Monday, May 01, 2006

What a weekend in sports!

We have a wind sprint one hour show today, a lot to get in, and so little time, but I will attempt to fill in the blanks here instead:

NFL Draft
How do we really know right now today that there were winners and losers? I spent the better portion of the two hours driving back from Eugene Saturday listening to Robert Smith and the other host sing the praises of the Arizona Cardinals who were THE WINNERS in Saturday's first three rounds. They had all but crowned the Cardinals the NFC West Champs, something we have heard for the last two years since former ESPN employee Dennis Green went there. How do we know that the Cardinals had such an incredible draft?
Check these numbers out, courtesy of my pal John Lund (WXYT in Detroit)
*17 mock drafts
*The only consensus pick was Reggie Bush #1 to Texans...all missed.
*On average the "expert" was 4 for 32 in right team / right player picks.
*On average the "expert" picked 26 of the 32 players picked in the first round regardless of team.
*Every mock had Winston Justice in first round. He went 39th to Philly in 2nd round. Jarrett Bell of USA Today and Don Banks of SI.com had him 8th to Buffalo.
*Every mock had Chad Jackson, WR Florida in the first round. He went to the Patriots in the 2nd round, pick 36th overall. Most had him going to Denver at # 15.
*Only 3 of the 17 "experts" did not have LenDale White going in the first round: Pat Kirwan NFL.com, Chris Colston USA Today and Matt Pitzer USA Today. Jim Corbett from USA Today had White going # 13 to the Ravens. White went #45 overall, 13th pick in round 2, to the Titans.
*The ESPN combo mock of John Clayton and Len Pasquarelli picked the most team and player picks correctly with 9. Rob Rang of NFL draftscout.com picked 8 correctly, Don Banks of SI.com and Nate Davis of USA Today picked 7 correctly.
*Frank Croyle of Dratfinsiders.com (Ha!) and Chris Colston of USA Today picked 1 player/team combos correctly. Croyle picked Nick Mangold to the Jets at #29. He was the only expert to go 0 for the first 10 picks. He went 0 for the first 28 picks. Colston picked Vernon Davis to the 49ers at #6 and missed 26 straight. Ourlads (D.Ferguson and K. Wimbley) and Jarrett Bell of USA Today (V. Young and V. Davis) guessed two picks correctly. Two other "experts" went 3 for 32.
*The draft God, Mel Kiper picked 5 correctly and had 26 of the 32 players in the first round in his mock.

Our Mock draft had 25 of the 32 picks from the first round, but only 2-3 correct (depending on how you judge the Ngata pick/trade.

NBA Playoffs
*Kobe Bryant averages 27 shots a game in the regular season. His shots are way down in the postseason, and yesterday he had just 14 field goal attempts, two fewer than Lamar Odom. But they won, and are up 3-1 in the series with the rest of the team more involved. Amazing. Is it Jackson's coaching or Kobe finally trusting his teamates. No matter, they are playing great. And one other thing that hasn't been discussed too much-Odom's abilty to switch and defend Steve Nash, which has taken the Suns out of their preferred offensive sets.
*Bonzi, Bonzi, Bonzi. He stepped up, has stepped up, and as a result his team is tied 2-2 with Spurs. But the question with Bonzi has always been "can he do it consistently?" I will believe it when I see it, but it can't be argued, he has been great. I just don't know if I would want Wells taking key shots with a series on the line in a Game 7 situation. Remember Blazers vs. Dallas Game 7 and his first half disappearing act? And if you are looking for the "real" Bonzi to show up, look at the free throw numbers: 60% which is just 2% better than he is shooting from the field. He will implode. It has to happen. It MUST HAPPEN!

Oregon Spring Game
There has been a lot of talk about the play of the two QBs in Saturday's Spring Game, but there are some things to remember.
1) The spring game is just one element of the spring drills. Different coaches put different amounts of emphasis on the game itself, and judging by Brady Leaf kicking and swearing at the turf after the late game safety, his frustration level indicated that he felt the heat of the game, was was very disappointed. It also showed when he left the field immediately after the game, while Dennis Dixon was on the field for about 45 minutes signing autographs. One guy was the unquestioned number 1, the other was just questioning himself.
2) Two new names to remember who could be making plays this fall: Matthew Harper and Jairus Byrd. Both are DBs who will probably see time in the nickel and dime, with Byrd expected to play behind Patrick Chung at the rover position. During the course of the scrimmage, I made multiple notes about Byrd's physical play-he stood out.
3) Bellotti was nothing short of pissed about the play of his receivers. Multiple dropped balls, guys not finishing routes, he stated that it was the most disappointing thing about the spring drills.