There was a Pro Bowl Draft yesterday and although the Indianapolis Colts were well represented someone was missing. This year was supposed to be the year of Andrew Luck and after 24 rounds his name was nowhere to be found. After adding weapons via free agency and through the draft Super Bowl 50 was supposed to be Luck’s coronation as the new face of the NFL, not Cam Newton. But one embarrassing loss after the other it became abundantly clear that the Colts were in trouble. Each time Luck dropped back we were reminded of the Colts idiotic decision to not address an ineffective offensive line that surrendered 353 hits and 123 sacks in three years.
Thanks to Colts GM Ryan Grigson continued oversights Luck was battered and bruised so much that it resulted in 8 missed games, a lacerated kidney, and an abdominal tear. But even after Grigson failed to protect the Colts soon to be $100 million dollar asset, his incompetence was awarded with a 3 year extension. Clearly, the Colts have mistakenly presumed that Luck will sign an extension this summer and that my friends is a mistake.
Besides playing in the weakest division in the NFL there is absolutely no reason for Luck to re-sign with the Colts. His owner Jim Irsay is a druggie, Grigson is the worst GM in the league, and it looks like Chuck Pagano‘s heart just isn’t in it anymore. It doesn’t take a Stanford diploma to realize that a championship window does not exist with the Colts current regime.
Although Luck has continued to take the high road, its time for him to pack his bags and become the biggest free agent in NFL history. If Luck wants to make it to his third contract in one piece he must not sign on the dotted line this summer. This season may not have been the year of Luck but next summer could be THE DECISION, and he could be asking your favorite team DO YOU FEEL LUCK-Y? Stay tuned…I know I will. – A. Denmark
When I watch the Golden State Warriors play I see a much younger more modernized version of the San Antonio Spurs. The Warriors led by the Splash Brothers shoot threes as easy as the Big Fundamental won five NBA titles hitting bank shots in the paint. But did we really expect a Gregg Popovich disciple to coach his squad any other way? Although a 30-point loss is never enjoyable, a small part of Coach Pop had to be amused to see his offense being used so brilliantly against him. Either by luck or buy design the Warriors were constructed in the Spurs image.
Just like their predecessors, the Warriors roster consists of overlooked guys who 29 other teams passed on because they were either too injury prone, too small, viewed as draft bust, or simply because they were not their fathers. In spite of their shortcomings as individuals by their talents combined the Warriors now look like a dynasty in the making and Coach Pop is largely responsible.
The Warriors ball movement and willingness to make the extra pass for a better shot is vintage Popovich. Although Stephen Curry will never be confused with Tim Duncan, his ability to embrace a team first mentality has created an infectious championship mindset.
Xs and Os are only as good as the players running them and the Spurs simply got out spurred, one back cut after the other. The aging vets couldn’t keep up, Lamarcus Aldridge was a no-show, and reigning Defensive Player of the Year Kawhi Leonard was on skates all night. Since the Spurs got out spurred by Spurs-West Coach Pop must make some changes because standing pat just won’t work. Warriors won round 1, do the Spurs stand a chance in round 2? Stay tuned…I know I will.
Led by dynamic duo of Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook, the Oklahoma City Thunder look poised to make a deep run in the NBA Playoffs. Haven’t we heard this before? For eight seasons fans have envisioned banners and a NBA championship parade on Main Street in downtown Oklahoma City. After the Thunder reached the NBA Finals in 2012 most presumed that a return would be inevitable.
However, four years minus two max players and one coach later instead of titles all the Thunder have are woulda-coulda-and -shouldas. Finishing above .500 and making the playoffs is no longer enough. Being third in the Western Conference is not a victory, but a reminder of how the Thunder are still unable to meet expectation. Blessed with two super stars, health, and depth some losses are simply unacceptable. Simply put, title contenders do not lose to the Brooklyn Nets or the New York Knicks.
The Thunders window is closing and time is running out. If Thunder wish to actually contend they simply need to win the games they are supposed too, i.e. the Knicks. Although it may be tough on some nights, if the Spurs and Warriors do it, why can’t they. Armed with two MVP candidates, a stretch four in Serge Ibaka, the Bash Brothers in Steve Adams and Mitch McGary, and a deep deep bench.
