Thursday, January 27, 2011

GOLF NEEDS TO POLICE THEIR OWN: special commentary from Beaver in Sterling

Over the course of the last few weeks, PGA and European Tour officials received phone calls/emails from viewers explaining how players had violated the rules. A not so uncommon phenomenon, which most famously came to light back in 1987 courtesy of The Walrus, Craig Stadler, who placed a towel under his knees so his pants wouldn't get wet, while playing a shot from under a tree. Ironically enough, it happened at the site of this week's event at Torrey Pines.

The players involved more recently were Camilo Villegas and Padraig Harrington. The rule that Camilo violated was rule 23-1 which states "When a ball is in motion, a loose impediment that might influence the movement of the ball must not be removed."

In Layman's terms, Camilo Villegas moved a divot out of the path of his ball which was rolling back down the hill towards him. The infraction is a two shot penalty, but since the infraction was not brought to the attention of both Camilo and rules officials until after play was completed, and Camilo had already signed his scorecard, he was DQ'ed for signing an incorrect scorecard.

In Harrington's case, he was disqualified after failing to place his ball back to its original spot, after it moved slightly when he picked up his marker. Some "TV snitches", as Ian Poulter put it, e-mailed officials at the tournament notifying them of the infraction, and like Villegas, since Harrington had already signed an "incorrect" card, he was DQ'd.

Golf is a gentleman's game, where we as players play by the rules and call penalties on ourselves for rules we have violated. Case in point would be the 2010 Verizon Hertiage where Brian Davis was in a playoff with Jim Furyk, and his ball was in a hazard and he called a penalty on himself. The infraction cost him a shot at winning the tournament. You don't see that type of policing in any other sport.

Do you see Kobe or Lebron calling traveling on themselves? Does Revis Island or D-Hall call pass interference on themselves? When was the last time Ryan Zimmerman refused first base because even though "blue" thought that last pitch was a ball, RZ felt it caught the corner, and therefore was strike three? Never. Its part of what makes golf unique.

Technology, specifically HDTV, is forcing golf's hand. And the powers that be need to address their "problem". Its not the job of drunk, fat slobs who are sitting at home watching golf, to be the ones policing professional golfers. Its the job of the drunk, fat slobs on the course (rules officials) to be doing this.

And on the heels of two incidents in 3 weeks, and the embarrassment that was last year's PGA Championship, in which PGA Tour officials allowed fans to reside in a fairway bunker all week, to the point that by Sunday it resembled the infield at Fenway Park, the Tours need to put more (proactive) officials on the course.

Secondly, and this has been suggested by Paul Casey, among others, if the Tours are going to continue to allow Johnny Golf Fan to call or email rules violations in after the fact, the Tours should implement a rule that allows for a score to be adjusted, for golfers who have already finished their round and signed their card.

Lastly, the idea itself, of allowing fans to police golfers from the reclyner in their man cave, is not fair to all players. What do we mean by not fair?

Tournament leaders and "huge draw" players that the fans want to see play- Tiger, Phil, Daly(when he's in the field), are going to garner more TV time than no name players in the field. Which brings us back to our suggested solution, that the Tours need more, proactive officials following EVERY group.

Hypothetically speaking, a rules infraction that Josh Anderson, Chris Baryla, or Jim Renner (players all in the field for this week's tournament at Torrey Pines) commits on Thursday, while practically no galleries are following them, let alone Golf Channel or CBS' cameras, is no different than a rule that (hypothetically) Tiger or Phil might commit during Sunday's final round, with all eyes on them.

Beaver from Sterling is a 4 handicap. You'll sometimes hear him calling into the Junkies, picking Lurch's brain about golf and other stuff. Beaver likes chicks and beer.

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Friday, January 21, 2011

Redemption for the Sportsyack: Diggity Dogs, Dogg.

Green Bay at (Chicago +3.5)
A few factors here that prevent us from partaking in the Packer love affair here. For starters, it's an inter-division game, that produced a split during the regular season. The Bears owned the ground game in both games, which has been a winning formula in this year's post season (more on that stat in a bit), and the regular season finale was especially telling.

The Packers were in a must win situation in Week 17 in Green Bay, and the Bears had nothing to play for, and it ended up being an absolute dogfight. The game went 3-3 into the 4th Quarter, before the Pack eventually prevailed 10-3. So now in this rubber match, you're telling me I can get the home team, in a match up that's been pretty much even this year, and the home team is getting 3 and a hook? No brainer.

