Thursday, December 17, 2009

16 comments Peter King Faces The Crabtree Curse

Sorry for the different type font today, I transferred this post from a Word document and for some reason it gave me a different font. Hopefully it is not too difficult to read or anything. I have gotten into the pattern of doing the Peter King Tuesday mailbag every week at some point, which is not something I planned on doing, but it seems like it has just happened that way. I always like the Peter King mailbag because it isn’t even a real mailbag due to the fact Peter answers maybe 3-4 questions and then writes about a topic in the beginning that usually holds little importance to me. His "mailbag" takes up all of one or two pages at a maximum. I still don’t get why he doesn’t answer more of the mail that he gets, but I guess he is too busy to do that. This week he answers a grand total of 5 questions. I don’t know if he answers 5 questions well, but that’s a different story. This week Peter discovers there is indeed an NFL team playing on the West Coast and wants to share some thoughts on their quarterback situation.

The kind of throw Alex Smith has to make if he wants to be San Francisco's longterm quarterback came with 52 seconds left in the first half Monday night at Candlestick Park.

The kind of throw that is accurate and to the right team? People have been kind of hard on Alex Smith over the past couple of years. Let’s remember a few things for a second:

1. Alex Smith has played with 5 different offensive coordinators with completely different offensive systems (Jimmy Raye, Mike Martz, Norv Turner, Jim Hostetler, and Mike McCarthy) in the 5 years he has been in the NFL. That clearly has to have an impact on his production and development doesn’t it? We've used that excuse for Jason Campbell and it works well with Alex Smith as well. This is a big problem for young quarterbacks who go to poorly run organizations or organizations with a lot of turnover. They could end up never running the same offense every year and can't gain any consistency.

2. Alex Smith wasn’t even going to be the #1 draft pick in 2005 for a good portion of the time leading up to the draft. I am not excusing the fact he has underachieved, I am just commenting that Aaron Rodgers was the consensus best quarterback in a lot of people’s minds. One of the stupid things that turned people off to Rodgers was that Jeff Tedford’s (the head coach at the University of California where Rodgers went to college) previous protégés had not done well in the NFL. I don't know if this caused Smith to do a last minute rally to be the #1 pick or not. Guys like Trent Dilfer, Kyle Boller, Akili Smith, and Joey Harrington were coached by Tedford and I believe this at least played a part in Rodgers not being the #1 pick in 2005. That’s a 1st round quarterback list of decent semi-bust/underachieving proportions for one coach to have mentored. If Rodgers had not had Tedford as his coach in college, there is a better chance he would have been the 49ers choice at #1 in my mind.

3. What receiver has Alex Smith had to throw the ball to? Brandon Lloyd, Vernon Davis (pre-2009 version), Arnez Battle, Isaac Bruce (when he wasn’t completely the old “Isaac Bruce”) and the perpetually pissed off Antonio Bryant? It's not exactly an impressive group. That’s not even bringing up the offensive line problems the team has had. It’s not like they built a team around him and he was the one that failed everyone.

The conclusion is that I am not down on Alex Smith but he does need to step it up soon. My other conclusion is that some of these same excuses can be made for JaMarcus Russell but I don’t want to hear anything about this because I want to continue to make fun of Russell. I can’t let the reality he isn’t in a good situation get in the way of that.

Rookie Michael Crabtree was split wide left, outside the numbers, with Josh Morgan a few steps inside him, in the slot,

Let me guess…the Crabtree Curse caused Smith to throw an interception and then break his leg while attempting to chase down the player who intercepted the pass? The Crabtree Curse can do crazy things you know.

At the 17, Crabtree cut hard to the right, using Morgan as a bit of a pick, and Smith, set up at the Arizona 44, let fly as cornerback Bryant McFadden trailed Crabtree. The throw was a little high, but eminently catchable, and Crabtree plucked it out of the air, gave McFadden a little stiff-arm along the way, and scored to give the Niners a commanding 17-0 halftime lead during their 24-9 victory over the Cardinals.

That Michael Crabtree…it’s pretty obvious from this play the entire 49ers team is upset that he was given the exact same original contract offered by the team in mid-June when he finally wanted to sign the contract in mid-September. It’s also clear he is not even worth having on the team. Crabtree is the reason the 49ers haven't won a Super Bowl since they drafted him. It's the Crabtree Curse!

