Tuesday, May 31, 2011 @ 8:22am
Kevin Kolb appears to be the favorite, not only to become
the Cardinals next starting quarterback but also in the
minds of Cards fans in general. With so many options out
there - some of which have Pro Bowls and 20+ TD seasons on
their resumes, I can't help but wonder why that is.
Trust me, I get it. Kolb is better than anything the
Cardinals had last year. Still, is that enough of a reason
to pay a king's ransom for a player, because he's better
than the Derek Anderson/Max Hall/John Skelton triumvirate?
Hell, I'm a better soccer player than my mother (sorry
Mom), but that doesn't mean my team should be happy to
have me on board.
But I digress.
Unfortunately, the very fact that Kolb is not Derek
Anderson seems to be enough for many people, including
ESPN's John Clayton. However, even as one of the strongest
advocates of Kolb to Arizona, Clayton, basically said that while Kolb
may not be great, he's worth the risk because he's not
Clayton's terrible reasoning notwithstanding, how can
anyone say, with certainty, that Kolb is, in fact, not
terrible? While a career rating of 73.2 isn't terrible,
it's less than five full percentage points above
Anderson's, and there's not much about 11 career touchdown
passes against 14 interceptions that screams greatness.
guy thinks Kolb's statistics are more A.J. Feely than
Monday, May 23, 2011 @ 10:28pm
The Arizona Diamondbacks are partying like it's 2007.
Remember that season? The D-backs, in Sedona Red for the
first time, won 92 games and the National League West
crown with smoke and mirrors - and a little pitching.
That team, if you recall, was outscored by 20 runs over
the course of the season and was led by the
as hell always hustling Eric Byrnes on offense
and CY Young candidate Brandon Webb on the mound.
While they were the big names (and Orlando Hudson the All-Star), it was a bullpen that won games, as well as saved them, that led the team to heights not seen since.
Juan Cruz, Tony Pena, Brandon Lyon, Doug Slaten, Jose
Valverde. Once the game was put in their hands the game
was over, meaning all Webb, Doug Davis, Livan Hernandez,
Micah Owings or whatever starter toed the rubber that day
had to do was pitch about six strong innings. Do that,
leave the game, watch the ‘pen go to work and lock it
down. A team that can shorten a game, so to speak, is one
that can hide a lot of deficiencies, which is exactly what
happened four years ago.
They're doing it again.
I think back to something pitcher Joe Saunders said after
the Diamondbacks rallied for a win over the Braves last
week, when I asked him about the team's starting pitching
being a motivating factor for the rest of the team to play
well. After all, a starter keeping the team in the game
gives the bats more time to wake up and score some runs.
"Baseball's a funny thing," he said. "It seems like what
makes the good teams good teams is that when the hitting
isn't really clicking on all cylinders the pitching picks
it up and when the pitching isn't clicking on all
cylinders the hitters pick it up."
That confidence was missing the last few seasons -- with
good reason -- but for now seems to have returned to Chase
Field, and its importance cannot be overstated.
Monday, May 16, 2011 @ 5:34pm
I blame Steve Nash.
Because of Nash's brilliance Suns fans, or at least a good majority of them, believe the way he plays point guard is the right way to play the position.
Indeed, Nash has been great since returning to the Valley; two MVP awards, three trips to the Conference Finals and piles of points would attest to that. Averages of 11.5, 10.5, 11.6, 11.1, 9.7, 11 and 11.4 assists per game are evidence that Nash would look to pass before taking a shot himself, and if you're still unsure then take a look at Shawn Marion, Amare Stoudemire and Marcin Gortat for further proof.
However, Nash's unique ability, while great for the Suns
the last seven seasons, has also led many to believe the
way he plays point guard is not only the right way, but
the only way as well.
Case in point a question I posed on Twitter late last
week, asking if the Oklahoma City Thunder would be a
better team if Nash was their point guard instead of
Both of these responses are from Suns fans who know the
game and are passionate about the team, but they are also
emblematic of the inherent flaw in how Suns fans view the
point guard position. It seems, after all, that a point
guard who scores is not viewed as one who could also win.
The theory that a guy like Nash would make the rest of
the players on the Thunder better may be true, but
would the team itself improve? Oklahoma City did win 55 games this past season, so it's not like they underachieved under Westbrook's stewardship.
As it stands, ZoDogg34 and yrite4 have company in the "no pass, no win" club, a group that feels OKC would be better off with a point guard like Nash, who tallied 14.7 points and 11.4 assists per game over Westbrook, who finished the regular season with averages of 21.9 and 8.2.
While Nash has a better assist to turnover ratio and
Westbrook is a superior defender, the idea that a score-
first point can't win is as ludicrous as it is narrow
minded. In fact, as many teams function without a point
guard initiating the offense, it can be argued that a
squad is better off with their primary ball-handler being
someone who can put the ball in the basket. Case in point: this year's conference finals teams.
