Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Monday A.M. Quickie:
Saints Marching On

And the story of the year so far in the NFL is...?
The Saints.

Sorry: The 3-0 Saints.

Blocking punts for TDs.
Running trick plays for TDs.
Letting Bush rack up 72 all-purpose yards.
Green Day and Bono rocking.
70,000 fans inside the dome.

Who's going to begrudge the team (and its fans) its success this season? Who can possibly NOT cheer for this team?

The surprising start in the standings is secondary to the infusion of excitement for the community.

Twins clinch postseason: The playoff competitiveness of the small-market Twins is one of the best things about baseball.

Getting back to the playoffs is a signal to every fan out there that they can (and should) demand their team at least show flashes of competitiveness.

Now, about playoff success? Well, the Twins have the runaway AL Cy Young favorite (Johan Santana) and the player many think should be MVP (Justin Morneau). Why NOT the Twins?

What an easy team to root for.

White Sox eliminated: The first season after a World Series title (particularly one that took 88 years to earn) is the easiest one to take missing the playoffs. Join the Red Sox on the "New Drought" bandwagon.

All of a sudden, here come the Astros: Shit, where did THAT come from?

Jays pass Red Sox: I'll bet if you told the Blue Jays in April that they would finish in 2nd place in the AL East (after spending about a billion dollars in the offseason), they would take it, presuming that 2nd in the East translates into a playoff ticket.

Well, they got the "2nd" part, but there was no auto-bid to the playoffs to go with it. Still, breaking the "Yank-Sox" hegemony in the East and finishing ahead of the Red Sox is a HUGE step forward.

Bengals vs. The Law: Instead of merely suspending Odell Thurman for the rest of the season after his DUI arrest, maybe the NFL should consider another bold move:

Suspend Marvin Lewis for a game, if only for allowing his obviously troubled player to end up in this position.

And while they're at it, how about suspending Chris Henry and Reggie McNeal for riding shotgun in a car driven by a guy with a 1.8 BAC.

Personally, I think Jeremy Shockey was speaking more truth than simply venting after the Giants' loss. Maybe Tom Coughlin should pay less attention to the perceived insubordination and more to the content.

Madden Jinx: Shaun Alexander is out for at least a few weeks with a broken foot -- the video-game jinx continues... is the trouble really worth the endorsement juice from the box cover?

Simms out indefinitely: Chris Simms might be able to return as an NFL QB (say, next season), but whether he'll return as the starter for the Bucs remains to be seen.

I can see the emergence of MAC-bred rookie QB Bruce Gradkowski, but – more likely – I can see the team's 0-3 start signaling a season-long tailspin that puts them in position to draft Brady Quinn.

-- D.S.


Gary said...

Dan, I like that you are an early riser. I'm in to work at 5am, so a nice 5:38 posting works well for me. Plus, I get to catch up on all the stuff I missed from the night before, like the second half of the Saints game.

I have to admit, it was pretty cool when they blocked that punt and scored a touchdown. It was like out of a movie, if only it was the last play of the game instead of the first series...oh well, still pretty magical.

Matthew B. Novak said...

About the Twins... you said, "What an easy team to root for."

I gotta tell ya, that wasn't exactly true in April and May. Though given our Minnesota loyalty, we fans never abandoned them. There just isn't any team but the home team. We didn't get overly hopeful, but we sure did enjoy it when they started playing some good ball. Frankly, watching Mauer and Morneau and Santana and Liriano, and just thinking about our future, we were content with being the best 3rd place team ever. But good things just kept happening, and we're certainly not too proud to keep the good fortune that's been given to us. Hubris just ain't Minnesotan.

So now, that the Twins are an easy team to root for, us true Minnesotans are pleased as punch. And nothing more. Because, well, we're kind of stoic like that. There's a long way to go.

[Uncharacteristically breaking into some sort of non-fatalistic emotion (possibly joy)] So quick everyone! Hop on the bandwagon!

Christian Thoma said...


