Tuesday, February 21, 2017

2017 NFL Draft Breakdown: Idaho Vandals Punter AND Kicker Austin Rehkow

(A post from Lukewarm Jonah)

I’ve been waiting to write this article for over a year.  There is a college player entering this year’s draft who can change the NFL forever.  There is a player who should be drafted and if not will definitely be signed as a free agent who can play two positions in the NFL, therefore saving a roster spot.  That player is Austin Rehkow, Idaho Vandals punter and kicker.  

Rehkow is the best punter in this years draft, but he’s also been the Vandals kicker for four years and kicked a 67 yarder in high school.  The value of having an extra roster spot truly is incredibly valuable, and Rehkow could be the first player in the modern era to play two positions in the NFL.  More than likely, Rehkow will simply be one of the best punters in the NFL, booming 60 yard punts with hangtime, but what if?  

What if a team takes a chance and lets him be their kicker as well?  They can keep an extra offensive lineman, an extra wide receiver or running back.  Some player they don’t want to try and sneak through to the practice squad can stay on the active roster.  Anyways, I guess I should just talk about how great Rehkow has been.  

Over four years of punting he has a 45.9 yard average, he’s been great at pinning the opposing team deep in their territory and out of bounds with no chance for a return.  I’ve also seen him punt over 60 yards with 6 seconds of hangtime more times than I can count.  He’s a special punter, but he’s also a very good kicker as well.  He went 26 for 29 with a long of 50 yards this past year.  As I stated, in high school he kicked a 67 yard field goal so he’s got plenty of leg strength.  He needs to go to the Minnesota Vikings and take over double duty so that they can have another offensive lineman on the roster for when the first 20 get hurt again.
Draft Austin Rehkow or have him haunt you for the next 15 years.

Monday, February 20, 2017

Fedor Emelianenko Didn't Lose This Weekend, Hooray!

Fedor Emelianenko is one of the greatest fighters of all time, and he has a pretty good claim for being the greatest fighter of all time. This past weekend, he was scheduled to take on Matt Mitrione, who was a good, but not great Heavyweight in the UFC who has since moved to Bellator. This is a level of competition that Fedor would have handled easily in his prime, but the type where Fedor should definitely not be favored against at this point in his career.

But Fedor shocked the world yet again and didn't lose his fight this past weekend.

Now, he also didn't win, but that's beside the point. Fedor's legend is enough to give a man kidney stones, and that is how he vanquished his foe this weekend as Mitrione was unable to take the fight. And thank God for that.

With Fedor Emelianenko, more than any other fighter, people underestimate how far this sport has come since his prime. Today, Fedor struggles against middling light heavyweights fighting up a weight class, but people claim that he could still dominate in his prime. I know it was only eight years ago when he was still an unstoppable cyborg who absolutely annihilated opponents, but this sport has transformed in the last eight years.

I know Fedor has this invincibility to him, but let's look at another legend from that time, Matt Hughes. Looking at his resume, Hughes is the second best welterweight in UFC history. But if Hughes is in his prime today, does he come anywhere near the title picture? Hell no. His ceiling is probably a .500 fighter in the UFC, and you can make a pretty good argument that he wouldn't even win a fight in today's UFC. His wrestling pedigree isn't anything special, and his striking straight up sucked. Maybe he can bulldog his way through some strikers without enough takedown defense, or maybe he just takes beatings while going for sloppy takedowns. Either way, he's not anywhere near elite in today's UFC.

