|random thoughts and thoroughbred selections|
|"All life is 6-5 against" - Damon Runyon|
Friday, October 31, 2003
Weird Gambling Line of the Weekend
Colorado (+14) @ Texas Tech
the weird part (wait for it...)
O/U = 81
Eighty One! No freaking way! That's a ludicrous total for bettors.
Then again, TT may hit that all on their own...
TOP TEN NICKNAMES I WISH I HAD
(in no order, they're all cool)
10. "The Cleaner" (like Leon, the Professional, from the movie)
9. "The Hammer" (unfortunately, I'm not a terrible jockey, right Bob?)
8. Moochie/Mookie (goes without saying)
7. "The Italian Stallion" (except freaking Stallone ruined this one for the rest of us)
6. "Champ" (but, of course, I'd have to win something first)
5. "The Genius" (BG stands for Boy Genius, but that's tongue in cheek at best)
4. Bogart (actually did have this nickname, but it was really brief, and only one other person ever acknowledged it - see Wu-Tang's Method Man in his line from "Protect Ya Neck")
3. "The Gambler" (but pronounced - "gam-blah")
2. The-Dude-With-The-Huge-Cock (again, nicknames I WISH I had)
1. "Detroit Slick" (this would, of course, be my poker nickname when I take the card rooms of Detroit by storm)
ESPN.com - Page2 - Weeding out the West: "And then there's Carmelo. There are few sure things in life, but this is one of them: Joe Dumars will regret taking Darko over Carmelo. Maybe it won't hit him this season. It might not even hit him until 2007 or 2008. But it's going to happen. This is 'Bowie over MJ' all over again. You can't pass up on someone who ...
A) Had the best college season in 15 years
B) Like Bernard King, was practically created by God to play small forward in the NBA
C) Could be the most engaging, likable rookie since MJ
... just because Tayshaun Freaking Prince looked good in the Philly series. Hey, I like Tayshaun -- I could see him being an above-average scorer off the bench for the next eight years. And I'm sure Darko will be fine, even if I can't imagine him being any better than Raef LaFrentz five years from now. But you can't pass up Carmelo Anthony. That's ridiculous. Every Piston fan should have a sick, queasy feeling right now, like the way you feel when you realize you left your bank card in an ATM machine ... only you'll be feeling that way for the next 12 years. Just prepare yourself now. He's that good. I feel very strongly about this."
My Pistons season preview coming soon... For now, here's a taste of Bill Simmons' on Carmelo vs. Darko.
In case you were wondering...
I actually became gainfully employed again as of Wednesday of this past week. I was in the metro Detroit area for the latter half of this week with NO Internet access (gasp!) doing some training for my organization.
I'll get into talking about the job later. It's a good fit for me, and I'm thrilled to have it.
The Onion | I Would Treat The Girl From The Muffler Commercial Right
I think the Onion has been listening in on my conversations about the Belle Tire girl. Apparently, this dude agrees with me.
Monday, October 27, 2003
A PLEA TO MY FAMILY
If I don't get an official "Rock, Paper, Scissors" T-Shirt for Christmas, heads are going to roll. Could be either the blue circles with black hands inside, or the ones that look like 1940s war propaganda posters.
Whatever, just make sure I get one!
CNN.com - Man breaks, covers, cuts competition - Oct. 26, 2003: "TORONTO, Ontario (Reuters) -- The competitors, in glitzy, off-the-wall costumes, call themselves professional athletes. Some even bring along team doctors to supervise their nutrition and take them through intense warmups.
This, it seems, is serious stuff to the 320 competitors who shook their fists early into Sunday morning at the World Rock, Paper, Scissors Championships at a nightclub in downtown Toronto.
The man who did win -- and netted himself a purse of C$5,000 ($3,825) -- was Toronto's Rob Krueger, a member of the team 'Legion of the Red Fist.'
To achieve the lofty title of World RPS Champion, he threw a combination of rock-paper-paper, defeating his opponent's offering of three rocks. "
Good ol' rock. Nothing beats rock!
