Q & A and direct from Baseball America.

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Re: Q & A and direct from Baseball America.

Post  RedMagma on Wed Jan 09, 2008 12:00 pm

Chat with Mel Kiper

http://proxy.espn.go.com/chat/chatESPN?event_id=18745
Welcome to The Show! On Wednesday, Mel Kiper Jr. will drop by to talk about the bowl game matchups, the NFL, the draft and any other questions you might have about the gridiron.

Send your questions now and join Mel this Wednesday at 1 p.m. ET!

Kiper Archive: Chats | Columns

SportsNation Buzzmaster: (1:00 PM ET ) We've got Mel!

SportsNation Mel Kiper: (1:03 PM ET ) We've seen a lot of juniors declare. We've got a lot more we're waiting on. This talented crop of juniors should make this draft a good one.

Jason (Indiana): Mel, Now since Rashard Mendenhall declared for the draft where do you see him being picked?

SportsNation Mel Kiper: (1:04 PM ET ) First of all, what other junior RBs will come out? Kevin Smith changed his mind and now he's coming out. There is a talented group of junior RBs. The senior group is not that deep. Chris Johnson is an early to mid second. All these juniors will probably move ahead of the seniors. If Medenhall can run a sub 4.5 40, he can be in that late first round mix. More than likely a second rounder, but he'll be in that late first mix.

Jamie (Utica, NY): Hey Mel. Who would you have the Bears selecting as of right now with the 14th pick? Im thinking Brohm, Baker or a safety. Thanks.

SportsNation Mel Kiper: (1:06 PM ET ) They need OL help. They have to solidify the QB position. But after you failed with Grossman, do you want to go back with another young QB. Brohm will be there when they pick. He's the second rated QB behind Matt Ryan. There are no junior QBs of quality. OL, if you're looking at Ryan Clady, Sam Baker, there will be a chance there's a pretty good OL there when the Bears pick. OL is their major need.

DAN (NEW yORK0: Where do you project Ray Rice to go now that he has declared?

SportsNation Mel Kiper: (1:07 PM ET ) I'd say more second round. He's kind of a Joe Morris when he came out of Syracuse, that type of back. Low center of gravity. Compact. Good vision. That burst in traffic. Very productive. I think he'll be in that second round mix. He's one of those very good junior RBs.

Tanner (DC): What are the chances the Redskins go for Limas Sweed in the first round? Do you think he'd be a good fit? They need to add youth, size, and big play ablility to the WR core and he seems to fit all the needs. Will he even be available then? Thanks Mel, love the chats!

SportsNation Mel Kiper: (1:08 PM ET ) Sweed is probably still going to be in the first round mix, depending on the medical. Had he played all year, he'd be a solid first rounder. The Redskins need a WR, but they also need a DL. DL and WR are the two key need areas for this team. If you're looking at WR, it's not just Sweed, we have to see how many of the juniors come out. The No. 1 junior is DeSean Jackson from Cal.

Chris (NYC): Mel, Is there a chance Chris Long will be there for the Jets at 6, or would they have to move up a couple spots? It seems they'd have to, he's the perfect fit for the 3-4 front.

SportsNation Mel Kiper: (1:10 PM ET ) I'd be very surprised if he's there at 6. He's the kind of guy that goes in the top 3 or 4. He's got great attitude, great character. He's one of the elite three guys in this draft. Adrian Peterson was one of the top three last year and slipped to 7, I don't see that happening. It did happen, but I don't see that happening this year. DL's are prioritized and a lot of teams need them this year.

PT (Franklin, NC): Do you think the Raiders may look to trade back and pick up a playmaking WR with one of the choices acquired?

SportsNation Mel Kiper: (1:12 PM ET ) I don't know about the Raiders trading back in. But Oakland needs a DT. Sapp is retiring. That's their No. 1 need. They have no stellar WR. They need weapons around Russell. You have a young QB that you're trying to develop into a franchise QB, you need some weapons. They don't have a bluechip RB on this team and Justin Fargas is a free agent. They're all average. Fargas is a good guy to have in the mix, but you need a 1-2 punch. Michael Bush is the X factor in that.

SportsNation Mel Kiper: (1:13 PM ET ) I'm going to have my first first round projection of the year will be on Tuesday, Jan. 22 on ESPN.com. The first Big Board involving all the juniors will be up next Friday, Jan. 18.

Martin (Middletown CT): Does Kansas' Aqib Talib fall to Dallas at 21 or 22? They need to add depth to the corner spot.

SportsNation Mel Kiper: (1:15 PM ET ) If you're looking for someone at the 21, 22 spot, you're not going to see Talib there. He's going to be the first CB taken in this draft. If you're looking for a CB that can also help you in the return game, and you did good with a Troy kid in Demarcus Ware, they can go back to Troy and get Leodis McKelvin. He would make sense as a guy in the 20s. Talib goes in the top 10. He's the first CB drafted.

Tom (Oakland, CA): Hey Mel - where do you see Joe Flacco going in this draft? Im a long time niners fan and with their recent aquisition of Mike Martz to run the offese, I he would be a perfect fit in that vertical passing game... plus, I jsut dont think that Alex Smith will ever pan out. Do you think we could grab him in the early 3rd?

SportsNation Mel Kiper: (1:17 PM ET ) Yeah, he would. Joe Flacco is the kind of guy that would interest teams in the second round. People don't realize just how big he is. He's 6-6, 235. Talk about seeing the field. The ball explodes off his hand. He doesn't even need to see the feet set properly. The ball gets to where it needs to go with great velocity. He'll have the strongest arm in the draft. Better than Matt Ryan. He goes no later than the second round.

Tim: (Indiana, PA): James Laurinaitis is so overated. Did he play in the Sugar Bowl beacuse i sure did'nt see the best LB in college football?

SportsNation Mel Kiper: (1:20 PM ET ) He's been consistent. He did not have a great game. But Tim, remember, last year and this year, this team had to wait 51 days to play a football game. There is going to be rust, there's going to be bad tackling. You can't have a 51 game layoff and be ready to go. The game was evident of that. The college postseason is a joke. OSU had two weeks more off than LSU. People say they should be more prepared for the 51 day layoff, since they had it last year. There's no way to prepare for that. 51 days is ridiculous. I'm not going to give them a total free pass for the way they played. The end result of that is he's in a battle right now to see who is the best ILB in college, him or Rey Maualuga. Rey had a great game. He played better in his bowl game. And we'll have to see who comes out early.

SportsNation Mel Kiper: (1:21 PM ET ) Laurinaitis had consistent week to week grades when they were actually playing every week. He is a phenomenal talent. But right now Maualuga is neck and neck in terms of their grades.

Jim (MA): Who will the Pats target with the 7th pick?

SportsNation Mel Kiper: (1:22 PM ET ) They have to wait and see who's there. What juniors come out. Who's there. They have a problem right now with adding youth at LB. That's No. 1. WR too. They could lose Stallworth. They'd have to think about adding another WR. You would also think about, even though Maroney ran well late in the year, adding another RB. They could lose Samuel, so CB is another possibility. But the No. 1 need is LB. Laurinaitis and Maualuga are two guys they would need to evaluate.

Ryan (Madison, WI): How is the depth at linebacker in the draft this year? What do you think of guys like Beau Bell or Bryan Kehl?

SportsNation Mel Kiper: (1:25 PM ET ) In terms of overall, it's pretty good. The senior group - Dan Connor, Keith Rivers, Ali Highsmith and three guys that are 3-4 type LBs - Shawn Crable, Bruce Davis and Taylor. Then if you go to the juniors, that's where a lot of talent could be filtering in - Lofton, Laurinaitis, Beckwith, Jarod Mayo, Maualuga, Brian Cushing, Sean Lee, Erin Henderson, Geno Hayes, Marcus Freeman, Clint Sintim.

SportsNation Mel Kiper: (1:25 PM ET ) That junior group and senior group, you put them all together and you have a good group.

JR (Stratford, CT): Tell me that 2008 is the year that the Steelers FINALLY add some quality RB depth...I love Willie Parker as much as anyone, but he's not the most durable guy in the world. And it's just embarrassing to have to rely on Najeh Davenport in a playoff game.

SportsNation Mel Kiper: (1:27 PM ET ) When you look at this team right now, what Pittsburgh needs, they could use another RB, but they don't have a lot of needs that jump off the page at you. They could use an OL, preferably a C/G combo guy. They could use another WR, some depth at LB and they could add another RB later in the draft. They'll have a chance to look at an RB this year. If those junior RBs come out, they'll have a chance to get some of those guys at a bargain.

ryan (cleveland, ohio): the browns have no first round pick and need to beef up their d-line for the 3-4 scheme. who should they look at?

SportsNation Mel Kiper: (1:29 PM ET ) First of all, they have a couple of areas. The biggest need is NT or DT. This is a 3-4 team that has no stud on the front three. They could also use another OLB. No quality No. 3 WR. They don't have great No. 2 option. They have no depth at WR. Their two biggest needs are WR and DL. You're a 3-4 team, you need to strengthen the DL. And multiple picks at the DL.

SportsNation Mel Kiper: (1:30 PM ET ) A couple of second round names - Marcus Harrison, Trevor Laws. For WRs, Donnie Avery, Josh Morgan. And we have to wait to see where Early Doucet ends up. If he falls into the second round, he could be a guy too.

Joe (NY): Big fan Mel, draft day is my favorite day of the year. Do you think that the Jets aren't convinced Kellen Clemens is the answer at QB? He wasn't very impressive although just a rookie. Any chance they pick my boy Matty Ice? WIll he still be there at 6? Thanks.

SportsNation Mel Kiper: (1:33 PM ET ) In terms of the draft, you just drafted Clemens not too long ago. What has happened, they have to assess that internally. He hasn't shown enough to guarantee it yet, but he's still young. And it's not like he has a lot of weapons to throw to. DE, OLB, WR and OL are key needs for them. They don't have a difference maker at OLB. A DE in that 3-4. Those are the areas you're looking at. Evaluating Clemens, you have to look at the WR spot. They don't have a big time WR. That's something they have to look at. If you want to evaluate Clemens, put some weapons around him. And they need a bluechip on the DL and an impact LB.

SportsNation Mel Kiper: (1:34 PM ET ) Cleveland had Anderson and he was a sixth round pick by the Ravens. They weren't sure about him and they drafted Brady Quinn. Now they have a very good problem of having two QBs that they like. Anderson was a young, intriguing QB but hadn't shown enough to say that he's our guy. I think they would have to protect themselves, with a veteran QB in the mix.

Matt (Fairfax, VA): Who are the 5 players that boosted their draft value in the bowl games? Conversely, anyone's stock drop significantly?

SportsNation Mel Kiper: (1:38 PM ET ) Bruce Davis, DE/LB from UCLA; Chris Johnson, RB E. Carolina; Jamaal Charles, RB Texas; Jamie Silva, S BC; Erik Ainge, QB Tennessee; Rey Maualuge, LB USC; Rashard Mendenhall, RB Illinois; Marcus Howard, DE Georgia; Chris Chamberlain, LB Tulsa all helped themselves.

SportsNation Mel Kiper: (1:39 PM ET ) Colt Brennan, QB Hawaii; Dorian Bryant, WR Purdue; Andre Woodson, QB Kentucky, even though his numbers were good, that slow delivery was evident in the win against FSU.

