Wednesday, November 21, 2012

A Quarterback Controversy By The Bay

Who remembers what happened when we had Donovan McNabb and Michael Vick, two quality quarterbacks, fight for the starter position on a very good Eagles team? Anyone? Well...McNabb was shipped off to Washington, and well, turn on the TV and you can see how Vick has turned out as the starter. Quarterback controversies are deadly to a team, especially when they are a young team on the rise. Don't get me wrong, McNabb was on the tail end of his career, and Vick, even though he was fresh out of jail, was a younger, more athletic quarterback that could lead the Eagles to a championship. Well, that has yet to happen, and with Vick looking like he is going to get the boot after the season, as well as Andy Reid, you could use this is prime evidence that quarterback controversies KILL good football teams. Andy Reid is a well-respected coach around the league and has been with the Eagles for over a decade. He has never led them to a Super Bowl win, but he has gotten pretty darn close. Unfortunately, his decision to try out Vick and McNabb in the same season a few years ago will probably cost him his job. They tried to switch it up with Kevin Kolb and failed horribly. They drafted a kid named Nick Foles out of the University of Arizona, and it looks as if he is going to be the future of the Eagles, even though his debut was less than spectacular.

Another QB controversy that has become deadly to a team is the whole Tim Tebow fiasco in New York. I really do not want to comment on that because their is nothing to say but let me just say a few words. Mark Sanchez, who has led the Jets to the AFC Championship for 2 straight seasons in 2010 and 2011, is being scrutinized for his bad playing, even though his receiving core lacks a big name. With no help from his offense, he has been ridiculed and embarrassed all season, and the Jets fans want a change, and Tebow will eventually get that opportunity. If you don't call that controversy a nail in the coffin of the Jets franchise, I don't know what else to say.

With all that said, we have another controversy on our hands. Colin Kaepernick, a 2nd year quarterback from Nevada, shined in his starting debut with the 49ers. He manhandled a solid Chicago Bears defense and threw for 243 yards and 2 touchdowns. His quarterback rating was an astounding 133.1! Can you have a better debut in the NFL than that? I don't think so. Oh, did I mention it was on Monday Night Football? Incredible! A week ago, many didn't even know who the backup quarterback was for the 49ers, as many did not really care. Alex Smith played well against the Cardinals, lighting up the field with 18 completions out of 19 attempts for 232 yards and 3 touchdowns. Yes, Smith has played sub-par for his first 5 seasons in the league, but he came around with the arrival of Jim Harbaugh and hasn't looked back. He led this team to the NFC Championship! You have to give him his credit.

Let me take a step back and say this, I am extremely critical of Alex Smith and I do not think he is the right answer for the quarterback position for the future of the 49ers. When the 49ers had the 1st pick in 2005, I said from day one they needed to pick up Aaron Rodgers. The kid had issues with his throwing delivery, but had extreme potential. Unfortunately, he went to Green Bay and won a Super Bowl years later. We decided to go with Smith, and was a laughing stock for the next 5 to 6 years. Even though I cannot trust Smith because of his past, I am optimistic he has turned around and is finally living up to his potential. With all that said, we now have a quarterback controversy on our hands with a team that has TREMENDOUS upside for years to come!

It seems as if Kaepernick will get the start for the game against the Saints this weekend, but I really hope Harbaugh will realize Smith is the one who has led this team to success and will make him starter as long as he can recover fully from that concussion.  I think this QB controversy can hurt this team, as they are still a young squad, and Harbaugh needs to control this situation and not let it get out of hand with the media. I hope Kaep can stick with the Niners and learn the ropes with Smith and Harbaugh, as he could become the next Aaron Rodgers. I just hope Harbaugh thinks the same way as myself as well as many other die-hard 49er fans, because this whole fiasco can hurt this team as history has shown its lethality.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

The Dugout Sports Show 11/17/12

The Dugout Sports Show (click here to listen!)

Click the link above to listen to our latest edition to the new Sports Talk radio show people are raving about! Check it out and be sure to comment your thoughts below! Thanks for listening everybody!

D & N

Sunday, November 11, 2012

The Dugout Sports Show 11/11/12

DN Sports Show 11/11/12

Hey everyone! The time has FINALLY come! I am so excited to present to you the very first edition of the Derek & Nate show! We hope you enjoy this as we had so much fun talking about what we love... SPORTS! We do need your help though. We need you to come up with a awesome name for this show! We will take all the suggestions and pick the best one and we will forever be called by that name! SO THIS IS IMPORTANT!

Thank you EVERYONE for checking this out and as always, Peace and Love!

