Thursday, December 28, 2006

Watching AI with the Nuggets

My dad just watches stone faced. He then lets out a breath and says "It's great to see him playing with good teammates, I just can't stand that baby blue uni on him".

My friend Meredith said she cried the first time she saw him in a Nuggets uniform.

I just feel relief. There's a sadness when I watch him, but a little hope that he can find happiness and success with the Nuggets. I feel like I am talking about a friend who is out of rehab for drug addiction. He's just a basketball player. He just got traded; that's all.

In my earlier post on AI I forgot one of my favorite moments when AI won the MVP of the All Star game and in his acceptance speech he kept praising Shaq and how it was great to play with him. It was such a sly dig on Kobe and how he pushed him out of LA. Clever.

I'm watching the Mavs-Suns right now which is finishing with a blistering trade off of baskets. Dirk nailed the game winner with a hand in his face from 18 feet out. Now for AI and the Nuggets.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

AI and more Barber vs. Jones

The AI trade is supposedly in the works, with Denver sending over Andre Miller, an expiring contract worth 7 mil of cap space, and 2 first round picks. Thank you Isaiah Thomas for instigating a fight that made Denver more eager to make a deal. I think this is a so-so fit for AI, but gosh, the two first rounders are nice. With the lottery pick the Sixers will earn themselves, they will have 3 first rounders. This could turn into Greg Oden worthy material. Trade all 3 picks for the rights to him. I am sad to see AI, and hopefully, the Sixers fire Billy King before he can screw up draft day.

After my Barber/Jones blog post, I found out this Monday that football outsiders is doing a posting on the same subject. I look forward to it. After watching the Falcons game, I can only believe that the Cowboys "start" Julius Jones because Jerry Jones is behind him more than Barber. Barber's TD run where he broke 2 tackles and made a 3rd guy miss was a Walter Payton type punish-the-tackler-for-touching-me runs. Barber just knocks the sh*t out of guys. It also does not help Julius Jones' case when he does not make any cutbacks (Barber does), gets tripped up by a DB (not likely with Barber), and runs with Barbaro's blinders on. on one run, Barber turned it upfield instead of going out of bounds, stiff armed a DB and knocked him over for 3 more yards. After his 2nd TD, they showed him on the bench fired up and Parcells came over to give him the hand shake. Parcells obviously likes him, let's hope Jerry Jones doesn't phuck this up.

Lessons from watching SaNF/SuNF/MNF

I've got a AI and Barber/Jones post coming up, but here are ten lessons to take away from the weekend's evening games:

10. Run on sentence warning: Mike Vick is your college friend who had a 4.0 in the first semester frosh year, while partying like a rock star, leading your intramural flag football team to the school championship & hooking up with the hottest chicks, who was asked to leave the school for poor grades a year later, rallied to come back for one half of a semester where he was his old self, only to be asked to leave again due to an alcohol related assualt, visited you for a great weekend of pick up basketball, drinking & picking up girls, and never was seen from again. You graduated with tons of stories about him, but he was a ghost. As time went on, fewer people rememebred him vividly. A legend for one brief moment. Vick has sooo much talent, and can be so good, he just only offers us glimpses of what could be from time to time. I remember the guy who carried Va Tech to the championship game, and single handedly kept them in the game, where is that QB? Take note Vince Young.

9. Marion Barber's YAC must be a high percentage of his total rushing yards. He will not be stopped on the first hit. Not gonna do it.

8. DeAngelo Hall sucks. When a 34 year old TO can burn you without breaking a sweat, and then spit on you, you have lost "it". The "it" being the ability to line up against #1 WRs.

7. The Chargers had a goose egg from their QB and still were romping the Chiefs. The 4 week breather for Roid Boy Merriman and Castillo's short injury break might be a blessing in disguise for this defense as they prepare to possible play 18-19 games.

6. Herm Edwards is going to destroy Larry Johnson because he wants to win now, which he should realize is an impossibility with a QB coming back from post-concussion syndrome, no WRs and a flimsy defense.

5. TO will be a Chief in '07. They have no WRs, he will probably be cut from the Cowboys after this season, and Herm already expressed interest in TO last offseason.

