Tuesday, December 08, 2009
They should be playing Florida and Ohio State not against each other.
Of course, the BCS doesn't want to show what a sham system they really have.
That said, Fareed Zakaria had an interesting piece in the Post yesterday. He essentially argued that Obama's Afghan strategy will only create breathing room for the Afghan government to try to solve its problems, but that 2 years would not be nearly enough to fix the country - that is a fact that I mentioned in my criticism of Obama's plan. The goal appears to be to shift the war on terror away from nation-building and back to more limited goals.
This doesn't change the fact that we are going to send troops to Afghanistan, wipe out some Taliban, create an artificial and fragile peace, and then walk away. But in 5 years Afghanistan will again be troubled - just watch.
That is why I say let's wind this down now and save the American lives and taxpayer funded financial commitments to this idiotic ongoing war.
Anyway, the jobs situation seems to be improving and should continue to do so into next year. With economic growth on the rise we will see improvement on the employment front - just as I have been saying for months.
The dollar has crashed over the last couple of years - but it also looks like it is no longer in free fall. The world's economies are struggling and the dollar is still king - so I am not so worried about that.
What I think we will start to see over the next year is rising interest rates. The Fed is going to try to sop up all of the liquidity. In addition, higher rates will help keep U.S. Treasury Notes attractive on the world market so we will be able to comfortably fund our enormous national debt. The trick will be to raise rates slow enough to avoid destroying the fragile gains we are seeing on the economic front.
Thursday, December 03, 2009
The Bears are moving Chris Williams to LT. I like the move. Williams was the first round pick last year and was supposed to be the LT for the next decade. He was injured pretty much all of last year and has played RT because the Bears signed Pace. Pace has been poor and Williams has not done as well learning RT. This move makes sense. Get Williams in his natural position.
Kevin Shaffer - who has started a lot of NFL games - plugs in at his natural RT position.
I'd like to see Beekman at LG and Omiyale at RG. Beekman and Omiyale have both played LG but have struggled (partly because Pace has struggled). Let these guys play out the rest of the year and get set for next year.
Run the ball to try to get into a better offensive rhythm.
On D there is a fair amount of work to do. The linebackers have been hurt, but they seem like a solid bunch. It looks to me like Ogunleye constantly takes himself out of plays and messes up outside contain responsibilities. This may be the result of being in a contract year and seeing Gaines Adams come in. He may see that he will be out and is trying to pad his sack total to try to earn a contract somewhere else.
In any event the D line needs work (yet again). In the secondary, Alfalava seems like he can develop. Tillman is good, Bowman is inconsistent (but young). But there is too much soft coverage and the safety play still needs work.
Lovie has to keep the Bears playing competitive and build some type of momentum for next year - or he should be fired. In the off-season, there will need to be some coaching changes to get back on track. Even if Lovie does not go, there needs to be a new defensive scheme and better O-line and QB coaches (at the very least).
Wednesday, December 02, 2009
I wonder if President Obama woke up this morning and thought, "I really made a bad decision."
There has been a remarkable misunderstanding about who or what Al Qaeda is. It is not a centralized movement. It is not the Taliban. There is no nation-state that plans attacks with some top-down Al Qaeda organization.
9/11 was perpetrated by a handful of folks - some leaders who has secured financing from rich radicals and 19 college-educated kids (mostly Saudis) who had been brainwashed by radical Islamic thoughts. It was a spectacular failure of U.S. security, but what has made the attack even worse is that we have gone to war in Afghanistan for 8 years (and at least three more). Iraq has been a disaster and there is very little benefit that I can see from the removal of Hussein for America's interest.
Tuesday, December 01, 2009
We've been in Afghanistan for 8 years. The Taliban is fully reconstituted, American troops are dying at the highest pace of the war, and the opium trade is at levels higher than when we first went in. The Karzai government is extremely corrupt and has no authority throughout the tribal lands that make up the majority of the country. I cannot for the life of me understand what we are fighting in Afghanistan for.
I am sick and tired of the "we are fighting them there so we don't have to fight them here" nonsense. We had four police officers gunned down this week by a terrorist. We had the Ft. Hood massacre just a couple of weeks ago. We have gang violence that claims the lives of innocent victims every day here in this country. Spending $100 billion a year in Afghanistan - much of which is wasted to fraud and abuse - makes no sense.
There is no question that Bush and his military advisors truly botched the war in Afghanistan, but that is no reason for Obama to compound the problem by sending more troops. Unless Obama can clearly explain what it is that we hope to accomplish there I think this will be the worst decision he will ever make as President and it may very well bring him down after just one term.
Monday, November 30, 2009
I certainly don't think it is all on the head coach. Just like the last two years, the offensive and defensive lines have been mauled by opponents and it has killed them. However, you still have to play and scheme. The Bears make the same mistakes week in and week out. The defensive tackles and defensive ends are not disciplined with their gap and contain responsibilities. The linebackers don't drop into their zones. The secondary plays too loose on third and long plays and they get whipped on D.
On offense, their O-line is a disaster. Pace is far past his prime. Their LG has been a problem all year. Chris Williams has been disappointing playing out of position at RT and their two holdovers from last year - Kreutz and Garza - are consistently outplayed. It all starts from there - the Bears cannot mount a running game or allow enough pass protection to effectively use Forte and Cutler. I think Cutler still makes too many bad decisions and the receivers are inexperienced and make some mistakes, but those can be overcome with a better O-line.
Lovie is the D-coordinator and he hasn't held the offensive coaches responsible in any discernable way for the way the O is playing. Three years out of the playoffs is enough. I didn't think Lovie needed to go just a few weeks back, but it is pretty clear that the team is not playing for him anymore. At that point, you need to think about change.
I don't think players were surprised, nor do I even think they are crushed by the firing. I'd like to see UVA find a credible college football coach - I don't need an NFL assistant. We'll see.
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
The major piece of legislation that needs to get done is health care reform. The current system is putting a major drag on economic activity in this country. We spend 17 percent of GDP on health care - far higher than any other country. It is expensive and costs to the insured are rising by double digits every year. So it is unsustainable over the long term the way it is now. On top of that, if you lose health insurance it is very difficult and even more expensive to get it again. There are would-be entrepreneurs that don't start businesses because they are concerned about losing health insurance - that is a crazy fact that is depressing economic growth.
The worst part about the ongoing debate in Washington is that big special interest money is successfully muddying the debate. Look, any reform is going to be complicated, but throwing out mistruths and purposefully deceiving folks makes reform even more difficult to achieve. Then you have the RepubliCANTs openly saying they just won't vote for any type of reform. The end result is a political mess.
The Dems are on the right side of history. The question is whether they will pull it together and pass legislation that reforms the system this year. I still believe we will end up with reform and that it will include a strong public option. If the Dems cannot pull it together, it will be a major loss for the American people, but rather than being punished in the mid-terms, the Dems can easily make gains if they hammer the RepubliCANTs for blocking reform. It will be an easy sell to say that it is RepubliCANT opposition that killed health care. I know this, people want health care and this is an increasing number. The choice will be put more Dems in place and get health care, or vote Dems out and go with the status quo.
At 4-5 and having lost 4 of their last 5, the amazing thing is the Bears are in the thick of the hunt - everyone else seems to be losing also.
Yet again this weekend the Bears end up on prime time on Sunday night. Huge game against the Eagles. If the Bears win they will be 5-5 and in the hunt. If they lose, they will be at least 2 games out of the Wild Card race (right now they are only 1 game back) with 6 to go. That will be a lot to make up. A loss would also complicate matters because they would lose the head-to-head tiebreakers against SF, Philly, and Atlanta. So, things would be really really tough.
