Tuesday, 29 September 2009

Sinners! Sinners!

I'm crossing Florida off my places to live list:


Visiting for sex looks ok though..?

Sunday, 27 September 2009


I don't usually click through weblinks, but here's one I'm glad I did.

Rock Paper Cynic

Thursday, 24 September 2009

Texas vs Tech

Sayeth the commentators:

"There's not a sound football guy in the world [who would have kicked the onside kick when Leach elected to]"

Sayeth Joel:

Leach doesn't think like other college football coaches. That is, in part, why he is so effective (I'm attributing the rest to his emphasis on the fundamentals *of his scheme*). Therefore the rationale for the onside kick - an unexpected onside kick is much more likely to be effective than an expected onside kick. By taking the chance he looked to put his O back on the field and continue to make the Longhorns suffer from his attritional style, whilst at the same time relying on his D who had played excellently in the first half.

A sound football guy should know that the unexpected is effective - see PLAY ACTION PASS and DRAW for more details. Of course, it isn't always (Seahawks 3rd down draw scheme) but that isn't to say that we should criticise coaches for taking shots and risks.

Rant over.

Wednesday, 23 September 2009


I love me a football name conversation. There are some great names out there in football land, whether you're a Craphonso Thorpe, a D'Brickashaw Montgomery Ladarius Fantana 'The Pain Train' Ferguson, a Nu'Keese Richardson or a Barkevious Mingo, you're an exciting guy, and destined for football greatness (or a name change and a career in landscape maintenance).

It's not just in football where you find names where there seems to be a weight of expectation - you have to hope when you name your kid Bismark or Tank that they'll not end up 90 pound weaklings.

And what about when the name given to a child is gender neutral. England stalwart Dorian West was a tough man, but would he have been so tough if his name was Dave?

All this leads to my point - Marion Barber the Third. The Third! His father played in the NFL. His Granddad, one assumes, was a tough guy too. There's some expectation.

Shame he's out for the week when I have to play Bjorn in the fantasy league... oh, and I have Felix Jones.


I noticed that the Bucs receivers retreat a couple of yards to turn before they head upfield on their comeback and curl routes.

I don't know if this is coaching, schematic, or a result of Fat Albert's throwing, but it cost them first downs and field position, and needs addressing.

Monday, 21 September 2009

Fred Jackson

Jackson may not be a starting quality/Pro Bowl back, but good god does that guy give great second effort. What a punishing runner! Each NFL team would love to have a second choice back to come in and start when the primary back is out who gives such good versatility and strength.

Wednesday, 16 September 2009

Here's a stat

Thanks to TMQ (love him or hate him, he can be pretty amusing, and comes up with some interesting stuff) for smashing this factoid into my brain:

Seven of Jason Campbell's last 532 passes have been intercepted. Nine of Jake Delhomme's last 51 passes have been intercepted.

Now, to be fair, I'm not much of a one for out of context statistics. Don't like 'em. Never have.

However, there is a point where statistics stop really requiring context.

For example, when Ben R was winning games and throwing passes in his rookie season, the announcers wanted to conflate his performance with his college performance. That, my friends, is bollocks.

However, JC and Jake the Snake are both playing in the NFL. Granted, they are not necessarily playing teams of equivalent skill (Detroit are still in the NFL, and no one can argue that they're anywhere near as imposing a pass defence as one anchored by the Giants pass rush, for example).

So let's look at the stat again, right:

Seven of Jason Campbell's last 532 passes have been intercepted. Nine of Jake Delhomme's last 51 passes have been intercepted.

Let's have a think. The Redskins are a bit volatile, and although their backs are quality, they are inconsistently used. The Panthers on the other hand have a romp em stomp em duo pulling (theoretically) safeties into the box in run support.

A quick comparison - in David Garrard's unlikely ascent to starterdom season (2007) he threw 3 picks in 325 attempts. This has returned to normal a bit, but represents an excellent return.

So - Campbell... 532 passes attempted (that's 26 from this year and 506 from last year). 7 picks (1 this year). Ok, so this year's total stats aren't lush, but let's have a think - if you're gunning the ball down the field over 500 times then your team is struggling. And your receiver corps contains Santana Moss. Who isn't huge, let's face it. And Randle El. Again, not so tall. Admitted, Steve Smith is comparable to one of these guys in size, but no both. I'm saying Campbell ain't throwing the jump ball to quality receivers, and he's throwing it in situations where his opponents are probably expecting it. As opposed to Delhomme, whose backs are big, brutal and home run threats.

