Posted on: October 18, 2011 10:43 am
Edited on: October 18, 2011 10:50 am

Carson gets what he wants. So why am I happy?

I was going to be mad. How mad? Ballistic. The Bengals were trading Carson Palmer today to the Raiders, that was the news, and I was going to be furious with Bengals owner Mike Brown for letting Palmer get what he wants.

But then I heard what the Bengals are set to receive for Palmer.

Two first-round picks? Two? OK, anger subsided. Palmer gets what he wants, yes, but the Bengals got more than they deserved. Palmer isn't worth two No. 1 picks, not anymore, not with his knee surgically repaired and his elbow a question mark and his pilot light flickering where a competitive fire ought to be raging.

Two No. 1's?


Sometimes the bad guys win, and Palmer -- quitter, baby -- is the bad guy in this scenario. Mike Brown is rarely the good guy in any scenario, but he's the good guy now. He played hardball with Palmer, and won. Brown will want to remember this day. He hasn't won like this since he was born, silver-spoon style, into one of the first families of football 74 years ago. And I doubt he remembers that.

But Brown won this go-around. The Raiders get a quarterback and Palmer gets to play some more, but I'm not concerned with those guys. I'm a Cincinnati guy, and Cincinnati owner Mike Brown just used Carson Palmer to crush the Raiders.

Now, if only Brown would quit while he's ahead and hire a general manager to make those picks for him ...

Category: NFL
Posted on: October 16, 2011 4:08 pm
Edited on: October 16, 2011 4:10 pm

Sexy Rexy, don't ever leave us again

LANDOVER, Md. -- This is the Rex Grossman that fans of the Chicago Bears came to know and loathe. Sexy Rexy, throwing the ball where only the most brave, the most confident, the most ridiculous would throw it.

Getting intercepted. Again and again and again.

And again.

Kurt Coleman of the Eagles picked off Grossman three times in three quarters, being deprived of the chance at a fourth pick by Redskins coach Mike Shanahan -- who replaced Grossman with John Beck in the fourth quarter of this 20-13 Eagles victory.

This was the Grossman fans around the NFL figured we'd they'd see since the Redskins replaced Donovan McNabb in the preseason with the former Bear. But it's not the Grossman we saw through four games, with Grossman playing under control and leading the Redskins to a surprising 3-1 start. His quarterback rating through four games: a modest 78.7.

His quarterback rating in Game 5? A chilly 23.7. Grossman was 9 of 22 for 143 yards, no touchdowns and four interceptions. Plus he had two other interceptions dropped. And he bobbled a shotgun snap. And he ran into running back Ryan Torain on a handoff.

Category: NFL
Tags: Rex Grossman
Posted on: October 10, 2011 11:47 pm
Edited on: October 10, 2011 11:57 pm

Lions making all kinds of noise

DETROIT -- Something special is happening here in Detroit, and not just on the football field -- although it's awfully damn special on the football field, where the Lions improved to 5-0 on Monday night with a 24-13 drubbing of the Chicago Bears.

Matthew Stafford is a special quarterback. Charles Calvin Johnson a special receiver. Ndamukong Suh? Special defensive tackle. I'm starting to think Jim Schwartz is a special coach, too.

It's special off the field, too. Or in the crowd. In the building. Inside Ford Field.

I'm not big on ranking crowd noise, mainly because I can't do it. Was this place tonight louder than that place in 2007? How should I know? I can't remember how loud it was in some other stadium in 2007.

But I can tell you this: I'm almost never tempted to write about crowd noise like I'm writing about it here. That's how loud Ford Field was -- so loud that I couldn't ignore it, even after the game ended and the noise went away.

It was so loud, the Bears became completely unglued. Their offense committed six false-start penalties in the first half, then added three more in the second half. No idea if nine false-start penalties is an NFL record for a single team, but it could be. It happened because of the noise, which reminded me (ahem) of Cameron Indoor Stadium on the Duke campus, a tiny basketball building where 9,314 people can sound like, well, 67,861 -- the attendance Monday night.

So to recap: The Lions are a special team having a special season in front of a special crowd.

Good for you, Detroit. After enduring Matt Millen, you deserve this.

Category: NFL
Posted on: October 7, 2011 12:14 pm

Big East reduced to WVU, Potsie and Ralph Malph

As if it hasn't jumped the shark already ... if the BCS doesn't take away the automatic bid from the Big East for the 2012 season, I'd ask the following:

Who's running the BCS? Arthur Fonzarelli?

Listen, I live in Cincinnati and don't enjoy the watering down of my own backyard football program, but facts are facts. And the fact is, the Big East probably didn't deserve a BCS bid at full strength -- and the Big East definitely won't deserve a BCS bid next year, barring something crazy like Notre Dame (or Texas) joining.