D & N

Monday, November 5, 2012

Is Josh Hamilton Really Worth $175 Million?

Everyone knows who Josh Hamilton is. If you do not know who he is, lemme slap you first, then I will inform you of who this guy is and what he is doing this off-season. Josh Hamilton has played his way into people's homes across the country and has put the Texas Rangers on the list of elite teams in the American League. His quirky play style along with his straight-edge lifestyle has made many people hate him, and others adore him.  One thing that can be agreed on between the fans and the haters is how explosive Hamilton is when he is playing his best. The question everyone is thinking about is whether the Rangers should give him the contract he wants.

He was recently said he is looking for a contract with 7 years at $175 million. For a 31 year-old former addict, that looks like a big gamble for teams across the league. The ironic thing about this whole situation is how different our views were at the beginning/middle of the season where Hamilton was pushing Triple Crown numbers. We all wanted him to stay with the Rangers, and we were willing to do whatever it took to keep him here and keep him happy. After how he finished the season, many fans want to just give him the boot and use that money on someone else.

If you look at his stats compared to someone who is getting close to his money, like Albert Pujols, then you should easily make a decision about whether or not to give him what he wants. Just with MVP votes, Pujols has been in the top 5 votes 10 out of the 12 seasons he has played. I mean come on, this guy was Rookie of the Year and finished 4th in the MVP race, only to lose to Barry Bonds, Sammy Sosa, and Luis Gonzales. This guy has been a workhorse for the past 12 years and when he signed that 10 year, $240 million contract, even though some said he was not worth $240 million, the stats could speak for themselves. A lifetime .325 hitter who has averaged over 40 home runs a season? Yeah, $240 million sounds like a good number to give him. But for a lifetime average of .304 and 35 home runs and has only played 5 years with a handful of injures and of the field incidents...I think I would go with a smaller contract. I mean, who in their right mind is still on the bandwagon of giving Hamilton $175 million?

My point is how that money could be divided up into giving more to the players who have actually made a difference on the team this past season. Also, there are some free agents that could replace Hamilton that has a cheaper price tag. Michael Bourn is a guy who could help produce runs and also come with a hot glove for center field. You could also help that bullpen, or even go out and get another pitcher that could help that rotation now that Colby Lewis is targeted for the All Star break to return to the lineup. Also, giving younger guys like Profar, Gentry, and Olt more opportunities to shine and also even bringing up some other guys from the farm system that this organization prides themselves in.

Josh Hamilton has made history here with the Texas Rangers. We will always remember the great moments on the field, but we will also remember the many bad memories he has given us, whether it be the throwing of the bats, or even the dropped routine fly ball in Oakland that could have wrapped up a playoff spot. Good luck Josh with getting 7 years, $175 million. Hopefully life in L.A., New York, or Boston will suit your straight-edge lifestyle better than Dallas-Fort Worth.

Monday, October 29, 2012

NFL Midseason Reports and Rankings

It is officially the middle of the season for the NFL. Week 8 is always a great time of the year, because you finally start thinking about playoff predictions, as well as who is in the running for that prized number one pick in the NFL Draft! Here are my rankings for the 1st half of the season, let me know your top 5 teams so far in the comment section below!

1. Falcons (7-0) Yes, they have squeaked by a few wins, but they have a confident QB in Matt Ryan and a great deep threat duo in Julio Jones and Roddy White. Also, don't forget about that old man Tony Gonzales, who is averaging 10 yards a catch. They do however have a tough game against the Cowboys, who got embarrassed by the Giants Sunday. Be prepared for a good game on Sunday night!

2. Giants (6-2) They blew out a good 49er team and Eli continues to impress in the 4th quarter. If they keep this dominance up, they could definitely take the top spot away from the only undefeated team left in the league.

3. 49ers (6-2) People still think Alex Smith is not the answer at QB for this team even after his great season last year that ended in a magical run to the NFC Championship. With all that said, that must hurt the confidence of the former number one pick. After this MNF victory against the Cardinals, Smith must be feeling real good about his future with the 49ers! If he can keep spreading the ball out to targets like Davis, Moss, and Crabtree, the running game will fall into place and they can potentially become a huge offensive juggernaut.

4. Texans (6-1) With the loss against the Packers in Week 6, they looked like a team who had many flaws. With their blow out of the Ravens last week, they showed they are the number one team in the AFC. If they come to play Week 10 against the Bears on Sunday Night, I think they will be a lock for the top of the AFC and have a permanent spot in the top 3, but they need to play consistent to stay there!

