Archive for August, 2012

A look at the career of recently retired RB Clinton Portis

BY JOSH MCCAIN, syndication 

Former Denver Broncos and Washington Redskins running back Clinton Portis officially hung up his cleats this week after nine seasons in the NFL. In just a few seasons with the Redskins Portis landed as the franchise’s second all-time leading rusher. Photo by: DrivingtheNortheast / Flickr

Yesterday afternoon Clinton Portis officially retired from the National FootballLeague.  Since Portis had been of the league for over a year his retirement was of no surprise to anyone yet it was still a somber occasion.

When it was announced on Wednesday that Portis would be announcing his retirement at Redskins Park I felt that there should be a cause for celebration. Sure Portis had his faults but for the past twenty years of losing and mediocrity no other player in burgundy and gold had thumped his chest more with pride in being a Washington Redskin.

Of course if you were listening to former Redskin linebacker LaVar Arrington on his afternoon talk radio show you would have thought Portis to be a bum. LaVar and his sheeple callers seem to rag on Portis and if anyone praised the man LaVar would offer up some conjecture. It’s no secret that LaVar doesn’t like Portis (and vice versa) but there are times when you have to put personnel feelings aside and give a man his due.

I had not realized that a lot of fans felt this way about Portis. Sure this shtick would get annoying from time to time. His multiple personalties or his YouTube videos him and tightend Chris Cooley would make, but Portis was just having some fun while playing a game we all watch for entertainment.

Portis ran for 6,824 yards with 46 touchdowns as a Redskins and is only second to the immortal John Riggins in franchise history. There are so many running back in Redskins history that we look back on with fondness and only Riggo can say he was better than Portis. And even with Riggins’ size he still wasn’t half the blocker Portis was. In an era where most running backs consider a block to be just shoving a blitzing linebacker, Portis summoned his inner Russ Grimm and would drill anyone who came his way. (more…)

Christian Ponder, Minnesota Vikings Have High Expectations

BY MICHAEL RATH, syndication 

Quarterback Christian Ponder is entering his second season in the NFL for the Minnesota Vikings. Ponder had a sub-par year last season as he played in 11 games throwing 13 touchdowns and 13 picks. However, this year, Ponder is coming in with lofty goals for himself.

Earlier in training camp, Ponder mentioned to the media that it was his goal and the Vikings goal to score every time they had possession.  What has he done so far this preseason?  He has put the Vikings in position to score every time he has been in as they have scored four out of the five times he has been in.  The only time they did not score was when rookie Blair Walsh missed a field goal.  How about that for living up to a goal?

While this will obviously not keep up for the rest of the year, and it is a small sample size, it is a great start.  However, Ponder made another statement.  According to a blog by Mike Wobschall and, Ponder said, “We want 75 percent completions on first and second downs.  That’s the number we’re shooing for.  Obviously, we were in a lot of third-and-long situations a year ago, and we want to get out of that.”  This obviously is a lofty, lofty goal. (more…)

New York Jets offense: What has changed so far?

New York Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez hasn’t exactly played his best this preseason. Photo by: cool13902008 / Flickr

BY DONALD LAPPE, syndication

Two preseason games into the reign of Tony Sparano as offensive coordinator, it doesn’t seem like much had changed on the field. The New York Jets offense is still stuck in reverse, merely a place keeper between defensive possessions. The nature of defense is surrendering points, but last season’s offense made playing 60 minutes of defense seem like a much safer venture. The offensive performance so far this preseason seems headed down the same path.

There is no denying that the Jet offense has looked horrific to this point in the preseason. That doesn’t mean there’s any reason to start smashing the panic button, but some encouraging signs would be nice this week. The Jets should have a more focused approach to attacking the Carolina Panthers this week, which will hopefully bring along better results.

Although the Jets haven’t done any game-specific pre-planning for the first two preseason games, they also haven’t done some of the things Sparano promised. The most important being deeps shots down the field. That might just be because it hasn’t been there or it hasn’t been called for whatever reason, but the Jets need to throw the ball deep this season to be successful. (more…)

Couch Side Podcast 27: The future of Cowboy baseball

Click below to start listening

BY staff

Cody Wyoming native Sean Schoonover played three years for the University of Wyoming’s club baseball team.