Ok, I know am supposed to be making fun of Peter King, not Gregg Easterbrook, but it’s just so easy to do.

"Great throw by Alex,'' San Francisco GM Scot McCloughan said a few minutes later, by phone from the perch in his box at press-box level.

Here goes Peter King calling up General Managers and players after a game again. I know the first thing a General Manager or player does not want to do is to talk to a reporter (if I can even call Peter that) after a big game. They probably do not eagerly await his phone call. I know Peter is more buddies with these athletes and General Managers than an actual reporter, but I still can't imagine they are eager to speak with him.

"He's making progress,'' said McCloughan, "Is he for sure the guy yet? I don't know. We've got three more games after tonight, and he needs to end the season strong. But we're encouraged. We're seeing more and more maturity, and he's growing in this system.

Translation: “We are bringing in a veteran quarterback this offseason who can run the team if Alex Smith plays well at the end of the season or not. If he does have a good performance in the last three games, we want to make sure someone can run the offense if Alex Smith forgets how to play quarterback by the beginning of the 2010 season. If Smith doesn’t have a good performance, we are probably stuck with him contractually and will need to bring in a veteran so we can all keep our jobs. We tried to bring in Kurt Warner last year and will look for a veteran QB again this year. We are not completely putting the 2010 season in the hands of Alex Smith.”

At the end of the year, the San Francisco brass -- and McCloughan surely will be back in 2010 -- will determine if Smith can make that throw consistently. My gut feel is they'll say yes, and they'll look elsewhere with their first-round pick.

Peter must mean their “picks” because they have the Carolina Panthers 1st round pick this year as well as their own. Peter knows exactly how many draft picks the Patriots have this upcoming year in the first 100 choices but he doesn’t know the 49ers have two 1st round draft choices this upcoming season. I think that pretty much sums up what I have said previously about Peter and his massive East Coast bias.

But as McCloughan said, Smith will have to play well against Philly, Detroit and St. Louis down the stretch.

Oh no! Alex Smith has to play well against the Rams and the Lions? I hope he can do that. Are the 49ers really going to base the progress of Smith on those games? No offense to those two teams, but even if Alex Smith dominates either defense does that really tell the 49ers anything of interest? The Rams and Lions are two of the worst teams in the NFL, so I would hope a good 49ers team, and offense, would not have problems beating those two teams. How well Alex Smith plays against the Eagles and (outside chance) in the playoffs this year will really tell us whether he can be counted on next year.

1. Don "Donnie Brasco'' Banks had one of the great observations of this football season the other day. With six former Super Bowl-winning coaches (Shanahan, Cowher, Holmgren, Billick, Dungy, Gruden) on the sidelines, and at least three of them serious contenders to get back in the game in January, Banks researched Super Bowl-winning coaches who left the team they won a title with and went to another team. In their NFL reincarnations, those coaches went 0-for-11 in winning a championship at their next stop or stops.

That “Donnie Brasco” moniker never actually seems clever does it?

This statistic is exactly why I wonder whether Mike Shanahan and Bill Cowher can make such a difference in their new teams next year (both are probably going to coach somewhere and command double digits in the millions for a salary and will also want a front office position of some sort). The Redskins (I think Shanahan goes there) and whoever hires Cowher are going to end up being respectable but it’s not like just hiring these guys is the key to making it back to the Super Bowl and winning the Super Bowl. Honestly, I doubt sometimes whether hiring these coaches is going to even lead to a team making the playoffs 50% of the time or not.

3. You've seen Tom Brady and Bill Belichick staunchly defend Randy Moss in the last 36 hours, and so you're thinking, "Well, maybe the media's being too hard on Moss for laying down against Carolina.'' Not true.

I am sure everyone has heard that Belichick defended Randy Moss from comments made to Boston reporters by the Panthers after the game Sunday. Belichick said:

"I have a lot of respect for Randy, I think he's one of our best players and I think if you watch other teams defend him and watch other teams play against him, they think the same way -- other than these two guys from Carolina after they lost another game. I guess they don't think that way," Belichick said. "They haven't won a lot of games now."

