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6 Thoughts from Week 5

Posted: October 7, 2013 by dontbeskerritt in NFL

ScreenShot2013-10-07at9_03_03AM_original_crop_north1. Tony Romo: Good game, good effort. But on a serious note, there is no way the Cowboys are in that game without the otherworldly performance by Antonio. Unfortunately, the book has been written that he has a block when it comes to the 4th quarter/December. However, based on Sunday’s performance, I predict that Mr. Romo’s book isn’t quite finished yet.

2. Whatever I said about Romo, multiply it by 1000 for Matt Schaub. Except for the otherworldly performance. And the good game part. And that the book isn’t finished. Schaub might be toast. It’s a shame because the Texans were Super Bowl contenders until their QB fell off a cliff.

3. I’ve defended Cam Newton for years. One year, he has no talent around him. Next year, his coaching staff is negating his talents. I’m running out of excuses for him now. Granted, that same coaching staff is there. And his go-to receiver is 34 years old and 5’9″. But he should be making guys around him better and he isn’t. He shouldn’t be turning the ball over 4 times against the Cardinals. Ah well, I’ll just blame Mike Shula.

4. Since Cam is letting me down, Terrelle Pryor is going to be my new favorite young gunner to watch for a long time. Speaking of which, Andrew Luck is quietly asserting himself as the best of the new class of QBs that have come out in the last 3 years. Andy Dalton is probably ranked behind T.J. Yates right now.

5. Can’t just talk QBs. To borrow a quote from the best Browns fan I know (actually, the only Browns fan I know) Ed Bailey: “If the [Browns] offense doesn’t turn over the ball for us, our defense will keep us in every game.” Unfortunately, Brandon Weeden is back starting (duh, another QB), but the Browns have definitely reverse jinxed themselves back into relevance.

6. Back to the Cowboys (and really the whole NFC East in general). What made us the “SEC of the NFL,” was the defenses that we had for many years. The Giants in the 80s. The Eagles’ Buddy Ryan and Jim Johnson defenses. Cowboys with their Doomsday and early 90s defenses. The Redskins as well. These days? I don’t want to make you sick with the stats but, there may be some flag football squads that can put up 20 on all of these teams.

WHO’S REAL:
– Tony Romo
– Sound Trax from the NFL
– The AFC West
– Peyton’s Bootleg Game
– Jimmy Graham’s Leaping Ability
– Baylor Wide Receivers
– 37-year old NFL Players (Peyton Manning, Tony Gonzalez
– A 28 point spread in the Broncos-Jaguars game
– Rob Ryan’s Buddha Belly
– Rex Ryan’s Figure

WHO’S NOT:
– Tony Romo
– Defense in the NFL
– Pink Flags
– The Kiffin Family
– Cancer & Concussions
– Atlanta Falcon’s Offensive Line
– Patriots not resigning Wes Welker
– Colin Kaepernick
– Eli Manning being better than his Brother
– Matt Schaub Struggle Face

Face of Champions

Face of Champions

Football Friday: Turtle Power

Posted: October 4, 2013 by dontbeskerritt in NFL

Ftlbl-Uniform_MarylandPride_FullSize_JerseyFront_092113

Nate Burleson wrote this week that he’s the 5th ninja turtle of his love for pizza.  He loves it so much, he willingly risked his life to save a falling box of pizza in his car.  His heroism cost him a broken arm and a month of games for the Lions (not to mention a hit to my fantasy team).  But the pizza is saved. That’s dedication.  That really has nothing to do with what I’m talking about today, but I thought that it was a cool story.

Another cool story is the rise of the Maryland Terrapins.  Much maligned for the last two years, the Terps have crept back into the Top 25 under Randy Edsall.  When he first came, fans were calling for his head, in the middle of his first season.  He supposedly turned off players with his uptight style.  No one would want to come to Maryland.  They were god-awful the first season, and because of injuries, were even worse the next. 

