Friday, February 28, 2014

Cesaro vs. Zayn IV Was The Match Both Guys Needed

No real introduction needed. Cesaro/Zayn IV was an incredible match on NXT ArRIVAL, and you should sign up for the WWE Network to watch it. Now onto why this match was so great.

Number one, it was an awesome match. It was a far different match than their 2-out-of-3 falls match, but it was right up there in quality.

Number two, it made sense. Going into the match, I thought Zayn was probably a slight favorite in my head, because he needed this match, and Cesaro was dismissing him as he knew he was better. That's almost always a recipe for the underdog triumphing, but in this case, the underdog didn't deserve to triumph. Since they had that match, Cesaro has turned into a monster who beat the WWE World Heavyweight Champion, Randy Orton, did serious damage in an Elimination Chamber, and nearly beat John Cena. Meanwhile, Sami Zayn's most notable matches are losing to Bo Dallas, barely beating Leo Kruger by rollup, and then getting beat by Adrian Neville.

Clearly, Cesaro is on the upswing, and Zayn has just been stagnating, and the match reflected that beautifully. In their last match, the offense was pretty even for both guys and Cesaro just barely edged him. In this match, Zayn got some offense, because he's still great, but Cesaro dominated the match. The perfect example of that was Zayn going for his dive through the ropes spinning DDT (which, if you haven't seen it, is just as awesome as it sounds). In the first match, he nails Cesaro with it, and it's phenomenal. Everybody is looking for that move to happen again, and Zayn is set up perfectly for it. He dives through the ropes to catch Cesaro, but instead Cesaro absolutely destroys him with a European uppercut. Right there, in that single move, it showed that Zayn is great, but Cesaro is better.

In the end, Zayn showed that he's one of the toughest guys out there when it comes to punishment, but Cesaro got to show that he was better. People who had never watched NXT before still get to see that Cesaro is on the rise and that this Sami Zayn character is super tough but not quite on the same level as the best guys on the main roster. That totally makes sense. Cesaro should win that match, and Zayn still looks great by being dynamic in the ring and tougher than nails. It wasn't as important that he lost, because a WWE crowd can get behind tough guys. Mankind was mostly known for taking insane beatings until he got over. Zayn isn't a big guy, so he's always going to be somewhat of an underdog, so if he has an insane ability to fight through pain, it's a much more important building block than a single win over Cesaro could be for him.

This is the match that both guys needed, and I loved every second of it. 

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Juan Pablo Is Clearly A Sociopath

Did you see The Bachelor last night? If you didn't, you should do that right now. I'll wait...okay. OMG, right? Andi made it to the last three and eliminated herself, because she realized that Juan Pablo didn't give a shit about her. This was one of the all-time great episodes of The Bachelor, as it was a fascinating look into personalities and how they can conflict. I've been on #TeamAndi since the first episode, so I would be on her side no matter what happened, but it's pretty clear that Juan Pablo is a sociopath, more specifically, he's Dennis Reynolds from It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia. We'll get to that later; let's start with my precious Andi.

Andi wanted to fall in love. That's why she was on this show. And she had some great times where it felt magical, because she got to go on ridiculously expensive trips and have dream dates all the time. Unfortunately, they used the fantasy suite to talk, and Juan Pablo only talked about himself and didn't show any concern for what type of person Andi is. He said he thought it was a great night (we'll dive into that more later), but Andi had one of the worst nights of her life. Because of that, she decided to talk more to tell him that he doesn't feel that he cares about her, which seems likely since he said that she was only there by default (Juan Pablo claimed that he didn't use the word default, but he also said that homosexuality was perverted, and I'm guessing he would deny using that word had it not been recorded). But Juan Pablo tried to be nice and say that it was okay that she was leaving. This angered Andi, and she kept badgering him. Was this the best move? No, it was not, but she had felt something for Juan Pablo before that, and she wanted him to show some sort of emotion. Juan Pablo did not give her the satisfaction, and she went in the limo and said she was still looking for true love. ABC, if she is not the next Bachelorette, I will be a one man riot.

Now onto Juan Pablo and why he is a sociopath. Juan Pablo has been very image conscience this entire show. I really feel that nearly every elimination has been calculated and not in the sense of love, but more in the sense of public perception. I could write a whole article about the order of women being eliminated from the show, but I'm not going to unless there is public demand for it. Still, last night was the definition of sociopathic behavior. I can tell, because I am like 90% sociopath (I control my emotions, but my wife has gotten through my hard exterior to make me more of a human being). The easiest way to sum up Juan Pablo's behavior is that he wasn't a human being, he was someone pretending to be a human being. A human being shows empathy, and when they make someone feel like shit, they feel remorse; instead, he told Andi it was okay and tried to put the blame on her. This obviously angered Andi, and the fact that he was a stone cold when it came to emotions definitely drove her a little crazy. He gave her absolutely nothing. And this, from a man, who has cried after eliminating like the last 8 girls, didn't give even a sniffle for Andi. In the acts of sociopaths, that was a work of art. I was impressed, because Juan Pablo basically showed that he's Dennis Reynolds.

And even after she had left, he said that he would not have let her stay even if she had wanted to. This is A+ work, because he is still trying to make it appear as if he was the one who dumped her. This is a total power play from him, and power is incredibly important to him. He doesn't want arguments in his life. This man is looking for a submissive wife, and his remaining two contestants fit that profile. Clearly, Nikki wins, because she met his daughter, so at that point, she was already the winner of the show. She's basically just a younger version of Clare with a better job, so yeah, Clare has no shot.

