Tag Archives: Cardinals

Daily Rounds 12/9/2011 Part 2

In Part One, we took a look at all the NBA crazyness leading into the first day of training camps.  In Part two we look at the Pujols contract and reaction.  A crazy game in Pittsburgh that came down to the wire and a bum leg.  And other small mini notes including breaking news regarding one of my favorite players in the NBA.
Albert Pujols is a Los Angeles (of Anaheim) Angel.  In a stunning turn of events that was confirmed by multiple outlets Albert Pujols agreed to a 10 year $255 million deal to go from the St Louis Cardinals and the National League to the LA Angels and the American League.  Bernie Miklasz of the St Louis Post Dispatch says save the blame game, its just a business.  Bryan Burwell doesn’t believe the Cardinals did everything they could to keep the superstar a Cardinal for life.  Vincent Bonsignore of the LA Daily News shows his reaction.  Bill Plaschke of the LA Times  says this makes the Angels relevant in LA just as much as it does in the AL.  Kevin Baxter writes that Pujols’ Hispanic heritage won’t be that huge here given the low Dominican population in Southern California.  However his reputation could take a hit.  And Boy DOES IT EVER and from an unusual place.  Joel Sherman of the NY Post asks the Angels “have we learned NOTHING from the idiocy of handing a soon to be 32 year old slugger a 10 year contract?” John Harper meanwhile says that the Yankees may be forced to react to this news if the dominoes fall the way that some suggest it will.  Gil Lebreton of the Fort-Worth Star Telegram says that the Rangers insist they aren’t going to budge from their plan and business model.   I agree with Steve Henson of Yahoo Sports that the real winner here was Prince Fielder who’s agent is a fella by the name of Scott Boras.  

The question on everyone’s mind this morning is: IS this deal a good idea for the Angels?  Just take for a second to remove the emotion of a long time Cardinal leaving the only place he knows for bigger dollars and a bigger tank.  Is Albert Pujols worth 10 years $255 million (reportedly)?  (for that matter is ANY player worth that much for that long?)  My answer is yes.  A HUGE yes.  A resounding yes.

Kevin Baxter is right.  There is no latino influence like he would’ve had if he had chosen to go to Miami in South Beach.  Pujols decision to move to Los Angeles was purely based on dollars.  It was a business decision.  And it was a business decision on both sides.

For years I’ve said that Arte Moreno operated his ball club like a weird rich kid.  Unsure about spending all of his money, instead he made smaller purchases to keep people believing that they were big spenders.  Kind of like what the Coupon family did two winters ago when they signed Jason Bay.  I guess Moreno got tired of shopping at the mall and went to Fifth Ave and swallowed up Albert Pujols and got a discount on CJ Wilson.  This is a huge deal for Moreno because now was the time to strike.

The Dodgers are a financial mess and despite their bumbling problems, they will soon be on the receiving end of a huge multi-year TV deal that will make them even richer and they will get new ownership soon, one group rumored to include Magic Johnson.  So now was the time to strike.  Before the Dodgers got their affairs in order.  It was time to get some sour Dodger fans to turn and stare at the red of the Angels while the Dodgers remained blue in the face.  These are the kind of bombs you land when you are fighting a turf battle.  These are the things that give you victory.

Pujols immediately gives them legitemacy.  Wilson gives the Angels another arm on a team full of capable arms.  The Angels move to get Vernon Wells looks dumber now considering they could’ve had an outfield of Torii Wilson, Peter Bourjos and Mike Trout the whiz kid 19 year old who will eventually be a superstar if all the scouts are right.  The Angels have the kind of long term commitment from Pujols that will allow them to win a few battles in the presses and will give the Angels the ability to hold their head high when they walk in this town long run by the Dodgers.