I expect Cutler to stop throwing interceptions. I expect the Bears to stay more committed to the running game and I expect the D to continue to play well. If they do these things over the rest of the season they will be fine.
Thursday, November 12, 2009
As is the case in many cities, the Bears HC is under fire and fans are calling for his head. Supposedly the team is rallying behind Lovie. We'll see tonight.
That said, I am so sick and tired of how quickly fans jump on and off the bandwagon. Lovie has to do a better job, but let's just wait and see what happens. The Bears are 4-4 and in the thick of the playoff hunt. Firing him mid-season would only tank the season. People want Holmgren and Shannahan - but they don't even know their records because if they did I don't see how they could actually see them as an upgrade.
I expect the Bears to play much better D and to get their running game going to go along with the very potent passing attack. I'm concerned about the D and how their D-line peforms, but I expect improvement. We'll know early if the Bears are going to be OK. They will have proper gap control on the D-line and keep Gore under control. If he is gashing them for 5-8 yards per carry, it could end up another long night.
One last thing - what is up with Sammy Sosa?
Tuesday, November 10, 2009
"The Bears are 4-4, not 1-7. They aren't the Lions and need to stop acting like them. They need to win some games to win back some respect."
Look, there is no question that the lopsided losses in two of the last three weeks have been disasterous. Cincy and St. Louis carved up the Bears D and scored at will. That said, the Bears are right in the hunt at the mid-point.
The Giants are now 5-4 and have lost 4 in a row and their fans think they are toast.
The Packers are 4-4 and just lost to lowly Tampa and their rookie QB 38-28.
The Falcons and Eagles are 5-3 each and are only one up.
The Bears and the above 4 teams are in the hunt. Seattle, SF, and Carolina are all 3-5 and could make a move in the next couple of weeks. Giving up on the season makes no sense. Predictably, fans in Chicago have largely written off the team - that is what they always do.
I believe in Lovie and think that Forte and Cutler will continue to play better and better as the season goes on. The Bears have to improve on D and I fully expect them to improve enough to compete each week. If they do, they will be in the hunt until the end. With games against the Packers (in Chicago) and Eagles (in Chicago) there is a lot of football to play. Beating the 49ers this Thursday night is now critical, as wil be every game because of the tiebreakers. If the Bears play more like they did against Pittsburgh, Seattle, and Green Bay earlier in the year they will be fine. If they cannot it will be tough. Either way - I believe!
Monday, November 09, 2009
The Bears special teams failed to convert a field goal, but they didn't really do anything.
The Bears O was fine. The O-line was OK, the run game was OK but had to be abandoned because they were so far behind so quickly.
The Cardinals scored on all five possessions in the first half 4 TDs and 1 FG and the Bears were down 34-7 at the half.
Incredibly, the Bears had a chance in the fourth quarter. The Bears had cut it to 34-21 with about 9 minutes in the game. The Bears had the Cardinals backed up 3rd and 25 from the Cards 2 yard line. If they stick the Cardinals on that play they get the ball at the 50 and could have cut it to 34-28 with about 5-6 minutes to go. The Cards hit a 24 yard pass, punted, put the Bears back at their 25 and then Cutler threw an interception on third down. End of game.
I have faith in Lovie, but he has to coach. He hasn't done a good job in 2 of the last three weeks. If he cannot get it done, there will have to be changes in the coaching staff.
The Bears are 4-4 and given the other losses that happened, they still largely have control of their own destiny. With Philly, NY, Green Bay, SF, Carolina all losing they are still in it. But their D isn't playing at a level that will allow for success.
The House passed comprehensive health care reform. That was great news. It puts further pressure on the Senate to get something done. It is going to happen.
Wednesday, November 04, 2009
In Chicago, there are fickle fans who want Lovie fired. It is crazy. The guy has a .563 winning percentage. The Bears are 4-3 and are in the thick of the playoff hunt.
Of course, these are the same fans that will immediately jump on the bandwagon if the Bears make the playoffs. Whatever.
I think the most interesting race was NY's 23rd House district race. This was a very interesting case all the way around. For 100 years, the district has been Republican. Obama selected the former Republican Representative, John McHugh, as the Secretary of the Army. This opened up the district to a special election that had an interesting back story. The Republican Party had selected a moderate Republican as the candidate, but tea baggers and fringe conservatives hated her and pushed forward their own right wingnut who didn't even live in the district. This dude didn't even understand basic issues within the district.
In the end, the Republican Party was splintered in the 23rd, and a district that is solidly Republican went to a Democrat for the first time in 100 years. As long as the Republican Party has these crazy wingnuts pushing the agenda, they will always have trouble within their own Party to deal with.
Monday, November 02, 2009
He has had a decent run, but the last couple of years have not been good enough to continue his term as the UVA coach. I'd like to see UVA try to get Steve Spurrier, but if they cannot get a big name coach, the Richmond coach would be a nice addition. He has ties to UVA and he knows how to recruit in the region. He has consistently won over the last several years including a FCS national championship. I liken him to a Jim Tressel.
I'll still support the team and Groh the rest of the year, but the Duke loss was embarrassing.
The special teams controlled the very dangerous Josh Cribbs, they hit their field goals and pinned Cleveland deep w/punts. They also got a couple of good returns including a TD by Hester that was called by because of a hold. So they were solid.
The offense still has some issues. The O-line had trouble with protection and the running game really never got it going. Cutler had a long run and Wolfe had a long run late in the game, but not much else happened. I think Cleveland has a decent D, but not one that should cause that much trouble for a good offense.
This week the Bears get 4-3 Arizona at home. That should be a good barometer of where the Bears are. They win that game they will be 5-3 and in the thick of the playoff hunt. They lose and it is a tough slog the rest of the year.
Thursday, October 29, 2009
1. Hunter Hillenmeyer goes back to the Mike and Nick Roach moves back to the Sam. Roach has been OK but in the last two games he had trouble getting the D calls in and the defensive alignments correct before snaps. Hillenmeyer took over for Urlacher but broke some ribs and has missed a couple of games.
2. Josh Beekman is taking over for Frank Omiyale at left guard. Omiyale has been inconsistent and has whiffed on too many blocks to be trusted. I like him for his depth and his ability to play both guard and tackle in a pinch are good, but he struggled as the starter.
3. Nathan Vasher looks like he will get on the field at safety. I like the move. Kevin Payne has been downright bad as the nickel safety. Manning and Alfalava are the starting safeties, but in the nickel Manning becomes the nickel back in coverage and Payne has come in at safety. Now it looks like Vasher will play.
I love the changes - they are exactly what I think they need to do.
This recovery is a bit ahead of where I thought it would be. Next week (Nov. 6) we'll get the unemployment figures and I expect that it will still be 9.8 percent or even a tick higher. As I have been saying for months, unemployment is always the last economic indicator to improve because firms always wait to hire employees and expand until they are sure the economy is improving.
Wednesday, October 28, 2009
To be an NFL head coach is to always have the pressure of fan/media scrutiny on you. Aside from Belichek, every other head coach gets hammered regularly during the season.
The Bears horrible performance made me look up some numbers. Looking at the four teams that played in the NFC and AFC title games, all of them had horrible outings that they recovered from.
The Eagles started last year 3-3 and got blown away here in Baltimore 36-7 to go 5-5-1. There were the annual calls for Reid's head, but they ended up winning 4 of their last 5 and got to the NFC Championship Game.