Thursday, May 12, 2011 @ 1:25pm
As the NBA's old guard dynasties have come crashing down they have brought the realization that all good things must come to an end. The Spurs, Lakers and Celtics all bowed out of this year's postseason, sometimes in a less-than-graceful manner (I'm looking at you, Los Angeles), and with them went the dynasties of the last decade. And that's OK.
Of all leagues the NBA tends to be the most cyclical, and that's because the best teams are built around superstars. From the time a team acquires one their job is to surround him with the right mix of talent, hope to win some titles and then move on when the player just doesn't have it anymore. As difficult as it may be to break up championship teams and part with once-great players, the tough decisions are made because they're in the best interests of the team.
And, no matter what direction the Spurs, Lakers and Celtics take from here, they can do so knowing they gave their superstars the pieces they needed to win a title.
The Suns can't make that claim, though they certainly fall into the same group of teams that have exhausted their chances.
Now it's true that Steve Nash is not on the same level as Tim Duncan or Kobe Bryant, and while he's comparable to Paul Pierce he never played with anyone as great as Kevin Garnett or Ray Allen (in their primes). Still, the pieces were there to make something happen and the Suns seemed content with doing the bare minimum in trying to do so.
In 2004-05 Phoenix had one of the youngest teams in the league and featured Nash along with Amare Stoudemire, Shawn Marion, Quentin Richardson and Joe Johnson. Rather than keep this group together and build the Suns chose instead to make some drastic changes.
Monday, May 9, 2011 @ 12:32pm
I didn't even consider the possibility.
When Gary Williams abruptly retired as head coach of Maryland basketball, there was not a thought in my mind that the decision would have a ripple effect that would reach Tucson, Arizona.
That was Thursday, and although Sean Miller's name had been linked to the job, I laughed off the possibility, instead saying how happy I was that other schools wanted to hire away our coach. After all, nobody would want him if he wasn't doing a good job -- which he is -- so it's only natural that other schools would be interested. Of course, there was no way he would leave Tucson, not after a Pac-10 title, appearance in the Elite 8 and top 10 recruiting class on its way.
Then Friday arrived, and with it came a bunch of speculation and rumors, ranging everywhere from Miller's wife not liking Tucson because of allergy problems to Maryland being Sean's "dream job." Ruh roh.
Following reports Saturday that it was all but a formality, I mentally began to prepare myself for one of the biggest let-downs in UA basketball history, one that would rival Illinois in 2005 and UConn not long ago. Then came this tweet:
But really, this weekend signaled a lot of things for Arizona and its fans, and where you fall along the isle will determine what exactly you take from the experience.
On the upside, Miller has come out and said the flirtation with Maryland only helped re-affirm what he already felt, which was that Arizona was the perfect opportunity for him.
"Nobody is happier to be head coach at any place in the country than I am here at the University of Arizona," he said. "If the deeper meaning of this weekend is that I'm here for the long haul, unconditionally, that's what that means. I am."
Recruits may feel that if he turned down a good chance to head back East now he won't ever leave, and being the most talked about coach in the nation probably doesn't hurt his street cred when trying to land the nation's top recruits.
On the downside, maybe this shows that while Miller really does have interest in going back east, Maryland proved to be a bad fit.
Thursday, May 5, 2011 @ 1:09pm
How much do you trust Ken Whisenhunt?
Roughly nine months ago I wrote that I did and everyone else should too. I felt he had a good grasp on the team's QB situation in the post-Warner era and the team, while likely taking a small step back, would not be in too bad of shape.
Well, as they often say when Mark Reynolds is at the plate, swing and a miss.
But now he gets another chance, assuming the league and players come to some sort of labor agreement, to find someone - anyone - who can lead an offense good enough to get the Cardinals back to the playoffs.
Sure, there are plenty of options out there, though there are no sure things on the market. Maybe that's because teams don't let a QB leave unless there is something wrong or serious doubts.
And therein lies the rub for the Arizona Cardinals.
I'll admit it, I'm not a fan of Kevin Kolb. The current frontrunner in the QB race, I have been less-than-impressed with what has been a mediocre career up to this point. He has room to improve, of course, since he's only 26 and has played in all of 20 NFL games, but I'm really nervous about the Cardinals giving up a high draft pick and maybe even a player to acquire the Eagles backup.
To me, acquiring Kolb at the price he's likely to command means a few things, most importantly that they think he's a franchise quarterback. You don't give up high draft picks for players you hope will be good, but you do move them for ones you know will get the job done. Whiz and the Cardinals would not be trading for Kolb so he can compete for the starting job, they would be making the move so they could give the job to him.
Monday, May 2, 2011 @ 4:12pm
Mel Kiper Jr. gave the Cardinals an A. ESPN's John Clayton and Sports Illustrated's Don Banks both list the Cardinals as one of the draft's winners.
Oh, that 2006 draft really set the table for the dominant Cardinals team you see today.
As draft grades continue to pour in from various different sources it is important we remember one easily forgettable fact: No one knows how any of these players will turn out.
Kiper's grade, in 2006, was based largely on the Cardinals' first round pick.
"The Cardinals' QB of the future, Matt Leinart, fell into their lap at No. 10 (I had Leinart as the third best player in the draft). Guard Taitusi "Deuce" Lutui (second round) and TE Leonard Pope (third round) were great picks."