4. Michael Turner reminds me of pre-injury Najeh Davenport when he was backing up Ahman Green. He's big, runs with good vision & power, and could be another team's feature back and "grinder". The Chargers should use him a bit more these next two weeks when they have games in the bag to rest LdT. He should get paid this offseason, and the Chargers will receive a nice draft pick in return.

3. Peyton Manning is amazing, and if he doesn't win a Super Bowl, it's ok with me. One man cannot control the other side of the ball. If Desmond Howard does not have an insane Super Bowl, Brett Favre would have been hearing the "Marino talk" for the last few years. Taking a pay cut might help build the defense, but look at where that got Tom Brady.

2. The Bengals forgot that the Colts could not stop the run and did not pound the ball enough early in the game. This is a common theme to their season, where they forget they have a guy who has rushed for nearly 3000 yards in the last 2 seasons.

1. If the Cowboys slip into the playoffs as a wild card instead of the division winner, which can still happen, people should be asking Parcells why he did not go with Romo from week 1.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Lessons learned from the Saints-Cowboys SNF Game

This is an established fact but Gerry Austin is a nut gobbler. He will not overturn a call unless it is so obvious that retarded viewers can see it.

10. Julius Jones can score TDs. He just needs there to be no defenders within 5 yards of him.
9. Drew Brees takes no prisoners. He was heard saying to the Dallas D: "Birthmark? Yeah, lick it, bitch."
8. Sean Payton plays Madden, onside kicking with a lead is a classic User vs. CPU move.
7. The Dallas safeties need eyeglasses. Maybe those goggles Kareem used to wear could help them judge the path of the ball.
6. The Saints will keep Deuce for only one more year unless he restructures his contract. Once Reggie hits 23, it is his show. Reggie Bush + zone blocking scheme = many glorious TDs
5. Reggie Bush + open space + incoming DB = broken ankles
4. Daunte Culpepper has a better agent than Drew Brees. For the millionth time: How the phuck did the Phins choose Daunte over Drew?
3. Tony Romo does not equal a more beefier Jesus Christ.
2. TO is an even bigger gaywad than thought. Crocodile arms are not what he gets paid $10 mil to show off. Oh yeah, when was the last time he dove to make a catch? Bitch.
1. When a coach grooms a Qb for 3 years, he can devise a defense to stop him regardless of the defensive unit.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Al-Zarqawi Dead

With the latest news of Al-Zarqawi's death coming out of Iraq, I think we have to look at the death of the modern incarnation of the total warfare leader. Zarqawi was not a brilliant tactician, but he did use tactics that worked to his sides advantage: IEDS and random suicide/car bombings that cause maximum damage and require minimum technology/effort (one stupid martyr and some C4 are enough). What Zarqawi did that was truly smart and what made him a modern total warfare leader (modified thug) was his ability to manipulate and use the media. Not only did he use military tactics, religious and political tactics in small areas of Iraq, guerilla tactics, and espionage, Zarqawi used media. Total warfare is using all of your resources; he truly used all of his resources to come at the Coalition with everything he had. The insurgents and Al Qaeda poseurs in Iraq used tactics that made "great copy" in the tradition of "if it bleeds it leads", and used the internet to spread their message, showcase horrifying beheadings, recruit, and perform spin control. Zarqawi did not need the help of Al Jazeera in meeting goals, but rather, had a good feel for the mood of American Big Media. He understood how to manipulate the newswires and the NY Times crowd to showcase his dirty work, even if it had little impact on the grand scheme. The media acted a a force multiplier for his tactics. Sure he might only be taking out Iraqi civilians, but the images on American television and Big Media treatment could affect mass American popular opinion. Zarqawi understood why the Tet Offensive was successful. It was a military failure in the sense of numbers killed and missions foiled, but it was a morale destroyer in America. Zarqawi and Al Qaeda in Iraq never had their Tet, no matter how hard they tried, and how much Internet media they put out there, they could not win. There will be future versions of this thug, and they may use even more resources to bring forth "total warfare". Hopefully, the death of Zarqawi will spread the message of the improving situation in Iraq.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Shoulder Workout

My absolute favorite workout at the gym is not 'pounding the pecs', 'hitting the lats' or 'hitting the rack' (I wanted to list all gym cliches), but working out my shoulders. In relation to my bodyweight and frame, I have pretty strong shoulders. Shoulders are not so intense that working them out tires your entire body, but you can make the workout intense for your 'caps'. I could just link to this page and say "do what they recommend", but that's not the point of a training article. Let's go through my intense shoulder workout and then discuss a couple of wrinkles for you to try to maximize gains.