In this week’s episode, Couch Side hosts Wade McMillin and Craig Paul are joined by special guests Andy Paul and Sean Schoonover. While Andy stops by to talk football, covering Part Six of Couch Side’s NFL Season Preview — AFC North — and Fantasy Football advise, Sean is interviewed by Craig and Wade about his college baseball playing days, the future of Wyoming collegiate baseball and the dream season of the Sheridan Troopers baseball program, Click below to stream, download or subscribe to the Couch Side podcast. Also, remember to tune in to 89.1 FM KNWT every Wednesday at 4 p.m. across the Big Horn Basin of Wyoming to hear this show on the air waves of Northwest College’s radio station. Video coming soon!

Click here to stream, download or subscribe Couch Side Episode 26: Status of the NBA via iTunes

Click here to stream Couch Side Episode 26: Status of the NBA via out host site, Talkshoe

Click here to download Couch Side Episode 26: Status of the NBA via our host site, Talkshoe

Scutaro, Belt possibilities in Giants outfield following Cabrera Suspension

San Francisco Giants first baseman Brandon Belt could see some time in the outfield after All-Star Melky Cabrera received a 50-game suspension from Major League Baseball. Photo by: The Bay Area Bias / Flickr

BY SCOTT SEMMLER, syndication 

Melky Cabrera will not be with the team following his 50-game suspension, and with it comes offensive uncertainty in the San Francisco Giants’ lineup.

On Wednesday, manager Bruce Bochy replaced Cabrera in the lineup with Gregor Blanco. However, that could very well change as the season progresses and the playoff race heats up. The Giants now have some decisions to make pertaining to their roster.

Bochy hinted at the fact that Blanco could get the majority of the starts in the outfield, but there is also the topic of a lack of power in the lineup now that they do not have Cabrera batting third. Substituting his bat with the weaker bat of Blanco is simply a downgrade for a team still in dire need of offense any given night. So the idea of moving players from the infield into the outfield creeped into the postgame press conference room after a loss to the Washington Nationals, which followed Cabrera’s suspension.

The two names mentioned were Brandon Belt and Marco Scutaro. Bochy did not rule either of them out.  (more…)

Carmelo Anthony not satisfied with Olympic Gold

New York Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony now has an Olympic Gold Medal, but he doesn’t want to stop until he has an NBA title. Photo by: ctsnow / Flickr


Carmelo Anthony and LeBron James, earlier this week, both earned their second Olympic Gold medals of their careers. LeBron now joins Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen as the only players to win Olympic gold and the NBA Championship in the same year. And if you ask me LeBron James has never looked better, I don’t mean that physically either. When i looked in LeBron’s face holding up the NBA Finals trophy I saw relief and happiness. But after the USA Men’s basketball team defeated Spain just the other day, I saw that same face with the same expression on LeBron once again. Though this time around, Lebron might feel even more relieved and more happy.

If you don’t think Melo is watching LeBron and seeing that he is happier than ever right now, you’re crazy. Melo has already motivated himself to not only join LeBron as an Olympian but as a NBA Champion as well.

Now it can not be mistaken, Melo loves playing for the USA in International basketball. He has been playing since 2002 and played every year by his own choice. Melo is happy and proud of his two Olympic gold’s but he is not satisfied. Melo wants that elusive NBA Championship. He would burry his gold medal, possibly both, and put a tombstone over it to win the NBA Finals. The Tombstone would probably read something like “Sorry, not Sorry.” He sees how all of a sudden LeBron is now loved by more than ever, a clutch player, and undoubtedly the best player in the world right now. He wants that too. (more…)

MLB quick hits: Cabrera suspension, Strasburg shutdown, King Felix perfect

San Francisco Giants great Orlando Cepeda presents current Giants outfielder Melky Cabrera with a pre-game award. Cabrera tested positive for testosterone Wednesday and will face a 50-game suspension. Photo by: Susana Millman / Flickr


• MELKY CABRERA: As you might have heard, he was officially suspended 50 games today for violating the drug policy by testing positive for testosterone. This is obviously significant because the San Francisco Giants are in the thick of the NL West race with the Los Angeles Dodgers and Cabrera was leading the NL in hits and runs, while being the second best player on the team besides Buster Posey.

