Friday, January 10, 2014

Easy, But, Probably: NFL Playoff Football - Playoff Predictions and Possibilties for Colts at Patriots

With the Divisional round here, we have two Saturday matchups that, on paper, look fairly easy to predict. One features a hot and cold Colts team thats harder to predict than Mily Cyrus and a Patriots team that seems to defy adversity as if it knew it was coming in advance.

Most pundits, writers, bloggers and fans state the obvious and easy:

Oh, it's Brady, at home, in the playoffs. Duh!


The Patriots are PLAYOFF TESTED.

                                 While others throw around

Team of DESTINY                 Its OUR time 

and ANYthing can happen

I am one going with the latter. Anything COULD happen. Brady and Luck are human. Belicheck has lost a game or two. Cam can't run ALL day. And Harbaugh's Boys will need to do more than High Five their way to victory.

Lets look at the ACTUAL possibilities shall we?



Tom Brady and Belicheck. The two constants for New England since the beginning of the teams run through NFL history. 17-7, 11-3 at home, 9-2 in cold weather games (Below freezing). That success is as cold blooded as the temp in Foxborough this weekend.
Andrew Luck was 14-30 with 2 sacks and 3 interceptions in the first half against the Chiefs last week but adjustments fixed that to the tune of 15-15 with no sacks and 3 TDs. But he's going up against the king of adjustments, Bill Belichick. He takes away your best weapon and makes you do without. No toys for Luck. Belichick 1 - The Kid 0. Oh and the last time these teams played? 59-24 with 4 luck turnovers turning into three TDs. two via pick six. Beliche ck 2 - The Kid 0. Oh and the Colts gave up 44 to Alex Smith last week WITHOUT Jamal Charles.

Easy Prediction: Patriots 42 Colts 14


The Colts could be seen as one of destiny. They have the new Golden Boy in Andrew Luck. Their coach is on the sidelines this go round and not recovering from cancer. They defied all odds (teams leading by 30 at half in playoff history WERE 21-0 till last week) last week. Donald Brown is averaging over 5 yards a carry since becoming the lead back in Indy and the Pats best defenders, DT Vince Wilfork and Jerod Mayo, who play up the middle, where teams like to run the ball, our on IR. The Patriots were 24th in the league against the big passing play, giving up 36,
and face TY Hilton who was Mr. Big play last week.
Add in more injury to insult, the best performer on offense for Brady last year, Rob Gronkowski with 7 receptions, 137 yards and 2 TD's, is also on the IR.
Even more BUTs:
Andrew Luck soared mightily in postseason play after his freshman year in college: 41-49, 637 yards and 6 TDs in two BCS Bowls for an average of a 95QBR. Not a great chance he wilts in the spotlight.

BUT the right Prediction could be: Colts 35 Patriots 31


Probably what is going to happen is anything BUT Easy for the Patriots. Its easy to say that the Colts are outmatched and that the Patriots should start getting their ski gear ready for the Rocky Mountains. Easy to blindly root for your team for reason so vague that it blinds you to stark realities. But the truh of the matter is Brady and Belichick are tough to beat at home, but much easier to compete with and or beat when there is no Rob, Wes, Vince or Gerard. I am tempted to go the Easy route (who isn't?) but with a fair fight at QB and in the backfields, but with the skill positions much more in favor of the Colts as well as health, I'd probably put my money on the LUCKy Colts.

Probably (But not definitely) the Prediction will be: Colts 28 Patriots 27

Friday, January 18, 2013

Four Points: Lebron, Heat Beat L.A.; Why this loss signals Lakers turnaround

In what was noted as the marquee matchup between Kobe Bryant and Lebron James and the preseason favorites, the Thursday night TNT tilt proved two things, the Heat definitely can turn on the switch, and L.A., at 17-22, may want to circle some dates in June for a rematch. Before you dismiss that statement or think me crazy, take a look at what went down in the Miami L.A game that points to the Lakers finally turning their season around for good.

Four points below explain why the Lakers-Heat matchup will be the launching point for the Lakers to the Finals in 2013.

1) Four Points.

With a minute to go the Lakers were down four points.

