September 2008

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You Can Thank Me

If you’re wondering who to thank for the Bronco victory over the Chargers, look no further.

It was close but I am taking credit for the win. By close, I mean I almost did not get my orange Terrell Davis jersey on before the Broncos’ first offensive snap. I had a feeling if I did not get it on in time for that snap we would lose. So as our offense was taking the field at the new Mile High (and the network was on a commercial break) I ran upstairs and got the jersey and ran back down to see our offense break the huddle and walk up to the line. I frantically pulled it over my head as Cutler stood behind center. Jersey on. Hike.

I saved the day. Just barely.

I am way behind on my blogging! I still have to finish up my Alaska trip and I have to put up my pics from Obama’s acceptance speech at the new Mile High Stadium. Plus I have at least five other entries in the hopper in various stages of production. I’ll get to all those soon but…

First, a comment about John McCain. I’m working on this blog entry as I listen to his acceptance speech. Great introductory video, a true profile in courage and I mean that sincerely. Again, though, I must ask, why in God’s name did you Republicans choose a lightweight coward like George W. Bush over John McCain in 2000? And why did you make McCain dilute his maverick essence before you made him your nominee in 2008? Have you Republicans learned nothing over the last eight years? Apparently not. So last night we got the Rudy & Tracy Flick bad cop show and tonight we get John McCain conciliatory good cop. It was a great speech, much better than Palin’s I think because it was targeted at the unconverted rather than the base. As he put it, “Americans want us to stop yelling at each other.” But his words seem to contradict the nature of the RNC prior to tonight. And which Republican Party are we going to get if we elect John McCain? And which Republican Party will we get if we elect Barack Obama?

Now…

ARE YOU READY FOR SOME FOOTBALL!? We at FifthLung have previously previewed Schmazzer League seasons. Now it’s time to do it again. We did it a little differently this year. We went through the draft pick by pick and added comments. Having just been to Alaska (and still reading some Alaskan wildlife books) we decided to use a rating system of King Salmon, Caribou and Wolf Pup. At a certain point in the draft the King Salmon — the sure things barring injury — are gone. One can either go with the Wolf Pups, guys with big upside, or the Caribou, journeymen FF players who’ll get a handful of TDs all year. Between Wolf Pups and Caribou, we almost always choose the guys with big upside and hope a couple pan out. You can win with a reliable stable of Caribou but it’s much harder. We believe it’s rare for a Caribou to turn into a King Salmon. But it’s not as rare for a Wolf Pup to take it to the next level. The trick is finding the right Wolf Pups.

After I rated the draft, I resorted them based on teams. Then I looked them all over and made my predictions.

1 Regal Beagles Tomlinson King Salmon.
20 Larry Fitzgerald King Salmon…as long as Warner is throwing the football.
21 Mjones-Drew Feast or famine with MJD, love him though I do. Probably would have taken him with my next pick due to man-crush.
40 Torry Holt The Rams stink but I do like Holt, especially at this point in the draft.
41 Brandon Marshall Darn. I was hoping he would fall just a bit further. Wolf Pup turning King Salmon this year.
60 Donovan McNabb Injury prone. Aren’t all the Eagles? What’s up with that?
61 Ronnie Brown Recovering from a big injury. Plus I’ve struggled through a season with him before. Once bitten twice shy.
80 Dwayne Bowe Wolf Pup but his QB situation is too risky and the whole team stinks.
81 Dallas Clark Caribou.
100 Bucs Wolf pup of a defense?
101 Kenny Watson Of the Perry/Watson RBBC in Cincinnati, could be the better option.
120 Jeff Reed He’s a kicker.
 
2 MeatWads Westbrook The first gutsy pick of the draft.Always solid but always seems to be
injured. I would’ve passed him up.
19 Braylon Edwards King Salmon. I had him targeted for my second pick but then Randy Moss fell into my lap.
22 Brandon Jacobs Solid runner but injury prone. I couldn’t have taken him.
39 Roethlisberger Big Ben…a bit risky at this point in the draft. I would have taken Brandon Marshall here.
42 Reggie Bush Injury prone and doesn’t get enough TDs. Decided to avoid him.
59 Jason Witten Caribou with Wolf Pup aspirations. I would have taken him later if he’d still been there.
62 Chargers Without Merriman, will they be as good?
79 Hines Ward Caribou.
82 Lav Coles Injury prone and a Caribou. We always get less than we hope from Lav.
99 Matt Hasselbeck Pretty solid but he doesn’t excite me very much.
102 Nate Kaeding Yeah, reliable kicker.
119 Justin Fargas Somebody had to take him. Maybe the last starting RB on the board.
 