One out of three would make a Hall of Fame hitter in baseball, but it does not help in building a football team.
Clayton mused about the Cardinals, normally a bad luck team, finally receiving some good fortune, starting with the signing of Edgerrin James.
"Twice this offseason they struck gold. They headed into free agency without the intention of paying big money for a running back. But with a surprising $17.5 million increase in the salary cap, the Cardinals were able to sign Edgerrin James. Then, Matt Leinart was gift-wrapped for them at No. 10."
Thursday, April 28, 2011 @ 6:41pm
The Cardinals had me worried.
Rumors started to circulate about the team trading down, which were bad enough, but then they were followed by talk of them reaching for Missouri defensive end/linebacker Aldon Smith.
The last time the Cardinals traded down was 2003, when they passed on Terrell Suggs (and the guy I wanted, Byron Leftwich) and traded from sixth to 17th and 18th. Supposedly the guy they were targeting ended up being picked before their turn came around, and they were left with Calvin Pace, Bryant Johnson and bewildered fans.
Furthermore, the last time they passed on a Peterson in the top 10 in order to draft for a position of need they ended up with Levi Brown who, while not the worst player ever, is not worthy of his draft spot. Then again most people, except for the Cardinals, had that opinion of the player on draft day.
Ultimately, however, the Cardinals stood pat and, while maybe not filling a position of need, added the guy many believe is the best player in the draft. If that's not the definition of winning, well, I don't know what is.
Wednesday, April 27, 2011 @ 4:33pm
I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work. ~Thomas Edison
The hesitation with drafting quarterbacks is understandable. The last time Arizona took a QB in the first round the Cardinals selected Matt Leinart, and all they were ultimately left with was four years of failure with a side of crushed hopes and dreams. Before that? Tony Sacca, in 1992, and he followed the great Kelly Stouffer, who was chosen in 1987. Look at this history and it is apparent the Cardinals are to drafting quarterbacks what Derek Anderson is to completing passes.
Still, everyone and their mother knows the Arizona Cardinals need a new quarterback.
Nobody wants to sit through another season similar to the one led by the quartet of Derek Anderson, Max Hall, John Skelton and Richard Bartel, but the only way to guarantee an avoidance of a repeat would be to draft a quarterback at some point over the weekend.
Yet, many people, including Tyler Bassett, are hoping the Cardinals don't go anywhere near one of the top QBs in this year's draft.
I'm really not sure why that is.
If the Cardinals need a quarterback and the only way to get one is through the draft, why not go ahead and fill that need? It's kind of an important position to fill and besides, are rookies really so bad?
Tuesday, April 26, 2011 @ 10:09am
The NFL Draft is only a couple days away and who the Cardinals will take is a
mystery. The Cardinals have plenty of holes to fill -- the most glaring being at QB -- and there
are a number of useful players who should be available at number five when the
Cardinals are finally on the clock. Who do you want them to take? Check out this chart
, it should help you out a little bit. Just follow the lines to make each decision, and at the end you'll have your choice.
Thursday, April 21, 2011 @ 1:04am
Let's go Coyotes…Let's go Coyotes…Let's go Coyotes…
The chant echoed around Jobing.com Arena Wednesday night,
not long after the game ended but long after the game, and
really the series, was no longer in doubt. Only now, with
the Coyotes season over, one could follow that chant with
a simple question.
Throughout this entire season, and especially over the
last few weeks, rumors have been swirling around the
Coyotes. Would they be sold to Matthew Hulsizer? Did the
deal fall through? Will the team call Canada its home by
next season? If they weren't already, all those questions
will now come to the forefront after the team was swept
out of the playoffs and into the off-season by the Detroit
"It caps off just a, I don't even know what the word would
be, a miserable year off-ice for this organization,"
defenseman Adrian Aucoin said. "I think the players did
just about everything we could, and we did unbelievable
under the circumstances.
"Come playoffs they're still driving it through our brains
that we might be moving out of here so it was tough."
Monday, April 18, 2011 @ 11:29pm
Heading into the 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs everyone, to a
man, knew the
Phoenix Coyotes would go only as far as goaltender Ilya
At this rate, that will be to Game 4 of the first
The Coyotes fell to the Red Wings Monday in what anyone
labeled a "must-win" game.
Before the sold
out crowd at Jobing.com Arena could get to their seats
Detroit was up 2-
"It takes the crowd out of it and it was a pretty quiet
first period because of
those two goals," forward Kyle Turris said after the loss.
"It's tough when
Clearly, Detroit is the better team. They have more stars,
more depth, more
talent and more fans. But Bryzgalov, a Vezina Trophy
supposed to be the great equalizer, the one who could
negate all other
deficiencies and make this a series. Problem is that's
just not happening.
Bryzgalov has been torched for 12 goals in three games
and, since taking a
1-0 lead early in game, the Coyotes have not led for more
minutes of hockey. While all of the blame doesn't fall
squarely on #30's
shoulders, as the team's best player and last line of
defense, he needs to be
better. He must be better.
