Sunday, October 03, 2010

Denver Broncos Beat the Titans

It is becoming really hard to escape the feeling that the Denver Broncos could be a good team if they could find a running game and return to the kind of offensive line performance that the Broncos were known for during the Shanahan era. Instead, the line was harrassed and bullied for most of the day and I don’t remember the last time the Broncos’ running attack was quite this bad. When you rush for only 20 yards on 19 carries, you don’t exactly deserve the win. If that sounds bad to you (and it should), then consider that the leading rusher for the Broncos was Kyle Orton with his three rushes for 11 yards--more than double the totals of either Laurence Maroney or Correll Buckhalter.

Neither Maroney nor Buckhalter managed to average more than half a yard per carry. The running backs deserve some of the blame for this, but most of it has to go to an offensive line that just isn’t doing its job.

And that failure extends beyond the running game, too. Orton was harried by an aggressive Titans team most of the day. Sacked six times, rushed on almost every drop, he still managed to throw for 341 yards and a couple touchdowns. His interception--the Broncos’ lone turnover of the day--was a bad decision. Still, when the running game is so completely useless, the Broncos have needed to take some chances in passing downfield to move the sticks.

What had to be most hopeful for Broncos fans, though, was the way the team played in most of the other phases of the game. Orton threw well and racked up yards, continuing to prove that not only is he a better QB than most people expected, but that this receiving corps is tremendously talented. In fact, a few dropped, very catchable balls would have padded those stats significantly.

On defense, the Broncos are playing far better than I expected. Martindale’s unit only gave up a few big plays, but held Chris Johnson to just 53 yards, less than three yards per carry, and no plays longer than eight yards. They also managed to keep Vince Young to just 173 yards, although his numbers would have looked significantly better if it weren’t for a handful of drops toward the end of the game. When he most needed help, his receivers left him hanging.

The special teams were mostly solid with good kickoffs, punts, and placekicking, but return coverage remains a concern. Marc Mariani’s 98 yard return was beautiful, and, boy, does that kid have some speed in those legs; but the coverage team was beat big by the blockers on the return. They can and should do better.

Still, there are reasons to feel some hope for this team. There is a deep pool of talent at some of the skill positions and the defense is showing some toughness. Kyle Orton is earning his contract extension and the passing attack is tremendous. Unless they can figure out the running game and start getting a better performance from the offensive line, they don’t have much of a shot at a return to the playoffs.

Brave prediction of the day: the Peyton Hillis trade will haunt McD for a long time. Not only has Hillis been playing really well, but his 322 yards rushing is more than the Broncos have as a team on the year. In a week where Maroney dropped a few catchable balls, at least one of which should have gone for a huge, drive-extending game, it’s also worth noting that Hillis has sixteen catches for 94 yards on the season. 

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Call Me a Skeptic: Top Reasons to Worry About the Broncos

The Broncos bullied the Seahawks today. They came up with big plays, had a gaudy third down conversion rate, and made the faithful forget that Brandon Marshall fellow. It was a good and well-earned win.

But I’m worried. They also showed some seriously negative tendencies that will get them beat by the likes of Pittsburgh and Indianapolis, and the truth is that the San Diego Chargers are still a good team and the Chiefs got a lot healthier in the offseason. If the Broncos want to make the playoffs this year, it won’t be an easy road.

Here are the top five things the Broncos need to fix:

  1. The Running Game. Knowshon Moreno’s best touches came when he caught the ball. Despite a few good running plays, Moreno averaged only 2.1 yards per carry and had far too many carries for negative yards. There is no consistency in his game and too little of the shifty explosiveness that might make up for the short runs. So far this year, Moreno is averaging fewer yards per game and fewer yards per carry. The 2009 draft is not looking like a great year for running backs (although Beanie Wells could make me eat those words).