3 Butters Boll Weevils Adrian Peterson King Salmon.
18 Reggie Wayne Love Wayne but those doubts about the Colts…
23 Ryan Grant Injury concerns, new QB, Green Bay doubts…decided to leave him alone.
38 Derek Anderson Great QB pick at this stage. I thought of taking him but was a bit
concerned about his concussion.
43 Anquan Boldin Also injury prone.
58 Fred Taylor Blah, Caribou.
63 Vikings Expected to be good but who knows.
78 Marvin Harrison Caribou.
83 Rudi Johnson Later cut and signed by the Lions. A Caribou if that.
98 DeSean Jackson Wolf Pup, I suppose. But rookie WRs almost never pan out.
103 Mason Crosby Good kicker but avoiding those Packers.
118 Jake Delhomme Solid backup.
 
4 El Blizzardo Diablo Marion Barber King Salmon. Bit too early to take him but a man-crush
dictated otherwise. Thought of taking Brady here but his injured foot changed
my mind. Barber would have been gone by my second pick. I’d almost rather lose
with a team I like than have my top players be slugs I don’t like.
17 Randy Moss King Salmon. Easy pick for me. How did Randy Moss fall this far? I
thought of taking him with the 4th pick.
24 Marques Colston King Salmon, I hope. Another man-crush too.
37 Michael Turner The first of my picks that I didn’t like. Risky and could be a complete bust. But I needed another RB before they were all gone.
44 Jay Cutler Way too early to pick Cutler, I know. But I wanted to have fun this season and decided not to risk the possibility he would be gone by the time my turn came around again. Maybe should have gotten another WR here, like Cotchery. But I do think the Denver offense is going to be very strong. The defense not so much. Wolf Pup!
57 Jonathon Stewart Wolf Pup. Based on earlier traumatic experiences in my life I have long vowed to never touch the Carolina RB situation again, but I’ve got a good feeling about this kid. Of course, I had a good feeling about DeShaun Foster too.
64 Bears My top-rated defense due to Hester.Kind of wish I’d taken the Cowboys D later because the Bears offense is so bad. I think I rotate years when it comes to kickers and defenses. One year I pick a semi-reliable K and D and the next year I scramble all year to fill the position. This year: hopefully scramble free. But I probably should have taken Crayton.
77 Chris Johnson Wolf Pup. Everybody’s favorite sleeper, so he might be doomed.
84 Nick Folk Too early for a kicker and I had a great sleeper kicker too. I was planning on taking a kicker and defense with my last two picks but then I realized all the remaining players suck. So I figured, why not.
97 David Garrard I wanted Kurt Warner here but he had not been named the starter yet. Turns out nobody drafted Warner though so I could have waited. Ended up dropping Garrard and picking up Warner.
104 Jerry Porter Caribou with injury issues? I’m hoping he can get healthy and become Garrard’s #1 WR.
117 Eddie Royal Man-crush pick. Lots of potential but probably not a Wolf Pup for this year. Dropped him for Ted Ginn, Jr., reconsidered this due to the likely crapitude of the Miami offense. Dropped Ginn for Andre Hall, who somebody should have taken…why not me?
 
5 Beastmasters Steven Jackson Risky. He could be good this year. But the Rams were so bad last year…
16 Drew Brees Caribou QB. Every year is supposed to be the year for the New Orleans offense.
25 Jamal Lewis He scored on a lot of long runs last year, as I recall. Can’t believe
he’ll be good again this year.
36 TJ Housh Evans breaks my heart for the first but not last time.I was praying Housh would fall to me and I saw him getting closer and closer.Then he was snatched from my greedy paws.
45 Thomas Jones The run on the revitalized NYJ begins. He could be good.
56 Santonio Holmes Wolf Pup. Had my eye on him too. Damn you again Evans!
65 Patrick Crayton Wolf Pup.
76 Chris Chambers Caribou though he should be more. I’m not jumping on the Philip Rivers bandwagon.
85 Patriots Could be good. Or maybe they’ve jumped the shark.
96 Josh Brown He’s the Rams kicker now, right? Eh.
105 Philip Rivers Don’t like him.
116 Isaac Bruce Lame Caribou. Wolves circling.
 