Dan thinks the solution for every team's problems is to draft the top QB (right now it's Brady Quinn, but Troy Smith could move up). There's no point arguing with him. He's already had the Packers and now the Bucs drafting him, I'm sure the Lions will be next on the list.

Jon said...

Saints - Aaron Brooks = A good team

Unknown said...

If the Saints insist on running Bush up the gut, instead of McAllister up the gut when inside the 5, thus settling for field goals...they aren't going to win all that often.

Unknown said...

By the end of the season (and really, why rush Simms back?), Gradkowski will have done the MAC proud as a starting NFL QB.
4/32 starting QBs from the MAC is pretty good. And there are a couple more in the pipeline already.

The heroin sheik said...

Well it is kinda hard to get a first roudn pick when you traded away three of them for your coach and a malcontent who did bring us a super bowl. What the bucks need is a string of drafts like the ones in the mid 90's where we got alstott, brooks, lynch. Knowing gruden he is going to mess up our draft once again by getting someone who can't or won't make an impact. The truth is that everythign you get in the first rood is a crap shoot. We see it time and time again that there is no way to predict stardom based on the draft. Look at guys like tom brady or joe montana who were drafted late. Converesly look at how many tony mandarichs and ryan leafs there are.

Asfor simms I remember an anecdote I heard about steve deberg back when the 49er's won their first super bowl. Deberg had broken ribs and when he was in the hospital getting checked out this guy brought him a flak jacket to wear. The guy who brought it puit it on and had deberg supposedly crack him on the ribs with it and nothing happened. You would think with modern technology there would be some form of protection that would help protect the stomach area more. OF course I am sure this would limit mobility even further.

I also have to agree with the guys at profootballtalk for their rant on the medical staff in tampa. Why was simms allowed back in the game. Shouldn't they have known something was wrong with him and what did they give him in the locker room. He looked good when he came back for one drive at least. Knowing our luck we are gonna be hearing goodell say with the first draft the tampa bay bucs draft ( pause for effect) chris leak followed by the sound of 30 thousand shotguns going off as we end our collective misery.

FreKy J said...

Why are so many supposedly knowledgable ESPN folk calling the Henderson reverse a DOUBLE reverse?

Handoff from Brees to Bush is an END AROUND, and the handoff from Bush to Henderson is the reverse.

Steve said...

Gregg Easterbrook would be so proud of you Freky J.

MP said...

University of Toledo grad says: Give Gradkowski a chance. Maybe Simms isn't the man, and maybe Gradkowski has a slow start coming, but once Gradkowski finds his groove...well, as we found out at Toledo, look out.

Also, I think Tom Coughlin's coaching style and substance wore out when the Jags fired him a few years ago. I don't believe in the man or his system, and beyond all-around hopelessness, I don't know why anyone SHOULD believe in him. Shockey is right to criticize, if necessary.

Aitch said...

freky J, I've had the same complaint. This play has been called the double reverse for as long as I can remember being a football fan, and I've never understood why. You're only reversing once so how is it a double.

Trey (formerly TF) said...

Honestly is there any coach MORE overrated than John Gruden? I like him a lot, but the guy has changed QBs constantly and is on the verge for his 3rd losing season in his 5 years there.

Last year he went 11-5 while playing one of the weakest schedules in the NFL and on the back of a great (and aging) defense.

Maybe losing Simms will help, who knows.
Joe (Dayton)

Mega said...

Brady Quinn = Ryan Leaf

And this isn't easy to take as a White Sox fan. The team underachieved all year long and the Twins/Tigers handed it to them when they needed to. Last year's postseason was among the best in baseball history for an individual team. Supposedly, this team is better on paper. I hardly think so. In any case, predict for heads to role in the offseason for this crap. As a Sox fan, I'd like them to start with Ozzie's. I'm sick of his mouth and his horrible game management.

jhawkjjm said...

Yes, Easterbrook would be proud. Guarentee that is in the TMQ as I though the exact same thing when Kornheiser called it.