I am left with one question. Did Andi and Juan Pablo have sex? It's a fascinating question from both ends. Juan Pablo thought they had a great night, and if you are in a fantasy suite with no sex, that is not going to equal a great night. Replace boat with fantasy suite in this video, and you basically have Juan Pablo.

Andi said she hated the night, because of the talk, which would imply that they did not have sex. Still, they could have gone right back to the room, had sex, and then started to just hang out. Still, I'm leaning towards them not having sex. Since Juan Pablo is a sociopath, I believe it was a calculated move to talk about how great a night they had talking, when in fact, he was going to eliminate Andi for not giving up the nookie. He can't come out and say it wasn't a great night, because they didn't have sex, because that would set a bad example for his daughter, and the general public wouldn't like him as much. In the end, everything he does is part of the D.E.N.N.I.S. System.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Scouting the 2014 NFL Draft: David Fales

David Fales is a very interesting prospect as people were very excited for him to come back this year and solidify his spot as one of the top quarterbacks in the draft. He went out and nearly duplicated his Junior season (his only real dropoff was completion percentage which went from a ridiculously high 72.5 to a still very solid 64.1) and everybody seemed to downgrade him. Also weird is that there are no 2013 game tapes on YouTube, but half of his season from 2012 is up there. Since I had not heard of any significant step forward that he made this past season, I took a look at his 2012 tape of his games against Stanford and BYU.

The mental side of the game is definitely a strength for Fales. He shows that he can smoothly work through his reads on this throw over the middle.

He starts off looking to his left, sees that his receiver is covered, then calmly bounces his feet to focus on the middle and throws a nice ball up the seam.

Fales does a really nice job of trusting his blocking on this play. He tries to stick with the deep route as long as possible, sees it is not going to happen, and then quickly looks to his right and fires a nice pass for a first down.

That sort of patience is an incredibly value asset for a quarterback to possess.

With that pocket presence, he also moves very well inside the pocket. Here he makes a nice move to avoid the rush, give himself space, and make a play.

This isn't a throw that is going to wow people, but considering he is on the move, throwing a well placed ball on the short route is very nice.

He's not going to wow teams with his athleticism, but he makes the most of his moves. On this play, he shows his maximum shiftiness, but it's a nice gain for him when nobody was open.

His awareness helps his mobility play up since he rarely wastes steps and knows the best ways to move when he is under duress.

The next play is an intermediate route where Fales successfully threads the needle. He does this with accuracy, as the lack of arm strength nearly gives the Stanford defender a chance to make an interception.

I'm still not sure how that pass was completed. The ball goes right through the defender's hands into his receivers.

I really love the anticipation here, as he knows his receiver is going to curl back right at the goal line, so he throws it so it arrives as the receiver is turning around in front of the cornerback who had coverage over the top.

The replay really shows the greatness of the timing of the throw and delivering it right to the receiver's chest makes it an easy touchdown.

He does a very nice job with intermediate throws as he places the ball right where it needs to be.

His receiver does get some separation on the out route, but Fales puts the ball on the outside shoulder so the defender has no chance of making a play and his receiver can pick up the first down.

Here is a deep ball that illustrates the worries that teams are going to have with Fales. Arm strength. On this pass, the ball flutters in the air and takes a long time to get to his intended receiver. Look at how the ball hangs in the air, and receiver has to slow down for it.

Yes, the receiver should have made the catch and had a touchdown, but that was more from the coverage falling down than the pass being great.

Here is the problem with a lack of arm strength. This receiver has a small opening over the top of the cornerback before the safety is over the top of the route. Fales sees that opening and throws the ball there.
Unfortunately, it hangs in the air far too long and the safety gets an easy interception.

These are the sort of windows that are common in the NFL, and this is why people are going to doubt Fales.

It's throws like this one that makes me want to believe in Fales. It's not wow arm strength, but it looks like enough on this throw over the middle.

It is thrown right as the receiver breaks towards the middle, and it is placed perfectly which saves his receiver from taking a big shot from the safety.

This was my favorite throw that I saw from Fales.

It's a throw like this that gives me hope.

Fales reminds me of quarterbacks that I've loved too much in the past. The name that comes to mind for me is Greg McElroy. The question that I struggle with when I look back is whether McElroy has not put it together in the NFL because of arm strength or whether I overrated him due to being surrounded by studs at the college level. Fales does not have to worry about the latter problem as San Jose State is not quite the football powerhouse that Alabama is. Still, I keep coming back to that arm strength. At times, it looks fine, but that's the high end of where his arm can be, just okay. Arm strength isn't everything, but there is still a minimum level that almost always must be met. On top of the arm strength issue, he is only an average athlete and has one of the lowest ceilings of any quarterback in this draft. But, he has accuracy, good pocket presence, and makes smart decisions with the football. Those are highly desirable qualities in a quarterback, but I still don't think it's enough to be any more than a late round pick.

Here are my quarterback rankings for the prospects I have looked at so far:
1. Teddy Bridgewater - Louisville
2. Blake Bortles - Central Florida
3. Jimmy Garoppolo - Eastern Illinois
4. Zach Mettenberger - Louisiana State

5. Tajh Boyd - Clemson

6. David Fales - San Jose State
7. Logan Thomas - Virginia Tech
8. Brett Smith - Wyoming
9. Aaron Murray - Georgia

Monday, February 24, 2014


I am a fervent supporter of West Coast Dance, as, when it comes to the artistic side of dance, I don't think it gets any more beautiful than well executed West Coast Dance moves. Up until now, I have also found it to be the most entertaining form of dance, but like all great art forms, West Coast Dance has evolved. Jamaicans have clearly seen a man sitting on the floor playing air piano, or seen a girl turned upside down and her hair used to mop the floor; they probably even saw a man use a broom and a sweeper to push poor dancers off to the side to give more room for true West Coast Dancers. They saw this and were inspired. These brave Jamaicans have made it their own and created Daggering.

