January 12, 2010

SportsFilter: The Tuesday Huddle:

A place to discuss the sports stories that aren't making news, share links that aren't quite front-page material, and diagram plays on your hand. Remember to count to five Mississippi before commenting in anger.

posted by huddle to general at 06:00 AM - 21 comments

There's a good preview of Vikes-Pokes in today's Times. I like this quote from Cowboys linebacker Bobby Carpenter: "If Adrian Peterson goes 80 yards on the first play, I don't know how hot we are." The Cowboys are fourth best in the NFL against the run, allowing 90.5 yards per game.

posted by rcade at 07:46 AM on January 12, 2010

I haven't come across anyone from Pete Carroll's peer group who thinks he's making an inspired, intelligent choice to go to Seattle.

When Barry Switzer comes out and says you're nuts, then you really must be nuts.

posted by beaverboard at 08:22 AM on January 12, 2010

Didn't Switzer at least walk into a sure thing?

posted by NoMich at 08:33 AM on January 12, 2010

But he didn't leave Oklahoma to answer the call. He left his Barcalounger.

Barry is the first to admit that he was hit by lucky lightning. He was sitting at home doing nothing when the phone rang and it was Mr. Jones.

posted by beaverboard at 08:50 AM on January 12, 2010

I don't get the move either. Carroll was on his was to legendary status at USC.

He is however entering a better situation than Switzer did - Jerry Jones has nothing to do with the Seahawks.

posted by cixelsyd at 11:52 AM on January 12, 2010

He is however entering a better situation than Switzer did ...

Say what? Switzer joined a football team that had won two consecutive Super Bowls in dominating fashion after 12-4 seasons. There may not be a coach in NFL history who stepped into a better immediate situation than he did or deserved the job less, given the fact that he'd been out of football five years after resigning from Oklahoma's head coaching job in disgrace. Switzer went on to reach one NFC championship the first year and win a Super Bowl the next.

posted by rcade at 12:06 PM on January 12, 2010

Switzer getting a ring was yet one more confirmation that life is not fair.

In other news, although yesterday I lightheartedly poked at the notion of Jags' coach Jack Del Rio being a candidate for the USC job, evidently, that whole scenario is heating up and taking on a life of its own.

Weaver and Del Rio are meeting today. If Weaver fires Del Rio, he owes the coach $15 mil. If he lets Del Rio go to USC after watching the Jags lose their last four and claim the cellar of their division this season, Weaver's off the hook.

What would Jim Cramer do?

Maybe during the meeting, Weaver will call the Jacksonville Naval Base to see when the next C-130 is scheduled to leave for Long Beach. And to see if there's any room on the flight. D'ya think?

(BTW, the cordial USMC acronym for "Marine" is: "My ass riding in Navy equipment").

posted by beaverboard at 01:09 PM on January 12, 2010

I think Del Rio is going to inherit a bunch of NCAA sanctions when all the "bad " about USC recruiting comes out. IMO some things about Carroll and his methods are going to be making the news soon. I think he will leave Del Rio with a mess to clean up.

posted by Debo270 at 01:34 PM on January 12, 2010

Not to completely derail the handegg discussion, but convicted hitman-hirer Mike Danton has been cleared to attend St. Mary's University and will most likely suit up for their hockey team. Apparently the rules in Canada regarding eligibility are different then here in the States...not because he's an ex-con, but because he's an ex-NHLer...

posted by MeatSaber at 02:11 PM on January 12, 2010

I'm really surprised that Ken Norton Jr. is following Carroll (apparently) and not being considered ahead of del Rio.

posted by billsaysthis at 02:52 PM on January 12, 2010

I'm getting pretty irritated with all the doom-and-gloom predictions for the Vikings and picks for the Cowboys to blow them out. The Cowboys are a good team, and a tough matchup for the Vikings, but I don't think anyone's blowing anybody out.

The Cowboys beat the Saints when the Saints were already starting to struggle, with close games against the Redskins [!] and Falcons. Then they crushed the Eagles in back-to-back games. The Eagles are one-dimensional and have some injuries to key players. Beating a wounded divisional rival in a home game is different than playing a balanced, relatively healthy #2 seed on the road.

The Vikings have have a better QB than the Eagles, a better defense against the run, and many more weapons on offense.The Vikings secondary is weak, and their offensive tackles are going to be seriously challenged against the Cowboys' defensive ends. I just hope they set their alarms early enough to show up in the first half.

The NFL's a what-have-you-done-for-me-lately league, and people are too caught up in the Cowboys-Eagles game and the early December tiff between Childress and Favre. The Vikings' play calling got too conservative once they clinched a playoff spot, then they opened things up during halftime of the Bears game. If the offense plays like they did against the Giants and in the second half and OT against the Bears, they'll do fine.

I'm not saying the Vikings will win, but to dismiss their #2 seed, being 8-0 at home, and #2 in points scored is ridiculous. Whoever wins, I think it'll be a tough, close game.

posted by kirkaracha at 04:37 PM on January 12, 2010

I'm really surprised that Ken Norton Jr. is following Carroll (apparently) and not being considered ahead of del Rio.