It's the same story for Fedor. Fedor has powerful but sloppy striking, his sambo background helps him with throws, solid submissions and good body control, but there isn't one aspect of his game that you could say is elite. Because the heavyweight division is pretty weak right now, I could see Fedor having a solid career, but there is one kryptonite that he would never be able to overcome, and that is a good wrestler. Cain Velasquez, and hell, even Brock Lesnar, would be an absolute nightmare for Fedor. Wrestling is far superior to Sambo, and I think Fedor would learn that the hard way in today's MMA landscape. The only wrestlers that Fedor ever faced were Mark Coleman and Kevin Randleman, two guys who almost seemed proud of their total lack of jiu jitsu knowledge. And even with that, Fedor almost had his life ended by this:

Fedor still has a great claim of being the greatest fighter ever, much like Babe Ruth has a great claim of being the greatest baseball player ever. Sure, baseball has changed over the last century, but MMA has changed nearly as much over the last decade. It doesn't take away from their legacy, and that means they have nothing to prove today. Fedor stepping into the cage to fight is as relevant to me as Babe Ruth getting dug up to step up to the plate. It simply doesn't matter. Fedor didn't lose this weekend. To me, that's a win.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Each Iowa Hawkeyes Wrestler's Chance at a National Title in 2017

The wrestling season is sadly winding down. All that is left is the National Duals, Conference Tournaments, and the NCAA Tournament. Even as an eternal optimist for the Iowa Hawkeyes, their chances at winning the team national title are incredibly slim. It is looking like they can qualify eight weights, with 197 and Heavyweight unlikely to make the cut. That alone puts them in a pretty deep hole, and two of their other qualifiers are unranked, so those guys putting up major points seems unlikely. Still, crazy things can happen in wrestling, so let's look at all ten starter's chances at winning a National Title this season.

10. Heavyweight - Steven Holloway
When Sam Stoll reinjured his knee, it basically ended Iowa's hopes for a team National Title. If healthy, he's a likely All-American and those missed points are tough to make up. Holloway is stepping in and doing his best. Unfortunately, he's small for the weight class and not skilled enough to make up for the size discrepancy. He's kept matches close outside of when wrestling the top guys at the weight, but he consistently falls short of pulling off the victories. It's not gonna happen.

9. 197 - Cash Wilcke
Unfortunately, the guy with the best name on the team probably doesn't have the best chances at making a dent at the NCAA Tournament. Wilcke is another guy that would probably be better suited at a lower weight class. He is doing a serviceable job as he has only been on the losing end of one major decision this year. He's kept matches close but just hasn't had quite the firepower to get things done. It wouldn't be totally shocking if he put together a strong Big Ten performance to qualify for the NCAAs, but even if he makes it, he will not be favored in any of his matches once he gets there. The good news is there will be a lot of turnover at 184 after this year (including his teammate Sammy Brooks), and it will be interesting to see what kind of damage he can do at his more natural weight.

8. 165 - Joey Gunther
Gunther has done enough this year. First, he did enough at 165 where Brands didn't feel like it was worth burning Alex Marinelli's redshirt for this season. He's continued to do enough by beating guys he should beat at 165 in close matches and even pulled off a good win against Nick Wanzek of Minnesota. With that, he's probably done enough to qualify for the NCAA Tournament although it's not yet a guarantee. Gunther will reliably give you seven strong minutes out there. I think he qualifies, but even though he's gotten stronger as the year has gone on, I'd be pretty surprised if he got more than a win or two at Nationals.

7. 141 - Topher Carton
Carton may be Iowa's most improved wrestler as this season has gone on. Kevin Jack and Dean Heil are the only two guys who have definitively beaten him, and even those were just regular decisions. Otherwise, he has given guys fits, and even though he's still working on coming out on top, he's the type of guy who could pull off a big upset at the NCAAs. Usually a guy from Iowa can't sneak up at a national tournament, but Carton could prove to be the exception to that rule. 141 is a deep weight class, so there are going to be nothing but tough matches, but Carton has shown enough that he might be able to pull off some upsets and make some noise. It's still not likely, but it wouldn't totally shock me to see him in the Round of 12.