The notion that he is a traitor OR even did anything remotely bad here needs to stop.  I find it hilarious that its New York reporters who are crying foul of this deal though it makes sense.  The A-Rod contract looks like it will be a stain on the Yankees for years and something they won’t be able to remove anytime soon.  But there are several reasons why this deal makes sense and not only that he deserves it:

This is a guy who TOOK a hometown discount already.  His last contract paid him $100 million which was hugely under-market deal.  So Pujols took the hometown discount once.  He wasnt, at the age of 32(?) going to take it again and I don’t blame him.  Its once in a life time that a player of his talents come along and enter the free agent market and any team would’ve been right to offer him that contract.  Leaving St Louis somehow makes this deal a bad one?  Retiring a Cardinal would’ve made sense.  Yes, they offered north of $200 million but their payroll restrictions didn’t allow the Cardinals to go further or take that extra step.

But that’s not what cost them Pujols.  They never, in his mind made that extra push prior to last season to make him an offer he felt he was worthy of.  If we learned anything following the Jose Reyes press conference, its that stars need to be pampered and felt like they are wanted.  They are insecure and shallow and need the reassurance like little kids that they will be looked after.  Pujols CAN be looked at in that light but it wouldn’t be fair.  The Cardinals had an exclusive window to talk contract extension and if they said 10 years $240 million, they would’ve gotten him then.  This would not be going on.  I’m not mad at Pujols for taking the money.  You get offered that kind of money, you would be dumb to NOT take it because this is a business and in the end you take care of yourself, family and loved ones and nobody else.  Everyone else is periphery and don’t really matter.  Pujols’ fans in St Louis need to know that.

I was a fan of Reyes and I know that he did the right thing.  I don’t blame him for wanting out of the Mets, and their current situation, and taking the bigger contract.  He did the right thing.  I don’t begrudge him as a Met fan and I don’t hate the Mets for letting him leave.  This was right for both parties.  It was the right time.  Was there a better way like trading him?  Sure.  But either way I don’t blame Sandy for not offering that kind of money that signed Reyes and I’m not mad at Reyes for not taking the offer.

The Wilson deal part of it makes sense because he won’t be asked to be the number one guy.  That role is Jered Weaver’s.  They have a four man staff that could be Phillies lite and given that Roy Oswalt is no longer there could be better than the Phillies overall.  This gives them needed depth that they can augment with a very strong bullpen which they have.  I like this move because they also got him on a bit of a discount if you believe the rumors that the Marlins offered him 6 years.

The Pujols deal also makes sense because he will instantly improve a lineup that scored 200 runs less than their immediate competitor the Texas Rangers.  For two years the Angels have watched the Rangers go to the World Series and there’s no end in sight in Arlington, so the Angels had to wait for the right guy.  What about the guy that led the team that just crushed your hearts?  What about the guy who had an all-time great World Series game against them?  Pujols is a major swing at the Texas Rangers who may be forced to respond.

What if the Rangers now get crazy and sign Prince Fielder to a 9 year $200 million contract?  What if they post for Yu Darvish who just came on the market?  Doesn’t this mean the Yankees and Red Sox have to respond in kind?  The Yankees would then feel the need to trade for Gio Gonzalez or Wandy Rodriguez even.  So goodbye valuable young assets and future Yankee stars, and hello immediate response to a major league arms race.  Suddenly the Red Sox, would also need to make a big play.  What about trading for Jon Niese AND David Wright?

All scenarios are in play.  But the next few days could be intense and could lead to deals.  This Pujols/Wilson play has major repercussions and I can’t wait to see it play itself out.

Thursday Night Football somehow, seems to get its share of drama to run with and boy did they get it yesterday.  Ben Roethlisberger’s ankle looked like a pretzel…after snapping, and somehow he still managed to get up and throw a game winning touchdown and play a whole second half on a badly injured ankle limping his way on the field.  Ron Cook of the Pittsburgh Post Gazette was as impressed as I was.  Dejan Kovacevic of the Pittsburgh Tribune Review says he was also awed at Ben’s stand.  

I only got to watch the second half but I read on twitter about his injury and then saw it replayed.  It looked gruesome.  The kind that would make the average human being turn their head away or make their face have the look whenever you eat something sour.  It just was insane.  Then you saw him come back out.  You suddenly realized the important.  7-3 ballgame.  Season was on the line.  Steelers had to win this game and ensure they would.  Could their defense hold?  Sure.  But you couldn’t, if you were Ben, take that chance.