Really? Does Bill Belichick really respect Randy Moss? I know he is defending his player here, and I respect that, but Randy Moss didn’t run hard the entire second half and much of the second quarter on Sunday. The strategy the Panthers used against Moss to frustrate him and have him give up is a strategy others teams have used against Moss in the past, so it’s not like it is a revolutionary idea they used to shut Moss down (or let him shut himself down).

It’s fine to defend your players but neither Chris Harris nor Chris Gamble said Moss was not a good player, they just said he gave up after a while in the game…which is true. Pretty much anyone who watched the game tape saw Moss loafing, except for Merril Hoge who adheres to ESPN's strict journalism code of "Never criticize a player you may be able to interview down the road." I understand Belichick has to defend Moss or else Moss will shut down on the Patriots and it will dramatically affect their ability to win another Super Bowl, but Belichick is not stupid, he pretty much deflected the question away from Moss and turned it into sour grapes on the part of the Panthers for losing to the Patriots. He hopes to get Moss motivated by what others are saying about him rather than talking to him directly about the fact it was pretty clear he gave up during the game. Pretty much anyone watched the game noticed it. It is fine to defend your players but no one ever said Moss wasn’t a good player, it was just said that he gave up when he didn’t get the ball.

I could start going into the Boston media and how it seems sometimes like they aren’t actually covering Bill Belichick and the Patriots at times, but are more like the local chapter of the Patriots and Bill Belichick Fan Club. Maybe I am just used to the Charlotte media dislike for John Fox. It probably wouldn’t be a productive point I have so I can easily lay off that. Usually success leads to things like the media believing in a head coach more and the Boston media hasn’t been completely pro-Belichick over this Moss situation, so I keep that in my mind as well.

Belichick did have this gem of a quote though:

“You know how I feel about stats,” Belichick said. “Stats are for losers. The final score is for winners. We had games when I was with the Giants and we couldn’t hold Gary Clark under 200 yards passing. And some of those are wins. That’s the bottom line.”

I couldn’t agree more with this assessment, stats are for losers, though I am not sure how the Giants couldn’t hold Gary Clark under 200 yards passing since he was a wide receiver. I think Belichick meant “200 yards receiving” and not “passing.” I know what Belichick meant so I decided to do a little research into this.

Gary Clark had three 200 yard receiving games in his career:

1986 against the Giants he had 241 yards receiving which the Giants did indeed win this game.

1991 against the Falcons he had 203 yards receiving.

1985 against the Giants he had 193 yards receiving against the Giants and they did indeed win the game.

Bill Belichick was the defensive coordinator for both of the games where Clark either exceeded/got near 200 yards receiving. So while “games” is a bit inaccurate overall Bill Belichick was exactly right in what he said. I do think he meant “200 yards receiving” and not “passing” though. I am glad Bill Belichick is not a sportswriter because it seems like it would be hard to prove him wrong.

Ok, back to Peter King…

There's a reason Brady, desperate for another target at receiver other than Wes Welker, threw four of his 32 passes for Moss on Sunday, and went 2.5 quarters without throwing a pass Moss' way after Moss fumbled on the first play of the second quarter. It's because Moss checked out of this game, giving only marginal effort.

I know Belichick needs Moss but I find it hard to believe the rest of the Patriots team finds this type behavior acceptable. Don’t you think Wes Welker wants to strangle Moss? No matter what Tom Brady said in the media about Chris Gamble, he probably wanted to strangle Moss as well. I see why Belichick defends Moss, and that’s because he needs him, but I find it kind of asshole-ish that Belichick has to throw cheap shots at another team in doing so.

From Tom Alexanderof Asheville, N.C.: "How will Peyton Manning sitting out the next three weeks affect your opinion for MVP?''

If Manning sits out all three games and the Colts go 3-0 then I would probably have to re-think whether Peyton Manning is the MVP or not. Manning would have missed 18.75% of the season and it wouldn’t seem to affect the Colts too adversely so I think that would shed some light on how valuable Manning is in my mind.

PK: I don't know. I have to see how the other contenders play in the last three weeks, and how Manning plays, and how much he plays. I'm not sure it'll change my thought process. At first glance, Manning has led the Colts' to homefield advantage through the AFC playoffs and gotten his team to 13-0 and is contending to have the most accurate passing season ever while breaking in two new receivers with a poor running game and a so-so offensive line.