But Edsall didn’t change up.  He kept recruiting and coaching his way.  All of a sudden, talent like Stefon Diggs, an all-world receiver wanted to come to Maryland.  The Terps never had a problem with getting talent; it was coaching it up that proved difficult.  Now with talent and scheme, the Terps are now #25 in the country.  Quite a long way from firing their coach. 

The Terps come into this week’s benchmark test against Florida State with the 3rd best defense in the country.  Now who have they played?  3 nobodys and West Virginia.  In fact, the mollywhopped WVU 37-0. That’s the same West Virginia team that beat Oklahoma State last week.  But you and I know that WVU is no Florida State.

Famous Jameis Winston has been ripping teams apart this season.  He’s the best player the Terps have faced all season.  Maryland has never beaten Florida State in Tallahassee.  Quarterback C.J. Brown and Diggs can keep the Terps in the game on offense.  But can the defense rise up to the challenge?

Maryland isn’t at the top of the ACC just yet.  They aren’t going conference juggernauts (especially since they won’t be in the ACC for much longer).  But Edsall has the program in a great place in a fast amount of time.  And with promising new recruits committed to coming in, the backing of big time money and resources like Under Armour, can the future of Maryland football look like Oregon?  I trust Randy “Master Splinter” Edsall will have the Terps slicing and dicing the competition for years to come.

Games of the weekend following the song of the weekv=vLReIhRgVS8

Saturday, October 5

EARLY: 25 Maryland vs 8 Florida State (12pm/ESPN), North Carolina vs Virginia Tech (12:30pm/CSN), 7 Louisville vs Temple (12pm/MASN)

AFTERNOON: Georgia Tech vs 14 Miami (3:30pm/ESPNU), 3 Clemson vs Syracuse (3:30pm/ABC), 6 Georgia vs Tennessee (3:30pm/CBS)

LATE: 15 Washington vs 5 Stanford (10:30pm/ESPN), 4 Ohio State vs 16 Northwestern (8pm/ABC), 22 Arizona State vs Notre Dame (7:30pm/NBC)

Sunday, October 6

EARLY: Detroit vs Green Bay (FOX), New England vs Cincinnati (CBS), Kansas City vs Tennessee (CBS)

LATE: Denver vs Dallas (CBS), St. Louis vs Pittsburgh (MLB/4:30pm/TBS), Carolina vs Arizona (FOX)

 

Football Friday: Limping To The Starting Line

Posted: August 30, 2013 by dontbeskerritt in NFL

Look To The Heavens...Football Is HereI was almost done with Sportscenter this summer.  I got tired of seeing manufactured story after manufactured story about football players turned ESPNTMZ fodder.  From the Justin Bieber of college football, Johnny Manziel, to even the beloved son, Robert Griffin III, no one was safe.

I mean, an NFL player was allegedly involved in a murder, but that seemed to take a back seat to a college kid oversleeping during the summer time.  A player that actually wanted to play in the preseason gets skewered by national writers for doing what national writers want from players; speaking their mind.  Deadspin deftly described how ESPN literally came up with a story about Colin Kaepernick out of thin air that got replayed, regurgitated and got really, really old, really fast.

It’s easy to blame the summer boredom of media.  The dark days between the NBA Finals and Week 1 must be dreadful for these sports talk show hosts.  What are they gonna talk about, baseball?  But the problem is bigger than that.  Beat writers, whose job was to just cover the day-to-day workings of the team now have to create these headlines and opinions on something like RG3’s ego.  In fact, this week a writer announced the Redskins would clear and play RG3 week one.  Just one problem, the team doctor hadn’t even seen RG3 to clear him yet!  How did things get turned upside down?  Also, the opinion writers are now trying to get on ESPN however they can, so they spew out hack opinions however off based they are.  That’s why we care about a certain 3rd string quarterback that can’t even get playing time in the preseason.  That’s why we look at the QB’s tattoos and pause even though he was 4 yards shy of winning the Super Bowl. And worst of all, we as the consumers eat up whatever is spoon-fed to us by the talking heads.

