Thursday, January 20, 2005

Sherman Blows

I think some people realize that Sherman is a big part of the problem but have a hard time putting it into words to those who can't find reason to put the blame on Sherman.

Here's my crack at it:

I'm disheartened to see how few Packer fans realize that Sherman is at best an average coach but an absolutely horrible GM. What that man has done to this roster is sickening. Give him another crack at it and he will have this roster so utterly destroyed that when Favre does retire we will be a 2-14 team for a long time. The further damage another year at GM is immeasurable.

Let me explain:

- The drafting of a bust-punter in the 3rd round who never sees the field is obvious to all. It's the type of thing that alone should get a guy canned. Further amplfying the mistake, that Sherman refuses to cut his losses and keeps 2 punters on the roster all year. That 3rd round pick could have been a valauable defender this year, and definitely a piece for the future. Instead a punter who many thought would go undrafted was sitting on the bench all year.

- The biggest fundamental flaw of Sherman is his draft philiosophy or complete lackthereof. He's trying to win 2-3 dome games a year by adding speed to the defense instead of building the team for Lambeau. This was one of Ron Wolf's core philosphies. Wolf built the team around bulk, size and sure tacklers. He only made the mistake once when he drafted Buckley and he knew not to make the mistake again. In December and January at Lambeau, if you make sure tackles and keep your footing, all the track stars of the world on the visiting sideline will be useless.

Just look at yesterday's game and all season for that matter. No incredibly deep passes completed against us. Just short stuff with tons of YAC due to p*ss-poor tackling. Under Sherman we have Barnett who can run like a deer but is making all those tackles 6 yards downfield. And when gievn the chance to be a blitzing playmaker, he gets muscled out of the play and can't get to the QB.

We draft a smurf with blazing speed at CB who can run like the wind, but is unable to bump WRs at the line and grabs them to compensate. Not to mention his shoddy tackling and poor footing in the exact conditions this team used to thrive in. All of this leading to him becoming the poster boy in the NFL for pass interfence calls with referees.

So what we have is a team drafting speed to win in the 2-3 dome games per year, but now we no longer have any advantage at home. We went 4-5 at home this year. And we have numerous playoffs failures at home where that essentially used to be impossible. I can't believe I heard our own players acting like the field was in the worst shape ever. The field was terrible in December and January back in the Super Bowl years. But back then it was to our advantage.

Just think how few yards Minnesota would have had yesterday if we could tackle. I'd bet that 2/3 of their yardage if not more came after the first defender missed. That's how you win in bad weather. Sure tackling because the ground is too poor for any deep passing game.

- Special teams are another key indicator that points to a terribly assembled roster. When you have mind-bogglingly poor special teams, it is because of very poor depth. No matter who we bring in to coach the ST units, the play out there is terrible. Those guys drafted in the later rounds are there to hopefully develop into future starters. But in the meantime they have to play special teams. And the talent level at the end of our roster is horrible. Horrible due to horrible drafting and the immediate signs show themselves on special teams. Can you remember off the top of your head any punt return that Antonio Chatman had that was longer than 5 yards, because I can't. Nuf said.

And none of this even mentions how horrible Sherman's record in free agency is. He has not made one single good signing. Joe Johnson, KGB. amd Mark Roman are all either utter faliures or vastly overpaid. Grady Jackson fell into his lap because the Saints were able to sign him initially over the Packers, and then decided to cut him midseason for no real apparent weekend. No other team wanted him.

If Sherman is allowed even 1 more year, the reprecussions will be felt for a long, long time.

If anyone wants to even argue for him as a coach. Remember a few things...

- He lost the players when he fired Donnatel and hired one of his buddies. He also bypassed a very good coach in Lionel Washington to be DB coach. Instead another pal, Kurt Shottenheimer was hired from the outside and Washington was left at assistant DB coach. Guys like Sharper and McKenzie give all the credit in the world to Washington for having them ready to play big roles in their rookie years.

Sherman is never a difference maker on the sidelines. He may not lose games strategically, but he never wins them. Given opportunities to go for the jugular the man is a punter. 4th and inches against Philly and punting when he told that O-Line all year how much confidence he had in them. I've heard rumblings that many of the lineman lsot repect for him last year after that one.

Just look at yesterday. We got to within 7 twice by being aggressive on defense. But then we immediately stopped blitzing and Minny goes right down the field. It's like Slowik and Sherman had the guts when we're down 14 and nothing to lose, but when the game tightens up we go passive again. You can blame Slowik at first but when everyone in the stadium can see the difference from when we're blizing to when we're back in coverage, that's when a head coach has to take a walk down the sideline and tell his D-coordinator to get back to being aggressive.

So that's all I gotta say about the Packers.