The Cardinals lost 56-35 to the Jets early in the year to start 2-2. They got blown away 47-7 to the Patriots on the second to the last game of the season and barely made the playoffs. I'm sure Whisenhunt was being hammered by fans and media in Phoenix. They ended up in the Super Bowl.
The Ravens lost 31-3 to Indy in the fifth game last year. Here in Baltimore, folks were wondering if Harbaugh had what it took to be an NFL head coach. They ended up in the AFC Championship game.
With the division on the line, Pittsburgh laid an egg and lost to the Titans 31-14 in the second to the last week of the season. I'm sure Tomlin heard it from fans and the media. They ended up as the Super Bowl Champs.
This is what happens in the NFL. That doesn't mean that I don't have concerns about the Bears or Lovie's leadership, but I also think a lot of the Bears fans that think the season is over at 3-3, with 10 games left - including 6 at home - are just crazy. Let's see what happens - it is a long season.
Tuesday, October 27, 2009
I did like one bit of news this week. Turns out that Lovie benched Tommie Harris this week. Harris has been complaining about his knee and missing practice, then he has been playing in the games and has been largely ineffective.
I'm not sure whether Harris is hurt or not - I assume he has some pain. But he is ineffective in the games and it may very well be because he is not practicing enough to make himself better. Either way - injury or laziness - he needed to sit.
If this lights a fire and gets him going then it will be a great move. We'll see.
Sunday, October 25, 2009
Just wait until the end of the season. Orton is 6-0 and I think he is a hard working, solid QB who obviously can win in the NFL. But we are only 6 games into the season! Fans in Chicago quickly turn on their QBs - it is crazy.
There are some changes that need to be made to hold some people accountable. I wouldn't panic, and go nuts, but I would make some significant changes.
1. Fire QB Coach Pep Hamilton. I cannot imagine that Cutler listens to him anyway. I'd like to see some accountability and getting rid of Pep would do little to disrupt Jay Cutler.
2. I would put Hunter Hillenmeyer back at middle linebacker and move Nick Roach back to the strong-side linebacker. Roach has been pretty good at middle linebacker, but it still seems like the Bears are having some trouble getting their defensive calls straight. Hillenmeyer seems to be able to do it better. In addition, I would prefer to see the more athletic Roach outside.
3. I would make some serious changes on the O-line. The line hasn't been horrible, but they need to create a new dynamic that allows the team to get some push in the running game. Orlando Pace is also too slow for the speed rushers in the NFL. He is a good backup at this point, but I would move Chris Williams to his natural LT position. Put in Kevin Shaffer in at RT. The guy was the starting RT in Cleveland last year. Remove Frank Omiyale and put in Josh Beekman at LG. Then, I would rush the ball regularly over the left side of the line. Cutler is not getting sacked that often, but the Bears need to cut down on the hits Cutler is taking. Changing up the line would also send a message that people who are not performing risk losing their jobs.
I expect the Bears to beat Cleveland - easily. Then, Arizona comes to Chicago and that game will be the litmus test of how good this team is. Arizona is a solid team, but the Bears should beat them in Chicago. After those two games, I'll make a prediction for the second half.
I do think that Cincy was hitting on all cylinders, but I also believe the Bears were unprepared and heartless. The Bears were not prepared to play and quickly found themselves out of the game.
The D was helpless against Cincy. On the first 4 Cincy possessions they scored TDs. On the fifth possession they scored a field goal. Their 6th and 7th drives were TDs. Cincy did not punt until midway through the 4th quarter, and then Chicago ran into the punter and allowed the drive to go on. In the end, Cincy had 1 punt in the game that came right before the 2 minute warning at the end of the game - PATHETIC. They didn't get a sack and allowed Cedric Benson and Cincy to roll up 215 total yards rushing.
The offense wasn't any better. Cutler dropped two shotgun snaps that were in his hands (Bears recovered). He threw 3 interceptions. Hester had a fumble. Cannot win giving up the ball 4 times.
The Bears are at a crossroads in their season. At 3-3, they are a mediocre team that looks like it is going nowhere. Only time will tell whether this was the real Bears or if they are a better team. Frankly, I am not sure. I'd like to think that this was a crazy anomoly and that they will get straightened out in coming weeks, but for the first time this season I have some doubts.
I am going to call out a couple of people:
1. Lovie Smith. Worst coaching performance I have seen since he came to Chicago. His defense was truly porous and he had no answers for the Cincy offense. The guy is laid back and he is a player's coach, but that may be wearing thin. Last week against Atlanta was a disaster in terms of player mistakes. Yesterday there were plenty of player mistakes again. Lovie needs to hold some players accountable.
2. Jay Cutler. I don't blame Cutler for the loss - this was a team loss - but he played a horrible game. Bad decisions with some of his passes. TWO Dropped snaps - should never happen. His body language was poor which also is a concern. THE BEARS NEED TO FIRE QB COACH PEP HAMILTON. This guy does nothing. He didn't help Grossman. He didn't help Orton. He isn't helping Cutler. I don't see any benefit to having the guy around.
3. The D-line. Two weeks in a row without a sack and hardly any pressure at all. Last week at least they were good agains the run, but this week they were gashed repeatedly.
The Bears have 2 home games coming up against Cleveland and Arizona. If they don't win both and end the first half at 5-3, they will not make the playoffs and I really think Lovie may end up losing his job. We'll see.
Friday, October 23, 2009
DEADKINS? I expect nothing short of a debacle at Fed Ex. Eagles will stomp them 38 - 10. The only question I have right now is how many Eagles fans will there be in Fed Ex? With 20,000 Deadskin no-shows and 30,000 Eagle fans in the stadium it will seem almost like an Eagles home game.
UVA - They have been playing much better in recent weeks and as a result have won three in a row. Georgia Tech comes to Charlottesville with their triple option rushing attack. They haven't played a 3-4 D this year and I have to hope that Coach Groh will have the boys ready to stop the option attack. On the offensive side of the ball Sewell and Simpson have been hurt, but I fully expect them to play. I think the GT D has been suspect this year. It should be a high scoring affair, but bad weather may make it difficult. GT has not won in Charlottesville since 1990 and I think it will remain that way. UVA 31 - GT 21.
Centennial is 2-5 and they play Hammond also 2-5. I haven't gotten a chance to watch a game this year because of weather and time conflicts. I think this is Centennial's homecoming game (but am not sure). I always think they are going to beat the mediocre/bad teams and then they lose in close games. They seem to be due for a win so I'll go to the well one more time. Centennial 16 - Hammond 12.
Thursday, October 22, 2009
As the economy continues to improve, unemployment starts to fall, Americans get health reform (with a public option), and Americans feel better and better about the nation under Obama next year (as I have been predicting for months), the country will have a choice in the mid-terms. Go with hate and fear RepubliCANTs who did not want to work with President Obama, or go with the guy who has led the country out of the abyss.
There is a quote in the article from one of George W. Bush's advisors regarding Glen Beck:
“Beck seems to be a roiling mix of fear, resentment and anger — the antithesis of Ronald Reagan.”
That is what is wrong with the RepubliCANT Party in a nutshell. They have no ideas and offer no hope. They basically just complain and spread fear and loathing rather than solutions to big problems. Next year during the mid-term election, the differences between Dems and RepubliCANTs will be clear and the choice will be obvious. RepubliCANTs will be left to lick their wounds, reconsider their foolishness, and maybe they will realize that they need to find new purpose and resolve that is not simply, WE HATE OBAMA AND WILL NOT WORK WITH HIM.