How can this cycle of drudge be stopped?  I don’t know about you, but I want to like RG3 again and not be turned off by him thanks to the media spin.  I don’t really care about how the psyche of Johnny Manziel anymore; isn’t there 21 other guys that are important to Texas A&M? So, I’ve muted the noise.  I watch highlights on the internet.   I compete on the softball fields.  I play Madden and NBA 2K13.  Really, what it comes down to is that we need to get back to football, get back to true sports, and in a hurry.

Well, after an offseason that has dragged on long enough, we are finally here.  We’ve been beaten, bruised, and paled by the spin cycle all summer.  Now our attention is back where it really belongs, in between the lines.  Hope you stick with us throughout the season.

As always, the list of games below are the games that need to be on your screens.  Bold for the main console, italics for the second best screen, and regular font for the TV your grandma gave you from the attic.  Song of the week is right after the Mancave schedule:

Saturday, Sept 1

EARLY:  Rice vs 7 Texas A&M (1pm/ESPN); Buffalo vs 2 Ohio State (12pm/ESPN2); Purdue vs Cincinnati (12pm/ESPNU)

AFTERNOON: Mississippi State vs 13 Oklahoma State (3:30pm/ABC, ESPN2); 1 Alabama vs Virginia Tech (5:30pm/ESPN); Temple vs 14 Notre Dame (3:30pm/NBC)

LATE: 5 Georgia vs 8 Clemson (8pm/ABC); 12 LSU vs 20 TCU (9pm;ESPN); 19 Boise State vs Washington (10pm;FS1)

06 Most Important Players This Season: Philadelphia Eagles

Posted: August 21, 2013 by dontbeskerritt in NFL

kelly vickTo get ready for the season, we’ll be looking at the most intriguing teams heading into the year and the guys that will be the most critical to that teams success.  We start off with the new look Philadelphia Eagles:

This is probably one of the most fascinating teams that has ever come off a 4-12 season.  The Philadelphia Eagles are loaded with talent on offense, with a totally new system that’s ready to take the NFL by storm; or is it?  Chip Kelly looks to bring his Oregon flying offense East to Philly, a city built on grit and toughness.  Should be an interesting mix.  Can opposites attract? Or will it be like oil and water?  Here are the 6 guys on the squad now that can help Coach Kelly hit the ground running.

6. Connor Barwin, Linebacker – One of the few Eagles that has any type of experience with the 3-4 look.  This doesn’t bode well for a defense that hasn’t had great 3-down linebacking play since the days of Jeremiah Trotter 1.0.  This year, with DeMeco Ryans who looks like a non-factor, and Mychal Kendricks, who was inconsistent (while being miscast), and Russian roulette at the 4th LB spot, Barwin is going to be the one to lead this ragtag bunch.  Safe to say, the Eagles may need to score 30 points a game to win this year, again.

5. LeSean McCoy, Running Back – This is no diss to Shady as the Eagles best player.  I know he’s going to show up.  He even said he the last couple seasons were disappointing, and expects a bounce back.  I know Chip Kelly will get McCoy his touches.  I have no doubt he’ll show up.  But will he make a winning impact on the team if other guys don’t show up?  That’s why he’s number 5.

4. Fletcher Cox, Defensive End – The Eagles defense ranked 15th last year, but only 23rd against the run.  Fletcher Cox, probably the only reason that rank was not lower, moves from defensive tackle to defensive end.  He will lead this defensive front to at least mildly contain rushing attacks.  From the look at these first couple preseason games, he’s going to have a lot on his shoulders.

3. Desean Jackson, Wide Receiver – This is actually where I originally put LeSean McCoy on the list. But with Jeremy Maclin and Arrelious Benn going down, and Riley Cooper being captured on Candid Camera, it’s time for your favorite rapper’s favorite wide receiver to stop pouting, and resume putting up big numbers.  If he falls back to last year’s performance, I doubt he’s gonna be able to go out so easily in the city of Brotherly Love.