- Down four with Lebron's virtuoso 39 point, 7 rebounds, and 8 assists effort leading Miami.
- Down four with Dwayne Wade adding 27 points, 4 rebounds and 5 assists to aid Lebron.
- Down four with 20 turnovers against arguably the best teamand one of the top 3 defenses of the past two seasons.
- Down four with Kobe Bryant, having his most efficient season to date, shooting 3-16 in the first three quarters and Pau Gasol displaying rust built up from another injury.

They were down FOUR points with a minute to go with all that going against them all night.

2) Defensive energy

Most notably from Dwight Howard. After looking like he just had back surgery for the first two months of the season, Howard displayed a different effort and energy the Laker faithful have grown accustomed to seeing this season. Contesting more shots, fighting on the block, altering shots in the paint and showing the same amount of teeth as usually, but more so in a grimace than a grin. He meant business and seems to be finding himself this season.
Though Lebron and Wade shot a sizzling 28-45 (62%), the rest of the Heat shot a paultry 12-38 (31%), pointing to team defense for the Lakers that has been missing since Mike Brown left the building. And this is against a team deemed the Lakers vast superior in speed and endurance.


If you think that the most competitive and annoyed (yes annoyed) athlete not named Jordan is gonna let that happen again you must be joking. Kobe is shooting 47% from the field on the season, an amazingly strong shooting percentage for a high volume shooting guard like Bryant. To assume that Bryant won't realize his faults from this game and regain that same shooting touch and team balance that he knows will win him championships is foolish.

4) The ball is finding Dwight and the team is getting the payoff.

Dwight Howard is garnering much more attention as his aggressiveness in the paint increases and as the offense begins to go through him more. The balance of using Howard to thwart perimeter defense and Nash and Co. finding open players led to the Lakers shooing 45% against a Miami Heat team allowing 36% and
43% overall (33-76) since Dwight return as the focal paint dweller for L.A.

Four points. Against the stiffest competition, at its best, with the Lakers best player playing way under his standards, with the league's reigning MVP dominating at will, the Lakers were down by four with a minute to go.

Four points that might shape the season from here on out.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

NFL Mid Season Report and Predictions: AFC North

NFL Mid Season Report and Predictions:
 AFC North

Baltimore Ravens (5-2, 1st Place)
What They Have Gained: The Ravens have done what most good teams need to to win and are winning the games that they SHOULD win. They took the pride of Cleveland, New England, Dallas, Cincy and KC and are in a good position going into the stretch run of the season. The offensive line, one of the main concerns coming into the season, has with stood patches here and there and given Flacco and Co. room to operate against the league. The receiving core is a bright spot for the team and they have taken their never say die approach to another level, winning 3 games by 3 or less and 4 by 7 or less. The bend don't break approach has worked thus far.
What They Have Lost: But.......that is beginning to catch up to the team. If you bend anything far enough it will break. And the Ravens are beginning to show signs of just that. They have lost there identity on defense, on pace to finish outside the top 20 on defense for the second year in a row and only 3rd time since 1999. And for all the talk about rival Pittsburgh's defense's age slowing it down age and injury is actually affecting B'more. Age has begun to catch Ed Reed, a major game changer on defense and injury has cost the Ravens Ray Lewis, there leading tackler and heart of the defense, as well as number one CB Ladarius Webb and cost Terrell Suggs half the season.
The defenses regression is also affecting the offense, who are on the brink of losing its identity, involving top runner Ray Rice less in favor of Flacco's arm due to opposing offenses lighting up the once great defense.

Where They Stand: As it stands Baltimore has clawed its way to first place in the AFC North but are at risk of sinking fast if the holes on D don't get filled and if Ray Rice's legs aren't used to keep opposing offenses on the sidelines. They cannot afford to rest the season hands on Joe Flacco's strong but irratic arm.

What's Ahead: Baltimore is 1-2 on the road and face 5 road games as their team loses key pieces. 5 of the remaining games are against top 15 offenses and the Ravens still face 4 divisional tilts, two against rival Pittsburgh.