Wednesday, October 21, 2009
The President has been far too accomodating to the Republicans and all that has happened is they bitch and moan that he isn't giving them what they want. Then, after he makes concessions they still don't vote for anything the President wants and complain.
Elections have consequences and the RepubliCANTs need to stop being babies. They aren't in power and will not get what they want, so they need to work with the President on compromise positions.
In a somewhat related story, the Chamber of Commerce is finding that it no longer has a seat at the table when it comes to shaping legislation. The Chamber is a decidedly right wing lobby group that mostly represents large business interests. They have refused to compromise on anything and have been vocal critics of the President, so they are losing their traditional position of power in the legislative development process. That's what you get when you refuse to bargain in good faith.
Tuesday, October 20, 2009
So Faux News is all up in arms and using the "war" to say the President is biased and wrong and evil and the anti-Christ or whatever the Hell they want to say to further cater to their viewers. Good for them. However, Bush did the exact same thing to MSNBC, so when Faux falsely claims that Obama's actions are unprecedented they are lying (as usual).
It doesn't matter whether Obama works with Faux or not, they are still going to bash him. That is fine with me - they have their right to do that. It's a free country. I say let the Faux News Nuts have their station and get their propaganda.
Faux has great cable numbers, but that does not mean all that much. On any given night, O'Reilly and Beck will get about 2.5 million viewers and Hannity will get about 2 million viewers. Those folks are the hard core nuts who want their dose of anti-Obama rhetoric every day. By comparison, almost 9 million folks watch NBC's Nightly News with Brian Williams and 1.6 million watch John Stewart do his take on the news every night.
On top of that, there are more than 300 million Americans, so most folks are not even bothering with the news. Obama should just continue to shut Faux out if he wants. It doesn't really matter in the end whether he does or not; the folks that watch Faux won't vote for him anyway.
Sunday, October 18, 2009
Cutler threw a bad interception on the first drive after moving the ball into the Red Zone.
The first Atlanta TD was a bad defensive breakdown.
Forte fumbled twice on the one yard line and lost the second fumble in the third quarter that would have tied the game.
The Bears stopped Atlanta in the 4th quarter, but on 4th and 4 the Bears had 12 men on the field (that mistake was wiped out by the Vasher interception - but it should not have happened).
After scoring the TD to tie in the fourth quarter the Bears special teams had a bad breakdown and allowed a big return to give Atlanta a short field - which they used to score the winning TD with a little over 3 minutes to go.
Then, Cutler led the Bears down and Orlando Pace jumped on 4th and 1 with about 35 seconds to go at about the Atlanta 10.
I am not disheartened by the effort - I thought the Bears played a good overall game in many ways. The D was solid. They got two pickoffs and held a very good Atlanta offense to just 250 yards. They had some trouble getting the defensive calls out in time before Atlanta snapped the ball - that was a result of the up-tempo no-huddle offense. The offensive line for the Bears was good in protection against a tough Atlanta D. But penalties and turnovers, especially on the road against good teams will kill you more times than not.
The Bears are going to have to work on their running game, especially with the cold weather in Chicago. They have to cut down on the mistakes - especially in the Red Zone. But it seems to me that they'll get those worked out and are a solid bunch. I liked Cutler's overall game, especially after the 2 first half interceptions. They go to Cincy and then get Cleveland and Arizona at home before heading out to San Francisco. If they are going to be special this year they have to go 3-1 in those games. They'll have to prove it on the field.
Saturday, October 17, 2009
Mikell Simpson didn't play and Jameel Sewell got hurt - not sure how serious that is. But, we are going to need both of them back next week as Georgia Tech makes its way to Charlottesville. That will be a huge game for UVA.
Friday, October 16, 2009
Adams underachieved in Tampa, but he is going to play for Lovie Smith and Rod Marinelli. Marinelli has been great getting the Bears D-line playing hard again after two subpar years. If he can live up to his 1st round potential, this will be a huge pickup for the Bears and certainly well worth the pick.
I'd like to see a little more depth at running back and am not really comfortable with their backup QB situation, but otherwise I like the Bears team as it is.
Last year was the last budget year under the Bush Administration. Bush nationalized AIG, Freddie Mac, Fannie Mae, and GM and passed through the poorly designed $700 billion TARP program which bailed out banks.
When Obama took office the deficit projection was for $1.75 trillion, but Obama greatly slowed TARP spending and reduced war spending and knocked the projected figure down.
The Obama economic policies are putting the nation in a position for significant economic recovery. The financial sector has been stabilized and the stock markets are booming. This will bring private sector money on top of the public stimulus money that is starting to really hit the economy now. We are going to see a roaring economy by mid-2010 and unemployment will really start to improve.
I fully expect the deficits to shrink in coming years, especially if comprehensive health care reform, with a public option passes (as I expect) this year.
DEADSKINS. What can you say about this team, except that it is in turmoil. I think the guys want to win for Zorn but the offensive line is just a mess. KC comes to town with the NFL's worst defense. Their secondary cannot tackle, and I'm not sure their front 7 is much better. They only have 6 sacks on the year. That said, it should be a true battle. If this game were in KC I'd say the Deadskins would definitely lose. But it is at FedEx so the Deadskins should have an advantage. KC seems due for a win. I think in the end the Deadskin line troubles will lead to a couple of JC/Portis fumbles and KC will pull out a 20-17 victory.
UVA. They are in town visiting Maryland this week. I expect a big win with UVA easily handling the Terps 33-14. With that win they will be 2-0 in the ACC and 3-3 overall.
Centennial. They play Mt. Hebron. Both teams are 2-4 but Centennial is at home. Both teams struggle to score, and with the rain I expect it to be a low scoring affair. Centennial 12 - Mt. Hebron 8.
Thursday, October 15, 2009
Things are moving ahead very nicely with the economy. As I have explained many time before the Dow is a leading indicator and just as I thought (in fact, faster than I expected) we have seen real recovery in the broader stock markets.
The GDP figure for the third quarter will be out soon and I expect to see that the Great Recession we have been dealing with is finally over. The Post ran a story about 30,000 new stimulus jobs which we should see ramp up in coming months as more and more stimulus money is spent.
Unemployment will continue to look bad because it is a LAGGING indicator of economic recovery. But as we move through the next couple of months things are going to get better and better.
With health care reform - and a public option - passing this year and significant economic recovery taking place before the mid-terms, RepubliCANTs are going to get wiped out again in 2010. I predicted it months ago and see no reason to change my mind at this point.
With the bye week the Bears should be ready to go. A few of their guys have been dinged up so I'm sure it helped. I "love" some of the stories that have come out this week about Orton and Benson. Obviously both those guys are doing well - I'm not surprised. I liked both of them and thought they were solid players. I'm glad they are doing well with their respective teams. What I find funny are the people like Steve Rosenbloom (columnist for the Trib) and fans who now say we should never have let them go/traded them. Rosenbloom was pissed off and writing columns about how Benson should have been cut earlier and about how Orton sucked and would never amount to much - then this week he writes that the Bears made a mistake letting them go. It is silly.
Here are my thoughts on Orton - he is a solid QB who can make good throws. He is a great fit for the system Denver runs and he doesn't beat you with bad mistakes. Given Denver's D, he is perfect for that team. He isn't going to put the team on his shoulders week in and week out and win you games with a cannon arm, but he is a very good player.
Benson probably needed to go. I liked him - still like him - but he needed a change of scenery and probably got motivated after he was cut. It didn't work out in Chicago, but we have Matt Forte and Cincy now has a good young back. Everyone is happy.
