, he initiated the attack on both of the Stars' goals. Turco was truly at the top of his game yesterday.

The series now shifts to another elimination game in Dallas. The Red Wings talked about professionalism and intent to injure after the Game Two Ribeiro incident. It looks like the Red Wings might be losing some of that mystique and composure. With seven minutes left in the third, Tomas Holmstrom picked up a roughing penalty as he punched a Stars player as he skated by the Dallas bench.

The scene shifts to Dallas for another elimination game as the Stars continue their bid to come back from a 0-3 hole.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Rick Carlisle: The New Kid In Town

So, the Mavericks wasted little time in replacing Avery Johnson and have hired former Indiana Pacers and Detroit Pistons head coach Rick Carlisle.

During his introduction press conference, Carlisle emphasized the need to turn Dallas' offense into a run and gun offense. Repeatedly emphasizing that the players will go through an extensive training camp and will need to be prepared for the amount of running that they'll be doing. He did say that there still needs to be an emphasis on the defensive side of the ball.

I have concerns about employing the run and gun offense. I think there are inherent lapses on defense because of the all go method employed by Phoenix and Nellie. Dallas couldn't get anywhere with Nellie, Phoenix couldn't win with D'antoni and Golden State couldn't get anywhere with that offense. So, what makes Dallas any different? Especially with the lack of athletes on this squad.

We have been assured that the roster will undergo some changes. With the amount of players set to become free agents, that seems assured. They have also assured that Howard will remain a big part of the team. Whether or not this is posturing remains to be seen? Armed with only the mid level exception, it'll be interesting what player(s) will be moved, if any.

If Carlisle is serious about running and gunning, the following moves have to be made:

- Trade Dampier for Anything
- Trade Stackhouse for Anything
- Resign Antoine Wright
- Release everyone else on the upcoming free agent list
- Reaquire DeSagana Diop

These are things Dallas should do:

- Sign Matt Barnes
- Sign Mickael Pietrus
- Sign Beno Udrih
- Trade Josh Howard For Shawn Marion or Dorell Wright

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

2008 NHL Playoffs: Stars vs Red Wings

The Dallas Stars are down 3-0 and it looks like the magical run will close on Wednesday night. Detroit has answered everything the Stars can muster. Nicklas Grossman tied up Game Three at 15:13 in the first period. Pavel Datsyuk got his second goal at 15:50. Johan Franzen is scratched from games two and three. Losing the top goal scorer in the postseason and still finding little difficulty in dispatching the Stars.

Chris Osgood is now 9-0 in the postseason and Turco has lost another game to the Red Wings. Although it's looking ugly, the Dallas Stars have made significant strides this season and a young nucleus has emerged. But the Red Wings are simply better. For now.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

2008 NHL Playoffs: Stars vs Red Wings (Game 1 Postgame)

0-7-2 was Turco's record at the Joe Louis Arena heading into Game One of the Western Conference Finals. Heading into the game, it was asked if it was something that Turco should think about. The way the first two periods went, it might not matter how Turco plays.

Detroit completely outplayed Dallas and I'm afraid we might not be in Detroit's class at this point. No matter what the state of the game was in, it seemed like Detroit was on the verge of scoring. Even with a man down, the Red Wings still generated quality scoring opportunities. 

The Red Wings cruised to a 4-1 victory and took the first game of the series. Hopefully, Dallas can find a way to stay with Detroit on Saturday.

Monday, May 5, 2008

2008 NHL Playoffs: Stars vs Sharks (Game 6 Postgame)

It's over. Finally. It only took the eighth longest game in NHL history. Who else would end it besides Brenden Morrow? He's been absolutely the best player on the ice for the Stars. And that includes Stephane Robidas and Marty Turco. 

The Sharks did not go quietly though. And after Nabokov's save 1:31 into the first overtime on Brad Richard's shot. I thought this series was destined for a seventh game. That save by Evgeni Nabokov was one of the best saves I've ever seen in a playoff game. It was so close that even in his glove, Richards still almost had the series clincher. 