5. Bears (6-1) The Bears continue to confuse me. They dismantled a Cowboy team on MNF but looked HORRIBLE against the Packers and today against the Panthers. Lately, Cutler and Marshall ,have been hooking up for more yards, so hopefully they can keep it up because they will be facing a TOUGH defense in both the Texans and 49ers in Week 10 and 11.

6. Packers (5-3) Rodgers did have a shaky start to the season, but it looks like him and Jordy Nelson have found that connection that they had last year that lit up defenses all over the field. He has only thrown 2 interceptions in the past 4 games, so it looks like the Pack have the MVP Rodgers back. Although, with Charles Woodson hurt, that will definitely hurt their secondary.

7. Ravens (5-2) Losing Ray Lewis for the season is a big blow not only for the defense, but for their morale. He has been the heart and soul for that team for the past 15 years. With Ed Reed playing hurt, they look like a team on the decline. If Ray Rice can put this team on his back though, they have a chance to make the playoffs for another year.

8. Patriots (5-3) Even though Wes Welker looks good, it seems like the Patriots dominance in the AFC has come to an end. A loss to the Seahawks and barely a win against the Jets has sealed their fate as a team who is...normal. They are not the superhero/perfect team anymore like they were 5 years ago. They do have an easy schedule for the rest of the season, so I have no doubt that they will make the playoffs, but expect them to start on a long road of decline.

9. Broncos (4-3) Manning is really trying to make these Broncos into a playoff team. If they miss the playoffs this year, expect them in the mix next year. You Broncos fans better thank John Elway for getting rid of Tebow and bringing in Manning, just look at the Jets this year. YIKES!

10. Vikings (5-3) That loss to the Bucaneers on Thursday night hurt them... BAD. Ponder can look like an QB with a lot of potential, but then will turn around with a silly, childish mistake. Besides Ponder, Adrian Peterson looks like he has recovered from that devestating injury last season. Hopefully he can keep it up and Percy Harvin can step it up to turn this Vikings team into the divison winner of a tough NFC North division.

11. Steelers (4-3) This team has the talent to be great, but has yet to impress me this season. Even though they took care of RG3 and the 'Skins, they lost to the Titans and Raiders. This next week, they get to play the Giants, so this is a make-or-break game for them.

12. Cardinals (4-4) Why did people think Kevin Kolb was worth that huge contract? They looked absolutely flat against the 49ers on MNF. Remember when they were undefeated? Yeah...about that...they are on that decline, FAST!

13. Dolphins (4-3) They have a promising future with this new QB, but they need some heavy weapons around him other than Reggie Bush. A few good defensive playmakers wouldn't hurt either.

14. Seahawks (4-4) Russell Wilson looks great at home, especially when leading his team to victory against Tom Brady and the Patriots. Unfortunately, they don't look that good away from home. Luckily for them, they will be playing 5 of their last 9 games at home so get ready for the successful Russell Wilson.

15.  Colts (4-3) Andrew Luck has had a decent rookie season, given the circumstances of his head coach leaving the team midseason for health reasons. Also, Reggie Wayne is back into the spotlight as one of the most dynamic WR's in the business. Let's just hope he can keep it up before his age catches up to him!

16. Eagles (3-4) As much as I love Andy Reid, Michael Vick is having the worst season of his life other than that little season behind bars. Vick, along with the rest of the offense, needs to learn how to hold onto the football without fumbling it. If they learn how to do that, then they might be able to squeak out a winning record this season.

17. Cowboys (3-4) The most overrated team in the NFL...PERIOD! They have too many problems on the offensive line to try and get some momentum going. They keep putting a band-aid on a recurring problem. If they want to be back into the "good" spotlight, fix the offensive line and it will solve all your problems. Also, now that Al Davis has passed away, Jerry Jones now claims the title as the worst GM/Owner/CEO/President/cry-baby/draft-picker of all time! Congrats Jerry on this new accomplishment, you want a cookie?

18. Redskins (3-5) RG3 is a damn trooper. That hit that gave him a concussion against the Falcons was brutal but he got back up the next week and ran all over the Vikings to win. Even though their defense is lacking their leader Orakpo for the rest of the season, the offense has the potential to lead this team to victory, especially in Weeks 11, 12, and 13, all against their NFC East counterparts.

19. Saints (2-5) Now that Joe Vitt is back as well as Vilma (for now), hopefully the Saints can turn a terrible situation into something better for the fans. What a terrible situation this is, not only for the Saints organization, but for the city of New Orleans. That city NEEDS this team to play well. You can only hope they can turn it around in the 2nd half.