Secondly, we'll go back to the well, with an angle that produced a big fat loser last week, but we cannot get away from it: the Pack on the road.

The Pack on the road this year was 3-5. They have rattled off two consecutive road wins, at Philly and at Atlanta, but going into the Philly game, they had lost 3 consecutive road games. We have a hard time laying hard cayash on them playing their 3rd consecutive roadie, especially in the role of the favorite.

Soldier Field is going to be frozen, and its going to be cold as a mother outside. This is going to be a tough fought, entertaining to watch football game. Take the Bears and the points.

(NY Jets +3.5) at Pittsburgh
Our angle here; the running game. There have been 8 total playoff games thus far this post season. In all 8 games, the team that won the game on the ground, also won the game on the scoreboard. The leading rushers this 2010 postseason? Shonn Greene, LT, and the New York Jets.

The Jets have played 4 of their last 5 games on the road. Over that span, they've gone 4-1 to include wins at Pittsburgh, Indy, and New England (not a bad run), a loss at possible Super Bowl participant Chicago, and a laugher at home against the Bills.

In the Jets game at Chicago, they were outscored 21-10 in the second half, eventually losing 38-34. Had they not totally shit the bed that day (could've, should've, would've- yeah, we know), the Jets would be entering this game having won 4 straight roadies at 12-4 Pittsburgh, at 11-5 Chicago, at 10-6 Indy, and again last weekend, at 12-4 Pittsburgh.

The point is, the 3 consecutive road games here doesn't scare as much as it does in the Pack/Bears match up.

This game too is going to be a hard fought, low scoring affair. There are some serious over trends for both teams, and the 38.5 total seems appealing to bet OVER, but we don't like it.

We think the Steelers are fortunate to even be playing this weekend. Big Ben is a winner, but they failed to establish a running game last week, and we ultimate love that match up between the two teams. Jets plus the points.

Last Week 1-3

Playoffs YTD 2-6

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Thursday, January 20, 2011

I Gotta Notion: Redskins Need Not Draft a QB with 10th Pick

Kevin Sheehan and Thom Loverro were arguing on air the other day, about how the Redskins should use their 1st round (10th) pick. Kevin Sheehan took the side that a lot of Dan Snyder enablers have taken- not that we think he is one, but nevertheless, he is in favor of drafting a QB at that spot. We couldn't disagree more. And apparently neither could Loverro.

The Redskins have multiple problems to address, before they draft and then pay a QB who could fall flat on his face amongst the mediocrity surrounding him.

This led to a mini argument between myself and @JudgePatrick, about the Notion that the NFL is a full blown, QB driven league. I don't think it is.

Historically speaking, especially in the case of the Redskins, its not. The Redskins, according to Papa Yack, haven't had a "real good" Quarterback since Sonny Jurgenson. And let's face it, Joe Gibbs' 3 Super Bowl titles were won by 3 journeymen Quarterbacks, who all played behind solid offensive lines.

So does the Gibbs/Old School Redskin formula for winning apply today? Possibly.

In the past decade, journeymen, non-elite Quarterbacks have won/competed in Super Bowls. Dilfer, Grossman, Gannon, DelHomme and Eli Manning come to mind- not exactly first ballot, HOFers.

And spare me, Giant fan, if you're going to take exception with our categorizing of Eli, but he is what he is: A $97 million (overpaid) QB, who should be paying David Tyree an annual commission.

The Redskins need to focus on doing what Gibbs did back in the day, and quite frankly what Shanahan did in Denver. Granted, Shanny had John Freaking Elway, but he also had solid offensive lines, and turned a no name ex-Marine into an almost 1,500 yard rusher during the 2000 season.

To validate the point a bit, you need to look no further than this year's playoffs. There have been 10 playoff games thus far. In all 10 games, the team that won the ground game, also won the game on the scoreboard.

And Jay Cutler and Mark Sanchez aren't exactly Brady and Brees. Jay Cutler spent the majority of the first 2/3 of the season on his ass, yet somehow (with an improved line, good defense, and quite frankly not much more) was on a team that hosted this year's NFC Championship Game.

Mark Sanchez? The guy has a lot of upside and a bright future, but he went through the regular season with a 75 passer rating, throwing for 3,200 yards. Honestly, Chad Henne does that, Donovan McNabb did that- look at their numbers. Its the parts around Sanchez that helps make him a "winner".

And don't sleep on defense as it pertains to the "winning formula". A good defense still goes a long way in winning championships. Pittsburgh and Green Bay's defenses have been smothering all season- ranked 2nd and 5th respectively, and they both played a huge role in their team's victory this past Sunday.