But the Stars had an answer for that as well. Now, the Stars will meet the mighty Red Wings in their first conference finals since 2000. They've knocked off the defending champions and the 2nd seed in the West. Now, they only have to beat the best team in hockey. 

Thursday, May 1, 2008

2008 NHL Playoffs: Stars vs Sharks (Game 4 Postgame)

I don't understand the back to back games in the playoffs and you could tell it was affecting the players last night. It had the feel of a game that had gone to overtime. And the Sharks had the fresher legs last night.

After a turnover by the Sharks and a point blank goal by Jere Lehtinen, It felt like the Stars would walk through this game and close out the series. Especially after withstanding the flurry of opportunities in the first period by the Sharks. Marty Turco looked brilliant last night.

But, Zubov made another unforced error which looked eerily similar to the Game 3 error that led to goals by Patrick Marleau. This time the Stars had no answer. The Sharks came out for the third period with a non stop onslaught on Turco and the Stars finally succumbed to a beautiful pass across the crease to Michalek to put the Sharks up for good. The Stars had some opportunities but could not cash in on any of them as they looked a tad off cue all night.

So, the Sharks are on the board and the series now shifts to San Jose for Game 5. It might be fitting that the Stars have to finish this series at their home away from home. Let's hope that trend continues.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Avery Johnson Fired

Hallelujah. The tyrant is gone.

You can't go 3-12 in the post season and expect to keep your job. It doesn't matter what your regular season record has been. It's all about the post season and championships. And unfortunately for everyone involved, we don't have one.

Avery will coach again, probably in Chicago. But not with this team.

Starting From Scratch

How to fix the Mavs? Fire Avery and I would like them to trade everyone with value, including Dirk. I don't think it would be fair for Dirk to go through another building phase and I would like him to get a championship. But that's highly unlikely. So, here's where I stand. The only people I value on this roster are Dirk and Bass. Acceptable players to return would be Terry and Wright.

The players leaving the team are Malik Allen, Devean George, Eddie Jones, Juwan Howard, Tyronn Lue, Jamaal Magloire and Antoine Wright. The only one worth keeping would be Antoine Wright. Purely for athleticism and defense.

The players I want are Shawn Marion, Mickael Pietrus, Josh Childress, Beno Udrih, Chris Duhon, Matt Barnes, DeSagana Diop, Chris Andersen, Jannero Pargo and Kurt Thomas.

As for coaches I would love to see here, Jeff Van Gundy is it.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

2008 NHL Playoffs: Stars vs Sharks (Game 3 Postgame)

The Sharks played like a team down 2-0. Taking an early lead on a Zubov turnover. Everything was pointing toward a vital Game 3 win. But the Stars answered the challenge again. 

Methodically wearing the Sharks down, tying the game on a 5-3 power play, the Sharks fought for their lives to get the game into OT. Unable to sustain any consistent scoring threat, the Sharks barely fought off a furious attack from the Stars and forced the game into OT.  

Nabokov tried to keep the Sharks in the series. He denied several scoring opportunities by Loui Ericksson. But the Stars finally punched it through, once again making sure to close out games when they have the chance. Norstrom scored from the top of the left circle with 4:37 elapsed into OT. 

The Stars now have a deathgrip on the series with a 3-0 lead and four chances to advance to the West Finals. 

2008 NBA Playoffs: Mavericks vs Hornets (Game 5 Postgame - Series Analysis - Season Analysis)

The Hornets close out the Mavericks like the experienced team Dallas is supposed to be. Chris Paul, David West, Tyson Chandler and Jannero Pargo were magnificent. And the better team won. No doubt about it.