6. 174 - Alex Meyer
Now we get into the range of returning All-Americans. Meyer finished seventh last season and looked to have the opportunity to build on that as his weight class actually lost some of its heaviest hitters. Instead, he's had some rather disappointing performances in toss-up matches this year. Of course, he also beat Penn State Super Freshman, Mark Hall, a guy who has only lost one other time this year and has bonus points in 70% of his matches. Basically, it is impossible to know what you are going to get out of Alex Meyer. Nobody will blow him out, but he has the ability to beat and lose to anybody. If he's aggressive and pushing the pace, he could make a serious run, but if he is passive and on the defensive, it's probably not going to be a long tournament for him. Since I'm an eternal optimist when it comes to Iowa wrestling, I say he becomes a two-time All-American, although I have trouble seeing him advance more than a spot or two from last year's finish.

5. 184 - Sammy Brooks
Another seventh place finisher last year, I would love to put Brooks higher on this list, but there is a bit too much volatility in Brooks's outcomes for me to reasonably put him higher on this list. He only has two losses this season, one to Nate Jackson, which he avenged later in that same Midlands tournament, and the other to Bo Nickal, where he showed some hesitation on a good shot and got caught in a weird spot and pinned. I'm not really concerned about either of those outcomes. Bo Nickal is a monster offensively, but guys have shown that he can be scored on with a good pace. There is also two-time defending National Champion, Gabe Dean, who has seemed to take his wrestling to another level this season. Brooks wrestled him close a couple years ago, and that's why I believe he could beat anybody. I'd be shocked if Brooks didn't finish as a two-time All-American, and I think he could cause some damage if he gets the right matchups and stays aggressive in his matches. I think the likely outcome is the 3-5 range, but if don't be surprised if he's wrestling on Saturday night. Never doubt the mullet.

4. 157 - Michael Kemerer
Kemerer has exceeded all expectations in his first year wrestling for the Hawkeyes. I mean, I was incredibly excited about him last year, but he's even outdone my wildest expectations for him this year. He moved up a weight class this year and still has stormed through absolutely everybody except for #1 ranked, Jason Nolf. He's ranked second currently, and he will be expected to make the finals of the NCAAs. The reason he's only fourth on this list is partially due to the strong performances of the top three guys and partially because Nolf seemed to overwhelm him in their first match. I think Kemerer has the ability to close the gap on Nolf in the next month, but I have a real hard time seeing him overtake the top guy at that weight. Still, it's gonna be a ton of fun watching him close out his Freshman season.

3. 149 - Brandon Sorensen
Sorensen is in a similar boat as Kemerer, as he can pretty clearly beat anyone but the top guy at this weight, although Sorensen did lose by riding time in a match against Anthony Collica at Oklahoma State. Still, if Sorensen gets the second or third seed, I think he'll be favored to make it to the Finals. Last year, top seeded Zain Retherford dominated Sorensen in their two matches,as in two matches, Sorensen managed only a single escape point. But this year, he came out and wrestled his ass off against Retherford in one of the most exciting matches of the year. He did end up losing OT, but he showed that he can compete with Zain Train, who, outside of that match, has been the most dominant wrestler at any weight class in college wrestling. Do I think Sorensen will beat him? No, I don't think he will, but I also didn't think he'd be as close as he was earlier this season. I'm just really hoping that he doesn't have to worry about that match until the Finals.

2. 133 - Cory Clark
Yes, I know Clark got upset this past weekend against Nebraska, but I still believe in him. Cory Clark has finished second the last two years and has the chance to become a four-time All-American this year. Still, anything less than a Championship is going to be a disappointment for Clark's Hawkeye career. He has been so close for so long that Iowa fans are just waiting for him to get over the hump. Of course, when it finally looked like he would be the number one guy, favored to take it all, he suffered a shoulder injury, and although he's looked strong in his matches, he hasn't quite looked as dominant as he has in the past. 133 is a tough weight class, but there are no unbeatable monsters at this weight. There are probably five guys who could go on a run and win the thing with Tomasello (Ohio State), Brock (Oklahoma State), Richards (Illinois, and Gross (South Dakota State after transferring from Iowa). Clark's only other loss this season was to Brock, and it was a close match where Clark probably wasn't 100%. The season slows down over this next month, so it should give Clark an opportunity to rest and hopefully get close to 100%. The goal for the Big Ten Tournament should be to do enough to be ranked in the top three. At that point, you only have to take out two of the top guys instead of three of them. A healthy Clark wins the National Title this year. A Clark with a shoulder injury makes that proposition more dicey, but I still believe he can string things together and make a run.