Mike (Gaithersburg, MD): McFadden is the number 1 runningback, but who is 2nd? Mendenhall? Stewart? Someone else?

SportsNation Mel Kiper: (1:41 PM ET ) Right now you have to wait and see how these juniors run and see how they clock out. Right now, I would say McFadden and then it's a wide open situation. Stewart, Felix Jones, Mendenhall. The guy that's a great runner, but not as explosive is Kevin Smith. And you don't want to overlook Chris Johnson from East Carolina. He had 418 all purpose yards against Boise State. He runs well, can catch it and returns kicks. He's going to run in the 4.3s. Let's not forget what type of year he had. I think he's moved ahead of Mike Hart as the No. 1 senior RB. He's at worst a second round pick.

Stephen (Los Angeles): Please tell me Pete won't leave the riches that is USC for the dump that is the Falcons.

SportsNation Mel Kiper: (1:45 PM ET ) I'd be very surprised. You listen to Pete Carroll's own words, he says he gets 12 first round picks every year at USC, and only one in the NFL. Look at him on the field, running around and happy with the kids. He keeps it a very fun, relaxed atmosphere. I think college is the right place for him. He could go down when his career is over with some of the great coaches in the game. In the NFL, you have to deal with the salary cap, free agency, the draft. In college, you answer to no one. You only have to work hard 7 months out of the year. I don't see the point. He's been there and done it. If I were an NFL team, I wouldn't hire a college coach. You know Carroll loves college football, I wouldn't be interested in a college coach. If I were in his shoes, I don't know what he's thinking, I can just say what I think off of what I see, he's got a stockpile of talent, he's competing every year. He's living out in southern California. You only get a few weeks off a year in the NFL. He loves to recruit, so he doesn't see recruiting as a problem.

Joe *Cincinnati*: In every mock I've seen the Bengals select either Sed Ellis or Laurinaitis. Say both are available who would you take for the Bengals?

SportsNation Mel Kiper: (1:47 PM ET ) The biggest thing they need is they have to add a DT. A disruptive force and a big time run stuffer. They don't have any top drawer LBs. In the front seven, you need DT help and LB help at all three spots. That's where you have to go. And, are you going to count on Chris Henry every year as your third WR? A little more help at WR. A pass catching TE wouldn't be that bad either to help out Carson Palmer. They have some offensive issues and mainly defensive issues.

SportsNation Mel Kiper: (1:48 PM ET ) Ellis, Laurinaitis, Maualuga are the names of guys you're talking about in that spot.

Matt (Detroit, MI): Can you comment on Chad Henne? He has a huge arm, big body, maybe a bit too immobile. Where do you see him fitting in?

SportsNation Mel Kiper: (1:50 PM ET ) I think Chad is a very intriguing guy because he's very inconsistent. You see times when you say he's throwing the ball around very well. Then other times you see him erractic in throwing the ball. He's a pocket guy. He's got a phenomenal arm. He's just inconsistent. He's a hit or miss guy. You could catch lightning in a bottle and you could have a good QB in the NFL. But what you are in college is how you are in the NFL. More than likely, if he has a chance to be a starting QB in the NFL, he'll be very average. But that arm in workouts will impress some people. He could go as high as the second or third round or he could go fifth or sixth.

Rupert M - Atlanta: Hi Mel - love the draft - what players in the later rounds to you see being steals? Do you see someone like castille out of alabama falling that far and surpising people?

SportsNation Mel Kiper: (1:51 PM ET ) Castille's problem is that he lacks recovery speed. When he's beaten, he's beaten. Can he move inside to a safety spot? Can he play in certain schemes? Maybe a Cover 2 scheme he could handle. Making up ground, recovery speed is concerning.

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Re: Q & A and direct from Baseball America.

Post  RedMagma on Wed Jan 09, 2008 12:16 pm

A few weeks back, I read a mailbag question on MLBTRADERUMORS.COM asking the question:

“If the Red Sox trade away Coco Crisp, should it/does it matter that the Sox will have no African Americans?”

I KNOW in my heart Theo doesn’t care what ethnicity one is, nor do 99% of true Red Sox fans. I did a little research and found something else surprising. In the history of baseball, not one player was born in the continent of Africa… http://www.baseball-reference.com/bio/

Another interesting fact, our own Lee Smith was the pitching coach of the South African World Baseball Classic team that almost upset Canada in 2006.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/South_Africa_national_baseball_team



Could the continent of Africa be a future goldmine of talent?
QUOTE(Cement Head @ Jan 7 2008, 09:07 PM) *
[“If the Red Sox trade away Coco Crisp, should it/does it matter that the Sox will have no African Americans?”

No, and Gordon Edes from 2003 says hi.

Remember this dustup from the ezboard on Edes' column?

Edes' column is no longer available online on the Globe's web site, but here's the text:

The Boston Globe
February 18, 2003

ON BASEBALL / GORDON EDES;
“ROSTER IS A BIT WEAK IN ONE AREA ROSTER IS RATHER LACKING IN THIS AREA”

FORT MYERS, Fla. - For the first time since the Red Sox became the last team in major league baseball to integrate when Pumpsie Green made his debut in 1959, the team does not have a single African-American projected to be an everyday position player or a member of the starting rotation.

The Red Sox have two African-Americans on their coaching staff - hitting coach Ron Jackson and first base coach Dallas Williams, both hired this winter. Williams replaced Tommy Harper, another African-American and former Sox player.

They also are preparing within the next week or two to announce the hiring of an African-American on the director level of baseball operations, replacing Kent Qualls, who quietly was let go last December.

But they have only three African-Americans on their 40-man major league roster - journeyman relief pitcher Willie Banks, reserve outfielder Adrian Brown, and utilityman Damian Jackson. A fourth African-American, former top prospect Dernell Stenson, was taken off the roster Saturday to make room for new acquisition Kevin Millar.

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Re: Q & A and direct from Baseball America.

Post  RedMagma on Wed Jan 09, 2008 12:19 pm

What are your thoughts on Brad Suttle ? He's best pure hitter in last year draft . He did struggle in Hwl.

Eric (Albany): Jim- Does it bother you that teams (NYY, Boston, whoever) think that they should be able to keep their top prospects and still acquire talent like Erik Bedard and Johan Santana? If you want either of these two you better be coming with your #1 prospect to start.

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:18 PM ET ) Doesn't bother me. The Twins don't have to make a trade they don't like. Of course, with everyone knowing they can't re-sign Santana after 2008, it does undercut their bargaining position.

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Re: Q & A and direct from Baseball America.

Post  RedMagma on Wed Jan 09, 2008 12:20 pm

Bottom Feeders

Posted at 12:54 pm in Featured Editorials, Tyson Rauch by Max

By Tyson Rauch
There is a saying from Hall of Fame coach Bill Parcells that always rings true when evaluating NFL teams; “You are what your record says you are.” After a 4 and 12 season the Jets are one of the worst teams in the National Football league from top to bottom.


As with most fans in the NFL, Gang Green’s following are a loyal bunch sometimes blinded by green colored glasses. In order to win in the National Football league it starts with the quarterback play and winning the battles at the line of scrimmage. At this point the Jets need improvement from top to bottom because as of right now they are no better off than the others teams that finished at the bottom of the standings. Think this is too harsh? Compare the Jets to the other teams that finished with comparable records.

Quarterback: The New York Jets handed over the reigns to Kellen Clemens, a young quarterback still learning the ropes of the NFL. The early results were fair but without a full offseason under his belt and reps as a starter in training camp he can be considered an unknown. Other than Clemens the Jets have Chad Pennington who at this point in his career is a valuable backup quarterback at best due to his inability to stretch the field and beat quality defenses. Compare this situation to the Oakland Raiders (Russell), Dolphins (Beck), Falcons (nobody), Ravens (Troy Smith) and Chiefs (Croyle) and there is not much of a difference.

Offensive Line: The Jets used 2 1st round picks on the offensive line and at this point only one has really stood out and that is Nick Mangold. Other than Mangold the line play has been shoddy at best and routinely lost battles at the line of scrimmage. The struggles at the line of scrimmage created challenges establishing a running game or keeping the quarterback standing upright and resulted in points scored per game of 16.8. Compare this number to the Dolphins (16.7), Falcons (16.2) and some eyebrows could be raised.

Defensive Line: Gang Green brought in some new faces but the results remained the same in 2007. Several times the defensive unit struggled to stop the running game leaving themselves exposed to the passing attack. The Jets ranked 29th against the run compared to the Chiefs (28th), Raiders (31), and Dolphins (32) another sign that is not promising.



So as you can see there are several similarities with the Jets and their poor record counterparts. So the next question is how do you improve the situation that you are in? Well that is in the hands of the front office and ownership.

Ownership: The ownership has to be willing to spend the money to acquire the staff and personnel to improve the talent base of the organization. In the past organizations like the Jets (under Woody Johnson), Falcons, Raiders, and Chiefs have not been willing to spend big time money on accomplished coaches but would rather take chances on less heralded coaches which would come cheaper. Names like Gunther Cunningham, Jim Mora, Bill Callahan, Al Groh, Herman Edwards and Art Shell do not win championships. Sometimes an owner can be penny wise and dollar foolish when it comes to hiring his front office staff and the lack of Super Bowl rings prove that.

Front Office: In addition to the coaching staff you need to have a proven front office staff that has expertise not only in managing the cap but acquiring top- level personnel. Any team can spend up to the cap limit but it is the quality of personnel that you bring in that matters.


The teams mentioned above fall in that category from the signings of John Abraham to Joey Porter to Randy Moss to Kenyon Coleman, Andre Dyson and Bryan Thomas. The more money wasted on players the less you have to spend on guys that can actually improve the team, not rocket science here. Who was the last game breaker the Jets spent money on?


So Jets fans, the next time you laugh at the other teams struggling in the NFL, there is an expression you should remember: “Those that live in glass houses should not cast stones” or something like that ?

Parting Shot: At the last game of the season the NY Jets decided to not serve alcohol. The reasons vary but the bottom line is that the Jets ownership once again treated its fans like jacka$$es. But this is nothing new from Woody and his boys as their track record is consistent. From continuously raising ticket prices for a team that has not won a Super Bowl in almost 40 years, to charging fans to be on a waiting list, to blocking off the players parking lot area where young fans used to meet their favorite players (but sign up for the Jets credit card and you get autographs), the results are always the same.


Way to go Woody, do not worry you will get your wish in two years. The stadium that you share will only hold your corporate buddies as you will have either priced out your fan base or alienated them

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Re: Q & A and direct from Baseball America.

Post  RedMagma on Wed Jan 09, 2008 12:24 pm

Is is true that According to International Guru Mr Chris Kline said that Next year IFa's will be deeper? Can you name some prospects? Thank

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Re: Q & A and direct from Baseball America.

Post  RedMagma on Wed Jan 09, 2008 12:26 pm

Goldstein:

Quote:
prhood (Canada): Thanks for taking these questions. Do you follow the high school scene to any great extent. If so, who are some of the top high school players likely to be drafted this year in the 1st round?

Kevin Goldstein: I follow it on a draft level certainly. My top high school player right now is Tim Beckham, a five-tool shortstop from Georgia; my top pitcher is Tim Melville, a tall power righty from Missouri.

