Thursday, September 30, 2010
Austin Rivers, son of Celtic's Coach Doc Rivers has committed to play basketball at Duke (ESPN). Rivers is a shooting guard and the number one basketball prospect in the entire nation. He stands 6'4 and weighs in around 190 pounds. He has an exceptional jump shot and also possesses the ability to take men off the dribble. Despite being explosive player, Rivers possesses great body control and has a great awareness of the court around him. These traits will allow him to fit in well for the defending national champions. Here is quick video of what everyone is excited about (Highlights)
The NFL Draft has evolved into a mega-process. The draft now covers three days including primetime coverage of the first round. Prospects are followed for years and every minute of gameplay is broken down and analyzed. Mel Kiper Jr. and Todd McShay have become famous simply because of their draft analysis, and as fans information about prospects is readily available. However, after the Draft, information on the success of prospects seems to become scarce. How are the top prospects performing this year in the NFL? To help remedy this situation I am going to breakdown how the Top 5 picks in the draft have faired this year.
1. Sam Bradford, QB, St. Louis- Sam Bradford has been a pleasant surprise for St. Louis fans this year. Coming out of college Bradford was pegged as a guy who would need at least a year to adjust to an NFL offense, after playing in the spread at Oklahoma. Despite the critics, Bradford earned the job with some impressive performances in the pre-season. He was put into a tough situation to start the regular season. Donnie Avery, St. Louis's best receiver, went down for the season with a knee injury. However, Bradford has led the Rams to a 1-2 start to the season, with two narrow losses by a combined 6 points. Granted the competition has not been the best, (Arizona, Oakland, and Washington) but Bradford has put up decent numbers for a rookie (69/117, 59%, 218 YPG, 4 TD's, 5 INT) and kept the team in games. Obviously Bradford is no Peyton Manning yet or even a Matt Ryan, but the quick adjustment he has made to the NFL along with the Rams success despite their below average roster is impressive.
2. Ndamukong Suh, DT, Detroit- Ndamukong Suh was the most hyped player in the draft. Despite not being selected number one overall due to position, Suh was the consensus number one rated prospect. Suh was an absolutely dominating player in college posting 158 tackles, 19 sacks, 3 INT, and 2 TD's in his junior and senior seasons. These numbers are incredible and the Detroit Lions, in desperate need of help on the defensive line, quickly snatched up this physical freak. They also added Corey Williams and Kyle Vanden Bosch on the defensive line to hopefully form an effective unit. The Lions are off to an 0-3 start, but Suh is not at fault for any of these losses. He has been an effective force, facing constant double teams and still racking up 12 tackles and 2 sacks through three games. More than his stats, his effects have been seen through the stats of his fellow D-lineman. The Lions are tied for the league lead in sacks with 11 sacks through three games. Suh has made a large impact so far as a rookie, and is living up to his hype at this point.
3. Gerald McCoy, DT, Tampa Bay- Gerald McCoy was the best prospect in the draft to receive no hype. Hidden behind all the hype of Suh was another very good defensive tackle in Gerald McCoy. Known more for his quickness and agility than pure strength McCoy had an excellent college career at Oklahoma. In his last two years at OU, McCoy posted 58 tackles and 12 sacks. These numbers may look small compared to Suh but they are still extremely impressive for a DT. McCoy was drafted by Tampa Bay and was thought to be a perfect fit for their Cover 2 defensive scheme. McCoy has been unimpressive so far. He did record a forced fumble in the first game, but he has a mere 5 tackles and no sacks. However, Tampa Bay is off to a 2-1 start and McCoy is still a key cog in the buccaneers future plans.
4. Trent Williams, OT, Washington-Trent Williams, the third player from Oklahoma drafted in the top 5, was a physical specimen coming out of Oklahoma. Most believed he could be plugged in as an instant starter on the Redskins offensive line, and he did just that taking the left tackle job during camp. He started the first game of the season against Dallas and played well in a Redskin's win, but he was hurt in the second game against Houston, loss. He then missed the third game against the Rams, another Redskin's loss. Williams has proved he has the ability to be an effective player in the NFL, and now it is a matter of staying healthy and anchoring the Redskin's line for years to come.
5. Eric Berry, SS, Kansas City- Eric Berry the last pick of the top five, was often thought of as the second or third most talented player in the draft. When selected with the 5th pick he became the highest drafted safety since Sean Taylor was drafted in 2004, also with the 5th pick. Berry had an outstanding three year career at Tennessee posting 241 tackles, 14 interceptions, and scoring 3 touchdowns. He was then drafted by Kansas City, who is off to a surprising 3-0 start to the year. Berry has contributed to this start with 17 tackles, but he has yet to show off the playmaking ability that had everyone drooling coming out of college. Berry should continue to learn the defense and develop into an exceptional safety. He size and athletics ability alone should allow Berry to become a top 5 safety in the league.