As a warm up, I like to take a 5 lb or 2.5 lb plate in my hand and slowly do a lateral raise. I also like to rotate my shoulder with the weight in hand. Because the shoulder is a delicate joint, you should warm up the area and get blood flow before using heavy weights. After the rotating, I stretch my shoulders before hitting the presses.

1. Seated dumbbell shoulder press - 3 sets - I start by grabbing weights half of what I do for sets as a warm up. Taking 60-90 secs between sets, I push out 3 sets of 8-10 reps each. I position my hands so that the inside plate is tipped towards my shoulders and only go 3/4 of the way up. This keeps stress completely on the deltoids and does not transfer focus to the triceps. On the last set, I like to go all the way up to get the triceps involved. A key to this exercise, and all deltoid exercises, is to fight the negative and take your time bringing the weight down. Studies have shown that muscle cells are stimulated more on the negative than the positive motion of resistance training.

2. One armed dumbbell lateral raise - 3 sets - Grab a dumbbell in one hand and hold onto the back of a seat with the other. Doing this with one arm at a time prevents you from using momentum, and focuses on the shoulder muscle without rest. Like with presses, slow the negative down and fight gravity.

3. Bent over deltoid raises - 3 sets - Stand with your feet shoulder width apart, back straight, and slowly arc your arms back. Keep your arms slightly bent and try to have as strict form as possible. Keep the focus on the rear delt, and go with a light weight to make sure you follow correct form.

4. Arnold Press superset with lateral raise hold - 3 sets - This usually destroys my delts as I am tired by the time I get to this. Arnold presses are just shoulder presses but you start with the weight in front of you and twist your arms out as they go up. Use a lighter weight than your shoulder press and slowly arc the weight up and back down. It is best if you keep the arc up/down in a circular direction; don't just push the weight up and twist your arm. The slow arc will target the delts and keep resistance on them. Deltoid muscles respond best to continued resistance. After a set of Arnold presses, grab dumbbells half the weight that you use for lateral raises and do a lateral raise. At shoulder level, hold the weight there for 5 seconds. Slowly bring the weight down. This superset of Arnold presses and lateral holds should burn your shoulders out.

5. Shrugs - 3 sets - I hate shrugs, and they are boring. Still, they are the best way to develop your trapezius muscles.

If you are looking to spice up your shoulder routine try these alternative shoulder exercises:

1. Run the rack - 1 set (maybe 2) - Grab a dumbbell 5 lbs heavier than you normally use and pump out a set of 6 reps. Then immediately do the next dumbbells down in 5 lb increments. Do this for 6 sets of 6 reps. This is also known as the 6x6 routine. You can do this for either the dumbbell press or the lateral raise.I do this at the end of the workout to substitute for whichever exercise I am running the rack with (press or raise).

2. Front raise hold - Grab a 25 lb plate or more if you are a beast, and hold it shoulder height in front of you for as long as you can. This is great for finishing off a shoulder routine, as deltoid muscles love isometric exercises. You can do the same for side raises; just hold the weight out as long as you can. I do this at the end of a routine and can barely lift my arms up to drive home.

3. Upside down push ups - This requires help of a friend to hold your legs straight. Do push ups completely inverted. Try to crank out 10. They are super tough. I avoid them because of fear of dislocating my shoulder.

Be safe when lifting, but get out there and get in shape!

Thursday, January 05, 2006

USC/Texas and a Playoff system

USC/Texas was all it was billed to be. My prediction of a Texas win turned out to be true sadly. So much has been written I will just list big observations....

