Thursday, August 31, 2006

Volek Weevils

On the recent signing of QB Kerry Collins, Tennessee Titans Head Coach Jeff Fisher had this to say about current starting QB Billy Volek:
"Billy's got some competition. I've spoken with Billy. Billy's not too awfully pleased with it. But that's life in the National Football League."

As Troy Aikman once said in a commercial, "Get real!".

They are honestly thinking of starting Collins over Volek? In Collins' best year, 2002, he completed 61% of his passes. That was his ninth season of starting. In Volek's first season of starting, he did that. Granted, it was over a shorter span of games. But that means Volek has some potential.

Collins? We have seen all he can do. Like nearly get Randy Moss killed last year, thanks to Collins' tendency to attach his eyeballs to his favorite receiver. Like completing 53% of his passes last year.

Don't get me wrong. Collins is a decent quarterback. But he has no upside. On the other hand, Volek has shown some nice flashes when he has had the opportunity. In the right system, he could potentially be a great quarterback. He could certainly be no worse than what we have already seen from Collins.

What does all this mean? Jeff Fisher does not strike me as stupid. Anyone can see that Vince "The Franchise" Young is not ready yet, in spite of their plans to start Young in the final preseason game. If Volek gets hurt this year, putting in Young would be the equivalent of throwing Young to the wolves. The Titans needed a second string quarterback.

So they pick up Collins. Volek is not having a great preseason, so they use the acquisition to light a fire under Volek. Now they get to see how Volek responds to the pressure.

Volek's response?
"I guess they want a quarterback who's perfect in every throw and every read, and that's going to be hard to find. I guess they're unhappy with my production. It's hard when you're only getting a quarter a game."

Sure, Volek is no Steve McNair. Sure, he has had a mediocre preseason. But he is actually not a bad quarterback DURING the season. You know, when the games count? In 2004, Volek played in 10 games, completed 61% of his passes, threw for 2486 yards, 18 touchdowns, and 10 interceptions. Mike Vick cannot even do that (except for the 10 interceptions part).

But now we have Titans General Manager Floyd Reese saying:
"This time of year over the next couple of days, there's an endless number of conversations you'll have with clubs in the league saying `What if?' Some you talk to three or four times, some you talk to once...Billy's name has come up from some of the clubs."

Reese would not walk away from anyone offering a first round pick for Volek, but no team would offer that much. No doubt Reese has a price he would take for Volek which is lower, perhaps a second or third round pick. But Volek has too many question marks for any team to offer that much right now.

Truthfully, I think Reese is playing along with Jeff Fisher's poker game. Mind you, what Fisher is doing is not a complete bluff, because he has a strong hand now with Collins there. The question is: Does Volek have a stronger hand?

There is a wild card in this poker game: Volek's agent, Drew Rosenhaus, of Terrell Owens fame. Rosenhaus has not commented on the situation yet. However, it does not take a brain surgeon to know he has called Floyd Reese and said if Volek does not start, they want a trade. This sheds a new light on Reese's comments, but I don't see Reese accommodating Volek/Rosenhaus just because they asked. Reese would want value in a trade.

What to make of the Titans starting Vince Young in their last preseason game? Right now, the Titans are talking about giving their quarterbacks one quarter each (Matt Mauck is also playing). But if you see Young in there for a half, or three quarters, read that as the Titans are mailing it in this year. They are just waiting until Young can take over and it doesn't matter who starts. In other words, they don't expect Volek OR Collins to win a Super Bowl for them, which is fairly realistic anyway.

If the Titans change their plans in this last preseason game and Volek doesn't play, or if Collins plays well and Volek doesn't, the writing is on the wall. However, if Collins AND Volek play equally well, or Collins plays poorly, expect Volek to start the first game of the season.

My prediction? Young plays the first half. Collins plays the third quarter and looks mediocre or bad. Volek plays the fourth quarter and looks ok. Volek starts the first week of the season, but expect to see Young starting before the end of the year. And Young will NOT look good this year. Volek gets released or traded after the season.

span style="font-weight:bold;">UPDATE: So Vince Young played the first quarter and the first series of the second. Then Kerry Collins came in and finished the rest of the second quarter. Collins went 7-13 for 96 yards.

Billy Volek played the start of the third quarter. He threw one pass, a 54-yard touchdown pass, and they sent him back to the bench. Vince Young finished the third quarter. Matt Mauck played the fourth quarter.