Apparently some pretty good coaches are going to drink the Kool-Aid and head to Seattle with PC. This is a good head start to some much needed rebuilding.

posted by THX-1138 at 04:49 PM on January 12, 2010

kirkaracha. I wouldn't look to closely at the vikings being ranked number 2 defense against the run considering the teams they played this year. When they actually played a team with a good running game they gave up TONs of yardage. Carolina Ran all over them. Vikings barely hung on to the number 2 seed. And Brett Favre at qb does not make them a better team. It stops their progress from last year actually. Who does the vikings have to step up when Favre is knocked out. Vikings have not faced a defense like the cowboys all year. The closest thing to it they faced was the way Carolina played and we know what happened there.

posted by twgibsr at 04:55 PM on January 12, 2010

I'm expecting Cowboys-Vikings to be close, too. Right now I'm picking Cowboys, but it's still early in the week. It ought to be a good game.

posted by rcade at 04:58 PM on January 12, 2010

twgibsr, I'll give you the same advice...don't look too closely at any one aspect of the Vikings (or any NFC team for that matter). The Carolina game is one of the games that kirkaracha was referring to when he said the Viking's play calling got too conservative once they clinched a playoff spot.

The Vikes went on the road to Carolina, looking well past that game, and faced a "nothing to lose, let's prove ourselves on national TV" Carolina team. We went away from our game plan, and looked awful. Childress has learned his lesson, and the Vikes are at home this weekend.

BTW, to say that Favre does not make the Vikings a better team is to not have watched old Gus out there last year. Frerotte was not a long-term solution, so it boils down to whether Favre is better than Gus...of course he is, and now T-Jack gets to study another year (or, hopefully two) under a future HOF'er.

As to the Vikings not facing a defense like the Cowboys all year, not sure what stats you're looking at, so I'll provide a link. I think you'll be surprised to see that the Packers, Ravens, Bengals, Giants all rate pretty well on defense in most categories, and the Vikes handled them all pretty well.

Look past a bad game in Carolina and an awful 30 minutes in Chicago that was a learning experience for a coach and a QB in their first year of working together.

posted by dviking at 05:40 PM on January 12, 2010

I too am picking the Cowboys and predicting a big win. I really think Minny benefited from an easy schedule and a couple crazy wins at home (hello - San Francisco week three anyone?).

But, kirk, all the negativity will make the victory all the more sweet for ya.

There may be a lot of hype on the Cowboys right now, but some of it makes perfect sense. And not necessarily because of the last Philly game (they played awful).

posted by WeedyMcSmokey at 05:45 PM on January 12, 2010

Weedy, if you're going to nitpik the Vikings schedule for a week three win against SanFran, don't forget to add the Cowboys come from behind 7-6 win over the Redskins in week 11, or their loss to the Giants in week 13. Aren't those games in weeks 11 & 13 a bit more relevant than a win in week 3?

Point is, both teams weren't perfect, but I think looking at a week three win ( a valid win at that, nobody is disputing the play) over San Fran as anything meaningful for the game is a stretch.

It's like looking at Favre's past record against the Cowboys as if it's an indicator of this weekend's game. One, most of the games were from the early 90's, and of course, he was playing for the Packers.

posted by dviking at 06:06 PM on January 12, 2010

The key to that game is the Vikings' offensive line. If Spencer and Ware get to Favre on a regular basis, the Vikings' offense might go rather stagnant. If Favre gets the ball off clear, the Vikings have a great chance to take the 'Boys out.

posted by boredom_08 at 07:05 PM on January 12, 2010

I think the Panthers surprised a lot of people towards the end of the season and the Vikings may have looked past them. They were 12-4 last season and lost to the Cardinals in the divisional round. This season they lost a lot of early games when butterfingered Jake Delhomme was the QB. then went 4-1 to close the season when Matt Moore took over. They were 6-8 when the Vikings played them and may have been better than their record.

The Vikings were 4-1 against playoff teams this season.

And Brett Favre at qb does not make them a better team. It stops their progress from last year actually.

Well, long term I agree, but they were 10-6 last season and 12-4 this season, largely due to Favre. Percy Harvin was a huge addition, and he and Sidney Rice have both benefited from Favre's mentoring. Who knows if he comes back next year, but he's the team MVP this year. (Sorry, dviking, but I don't think Tavarius Jackson is the long-term QB.)

posted by kirkaracha at 07:15 PM on January 12, 2010

Kirkaracha...you must have missed some threads back when the whole Favre "will he or won't he" debacle was going on.

I am not a T-Jack supporter in any way. I was 100% for Favre because I knew he was my only hope for not having to watch Jackson melt down each week. The only good news is that he's gotten another year of guidance, and it does appear that he's paying attention a bit more this year. I hope they look for a solution, but in case they don't having Brett this year was a good thing. For people to say that Favre didn't make the Vikings better is mind boggling. It causes me to wonder if they're not being sincere in their comments, or if they're just clueless.

posted by dviking at 08:13 PM on January 12, 2010

Ferguson escapes action over Clattenburg comments: After Saturday's 1-1 draw at Birmingham City, Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson "risked the wrath of the Premier League once more with his post-match criticism of referee Mark Clattenburg's 'weird and wonderful' performance."

posted by Hugh Janus at 12:22 AM on January 13, 2010

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