6 PWfH Tom Brady King Salmon, except for some modest injury concerns (over what we now know is a broken bone in his foot). Better than any of the five or so RBs going next.
15 Owens Owens before Randy Moss?
26 Willis McGahee Injury concerns and a crappy offense. Would’ve passed him up.
35 Willie Parker Someone had to take him.Glad it wasn’t me.
46 Jerricho Cotchery Wolf Pup.
55 Selvin Young Nobody has a bigger man-crush on Selvin than I do, but he just gets injured too often. Hopefully he did a better job of off-season conditioning this year…or something.
66 Nate Burleson Lame Caribou. Wolves circling.
75 Ronald Curry Caribou if he’s lucky.
86 Jeremy Shockey Caribou.
95 Steve Slaton Tough to figure out the Houston RB situation.Looks like it’s best avoided though.Manning later dropped him for a defense, having forgotten to draft one.
106 Chris Perry Seems like Watson is more likely to get the TD carries though I’ve been waiting for Perry to overtake Rudi for years.
115 Neil Rackers Past performance is no guarantee of future results.
 
7 Rausch’s Piles of Crap Peyton Manning Risky. Lots of injury concerns with the Colts.I have my doubts about them this year.
14 Earnest Graham Not sure about Graham.Too much of an unknown.
27 Andre Johnson King Salmon. I had my eye on Andre.
34 Darren McFadden Wolf Pup. Excellent pick at this stage in the draft, I think.
47 Roy Williams Caribou.
54 Julius Jones Caribou, or worse.
67 Chad Johnson Good pick at this point.Not sure what you’re getting here but worth the risk.
74 Ricky Williams Risky but maybe he still has it.
87 Brett Favre Pretty good backup for Peyton.
94 Shayne Graham Why not.
107 Santana Moss Caribou.
114 Todd Heap I thought this was an accidental auto-pilot pick. Rausch claimed he
desperately wanted him though. I don’t believe him.
 
8 Corporate Killers Joseph Addai I’m not buying what Addai is selling…doubts about the Colts.
13 Frank Gore SF is terrible but I like Gore more than Johnson because Gore is the whole offense. I suffered through the torture of too many painful three and out drives last year. Couldn’t possibly have picked him again.
28 Carson Palmer Too early to take Palmer.
33 Plaxico Burress Good pick. The guy plays injured, always a plus.
48 Wes Welker Caribou.
53 Edge James Caribou, or worse.
68 Seahawks I don’t have much faith in the Seattle Defense.
73 Lee Evans Caribou.
88 Gostkowski If the NE slows down a bit, a reasonable expectation, he could be the best K in the league. I took Folk because I think the Cowboys will kick more field goals.
93 Antonio Gates Limping King Salmon. Injury concerns. Still, had my eye on him because he fell so far.
108 Felix Jones Wolf Pup. Hopefully he doesn’t eat into Barber’s carries too much.
113 Roddy White He probably should not have fallen this far. I’d been thinking about taking him for several rounds. Problem is I have Michael Turner. Do I want to rest my 2008 FF hopes on the Atlanta offense? No.
 
9 Butt-Thongers Clinton Portis Love him but not as an FF player.
12 Larry Johnson KC is terrible. Too risky a pick.
29 Laurence Maroney The NE RBs are a pain in the ass.You never know who’s going to
play and who’s going to vulture TDs.
32 Kevin Smith Another risky pick. I’d have taken McFadden before Forte or Smith.
49 Eli Manning May as well give Eli a shot this year, I guess.
52 Calvin Johnson Wolf Pup. Had my eye on Calvin but so did everyone else.
69 Chris Cooley No.
72 Colts Rated highly but I’m not buying it.
89 Bernard Berrian Caribou at best.
92 Vinatieri Guess he could be good if the Colts slow down (but not too much) and it looks like they might.
109 Rashard Mendenhall Not progressing as quickly as expected. Too risky.
112 Vince Young Man-crush pick.
 