    Buckhalter did even worse. Averaging only 1.7 yards per carry, he racked up a cool 19 yards on his 11 rushes. This just isn’t getting the job done.
  2. The Offensive Line. The o-line used to be the strength of this team. The zone blocking scheme helped the Broncos have a ridiculous string of 1,000 yard rushers, gave quarterbacks excellent protection, and truly helped win games. Josh McDaniel abandoned that zone blocking scheme, changed personnel, and the line is worse by far than it was a few seasons ago. Chalk some of this up to injuries and youth--which would be fair--but the old scheme simply seemed to work better.
  3. Punt Coverage Team. The punt coverage team is giving up huge yards. There were only three punt returns today for a total of about 82 yards. On return was for no yards, one was for 19 yards, and the other was for 63 yards. On both of the returns for yards, there were Broncos in position to make plays--indeed, Broncos who got hands on Tate (the Seahawks player)--and they failed to make the tackles. In a close game, those are the kinds of plays that can give the game away. The kick coverage team struggled last week, too, giving up a big return for 53 yards.
  4. Third Downs. No, not on the offensive side of the ball where the Broncos were amazing today, but on the other side where they saw the Seahawks go 7 for 11 on third down. Quite a number of those came on third-and-long plays where the defense had played well. If they hadn’t managed to come up with the three defensive takeaways, the score would have been quite different. The Hawks racked up 339 yards to the Broncos 369 which doesn’t usually indicate such a lopsided score.
  5. Tackling. The Broncos missed a lot of tackles today when players simply didn’t work hard enough to wrap up ball carriers. This wasn’t just the young players (although there were some moments of bad coverage and bad tackling that I’ll be willing to chalk up to youth), but even Dawkins forgot to wrap-up on one play where the carrier ended up with big yards after he first hit them for what should have been a modest game.

Don’t get me wrong: there were a lot of good things in the game, too.

Kyle Orton is playing well and the wide receivers played well. In fact, Demaryius Thomas showed everyone why McDaniels thought he was worth the draft pick, Eddie Royal played a really good game, and both Lloyed and Gaffney came up with big catches. While I’m missing a rough, strong back like Peyton Hillis right now, I’m not at all missing Brandon Marshall. That could change as the year goes on, of course, but the early look at this group of receivers is kind of exciting.

And as i said, Moreno’s best moment came when he caught the ball--which he did four times for 67 yards. The longest, a run of 45 yards, was a lot of fun to watch. He ran hard, he showed some speed, and reminded people that he has some talent. It’s just a shame that he can’t find that same elusiveness in the running game.

The Broncos have a lot of potential and this game extended their home opener win streak to the last 11 seasons. If they want to take that potential and make something of it, though, they need to be a good bit better in a few areas

Thursday, September 09, 2010

Is it Just Me? (The Brett Favre Edition)

Is it just me or did it look like Favre really needed a little more training camp before the season started?

Just sayin’. 

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

A Few Late Night Observations

  1. GI Joe is even worse than I expected. The special effects are uneven (with some just being ridiculously bad), the story is laughably dumb, the acting is exactly what you would expect from a summertime explodapalooza, and the script is horrible. I’m glad I didn’t pay to see this thing in the theaters. Maybe I could have forgiven some of those sins if the movie looked good, but it doesn’t.
  2. But Netflix streaming over wifi gives me a better picture on the giant screen TV than I get with my cable. Much better resolution, color, everything. This is the kind of thing that makes me think that I might be happy if I killed my cable and got an Apple TV. Then I remember that I really like to watch sports. If it weren’t for that, I would probably get the Apple TV, subscribe to the handful of TV shows I actually enjoy watching, and call it a good day.
  3. Speaking of Apple, how about Apple’s new line-up of products?
  4. Apple TV still isn’t what I really want it to be, but at just $99 I might pick it up anyway. If I kill off the Blockbuster monthly membership, I would probably realize a savings by renting videos through Apple--and do so with a tremendous measure of convenience. It would also be the third product hooked to my TV that could stream video from my Netflix account--which, that just seems like overkill.
  5. The new iPod Shuffle is a step (back) in the right direction. As a reward for sitting through a sales pitch from a company that wanted to sell me marketing services, I was given a free, last generation iPod Shuffle. It’s an amazingly small bit of kit, but it is one of the worst Apple products I’ve ever owned. It’s a pain to control and it has absolutely none of the user-friendliness that I’ve come to expect from the company. If I had bought it, I would have been pretty cranky. The new Shuffle gives it back a normal set of controls at the expense of a little bit of its compact size. That seems like a good idea to me.
  6. The new iPod Nano is a different story, though. I think the last gen version is the one that I would want if I were in the market. While the new Nano has a nifty touch screen, a nifty OS, and looks like quite a nice little media player, it would have made more sense as a iPod Shuffle HD. To change the form, the Nano ditched the video, uses a smaller screen, and loses video playback. Yes, it gained a bit, but I actually liked the idea of using the Nano as an easy replacement for a Flip-class video player. I’m left a little cold by it.
  7. The iPod Touch is a great little beast, though. I have zero need for it in my life, of course, but if I didn’t have the iPhone, I would consider getting a Touch.
  8. Ping is the really confusing product for me, though. I’m not sure if the world really needs another social media site and, if it did, I’m not sure it needs that site to be built into iTunes. I have no idea if it will be successful, but, if it is, then it will probably be the final, welcome death of MySpace. MySpace already feels like a relic from another era (dog years have nothing on Internet years) and it’s just waiting for the final push to send it to the grave.
  9. None of which changes the fact that Britney Spears’ former body guard’s lawsuit sounds like so much bunk to me. The situations he describes as offensive and disgusting--well, let’s just say that I don’t buy his story.
  10. None of which makes me feel better about the fact that I don’t have nearly enough incandescent lights in the pantry. Not sure where to pick them up anymore, either--the stores around us only seem to stock the fluorescent bulbs now. Now, I don’t have a huge issue with the CFL lights except these little issues: I haven’t seen anywhere near the three to five year lifespan I was told that they would give me, they don’t work on dimmer switches, they often take too long to warm up, I’m still iffy on what I’m supposed to do to the pile of dead bulbs that I have in a bag in the closet, and I hate the fact that my choice has been slowly legislated away. Which is precisely why you should read what Lileks has to say on the subject.