In the fourth, Dallas made a furious push as they desperately searched for a way back into the game and series. They were absolutely magnificent as they scored on 9 straight possessions. The Hornets matched it. As Dallas could not stop New Orleans. Whether it was West, Paul or Pargo, shot after clutch shot, the Hornets would not be denied their first ever 7 game series win. Within three points, Devean George plays Paul perfectly forcing him into a tough shot and Chandler comes up with the offensive rebound to put Dallas away for good.

This series, this season ended in February. Devean George tried to save it, but Avery would not be denied.  Insisting Kidd was the missing link, he trades Dallas' fastest player and our best defensive center on the team. The problem with the trade, which I adamantly objected, is losing Devin. My thoughts at the time were that Kidd would not be able to defend the point guards in the West. Facing Tony Parker, Steve Nash, Deron Williams, Rafer Alston and obviously Chris Paul was not something I felt Kidd could handle. Also, the loss of Diop was almost as bad. He's our best shot blocker, hands down. A faster, more athletic big man to face David West, Amare Stoudemire, Carlos Boozer, Pau Gasol and hopefully Kevin Garnett.

But it wasn't just that move, it's been a long series of decisions by Donnie to continually gain "experience". Losing players like Marquis Daniels, Josh Powell and DJ Mbenga was a series of mistakes in my opinion. Young energetic players that help you on the board and defensively.

Instead of being our savior, acquiring Kidd might be the move to push Dallas toward the rebuilding period. 

Sunday, April 27, 2008

2008 NBA Playoffs: Mavericks vs Hornets (Game 4 Postgame)

Let the rebuilding begin. The Hornets showed up and Byron Scott outcoached Avery Johnson again. The halftime adjustment, an in-game adjustment, caused havoc on the defense of the Mavericks and Avery never made a proper adjustment. Byron decided to take advantage of the West vs Dampier matchup and run his offense through West instead of Paul. It paid it's dividends immediately. 

West went on to carry the Hornets to a double digit lead going into the fourth quarter. Why, if one player is continually beating you, does Avery continue with the same defensive plan until his team is down by double digits? Why not try a 2-3 zone and force West to hit a 20 foot shot instead of a 7-12 footer? 

Another problem I have is the fact that Avery continually called Stackhouse's number at the beginning of the fourth quarter. I believe he tried Stack out three or four straight possessions. This put the Mavericks down 15-16 pts at the end of that experiment. What exactly has Stackhouse done to inspire such confidence from his coach? In the second quarter, Avery decided to try out Barea in a series defining fourth game. Barea promptly causes a shot clock violation. And the Hornets erased it's deficit in short order and takes the lead before Avery decides that strategy might not be working. 

Did you know that Josh Howard could have been traded for Pau Gasol? How is that mistake looking right now? Wasn't Kidd supposed to help close games? Diop on West? Diop on Chandler? Nope, we had to settle for Howard and Kidd in Dallas.  4-22, combined. Thanks for showing up to the game guys. 

What I don't understand at this point? How do teams lose to the Mavericks? All you have to do is make an in game adjustment and your team will take the lead before Avery even tries to adjust. And the adjustment he makes most likely isn't the right move. 

2008 NHL Playoffs: Stars vs. Sharks (Game 3 Postgame)

The Sharks brought a lot of pressure in the first period and forced the Stars into a lot of early penalties resulting in an early hole. The Stars responded, twice, to the Sharks attempts to build some momentum in this series. The Sharks posted 31 shots on goal and Turco stopped all but two shots. One goal resulting from questionable judgement by Turco. But the Stars continued their dominance on the Sharks' home ice. 

Brad Richards converted a turnover into an unassisted goal and you can feel the air suck out of the arena. When a power play goal by Modano was converted, off an absolutely gorgeous pass from Zubov, you can almost feel the Sharks' doubts amplify. 

The Stars are playing wonderful hockey right now and have taken a commanding 2-0 lead over the favored Sharks. Every night, it seems like someone new is stepping up. Not counting on one scorer puts a tremendous amount of pressure on opposing teams and Turco is playing brilliantly in net this post season. Hopefully, we can continue to improve on our ice.