1. 125 - Thomas Gilman
Gilman is the man at 125. He has gotten bonus points in all but three of his matches, once against second-ranked, Nick Suriano, once against Tim Lambert, who is another top five guy, and once against Josh Terao, who is just as funky as his brother who was a former All-American. Oh, yeah, there was that other match where Gilman got caught and was down 8-0 with his opponent having nearly four minutes of riding time, but Gilman started pouring on takedowns in the third period, and then decided to turn him over and get the pin. This was against the sixth-ranked wrestler in the nation, which, yeah, you shouldn't be able to do things like that to the sixth-ranked wrestler in the nation. Suriano and Joey Dance of Virginia Tech are both tough, but ain't nobody beating Gilman this year. Everything is coming together, and as long as he stays healthy over the next month, he's going to finally get an asterisk next to his name.

Overall, Iowa has a solid shot at four guys wrestling on Saturday night for the Finals. In one of those four matches, Iowa will have the favorite, they might have the favorite at another and would be heavy underdogs in the other two. Still, every year the NCAA surprises us. Iowa hasn't had an NCAA Tournament where they really peaked and exceeded expectations in quite a few years, so maybe this is the year that they shock the wrestling world. Penn State's going to win another National Title, aren't they? God damnit.

Monday, February 13, 2017

You Need to Go to an Independent Wrestling Show

Guys (and gals), you need to go to an independent wrestling show. That is the only point that I really want to make in this post, because independent wrestling is so totally awesome that anyone can enjoy it. That's right; it's not just for wrestling fans. You can think wrestling is fake or stupid or only for children, and even I'll admit, those arguments do hold varying degrees of legitimacy (the latter two more than the first), but even you, naysayer, will love independent wrestling.

Now, I'll admit, I'm spoiled. I live in Florida, and despite all of its issues with racists, scumbags, and bath salt users, it is also probably the greatest place to live for professional wrestling. Yes, we've got NXT shows galore, but on top of that, there is a really strong independent wrestling presence due to the fact that a lot of professional wrestlers live in the state. The only thing I'm missing is a wrestling buddy, but that may have changed this past weekend when I finally convinced my wife to go to a Full Impact Pro show with me in Tampa.

The show was held at The Orpheum, a small music venue with a stage, and the ring was set up right in the middle of where people would watch a concert, limiting the actual space for seats around ringside. This was luckily not an issue as there were maybe 75-100 people there for the show. We found some stools at the bar which put us in the second row as there were a row of about 8 folding chairs between us and the ring.

It took approximately two minutes before I realized that going to this independent show was not a good idea, it was a great idea. During the welcome by the announcer, two jobbers get thrown into the ring and physically dominated by a couple other dudes. It took them about a minute before they launched one of the jobbers into the crowd. Were the people in the crowd in on it? I mean, almost definitely, but either way, it was great and established what was to come the rest of the night.

After that, in a weird coincidence, there was a five way match from the Black and Brave Wrestling Academy, which is actually the wrestling school that is located in my hometown. I'll admit that I thought it was going to be the shits, just because the school has only been open for a few years, so none of the guys could have that much experience, but it was actually pretty fun. There was a good mix of high impact moves and comedy as one guy used a hoverboard in one of his big spots. It's one of the nice things about independent wrestling, because it doesn't need to take itself seriously.

A couple matches later, things jumped to another level when Caleb Konley took on Jason Cade. They kept flying out of the ring at each other. When they weren't doing that, they were dropping each other on the bar floor or hitting a brainbuster on a steel chair about five feet away from my seat. And even if they didn't do any of that, the in ring action was enough for it to be an awesome match. I don't know what pay scale these independent wrestlers earn, but I have trouble believing it's more than a couple hundred bucks for mid card guys. The effort and bodily harm they put out there for that money is absolutely incredible, and the crowd couldn't help but cheer both guys by the end of the match.