Point is Redskin fan, there are more pressing issues at Redskin Park than QB right now. Continue to build the line(s), add some free agent parts- on both offense and defense, and then maybe take a look at the 2012 draft for QB, if you even still need one by then.

Pic of Sexy Rexy courtesy of Openlineblog via Flickr

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Saturday, January 15, 2011

Rebounding Like Barkley: A 4-0 Weekend or Bust

(Baltimore +3.5)
at Pittsburgh
These two teams have played 4 straight 3 point games. Six of their last seven contests have been decided by 4 points or less. The Ravens delivered probably the greatest 40 minutes of football played last weekend, highlighted by their second half dominance in Kansas City. They now have covered 4 straight road games coming into this latest tilt with Pittsburgh.

The two teams split this season, both involving come from behind wins by the eventual victor. Anyway you try to handicap this game, it always comes back to it being a hard nosed(ask Ben), claw and scratch for points and yards, football contest.

Big Ben (allegedly) got engaged recently. Our own Judge Patrick reports its the first time in a long time that a woman has actually answered "yes" to one of Ben's advancements. Unfortunately for Big Hair, Big Ass, and Big Truck Nation, the Sportsyack is answering "no" to your team's chances today. And "no" means "no", you Iron City drinking inbreds. Book your flight to New England, Ravens fan. 19-14 Ravens.

Green Bay at (Atlanta -1)
Wow. No love for the Falcons, huh? 7-1 at home this season, 4th in the league in 3rd down conversions, they have a Quarterback named Matty Ice, they're on 2 weeks rest, and they're catching a team whose on the back end of consecutive road games, who until last week's win at Philly, had lost 3 straight road tilts, and they're only laying a point here?!? Someone get my bookie on the phone!!!

Listen, gamblers. The Falcons are still the best team that nobody has really seen play. This barely being a favorite at home bullshit, with all the factors we've mentioned above, is a joke. This game features a well rested NFC #1 seed at home, versus a team who barely got into the playoffs. That is the extent of handicapping you need to do for this one. 27-17 Falcons.

(Seattle +10)
at Chicago
We won't be fooled twice in consecutive weeks. The fact that we passed on last week's opportunity to play a divisional winner at home (7-9, albeit) getting double digits, still frosts our asses.

Jay Cutler doesn't give us a chub, and we're not too concerned about the new monsters of the midway defense. The Seahawks just put up 41 on a team who was supposedly ranked 4th in total defense in the entire league. And offensively, the Seahawks ATS have been very streaky good, covering 4 out of 5 the week after their offense goes for 350 yards or more. (415 yards last week)

The Bears were a modest 5-3 at home. You can spare me the, "but that was back in October" horseshit, when we remind you that they lost to the Redskins in one of the sloppiest games ever played, AND they've already lost to Seattle.

That's right. The Bears, who are laying 10 points today to a division winner who just thumped last year's Super Bowl champs, lost to Seattle at home, back in October.

Load up on guns and bring your friends, Seahawk fan. When was the last time a team who was double digit dogs in consecutive weeks, won both games outright? It smells like teen spirit, or maybe thats the smell of an upset in the Windy City. 26-24 Seahawks.

(NY Jets +9.5)
at New England
This game is a lot closer than it appears to be in your side mirror. For starters, these two split this year's regular season tilts, and over the course of the last 6 games these two have played, the tally reads 3 wins Jets, 3 wins Patriots.

We can't put our finger on it, or our toes for that matter, but we still have not completely bought into this year's Patriot team. In the eight game winning streak they're riding coming into this game, the Patriots won 6 of the 8 by double digits or more, including an absolute dismantling of the Jets 5 weeks ago. So how are we playing New York here?

For starters, the Patriots WILL NOT blow the Jets out twice in 5 weeks. Period. Ain't happening. Its tough enough to beat a team twice in one season, let alone dress them down to their birthday suit and painted toe nails twice. Secondly, we do like the approach Sex Ryan has taken here, getting the shit talking going early, and sort of creating a tangible that is a little bit "free roll" or nothing to lose, and a little bit "rally the troops behind me" mentality.

The Jets have played 17 games thus far this season, and have allowed 20 points or fewer 13 times. They've allowed 14 points or fewer in 7 of their 17 games played. Although New England's current win streak has left a wake of opposing teams' body parts, their overall body of work defensively, is nothing to write home about. In 10 of their 16 games played this year, they've yielded 20 points or more. And up until the week 13 ass thumping the Patriots delivered to the Jets, the Patriots had been giving up an average of over 24 points per game.