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Brewers' Arby Cases

Four Milwaukee Brewers filed for arbitration this week, most notably Ben Sheets. Sheets filed for a 2005 salary of $6.5 million, while the club offered to pay him $5.5 million. The $1 million difference was easily the largest of any of the four cases. Other players to file were Brady Clark, Junior Spivey, and Brooks Kieschnick. It is likely that only the Sheets arby case will actually go to court. The other three were very close in salary demands that they will most likely be resolved somewhere in between each side's asking price. In fact, Kieschnick just signed a 1 year deal with the club today.

Several factors go into determining a player's value in the arbitration process. The arbitrator considers the player's career statistics, the number of years of major league service, the health of the player, past salaries, fan attendance, and the financial state of the ball club. A heavier weight is given to what has happened to the player as well as the club in the previous year.

When I heard that Sheets "only" asked for $6.5 million, I was ecstatic. I had figured on him asking for somewhere in the 8 - 10 million range after coming off the best season a Brewers pitcher has ever had. I immediately thought, just give him his extra million, but then took another look at it.

Sheets had offseason back surgery to remove a disc in his lower back, the same procedure I had done over a year ago. There is no guarantee that he will be able to completely recover from it, although all signs point to him being able to. He has logged only four seasons in the big leagues, with last season being his only truly spectacular season. Was last season a sign of things to come, or was it an aberration in that he will revert back to a league average pitcher? So after thinking about it a little more, I think each side's demands make sense.

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

All I Wanted was a Simple Oil Change

Never again do I plan to get the oil changed in my car. I will let it turn golden brown into tar before I get it changed again.

I get done with work at 12:15, drive over to "Tires Plus" because I see they offer to change your oil for $15 on a sign hanging outside. I pull in at 12:30, not a single car in the lot, or in any of the garages. I ask the guy at the desk if I could get the oil changed in my car and if I needed an appointment or not. He said, "No, we're not too busy, we'll get you in and out." So I asked him how long it would take, if I had time to go run across the street to get some lunch. He said, "It should be done by the time you get back."

I stroll on back over at 1:00 from lunch, expecting to see my car sitting in the lot, ready to go. Whoah, was I ever wrong! This is where the fun begins. I manage to cram my way back into the lobby, of which there are now a dozen people, and take a seat on a tire. There were three mechanics in the lobby, only one was actually helping customers. WTF the other two were doing was anybody's guess.

About 1:30 rolls around, and one of the guys comes up to me and tells me that I need a new serpentine belt, which I vaguely remember being told the last time I needed an oil change. The guy says to me, "We can go ahead and take care of this for you real quick, we have the belt here, it'll only take a few minutes." So I told him fine, go ahead and do it, I'm 20K miles over the orignal belt's life anyway, why keep risking it. Ok, let's recap -- it has already taken an hour to get a simple oil change, way too long in my estimation. How time consuming is it -- you idiots are mechanics!

As I watch the hours roll by, I entertain myself first by reading RollingStone, and then an issue of Popular Mechanic. I then learned way more than anyone, sans a weatherman, about "Alberta Clippers" and "Manitoba Maulers." Personally, I have never heard of "the Mauler" before, apparently it's a stronger storm than its cousin, the "Alberta Clipper."

The current time in my epic saga is now 3:30. I begin to notice the steady stream of customers that have come in after I originally came in who are now leaving after work has been done to their vehicles. I counted five such instances.

It again got to the point where I was the only customer in the lobby again. So I went up and asked them, politely, what the problem was. The guy tells me, "Well, since you didn't have an appointment, we had to get all of the scheduled work done first before we could work on your vehicle." Well, this set me off, as you can imagine. I then immediately told this guy that the original guy that helped me said that I didn't need an appointment and that they'd do it right away -- including the serpentine belt. He turns away and says, "Well, that's the way we work around here." As he walks back to the garage, I say to the original jackass, "So you go lying to every one of your customers, or just me?" He pretended not to hear me, but I know damn well that he heard me.

It's now 4:00, 31/2 hours into this saga. I get up to pace around in the lobby, for fear of my baggets freezing off. It has been 21/2 hours since I had seen anyone even walk past my car, let alone do something under to hood to it. As I walk past the counter, the guy who originally helped me says to me out of the blue, "They didn't have a belt, that's why it's taking so long. They're just waiting on the part to be delivered." At this point, I was so dumbfounded, I didn't know how to respond to such an outrageous comment. I said to him, "So you guys lied to me again?" He said, "I'm sorry sir, I apologize for the inconvenience." At which point now I am more frustrated than ever, "Why didn't you just tell me you didn't have the part instead of making me believe you had it? I would have gladly scheduled an appointment whenever the part came in!" At this point I realized there was absolutely nothing I could do -- I was at the mercy of 5 complete idiots.

