Saturday, March 31, 2012

Kentucky vs Lousville Running Diary

Here we are running diary, I'm picking Kentucky by double digits in this one.

3:17: Missed the first two minutes, Kentucky up 8-2, doing what Kentucky does best, blocking shots, snatching rebounds and running the floor. Pitino steps away from the spaghetti buffet to call timeout.

3:21: The court looks terrible, like its a St. Patty's day special. Let's count how many times Clark Kellogg says "High Octane".

3:22: Siva's a local boy, but I think this is a mismatch for him.

3:23: Kentucky getting sloppy, Louisville taking advantage. Cue the endless T.V. Timeout.

3:27: Silky smooth jump hook from Davis. 14-6 UK.

3:29: Shaky charge call against Gilchrist, the flopping epidemic continues. Terrence Jones with a transition dunk after Lousville blows their second dunk of the half.

3:31: UK foul on a three point shot. Terrence Jones needs to learn the art of the closeout.

3:33: UK is dominating inside, but the guards are jacking up jumpers. Youth.

3:37: 18-10 UK, as is the norm in these domed stadiums, the three point shots are clanging horrificly off the rim.

3:42: 22-12, sloppy game, the fighting Pitino's are fighting, but are going to have to get hot and UK is going to have to wear down for this to be a game in the second half.

3:46: Can Clark Kellogg stop calling a DQ a "Dairy Queen", it's not clever. He's obviously spending too much time with Jim Nance.

3:48: As Al Mcguire would say, "Too much french pastry for Kentucky!" Then they hit Davis on a ridiculous alley oop. Good with the bad.

3:51: Louisville starting to figure out Kentucky defensively. 26-20, time out.

3:56: You have to stop the ball, easiest layup I've seen by Kentucky.

3:59: Louisville getting all the calls right now, scrappy effort right now and with these calls, it's 31-27 UK.

4:00: Token white guy for Kentucky stymies a run with a cold blooded three and leads a fast break leading to a foul. Kentucky was losing their head a little bit. Let's see if they settle down a little now.

4:03: 35-28 Kentucky at halftime. Louisville grinded their way back into it. Should be an interesting second half.

4:26: This is not a well played game as far as fundamentals go.

4:32: It's "unsung" not "undersung" Clark. 41-32 UK. Steal, dunk. 43-32: UK.

4:41: Louisville staggering around the ring, waiting to get knocked out, and Kentucky is letting them hang around. Now they've got it down to single digits. 46-38

4:46: Terrence Jones has a little Chris Webber to him, that's not a compliment.

4:47: Louisville with a couple tip jam dunks, Kentucky can't grab a rebound, turning over the ball, down to 46-42, timeout Kentucky. Louisville has been killing Kentucky on the boards, they aren't trying to out jump Davis and Jones for rebounds, they are tipping it out and getting it to their guards. Definitely the smarter team today. Kentucky isn't anticipating the attempted shot blocks and failing to rotate to the weak side.

4:54: Kentucky is getting tired, if Louisville keeps at them, Kentucky might break around the five minute mark. 49-46. 9 min left.

4:57: Siva ties it with a three, Kentucky assaults the offensive boards, takes the lead. This is turning into one hell of a game. Kidd-Gilchrist with a spin and a dunk. 53-49. Timeout Pitino. Three times today either Calipari or Pitino have called a timeout right before the T.V. timeout.

5:04: Louisville laying some stiff picks right now. Did Kellogg just call Louisville Syracuse??

5:06: Kentucky hits a dagger from three point land. Louisville had just missed a couple layups. Bam, 58-51. Terrence Jones just realized that he was playing a game in that last sequence. Flying around and being a million times more aggressive than he was the rest of the game.

5:09: 60-51, Louisville ice cold.

5:17: 63-57, 1:29 left, another turnover by Kentucky, Louisville climbs out of the grave again! Kentucky missing free throws and Louisville is relentless.

5:18: Anthony Davis, a ridiclous one handed dunk. 65-58, Siva comes back with an airballed three. Less than a minute left. Louisville burns their last timeout.

5:21: Louisville doesn't foul, Kentucky gets a couple of easy dunks. That's the ball game, Anthony Davis, wait, Kentucky beats Louisville 69-61. Great effort by Louisville, just didn't have the firepower to beat Kentucky. Pitino coached a hell of a game.


Tuesday, March 20, 2012

The Want To Know Why

First of all, as a Seahawks fan, I live at If you feel likewise about the Seahawks, I recommend you visit there as well. But, to a rant, granted, I'm taking a lot of this from something I wrote a while ago, but I think it still serves its point.