The Patriots have failed to cover 5 straight home playoff games. There is no chance this game is a blowout. No chance. Jets cover, but lose.

Last Week 1-3 ATS

Playoffs YTD 1-3 ATS

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Wednesday, January 12, 2011

We Make Mistakes Too. But Our Voices are Golden

When the man puts you down on the canvas, you must suck it up and get back on your feet to fight again. That's how Sportsyack feels after last weekend's NFL ass raping. 1-3 ATS is not how we drew it up.

Let's go to Irv in Vegas- aka The Legend, aka one of Sportsyack Senior's best boys when he lived in the DMV, when he was a worker man. He would like to comment on our bad beat story involving our pocket Aces. He's always been a light hearted individual, whose criticism of his peers, lets say, has not always constructive.

ur bad beat story....what a shame.....gee really, aces always hold up for me.....and i never get rivered.......u truly sounded like a little girl......a crying little bitch slapped punk.......and furthermore do u really think anybody gives a flying fuck about ur bad beat......the truth of the matter is now out.....ur daddy fathered two girls and one boy, u little fag........u are a true disgrace to ur family's name, and i now know how ur daddy feels and i do indeed feel sorry for him....also, nice picks last weekend, dipshit... "Legend"

So we're dusting ourselves off, like the man with the golden voice, and getting back on our feet again for this weekend. Speaking of which, I hear that dude almost got arrested the other night for a domestic incident at a hotel. Shocker. He's about 11 minutes into his 15 minutes, and about 7 months from appearing in some low budget porn film. I bet that dude has a cock on him that would make most horses blush.

Look for our NFL picks by Friday.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

A Brutal Beatdown of Pocket Aces

The weekly poker game in Ashburn was good and bad for yours truly. The good part was a strong tournament finish. The bad part was a very bad beat down in the cash game following the tournament- which specific to the hand, might be the worst beat I've ever taken at a poker table.

I finished 2nd in the tournament, and probably should've finished 1st, considering I was chip leader with 4 to go, and when it was heads up and all the chips were in the middle of the table, I had the best hand until the river. But so goes tournament poker, and sometimes the river is not your friend. Just ask Ed Reed's brother.

What, too soon?

After getting my tournament winnings, I proceeded to the cash table, which was well into a session that had started when tournament "losers" began to get knocked out. Its usually a pretty friendly $1/$2 game, mostly NL Hold'em and sometimes PLO. Tonight was just NLH.

I sat down and bought in for a modest $150. I was up and down, usually between $130 and $160. At one point, following a hand in which I flopped a boat while in the small blind with J7 off suit, I had my stack up to about $230.

Towards the end of the night with about 20 minutes before the agreed time to end the session, I was in the small blind when a player made it $10 to go. Three people called his raise, and it was back to me. I looked at my cards to reveal AA. I re-raised the pot to $55. At this point, I had about $60 in chips left.

The original raiser, who is a pretty good player, and ironically enough, was the player who doubled me up earlier when I flopped the J7 boat, called the extra $45. The other 3 players folded.

Prior to the flop, with just $60 behind me, and now with about $140 in the pot, I had made up my mind that the rest of my money was going to the middle of the table, right after the flop came out.

The flop came out J, 10, 4, rainbow-no chance for flush draws. His range could've been JJ or TT in pocket, but my decision had already been made. I shoved my remaining $60 in chips to the middle, and the initial grim look on his face told me he had not flopped a set. He took about 30 seconds to hem and haw, and eventually said, "I can't get away from this one.", and he called me. He flipped over KQ off suit, to reveal that he was on an up and down straight draw.

At this point there was about $260 in the pot. Prior to seeing the turn and the river, the caller asked me if I wanted to run more than one board. Basically, for those of you who don't know, running it more than once is when the dealer deals out more than one board, and in this case, more than one turn and river cards. Its essentially an insurance for the favorite in the hand.

I agreed to run it three times which meant two turns and two rivers. The pot would now be broken up into thirds. I'd be happy winning 2 of the 3 boards, scoop my $180 or so, and get out of dodge. Hell, maybe I'd win all three. AA is pretty strong heads up against KQ, especially when 3 of the 5 cards are out, and he hasn't connected on anything yet. But you never know.