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Re: Q & A and direct from Baseball America.

Post  RedMagma on Wed Jan 09, 2008 12:29 pm

Jarred Cosart could be a name that jumps up lists quickly. He set a record for velocity on a throw from the OF when he allegedly hit 101 MPH at a showcase recently.

Keep in mind this is fielding the ball, crow hop, and follow through.

Scouting report from the Aflac game in August.

Quote:
Cosart is a prospect we saw for the first time about a year ago. He topped out at 93 mph from the mound, hit very well and even ran a good 60. He’s very athletic and with a very strong, fast arm. Unfortunately he suffered a minor injury during the workouts and was unable to pitch in the 2007 Aflac game. He did show his ability during the workouts and impressed our staff once again. His future is most likely on the mound, but he is a potential 2 way guy at the college level. His fastball is always in the low 90’s with good life at times. He should be able to master a good breaking ball and changeup as he continues to progress. Cosart has room to put on some more weight which might push him up into the mid 90’s in a hurry. His arm works very well and he gets good leverage. Cosart is just scratching the surface right now. He could really turn it on over the next few years. We wish everyone could have seen him pitch in the game.

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Re: Q & A and direct from Baseball America.

Post  RedMagma on Wed Jan 09, 2008 12:30 pm

Also, I can't believe the Braves were stupid enough to give up the 18th pick for Glavine. To the Mets no less. Just an awful baseball decision, IMO. Then again, the Mets will probably take a reliever with that pick. LMAO.

Originally Posted by albo4lyfe
Guys, baseballfan3 was being sarcastic with his comment on Alvarez, Smoak and Beckham.

PS. Eric Hosmer, 1B, American Heritage HS would be my dream pick at 28. I love that kid.


I'd love it, too. I don't know if you saw it when I posted it a page or two ago, but Hosmer has retained Boras as his advisor.

"So you're saying there's a chance!"

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Re: Q & A and direct from Baseball America.

Post  RedMagma on Wed Jan 09, 2008 12:31 pm

Hank better be careful, he is essentially negotiating through the media...
This could be tampering..

give him 7 but make it a front loaded contract like arod. If we trade for him, I want him locked up, but again, make sure the late years are coming down in price and not up like giambi.

What difference does it make?
Using the time value of money, the longer you can hold on to your money, the less you have to pay out in actual terms. IE, paying more up front actually costs you more in real dollars for the contract.
You may not like paying for declining production at the end of the contract, but backloading is the smart financial move

It was Arod/Boras that asked for the front loading, not the Yanks. Believe me, Goldman Sachs is well aware of the time value of money

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Re: Q & A and direct from Baseball America.

Post  RedMagma on Wed Jan 09, 2008 12:34 pm

The Ugly Major league team

The Boston Red Sox have the ugliest players of any Major League team.

David Ortiz looks like a pig that belongs in a pig pen.

Dustin Pedroia looks like a person that had a bulldog take a bite out of his face.

Manny Ramirez looks like a pre historic caveman that bathes in mud instead of clear running water.

Kevin Youkelis looks like someone took a dump in his face.

Coco Crisp looks like a cartoon character.

Josh Beckett looks like a bratty kid that never learned to smile and was a mama's boy.

Mike Lowell looks like he took ugly pills all his life.

Jason Varitek looks like he came from a poor family that couldn't afford to buy toilet paper, so he used his finger for himself and his tongue for the others in his family.

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Re: Q & A and direct from Baseball America.

Post  RedMagma on Wed Jan 09, 2008 12:38 pm

Do you agree that The Yankees will not make the playoffs next year and it will be difficult than ever before? Tigers,Whitesox, and Mariners improve themselves to compete for Wildcard and Also adding free agents thru free agency or trading for establish veteran.

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Re: Q & A and direct from Baseball America.

Post  RedMagma on Wed Jan 09, 2008 12:41 pm

Comments (17)
Posted by Erick | January 9, 2008 09:28

I think that Shelley is the key. Jason Giambi cannot (I repeat, cannot) play first base. He is a liability (bigger than the redsox have with Ortiz, when he plays the position). Betemit is not an everyday player, let's be real. I hope that Shelley gets some serious 1B training from Tino (not a bad thing) and if he hits .270 19HR 86RBI, I'll take that. We don't need nor can afford an All-Star in every position. I can see clearly now that giambi only has one more season with the Yanks.


Posted by Andrew | January 9, 2008 09:50

I am very disappointed they let Andy Phillips walk away. I think he is the best all around player of the 4 choices and he was proving that as an everyday player last year.


Posted by Chip | January 9, 2008 09:53

Baseball America's John Manuel brings up an interesting option - a platoon between Duncan and Juan Miranda. Miranda is a strong left handed option with good pull power. He also has the advantage of being on the 40 man roster rather than the team having to go out and sign someone and then make room on the roster. The question is whether either he or Duncan can handle the position defensively well enough to stick there.

Some other roster news and notes:

The Yankees signed the following guys to minor league deals - Darrell Rasner, RHP Scott Strickland, LHP Heath Phillips, LHP Billy Traber, C Jason Brown, 2B Nick Green. None of these guys will make an impact but a couple of lefties to throw against the wall and compete with Sean Henn for that role in the pen.


Posted by Miguel | January 9, 2008 10:17

personally, i've always like D

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Re: Q & A and direct from Baseball America.

Post  RedMagma on Wed Jan 09, 2008 12:45 pm

Anthony (nyc): Earlier u said that Marquez is better than most people think...so do u think a package of Kennedy, Marquez, Melky and Hilligoss is is good enough to close the deal?

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:43 PM ET ) Not close. Who's close to be a star in that deal? No one.

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Re: Q & A and direct from Baseball America.

Post  RedMagma on Wed Jan 09, 2008 12:47 pm

Brewers on the upswing



http://insider.espn.go.com/espn/blog/index?name=olney_buster

posted: Wednesday, January 9, 2008 | Feedback | Print Entry
filed under: MLB, Milwaukee Brewers

The Brewers won more games in 2007 than in any season since 1992, a year of remarkable growth. And yet, as Milwaukee talent evaluators have reviewed their season and looked ahead to 2008, they could identify many possible ways in which the team could improve.

Chris Capuano went into the season as Milwaukee's No. 2 starter, and he didn't win a game after May 7. Ben Sheets, the Brewers' ace, made just 24 starts, and Jeff Suppan, the club's big free-agent pickup last winter, won just four games after the All-Star break.

Rickie Weeks got hurt early in the year and never fully recovered, and yet managed to do very good things in August and September. J.J. Hardy's home run total dropped from 18 before the first half to eight in the second half. Bill Hall, one of the team's best offensive players in 2006, slumped in 2007, and Ryan Braun, who was not promoted until late May last season, will be with the team for all of 2008.

The Brewers will have major questions, like all teams. Will Eric Gagne rebound from his brutal two months in Boston to be a credible closer for the Brewers? Can Milwaukee add an another solid bat? (They are looking at Kenny Lofton, Mike Cameron and Luis Gonzalez, among others.)

But Milwaukee GM Doug Melvin sounded encouraged, over the phone, by what could be in the months ahead.

"We just hope that Chris [Capuano] can bounce back," said Melvin. "I still have confidence in him. His walk-strikeout totals are OK [54-132], and he does some other things well, like hold runners.

"I think like a lot of left-handers, he didn't attack the zone enough and started nibbling. When you don't throw 95 mph, you have a tendency to try to nibble, and try to be too fine with your stuff. He had enough good games at the end of the year, so you hope for a bounce back from him."

Johnny Estrada, the Brewers' catcher in 2007, is known as an offensive player who hasn't focused on the defensive part of his game -- including his relationship with pitchers. The Brewers brought in Jason Kendall, whose offense has waned in recent years, with the hope that he will have an impact on the pitching. Capuano and Suppan and other members of Milwaukee's staff are known as thoughtful, diligent planners, and Kendall may fit their styles better.

"What we have heard on Kendall is that he's good working with pitchers," Melvin said. "He is the type of guy who will appeal [to Capuano, Suppan, etc.]"

The Brewers have taken the same approach in building their bullpen, generally, as the Indians did before last year: They've created options for manager Ned Yost. They gave David Riske a three-year deal, but have compiled a group of veterans who have had intermittent success on one-year commitments -- Derrick Turnbow, Guillermo Mota, Salomon Torres. In the volatile world of relievers, the Brewers have some depth if one or two members of this group have problems.

"You have to keep flexibility in the bullpen," Melvin said.

If Gagne bounces back, and two from the group of Riske, Mota, Torres and Turnbow are effective, the Brewers may take even more strides forward in 2008.

• Goose Gossage got the call he had hoped to get, as Jack Curry writes. Gossage pitched with high heat, writes Tim Sullivan. He had an intimidating style, writes Patrick Saunders.

• Jim Rice just missed in his 14th try for the Hall of Fame. There is nothing false about his case, writes Dan Shaughnessy.

• Bert Blyleven took a significant step forward in the HOF voting, but didn't get in. Blyleven is encouraged by the shift in the voting.

• Andre Dawson's vote total lends itself to hope, writes Barry Rozner.

• Mark McGwire is worthy of the Hall, writes Mike Imrem. Evan Grant disagrees.

• The Mariners are still trying to swing a trade for Erik Bedard, writes Larry Stone.

• The Reds may be making a run at Josh Fogg, writes John Fay.

• Daisuke Matsuzaka began his preparation for the 2008 season.

• Ryan Howard landed an endorsement deal.

• The D-backs will pick their closer in spring training, writes Nick Piecoro.

• The Orioles may still pursue some free agents.

• The Astros will open spring training in a month, and Richard Justice can't wait to see Miguel Tejada.

• Some Pirates showed up at minicamp in improved condition, writes Dejan Kovacevic. Sean Burnett is making a last pitch to stick with the Pirates, writes Rob Biertempfel.

• It's been five weeks since Hank Steinbrenner's deadline passed in the Johan Santana negotiations, but he says there's still a chance the team could make a deal for the left-hander, writes Kat O'Brien. The Yankees are confident even if they don't make a deal for Santana, writes Pete Caldera.

• In a lawsuit, a woman argues that the Dodgers' security was lax in protecting her.

• The Royals agreed to terms with Luke Hudson.

• Buddy LeRoux, a former trainer and part owner of the Red Sox, has passed away, as Amalie Benjamin writes.

PED ZONE

• Andy Pettitte won't lie before Congress, Murray Chass believes, when he's asked questions about Roger Clemens and Brian McNamee. A congressman calls Clemens' tactics "sleazy."

The St. Petersburg police say McNamee lied during a 2001 rape investigation. Clemens' strategy in his defamation suit is to question the credibility of his former trainer, writes Bill Shaikin.

Roger Clemens' pitch to clear his name was not flawless, writes Tim Cowlishaw.

David Segui defends Brian McNamee on the issue of performance-enhancing drugs, writes Jim Baumbach.

• Because of the steroids era, Rick Telander didn't fill out his Hall of Fame ballot, because he doesn't know who did what.

AND OTHER STUFF

• The undefeated Commodores feel as if they've proven nothing, as they prepare to face South Carolina tonight.

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Re: Q & A and direct from Baseball America.