That’s all well and good, but if Curtis Painter shows that he would have been capable of doing nearly as well as Manning (which I don’t expect) wouldn’t this be of some importance when determining if Manning is MVP or not? I am not saying Manning doesn’t deserve the MVP if he sits the last three weeks, I would have a small internal personal discussion if I were Peter King as to whether a player should get the MVP if he can play 100% of the games in a year and chooses not to though. In the NFL, missing three games is a fairly big deal.

But let's see how the last three weeks play out, and how Drew Brees, Brett Favre and Philip Rivers play down the stretch.

I don’t see how looking at the other players who are in contention for Peter’s coveted MVP award is going to tell us if Peyton Manning was valuable to the Colts or not. Wouldn’t looking at how the Colts do without Manning starting be an equally good sign as to how valuable he is to the team?

From Bob Block of Princeton, N.J.: "As bad as the Giants defense was on Sunday night, the Eagles defense was worse. Aren't you concerned that Eagles will need to outscore the Saints, Vikings or Cardinals in the playoffs?''

I mean of course Bob. Simply because Peter was praising the Eagles in his MMQB this week and completely neglected to mention that he is concerned with their defense in the playoffs in his weekly 5 page and 10,000 word column doesn’t mean he isn’t concerned. It’s just he didn’t have time to mention this concern while he was doling out coffee related tidbits and complaining about people putting deodorant on in public. What is Peter to you? A machine? He can only type so much and his thoughts in a football column about coffee, deodorant, and which “Office” episode of all-time takes precedent over any football-related concerns such as the fact the Eagles gave up a ton of yards and 38 points. Peter was just trying to accentuate the positive by failing to mention how bad the Eagles were defensively. Clearly Peter is concerned even if he never actually said he was and only spoke negatively about the Giants defense on Monday and didn’t speak the same way about the Eagles defense.

Well, of course. You don't give a struggling quarterback like Eli Manning a 391-yard night and you don't give any team 512 yards without being concerned.

Again, Peter was so concerned he didn’t even mention it.

I am going to break this next question by a reader into parts:

From Randy of New York: "It occured to me the other day that under the concussion rules the NFL just adopted, the Giants would have had to play the majority of Super Bowl XXV with Matt Cavanaugh at quaterback.

It’s good to see neither Randy from New York, Peter, or Peter’s editor caught the “quaterback” misspelling. Also, this statement is absolutely true, which is exactly why teams will lie about concussions if given the opportunity.

Rather than risk the possibility of this year's game turning into the Jim Sorgi Bowl, don't you think the NFL would be wise to allow for a little flexibility in allowing players to re-enter a game after suffering a mild concussion. Perhaps players should be asked, ahead of time, to sign a waiver in which they choose which situations they are willing to re-enter a game.

I think this is a dumb idea. 90% of football players would say, “put me down for any and all situations for me to come back in the game.” Or what if the players can only choose 5 situations when he could re-enter the game, so then it becomes a game of the player choosing which injury he may have in the game? The waiver idea = not good.

I'm sure that Peyton Manning would declare that he is willing to re-enter the Super Bowl even after suffering from reasonably mild concussion symptoms.''

As would nearly every other NFL player, which would mean the NFL has in no way solved its concussion problem among the players because all players will choose to play even if they have a mild concussion.


Randy, I understand how this looks namby-pamby.


He's not, and that's why it has to be taken out of his hands and put in the hands of a neurologist who understands the long-term effects of this stuff.

I am not against the NFL implementing the policy a neurologist has to check out a player before he can re-enter the game. I just can’t wait for the first time a team claims a neurologist kept the starting quarterback out of the game when he could have gone back in the game, which led to the team losing an important game. I can just feel like this will happen. I also can’t wait for the time when the team intimidates a neurologist to put a player with a mild concussion back in the game. I wish I had all the solutions like Peter thinks he does.

-Gregg Doyel hates women playing in the NBA and I can’t say I disagree with him.

Let's be courteous enough -- to both genders -- to speak honestly here: A woman will never play in the NBA.