However, that does not mean he's in danger of heading to
the bench. Head
coach Dave Tippett, lamenting two "really nothing shots"
that went in, said
there has been no consideration to pulling Bryzgalov for
"Bryz got us to this point, we're going to rely on him to
get us out of this,"
he said. Tippett noted, though, that his netminder has
played "just alright"
through three games.
Saying he's been alright is somewhat generous.
Monday, April 11, 2011 @ 10:26pm
Saying goodbye is never easy. The idea of being without
something we've grown accustomed to leads to a flood of
different emotions, whether it be anger, sadness,
indifference or something else.
Still, there comes a time when we must recognize what once
was, acknowledge an existence, and consider the impact one
had on our lives. With that, it is time to remember the
2010-11 Phoenix Suns.
The team began the year, right or wrong, with some lofty
expectations. Having suffered through some major setbacks
before they even had a chance, many thought they could
persevere and be more than they were set up to be. They
did not fail to meet the expectations I had placed on
them, though I'm aware some people were left wanting just
a little more. I wouldn't blame the 2010-11 Suns for that,
as they weren't the ones who placed unreasonable
expectations on themselves.
Seemingly behind the 8-ball from the start, the team did
the best they could (most of the time) and left us with
some moments we can look back upon with fondness.
Take, for instance, a cool night in November where the
team made 22 three-pointers and beat the defending
champion Lakers in their house. That was fun in large part
because it was so unexpected, and it was a night we talked
about for days after.
Furthermore, remember that win against the big, bad
Celtics? Where the team showed toughness and grit,
something we thought they lacked all along? At the time we
hoped it would be the beginning of something special but
alas, it was just not meant to be. Even so, I don't think
any of us would give that win back, and nor should we.
After all, there weren't many of them this season.
Still, the seven months or so were not a complete waste of
time, even if it may seem that way now. There is what the
time did for Grant Hill, allowing him to showcase
defensive ability few knew he had. Of course, who could
forget about Channing Frye, who discovered that there was
more to him than we originally thought. He proved his
worth all throughout the year, emerging as one of the
team's better players. Jared Dudley emerged as well, going
from solid role-player to valuable starter by season's
Wednesday, April 6, 2011 @ 9:49pm
The Phoenix Suns are on the verge of making a huge
A 7 foot, 255 pound mistake, to be exact.
The Suns, it would seem, are ready to part ways with
center Robin Lopez, which wouldn't seem like such a bad
thing given the year the Stanford alum has had.
Averaging just 6.7 points and 3.3 rebounds per game, Lopez
is having what has to be classified as a miserable season.
Poor on the glass, weak taking the ball to the hole and
generally awful, Lopez lost his starting job to Marcin
Gortat and has seen his per-game minutes average fall from
a high of 25 to begin the season to a low of nine in its
Then, to top it off, Lopez was the third center off the
bench against Minnesota, registering a hearty zero points,
one rebound and three fouls in a little more than six
minutes of play. While giving up on the 23-year-old may
not seem like a big deal, especially when he's putting up
lines like that, cutting ties with the man affectionately
known as "Fropez" (OK, I may be the only one who calls him
that) would just be another sign of the Suns'
unwillingness to show the requisite patience to develop
Think about it: Who was the last player to be selected by
(or for) the Suns who then developed into a quality player
while still wearing purple and orange? Give up? Leandro
That's right, the Brazilian Blur was the last player the
Suns took from rookie to solid rotation player, and he was
drafted in 2003. And you wonder why the Suns are one of
the oldest teams in the league…
The Suns have a history of, when they're not selling picks
on draft night, giving up on them before they see the end
of their rookie contract. Going as far back as Zarko
Cabarkapa, the Suns have given their rookies little rope
before declaring that they will be of no use and moving
on. While you will not find a player in that group who has
gone on to flourish with another team (though the jury is
still out on Clark and Dragic), the point is the Suns
either can't properly identify talent in the draft or are
too impatient with their "win now" mentality. Well, the
Suns are a lottery team, so that really shouldn't be a
problem at this point.
Even still, Lopez, unlike most Suns busts, has actually
shown glimpses of not only competence, but good play. As
recently as one year ago the Suns and fans were pining for
the big man's return to the court, as his insertion into
the starting lineup provided the spark the team needed to
capture one of the West's best records, and his return in
the Western Conference Finals gave the team some much-
needed size to battle with the Lakers up front.
How soon we all forget…
Lopez, for all his faults, is still a legitimate center.
Usually the biggest player on the floor, his size is a
great deterrent for opposing players around the hoop. He
showed impressive ability to finish around the hoop last
season, and his quickness looked like a great asset,
especially for a player his size. He has a competitive
fire that has led him to shattering doors as well as
getting into it with opposing players, flashing a mean
streak that makes you believe he not only cares but will
work hard to improve his game. But, as happens with quite
a few centers, Lopez's career has been wrought by injury.
Whether it's injuries to his knee, back, whatever, one
thing that's certain is the next season Lopez makes it
through healthy will be his first. That has to be a
concern, without question, but it also has to be cited as
a reason for his struggles this season.
