Out of all the potential places he could land, 2011 Heisman Trophy winner Robert Griffin III would be best suited to start his NFL career in a Washington Redskins jersey.
The Washington Redskins are one of the many teams currently contemplating trading up to receive the Ram’s second overall pick in the 2012 NFL Draft. They are reportedly willing to offer their sixth overall pick and next year’s first round selection along with two other picks for the opportunity to draft RG III. While it is a very steep price, it will be well worth it.
For starters, the Washington Redskins need a true franchise quarterback. For too long now have they rested all their hopes upon the shoulders of journeymen (John Beck), inconsistent youth (Jason Campbell), and aging veterans (Donovan McNabb).
BY BRANDON J. SMITH, Couchsideshow.com contributor
Can we all admit the Slam Dunk contest is a bloated waste of time at this point? It was a bit pathetic to see Derrick Williams attempt his between-the-legs-reverse-jam 15 times without success, which once again provides an opening to flood a pretend suggestion box with ideas.
It’s not that difficult, at all. Take a look at this HORSE competition between Bob McAdoo and Pistol Pete, you can tell that this exercise is actually fun and entertaining to all.
We are well into the 2012 spring training season and continuing with our theme of previewing each position in the big leagues, Brett Murdock turns his attention to the second basemen. Here is what he has to say about the spot.
The diminutive player out of Arizona State may be small in stature, but is possibly the Red Sox’s most important player. He does a little bit of everything and plays with a fiery passion. Pedroia won the AL MVP in only his second full year in the bigs and is also a 3-time All-Star. Last year, he finished with a .307 average with a career high 21 home runs and a .990 fielding percentage, committing only seven errors in 722 defensive chances. He is probably the most complete second basemen in the game.
In part three of Couch Side’s 12 part series on the best position players going into 2012, we’ll take a look at what could be the deepest position in the MLB – first base. Although this is my top five, one guy you won’t see on the list is Miguel Cabrera, who is expected to move across the infield to third with the Tigers’ addition of Prince Fielder.
With that said, let’s take a look at my top five first basemen heading into the new season.
When a season consisting of a .299 batting average, 37 home runs and 99 RBIs, is considered a “down season,” you know you’re one of the game’s best. That was Pujols’ line from a year ago and it snapped his 10-year streak of hitting .300 with 30 home runs and driving in 100 runs. This season, Pujols moves out West following 11 seasons with the Cardinals fresh off his second World Series title, but nothing short of a “bounce back” season is expected from him. Pujols is a career .348 hitter in interleague play, so although the jersey may have changed, the colors haven’t and if there’s such a thing as a sure-bet, Pujols is just that. There’s a reason why he’s called The Machine. “El Hombre” or not, the Angels need their new $240 million acquisition to the man if they hope to reclaim their spot atop the AL West.
Until last year, A-Go had spent his previous five seasons in the spacious confines of Petco Park and still managed to knock out 32 dingers a season as a Padre. So expectations were sky-high moving to the American League where he could swat balls over the short right field porch at Fenway with that sweet lefty swing. Well, Gonzalez actually only managed to hit 27 balls out of the park, but in exchange he hit a career-high .338, more than 30 points above his previous career-high, and topped 200 hits for the first time. This year, the batting average might dip a little, but I expect an increase in his home run production between 30-35 in that murderer’s row that is the Red Sox lineup. Oh and he’s also won three Gold Gloves in the last four years, so there won’t be any Bill Buckner moments with this guy.
BY JOHN SCOTT, Couchsideshow.com contributor
It is tough to find the words to describe how poorly the Washington Capitals are performing. Embarrassing, is one. Terrible, could be another. This year they have 29 wins, 26 losses and 5 overtime losses and are currently in third place in their division, 20th in the league. How can you go from a semi-final dominant team to this?
The Caps should be a powerhouse in the National Hockey League. With players like Alexander Ovechkin, Alexander Semin, Nicklas Backstrom, Mike Green, Mike Knuble, Karl Alzner and John Carlson, they should beat teams left and right. But they’re not. In their past 15 games, they’ve won four times. They even lost to the Carolina Hurricanes 5-0 on Feb. 20. This isn’t Squirt hockey; the Capitals should be putting at least one goal on the board against a team like that.