20. Bucaneers (3-4) Coming off that great win against the Vikings on Thursday night, they have 3 straight games against teams under .500. What a great way to get a winning streak and momentum going into Week 12 against the 7-0 Falcons.

21. Chargers (3-4) Their loss to the Broncos last week made them look like a complete joke of a team. They had that game wrapped up in a silver bow and they blew it. Not just the team, but more specifically Philip Rivers. That guy needs to step it up if he wants to be considered a top QB in this league.

22.. Bengals (3-4) I really believe they need a new leader calling the plays. Marvin Lewis was good back in the day, but he shouldn't have been there this long (10 seasons). Their owner seems to be like a little girl when it comes to giving up on the past, I mean just look at the whole Carson Palmer debacle. The dude was past his prime, yet the owner would not give up his "prized possession." If they get rid of Lewis, I think this team could be a force to be reckoned with in the future with Andy Dalton under center.

23. Rams (3-5) Their defense is starting to look pretty good even though they gave up 45 points against the Patriots on Sunday. The NFC West is finally looking like a legitimate division compared to a few years ago where the Seahawks were division champs with a losing record. I like Jeff Fisher as a coach and I think he has the talent to turn this club around to where they belong, and that's competing for the NFC West title each season.

24. Lions (3-4) It looks like the Madden Curse isn't just hurting Megatron. They are just looking like the normal Lions of recent years. Fortunately for them, they do somehow find a way to win those close games

25. Browns (2-6) So, Brandon Weeden is leading all rookie QBs in touchdowns and Trent Richardson looks like a threat for years to come, but they are still the Browns and they always find a way to lose (unfortunately). They do have a new owner that looks like he is interested in making this team better than a bottom feeder so maybe the future for Cleveland might be turning around! We can only dream though...

26. Raiders (3-4) Carson Palmer is not the answer for their winning problems. Darrius Heyward-Bey is not the answer either. This upcoming draft can be crucial for their future success. They can now draft good, quality players, instead of the flashy, showstoppers they have drafted in the past like JaMarcus Russell and Terrelle Pryor.

27. Titans (3-5) They have a mess of a team, and unfortuantely Matt Hasselbeck is leading that team every Sunday. Kenny Britt is their star WR? Come on Tennessee and get someone better than Kenny Britt.

28. Bills (3-4) The Bills looked like a Division II team against the 49ers, but they looked pretty decent against the Cardinals. If they can become a little more consistent and play hard against their next opponents in the Texans and Patriots, their schedule will get a little bit easier, and maybe some wins will go their way.

29. Jets (3-5) Both of their QBs were voted in the top 3 of most overrated players in the NFL, as voted on by a panel of NFL players. That's pretty embarassing considering there has been a high-profiled QB controversy debate on ESPN for the past 6 months...

30. Panthers (1-6) What happened to that great rookie season by Cam Newton? Everyone thought this kid was the answer for the Panthers to get back to the Super Bowl....well...umm...maybe not.

31. Jaguars (1-6) What happened to Justin Blackmon taking the offense to the new level? Now with MJD out, SOMEONE better step up!

32. Chiefs (1-6) Both options at QB (Matt Cassel and Brady Quinn) are horrible choices to try and get a struggling team out of their funk into winning ways. If they continue on their losing ways, head coach Romeo Crennel could be gone.

Well, there you go folks! My 32 rankings of the NFL teams at the 1st half of the season! As always, please leave comments below so we could get a nice friendly convo going!

Peace and Love!

Friday, October 19, 2012

The Luck Of The Second Wild Card

As I sit here watching Game 5 of the NLCS, I cannot help myself but to think how crazy it could be to have the Cardinals in the World Series for another year. At the beginning of the year, they lost Albert Pujols, Dave Duncan (their pitching coach), and Tony LaRussa. Yes, they did add Carlos Beltran, but with losing LaRussa and Pujols, it seemed like a long season for them. Fortunately, Bud Selig added a second Wild Card team into the playoff mix. This new format would have the top two teams outside of the division winners play a one-game playoff to decide who the Wild Card winner is. Since 1994 when the Wild Card was created, four teams have won it all by being the the Wild Card team with St. Louis winning the Series last year. This year, they were lucky enough to get the second Wild Card spot.

Let's play the "What If" game and say what if the Cardinals beat the Giants in the NLCS and move to the World Series and beat the Detroit Tigers. Not only did they beat the Nationals in the NLDS and the Giants in the NLCS, both division winnners, but they would beat a Tiger team who won the AL Central, took down a hot/streaky team in the Oakland A's, and embarrassed the crap out of the Yankees. If that would happen, it could go down as one of the greatest stories in baseball history. Yes, the Cardinals have a good team. They got Freese, Beltran, and Molina leading the offense, and with Carpenter and their bullpen, you could say they deserved to be an elite team, but they still are that second Wild Card team who BARELY made it in!