While Suns President of Basketball Operations Lon Babby has come
out and said his center is not injured, I'd be willing to
bet Lopez is not 100 percent healthy either. The explosion
that made Lopez such a promising prospect just one year
ago has been absent this year, and the reason can be
traced to the back injury he suffered last season, which
left him with nerve damage in his right leg. That type of
injury takes time to heal, though it is something Lopez
has said he must learn to
play with and play through.
The good news for the Suns is that, while Lopez is
searching for his explosiveness, the team is not at the
same time looking for a center. Marcin Gortat has been a
real revelation for the franchise, consistently posting
double-doubles and providing the team with the inside
presence it desperately needed Lopez to be. Most NBA
centers wouldn't look so impressive when compared to
Gortat, so naturally a struggling Lopez looks downright
When the season began Robin Lopez, for all intents and
purposes, was the team's only big man. The team needed him
to step up and, for whatever reason, he did not. With
Gortat now on board the Suns can actually afford to really
work with the former first-round pick, allowing him the
necessary time to get fully healthy and regain his
explosiveness. When he does, watch him again show the
skills that had everyone excited about him no more than 10
months ago. Just think of how painful it would be to see
him do so in a different team's uniform.
Tuesday, April 5, 2011 @ 7:47am
I'm often told that, when it comes to my views on sports,
I'm a negative person. People say I refuse to see the
glimmers of hope, that I see most situations in a "glass
half empty" kind of way.
From my saying the Suns had a bad offseason and would be
mediocre at best in November to calling out Steve Nash for
poor play after the All-Star break, along with saying the
luster has worn off Ken Whisenhunt, the point was I just
couldn't be happy with these teams. Whether I was right or
not didn't matter, they just wanted me to be more positive
about the local teams.
Well, I'll tell you what: I'm positive when it comes to
the Arizona Diamondbacks. I have no doubt they'll stink
this year, and I'm perfectly fine with it.
Thing is, I know teams will have their ups and downs. I am
perfectly capable of understanding that a team won't
always win and, as a fan in the Valley of the Sun, it's
almost wrong of me to expect my teams to win. I get that.
All I ask for, honestly, is progression, that the teams,
if they are not competing for a championship, are making
an effort to get to that level.
Monday, March 28, 2011 @ 5:44pm
The Suns, trailing by three with just over a minute to go in an, for all intents and purposes, must win game against Dallas, came out of a timeout needing a bucket.
Getting a desperation three from Channing Frye was bad enough. That he fired away through a defender, attempting to draw a foul, was hardly smart. Doing all that with 17 seconds left on the shot clock? Unacceptable.
So, at that point the plan was to look deeper into the Suns' late-game execution, or lack thereof, and wonder aloud (or on paper) whether or not head coach Alvin Gentry was to blame. He is, after all, the one drawing up the plays, so when they go horribly, horribly wrong one can surmise that it's partly his fault.
But then I got to thinking, wondering if this is really the best this roster is capable of, that the roster is so poorly constructed that Gentry never really had a chance.
Of course, he would never say that. Questioning the people who sign your paychecks is rarely a good way to survive in any industry, let alone professional sports, and nothing about Alvin Gentry screams "idiot."
In fact, having been to many a press conference where Gentry was forced to explain a tough loss, I'm going to go out on a limb and say that if the coach could be honest with us - I mean really, brutally honest - he'd tell us about how he saw this coming but could do nothing about it.
Sunday, March 27, 2011 @ 9:17pm
The Arizona Cardinals need a quarterback.
The market for elite signal callers is mediocre, though there are a few decent options to choose from.
One of the possibilities is a 26-year-old who averaged 6.5 yards per passing attempt and has thrown touchdowns on 3.4 percent of his passes while being picked off on 4.4 percent of his attempts. Thought to finally be getting his opportunity to lead his team, he suffered an early-season injury and opened the door for a veteran to come in and take his place. When he did get back on the field he was average - not great - and the team ultimately decided the veteran gave them the best chance to win. A once-promising career has been put on hold as the quarterback - who believes he can be an effective starter in the NFL - is hoping to find a team that will give him an opportunity.
Another option is a 27-year-old who has experience in a system similar to Arizona's, has averaged 6.5 yards per attempt and has thrown a touchdown on 2.4 percent of his passes while being interecepted 3.4 percent of the time. Originally anointed the starter by his team, he got hurt early in a season where he wasn't playing great to begin with and was subsequently replaced by a veteran who, somewhat surprisingly, went on to have a Pro-Bowl campaign. The veteran re-established himself as a top-flight QB in the league, seizing the starting job and relegating the youngster to the bench.
Factor in the career QB ratings, with the former sitting at 73.2 with the latter at 70.8 and you may have a tough time deciding who gives you the best chance to win going forward: Kevin Kolb or Matt Leinart.
That's right, the quarterback so many seem to want the Cardinals to give up the farm for is not that much different than the one they ran out of town not eight months ago. Irony can be a funny thing, no?
Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying the Cardinals should bring back a quarterback who apparently couldn't beat out Derek Anderson, feuded with his head coach and was a third stringer in Houston for the duration of last season. Leinart's tenure as a Cardinal was as disappointing as it was brief, and that ship has surely sailed. The point is while Kolb is being hyped as the next great QB, he's really as much of an unknown as any other player would be with just seven career starts and 319 total attempts.
Could Kolb be a good quarterback? Sure, why not. He's 6'3 and 218 lbs., meaning he has good size. His arm strength is solid and he's been coached by one of the best in Andy Reid the last four years. However, the Houston product is no sure-thing, and if the Cardinals are to give up draft picks (especially their first rounder in 2011) merely hoping they are getting the franchise's long-term answer at the most important position is not enough - they must know.
The Cardinals need a quarterback in the worst way, and while Kolb may be the most enticing option the idea that he is the best one has the scent of ‘after what we saw at the QB spot last year simply average would be awesome.' Yes, average would be an upgrade, but average doesn't win Super Bowls. Great does, and if you are sacrificing picks along with the big contract that would be handed to Kolb upon trading for him, you need to get great.
So, is greatness available? Well, in free agency, probably not. Teams know better than to let a franchise QB hit the open market, and players like Kurt Warner and Michael Vick only do so if they are carrying some level of baggage, be it on the field struggles or off the field issues. So, while a guy like Marc Bulger may be the choice, it must be understood that expecting him to have a career renaissance like the one Kurt Warner went through is a little unfair, as lightning doesn't strike twice in the same place very often.
Of course, the Cardinals could turn to the draft, but as they found out after taking Leinart 10th overall in 2006 there is the classic boom/bust potential and inherent risk that comes with taking a QB in the first round. Granted, Auburn's Cam Newton, Missouri's Blaine Gabbert, Arkansas' Ryan Mallett and others have the potential to be stars, but the Cardinals are really in no place to take that chance - unless of course they have a solid veteran to take the snaps while the franchise's future learns and matures on the sideline.
Which leads us to the final option: trade. Carson Palmer wants out of Cincinnati, the Broncos' Kyle Orton may or may not be available and of course, there's the aforementioned Kolb. Going this route means the Cardinals would have to give something up, meaning the cost absolutely plays a factor in whether or not the team should pursue. While we don't know the asking price for each (or if Palmer and/or Orton are even available), the consensus seems to be that Kolb will be the most expensive.
And that price, ultimately, may be too much to pay when you realize you're not even sure of what you're getting.
Monday, March 21, 2011 @ 4:06pm
Members of the Arizona Wildcats had a saying they liked to use on Twitter this season, especially after wins.
While fun, the phrase is technically incorrect. The Wildcats did leave, so to speak, and their time away changed a fan base that was used to expectations, deep tournament runs and NBA-level talent wearing the red, white and blue.
Never has this been more evident than Sunday afternoon when, not long after the clock reached 0:00 with the Wildcats ahead of the Longhorns 70-69 and heading for the Sweet 16, concerns were brought to my attention.
No, I'm not talking about the five seconds call, iffy fouls or whether or not Arizona actually has a chance to beat Duke. Those would be legitimate and are definitely worth talking about.
Surprisingly - and maybe even disappointingly -- the conversation among Arizona fans quickly turned to "Oh no, with the way he's playing Derrick Williams is for sure heading for the NBA after this season."
Let me remind you all, my fellow Wildcats faithful, that this is a great problem to have. Derrick Williams has averaged 19.5 points and 9.5 rebounds in two NCAA Tournament games, coming up huge in clutch situations and further solidifying his status as one of the all-time Arizona greats.
Without Derrick Williams Arizona most definitely would not be on the precipice of the Elite Eight. In fact, without him the team would have been hard pressed to even make it to the Dance, let alone win the Pac-10. But the inherent risk to having quality players and coaches is that they will always be desired by someone else, and in this case the only thing that will stop Williams from turning pro is Williams himself.
Of course, the common refrain seems to be that all of a sudden Williams' strong play in the tournament means he's more likely to call it a career at Arizona. Well, he was a top five pick before the tournament and I don't think anything that has happened or can happen will change that. However, isn't it possible that a deep tournament run ending in anything but a championship could make a guy like Williams, who has a desire to win and enjoys his teammates, want to stick around for one more season, one final chance? Is that being too much of a homer? I'm not sure.
Thursday, March 17, 2011 @ 8:52am
It's time for the Suns to sit Steve Nash.
At 33-33, three full games out of the playoffs and losers
of four straight, the Phoenix Suns find their season
teetering on the brink. Nash, who returned from a two-game
absence to join his team just in time for a loss to the
Hornets, is battling an injury I don't want to acknowledge
(I'm a guy, it hurts just to think about it) and really
struggling on the court.
26 points, 9 assists; 20 points, 11 assists; 32 points, 4
assists; 32 points, 11 assists; 16 points, 4 assists; 16
points, 15 assists; 13 points, 18 assists; 7 points, 5
assists; 0 points, 7 assists; 10 points, 2 assists.