When I first saw this video on World Star Hip Hop, my jaw was agape throughout the entire thing and for most of the hour that followed. I went to YouTube to find more, and I found this extended version that has changed my entire world view.

If you have never seen Daggering, let me just warn you: You're not ready. I have seen some crazy shit on the dance floor, and I was not ready for what I saw. There were times where I literally started screaming in excitement, because they went to places I could only dream of. The entire video is amazing, but I wanted to break down my favorite parts.

Let's start off with a gentleman spinning his lady around until losing his balance and sending her head first into the floor.

That girl is not moving, so the guy does the gentlemanly thing and covers her head with his hat. The thing I love about this is that there was no way he was going to stop spinning until he fell to the floor and gave this girl a concussion. Also, I'd like to point out that there is a walker just hanging out on the dance floor. Learning lessons from West Coast Dance, props play a huge part in Daggering.

This next one is pretty amazing. This guy finds a woman with the full intention to abuse her. Like, he seemingly just picks this woman completely at random and decides, "Yep, I'm about to fuck up your back." He finds a pole for the girl to hold onto, then finds a fast food trash receptacle, and then...well, then magic happens.

He gives her a big splash. Then he swings around on the pole to get back on his perch and just kind of jumps off to the side. But he spins one more time around to get on the trash can and proceeds to jump with all of his might on her back and ride her like a pony. The most amazing part is that this girl seems unfazed by the entire thing. That Jamaican chick is straight up country strong.

Just a middle of the dance floor face hump, no big deal.

As you can tell, people are very excited by this maneuver.

Next we have a guy who climbs on top of the speakers to do a big splash on not one, not two, but three women who are lying on a table on top of each other.

There are wrestlers in the WWE who would be unwilling to take these bumps. And on top of that, it ends with a different guy beating a girl with a belt, and then choking her with it. That's a little extreme, even for me, but that's just how they Dagger down south.

All you need to know is that this next video is of a man powerbombing a large woman onto another large woman.

Notice how I said that these were women? These ain't no girls. These are grown ass women. The girl who got powerbombed popped right back up, despite her ass hanging out of her pants. And the girl lying on the ground knew that something bad was going to happen to her, and she took it like a champ. Oh, but we've saved her shining moment for last.

A guy uses a step ladder to give this woman a splash and then violently humps her. That's pretty awesome, but what happens after made my jaw drop, and I have not been able to shut my mouth since. Just watch, because nothing can prepare you for what happens next.


1. Was there a car battery at the dance floor?
2. If not, who had the idea to bring one?
3. Did they take it from their own car?
4. Did they steal it from another car?
5. Did they know that they were going to hook it to a woman's vagina that night?
6. Was it a conscience decision to hook up the positive end?
7. Is this because vaginas are a positive thing, so it only makes sense to go positive to positive?
8. Would something different have happened had he hooked up the negative end?
9. Is the negative end reserved for buttholes?
10. Finally, are they going to put the battery back in the car that they got it from or is it seen as the cost of great Daggering?

Whoever did this, thank you. Thank you so much, because sometimes I doubt that the world can ever truly create anything new and wonderful. And then I saw this, and I rejoiced, because innovation isn't running out of energy, it's being hooked to car batteries and creating the most beautiful thing I have ever seen. I got married five months ago, and Daggering is right up there as the best thing to happen to me in the last year.

Who's down for a trip to Jamaica?

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Yo Ladies, I Have Thoughts On The Bachelor

I know what you are thinking. The Bachelor is a girl's show, not a guy's show. I admit, I thought the same thing. Then I started watching it with my SO, and I love it. There are lots of good looking women and nearly every episode they get in bikinis. That is cool stuff that guys like. I like that too, but oh man, do I love the drama, and holy shit are things heating up right now. Juan Pablo be droppin' ladies left and right and occasionally, a lady will drop him too. It's been awesome. He's down to four ladies, so let's review the important characters that are left.

Chris Harrison - He hosts the show. He does a fine job. Occasionally he'll talk to Juan Pablo. We very rarely learn anything important from these talks. Yep, that's about all there is to say about Chris Harrison.

Juan Pablo - The first non-Caucasian bachelor. He's bringing in the latino market, since he's a former Venezuelan soccer player. Well, I mean, he's still Venezuelan, but he doesn't play soccer anymore. Actually, he does still play soccer, but not professionally. Oh, and he has a daughter that he loves very much but is willing to abandon for a month to be on a reality show (twice, since he also did this as a contestant on The Bachelorette). The thing about bachelors is that they are not allowed to have much personality, and he plays this part fairly well. He supports the ladies emotionally, but he also does creepy stuff like make girls get naked with him after knowing them for a week. Seriously, he made two girls get naked with him and used the excuse of saving animals. But trust me, dude, animals don't care about naked chicks. You were just being a perv. But, just so you know, most bachelors are creeps; he might be above average on the creep level, but he's not an outlier.

Clare - If you pronounce it and it rhymes with bar, you will sound like Juan Pablo. I watch this show with my wife and sister-in-law, and I like to pick a favorite during the first episode (We'll get to mine later). These idiots waited until the third episode and picked Clare. By the fourth episode, they wanted to switch their picks, because Clare is pretty terrible. She's very attractive, and she definitely finished off Juan Pablo in the ocean at 4:00 AM, but what part of her body she used will remain a mystery (my money is on shoulder blades...think about it). Outside of that, she just kind of whines a lot, because Juan Pablo regrets getting finished off in the ocean with a camera crew around. The best part of these exchanges is that Clare wants him to admit what they did, but he will only respond with "You know what we did," because he doesn't want to talk about sex with his daughter watching the show. It's awkward and glorious.