On top of unknown guys killing each other for a relatively small amount of money, they also had some legitimate names. The most well known were three guys from Lucha Underground, AR Fox (Dante Fox), Sami Callihan (Jeremiah Crane on LU and formerly Solomon Crowe in NXT), and Brian Cage, who I was most excited to see. That is another thing about professional wrestling; some of these dudes are big as hell, and Brian Cage is massive in person. And to see a massive guy do flips and throw people around like nothing is super damn entertaining. The great thing about the professional wrestling is it's not just entertaining for pro wrestling fans; it's just entertaining, and these guys know how to put on a show.

And most importantly, they know their audience, and most independent wrestling shows strongly gear towards entertaining adults. They dropped just about every cuss word imaginable, and since it was at a bar, the beer was flowing like...uh, beer. And when the beer turns the crowd into idiots, the wrestlers will address it. Some guys wanted to heckle Sami Callihan so after the match Callihan went nose to nose with the heckler and told him to take a shot. When the guy didn't do anything (outside of maybe pissing himself), Sami kissed him on the cheek and walked away. It was pretty hilarious.

It's insane that people will spend $15 to go to a movie where they sit quietly and watch a screen when, for five dollars more, they could see independent wrestling. You can't go see a quality live performance for anywhere near that money, especially for seats that are only a few feet away. On top of that, they will literally throw a wrestler into your lap. Heck, you might even get a kiss.

Independent wrestling is awesome. You need to see it for yourself.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

2017 NFL Draft Breakdown: Iowa Hawkeyes Defensive Tackle Jaleel Johnson

Continuing my breakdowns of Iowa prospects, we move on to defensive tackle, Jaleel Johnson. Although he was never seen as Iowa's most important player, Johnson may be the best prospect going into the 2017 NFL Draft. This is because nobody on Iowa's roster had the raw physical tools that make Johnson so special. I wanted to look at his games against Penn State and Iowa State from this past season and a 2015 game against Purdue.

A lot of people are going to talk about Johnson's power at the line, but it's his explosiveness that really stands out and helps him make plays at the line of scrimmage. Here, Johnson stuffs a run play with what looks like no effort.
The left guard's goal here is to get to the inside shoulder of Johnson. It's not an easy job, but at worst, he has to get head on to at least get a push on him. Instead, all he can do is get to Johnson's outside shoulder, and he gets absolutely no push on Johnson, as he is shucked off like it was all 150 pounds of me trying to block him. The way that Jaleel Johnson explodes at the line of scrimmage would basically make a block like that impossible. I don't care if you have Marshall Yanda at guard, asking anyone to get to the far side of Johnson is an impossible task, and I suggest that NFL offenses do not scheme anything that would require an offensive lineman to do it.

But let's not forget about the power either.

Here, Johnson just totally overwhelms the offensive guard, which is pretty obvious since the guard ends up on his ass while Johnson sacks the quarterback. The key is that Johnson get his hands on the offensive lineman before he can get his hands on him. Once he has the punch to the inside, the guard is left grasping for something that he can't quite reach while Johnson uses one arm to big brother him, and throw him off to the side when he's ready to sack the quarterback.

So what's the problem? Well, it doesn't always show up. An example was the Penn State game where he just didn't have a big impact. And it wasn't just a Penn State scheme. Yes, he faced some double teams but even when he had only one blocker, he failed to create much penetration in the run or pass game. He has the ability to take over games, but sometimes he looks like he's fine to just hold the line. Some of that is likely due to Iowa's scheme and some is that he played every snap and a guy that big would probably be better in about 75% of those plays. But it still seemed that at times he would just up and decide to be unblockable and other games you wouldn't notice him.