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

So. Denver Broncos.

Lendale White signed with the Broncos, which doesn’t sit entirely well considering his personal issues and the fact that he can’t even play the first quarter of the season.

Doom is injured and the Broncos don’t seem to be talking about it. Which makes me nervous since it give the impression that this might be something serious.

It would appear that the football gods are still cranky with the Broncos. Which is surprising since you would think that Tim Tebow’s mere presence would ensure the favor of the football gods.

Sunday, August 01, 2010

So, Josh…

One find’s oneself wondering if Coach McDaniels finds himself missing one Mr. Hillis right about now...

Just sayin’...

Kidding aside, here’s hoping that Buckhalter and Moreno heal up well (and soon). And Tim Tebow watchers might want to take a look at that second link, too.

Football. I love football.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Denver Broncos Give Us Some First Round Fireworks

Was there a team more active in trading draft picks than the Broncos? Not a chance. Up, down, this year, next year--the Broncos were a little manic whirlwind of activity.

If I weren’t so happy with the picks, I’d probably suggest that someone take the meth bowl from McDaniels.

But I do like the picks. I like them a lot.

First, at 22 overall, Georgia Tech WR Demaryius Thomas has similar size to Brandon Marshall, he has a lot of potential if he can learn to use that size the way that Marshall does, and he doesn’t seem to have the same behavioral issues. I hope that Marshall really has straightened up and that the trade will be good for him, but Thomas looks like the kind of guy who will make Broncos fans feel a little less pain at the loss.

Second, and most notably, is one of the most talked about picks of the day. Quarterback Tim Tebow is Denver bound. I love his character, I love his winning, and I love his attitude--whether he’ll end up being worthy of his first round status is an entirely different question. Personally, I’m betting the answer is yes and that the debate over his throwing motion is really overdone.

Consider: Phillip Rivers doesn’t have the best mechanics, but he’s one of the best young QBs in the league; Brett Favre has some of the most inconsistent mechanics in the game, but he also has more regular season wins than any other quarterback; even the Broncos’ beloved Elway had some strange tics in his throwing motion (like the double tap that he did through a good chunk of his career while looking for his receivers).

Of course, JaMarcus Russell has bad mechanics, too, but that comparison would be unfair. Like Russell, Tebow is a natural athlete. They are both big, quick, strong guys (although I think Tebow is a little quicker on his feet), but Tebow has shown leadership, character, a strong work ethic, and a willingness to accept criticism. It’s pretty hard not to like this pick and, if he develops well, it might be seen as one of the biggest bargains of the draft. Russell, by contrast, has to be one of the biggest disappointments in the league.