Board 1
The dealer burned a card and then turned a 9 on the first board. Damn. One card out the gate, and I've already lost 1/3 of the pot. The 9 completed the caller's straight and I was drawing dead on the river. Oh well, there's two more boards. Thank god I agreed to run it more than once!

Board 2
The dealer burned a card and then turned a Q. Not good. Although this card did not complete his straight or win him the hand, it now gave him more "outs" to go with a 9 and Ace that would complete another straight. A river Q or K would give him three Q's or two pair, crushing my AA. The dealer burned another card and BOOM, another Q on the river.

Ok, are you fucking kidding me?!? Not only did I just lose the second board (his trip Qs to my AA), but this was the worst card I could've seen. Why? Because he beat me on a board, and didn't eliminate any of the straight outs in the process. Meaning, we're now about to go to board #3, and there are still three 9s and two Aces in play that would complete another straight for him.

Board 3
The dealer burned a card, and thank god! A rag 5 or 6 on the turn, I forget exactly what it was, but it didn't matter. The card didn't improve his hand, and now I just needed to dodge a 9 or an A on the river, and I'd salvage 1/3 of the pot.

But it was not to be. The poker gods were determined to stick it up my ass, even after dealing me the best starting hand in all of poker. Following the final burn, the dealer put another 9 on the river, completing another straight for my opponent, and allowing him to scoop the entire $260 pot.

Three boards, three ream jobs. I was so shocked, I think I just stood up and laughed. Yes, it had still been a profitable evening, as my tournament winnings had guaranteed that, but what a brutal way to end it.

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Friday, January 7, 2011

NFL Playoffs: A Four Pack of Winners

Sportsyack's NFL prognosticating sported a 35-25-3 ATS record for the year. Not too shabby. Ten games over .500 is, as NBC's Gary Koch once said about an infamous putt Tiger Woods struck on the 17th green at Sawgrass, "better than most."

With the playoffs upon us, we're utilizing every handicapping tool at our disposal. So in the spirit of the playoffs, and the spirit of a new PGA Tour season, like Tiger Woods parked in a Perkins parking lot, lets get ready to crush it!

New Orleans(-10) at Seattle
This game hurts. We've made a living out of finding value in home teams getting points, and here we go- of all places, the first round of the NFL playoffs, and we're punting an opportunity to get a division winner, at home, getting double digits.

Bottom line, Seattle is awful. Not to go overkill, and we realize its the popular talking point of those who are paid to talk, but the fact that they're in the playoffs is an absolute fucking atrocity.

Ranked 28th offensively, and 27 defensively, Pete Carroll's highly paid USC teams could've given the 2010 Seahawks a run for their money. The 10 points don't scare us, the 12th man doesn't scare us, as we expect and hope (for Roger Goodell's embarrassment) that this turns into an absolute boat race. And based on Seattle's "history", it most likely will go that way.

In all of Seattle's 9 losses(what a joke), they didn't just lose, that got their fucking asses kicked. To include a 34 point loss at home to the playoff-less Giants, and a 30 point loss to the playoff-less Raiders, the Seahawks average margin of loss was by almost 21 points. Like the broad on "South Park" says, "Wha-Wha-What!?!!?!"

Listen, we're not too chubby about New Orleans ATS record vs. teams with losing records (1-8). However, 11-5 is still 11-5, 4 games better than Seattle. The Saints beat Seattle earlier in the season 34-19, and the defending Super Bowl champs aren't going to lose this first round scrimmage. 27-13 Saints.

NY Jets at Indy(-2.5)
It was a rough final month of the season for Sex Ryan and the Jets. Between Trip-gate, foot fetish-gate, and an ass whippin the first week of December by New England in front of a national audience, lets just say they've had better months.

They did play well over the last 3 weeks of the season. Starting with a nice road win at Pittsburgh on Dec. 19th, the Jets followed that up with a tough shootout loss at Chicago, and concluded the regular season with last weekend's blowout of the Bills, who had actually played pretty well, the second half of the season.

And then there is Indy, just been rolling along, Peyton Manning and his MASH unit. Dude has been throwing touchdowns to guys this season, who just last year were homeless on the streets of Columbus, Ohio, just looking for a second chance.

Manning has had another great season. 33 TDs, vs 17 picks, and a 92 passer rating. However, the most important stat of all, and why the Colts will get it done here: the Colts have only yielded 16 sacks. In fact for all NFL starters- Peyton, along with his kid brother Eli, were sacked the fewest amount of times of all QBs.