At this point, Volek is trade bait. Collins will soon be announced as the starter.

(Hat tip to,, and of Maryville, TN)

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Warren Buffett and Iraq

If we look at Iraq through the lense of business, what can be surmised?

To make the appropriate comparison, we need to assign business roles to each of the players involved with Iraq:

1. The U.S. government would be the manufacturer.
2. The U.S. people would be the manufacturer's stockholders.
3. The Iraqi government would be the retailer.
4. The Iraqi people would be the consumers.
5. The Iraqi resistance forces would be the retailer's competition.

The manufacturer has set up the retailer in order to push the manufacturer's product (in the case of Iraq, that would be democracy). Since the retailer is basically a start-up operation, they rely on the manufacturer for seed capital (in the case of Iraq, that would be security/defense).

Unfortunately, the retailer is bleeding money due to the competition, in addition to the negative perception of it by the consumers, who dislike the relationship it has with the manufacturer.

Throw in increasingly unhappy stockholders, who are becoming frustrated by the manufacturer's losses in the endeavor.
Should you find yourself in a chronically leaking boat, energy devoted to changing vessels is likely to be more productive than energy devoted to patching leaks.” - Warren Buffett

Obviously, the manufacturer needs to try a different approach here. While the manufacturer could just pull up stakes and cut their losses, that would leave the market here to their competition, which would then leave them vulnerable in other markets.

The most obvious solution would be to expand the retailer's line of products, so the association with our manufacturer would be limited. Unfortunately, other manufacturers (i.e. the U.N., France, Germany, China, Russia, etc.) want no part of it. Even though there are other manufacturers selling goods at our retailer (i.e. England, Japan, Australia, etc.), those manufacturers are too small in comparison to our manufacturer.

At this point, most manufacturers would turn to a marketing campaign (i.e. propaganda) to improve their image with the consumers. Unfortunately, this particular market has limited advertising options. In addition, the amount of time an advertising campaign would take to be effective is far in excess of the stockholder's patience.
I never attempt to make money on the stock market. I buy on the assumption that they could close the market the next day and not reopen it for five years.” - Warren Buffett

How can our manufacturer make the stockholders see the need for patience? While our manufacturer has attempted this, it has only had limited success. It seems the stock analysts (i.e. the U.S. media) are firmly against the endeavor, urging stockholders to "sell". (The great irony here is that the stock analysts originally urged the stockholders to "buy" based on this endeavor.)

At this point, the retailer needs to cut its prices to make itself more attractive to consumers. Unfortunately, the manufacturer set up the retailer as a franchisee, but the manufacturer neglected to give itself much control over the franchisee, in an attempt to get the consumers to overlook the connections between the two entities.
"Your premium brand had better be delivering something special, or it's not going to get the business." - Warren Buffett

Our manufacturer knows the brand (i.e. democracy) works, but the consumers do not have that perception. In business, consumer perception is everything.

At some point, our manufacturer is going to have to take a leap of faith and quit funding the retailer, forcing the retailer to get its own business in order. As long as the retailer can count on our manufacturer for funding, it has no incentive for efficiency, or profit.

Here is where it gets tricky. What if the retailer decides to sell the competition's product? Then all our manufacturer's work and investment will be for naught. On the bright side, under the franchise agreement, our manufacturer could close down the retailer, but that would get ugly and not improve the consumer's perception of our product.

Iraq is the business equivalent of a catch-22. All our manufacturer can do is take the long-term approach, hoping the retailer can become profitable with the consumers before the patience of the stockholders runs out. If our manufacturer has a controlling percentage of its outstanding shares, it can afford the long-term view, even though their stock price (i.e. opinion polling) will take a hit. If our manufacturer does NOT have a controlling percentage, it will likely pull out and cut its losses, sacrificing consumer perception for stockholder favor.

In truth, our manufacturer is doing what it has to do. The only ones with an option are the stockholders. We will find out in November what they decide.
The first rule is not to lose. The second rule is not to forget the first rule.” - Warren Buffett

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Favre beaned

Congratulations to Carson Palmer on his fine performance last night. By throwing three touchdown passes and leading the Bengals to a 48-17 victory over the Packers, Palmer showed he is clearly back from his knee injury. But don't read too much into this. This is the Packers that got beat up.

