Archive for March, 2012

Open letter to Kevin Kolb


BY BRETT MURDOCK, Couchsideshow.com writer 

Dear Kevin Kolb,

Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kevin Kolb will enter training camp with a chip on his shoulder after a disappointing season in 2011. Photo by: Lehigh Valley, PA / Flickr

I’m sure you are aware of the news that your team, the Arizona Cardinals, are no longer in the running for the services of Peyton Manning. That revelation came to disappointment for many Red Birds fans alike, but probably came as a relief to you.

Take the news with a grain of salt, because it says something about you too.

Sure, you were injured for most of last season because your offensive line was like a swinging saloon door at the entrance to an Old West tavern. And yeah you had a miniscule off-season to learn, understand and execute a new offense.

But signing that massive contract extension put a target on your back to perform well when you were physically able to and you did not come through.

Now with this Manning frenzy, the Cardinals were thinking of cutting you if they were to land the future Hall of Famer. Well, they did not and Manning is down to two other teams.

Now is the time to get down to business and prove to the fan base that you are an NFL-caliber quarterback. Your 58 percent completion rate, nine touchdowns and 1955 yards in 2011 are not enough. Neither is your 3-6* record as a starter (the asterisk is because you were knocked out of one game very early and your team still won).

When you come up to training camp this summer, you better have a huge chip on your shoulder. (more…)


Spring Training Teasers: Couch Side’s top five closers for 2012


BY CHUCK CONSTANTINO, Couchsideshow.com writer

No longer will the skipper climb out of the dugout, walk to the mound and signal for the closer in the seventh inning, heck, rarely will they call for him in the eighth. Most guys throw one inning, unless it is an important game, then the closer will get the next game or two off. Either way, closers are the guys who slam the door shut, or are the goat for the night. Here’s a few pitchers who I would call upon in the ninth innings this season.

5. John Axford, RHP, Milwaukee Brewers

Milwaukee Brewers closer John Axford earned 40-plus saves during his first year as Milwaukee's go-to-guy in the ninth inning. Photo by: Steve Paluch / Flickr

Shoved into the closer role, Axford did not disappoint. He posted 46 saves, 86 strikeouts in 73.2 innings pitched and blew only two saves. He got stronger after the all-star break and cut down on his walks. His 49 percent ground ball rate helped him record an ERA of 1.95. Although he has Francisco Rodriguez behind him, Axford has proved to be composed. One thing that worries me is his 59 hits given up. He will need to get more swing and misses without the same lineup in Milwaukee. (more…)


Lakers overcome preseason debacle with solid trades at deadline


BY MATTHEW VINSKO, Couchsideshow.com contributor 

The Los Angeles Lakers acquired point guard Ramon Sessions from the Cleveland Cavaliers on Thursday afternoon. Photo by: Bridget DS / Flickr

December, 2011 was a time to rejoice for basketball fans. After 161 painstaking days, basketball was set to commence on Christmas Day with a plethora of games set to kick off the NBA season in style. What wasn’t to like?

But December wasn’t pleasant for Lakers’ fans. No, I’m not talking about the opening day loss to the Bulls in a nail biter; I’m actually one of the few people proud of the Lakers for putting up that much of a fight against the reigning MVP without Andrew Bynum. What made opening day sour for many a Lakers’ fan was David Stern’s controversial overruling of a three-team deal that would have ultimately landed Chris Paul, arguably the best pure point guard in the league, in the same backcourt as ‘The Black Mamba,’ Kobe Bryant.

That was OK, though. For the most part, the same team that won back-to-back titles was intact, albeit two years older.

But it wasn’t OK for Lamar Odom, who was shipped to the Dallas Mavericks for a first round pick in order to clear up salary cap. Odom, apparently the sensitive type, couldn’t stand the thought of being included in the trade that would have sent Paul to L.A. Trading the reigning Sixth Man of the Year for a draft pick can be excused considering the Lakers’ salary cap issues with regards the luxury tax. Financial woes aside, the 2012 draft is already being considered one of the deeper drafts in recent history, so no harm, no foul, right? (more…)


Couch Side Podcast Episode Eight: Free Agent Frenzy


BY Couchsideshow.com staff

After about a month away from the microphone, Couch Side hosts Wade McMillin and Craig Paul are back for another sports-packed podcast. This week’s episode is all about NFL Free Agency, the NBA Trade Deadline, Chipper Jones, Syracuse basketball and Greg Oden. Click Below to Listen to the Couch Side Show podcast, now on iTunes. Don’t forget to subscribe.

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Following NFL Free Agency: Jags jolt offense with pair of signings


BY WADE MCMILLIN, Couchsideshow.com editor

The Jacksonville Jaguars signed former Miami Dolphins quarterback Chad Henne as an unrestricted free agent on Wednesday. Photo by: photo-gator / Flickr

I didn’t believe the Jacksonville Jaguars would be relevant this NFL offseason.

The Jags showed that they are determined to get better in 2012-2013 by upgrading their offense very early into the NFL Free Agency period. Jacksonville went after skill positions, agreeing to terms with quarterback Chad Henne and wide receiver Laurent Robinson. Now, Henne may not be the sexiest signing, but Floridians should be ecstatic about the Jaguars landing Robinson.

There’s no doubt Jacksonville needed a wide reciever. One look at the team’s depth chart would leave most NFL fans scratching there heads, asking who is this guy? Mike Thomas proved to be somewhat of a bust as Jacksonville’s primary receiver last season and when the hands behind him are the likes of Jarett Dilliard and Chastin West, there’s not much hope for a quarterback — especially when Blaine Gabbert is under center.

So instead of accepting mediocrity like the Jaguars have been know to do, Jacksonville went after a playmaker. Some may argue that Robinson hasn’t earner that title quite yet, but I expect big things from the Illinois State prodigy. And my proof is how the six-year pro, who was released twice last season, stood out with an offense full of weapons. Yes, Tony Romo had a lot of talented targets last season. Little did we know that Miles Austin and Dez Bryant wouldn’t be the top ones. Injury definitely played a factor, but that shouldn’t discredit how Robinson performed last year at all. (more…)


Spring Training Teasers: Couch Side’s top five setup men for 2012


BY CHUCK CONSTANTINO, Couchsideshow.com writer

During the live ball era, the job of pitchers have slowly, but surely changed. No longer is a starter relied on for eight or nine innings a night, and closers do not have to throw three innings. You think they would, given the amount of money closers receive in their contracts.

Now, set-up men and relievers are the bridge from the seventh to the ninth inning, where they hand the ball over to the manager. It’s the dirty work, and too often are these names forgotten, unless you glance over the box score and see the letter ‘H’ next to their names. Here’s a list of the top-5 set-up men in baseball.

5. Eric O’Flaherty, LHP, Atlanta Braves

Atlanta Braves lefty Eric O'Flaherty makes it tough for opposing teams to beat the Braves at the end of games. Photo by: Paul Kehrer / Flickr

The Atlanta Braves’ bullpen is pretty stacked, and most of the attention is given to Jonny Venters and Craig Kimbrel. In the 2010-11 season, O’Flaherty appeared in 78 games, and surrendered eight earned runs over 73.2 innings pitched. The right-hander sported a 1.09 ERA and a 0.98 WHIP while recording 32 holds on the year. Considering all the other arms on the team, not too shabby. O’Flaherty is one of the more underrated pitchers in baseball, he’s generated grounders 55.1 percent of the time over past three years combined. He’ll be called upon all season long, if he stays healthy.

(more…)