I completely agree, it is just a different game. In fact, I think the biggest problem the WNBA has is that it attempts to market itself to fans who like the NBA by indirectly comparing the WNBA to the NBA. The WNBA constantly wants to compare itself to the NBA instead of being satisfied of standing on its own, which is why many people view the WNBA with such disdain. They see it as a lesser form of the NBA, rather than a league of women basketball players who have a skill set different from NBA players. If the WNBA would find a way to market the league to focus on and celebrate the differences, maybe the WNBA would have a long-term shot at succeeding.

When a woman dunks a basketball the bottom line is that this won’t impress NBA fans if that is the market the WNBA are looking towards for viewership.

Is it sexist to notice David Stern's stupefying attempt at political correctness? Is it sexist to say that -- at the top of the food chain -- the biggest, strongest, fastest, most explosive woman is neither big, strong, fast nor explosive enough to play in the NBA?

It could be seen as sexist but it can also be seen as completely accurate. David Stern just made this comment to publicize women’s basketball a little bit. Remember the NBA has a stake in the WNBA doing well.

Look, in certain settings, a woman can outplay a man in basketball. Hell, a woman has outplayed me in basketball (not that it's all that hard).

I got outplayed at basketball by a woman one time as well. Granted it didn’t help me that I couldn’t box her out because she consistently complained that I was boxing her out too physically and that when she drove to the basket around a pick one time I fouled her hard (while going for ball) which led to a near brawl and later to me being tripped running fast break by one of her female teammates in retaliation. (Apparently fouling while going for the ball is unacceptable but to trip a defenseless person while he is dribbling is quite all right in the unwritten rules of women’s basketball. I am not a jerk but don’t play basketball with guys if you don’t want to have a little physical contact)

I even got my ass handed to me 6-0, 6-0 where I scored 7 total points when I was 16 years old in a tennis match against a woman (and I am not bad at tennis), so I can respect that women can play sports well.

Yet again, I digress…

At Tennessee, coach Pat Summitt sharpens her team by pitting it against male practice players -- decent players, guys who were good in high school -- and I bet her team routinely kicks the testosterone out of those guys. Her players are among the national elite, and a nationally elite college woman will outplay a decent dude from high school almost every time.

Exactly. Elite women’s players can kick the ass of even a good male basketball player, but these are elite women’s players not going up against elite men’s basketball players when Tennessee practices against high school basketball players. I am not saying a woman wouldn’t be able to be on an NBA team, I am saying either I have never seen that woman play yet or she won’t get a lot of playing time.

But I would like you to show me the woman who can compete with James' teammate, Jamario Moon, a 6-foot-8 helicopter who shoots 35 percent from 3-point range. He's a physical beast, the top 1 percent of 1 percent of athletes in the world ... and he's just an average NBA player.

There are many sports where an elite woman could compete with an elite man but basketball just isn’t one of them. I hate to sound like a sexist, but it is true. There is just too much of a gap in the athleticism between the two genders when it comes to hoops. A woman could probably beat me at basketball, but I am not an elite basketball player so I am not a good comparison.

A woman can't compete in the NBA.

I don’t even know why this discussion came up originally and I don’t know if David Stern was serious when he said he could see this happening or he was just trying to hype up women’s basketball a little bit. I respect women’s basketball but I don’t think women’s basketball will be taken seriously while it is constantly getting compared to men’s basketball and I also don’t believe it does anyone any good to speculate a WNBA player could make a real contribution on an NBA team.


KentAllard said...

Bad news for everyone. With Gradkowski out, the Raiders have elected not to give us Jamarcus, and will start Charlie Frye instead. They also stole J.P. Losman from the UFL and have indicated he may now be #2. The bastards.

For some reason, the longer he's out of coaching, the less I see Tony Dungy as a great coach.