Our final burn, Romie: The Jets lose, and all the hype that was "Hard Knocks" and Rex Ryan's "rah-rah" horseshit sprinkled with F-bombs will be all for not. In fact, Jet fan, don't be surprised if more foot fetish/weird ass shit comes to the surface, and becomes the straw that breaks the camel's back, and costs Ryan his job. Simplified: Peyton vs Mark Sanchez and his 75 passer rating won't even be close. 31-13 Colts.

And now a break in the action, for the rocking genius that is Jack Mother Fucking White...

Baltimore at KC(+3)
We love this game here. The Chiefs have been solid all year. Just outside the Top 10 statistically on both sides of the ball, the Chiefs had an impressive 7-1 home record, and we like their role as pretty much an "under the radar" team. They did take a huge dump last weekend at home vs the Jason Campbell led Raiders, but still, getting points at home in this spot feels like stealing.

Baltimore is riding a streak coming into this game. They've won 4 in a row, and 6 of their last 7. In 4 of their last 6 games, they've given up 13 points or less. So why are we taking the Chiefs?

Matt Cassel, 93 passer rating- and again, to stay on the theme of "under the radar"- 27 TD's to just 7 picks, is truly an amazing year. Jamall Charles, almost 1,500 yards rushing, and a 6.4 yards/per average rush. That is the dynamic we like in a home playoff game, for a team whose almost perfect in their own backyard.

Listen, Ravens fan. We're not just betting against Baltimore because we're lifelong Washingtonians who for the most part hate your city, hate the owner of the Orioles, can't stand your accents and your above ground pools. We just think you lose here. Joe Flacco, though he had a descent season (25-10-93.7), was sacked 40 times, which was 2nd only to Jay Cutler. That's not good.

Get ready, America. The AFC West is back and better than ever, and you'll see signs of things to come this weekend at Arrowhead. 20-16 Chiefs.

Green Bay(+2.5) at Philly
Short of Mike Vick's amazing play this season, we've never been sold on Philly having the personnel to win it. Bottom line, everything about their success, revolves around how Mike Vick performs, period. And his style is always one hit away from disaster. (see first Redskins game)

Green Bay has battled injuries all year. Ryan Grant was injured in week 1 and was lost for the year. They lost Jermichael Finley in the Redskins game. Even Aaron Rodgers got beat up, almost costing the Pack a playoff spot. But we liked this team pre-season, and we're not wavering now.

Unfortunately for Roger Goodell and all who dreamed of the Eagles/Falcons NFC Title game, that dream will become a nightmare by Sunday night. Philly limped into the post season, literally. Vick got banged up against the Vikings, and didn't even play in last week's meaningless loss against Dallas. And although Week 16 was a Chinese fire drill, with those tough guys up in Philly, pushing the Eagles/Vikings game back two days because of snow, Philly lost that game too, and were never in the game. Going into the post season with consecutive losses has historically been a losing formula in January.

Don't be fooled by the Pack's lackluster, slow start/squeaker win against Da Bears last week. In fact, the Pack is 6-1-1 ATS the week after scoring 14 points or less. The Pack was the better team going into the season, and they're going to be the better team this Sunday. Don't be surprised if Aaron Rodgers is playing in the NFC Title game in 3 weeks. 24-20 Packers.

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Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Blind Faith? Rose Colored Glasses? Redskins Future is Bright

The Redskins 2010 season is over, Johnny. Although 6-10 is disappointing, we're not ready to throw in the towel on Team Shanahan quite yet. Even through all the adversity and drama that was the 2010 Washington Redskins, we think there is a lot to be positive about moving forward. Here is our final, bundled up take on the team.

First and foremost, Mike Shanahan is not to blame for the worthless, fat fuck that is Albert Haynesworth. All the pundits who spent most of training camp and the first part of the season, bitching about how Mike Shanahan was "humiliating" Fat Albert with the conditioning tests- you guys are idiots. Shanahan didn't bring this asshole into Ashburn in the first place, and his hands were tied once the fat fuck got paid, and had pretty much had made up his mind that he wasn't going to play.

There really is not much a coach can do, when a player does not want to commit himself to the task at hand, and that's what Shanahan was up against. And we're pretty sure most of the locker room would agree, and side with the Coach.

Shanahan's first year in DC obviously wasn't perfect. Far from it, in fact. Did Shanahan make his fair share of mistakes? Yes. Do we think that they are as catastrophic as they have been made out to be, by some of the Redskin fans and media? Absolutely not. But for Christ's sake, if taking over a team was poker, the hand he was dealt(courtesy of a dealer named Bug Eyed Vinny) was 7-2 offsuit.