Post  RedMagma on Wed Jan 09, 2008 12:57 pm

Debating the 25 greatest seasons


http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/page2/story?page=debate/080109

Updated: January 9, 2008, 1:18 PM ET



Watching Tom Brady and the New England Patriots dominate the 2007 NFL season has us thinking historically, and the good folks in the ESPN research department recently compiled a list of the greatest individual seasons of all time. Like all lists, it got Page 2 talking …

Eric Neel: So, who's missing from the list, folks?

Scoop Jackson: I thought it was interesting that Jim Brown was left off of the list. Pick a season, any season of his. At some point, I think one of his seasons needs to be recognized, even if it's his junior or senior season at Syracuse, where he also was dominating in lacrosse.

Patrick Hruby: I think it's ridiculous that Roger Federer is missing; pity he's not a quarterback. You have to put Federer in there; it's, like, a huge shock when he loses a match. Federer 2006: 92-5 record, three Grand Slam titles, won the year-end Masters Cup, reached the final in 16 of the 17 tournaments he entered, won 12 of those, lost to only two players (Rafael Nadal and Andy Murray) ALL YEAR. Wayne Gretzky '84-'85 might have been better than Gretzky '82, overall. I wouldn't even put Marcus Allen on the list. Ricky Williams had a better year in '98. And what about Eric Gagne in 2003? I think so. Bonds is on there, which means we're cool with accused juicers, right?

DJ Gallo: How about Carl Yastrzemski in 1967? Last triple crown winner, better power numbers than Williams in '41 (although a much lower batting average). And my wild card would be Bo Jackson in 1989. MLB All-Star MVP (32-105-.256, 26 SB), and 950 yards rushing in 11 games (9 starts) for the Oakland Raiders, averaging 5.5 yards per carry. He was a baseball All-Star and arguably the best running back in the NFL, all in the same calendar year. Not too shabby.

Kurt Snibbe: These are old school, but does Jesse Owen's 1936 Olympics or Jim Thorpe, an All-American football player whose team won the national championship and who then spent the summer winning two 1912 Olympic gold medals (decathlon, pentathlon), count?

Thomas Neumann: It might not be a "major" sport, but this bears consideration: Cael Sanderson, Iowa State wrestling, 2002 -- at 197 pounds, went 40-0 (undefeated over entire college career, too) with 22 wins by falls.

Kurt Snibbe: I noticed the list doesn't have Rod Laver. His 1962 season included winning all four majors in the same calendar year and leading Australia to a Davis Cup. And one more thing. Don't get me wrong, but if you put Richard Petty on the list, you should have him below Michael Schumacher's Formula One glory. And I'll trade both those guys if you put the original LT -- Lawrence Taylor -- on the list for his 1986 season.

Patrick Hruby: What is this "Formula One" you speak of? Is it some sort of motor oil? Haircare product? Can I buy it at Walgreens? Or is it a Paul Mitchell-esque beauty salon exclusive?

Kurt Snibbe: Where would Shaquille O'Neal's 2000 season fit in? He was co-MVP of the All-Star Game, league MVP and NBA Finals MVP, and he would have won an Oscar if that "Steel 2" deal had come through -- not to mention what he did to stifle the Y2K threat to start the year! Pretty good year, but perhaps just short of the list.

Patrick Hruby: Kurt: "Steel 2?" I think you mean "Kazaam: Reloaded." If this writers strike keeps dragging on, scripts like that are gonna find their way back into circulation. Yipes!

Jim Caple: You guys are right. And why Pedro in '99, but not Randy in 2002? More innings, more strikeouts, a spectacular ERA. … Or Maddux in '95? Or better yet, Koufax in '65?

Eric Neel: We must not be too interested in baseball if we're leaving Dwight Gooden's 1985 off the list. At age 20, he was good for a 24-4 record, eight shutouts, a 1.53 ERA, 276.2 innings pitched, 198 hits, 268 strikeouts and the CY Young. Or how about Orel Hershiser's 1988: 23-8, 8 SHO, 2.26 ERA, 267 IP, 208 H and World Series MVP, and he finished the season with 59 consecutive scoreless innings, including three starts and a save in the National League Championship Series, and two shutout wins in the World Series.

DJ Gallo: Henry Armstrong, boxer. In 1937, he went 27-0 with 26 knockouts; in 1938, he went 14-0 with 10 knockouts and simultaneously held the welterweight, lightweight and flyweight belts. But unfortunately, unlike Floyd Mayweather Jr., he could not rap.

Jim Caple: Eddie Merckx, 1972. Won the Tour de France AND the Giro D'Italia (the two biggest races in the sport) AND set the hour record.

Eric Neel: What's your take on Tom Brady at No. 4, Jim?

Jim Caple: Does Brady even belong on the list? As TMQ points out, his season isn't that exceptional. Almost all of the 25 are time-tested. But I think Brady is benefitting from it being a recent performance.

David Schoenfield: Well, he did have one of the highest QB ratings ever. (For whatever that's worth.) And a 50-to-8 touchdown-to-interception ratio is pretty good.

Patrick Hruby: If Brady is on there, doesn't Moss have to be on there, too?

Kurt Snibbe: Agreed. And while we're at it, if I had a vote, Brady's "seven layers of protection" offensive line would have won the MVP.

Thomas Neumann: And what about Oscar Robertson at No. 13? … How bad were NBA defenses in 1961-62? Chuck Daly and Pat Riley must have been rolling over … in their cradles. Seriously, doesn't it seem silly to put Brady and Sanders so high on this list, when they depend so heavily on their offensive line and receivers? Wilt Chamberlain, Gretzky and Babe Ruth would have mashed on any team.

Eric Neel: While we're talking sacrilege, after you've taken a shot at the Big O (a man who, I believe, will hunt you down and smack you upside the head just for thinking what you're thinking about his triple-doubleness), let me say Wilt at No. 1 strikes me as questionable. The man was simply exploiting a huge height and size advantage. He was a freak, unmatched by his opponents' physical limitations almost every night of the season …

Patrick Hruby: Something else to keep in mind: Numbers are nice, but they seldom tell the entire story. Lawrence Taylor had 20.5 sacks in his 1986 MVP season -- but it wasn't just those sacks that forced offenses to change their entire schemes (for instance, Joe Gibbs cooking up the H-back) in order to slow LT down. It was Taylor's sheer, primordial destructiveness. It was fear. When you force everyone else in the sport to all but change the rules of the game … that's a pretty dominant season, isn't it?

Eric Neel: One of the things that interests me, at least as a subtext, on a list like this is the role of winning championships in thinking about the value of a season. Case in point: Michael Jordan's 1987-88 season is ranked 23rd here, when the Bulls still came up short of a ring (also true of his 1989 season, which was even better, I think). But to Patrick's point about things going beyond numbers -- wasn't Jordan's 1991 season (when he still was going great guns but also had learned to trust the players around him more) or his 1993 season (when, at the critical juncture of the Finals, he realized someone else should take the biggest shot) just as impressive? And beyond that particular question, isn't there something ultimately insubstantial about a tremendous season that doesn't come with the stamp of a title win at the end?

Patrick Hruby: Good points. Again, here's the problem with individual greatness within a team sport context -- what does it mean, exactly? Is it strictly based on personal numbers? Is it being part of a winning team? Should it extend to the postseason? Kevin Garnett could win the NBA's MVP award this season. But when he put up similar, if not better, numbers in Minnesota, with absolutely no help … well, wasn't that more impressive? He knew he had no shot at the Finals, no shot at the conference finals, almost no shot at the playoffs altogether. And yet, he still gave maximum, dominant effort, both barrels blazing. To me, there's some honor in that, and yeah, some greatness, too. If the Pats don't win the Super Bowl, I don't think that diminishes Brady's work this season -- it simply fails to enhance it.

Eric Neel: Garnett's seasons in Minnesota are appealing to me personally, even heroic. But in the end, for a variety of reasons (some of which have to do with his supporting cast, or lack thereof, and some of which have to do with his strengths -- high-post offense, baseline jump-shooting -- not being particularly well-suited to taking over games on the offensive end of the floor, particularly against playoff-style defense and at playoff-style pace), those losing efforts bring more questions than answers about his value. It's hard to include those things when thinking about his greatness, but it's almost impossible not to, too.

Patrick Hruby: I see what you're saying. The thing about numbers is that they're supposed to measure individual contributions toward team success, and they do -- unless your team loses, in which case they're more like a measure of how much worse your team would have done without that effort, which takes us into the realm of what-ifs, which is always hard to wrap one's head around. I mean: Did KG fail in Minnesota? Or did he succeed by taking a lottery team to the playoffs in the brutal Western Conference? Anyway, is there a place on this list for the freakish-of-nature? I'm thinking of Bo Jackson blasting home runs and snapping bats over his thigh in baseball, ducking into a phone booth for a quick uniform change, then trucking fools in the NFL.

Eric Neel: KG failed. But did it gloriously. He belongs on a list of heroic efforts, along with Ernie Banks, and maybe Archie Manning. Now Bo, he might just be a list unto himself. Not sure anyone keeps his company. … And let's end it there, where this list begets still more lists, where the compulsion feeds on itself.

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Re: Q & A and direct from Baseball America.

Post  RedMagma on Wed Jan 09, 2008 12:58 pm

Top 10 individual seasons in baseball history


http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/columns/story?columnist=neyer_rob&id=3187711


In the spirit of the occasion, below you'll find this writer's choices for the 10 best individual seasons in major league history. One could make such a list and ignore just about everybody except Barry Bonds and Babe Ruth, and both figure prominently below. But I did consciously look for a mix of positions and eras, which is why you'll find a couple of pitchers in the mix (oh, and I did consider postseason performance, mostly as a tiebreaker).

1. Barry Bonds, 2001
Say what you want, but Bonds broke Mark McGwire's home run record and Babe Ruth's slugging-percentage record. Oh, and he broke Ruth's single-season walks record, too. Essentially, 2001 was when Bonds began to displace the Babe as the game's most devastating hitter.

2. Babe Ruth, 1921
How do you follow up two record-setting seasons? But setting another, of course. In '21, Ruth somehow topped himself by hitting 59 homers, more than eight teams in the major leagues hit that season. Among his various league-leading stats were a career-high 177 runs scored. And even after all these years, his 457 total bases still stands as the single-season record.

3. Barry Bonds, 2002
He played in only 143 games and hit only 46 homers (down from 73 the previous season). But Bonds put doubts about his clutch hitting to rest forever with brilliant performances throughout the postseason.

4. Babe Ruth, 1920
Still an outfielder/pitcher in 1919, Ruth shocked the sport by hitting 29 home runs. The Babe's new record lasted less than one year, as he blasted 54 homers after joining the Yankees in 1920.

5. Mickey Mantle, 1956
A hint of what Mantle might have done without all the injuries: Only 24, Mantle hit 52 homers and batted .353 on his way to the Triple Crown. All while playing brilliantly in center field.

6. Honus Wagner, 1908
On their surface, Wagner's numbers -- including his .354 batting average and .542 slugging percentage, both National League bests -- don't look all that special, as Wagner enjoyed a bunch of great seasons. But this was the deadest season in the dead ball era. And Wagner also was a great defensive shortstop.

7. Ted Williams, 1941
No, he didn't win the MVP Award; that went to Joe DiMaggio. All Williams did, at the tender age of 22, was hit .406 and draw 147 walks. That was 67 years ago and nobody has hit .400 since.