The talent is there and the Thunder are all out of excuses. Although third place is good for right now, at the end of the season if your not first your last. Will the Thunder finally win when it counts or will this be the last that we see of Durant in a Thunder uniform? Stay tuned…I know I will.
I expected a eulogy when Tom Brady and Peyton Manning went head-to-head for the seventeenth time. I thought that a quarterback who threw ducks with no arm strength would be helpless against a Belichick led defense. Heck, I even joked with friends that after a few turnovers and a pick six or two that Manning would be pulled. But clearly I was wrong, I foolishly overlooked the Broncos defense.
The Broncos had put out an APB put for Von Miller whose game had been missing and unaccounted for. The Broncos trainers and medical staff were on the ready to carry the often injured Demarcus Ware off the field. But after 0 sack 5 tackle performance these talented edge rushers led the charge and took over the game. After a week of #BradyvsManning headlines, the Broncos defense stole the show. The secondary stuck to Patriots receivers like white on rice. In addition, to the Karate Kid and Mr. Miyaga, Derek Wolfe and Malik Jackson had more hits on Brady than the Jacksons,Beatles and Gisele combined (23).
At the close of the AFC Championship we were reminded that defense still wins championships. History has shown us that teams with high powered offense and no defense do not win Super Bowls. (Minus the Rams). When Manning won his first and only Lombardi trophy in 2006, it was the defense and not his performance which led the charge.In Manning’s three loses the offense was record breaking and his defense was an afterthought Ten years later the same formula of more defense and less Manning will be needed for the Broncos to win its third Super Bowl.
Manning does not have to be the Manning of old to win Super Bowl 50. Manning does not have to throw for 400 yards and 4 touchdowns. In fact if Manning tries to be the Manning of old, the game will be over before the half. All Manning has to do is be like two Super Bowl winning quarterbacks who aren’t even in their own teams ring of honor Brad Johnson and Trent Dilfer. These two savy NFL journeymen won because they were mature enough to know their limitations and wisely followed the lead of their record breaking defenses.
Thus far this postseason Manning has 0 int and only 2 touchdowns and although its not pretty, the Broncos are now only one win away. If the ducks and errand passes don’t result in turnovers the Broncos will win because no Manning is no problem. Will he continue to play the right way or will the turnover machine return? Will Demaryius Thomas catch the DAMN ball? Either way I am a now a believer, in Broncos defense I trust. Stay tuned…I know I will.
Marshawn Lynch‘s return was supposed to make the Seattle Seahawks unbeatable. We assumed that after an eight game layoff, that Lynch would bolster an offense that had already been firing at all cylinders. But after a modest 6 carry 20 yard performance the truth had become clear. An offense that once fed off of the Beast no longer needed him to win. In his absence Russell Wilson became a MVP candidate, Doug Baldwin had a career year, and rookie Tyler Lockett became an All-Pro. Although Lynch’s leadership and personality had been missed his contributions this year, 3 touchdowns and only 1 hundred yard game suggest that he had all but been forgotten.
For six seasons the success of the Seahawks rested soley on the broad shoulders of Lynch whose punishing style of running led to lots of wins, caused a earth quake, and made him a sure fire Canton-bound Hall-of-Famer. Each time Lynch took a handoff we all waited to see something amazing and rarely were we ever disappointed. But after the run that did not happen in Super Bowl 49 everything changed, either due to poor play calling or father time, it appears Beast Mode had been tamed.
Throughout the season a new culprit was identified as the reason why Lynch wasn’t producing like the decibel defying running back we had remembered. One week it was the Seahawks OC Darell Bevell, then it was a poor O-line, and by week 6 a sports hernia was diagnosed as the source of Lynch’s ineffectiveness.
After seeing other running backs have success behind the Seahawks O-line, after two months of rest we assumed that the Beast would return healthy and ready to destroy anyone in his path. But boy were we wrong instead we saw a running back who was only a shadow of himself. Not once did we consider how 2,744 carries would wear on his body. Not once did we consider that a decade of delivering punishment would have finally caught up with him.
Maybe there are a few more years left in the thirty year old running back. No matter how many more yards or touchdowns Lynch scores, in 2016 we learned that the Canton-bound running back is the Beast-mode no more. No matter what Lynch does next, we all know he will do it his way, because HE’S ABOUT THAT ACTION BOSS. Will he retire? What jersey will he wear next? Stay tuned… I know I will.