Shanahan was like a 5 star chef who was brought into the kitchen (Redskin Park) and asked to make Filet Mignon and lobster tail, out of dirty diapers and used feminine hygiene products.

We can't believe how quickly people have forgotten just how absurdly awful things were at the end of 2009. It was complete chaos. You had players practicing when they wanted to practice, players going over their coaches' heads to the owner and GM, requesting that certain player's playing time be reduced. We had swinging gates, mountain bike and canoe rides, bingo caller offensive coordinators. It was a total fucking mess.

To hear sports talk show hosts who are angling for listeners even fathom the idea that the Redskins were in better shape at the end of '09 than they are right now, is 100% retarded.

Now it cannot be argued or debated, that the trade for Donovan McNabb was a colossal mistake. It doesn't really matter how it went down or whoever was the one that pulled the trigger on the deal; it backfired on a Richter Scale type level.

It apparently didn't take the Shanahans very long (the Detroit game) to figure out that Donovan wasn't "their" guy, but the red flags should've been recognized back in April. One of the smartest coaches in the league (Andy Reid), along with one of the smartest organizations in the league (Philadelphia Eagles), were willing to trade this guy within the division.

Spare us the argument that they wanted to do right by Donovan, for all that he had done in Philly. Their job- first and foremost, is to do right by the Philadelphia Eagles. And if Reid and company even thought for a second, that McNabb and the Redskins would stick it up their ass this year and for years to come, they would've never made that trade in the first place.

An oversight by Shanahan, Allen, and most likely, Snyder- yes. Does it smart that they pissed away draft picks? Absolutely. But whats done is done. They thought McNabb would work and then quickly realized that he wouldn't, and now they're cutting ties and moving on. We highly suggest Redskin Nation do the same, and quit reacting to this as if you walked in on Shanahan crushing your wife.

By all means, Shanahan's 2nd season- if warranted, should be open to any and all negative criticism. Over his first year, we think its important that he did come in and establish a "my way or the highway" bar. Its something that has been lacking in Ashburn since Dan Snyder became owner. Its shocking to us, that Shanahan's implementation of this tactic, was met by such criticism. As life long Washingtonians and Redskin fans, it was embarrassing to listen to.

Speaking of embarrassing to listen to, Redskin fans at Fed Ex Field last Sunday: If you're team is 6-9, and you've been out of the playoff picture for 3 weeks, and as an organization, you've pretty much been irrelevant for close to 20 years now, why are you cheering at out of town scores that will affect the NY Giants? Its pathetic, and its a subtle part of the Snyder culture, that Shanahan is trying to change for the better. Just saying...

Shanahan's attempt to change the culture, is definitely not the only thing Redskin fan should be happy about. Brandon Banks turned out to be the most explosive player on the Redskins roster, having the ability to change the momentum of a game in a flash. He was top 10 in both Kickoff and punt returns, had a 96 yard KO return and 2 returns called back due to penalty. Pound for pound, the 5'7", 150 lb. Banks is the best player on the team.

Secondly, the Redskins may have found two position players who we feel could contribute in years to come. Anthony Armstrong's 44 receptions were second on the team in WR receptions, and his 19.8 yards per catch, was best on the team- 3rd in the entire NFL.

Ryan Torain showed signs of a player who is ready to assume the role of the Redskins starting back. His 158 yard 1st half performance against Tampa was one for the books. He finished the season with 742 yards rushing, and 4 TDs. For all running backs in the NFL, with at least 150 carries, his 4.5 yds/per was top 10 in the entire NFL.

Jim Haslett's 3-4 defense was under fire for the majority of the season, and deservedly so. When you're ranked 32nd out of 32 teams, that's code for, "you suck". However, if you want silver linings, we got'em. The last quarter of the season wasn't a total disaster defensively. Granted, they gave up over 400 yards and 33 points to the Cowgirls, but Grossman's pick and horrible special team coverage, put the defense in the hole early and often in that game.

Looking at the final 4 games of the season, if you exclude the game in Dallas, the Redskins defense gave up just 17 points/game, and 340 yard/game. Based on end of year statistics for the entire NFL, the 17 points/per would've ranked 4th, and the 340 yards/per would've ranked 20th. It is something to hang your hat on, for a system that we imagine will only continue to get better.