Jaleel Johnson is going to be a guy who can make an impact right away for an NFL team. Although I struggle to see Pro Bowls in his future, I do see a guy who can be an essential piece of a strong defense. I see him as a Timmy Jernigan type player who may not get a lot of national publicity but is a key piece for the Ravens. Since he didn't generate great stats, he will probably be drafted in the 2nd-3rd round, but whoever drafts him will definitely be happy with their selection. Iowa fans are going to miss him.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

CrossFit Defense Is For Stupid People Who Want To Get Their Asses Kicked

The other day my brother sent me a link to CrossFit Defense; he knew a fighting system this stupid would anger me, and sure enough, I was seething just looking at the link. Then, despite knowing it would be bad for me, I clicked on that link, went deeper into the page, clicked some more, watched an eight-minute video, all the while getting angrier and angrier the entire time. There was only thing I could do as the legitimate tough guy that I am: Beat this system down with a brutal blog.

So let me just say that there is a lot of hatred towards CrossFit online, and I'm not here for that. I think that if you have an exercise system that you enjoy and does not injure you, you should go for it. CrossFit fails on that second part quite a bit, but hey, if people keep coming back for more, I'm not going to stand in their way.

But CrossFit Defense is a bunch of bullshit. CrossFit isn't going to help you fight. It'll help you keep in shape (if you don't injure yourself), but you should only use that health to run away in a fighting situation. That should be the beginning and end of CrossFit Defense.

Unfortunately, it is not. Let's go to the website description to see what is CrossFit Defense:

CrossFitters train for the unknown and unknowable, but elite fitness does not guarantee personal safety. If CrossFit is the study of human movement, CrossFit Defense is the study of human movement as it relates to violence, fear and aggression. Athletes are taught close quarter skills and combines fun, dynamic, and effective drills that are extremely effective for anyone of any age who may have to defend themselves.

Could someone please explain to me how CrossFitters training for the unknown and unknowable? Like, is the unknown discovering what is the shittiest pullup imaginable. I also enjoy that they train "effective drills that are extremely effective." I want to give them a damn participation award for that phrasing.

On top of this, they have this image on their website:
Nobody fears fear. I'm not afraid of being afraid. I'm afraid of snakes, Greg Davis offenses, and being buried alive. Those are things that you can fear. I'm not afraid of one day discovering that I am afraid of something. Let's go to the video to take a deep dive into this ocean of shit.

This first gif appears to be some moron named Traver (what a CrossFit name) talking about something dumb, but the important part is going on in the background, because there's some amazing self-defense going on.
Little dude in the black shirt is practicing some top-notch self-defense. For what situation? Well, uh, I guess it's like if somebody tries to attack you by ballroom dancing with you without your permission, this is a way to keep distance. This self-defense technique is most commonly used by girls in high school at Proms where guys have boners, and the girls don't want them rubbing it on them during slow dances.

Now it's time to address one of the big problems that came up in their video, over and over again: Palm strikes. This system apparently only uses palm strikes, and that is an excellent sign that it is bullshit. Will a palm strike hurt? Yes, but you know what hurts more than a palm strike? A fucking fist. It's not that complicated. There's a reason you don't see guys in the UFC choosing to hit guys with their palms. So why doesn't Crossfit Defense use the far better fist method? Because you can't throw a fist at a medicine ball without hurting your hand, and if you had to wear gloves or wrap your hands, and at that point, you wouldn't be able to market it as a Crossfit class.

But at least they're showing good technique to generate power with those palm strikes? Well, yeah, as long as you keep your hips as stiff as possible and try to lunge into your strikes.
Also, any striking system that doesn't teach you to put your hands back to defend after striking is probably not going to be great for you. You can keep one hand out for distance, but when you keep out two, you're probably going to get your jaw jacked. Silver lining: When somebody uppercuts you off your feet, you can just say that you were setting your new record in highest box jump.

They then spoke about how fights are unpredictable so you need to train as if you are in a natural fighting stance. They then show getting in their natural stance.
Yep, totally natural.