8. Pedro Martinez, 1999
In a year in which American League pitchers combined for a 4.86 ERA, Martinez posted a 2.07 ERA that was nearly a run-and-a-half lower than the No. 2 man on the list. He also won 23 of 27 regular-season decisions before chucking 17 scoreless innings in the playoffs.

9. Babe Ruth, 1923
Rarely mentioned among the Babe's greatest seasons is 1923, but he batted a career-high .393, led the American League in every meaningful hitting stat, and hit three homers against the Giants as the Yankees won their first world championship.

10. Lefty Grove, 1931
Grove, perhaps the most dominant pitcher between Walter Johnson and Pedro Martinez, went 31-4 with the lowest ERA (2.06) of his brilliant career, then beat the Cardinals twice in the World Series.

Rob Neyer writes for ESPN Insider and his blog for ESPN.com. You can reach him via rob.neyer@dig.com. His most recent book ("Rob Neyer's Big Book of Baseball Blunders") is available everywhere.

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Re: Q & A and direct from Baseball America.

Post  RedMagma on Wed Jan 09, 2008 1:01 pm

http://proxy.espn.go.com/chat/chatESPN?event_id=18747

Anthony (nyc): Earlier u said that Marquez is better than most people think...so do u think a package of Kennedy, Marquez, Melky and Hilligoss is is good enough to close the deal?

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:43 PM ET ) Not close. Who's close to be a star in that deal? No one.

Keith (NJ): so then who is the potential star with Lester, and Lowrie? And if the Red Sox dont include Bucholtz, why should the Yankees need to include Hughes?

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:57 PM ET ) That's a good question. And that's probably why rumors are that the Twins prefer an Ellsbury-fronted package. I'd rather have Hughes than Ellsbury. But I'd rather have Ellsbury (or Lester) plus Lowrie, Masterson, Kalish or the other various incarnations than the Yankees' packages


Andrew (Centereach, NY): Why are the yankee fans so upset with what the sox are offering?

SportsNation Jim Callis: (3:06 PM ET ) Because Yankees fans feel their prospects are so much better than everyone else's, more so than any fans of any other team do about their own prospects. You should see the emails I get.


.


Last edited by on Wed Jan 09, 2008 1:09 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Re: Q & A and direct from Baseball America.

Post  RedMagma on Wed Jan 09, 2008 1:07 pm

Masterson is better than Marquez? So Redsox package are better than Yankees for Johan?

Marquez is former first round sandwich pick. He was 12-4 with 3.51 era in trenton. Masterson had sub-par era of 4.00 in Lancaster and Double-A

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Re: Q & A and direct from Baseball America.

Post  RedMagma on Wed Jan 09, 2008 1:12 pm

Chat with Baseball America's Jim Callis
[quote]http://proxy.espn.go.com/chat/chatESPN?event_id=18747

Welcome to The Show! On Wednesday, Baseball America's Jim Callis will chat it up with SportsNation. Ask any question and he will try to answer - big leaguers, prospects, draft picks ... anything goes!

Send your questions now and join Jim on Wednesday at 2 p.m. ET!

Baseball America Archives: Chats

SportsNation Jim Callis: (1:56 PM ET ) Hi, everyone. Between trade proposals, outrage over the Hall of Fame and over steroids, plus general prospect questions, we should have plenty to keep us busy for the next hour.

Tom: If you were the Yankees, would you consider bringing back Roger Clemens? If not, where do you think he will end up?

SportsNation Jim Callis: (1:58 PM ET ) I think he's probably done. Between his price tag ($17.4 million for a half-season of league-average pitching in 2007), his flameouts in his last two postseason starts (4.1 IP, 6 ER) and the Mitchell Report taint, I doubt anyone is going to want to mess with him.

Jeff (Oakland): With all the new prospects added to the A's organization over the last couple of weeks whereabouts do you think they would now be ranked? Top 15?

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:00 PM ET ) We ranked their farm system 27th overall in the Prospect Handbook, where the team lists were finalized before the A's made the Haren and Swisher deals. When we rejigger the rankings in the spring in our Minor League Preview issues, I'll guess that the A's will come in around No. 10.

Jamie (Utica, NY): Hey Jim. What are your thoughts on the Yankees top 10 prospects? Who on that list do you really believe will become legitimate major league players? Any potential superstars besides Joba?

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:01 PM ET ) Jose Tabata is a potential superstar, though he has a long ways to go. Ian Kennedy is the second-best bet on that list. I don't think he'll be a star but he should be a solid No. 3. Jeff Marquez is probably better than most people realize. That's one of the better Top 10s.

Andy (OH): If the Twins were able to trade Nathan to the Cubs for Marmol and Pie would that be a good trade for both teams? What is the difference in potential between Pie and Ellsbury?

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:02 PM ET ) If I'm the Cubs, I'd keep my two guys. Marmol can be just as dominant as Nathan, and they could hold onto Pie. Pie has a little more power and upside than Ellsbury, but Ellsbury's tools are much more refined at this point.

John (SoCal): Okay, the Handbook's done now. When do we get our marathon chat?

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:03 PM ET ) Good question. I'll have to look at the calendar and find a day. I don't have to beat the record-holder, do I?

Rick Patterson (Nashville): I assume Moustakas, Cortes, and Hochevar are the top 3 for the Royals. Do they have anyone after them?!?!?

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:03 PM ET ) No, not really. Which made the decision to trade Billy Buckner (whom I like) for Alberto Callaspo puzzling to me.

Willy (ATL): Sounds like the cards are thinking of signing yadi molina long-term. Where does that leave Bryan Anderson?

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:04 PM ET ) Doesn't necessarily mean he's blocked in St. Louis. Anderson, depending on how you look at him, has a decent all-around game or doesn't do much better than decent. But he'll be given time to develop and if he's better than Molina (which he should be offensively, though not defensively), he'll play.

Luke (Des Moines): With the 8th pick this year, the White Sox will target: a. HS pitcher (S. Gray, G. Cole, A. Meyer) b. HS bat (H. Martinez, K. Skipworth, I. Galloway) c. college pitcher (B. Hunter, J. Thompson, T. Ross) d. college bat (J. Smoak, Y. Alonso, B. Crawford) e. other Thanks for the chat! e. other

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:06 PM ET ) Their preference would be an athletic position player. I think No. 8 would be too high for Crawford, though. They'd love someone like a Tim Beckham (Georgia HS SS), but he'll be gone by then.

Gray (Chicago): Jim, BA ranked James McDonald #7 amongst Dodgers prospects this year. Why so low? I feel as if BA bought into name recognition over skills and results. What is McDonald's ceiling and ETA?

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:08 PM ET ) Sigh. Yeah that's us, all name recognition over skills and results. Come on. He's good, but he's not as good as the guys ahead of him on that list (Kershaw, LaRoche, Hu, Elbert, DeWitt, Withrow). You could argue him vs. DeWitt and Withrow, but McDonald has a plus curveball and otherwise average stuff. He's a No. 3 or 4 starter, probably closer to a No. 4.

Carlos (Chicago): Do the White Sox now have the worst farm system in all of baseball? Your thoughts on the Swisher trade?

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:09 PM ET ) Yes, they do. I don't think they overpaid as much as a lot of people did--because, of course, Billy Beane is always right--but I don't know why the White Sox are playing for 2008. Third place seems as high as they can go, and they have an old team that needs to be rebuilt.

Luke (Des Moines): Let me guess: after the Swisher trade, the (dismal) top 5 for the White Sox are Poreda, Broadway, Egbert, McCulloch, and Griffith. Am I right?

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:10 PM ET ) You got the first three correct. You'll have to wait for our current issue to get the last two, or visit baseballamerica.com next week.

Joe (Baltimore): Jim, What do you think of Bedard to the Mariners for Jones, Clement, Tillman, and Chen? Fair deal or is one team getting taken? Thanks

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:11 PM ET ) As much as I like Bedard, I don't know if I'd want to give up all that if I were the Mariners. Can't see the Orioles turning that one down.

Paul (Baltimore): Jim, You guys do a great job at Baseball america. Your thoughts on the rumored Brian Roberts to the Cubs for Cedeno, Gallagher, & Marshall? Thanks

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:12 PM ET ) The Cubs do want a second baseman and I could see this happening. Cedeno doesn't appear to be in Chicago's plans, but call me crazy--I like him more than Ryan Theriot. Gallagher and Marshall aren't going to be aces, but they can be solid mid-rotation or back-end starters. I think both teams would be fine with that d

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Re: Q & A and direct from Baseball America.

Post  RedMagma on Wed Jan 09, 2008 1:13 pm

eal.

JJ, Liberty Twp, OH: Which prospect from BA's Top 100 last year dropped the most in your eyes?

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:13 PM ET ) Of the top guys, Mike Pelfrey at No. 20.

Lance (Livingston, TN): After Bruce and Votto, how big is the drop-off with Reds position prospects? No one seems to talk about Danny Dorn but he has put up very good numbers in two years of pro ball. Can he be the Reds left-fielder if they don't resign Dunn?

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:15 PM ET ) Those are the two obvious guys, but the Reds also have some intriguing bats such as OF Drew Stubbs, C Devin Mesoraco and 3B Todd Frazier and Juan Francisco. Dorn is a sleeper at this point, a guy who came out of a top college program (Cal State Fullerton) and has hit well in the lower minors, as expected. Let's see him do well in the upper minors.

brian (sobo, va): Jim - did Jeremy Jeffress test positive for steroids or another drug? will he be anything more than someone with a million dollar arm and a ten cent head?

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:15 PM ET ) Marijuana. But it's repeated positive tests, which doesn't inspire confidence about the head.

Big O's fan (NY): Sell me on Ronny Cedeno.........doesn't this guy just plain suck?

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:16 PM ET ) No. He's still just 24, and while he was wretched in 2006 in the majors, he has been very good in Triple-A. I still think he can be a solid shortstop.

Eric (Albany): Jim- Does it bother you that teams (NYY, Boston, whoever) think that they should be able to keep their top prospects and still acquire talent like Erik Bedard and Johan Santana? If you want either of these two you better be coming with your #1 prospect to start.

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:18 PM ET ) Doesn't bother me. The Twins don't have to make a trade they don't like. Of course, with everyone knowing they can't re-sign Santana after 2008, it does undercut their bargaining position.

Makeup Issues: Please elucidate on the Lastings Milledge makeup issues. I know about the incident prior to his drafting and the high-fiving after the home run. What am I missing?

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:18 PM ET ) There's more prior to the draft that hasn't been reported, and of course there's the infamous rap album from last year.

Adam (OH): What do you think the outlook is for all of those young arms the Marlins have (G.Hernandez, C.Volstad, S.West, R.Tucker, B.Sinkbiel, and A.Thompson)?

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:19 PM ET ) I think some of those guys will be solid, but overall their pitchers are a little overrated to me and the only guy who really lights me up is Sinkbeil.

Tim (NY): Gossage or Rivera?

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:19 PM ET ) Rivera.

Fonsi-La: What are your thoughts on Brad Suttle ? He's best pure hitter in last year draft . He did struggle in Hwl.

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:20 PM ET ) Sounds like he has to make more adjustments than the Yankees figured, but he can't possibly be as bad as he was in Hawaii. He's a bat-only guy, though, so he better hit.