The Packers may be the worst team in the NFL this year. Their defense is mediocre. The special teams aren't "special". But it is their offense which truly shines in the glory of awfulness. Mind you, this is not because of their offensive line, which is average, or their running game, which is also average. No, the Packers have one person to thank for their impending descent into the depths of the won-loss column: Brett Favre.

At this point in his career, Favre should be rated as a decent second-string quarterback. He makes far too many mistakes to be a starting quarterback. Last year's 29 interceptions should have told the Packers something about Favre being on the downside of his career.

This preseason does not bode well for Favre's potential this year. Last night, he had a boneheaded fumble that got returned for a touchdown, followed by an interception on the very next series. Last week, he looked good against the Falcons, but their secondary is a sieve. But two weeks ago, he was mediocre against the Chargers (5-10, 66 yards). That should tell you Favre won't beat the good teams anymore. If you cannot beat the good teams, you will not make it far in the playoffs even if you get that far.

The Packer fans would do well at this point to learn from Philadelphia fans. When third baseman Mike Schmidt was at the end of his career, he was awful. The Philly fans booed him mercilessly, in spite of his Hall of Fame, World Series winning credentials. Philly fans recognize that if you put on the uniform, you better be able to play, and play well.

If Packer fans are expecting a Super Bowl this year, they can forget it. Instead, they are getting the "Brett Favre Farewell Tour". The opposing defensive coordinators are looking forward to it.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Look away, look away, look away, Delaware?

Joe Biden is the poster boy for out-of-touch-with-reality liberalism that is the framework of the Democratic Party today.

In a Fox News Sunday interview by Chris Wallace, the following exchange occurred (video here, transcript here):
"WALLACE: ...As we've mentioned, you're in South Carolina right now, on the campaign trial. Thirty seconds or less, what kind of a chance would a Northeastern liberal like Joe Biden stand in the South if you were running in Democratic primaries against Southerners like Mark Warner and John Edwards.

BIDEN: Better than anybody else. You don't know my state. My state was a slave state. My state is a border state. My state has the eighth- largest black population in the country. My state is anything from a Northeast liberal state.

Folks, I lived most of my life in Delaware. I live in Georgia now. Delaware is about as far removed from a southern state as you can get. Delaware politics is far closer to New Jersey and Pennsylvania than it is to Georgia. The mere fact they elected Joe Biden tells you all you need to know about Delaware politics.

When my parents first moved to Delaware from Georgia, they used to get comments on their southern accents. Even after their accents went away, after living there for the better part of almost 30 years, they would still get comments about their accents.

While I recognize that Delaware is technically a southern state using the Mason-Dixon definition, culturally it is not. Even though Biden is historically accurate in calling Delaware a slave state, they also voted NOT to secede. Not exactly good Confederate brownie points there, but it does point to a reality from the 19th century that remains true today: Delaware is closer to the northeast politically, regardless of the slave issue.

I wonder if the state with the eighth largest black population is proud of their senator who touts their slavery history in order to buy votes? I can tell you THAT would not sell in Georgia any better than it would in Delaware.

But then, Biden is typical of northeastern liberal bias against southerners if he thinks his state's slave history makes him an attractive candidate here.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Fantasy football draft

I had my fantasy football draft last night. Drafting from the 8 spot in a 12-team league, I got the following:

1. RB Steven Jackson, Rams: I actually wanted Rudi Johnson, but the guy drafting fifth took him. It was a bit of a reach. But to his credit I think it was a good reach.

I should point out that both Clinton Portis and Edgerrin James were available, but I preferred Jackson for his upside. Portis's injury leads me to believe last season was better than this season will be for him. Add in the T.J. Duckett addition, and Portis becomes a second tier RB. As for James, the Cardinals are NOT the Colts.

2. RB Willis McGahee, Bills: McGahee has lost some weight this year in order to be faster, like he was two years ago. If he can duplicate his results from then, he is a first round RB at a second round price.

3. TE Antonio Gates, Chargers: The best TE in the game.

I actually wanted WR Chris Chambers in this spot, but he went seven picks earlier. Since all the top tier wide receivers were gone by my pick, I decided to go with the best TE.

4. RB Kevin Jones, Lions: I was toying with picking a QB or WR at this spot, but I saw too many teams ignoring their RB position. Time to punish the poor drafters!

Jones' upside would be Marshall Faulk numbers. While I don't think he will be THAT good, anything close to it makes him worthwhile. As a number three RB, he is a steal.