But it sure does leave the Broncos with a strange mix at quarterback. Orton may not have had the season that Broncos fans hoped for, but he definitely earned the chance to keep his starting job. Brandstader, the Broncos’ QB pick from last year looked pretty good in preseason last year and, as a project, it’s far too early to say that he is or isn’t a good quarterback. Rounding it out, McDaniels wanted Brady Quinn last year when he was dealing Cutler, but ended up with Kyle Orton--and Josh went out and got his man this off season. Who is the odd man out? Is it Brady Quinn, who may not get quite the chance to compete that he originally expected? Or is it Brandstader who will likely either be dropped from the team or who may find himself “groomed” to be the number three guy in Denver.

Kyle Orton, who is one of the league’s ultimate team players, seems like the one with the most job security. Not did he put up decent numbers last year, but he is a good caretaker for the position and a mentor for Tebow. He seems to be unlikely to chafe at competition from the younger player. Quinn, on the other hand, is probably eager to find himself named the starter and not so eager to be in another crowded backfield with an unsettled QB lineup.

Josh McDaniels may be walking into another quarterback controversy, but it’s entirely different from what we saw last year.

I wonder if he’ll manage to make the rest of the draft as interesting as he did in that first round.

Read a little more.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Where Will Brandon Marshall Go? (Updated)

You’d have to think that if Brandon Marshall, one of the league’s better wide receivers, were going to stay with the Broncos, the contract he signed would have been bigger than the $2.521 million tender contract. If the Broncos wanted to keep him (and keep him happy), they would have offered bigger dollars; if he wanted to stay, he would have asked for the kind of contract that would have kept him happy. Instead he signed the lowball tender which wasn’t significantly more than he made last year.

So Marshall is going to go somewhere. The question is where he’ll land and how much the Broncos will get in return.

Similar to the Cutler situation in the last off-season, I can’t help but be a little disappointed with both sides of this personnel equation. Marshall deserved a better contract in the last off-season and the Broncos deserved better than Marshall gave them every off-season. While Marshall played for small money through his first contract, he watched less talented players coming through the team signing bigger contracts and contributing far, far less. On the other hand, Marshall’s constant legal difficulties and his suspensions made it hard for the Broncos to justify the investment.

If Marshall really is leaving town, it will be one more disappointment for fans who have stomached more than their share over the last three years.

Strategically speaking, the Broncos are also showing players that if you don’t want to play in Denver, you don’t have to play in Denver. You can always bully, whine, or cry your way out of town and the Broncos will ultimately accommodate you. Not a good reputation to have when you’re trying to build stability in your team and loyalty in your players.

Update: Brandon Marshall is going to Miami--and he immediately makes them a better team--and the Broncos got fair value for him. A second round pick this year and a second round pick this year makes a pretty compelling case for letting him go; I imagine the Broncos will be looking to draft a new receiver pretty high this year.

Monday, April 12, 2010

It Ain’t All Politics: The Former Broncos Edition

When Chris Simms was pushed into duty last year when Orton was injured, I was a supporter. I thought it was a great opportunity for him to showcase himself to the league and either earn his backup spot outright or let him catch on with another team. Instead he played one of the worst--well, probably the worst--game of his professional career.

While I like Simms, the man, Simms the player looked to be done.

Which is why this is such a surprise:

Free agent quarterback Chris Simms has reached agreement on a one-year deal with the Tennessee Titans, a league source told ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter.

The idea that he might be a safe back-up for any quarterback--the kind of guy you could rely on to step in and save a game at just a moment’s notice--is astonishing. I hope he does well and I hope I’m wrong, but I don’t think the man has much game left in him.

Read the rest.

Thursday, April 08, 2010

Tiny, Fragmented Thoughts

It just ain’t news that President Obama taped a segment for American Idol’s special “Idol Gives Back” segment. Not only is it a worthy cause, but I’m fairly sure that the previous White House occupant did the same thing. Ain’t news.

