Thursday, October 29, 2009

Bears Making Changes

Looks like Lovie has made some changes in personnel.

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.

U.S. Economy is Improving

Today the 3Q GDP figure came out as growing 3.5 percent - that is a remarkable number given where it was at the end of 2008. The stimulus seems to be working. The big number now is 4Q GDP. If we see 3 percent or higher then we are on our way to real recovery.

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.

Danny Boy Loves Me



I'm a Zombie! Happy Halloween!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Criticisms of NFL Coaches

I've read a lot of Chicago fan criticism of Lovie Smith this week on various blog sites. Certainly Smith deserves criticism for the Cincy debacle on Sunday. But criticism of NFL coaches is nothing new and this isn't the first week that some people in Chicago are calling for his head.

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

Bears Grades for Cincy Game

They sucked - no question about it. From coaching to special teams, the game was a disaster.

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

One Other Thought On Cutler

If you read the blogs and comments from Bears fans on various Chicago sites, there is already the obligatory - "Cutler stinks, we need a new QB" junk. It is likely that these same folks wanted Orton out and they wanted Grossman out.

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.

What Lovie Should Do

Lovie Smith must recognize that he is coaching for his job this year. At 3-3 the Bears are certainly not out of it, but could quickly find themselves out of it if they don't start winning.

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.

The Bears?

Today's game against Cincy was a complete shock. Cincy is a good team but to lay an egg and get blown away 45-10 is unacceptable. Last year they lost to Green Bay 37-3. In 2007, they lost a game to Dallas 34-10. The Bears were 7-9 and 9-7 the last two years and, quite frankly, playoff teams very, very rarely have the type of game we saw today.

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

Weekend Football Thoughts

BEARS!!! Critical game against the Bengals in Cincy. I think it is a matchup of two good teams. The Bears have played well in every game this year but have had incredible lapses that cost them in the two Sunday night games. They could easily have lost to Pittsburgh and Seattle and they could easily have won the Green Bay and Atlanta games. If they are going to make some noise this weekend is a must win. It would put them at 4-2 with Cleveland visiting Soldier Field next week. They should get to 5-2 after next week if they win this week. With Minnesota at 6-0 right now they cannot fall too far behind. Minnesota goes to Pittsburgh and then to Green Bay next week - tough games. It is still early, but it is a must win for what I think is a very good Bears team. I think they will get their running game going, Cutler will play well, and the D will continue to look good. Bears 24 - Cincy 13.

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

RepubliCANTism

Good piece in Politico today about the problems the RepubliCANT Party has with its rabid, fear-mongering, hate-filled fringe that has hijacked debate within the Party. These folks are viewed as nuts by most Americans and yet the RepubliCANTs keep bending over and taking it from them (sorry for the crass visual).

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

Bi-Partisanship and "Enemies Lists"

Senator Lamar Alexander is bitching and moaning that President Obama is not being bi-partisan and warned him not to create an "Enemies List." With respect to the latter, I have no idea what the Hell he is blathering about.

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

Obama vs. Faux News

There is a tempest in a teapot story about how the Obama Administration is no longer working with Faux News. Big deal! I say good for Obama. There is no obligation for the President to work with any private organizations. Faux News can continue to dole out its entertainment for right wing extremists who make up the GOP base, but nothing compels the President of the United States to work with them.

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

Tough Bears Loss

The Bears went on the road against a very good Atlanta team and gave the game away with errors.

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

UVA Wins Third in a Row

Ugly game in ugly conditions at Maryland. But a win is a win and I'll take it. The Cavs are now 3-3 and at 2-0 in the ACC they are in first place in the Coastal Division with the Virginia Tech loss to Georgia Tech.

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

Bears Trade for Gaines Adams

The Bears traded away their 2010 2nd round pick for Gaines Adams. Adams was the 4th pick in the 2007 draft by Tampa and he has underachieved. I like the pickup for its depth, but I am wondering if the ankle injury that Alex Brown suffered is worse than the Bears are letting on.

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.

Federal Budget Deficit

The annual budget deficit closed out for the last fiscal year at $1.42 trillion. Obviously a horrible number.

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.

Weekend Football Predictions

BEARS!!! I love the matchup. Should be a playoff-type game yet again for the Bears. Both teams are 3-1 and this game may decide a Wild Card race if the two teams are tied at the end of the year (first tiebreaker is head-to-head). Atlanta is 9-1 over the last two years at home. The Bears had the game won last year in Atlanta when Rashied Davis caught a TD pass with 11 seconds left to put the Bears up. But a poor squib kick and defensive blunder allowed Atlanta to kick the game winning field goal and snatch victory from defeat. If the Bears had won that game they would have gone to the playoffs, but they didn't. Both teams play solid D, but I like the growing efficiency of the Bears offense and the O-line really looked much better the last game in both pass protection and run blocking. The bye week really came at a good time for the Bears - little injuries were able to heal. Should be a close game, but in the end I think the Bears speed at wide receiver will be the difference. Bears 27 - Falcons 24.