Nikki - This is the other girl that girls seem to hate. She's pretty dumb too, and Clare and her hate each other. They come across as very similar. Seriously, just take out the sex in the ocean and replace it with...has really blonde hair and you have Nikki. There doesn't appear to be much going on between the ears with this one, but again, very attractive.

Renee - This is who the girls all cheer for. She has a kid as well, so she will also likely not be in the running for parent of the year. Seriously, how do people make this decision? I'm going to abandon my kid for a month and probably lose my job, because I can't imagine employers are psyched to have people go on a reality show and skip all of their actual responsibilities. But, honestly, Renee comes across as the best person on this show. She is nice to everybody. She consoles all the girls when they are being idiots, and overall just hasn't done anything wrong throughout this entire show. Still, she has no chance of winning. Renee is objectively a very attractive woman, but when it comes to the ladies of The Bachelor, she's in a distant fourth place. In a real-life scenario, she is a far better catch than Nikki or Clare, but since all these people are doing is drinking and taking exotic vacations, personality is not going to make up the difference. I'm sorry, Renee.

Andi - Oh, be still my beating heart. Andi was my pick from the very first episode. I straight up love women in power, and she's an Assistant District Attorney in Atlanta. I saw her walking with a purpose, and my only thought was "Yep." You know how married couples have people they can cheat on their spouse with guilt-free. Mine are Bachelor contestants. I'm a realist. I'm not going to be running into celebrities anytime soon, and unless they really like pro wrestling or scouting football prospects, we're probably not going to have much in common. But these are normal chicks, and Andi, ooh girl, we could have a good time. That I promise. I'm already imagining our foreplay of breaking down episodes of Suits. I get hot just thinking about it.

What does she bring to the table besides being a law-lady? Well, she's super attractive, and she comes across as a real person. Remember how I told you about how Juan Pablo made two ladies get naked with him? One of them was a hippy who had already been naked for most of the show, and the other was Andi. She was pissed off, because it was pretty shady, but she still did it because she's a trooper and loves puppies. I'm still pretty steamed at JP for doing this to my special lady (well, special lady may be a bit extreme. I mean, I am married. She's more of a theoretical slampiece, but she's still very important to me). She's basically avoided the drama, seems to have a solid head on her shoulder and we also learned that she can't dance. That girl is stiff as a board. Luckily, West Coast Dance brings out the best in all ladies, so I got you covered, Andi Candy (that's a nickname I'm workshopping right now).

So that brings me to the previews for next week, which can be found here. It's only two minutes, so I'll wait.

Okay, so if you watched it, you know what I'm talking about. If you didn't, all you need to know is my girl Andi said, "Waking up this morning, I could not wait to get out of the fantasy suite."

Which was followed by Chris Harrison saying, "What happens in the fantasy suite doesn't stay in the fantasy suite...what went horribly wrong?"

What do you think Juan Pablo did? My guess is that he tried to pull a Kobe Bryant, and she had to fight him off. My much more realistic guess is that he called her another woman's name in the fantasy suite. Either way, I can't wait to find out.

So, yeah, as you can tell, I have thought on The Bachelor.

Scouting the 2014 NFL Draft: Tajh Boyd

Oh, how the mighty have fallen. Earlier this season, Tajh Boyd was seriously considered as a candidate for the first quarterback that would be taken in the draft. He was tearing up defenses and Clemson was a legitimate national title contender. Then Florida State happened and all that shine got rubbed off quickly. I have watched a decent amount of Clemson games over the last few years and Boyd always struck me as solid but never wowed me with his potential. I saw him in person at the Orange Bowl and was mostly left with an infatuation with Sammy Watkins. Still, I wanted to put him under the microscope to see where he ranks among the other quarterbacks in the draft. I took a look at his games against Georgia, Florida State, and Wake Forest (Editor's note: This was originally all about Tajh Boyd, but it's impossible to talk about him without bringing up Watkins, so there is some Sammy Watkins love sprinkled in).

First off, here is a nice throw from Boyd on an out route to Sammy Watkins.

Look at Watkins attack that ball with his hands. If he lets the ball come into his chest, the defender breaks it up, as he has great coverage, but Watkins extends his arms to meet the ball as soon as he can. A nice play on both ends, as Boyd put the ball where it needed to be.

This is a very nice deep ball from Boyd.

He pump fakes, and it may have caught the defender, but the two camera angles are impossible to sync, as it may have just been Watkins stutter step that froze the corner. Either way, Boyd tosses up a beautiful deep ball, and then Watkins hits the after burners to make it into the end zone.

He shows the ability to make some nice throws on intermediate routes.

He does a nice job of putting it through the zone on this play and leading Watkins perfectly.

Here is a touchdown pass from Tajh Boyd.

Alright, so I'm full on breaking into Sammy Watkins highlights. Can you blame me? Look at that catch. That's simply not fair.

This is a throw where if he puts it in front of the receiver, he can get a big play. Unfortunately, he throws it behind his receiver instead of leading him. Most receivers won't be able to catch this ball.

That being said, Sammy Watkins is not most receivers. He reaches behind his body and makes the catch, trucks a defensive back, and sprints to the end zone. Still, this is the sort of play that looks great on a stat sheet for Boyd but not one that looks all that impressive when actually looking at the throw.

He just doesn't show much for accuracy or great decision making on this play.

He overthrows this ball, which is a positive, because the cornerback had coverage on anything thrown over the top. Still, he had a receiver down the sideline in single coverage. If he tries to make a back shoulder throw, the receiver might be able to make a play on the ball for a good gain.