Whether people like it or not, Brady Quinn is the best "pro" quarterback coming out of college. Troy Smith might win the Heisman, but he won't be playing QB in the NFL, he'll get moved to running back or receiver. Adrian Peterson is still the #1 pick, unless the team with the #1 recently drafted a stud back. Maybe that's why Houston passed on Bush, they knew they would be awful and the person they really wanted was AP.

Best of luck to Simms in a recovery and I hope he can play again. However, from watching this kid at Texas, he's not that good. Applewhite was the better QB at Texas and probably would have been the man except for Simms' last name. Gradkowski is good, he'll struggle early but by the end of the year he'll be solid.

Don't get too excited about the Sox being in 3rd place, they still have 2 against the devil rays and 3 against the Orioles, who they've owned. By bringing it up with a week to go, Shanoff cursed the Jays.

Sheldiz said...

holy bandwagon, batman....

i will not be cheering for the saints this year. just as i didn't start cheering for the yankees after 9/11.

i don't wish them any ill will, don't get me wrong. but i'm not going to become instant-fan, either. nobody likes a pity vote.

i wish new orleans nothing but the best in their rebuilding process. its a fantastic city that deserves all the best.... i just won't be showing my support by rooting for the saints.

iamunstoppable said...

your comment was probably said in jest, but let's take it as a real observation for a sec..

let's suspend a coach of a PRO team because his ADULT MEN players are going out drinking or getting in trouble. yes.. great idea, because your direct boss at work shouldve known that you like whiskey and that you drink on the weekends.

how much time do you spend with your bosses outside of work? yes, your actions are truly THEIR fault. blame them for your failures.

this isnt sleepy time with teacher in kindergarten. coaches arent there to dictate what these guys do in the off time. "marvin, your job now is not to run a football team, it's to keep tabs on 50+ players, and some coaches too" (so they dont end up naked in a fast food line).

why cant people be accountable for their own actions... why does it have to be someone else's fault?

Matt Williams said...

Should we have seen this Saints start coming?

They weren't horrible in 2004. Last year they had too many things dragging them down: Katrina, an all Away schedule, Deuce McAllister's season ending injury, nagging injuries to Joe Horn, and arguably the worst starting QB in the NFL in the person of Aaron Brooks.

You take all that away and add Reggie Bush and Drew Brees and suddenly a .500 team looks like it has playoff possibilities, especially with all the love they will get at home.

ToddTheJackass said...

Fear the Madden Curse Dan... or maybe it's an EA curse. Look what happened to the MQ/DQ as soon as it made it onto NCAA '07 as a question...

Coincidence? I think not.

As a Red Sox fan, good for Toronto. I'm sure they'll be opening bottles of champagne and such... oh wait, no one gives a rat's ass of who comes in 2nd or 3rd when it's over 10 GB in the standings, and there was no hope of the playoffs.

Here's hoping for a Twins/Mets World Series. The Twins because they're a great team to root for, and the Mets because they're our brethren in Yankee hating.

-Todd (Boston)

iamunstoppable said...

jason whitlock is worthless and only writes race-related drivel and only secured a job because he was an ex-player. landing a job like that is more of "who ya know/blow" than actual talent.

so.. it's no surprise he is out, and im sure his defense will be that it's because he's "a strong willed black man". him and scoop need to both die.

William Joseph said...

Chris (CT), I think it is a fairly big deal that the Jays are 2nd in the division. I live and work just blocks from the Skydome... err, Rogers Centre... At work this morning I actually had a conversation with a co-worker about how the Jays went ahead of Boston. It is a step in the right direction. Ownership has given the green light to spend more next season, so at least we have something to be hopeful about

Steve said...

Completely off topic, just a hilarious reminder of how awesome Tecmo Super Bowl was:


Mikepcfl said...

I enjoyed reading Whitlock on Page 2 on days there were no Simmons' or Easterbrook columns, and he is right about what ESPN has become.

I could go on all day about the pompous attitudes and hype. They bid all that money on the NFL because they know that they can get cable companies to pass those costs on to the customers. So everyone with cable ends up paying for the ESPN NFL contract. And if you dare to criticize them, they go all gestapo on you.