A 10-game stretch that averages out to 17.2 points and 8.6
assists per game. Not bad. Not Nash.
Those numbers belong to Chris Paul, Ty Lawson, Kyle Lowry,
Russell Westbrook, Brandon Jennings, Rajon Rondo, Deron
Williams, Darren Collison, Jose Calderon and Jeff Teague,
the starting point guards against the Suns for every game
Nash has played in since the All-Star break.
Since the break the 37-year-old Nash has averaged just 9.1
points per game on 37 percent shooting, making less than
17 percent of his threes while turning the ball over
nearly four times per game. Sure, he's handing out 11.4
assists per game over that same stretch, but the former
MVP's effectiveness has been all but nullified by his
health. Never known for his defense, Nash's ability to
make sure his team made shots outweighed his inability to
prevent it from happening on the defensive end. Injured,
that's just not the case, and as someone who has seen Nash
at his best, it is a little difficult watching him struggle
on a nightly basis.
Tuesday, March 15, 2011 @ 10:16am
When assessing the NFL's labor seemingly ever-changing and increasingly annoying situation, a popular thing to do has been to pick a side and immediately rail on the opposition. After all, someone has to be held responsible. Hell, it's billionaires vs. millionaires fighting over dollar figures most Americans can only dream about, so this type of bickering is just unacceptable. Right?
Well, I'm not going to sit here and blame the players, and I'm not yet ready to look at the owners as the ones who caused this mess.
One of the things you're likely hearing a lot is how the fans pay the players' salaries while making owners rich. While that's true, that logic fails in front of one of the other popular phrases: in the end the fans are the ones who get screwed.
Well yes, we appear to get a raw deal. Football fans enjoy watching the NFL (imagine that), and the longer we are without it the worse things will be. Every football-related event that passes us by (free agency, OTA's, draft pick holdouts, minicamp, etc.) will be like another twist of the knife in our back, as we've become accustom to keeping track of every single happening in the NFL. Do you even remember a time before the NFL Network? To that I say bravo, NFL, you've made us need you.
Tuesday, March 8, 2011 @ 7:33am
Saturday night, at the Pepsi Center in downtown Denver,
the hometown Avalanche trailed the Oilers 4-1 after two
periods of play. Needless to say the crowd, rather
depressed about how poorly their team was doing, was
pretty quiet. In fact, the only thing worth smiling about
was the off-ice entertainment, as funny skits and contests
made it worth staying in your seat.
But then, some on-ice action brought about one of the
largest cheers of the night, though it had nothing to do
with anything happening in Colorado. Going over the scores
from around the league, the following flashed on the
Detroit Red Wings 4
Phoenix Coyotes 5 F S/O
While I'm sure the fans were pleased to see the Red Wings
lose, regardless of the opponent, I know of at least four
people in the building who were glad to learn of a big win
for the Coyotes.
Of course, amid all the reports about the Goldwater
Institute and the battle with Glendale the excitement of
another playoff run is at best dampened and at worst
dismissed, as people are practically numb to the news and
pretty much expect the team to leave. That's a shame.
Monday, February 28, 2011 @ 4:05pm
When I was 15 or so I made it a point to collect as much sports memorabilia as I could of the Valley's upcoming star players. The late 90s, I decided to build my collection around Jason Kidd, Jake Plummer and Travis Lee.
Clearly I bet on the wrong horses at that time, but who could blame me? As a fan I wanted my teams to have stars I could root for, players who would be around for a while and take the teams farther than they had ever been before.
Sure, Plummer took the Cardinals to the playoffs and Kidd was a perennial All-Star, but Lee was a total bust and none of the three left the Valley on a high note.
Now, more than a decade later, the same teams are again looking for that guy, and until they find him us fans will do what we always do: wait and hope.
Who could be that guy?
Well, the Diamondbacks have a 23-year-old kid named Justin Upton, who was an All-Star in 2009 and has the potential to be one of the best players in baseball. However he not only struggled with injuries and attitude last year, but also found himself on the trade block in the offseason.
Friday, February 25, 2011 @ 11:33am
I asked Lon Babby and Lance Blanks Thursday if they acquired Aaron Brooks to be the "heir apparent" to Steve Nash.
They told me it was a good question (I agree), but that it was somewhat unfair. In fact, Babby's exact quote was, "He's here to backup Steve Nash now and into the future, and I wouldn't read anything more into it than that."
General Manager Lance Blanks took it one step further, saying it would not be right of the team to expect Brooks to be the next Steve Nash. "To say that Aaron Brooks is here to replace him or the heir apparent is just unfair," he said.
While I admire the unwillingness to acknowledge what life without Nash may be like, if they genuinely believe what they said then the Suns have once again misfired when making a trade.
As my colleague Espo pointed out, if the Suns were seriously looking to improve their chances this season they would have added a power forward. It was reported that they looked into Utah's Paul Millsap, and that news is promising. However, we cannot really give credit for trades that were talked about, as we can only judge deals that were actually consummated. The one the Suns made, after a night to think about it, has me scratching my head.