5. WR T.J. Houshmandzadeh, Bengals: I got a bit antsy here. I did not want to go much further without getting a decent WR, and Housh filled the bill.

6. RB Frank Gore, 49ers: Too many teams ignoring their RB position still. Eat my dust scumbags!

In all seriousness, I like Gore. He has a good work ethic, and who else are the 49ers going to rely on for offense? I am even seriously considering starting him in the first week against Arizona's wretched defense.

7. QB Trent Green, Chiefs: Get one of the top QB's in the NFL in the seventh round? Sweeeeet!

Truth be told, I don't expect Green to duplicate his success of the last several years. But anything close is nice.

8. QB Philip Rivers, Chargers: This is the QB I REALLY wanted. Rivers has tremendous upside. In my opinion, I think he will surpass Drew Brees's numbers. Rivers is THAT good!

Why did I take Green first? Because I knew Green would go before Rivers based on past performance plus the fact this is Rivers' first year starting.

From what I have seen of Rivers in the preseason, he is more than ready for the NFL.

9. WR Matt Jones, Jaguars: Time to give my WR position some love.

I like Jones' potential, which we saw some of last year. He got better as the season went along, especially with Byron Leftwich at QB. If Leftwich stays healthy (big if), Jones could be due for a monster year.

10. WR Drew Bennett, Titans: Why do I like Drew Bennett? Two words: Billy Volek. Two years ago, they had a monster stretch together. If they get hot again, Bennett is money in the bank. For a number 3 receiver, you cannnot argue with that.

11. WR Braylon Edwards, Browns: Sure, Edwards is coming off an injury, and his production may not be 100%. But who else is Charlie Frye going to throw to? For a number four wideout, Edwards is high potential with low risk.

12. K Nate Kaeding, Chargers: A lot of kickers had been taken by this point, so I jumped on the bandwagon with Kaeding, a solid kicker who won't disappoint.

13. Broncos Defense: Nothing exciting here. The Broncos just happened to be the best defense on the board at the time. Defenses are pretty much a crap shoot anyway.

14. TE Tony Scheffler, Broncos: I was watching a replay of the Broncos-Titans the other night, and Scheffler really impressed me. He has good hands and good moves. Even though he is technically second on the Broncos depth chart behind Stephen Alexander, I don't expect that to last, as Alexander manages to underperform or get hurt wherever he goes.

15. K Stephen Gostkowski, Patriots: The next Adam Vinatieri? Perhaps.

I must admit I was amazed when he was available with my next-to-last pick. A lot of kickers had already been taken.

When you draft a guy for your bench who potentially could be better than your starter, you are doing good.

16. Cowboys Defense: I hate the Cowboys, but I like Bill Parcells. Another year for this young defense may be just what they need to get good enough to be dangerous. I hope.

OVERALL ANALYSIS: Except for Housh, my wideouts are my weak spot, and Housh is not a great number one WR. If Jones and Bennett play up to their potential, I might be able to bench Housh. Otherwise, I have to take what Housh gives me and hope for a little production from whomever I start opposite him.

My strongest spot is clearly my running backs. Any or all of them are capable of having huge years. Even if they only produce like they did last year, I can still play matchups with them to get the most production out of them.

I like my quarterbacks. With Green on his downside, and Rivers on his upside, I should be able to at least pull some numbers from this position.

Unless Antonio Gates gets hurt, I am set at TE. With Scheffler as my backup, I have a solid fall back prospect.

My kickers and defenses look solid, but experience has taught me not to count my chickens at these positions until the season starts. That is why I usually wait until the end of the draft before going after these positions.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Quote of the day

On the 49ers preseason win over the Bears,
"I just think [the 49ers] look better than any other team I've seen this preseason." - Bill Walsh

There's a ringing endorsement.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Quote of the day

Per my previous post, Arthur C. Brooks has one classic quote in his Wall Street Journal editorial which deserves a post of its own:
"On the political left, raising the youth vote is one of the most common goals. This implicitly plays to the tired old axiom that a person under 30 who is not a liberal has no heart (whereas one who is still a liberal after 30 has no head)." - Arthur C. Brooks

Political Evolution

One has to appreciate the delicious irony that liberals, who generally support Darwin's Theory of Evolution, are themselves being weeded out of the population by their own philosophies.