The summer before I started college, I had made it up to #2 in my state's tennis amateur rankings (not that competitive a state), and I got brutally beaten by a tiny-for-her-age 12-year-old girl 6-0,6-0. She steamrolled me unmercifully, then told me I played a great match when we shook hands. This does not mean Venus Williams could beat Roger Federer, it just means I once briefly contemplated hitting a child with a tennis racket.

ivn said...

to add to the "a good female athlete schooled me" war stories:

last year I played in a coed pickup soccer game at my college. I played center back on club teams when I was growing up (if it weren't for my ankles I could probably walk on at least on my college's team, but I digress). well there was a Korean girl (who played on the women's team) who was playing striker on the other team and made a complete fool out of me twice: she nutmegged me on one play and wound up scoring, then later drew me out to the sideline, pulled a nasty spin move, and crossed it into empty space to her teammate who headed it in. and she was only a substitute on the school's team (then again, I was playing on bad ankles and wasn't quite in game shape--thank you cigarettes--so it's a more or less an outlier).

re: the Raiders, well they made the right choice. I was visiting a friend in Virginia last weekend and watched the Raiders-Redskins game and the team collapsed once JaMarcus came in. the guy really can't do anything right.

Bengoodfella said...

It think the Raiders are just purposely holding back the JaMarcus Russell experience for us. I am not happy about this. The Raiders love to collect young QB's who didn't have it easy in their last stops don't they?

I think the same thing about Dungy. It's not that I don't think he was a good coach, but I can't help but notice how both of his teams have done since he left.

I hate it when an opponent told me I played a great match when I know I didn't. It wasn't their fault, but I don't need them to be kind to me at that point.

I got absolutely murdered by this girl and it was a match set up simply to make my (admittedly) big head a little bit smaller. I pretty much thought I had refined my game to be unbeatable by recreation league tournament tennis players and my coach set up the match to show me I am a dumbass. It worked...

Ivn, nice story. My sister was a great soccer player also and she could run circles around me on the field if she wanted to...though I never gave her the opportunity. That's one sport women could possibly compete with men I think, but I could be wrong.

The point is that women can play sports well, but basketball at the NBA level is just not a sport women can play on par with men. I hate to say it, but I feel it's true.

I think Russell should get a shot with an organization that has it's shit together, but I am not sure how much of a difference it would make. It just doesn't feel like Russell is bad because of the system in Oakland to me. I could be wrong though...

Bass said...

New England perspective here...Randy got murdered early this week by the local media. Absolutely murdered.

One thing about Randy...if he "gives up", he's still getting deep safety help rolled over the top on almost every play, allowing Welker a ton of freedom. Unfortunately, now that there's no third WR worth a crap, the Pats can't fully exploit it.

Also, put him in man to man if you think he gave up and watch what happens. Eyes light up like the friggin sun.

Also, I'd love to see what woman could play on the same court as Dwight Howard. I'm looking at you, Rebecca Lobo...

ivn said...

BGF: eh I dunno about that. Granted a lot of soccer is about speed and dexterity (and most male footballers are smaller and leaner than, say, male basketball players or hockey players) but I don't know if how many women would be able to handle the more physical aspects of the game (ie competing in the air for long balls and corners or being able to muscle defenders off the ball close to the box). I probably could have knocked that Korean girl around if I happened to be the kind of dick who takes pickup games too seriously.

and in basketball, there's no contest. Candace Parker led the WNBA in rebounds and has been listed as a forward/center (which would make her maybe the premier post player in the league)...and she's 6'4 and weighs 175 pounds, which means she isn't even as big as Jason Richardson.

Martin F. said...

Actually, the guy makes a mistake about Pat Summits team of male players. The males who practice with them aren't allowed to dunk, jump to block shots, and one other fairly important thing that I can't remember (it might be no alley oop type plays even without a dunk). They are there to help practice, and yet Summit has to put in place rules that keep the male players from physically altering the style of basketball the lady players face. I think once a year the male players play the female team in a real game/scrimmage, with those rules in place, and they STILL beat the womens team on occassion.

I'm 6'4" and was a sub on my high school team, have played against female players several times, and it wasn't even close to being competitive. The only players who were closely matched were the point guards, cause they were usually about the same size. One some 6'3" lanky guy was tossed out there, the 5'6" female point guard was as ineffective. The complete disproportion of guys with skill over 6 feet, and women is what kills the whole comparison.

Bengoodfella said...

Bass, I didn't know he got murdered, I must have just read the stuff where people defended him or at least were neutral on it. The Panthers still had a safety rolling over the top of him sometimes, that's true, but I didn't see the effort he usually gives when he is trying. The Panthers don't play a lot of man so he wasn't going to see a lot of that anyway.

