So, Jim Harbaugh (my good pal, you know) must have seen my post on FB earlier this week that said I would not be writing Woman on Sports this week due to a completely boring week in sports, and said, "Hmm. I wonder if she can resist..."
Alex Smith is going to the Chiefs. I am happy about this. Not because I dislike Alex and want him to suffer on a team that only had two wins last season. And not because I don't like the 49ers, who really had their deck stacked as far as talent in the area of QB. I am happy because we finally got a chance to see someone do the right thing.
Alex Smith had every right to take his job back when he was cleared from his concussion mid-season. He led the 49ers to the play-offs last season, and the beginning of the 2012 season was also looking good under his command. Harbaugh did the right thing for the team by keeping a hot Kaepernick in the start, even though he probably would have had a winning team either way.
Smith could have whined, but instead he did what he could to help. I bet even at that point, he was working on an image that would market well to other teams, despite being under contract. Teams are hard-pressed to pick up players who are only looking out for themselves (*cough* Revis). But a team player? With a decent arm, winning record, and a good QB rating? Pretty enticing. By being the "good boy," Smith did himself a favor.
What about the Niners? Good for them? Well, they will need a back-up QB. But with 12 draft picks, I'm sure they will be able to find someone moldable. Kaepernick is young and remarkably immune to injury at this point, so they should have some time to work with a newbie. (Matt Barkley would fit in great here, if you ask me.) And also, by letting Smith go from his contract, they have made a peaceable decision, which I think will come around in the end. I'm no believer in Karma, but I do believe when you make an altruistically good decision, you will benefit one way or another.
And the Chiefs. Andy Reid was apparently drooling over Alex like the BBQ that brought him to KC in the first place. So it's all on Andy now. He doesn't need to do much to improve the team's record. And with all the talk of the talent on KC's roster, it's his position to lose. Bringing in a good QB is his testing ground. On NFL AM, when asked if Smith will be successful in KC, Eric Davis said, (and I paraphrase), It's up to Andy Reid. If Reid is the great coach everyone says he is, Smith will succeed.
So, as usual, the time's yours, Mr. Reid. Use it wisely, for the sake of Alex Smith.
Limbo Week. Or Month. The time between the Super Bowl and the date pitchers and catcher report for spring training. Although, the number of football games in a week has been dwindling since January, and spring training games don't start for a while yet.
And really, Football, I'm trying! But I just can't get totally into the NFL Combine. Watching muscular guys run a 40 yard dash in 4.4 seconds does motivate my interval training, but waiting to see if they can jump 11 feet or not? Not terribly exciting. Maybe if I knew these guys (I don't follow college football. I think you only do that if you have a team.) or knew who they would turn out to be, it might grab my attention. Even still. Where's the drama?
I can only imagine how difficult the reporters on NFL or MLB Networks have it. Asking pitcher how their arm felt after practice today or coaches who might get a franchise tag is all they've got.
Some people suffer from SAD - Seasonal Affective Disorder, and I say, "Which season? Football or baseball?" Sure there's basketball, but I never really got into that once the Dream Team retired and Allen Iverson packed his bags. Not much of a hockey fan either, especially with the season cut dramatically short from the strike. That leaves me in SWS - Sports Withdrawal Syndrome.
While I was at the gym the other day, I realized another reason for this depression. (And there my be more to it than what I made up.) Running on the treadmill at the gym, I had been used to watching the games on TV, or watching the analysis the next day. I never had to focus on my own performance. I was too busy judging someone else's. (As if I had the right!) I could tell you who messed up and why the game was lost. (In my own opinion, of course.)
Here we are on the off season, with the combine predictions the biggest news on NFL Network. Try as I might, I just can't get all that pumped up about it. With no other athletes to watch and analyze, I am down to one. Me. How is the speed on my runs? What resistance am I putting on the bike? I'll tell you. The runs could be a lot faster. And bike resistance could be higher. As a matter of fact, those guys I was criticizing last week on the gridiron could do much better.
I'm realizing how average (or even below average) I am athletically. When I am watching TV, I am ignoring my performance. With the TV off, I have no choice.
So the moral of this story is that you might want to take in consideration what time of year it is when your favorite sports fan is grumpy. Be gentle with us because we are sometimes too hard on ourselves.
You knew I'd be posting about this. Eagles news in the offseason? Yeah.
Many were surprised the other day to hear Chip Kelly, former head coach for Oregon State University, and new head coach for Philadelphia Eagles signed MIchael Vick to a new contract with the Eagles.
Shocking because one might expect a new guy with his only experience in football at the colligate level to put all his money in a new kid, not an old dog.
So, let's get into Chip's head, shall we?