In part two of Couch Side’s 12 part series on the best position player going into 2012, I’ll examine the MLB’s top backstops. A couple of catchers on my top five missed a big chunk of the 2011 season because of injury, but they’re both still considered two of the best in the game.
Here’s a closer look at the best from behind the dish in 2012:
It’s weird to think a 30-year-old wouldn’t reach his prime until his career was almost halfway over, but it appears that’s the exact case for Mike Napoli. The six-year veteran set career highs in home runs, RBIs and batting average last season for the Texas Rangers and he played a key factor to their American League Championship run. The most impressive of Napoli’s personal highs last year had to have been how he hit for average. Don’t get me wrong, his power numbers were very impressive, but before last season, Napoli never hit higher that .273. In 2011, the Florida native hit an amazing .320. I don’t think we’ve seen the best of Napoli yet and that’s saying a lot. It will be tough for him to make a repeat performance after an incredible 2011 season, but now that the Rangers are contenders, he’ll play with that bad taste of losing a World Series lingering in his mouth.
As pitchers and catchers reported to their respective camps during the past few days, Couch Side also has Spring Training fever.
And with the Major League Baseball season about a month away, we’ve decided to begin a look into the top players at each position. So here is our fist in a series of 12 blogs in which we will break down the top five players at each position during the next few weeks. Couch Side’s own Trevor Gould appropriately chose to start our series off with starting pitchers. Here is who he sees as this year’s movers and shakers from the hill.
1. Justin Verlander, Detroit Tigers
Last year, Justin Verlander almost singlehandedly redefined the definition of domination. The right-handed fire-baller posted a league high 24 wins along with a stellar 2.40 ERA, scintillating 250 punch-outs, and a .92 WHIP, the lowest in the league. Major League Baseball rewarded Verlander handsomely for his accomplishments by handing him both the AL Cy Young and league MVP award. Verlander’s pitches often exceed 100 MPH, and he is able to accurately pinpoint all areas of the strike zone, keeping hitters constantly guessing. Thanks to the Tigers’ offensive potency and the recent addition of power bat Prince Fielder, Verlander has a very good chance of racking up an equally gaudy number of wins this season.
It’s also difficult for Tebow’s teammates to do the same, especially when they’re constantly being asked about the former Florida star. One Bronco, backup quarterback Brady Quinn, was the latest of Tebow’s teammates to conduct an interview about his colleague. Like any interview where the basis is about Tebow, Quinn could have either jumped on his teammate’s bandwagon or jumped off of it. Needless to say — because you’ve probably guessed it by now — Quinn chose to rip Tebow instead of give him any sort of credit.
Quinn was asked to touch on several topics from if Tebow gained his success by luck to if he thought Tebow’s prayers were too over the top. Quinn had a lot to say and one thing was certain: he really doesn’t like Tebow. Now, from a selfish perspective, you can’t blame Quinn for feeling this way. But what gives any professional athlete the right to tarnish their teammates publicly? It was extremely unprofessional when Tebow’s own coach, John Fox, did it and it’s just as bad when the backup QB decides to rip the starter through the press. What image ae the Broncos trying to portray?
BY Couchsideshow.com staff
We at Couchsideshow.com regret to inform you that we will not be airing our weekly podcast, Couch Side, this week because of changes to our website. Please check back next week for a new episode with hosts Wade McMillin and Craig Paul. Again, we apologize for any inconvience, but the back end work to our website will be worth it in the long run. Please stay tuned for more updates as we look to upgrade (and possible shut down) our website this week. Bear with us and all the latest Couch Side coverage will be back to normal before you know it.
BY VIN CAPPIELLO, ballino.blogspot.com contributor
Gary Carter’s unfortunate, and to some of us, unfair death due to brain cancer has left us with questions. It’s never fair when anyone dies of cancer; on this I’m sure most of us agree. However, one cannot help but press our lips together and shake our collective heads in wonder as the major news outlets, while scrolling news of Carter’s death along the bottom of the TV screen, spent last week camped out adjacent to New Hope Baptist Church in hopes of finding out the latest details of the late Whitney Houston’s imminent funeral.
