Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Weekend Grab Bag

• What's going on in Minnesota? Seriously, Daunte Culpepper looks like a rookie out there, and the defense has been embarassed two games in a row. Now I don't normally get bothered by the Vikes, but as someone who owns Culpepper in one fantasy league, and Nate Burleson in two, I have to say this is killing me to watch. Please allow me to cut to the front of the 'Fire Mike Tice' bandwagon. Do it now, before it's too late to save the season.

• After watching the Notre Dame-Michigan State game on Saturday, it's clear to me that what's going to hold ND back is the lack of a Charlie Weis on the coaching staff. Yes, I know that *the* Charlie Weis is the head coach, but just like the defensive-minded Bill Belichek needed Charlie Weis on his staff to run the offense, Weis has demonstrated that he needs a strong defensive coordinator to call the plays on defense. Not to take away credit from MSU's offense (well, not all the credit), but ND's play-calling on defense was absolutely atrocious. Two examples: they were getting burned whenever they played zone and didn't pressure the QB, yet right up until the 4th Quarter they kept playing zone on third and long. Result? Burned. Secondly, they kept getting killed by QB and RB draws (right into OT), yet they never used a linebacker to spy on the QB/RB all game. My dad and I were calling for it from the 1st Quarter on, but alas Charlie Weis couldn't hear us through the TV. As a fan, it was frustrating to watch. As brilliant as the ND offence was, they were equally bad on defense. The defence did their best to make plays, and they did help the team rally from 21 down to tie the game, but in the end the poor playcalling caught up with them. So if anyone's reading this at Notre Dame, I'm available and willing to help. I would have used the Madden classic "Man-QB Spy" all day, and it would have worked wonders.

• What can you say about Keith Tkachuk? Well, I guess we know where he's spending his $7 million salary. For those of you who don't know, Tkachuk was suspended after showing up for camp in St. Louis overweight, and failing a physical. Yes, this is the same Keith Tkachuk who's $7 million salary is crippling the Blues cap (his contract and Doug Weight's similar cap figure are a powerful 1-2 punch), and was largely the reason why the team had to trade all-star (and in shape) defenseman Chris Pronger in the off-season. I bet the ownership wishes they'd eaten his salary (before Tkachuk did) and released him when they had the chance. The Blues were already looking like a bottom-feeder in the West, but things are looking even gloomier now for the St. Lunatics. I don't think a last place finish would be surprising at all.

• I'll be posting more about baseball tonight, but I have to commend the Florida Marlins for coming back to win Sunday night. After a spectacular collapse Saturday against Philly, giving up 10 runs in the 9th, it would have been easy for the club to fold it in, but they rebounded for a big win Sunday night to stay 2 1/2 games off the pace in the Wild Card race.

• Washington rallied to win on the road in Dallas last night, spoiling the induction of the Aikman-Smith-Irvin triad into the Cowboys' ring of honor. The 'Skins are off to a 2-0 start, which is the perfect time for Joe Gibbs to retire once and for all. This will probably be the highpoint of the year. A 2-0 start won't erase the fact that they're offense is largely ineffective (save a couple of bombs to Santana Moss late in the game). Their superb defense can't stay on the field forever and protect an offense lead by a 52 year old Mark Brunell, and Joe Gibbs is still coaching like it's 1982. There hasn't been a more dissapointing comeback/reunion since the David Lee Roth-Van Halen reunion in 1996. I wish Joe had stayed retired and stuck to NASCAR.

• One more Redskins note: Gregg Williams has worked wonders with the defense, firmly entrenching his spot in the Great Coordinators/Bad Head Coaches wing of the NFL Hall of the Fame, right up there with Dom Capers, Dick LeBeau, and anyone who ever coached on Jimmy Johnson's staff with the Dallas Cowboys.

Finally, today's Sports Matters classic moment:

• Courtesy of iFilm, the famous "I Want to Kiss You" line from Broadway Joe Namath to ESPN's Suzy Kolber. Rock and Roll.


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