Clearly CrossFit Defense has it all. It combines asinine technique with along with giving people enough confidence that they may be dumb enough to actually use it. Here's basically all of CrossFit Defense in one gif.
1. Don't strike to the chest in a fight.

2. Um, I don't know what he's trying to show in that choking clip except the choker has no idea how chokes work, so I guess if you're going to get attacked, hope that they try to do something they've never done before?

3. For some reason, half of this video shows how to defend against somebody who wraps their arms around your neck from the front. This never happens in a real fight, because there is no logic that would lead a person to attack that way. But it does lead to the most "Oh shit" moment of the video as, in, oh shit, a worthy technique. He's going after the dude's eyes. That is a really good strategy. But then of course he switches to a a weird forearm crossface instead which is not nearly as effective.  (Note: If you know nothing about fighting, just look up the mixed martial arts rules. If you do everything that is banned in MMA, you'll probably do alright, because the shit that is banned in MMA is dangerous and/or super effective).

So do not believe in CrossFit Defense. It will not help you. There's a good chance you get injured from CrossFit, and a 100% chance that it will not help you if you need to defend yourself. Would you like to find a good workout where you can learn how to defend yourself? They actually have that. It's called mixed martial arts. Here is the perfect tagline for CrossFit Defense: Run for your life; your shitty pullups won't save you.

Monday, February 6, 2017

I Went To Run the Jewels - My First Rap Show

I went to my first rap show a couple weeks ago. I'm not really a fan of rap. Most people say they like all types of music, but I would say that I dislike most types of music; that's why someone has to really stand out in order for me to enjoy it. The group that stood out to me was Run the Jewels. Let's face it, Run the Jewels is the most white guy approved rap group out there. I mean, one of the two guys, El-P, is a white guy, and Killer Mike was a huge Bernie Sanders supporter, which may make him even friendlier to white people. Even with that white friendliness, I'm not sure if I would know about them if Killer Mike didn't have a song called "Ric Flair," because that's the real reason I got into their music. But I gotta say, I was excited for a new experience, and it did not disappoint.

The concert was held at Jannus Live, an outdoor venue, in the middle of downtown St. Petersburg. It's great in that you get to be outside in January to enjoy the show, but it also means smoking is allowed. Some of it was even smoke from illegal drugs, so I knew that I was at a true rap bonanza.

We came cruising in for the first act, who was a rapper named Cuz. A lot of times these opening acts are just kind of something you sit through to get to the main act, but Cuz was awesome. He ended his act with a song called Pots and Pans, and I'm not sure how anyone could listen to this and not have it put a smile on their face.

For the past two weeks, I cannot help bu burst out with a, "Spray them pots and pans, (white guy mumble). Don't forget to wash your hands, (white guy mumble)" The man even gave out his cell phone number so the crowd could text him. Cuz was great, and he left the crowd wanting more.

Next up was Gangsta Boo. She was no Cuz, but she was still pretty solid although predictable. She started talking to us about her ex-boyfriend before revealing that she had, GASP, wrote a song about him. I leaned over to my wife and said, "I bet he has a small penis." Sure enough, she rapped about him having a small dick. Her most valuable contribution was using "ho" as a term of empowerment, so now I can go around calling women hoes, because it's, like, actually a compliment.

Next up was a DJ named The Gaslamp Killer. I have never watched a DJ perform, and honestly, I'd be fine if I never did so again. This is nothing against Mr. Killer, as I feel like he did the best possible job of putting on a show as a DJ, but it is just not my jam in any way, shape, or form.

Then they put in like a 45 minute break before Run the Jewels started. This part really sucked, and I was kidn of hoping Mr. Killer would spin some more tunes, because it got pretty agonizing, especially for a Tuesday night when this old man has a bed time.