Tim (Boston): Do you see the red sox doing something to address the catcher position. They are very thin there after tek with no one in the minors anywhere near ready. Would they package coco (if he isn't in the santana deal) for some young talent?

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:21 PM ET ) Yes. I think they're waiting to see what happens with a Johan Santana trade right now. If they don't part with Crisp or Ellsbury in such a deal, I think they'll look to use Crisp to improve their catching situation behind Varitek.

Jason (Atlanta): Where will Porcello rank on the BA 100 list?

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:21 PM ET ) We haven't started working on that yet, but I did put him at No. 13 on my personal Top 50 list in the Handbook.

Jarrett (Medford, MA): Jim, You have the Red Sox farm system currently ranked at number 2 in baseball, correct? How far would they drop if they were to trade Ellsbury, Lowrie and Masterson to the Twins? or if they were to just trade Lowrie and Masterson (in the propsoed Lester deal with Coco) Also, I'm looking forward to the handbook, when can we expect to recieve it if we've ordered it online? Thanks!

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:23 PM ET ) We're expecting Handbooks back by the end of next week, I believe, so yours should be in your hands within a couple of weeks. As for your question . . . that would be a big hit, three of their top five prospects, and would drop them at least to No. 10.

Adam (OH): Can Graham Taylor make the bigs with the Marlins, or is it a classic case of a player dominating younger competion?

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:23 PM ET ) Maybe he'll get a cup of coffee, but he's really just a strike thrower with mediocre stuff.

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Re: Q & A and direct from Baseball America.

Post  RedMagma on Wed Jan 09, 2008 1:15 pm

Mickey Spagnola - Email
DallasCowboys.com Columnist
January 7, 2008 6:01 PM


IRVING, Texas - Not to sound like a broken record but . . . .

Hey, I don't care if the Giants went on the road in the first round of the NFC playoffs to beat Tampa Bay, 24-14, because winning one playoff game doesn't turn around what has been - losing two of their final three games and four of their final eight.

Just tell me if T.O. is going to play or not.

Don't sing me the merits of Eli Manning finally figuring this quarterback stuff out this past Sunday, because you know what, in two games against the Cowboys he sure seemed to have had all this figured out, completing 51 of 75 passes for 548 yards, five touchdowns, three interceptions and a QB rating of 94.1.

Just tell me if T. O. is going to play or not.

And you know what, please stop the Tony Romo nonsense. Just stop it, because had he flown to, say Palm Springs with some Suzie Q from down the block no one would have thought twice about it, and I'm guessing you aren't going to get a whole bunch of Internet coverage of some Cowboys players at Monday night's BCS championship game in New Orleans.

Just tell me if T.O. is going to play or not.

Come on, it's playoff time, and it's time to focus on the heart of the matter come 3:30 p.m. (CST) Sunday at Texas Stadium for that first playoff game against the Giants in the team's 48-year history and the Cowboys' first home playoff game since 1998.

And to me, and I know I've said this before and maybe even a couple of times - ha, that box of old albums upstairs I rummaged through over the weekend is rubbing off on me - the Cowboys are not the same 13-3, NFC No. 1-seed, NFC East-champion Cowboys without Terrell Owens on the field.

That simple.

Yeah, I know they still have Tony Romo. And I know all about what Jason Witten has done this season and that Julius-Barber has gained 1,563 yards rushing. And that there are three Pro Bowl offensive linemen on this team.

But all I know is this, and excuse me if you happen to think I'm simplifying all this too much: With Terrell Owens healthy and in the lineup the Cowboys scored 443 points over 14½ games. After Owens suffered his high left ankle sprain, they scored basically 12 points over the final 1½ games. No touchdowns. You do the math.

Sorry if this is offensive to anyone, but with the makeup of this team, Owens is the straw that stirs this Dallas drink.

Now this just isn't me.

What do you think, Keith Davis, if you're playing defense and you realize No. 81 isn't lining up on the other side from you in a game?

"If you don't have 81 out there, put the eighth man in the box and play man on the outside," Davis said. "And that's exactly what (the Redskins) did."

In more layman's terms, Davis is saying the Giants will simply play their strong safety up tight to the line of scrimmage, giving them essentially four linebackers to stop the run, and play the receivers in man coverage with a single safety high.

"That simple," Davis said.

That then makes running the ball very difficult, no matter the quality of your offensive line, because you basically have seven guys blocking - five offensive linemen, tight end and fullback - against eight defensive players tight to the line of scrimmage. You're outmanned.

"Then you got to win your one-on-one matchups outside," Davis said.
That means without T.O. in the lineup the fate of the Cowboys' offense will rest on the ability of Patrick Crayton, Sam Hurd and Miles Austin beating man coverage, along with Jason Witten being able to deal with some double coverage inside.

Now you might say, well, in that case the Cowboys' defense must come up big. No doubt, but look - Broken Record II - after 16 regular-season games, you are what you are, and the Cowboys gave up 20.2 points a game over the 16-game season. They gave up an average of 27.5 to the Giants in two games. Only once all season did they give up fewer than 17 points to a team finishing with at least a .500 record.
And when it comes to the Giants, not only did they score 24 points in that first playoff game on the road, but did so against a Tampa Bay defense finishing second in the NFL and first against the pass.


There does, though, seem to be a glimmer of light in Sunday's tunnel. First, Cowboys head coach Wade Phillips seemed rather confident Terry Glenn would be ready for a healthy dose of plays. Maybe not like all of them, but I sure got the feeling he meant half to three-quarters. That certainly would scare away constant man coverage on the outside.

"The limit," Phillips said, referring to Glenn's "limited" status in the season finale "is going to go up a little bit."

Phillips, though, wasn't quite as forthcoming about Owens, who actually did go through a portion of Monday's walk-through workout after spending the early part rehabbing with assistant trainer Britt Brown. Depending on who you talk to, the first player in club history to catch 15 touchdowns passes in a single season either is ready to go or still is limping somewhat and no better than questionable at best for the game.

But that's certainly a better prognosis than after the Carolina game when initial projections had him possibly out for three weeks - although, I guess Sunday would be three weeks since he suffered the injury. Owens appeared to be walking just fine Monday when he entered the weight room, and several players said he appeared to be running some routes pretty well during his limited portion of practice.

Phillips, though, insists Owens will be a game-time decision, and that the earliest he might fully practice would be like Thursday. Plus, there is more to think about, too.

"There is a dilemma there certainly in that what percentage he's going to be healthy," Phillips cautioned. "I think he would play no matter what, he would play. It comes to the decision as to you're not guaranteed of winning this game but if you are to win and to not have him healthy for the next game.

"You have to think about those things. It looks like to me it's going to be a game-time decision."

In other words, Phillips doesn't want to cause further injury to Owens by playing him in this game and then losing him for the remainder of the playoffs. But he knows if he doesn't win this game there will be no more playoff games. What to do, what to do?

Anyone got any connections with divine intervention?

Or maybe Phillips, the sly Texan he is, is playing, as they say in the movie Ray, "country dumb." Nothing says he has to tell us (i.e. the Giants) everything he knows. I'm sure he learned that from his daddy.

But if Owens is ready to play, and at least 90 percent effective, what a one-eighty that would be for the Cowboys' offense, going from no Owens and very little of Glenn that second half against Carolina to Owens and a whole lot of Glenn three weeks later.

"That's going to be big if we have both of those guys back for the first time this year," Davis said. "That will be added confidence to us all."
Imagine that, adding confidence in Week 19.
Instead of concocting flimsy reasons to lose some.

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Re: Q & A and direct from Baseball America.

Post  RedMagma on Wed Jan 09, 2008 1:18 pm

Coughlin says Madison, O'Hara uncertain again for Dallas gamePosted 12m ago E-mail | Save | Print |



By Tom Canavan, AP Sports Writer
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — Center Shaun O'Hara and cornerback Sam Madison were not cleared to play in the NFC wild-card game, and coach Tom Coughlin is uncertain whether the starters will be available for the divisional round against the Dallas Cowboys.

"Both very much wanted to play, but the medical people said that wouldn't be the case," Coughlin said Monday.

O'Hara sprained his left knee in the regular-season finale against New England, while Madison aggravated a pulled muscle in his stomach.

Starting weakside linebacker Kawika Mitchell, who was also hurt against the Patriots, did not aggravate his sprained left knee playing in a limited basis in the Giants' 24-14 win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday.

Backup defensive tackle and snapper Jay Alford sprained a knee Sunday, but Coughlin hopes to have him back at practice on Wednesday.

Grey Ruegamer and Corey Webster both played well in replacing O'Hara and Madison, respectively.

"Grey played very well, played well enough for us to win the game and we had no issues with center-quarterback exchange," Coughlin said of Ruegamer, who was making his first start of the season. "All the calls were made properly, so I was really impressed by the veteran professionalism that Grey demonstrated not only through the week but into the game."

Webster had an interception, recovered a fumble on the opening kickoff of the second half and limited Joey Galloway, the Bucs' 1,000-yard receiver, to one catch for 9 yards.

"He shut things down over there," safety Gibril Wilson said of Webster, who was making his first start since the third game of the season. "He played extremely well. I've been with Corey for three years now, and this is the best I've seen him. He's confident. It's just a wonderful thing to see."

Starting left tackle David Diehl left the game late in the third quarter after cramping in the 70-plus degree heat in Tampa, Fla.
Coughlin said that Diehl was fine after the game and that Guy Whimper did a good job replacing him for 12 plays on a 15-play, 92-yard touchdown drive that sealed the game.

"That was excellent experience for him and to have him get involved more and more was a good thing obviously," Coughlin said.
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Transcript: Coach Tom Coughlin
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January 7, 2007

Do you have any inclination if the players that sat out yesterday are going to be available for this week?
Not really. I think it is day to day and we will have to give it the benefit of the next two days and then see where we are.

Were either of them close yesterday?
No. Both very much wanted to play but the medical people said that wouldn’t be the case.

Is Kawika Mitchell any worse off?
No. No, he came through it without any setbacks and these next couple of days should be real good for him.

Any other injuries from the game? Jay Alford?
Yeah, we are waiting on that. He went back in the game, had some stiffness afterwards so he was treated this morning. They will continue to do that and hopefully he will be ready to practice Wednesday.

No problems with David Diehl?
Cramping.

You had an experience where you lost to a team twice in the regular season and then lost to them again in the playoffs. Is there a certain thing there? A jinx?
No. I don’t think so. It is just a matter of making the plays when they are there. We had a lead at halftime in that game (’99 AFC Championship Game, Tennessee at Jacksonville) and I think we had a mistake take place just before the half and the other team was able to convert a field goal and that didn’t set well with anybody at the half but we were not able to change it around. I just think it is game by game and of course when the plays are there you have to make them.

Are you pleased with the tempo that you set in yesterday’s game and especially the long drive in the second half?
Well, the long drive was excellent. It was time-consuming, it was well-executed, it was methodical, plays were made when they had to be made, the huge third down coming off deep in the minus-territory was huge, the mixing in of the runs, the different receivers able to catch the ball, the ability to score on third down from the four-yard line, all of those things were very good. The things that stood out again were the fact that we had plus-three (in turnover ratio), we were able to hold the Tampa team to 14 points, we did win the time of possession, and we were able to get a turnover on special teams that provided momentum right after the half. Those types of things were thoughts that we had going into the game and things that would have to take place in order for us to win and fortunately they did.

