Monday, September 24, 2007

Quick hits

First, kudos to the Toronto BluJs. They swept the Blosax at home last week and split four with the Yanks in the Stadium this weekend (and should have won three). Unlike the Twins, A's, White Sax and Orioles, all of whom have mailed it in for the last few weeks, the Js have played hard with nothing at stake. Today, the Yanks caught what should have been a huge break when AJ Burnett (who allowed 1 ER in > 15 IP v. the Yanks this year) had to miss today's start, and the Js still won. Toronto has five capable starters and that makes it a dangerous team if they can all stay healthy. The Yanks need two wins against Tampa, and then should go into cruise control before the playoffs. After all, pressing for home field has done them no good in the past (2002), but cruising through the finish line doesn't hurt those who have done so (2006 Tigers, 2000 Yanks).

Second, I REALLY regret not doing an NFL preview because I would have lambasted the Chargers for hiring Norv Turner. This man is NOT a head coach. He may be a great coordinator, but as a head coach his personal demeanor and lack of authority makes his teams weak. Turner is a bad coach -- he does not enforce discipline, he does not set a strong tone for the team, and the result is that his teams underperform (at historical levels -- ESPN had an analysis of this last month showing Turner among the 10 worst coaches with more than 50 games or so of coaching experience based on team performance). Schottenheimer led the same team to a 14-2 record last year and the Chargers bonked in their lone playoff game thanks to some funny bounces and typical Brady heroics. But last week's loss in New England (38-14) proved the Chargers had taken a step back and this week's loss in Green Bay shows that the Chargers have lost their edge.

Third, kudos to Tom Brady for ripping the Eagles and other Pats competitors for claiming that Belichick's alleged cheating (remember: only the games against the Jets this year and Green Bay last year have any sort of proof) helped the Pats in the Super Bowl against the Iggles. Philly complained that the Pats knew just what plays to run against its defense -- traps and screens. Brady's sharp counter: of course we ran a lot of screen plays, the Eagles blitz every down. He's right, the Eagles are off base and the issue should be a dead letter. The way Philly played and Andy Reid coached that game, the Pats should have won by 20.

Fourth, kudos to Big Blue: the Giants finally exhibited some defensive acumen and stopped the Redskins for the whole second half yesterday in a 24-17 comeback win in Landover. Seems similar to the Giants' OT win in Philly last year. One question I had was why did Joe Gibbs fail to give his team its best opportunity to win -- sitting Clinton Portis with the game on the line in the final minute as the 'skins sought to bang in the tying TD from the one was simply moronic. There's a reason Portis scored 7 TD in 7 starts last year and Ladell Betts scored 4 in 9 starts -- Portis is a better short-yardage runner. Thanks for the brain hiccup Joe!

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