Prediction:  8-8

The Ravens struggle but defeat Cleveland and Oakland only to follow with a 1-6 stretch against, Pittsburgh, San Diego, Denver and the Giants to come up short against the Bengals to end the year, losing each game by less than 5 points and missing the playoffs for the first time since 2007.

Pittsburgh Steelers (4-3, 2nd Place)

What They Have Gained: The Steelers have shown detractors that no matter the age of the defense or who plays were the bottom line is the Steelers Defense is good. Really good. Really good without Troy Polamalu for 6 games, James Harrison for 3 games and Lamar Woodley in and out of the lineup. They don’t sack. They don’t get turnovers. But they don’t let you score either. In 4 wins they haven’t given up more than 17 points, averaging 13.3 points given up a win.  Big Ben has taken well to the new playbook under Todd Haley averaging more than 290 yards a game and a 14/3 Touchdown to Interception ratio. Jonathan Dwyer, in the last two games has brought balance to the offense and seems to be a good find yet again for a great drafting team.

What They Have Lost: injuries have blistered Steelers young and old. First Round pick David DeCastro and Sean Spence, their third rounder, both projected starters were lost for the season. Rashard Mendenall has only played in two games. And that age question about the D? It might be a little valid. With father time making bones brittle for the aging D, Troy and Harrison missing games and a slowed bevy of vets in Brett Keisel, Larry Foote, Ryan Clark, Casey Hampton and Ike Taylor, all over 30, made the detractors look right in allowing comeback wins for Tennessee, Oakland and Denver.  In those three losses Pittsburgh held opponents to 37 points in the first half but surrendered 54 in the second half.
And the offense needs to continue to get strong play from the running, unlike the first 3 games and the game against Tennessee. When Pittsburgh rushes for less than 100 yards they’ve lost all 3 games. When they go over the 100 bill mark, they win. It’s that simple.

Where they Stand: The Pittsburgh Steelers have lost to the Denver Broncos, Oakland Raiders, and Tennessee Titans. They had a joke of a running game through 6 weeks that came to a head in the aforementioned loss to the woeful Titans. And those are all reasons why the Steelers are what they are now. With a healthier D and run game they could be looking at least a 6-1 record and the best record in the AFC. But the loses they did encounter allowed them to find people to plug holes along the line, on the defense and in the running game. As strange as it sounds the Steelers are better for losing.

What’s Ahead: The Giants lead off the second half for Pittsburgh and Baltimore gets two shots at the Steelers. Yet those are the only winning teams on slate for Pittsburgh the rest of the way.

Prediction: 11-5

Look for Pittsburgh to have a blistering second half as the defense gets healthier as well as the rest of the team. New York wins a nail biter and Baltimore splits the season series which seems to be the norm for these two squads, but Pittsburgh wins its other 5 contests to win the AFC North.

Cinncinati Bengals (3-4, 3rd Place)

What They Have Gained: The Cinncinati Bengals offense must have liked the way they played last year because they are giving the NFL more of the same. The Red Rocket Andy Dalton and standout receiver A.J. Green are continuing to give the NFL fits. Andy Dalton needs only one more TD to tie his total from last year (14). A.J. Green continues to be his numebr one target with nearly 50 catches and already the same amount of touchdowns (7) he had all of last year. And Cedric Benson's replacement, Benjarvis Green-Ellis is doing his best Benson impression, on pace for nearly identical stats as Benson had for the Bengals last year. This has given the Bengals a top 15 offense and plenty of punch to fight with.

What They Have Lost: A defense. What was once a top 10 defense is now ranked 25th giving up a whopping 26 points a game, including 34 to woeful Cleveland last week. Though they lead the league in sacks the Bengals aer losing the turnover battle, ranking 27th in the Takeaway/Giveaway Differential. Where they ranked 9th in taking care of the ball on offense last year they are 18th this year and the defense still is not getting turnovers as they did before Jonathan Joseph left two years ago. Add that the Bengals are 29th in the league in redzone defense and you have a recipe for trouble.