Consider that Ben plays behind a very porous offensive line that usually leaves him writing on the floor in a considerable amount of pain.  Nobody would’ve faulted the Steelers for leaving Charlie Batch in for the rest of the game.  But these are the moments that superstars rise and make a name for themselves.  Against a division rival, Big Ben lived up to his name and forever earned my respect.  For all intents and purposes he was hopping like a rabbit out there.  He couldnt put any weight on that foot which was so vital to him planting and being able to drive in through his throws.  His passing would be compromised.  Yet somehow, someway, he threw a 79 yard TD pass to Antonio Brown who made a few guys miss with a few moves and his speed and did most of the leg work.

But it was Ben’s heart that won them this game.  I believe in momentum shifts and small little things like this that may go unnoticed to the average eye that can propel a team to a Super Bowl.  Yes the Ravens swept the Steelers.  Yes the Steelers offensive line is an absolute mess and at times, yes, the defense has looked old.  But last night was something different.

The onus on all the other players to step up their game is ten fold now.  Nobody’s injury is that important that they can’t suck it up.  Lamar Woodley.  You hear me?  No more being laid out because of a hamstring.  That’s bullshit.  This game could’ve galvanized this Steeler team.  Now they get 10 days and for a team nursing injuries and being old and needing rest it couldn’t have come at a better time.  Big Ben showed up last night and now expect a veteran ball club like the Steelers to show up for him.  This victory could be even more special and can be the turning point for the Steelers.  Stay tuned.

Finally, according to Adrian Woj of Yahoo sports, Brandon Roy may have to retire due to medical reasons.  USA Today is reporting it as well.  Sad day for Brandon.  He could’ve been a game changer.  This of course means that depending on his contract status, the Blazers may be in the clear if his contract was insured.  Sad day.   


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Cardinals 5- Mets 3

Another brutal loss for the Mets.  The game winner was given up by Ryota Igarashi in the 8th when Ryan Ludwick sent his pitch into left center to break a 3-3 tie.  Another series, another 1-2 split.  At some point the growing concern over losing every single series is going to take hold and force management to make moves.  Right?

– Before we get into any on field action the most news was made off of it as the Mets designated Mike Jacobs for assignment and called up Tobi Stoner who ended up pitching in last night’s game.  Why is that important?  Other than getting one of the automatic rally killers out of the Met line up in Mike Jacobs, the Mets freed themselves up to make a roster move.  As it states in the most highly trustworthy sites in the world, Wikipedia*, the definition is as follows:

Designated for assignment is a contractual term used in Major League Baseball. When a player is designated for assignment, he is immediately removed from the club’s 40-man roster. This gives the club 10 days to decide what to do with the player while freeing up a roster spot for another transaction, if needed. After designating a player for assignment, the club must make one of the following contractual moves:

  • Place the player on waivers (which can only be done within the first 7 days of the 10-day period)
  • Trade the player
  • Release the player

This of course is setting the internet ablaze** with talk that perhaps this move was done to call up Ike Davis.  If so, Met fans will undoubtedly be rejoicing at the thought of their number one prospect finally joining the roster, a move many Met fans were hoping for when Spring Training broke.  Who knows what this will do for the team offensively as Jason Bay isn’t hitting and all David Wright can do is draw walks right now.  They need another major power bat to put fear into the hearts of opposing pitchers and no one on the Mets line up does that.

*= That was an “Office” reference for those that don’t know.

