Sunday, May 27, 2012
When looking at schedules to determine toughness I look at projected rankings, and experience at Quarterback. The Wolfpack schedule is loaded with team's who have experienced quality quarterback play and with a depleted linebacker core from NFL departures and suspension the backfield for NC State will have even more pressure to be outstanding this fall.
I doubt David Amerson will have the opportunity to pick off 13 passes as he did in 2011 because teams will be careful with the chances they take toward the talented cornerback. Amerson could be in a situation as Dre Bly was in after the 1996 and 1997 seasons where he at times pressed plays instead of letting the game come to him. In 1998 his production went down because his front seven was not as dominant as in previous years after losing Holliday, Ellis, Simmons, Mays and Newman to the NFL. The 1998 Tar Heel squad could not put pressure on the quarterback and teams had more time to throw which impacted Bly. Amerson's front seven may be weaker without JR Sweezy (NFL) , Manning (NFL) and DJ Green (Suspension) no longer there to pressure the quarterback. Amerson has all the skills to be a dominant shutdown cornerback, and the Pack will need him to be even better this year. Just do not be surprised if he impacts the offense more like Deion Sanders shutting down half a field rather than piling up interceptions.
NC State has eight quarterbacks on it's schedule who passed for more than 2000 yards and two of the better quarterbacks they face in Tajh Boyd and Bryn Renner are on the road. Although Kenan stadium has been a friendly place for the Wolfpack the Heels passing attack will add pressure for Amerson and crew to play even better against their triangle rival. The Wolfpack open up against Tyler Brey and the Tennessee Volunteers in Atlanta for the kickoff classic. If the Wolfpack can contend for an ACC championship and post a solid record of 8 wins or more then they will have truly earned their way to that resume. Wolfpack fans may be disappointed with anything short of an ACC championship with Glennon back for a senior year, but the ACC is loaded at quarterback and that is a recipe for some upsets in games that one may think could never happen.
If David Amerson has a season close to the one from last year against top quality quarterbacks for majority of the season expect his name to be called very early in the NFL draft next April.
Saturday, May 26, 2012
Courtney Upshaw, DE Alabama
Upshaw was picked in the second round by Baltimore and he probably fell to this spot because he is an in between player. Will he be a defensive end or a outside linebacker in a 3-4 scheme? Upshaw was arguably the best defensive end in the country and teams will be regretting they passed up on the 270lb prospect who has ran a 4.65 forty yard dash. Upshaw was the anchor on the Crimson Tide National Championship team and four of his teammates were selected ahaid of him. Think he has something to prove?
Nick Toon, WR Wisconsin
The difference in wide receiver statistics over the years has been skewed due to spread offenses and teams using the outside game to assist with a run game. Toon played in a run oriented offense and had more yards than his father Al Toon. Toon was selected in the fourth round by New Orleans and Drew Brees will love this kids route running ability. Toon made not turn out to be all world in the NFL, but we expect him to perform better than you expect a fourth rounder to play.
Terrell Manning, OLB NC State
Had Terrell Manning not had his car accident over the summer 0f 2009 and a couple knee injuries the Wolpack linebacker would be a first round prospect. Manning is athletic, and an explosive tackler. He will fit perfectly in the blitzing style defense Green Bay likes to use in the NFL. Manning will bring and added element to help Green Bay defend the run. With ball hawking lineback Clay Matthews Manning can focus on shoring up the middle in their run defense.
These are just three players we think will perform better than their draft selection suggests. Who else will step up? Only the NFL season with inform us and it cannot arrive soon enough.
The move to the ACC in the early nineties improved ACC football as a whole. The ACC still gets pounded in the media for not being the SEC, but if you look at facilities upgrades around the conference they can be associated with the arrival of FSU and Bobby Bowden. Bowden dominated the ACC when they arrived, but in his last few years as a coach that aura of Florida state was gone and teams no longer feared the Seminoles as they once did. I attribute this to two things: the 85 scholarship limit caught up to Bowden where he could not just out talent teams, and the exposure Florida state gave teams to finally recruit Florida as they had always desired. With increased TV exposure more middle of the road teams are on TV just as much as the Seminoles. Bowden also lost several key coaches over the last decade and these coaches also recruited the Florida area extremely well.
The Seminoles success has been well documented, but when you look at the numbers closely a move to the SEC may not be the best choice to move back to dominance because the Seminoles have not always done well against top 25 competition. In the 1990's the Seminoles were as dominant as you get posting a record of 42-12-1 versus top 25 teams, and if you include 1989 the record is even better at 47-12-1 versus top 25 teams. The years between 1980-1988 and from 2000-2009 FSU went 40-43 versus top 25 teams for a winning percentage of 48.2. That record wont win you any titles in the SEC and FSU could get back to the days where they competed for a national title, but are fans going to be happy with a .500 record versus top tier teams with any coach? During the Bowden years they play as few as 3 top 25 teams to 6 teams ranked in the top 25 at the end of the year.
