Friday, September 5, 2008

Free Kicks

Whew, is it the evening already? Are there still sports to report? Not the Orioles at least. The Ravens are short a quarterback (or three), the Terps can’t decide what to do with their quarterbacks (though Jordan Steffy’s hand is helping clear that up), and Shun White is so good Navy might not even need a quarterback. Oh well, I guess the quarterback position is overrated. Or at least if you are a Maryland sports fan you should hope that’s true… You know, back in the 50’s even the quarterback would line up for the kick.

The Redskins are NOT Ready for Some Football
The Giants/Redskins opener to the NFL season was… disappointing. All of this 365 day a year coverage of the NFL and we get that on day one? I mean, everyone is always clamoring to cut the number of NFL preseason games, but with all that extra practice (Coach Zorn actually elected to play his starters into the 4th preseason game), Jason Campbell didn’t complete a pass until deep into the second half! Do you think the Giants are missing Michael Strahan much? If you watched that defensive line it didn’t look like it. This defense might be thin, but last night they looked absolutely dominant. It could be that Jim Zorn is still adjusting to being a head coach, it could be that the offense hasn’t had sufficient time to be installed, or maybe the Redskins are not that great after all. I know it’s only Week One, but the Redskins haven’t been consistently good since the 1980’s and without am emotional run over the last 6 games last year, they would not have even made the playoffs.

Are the Yankees Done?
Yes, let’s move on.

Choosing the Right Option
In the most predictable move of the Orioles offseason checklist, the front office has elected to exercise Dave Trembley’s option for 2009, adding an option for 2010. This is great news if you are an O’s fan, but was it too little? I mean, will we be having the same conversation next year? Things are likely to get worse before they get better, or at least that is what we signed up for. The job of a major league manager is about far more than in-game management. Rarely is a team a bad team because of the manager. The manager is more important in how he is able to relate to the players, connect with their needs and get them to play hard every day. He is essential for the morale of the club more than anything else- though Trembley’s emphasis on fundamental exercises has certainly helped the club more tangibly. Qualities like that are necessary for a losing ballclub like the O’s. If the front office believes in this man, they need to lock him up to a longer deal. After the Mazzilli and Perlozzo failures I understand the caution over a long term deal, but a 2 or 3 year guaranteed deal would have gone a long way with Trembley and the team. Still, in the meantime it was enough. I have questioned a good number of his moves, but he is too good a manager and too good a man not to be retained. He deserves a trip to the postseason one day, and I hope the O’s can give that to him.

Thinking Outside the Pocket
Has it ever occurred to Ralph Friegen that perhaps there isn’t one quarterback who can do everything? I mean, Jordan Steffy is great in practice but an emotional mess in games. Chris Turner can win when the odds are against him but not when he is handed a cupcake opponent. We keep being told that Josh Portis can’t seem to grasp the offense but is such a great athlete (I recommend just have someone next to him with the call and he will instinctively cheat off their paper). Why doesn’t Ralph rotate QB’s according to the situation? I mean, clearly the offense isn’t working that well so who cares whether Josh can completely understand it? Put Steffy in to protect a lead, put Turner in when you are down, and put Portis in when you need to keep that drive going and change the pace. With Virginia Tech doing it successfully last year and countless other college programs breaking the old adage that “If you have more than one quarterback you don’t have any quarterbacks,” why can’t Maryland? We constantly hear that none of these quarterbacks have come out and taken the job. Fine, don’t let any one of them have it.

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