**= Maybe not the internet.  Maybe I was being a bit sarcastic.  Just a bit though.

– Regarding the game, for the fourth straight night, the Mets saw decent starts by their starting pitcher but this had to be the worst of them.  Maine only gave up 3 runs in 5 innings but given how thin the bullpen was after Saturday’s game and what he had to prove particularly after his last start in Colorado where he gave up 8 runs in 3 innings, he failed.  Simple as that.  I actually got upset hearing Maine give the same old tired excuse of him seeing improvement and him not caring about the pitch count*, so much as the result.  His demeanor was that of a person who is so secure in his role on the team that he can’t foresee being dropped or sent to the minors for anything.  I worry that if he gets into Jerry Manuel’s office he may kill everyone in the locker room after being sent down.**  Maine’s problem is that he’s too stubborn to see the writing on the wall; that being that he’s just not a good pitcher to be taking up space on a big league rotation.  He hasn’t showed great improvement on his fastball and seems like he’s confused as to why he’s not getting the results.  If he is serious about improving and not embarrassing himself, the Mets should send him down and he should graciously accept it and not see it as a huge failure.  That of course is the problem.  He is known for beating himself up over the smallest things so naturally he’ll blame himself and others around him.  Its difficult to be around people like that because their negativity can bring down people around him and he counts Mike Pelfrey as one of his closest friends on the team and yet Pelf is the exact opposite.  He’s Mr. Sunshine, always seeing the positive.***  Pelfrey’s early season improvement is something I hope he builds on and hanging out with a pout y John Maine won’t help him.  I hope it doesn’t affect him but I’ve seen too many occasions where one person’s negative outlook ruin other people in situations outside of sports and I can see how it can happen easily in sports as well.  I think him going 5 innings and hitting 90 regularly will give him one more start to prove himself and show further improvement but his leash has to be smaller.  He simply can’t do over 100 pitches in 5 innings.  The Mets have to get it through his head that a demotion isn’t the end of the world but his chance at getting himself back to his 2007 form where all the promise and potential was built into Mets management’s heads that he could be a very valuable addition to the roster.****

*= Really John?  Don’t care about the pitch count?  That right there made me so upset and had me cursing loudly at a computer monitor which made me upset that I was cursing at a computer monitor.  Its a vicious cycle really.

**= That bit is courtesy of the look that Maine gives Jerry Manuel everytime he comes to get him out of the game.  His eyes just scream serial killer and that’s not a good thing folks.  I’m just saying, bring in security if the Mets decide to send him down.  Either that or keep him on suicide alert.

***= He’s Mr. Happy go Lucky.  Seriously he is joking around and has a smile on his face and if he doesn’t, he usually is holding back a smile.  I think Maine just needs a hug from Mike Pelfrey.  Or just give him whatever Pelf is having that makes him so happy all the time.

****= I know he can be good but his attitude has to change.  Seriously it gets me upset to hear him talk about how he needs to improve.  That’s what spring training was for.  That’s what the minor leagues can be for as well but not the majors.  You can’t give this guy a major league salary to work out his laundry list of issues on the mound when you have candidates on your team ready to take his place.  Even Tobi Stoner who was brought in by the Mets for the sole purpose of giving the bullpen a rest has the ability to be economical and get outs.  Having no consideration for pitch counts in this day and age and thinking you can get by on a fastball that tails out over the heart of the plate is beyond ridiculous.  It would be one thing if he had velocity issues only, but he has control issues, is not economical and just doesn’t understand that his problems stem also from his outlook.  Its written all over his face.  When something bad happens, he loses it.  He needs to see the same guy that Pelfrey saw in the offseason to work it off.

– I’m not going to say it but last night’s Mets game saw 3 runs in the 2nd when a series of events went right for the Mets and then that was it.  The offense was shut down by Adam Wainwright who pitched a complete game striking out 9 and still throwing 8 less pitches than Maine did in his entire outing.  Now, I realize Wainwright has a much, much, much better pitching coach in Dave Duncan helping him but his mental make up also helps.  In the second, Angel Pagan got a clutch base hit that scored Catalanotto, and Francouer ran in to score and the throw went behind catcher Yadier Molina but was backed up by Wainwright.  He then spotted Pagan who was trying to go to second after taking a turn at first, and he tried to get him at first but threw it in to right field allowing Gary Mathews to score from 1st and Pagan to speed into 3rd.  After that Wainwright seemed to go offspeed all day and it worked on the Mets who couldn’t touch his 12 to 6 curve that for lefties broke in and then came down over the middle of the plate and was absolutely devastating.  The Mets could’ve won 2 of 3 in this series but were let down by their offense who clearly again needs to see some improvement.  Perhaps Ike Davis brings it but to expect one guy to carry a team is asking too much.  I hope its not setting him up to fail like they did with F-Mart last year.

