Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Broncos Cutting Ties With Cutler

This just in from The Denver Post:

"Broncos owner Pat Bowlen, frustrated at Cutler's unwillingness to communicate, has announced the team will begin the process of working out a trade for the Pro Bowl quarterback.

'Numerous attempts to contact Jay Cutler in the last 10 days, both by head coach Josh McDaniels and myself, have been unsuccessful,' Bowlen said in a statement released late Tuesday. 'A conversation with his agent (Bus Cook) earlier today clearly communicated and confirmed to us that Jay no longer has any desire to play for the Denver Broncos. We will begin discussions with other teams in an effort to accommodate his request to be traded.'"

I know I'm just a newbee to the Denver sports scene, but as an objective outsider, I have to say I like the Broncos' stand on this one. My only credibility to comment on the subject comes from living through a similar soap opera between T.O. and the Eagles a few years ago.

I know a lot of Broncos fans love Cutler and are struggling with this, but I really do think this will be better for the team in the long run.

The thing that killed the Eagles with the Owens situation was that it happened to an established team with an established coach and an established quarterback. If Denver did have to start over, why not do it now with head coach Josh McDaniels bringing in a new regime.

Think about it: they have cut most of their defensive starters from last year, they have a brand new backfield, Brandon Marshall is most likely going to be suspended for half the season, and they have the toughest schedule by far next year (Steelers, Pats, Cowboys, Giants, and Browns at home and Colts, Ravens, Redskins, Eagles, and Bengals on the road PLUS their division games - Yikes).

So WHY NOT start over by getting a young guy that McDaniels likes and let Chris Simms take the brunt of that schedule while the new kid learns on the sidelines and then takes over in December when they're already out of the playoff chase?

I know it sucks for this year, but it really seems like this could be more beneficial for the franchise heading into the future.

Now, to Cutler's credit, he did throw for 4,526 yards and was selected to his first Pro Bowl in 2008 and I can't name five other young quarterbacks that I would take to start a team with over him (Definitely Matt Ryan, maybe Joe Flacco, and maaaaybe Aaron Rodgers).

But there is a glaring negative side to Cutler

He is only 17-20 as a starter in his first three years, even though he has 54 career touchdowns, he has thrown an alarmingly high 37 interceptions (including a career high 18 last year), and he has yet to make a playoff appearance - and that includes this past season where the team lost three straight games to end the year and they only needed to win ONE to clinch a playoff spot (Cutler threw 2 TDs and 4 INTs over those three games).

And, maybe most importantly, he is creating an image for himself as something of a drama queen.

If he was 30-7 or even 25-12 as a starter with one or two playoff games under his belt, I would be a little more sympathetic to his hurt feelings over being involved in a potential trade talk, but when you are 17-20 with no playoff appearances and 37 career INTs, it makes it a little tough to get on board.

Hell, Donovan McNabb is mentioned in a trade every other Wednesday and even got benched in the middle of a 10-7 game and STILL was able to get over it and lead his team to the NFC Championship.

I guess I just can't exactly see Cutler's side on this one.

Now the question becomes where does Cutler go and what can the Broncos get for him? A couple of weeks ago, one NFL source said that they could probably swing a veteran QB, a number one this year, AND a number one next year.

That sounds like a lot, but again, when you think of him as a potential franchise quarterback, then it really isn't too bad. But now that the Broncos have come out saying they want to trade him, does that decrease his value?

I've heard that the Jets, Buccs, Vikings, Lions, and Bears among others have contacted Denver over the past few weeks and you have to think the Broncs will try to get the best value (i.e. highest draft pick) available.

If one of those NFC North teams lands Cutler, they obviously have to be considered a legit contender in what was somewhat of a weak division last year.

Regardless, this will be fun to track over the past few days or weeks or months.

What are your thoughts? Are you Pro-Broncos or Pro-Cutler on this one and where do you think he will land?

Mahler Musings

> I don't even know why but I'm on Twitter now (JustBeingJosh is my user name if that means anything to you and you can actually keep up with my Twitter updates on the right hand bar of this page). From what I can gather, you can now "follow" me and I can "follow" you because we obviously want to know what everyone else is doing at all times. I just don't understand how this is different from Facebook just like I could never understand how that was different from MySpace just like I could never understand how that was different from maintaining actual human relationships. Oh well, I'm in!

> So much for that "sneaky feeling" about Kansas in the Midwest bracket. Ugh. I don't know why but I just can't get into Michigan State. I felt validated when they lost in the Big 10 tourney but they HANDLED THEIR BUSINESS against Kansas and Louisville. I don't think they have enough to get past UConn but if they do, all bets are officially off.