Dan, are you ready to let on why you departed Page 2? Anything to do with censorship? Just curious and glad you are still writing.

jhawkjjm said...

Being in KC I get to read a lot of Whitlock. In my opinion, I think he does play the race card a bit too much, but he always gets a point across. Whether you agree with that point or not is a different arguement. But he's a journalist, his job is to get a reaction out of people. He isn't just a reporter reporting the news and facts, his job is more than that.

Dan did the same thing with the Quickie and is doing the same thing with this blog. It's about getting a reaction out of your readers. Here it's in a format that is much easier to comment on than it was on the DQ. Just look at the reaction he has gotten by saying Tampa will draft Brady Quinn or the Blue Jays should celebrate being in 2nd.

We don't always agree with what is written, (how boring would that be)yet for some reason we keep going back to read it.

Perks said...


I hate Jason Whitlock. I think 99.9% of the time he writes, or speaks (on The Sports Reporters- I can't believe ESPN would make a move like this, how does it make sense? Do they really need to cut their costs THAT much because of the MNF bid?), it comes off as both unintelligent, and, well, retarded.

However, he and Scoop are nothing alike. They are both African-American Sports writers, true. But that is it. It's like someone saying that Bob Ryan and Woody Paige both need to die.

Which leads me further, you said "need to die". Dood, seriously. I mean, because being let go isn't enough? They can write whatever the eff they want to write about; and like I said, Whitlock suuuuuckkks at it. But DIE?

Allen Wedge said...

In addidtion to why Dan left, anyone know why Harold Reynolds left ESPN too?

Unknown said...

The Blue Jays passing the Red Sox yesterday was meaningless in Boston.

I have no idea how it is approached in Toronto but I can speak for Boston since that is where I am right now - and have been my entire life.

As a Red Sox fan - we expect to make the playoffs now and compete for a World Series. Going into the season we thought we had a pretty good chance - actually coming out of the All Star Break we thought we had a good chance - we were wrong.

Not making the playoffs hurts - I personally couldn't care less if the Red Sox finished 1 game out of the playoffs or 50 games out. They didn't make the playoffs and every other position is meaningless.

Two other quick points - the Blue Jays have to hold off the Sox for a week before we can even talk about this. And the Red Sox have been pitching Julian Tavarez and some guy named Gabbard for the last month as middle of the rotation guys.

So hopefully that parade through Toronto doesn't get too out of control.

iamunstoppable said...

he and scoop are not the same with regards to writing style, but they both suck equally. i didnt say "because these guys are black, they suck". (i think woody paige is stupid too, and jay mariotti is heavy handed and soap-boxy.)

whitlock because his writing is juvenile and basic and he simply plays the race card to get a rise. the only reason his columns ever got attention is when he claimed something outlandish. that's called "SHOCK". that's called, shitty journalist, because that's all he can do.

scoop.. because everything is exactly what whitlock said in his interview (perpetuating a shitty black stereotype, racist overtones).

there is a difference in their styles, but they both equal out to 'crappy'. so, no, that does nullify my overall point (pedro).

that said, whitlock's interview actually made me gain some respect for him. except that he's never said anything near as relevant in his own stories. glad to hear that he has worthwhile opinions though, too bad he stifles them (although he sure doesnt think he does).

Anonymous said...

I have to agree with matthew b. novak on my beloved Twins. Early in the season, it wasn't all that fun watching games. Then things were looking up, but there was still that seemingly insurmountable lead. But they were fun to watch; and looking forward to next year? Holy damn, that was really exciting.

Now they're in the playoffs and I can't shake the feeling there's a touch of destiny in everything this scrappy bunch of overachievers does.

iamunstoppable said...

oh, and 'perks'.. an off-handed remark like 'needs to die' means more of "go away nobody likes you" rather than literally "i want to see him in a casket and be buried". i'm not sitting here pushing pins into a frickin voo-doo doll hoping for his life to expire. learn to not take things so literally. (although you seem smart enough to not take it literally, i think u just wanted to go 'internet soap box' on someone. glad to be your pawn.)

