March 12, 2013

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 - 13 comments

Boldin to the 49ers for a 6th round pick shows how desperate Baltimore is right now to shed salary - in the absence of another big name receiver, it will be interesting to see how Flacco's first season as most expensive quarterback in the league is going to go. It could be argued that without a number of Boldin's extraordinary catches, he'd have never got that contract in the first place.

You have to think that the Seahawks feel a little hosed at the deal they got for Harvin - clearly, Harvin's younger and has more upside, but he's also talking like he wants a Calvin Johnson deal and is often hurt - both big risks - and their biggest divisional rival upgraded for much cheaper at the same position on the same day.

posted by dfleming at 08:11 AM on March 12, 2013

Niners get an established team guy at the peak of his career who executes in whatever role he's asked to. Harvin has flashes of brilliance and loads of potential but the injuries need to stop and he's got a lot of growing up to do to become the player Boldin is.

Niners never had their passing game at full strength during Kaepernick's run last year with injuries to Manningham, Walker, Davis, and their backups. Boldin should be a huge complement to Crabtree at wideout this year especially with Manningham recovering from ACL and PCL injuries.

posted by cixelsyd at 10:30 AM on March 12, 2013

I saw the Nationals-Braves game at Space Coast Stadium in Viera yesterday. A weird thing happened: B.J. Upton hit a rocket down the third base line and it collided with umpire Laz Diaz, bouncing back into the infield and turning a double into a single.

posted by rcade at 11:19 AM on March 12, 2013

Niners get an established team guy at the peak of his career who executes in whatever role he's asked to

I have at least two problems with that statement. I like Boldin, but his peak was back in Arizona and he's a possession receiver now.

posted by yerfatma at 11:51 AM on March 12, 2013

Agree that Boldin probably has peaked.

But he's a dependable big game performer. He was the leading wide receiver in Baltimore every year and led all receivers during the 2013 playoffs. Even if he's only slotted in the role the Niners expected of Randy Moss last year it's a massive upgrade. He's a proven blue chip commodity whereas Harvin is an interesting albeit risky futures play.

posted by cixelsyd at 12:15 PM on March 12, 2013

I like Boldin, but his peak was back in Arizona and he's a possession receiver now.

He's always been a possession receiver - his yards per catch in Baltimore the last two years have been the 2nd and 3rd highest of his career.

He's not targeted as often, but that's partially a product of not having Larry Fitzgerald on the other side of the field any more to demand a double team and Kurt Warner throwing 35 times a game (Baltimore's attack was much more balanced.) He's never been a burner and doesn't get a lot of separation in double coverage. It's why his hand strength is so legendary - often times a pass that's not quite perfect is still caught because he just rips it from the defender's hands. I read somewhere Flacco's completion percentage to Boldin was 13% higher than to his other receivers - not bad to throw at a young QB.

I don't think it's likely he'll hit his previous targets in San Fran (less passing volume than the mid 2000's Arizona), but he averaged 95 yds and 1 td per game in the playoffs when Baltimore threw more often, showing he has big numbers in him if the volume is there.

posted by dfleming at 01:02 PM on March 12, 2013

Boldin handled this well, he was well within reason to refuse a paycut, especially if Flacco just got a max deal.

posted by insomnyuk at 02:35 PM on March 12, 2013

Tony Gonzalez is coming back for one more season.

posted by flannelenigma at 03:48 PM on March 12, 2013

He's always been a possession receiver

You're right, those are all good points. My disagreement should have been with the idea that he's a proven plus for the Niners while Harvin isn't for the Seahawks.

posted by yerfatma at 04:47 PM on March 12, 2013

Hole in one, or is it one in hole? This is not quite the expected hazard at your average course. Somehow I am inspired to write a gag about a priest, a rabbi, and a minister who are joined by Jesus as a 4th. There would have to be a reference about going to Hell in there. Maybe I'll work on it, but any suggestions are welcome.

posted by Howard_T at 04:51 PM on March 12, 2013

NFL free agency has started, and poorly, for Ryan Fitzpatrick and Nnamdi Asomugha.

No word from Patrick Fitzryan's representatives.

posted by yerfatma at 05:47 PM on March 12, 2013

I guess that means Geno Smith is on his way to New York.

I'd be happy to see the Dolphins pick up Asomugha. He's still a good corner when you remember what he's good at. He's not a fire-and-forget corner like Revis in his pomp, but Asomugha plays excellent press coverage, when his defensive co-ordinator isn't lining him up inside to cover short zones or playing him as some sort of centre fielder.

I remember a play at the end of one of the Giants games last year - the Eagles looked like they were in cover 3, except it was cover two and a half, because Asomugha was up tight. With the clock running out Manning threw the ball that way, but Asomugha had played it perfectly and the receiver got called for Offensive Pass Interference making sure Nnamdi didn't get an interception.

It was an good example of a rare time Philadelphia took a standard defence and tweaked it to get the most out of one of their better talents. Didn't happen very often though.

posted by Mr Bismarck at 07:17 PM on March 12, 2013

Fitzpatrick is luckier than most NFL players. Off the field, he will always have broad career horizons.

posted by beaverboard at 07:28 PM on March 12, 2013

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