Final analysis:
The team is not a total debacle, like many like to think and say they are. We feel Grossman is a short term answer, but not long term. As the Redskins and Shanahan continue to put other parts in place, we feel Grossman will be adequate. Personally, unless the Redskins can move up to the 1st pick and draft Andrew Luck, we would avoid taking a QB early. They should continue to build their lines on both sides of the ball, and continue to focus on protecting whomever is under center, and providing good blocking for their run game, whether its Torain or somebody else. Lets not forget, Shanahan turned a former Marine (yeah I know, Jarheads, once a Marine, always a Marine) Mike Anderson, who did absolute nothing once he got out of Shanahan's system, into an almost 1,500 yard rusher.

Lets also not forget that it took Shanahan two seasons to turn the Broncos around. Having taken over for Wade Phillips after the 1994 season, Shanahan finished 8-8 in his first full season in Denver. In his second full season as the Broncos HC, Shanahan and the Broncos finished 13-3.

Have some faith, haters. All was not lost in 2010. The Redskins lost 6 games by 4 points or less, all while employing a kicker who led the league in field goals missed (11). Do the math.

We expect marked improvement for the 2011 campaign. We've gone on record, with a certain sports radio station PD, to state the 2011 Redskins will win at least 9 games. But if the season turns out to be another lackluster year of off field drama accompanied by 5 or 6 or even just 8 wins, by all means, critics should feel free to have a go on Team Shanahan. And we most certainly will get out our forks, and have a go with our humble pie.

Next Blog: Friday.
We killed it against the spread for regular season, NFL football. Our 4 pack of opening playoff weekend winners is on deck. Stay tuned.

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Sunday, January 2, 2011

NFL Week 17: Playoff Bound Winners

The Sportsyack is bright eyed and bushy tailed. We spent Saturday evening watching the Caps give the Penguins a beat down, and now we're ready to do the same to "the man". NBC production of the outdoor hockey game was less than stellar, but the outcome was to our liking.

I'm not sure who was running the cameras from 'the truck', but whomever it was, they are not fans of hockey, and obviously have not viewed too many games on the Telly. The overhead shots just don't do it the same way they do it in football, fellas. In fact, the Caps second goal was most likely missed by most, as the live action shot was from above, which made it harder to follow the puck, and watch the play develop.

For DMVers, it goes to show you how awesome of a job CSN does, not just with their camera work, but with the play by play and color of Joe B. and Lauger. Coupled with the technology that is HDTV, it makes for a truly enjoyable viewing experience.

These two teams will play again in front of a national audience, February 6th- Super Bowl Sunday.

NY Giants(-3.5
at Washington
Death, taxes, Sportsyack taking a shit within 10 minutes of drinking his first cup of coffee in the morning, and the Giants beating the Redskins. The G-Men have won 5 straight versus their divisional opponent from DC, and 8 of the last 10. And with an outside shot at a playoff birth, which means they need to win and get help, this game could be Skins/Giants Laugher Part II.

Listen, Skins fans. I want you to prepare yourself for the inevitable. The Giants are a more physical team, have our number, and actually are playing for something. Don't kill yourself when the Redskins exit the 2010 campaign as losers, and sports talk radio guy is telling you tomorrow how awful of a human being Mike Shanahan is. The Giants are the superior team, and will stick it up the Burgundy and Gold's ass this afternoon.

Grossman is sacked no less than 5 times and will throw no less than 2 picks, which will allow Redskin Nation 4 months to chew on the notion of whether or not Mike and Bruce draft a Quarterback with their first pick in April. There is always next year, which to be fair, is the year Mike Shanahan should legitimately be held accountable. 30-10 Giants.

Dallas at Philadelphia (OVER 43)

Good news, Cowboys fan. Since taking over the Cowboys, Jason Garrett's offense is averaging 31 points per, 3 points more per than they were averaging under Bum's son. Bad news, Cowboys fan. You're still second to last in the league, giving up 28.2 points per on the defensive side of the ball.

Barack Obama's favorite dog killing Quarterback won't be playing today, but Kevin Kolb will be, and he will be given the opportunity to show off his skills. And he's got some skills, Napoleon. Unfortunately for Philly fan, your defense has become your Achilles heal, which will lead to an early exit from the post season, and lots-O points in today's contest.

Over their last 5 games, the Eagles are giving up almost 28 points per. They've played Over in 9 of their last 11. The Cowboys too are trending Over. 10 of their last 11 versus the NFC, and 14 of their last 17 overall. Play over, and throw in a smaller Dallas/Over parlay. 34-30 Cowboys.

Last Week 1-2 ATS

YTD 35-23-3 ATS

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