Tiger Woods and Nike have put together an awfully cynical ad; it’s as professional, stylish, and as well-constructed as any Nike ad you’re likely to see, but the method, the message, and the emotions are all in service of commerce and not redemption. Tiger’s acts certainly call for introspection and I’m sure that some of the people nearest to him are disappointed, but taping together scraps of his deceased father’s words while Tiger stares balefully at the audience isn’t a path to introspection or any kind of reasonable response for the damage that he’s done to his family. The ad is too obviously a lie--a supposedly emotionally raw spot about a very serious subject but cheapened to the point of meaninglessness because it’s a branded moment of introspection that will hopefully sell a few extra shoes--to be effective on an emotional level.

When people talk about crass commercialism, this would qualify as a good example.

But Tiger doesn’t owe me anything. He doesn’t owe me an apology or an explanation or a second thought; I’m just some guy who thought that he was a good role model for kid. He never promised anything to me.

Aside from a seemingly (it’s an illusion, I know, but it is an amazing parade) endless line of women copping to sexual relations with the guy, how must Elin feel about seeing an ad like that? Shame and pain, I would imagine.

On the same topic, but from a very different side, as disappointed as I am by Tiger, I’m just as disappointed by the people and the media that are allowing that parade of women their fifteen minutes of fame complete with the assumption of a moral high ground. I was watching a show earlier today where the announcers were talking about Tiger’s appearance in Augusta today. When they weren’t busy chastising him for smiling and looking at his cell phone during practice--apparently he wasn’t showing the proper public misery--they started talking about the latest woman to claim an affair with Woods.

Apparently this young woman was a “next door neighbor” of Tigers and she was furious when she found out about all of the other women because she “thought she was special.” I’ve heard other of these women making the same claim and, I’m sorry, just because Tiger was a cheating jerk, they don’t get to claim any moral high ground. You know who was special? Tiger’s wife. Tiger’s children. The rest of these women are just a bunch of groupies whoring themselves out for a taste of his fame. Each and every one of them knew he was a married man and each and every one of them went on to have a relationship with him.

The idea that they had no moral responsibility because they weren’t the ones breaking the bond of marriage just doesn’t wash. If I knowingly sleep with another man’s wife, I share a good portion of the moral weight of that action. But these women are treated to photo spreads and salacious stories in respectable magazines, given uncritical coverage by the press, and seem to be shamelessly glorying in gossiping about their affairs and the most intimate and torrid details of their time with Tiger.

It’s moments like these where I think that we need to rediscover shame in this country.

Shame and regrets usually show up when you’ve done something that you shouldn’t have--and those folks who claim to live without either are either liars or have learned to turn off that internal check that gives them some pretty important hints about how they are living their lives.

When one of these women claim to be furious to find out that they weren’t the only one, I wonder if they spare a moment to feel furious with themselves for having slept with a married man and for their contribution in his, perhaps, irretrievably damaged marriage. If so, their apologies have been far less public than Tiger’s have.

I have very little use for a person who abdicates the moral responsibility that they have for the choices that they make in life. Less use for those same folks when they start loudly proclaiming just how much they’ve been wronged.

I’m pretty sure if you all saved up a bit, you could afford to get me this rather special book.

I’m still not ready to forgive Aston Martin for their own sins, but I do have to note this: the design language that Ian Callum developed for the DB7 and that has been stretched and updated to fit through every other Aston Martin since, is reaching its limits. Still beautiful, it’s becoming, perhaps, a little too familiar. It is time to see that design language stretch and change--keeping some bits to maintain heritage, but new enough to enrapture those of us who see Astons as much as art as they are cars.

Negative comments notwithstanding, I think that this take from Ugur Sahin wouldn’t be a bad place to start. There are some beautiful shapes and lines, the overall design is nicely balanced, it doesn’t ignore the Aston’s recent heritage, but it is fresh and new in a way that none of the new Astons seem to be matching right now.

To be fair, though, the new Aston Martin Rapide is far, far prettier than Porsche’s Panamera, which is too awkward to be truly bland, but that doesn’t stop it from trying.

Monday, April 05, 2010


What a game. What an end. Wow.

Sunday, April 04, 2010

A Telling Conversation

I have a friend who is a Republican. Not a conservative nor a deeply political person; her votes are more of habit and generalities than they are of intense political ideology. In the last election, she voted a mostly Republican ticket but refrained from voting for a presidential candidate because she didn’t like Sarah Palin, couldn’t vote for Obama, and there wasn’t an option of writing in my name.