– Which of course brings me to the eventual decision to bring up Ike Davis which is not expected to happen today (he’s scheduled to bat clean up in Triple A tonight), rather later this week.  It has something to do with starting his arbitration clock and him not having enough time this season for it to start.  The only thing is, if the Mets do have the 5th highest payroll in the majors, they don’t have to be cheap on moves like this could’ve afforded to bring up Davis earlier in the season but didn’t.  That’s what Met fans are clamoring for and the front office hasn’t done that.  The fact that they threw out Mike Jacobs on a daily basis to hit in the 4 hole based solely on breaking up the righty heavy middle part of the order is not reason enough.  The Mets need to start making smart baseball decisions.  Start playing your best players.  Don’t worry about how much you’re paying someone right now.  You can’t carry a John Maine on the big league roster if he’s going to suck like that.  Its been 3 starts and while this start showed some sort of improvement he needs more help.  Ike Davis in this line up will help but won’t be a cure-all to what ails the Mets and that’s their offense just not being good enough.  Let’s face it, the Mets have not had a single “I can’t pitch to him” hitter other than David Wright and even that status is in jeopardy.  At some point, the Mets have to make some key decisions and can’t use the same old tired excuse that its the beginning of the season and to have patience.  In fact, you can argue that Jerry Manuel and Omar Minaya have the most to lose with just waiting for guys to come around.

– I don’t agree with Adam Rubin that the team isn’t talented enough but more of these 0 fer and 1 for whatever with runners in scoring position and that argument has to be visited and if so, it falls on Omar Minaya and the entire coaching staff.  Managers and philosophy must be changed.  Like I’ve said, I think Jerry’s demeanor is perfect for NY and so was Willie Randolph’s but the team just didn’t perform.  Plain and simple and yet the manager will be the first to go.  I’m not saying Jerry is a good manager, no, but I think he gets a raw deal on this considering Howard Johnson hasn’t done anything to help the hitting of this team and also the pitching coach who I’ve been down on.  At this point the quality of the roster has to be questioned even if its only 12 games in.  I’m not saying blow it up now, but it does bear watching.  Omar Minaya has to believe that if they keep losing series, both he and Jerry will be on the unemployment line come mid May and may not see the return of Carlos Beltran.

– The Mets send out Jon Niese against the Cubs as the Mets start a four game series against Lou Piniella’s club.  It will be Niese followed by Pelfrey, then Ollie and then most likely Johan.  The Cubs are 5-7 and much more of a mirror image than we’d like to think.  They have issues in their pitching staff and don’t have as much pop but they are still producing and have one more win than the Mets.  Perhaps this four game set will restore order one way or another.  Either the Mets bite the bullet and lose another series or they feast on an opponent that’s more their speed and closer to their level.



For those of you wondering, I have the Mets taking 3 of 4 in this upcoming series. As always, LETS GO METS!

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DIVISIONAL REACTION pt 1- the other guys

Ok, so I know you’ve all been anxiously awaiting my detailed explanation as to why the Saints, the Colts, Vikings and Jets won.  Well I’m going to tell you why, but more on the Jet game in a later post.

Cards vs Saints-  As I wrote in the previous prediction column I mistakenly ignored all the good karma that the city of New Orleans had going for it and the good karma that they added on by bringing back fan favorite Deuce McCalister on a one day contract, simply so he could lead them out of the tunnel.  Peter King said it best, they had 52 healthy players and needed a player to fill in number 53 and that more than anything speaks volumes to who Sean Payton is as a coach and as a person.  He gets it.  He understood how important and how well it would be recieved by both his players and this city that has had nothing but hills to climb since Katrina.  Something is going right for this city and its this time and no one symbolizes that climb more than Deuce.