Sunday, October 26, 2003
2003 Lions Cap Summary
My Plan For Fixing the Detroit Lions:
1) THE CAP SITUATION
At the end of this season, the Lions need to do some serious housecleaning. The current cap is $75M, and the Lions currently sit $1.687M shy of the cap number. After this season, the cap charges for players no longer on the roster (such as Charlie Batch, Alex Molden, Herman Moore) of $11,097,583 is counted as available money. There is just shy of $850,000 in cap charges already on the books for 2004-05 (for cuts in 2003, such as Lamar Campbell and Tony Semple). Assuming that the Lions don't offer contracts to any players between now and the end of the year, they will have $58,644,339 in contracts on the books for 2004, and therefore (58.644M+$850k taken away from $75M) about $15.5M for 2004.
I'm here to help save some money. Free Agents at the end of this season for Detroit are:
FB S. Trejo
QB M. McMahon (RFA)
RB S. Bryson
WR S. Anderson (RFA)
WR E. Drummond (RFA)
WR S. Jefferson
TE C. Fitzsimmons
G R. Brown
G/T J. Lovelady
DT K. Pritchett
LB B. Green
LB J. Gooch
LB D. Curry
DE J. Hall
S Bracey Walker
CB J. Wyrick
CB C. Cash (RFA)
LB B. Williams
P J. Jett
QB T. Detmer
OL E. Beverly
I can say with confidence that there is not a player on this list that the Lions will need to "open the bank" for to re-sign at an inflated value. In fact, the only key signings from this group will probably be McMahon (for the perennial #2 QB job), Drummond (KR/PR specialist, will come cheap), Lovelady (cheap backup labor on the line), Gooch (ST linebacker, backup money), Wyrick (ST demon, won't command more than league minimum), Cash (assuming he's rehabbed from the knee injury - won't be coveted by other teams, will come cheap), Fitzsimmons (young TE prospect, seems to have potential), Beverly (capable OL), and Jett (good punters aren't a dime a dozen). That's probably a grand total of $4M-$5M tops to lock up this group of players. Everyone else will be shown the door.
2) THE CUTS
Heads are going to roll this offseason as well. The Lions, despite being in the middle of an arduous "rebuilding" process are currently the second oldest average aged team in the NFL. Older, in fact, than the Oakland Raiders. There are some spots on this team that need to get younger in a hurry. This can be accomplished through some offseason cuts.
- James Stewart will need to go, and cutting him will save the Lions $4.08M in 2004. It will also open up a roster slot in the backfield, enabling them to find either a draft choice or free agent to compete with Pinner and Gary for #1 RB honors.
- Bill Schroeder is a virtual lock not to be on this roster in 2004. He has underperformed horribly, and will be dropped like a bad habit in the offseason. Cutting him after June 1st will only save the Lions $45k in 2004, but will save $875k in 2005.
- Robert Porcher is a great ambassador to the community, but has looked inert in most games here in 2003. In an unpopular move, I would give him his walking papers, which would free up $1.25M in 2004.
- Earl Holmes and Wali Rainer have looked terrible in Honolulu Blue this season. The Lions linebacker corps will get younger in a hurry, and cutting these two (while not re-signing Barrett Green) will force this to happen. The Lions will save $1M in 2004 by letting these two go.
Through cuts and letting some of the above mentioned free agents walk, the Lions will be at a salary cap number of $57k, and therefore will have close to $18M of salary cap room to maneuver - with very little salary cap damage done to the 2005 cap. This will give them plenty of room for contract extensions to some key players for 2005 and beyond (along the OL and DL in particular).
3) STATE OF THE ROSTER
Assuming all these transactions occur, the Lions will be undermanned in some key areas, and will need to fill holes effectively.