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
It is highly unlikely that the team is going to win more than 6 games with that bunch up front. It is also highly likely that Zorn will be fired within the next 2 weeks and that JC will not be the QB next year.
This is fast becoming a lost season. If I were Snyder, I would do what I do best - create marketing ploys to keep fans interested. I am not joking when I offer these two things:
1. Have a contest to find an offensive lineman. Give guys on the street two weeks to get in their entries and then find the next great lineman. As a reward, the winning guy(s) get to play in the final home game. There is time to evaluate guys, have some workouts, coach 'em up and then play them before the season is over. Larry Michael and Snyder Radio 980 can give progress reports and fans will get invested in some of the new player prospects.
2. Go to the WWE and get the biggest dudes on the mat to sign with the Deadskins to play offensive line in a game. Imagine a line made up of The Rock, Jimmy "Superfly" Snuka, George "the Animal" Steele," Hulk Hogan, Andre "the Giant," Randy "Macho Man" Savage, and Tiger Mask (from "parts unknown"). I know these guys are all old/dead, but you get the point. Make it a freak show, market the hell out of it, and you will sell out the stadium.
I know these ploys will further diminish the respectability of the Deadskins, but losing 8 out of the last 10 (as I expect they will) will do that also. At least this way you sell tickets and Danny Boy makes some money.
Monday, October 12, 2009
"It starts not only with players and coaches, it starts with the ownership. They bring everybody in and they've got last say-so of everything, so that's where it starts, I guess."
Danny Boy won't like that - looks like Carlos will be with another team next year.
Both those guys can win and be effective and I'd love to see them go somewhere together. Cleveland, Oakland, Buffalo, Carolina, Tampa Bay, St. Louis would all benefit from having them as OC and QB. Frankly every one of those teams have better O-lines than the Deadskins right now, although St. Louis is probably pretty close to the Deadskins.
I don't think Zorn will get a head coaching job for some time, but I think he will end up on his feet. Danny Boy will unceremoniously discard JC, who I expect will also land on his feet and perform well for one of the teams I listed above. Both those guys are decent men who deserve better than the treatment they have gotten in DC, particularly from their owner.
The open way in which Zorn and Campbell have been disrespected and undermined by Danny Boy over the last few months has been ridiculous. They have been class acts who won't be rewarded by the Deadskins in any way.
Saturday, October 10, 2009
The only downer is that Mikell Simpson went down with what looked like a knee injury in the second half. He was carted off and that would be significant.
Friday, October 09, 2009
If you fritter away draft picks like the Deadskins have done and end up with fewer picks, then you better be good at talent evaluation. Unfortunately for the Deadskins they aren't any good at that either. Danny Boy flies his jet around wining and dining free agents and a couple of big name college players, but clearly does not know how to evaluate talent.
Thursday, October 08, 2009
THE LEGEND OF BINGO SHERMINATOR
(A storyline for an upcoming hit Disney TV movie - based on actual events)
Plotline: The struggling Redskins hire an old, retired coach who is calling out Bingo numbers at the local Bingo hall to fix the team. He comes in, takes over as coach, and the team goes on to win the Super Bowl.
The first part of the movie shows the Redskins struggling early in the season. With the team losing, the owner (Danny Boy) shakes his head and asks his GM (Vinny) how they can get back on track. The GM smiles coyly and says, "I know just the guy." Vinny calls up the Sherminator's house and gets his wife who tells him, "Sherm's not in right now, do you want his cell phone number?"
Vinny gets Sherm on the line. At first Sherm thinks it is a prank call, but then he realizes it's for real. He agrees to come in as a consultant to the team. The camera pans back after the call and we see Sherm standing in front of 25 old ladies in a Bingo parlor. He calls out, "N-40. N-40."
The next scene is Sherm sweating as he wonders if he's still actually got what it takes to deal with NFL players. He is questioning himself and moans to his wife, "I've been running Bingo games for the last 5 years, what do I know about the NFL?"
She lovingly caresses his shoulder and says something cliche like, "It's just like riding a bike! You'll find your way - just get out there and ride!" At that moment, the ghost of Bill Walsh appears (only to Sherm) and throughout the rest of the movie Walsh provides serious insights and comic relief.
The movie also includes a product tie in to Madden X. To come up to speed on today's NFL, Sherm's grandson shows him how to play Madden football and use Madden's suggested plays. Sherm is truly impressed.
After a series of comic mishaps and melodramatic scenes in which the players initially reject him, the owner fires the existing coach (Zorn) and installs Sherm as the coach. During actual games, Sherm's headset is not linked to coaches, but rather to his grandson playing Madden football in the owner's luxury suite. Sherminator's grandson is actually calling down Madden's suggested plays - AND THEY ARE WORKING. All of this is to the chagrin if the ghost of Bill Walsh.
As the obligatory love story that has to run through the movie, the struggling QB can have a relationship with the owner's hot young daughter (just go with it). All kinds of hijinks and mayhem can ensue with that.
The team goes on to win 10 in a row, and then dominate in the playoffs. They get to the Super Bowl, and in a strange twist of fate, Zorn is the coach of the other team (their coach died in some kind of freak accident).
JC gets injured midway through said Super Bowl game and at halftime with a dejected Redskin team down 48-0, Joe Montana (played by Joe Montegna) blasts through the locker room doors, straps up, and guarantees that he would be proud to fight with this team if they would have them. Begin Rally Cry and everyone bolts out the door ready to conquer.
It is the end of the Super Bowl, Sherm and his team are losing and there are just 2 seconds left. The Redskins find themselves down 5 on their own 1 yard line (99 yards from paydirt). It looks hopeless. Sherm calls the final timeout and Montana/Montegna comes to the sideline. Sherm looks at him then he looks over to his bench and yells, "JC! JC get your butt over here." JC hobbles up from the bench and looks from Sherm to Montana/Montegna back to Sherm. "Yeah coach?"
"JC, I want you to get in there. It's your time!" Montana/Montegna is surprised at first, but then smiles at JC and the grizzled vet nods. Somehow, JC stands up straighter and finds himself pain free. Sherm smiles and says we need something to that will surprise them. Instead of calling for a pass play from his strong armed QB, he calls for a QB sneak right up the gut. "It'll work - it's got to work!!! They won't expect it!" Sherm says as the QB looks questioningly at him when he hears the play.
Surprise surprise - it works - picture a lot of bad tackling in a horribly acted Disney movie. Time is up. The Redskins win.
JC is the hero, the owner forgets about everything that bothered him about his relationship with his daughter. "Welcome to the family . . . SON!"
Sherm shakes hands with Zorn - who is happy that the Redskins won also (strangely). The team picks Sherm up after the rousing win and begins the ride off into the sunset. One last view of Sherm's face appears - he is smiling broadly and one single tear is streaming down his face as he looks to his wife. His grandson by her side give him the thumbs up. The ghost of Bill Walsh is shaking his head in disbelief, but he is smiling. Cue end credits - CUT AND PRINT!!!
Next week they play the Chiefs (0-4) who may very well lose to Dallas this weekend.
Other than the Giants, the schedule has been favorable. After the Chiefs, the schedule is extremely difficult. If the Deadskins take care of business and win the next two they have a chance to be respectable (maybe 6-10/7-9). If they lose one or both of the next two they will not win more than 4 or 5 this year.
Danny Boy hired "Bingo Sherminator" to "consult" on offense this week. They'll probably get shut out down in Carolina as Peppers gets on track with 3+ sacks this weekend. Then, Danny Boy will really lose his temper.