But more so, I took into account the layoff between the last good game the Saints played and equated that to being rusty.  While that’s good sensible logic (really i’m grasping at straws here to defend such a, now looking back, atrocious pick), I also failed to take into account the Super Dome.  This weekend, the dome teams went out and dominated.  Flat out.  Nothing more to say than that.  The Super Dome is one of the loudest stadiums.  Ever.  I mean, who can forget that first home game following Katrina?  I bet the Falcons walked into that stadium and from the word go probably realized they had a negative chance at winning that game, that stadium was rocking that hard that night and similarly so too was the stadium last Saturday.  It was a party from the very first Saint touchdown to the very final bell.

In between the Saints discovered a few things that I hope the Vikings were paying attention to.  Their secondary got much healthier than they had been all season.  Jabari Greer, Tracy Porter and Randall Gay were all 100% and raring to go for the first time in a long time and perhaps in the everlasting debate over rest or ride for meaningless games, rest may have been the formula here.  Their secondary gave Kurt Warner nothing but little dink and dunk passes.  I expected both teams to limit big play opportunities but little did I know that the Cardinals would not play any defense at all.  Poor tackling, missed assignments and awful secondary play (albeit after Rodgers-Cromartie went down), contributed to the lack of defensive intensity but another huge factor missing in all this was: holy crap, that was Reggie Bush that everyone thought he would be.

Was it me or did he look huge, like cartoonish huge.  I’m not trying to say he’s on something but you’d be hard pressed to find a more physical player than Reggie Bush on saturday.  He was running over people like he was Brandon Jacobs.  He invited contact instead of trying to make the “And-One” play all the time and making people miss.  I love Reggie when he tries to but in the NFL, players are just as fast as him and bigger.  I think Reggie finally embraced his natural ability and became who he was meant to be.  North to south, east to west, ability to break things open and ability to run between tackles.  Another wrinkle that came out of this is the fact that Reggie Bush is owed a sizable roster bonus during March.  This was pretty much a resume he handed into Saints management who will have to consider him at the very least now.  Michael Lombardi said it best when he commented “he was once an accessory to this offense, and on Saturday he looked like a legitimate part of it.”

Biggest turning point of the game had to be the Kurt Warner injury.  If that weren’t sign enough that it was time to leave, i’m sure when he came to his senses, his mind was made up.  Even his suddenly much younger looking and much hotter wife, had a look of resignation as Warner was attended to as they had discussed this possibly being his last season as an NFL player.  Warner leaving will be a huge blow to the Cardinals because, i don’t know if anyone else saw what I saw from Matt Leinart but his shoes will be hard to fill by anyone they have currently on their roster.

COLTS vs. Ravens-  Let’s be clear here, Peyton Manning’s brilliance is once in a life time and his knowledge of the game is unparalleled.  I used that disclaimer before I tell you that the mistakes the Ravens made in this game cost them the game more than Peyton Manning playing his usual killer self at the QB position.  Go ahead, look at the stats.  Most of the stats are pretty similiar.  Even the turnover game: technically the Ravens picked off Peyton twice but the stat sheet will only show one.  Why?  Because one of them was nullified thanks to a penalty.  The other was returned only to have Ed Reed (the interceptor on both of those plays, back to back in fact) get the ball knocked out of his hand and the Colts recover.  Two opportunities, and both missed thanks to bad play by the Ravens.  We haven’t even talked about how many huge drops there were, and the interception that Joe Flacco threw to close the game and the other one that was tipped off the hands of Ray Rice and right to the Colts.  All rally killers and all mistakes that cost the Ravens.

We know to give credit where credit is due, but let’s go ahead and remember what was truly at work here.  The Colts defense was fast and opportunistic, while the Ravens offense was giving and slow.  One 11 of their 13 first down opportunities they ran.  Yes, they are a power running game, but their passing offense wasn’t too bad.  Looking at the stat sheet of the game, of their 12 first downs 10 were gained by passing now that means that they were left in mostly 3rd and more than 5 or 6 which meant that the Indy defense knew they were going to pass which plays into Indy’s strength.  If they had reversed the trend and ran after passing on first down, it would’ve greatly affected 3rd down on many of those occasions.  Baltimore kept making mistakes which allowed the Colts better field position and just better overall manageable situations.  That penalty on Ray Lewis was a bit of a touchy call but still, the rule is very clear: anytime the defender leads in with his helmet and hits another helmet, it is a penalty and that should NOT be something to quibble over especially if you’ve been reading the New York Times very expertly written research into the link between brain damage and football players.