> I raced home from work on Sunday because I was nervous about UNC's chances against Oklahoma. When I sank into my recliner it was already 30-20 Tar Heels and it was never a game after that. Even if you can't stand UNC, you have to give coach Roy Williams credit that he has completely abandoned going after NBA prospects and has just concentrated on building a solid college team instead. Sure, he will pick up a Marvin Williams here or a Brandan Wright there but this current squad is so dangerous because it is filled with prototypical "college" players that will do nothing in the pros. Hansbrough might find his way into a rotation as a good energy guy off the bench.

> Speaking of the Heels, if you would have told me four years ago that I would get to a point where I would actually feel relieved whenever Danny Green was on the court, I would have disowned you. Hmm... More on that later.

> I know it's easier when you're not the one having to make the actual decision but if I'm Calipari, I can't get to Kentucky fast enough. Memphis will always have a certain ceiling (as does a school like Louisville) but basketball is king in Lexington and Calipari could have the keys to the castle.

> Bill Simmons beat me to the punch on this topic but I'm going to weigh in with my original thoughts anyway. In one of his recent mailbags, one of his readers asked him what is the best sports month of the year. While it's hard to argue with his April answer (NCAA Final Four and championship, baseball opening day, the Masters, the NFL draft, etc.) I, personally, still have to go with October. There's just something about the crisp air, football kicking off and the World Series. April might be the best sports month for quantity but October still has the most sports quality.

> I keep hearing a nasty rumor that Phillies' ace Cole Hamels - correction: Defending World Chamion Phillies' ace Cole Hamels will be pitching against the Rockies next Saturday night and I already have tickets to that game.

> Man, I love living in a pro sports town now.

> I'm going on the record now and saying that the Phils could win 40 games this season and I won't complain one bit. Winning that title last year did something for me. I am as relaxed as Steve Carrell at the end of "The 40 Year Old Virgin".

> Speaking of virgins, "The Big Bang Theory" was smoking this week. This ep hit that "King of Queens" level where it wasn't necessarily a brilliantly woven plot (like "Frasier") or culturally ground breaking (like "Seinfeld") but it had a good energy and solid pacing; and Penny's "Star Trek" reference was one of the first signs of tangible growth of the character and the series (I LOOOOVE when you can actually feel a show evolving). Let's hope it stays there.

> Though I haven't really watched since Clooney left, I will definitely tune in for the series finale of "ER" on Thursday. Even though I stopped paying attention, it was just always comforting knowin that the doctors of County General Hospital were always there.

> By the way, did you know that "ER" does NOT hold the record for most Emmy wins all time? I can't remember which show does off the top of my head, but I know it's not "ER".


Saturday, March 28, 2009

Poppin' My MLS Cherry

So my buddy and former talk radio co-host Gray is a huge Major League Soccer fan (well, he's a huge soccer fan in general) and he has been staying on me about checking out the local Denver MLS team, the Colorado Rapids, now that I live in a pro soccer town.

I've never had anything against soccer or the MLS but just have never really taken the time to get into it.

Gray called me the other day and let me know that there was going to be a free exhibition game between the Rapids and a local college team (Metro State) and that I should go check it out as a way to dip my toe into the professional soccer waters.

I was a little reluctant at first but then I reminded myself that part of the reason I moved to Denver in the first place was to be in a town where there was always something going on and there were all kinds of pro sports.

So me and my buddy Dan found the Dick's Sporting Goods Park up in the northeast corner of the city and I have to say that I was very impressed. It's a gorgeous, state-of-the-art facility and I have to give the MLS teams credit for deciding to build smaller, intimate venues that they can really pack out instead of having only a couple thousand people show up to a major football stadium.

There isn't a bad seat in the house and no matter where you are, you feel like you're right on top on the action.

The best part of the whole night was when I jokingly selected midfielder Terry Cooke as my favorite Rapids player and told Dan that I would literally buy a Cooke jersey if he scored a goal only to watch him drill a 30-footer into the back of the net just a few minutes later.

Um... Gray, do they even make Cooke jerseys?!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

The Sports Life

Getting My Degree In Sports Time Zoneology

I knew that when I decided to move to Colorado from the East Coast a few months ago that my life would be changed and affected, I just had no idea how much my life as a sports fan would be changed and affected.

Just last week I got excited when I saw an ESPN commercial for all the college basketball conference tournament coverage, so I planned out my week accordingly to make sure I was home in time to watch the games I really wanted to see.

