- Written by Rick Blake
This is simple. Let the Raiders move to L.A.
Ok, not so simple?
0. San Diego is a great place to play football, isn't it? It's not competing with L.A is it?
1. San Francisco is also a great place to play football. New Stadium? Just raise the money, it's not like they can't find a buck in SF, is it?
2. Oakland is plainly competing with the 49ers.
3. The Raiders are seriously L.A. style. Am I wrong? Dodger Fan is Raider Fan with different color facepaint.
4. Stealing the Rams? C'mon, man. Dumb.
5. The only other candidate is the Giants. No, no one is talking about that. Yes, they would move. yes, they would get their own stadium, and who wants to share a stadium with the Jets? That stench lingers, trust me.
Really the NFL should anoint the Raiders.
Now, admittedly, the Raiders are no prize. L.A. might not want them. And Kroenke had the land and the money to make the Rams the L.A. Rams... Which is a slap to St. Louis. So the 49ers are the front runners.
But then the NFL can expand. New NFC team to replace the Rams. And a new AFC team, where? Alabama? Austin/San Antonio? Yup.
It's all about the Benjamins, though.
- Written by Rick Blake
The NFL free agent/legal tampering/most.important.sports.event.in.early.May is well underway. What's important?
- The Dolphins get Ndamukong Suh, giving them a pretty nasty defensive line. This will give them great comfort when the Patriots treat them to a warm reception in Foxboro, and even more comfort when Tom Brady takes his one sack and burns them repeatedly. Welcome to the Patriots world. Oh, wait, they know that world. It won't change for them.
- The Buffalo Bills got a new coach (Rex Ryan didn't come as a free agent, granted) and he got some new toys. Percy Harvin at WR, but the real news was trades. Matt Cassel, LeSean McCoy, Richie Incognito. Good moves. Rex Ryan knows all about losing to the Patriots. It will be more competitive in Buffalo but not competitive enough.
- And the Jets got a new coach, Tood Bowles, a defensive wiz. He's got Darrell Revis, Antonio Cromartie, and Marcus Gilchrist. Good defensive tools. Oh, and a quarterback competition, Ryan Fitzpatrick traded from Houston, where they tried to burn him out. But ownership will fail him, and the Patriots will not.
So, the Patriots lost Shane Vereen, RB, a really versatile player. Revis, Browner, top cornerbacks in a passing league. Belichick will retool, plan around lesser talents, and probably trade for an unrealized talent. As usual. I'm not too concerned. He will do what needs to be done, and the Pats have some cap money to throw around. Devin McCourty was retained. Critrical. He's young, home-grown, quietly swaggering, and worth the money.
Which leads to their lack of action in the free agent market. Not.
Chimdi Chekwa is a typical BB signing, an underperformer in Oakland. He could really shine in a well run program, wher he knows the effort is rewarded with legitimate aspirations to Super Bowl victory. It can't be easy to get self-motiviated as a Raider.
Brandon Gibson from Miami. The Patriots LOVE to steal productive players from division rivals, as their rivals love to do to them.
Kevin Dorsey from Green Bay, a competent receiver.
Jonathan Freeny also from Miami, is a special teams contributor, fulfilling one of BB's key requirements, multiple roles.
Jabaal Sheard has shown signs of being a pass rusher. With coaching and scheming, he may be more productive than previously.
Yes, I'm ever hopeful. The Patriots always look for value, and restocking at defense will be tough. Repeating at the Super Bowl is the goal, but so is building a contender for 2016.
Overall I am pleased. Good choices.
- Written by Rick Blake
Along with politics, policy, Christ, and computers, I love talking and writing about sports. So I'll start writing about them here, of course...
So far this has been a fantastic year, starting with the Patriots winning Super Bowl XVIX. So a few thoughts on this:
- Tom Brady is the best quarterback in the NFL. He just is. There are faster, more mobile, stronger, longer-throwing, taller quarterbacks, but none better. Peyton suffered from an injury and so did Rodgers, Wilson only needs a few more years, and Flacco just needs a little more team. But Brady is now the top of the heap.
- The Patriots out-played and out-coached the Seahawks in the last minute. Butler both played heads-up ball taking Lockette out of bounds on that impossible catch, saving a touchdown, but he followed his coaching, saw the play, and went for the ball. Browner drove his man off-rout, making that interception possible, and Wilson didn't quite put the ball where it would be safe. An entire season comes down to 3 seconds of a pass play.
Belichick out-coached Carroll. He showed a run defense, and the Seahawks blinked.
But enough of that. Just a fabulous season for the Patriots. If they can keep key free agents, there is good reason to hope they can repeat.