Random Friday Thoughts

February 27, 2015
Adam Thomas

1.) NFL free agency is about to start so let’s keep one thing in mind that I’ve talked about on this blog before: whoever wins free agency is not going to win in the regular season. Do the Patriots ever ‘Win’ free agency? No. Teams like the Tampa Bay Buccaneers win free agency. In fact, they were declared winners by many media outlets last year and what did that get them? The number one pick in this year’s draft. The Bills won free agency in 2012 by signing Mario Williams and haven’t sniffed the playoffs since. Keep this in mind when players start flying off the shelves on March 10.

With that being said, I will definitely be up at midnight on March 10 to see who the Raiders pick up. Just because it’s fools gold doesn’t mean it’s not fun to imagine that it’s the real thing!

2.) If you can give up Michael Carter-Williams and get (potentially) the number 4 pick in the one of the next two drafts or a top ten pick in this year’s draft, I don’t have a problem with it. Put it this way, with MCW the Sixers were terrible. Without MCW, the Sixers are terrible. They aren’t winning any games this year with or without him so why not capitalize on the best value you can get for an over valued player like MCW? I like it.

And if you are doubtful of Hinkie, just take a moment to watch his press conference. The dude seems like an evil genius and I have no doubt that when the time comes, he will strike and bring a superstar to the Sixers because remember, that’s what you need in the NBA. You need one of those guys like Lebron if you want to win a championship. You don’t get there by holding onto players like MCW when a chance at the potential number 4 pick (in 2016 or 2017) comes around.

Some notable picks at #4: Chris Paul, Chris Bosh and Russell Westbrook.

If you can acquire a pick with the potential to turn MCW into a player like that, go for it.

3.) Speaking of NBA teams, for some reason, I just don’t trust the Warriors to make it out of the West. Call it the curse of Iggy, but they just seem like they aren’t there yet. Why do I feel like it will be Memphis or San Antonio this year?

4.) The album of the week is Colleen Green’s “I Want to Grow Up.” Which is the balls. In fact, let’s just do a quick shout out to the lady rockers out there who keep churning out some of the best albums around. This year, Sleater-Kinney dominated January, now Colleen Green is rocking February, what’s next for March? Guess we’ll have to find out.

Until next time…

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Sam Hinkie Shakes Up the Sixers, Again

February 20, 2015
Randy Neil

Yesterday, Sam Hinkie traded away considerable pieces to what was thought to be cornerstones in a long term rebuilding plan for the 76ers franchise.  The biggest piece was Michael Carter-Williams, 2013-14 NBA Rookie of the Year, which has left some people questioning the decision.

Hinkie addressed the media this morning and elaborated on the mindset behind some of these decisions.  He noted that while trading Carter-Williams was difficult, in put them in a place where they were more hopeful for the future.  Hinkie gushed about the flexibility these additional assets gave them, noting that there is no timetable or certainty to the culmination of these moves.

As a Sixers fan, I can’t make up my mind about these trades.  More importantly, neither can you.  Neither can Sam Hinkie.  He understands that a lot of these moves are calculated risks which can pay off big, but also can work out to be nothing.

It’s hard to explain to a 2015 fan that these moves put the franchise in a ‘better’ position.  Not only is long-term projection a difficult thing for an emotionally invested fan, but more so when everyone in the Philadelphia area has witnessed considerable progress in this season alone.

I can honestly say I’ve watched more games this season attentively than any other season.  It was interesting to see the player development that Sam Hinkie iterates constantly, in spite of their wins and losses.  You could see a progression in this team’s chemistry and resolve.

That might be the biggest factor in my hesitance to embrace these moves.  Metaphorically, we are playing 5-card stud and trying to have unlimited re-draws.  Right now, we are hoping for something better and a lot of us thought the hand we had  could play into something big already.  Who knows what cards we are going to pick up, and that’s the scary part.

More importantly, what kind of morale does this have on the players whom Hinkie does consider long-term pieces to this rebuilding process?  How much does that factor into his decision making?

When Joel-Hans Embiid is tweeting this —

— you have to wonder what kind of mindset this will put him in regarding his future in Philadelphia.  He has since Tweeted much more optimistic things, but again, these are intangibles.

When you look at a championship caliber player like Lebron James, it’s pretty clear that the faith in his franchise weighs on his decision making.  When we speculate in a high draft pick like Joel-Hans Embiid to be that type of player, those things should be considered.

I guess, in a Brett Brown New-England accent, I will just need to, “Trust the Prawcess.”

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Lame Best Ever Debates

February 7, 2015
Adam Thomas

Is Tom Brady the best quarterback EVER?

You probably heard that question asked about a bazillion times over the past week. The short answer? Probably. But who cares? Aren’t best ever debates incredibly subjective? A fan of the Patriots would definitely say Brady, but a fan of the 49ers would lean towards Montana while a Steelers fan might be inclined to throw Bradshaw’s name out there. It all depends on who you ask. The problem with sports debates, however, is that you can only pick from a handful of candidates–only those 3 quarterbacks and maybe one or two others.