10 Ochos Marshawn Lynch Not sold on the Buffalo offense and not sold on Marshawn.
11 Tony Romo King Salmon. Had him last year. I’ll miss you, Tony.
30 LenDale White They run a lot at Tennessee. But I had my eye on the other Titan RB as a sleeper.
31 Matt Forte Too early to take Forte. Crappy offense and the Bear running game has been a disaster in recent years.
50 Greg Jennings Could be a good pick at this point but I decided to avoid all Green Bay Packers for reasons cited earlier.
51 Steve Smith Suspended King Salmon. A steal at this point in the draft. I had hoped he would keep falling.
70 Kellen Winslow Eh, maybe he’ll break out this year and become a steady Caribou.
71 DeAngelo Williams Why hasn’t he taken the job firmly in hand? I think he’s a Caribou.
90 Steelers I see no reason to believe this defense will be better than any of the
other remaining defenses.
91 Phil Dawson Could be a good pick if the Browns can take it to the next level, which I
suspect they will.
110 Ray Rice I’m not buying the Ray Rice hype.
111 Ahman Green I think this might be the year his legs fall off.

Here are the two divisions this year and the teams as I rank them (five-way tie for 6th)(playoff teams prediction in bold):

ARSKEN
1. Regal Beagles
2. El Blizzardo Diablo
3. Beastmasters
6. Butt-Thongers
6. Corporate Killers

BARSKEN FU
4. Rausch’s Piles of Crap
5. Ochos
6. Butters Boll Weevils
6. Psycho-Whores from Hell
6. MeatWads

SUPER BOWL (winner prediction in bold):
Regal Beagles vs. El Blizzardo Diablo

RNC Night Two

As I watch Fred Thompson extol the virtues of John McCain, I have to admit McCain sounds like a great guy. Certainly an American hero who displayed incredible courage. A maverick who took on Washington. And a maverick who shook up the Republican Presidential campaign trail back in 2000. Yet I can’t help but remember that the Republicans chose someone else back in 2000. They decided George W. Bush would be a better President. GEORGE W. BUSH! Thank you Republicans. You made a great choice. I really want to trust you now. After 2000, McCain learned his lesson. He became less of a maverick, changing his position even on torture in recent months. Remember that 2008 Republican Presidential Debate when McCain was the only candidate who spoke out against torture? I almost stood up and cheered in the privacy of my basement when he spoke up. But it turned out that was just the last pillar of the old John McCain to fall. And the Republicans rewarded him with the nomination.

It’s been amusing on this convention night to hear the Republicans falling all over themselves to praise Sarah Palin. The new line is that she has “executive experience” — one and half years in the governor’s office and several years as the mayor of a small town in Alaska. Senator Orrin Hatch just said that being mayor of a small town is in lots of ways even harder than being mayor of a big city. Wow, reaching a little bit there Senator? Of course, they don’t talk about all the executive experience John McCain has had. Nor do they mention that Barack Obama has been running a very successful national campaign for President for longer than Palin has been governor of Alaska.

No, they talk about her foreign policy experience (Alaska is next to Russia) and her military experience (as the head of the Alaska National Guard). They don’t mention what a mockery her daughter’s pregnancy makes of her abstinence-only sex ed stand. Nor do they mention that she secured $27 million in earmarks for her small town. Nor do they mention that she was in favor of the bridge to nowhere before she was against it and even after she was against it she got the full funding, it was just labeled differently. Now Newt Gingrich is talking angrily about how Palin is indisputably more qualified than Obama. “She’s been mayor! She’s been governor! She was head of the Alaskan National Guard!” If he’s angry it must be true! What a joke. The Republicans are just digging themselves into a hole of lies.

What we’re hearing from the Republicans as they comically fall over themselves to justify McCain’s reckless VP choice is SPIN. Spin at it’s worst. The kind of spin I hate much more than partisanship. The kind of spin I hope the American people are getting better and better at spotting and dispatching. It’s the kind of mindless, unflinching, dishonest spin that has made Obama so popular because he may be our last hope for a post-spin political arena. If his method works, other politicians will follow. If it doesn’t, politicians will return to the old ways that have always worked.

John McCain would have been a much better President than George W. Bush, but the Republicans did not give us that option. Now they have given us McCain Lite. And in McCain’s first major decision, he gives us a person who nobody can honestly believe is “ready on day one.” She must be about 30th on the list of Republicans qualified to be President, behind many men and women. I think she’s a rising star in the Republican party and she will give a good speech tomorrow night. But is she ready? If Republicans honestly believe Obama isn’t ready, can they honestly believe she is?

NOTE: I forgot to mention she’s a hockey mom. Which I’m sure the Republicans will describe as Olympic Coaching Experience.