What isn’t significant to me is the idea that Cabrera’s high .346 batting average and subsequent stats is a direct result of him taking this substance. This is something impossible to judge based on how all players regardless of skill have been caught under the new program. It’s easy to sit back and say “well, of course Cabrera was cheating, why else would he be hitting so well?” Sure, Cabrera was hitting well above his career averages until this point, and I doubt anyone really believed this spike in performance was permanent. Don’t forget that he had 210 hits with 18 HRs for the Royals last season and hit over .300, Were there any doubts then?

It’s pretty well known he wasn’t in the best physical shape during his time with Atlanta, so an increased emphasis on health probably led him to looking for that needless edge. But it’s too difficult to tell without proper medical know-how to definitively say his breakout season was a result of x, because if I knew those reasons, I would be a doctor and not an unemployed blogger *sad face*.  And it’s not me saying what he did was right, which it wasn’t because he broke an explicitly stated rule and policy that’s been in place for several years now. (more…)

Boston Red Sox: Drama, disappointing play have ruined 2012

BY MATT STROBL, syndication

Johnny Pesky died this week.  He was 92 years old.  Pesky was a Boston Red Sox legend and a fixture in the team’s dugout for decades.  He had a fair/ foul pole named after him.  His visage was as symbolic of the team as any logo.  What better way to pay tribute to his memory than to have yet another putrid, pathetic, childish bout of finger-pointing?

Boston Red Sox legend Johnny Pesky passed away this week at the age of 92. Photo by: Boston Public Library / Flickr

Pesky’s passing did little to stem the tide of discord in Boston.

For about five minutes we all stopped and acknowledged the passing of a former player, coach, and advisor whose ties to the franchise ran all the way back 1942.  A native of nearby Danvers, Massachusetts, he simply belonged at Fenway.  Then the proverbial moment of silence evaporated and it was back to business as usual.  Which, for this team, means dysfunction, whining, and more poor play.

What exactly has happened in Boston?  Despite retaining some of the same names, this club bears little resemblance to the champions of 2004 or 2007.  It looks nothing like the teams that were major contenders through the decade of the 2000s.  One has to feel sorry for guys like David Ortiz, who have attempted to stay positive while everything around them unravels.  When Big Papi remarked that “this team is [expletive] cursed,” he was referring to an Achilles injury.  And his invocation of the dreaded word made little impact.  But he was more correct than he knew. (more…)

Couch Side Podcast — Episode 26: Status of the NBA

BY staff

Click play to start listening now! 

Couch Side hosts Craig Paul (left) and Wade McMillin were able to hit the links over the weekend before slaving over hot microphones Monday night.

In this week’s episode, hosts Wade McMillin and Craig Paul take a deep look into the NBA as a whole, questioning if the league is better after the Dwight Howard trade. The gang also continues their official 2012 NFL Season Preview, breaking down the AFC West. And in this week’s segment of the Head-to-Head Honchos, Craig and Wade discuss the importance of the running back position in Fantasy Football lineups. To start listening, downloading and/or subscribing to the Couch Side podcast click below. Also, if you live in the Big Horn Basin of Wyoming, don’t forget to tune in to 89.1 FM KNWT ever Wednesday at 4 p.m. or every Friday at 9 a.m. to listen to the show on the local airwaves.




Click here to stream, download or subscribe Couch Side Episode 26: Status of the NBA via iTunes

Click here to stream Couch Side Episode 26: Status of the NBA via out host site, Talkshoe

Click here to download Couch Side Episode 26: Status of the NBA via our host site, Talkshoe

Lakers cap off perfect offseason with Howard acquisition


NBA Superstar Dwight Howard  will begin a new chapter in his career as a member of the Los Angeles Lakers. Photo by: Julien Haler / Flickr

Even before the Los Angeles Lakers traded for star center Dwight Howard, I planned on writing this article and talking about the additions of guys like Steve Nash and Antawn Jamison and how they are going to help a savvy veteran team that sputtered on offense at times last season. With the arrival of Howard in LA, however, each previous trade and signing immediately gets forgotten. It’s Superman, after all. The heir apparent to Shaquille O’Neal has finally arrived, and not a moment too soon.