In "The Fertility Gap" (over at the Wall Street Journal's opinion page), Arthur C. Brooks has made the point that liberal reproduction trends, or lack thereof, bode poorly for the Democratic Party:
"Simply put, liberals have a big baby problem: They're not having enough of them, they haven't for a long time, and their pool of potential new voters is suffering as a result. According to the 2004 General Social Survey, if you picked 100 unrelated politically liberal adults at random, you would find that they had, between them, 147 children. If you picked 100 conservatives, you would find 208 kids. That's a "fertility gap" of 41%. Given that about 80% of people with an identifiable party preference grow up to vote the same way as their parents, this gap translates into lots more little Republicans than little Democrats to vote in future elections.

...Alarmingly for the Democrats, the gap is widening at a bit more than half a percentage point per year, meaning that today's problem is nothing compared to what the future will most likely hold. Consider future presidential elections in a swing state (like Ohio), and assume that the current patterns in fertility continue. A state that was split 50-50 between left and right in 2004 will tilt right by 2012, 54% to 46%. By 2020, it will be certifiably right-wing, 59% to 41%. A state that is currently 55-45 in favor of liberals (like California) will be 54-46 in favor of conservatives by 2020--and all for no other reason than babies.

It is one thing to defend reproductive rights, but to do so while NOT reproducing is ludicrous, and will eventually lead to this country becoming even more conservative.

The message to liberals is clear: Darwin is lurking, ready to declare you, and your political philosophies, unfit for natural selection.

Say the magic word and you get a Duckett

The Associated Press (via is reporting a trade has been finalized between the Falcons, Redskins, and Broncos. The Redskins get RB T.J. Duckett, the Falcons get WR Ashley Lelie, and the Broncos get the Redskins third round pick next year.

Without knowing who the third round pick is, it is difficult to assess the Broncos value in this trade, so let us look at the Duckett for Lelie aspect.

Duckett is a big RB (6'0", 254 pounds) who is good in short yardage and goal line situations. His major flaw is that he tends to get injured a lot.

Lelie is a speed burner at WR with decent hands, but just don't expect him to go over the middle...or be happy with his contract.

Overall, it seems like a reasonably fair trade.

FANTASY FOOTBALL PERSPECTIVE: If you draft Clinton Portis, handscuff him to Duckett. But don't expect Duckett to be the second coming of John Riggins, although Duckett should provide a few solid games.

Ashley Lelie reminds me of Peerless Price before Price got to the Falcons, except Price was better. Generally avoid Falcon receivers anyway. Lelie will be a decent number 4 WR, potentially a number 3 in larger leagues.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Quote of the day

"When placed in command - take charge." - Norman Schwarzkopf

One of my issues with George W. Bush during his presidency is that I have never felt like he had taken charge. I have always had the nagging feeling this is a Cheney-Rumsfeld presidency.

When I hear Bush talk, I don't imagine him as a "take charge" leader. He reminds me more of a friendly pastor than a president.

When I hear Cheney or Rumsfeld talk, I can easily picture them in charge.

Mind you, I don't hate Bush, nor would I call this a failed presidency. But ask me again in ten years.

Monday, August 21, 2006

The wisdom of my father

I went over to visit my dad this weekend for his birthday. He told me a story about how he was in a restaurant recently and a man there was spouting off about how the U.S. needs to pull out of the Middle East.

My dad surprised him by agreeing with him. But dad went one step farther. Dad said we ought to discontinue our support for Israel, and leave the Middle East problem up to them. (The liberal was rendered speechless)

Of course, my dad was right. You know what would happen if Israel had to go it alone against the Muslim world? The Middle East would be one really big glass parking lot. Problem solved.

Friday, August 18, 2006

Three branches of government: The difference is ?

Is it just me, or does it seem when our government does the right thing, it is like a "Three Stooges" plot resolution, where the right thing happens in SPITE of the Three Stooges?

Unfortunately, I don't have an easy solution to recommend. Vote out the Republicans? Putting the Democrats in power is like replacing Curly with Shemp.

(Hat tip to Paul Nowak at for the cartoon)

Thursday, August 17, 2006

More thoughts from last weekend's NFL games

I finally caught the Dolphins-Jaguars game replay on NFL Network last night.

It is hard to say much about Daunte Culpepper in the limited action he saw. He looks a little slower running, although his arm hasn't lost any zip. He does need some more reps with the Dolphins offense.

Joey Harrington showed some flashes, especially that nice td pass he threw to Randy McMichael.