2. The Starting QB Michael Vick – Chip Kelly is bringing an offense that has never been seen before in the NFL.  But we’ve heard that before with June Jones, Steve Spurrier, and others that have come and gone.  Kelly’s staying power may rest on Vick’s left arm.  He has the skill set, he has the motivation.  Can he put it together? Vick’s getting better help with the offensive line so he’s not getting destroyed on every drop back.  The play calling should protect him as well; but they are going to have to score 30+ to win most games. Hey, the expectations are low; all Philly wants this year is two wins.  Two versus Dallas, and one against Andy Reid and the Chiefs.

1. The Back-up QB Nick Foles – Because it will take just one bad game by Vick to make him the most popular guy in the city of brotherly love.

Do You Hear It Coming?

Posted: July 20, 2013 by dontbeskerritt in NFL
Joseph Randle during Cowboys minicamp

Joseph Randle during Cowboys minicamp

Hark, what is that sound I hear?  It’s the clatter of cleats in locker rooms across America as football is about to return in full force.  Cleveland Brown rookies reported to camp Friday, and the Dallas Cowboys squad coming to camp today with the first walk-thru Sunday.  After our vacation this summer, the Mancave is back to bring you the fresh insight and analysis you want from your favorite cavers.  So stick with us all football season long for the new and improved Mancave06!

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

Posted: April 9, 2013 by dontbeskerritt in College Basketball, Games, Hockey, MLB, NBA, NCAA, NHL
College Basketball's One Shining Moment

College Basketball’s One Shining Moment

I won’t start this post with a glowing tribute to college basketball.  Before the masterpiece that was the National Championship game, college basketball looked to be in big trouble.  Poor play, awful officiating, coaches kicking players, it was not a good time to be a college basketball defender.  The tournament, with the exception of Florida Gulf Coast and a couple of games here and there, was a clunker.  Even the Michigan-Syracuse game became a letdown, limping to finish behind spotty decision-making on the floor, on the bench, and by the refs.

But then Monday night happened and showed us the best of basketball.

Suddenly this time of year, from the middle of March to June, was shoved back to the forefront as the best time for sport fans.  Forget the beginning of football season, college and pro, or December to February.  This time is the time for sports fans and Monday night reminded us of that.  The game between Michigan and Louisville had athleticism, talent, and coaching all at its best.  A rocking dome, with the Fab Five in attendance added frosting to the cake.  A movie like performance by Spike Albrecht, who came off the bench averaging 1.6 points per game, then proceeded to drop 17 points easily in the first half, then MOP Luke Hancock bringing his team back with 4 straight 3s (and Phil Jackson’s commentary on twitter about momentum).  Then the 2nd half, with Allen Ive- I mean Trey Burke bounce up and down off the canvas trying to push his team to victory (Burke easily was the best player on the court and it wasn’t even close).  Peyton Siva, with an all-world performance in the battle of some of the best backcourts in the country.  In the end, Louisville’s mental toughness won out over Michigan’s youthful exuberance.  The only thing missing was a last-second shot opportunity to cap it off.  What a treat to the sports fans, at least those that were able to stay up and watch.

Even Mascots Love This Time of Year

Even Mascots Love This Time of Year

But this is just the beginning of this glorious time of year.  Baseball started last week, and the storylines are already forming with the Battle of LA, Cano signing with Jay-Z, the Yankees and Red Sox being trash, the Big Red Machine, the two nice Upton Brothers, Washington’s Rise, and the Astros and Marlins competing for being the worst team ever.  This week the Masters starts, and Tiger Woods has his life together seemingly, because he has his game back.  Later this month, the NHL starts their playoffs, which is arguably the most dramatic games of the year, especially if and when the game goes to overtime.  Not to mention the Kentucky Derby at the beginning of May if you like to participate in America’s greatest pastime; gambling.