Was one of the best things about that drive that you had two substitutes in on the offensive line and it was a pretty seamless transition?
Yeah I was very pleased when (Guy) Whimper came in and played, I think it was 12 of the 16 snaps and did a good job. That was excellent experience for him and to have him get involved more and more was a good thing obviously. Grey (Ruegamer) played very well, played well enough for us to win the game and we had no issues with center-quarterback exchange, all the calls were made properly, so I was really impressed by the veteran professionalism that Grey demonstrated not only through the week but into the game.

Is the first Cowboys game too far away to recall and account for at this point?
No, it isn’t. I think anytime you are in the division you have a history of playing against a team even though there was a (coaching) change at the end of a year ago. You still have a basic format, you have people and personnel, and then you have that game and then the way in which that game was adjusted for the second game. I think you study that hard. I don’t think you leave any stone unturned here. Obviously we are very interested in what has taken place from the time we played them last but I think you still have to take everything into consideration.

In those games you seemed to do what you set out to do: run the ball, time of possession; it seemed like really what got you were some deep balls thrown by the Cowboys. Is that how you break it down? What is your overall sentiment about those games?
There wasn’t any doubt there have been in the two games that we have played some big plays and some big play touchdowns have gone against us. The points that have been put on the board even though the first game was pretty much a back and forth contest for quite some time, obviously there are things that we can learn from each of those games and again the ability to keep the quarterback from buying more time and then throwing the ball down the field. Those were the things right off the bat that I recall and I will have some more thoughts once I really jump into looking at the Cowboy offense and defense.

When you looked at the tapes today did Eli Manning’s performance stand out any more?
My impression right after the game that he had performed very well was upheld by the tape and we have all acknowledged the slow start but once we got going… I thought he did an excellent job, one of the best I have seen, with regard to his utilization of his eyes and his pump-faking and his ability to recognize what he was trying to do pulling defenders out of position so that he could then go to other voids in the zone coverage. I thought he did an excellent job of that. He had great confidence that his protection was going to allow him to and that followed through so I thought that the timeliness of his execution and his ability to utilize his eyes… There are always things that you would like to do over. I am sure he wants the pass to Kevin Boss, the naked to Kevin Boss, back, as we all would like to have it back. I think that overall when I looked at the game I thought it was a very, very impressive game.

It seemed like at first Tampa was gearing up to stop the run almost saying, ‘Eli is going to have to beat us.’ Is that an accurate impression and do you notice a lot of teams doing that against you?
I don’t think any more than any other team. I think that the majority, every team that we play, spends a great deal of time trying to disguise what they are doing and everybody plays the percentages. Everybody has a down and distance criteria that they try to follow based on their study and teams will try to disguise between having the eighth guy in the box and having him back in coverage and that is exactly what happened yesterday. The Tampa Bay team, especially dropping Phillips down in the box, has done an outstanding job all year long. They didn’t get to the point of being second in the league on defense by not being an outstanding defensive team. They do disguise and they frustrate you quite frankly. When you look at the tape you see some opportunities and you think, ‘boy the ball is coming through there,’ and it doesn’t because they are so fast and so quick to fill the void, so quick to maintain their gap integrity. It is a game of trying to out-maneuver the other guy in terms of running when there is fewer down and throwing when there are a lot of people down. Again from that regard Eli did a good job with that yesterday.

Did it work out well to have Ahmad Bradshaw as a change of pace runner with Brandon Jacobs struggling early?
It worked out well for us to the point where when in those later four-minute drives, whatever you want to call them, Ahmad did give us a little bit of a spark and again demonstrated the power and relentless effort that he has when the ball is under his arm. You can remember that seven-yarder that almost came squirting out of there, that was the play that I recall at the end of the game that excited me the most. Again, another step, another holding of a position on a defender just for a half a count longer and he might have given us that Buffalo look, at least for another extended bunch of yards before he was tackled. That part of it worked out well and of course Brandon early in the game had the nice runs, the nice touchdown run, the powerful runs, the screen for the touchdown, so it worked out in terms of the balance that both guys had opportunities. It worked out well.

Has Ahmad’s ability to break tackles surprised you at all?
We didn’t know anything about the young man except for what we studied. We knew him to be a very, very productive college runner when we drafted him, but when we had him in camp and he had his opportunities he demonstrated that kind of power and that kind of difficulty that he places on the defense in terms of just bringing him down.

When you guys played the Patriots you used the mantra of ‘nothing to lose and everything to gain,’ is there an element of that this week for you guys?
I don’t know. I haven’t really thought about what the themes would be this week yet. That certainly applied to the Patriot game for obvious reasons; we were in the playoffs, our position was not going to change, we were playing against the best team in the NFL, and that was the way our team felt about approaching the game. I do believe that the idea that these guys are having fun right now is very important, they do know how serious the stakes are and they don’t lose sight of the fact of what this tournament is all about. That wouldn’t be the case here but there will be something of that nature.

Based on the Cowboy’s performance in the past few games, how fair is it to say that they are struggling a bit?
I wouldn’t use that word at all. There is not a lot of struggle in some of what I saw of late. I don’t think 405 yards at Carolina is any indication of a struggle. I think the Philadelphia-Dallas game is a battle in the NFC East and you have to leave it at that. You know how strong Philadelphia was at the end of the year so I wouldn’t use that word anywhere near this game. They are extremely explosive and productive and they have had the extra week.

Has Eli really made a marked improvement the past few weeks? Has something clicked-in with him?
He certainly has played and performed very well and he has recognized the things by virtue of the opponent that had to be done in order for us to win and he has gone ahead and done that. He has accepted the responsibility of the position very well but I don’t know that there is anything other than his constant focus and his constant desire to be the best and to do the best that he can be. That doesn’t change. His numbers have been very good and his quarterback rating has been outstanding but he applies himself the exact same way. If anything, it is just the focus on the time of the year to be at your very best is right now.

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Re: Q & A and direct from Baseball America.

Post  RedMagma on Wed Jan 09, 2008 1:19 pm

Josh Ellis - Email
DallasCowboys.com Staff Writer

January 8, 2008 6:07 PM


Michael Strahan and the Giants took care of Tampa Bay in last Sunday's wild-card game.

IRVING, Texas - It's about time. Before the 2007 season even began, most people figured the Cowboys for a playoff team - and as July faded into November, it became apparent they were more than just another team looking to get into the tournament, but one capable of going deep in the postseason. So since the first month of the season, and maybe since last January's debacle in Seattle, things have been building toward this week. And here it is.

What's Up?
The fifth-seeded Giants, NFC East runners-up, ended their playoff drought Sunday by beating Tampa 24-14, winning in the postseason for the first time since 2000. At least they got it out of the way before this Sunday's 3:30 p.m. (CST) kickoff at Texas Stadium. The Cowboys aren't so lucky - the NFC's top seed and first-round bye simply affords them more time to hear about how the team hasn't won a playoff game since 1996. Can you say anxious?

The long week also provides plenty of time to debate how hard it is to beat a good team three times in one year, which the Cowboys have a chance to do for the first time in franchise history Sunday. Do their previous wins over New York, 45-35 in Week One and 31-20 in Week 10, mean the Giants are due, or that a third win is more likely?

One thing is certain: It's much better to be the team looking for win No. 3 three than win No. 1.

Statistical View

* People have been more than ready to jump on the sudden Eli Manning bandwagon, and the numbers, at least the last two weeks, have been pretty good. In the Giants' Week 17 loss to New England and wild-card win over the Bucs, Manning has combined for 436 yards, six touchdown throws and just one interception.
* Manning's efficiency was great Sunday: 74.1 completion percentage and no picks. But wouldn't you like more than 185 yards? And just 6.9 per attempt? Dink and dunk stuff. A scarier Manning would be the one who threw for 312 yards, at a 7.6 yards-per-attempt clip and four touchdowns last time he was in Dallas, the season opener.
* A big difference in the Week One Giants and today's Giants? Plaxico Burress' health. Burress had 144 yards and three touchdowns in the opener, with a pair of 60-yarders. He injured his ankle against Green Bay the next week, however. In the Cowboys' win at the Meadowlands, when cornerback Terence Newman was healthy, Burress had just 24 yards with no scores, and against Tampa Bay on Sunday he had just 38 yards. With their deep threat nicked up, the Giants' offense is not at its full potential. Jeremy Shockey's season-ending leg injury doesn't help, either.
* Since increased pressure has something to do with Tony Romo's diminishing returns down the stretch, it might be worth noting the Giants led the NFL with 53 sacks this season. In two games against the Cowboys, though, the Giants have gotten to Romo just twice.

Chalk Talk
It's funny how so many national television analysts have been swept off their feet by the Giants the last couple of weeks. If it were the Cowboys, they might say winning by "just 10" against Tampa was a letdown. Funny how a loss stinks even worse followed by a bye week and makes people ready to forget just how you got that bye week to begin with.

In either of the Cowboys' wins against the Giants this season, did you ever really think the Giants could outscore the Cowboys if they had to? That's why the return of Terrell Owens is so crucial. If he's back from the high ankle sprain on Sunday, and not just back, but well enough to be effective, you have to believe the Cowboys' offense poses all the same threats it did in the two earlier wins.

The Giants have scaled things back since their big passing day in Week One, reining in Eli Manning and leaning on the power of Brandon Jacobs and newly-found home run threat Ahmad Bradshaw. By doing this, New York can keep Eli from being overexposed, and the fourth-year veteran is much better when he isn't asked to make all the plays. If the Cowboys' offense is on - with Romo's bruised thumb better and a healthy T.O. - it will be hard for the Giants to keep up, same as in the previous games. But a slow, grinding, defensive game probably favors New York.

Connections
Giants backup quarterback Anthony Wright started five games for Dallas from 2000-01 . . . Cowboys offensive coordinator Jason Garrett was a backup quarterback for the Giants from 2000-03 . . . Cowboys special teams coach Bruce Read held the same position in New York from 2002-03 . . . Giants quarterbacks coach Chris Palmer had the same job with Dallas last year.

Miscellaneous
The Cowboys are 54-35-2 against the Giants all-time, but the teams have never met in the playoffs . . . The Cowboys lead the NFL in playoff wins with 32. The Cowboys and Giants are atop the NFL in terms of most playoff seasons, with 29, counting this 2007 run . . . This marks the sixth time since 1970 the Cowboys will play a division rival in the playoffs. They are 2-3 in those games . . . New York has lost a number of key players to injury since the second meeting between the teams. Shockey, linebacker Mathias Kiwanuka and running back/kick returner Derrick Ward have all been placed on injured reserve.[quote]

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Re: Q & A and direct from Baseball America.

Post  RedMagma on Wed Jan 09, 2008 1:27 pm

What do you think Rutgers recruiting ? Onterrio McCalebb ,Art Forst, Scott Vallone?


http://insider.espn.go.com/ncf/recruiting/tracker/espn150

The ESPN 150
Class: 2006 | 2007 | 2008
The complete ESPN 150 is below. ESPN Insiders can access the complete Scouts Inc. evaluation for each player listed below.