Wednesday, October 07, 2009
Here is an actual debate on the issues of health care. This lady, Betsy McCaughey, is the one who made up the nonsense about "Death Panels."
The RepubliCANT B.S. was called out in this discussion.
For some reason this lady cannot seem to answer the very simple questions Ratigan is asking her. She keeps trying to change the subject and move the discussion away from the question. Listen carefully and you can see what she is trying to do - deflect and use scare tactics that are irrelevant to the question she was asked.
When Faux News is arguing for a public option you know things are changing. The fact is that the public option is not a government takeover of health care. It is an effective means of controlling skyrocketing health care costs.
We are going to pass significant health reform and it will have a public option in the end. All of these angry folks who don't understand the facts are just a noisy minority.
Tuesday, October 06, 2009
Bears - #7 scoring offense at 26 points/game (up 13 slots). #22 yardage offense at 305 yards/game (down 2 slots).
Redskins - #27 scoring offense at 14 points/game (up 1 slot). #17 yardage offense at 325 yards/game (down 4 slots).
Bears - #13 scoring defense at 19.5 points/game (down 1 slot). #14 yardage defense at 325 yards/game (down 5 slots).
Redskins - #5 scoring defense at 15.5 points/game (up 1 slot). #12 yardage defense at 302 yards/game (up 2 slots).
If you pay all that money, it seems like you should be free to criticize the owner if you want to. Whatever. Danny's never been all that fan-friendly anyway.
Monday, October 05, 2009
Sunday, October 04, 2009
The other picks/players will largely be forgotten. The trade will likely be evaluated as Cutler vs. Orton. Certainly Cutler has looked good the last three games. Orton has done well in his four games. It will be great to see how the season unfolds.
The ultimate game/test of the trade would be the Super Bowl. That would be an incredible story.
Lovie made a big adjustment at halftime to turn the game around. He locked Charles Tillman on Calvin Johnson. First half, Johnson had 119 yards receiving. Second half, 14 yards. That was huge.
Forte and the running game was on display. Forte rushed 12 times for 121 yards and a TD. Not bad - a 10 yard per carry average. He just gashed through the Lions D on a couple of big runs. All the complaints about Forte after three weeks look silly now.
I thought the O-line looked good most of the day. There was only one real pass protection breakdown that led to a sack. Cutler rolled into another sack, but that was on him not his O-line. I think the three new starters are starting to gel. No penalties this week on the O-line. They looked good up front.
For the third game in a row, Cutler has a QB rating above 100. Since that disasterous 1st half against the Packers in the opening game, Cutler has thrown 7 TDs and just one interception. He looks more an more comfortable each week.
The Bears get a bye next week and it comes at a good time with a lot of guys dinged up. Then it is on to Atlanta for a Sunday night game on NBC. That should be a good game, but one that Chicago should win.
Saturday, October 03, 2009
The season is all about the ACC schedule now. I still think the Cavs have talent and could make some noise. They have to do it on the field.
Indiana comes to Chalottesville next week.
So Vinny and Larry pulled out this crap. What a couple of idiots.
Friday, October 02, 2009
BEARS!!! (2-1) After getting their first win in nearly 2 years against the reeling Redskins, the Lions come to Soldier Field. Any momentum the Lions have will quickly evaporate. This game will not be a problem for the Bears. The Bears will win this game easily 31-17. (The Lions will get a late trash TD to make it seem closer.)
Deadskins (1-2). Tampa comes to FedEx with a QB making his first NFL start. I expect the D to play better and the moribund offense will finally come to life against the lowly Bucs. After hearing some boos and getting off to a slow start in the first quarter, the Malcolm Kellies will roll 27-3. Malcolm Kelly may even get 3 catches this game in a breakout performance (I would put the over/under on his receiving yardage at 35 yards).
UVA (0-3). The ACC schedule starts for the Cavs in Chapel Hill against a solid UNC team. I like the way the team has improved on offense and still think the team has the players to play solid defense. They need better play out of their special teams units. With the bye last week and the ability to start fresh with the ACC schedule I think the Cavs will be ready. It is funny, UVA always plays well against UNC and finds ways to win. I expect the same tomorrow. UVA 34 - UNC 27.
Centennial (1-3). If it doesn't rain today or this evening, we will head over to watch the game. The Eagles are in a must win against 2-2 Wilde Lake. I haven't watched the team but they have some talent. Wilde Lake is a perennial powerhouse but they have a new coach. Should be a good matchup, but I think the Eagles will lose 24-10. I'll hope for a better outcome.
Enjoy the weekend games!
The majority of Americans get what a public option is and want to see one offered. It is so simple - give younger folks an option to sign up for Medicare. Anyone can choose to stay with a private plan if that's what they want, but it gives consumers one more option. The Dems in the Senate are really bungling this up. The problem is that the Senate has a very weak leader (Senator Reid) and is full of rich folks who don't understand the plight of every day Americans.
Look, my private health care premiums are rising by 6 percent next year. At the same time, I will be lucky if I get a raise, let alone a 6 percent raise. I'm happy with my health care and have no desire to sign up for a public option, but the costs of all the uninsured get transferred to those who do have insurance. Something has to change and the public option works as a viable solution.
One other thought - all the critics who are getting on Obama for lobbying for the Olympics are idiots. If Chicago gets to Olympics it will bring in billions in tourist/travel money and TV rights revenue. I do think the President needs to be more aggressive on health care, but taking a day to lobby for the Olympics to come to Chicago in 2016 makes good sense.
Wednesday, September 30, 2009
Tuesday, September 29, 2009
Bears - #20 scoring offense at 19 points/game. #20 yardage offense at 315 yards/game.
Redskins - #28 scoring offense at 13.3 points/game. #13 yardage offense at 341 yards/game.
Bears - #12 scoring defense at 18 points/game. #9 yardage defense at 293 yards/game.
Redskins - #6 scoring defense at 16.3 points/game. #15 yardage defense at 326 yards/game.
Sunday, September 27, 2009
Hunter Hillenmeyer went down - he is Urlacher's replacement at middle linebacker. We'll see how that turns out. They moved Nick Roach inside and put Jamar Williams at strong side linebacker - it worked out OK, but we are really thinning out at linebacker.
Zack Bowman went down, but Nathan Vasher played a very good second half for the Bears.
The Seahawks were undermanned with injuries, but that's part of the game as the Bears are finding out again this year.
This was a game the Bears had to win if they are going to have a special season. They got the win in front of a tough Seattle crowd. We'll take it and next week we go up against Detroit back in Chicago - should be a win.
Friday, September 25, 2009
I know the discussion is floating around on various posts. I'll comment on the Malcolm Kellies over on JKD's site. But, I'll put my final weekend predictions here.
BEARS (1-1) - Playing in Seattle (1-1) is always a tough game, but the Bears are going to have a special year and winning on the road against a banged up Seahawks bunch is a must win if they are really going to make some noise. I don't think the game will be all that close. The Bears will also get their running game going. Bears 27 - Seattle 13.
DEADSKINS (1-1) - Detroit went 0-16 last year, but there are 32 new guys on the team and an all new coaching staff. They are 0-2 and have lost 19 straight overall, but they will finally get a win this weekend. Final score will be 14-10 Lions. As bad as this week was with all the bitching and moaning in DC after a lackluster win, the fans will get out their pitchforks and torches after the Lions beat the Skins.
UVA (0-3) - off this week.
Centennial (1-2) - go on the road again tomorrow to play 3-0 Long Reach. I'll go with a win, but I have no real idea. Centennial 12 - Long Reach 8.