Zach Thomas is a monster linebacker with an unlimited motor. If he is anywhere near your receiver, you may as well consider your receiver covered, because the receiver will drop the ball as soon as Thomas hits him. Don't even think about running the ball in Thomas's direction, which unfortunately is anywhere you try to run the ball.

I would like to say something about the Jaguars, but I cannot. No individual performance stood out to me. Thinking about it, that has generally been true about them in the past.

Don't get me wrong. The Jags are good. But they are a team effort, with no real individual stars.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Quote of the day

"He that won't be counseled can't be helped." - Benjamin Franklin

I do need to remember this when discussing political issues with liberals.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Raiders 16, Vikings 13

In watching the Raiders game last night, my first impression was: They need a lot of work.

Aaron Brooks (1/6 for 16 yards) looked awful WHEN he could get a pass off without being under pressure, which was not often.

This brings us to the Raiders offensive line, which was nothing short of wretched. Robert Gallery needs some pass-blocking lessons. Their run-blocking was mediocre at best, so I am giving the running backs a pass for this game.

The Raiders defense showed flashes, but is also a work in progress.

If Fabian Washington gets any better, he could turn out to be a true shutdown corner.

It is hard to judge the pass rush, since the Vikings use a lot of short passes.

The run defense looked ok on some plays, absent on others. I would worry about this if they played this way during the regular season.

On the bright side, Sebastian Janikowski looked like the kicker the Raiders were hoping to get when they blew a first round pick on him. He hit three field goals, including a 55 yarder.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Random thoughts from this past NFL weekend

The NFL Network really shines this time of year. I don't want to watch all the NFL's preseason games, but I would like to watch the beginning of them all (when the starters play). Now I can, thanks to replays on NFL Network.

Jay Cutler looked outstanding against the Lions. He has a rocket arm that throws a nice tight spiral. He reads defenses well. He looks comfortable in the pocket. Is it too early to start making Elway comparisons?

Jake Plummer's days as starting QB in Denver are numbered.

Mike Bell will not be the starting RB for Denver. The only RB on Denver who looked impressive was Tatum Bell.

Phil Rivers made the Chargers look smart for getting rid of Drew Brees. Rivers also made Vincent Jackson look like the next stud wideout. There was clearly a comfort level there between the two of them, as Jackson caught everything thrown at him. Expect Jackson to move up from third on the depth chart soon.

Vince Young looked like a rookie QB, although he did show some flashes of how good he will be.

Reggie Bush is making the Texans look awfully stupid for not taking him with the first pick.

The Houston Texans look a little better than last year. Clearly, Dom Capers was not a good coach for them. Now if they only had a running back…

Derrick Johnson was awful! The first round linebacker taken by the Chiefs last year looked like a warm body on the field, as the Texans were able to block him at every turn. I didn’t see him shed a single block either. If he plays like this during the season, it will be another long year for the Chiefs defense.

Hank Baskett? Every time I turn around, I see him making a big play for the Eagles. Is he a preseason phenom, or the real deal?

Anthony Wright looked like he could actually be a decent sub for Carson Palmer. Or maybe the Bengals offense is just that good?

Why is Clinton Portis making a tackle on an interception return? There is something to be said for veterans dogging it in preseason. Clinton, enjoy your separated shoulder.

Is there a player in the NFL with a better name than Rock Cartwright? Cue the theme from "Bonanza"...

Friday, August 11, 2006

Understanding Mike Shanahan

I was reading a fine article by Tom Friend over at ESPN about Maurice Clarett, when I received some surprising insite into Broncos Head Coach Mike Shanahan:
"By the 2005 NFL Combine, Clarett was too slow to turn any heads, and his only blessing was that Broncos coach Mike Shanahan was arrogant enough to think he could save him. Shanahan thinks the system makes the back, instead of vice versa, so he picked Clarett in the third round and found out the hard way."

I give the Broncos credit for being able to plug almost anyone into their system and make a good running back out of them.

But as Clint Eastwood said in Magnum Force, "A man's got to know his limitations." Shanahan discovered his the hard way.

By the way, I recommend the article on Clarett, who is a classic case of someone throwing their life away.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Global warming farce: Maybe you'll believe Al Gore?

Since my own views on global warming being a crock of bull don't carry any weight, perhaps you will believe Al Gore?