That last bit isn’t a joke, by the way. We had gone from the office together and voted at the same time. When we were on the way, she told me she planned to write in my name because she thought I was a better candidate than any of the folks on the ballot. She’s probably wrong, but it would have made me smile; sadly, we saw nothing on the ballot that allowed for write-ins.

When I stopped by the office last week to use the printer, we talked for a bit and she wanted me to know two things that she said would shock me.

“I’m never going to say this again, so I have to get it out right now,” she said. She’s a notoriously stubborn and outspoken person, so when she goes for something like this, you know that it must hurt to the core. “First, I still don’t like him, but the Nuggets need George Karl back. Second, I still don’t like her, but even if Sarah Palin is the candidate, I’ll vote for her just to get Obama out of office.”

I was stunned by both admissions. She’s a long-time Nuggets season ticket holder, takes basketball more seriously than anyone I know, and has lobbied for Karl’s removal for over a year with me arguing the opposite. Her disappointment in McCain’s pick of Veep candidates was, if anything, even more absolute at the time. She didn’t like Palin, she didn’t think the woman was qualified, and she wasn’t fond of any woman being that close to the presidency--and oddly sexist opinion that brought out the kind of arguments I usually try to avoid in the office. That, in one conversation, she could possibly admit that George Karl brought value to the Denver Nuggets and that Sarah Palin would make a better president than Barrack Obama was like a Christmas miracle for me.

My Democrat friends will say that they never had her vote anyway, and there is truth to that, although her commitment to voting for any Republican candidate over the current president is out of character and more meaningful than they might admit. And, beyond that, the story doesn’t stop there.

Her kids both voted Obama in the election. Again, neither is particularly political and I don’t know either of them enough to guess at their motivation. My friend went on to tell me that she wasn’t sure how her daughter felt, but that her son was fuming mad over the president’s performance and bitterly regretted his vote. This is a young (mid-twenties), hispanic union member working in a non-professional capacity. He is the Obama demographic.

He’s also a nice kid, a smart kid, and, I stress this because I think it is important, not typically a politically oriented person.

The Democrats are going to lose the midterms in a big way. Barring a previously untapped and Clintonian capacity for triangulation that the public truly buys into, Obama won’t see a second term, either. The presidential election is a long way off, and, business cycles being what they are, the political situation could dramatically change between now and then. If the economy, the job numbers, and the tenor of the Obama presidency don’t change soon, though, I think it will reach the kind of tipping point where Obama might experience something that I can’t recall ever seeing: watching his own party abandoning him for another candidate when his “electability” is called into question.

Could Hillary be in the perfect position for 2012? I think it is entirely possible and I think that Democrats might find it easier to unite behind her than they would in fighting the early (too early, yes, but we’re speculating her) legacy of the Obama administration.

For the midterm elections, the future seems easier to predict. Obama and the Democrats are losing the center left and the independents right now, Republicans will see the return of some of the defectors who were tired of the Bush years, and some Democrats will stay home because they are going to be disheartened by the constant fight and the simple fact that the Obama years aren’t going the way that they expected. When you expect a deity and you get a mere Chicago politician, some folks are going to start questioning their choices.

Certainly, the human mind has amazing powers of self-justification and there will be a core of believers that will dig in and keep fighting. The great majority of voters aren’t true believers in much of anything, though, and their numbers are skewing to the right. The Tea Party wasn’t the flash-in-the-pan that many people thought it would be (and that the progressive left hoped it would be), and while the real impact of the movement has yet to be seen, only fools would deny the massive influence that the grass-roots uprising has had on the political conversations of the day. And the left’s continued attempt to minimize the movement with talk of “teabaggers” (and, yes, Mr. Ditto, I’m looking at you right now) is only entrenching the strange agglomeration of libertarians, conservatives, and center left citizens into an anti-incumbent and anti-establishment mood. Demeaning them, ignoring their worries, and insulting the Tea Partiers with accusations of racism, stupidity, and name-calling has only had the immediate effect of making the progressive left look even less attractive and less relevant to contemporary America than they did before the election of President Obama in what was far more a reaction to the previous administration than it was a mandate for massive social and political change.