Houston’s death, while tragic, has resulted in the deification of a woman who could sing like no other. But she played too hard. Period.
Carter, on the other hand, played hard because it was his job. Playing catcher is considered by most baseball writers, fans, players and coaches as the toughest, most demanding position on the diamond. But Carter, a Hall of Famer, when he left the locker room after a win or loss, went home to his wife, his children, and his Bible.
Another two weeks have unfolded in Wyoming community college men’s hoops and it looks like one team is starting to separate itself from the pack of eight seven squads in the Cowboy state.
Sheridan College is rolling right now, collecting votes for the NJCAA top-20 poll and piling up five wins in a row. The General have the most wins in Wyoming with 22 and only trail Otero Junior College for the overall lead in the Region IX standings.
While Sheridan appears to be at the top of its game, the four inner-state teams below the Generals are still battling each other in attempts to climb up the standings. Northwest College, Western Wyoming Community College, Casper College, Central Wyoming College and even Gillette College look like they could still make noise at the end of the season and fight it out until the end to be Wyoming’s No. 2 team.
So without any further holdup, here is another biweekly blog of the Wyoming College Hoops rant:
I can’t believe I’m saying this, but the Colorado Rockies were the most active team this offseason in all of Major League Baseball.
It takes me back to the winter of 2000 when Colorado dished out big bucks for some big busts in Denny Neagle and Mike Hampton. Now, we all know how that turned out, but this season and a few years down the road, the Rockies should only reap the benefits of what their front office accomplished during the past few months.
Colorado got much more experienced, cleaned house and held onto most of their top prospects all in one very busy offseason. Rockies General Manager Dan O’Dowd went nuts this season, hoping that quantity will outweigh quality. Colorado didn’t go for big names like Prince Fielder or Albert Pujols like they did in 2000 to bolster one of the weakest starting rotations in all of baseball. Instead, the Rockies made 10 trades, signed three free agents, resigned five of their own free agents and dumped seven guys from last year’s team — five of whom signed minor league deals with other teams.
Wow. What an offseason. And one the fans should be proud of. They just might have a tough time trying to guess who will be where when opening day hits Coors Field. In the end, however, the plethora of transactions may pay off with a return to the playoffs.
Here’s a breakdown of what the Rockies were up to this offseason by transaction type:
BY Couchsideshow.com staff
In this week’s episode, the gang debates if Jeremy Lin can keeping it goin, the Charlotte Bobcats, the possible merger of the Mountain West conference, Randy Moss returning, where Peyton Manning is headed and the latest in the UFC. Couch Side also welcomes special guests Andy Paul and Todd Jackson. Click Below to Listen to the Couch Side Show podcast, now on ITunes. Don’t forget to subscribe.
I remember reading this article a few years ago and thinking that how great would it be if this guy made it to the NBA. If he could represent and give hope for all the Asian Americans out there that anything is possible despite what the naysayers may say.
A little more than two years later and call it what you want, but Linsanity has taken over the sports world and my dream for this guy has come true. When Yao Ming sadly retired from the game in July, who would’ve thought that a little known point guard from Harvard would immediately take the torch and keep the Asian influence alive in the NBA? No offense to Yi Jianlian, but he wasn’t cutting it.
Yet that’s exactly what Jeremy Lin has done over the last week and a half ever since that fateful February night two Saturdays ago, where he took the world by storm. Lin came off the bench and notched career numbers – 25 points, five rebounds and eight assists – and led his New York Knicks to a 99-92 victory over the Nets.
Tiger Woods may not be ready for the big show yet.
That might seem like a pretty big stretch so early into the PGA season, but Woods showed what could be his true colors at the Pebble Beach Pro Am over the weekend. After safely landing just two strokes behind the lead on hole No. 6, Sunday afternoon, Woods finishes a whopping 11 strokes behind tourney champion Phil Mickelson. How does a golfer fall back that bad?
In short, it’s because Tiger may not be ready for a full comeback. He just isn’t where he needs to be in his game to actually win tournament. In golf, it’s all about closing in four-day tournaments. Tiger played well for three days, but he simply couldn’t close. After he was within an eagle of the lead on No. 6, Woods bogeyed the next three holes and in total, he missed five putts within five feet. Something had to be playing with this guy’s head.