FSU may look at the dollar signs when finalizing what they will do in the future, but instead of running from the ACC the Seminoles should try to do what they did in the nineties which was dominate the league giving them chances at multiple National Titles.
Please follow us on twitter @MandMsportshow and you can also find Haley on Keepingitheel.com
Saturday, May 19, 2012
The Orioles have had moments in the previous thirty years where they made the playoffs and the Jeffrey Maier incident still haunts me to this day. I was able to watch as a very young kid the 83 world series, but ever since then there has been a lifetime of heartache. Although the team has the great memories of Cal Ripkin and the streak team accomplishments have been limited. Being in a division with the Red Sox and the Yankees is difficult, but the Blue Jays were able to win world series without the financial stability Oriole's owner peter Angelos has. His unwillingness to get spend the money necessary to build a consistent winner has been frustrating which is why i am cautioning my emotions with this year's team start.
The Orioles are in first place at 26-14 with a two game lead, and yes we are still in May. What has been consistent for Baltimore has been pitching. Before the season we knew pitching would be a key to the Orioles success, but being the best road team in baseball along with being 4th in ERA is better than anyone would have expected. The Orioles must continues to play well on the road and have consistent good pitching and defense if they want to toy with fans emotions further in the season.
For Orioles fans you cannot blame any of us for looking over our shoulder waiting for a Yankee or Red Sox title wave to crash on us sending us further than down the standings. My confidence in making the playoffs is still as confident as a Cub fan who has a ten run lead in the bottom of the ninth with an 0-2 count and two outs with a chance to go to the world series. Yes a Cub fan would be a wreck until the final out. The Orioles may continue to play well, but my emotions will as George Carlin describes baseball full of ups and downs.
Wednesday, May 16, 2012
When I watch basketball I want to see my stars take over the game and tell everyone to get out of the way in the fourth quarter. Jordan would just demand the ball for most of the fourth quarter and he was going to be responsible whether or not his team lost. Granted Jordan did pass to John Paxon for a clutch three and he ended up assiting Steve Keer in several games, but the Jordan that developed into that player also hit clutch shot after clutch shot to get to that moment. Cleveland fans can all too well remember the drive left and pull up at the foul line to put a dagger in Craig Elo, Mark Price and Brad Daugherty's season. Who can forget Jordan's cross over game winning shot against Bryan Russell in game six of the NBA finals in 1998?
Lebron James is fun to watch, but many great players without rings were fun to watch. Lebron James is going to be judged on the court by the number of rings he wins fair or unfair. Majic Johnson, Larry Bird, Michael Jordan, Bill Russell Kareem Abdul Jabar, Hakeem Olajuwan may never have been the physical specimen Lebron James is, but they all have more hardware than he has to this point in his career. Experts may say that lebron is the best in the NBA, but until he can win a finals my vote still travels to the man in LA that people can recognize as Kobe.
The NBA is not a league I follow all year, but i do watch during the playoffs. The playoffs are where NBA legends are made and the regular season highlight real player is exposed. Lebron has the skill to be that legend, but will he demand the ball when the next opportunity comes or pass it off to a name I will never remember?
Please follow us on twitter @MandMsportshow and you can also find Haley on Keepingitheel.com
Thursday, May 10, 2012
Who is the best quarterback in your mind of all time? For a moment I bet multiple players jumped through your mind and you thought of criteria to keep or eliminate each one. This question is one of the greatest questions in any sport because even the most die-hard fan of any team will not just throw out any name from their franchise because this a man’s debate where ignorance is frowned upon.
The other day I posed the question of “who is the greatest quarterback of all time” to our editor Matt at keepingitheel.com, and of course being the Niner boy he is the choice was Joe Montana. Joe Montana is a Hall of Fame quarterback who won four Super Bowls. That is an impressive record for any quarterback. Only Terry Bradshaw can match him.
I am a Redskin fan and my choice in the argument is John Elway. Right away my credibility is greater because I elected to go outside of fan mode. Where he chose to stay true to his NinerNation I ventured out away from our nations capital to pick Hall of Famer John Elway. Elway won two Super Bowls, but may be better remembered for his fourth quarter comebacks, “the drive” and lop sided super bowl losses. I acknowledge the Super bowl defeats, but the teams he made it to Super Bowls with were put together more with band aids as they were with great players. On the offense you will hard pressed to name one all pro, much less the greatest receiver of all time in Jerry Rice.
Before you start commenting and telling me I am an idiot I will concede arguments can be made for many QBs because there is no right answer for this question. It is an opinion and a view point to argue in the months when there is no football, and to give people like me who cannot think of a story a new post to add to his blog. Otto Graham, Sammy Baugh, Johnny Unitas all come to mind when this argument comes up. For me John Elway was everything I wanted to be in a backyard football quarterback. Forget dinking and dunking I was throwing deep every play, and trying break my receivers hands doing it. Montana was great, but if the roles were reversed would either have done more or less with respective teams. We will never know which makes the question I asked you the greatest question in all of sports.