On this pass, he not only makes a bad decision to throw the ball when the safety had easy coverage over the top, but he also overthrows it as well.

A more experienced safety probably intercepts that pass. Instead, Sammy Watkins is able to turn it into a pass interference call on the defense.

This is a bad case of Boyd showing tunnel vision when targeting his receiver.

He never sees the defender drifting over, and even had that guy not been there, he was still trying to squeeze a ball with two men in the area.

The Florida State game was really ugly for the entire Clemson team. Florida State got away with some contact throughout the game, and his receivers were often just not on the same page. Boyd made some bad mistakes as well, but that beating was the cause of Florida State being great and Clemson being really poor. I can't come to the conclusion of him not rising to the occasion; I think it was more just that guys are always going to have some bad days. These are the best examples of the team being out of sync.



Going in a different direction, he does a nice job of reading the field on this play.

He starts off looking to his right, then works over to his left and throws a very nice pass to his receiver. Unfortunately, that ball was still dropped. Still, the blame cannot be placed on Boyd as he made a nice play. This was not a skill I saw very much of, but that is partially due to the design of Clemson's offense which has a lot of quick screens and is built on presnap reads instead of having the quarterback make a lot of decisions once the ball is snapped.

Although he has good mobility, he doesn't move well within the pocket. Here, only one rusher is causing any sort of penetration, and Boyd has two blockers on him, yet he still cannot avoid the rush from him.

This is an issue I saw pop up on a few of his dropbacks, as he does a nice job of looking towards receivers, but does not do a good job of subtle movements to avoid pass rushers.

Inconsistency. That seems to be the story with every part of Tajh Boyd's game. He can throw some great deep balls...and some awful ones. He can lead receivers perfectly...and throw it well behind them. He can move well and scan the field...and panic and make ill-advised decisions. If all you had to do was flash talent, Boyd would be a first round pick. Unfortunately, there is just very little consistency in anything that he does on the football field. He always runs hard, but that isn't enough to draft a quarterback off of. His stats are inflated, because of receivers making plays around him. I went to the Orange Bowl and saw him throw for 378 yards and 5 touchdowns and thought he was just fine. His first touchdown to Watkins was nice; other than that, he had wide receivers (Watkins especially) making plays for him. And this was on a good day. The potential is there with Boyd, but with all the inconsistencies, it's a gamble I wouldn't bet on before the late rounds of the draft, as he is much closer to Logan Thomas than he is to Zach Mettenberger.

Here are my quarterback rankings for the prospects I have looked at so far:
1. Teddy Bridgewater - Louisville
2. Blake Bortles - Central Florida

3. Jimmy Garoppolo - Eastern Illinois
4. Zach Mettenberger - Louisiana State

5. Tajh Boyd - Clemson
6. Logan Thomas - Virginia Tech
7. Brett Smith - Wyoming
8. Aaron Murray - Georgia

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Why You Should Watch Machida vs. Mousasi Tonight

It's the weekend, which means there is another UFC fight card tonight. Even for people who don't watch The Ultimate Fighter, there is a whole lot of MMA on these days, especially UFC. Some people complain of oversaturation, but that's still a good thing as you can now pick and choose which cards are worth your time. Top to bottom, this card isn't great on paper, but the main event is something that has had me excited for months.

Everybody knows Lyoto Machida. His only definitive losses have come to Shogun and Jon Jones. He's had some other close decisions, some where the judges favored him, and others where I feel the judges made a mistake. He's incredible at hitting his opponent without getting hit. People originally thought he was just a points fighter, but he has gotten so good at hitting with accuracy and picking spots to go in for the kill that this is no longer an issue for him. Watching him in a standup fight will always be fascinating as his style is so different than his opponents.

Most UFC fans don't know as much about Gegard Mousasi, but this dude is the truth. In the last 7 1/2 years, he's lost once. And this fight marks his move back to middleweight which is a much better weight class for him as his biggest walking around weight was only about 210-215 pounds. It is either hilarious or maddening how much this guy seems to not give a shit when it comes to fighting. I once saw him in an exhibition against Fedor at an M-1 Global event, and he looked like he just woke up from a nap. He was sparring with the best fighter in the world at the time and was just going through the motions until Fedor through a left high kick that nearly took his head off. He seemed more upset that he was fully awake than anything else.

Also on that card was Muhammed Lawal (beating the shit out of Mark Kerr; it was originally scheduled to be Don Frye) who gave Mousasi his only recent loss. Lawal was able to do this, because Mousasi doesn't give a shit about wrestling defense. He still did more damage from his back than Lawal did from the top, but judges love position more than damage, so Lawal got the decision victory.

He had a draw with late-career Keith Jardine for the same reason. If somebody wanted to take him down, he'd let them. Luckily, he fought a lot of his career in Japan where Shinya Aoki was considered to have good takedowns (then he came to the United States where he was completely outclassed by real wrestlers), so it didn't matter. He could just stay on his feet and blast fools. He even did a little kickboxing where he showed that he's

Now it has been three years since Mousasi fought Jardine and four since he fought Lawal. There is a good possibility that his takedown defense has gotten better. But that's the beauty of this fight. It doesn't matter. These two are going to strike with each other, and Mousasi is silky smooth on his feet. He has that style that looks effortless but can still absolutely turn his opponent's lights out.

So I know that the names and hype aren't necessarily there tonight, but Machida vs. Mousasi is a fight that is going to deliver. I've loved Mousasi for a long time, but Machida is a guy who has made me look stupid many times in the past. Still, this is definitely a case of listening to my heart and taking Mousasi by TKO.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

How The WWE Could Have Made Breaking Bad Better

I just finished up Breaking Bad, and it was a great show. So great that it is hard to find any problems with the show. I felt totally satisfied with my viewing experience from beginning to end. Still, there is one way this show could have improved. They could have replaced all of the male characters with the members of the Nation of Domination. I know that sounds a tad extreme, but just hear me out. The actors were fantastic, but these guys would have made the show that much better.