QB - Without Ty Detmer (I'll assume retirement and ascension into the coaching staff for 2004), there will need to be another QB, albeit just a #3 guy who can come in cheap. (ROSTER FIX - NEED ONE, CHEAP #3)
RB - Pinner, Cobourne, and Gary are the three who will probably go into camp in the backfield for the Lions. They will look to add a playmaker in the draft, and will let either Cobourne or Gary go prior to the season, assuming Pinner is 100% healthy and productive. (ROSTER FIX - NEED ONE, PLAYMAKER)
FB - Schlesinger is signed, and assuming he returns (injuries continue to bother him, although he's suiting up and playing), the Lions will need a backup in camp. That could be Trejo, it could be an undrafted FA. (ROSTER FIX - NEED ONE, #2, CHEAP)
WR - Rogers and Hakim. These are the only two guys that I can see surviving the offseason cuts for the Lions. Schroeder won't be back, Anderson would surprise me, and Jefferson should and will retire. Look for Kircus to come off the practice squad (salary cap numbers won't be affected), and look for a veteran to be signed for the #3 possession receiver position. Drummond isn't the answer for #4 WR, so look for a rookie, either drafted or undrafted, to come in and challenge for that role. (ROSTER FIX - SIGN ONE VETERAN, MID-LEVEL MONEY - $750K - AND ONE ROOKIE FROM LATE IN THE DRAFT)
TE - With the re-signing of Fitzsimmons, no adjustments are necessary. Ricks and Owens will continue to be on the roster as well.
OL - Assuming Beverly and Lovelady re-sign, and Ray Brown retires, there is only one roster spot to fill. Look for Lovelady to get the start in 2004, and a young player, probably a rookie, to be drafted for service. (ROSTER FIX - SIGN A YOUNG G OR T)
DL - What was projected to be a strength for the Lions in 2003 has underperformed miserably. Kalimba Edwards and Cory Redding need chances to grow into their projected roles, and that will only come with playing time. With James Hall, Porcher, and Kelvin Pritchett not expected back, depth is a concern, particularly at DE. Look for one young player and one veteran backup to be added to the rotation. DT problems may solve themselves if Luther Elliss can contribute in 2004. I project Luther as a 2005 preseason cap casualty, but feel he'll probably stick on the roster in 2004. (ROSTER FIX - ONE YOUNG, ONE VETERAN FA DE)
LB - A complete overhaul of the linebacker corps is crucial to the Lions' future success. Barrett Green has been a huge disappointment, and must be let go at season's end. Rainer and Holmes have played terribly as well. The veterans of this group must be jettisoned, and replaced by younger players. James Davis will probably be starting for Barrett Green in 2004, with Boss Bailey on the other side. The MLB position is probably up for grabs. It would be a coup if the Lions could get a great free agent to add to this group, perhaps Niner FA Julian Petersen. Davis would move to MLB, and Petersen and Bailey on the outside would give the Lions unmatched speed in the linebacker corps. I'd be surprised if this happens, however. Most likely, a veteran will be signed (or Rainer retained) for the MLB job, Davis will patrol an OLB spot, Gooch will be one backup, and two young players will be given a shot at contributing. It would be a major upset if the Lions did not get an LB prospect somewhere in the first three rounds of the upcoming draft. (ROSTER FIX - ONE DRAFTED LB, ONE UNDRAFTED, ONE VETERAN FA SIGNING)
DB - CB and S is, of course, the weakness of the Lions' roster currently. Look for Terrence Holt to challenge for a starting position in 2004, with Brian Walker right next to him in the lineup. Cutting Corey Harris wouldn't surprise me (a savings of $633,333 in 2004), as the Lions need to get younger in the secondary, particularly at safety. The CB situation will probably need one more year to settle out. Dre' Bly has been a pleasant surprise for Detroit, and adding healthy (I'm assuming) former starters Chris Cash and Andre Goodman to the mix with Roderick Babers will give them back some of the depth they had lost. It wouldn't surprise me to see the Lions try to shore up the secondary with a high draft pick at CB or S, but frankly, I think there are more pressing needs on offense and at LB. If it were me, I'm probably sticking with this group, and looking at an undrafted FA type to come in and learn from Wyrick the dime back position and special teams work. Again, this is all based on an assumption that Cash and Goodman are back, 100%, and can work their way back into the rotation. (ROSTER FIX - ONE YOUNG SAFETY, COULD BE A HIGH PICK)
ST - No changes needed.
Veteran additions to this roster at LB, DE, and WR are absolutely necessary. Everywhere else, I can project youth. This would give the Lions a difficult 2004, but would give the youth key experience for 2005 and beyond. This isn't a quick fix. I can project that with those three veteran FA additions, the Lions shouldn't have to spend more than $5M in salary cap money, and assuming they don't land a top level LB for 2004, should probably spend no more than $3.5M.