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

Economy Moving Forward

The Dow closed above 10,000 for the first time in over a year. I know my stocks and retirement accounts are looking much better which is improving my personal economic mood.

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.

Random Bears Thoughts

Great Sunday night game coming against the Falcons in Atlanta - cannot wait.

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.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Riggo on the Deadskins

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Deadskins

The most hopeless franchise in the NFL.

Additional updates to post:

Wilbon's column today hits the nail on the head.

If you didn't read Sally Jenkins piece last week - here it is.

Gruden Will Be Next Coach of Deadskins

This piece in the Washington Examiner makes a lot of sense. Danny Boy does not want to part ways with Vinny or give up his power to make personnel decisions. Apparently Gruden is fine with that. Gruden also worked with Al Davis and was successful, so he can handle the dorky stuff Danny Boy does.

What to Do about Deadskins

It is obvious that the Deadskin brass completely ignored their most glaring problem from last year during their off-season - their offensive line.

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

Carlos Rogers Will Be Out

On his twitter page, Rick Maese posted this quote from Carlos Rogers:

"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.

Zorn and JC

There is no question in my mind that Zorn and JC won't be with the Deadskins next year. I would be surprised if Zorn makes it past October as the Deadskin coach.

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

UVA Rolls

Indiana came to Charlottesville and got thumped 47-7. The Virginia offense has really started to get rolling. The D has been solid the last couple of weeks. Next week the Cavs head to College Park. If they win that game they get to 3-3 and they would be right in the thick of the ACC race at 2-0.

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

How The Draft Helps

There is a good piece in the Trib today about the 6 key players the Bears have gotten out of the last two drafts. It shows you the importance of team renewal through the draft.

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

Disney Sherminator Movie

I'm having so much fun with the emails, I thought I would post up the full story:

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!!!

Deadskin Schedule Factoid

I read this a day or two ago and found it interesting. The Deadskins have played all of their games against winless teams at the time of the game.

Giants (0-0)
Rams (0-1)
Lionesses (0-2)
Bucs (0-3)
Carolina (0-3)

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

Dylan Ratigan Spars With 'Death Panel' Myth Creator Over Health Care Reform

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.

Fox's Shep Smith Argues In Favor Of Public Option

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

Week 4 Bears/Redskins Rankings

Here are the updated rankings.

OFFENSE

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).

DEFENSE
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).

Danny Boy's Fan "Friendliness"

Looks like fans who want to express their displeasure at FedEx are no longer allowed to do so.

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

Detroit Lions vs Chicago Bears 24-48 // Week 4 Highlights

Sunday, October 04, 2009

Bears - Broncos Super Bowl

Man, that would be one heck of a Super Bowl. The Bears are 3-1 and the Broncos are 4-0. The Cutler trade may end up helping both teams. The Bears gave up their #1 this year which Denver used to get a backup outside linebacker. They also packaged the extra third round pick they got in a trade to get a backup guard. The Bears used the fifth round pick they got from Denver to draft WR Johnny Knox. Next year, the Broncos have the Bears first round pick.

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.

Bears Drop 48 on the Lions

The Bears completely destroyed the Lions. It was 21-21 at halftime, but Johnny Knox returned the opening kickoff of the second half 102 yards for a TD, the D picked it up, and the Bears rolled.

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

UVA 1-0 in the ACC

As I expected, Groh got the boys playing well. Solid performance in all phases of the game and the result was a 16-3 win over UNC on the road. The D created turnovers, the offense did enough and did not turn the ball over, and special teams were very good all around.

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.

Vinny and Larry Michael are Idiots

Great piece about how Snyder is a horrible owner and the reason for the Redskins mediocrity for a decade in the Post this week by Sally Jenkins. It really hit on all the points that I now hate the Deadskins.

So Vinny and Larry pulled out this crap. What a couple of idiots.

Friday, October 02, 2009

Football Predictions for the Weekend

5-1 in my Bears/Redskins picks.

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!

Politics Thoughts

President Obama still enjoys approval ratings above 50 percent. The thing that will drag him and the Dems down is if they don't pass meaningful health reform that includes a public option. Only firmer regulation and/or a public option will change the practices of the health care insurance industry.

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.