It is a rainy, dreary and cold day here so I thought why not punch some buttons and do a post.
I had held off on a rant that was brewing since Thursday for a few reasons. One, I really hate to put anything at all that relates to things political on the blog. I think this is a financial (and miscellaneous fun stuff) site and not a ideological platform. Two, I find it best to keep one's own personal idea about politics to themselves so as not to turn off major parts of an audience to to garner attacks. That all said, I will say a few words about what was really bothering me last week, so if you are easily offended just skip down to the football section.
During my daily readings on Thursday and Friday I was alarmed by the sheer volume of blogger posts by economic sites which were overtly political in content. Many from the blogroll listed here along with many other stops I make had clearly written purely political sections. Now this is not a big "No No" to me, I just found it strange that in 4 years of reading some site I had never seen even one post like these.
To add to this, I was very surprised to see a clear liberal bent to all of the said sections. Economic Disconnect is a staunch Libertarian and of the firm belief that we have the Democrat party, and a Democrat Lite party known as the Republicans. But even this is no big deal to me, what do I care what kind of ideology people subscribe to?
No, what bothered me the most was the ridiculous defense of something like Universal Government run health care by the same sort of writers that have been amazing at pointing out how terribly the government has run things like the FDIC, the SEC, the FED, the Treasury, and the bailouts. I find it intellectually dishonest to argue against poorly run government monster entities on the financial side, and to then say everything will be just fine with health care.
Another thing that was really driving me insane was the orgasmic response many financial writers had to the presidents speech on Wednesday night. So President Obama can read a prepared speech off a teleprompter and sound good doing it. I mean, BFD. Descriptions included things like "powerful oratory" and "soaring rhetoric". Are you kidding me? Sadly coverage of the speech content was missing, I guess folks were too exhausted from being stimulated by President Obama's words to do any analysis. Former President Ronald Reagan was a much better orator that President Obama, yet I fail to remember people falling all over themselves after one of his speeches. What's the difference?
Anyways, sorry to chime in on this sort of thing, but it has been bothering me a lot and I wanted to get something written about it.
NFL 2009 Season Begins!
The only good thing about the return of the cold weather is that it will be football season!
I came to be a football fan pretty late. I never watched a game until sophomore year in high school and I never played on an organized team. We did used to play pick up games in the school parking lot because the parking lines could serve as distance and down markers. Getting tackled on cement does make you run a lot faster!
I fell in love with the New Orleans Saints in 1991. They had one of the all time great defenses and allowed only 211 points in 1991, and 202 points in 1992. Sadly they were not so hot on offense, and tended to choke in the playoffs. Still, the "46 defense" is my favorite way to play and I wish teams had the balls (and the personnel) to play it today.
Returning to the present, I think this year could be the most competitive season I have ever seen. I am not going to do my usual season long projections because I just do not think I have enough feel for how this season is going to go without seeing some games. There are at least 6 teams I think have a real shot at winning the Superbowl this year, and maybe another 2 or 3 that could even make a run. Usually I would put at most 4 teams at that level, not this year.
And now some random Football topics.
Most Dangerous Men in the NFL - Offense
When I study a team before a Patriots game (yes, sadly I do review tape and check formations, patterns, etc.) there are times you have to single out one player form the other teams offense as the absolute must stop. While there are many great players in the league, here are my 3 most dangerous men in the NFL on offense (no particular order):
1. Adrian Peterson, Minnesota Viking, RB
Every time Peterson gets the football, I hold my breath. This guy can go all the way every time he carries the ball. He is not a cutback or finesse runner, he just hits the hole and goes. In a league that has basically given up on running the ball (the Vikings and the Giants are exceptions) Adrian Peterson is easily the most dangerous running back in football.
2. Randy Moss, Wide Receiver, New England Patriots
On any play under 20-25 yards Moss would not make my list of top receivers. He is a below average blocker and he is not an "in traffic" kind of player. So how does he make the list? The field is longer than 25 yards of course! Randy Moss, once down the field, is almost uncoverable. Teams MUST commit their corner back on that side, the free safety has to be set 30 yards down field, and often times teams must rotate the other safety over to shade the Moss side, or play a dime package. If Moss was not so dangerous there would be no need to have 3 guys trying to watch him all game long. And he still gets open!
3. Brian Westbrook, Philadelphia Eagles, RB
Westbrook is not an every down player, nor is he a huge threat to carry the ball 25 times a game. Which is good for Eagle opponents, because Westbrook scores touchdowns. That what he does. He can catch them or he can run them in (the best goal to go runner in the NFL). teams must be aware of this guy to have success.