1. Walter White should have been played by The Rock. I mean, if you want a badass chemistry teacher, there is really no better option than The Rock. There is very rarely a better option than The Rock.
He's so unassuming, yet still so badass. Also, a bald head, which shows the intensity of the chemotherapy. Truly an ideal option.

2. With Walter now being played by The Rock. Jesse Pinkman needs to be amped up a little bit. Who would make a perfect protege for Walt? Obviously D-Lo Brown.
He was known as a great European Champion, so it should be no problem for him to switch to a Chemistry Champion instead.

3. With just two tweaks, we've changed the whole dynamic of the show, which means that Hank now has to be more badass. This is the role Crush was born to play.
Also, the interracial composition of the family would really add to the drama.

4. This leads me to Gustavo Fring. He was a great leader, but he could have been a better leader. He could have been Farooq.
Woah, woah, woah. That came across as super racist. Let's try that again.
Much better.

5. Mike has to be the biggest badass on the show, so he will be played by Mark Henry.
Yep, that should work just fine.

6. But who would play Saul Goodman? Saul was cast nearly perfectly, and he was such a pimp throughout the show. Wait a minute, that gives me an idea.
You can't tell me that's not an award winning billboard.

7. But who could possibly play Walter Jr.? His inability to move or speak properly will be tough for anyone to replicate, but don't worry, I already know of someone who does both of those features naturally. This was the role Ahmed Johnson was born to play.

He's perfect. I'm so proud of this.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Scouting the 2014 NFL Draft: Jimmy Garoppolo

Jimmy Garoppolo is a guy who has been getting more and more hype as the season closed and he performed well at both the East-West Shrine Game and Senior Bowl. I love college football, but I will admit that I have never seen a second of Eastern Illinois in my entire life. Usually I can find some game tape cut up of performances, but I wasn't able to get that same experience for Garoppolo. Instead, I sifted through highlight videos to try to see what he does well and what he can work on. I found a highlight against Illinois State and all the big plays from his game against Northern Illinois.

The first thing that stood out about Garoppolo is his deep accuracy. He throws a nice deep ball as he shows on back-to-back plays here.

His receiver gets a little separation, and he only has to slightly slow down for the ball, but overall, this is an impressive throw from Garoppolo.The second ball is not as deep, but it's still a ball down the field that he throws accurately.

Along those same lines, this is an even more impressive deep ball.

He recognizes the pressure, gets rid of the ball quickly, and still hits his receiver in stride for an easy touchdown. Deep ball accuracy is something that nearly every college quarterback struggles with, so to see this sort of accuracy is very impressive.

His accuracy is not something that he only possesses on deep balls as it carries over to the short and intermediate routes as well. He throws a nice slant here that leads his receiver perfectly.

Even with the play action, he gets it out quick enough where his receiver can tuck before getting destroyed by the safety over the middle.

From what I have seen, he's not going to wow anybody with his arm strength, but it looks sufficient to be successful at the next level. He's not firing bullets, but he has zip on the ball, and it looks good on film.

One thing that I have to bring up when watching all of these highlights is that it is clear that this is a lower level of football. In nearly every player, they are either noticeably smaller or slower than their counterparts at the FBS level. A lot of times, they are both smaller and slower. So although Garoppolo throwing for 480 yards and seven touchdowns is impressive, the level of competition takes a little of the shine off those numbers.

On the downside, he's not great with pressure.

The reverse bailing out method to deal with pressure is a great way to lose a lot of yards, and that is what happens here. Bailing out on the pocket and turning your back to the line of scrimmage rarely works out well, and it is not a good habit to start.

Along with his problems with pressure, he is not great at reading the field when his first option is not open. He recognizes that there is a blitz coming, but his offensive line actually picks it up well. Still, he panics and barely looks to his left before throwing the ball.

Had he taken a second to read the defense to that side, he would not have thrown that ball as the cornerback has underneath coverage and the safety is over the top. Instead, he badly underthrows the ball which leads to an easy interception for Northern Illinois.

Reading the defense is a concern, but it is a skill that he has shown that he can do. This is a really nice play from him and another beautiful deep ball.

This is an essential skill to being a successful quarterback, so even though he may not have shown it consistently, even seeing flashes gives me hope that it is a skill he can develop in the future.

This is my favorite throw that I saw of his. He definitely has the best fade ball out of all of the prospects, and I would honestly put his touch on the fade route up against any pro quarterback. It doesn't get better than this.

That is just unfair. The defender has good coverage, but the ball is placed perfectly, and there is nothing he can do. Just a beautiful throw.

I really like Jimmy Garoppolo, but to be totally honest, this is the least comfortable I feel about grading any quarterback. There just wasn't a lot to go off of that was readily available to me. Still, there are a lot of positives in his game. He is definitely the most accurate deep passer that I have seen so far and may be the most accurate quarterback overall. Still, everything at the FCS level is a step slower, and that does discount some of what he is able to do. How much is the big question. He really struggled with pressure, but some of those times, his offensive line just got completely blown up by Northern Illinois, and there's not much any quarterback could have done in those situations. His ability to read defenses is inconsistent, and overall, I would put it as a weakness for him currently. Those are my big concerns. But I keep coming back to that accuracy and some of the best fade throws that I have seen from any quarterback. Drafting any quarterback is a gamble as it is a huge step up from college football to the NFL. Drafting someone from the FCS increases that risk. Still, I see the tools to be successful, and that accuracy is attractive enough that I would put him ahead of Zach Mettenberger on my draft board, although I still see a large gap between him and Blake Bortles.