Where They Stand: The Bengals need to come out of the bye week and prove three things to the NFL if they want to retur to the postseason again this year. They must prove that they can protect the football on offense. This starts with Andy Dalton being more confident in his throws and mechanics and receivers being on the same page with the enigmatic QB. They must prove that they can play in big games. A stinker against Baltimore in the opener, and a a game against Pittsburgh in which the Steelers tried to give them the game to go with a head scratcher against Cleveland stand out in my mind of games the Bengals just weren't ready for mentally. They must step up on defense and create havoc in the secondary and the redzone. If they continue to allow opposing teams to throw without fear and score without obstacle, their 9-7 record from last year will be a distant memory.

What's Ahead: The Bengals face a sandwich of a task in the upcoming schedule with tough home games versus the Manning Brothers in back to back weeks, a soft middle against KC, Oakland, and San Diego, two close ones versus Dallas and Philly then end with a slate of tough matchups versus division rivals Baltimore and Pittsburgh.
Prediction: 8-8

After a pair of tough losses versus the Mannings, the Bengals find the turnover button versus turnover prone
Matt Cassel, Carson Palmer and Philip Rivers, take a revenge game against the Ravens only to get knocked out of the playoffs in the last game of the season against eventual division Champion Pittsburgh.

Cleveland Browns (2-5, Last Place)

What They Have Gained: The Cleveland Browns have begun to dig a core that any team that expects to win must have. Trent Richardson looks every bit worthy of the Top 5 selection the Browns made him in the 2012 NFL Draft. He plays hard, he plays tough, and leads by example, playing through injury and to through the whistle. Brandon Weeden seems competent and able to make all the throws, no matter how limited the targets. Josh Gordon is sneaking into the public eye with his pension for big plays and burning corners. And the offensive line led by Joe Thomas can become a great one in time. The defense can make plays tied for 3rd in INTs (20) and 12th in sacks (19).

What they Have Lost: The one thing you don’t want to lose in the NFL. Games. And with the exception of their blowout loss to the defending Champs (A game they were ahead in by two scores at one point), and an 8 point loss to Buffalo, each game has been within a score to tie or win. They have lost consistency on offense, (scoring more than Twenty 3 times and less than 4 times) and on defense (giving up more than Twenty 4 times and less than 3 times).  Most notably, they have lost their high profile GM and President in Mike Holgrem and lost control of the franchise to a self-proclaimed Steelers fan.

Where They Stand: The more things change the more they stay the same. Through 8 games in each of the last 5 seasons Cleveland is 2-6, 3-5, 3-5, 1-7 and 3-5. They play competitive football but the results are the same.

What’s Ahead: With both wins this year coming at home and all road games ending in losses, four more road trips to Dallas, Oakland , Pittsburgh and Denver don’t looking promising. Nor do visits from Pittsburgh and the RGIII led Redskins. Equally as overmatched Kansas City rounds out their schedule.

Prediction: 4-12

Their propensity for paymaking can only help against KC and Oak, but the Browns won’t make nearly enough plays to win anything else on tap for the rest of the season. The Browns and fans should start counting down to the 2013 Draft and Geno Smith.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Mark Appel and Scott Boras on the Verge of Assisting the Pittsburgh Pirates in a Great Way

An excerpt from Dejan Kovacevic' of the Tribune Live's July 13th Morning column titled, "Wakeup Call: ‘It won’t be the Pirates’ fault’"

“Whatever happens, it won’t be the Pirates’ fault.”
Those were the very last words someone from the Mark Appel camp had for me a couple weeks ago, and no, I have absolutely no idea what they mean. Didn’t know then, I don’t know now that the team and the No. 8 overall pick are fast approaching Major League Baseball’s signing deadline of 5 p.m. today."
I'll tell what that means.

Great news for the Pittsburgh Pirates.