I go sit back down on an actual folding chair, not a tire this time, I upgraded from rubber to metal. Current time is 4:15. I turn on ESPN to keep me sane. 4:30 rolls around. Three old, grotesque women, each pushing three bills come stomping in the place as if they own it. One of 'em comes directly to the TV, which I'm obviously paying attention to, and makes the token inquiry, "Are you watching this?", and before I can say yes, she starts flipping through the channels on the monitor one by one. Since I knew she didn't want my answer anyway, I said in my sarcastic tone, "Ohhhh no, feel free to watch whatever you desire...I was just cranking my head up at the screen as a stretching exercise..." ESPN was channel 28, she started going up -- al the way through 114 -- came back down to 3, and landed on channel 22 (THE GOD DAMN TV GUIDE CHANNEL WHERE IT SHOWS 2 SHOWS EVERY 5 SECONDS). In disbelief, I watched her spend 5 minutes watching it scroll through three entire times! And what did she pick, you ask, well, the old trailer park trash picked something that really shouldn't have surprised me in the least bit -- King of the Hill, one of my favorites. At which point, she takes off her coat, only to reveal that she is wearing a blue mumu!!! I lost it right then and there! I started laughing my ass off -- you could have heard me across the street! It looked exactly like the Simpson's episode where Homer weighs 400 pounds and can only fit into a mumu.

Around 5:00, my belt finally arrives. After watching back to back episodes of Texas trash on TV, my car was finally fixed and ready to go at 5:45. "That'll be $147.83, sir." I thought I had experienced enough shock for one day, wrong. I questioned the total to him because I was given a quote of $75 for the new belt plus labor, plus the $15 for the oil change. In my book, that equals $90. Not in the Tires Plus book however. Apparently, they believe in false advertising. The $15 oil change is only when you sign up for an account with them and get your tires rotated at the same time. I said to the guy, "So, you lied to my face not once but twice, plus you believe in false advertisement as well. You guys are nothing but a bunch of pathological lying idiots. Show me where it says that I have to meet all of these stipulations for a 15 dollar oil change!" He had nothing, he was just trying to overcharge me, which just seemed fitting to end the day.

Nothing better than spending over 5 hours at a car shop.

Moral of the story: Pay the extra $20 bucks to get it done in 15 minutes at a Jiffy Lube...

Monday, January 17, 2005

Brewers Sign "Blowttalico"

As it has been said numerous times over his career, "Nobody blows a save like Ricky Blowttalico!" Bottalico signed a one year deal with the Crew for somewhere less than a million bucks. It's not the worst signing that Melvin could have made, given his limited finances and the dearth of relievers on the market. The Brewers needed a veteran presence in their bullpen to provide the youngsters some much needed grit and leadership.

Bottalico actually had a pretty good year for the Mets last season, after missing the majority of the 2003 season due to shoulder surgery. In 69 1/3 innings, Bottalico issued 34 walks and struck out 61 hitters. He allowed only three homers - a very good sign coming to homer-friendly Miller Park - and held opponents to a .215 batting average.


Why is it that every street named after MLK is in the seediest part of town, no matter which town? Every time I see the 3 letter abbreviation on a street sign, I automatically begin fearing for my life. And to veer off subject, why did everyone and their mama have off from work today except me? Just my luck I guess. It was a boring day at the office with nobody else to email in order to keep me from falling asleep at my desk!

Playoff Recap

I managed to pick 3 of 4 games correctly this weekend, and now I have many a beer to drink because of it!

The toughest game to pick, in hindsight, was the Jets and Steelers game. Big Ben had a terrible game, but still managed to do just enough to earn the victory. I sure wouldn't want to be Doug Brien, the goat of a place kicker for the Jets. After missing the first attempt to give the Jets the lead in the 4th quarter, he was given a second chance, only to badly miss to the left instead of nailing the cross bar. I feel for the guy. They showed him sulking on the bench after the second blown attempt, I'm not sure who it was, but a teammate was shown just glaring at the guy point blank. You can imagine the thoughts running through his head.

This is why I said no when offered a chance to play for my college football team as a kicker. Actually, there were many reasons why it didn't make sense for me, but that's a different story for a different time. I believe there is no real place in football for kickers, plain and simple. You have one job, and that's to kick the ball between the uprights, how hard is it to do? Seriously, I nailed 4 40-yarders in a row just screwing around, all straight down the pipe. It's not that hard! That was only my second time ever kicking a football too. Next thing I knew, a coach wanted me on the team. I told him thanks but no thanks, I don't care for kickers all that much!

Sunday, January 16, 2005

May 1st

Omigod, omigod, omigod!!! I can't wait this long until new episodes of the Family Guy come out! I feel like dancing an Irish jig I'm so happy!

38 in a row

The nation's longest home winning streak carries on. The Badgers pulled one out against a Michigan State team that still has not found a way to beat Bo Ryan and his crew. Clayton Hanson had a spectacular game, finishing with 15 points, all on three pointers. Also surprised to see the game televised on national TV for a change. UW's next home game is against #1 ranked Illinois on 1/25. Sadly, I don't seem to think the streak will make it to 39, but here's to hoping!