One of those particular games was scheduled for this past Thursday at 7 p.m. so I raced home from work that evening, heated up a cardboard pizza, poured myself a cool, crisp beverage, lounged back in my recliner and was ready to enjoy the Madness of March.

As I turned on the TV at seven o’clock on the dot, I was confused as to what I found playing out before me on the screen.

Not only was the game already on, it was almost over.

Suddenly, a wave of reality crashed over me as I realized that they game had indeed started at 7 p.m. – Eastern Standard Time.

What a Rocky Mountain rookie mistake.

Spending my entire life by the Atlantic Ocean, I had always heard of this “East Coast bias” but never knew what the fuss was all about, mainly I suppose, because I had never been affected by it. I always thought it just had something to do with Heisman voting or college football polls or everyone’s misguided fascination with Derek Jeter, but now that I see that the World Wide Leader (among others) only promotes games to one time zone and I can understand why everyone west of the Mississippi hates the East Coast.

So let me get this straight.We are so technologically advanced as a species that there are scientists who are currently developing contact lenses that will transmit your favorite TV programs and sporting events in your eye, but we can’t come up with a way to run regionally specific commercials for those events?


And it’s not just the TV ads, either. After the college basketball debacle, I began noticing other forms of skewed East Coast bias amidst the sporting universe. I have a fantasy NBA basketball team through ESPN’s website and in our league you have to have your lineup set by 7 p.m. – again – Eastern Standard Time.

On more than one occasion, I have logged on to set up my nightly lineup around 6:30 p.m. only to find that games are already in progress and my team is locked.

It’s always fun to watch Carmelo Anthony put up 31 points or Chris Paul dish out 14 assists… on my bench.

Good times.

But despite any bias by the national media, I have to imagine that there are some bonuses to everything starting two hours earlier than what I am used to.

It will be nice to have Major League Baseball games start at five in the afternoon from the East Coast and there won’t be anymore annoying “late games” listed in the local paper the next morning. I can’t wait for football season to roll around and have the luxury of waking up to college football starting as early as 10 a.m. on a Saturday morning or getting home from church on a Sunday and not having to sit through an obnoxious pre-game show anymore because the early games kickoff at 11.

And with Monday Night Football starting at 6:30 p.m. instead of 8:30, I will actually be able to watch an entire game without having to down a case of Red Bull and stumble through work like a zombie the following day.

I guess those perks will make the sacrifice of having to get my degree in Sports Time Zoneology a little more tolerable.

All I know is that I can promise you that my little scheduling faux pas from last week won’t ever happen again while I'm out here. When I heat up my cardboard pizza, pour myself a cool, crisp beverage and lay back in my recliner for the rest of the NCAA basketball tourney, I’m going to be on time this time.

Case in point: I just saw a commercial for the game I want to see this weekend and the television coverage starts at noon in the east and it’s being played in Indianapolis and that’s in the Central time zone, so I need to subtract one, divide by eight, carry the three… oh, wait… no, I need to divide by five and multiply by the square root of 47 and then…

Ok, can somebody help me?

"The Sports Life" can also be found in MetroWest newspapers

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Chalk It Up

We've made it through the first two rounds of the NCAA tourney and my bracket sheet isn't as blood stained as it usually is.

I went with a new strategy this year and pretty much just picked the favorites (A) because I just had a feeling and (B) that's what my Fiance always does and she has beaten me head-to-head the last two years and I was getting tired of that.

Seriously, the biggest upset I picked in the first round was #10 USC over #7 Boston College (got it!) and I thought long and hard about #12 Arizona over #5 Utah but just couldn't pull the trigger.

Now I'm obviously kicking myself over that one.

In hindsight, my biggest mistakes of the first two rounds were picking Illinois (#5 seed in the South Region) and UCLA (#6 in the East) to go to the Sweet 16. If I had done my homework beforehand I would have known the Illini' was limping into the tourney due to injuries and that the Bruins would be playing Villanova IN PHILADELPHIA.

I knew that one was over before it started.

The only other Sweet 16 pick I missed was Wake Forest and if you had them losing to Cleveland State than I salute you because you are apparently a genius or a Cleveland State alum.

Other than those three, I'm still in good shape. My Final Four is still intact (I've got UNC, UConn, Duke and Louisville - but now I've got a sneaky feeling about Kansas in that Midwest bracket for some reason) and I've got UNC and UConn in the title game.

How sweet would an ACC (UNC-Duke) and Big East (UConn-Louisville) Final Four be?

I picked UNC to win it all and as much as I will be pulling for the Heels the rest of the way, there is just something scary about UConn right now.

But, maybe that's just me.

Should be a good tourney down the stretch. Let the Madness continue!