Wednesday, September 29, 2010
NBA Fans, non-NBA fans, golf fans, tennis fans, cricket fans, and even people who think ESPN is some type of psychic power have heard about the excitement and drama that took place this offseason in the NBA. As we all know LeBron James, Dwayne Wade, and Chris Bosh, all superstar free agents this summer, have decided to team up for the next 5+ years in Miami and try to bring home multiple NBA championships. This decision has been met with love, criticism, and even hatred. Everyone has their opinion on whether or not it was right for LeBron to leave Cleveland. Whether or not this new super star driven team will ruin the NBA, and whether or not LeBron James or Dwayne Wade will take the shot in crunch time. Regardless of your stance of these issues an interesting new book is coming out dealing with NBA free agency in 2010. This book is called, “No Plan B” and will be written by the Heat’s own, Pat Riley (Miami Herald). This book will provide an in-depth look into the 2010 offseason of the Miami Heat organization, potentially revealing details about Riley’s meeting with LeBron James, Chris Bosh, and Dwayne Wade.
This book will give fans a better understanding of how NBA free agency works, what NBA executives pitch to high profile players, and possibly even intriguing details of the recruitment of the NBA’s best. Now this book will most likely not include any details regarding tampering. It probably will not answer our questions about if the Big 3 were contacted before July 1, but it should be a book full of information not regularly available to the public. Anyone looking for an interesting read about the NBA and how it works should definitely check out Pat Riley, “No Plan B”.
At 6’1, 222, Patrick Peterson has elite size for a cornerback. He is large enough to play safety or even weak side linebacker in a cover two scheme, but Peterson possesses the speed, agility, and change of direction skills to excel at the cornerback position. He has run a laser timed 40 yard dash in 4.37 seconds and has a 39 inch vertical jump. He benches 335 pounds and squats 535 pounds(#mce_temp_url# ). Peterson possesses all the physical tools to become a lock down corner in the NFL. He is big enough to fight with the possession receivers and fast enough to shadow the speed threats. He is also physical enough to get off blocks and help out in the run game. Patrick Peterson is an elite prospect and should go in the top 10 come draft day.
Despite being an elite prospect, at times Peterson has had trouble producing on the field. Through four games this year he has a mere 11 total tackles and two interceptions, with both of his interceptions coming against lowly Mississippi State. Peterson tends to rely on his athleticism too much and forget about technique and scheme. However, these are correctible mistakes and with NFL coaching Peterson should become an elite corner in no time.
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ESPN has recently reported that the NFL may be headed to an 18 game season. Colts President Bill Polian said, “I think that the owners, and principally the commissioner, have decided that it’s the way to go.” This is not an official decision, but the talks about possibly converting the NFL schedule to an 18 game season seem to now be gaining steam.
The implementation of the new schedule would be fairly simple. The NFL would cut down the number of preseason games from 4 to 2, and add the extra two games to the regular season schedule. There have been talks about possibly adding an additional bye week into the regular season to help prevent injuries, but nothing has been decided. The playoffs would begin at the same time, and the season would conclude no later than it does now.
The obvious incentive for switching to this new format is money. With two additional regular season games the increase in revenue for tickets, television coverage, and advertising would all receive a major boost. In the 16 game format teams play every team in their division twice (6 games), then they play every team from two other divisions (8 games). This leaves only two games that the NFL can decide who teams will play. These two games usually create the largest headlines and draw the most attention. For example New York v. New York, Peyton v. Eli, Rematch of the Super Bowl, Patriots v. Colts. The switch to an 18 game season would allow for 4 games to be decided by the NFL. This would allow for many more marquee games and much more excitement.
Obviously more regular season games and more marquee match-ups would be very exciting for fans, so what is the downside? The downside of this new format is three-fold. First, it decreases the importance of any given regular season game. A 0-2 start to the season isn’t quite as heartbreaking when you can conceivably still have a 14 or 15 game season. Games will lose a little of their importance. The second downside is injuries. Two more games is 120 more minutes of wear and tear on player’s bodies. Injury lists are already full, and teams already rest their starters for the last one or two games of the season. Will teams start resting starters midseason or three or four games before the playoffs? Once again this could add many more worthless games to the schedule. The last downside of an 18 game season is the loss of two preseason games. What could be bad about losing two worthless preseason games? Preseason games are an important part of the preparation and evaluation of a team. Without those two extra preseason games their could be lots of sloppy games the first two games. There are also many teams trying to assess their talent on the team, and those last two games are a great chance for a player to prove themselves.