1. The stars all came out to shine, Bush, Leinart, Young and LenDale White. All stepped it up, which does not happen in most bowl match-ups.

2. USC gave that game away with 3 red zone turnovers. Bush's lateral was a major WTF moment. Leinart's INT was an outstanding play by the Texas Safety. The 4th down was a goof with Leinart's slip (the turf was definitely slippery last night).

3. The 4th down go for it or punt decision was a good call. All night they were running up the gut on Texas and why not go for it. Even if they punt it gets them an extra 20-30 yards which means Vince Young would have to scramble maybe 2 times to make it up. USC needed one yard to win the championship, Carroll believed in his guys.

4. The review of the Texas fumble that got called an incompletion was BS, and already has my dad (USC fan representative for Maine) screaming conspiracy. If everyone in the stadium, the player who 'fumbled' it, and Dan Fouts all see it, why can't the review guy see it? BS. End of the game right there.

5. Every single bounce went Texas way from the get go (excluding the punt fumble). Every fumble on offense was right at their player's feet, and they got the bounces. That vibe told me it was Texas' game to lose.

6. I called this even before the game, but Boston Sports Guy jumped on the first chance to rip on Pete Carroll he got. Let's not forget that it was Bush's lateral or Leinart's slip or countless things on the field that USC players did incorrectly, no, it's Carroll's fault. This is the Boston Sports Guy's major problem. He writes through a Boston prism waaaay too much for non-New England readers, and like any New England homer, he makes his mind up about something and finds the evidence to back up only his point. He will never give in and say "Maybe Pete Carroll's 'player's coach' attitude is perfect for 18-24 year olds". Glad he's just a regular guy "spoiled prep school kid from the Metro West Suburbs cough cough" writing about sports "Holy Cross Grad who never played anything cough cough" and being super cool "let go from Kimmel's show cough-haha-cough".

7. Vince Young was superb, and on a side note, looks and sounds like the missing Wayans brother. I don't think he will be a great pro QB unless he works on his mechanics big time. He needs to sit one year and learnt he pro game like Culpepper, Palmer, even Eli for half the season. If the wrong team feeds him to the Lions, he's going to fail and get discouraged. He had no real zip on the ball, became erratic when he saw any pressure, and will not outrun defenses in the pros. In the pros, every team has LBs who can spy a QB (Derrick Brooks, Urlacher). In the pros, the safeties can tackle you (Ed Reed, Roy Williams). Vince Young could ask Mike Vick about the change. The Saints will be dumb and pick him; if not them, the Titans.

8. LenDale White ran himself into the middle of the first round. Wow, some serious power despite running through huge holes. He's a forgotten prospect, because the guy has the tools but might fall in the draft since Bush and Leinart shine so bright. If he posts a great 40 time, he could be at pick 10 (Arizona Cardinals).

I've thought about the playoff so much that I think I have a good way to keep all games relevant. The major argument that BCS fans give is that no playoff means that every regular season game matters. What they should do is have a 6 team playoff. The top two teams get a bye. This would mean there are 5 games. You have the 4 current BCS games be games in the playoff system and the new game is just called the national championship game. The polls won't have to be absolutely correct because the margin of error is now to find the top 6 not the top 2. Football is different from college basketball, truly only the top 4-8 teams can compete with one another on neutral sites. The problem of being the 3 team is "you don’t get a bye" but you still get a shot at the title. You could have the rose bowl be the game where the Pac 10 or Big Ten champ is in the playoff seeding, one is bound to be there. First round of games is on new years day. The semis are the next week, the week after that is the championship. The games would be played virtually all during winter break. It would prevent the early season/shocker loss (Penn St.) or the injury loss (Georgia) from destroying championship hopes. On top of that, the regular season would still matter for everyone because even the top 2 teams would want the first round bye. You couldn't rest starters because seeding would matter so much because of the bye possibility. The championship game is played on the off week before the super bowl. The ratings would be huge, and January Madness would be born. It's win-win. Money still goes to conferences, ratings are high because every BCS game matters, and fans get a true champion.