First, as always, let's remember that, as a woman, I am just guessing I know what he thinks. I'm inserting thoughts and plans that may or may not have anything to do with football, and certainly have not been confirmed by Chip himself. I just think sometimes we women know what men are thinking more than men think we do sometimes.
So looks like Chip's going with Vick for QB. Are we going back to the Andy Reid, "Pass Every Play" style of offensive? Didn't we hire someone to be DIFFERENT from Reid? What's he trying to give us on offense? Vick is a shotgun passer.
Here's what I think. Kelly's no dummy. He knows he's new. This is his year to check out the NFL and see what's going on. This is the year with no pressure. They aren't going to fire him in his first year. This is the time to see what he's got and see what works. Go from there, change only what doesn't work. Because the players have all been in the system longer than he has at this point.
If he gets the right offensive line going, things could look promising with a little old-style Philly ball. Of course, sadly, part of that O-line training will have to be keeping eyes open to cover the fumbles too...
Vick is respected by his teammates. He knows how to pump up a team, and there's no denying the boy's got heart. I think that is what Kelly is counting on for the moment. Signing Vick gave him energy. And the rest of the team is used to looking to him to make things happen.
The season will start, likely with Vick, and honestly it is just a matter of time before he gets hurt. But that time will be a good interview for the rest of the season. See what works, and who's still got it. Let Bryce Brown work out some nerves so he can become a big player. For heaven's sake, we have to run the ball more than Andy did.
What will the Chip Kelly offense be? He can't mirror the Pat's offense if he doesn't have Tom Brady. But I think he is smart enough to figure out what's going to work. It won't be all the new college ball tricks, but rather a mix of old and new to find what works.
And remember too, it's defense that wins games. You can win a game without a single TD if your defense and special teams are with it. (But don't get me started on special teams.)
No one is picking the Eagles to take the NFC East. As a matter of fact, the last clip I saw of sportscasters ranking QBs in the NFC East actually ranked the other teams' BACK UPs higher than our starters. Great time to lay low and get things figured out on the side stage before we work out the kinks for the main show.
I will wear my Eagles gear this fall, with a little embarrassment, but I'm not giving up hope for the future. Go Eagles!
Notice I only put two dollar signs in my title.
That's not to say the Super Bowl MVP doesn't deserve a lot of credit. (But you can't take credit to the bank). Obviously, he does something I could never do. Heck, he does something a lot of other NFL QB's can't really do. You can break down the Super Bowl play by play and find a lot of things that made the difference. When I watch football, it seems to me it is always the teams that makes the fewest mistakes that wins the game. (Mistakes being turnovers and penalties. You can include things like missed coverage and the like, but those are harder to pinpoint. Sending 12 men onto the field, jumping offsides, or throwing a ball to the wrong team are easy to pinpoint.) The teams that make it to the Super Bowl should be making the fewest mistakes.
If you break down the game into turnovers, you can see that the team that lost had one interception, to the other team's zero. Removing that interception would have changed the score. So, saying that Joe Flacco threw 0 interceptions was huge. But, so was the offense's 0 fumbles, wouldn't you say? Or how about Jacoby Jones' kickoff return TD?
Is Jacoby Jones asking for $20M/ year?
He can't. The salary cap for 2013 is not changing from $121M. If every player on the team who did something great asked for that much, you would have 6 guys on the team. The math isn't hard. Joe Flacco wants 1/6 of the team's entire spending limit.
That means, he gets paid a lot, and the rest of the team doesn't. So, anyone you have worth a lot of money who is able to do so, has to go elsewhere. (Ed Reed). You are left with either, a lot of new guys that could require a huge learning curve, or a bunch of teammates who know exactly why they are not getting paid what they want (and who to thank for that).
If you ask me, that's a lot of pressure.
Offense brings the crowds, defense wins the games. Or something like that. I know I promised no stats here, but I did hear something interesting about Flacco's QB rating being under 80 (!) in games where he did not have his complete defense. (For those who don't know, 80 is sub-par). So, really it is not that wise of Joe to ask to take away from his teammates.
It is in your best interest, Ravens, not to pay Joe 20M. But of course, there are a lot of other teams I would like to see win next season, so if you DO decide to pay out, I guess maybe it would be in my best interest. (And the 49ers, and the Broncos, and so forth). So do what you will, and thank you.
Coming Soon! My thoughts on sports. This should be a fascinating blog. For men, it is a way to look at the game outside of the stats. For women a way to look at the game without having to think about the stats.
Stay tuned for the first post of the NFL post-season... who's going to have a great 2013 season!
T.C. Slonaker, Eagles fan
Sports Made Simple!