It’s just weird how sports can be completely matter of fact about debates like this while when it comes to other things–like music, movies, books–the debate can go on forever and include a huge number of possibilities. Hell, Tom Brokaw even wrote a book about how one generation was better than every other generation in the history of the world and some people agreed while others were like ‘Shut up old man!’

Of course, in sports, there are tangeible results. Championships. But with those championships come about a trillion different variables (like, what if Pete Carroll hadn’t lost his mind and ran Beast Mode on the one yard line?). It’s weird to discount the variables and just focus on the results. (Yeesh, even I barely know what I’m trying to say at this point.)

I guess it’s like this, with sports, if you don’t say Michael, Gretzky, now Brady/Montana, Ali are the greatest ever at their sports, then your ostracized. I remember back in college I had a debate–after a few brewskies–about how Barkley was better than Jordan and everyone was so taken aback that you would’ve thought I proposed that the world was still flat. One guy even stole my can of Pringles in retaliation. Now, I was in North Carolina mind you, and I tend to not be the quietest person in the world after a few beers, so that might have played a part, but if I want to believe that Barkley was better than Jordan, then that’s my right even though everyone else will probably argue otherwise.

So the next time you ask me who the greatest players of all time are, I’m going to say that I don’t know. I only know who are the players that I like the best, and they are Iverson, Barkley, Kirby Puckett and (hall of famer) Tim Brown. And I believe them to be better than guys that are always listed like Jordan. 

And then you’ll steal my Pringles.

Album of the week: Teenage Retirement by Chumped.

This is the greatest album that Weezer never made, and by that I mean that at its best, the album sounds like Weezer used to when they were turning out classic albums like the Blue album and Pinkerton. It is that good at times.

It’s also one of the most Emo/pop/punky things I’ve listened too in quite some time and sounds like it would’ve been right at home on the old 90’s Kevin Smith movies soundtracks–especially Mallrats.

I’ve got to say, 14 year old Adam may have fell in love with this like he did Pinkerton. As it is, I still really dig it.

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No Lynch’s to love

January 30, 2015
Adam Thomas

When Mike and Mike are blathering on about the Marshawn Lynch media “controversy” and whether it will effect his hall of fame chances, well then you know that we’ve reached the apex of this whole little saga. (By the way, I was only watching Mike and Mike because sometimes it’s 6 in the morning, I turn the TV on and I’m too lazy to look for the remote. Honestly, I can’t believe they have a TV show that runs simultaneous to their radio show. It’s mind boggling).

Anyway, for this little spat between Lynch and the media to have any bearing on his hall of fame chances, shows you just how stupid the hall of fame process truly is. But media members are fickle creatures (just ask Snake Stabler who somehow will never get in because he allegedly planted cocaine on a reporter back in the day).

The real problem media members have with Lynch is that they probably already wrote their stories and just needed him to give them a generic quote (Nobody believed in us except the guys in this locker room..etc.) that they could insert so they could send their story off to be published. When he wouldn’t give it to them, they freaked out.

Honestly, Lynch is the man. For more proof, just check out this youtube video of him and Gronk playing Mortal Kombat on Conan. It is freaking hysterical. 

Also, on the hall of fame, if Tim Brown doesn’t make it in this year, that’s a travesty. The man has waited long enough and seen guys with comparable (Chris Carter) or worse (Andre Reed–less receptions, less TD’s, less yards) stats get in before him and it’s his time. Marvin Harrison had Peyton Manning throwing him the ball while Brown had a laundry list of terrible QB’s and still put up more 1,000  yard seasons than Harrison (8 to Brown’s 9–to which a plaid shirted, micro brewed beer drinking Peter King pounds the table, yells “It’s not all about stats” and promptly chokes on a corn dog).

Hey, just because the Hall of Fame is stupid doesn’t mean I don’t want to see my Raiders get elected into the damn thing.

This week’s album of the week is Sleater-Kinney’s No Cities to Love which is one of those albums that you listen to it the first time and think ‘Meh’ and then the awesomeness hits you on the 4th listen. For reals.

Super Bowl pick? Patriots 31-Seahawks 21.

Enjoy the games!

 

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Balls, Balls, Balls

January 23, 2015
Adam Thomas

Has Deflate Gate peaked? Peaked? Let me tell you something. It hasn’t even begun to peak. And when it does peak, you’ll know. Because it’s gonna peak so hard that everybody in Philadelphia is gonna feel it.

For real, for real. I think my favorite part of deflate gate so far, besides all the snickers whenever people refer to how Brady likes his balls, is Mark Brunell trying hard not to cry or jump through the TV cameras to strangle Tom Brady over his response to the whole situation yesterday. Brunell looked seriously distraught over the fact that Tom Brady–who is pretty much the definition of an asshole–would be so cavalier about the whole situation.