Rebecca Lobo couldn't make an NBA roster.

Maybe in soccer all women couldn't compete but I think some women could compete on a higher level than in a couple other sports like basketball. I think Gregg Doyel is exactly right because there is no way a woman could handle the NBA in my mind. At least no women's basketball player I have ever seen play.

Martin, I did not know the men were not allowed to take advantage of some of the physical gifts they have in Summit's practices. That's interesting for sure. That doesn't seem like real basketball or a real scrimmage.

I think the height differential, like you said, is what would kill them. A tall woman is a shooting guard in the men's game. It's just a different game and I think the WNBA should market differently. I don't know why David Stern made that comment and I have to wonder if he really believes it or not.

The Girl said...

I haven't commented in awhile, but I figure I can contribute a former female basketball player's (does HS count?) perspective to the Doyel article. He's right. It's completely ludicrous to think that a female can play in the NBA. I doubt even David Stern truly believes that, but like you mention BGF, the NBA is invested in the success of the WNBA so you have to take that kind of nonsense with a grain of salt.

I'm a fan of women's college basketball- I understand the game, and I'm familiar with the major programs and elite players. I don't follow the WNBA, but I still recognize most of the names from the college game. That being said, even my favorite female players, the absolute elite of the elite in the women's game, couldn't compete in the NBA. It's pretty much a physicality issue- even the NBA players that ride the bench are bigger, stronger, and faster (to a degree). Most can probably dunk. I actually read Rebecca Lobo's book when I was in middle school, and one of the things that stuck with me was when she described a time she played a pickup game with the UConn men's team and promptly got her nose broken by Donyell Marshall's(?) elbow. I am pretty sure she described their style of play as being way faster and way more aggressive. Multiply that times 10 in the NBA.

I am actually fearful that David Stern will use the whole "oh look we have a woman in the NBA" as some kind of publicity stunt in the not too distant future, which I think would be a real detriment to the women's game. I don't think female basketball players are best served by riding the bench as some kind of weird sideshow/experiment in a game that is just too big/physical for them. I think the WNBA has a lot of problems to fix and I'm not sure why it would be a good idea to pull some kind of gimmick like a woman playing in the NBA before they tried to fix those issues first.

rich said...

Since finals are finally over (why did I go back to school?), so I'll address this:

The conclusion is that I am not down on Alex Smith but he does need to step it up soon. My other conclusion is that some of these same excuses can be made for JaMarcus Russell but I don’t want to hear anything about this because I want to continue to make fun of Russell. I can’t let the reality he isn’t in a good situation get in the way of that.

There are two huge discrepencies between Russell and Smith. First, I refuse to believe Russell has talent. I hate to be cliche, but he has a canon for an arm, but other than that he has nothing. He's too fat to run effectively, he's not accurate, he still locks onto WRs and he seems incapable of reading zones.

Can you use some of the excuses that are made for Campbell and Smith to defend Russell? Sure, but you'd look pretty silly. Smith and Campbell haven't exactly lit the world on fire, but they've at least shown flashes here and there of what they could be capable of. So basically with relatively the same excuses, Campbell and Smith are improving and show signs of being competent/good, while Russell looks like he's never thrown a football before.

The other reason Russell will continue to be ridiculed is that his work ethic sucks. He's the black Jared Lorenzen now and I think he was quoted as saying he was okay with being benched, which is pathetic. From what I've heard, Campbell and Smith put in the work to improve and learn the new systems, Russell doesn't seem to.

So basically, no talent and a piss poor work ethic. J-Russ, the worst number 1 pick ever?

rich said...

I probably should have said something like:

"Bengoodfella, I take no offense to your words and offer you this comforting analysis about J-Russ' ineptitude."

Didn't mean to sound pissy, I haven't seen my bed in 3 days.

Anonymous said...

Heh, I went on a rant @ Football Outsiders about the whole J. Russell situation. Took me an hour to write! So you know I've said my piece...

A note, the Atlanta minor league hockey franchise did this stunt of having a female goalie (Manon Rheome) start as a stunt. A stupid flop as exepected.