Here are my quarterback rankings for the prospects I have looked at so far:
1. Teddy Bridgewater - Louisville
2. Blake Bortles - Central Florida

3. Jimmy Garoppolo - Eastern Illinois
4. Zach Mettenberger - Louisiana State
5. Logan Thomas - Virginia Tech

6. Brett Smith - Wyoming
7. Aaron Murray - Georgia

Thursday, February 6, 2014

The 11 Most Valuable Iowa Hawkeyes

The B1G season is over halfway done, and it is pretty clear what kind of team the Hawkeyes are this year. They're really good. They aren't great, but they have the talent to play with anybody. All of their losses (outside of Ohio State) can easily be explained away with free throws, as I show here:

Villanova - Didn't make free throws down the stretch.
Iowa State - Didn't make free throws down the stretch.
Wisconsin - Gave up four free throws when McCaffery got the boot.
Michigan - Refs didn't call fouls, so Iowa didn't get to the free throw line enough.
Michigan State - Could only make free throws down the stretch but didn't make enough of them.
Ohio State - Only shot 62% from the stripe, but 15% from three is what really killed them.

I honestly have an easier time seeing the basketball team win a National Championship than the wrestling team (Quick summary: Penn State has freakishly good wrestlers, and most of Iowa's team squeaks by in their matches), and I never thought I would be able to say that. Iowa may have the deepest team in the NCAA. That is positive in that lots of good players is a good thing, but also bad, because it means that very few Hawkeyes stand out above the rest. Since Iowa rolls 11 deep, I thought that this would be a good time to look at these 11 players to see who are the most important pieces for Iowa to make a significant run in the NCAA Tournament.

11. Peter Jok - Basically, everything that he provides is provided better by Josh Oglesby. So, he's probably not going to see many meaningful minutes down the stretch. Still, he is only a Freshman, so his role will increase as time goes on.

10. Zach McCabe - If McCabe is on, that's great. He plays gritty defense and can knock down open threes when he is open. But, Iowa doesn't need a big contribution from McCabe. If he is off and can only contribute four tough fouls, they will still be fine. With the other depth they have in the front court, they will be okay if McCabe is not on fire.

9. Anthony Clemmons - Clemmons has not played well for the most part this season, but if he can play well, it will really help out the team. If he is working well as a point guard, it gives them a chance to rest both Gesell and Marble so that they can be at full-strength during crunch time. He doesn't need to be a scorer, but if he can play solid defense and make the right decisions with the ball in his hands, then Iowa will be putting even more pressure on opposing teams.

8. Adam Woodbury - Yes, Woodbury is a starter, but I think most Iowa fans would agree that he is not the center that has been playing the best basketball for this team. Still, he is very useful. Any time you can put a legit 7 footer out there to play defense and get in the post, that has incredible value. Even if he just puts his arms straight up, he adds a lot of challenges to anybody coming into the paint. He always knows where he is supposed to be, and that reliability adds to his impact, but the ceiling of his impact is fairly low.

7. Josh Oglesby - Oglesby is finally living up to that "shooter" label that was bestowed upon him after last year's disastrous season. It was disastrous on offense, but his defense took a leap forward which is something that has carried over to this season. He's not athletic enough to be a shutdown defender, but he is always in the right spot, and he plays his man tough. If he can add to that the three point threat, the Hawkeyes offense becomes incredibly difficult to stop. He's not going to get starters minutes, but he can make a huge impact in just 15 minutes if he is hot.

6. Jarrod Uthoff - The other reliable shooter, although Uthoff brings a little bit more to the table as an inside presence who shows some nifty moves every now and then. Uthoff doesn't have the power to be dunking on people, but he plays fairly smart basketball, and if he is on, he can make impact plays on both sides of the court. Also, bonus points for Wisconsin hating him so much.

5. Melsahn Basabe - Melsahn is a pure energy guy, but he causes some serious issues when he is running the court. I honestly think that Melsahn is better than the next guy on the list, but Iowa has the option of spreading the floor with Uthoff at the four, so Melsahn is not as necessary. Still, the defense and energy he can provide is huge. He also can dominate the offensive glass, and he has some nifty moves to get good looks near the basket. He really fits in with this team well.

4. Gabe Olaseni - When Olaseni knows where to be on the floor, Iowa is really tough. He doesn't always know where to be, but he has gotten better and better each year. When I first saw him, I never expected much beyond some garbage time minutes, but he has improved exponentially over the years. He is a beast, and he sprints down the floor for the opportunity to get an easy look. He has springs in his legs, as he can jump and rejump better than most big guys. He doesn't need to be a big scorer, but if he can get a few putbacks and protect the rim, Iowa will be tough to beat.

3. Mike Gesell - This is the guy that I had the most trouble ranking. He could be five spots lower if you are fine with Marble running the point, where Marble has been shown to be pretty good. You could make the argument of making him a spot higher, because Marble is best when he can come off screens to drive to the hole or get an open jumper. Overall, I'm closer to the latter. If he can make this offense go, then everything else falls into place. He does a great job of taking care of the ball and even though he is barely leading in assists, his assists seem more valuable as he puts his teammates in an easy position to score. If he can hit the three when he gets the opportunity, that's all gravy.

2. Aaron White - White can disappear for an entire half, but that doesn't mean I want that to happen. He is the most efficient player on the team, by far, and it is just a matter of getting him the ball. White is nonstop energy, so he will find open windows, but Iowa needs to be aware of those windows and get him the ball when he gets to those areas. If they are getting him the ball, he is going to score, and he will probably draw some fouls as well. He also is one of the better players at the full-court press and trap that Iowa likes to play which can lead to a couple turnovers if done properly.

