NFL Training Camp Reality Check

Green Bay Packers training campEvery year 32 NFL teams attempt to either improve on a disappointing season or try to duplicate the success of season’s past. After the big name free agents have been signed and the next crop of rookies have shaken the hand of NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, playtime is over, the suits are off and the real work begins.

Although the colors that NFL fans wear varies in colors and stripes their passion is all the same but which team is destined to disappoint and which team poised to surprise? EachMaclin Koppen Pitta football season we are assured of three certainties: (1) An injury will occur ruining a team’s playoff chances; (2) An undrafted free agent or late round pick will have a breakout season; (3) The preseason Super Bowl Favorite will fall short.

Last year sixth round pick running back Alfred Morris entered Washington Redskins training camp as an unknown that became a star who ended the season fourth in the league in rushing and played an intricate role in the Redskins resurgence. Small school prospect Bobby Wagner from perennial powerhouse Utah State made his presence felt with the Seattle Seahawks finishing seventh in the league in tackles. Which rookie rg3 colin kaepernick russell wilsonfrom the 2013 class will go from unanimous to stardom?

Although pundits have crowned the San Franciso 49ers as Super Bowl favorites each year we are reminded that games are won and lost with grit, blood, sweat, and tenacity. In the NFL nothing is given every inch must be earned, and each game will be tougher than the next. Now that opposing defensive coordinators have had an entire summer to study the tendencies of Robert Griffin III, Russell Wilson, and Colin Kapernick what will these promising second year starters do for an encore?

nfl training camp mapWith training camp now in full swing in small towns all over the country each day a new revelation is revealed. Although no games have been played or touchdowns recorded training camp will dictate the fate of all 32 teams, and ultimately determine if your team hoists the Lombardi or is forced to go back to the drawing board. Training camp may just be practice, but remember practice make perfect. Stay tuned…I know I will.

Anthony Denmark is a writer for Follow him on Twitter@eatdrkslpsprtz2, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on GoogleListen to eatdrnkslpsprtz radio  Subscribe to podcast

Golden State Warrior: The New Kings of California

kobe bryant and stephen currySince the inception of the NBA the Los Angeles Lakers has been the premiere organization that took a back seat to no sports franchise, especially not any in California. The dominance of the Lakers is well documented but it appears that their days of glory have come to an end. Many pundits believe that since the Clippers have added a doctor and signed Chris Paul to an $118 million dollar extension that their days of living in the shadows known as the other team that plays in the Staple Center were over.

Although adding a championship coach in Doc Rivers will certainly lead to some improvements but the Clippers front-court of Blake i’m soft Griffin and DeAndre airball Jordan still remain huge liabilities that many will be reminded of comedeandre jordan blake griffin and chris paul playoff time. However, the forgotten team is not that team in Sacramento but that team who calls the Zoo its home, the Golden State Warrior.  Led by master motivator Coach Mark Jackson the future of the Warriors looks golden and their place as the next king of California appears inevitable.

The Warriors young nucleus gained invaluable experience last season making it to the golden state warriorssecond round of the playoffs. Stephen Curry is a superstar in the making and Klay Thompson is also a promising young star in his own right. Despite losing Carl Landry and Jarrett Jack in free agency rookies Harrison Barnes, Draymond Green, and Kent Bazemore all have committed themselves in the off season to have productive sophomore campaigns and pick up the slack.

The front court is also no slouch led by two-time All-Star David Lee and often injured former top pick Andrew Bogut. Although the back-court garners most of the attention if Lee and Bogut are able to fight off the injury bug and avoid the label that has plagued both of them throughout their career a deep in the playoffs looks likely.

Led by an elite coach, promising shooters, a deep bench and the recent acquisition of Andre Iguodala who is more versatile than a Swiss Army knife the Warriors days inwarriors beat lakers the shadow are over. And as the New Kings of California expectation will rise, and much more will be expected. Will the Warriors rise to the occasion or shrink under pressure? Stay tuned…I know I will.


Anthony Denmark is a writer for Follow him on Twitter@eatdrkslpsprtz2, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on GoogleListen to eatdrnkslpsprtz radio  Subscribe to podcast

Detroit Pistons – The Palace Joe Dumars built and destroyed

Detroit Pistons Glory YearsTen years ago the Detroit Pistons was hailed as premiere franchise in the NBA blessed with a genius in the front office in Joe Dumars and a coaching whiz in Larry Brown whose play the right way philosophy led to two NBA Finals appearances and 1 NBA Championship.

With 55 win seasons appearing to be virtual certainty for many seasons to come the Palace of Auburn Hills was appearing to be home to a dynasty in the making. However after the Pistons infamous 2003 NBA Draft fail Darko Milicic everything has gone down hill ever since.Darko Milicic retires The same general manager who assembled the beast in the East and a perennial playoff contender has been making bad moves left and right.

Maybe Dumars was not the mastermind we initially believed? Maybe the Pistons glory years and return to relevant had more to do with coaching nomad Larry Brown who has been retired, fired, and hired again? Each season that passes since the Pistons glory years Dumars Joe Dumars and Larry BrownIQ is a declining and he is nearly reaching short bus status.

When given a chance to prove us wrong Dumars disappoints again by passing on point guard Trey Burke and adding another shooting guard in Kentavius Caldwell-Pope. If that move was not poor enough then Dumars signs forward Josh Smith to a $56 million dollar deal completely forgetting that he already has two promising forwards in Greg Monroe and Andre Drummond that cheaper with a much higher ceiling.

When will Detroit’s Pistons owner Tom Gores say enough is enough? 5 Coaches in 8 years, 6 losing seasons, Charlie Villanueva ($37 Million), Rodney Stuckey ($25.5 rodney stuckey and charlie villanuevaMillion), and now  Smith, a $56 million forward who clogs the land and can’t shoot should equal more than enough reasons to show Dumars the door. Although loyalty is rewarded in sports there comes a time when you must look in another direction. Is the Dumars era near its end? Is the Bad Boy become a laughing stock or a punchline? Stay tuned…I know I will

Anthony Denmark is a writer for Follow him on Twitter@eatdrkslpsprtz2, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on GoogleListen to eatdrnkslpsprtz radio  Subscribe to podcast

Life after Dwight Howard – Laker fans will hate him now but thank him in 2014

d12 jersey burningAlthough Los Angeles Lakers fans burned their Dwight Howard jersey after news broke of Dwight Howard’s indecision and his stage left exit to Houston. Yes, Howard is the most dominant big man in the game, yes Howard could have been the next great Laker big man. But after an experiment gone horribly wrong would the Lakers have been able to improve on a disappointing 2012 season with Howard at the helm for the first three months of the season.

Laker faithful recall the stress and undue frustration that you experienced when Howard pouted up and down the court, complaining about shots, and struggling on the free throw. For the moment the Houston Rockets are viewed as the winners of the Dwight-sweepstakes but in reality what have they really won? A three-time defensive player of dwight howard hurtthe year with back and ongoing shoulder concerns. A one-dimensional liability with a limited arsenal of offensive moves and unreliable target in the clutch due to poor free throw shooting.

Howard may go on to win a NBA Championship in Houston but his recent history suggest that it may not be a virtual certainty. Howard may have passed on $30 million dollars to sign with the Rockets but the flexibility he provides for the Lakers regarding the future is immeasurable.

lakers future big 3Laker fans may not realize it now but this same time next year when the Lakers are having a press conference welcoming their next big three stars and a possible 2014 lottery pick, the number of Howard thank you letters will be overwhelming because without his indecision a brighter future for Laker-nation would not have been possible.