I say good job Bud Selig for adding this extra team. I watched both Wild Card games and thought it was a definite success. First, you had the Baltimore Orioles, who has not been to the playoffs since the 1990's, beat an elite squad in the Texas Rangers, who many had winning the whole thing! If that wasn't enough, you had the Atlanta Braves, led by Chipper Jones in his farewell season, lose to the Cardinals, who many did not even pick to make the Wild Card. With all that said, I hope the Cardinals lose because I love my San Francisco Giants, but if they do beat the Giants and go ahead and mow down the Tigers, I will give much respect to Mike Matheny, their new manager, along with the entire Cardinals organization. I predict to see this new playoff system become extremely successful with the fans and also gain much revenue for the MLB. I can't believe I am saying this...but..thanks Bud Selig, but most importantly...GO BASEBALL!

Peace and Love!


Saturday, October 13, 2012

Muse's The 2nd Law Album Review

Welcome to another post of The Dugout with yours truly! I want to take the time to thank everyone who has checked out this blog in the first few posts I have done! It means a lot that all 5 of you (just kidding...its more than that) take a little time out of your busy schedules to read my thoughts. Now onto the good stuff!

I will just say ahead of time, I love The 2nd Law. I think it is brilliantly mixed and mastered (Mark 'Spike' Stent), but it also shows signs of their roots, which is ROCK! Bellamy shows everyone that he is a reincarnation of Freddie Mercury. The man has chops for days and when he hit that high note at the end of Madness, it brings chills every time! The man is classically trained, vocally and on the piano, and it shows on the album. Let's start with the first half of the album though. The first song, Supremacy is a great opener. Those first 3 strokes on the guitar rock so hard and it sets the tone for the album. With that simple guitar riff, the strings come in and make the song fly! Madness, a single they released before the album released, is brilliant. Its combination of simple lyrics and melodic dub step-ish rhythms make it a great single to promote the album. Songs like Panic Station and Follow Me show their variety of styles in creating music. With Follow Me, the beginning sounds like a song from their older albums, but turns into a dance/electronica type song that is definitely something they haven't done before. Next we have the Olympic theme song, Survival. Need I say more? It was the theme song for the Olympics...I mean, come on people. It's one of my favorites on the album, especially with the Prelude before Survival.

You have the song, Animal, which sounds like something out of the Radiohead library, with their 5/4 time signature and multitude of electronic sounds. Explorers is great and reminds me of the song they did called Soldier's Poem, except a little more in your face. Big Freeze is probably the song that I have skipped the most on this album. It's great and has a great beat with lyrics, except the song after it is so much better!

Save Me and Liquid State are two songs the bassist Chris Wolstenholme wrote and it gives the album a break from the Bellamy led sounds to a more different approach with Wolstenholme leading. These songs are supposed to be about Chris' past struggles with alcoholism. It is definitely a change of pace on the album and it shows that Bellamy isn't the only one creating masterful hits. Hopefully, Wolstenholme's tunes will be performed on the road, as they deserve to be showcased.

The last two songs, one which was another single they released, and the other being a postlude for the entire album, makes the latter half of The 2nd Law complete. With Unsustainable, you have a dub step song. When I say dub step, I don't mean one person behind a computer messing around. I mean, strings, bass, guitar, chorus, and drums coming together to make a dub step song. If you don't believe me, listen to it. The beginning has strings, brass, and chorus building for a few minutes to make a good intro to the jam filled dub step rock that is about to happen. When you have the dub step come in, like I said earlier, it is not a computer. You can tell the drums, bass, and guitar created a live, instrumental sounded version of a dub step song. Very interesting if you break it all down and it is more complicated than you think. The final song, Isolated System, is a chill song that puts you down slowly off your high you just got after listening to the entire album. It is warm, piano filled, yet has a beat that keeps you wanting more. Such a great way to end an album.

With The 2nd Law being Muses' 6th studio album, I ranked this one as the third best album they have done. The rankings I give all their albums are as follows:

1. Black Holes and Revelations
2. Absolution
3. The 2nd Law
4. Origin of Symmetry
5. The Resistance
6. Showbiz

I will be attending their concert, in the pit, March 10th, 2013 in Tulsa, Oklahoma. I will give you a recap of the show and how the songs sound like live compared to in a studio. Thanks for reading The Dugout and please comment below on your thoughts of The 2nd Law!

Peace and Love!