2008 NFL Draft: Rounds 3-7

After a slew of trades, moving up and down, Dallas ended up with:

Round 4, Pick 122: Tashard Choice, RB - With only two RB's on the books, Marion Barber and newly acquired Felix Jones, I felt like this was a quality pick. He has a well rounded game and runs particularly well between the tackles. Considered a Heisman candidate earlier in the year, he'll give Dallas more depth at the position and the best rushing attack since Emmitt's glory years.

Round 5, Pick 143: Orlando Scandrick, CB - Although I really liked Tyvon Branch, who was essentially traded to Oakland, I applaud the pickup of this kid from Boise St.  He ran a 4.3 40 and he has enormous potential. With this addition, Dallas has added Pacman Jones, Mike Jenkins and Orlando Scandrick. A position of weakness may have turned into a position of strength.

Round 6, Pick 167: Eric Walden, DE - The Sun Belt's top pass rush threat. He's being compared to Junior Glymph. I would have preferred a flyer on Tommy Blake from TCU. I understand that Mr. Blake has a mental condition to contend with but I don't see Eric Walden making this squad either. 

The Cowboys have definitely upgraded two positions that they needed to. But they neglected to fill needs at WR and OT. With Terrell Owens, Terry Glenn and Flozell Adams rapidly approaching retirement, an heir apparent at each position would have been an incredible advantage to maintain competitiveness

Grade: A

Saturday, April 26, 2008

2008 NFL Draft: Rounds 1 & 2

Round One, Pick 22: Felix Jones, RB - I'm not overly surprised given the Jerry Jones' connection but a little shocked given the fact that Rashard Mendenhall was sitting at that position as well as Mike Jenkins. I felt that picking Mike Jenkins at 22 would give you an option later on at 28 to pick the best of the remaining RB's. With that said, it's an upgrade over Julius Jones but still not an every down back. Barber and Felix will be joined together for a long time. But they got the thunder and lightning they were after. With all of that said, not picking Mendenhall was a mistake. Not as big as passing on Stephen Jackson, but still a mistake.

Round One, Pick 28: Mike Jenkins, CB - Although I am disappointed about Cromartie being taken, I realize that it was a bit unrealistic to get Dominique. Having said that, it was rumored that Mike Jenkins was the first corner back on the Cowboys' board. He has the tools necessary to become a very good corner in this league and the versatility to move to safety. 

Round Two, Pick 61: Martellus Bennett, TE - He's being compared to Antonio Gates. Obviously he's not at that level, at least now, but he has the ability to "box" out defenders and split out. 

Grade: B

2008 NHL Playoffs: Stars vs Sharks (Game One)

Where did this team come from? I don't recognize them at all. Scoring crucial goals whenever they need them.  Even when Turco gives up a tying goal near the end of regulation, the rest of the team steps up and picks up the slack. Morrow scored 4:32 into the OT period to lift the Stars to their first win in the series. 

We now have a 1-0 lead and continue to make a home away from home. 

Friday, April 25, 2008

2008 NFL Draft: Dolphins Trade


From Miami:
2008 4th Round Pick
To Miami:
Akin Ayodele and Anthony Fasano

Well, Bill loves Anthony Fasano. I don't mind losing Akin Ayodele with the acquisition of Zach Thomas. But Anthony's a former 2nd round pick. For one 4th rounder. How about a 3rd rounder Bill? You owe us at least that much. 

Grade: C+

2008 NBA Playoffs: Mavericks vs Hornets (Game 3 Postgame)

32 Points, 19 Rebounds, 6 Assists and 2 Blocks. Wow. Dirk played like an MVP tonight. He played well in all facets of the game. Playing Chandler very well and ultimately allowing only one alley-oop dunk. Although some of that was due to 2 early fouls on Chandler. 