Of course, we know which QB has terminal job insecurity, and which got an extension in the offseason...

(full disclosure, last year Delhomme threw 12 picks in 414 attempts, 2.8% to Campbell's 1.2%)
(and I know picks aren't the only way to measure QBs, but in a game of possession, they are kind of important)

Sunday, 13 September 2009

Dear Sky Sports

Please, for the sake of my sanity, change the announcing/presenting team for the NFL coverage immediately.

Every season we suffer, without respite, the idiocy and inanity of the sock puppet that is Nick Halling, the uninformed "analysis" and apparently drug induced diction of Kevin Cadle, and the even worse guest presenters. I appreciate that the NFL is a minority sport in your eyes, but in the name of all that is holy, is it too much to ask that you target competency at a bare minimum.

"The score ... in our ball game... is 10 nothing". We know Kevin, we can read. In fact, by the time you finish reading the score to us, we could probably have perused War and Peace as well. We only listen to see if you'll remember which of the 32 teams are actually playing in the telecast. "The score... in our ball game... is 10 ... nothing". We know this still Kevin, because we have what is referred to as an attention span.

Stop laughing that fake laugh Halling. I'm coming to you in a second.

First though, a word on the organisation of the announcing/presenting panel. In my humble opinion the show requires:

1 - a presenter.
2 - an analyst
3 - a colour guy

These roles should be distinct. This means that, although Sky have tried to adhere to this formula, you should try harder. My main complaints are as follows:

1 - the presenter should offer no analysis. Leading questions are acceptable, but the function of the presenter is to stitch the telecast together, to make the often patchy flow of the American programming and game seem more seamless. We accept that the presenter may not be an expert, in fact, we expect it, we've watched the rugby and soccer coverage on Sky. However, once this acceptance is given, we should not be subjected to uninformed opinion and waffling. We're managing that on our own at home.

2 - the analyst position for a British audience is a difficult role. The educated/experienced audience wants the analyst to use the extra time afforded him by the lesser commercial playing time in the UK television market to highlight hidden actions or plays and add to our appreciation of the tactics or physicality of the game. We also understand that the analyst needs to be explaining concisely more basic concepts to bring new audience members into the sport. Nick Halling is simply incapable of doing either. A case in point was in the Redskins vs Giants game this evening. Instead of showing why a Redskins drive starting on their 2 had faltered, leaving the Redskins in a giant tactical hole, Halling showed a scuffle which had already been rerun by the Fox announcers and was guaranteed to be shown again. This would have been an ideal opportunity to discuss play calling selection, blocking, the 4 downs concept, or any number of issues. Instead, I got to use my Sky+ functionality.

3 - the colour guy. Ideally this person would either be triggering discussion with the analyst, highlighting player matchups where victory or defeat could be reached, discussing their experience. Instead, last season we had Shaun Gayle, who seemed amiable but confused. Having learnt from your mistake, you have selected former journeyman Johnnie Mitchell to fill the seat, a man whose grasp of the English language could be fairly described as cursory. I understand that Jeff Reinebold has returned to the coaching ranks, but there must be other former NFL Europe coaches, or indeed coaches working in the British ranks who are lucid, presentable and informed.

Finally, we love fantasy football. It helps you to track the accomplishments of players across the league (in fact, that's what it was designed for!). We don't need to hear about it every thirty seconds.

Five used to present a significantly better coverage of the NFL much later in the night with only two presenters. Colin Murray may be available to present, Mike Carlson may have space in his schedule to replace Halling, and a sock puppet voiced by an American could ably replace Mr Mitchell.

So, to repeat my plea - get rid of the presenters. They're killing me.

Friday, 11 September 2009

Are you ready for some FOOTBALL!

So the pro season kicked off last night.

If you don't want to know the result, well, tough.

Pittsburgh took the game in OT, leaving Tennessee ruing two missed field goals in the first half (one was blocked, but we'll count both as missed against the kicker - the first was a terrible snap, but it isn't sure how much this contributed to the push across the face).

The main things of note were - Tennessee moved to a rush four cover 2 scheme in the second half, which the bobbleheads were correct in noting allowed Ben R to hold the ball and pick open receivers. There's nothing inherently wrong with going rush 4 cloud, but the vanilla "run straight forward" bull rush did absolutely nothing against the (let's face it) not very good Steelers line. Pump fakes pulled safeties left and right, and a couple of gaping holes in zones allowed Holmes and Ward to rack up killer amounts of yardage.