VIKINGS vs. COWBOYS-  A lot of people, including me, bought into the hot Cowboys.  They were America’s team and they were putting each demon behind them as the season wore on and after decisively beating the Eagles two weeks in a row, many considered the Cowboys the second best if not best team heading into the playoffs.  Only, once again, I refused to consider how dominantly the Viking front four would play and answer the call.  I only spoke of the fearsome pass rush that DeMarcus Ware and Co. were putting together and yet glossed over the fact that the Viking front four could be equally as destructive.  In fact, I spoke so highly of the Cowboy offense that I misremembered how good the Viking offense was.  Actually, no I didn’t, I in my continued hatred for how poorly the Giants played those last few weeks, saw that last game as a mirage.  A byproduct of playing a team that no longer cared.  But in fact, the Vikings came out and executed excellently.  They never had to depend on Adrian Peterson who played yet another subpar game.  20 carries for 63 yards is a rather meager output but when you consider that his presence alone made the Cowboys come up on the line, and gave the receivers one on one on the outside.  It seems as if Brett Favre and Sidney Rice are really catching on.  Sidney is tall and athletic enough to make some catches that normally aren’t good throws but you can’t get a better thrown pass than the one Brett threw him for the first touchdown.  It was literally there on his hands and it was such a good job of Rice to act as if he wasn’t the intended target that the safety never turned around or ever put his hands up either.  It fell right in his lap and he took it the rest of the way for the touchdown.

The chop block for the second TD was a bit sketchy but stood simply because it was a heads up play to never give up.  Favre really had no other options and found Rice open in the middle of the field.  The third one was a perfect throw again which really the Cowboys couldn’t have defended any better.

The game was lost because of the offensive line of the Dallas Cowboys.  You can make a case that Romo lost the game but that again is the simple answer.  Romo never had any time to step into a throw and was constantly pressured to the point that he was constantly running around like a headless chicken.  What’s more is that the Vikings did it with a conventional 4 man rush which goes to show you how much depth they have on the front line.  Ray Edwards, up until his knee injury, was a beast and the Cowboys never had a shot at defending him.

A major question to come out of this is will Wade Phillips be fired.  According to Ed Werder he will NOT be fired and will be back next season.  Here’s the thing, working in an environment where you are evaluated year after year is something we all have to go through but Wade knows that he won’t be anyone’s head coach next season and Dallas is the only place that will put him at head coach.  Also, Jerry Jones knows the players love playing for Wade and not just that, he’s a guy who he can manipulate and control and won’t fight back.  Jerry has always loved those guys and stick by them.  As long as Wade isn’t impeding on Jerry’s team, he’s not going to make a move although many Cowboy fans will be upset by this, its the truth.  Forget the fact that Wade is in my top five of dumb head coaches.  Forget that Wade will never get further than where he is right now.  Forget that the Cowboys have built up enough bad karma over the last twenty years that Wade’s dumb ass can’t undo.  Forget that Romo always has that deer in head lights look when his team gets down.  Forget that Flozell Adams is the dirtiest player in the game.  Ok, so he had nothing to do with my point, but i just wanted to hate on him a little bit.  Forget all that and remember this: like the Chargers and Cowboys, during the regular season, both teams have shown that they CAN beat the top tier teams in the league, yet fail to do so when it comes to the post season.  Why?  Because their coaches have reached the limit of where they can guide those teams.  They need someone else to come in and get them over the hump.  Dan Reeves proved it during his career that no team that he coached could win with him despite having one of the greatest QB’s of all time John Elway.  It took Mike Shanahan to come in and win for Elway to finally win.  Some coaches are in front of the door unable to find the right key to get them in, and other coaches are ones that answer the door and Wade Phillips, Norv Turner, those guys will always be great assistants but will never lead their team to the promised land.  Sorry Dallas, and sorry San Diego, no matter what you will say in the coming weeks, nothing will make me think otherwise that your coaches will ever get further than they got their teams thus far.

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