We all know golf is a mental sport. So how could a fan of the game possible expect Woods to bounce back quickly after what he dealt with during his dispute with ex-wife, Elen Nordengen. That one low-point in Tiger’s life will haunt him forever and fans of Woods should never discount the toll that the situation has taken.
It seemed like the young outfielder’s decision wouldn’t be made until Spring Training rolled around and it appeared like the Miami Marlins had the bait to sway Cespedes to Florida. But in a surprising move, the Oakland Athletics shocked the baseball world by signing Cespedes to a four-year, $36 million deal Monday. For the entire offseason, the A’s looked as if they were going to settle into their ways of dumping young talent while trying to build a competitive roster with a very low payroll. This signing was the complete opposite of that, throwing the entire MLB a major curveball that not a lot of people saw coming. (more…)
BY BRETT MURDOCK, Couchsideshow.com contributor
They lost their franchise goaltender, Ilya Bryzgalov, who signed an outrageous contract with the Philadelphia Flyers. They are still owned by the NHL and are always under the relocation cloud. And, they still did not have a marquee player to really put butts in the seats at Jobing.com Arena.
They attempted to more or less replace some lost pieces through the market, acquiring goaltender Mike Smith and fourth-line grinder Raffi Torres on the first day of free agency. Their ownership troubles still loomed but there are still interested parties, reportedly. And they acquired former Coyote and first-line center Daymond Langkow in a trade.
The 2011-12 season started off alright as the boys surprised everyone by jumping out of the gate quite nicely, but quickly simmered into something more resembling a team going through the motions than a franchise looking to prove that they weren’t just lucky or a fluke the past two years. Entering the recently completed All-Star break, they were mired in a pack of six teams vying for a playoff spot and did not look like they had the drive, or talent, to make it to the finish line.
BY JOHN SCOTT, Couchsideshow.com contributor
Little did Crosby know that the hit he sustained during the 2011 Winter Classic and the hit the game after would affect his career tremendously. During the 2011 Winter Classic, Dave Steckel accidentally collided with Crosby. Then, instead of sitting out the next game against the Tampa Bay Lightning, Crosby decided to play. Probably not the smartest thing to do, playing with concussion-like symptoms. During the game, he took a hit from behind into the boards from Tampa Bay’s defenseman Victor Hedman.
“I didn’t like them,” Crosby told reporters about the two hits, “you talk about head shots and dealing with them, that’s been something that’s been a pretty big point of interest from general managers and players.”
Taking both of those collisions gave Crosby a severe concussion, causing him to skip the next few games.
Few knew these hits would impact his career a year later. During the Penguins’ game against the Boston Bruins on Dec. 5, 2011, Crosby took another hit, which made him sit out with another concussion.
BY CHUCK CONSTANTINO, Couchshideshow.com writer
As a fan of the New England Patriots, I was heart broken at the conclusion of Sunday’s nailbiting Superbowl.
Fast forward a day later, and just like every NFL fan who is not a New York Giants fan, my mind is on what lies ahead for my team. New England, led by mastermind head coach Bill Belichick and wonder boy Tom Brady, have many holes on this team, as the G-men showed. This loss is sure to sting and last until week one of next season.
But all is not bad in Foxboro, here are a few things Belichick and company have to look toward.
• Free Agency: The Patriots are a team which builds through the draft, but after this season, with all the expiring contracts up, Belichick will have to look to free agency for some upgrades. Wide outs Wes Welker and Deion Branch, running backs Kevin Faulk and BenJarvus Green-Ellis, and pass rushers Shaun Ellis, Rob Ninkovich, Mark Anderson and Andre Carter will all be free agents. Also, they’ll have to replace incumbent centers Dan Koppen and Dan Connolly. Though the Patriots haven’t shelled out good money for a free agent since the signing of defensive linemen/outside linebacker Adailius Thomas, addressing the defensive line, defensive backs and wide receivers needs to be a top priority. The Pats could take a look a wide outs DeSean Jackson, Dwayne Bowe, Reggie Wayne, Pierre Garcon and Vincent Jackson. I doubt they actually sign any of them, but they need to be talking with their agents.