Wednesday, September 23, 2009
The story talks about the higher cost of living in Bethesda and says that living in poorer states can be better. I'm sure that in some cases that is true, but Bethesda is just one small suburb. If you go to PG county, Anne Arundel County, or Howard County - which are still fairly close to DC or Baltimore, you can find very affordable housing. And, the reality is that if you want to send you kid to college, save up money for retirement, or pay for health care, you can earn way more dollars living in Maryland. You don't have to live in a $500,000 house in Bethesda, you can live in a $270,000 house in Howard County, send your kids to some of the best public schools in the country for free, and earn $80,000 with a college/Master's degree.
I have no problem paying my taxes in Maryland because we have excellent roads, excellent schools, and good state health care laws. RepubliCANTS bitch and moan about taxes in their mostly southern states, but the reality is that when it is done right, government can be a very effective tool in improving the lives of people.
In fact, the top 5 states in terms of median income are Democratic states with the exception of Alaska. But Alaska receives the most federal taxpayer subsidies per capita than any other state.
This guy talks family values and then holds fundraisers at Britney Spears concerts. He constantly embarrasses himself on national TV with his utter lack of knowledge, but he is a leader for the minority party.
In a piece in Politico today he belly aches about Pelosi and that "no one on the White House power grid — from Obama to chief of staff Rahm Emanuel — has contacted [RepubliCANT]leadership to coordinate a bipartisan Afghanistan strategy."
What a doofus, Obama is the Commander-in-Chief and has his national security team. Given how stupid the RepubliCANTs are on health care (especially when they don't have a plan of their own), why in the world would he consult CANTor to come up with a "bipartisan" strategy. Either CANTor is delusional, stupid, or just plain retarded. If this is the quality of their leadership, it is no wonder that RepubliCANTs find themselves in such a minority position.
The think that is so remarkable is that the RepubliCANT Party has gone from a party with real ideas, discipline, and leadership that had vision, to a Party that simply feeds this nonsensical hate.
Instead of actually proposing anything remotely helpful to addressing the health care crisis in this country - and yes it is a crisis - they jump around saying, NO, NO, NO to those few folks out there who would rather use ideological hyperbole and irrational images of Obama as Hitler.
They have made themselves into a local party rather than a truly national party. They will win elections in the South consistently, but with changing demographics and increasing numbers of younger voters locked into the Democratic Party, it seems that they are writing their own obituary as a truly national party. Hey man, it's their funeral.
I think there will be a third party that will emerge - one that is fiscally conservative and socially neutral. This is where I believe most Americans, especially the independents want to be.
I am predicting that Detroit will finally end their dismal losing streak at 19 games. The Redskins come to town with their struggling offense and solid, but not spectacular D. The Zorn death march will begin in earnest after this weekend's loss.
UVA has a bye, but showed some signs of improving on offense. Their next matchup is against a very solid North Carolina team in two weeks. If they can win that game - which I expect - they will have life left in their season. If they lose, Al Groh will be one step closer to being pushed out.
Centennial High lost and are now 1-2. That stinks.
Sunday, September 20, 2009
The Steelers started strong. They held the Bears to a 3 and out and then went on an 8 minute, 90+ yard drive to go ahead 7-0. It looked like the Steelers were going to roll. But the Bears really played well. They got contributions from a bunch of guys - Kellen Davis (2nd year TE) and Johnny Knox (rookie WR) got huge TDs. Cutler was terrific. The O-line was solid. The D all around was great. The only thing that wasnt really hitting was the running game - not surprising against the Steelers D.
The Bears scored 10 in the fourth quarter, including a game winning field goal in the final seconds to win the game.
I think the first two games have been very much like playoff games and the Bears have played very, very well. They go to Seattle and then get Detroit at home. Those are two winnable games that I expect them to win big. We'll see.
Friday, September 18, 2009
UVA (0-2) travels to Southern Miss. I think the spread will be much better and they will air it out a bit. I expect an offensive explosion with UVA winning 30-17.
BEARS (0-1) will get a much better performance out of Cutler against a very good Steelers D. But it will be the Bears D that will win it with their ball hawking. They will stifle the Steelers running game and get a couple of turnovers off interceptions by Big Ben and at least one fumble. Chicago 24 - Steelers 14.
Malcolm Kellies (0-1) should have no trouble with St. Louis, but they will have trouble. In the end, it will be a 21-17 Deadskins victory and questions will remain about how good the team is. The fans will not be happy.
Thursday, September 17, 2009
It is obvious the man has the ability to speak and to deliver an uplifting message. Republicans, critics and haters out there all play to fear, cynacism, and the worst in people. The contrast with Obama could not be more stark. The President has a way of appealing to people's better sides. He takes the high road and seems to be largely above the fray.
By the end of his speech, he had the 20,000 person crowd fired up and cheering - not by bashing his critics and wallowing in hate - but by clearly laying out his agenda and the need for reform.
In the end, I have confidence that the President's approach and appeal will win out.
I'm comfortable with the change and like all three of the top corners (Tillman, Bowman, and Vasher).
Tuesday, September 15, 2009
One other thing to notice - President Obama will not be making his way over to Faux News Sunday. Why bother? The phony 9/12 propaganda, Glen Beck, O'Reilly, and all of the Faux News anchors are just feeding the 25 percent of the public that hates Obama lies and lunacy. He won't win over those folks anyway and there is no reason to help their ratings by making an appearance.
1. South Carolina's Republican Congressman Joe Wilson's "You Lie" comment. Today the House voted mostly along party lines in a formal rebuke of the "distinguished gentleman." What I find remarkable is that only 7 Republicans voted for the measure. Republicans are so big on "rules", but decided it was OK for one of their own to break House rules to heckle the President. However, the scary thing is that if they actually believe that the rules don't matter and that heckling the President is OK, where is the actual line on decorum? Is it OK to curse the President out? Is it OK to throw an egg at him? What is unacceptable. Apparently, it is now OK for Congressional members to heckle the President. That is a remarkable statement about the loss of basic civility in the U.S.
2. The weekend mob-like protest against the President's policies - mostly on health care. About 75,000 people showed up in DC on Saturday, but folks on the right are claiming there were more than a million, and some are saying even more than two million. There was even a false photo that was issued and spread on the web allegedly showing the event. That is just plain silly. The reality is that it was a relatively small protest, but any idiots who believe it was 2 million can fool themselves for all I care. The National Mall was booked by the National Council of Negro Women, Inc.'s
2009 Black Family Reunion Celebration. The keynote speaker was Pastor T.D. Jakes, and the Christian-themed, African-American event had tents and activities that spread from 7th Street to the Washington monument. For anyone who know DC, you know that this is most of the National Mall between the Washington Monument and Capitol. It is so pathetic (especially Glen Beck - who claims passion for the movement but was too busy to show up) to see how far the Republican Party seems to have fallen. They want to cater to this increasingly loud, but very small minority of folks. I guess it is their base.
3. President's Poll Numbers. Last week I said Obama's poll numbers would rise as he found his voice on health care. Sure enough we are starting to see a bump up. Obama is speaking before large crowds and he is using the bully-pulpit of the presidency to defend his beliefs about health care. It certainly looks like it is starting to work. For the protestors out there, if everyone hated his proposals, why would his poll numbers rise as he speaks more often and more clearly about his positions? Health care reform is going to happen this year, and I know that there will be Republicans who don't want to be on the wrong side of history and will vote for the bill that eventually is passed.