Finally, Run the Jewels came out and spit hot fire. I mean, there's really not much I can offer beyond most of their songs are ideal to get you pumped up, so you just felt a constant pump throughout the entire concert. Did I bob my head and raise my hands like the awkward white guy that I am? You bet your ass I did, but I was too into the music to feel that white guy awkwardness, and for me, that is a win. I give Run the Jewels one pistol hand aiming at one closed fist up.

Thursday, February 2, 2017

2017 NFL Draft Breakdown: Iowa Hawkeyes Cornerback Desmond King

Desmond King is one of my favorite Iowa players ever. He started as a true Freshman and played pretty damn well. From there, he got better and better. Then he had every reason to leave after his Junior year as he won the Thorpe Award for best cornerback in the nation and had nothing left to prove. Still, he came back and basically shut down half the field for most of the season. Quarterbacks just refused to throw that way, so even though his stats were down, his play was just as good. Still, being a great college player does not make one a great pro, so I took a look at his games against Nebraska and Purdue from 2016 and Wisconsin and Indiana from 2015 (since people actually threw in his direction that year).

Something that stands out in King's play is his physicality. He isn't someone who can get physical; he's someone who looks to get physical. You see this a lot on how he tackles guys as he's looking to either make a big hit or go for a strip. Also, he plays through the whistle...and sometimes needs the benefit of a really long whistle.
Iowa's defense relies on their cornerbacks being able to make tackles in the open field and King always did a good job of containing the edge and finishing plays.

Where his physicality is more important is in his coverage, as he can make up for not having top end speed by physically punishing opposing receivers. What also helps is he is incredibly quick. Adding that to his decisiveness, and it's no wonder he's able to stick to receiver like glue (If you're looking for King on these plays, he's basically always the cornerback on the left side of the offense).
Indiana ran this play earlier in the game while Iowa was in a zone and it went for 20 yards. Here, King sees the quick break, avoids the pick (watch the receiver in the slot flail at King), and the Indiana quarterback has no choice but to throw the ball away.

The big concern is his lack of top end speed which means that many teams view him more as a safety prospect than a cornerback. As much as I love King, I do think it's still a question mark. He handled all varieties of B1G receivers, but how many of those guys were really top end talents? Also, the ones that were future NFL players likely didn't have a NFL level quarterback throwing them the ball to take advantage of any of King's weaknesses.

King would occasionally get beat deep by receivers. The problem with this is whose responsibility that was in Iowa's coverage. Iowa's safeties were not the most dependable players these last few years, so it was unclear whether there should have been a safety over the top or whether King just got beat. He also would often give too much of a cushion and allow 8-yard comeback routes without having any chance to break up the play. Again, that could be the Iowa defensive play call to drift back in the zone and allow the underneath route, or it could be King playing it safe with his lack of top-end speed.

His speed is definitely a concern, but this guy is a football player, and I would like to at least see him get the chance to stay at corner at the next level.

The biggest positives for King's ability to stay at cornerback are his intelligence and instincts.
Here, he follows the deep post over the middle until he sees the slot receiver going for a wheel route. He then spins around to break on the ball, make the interception while managing to still get a foot in bounds.

Another reason that I think King can stay at corner despite not having top end speed is the quickness and athleticism he has shown as a kick returner.
This sort of body control is impressive, and it is far more important than speed when trying to mirror receiver's actions.

And finally, he does things like this.

His ability to mirror receivers and basically run their route for them while undercutting any pass is really a treat to watch.
Right when the receiver breaks towards the outside, King turns back to look for the ball to make a play. King is a very smart player and knows the situation where that is the end of the route and he has a safety over the top so he can look to make a play on the ball if the quarterback decides to throw it. A pushoff from the receiver isn't enough to stop King from making the interception.

The biggest debate for King is whether he is a corner or a safety at the next level. It's a fair question, especially considering that nearly every recent Iowa cornerback has transitioned to safety when going to the NFL. I do think King has enough other skills to stay at corner despite the lack of straight line speed, but ultimately, I don't think it really matters. King's best trait is that he's a football player. He's a guy who consistently makes plays and those instincts will transition to any level.