The more I read about the draft or peoples views on football in general, the more I realize that the vast majority of football fans, don't actually understand the game that they love so dearly. Do I look down upon them for this? Only if they propogate these ideas as the truth, rather than a fairly uneducated opinion.  I am by no means a football expert, so hopefully you don't dub my opinion as arrogance, when its merely a call to not be ignorant.

Just like in baseball, there has been a flailing attempt at a statistical revolution in football. These statisticians use their "advanced metrics" to compare players across decades as well as current players, eschewing the changes in the game and its philosophy in the sake of "comparison". These analysts, I believe, use numbers in place of football understanding. I am not saying that fans should know the wide varieties of play calls coverages and scheme, but they should understand, if nothing else, technique.

Technique, in order to understand technique, you must first understand correct technique and the fact that certain physical attributes enable better technique than others. You want a stout center with quick hands and tremendous natural strength. You want a defensive end with strong hands. You want a tackle with long arms, thin ankles, big hands and a fat ass. Why? Because he needs to be light on his feet, good balance, have long arms to hold at bay pass rushers and strong hands to control their opponent in run blocking.
40 times are irrelevant. Acceleration is far more important. How often during the course of the game does a player run forty yards unimpeded in a straight line?
If your watching game tape on a potential prospect, ask yourself questions, "How well does the tackle move his feet?" "How often does a defensive linemen drop his arms?" On the flip side, "How well does he use his hands?" "What angles does a linebacker take to the ball? "How is his gap containment?"
Look at a quarterback, look at his release, how does it vary depending on the throw. Watch his feet. Where does he release the ball? How tight is the throwing motion?

It is one thing to know that something happened, it is an entirely different thing to know why it happened? Why are most of Drew Brees interceptions off deflections? Why is Marshawn Lynch such a stud? What makes James Harrison such a great pass rusher? (great balance, acceleration and hand technique) Why does Matt Hasslebeck struggle throwing the deep ball(It goes beyond arm strength). Figure out the answer to these questions, and talent assessment is much easier. 

If you don't honestly care about why Tavaris Jackson sails seam routes, I don't blame you. But whatever your passion may be, look closer.

Monday, March 19, 2012

The Case For Matt Flynn

It's fairly obvious that people are infatuated by the sexy idea. In football, teams without a star quarterback talk endlessly about getting a "franchise" quarterback. You ask them how, and they will say, "draft one in the first round." Easier said than done.

This offseason the Seahawks found themselves in a bit of a quandry. They weren't bad enough to have a high draft pick, one that would net a top qb prospect, and they weren't good enough to feel that they could stand pat with Tavares Jackson.  I will stand by my idea that even with Jackson starting, the Seahawks are a playoff team this year. But, to reach the next level, the Seahawks need more from that position.

You don't need an elite quarterback to win in the NFL, Trent Dilfer and Brad Johnson are two great examples, Joe Flacco is another.  The counter argument is that the previous mentioned quarterbacks were buoyed by great defenses. I'd argue that the Seahawks defense is one year from very good, and two years from great. What you DO need however, is a quarterback who doesn't make huge mistakes, no pick sixes, no turnovers on big drives, no heniously missed throws in crucial situations, and you need a quarterback that can drive you down the field in the fourth quarter of a big game and score a touchdown. In order to win a Super Bowl, this will have to happen at some point during the season.

So where does Matt Flynn fit into all of this? Quite well.  We don't have a large sample size to work with, so, let's look at what we know. He's made a couple starts for the Packers over the last couple years and performed very well.  His performance in the regular season finale against the Lions was ridiculous. Before the Lions game, the Packers offense had started to sputter, or, in their case, not ring up 40 points a game. Flynn comes in and has a record day against a below average Lions team. There was no pressure, but Tavares Jackson has never done that, against anybody, even with Adrian Peterson, Sydney Rice and the best offensive line in football at the time with the Vikings.

But, that's just one day, Rob Johnson was a stud with the Jaguars in mop up duty when the Jags were winning 12-14 games a year. So was Jay Fielder when he was in the same situation.

Flynn, at LSU, was asked to do exactly what he'll be asked to do with the Seahawks. Don't make mistakes, and get the ball to the playmakers. He did this perfectly at LSU, he was a leader on a poorly coached offense, and made some huge throws when he had to(see LSU/Auburn 2007).  It's not like the Hawks are going to be asking a guy who is used to chucking it 40 times a game to change his style. Flynn's style is the Hawks style, and vice versa.

I would feel differently about this move if the Hawks had overpaid, if they got suckered into a long contract, or the teams scouting department didn't draft the guy in Green Bay. But, I trust Green Bay's scouting, and I trust the Hawks scouting. Jackson was a placeholder in a year where the Hawks were trying to cut down on the learning curve of the offense and he played, dare I say, above expectations. He's a solid backup, but he's not going to win you the Super Bowl.  I think there's a much better chance that Flynn is.