If in fact Brooks was not brought in to be Nash's successor, the Suns just traded away a player, Dragic, who had shown the ability to fill that role. In two starts this year Dragic averaged 13.5 points and 7 assists, along with one steal and 45 percent shooting. Not Nash, but not bad. But, apparently this was not about basketball sans Nash, it was about improving the bench right now.
Monday, February 21, 2011 @ 5:14pm
Six years into his NBA career, Channing Frye has remade himself as a basketball player. Of course, he did the same in his fifth year, and for a guy whose career was heading south it could not have come at a better time, for him and his team.
The Suns, middling along at 27-27, have picked up their play of late. Winners of seven of their last 10, the playoffs are back within sight, and Frye's play in the month of February has been a major reason why.
"He's done a good job for us defensively, which has helped tremendously," head coach Alvin Gentry said before the team's game with Dallas last Thursday.
Defensively. Now there's a word you don't expect to hear in reference to the Phoenix Suns, and especially not when talking about the lanky Frye. He is, after all, a 6'11", 245 pounder who took 392 three pointers last season, making 172. But, Frye said, he does not want the three ball to be the only thing he does.
"I don't want to pigeon hole myself as a player, I feel like, you know, if we need a couple post ups let me get a touch down there," Frye said. "I'm not going to shoot it every time -- I like passing, I like assists, so for me I just challenge myself and continue to try to use the skills I learned in college and high school and while I was in the pros and just use them all."
Frye has honed his skills during various stops in his career, many of which have been in the state of Arizona. A St. Mary's High product, he spent four years in Tucson playing for Lute Olson and the University of Arizona, where he is second all-time in blocked shots, third in rebounds and 10th in free throws made, while taking a grand total of 17 three pointers in four seasons. Not exactly numbers that one could have used to foresee a role as a three-point shooter at the next level.
"Yeah, Coach O was no joke," Frye said. "It was like boom; get one block, this side and no baseline shots. You know the three thing came along, I started shooting jumpers and that was kind of my thing."
Frye, who said he knew he wouldn't always be bigger than whoever he was matched up against, figured his niche would be as a stretch-big who could help space the floor. However, after being drafted by the New York Knicks 8th overall in 2005 and then traded to the Portland Trail Blazers in 2007, his role was as undefined as it was unsuited to his game.
Tuesday, February 15, 2011 @ 7:15am
There often comes a point in sports where a coach has
taken a team as far as he can.
After five years at the helm of the Arizona State Sun
Devils, Herb Sendek has gotten to that point.
Now, before you accuse me of only saying this because I'm
a University of Arizona Wildcats fan, let me say that my
not being a fan of the Devils allows me to see the simple
truth: as long as Sendek remains the head coach, ASU will
remain a mediocre-at-best program.
Granted, there is nothing I'd enjoy more than seeing the
maroon and gold flounder at the bottom of the Pac-10,
especially while my Cats will be taking up permanent
residence near the top. However, for the sake of the
rivalry, ASU needs to improve.
Speaking of the rivalry, the home crowd was pretty sad
Sunday. I get that nobody really expected ASU to win but
come on, at least show a little pride. Too many people
were either dressed as empty seats or Wildcats fans, and a
continuous stream of yellow started flowing towards the
exits with about 8 minutes remaining. And, for the "fans"
that did stick around, allowing yourselves to be out-chanted by the visitors
was, well, sad. But not as sad as
the product on the court, and that's why it's time to
consider parting ways with Sendek.
This is not to say Sendek is a bad coach - far from it. I
mean, anybody who can make ASU a respectable basketball
program has to have a decent amount of ability. But by the
time this season comes to a merciful end for his team the
Devils will finish out of the NCAA Tournament for the
fourth time in five seasons under the former NC State
coach. That should be unacceptable.
Sure, you might argue they deserved a tournament berth in
2008 and 2010, but they didn't get in, and weak scheduling
combined with a lack of signature wins can be blamed.
Furthermore, the one time they did make it with NBA
Lottery pick James Harden, Sendek's squad won all of one
game. Not exactly impressive.
Even more problematic is how Sendek is continually going
to lose the recruiting battles. Unless he can keep adding
to his coaching staff, he will have to find a way to outdo
the likes of Sean Miller, Lorenzo Romar, Ben Howland and
Mike Montgomery. If you were a top-flight high school kid,
who would you want to play for?
Keep in mind; it took Miller all of one season to surpass
his in-state rival. With a top-10 class coming in next
year things are poised to go back to the good old
days, when Lute would just point to the scoreboard as his
team was racking up another victory.
Nobody should have expected much of ASU hoops this year
and yet the team is finding a way to disappoint. If NCAA
basketball was anything like the English Premier League,
Arizona State would find itself playing in the Big Sky
Conference next season. At 9-15 overall with a 1-10
conference record, the Sun Devils are in the midst of
their second embarrassingly awful season in Sendek's five
tries. Is that called progression? Hardly. It appears Herb
Sendek has taken the Sun Devils as far up the mountain as
he can. Unfortunately for them they are closer to the base
than the top.