4) HOW I'M DRAFTING
I'm going to go out on a limb here and assume that the Lions will have a top five pick in the 2004 NFL Draft. I don't believe they are going to see supplemental picks, and I think they gave up either a sixth or a seventh for Olandis Gary. I'll assume seventh. With those assumptions, I give you my IDEAL LIONS DRAFT SCENARIO for 2004:
Round 1 - The Lions trade down to the middle of the round and acquire two picks in the mid-teens. With the first pick, the Lions are able to secure the second or third rated WR on the board, giving them another playmaker on the outside, which will enable Hakim to move to the slot. There is no WR help in FA this offseason, so putting someone outside with Rogers is crucial. With their second pick, the Lions get the second or third rated RB on the board. This presumes that the teams drafting above are grabbing DTs and QBs, but this is my ideal circumstance, not the probable reality of the draft. The RB will be the immediate starter on offense.
Round 2 - The Lions are able to grab the second or third rated safety prospect in the draft, who will probably start alongside Brian Walker in 2004.
Round 3 - The Lions secure the talents of a fast OLB type, which might give them the chance to move James Davis to safety in a year or two.
Round 4 - Offensive line depth will be a focus, as Raiola, Backus, and McDougle are all free agents within the next two years.
Round 5 - DE depth will also be a focus. Hopefully, Kalimba Edwards can provide the needed pass rush, because they're not going to find it in round 5.
Round 6 - Possibly more OL depth, although WR talent can often be found this low.
5) MY IDEAL SCENARIO FOR 2004
Here's what my starting lineups for 2004 will look like
QB - Harrington (backups - McMahon, Curt Anes)
RB - Rookie #1 (Pinner, Gary)
FB - Schlesinger (Trejo)
WR1 - Rogers
WR2 - Rookie #1
WR3 - Hakim (veteran guy, Kircus, Drummond)
TE - Ricks (Fitzsimmons, Owens)
T - Backus/McDougle (V. Rogers, Rookie #4)
G - Joyce/Beverly (Lovelady, Rookie Undrafted)
C - Raiola (Beverly, Rookie Undrafted)
DE - Edwards/Redding (Veteran UFA, Rookie #5)
DT - S. Rogers/Wilkinson (Elliss, DeVries)
OLB - Bailey/Julian Petersen UFA signing (Davis, Rookie #3)
MLB - Veteran UFA (Davis, Gooch)
CB - Bly/Goodman (Cash, Babers, Wyrick)
S - Bri. Walker/Rookie #2 (Holt, Rookie Undrafted)
The Petersen signing would be the only significant hit to the cap situation, and would set the Lions up to both re-sign their upcoming free agents in 2005, and also pursue another top level FA next offseason. Plus, Harrington would have weapons on offense, and therefore, no more excuses.
They wouldn't be a playoff team in 2004, but they'd be on their way.
Think outside the bar for spring break: "If you're a senior, why waste a rite of passage on the drunken stupor of Cancun? Easter break could be Hawaii or snowboarding. It could be taking the train to Montreal. It could be volunteering in Guatemala or sleeping by a volcano in Costa Rica."
MEMO TO DETROIT FREE PRESS DO-GOODER...
It's about getting laid honey. Pure and simple. Tell a horny 18 year old, particularly a boy, that:
a) You can drink all you want, and cheaply
b) It's warm down there and your hotel will have a pool
c) The bars are packed with kids your age from all over
d) The girls are in bikinis all day long
e) The girls are giving it up to just about anyone who asks
Mom, I don't think he's "volunteering in Guatemala." I think he wants to fuck a girl from Iowa. I know I do. "Volunteering in Guatemala." What a dumb alternative. If you're going to come up with something instead of the standard drunken Bacchanaelia of Cancun Spring Break, at least try to find something kids might enjoy. "Building adobe huts for ungrateful and suspicious villagers while eating nothing but bean soup and sleeping on the ground" might be rewarding spiritually, but you'll have a shitty story to compare with your friends when they get back from Cancun.
"What'd you do over break?"
"I went to Cancun, judged two wet T-shirt contests, met this girl from Iowa, and took her virginity. What'd you do?"
"I met this dude Pablo who works as a manure spreader in the corn fields of Guatemala, and helped him patch his adobe hut."
Not exactly even-steven there my friends.
Bill Simmons @ ESPN
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