Mewelde Moore was the best back for the Steelers, mainly because he's a useful pass blocker with an uncanny knack of slipping open under or over the linebackers in zone coverage to keep the chains moving. Mendenhall had 4 carries for 6 yards, and I don't remember his name being called even that often. His abortion of a run where he missed the handoff mesh point and smashed into his QB on his first carry was his most memorable move. The abominable failure to move the chains on 3rd and short will kill this team unless it is fixed, or unless there is some kind of radical scheme/plan change, where draw plays are brought in to exploit the quality passing game. In fact, the play action to draw action (fake hand off, fake pass, draw play) you see from the Colts would be pretty useful, as Ben R holds the ball for so damn long anyway.

Kenny Britt looked pretty solid for a rookie wide out, which is positive news for the Titans.

Oh... and the Madden curse killed Troy. Some games I think the announcers focus on him because of his unique appearance, but last night he definitely deserved the hype, seemingly being involved in every play for the first half dozen drives. His highlight reel moment was a one handed catch reminiscent of the Braylon Edwards take at Michigan or the freak "catch of the year" at a 1AA school last year - up, stretch, grab the end of the ball, tuck it in, get up, get moving. Astonishing. For me, his closing speed and grit were more impressive, but I'm a fat guy, so there. Unfortunately Alge Crumpler is also a fat guy, and having him fall on your knee whilst you're trying to recover a blocked kick, and then another buffet muncher dropping on your body, well, that looked like it hurt. Strained MCL, and Pittsburgh struggled much more with Johnson's speed in the the 3rd and 4th quarters in Troy's absence.


Here's something chirpy and emo

I love it


It's Fei Comodo - Behind Bars

Moustaches for the Solid Verbal

Here's the moustaches

Andy Goode, Geordan Murphy
George Chuter, Harry Ellis

Are the players

Wednesday, 9 September 2009

Whatever happened to...


So Papa Roach had a Pop Nu Metal album, released a second record with a pop nu metal single and a load of pap on it...

Here's the new single.

I like the refrain, but isn't the verse structure and sound a little NIN derivative? And I'm sure I saw an emo single by them. Are they sharing the Good Charlotte career arc: put out successful record in popular genre, then pursue continuing record sales by biting other artists writing styles?

Song of the week

Clutch = 50000 Unstoppable Watts


How much fun is this scuzzy rock and roll joint? Lots, I tell thee, lots.

Tuesday, 8 September 2009

Weekend fixtures

As I gobble through the weekend fixtures here are some more observations:

1 - I love it that some programmes are scheduling proper inter divisional match ups. Ok, so Oregon wasn't a scorcher against Boise, and SC vs NC State wasn't a giggle fest either, but these (and the Va Tech vs Tide game) give me much more respect for the programmes involved, particularly on opening weekend. And no, it didn't work out for Georgia. But if it had, and they ran the table in the SEC, there could have been no disputing their national title credentials. I haven't finished watching the Tide game yet.

2 - The first Alabama TD was great. Lovely to see the RB just hammering somebody to go over the line.

3 - Tyrod Taylor looks overrated. However the 1 read offense being run in the passing game by 'bama isn't super impressive either.

Sports coverage

I get kind of annoyed when camera men and directors clown up sporting events. However, two things this week have highlighted that it can be a bit tricky as a job.

1 - Andy "I like pies" Goode sliced a kick in a Top 14 game. The ball came off the studs of his boot, it was that far round the side of his foot. He was in his 22, so the camera guy panned to the halfway line. No ball. Then he shook about a bit, before realising that the fat guy had smashed it into the opposing 22 even with the slice.

2 - Oklahoma State v Georgia, the back takes an inside dive/off tackle hand off, gets hit by a linebacker at about the line of scrimmage, then slides off. The camera guy is so unimpressed by the tackle he assumes the backer was shedding the guy and starts to desperately scoop back to the QB, figuring it was just a really lush play action. Then the back puts the ball in the other hand and scoots off up field.

However, this doesn't excuse the gratuitous crowd shots during the on field action which I am cursed with. And if you have to shoot the crowd, at least pick filthy hotties with their chests out. Not fat guys with funny hats. Uninterested.

Monday, 7 September 2009


How does a Colonel seize power in a military coup? What happened to all the Generals?