And since the Big East is looking instead at schools like East Carolina, Central Florida and Memphis ... well, there you have it. This is not a BCS league.

This is not even the Mountain West.

No offense to you, Mountain West.

And no offense to you, either, West Virginia. The Mountaineers deserve better than to be in such a weakened league, but that's where West Virginia is. Surrounded by mediocre, at best, football schools. And West Virginia plus a whole host of mediocre football schools does not equal a BCS bid.

I mean, that's not an even an opinion.

That's a fact.

Category: NCAAF
Tags: BCS, Big East, Fonzie
Posted on: October 5, 2011 8:24 pm

Such a Yankee move

Putting C.C. Sabathia in the bullpen for Game 5 -- on two days' rest after he threw 106 pitches in Game 3 -- is why the Yankees are the Yankees.

Talent is disposable to that franchise. If Sabathia blows out his arm, the Yankees can -- and will -- go get another $15 million pitcher. Assuming Sabathia returns next season and grows ineffective as the 2012 schedule progresses, the Yankees can (and will) acquire someone else's ace starter at the trade deadline.

Yankees fans will note that Sabathia is set to throw a side session on Thursday anyway, so what's the difference between that and an inning or two of relief? Answer: There's a major difference in the stress on a pitcher's arm from 20 pitches on the side to 20 pitches in a postseason game.

A major difference.

The Tigers know it, which is why Game 3 starter Justin Verlander isn't under consideration to come out of the bullpen on Thursday. Another difference between the Yankees and Tigers is that New York has a $203 million payroll ... while Detroit's is $106 million. The Tigers have money, but they don't have Yankee money.

So they don't have the Yankees' cavalier attitude toward an ace's arm.

Category: MLB
Tags: Tigers, Yankees
Posted on: October 2, 2011 4:34 pm

Lions roar, Cowboys choke. Both happened.

ARLINGTON, Texas -- One of the worst chokes I've ever seen. One of the best comebacks I've ever seen. This game between Dallas and Detroit was both.

Detroit won 34-30, but only because Dallas lost 30-34. Detroit was great in the second half after falling behind 27-3, but Dallas was miserable. Not sure how to write one story without writing the other. I'm going to try here in a few minutes.

Tony Romo exemplifies all of it. Great for Dallas in the first half. Chokingly, gaggingly bad in the second. But he had help. Whoever called plays for Dallas. Whoever played in the secondary.

Calvin Johnson was the flip side to this. He won this game for Detroit by being the best player on the field. Can't wait to write this thing. Here I go!

Posted on: September 29, 2011 11:07 am

Please, Kobe, please. Stop lying.

I'm sick and tired of reading that Kobe Bryant is considering playing overseas during the NBA lockout. Turkey, China, Italy -- all destinations have been raised.

All are lies.

Kobe Bryant has a finite number of games left in his deteriorating knees, and he knows it. He also has some major individual goals left, not one of which -- not one -- can be achieved anywhere but in the NBA. Currently he is eighth on the all-time scoring list. Shaquille O'Neal is within easy reach at No. 7, but not if Kobe blows out what's left of his knees in Italy. And of course the big target is Michael Jordan at third. Jordan is two, maybe three seasons away. I'm telling you now, Kobe's knees will be a struggle to play more than two seasons. A third? Doubtful. And he knows it.

Do you really think he's going to waste a single game in what's left of his career to play in a foreign country, even Italy? Do you?

Do you?

Category: NBA
Tags: Kobe Bryant
Posted on: September 26, 2011 4:58 pm

NFL teams cherish their QB's. Or not.

Three big-time, big-money quarterbacks are being hurried back onto the field as fast as possible, and why? Because NFL teams are greedy business ventures. Not a shock, really, but it would be nice if one team -- just one -- of the following three offenders bucked the desire to milk every last play out of their bell-cow QB's by saying, "You know what? You've had enough. Sit this one out."

The three offenders: Cowboys. Eagles. Colts.

The three quarterbacks: Tony Romo (lung, rib). Michael Vick (head, hand). Peyton Manning (neck).

The Cowboys are expected to let Romo play tonight, just as they let him play last week, with some combination of broken rib/collapsed lung. The Eagles are hopeful Vick can play Sunday, one week after he suffered a broken bruised hand and two weeks after a concussion. The Colts made it clear Monday, through owner Jim Irsay, that they remain hopeful of Manning's return in December despite his advanced age, the location and severity of his injury, and the fact that the Colts have no shot, none, at playing meaningful games in December.

Funny how the NFL is trying to protect its quarterbacks from headhunting linebackers and knee-shotting defensive tackles, instead of worrying about the meanest SOB's in the league -- the owners.
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