Peter Schweizer has an expose on Gore over at USA Today which shows the former vice president is not as "green" as he would have you believe:
"Graciously, Gore tells consumers how to change their lives to curb their carbon-gobbling ways: Switch to compact fluorescent light bulbs, use a clothesline, drive a hybrid, use renewable energy, dramatically cut back on consumption. Better still, responsible global citizens can follow Gore's example, because, as he readily points out in his speeches, he lives a "carbon-neutral lifestyle."

...Public records reveal that as Gore lectures Americans on excessive consumption, he and his wife Tipper live in two properties: a 10,000-square-foot, 20-room, eight-bathroom home in Nashville, and a 4,000-square-foot home in Arlington, Va. (He also has a third home in Carthage, Tenn.) For someone rallying the planet to pursue a path of extreme personal sacrifice, Gore requires little from himself.

Then there is the troubling matter of his energy use. In the Washington, D.C., area, utility companies offer wind energy as an alternative to traditional energy. In Nashville, similar programs exist. Utility customers must simply pay a few extra pennies per kilowatt hour, and they can continue living their carbon-neutral lifestyles knowing that they are supporting wind energy. Plenty of businesses and institutions have signed up. Even the Bush administration is using green energy for some federal office buildings, as are thousands of area residents.

But according to public records, there is no evidence that Gore has signed up to use green energy in either of his large residences. When contacted Wednesday, Gore's office confirmed as much but said the Gores were looking into making the switch at both homes. Talk about inconvenient truths.

As Dana Carvey's "Church Lady" used to say, "How convenient!"

But there is more:
"Gore has held these apocalyptic views about the environment for some time. So why, then, didn't Gore dump his family's large stock holdings in Occidental (Oxy) Petroleum? As executor of his family's trust, over the years Gore has controlled hundreds of thousands of dollars in Oxy stock. Oxy has been mired in controversy over oil drilling in ecologically sensitive areas.

Living carbon-neutral apparently doesn't mean living oil-stock free. Nor does it necessarily mean giving up a mining royalty either.

Humanity might be "sitting on a ticking time bomb," but Gore's home in Carthage is sitting on a zinc mine. Gore receives $20,000 a year in royalties from Pasminco Zinc, which operates a zinc concession on his property. Tennessee has cited the company for adding large quantities of barium, iron and zinc to the nearby Caney Fork River.

In typical liberal fashion, Gore is living the "do as I say, not as I do" philosophy.

The fact is global warming is complete b.s., and Gore knows it. He is selling environmental politics. There either is no impending disaster, or Gore expects all of us to stop it while he lives the good life.

Which is it Al?

Quote of the day

"When there is a lack of honor in government, the morals of the whole people are poisoned." - Herbert Hoover

I never liked Bill Clinton for exactly this reason.

With all the controversies swirling around him from the beginning, from "I didn't inhale", to Whitewater, to Travelgate, etc., Clinton had too much smoke surrounding him for him to be innocent.

The Lewinsky affair proved Clinton had no honor. After swearing to uphold the laws of the U.S., Clinton lied in court about his affair. Most of us would be in jail for perjury, yet Clinton's sentence was disbarment. In other words, he lost nothing.

What does it tell us when the highest in the land is above the law?

Now we are faced with a Republican Congress which considers itself above the law. When Democratic Congressman William Jefferson is caught in a scandal red-handed by the FBI, what is the Republican leadership's response? The FBI should not be allowed to search congressional offices under the Constitution's separation of powers.

Mind you, nowhere in the Constitution does it say Congress is above the law.

What effect will this have on the American people? I don't know for sure, but it cannot be good.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Fantasy football nugget: Bell or Thomas?

I am in an IDP (Individual Defensive Players) keeper league, and I saw an interesting waiver transaction yesterday: One owner dropped LB Adalius Thomas (Ravens) and picked up RB Mike Bell (Broncos).

I discussed Bell yesterday from a general fantasy football perspective, but this was a unique fantasy football situation in my keeper league.

Bell was an undrafted rookie whom the Broncos have only named as their starter for now. Shanahan likes to do things like this to motivate his veteran players. While Bell could end up the starter at the beginning of the season, it is far from a sure thing. But you have to love the potential.

But what of Thomas? He is a solid LB who had the best season of his six year career last year, with 9 sacks, 2 interceptions, 4 forced fumbles, and 84 tackles. He is no Ray Lewis, but he is certainly worth keeping, especially considering his last five games last year: 5 sacks (one every game), 1 interception (returned for a TD), 2 forced fumbles, and 31 tackles. Thomas is clearly a player on the upswing of his career.