Friday, 4 September 2009

Football season!

I'm lucky enough to have ESPN America. The first game I'm watching this year is Oregon and Boise State on the smurf turf, and I'm super excited.

I guess this is a kind of live blog thing. But I have no readers.

I could be more excited during the game, to be fair. Boise have decided fumbling is an effective offensive play, and Oregon aren't exactly getting a decent return out of their enormous combination of QB and RB (Masoli is a giant of a man, and Blount is a freak beast senior, who will go high in the draft this year if he can put together some decent productivity and stay healthy). First quarter and some punts isn't what I was after.

In fact, so far the most impressive play has been a fourth down conversion from Boise when they went super heavy on the line and ploughed up for the yard they needed and then some. I say this was the best play because it was designed for success, coming off a quick count, rather than the odd completion which seems to be a bit flukey.

I'm quite liking the lefty quarterback for Boise. It's odd watching pass plays develop back to front. You'd think with that kind of advantage Leinart would be handy for the Buzzsaw, but there you go.

The coverage of this game is absolute garbage - let's have some crows shots and then "how about this formation... maybe the Ducks didn't have this on their reel of trick plays". No shit, jerk off, probably because you've elected not to show the actual formation. "It's as funky a formation as you are going to see"- then show it you fuckwits.

Five minutes later we finally get it.

The Ducks are in some serious trouble here. A safety gets scored when the defense just flat out inhales the spread read. I actually agree with the commentator a little here - the East/West running style of the spread option read offense does make you vulnerable in the tight areas.

Second half - a change of starting/featured backs seems to have made Boise even more menacing. Avery didn't seem to be hitting the hole as quickly as the new back (Harper) in the first half, and he promptly breaks off a long run, showing good patience to wait for the blocks on the right hand side to come back downhill.

Oregon come back out on offense, show a lovely zone read play, but only get a yard or two. The edge defender wasn't interested in the (to me very convincing) play fake and gobbles up the QB. The subsequent play goes for a loss. I'm wondering where the inside zone play is. A little underneath screen sees Blount take a horrific shot in the back. Boise are happy to cough up a yard for that kind of impact.

For all the talk about the TZR/Taser position, this is not a new innovation Oregon. You're using itty bitty backs as waterbug receivers to run jet sweeps and bubble screens. For more details of how this works, see Percy Harvin last year, and basically every other team who use the zone read.

Oregon get on the board with the inside zone. I'd take credit and kudos, except two plays back Blount bashed into the line for a yard on the other half of the inside zone, so I shan't.

Now they're showing Masoli bulldozing a safety from last year. I'm more impressed that the O Lineman is in the mix with the three other DBs, chasing like a man half his size.

Boise get a gorgeous downfield pass off. The left tackle cut down the pass rush like he was chopping with an axe and the pass came out over the middle like an absolute rocket.

Boise put the game to bed after having a decent try at giving it away with fumbles - Oregon could have won this with a bit of composure, but their O just didn't get started.

And the game ends in scandal. Excellent news. That's just what we want

Bored of writing now

Thursday, 3 September 2009

OC woes

Here's a thing.

To: Chiefs/Bucs
From: All football fans

If you are firing your OC following the third preseason game, you are going to suck the balls in the ACTUAL season.

Oh my god, are you going to suck.


Who knows who is giving this guy advice, but if he doesn't sign before November 12th then he is going to miss out on the whole 2009 season. Also, he hasn't played any preseason, and he hasn't gotten any practice reps, so the season is basically a wash at this point anyway. Oh dear oh dear oh dear.

I'm waiting for Danny Pass to draft him in our NFL fantasy draft on Saturday, as a handcuff for Vernon Davis.

Wednesday, 2 September 2009

Crush of the day

Firstly, a complaint. Why are there female celebrities in existence without topless or intimate photos on the internet. What is the point of that?

Lucy Porter is the crush of the day. Hot Hot Hot.

Game of Thrones

Normally, I shy away from casting news as pretty uninteresting. Even casting news for GRRM's Game of Thrones, being serialised (probably) on HBO isn't super exciting for me. I question what exactly Alfie Allen is bringing to the table, and how he has managed to swing as role in something so epic and exciting as his first acting role (clue, starts with nep, rhymes with... oh wait, nepotism doesn't rhyme with anything).

Here's some excitement though. I fucking love Lena Headey, and the lesbian sex scenes later in the series are going to be horny as hell with her in it. Awesome.