I am not really worried after just one game and fully believe Cutler will play better in coming weeks. But, I have to question the value and contribution that QB coach Pep Hamilton makes to the team. He came after the Super Bowl year and was supposed to help Rex work on footwork and cut down on mistakes. Didn't happen. We know that Rex, Brian Griese, Kyle Orton, and now Jay Cutler have all made significant numbers of mistakes. I'm sure Pep is a good guy and all, but his coaching is not translating into demonstrably better QB play on the field on Sundays.
I'm not blaming Pep, but think there is a need to look at what his actual value is to the team.
Monday, September 14, 2009
I thought Urlacher was flying around playing pretty good ball last night. At least it's not a leg injury and hopefully it is something he could recover from for a late season return. We'll see.
Sunday, September 13, 2009
Cutler had a tough night. I liked the way he came back in the second half after throwing three interceptions in the first half. He looked terrible in the first half, but a couple of huge drives in the second half put the Bears up with a little more than 2 minutes.
The fake punt in the fourth quarter on 4th and 11 was bizarre. It basically gave the Packers a field goal when their offense could not move the ball effectively all night.
The D was great for most of the night. Vasher blew it on the Packers TD at the end, but I thought he had a pretty good night otherwise. It happens, I just hope he can shake it off.
Injuries to Urlacher and Tinoisamoa (two starting linebackers) is concerning - especially to Urlacher. Hopefully he will be back next week.
Pittsburgh comes to Chicago on Sunday afternoon. That should be a very good game. I'd like to see the Bears commit to the running game more (especially early). Cutler threw 36 times - that is too many times for the way the Bears play D. They need to mix in Garrett Wolfe for a change of pace, but I think as Cutler gets more comfortable with his receivers he should be fine.
Great ending to the Michigan - Notre Dame game. Loved that.
Hated the end of the USC - Ohio State game.
UVA was beat down by TCU (30-14). I thought the D played fairly well, but they were completely worn down. They spent so much time on the field because of the weak offensive effort. The Cavs switched to the spread offense this year and it takes time to learn it and get the right personnel to run it. I think it was a mistake to switch for a coach that is clearly on the hotseat. Sewell threw two late TDs, but he was sacked 8 times and pressured all day. The thing I didn't really understand is why they didn't take a few more shots down the field earlier in the game. I know Sewell was pressured all day, but the needed to move him out of the pocket and just take some shots. It would have helped loosen up the D.
This will be Groh's last season in Charlottesville if things don't turn around. I think the team will improve as it learns how to play the spread and it will play better in coming weeks.
Friday, September 11, 2009
Redskins - horrible offensive line playing what may be the best defensive line in football. The Redskins will give up 5+ sacks, there will be a couple of fumbles/interceptions caused by the pressure. Malcolm Kelly will twist his knee and miss the next 6 weeks. Albert Haynesworth will do nothing and people will wonder why he got the $100 million contract. The Zorn/JC death watch will start. The Redskins D will keep it under control but it won't be pretty. Giants 20 - Redskins 6.
UVA - in a stunning upset UVA will beat TCU. It will be a game that is marked by great UVA D against a very good TCU offense. No turnovers will be the key. UVA 17 - TCU 14.
Centennial High School Eagles - I'd like to get to the home game this week. I know virtually nothing about the teams in the Howard county league except that River Hill is the powerhouse (29 straight wins and 2 consecutive state titles). Thankfully, Centennial is not playing River Hill. Reservoir comes to Centennial on Saturday night. I'll just go with Centennial 13 Reservoir 6.
Tragedy aside, in the days that followed there was an incredible unity within the country. President Bush could have used that unity to do great things for the nation and the world. Instead, Rove, Cheney, and Bush's team turned 9/11 into a political tool.
The hunt for bin Laden still has not concluded and justice has not been served. We have been engaged in two very expensive and increasingly unpopular wars that have served very little strategic purpose. The nation is more divided in large part because of the U.S. response to 9/11. These factors contribute to the sadness of the day.
9/11 is a day to remember, a day to respect and honor those that died, but it is also a day to reflect on the lessons we should learn and about thinking about future public policies that should be implemented when the next attack comes. It will happen again - sooner or later - hopefully our response will be more effective.
Thursday, September 10, 2009
I think he speech last night will stop the slide and move him back up a few points if he can continue to be on the offensive in the health care debate. I firmly believe that (1) we need reform because the current system is faltering and is not sustainable, and (2) Americans really want it. If he can be a clear voice in the debate, all the haters and complainers and liars wil fall by the wayside and he will be left standing. I expect his poll numbers to rise over the next couple of weeks as he takes this offensive - perhaps to 55-58 percent approval.
Over the longer term, it seems to me that there is strong and growing evidence that the economy is improving. There is good reason to believe that the stimulus is working and will continue to improve economic conditions in the country. As this happens through the rest of the year and especially in 2010, all the Republican critics will look even more foolish. At this point, I am expecting even more gains in the House and Senate in 2010. I have been predicting it for months and will continue to stand by this prediction.
I am planning on putting up the weekly power ratings from the various sources. I don't think it makes much sense to start until at least next week (maybe after week 2). Then we'll have a better sense about teams.
I did see an interesting set of predictions. One is that Mike Shanahan will be the next Redskins coach. It is no surprise that I think the Redskins will have a down year with their offensive line. Unfortunately, the blame will go to Zorn and JC and they will be out - even though the front office did not help to really adequately address their major problem last year.
Also, here are the playoff/Super Bowl predictions from USA Today's NFL writers. There seems to be a lot of love for the Patriots and Chargers.
Republican Congressman Joe Wilson's outburst, "YOU LIE!!!" was disrespectful as well as untrue. It only showed how angry and ridiculous Republicans have become.
Look, we are going to have a major health care reform put into place this year. My guess is that there will be some form of public option that is a part of the reform. I also believe that many Republicans will vote in support of the bill that comes out. They will not want to be on the wrong side of history. President Obama is correct when he says that the status quo is not sustainable and federal budget deficits are largely driven by rising health care costs. Something has to be done and finally, this year, something will be.
Wednesday, September 09, 2009
Bears - 11-5 regular season. NFC Champ. Super Bowl Champ.
Redskins - 6-10. Overhaul at the end of the season.
SI's writers have come out with their Super Bowl picks. Guess who Peter King as as his NFC Champ is? Yep, DA BEARS!
A lot of the writers have the Bears in (6 of 9), all but one have at least 2 NFC North teams in and 2 of 9 have three North teams in.
In their first power ranking they have three NFC North teams in the top 13. Bears are at #10. Redskins at #24.
Peter King also predicts Lovie Smith will be Coach of the Year and that Zorn and Campbell won't be back in DC next year.
We'll see what happens. I cannot wait.
Tuesday, September 08, 2009
I was reading a story about the Texans and saw a number of their fans express support for Rex. I doubt that he has a huge following, but at least people don't seem to be down on him in Houston.
I'd like to see him get his career going again. He deserved much better than the treatment he got form the fans in Chicago.
The secondary is the main source of concern that I have for the Bears this year. I hope Tillman is healthy enough to play on Sunday night. The Packers have a strong air attack and he is needed on the field, but if he is not healthy other guys need to step up.
Nathan Vasher needs to regain his mojo. I like Corey Graham and Zach Bowman, but they are not Pro Bowl caliber players as Vasher once was. There is also some concern at the nickel. Danieal Manning is the projected nickel, but he has been hurt with a hamstring injury for a couple of weeks. I think there are a lot of question marks right now and the guys who do play have not really played that much together the last few weeks.
The end result is that it is still unsettled, which is not comforting going into the season.