Still, each move the Lakers have made this offseason has added a piece that will (hopefully) contribute to another ring and Kobe Bryant’s sixth title overall, tying him with Michael Jordan. Here, I’ll take a look at each addition the Lakers have made this offseason and how it’ll help a team that’s went 1-8 in the past two second rounds of the playoffs.

Dwight Howard

Let’s get the big one (no pun intended) out of the way sooner than later. Dwight’s a game changer, but maybe not as much as people want to think. Andrew Bynum, who got shipped off to the Philadelphia ‘76ers in the deal, is coming off a career year, and assuming he stays healthy, can easily become the next big dominant center in the league. Howard, on the other hand, is coming off a relatively disappoint season by his standards that was hampered by late-season injuries and off the court drama.

Still, Howard is a superstar center with all the potential in the world granted he can perfect his low-post game. He’s already much better than Bynum defensively, and can impact both sides of the floor with his rebounding, but it’s hard to see any room for improvement seeing as the frontcourt of Bynum and Pau Gasol already dominated the boards last year, finishing second in the league in rebounds per game. (more…)

How the Dwight Howard trade impacts the Denver Nuggets


Former Philadelphia 76ers guard Andre Iguodala is headed to the Denver Nuggets as part of a four-tea trade that also sent superstar Dwight Howard to the Los Angeles Lakers. Photo by: Joe Glorioso / Flickr

There’s a reason why the headline of this blog has the name Dwight Howard in it and not Andre Iguodala’s.

In a trade that more or less wrapped up late Thursday night, NBA Superstar Dwight Howard was dealt to the Los Angeles Lakers in a four-team deal, involving the Denver Nuggets, Orlando Magic and Philadelphia 76ers. Howard wasn’t the only big name involved in the trade, but he by far was the biggest one, stealing the show. However, he wasn’t the only top-tier player switching teams. Once the dust settles, Lakers center Andrew Bynum will head to the 76ers; Philadelphia swingman Andre Iguodala will be playing in the Mile High City; and Al Harrington and Aaron Afflalo will suit up for the Magic, which also landed three first-round picks and a couple of no-namers in the block buster.

Now that the explanation is out of the way, I had to ask myself, ‘is this a good move for the Denver Nuggets?’ Well, let’s break down the impacts of the players and picks lost and the new addition by Denver:

• A two for a two: Fans may be excited for Iguodala, but they should also be saddened by the departure of Afflalo. I kind of see this move as a wash because of the numbers that Iggy put up last season. While Afflalo was reaching career highs last year, Iguodala was dipping toward career lows. His 12. 9 points per game were certainly uncharacteristic after the Arizona product was consistently scoring at least 17 points per game after his sophomore season in 2005-2006. While Iguodala digressed, Afflalo began to soar in the scoring column as he received more and more playing time. Last season, he finally made his way into Denver’s starting lineup, making the most of it with a 15.2 points per game clip. There is a big difference in the two shooting guards, though. Afflalo is a more one-dimensional player because really all he can do is score while Iguodala is a triple threat, averaging 6.1 rebounds per game and 5.5 assists last year. The scoring numbers alone, however, lead me to believe the Nugs gave up way too much for Iggy, sending a proven scorer, Harrington (another scoring machine) and a first-round pick. (more…)

NBA offseason coaching hires could’ve put you to sleep


Mike Dunlap will go from the sidelines of the collegiate court to the NBA after never holding down a NCAA Division I head coaching job. Photo by: Robert Kowal / Flickr

Only a trio of teams were left searching for coaches this offseason in the NBA, but none of the three went after any of the top candidates or popular choices.