With that said, I loved what they did on defense. Putting Terry on Paul and running under screens was a very good move. Terry played his best game on defense as a Maverick. And thank you so much for not continually trapping and pressing a natural born passer. Why Avery felt trapping a passer was a good move is beyond me? They shot 37.9% from the field. And Paul was 4-18 from the field. 

I'm a little concerned with the Hornets hanging tough despite Paul, West and Stojakovic struggling. I doubt Pargo's going to score 30 every night. Although he would be the one Hornet I would leave given the choice. 

Overall, I was impressed. Everyone came out with high intensity and they actually looked like the Mavs. J. Ho is still a little off. Hopefully, he'll start rolling soon.

Pacman's Coming To Dallas

First, the details of the trade.
The Titans receive our 4th Round pick tomorrow and a conditional 2009 6th Round pick.
If Pacman is not reinstated, the Cowboys will receive the Titans' 2009 4th Round pick.

Now, I don't know about you. But the fact that we can get the pick back makes this deal a no brainer for me. It's almost a no risk, high reward proposition. No one denies his talent, the doubt lies in whether or not he'll play. Even with a year layoff, if he hits the field as Pacman, he'll make this defense an elite unit.

It will allow the Cowboys to move Anthony Henry to the free safety position, shifting Ken Hamlin to his natural position at strong. The acquisition of Pacman doesn't solve all of our secondary issues (if he plays) but it gets us closer. Especially if it means the removal of Roy Williams from the field. The Boys would still need to acquire another CB in the draft tomorrow.

Grade: A

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

The Mourning After

Game 2 of Mavs vs Hornets is in the books.

Chris Paul looks like the MVP. Avery Johnson doesn't look like he can coach. Dirk and Bass seemed like the only two Mavericks who cared they were getting thumped. And the Mavs defense got worse from Nelly's run and gun team.

So, why did they get rid of Diop, Powell, Daniels, Mbenga and Harris? Take a long look at that list. What does every person on that list have in common. Each player brings youth, quickness, speed and energy to their team. Now take a look at the current roster, Kidd, Terry, Stackhouse, Jo. Howard, Nowitzki, Dampier, Jones, Bass, George, Ju. Howard, Lue, Magloire, Wright & Barea. Besides, J Ho, Bass and Wright. This is what the team is missing, youth and energy.

Does everyone have to be old and slow in order to get on the floor Avery? I'm guessing it was you who escorted Diop, Powell, Daniels, Mbenga and Harris to the door.

Regardless, going 2-10 in the last 12 playoff games is proof enough for me. It's time to break this team apart and start over. Starting with Avery Johnson.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

2008 NBA Playoffs: Dallas Mavericks vs New Orleans Hornets (Game 2 Postgame)

Well, there's still time on the clock, but before I completely lose my cool, I'll let you know what I thought...

63%!!!! Are you kidding me? In a playoff game. I said it earlier and I'll scream it now. DO NOT double Chris Paul!! No one on the current roster can guard him or effectively double him. It won't work, he'll get everyone and anyone an open shot if you double him. I'd rather make him shoot every shot for the rest of the series and make him beat me by shooting jump shots. Stay off of him and make him shoot. He's the worst shooter on the team. Would you rather Paul, Peterson, Peja or West shoot??

Offensively, I liked what we did. Everyone pretty much drove to the basket. We're getting free throw attempts. We're scoring enough points. The problem is on the other side of the ball.

With that said, the series is over. Thank you, good night. This team is simply not good enough. We traded away the one player that could have made a difference. Yeah, I'm going there again, Devin Harris. TNT put up some stats and against Devin, Paul averaged 7 less points, 10% drop in FG%, 3 fewer assists and 1 less steal. Just to let you know.

So, Donnie and Mark, do me a favor and trade Dirk to Phoenix. Please. I'm sick of getting my heart ripped out of my chest.

PS the game's over and they're still over 60%