While the Democrats lose the middle, it is entirely possible that giddy Republicans or Tea Partiers won’t learn the right lessons from recent elections or from each other--and my guess is that the Tea Party could overplay its hand in a few elections and cost conservatives some ground it might otherwise take, but that’s a conversation for another post. But Tea Party overreach and GOP clumsiness seem unlikely to derail the particular train that looks to bring massive defeat to the Democrats at the hands of an aroused, angry public in the mid-terms.

I’m no genius (political or otherwise) and I’m not reading tea leaves that aren’t readily apparent to others. What will be interesting is to see how the left rallies in those upcoming contests to try to maintain the advantage that they gained in the last election. In a way, though, that massive gain makes it even more apparent that the more time that goes on the more they are responsible for continued problems. Who else could it be? It helps that the Democrats managed to turn their supermajority into something that looked desperately like weakness.

If I’m right, though, and the GOP makes significant gains at the midterm, they will need to shift the tone of their message. No longer will it be good enough to be the minority fighting the good fight, but they will need to begin leading for the first time in many years. There is much to be red-faced about in being a Republican right now; the record of the supposedly conservative party has been, ahem, mixed as of late. Not finding a way to lead on the biggest issues of the day--not just offering up solutions, but actually delivering them and making the case for those solutions--would be devastating.

I believe that there is a historical opportunity coming to Republicans in mid-terms, but that opportunity could be an invitation to tragedy for conservatives if we don’t find a way to make something useful from it.

More reading for Sunday night:

Legal Insurrection has this gem: “If Obama has lost my friend, the Frank Rich-loving, Sarah Palin-hating greedy Democratic geezer that he is, the Democrats are in deep electoral trouble.”
Rasmussen Reports talks about trust issues.
Via the Corner, the Seattle Times supports a legal challenge the health care reform bill.
In a two-for-one, follow the link to Vodka Pundit and then click through to Charles Martin’s post on President Obama’s political “stage magic.” As I said a few days ago, keep watching both hands.
And, for something less political, Happy Easter.

Update: Be sure to see this post on Billllllll’s Idle Mind. “What did we do to deserve this?” Excellent question, Mr. Surplus Ells.

Saturday, April 03, 2010

Weekend Inventory of Events

Duke is going to the finals. The Nuggets won. I’m married to a beautiful and wonderful woman.


Monday, February 22, 2010

Ice Dancing. Because I Can’t Help Myself.

Samuelson and Bates’ free dance was absolutely beautiful tonight. No gimmicky costumes or vaudevillian overacting; it was a classic, lyric performance of exceptional grace.

I can’t imagine that they will medal, but it was one of the prettiest performances of the Olympics.

That said, you would be hard pressed to convince me that figure skating of any kind, outside of the argument of tradition, can be considered a sport. If ice dancing is a sport, then why isn’t there Olympic ballet?

And don’t even get me started on that whole trampoline fiasco from the Summer Olympics…

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Best Wishes to George Karl and His Family

Here’s what JR Smith had to say about George Karl’s announcement tonight:

Love coach Karl he will be fine everyone keep him in your prayers!

For Nuggets fans who somehow missed it, George Karl announced tonight that he will be taking a leave of absence from the Nuggets while he is treated for neck and throat cancer. For the next six weeks, he will be undergoing a series of aggressive treatments, although he noted that the doctors have told him that they believe the cancer is treatable.

My thoughts and prayers go out to Karl and his family. Here’s hoping he responds well to the treatment.

More here.

Sunday, February 07, 2010

Congratulations, New Orleans

I’m almost as surprised by the Saints’ win today as I was by Shannon Sharpe’s missing the final cut for the Hall of Fame. Happier about the former, though.

As disappointed as I am for Peyton Manning, it is impossible to be truly disappointed in the result.

Boo, on the other hand, to Audi for an ad that made me want to buy a Hummer. Or a Chris “Birdman” Anderson-mobile.


In reference to the Super Bowl half time show: lovely light show, but a boring performance from a band who hasn’t had a meaningful hit in longer than I can remember. Not that they didn’t play well and do their best to inject energy and excitement into their mini-concert/mash-up of some of their biggest hits. It’s just that the music sounds nothing close to relevant.

Was this really the best choice for keeping the audience in their seats instead of clicking over to the latest Danica Patrick “Too Hot for TV Internet Only” abomination at GoDaddy.com?