I thought through this exercise of what sports females can compete in. When it comes right down to practicalities, the Williams sisters are the closest to male tennis talent of any female sports stars. Then comes the golfers. Then a female can definitly do knuckleball pitcher. Lastly and most wierdly, a good female athlete is feasibly close to reality to play option quarterback in the NFL--speedy decision making and durability is all that's really asked for.

Of course, as I've remarked in a feminist web site, the real scandal is not female players--So Stern can play around without fear. The real scandal is that there are probably female *coaches* that can outdo guys, everything from offensive coordinator to basketball coaches.

I've never been schooled by a woman. I've never played a sport that didn't cater to my size (big) and speed (fast).


KentAllard said...

A few years back, Serena Williams played an exhibition match against a Frenchman ranked #100 (She had made a statement that she could beat the #100 on the men's side). She lost 6-0,6-0. It was memorable because the Frenchman smoked cigarettes on the changeovers. After the match, Serena said maybe she could handle someone lower ranked, and her opponent shrugged and said wait a month until he lost his French Open points, and he would be ranked in the high 200s.

The Casey said...

Rich - I think Lorenzen is a better QB than JaMarcus. I was always kind of disappointed he never really got a chance to show what he could do.

Bengoodfella said...

I am glad we got a female athlete's perspective on this. I am not just glad because you basically confirmed what I had thought, that it would be really hard for a woman to compete with men in the NBA. It would be hard for 99% of men to compete in the NBA with the physicality that is present. I had never heard that story about Donyell Marshall breaking Rebecca Lobo's nose.

The biggest problem with the WNBA in my mind is a marketing problem. Women's college basketball is fairly popular, but I think even they could do something different to differentiate from men's basketball. The women's college basketball could try and not show their NCAA Tournament at the same time as the men's. It's hard for anything to compete with the NCAA Tournament and I don't think putting the Women's NCAA Tournament head-on with the men's tournament does the women's game any justice.

I really believe there could be some things done that would tweak the popularity of women's basketball, but I also think David Stern making statements like this only puts the absurdity of the statement in people's mind which will cause many people to consider to believe women's basketball is an inferior sport, when in fact it is a different sport from men's basketball. Making statements like David Stern made doesn't serve a positive purpose in my mind.

Rich, I was just trying to be fair to JaMarcus Russell since I bash him a fair amount. I don't want to give up on him, but you are right that he doesn't seem to have the work ethic and accuracy necessary to be an NFL quarterback. Russell was drafted because he looked like he had talent and had a good arm, so it is almost unfair to him since he was probably a 2nd round pick that got picked 1st overall.

I will continue to believe Russell is a bust but I am not going to completely give up on him. He is not a good comparison to Vince Young since Young's problems seemed more mental and the right OC can effectively use his talents. You didn't sound pissy, you had a point and tried to prove it. Honestly, I have never seen even flashes of brilliance from Russell, but I liked some of what I saw in Alex Smith the other night.

Shah, that's the problem. Putting a woman in the goal for a hockey game is a stunt and is seen as being one. It is actually demeaning in some ways because it is an exercise in saying, "hey look, she can't keep up."

The Williams sisters hit the ball hard and I would love to see them play more men, just to see what the match is like. I prefer women's tennis to men's tennis honestly, I think it is just a better game. Women golfers can keep up with men in ways on the golf course. I would say softball would be another sport women can beat men at, but also partly because women play more fast pitch softball than men do.

As far as the coaching aspect of it. I have always said I really want to see Pat Summitt coach a men's college basketball team. I would like to see that and just see how she does. It's a possibility there are qualified women to coach men's athletics. Definitely.

Kent, I had never heard that story. That is amazing to me because I would think Serena could beat a man of that ranking. I am a little surprised.

Bengoodfella said...

We have a Jared Lorenzen fan here! I wonder how much heavier Lorenzen really is than JaMarcus Russell. I bet at their peak they weighed nearly the same.

NFL draft said...

The NFL Draft

is creating a partnership with researchers at Boston University who are studying the long-term effects of brain injuries on players, the Associated Press reported.
“It’s huge that the NFL Draft
actively gets behind this research,” Robert Cantu, the co-director of the school’s research program, told the AP. “It forwards the research. It allows players to realize the NFL Draft is concerned about the possibility that they could have this problem and that the NFL Draft is doing everything it can to find out about the risks and the preventive strategies that can be implemented.”