Unknown said...

Meh...I like Whitlock. I like Scoop too..for different reasons.

Whitlock's writing on ESPN was leaning on the comedy side, and I took it as such.
Scoop's writing is more serious. And he usually hits on very good topics with a human feel to it.
The 'race card' as you put it is not used for 'shock' value. In my experience, those who complain about a race card are those who don't really believe racism exists or that it isn't widespread.

ESPN.com is becoming more entertainment than sports. Page 2 is getting away from good edgy stuff, to bar-lowering mediocrity to soothe the masses. Kinda like SNL. So, anyone edgy has to go because 'they suck'(meaning they write things that make people think...something that most don't really want to do at a sports site)

Just my opinion though.

Unknown said...

Oh, and Harold Reynolds was let go because he was accused of sexual harassment, I think.

iamunstoppable said...

rafael, if youre trying to backhandedly insinuate that i dont believe racism exists or i'm ignorant about racial issues being alive and kicking, try watching last night's bullshit football game...

all that posturing about "helping the poor people" and "this Saints game means so much to the city".. if we care SO MUCH about those people, and if we truly want to help them out, then we'd have their stuff cleaned up. or the poor districts would look a whole hell of alot better than they did.

because i dont want to hear whitlock's lame claims at race doesnt mean i dont believe it's around.

what im calling out is 'the boy who cried wolf'. stop calling racism if it's NOT, but certainly call it out when it truly IS.

there is a difference, hopefully you can make the distinction.

spike lee.. good activist and artist.

jason whitlock... fugazi activist and mediocre "writer".

but once again, if whitlock spoke more openly like in his blog interview that got him fired, then he would be someone worth listening to. like i said, his call on Scoop was perfect and he said quite a few great comments.

sadly, he doesnt seem to have the balls to write actual columns with those thoughts though. maybe at AOL he will though.. we'll see.

The Rev said...

I'm gonna jump in on this one.

Those who know me know that I'm a bleeding heart liberal. I've documented that well in postings elsewhere.

But I'm here to say that the race card is a dangerous thing when used too much.

I have always acknowledged the race card's existence. I know too well that racism is still widespread. And I'm even pretty sure that our government uses it to make certain decisions.

However, if you play the race card too often, it cheapens it. If you attach racism to situations where it doesn't really exist, you do a disservice. And you add to the divide that already exists.

I never had a major problem with Whitlock. But I'm sure he's played the race card one too many times. So has Scoop. Sometimes they are dead on right with their assessments. Sometimes I don't agree with it. Individual situations call for different reactions. Playing the race card blindly no matter what accomplishes nothing.

And you can discuss Scoop and Whitlock in the same sentence even though they are adversaries. They are both writers and both wrote for the same company. It's not comparing apples and oranges by any means. It's more like apples and pineapples.

And believe me...I know Iam doesn't want Whitlock to die.

The Rev said...

I do agree too that the blog Q&A with Whitlock is the most real I've seen him in a long time.

The Rev said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
JFreak said...

Too much content.

Not enough time.

Unknown said...

Kellerman was just loud to be loud. Kinda like Stephen A.

Iamun...nah, I wasn't insinuating anything at you directly. Or anyone else. Just posting my opinion.
Like I said, I approached Whitlock (and anyone else in Page 2) from a comedy standpoint. Page 2 to sports is not like Daily Show to news.

You could also put me in the 'won't root for the Saints just cuz...' camp. I'm a Steelers fan. That's all.

Aitch said...

danthemanwise, I think the difference between Shockey and Winslow 2 is that shockey has a bit more real service time in the NFL, so he has a bit more of a right to criticize. I think Kellen Winslow 2 will end up being a pretty good NFL player, but he has a total of what, 4 NFL games under his belt (3 at the time he made the comment). You gotta earn respect in this league before you can criticize coaches and people who have been around. Shockey maybe an idiot, but he has earned the right to speak a little bit by his performance on the field. Winslow hasn't...yet.