Friday, December 02, 2005

A Loser Picking Winners, Week 13

A bunch of random stuff, in random order:

... Well, Marvel Smith is out and Trai Essex is in. Honestly, I'm more concerned about Kendall Simmons than the left tackle position. Should Chris Kemoeatu play? Why not? Throw him in there and see what he can do. And if he struggles, put Simmons back in. If Kemoeatu's able to help jump-start the running game, then all the better (by the way, from now on, I'm pronouncing "Kemoeatu" like "Kemo-Eat-You," because it sounds funny and because it's probably true).

... I like Chad Johnson. I think he's good for the NFL, and he's really funny (although I could do without the gold fronts on game day). That said, I have no interest in seeing his "very special touchdown celebration" if he happens to score against the Steelers. As soon as the Ravens drubbing was over last week, Johnson was in his locker waving his Terrible Towel, already getting people worked up about this week's rematch with Pittsburgh. I have no idea what he might have in store, but if I were a neutral observer, it would be pretty funny if he used his towel in much the same way Randy Moss used the Packers' goal post during last year's Moongate. Since I'm not a neutral observer, I'll instead go with the tired but true line: "If you don't want to see Chad Johnson do some dopey touchdown dance, don't let him score."

... Brian Bassett of Jets Blog fame is celebrating Festivus, Jets style. And as long as everybody's "Airing their Grievances," I might as well add these to the list:
* Whenever Bill Cowher wants to overturn a play-call some low-on-the-totem-pole assistant should be responsible for turning off his mic. I like Cowher, and will usually defend him, but his job is more pregame motivational, than in-game tactical. At least based on what I've seen thus far (is 14 years of data enough to go on?).

* Kendall Simmons, the next time you see the field please (a) try to block somebody (preferably before the play is over), and (b) don't false start ... on consecutive plays ... in the red zone. Thanks.

* Ben Roethlisberger, the next time you hear "QB draw" in your helmet on fourth down and four, call a timeout, come over to the sidelines and start pointing wildly at the booth in the direction of offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt. This should send a very clear message. If it doesn't, then you're well within your rights to go out and pooch punt it. That should teach them.

* Antwaan Randle El, you were right to blow a gasket on the sidelines after the fourth and four QB draw referenced above. I say keep yelling. Let's see, Jerome Bettis, Hines Ward, Randle El, Heath Miller, Duce Staley. All great candidates to get you four yards. Maybe the Steelers should think about using them. (Yeah, I know, Kendall Simmons didn't block anybody on that play either, but still, a QB draw?).

* If an opposing defense brings 10 guys to the line of scrimmage, the Steelers might want to think about passing the ball. Nothing fancy like a five-step drop, just a quick slant to a receiver, a swing pass to a running back, or a quick hitch to a tight end. Just thinking outside the box here.

* As much as I love making fun of guys who write about sports for a living, maybe they can actually take their jobs seriously enough so I won't have quite as many CPWs, especially the really egregious examples (hello Mr. Starkey). And as long as Eric brought it up, let me ask just one question about Starkey's latest masterpiece: if he willingly admits that the offensive line stunk Monday night, how can it be that Roethlisberger has no downfield threats? Seriously, how can Ben be expected to throw the ball downfield if, um, he doesn't have time to complete step two of a three-step drop? Or more importantly, where was this article during the first nine weeks of the season? And if I'm not mistaken, I think Pittsburgh's had more big pass plays this year than they did in 2004 -- you know, when Plax missed almost half the season with hammy troubles. Anybody at the Trib remember that? If I only get one Festivus wish, it's this: Joe Starkey, please quit sucking. That is all.

* (I'm ripping of Bill Simmons for this one -- it's his rant from yesterday's Cowbell that's specifically about not trading Manny and generally about Larry Luchinno sucking -- and sucking the life out of the Red Sox) "... Yo, Mr. Henry? You're the owner. The buck stops with you. Get rid of this guy. There's a reason nobody wants to interview for your GM job, and there's a reason Theo inexplicably walked away from his dream job. Deal with it. If we lose Manny because nobody has the balls to deal with Lucchino, like many other Sox fans, we will be blaming you and you alone. Prepare for our wrath."
OK, now I gotta go find somebody to pin.

... Let me say that I was shocked (shocked!) to learn that J.J. Redick isn't very well-liked outside of Durham.

Big week last week -- I finished 3-12-1 (I feel like the Texans, but only slightly better), including dropping both ends of the Turducken Day doubleheader. Also, in an effort to ensure that I come nowhere near .500, I've tweaked my betting strategy a little more this week. In addition to always picking against the Ravens, Pats and Redskins (thank you Desmond for that), and picking the Steelers, I'll also need to pick against the teams that are threats to the Steelers' playoff chances. And yep, that means I'm going with the Titans (I know they're getting15.5 points, but I'm betting on them to win too), Broncos (they've already won the division so they might as well knock off all the 7-4 teams they can), Raiders (same deal as the Broncos except this team is going to finish last) and Browns. This should be magical. On to the picks:

TB NO 3.5 NO
NYJ NE -10.0 NYJ
OAK SD -11.0 OAK
Season: 78 - 95 - 3
Last week: 3 - 12 - 1
Earnings to date: - $2430

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