Saturday, December 05, 2009

Rest in Peace, Tim “Barrel Man” McKernan (Updated)

For longtime Broncos fans like me, today is a sad, sad day. Tim McKernan, probably the best known Broncos fan, passed away. It wasn’t a surprise--he had given interviews about a month ago and it was obvious that he was dying--but he was, by all accounts, a really good guy and a fixture in my Broncos related memories for about three decades.

Tim McKernan, better known to Denver Broncos fans and the nation as the Barrel Man, died of lung failure at his home in suburban Denver. He was 69.

McKernan began wearing a barrel, cowboy hat and little else to Broncos games in 1977 after a bet with his brother. The former United Airlines mechanic made a $10 bet that he could get on TV if he wore a barrel to the game. Guess what? He won the bet.

He quickly became a fan favorite and missed only four games from 1967 until this season. McKernan retired the barrel during 2007 as health issues caught up with him.

I’m hoping that the Broncos organization takes a big step and adds McKernan to the Broncos Ring of Fame not just for McKernan’s sake, but as a great symbol of the passion and dedication of all Broncos fans. I can’t think of anyone else who could possibly fill that role as well as the Barrel Man.

Sympathy goes out to the family and friends of Mr. McKernan, and big thanks for all of the memories. Rest.

Read the story. And more here.

Update: Drew Litton has a nice post for Barrel Man, too.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Funniest Moment of My Day: The Indy v/ Baltimore Edition

"Run, there’s a murderer chasing you!”

The above is a real quote from Darling Girl after Manning had just completed a pass to a receiver who was about to be tackled by Ray Lewis.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Who Gets to Play in the Sandbox?

The NFL does business with all these folks:

  1. Ricky Williams. He’s either a four- or a five-time loser in the NFL banned substances program. I’m a little foggy on the details.
  2. Michael Vick. Which, yeah…
  3. Ray Lewis. While some people might talk about his “tarnished image”, Lewis’ plea deal for obstruction of justice after first being charged with murder didn’t stop him from continuing his career. Payoffs to avoid lawsuits from the families of the murdered men did little to put the shine back on in my eyes, but in the NFL, tarnished = giant paycheck.
  4. Sebastian Janikowski. Who...well, just read it. His history includes the date rape drug, too much drinking, violent confrontations, and a mildly hilarious acquittal for attempting to bribe a police officer.
  5. Pacman Jones. His violent, stupid crimes didn’t lead to his exit from the league; it was marginal play. Jones bugs me more than most because his criminal record paints him as the worst kind of arrogant, useless thug. That’s not the bad part, though: the bad part is that he was allowed to be this guy from college on to the pros because he was talented enough of a player that people kept giving him a pass. Until one year where he wasn’t good enough and the free ride was over. I wonder if he ever really understood the deal he was making or how quickly it would end?
  6. Tom Cable. The Raiders head coach allegedly (and, very believably) viciously attacked one of his own assistant coaches and broke the man’s jaw. Admittedly, the NFL may well kick this guy from the league if and when he is convicted of felony assault; but with the evidence already in place, the severity of the attack, and the NFL’s recent focus on good behavior, I still can’t believe that he hasn’t been suspended pending the outcome of the legal issues and any internal investigation that needs to take place. Hell, it might be to the benefit of the team to be without Cable.

But this one was bullied out of even the possibility:
  1. Rush Limbaugh. Who is a loudmouth conservative with a drug conviction. Which, let’s be honest, one drug conviction seems pedestrian in the world of football. You need to have a few run-ins with the pee police before the NFL considers taking any real action.

That’s only a taste, of course, and I’ve excluded those players who were convicted of things like drunk driving that, honestly, certainly are crimes but don’t deserve the kind of coverage that our media manages to milk out of those wayward players. I only include Ricky Williams because I find his career so darned funny.

And I don’t feel any strong need to carry any water for Rush. I don’t listen to Limbaugh. I tried to read one of his book years ago and got bored with his amazing ability to pat his own back--which doesn’t make him evil, it just means he’s not to my taste. Somehow, I don’t think that this should disqualify him to be minority owner of a football franchise that could use a little help.

But what do I know? I’m just the guy who buys the NFL product week after week, doing my bit to help pay the bloated salaries of the players, coaches, and owners in the league.

Just sayin’.


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