Names like Patrick Ewing, Jerry Sloan, Jeff Van Gundy, Nate McMillan and Brian Shaw were all surpassed as hires for the Portland Trail Blazers, Charlotte Bobcats and Orlando Magic. Instead those teams chose the likes of Terry Stotts (Portland), Jaque Vaughn (Orlando) and Mike Dunlap (Charlotte). Normally, you wouldn’t think these bottom-of-the-barrel teams would sway away from a legend like Sloan or a big name like Patrick Ewing. However, this offseason was different like nothing NBA fans have really seen before.

It’s happened in the past. Fans have sat through offseasons here and there and watched run-in-the-middle sort of assistant coaches finally get their shot at the big time. This offseason just seemed like the most qualified candidates didn’t really get a fair shot, though.

For example, the Bobcats were the worst team in the NBA last season and more than likely would’ve set a league record as the worst team in history. And instead of making a hard push for Sloan or even Ewing, Charlotte’s front office more or less disrespected both Hall of Famers. The Bobcats didn’t feel Ewing was ready I guess, despite his five years of service with the Orlando Magic where he helped guide the team to the NBA Finals in 2009. And in turn, Ewing was dismissed from the coaching search very early on in the process.  (more…)

Couch Side Podcast — Episode 25: Quantity of Questions

Couch Side hosts Wade McMillin (left) and Craig Paul interviewed a dog on this week’s episode. Just kidding, but just as much nonsense was to be had.

BY staff

In this week’s episode, hosts Wade McMillin and Craig Paul celebrate their quarter-century mark of shows made by answering a heap of question from listeners. The duo covers what the fans want in part four of Couch Side’s official 2012 NFL season preview, which cover the NFC East, and in an Olympic edition of the Big Picture. Also in this week’s show, Craig and Wade dish out some more Fantasy Football advice, examining the flex position. Click below to stream, download or subscribe to the Couch Side Podcast NOW!

Click here to stream, download or subscribe Couch Side Episode 25: Quantity of Questions via iTunes

Click here to stream Couch Side Episode 25: Quantity via out host site, Talkshoe

Click here to download Couch Side Episode 25: Quantity of Questions via our host site, Talkshoe

MLB Trade Deadline recap

The Chicago Cubs traded starting pitcher Paul Maholm and Redd Johnson to the Atlanta Braves for some minor league players Wednesday afternoon Photo by: Elise Michelle.


Now that the trade deadline has passed, let’s see where the main movers and shakers currently stand. Most of the deals involved prospects, and since I’m no guru on that area, we’ll focus on the priced prizes that were recently moved, and give quick scores on the trades. There was no blockbuster 10/10 deal to be found (Cliff Lee or Josh Johnson) but there were lots of non-superstar level trades made that saw contenders addressing needs without giving away major prospects in return.

• Texas Rangers acquire RHP Ryan Dempster – the 36 year old is having a bit of a career year, which doesn’t make me think it’s likely to last at such a high level. Here are Ryan Dempster’s ERAs the past four seasons:

2009: 3.65

2010: 3.85

2011: 4.80

2012: 2.25

Dempster has kept the home runs down (9 in 104 IP) and a respectable 3:07 strikeout-to-walk ratio, but he isn’t a top of the rotation guy that his streak of excellence might lead some to believe.  That being said, the Rangers snatched a valuable commodity to give them rotation depth in the midst of Roy Oswalt struggling, and Colby Lewis lost for the season due to injury. I’ll give this transaction 7 out of 10 trade vetoes (inside joke for Braves fans).

• Atlanta Braves acquire LHP Paul Maholm and OF Reed Johnson – Don’t fret, Braves fans. You lost out on Dempster because he flat out chose not to accept a trade, but getting Paul Maholm (3.74 ERA) isn’t that low of a deduction. He’s another average pitcher having a slightly above average season to give your team rotation depth in the wake of yet another significant injury with this one being Tommy Hanson. Having a player like Reed Johnson allows manager Fredi Gonzalez to get him some at bats against lefties, and being a perfectly acceptable 4th outfielder going down the stretch. (more…)