In what was seen as both a fortunate fall for, and bold move by the Pirates that ended with them taking Stanford RHP Mark Appel, the Pirates may have cemented yet another strong draft in 2013 with still yet 11 months to go.
If it were say 2011 (Francisco Lindor), 2010 (Javier Baez, Chris Sale) or even 2009 (Jacob Turner, Aaron Crow, Grant Green) there were players available that were either comparable, more talented or more signability than Appel. Lindor, Baez, Sale and Turner would all have been top 5, possibly number 1 picks in this year's draft.
And the 2013 Draft is already shaping up to be possibly stronger than both 2011 and 2012. what 2012 lacked in overall talent 2013 makes up for in leaps and bounds. The projected first round is shaping up like the 2008 draft but with more power arms at the top and better high school prospects throughout the first round.
Assuming that the Pirates get next years 8th overall and say, 27th overall, they could end up with a combo of  power hitting corner infielder (Kris Bryant, 1B, San Diego) power throwing righty,(Bobby Wahl, RHP, Miss St.) next year's top projected college RHP (Ryne Stanek, P, Arkansas)  and another projetable bat. 
Then there is the prospect of the left over money that was originally tabbed for Appel. As documented by Tim Williams over at, 14th Round pick Walter Buehler is the biggest benafactor of the Appel situation should he not sign. The money that was left over to sweeten the pot for Appel now shift's to Buehler, and we know how the Burgh love's their projectable prep arm's, especially those of the top 50 variety. 

By my count that's two prospects with better upside and potential than Appel. Not to mention the lottery picks that are up for grabs tomorrow. If the Pirates great fortune this year continue's, they could end up with two top 50 talent's, and future battery mates in Buehler and Wyatt Mathisen, and three top 50 pick's in next year's draft.

If that is what we get if Appel doesn't sign, Thank you. Thank you very much.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Prince Fielder Signs with the Tigers; The Tigers' Newest Fielder

The goes that mystery team again.

In a development that was not nationally bought into or discussed outside of the the Motor City, the Detroit Tigers have signed the son of former Detroit Tiger's first baseman Cecil Fielder. The move gives the Tigers a replacement and upgrade on Victor Martinez in the DH spot and makes the Tigers shot at repeating in the AL Central that much better.

Four days after GM Dave Dombrowski said Prince would be a "long shot" and "Not a good fit", the GM signed the former Milwaukee Brewers First Baseman to a  Nine year, $214 Million dollar deal paying Fielder an average of nearly $24 million dollars a year, and the Tigers have a power source they have not had since the Elder Fielder signed  with Detroit a little over 20 years ago. So what does this mean for the Tigers, Prince and the league?

For the Tigers, it signals to their fans that they are ready to win this year, next year and the year after with an amazing nucleus of first baseman Miguel Cabrera, Cy Young and MVP winner Justin Verlander, Max Scherzer, Doug Fister, Alex Avila, Delmon Young and Austin Jackson. That doesn't include the aforementioned Victor Martinez' return next year and the three golden arms, Jacob Turner, Drew Smyly and Casey Crosby, that will be ready for the pros in  the next year or two.

This will be an exciting lineup to watch in the next few years as both Miguel Cabrera and Fielder are playing with a players the caliber of each other arguably for the first time in their careers (all due respect to Ryan Braun). This will grossly change the way pitchers can pitch to Cabrera and/or Fielder depending on the lineup configuration. Both are very much used to being the number 4 hitter and being pitched around in nearly 20% of their at bats. Yet, with the signing of Fielder the luxury of doing so may have gone out of the window and pose the possibility of the number four offense from a year ago topping the Yankees, Angels and Red Sox for the top offense in the league.

And this also gives credence and reason, more than his battle of the bulge,( Maybe the psuedo-vegeterian Fielder can implant some better habits on the slugger) for the Tigers to stress Miguel Cabrera to make more progress this offseason to shed weight and get in bette, more agile space to allow Fielder to play first base and allow Cabrera to slide over to third base, where the former shortstop and third baseman played for the Marlins and parts of his time with the Tigers.  His glove will be better than expected by most at the hot corner and will be a development to watch throughout the season.