An 18 game schedule would definitely increase excitement and earn the NFL some money, but is it worth the potential risk of ruining the NFL system as it is today? The same questions were most likely asked when the NFL switched from a 14 to 16 game schedule, but they are worth asking again.
After a heated and competitive game on monday night between the Packers and Bears, an unfortunate incident took place between Nick Collins and a fan. Fox6 news in Milwaukee reported that, “Collins was provoked by a fan who spat his way and called him a racist expletive, promoting Collins to “go crazy” and “attack”. The station reportedly has video of the incident that can’t be shown until Tuesday due to NFL guidelines.” (http://twitter.com/fox6sports).
This incident is a prime example of sporting competition getting out of hand in today’s game. In this case it seems as if both the fan and athlete should be blamed for some wrongdoing. The fan obviously provoked Collins into action with his inappropriate conduct and language. Collins, however, should be able to maintain his composure in instances such as this one. He is a player representing the National Football League and must learn to simply ignore these situations. Every athlete is going to experience some type of heckling and in most cases fans will cross lines they should not, but athletes experience this at every level and Collins should have learned how to handle this by now.
This incident does bring up an interesting question dealing with the conduct of fans. Collins will most likely be fined for his actions, but past getting beat up by an NFL football player the fan will likely avoid any disciplinary action. Fans are shocked whenever players interact with fans (Ron Artest at the Palace or more recently Brandon Jacobs), but fans have to realize that athletes are people also and they should be treated with respect. It will be interesting to see the details of this story when the video is released tomorrow, but either way both players and fans need to start acting in a respectable, humane manner.
Week Three in fantasy football is almost over and there were two main surprises that deserve recognition for their performance and should be picked up if they are available in your league.
Austin Collie, WR Indianapolis Colts-He had 12 reception for 171 yards and two touchdowns. With Pierre Garcon inactive, Collie stepped up big time and provided Peyton Manning with a target in the Colt’s win over the Broncos. Collie, in his second year out of Brigham Young University, seems to becoming more and more comfortable in the Colt’s offense and should crush his rookie stats of 676 yards and 7 touchdowns (he already has 359 yards and 4 TD’s).
Peyton Hillis, RB Cleveland Browns- Hillis, drafted by Denver three years ago out of Arkansas as a fullback, is capitalizing on the Browns lack of a legitimate starting RB. He has scored a touchdown in every game this season, and this week finally broke out for 144 yards rushing. He now has 220 yards rushing and is almost certain to surpass his rookie year total of 343 yards. Hillis was thought to be too slow to play running back in the NFL, but for now he is proving his critics wrong.
Michael Vick and Pittsburg Defense impressed for the second straight week and should be started no matter the matchup at this point.
Jason Snelling, RB Atlanta (62 yards) and Mike Tolbert, RB San Diego (73 yards) both had average weeks after receiving lots of hype the previous week. They both received a decent amount of carries (12 and 17 respectively) and are worth picking up in all leagues.
With Jake Locker struggling, Andrew Luck has a chance to surpass him as the top rated quarterback prospect. Luck, a redshirt junior, has led Stanford to a 4-0 start to the season and the #9 spot in the AP top 25. He has done so in impressive fashion, going 64 for 102 (62.7%) for 912 yards and 11 TD’s, while throwing only two interceptions. This is an improvement on his impressive freshmen year in which he threw for 2575 yards and 13 TD’s with only 4 INT. However last year, with so much attention on Toby Gerhart and the running game, Luck’s ability to carry the load was unknown. Those questions have obviously been answered and more. Luck is on pace for over thirty touchdowns and a collegiate passer rating of almost 170.
Luck has prototypical NFL size at 6-4, 235 and an arm capable of making all the NFL throws. He has also displayed ample athleticism and mobility rushing for 163 yards in only 17 attempts (9.6 YPC) this year on top of 354 yards last year. This is an even more impressive number due to the fact that in college, sacks are deducted from a QB’s rushing yardage.
Right now Luck is poised to take over the top QB ranking from Jake Locker, if he declares, but it remains to be seen how he will fare against tougher competition. Those concerns will be addressed in the next two weeks when Stanford travels to high-powered Oregon and then returns home to play the always tough Trojans of USC. If Luck can lead the Cardinal to two wins in the next two weeks, he will further cement his claim for the #1 QB spot.
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Hello, My name is Sam and I am a huge sports fan. The purpose of this blog is to share the knowledge of sports I have garnered over the years with you. It will include:
Fantasy Football Advice
Predictions and Advice for making those important picks
NFL&NBA Draft Discussion
And Much More