Wednesday, February 18, 2009

There is no such thing as a good loss....

Yes, I know this, every loss stings. Yet some losses are better than others, sometimes your team plays well, plays their hearts out and just gets beat. It happens. Here are a few...

2006 NFC Divisional Playoffs-Chicago 27 Seattle 24(OT) : The Seahawks had a running back with a broken foot, a quarterback with a bad knee and bad ribs, a secondary so banged up that guys getting significant playing time were bagging groceries two weeks earlier. They had been slaughtered by the Bears earlier in the season 37-6. The Bears were the number one seed and as pumped up as I've ever seen a team for a playoff game.
-Detractors of Mike Holmgren need to look at the game plan for this game. It was brilliant.
-Wounded and battered they outplayed the Bears throughout the entire game before falling at the end to big plays.

2003-NFC Wild Card Playoffs-Green Bay 33 Seattle 27(OT): Everybody knows about this game. I don't even need to say anything other than two gunslingers going at it.

1997-Denver 30 Seattle 27: The Seahawks went toe to toe with the future Super Bowl champions and were a fumbled punt returned for a touchdown and a completed slant pass on fourth down away from pulling off the huge upset.

1992 Philadelphia 20 Seattle 17: The worst offense in NFL history managed 87 total yards. Of course, the defense played lights out.

1992 Miami 19 Seattle 17: The Dolphins would go on to play in the AFC Title game. The Seahawks would go 2-14. The Seahawks had a fourth quarter lead but lost late.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Why the 49ers scare me far more than the Cardinals do

Yes, I know, the Cardinals played in the Super Bowl last year.
Yes, I know, the Cardinals have two horse receivers and are still young.

The NFL is about sustainability.
The other Kurt Warner is old, and oftentimes in sports, the aging veteran has one great year where everything comes together perfectly, its the perfect blend of wily experience and remaining athletic ability. And then, its over. Kurt Warner had his year, the old greybeard is nearing the clearing at the end of his football path. He was what made the Cardinals, a uber talented, soft team with no identity, into the NFC Champions.
Lets look at what could happen to this team:
Warner could leave or retire
James is gone
Boldin wants out
Dansby is a FA and could bolt(couldn't you see Detroit overpaying big time for this guy)
Wilson is a FA (has Oakland Raiders written all over him)

Five key players, potentially gone. When teams make it to the Super Bowl, the players want to cash in on the new notoriety and bad teams will overpay these players to inject a "winning attitude" into the locker room. The Cardinals have no idea how hard it is to stay on top, much less get back. They rely on a gimicky passing game and turnovers on defense, both are feast or famine.
Now, my friends, the 49ers...
Tough, physical defense coached by a tough physical coach. For whatever reason, Nolan didn't press the right buttons, didn't get everyone on the same page and didn't bring in the right talent. There's no way this team should have had to get on fire to end 7-9 last year. It didn't click. The offensive line was terrible, lazy, didn't work together and was poorly coached. The skill positions were littered with "Me" guys and the offensive scheme was never suited for the talent.
Nolan gets canned, Crazy Eyes comes in, scales down the offense to rely on running the football and minimizing mistakes(which is exactly what it was built for), simplifies the already solid defense, instills accountability and ends the season on a tear.
The offseason is here, they hire Jimmy Raye as offensive coordinator, I know very little about this guy other than what I remember of the offenses of the teams he's coached. It just might be the right fit, but it might not, this guys teams never have been any good.
Here is the thing, the 49ers were built with one goal in mind. Beat the Seahawks. The Seahawks haven't changed, they run the same offense, will run the same defensive scheme, the 49ers are big, physical and like to hit people, they also run a 3-4(Although I think Patrick Willis would make more of an impact in a 4-3, with a 3-4 you are limiting him by playing him at the inside spots), the Seahawks always struggle with a pure 3-4 with pure 3-4 personell(I don't count Arizona as a pure 3-4 team). The Cardinals will rise and fall, but, if the 49ers can get their act together, recommit to running the ball, they will be a 9-10 win team for a while.
Before Seahawks fans start clamoring for Deuce McCallister, I'd like to mention the Seahawks already have signed him. His name is T.J. Duckett, he is big, slow and likes to pull his calf muscle.

I am really hoping Griffey signs with the Braves, the fact the Mariners were pushing hard for him makes it seem that the new GM isn't pulling all the strings. By the way, its hard to a team to rebuild that has so many selfish and lazy players. They wasted more at bats than any team I've seen.

Looking at the Yankees starting rotation for next year, it seems they are loaded, or at least have more reliable starting pitching than they've had in five years. However, they play in New York.
How is A.J. Burnett, a perennial head case going to handle the wear and tear of the pressure of playing in New York? What about Sabathia? Can they really rely on Pettite to be the number 3 starter? He's a remarkably average pitcher now. How's the lineup going to work together? They just have a bunch of numbers guys. Where's the cohesion?
This is a week where the NFL Network is needed. The NFL Scouting Combine. I've had the NFL Network the last three years and watched it religiously. Now I feel like I did after I watched the Godfather 3, empty, disconsolate, morbid.

NBA 2k9 is the best sports game I've ever played, just edging out NCAA Football 2004. This is not up for debate.

I am not sold on Michael Crabtree, not at all. Limited route runner, not explosive out of cuts, questionable long speed. Where's the upside? Isn't this D.J. Hackett with broader shoulders? Not worth a top 5 pick, with that said, if the Hawks get him, I understand, you have to at this point, they need somebody to draw the coverage off the other guys, I'd prefer somebody on the line, thats where you win games. You can take 99% of the wr's that ever played out of the game, the line is a crucial part to every play. And not Andre Smith either, the Seahawks need someone that doesn't get murdered on the edge in pass protection, the Seahawks play 6 games against 3-4 teams next year, 6 games of linebackers screaming off the edge. Sorry Andre Smith, you're not my guy.