The ball is now in the Princ'es Court.
As for Prince, this is not a new experience to Prince, well outside of switching to the American League. His father, Cecil, played for the Tigers from 1990 to the middle of 1996, hitting 245 home runs and driving in 758 runs. The younger Fielder would join his father to the old Tigers Stadium as a child, and would regularly take batting practice, even hitting a few out of the stadium as a 12 year old (legend has it he hit one OUT of the stadium as a teen). His return to the City can play one two ways.
And he could be gunning for
the Cecil got from Tigers Fans
from 1990-1996.
Prince has his chance to truly use the chance to play in the city his father played in and use it as a motivator to outdue what his father accomplished during his time there or as jump off point for their relationship to mend. What he says about playing for the Tigers with relation to his father will be a great piece of knowledge on how he currently stands with the elder Fielder.

As for the League? It sends a message. With two of the top three first baseman on the same team, more pitching the team knows what to do with and a sour taste from last season's heartbreaking loss in the ALCS, the Tigers have become the team to beat in the American League. A top 5 offense, a top pitching staff that ranked in the top ten after the all star break last year and a playoff caliber bullpen led by a Champion head Coach in Jim Leyland will be a bear for any team in the AL or NL. They can match power for power with every elite team in the league and show the depth to overtake the Rangers as the league's pennant holder.

Though all is still hypothetical with the season month's away, but the Tigers look ready, right now to win in all later this year.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Coach Tressel Second Interview with Colts; Inevitable?

Jim Tressel didn't take too long to find a way back to the coaching circle did he? 

Before I  get ahead of myself the reports are only that Tressel has conducted a second interview with Colts GM Jim Irsay, who is on the verge of completing a complete overhaul of the Colts front office, including dismissals of Head Coach Jim Caldwell, 8 of his assistants, front office maintstays Bill and Chris Polian and Defensive Backs Coach Alan Williams is leaving to become the Defensive Coordinator of the Minnesota Vikings. 
Like Tressel, Caldwell became the
scapegoat for his teams problems.

Phew, thats a mouthful. Back to Tressel. 

Will this guy be under center
The former Ohio State Buckeyes Head Coach, a fur time 1-AA National Champion, 2002 BCS Champion and face and scapegoat of the headline grabbing Ohio State Investigation that saw him lose his position of head football coach for the team. Now, a game day consultant for the Indianapolis Colts, Tressel could be on the verge of returning to coaching, albeit in an arena he has not completely been exposed to. Having only been in his current capacity with the Colts since week 7, Tressel's options to return to the college ranks were severely limited after the NCAA came down with A show-cause penalty is essentially a scarlet letter on a coach’s name for the duration of the penalty. A school that wants to hire Tressel with his show-cause penalty during the next five years faces potential penalties, given that the coach is a noted rule breaker by the NCAA. That means it's unlikely that a school would take him on in that time frame. Tressel would be 64 when his show cause penalty expires. 

Irsay has a tougher than whomever coaches the Colts?
Needless to say, going back to college is not an option for this student of the game.

With Tressel's, pedigree, staunch loyalty to the organizations he has been with in the past and his teams great history of defensive prowess makes Tressel and the 28h ranking scoring and 25th ranking yardage defense of the  Colts seem to be a match made in heaven. 

It could be possible that the makings of these recent developments with the Colts have been around since the uncertainty of Manning's career continuance came under fire, but I don't have the kind of sources to confirm or deny that. But in hindsight, bring the former Buckeye coach into the fold near the middle of the season was a subtle but savvy move by Colts management, giving them the upper hand on signing him in the event everything that happened to the Colts this year happened and rebuilding was required. That should be a familiar job for an accomplished College Coach, considering that they have to consistently recruit, prepare and recycle talent through their schools while remaining competitive enough to compete for a national championship on a yearly basis.

So if Tressel is officially hired and given the option, which he will have due to the mass firings, to hand pick his staff, who will he bring in? And is it feasible to believe that the ball coach can have a Harbaugh effect on the Colts team? Will he have Manning or Luck to lead his team? 

These questions will face any coach taking the post at Indy and will be four important grading scales for Tressel if hired.

The coaching staff will be somewhat of a mystery but one would have to assume he would have some bias to he previous coaching staffs and players at OSU and Youngstown State.