For nearly five years Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers has been hailed as one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time. The same dude who couldn’t beat out the legend who threw the most interceptions in NFL history in three failed attempts is now thought of as an eventual inductee into the NFL Hall of Fame.
However, the Rodgers hype does not match the resume. After only one Lombardi trophy it seems that all rational and reason has gone out the window. With each Packers win the Rodgers love affair has gotten more and more out of hand. The early round playoff exits and the poor decision making in clutch moments have been ignored by the masses year in and year out. The criticisms are deflected onto others not named Rodgers on a regular basis.
However, if things do not improve and I mean quick Rodgers may be demoted from great to a very good player and eventually to average which may mean no Hall of Fame. Like a lot of past players, Rodgers has had some good years however greatness is defined by consistent dominance in spite of age, systems, injuries and weapons. True greatness does not rely on the play of others but instead raises the level of play of those around them. That’s how Tom Brady and Drew Brees stamped their tickets to Canton, by winning in spite of their team’s glaring deficiencies.
This season Rodgers has gotten exposed, without wideout Jordy Nelson, the highest paid quarterback in the league has looked rather pedestrian. In spite of the poor play recognition, errand throws, and poor decision making no one has dared to consider that Rodgers may not be all that great. The Lambeau faithful have blamed everyone but ’12’. After each loss the fans and pundits blamed a different position group. One week it was a poor o-line; another week it was wideouts; and so on and so on. Since Coach McCarthy has now taken over the play calling, there is no one else to blame but ’12’. If Rodgers truly needs Nelson to be great maybe he is not great after all. Maybe Rodgers is just a product of great system. Maybe Nelson or Coach McCarthy should get the bust in Canton instead of him.
Rodgers legacy will be on the line when the Packers travel to D.C. for the first round of the playoffs. If Rodgers makes another early first round exit then his days of being a bad man are all but over and the chants of him being overrated will grow louder. Have we seen the last of that bad man? Or is there still fight in him yet? R-E-L-A-X Stay tuned…I know I will. – A. Denmark
For years it has become a ritual of mine to pick up my preseason college basketball magazines once a national champion had been crowned on the gridiron. I assumed that this year would be no different however things are very different this year. The teams who are usually contenders are now average at best and the latest crop of supposed freshman phenoms seem to be destined to be either professional benchwarmers or NBA D-leaguers at best. And the one phenom who is actually living up to the hype, Ben Simmons, may not even make it to March Madness.
It appears that many of the so-called 5 stars players pail in comparison to the crop of freshman phenoms that proceeded them. There does not appear to be a Kevin Durant, Kevin Love, Chris Paul, or Anthony Davis like once in a generational talent in the latest crop of freshman. Maybe we have been spoiled year in and year out and as a consequence the quality of college basketball is hemorrhaging one brick or air ball at a time.
Besides Ben Simmons at LSU, his freshman brethren have left very little to be desired. Skal Labissiere at Kentucky can not shoot and is so thin that he makes a twig look massive. The Durant comparisons to Duke freshman Brandon Ingram are downright criminal. It is downright blasphemy to compare one of the greatest scorers of all-time to a reluctant freshman whose not even the top scorer on his own team. And the reigning McDonalds All-American and Jordan Ball Classic MVP Cheick Diallo is currently collecting splinters on the bench in Lawrence for Kansas.
For nearly a decade college basketball has feasted off of the hype of its phenomenal freshman. College basketball is best when the diaper dandies live up too the hype, when they don’t we are left with a dreadful year like this. Announcers sound bored out their minds, fans have been much quieter than usual, and prominent coaches have been left scratching their heads.
Maybe things will get better? But if the clanks and 1-on-5 playground offensive sets continues I will have to send in my resignation as a college basketball fan. Because when the freshman are bad, college basketball is down right unwatchable. Will the Class of 2017 be any different? Stay tuned…I know I will – A. Denmark
Anthony Denmark is a writer for eatdrnkslpsprtz.com. Follow him on Twitter@eatdrkslpsprtz2, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google. Listen to eatdrnkslpsprtz radio Subscribe to podcast