Most Dangerous Men in the NFL - Defense
While the offensive stars get all the coverage and all the girls, defense wins titles. You have to play defense to win in this league no matter how good your offense is (hearing me Saints and Patriots?). When I am looking at opponents, these players become number one priority to block, play away from, or try to trade for to avoid playing against them!:
1. Troy Polamalu, Pittsburgh Steelers, S
Note: Sadly Polamalu suffered a knee injury on opening night and will miss some games
Polamalu can come up and stuff the run as good as a middle linebacker. So he is big and slow? Hardly. Polamalu can cover one on one any receiver in the league. If you saw opening night, he can even make an interception with one hand while falling down. Clearly, when game planning for the Steelers you have to know where #43 is or you are in for a long night.
2. Albert Haynesworth, Washington Redskins, DT
While on a new team, he is still Albert Haynesworth. The most dominating lineman in the league, teams MUST account for him and commit a line blocker and a tight end or back for protection. Haynesworth is so disruptive on the line, most teams actually change the offense to an up tempo short game to avoid giving him time to work. I think Haynesworth will have a harder time this year in the NFC East (better lines, better blocking backs) but he is still very dangerous.
3. Baltimore Ravens, Entire Defense
Statics say there are better defenses, but really there is no finer a unit than the Ravens defense. When the Ravens are on defense, there is an air of danger for the offense. They hit hard, suffocate with pressure, and their secondary play (with Ed Reed in the lineup) forces turnovers at an amazing rate.
My Two Favorites
My two favorites are the New Orleans Saints and the New England Patriots. I guess I just like "New" in a teams name! Here are my takes on them this year.
We know the offense can score. We know the defense cannot stop. What will change? The Saints did add some new blood on defense, and perhaps another year under their belt will help, but clearly they have issues still. That said, if the Saints can stop their turnover problems, I think they can overcome their defensive issues and return to the playoffs. Reggie Bush has yet to hit his full potential, and Drew Brees is the best QB you never heard of. Inconsistency is the major issue facing this team.
A new, younger and faster defense will take some time to settle in. Led by Jarod Mayo at middle linebacker, this will be the most inexperienced defense New England has put on the field in years. Will it gel? I think it will take 8 weeks or more to see where this unit is going to be.
On offense, Tom Brady returns. Again, I think it will take a few weeks to see how Brady is coming back, but with Welker and Moss ready to go there should be plenty of fireworks this year. A top tier team, but the key will be the running game. If Fred Taylor can do what he has done his whole career, the whole picture changes. A bona fide running attack will only amplify Moss on the outside and take pressure off the defense. This is the key question for this team.
Various things I am thinking about for the year.
-The NFC West and AFC West should surrender their guaranteed division winner playoff spot and be judged on record alone. The NFL really has to look at this as the West's of both conferences are terrible divisions, while divisions like the NFC East and NFC Central are highly competitive.
-We need a clear "in the grasp" rule on QB's. With the emergence of larger quarterbacks, they are wrapped up but not down and are allowed to try and extend the play. Someone is going to get hurt doing this.
-I cannot believe how well Michael Vick is being received and I do not think Donovan McNabb can like this no matter what he says openly.
-This is the last time I want to hear about the San Diego Chargers being the best team in the NFL. Everyone is healthy, so no more excuses. Put up or shut the heck up. This team is simply not as good as they look on paper, results bear me out.
-Will the Detroit Lions win a game? I hope not in week one (vs Saints) and I have one of those "bad" feelings about this game!
-Can football really be football without John Madden covering the game?
-Are the Atlanta Falcons going to have a slump, or be even better than last year? I think better.
-I have never seen a season taking shape to be so up in the air as this year. Anything, and everything could happen. I think the Superbowl winner this year may not be the best team (per se), but the team that can get through a tough season and playoff games against stand out opponents with the least amount of wear. Read as "those with an easier way to go" may wind up on top.
-I am just excited.
That's about it for tonight. Tomorrow here in the Northeast we get the Miami Dolphins vs. Atlanta Falcons for the early game (awesome game!) and the afternoon game will be the New York Giants vs. Washington Redskins (could care less). The night game promises to be awesome as the Chicago Bears (with Jay Cutler!) play the Green Bay Packers in a huge match up in the NFC Norris division.
Have a good night.