Finally, in two weeks, the greatest basketball players in the world start their tournament, in what projects to be the another fantastic NBC playoffs.  The West looks wide open, from the number one seed down to the five.  Yes, I included Memphis because not having Rudy Gay makes them better.  Heck, if the Lakers get in (and even me, the diabolical Laker hater wants the purple and gold to get mollywhopped in the playoffs) that could be intriguing at least.  In the East, let’s not pretend we are not dying for a Heat-Knicks showdown in the Conference Finals, especially with Carmelo hitting the B button 7 times, then going up, Y, B before each game.  Just to hear that Madison Square Garden organ in meaningful playoff games (and wins, they’ve only had 1 in 12 years), is life for NBA fans.

From the great sports on TV, great weather outside to turn into a weekend warrior, Iron Man 3, and the return of the sundress, this is probably the greatest time of year for the Mancave  Now if we can get Phil Jackson to tweet all about it to make it even better.

Football Friday: Not Enough Screens

Posted: December 14, 2012 by dontbeskerritt in Must See TV, NFL

DMCFS10_TV-Wall-Revolving-Seats_s4x3_leadI don’t know if you’ve looked at the NFL Schedule this weekend, but it is absolutely a gold mine of games.  6 games have winning teams going head-to-head, all with playoff implications.  10 games contain serious playoff implications.  Other games, like Tampa vs New Orleans, are just going to be fun games to watch.  It’s a football lovers dream!

This segways into the story this week that the NFL is looking to expand the playoffs.  The number that has been floated is 14 or 16.  John Clayton said that expansion is inevitable.  I say it will be another inevitable failure by Roger Goodell.  The playoffs in the NFL is an exclusive club.  It is VIP.  The VIP experience in nightclubs has been ruined because anybody with $40 seemingly can get in there.  So with the NFL, it seems that anyone that hovers at .500 can get in the playoffs.  That waters down the whole experience for teams and fans.  Just ask the NBA and NHL.

But you say, wouldn’t an expanded playoffs mean that more teams and more fan bases have a chance to make it?  For example, the Carolina-San Diego (which on its own is a great game) would have playoff implications.  But that means that the Chargers terrible early season means nothing because they can back into the playoffs.  Look at the Redskins.  They have won 4 in a row.  If you told the Skins that they would accomplish that at 3-6, they would have thought they would be in the playoffs, if not leading the division because the teams they are chasing have such hard schedules.  But going into their crucial game at Cleveland, the Skins are still outside the playoffs, because teams like the Seahawks and Giants have also been playing at a playoff like level.  That is forcing the Redskins to choose to play an injured RGIII because every game is critical.  Suppose if there were 8 teams that could make  the playoffs?  Kirk Cousins would be doing the read option on Sunday.

How can Roger forget what made the NFL the greatest organization in the world.  Every single product they offer their customers (regular season games) are so valuable.  A win or a loss is devastating.  A week two last second loss to the Rams can affect your standings in week 16.  No other sport has that.  No other sports can have a week where there is not enough screens for all of the awesome games that are on at the same time.  Why mess with something that isn’t broken?  We’ll get more screens NFL.  Just make sure the games we turn on to watch are worth the while.  Song of the weekend and games of the weekend after the jump.

Saturday, December 15

EARLY AFTERNOON: New Mexico Bowl (1pm, ESPN)/CBB 1 Indiana vs Butler (2pm, CBS)/East Carolina vs 21 North Carolina (12pm, ESPNU)

LATE AFTERNOON: Famous Idaho Potato Bowl (4:30pm, ESPN)/Purdue vs 22 Notre Dame (4:30pm, ESPN2)/6 Louisville vs Memphis (2:30pm,

NIGHT: CBB West Virginia vs 3 Michigan (8pm, ESPN)/5 Florida vs 8 Arizona (10pm, ESPN)/Kansas State vs 14 Gonzaga (9pm, ESPN2)

Sunday, December 16

EARLY AFTERNOON: Denver vs Baltimore/New York Giants vs Atlanta/Green Bay vs Chicago

LATE AFTERNOON: Pittsburgh vs Dallas/Carolina vs San Diego/ Seattle vs Buffalo