1. Roy Devyn Marble - Maybe it's just me, but I don't think people are talking nearly enough about the leap that Marble has made this season. He has become such a smarter player and just better in every facet of the game. His defense is a ton better as he is in the right spots on the zone but does a good job of picking his spots when going for steals. His shot is much improved, but the big thing is that he is even better at getting to the rim. This has been huge, as even if his shot is off, he can still make an impact on offense. The other game, he looked terrible as his shots were way off, so he just started driving to the hole. After starting 0-3, he repeatedly drove to the hole to get his shot, and then felt comfortable enough to fire another three which he made. Last year, he was going to keep throwing up bricks, but he was able to reset his rhythm and get into a good groove and be a positive impact on offense. I know Iowa fans love Aaron White, and I love him too, but Roy Devyn Mamba is the most valuable player on this team.

I wrote most of this before Tuesday's letdown against Ohio State, so I took some time off to give myself perspective. I'm not a big believer in teams not being clutch or not knowing how to win close games. Honestly, the bounces just haven't gone Iowa's way. But the talent is there, and that is what matters. They could definitely make a "shocking" run in the tournament, and it wouldn't really surprise me at all. Go Hawks.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Scouting the 2014 NFL Draft: Brett Smith

This is obviously a very interesting year for underclassmen quarterbacks to declare for the draft. The draftniks can't stop talking about them. There is Johnny Manziel, Blake Bortles, Teddy Bridgewater, and of course, Brett Smith. Who? You know, Brett Smith, star quarterback of the Wyoming Cowboys. Still not ringing a bell? Alright, you're probably not alone. I had heard about Brett Smith, but I'll admit, I failed to watch a single snap of Wyoming football this season. I decided to break down his game by looking at his performances against Nebraska and Northwest rival, Idaho.

If you're buying into Smith, you're buying the accuracy. He does a nice job of leading his receivers on crossing routes over the middle.

My one concern is that when I did see him missing passes over the middle, it was always high. Those are balls that will turn into interceptions, so he needs to tighten things up a little bit. Still, as I said, he is usually accurate with his throws and does a nice job of leading receivers on short-to-intermediate routes.

He is a good athlete that is a threat to run with the ball as he shows here.

It's nothing special, but he accelerates well and runs into the open field and shows that he has solid mobility that will benefit him. I still would not consider him a dual-threat quarterback despite putting up some pretty solid running stats.

On the negatives side, he is not real smooth in his motions. Sometimes he can look a little robotic out there when setting his feet. Also, there is not much velocity on his throws. It really looks like he is pushing a lot of his passes to his receivers instead of driving them toward his intended target.

Speaking of that, I'm also not a fan of the sidearm delivery. Yes, there have been other quarterbacks who have been successful with it, but it requires that quarterback to be great at everything else to have a chance at success. It can work in a west coast offense that is built on timing, but with the way he waits for his receivers to get open, I have a hard time seeing him succeed with the tools he has shown.

This is a perfectly placed ball down the field, but the velocity on the throw leaves something to be desired.

It really reminds me of what Kellen Moore was able to do for Boise State a few years ago in that the deep balls were not pretty, but they were effective at the college level. This is probably the best ball I saw him throw, as it's not a terrible arc and it is right on the money.

This next pass is one of the worst throws I've ever seen from a college quarterback.

That is like a Tecmo Bowl pass where it just stays in the air forever. If somebody is throwing up a hail mary, I understand. If someone is throwing it 70 yards, I can understand. It went about 42 yards in the air. It is the most arm punt pass I have ever seen.

Back to the positive which includes good pocket presence as he feels pressure well while still keeping his eyes down the field. This play is not pretty, but he does maintain his composure to find the open receiver, but he's a split second late on getting rid of the ball and can't make a proper throw on the pass.

Still, he makes subtle movements to give himself about an extra second before the rush gets there, and he does identify the right receiver to get the ball to. Most college quarterbacks put their heads down in that situation, so it is nice that he can keep his eyes down field, even if the ball still falls incomplete. Still, this is a consistent skill he has shown, as seen on this play, which ends slightly better than the first one.

He not only does a good job of moving within the pocket, but he has a good sense on when to leak outside of the pocket to look for some space. All the while, he keeps his eyes down the field, so he is able to make a nice pass inside the red zone.

Despite him having good pocket awareness and accurate throws, the other issue that is going to hurt him is that he waits for receivers to get open instead of leading them open. Throwing windows are very small for the most part, so waiting that extra little bit to see a receiver open instead of anticipating him to get open will really hurt him at the next level.

On this breakdown, I didn't use as much video as normal, because the bad things are evident on every throw. The arm strength just isn't there. At that point, you are really limiting your offense and every pass of any decent yardage becomes a real adventure. I mentioned him earlier, and I truly believe the best comp for him is Kellen Moore. They do just about everything right but simply don't have the physical tools to be a successful quarterback. They deserve a great amount of respect for reaching the levels of success they achieved; my arm strength only took me to elementary recess quarterback before I learned that my noodle arm was not going to be enough to stretch 11-person defenses. Still, he's a guy you can take a late round flyer on in a west coast system where he can be a competent backup, but nobody you ever want playing meaningful minutes.

Here are my quarterback rankings for the prospects I have looked at so far:
1. Teddy Bridgewater - Louisville

2. Blake Bortles - Central Florida
3. Zach Mettenberger - Louisiana State
4. Logan Thomas - Virginia Tech

5. Brett Smith - Wyoming
6. Aaron Murray - Georgia