Here is a (fake) and brief transcript of his response:

Brunell (pointing a pen at the TV like a bayonet): Let me tell you something Trey, when I played football…I inspected every ball on the sideline. Every ball that was going to be used in the game, every time. Without fail. And if Tom Brady is going to sit there and he is going to tell me that he didn’t know if the balls were properly inflated…well, once upon a time, he might have been considered the greatest QB in the history of the NFL, but NOT NOW. (starts weeping uncontrollably).

My personal opinion? Meh. Of course they cheated. This is the Patriots we’re talking about here. A team that hasn’t won the Super Bowl since getting busted for videotaping the other team’s signals. And Tom Brady? He’s a penis, so of course I think that fool did everything in his power to deflate the footballs.

Honestly, anyone that has ever thrown or caught a football knows that it is easier to do when it is deflated, and if it didn’t give the Patriots an advantage, then they wouldn’t have done it in the first place. So yes, I think they cheated. But whatever. The Patriots vs. the Seahawks is the best possible matchup for someone like me–someone who stopped caring about the outcome of football games once my Fantasy season ended. Admit they cheated, but also admit that Seahawks vs. Patriots > Seahawks vs. any other AFC team (besides the Raiders of course!)

Album pick of the week: My new year’s resolution has been to listen to more music and go to more concerts this year and as such, if I start to do this column on a regular basis again–which I really want too but am making no promises–the album pick of the week is going to be a mainstay.

This week’s pick is HEAL by Strand of Oaks. Holy (highly inflated) balls! What a great CD! I can’t stop listening to it. Right from the get go, Goshen ’97 kicks serious ass and the album doesn’t let up after that. I also saw the dude play live on youtube and he was using a Fender blacktop telecaster which is like $400 and makes him even more cooler in my book–I always love when bands use cheap guitars for some reason.

Anyway, if you haven’t checked it out, do yourself a favor and pick it up!

Until next time, enjoy watching Stephen A Smith and Skip Bayless spit all over each other discussing balls everyone!

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Dennis Allen: At the End of the Day

October 5, 2014
Adam Thomas

Fare thee well, Dennis Allen, fare thee well.

What I will remember most from Dennis Allen’s tenure as a head coach are a few things:

1.) He was previously a defensive backs coach and a defensive coordinator…and the biggest problems with the Raiders during his time as a coach have been the defensive backs and the defense as a whole.

2.) He always wore a visor and on that visor was always clipped a red sharpie marker. I remember one of the Raiders beat writer’s asked a player if they had ever seen Dennis Allen actually write with the sharpie and he replied something to the extent of “no.”

3.) Each press conference, you could count on one of the following phrases to come out of his mouth: “At the end of the day…” “We gotta improve as a football team…” “I’m not here to get into what ifs or anything like that…” I’m doing a bad job remembering all of the little phrases he would use, but the one that stands out the most is ‘At the end of the day.’

4.) When I read articles about his firing like the one on Profootballtalk about how Mark Davis fired the wrong guy, it is infuriating. Because he didn’t.

The Raiders have a TON of problems right now and Dennis Allen was one of those problems. He had 8 wins over two and a quarter seasons. The Raiders just got blown out by the Miami Dolphins. They lost the Texans and Dolphins by a combined scored of 68-28 and I’m pretty sure most of those 28 points came in the 4th quarter.

The Profootballtalk article is titled “Mark Davis fires the guy who really wasn’t to blame.”

WHAT!? Wasn’t to blame? He is the head freaking coach who went 8-28 over his tenure!

Look at this sentence:

“Davis needs to realize that the problems run far deeper than a head coach who made the best batch of chicken salad he possibly could, given a list of ingredients that includes wasted draft picks and overpriced free agents whom no one else wanted.”

Ummm…what free agent that the Raiders signed this offseason is overpriced? Maybe Austin Howard…maybe… but they are set up to have 60 million plus in cap space next year. Are some of the free agents brought in by GM Reggie McKenzie bad? Of course! But they can cut them in the offseason with little to no re-percussions because most of them were signed to one or two year deals.

Also, wasted draft picks? Has Florio seen this year’s draft? It looks like Reggie knocked it out of the park with Khalil Mack–ProFootball Focus’ current defensive rookie of the year–and Gabe Jackson. Derek Carr looks like he is going to be ok, and they’re getting contributions from DT Justin Ellis, CB Keith McGill and 7th round DB T.J. Carrie.

Last year’s draft looks dicey at the top, sure, but D.J. Hayden hasn’t even played this season so it’s a little much to call him a wasted draft pick just yet–although the clock is certainly ticking on that–Menelik Watson may develop into a good right tackle and Sio Moore is one of the best defensive players on the team.

So look, kill the Raiders all you want cause they suck right now, but please, do realize that Dennis Allen was an awful head coach and he needed to go.

At the end of the day, it’s what needed to happen.

On to the picks!

Last week, I went 3-0…finally.

For the season, I am 6-3.

This week, I like:

Ten/Cle under 45.5

Bengals -1.5 over the Patriots (This looks too good to be true. I think I’m getting trapped.)

Pitt/Jax over 46.5

Enjoy the games!

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