Dropping Bell for Thomas? Bad move, unless Thomas is the worst LB you have AND you have to get rid of a LB due to roster limitations. Otherwise, find someone else to drop.

By the way, I picked up Thomas afterwards. Even though I already have a solid LB corps, with Zach Thomas, Derrick Brooks, Derrick Johnson, Bart Scott, and David Pollack. I could not resist Thomas when I saw his numbers from last year.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

New Broncos starting RB named: Bell, but not THAT Bell

I see the link over at which says, "Broncos give starting RB job to rookie Bell". My first thought: "rookie" Bell? This is Tatum Bell's third year. Boy, did the folks over at Fox Sports screw up.

Not so fast cowboy. I clicked on the link and was astonished to read:
"Broncos rookie running back Mike Bell was told to see Mike Shanahan in his office for a meeting."

Mike who? Or is that who Bell?

The story went on:
"[Mike] Bell was shaking with excitement after Shanahan informed him he is the team's top running back, jumping ahead of Ron Dayne and Tatum Bell - for now. On Monday, Mike Bell was running with the first-team offense. Tatum Bell is second on the depth chart and Dayne third...

..."[Mike Bell]'s been real impressive," Shanahan said. "It is very close, and it could change day by day, week by week, but we felt like Mike deserves a chance to work with the first team and take a look to see if he can keep it."

I get it Shanahan. A motivational ploy.

Mind you, this is Mike Shanahan we are talking about. If Mike Bell impresses Shanahan in the preseason, don't be surprised if he is the starter on opening day.

FANTASY FOOTBALL PERSPECTIVE: Try to avoid the Broncos running backs for now. If your draft is this week, feel free to take any of the three of them as your 3rd or 4th RB in normal leagues (10-12 teams).

If your draft is later this month, watch this situation closely. The winner of the starting job is easily a great second round pick, potentially even late first round. UNLESS Mike Bell wins the job. He is still a rookie, which nudges his value down a full round (late second round to third round).

Monday, August 07, 2006

Some thoughts on the Hall of Fame weekend

I am back from my sabbatical at Robert George's blog. It was fun, but time to get back to work.

I watched a lot of coverage of the NFL Hall of Fame ceremonies this past weekend. Some reflections on the inductees:

God rest his soul, I have never seen a better defensive lineman in my entire life. Of all those inducted this year, White was the most deserving.

When he died in 2004, White received a lot of the normal praise a great person receives when they die. This weekend proved to me how heartfelt that praise really was. Even John Madden got choked up talking about Reggie.

Speaking of Madden, you could not help but love his reaction to being inducted. There is something uniquely special about watching an old man acting like the happiest little boy in the world.

If you think about it, that is really why Madden has had success as a color commentator. He has wrapped his knowledge of the game in a childlike enthusiasm for it.

I am still amazed it took this long for Madden to get into the Hall of Fame for his coaching career. How can you argue against the induction of a Super Bowl winning coach who has a 36-16-2 record against other Hall of Fame coaches?

While Aikman does deserve to be in the Hall of Fame, I would not call him a "great" quarterback. He was very good, but he was also surrounded by a lot of talented players. Give me Emmitt Smith to hand off to, Michael Irvin to throw to, and put one of the best offensive lines in the history of the NFL in front of me, and I will win quite a few games as quarterback.

Hearing the talk of Moon being the first black quarterback to be inducted got me wondering: Was there another black quarterback more worthy of that honor? I personally cannot think of one.

I must confess my knowledge of Wright is limited. When I think of him, I think of an offensive lineman with an unusual name who kept getting sent to the Pro Bowl. I was a young boy when he was playing, and offensive lineman are not exciting to young boys.

One of the things people forget about Carson is that he was a Pro Bowl linebacker twice BEFORE Lawrence Taylor played for the Giants.

I caught Adam Schefter's interview with Al Davis on the NFL Network. Al is looking REALLY old.

I was surprised to see Jerry Jones drop in on Al during the interview. I was even more surprised to see Jones treating Davis with great deference. I had heard they were friends, but it was still surprising to see.

During the interview, Davis was asked what Raiders deserved to be in the Hall of Fame. He mentioned Tom Flores, Jim Plunkett, and Cliff Branch. I could not agree more.