BY Couchsideshow.com staff
In this week’s episode, special guest Andy Paul joins the show to discuss how the Giants will follow up their Super Bowl win and how the Patriots will look to rebound after the big loss. Also in the “Halfcourt Shot,” the gang debates if Kevin Love is a top five NBA player and the impact of Chauncey Billups’ season ending injury. And finally, Couch Side takes its first look at the NFL Draft in a special edition of Quick Snippets. Click Below to listen to Couch Side!
BY JON FRANK, Couchsideshow.com contributor
Maybe I’m the only one, but I’m glad the Super Bowl is over.
Don’t get me wrong, things went about as well as you could ask. A great story line leading up to the Big Game, a well-played, entertaining game, with a great finish.
But now, with the exception of just about every NFL outlet trying to hock ridiculously expensive shit on people for the next week or so, things are going to get back to normal. No more in-depth looks at Tom Brady’s rockstar treatment in Indianapolis, no more monotonous AP stories on whether or not the Pats can get revenge for what Eli Manning and his band of misfits did to them in 2008. And, best of all, no more stories about Bill Belichick being a “nice guy once you get to know him”.
Everything in sports media over the last couple weeks Eli this, Tom Brady that. Now we can get back to talking about the, uh, NBA? MLB offseason? OK. So maybe there’s a reason media outlets don so much attention on this game. It’s the most highly anticipated event in American sports and things really slow down after the NFL’s grand finale. Regardless, I’m ready to move on with my life, which means a steady dose of college hoops for the next two months without having to read the same damn story line over and over again for a week and a half straight.
As for football in general, I’m sure I’ll be dying to have you back in my life come June when the NBA playoffs are over.
Now that the Super Bowl is over and the New York Giants are NFL champions, an entire new image of the team will come across the sports wires and on our television screens.
Overpaid analysts will tell us what this title means to the people of New York and how they knew the Giants had it in them all along. And in turn, we will quickly forget that ESPN’s and FOX Sports’ best wrote the Giants off with about three weeks left, jumping back on the bandwagon of the Dallas Cowboys and even the Philadelphia Eagles. New York had to make believers out of a lot of people and finally showed the mainstream sports media that they’re worth the ink.
The Giants have earned their top spot. Now, the same people who discredited them after a tough loss to the Seattle Seahawks in the middle of the regular season will be eating their own words while putting on a smile and bowing down to the almighty G-Men. New York truly stunned the football world this year and this Vince Lombardi Trophy had a little more emotion behind it. The title loudly throws New York right back on the football map since the team’s last championship in 2007 against — oddly enough — the New England Patriots. It also only proves that this team has always had it, despite what the critics and hot shot analysts think.
Yes, any championship takes a franchise to a whole new level. But for the Giants and their staff and fans, I believe this year’s title run is even sweeter than others in the past.
Here’s a look at just a few things the Giants’ Super Bowl rings will bring:
When will Kevin Love finally get the credit he deserves?
The 6’10 third-year power forward from UCLA is singlehandedly compiling one of the more impressive yet overlooked statistical streaks in NBA. He ranks fourth in the league in scoring with 25.3 points per game, behind only Kobe Bryant, Lebron James, Kevin Durant, three of the NBA’s most prolific scorers. He also is currently sitting at second in rebounds, averaging 13.5 boards a game. The only person with more rebounds is the athletic monstrosity known as Dwight Howard. Out of his 22 games this season, Love has accrued 20 double-doubles.
When will these stats get his name throw into the MVP race?
Along with the help of Spanish rookie passing sensation Ricky Rubio, Love is making the Minnesota Timberwolves not only relevant again but also incredibly fun to watch. His shot versatility and formidable rebounding ability has shaped him into a potent offensive threat that opposing teams have yet to solve.
Despite his phenomenal recent success, it makes sense as to why Love hasn’t been getting as much love as he deserves. First off, the Timberwolves play in a very small market, a place where the bright lights of the national media rarely venture. Second, while the Timberwolves have improved exponentially, they still currently sit at a meager 11-12.