Mike Vrabel is an example
of the kind of former players
that will be a part of a Tressel
Don't be surprised if Eddie George and Terry Glenn emerge as position coaches, as they both have coached in the league within the past two years. Mike Vrabel is coach linebackers at OSU but could come out for Coach Tressel. Chris Speilman coached in 2005. Former OSU standout wideout Cris Carter is a head coach for a national high school power in Fort Lauderdale at St. Thoas Aquinas. And don't forget Luke Fickell. He is making the interview rounds for the college ranks as we speak but his availiability for Coach Tressel would not be in question. 

As for the Harbaugh effect, it might be possible, but not as much as Jim Harbaugh did in San Francisco. He had a defense already stout and holding playmakers like Patrick Willis and Jason Smith, and the draft, which netted supreme bull rushing pass rusher Aldon Smith, and the defense carried the team to a 13-3 record. The offense was already intact too, with Frank Gore, Vernon Davis and a surprisingly efficient and safe Alex Smith. 
It would not be as simple in Indianapolis. The defense does have a pair of edge rushing ends, but they aren't getting any younger. The linebackers need help as does the secondary. And the offense? The line is falling apart, the running back position undecided and the quarterback position in doubt.
A solid draft is a help, and maybe some solid free agents, but while San Francisco got 6 games against NFC west opponents and a down year NFC East, the Colts would not have the same luxury, facing a tougher AFC south slate and matchup with the AFC North. The turnaround can happen quick for a 2-14 team but not 13-3 quick with this many questions.  

How much could Luck bring back?
Julio Jones was traded for 5 draft
Lastly, what will be the quarterback situation? The final answer to that question will clear plenty of air for the front office and allow them to get the pieces they need to nurture a rookie quarterback or support a veteran one. If Peyton comes back healthy, the Colts, though wanting to draft Luck for the future, the haul they could get for trading his draft rights could be twice what the Browns got for their top ten spot last year, which got them 2 first rounders (2011 and 2012), the 2nd and fourth from the 2011 draft and the fourth from the 2012. Imagine what Andrew Luck could bring? And how quickly it could transform the Colts roster from talentless to loaded with it.

This is all hypothetical. He might not get hired and a coach might not be named for some time before the draft. But the questions will remain no matter who the coach is, leaving the toughest job to the Colts GM, Jim Irsay.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Kevin Love's Buzzer Beater in L.A. signals New Era in Minny

If tonight's game is evidence of anything, it is that, if the league still looked at the Minnesota Timberwolves as the Wolves of old, they outta wake up quick. Ricky Rubio and Kevin Love, after cold starts to a togh away game in Staples Center against Blake Griffin and the Los Angeles Clippers, the duo would me the main orchestrators of a phenomenal comeback evnetually capped off by a Rubio three to tie it with 20 seconds to go and Love the game winning three with no time to spare.

And with his arm spread wide and his chin raised in a defiant stare at a quiet Los Angeles crowd with the likes of Billy Crystal and Jessica Alba watching, Kevin Love embraced his rookie Point Guard and sent a message to the league.
A Nucleus of Kevin Love, Ricky Rubio and Derrick Williams
Could spell success forthe baby Wolves.

The Big Bad Wolves are hear.

The game signified a huge victory and possible launching on the young season for the young team, and may have given view to the teams growth. Ricky Rubio, averaging nearly 10 points and 10 assists a game, came into the fourth quarter with no points and 3 assists. Love was quiet in the first have as well, add it up in the box score but disappear behind Blakc Griffin and Mo Williams in the first half and leaving the half with Darko Milicic as the leading scorer for the team. But the budding partnership of Love and Rubio came alive in the fourth, with Rubio making play after play, in one sequence blocking a shot, grabbing the board running the floor nd assisting on a the next play. Love kept the team afloat. Allowing his consistent play and demeanor to keep the young team ready to climb from 9 back in the fourth and give him a chance to shine for Minnesota and sink the Clippers in the same fasion they and Big Shot Chauncey Billups had done over the Mavs a night prior.

Needless to say, this is no longer the hapless Timberwolves team lost without Kevin Garnett and seemingly losing on purpose for draft picks. They are finally a budgeoning bed of young talent, ready to let the two stars lead them with solid play, clutch deliveries and a never say die attitude.

The Minnesota Timberwolve are on the prowl.