Last Updated: 1/9/2008 Data provided by Scouts, Inc.
ESPN 150 - Class of 2008
RANK NAME POSITION STATE GRADE SCHOOL
1 DaQuan Bowers DE SC 95 Clemson
2 Julio Jones WR AL 95 None
3 Will Hill S NJ 94 Florida
4 Terrelle Pryor QB PA 93 None
5 A.J. Green WR SC 91 Georgia
6 Arthur Brown OLB KS 90 Miami (FL)
7 Jermie Calhoun RB TX 90 Oklahoma
8 Patrick Johnson CB FL 90 LSU
9 Darrell Scott RB CA 89 None
10 Dee Finley S AL 88 Florida
11 R.J. Washington DE TX 87 Oklahoma
12 Jamie Harper RB FL 86 None
13 Josh Jarboe WR GA 86 Oklahoma
14 Chancey Aghayere DE TX 86 LSU
15 Brice Butler WR GA 86 USC
16 D.J. Grant WR TX 85 Texas
17 Dan Buckner WR TX 85 Texas
18 Etienne Sabino ILB FL 85 Ohio State
19 Burton Scott ATH AL 84 Alabama
20 Blake Ayles TE CA 84 USC
21 Sean Spence OLB FL 84 Miami (FL)
22 Dayne Crist QB CA 84 Notre Dame
23 Deandre Brown WR MS 84 None
24 T.J. Bryant CB FL 83 None
25 Jonathan Baldwin WR PA 83 Pittsburgh
26 Ryan Williams RB VA 83 Virginia Tech
27 Marcus Forston DT FL 83 Miami (FL)
28 Brandon Harris CB FL 83 None
29 Mike Floyd WR MN 83 Notre Dame
30 Courtney Upshaw DE AL 83 Alabama
31 Janoris Jenkins CB FL 83 Florida
32 Mike Glennon QB VA 83 N.C. State
33 Tyler Love OT AL 83 Alabama
34 Kyle Parker QB FL 83 Clemson
35 Richard Samuel RB GA 83 Georgia
36 Terrance Parks CB GA 83 Florida State
37 Omar Hunter DT GA 83 None
38 Blaine Gabbert QB MO 83 Missouri
39 Brandon Thompson DT GA 83 None
40 Spencer Adams S NC 83 Clemson
41 Joe Adams ATH AR 83 USC
42 Michael Brewster OT FL 83 Ohio State
43 William Green DE AL 83 None
44 Andre Ellington RB SC 83 Clemson
45 Deangelo Tyson DT GA 83 Georgia
46 Aundre Dean RB TX 83 UCLA
47 Jermaine Thomas ATH FL 83 Florida State
48 Andrew Sweat ILB PA 83 Ohio State
49 T.J. Lawrence WR FL 82 None
50 Carlton Thomas RB FL 82 Georgia
51 E.J. Manuel QB VA 82 Florida State
52 Chris Tolliver WR LA 82 LSU
53 Ramon Buchanan OLB FL 82 Miami (FL)
54 Charles Whitlock CB SC 82 South Carolina
55 Jeff Demps ATH FL 82 None
56 J.B. Shugarts OT TX 82 Ohio State
57 Cyrus Gray RB TX 82 None
58 Michael Mauti ILB LA 82 Penn State
59 D.J. Shoemate ATH CA 82 USC
60 Nigel Bradham ILB FL 82 Florida State
61 Andrew Luck QB TX 82 Stanford
62 Kavario Middleton TE WA 82 Washington
63 Aldarius Johnson WR FL 82 Miami (FL)
64 DeVoe Torrence ATH OH 82 Ohio State
65 Xavier Brewer CB FL 82 Clemson
66 Jarvis Humphrey DT TX 82 Texas
67 Khaled Holmes OG CA 82 USC
68 Davon Johnson WR FL 82 Miami (FL)
69 Dann O'Neill OT MI 82 Michigan
70 Karnell Hatcher S FL 82 None
71 Darryl Stonum WR TX 82 Michigan
72 Jameel Owens WR OK 82 None
73 Matt Kalil OT CA 82 USC
74 Nigel Carr OLB FL 82 Florida State
75 Antoine Hicks ATH TX 82 Texas
76 De'Anthony Curtis RB AR 82 Arkansas
77 Jordan Futch OLB FL 82 Miami (FL)
78 Antoine McClain OT AL 82 None
79 David Snow OG TX 82 Texas
80 Lerentee McCray OLB FL 82 None
81 Tyler Wilson QB AR 82 Arkansas
82 Ethan Johnson DE OR 82 Notre Dame
83 Dwayne Allen TE NC 82 Georgia
84 Stephen Good OT TX 82 Oklahoma
85 Brandon Barnes ATH NC 82 N.C. State
86 Jamoris Slaughter S GA 82 Notre Dame
87 Rod Wilks WR TN 82 Tennessee
88 Mike Adams OT OH 82 Ohio State
89 Jonas Gray RB MI 82 Notre Dame
90 Marcus Robinson OLB FL 81 Miami (FL)
91 Derrick Hall ATH TX 81 Texas A&M
92 Daniel Franklin ILB GA 81 Oklahoma
93 Charles Mitchell ATH MS 81 None
94 Darius Fleming DE IL 81 Notre Dame
95 DeSean Hales WR TX 81 Texas
96 Uona Kaveinga ILB CA 81 UCLA
97 Jerrell Harris OLB AL 81 None
98 Chris Harper ATH KS 81 None
99 Emmanuel Acho OLB TX 81 Texas
100 E.J. Woods S CA 81 UCLA
101 Shayne Hale ILB PA 81 Pittsburgh
102 Deion Walker WR VA 81 Notre Dame
103 C.J. Holton S FL 81 Miami (FL)
104 Kyle Rudolph TE OH 81 Notre Dame
105 Jordan Fields CB TX 81 Texas A&M
106 Jake Stoneburner TE OH 81 Ohio State
107 Taylor Cook QB TX 81 Miami (FL)
108 Chris Burns RB PA 81 Pittsburgh
109 Nick Crissman QB CA 81 UCLA
110 Christian Wilson OLB PA 81 Michigan
111 Matt Meyer OT CA 81 USC
112 Nolan Brewster OLB CO 81 Texas
113 Brandon Moore TE OH 81 Michigan
114 Steve Filer ILB IL 81 Notre Dame
115 Kye Staley RB OK 81 Oklahoma State
116 Kendall Wright ATH TX 81 None
117 Baker Steinkuhler OT NE 81 Nebraska
118 Gerell Robinson ATH AZ 81 Arizona State
119 Matthew Patchan OT FL 81 Florida
120 Landry Jones QB NM 81 Oklahoma
121 Kyle Long OT VA 81 None
122 Luke Nix OT PA 81 Pittsburgh
123 Justin Johnson RB TX 81 Oklahoma
124 Braxston Cave OC IN 81 Notre Dame
125 Tyron Smith OT CA 81 USC
126 Patrick Nixon CB FL 81 Illinois
127 Keanon Cooper OLB TX 81 None
128 Toby Jackson DE GA 81 Georgia
129 A.J. Harmon OG GA 81 Georgia
130 Brendan Beal ILB PA 81 Florida
131 Kenny Tate WR MD 81 None
132 Travis Howard CB FL 81 Ohio State
133 Neiko Lipscomb CB GA 81 None
134 Anthony Dye CB CA 81 UCLA
135 Tyler Edwards TE LA 80 LSU
136 Dravannti Johnson OLB TX 80 Texas
137 Jon Major ILB CO 80 Colorado
138 Kerry Boykins WR VA 80 Maryland
139 Benjamin Jones OC AL 80 Georgia
140 J.B. Fitzgerald OLB NJ 80 Michigan
141 Jeremy Brown CB FL 80 Florida
142 Rodrick Davis DT TX 80 Texas A&M
143 Chris Jackson ATH GA 80 Alabama
144 Travis Benjamin WR FL 80 Miami (FL)
145 Tavarres King WR GA 80 Georgia
146 Eric Smith RB FL 80 None
147 Tyler Westphal DE WI 80 Wisconsin
148 Ricky Barnum OG FL 80 None
149 Tarik Rollins OLB FL 80 Clemson
150 Lynn Katoa OLB UT 80 Colorado

RedMagma

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Re: Q & A and direct from Baseball America.

Post  RedMagma on Wed Jan 09, 2008 1:32 pm

Prospects
NAME POS HT WT HOMETOWN RANK GRADE STATUS NCAA SCHOOL
DaQuan Bowers DE 6-4 265 Bamberg, SC DE #1 95 Verbal Clemson
Julio Jones WR 6-4 215 Foley, AL WR #1 95 Undeclared View Schools
Will Hill S 6-3 203 West Orange, NJ S #1 94 Verbal Florida
Terrelle Pryor QB 6-6 227 Jeannette, PA QB #1 93 Undeclared View Schools
A.J. Green WR 6-4 184 Ridgeville, SC WR #2 91 Verbal Georgia
Arthur Brown OLB 6-1 210 Wichita, KS OLB #1 90 Verbal Miami (FL)
Jermie Calhoun RB 6-0 210 Van, TX RB #1 90 Verbal Oklahoma
Patrick Johnson CB 6-1 193 Pembroke Pines, FL CB #1 90 Verbal LSU
Darrell Scott RB 6-0 204 Moorpark, CA RB #2 89 Undeclared View Schools
Dee Finley S 6-3 210 Auburn, AL S #2 88 Verbal Florida
R.J. Washington DE 6-3 245 Keller, TX DE #2 87 Verbal Oklahoma
Jamie Harper RB 6-0 220 Jacksonville, FL RB #3 86 Undeclared View Schools
Josh Jarboe WR 6-3 195 Decatur, GA WR #3 86 Verbal Oklahoma
Chancey Aghayere DE 6-4 244 Garland, TX DE #3 86 Verbal LSU
Brice Butler WR 6-2 178 Norcross, GA WR #4 86 Verbal USC
D.J. Grant WR 6-3 200 Austin, TX WR #5 85 Verbal Texas
Dan Buckner WR 6-4 209 Allen, TX WR #6 85 Verbal Texas
Etienne Sabino ILB 6-3 228 Miami, FL ILB #1 85 Verbal Ohio State
Burton Scott ATH 5-11 194 Prichard, AL ATH #1 84 Verbal Alabama
Blake Ayles TE 6-4 240 Orange, CA TE #1 84 Verbal USC
Sean Spence OLB 6-0 190 Miami, FL OLB #2 84 Verbal Miami (FL)
Dayne Crist QB 6-5 228 Canoga Park, CA QB #2 84 Verbal Notre Dame
Deandre Brown WR 6-6 208 Ocean Springs, MS WR #7 84 Undeclared View Schools
T.J. Bryant CB 6-0 180 Tallahassee, FL CB #2 83 Undeclared View Schools
Jonathan Baldwin WR 6-6 220 Aliquippa, PA WR #8 83 Verbal Pittsburgh
Ryan Williams RB 5-10 192 Manassas, VA RB #4 83 Verbal Virginia Tech
Marcus Forston DT 6-2 286 Miami, FL DT #1 83 Verbal Miami (FL)
Brandon Harris CB 5-10 174 Miami, FL CB #3 83 Undeclared View Schools
Mike Floyd WR 6-4 195 Saint Paul, MN WR #9 83 Verbal Notre Dame
Courtney Upshaw DE 6-2 225 Eufaula, AL DE #4 83 Verbal Alabama

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Re: Q & A and direct from Baseball America.

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