Monday Morning Coffee

January 23, 2023

It’s entirely possible that multiple things can be true at the same time. For instance, the Lakers are a poorly constructed team, that’s old and brittle. However, it’s also true that the West Conference stinks right now, and that some good health and a trade can put the Lakers in the mix to be more than competitive this season. That’s been very evident in the Lakers last two wins against the Grizzlies and Blazers. Regardless of which truth you are more focused on, it’s highly likely that the Laker front office and ownership way of thinking is in the wrong place right now. They’ve been behaving as though they have no intention of doing anything to improve this team by trading future 1st round picks. That may be because they want to get under the repeater tax this summer, or because they foolishly think a star will become available they can trade picks for, or maybe they are just punishing Lebron James for wanting to play with Russell Westbrook. Whatever the case is, it’s simply a foolish way of thinking when you have Lebron James and Anthony Davis on your team. This is not how an organization with a Championship pedigree should be behaving. At this point, Shannon Sharpe has done more for the Lakers this season than Rob Pelinka and Jeanie Buss. I expect much better from both of them, especially Jeanie.

Meanwhile, despite winning yesterday, the Clippers are hovering around .500 themselves, and are trying to figure out how to establish some consistency. One of the biggest pieces of this inconsistency that hasn’t been talked about much is their defense. The Clippers have collapsed to the 4th worst defense in the NBA in the last two months, largely unable to force turnovers and using lineups with smaller and smaller guards. That’s also made them one of the worst teams at defending the rim, with opponents shooting 70% within 6 feet in the last month. This was supposed to be a team with an enormous amount of depth, plenty of switchable wings, and two of the most elite wing defenders in the game. Instead, their two elite wings aren’t able to even practice, and their roster construction has actually created a hole in their front court. This team is supposedly playing for the playoffs, but at this point they may not even be there, and when they do, it’s hard to imagine them suddenly being prepared to play at a high level for them.

To college hoops where is was bound to happen sometime. UCLA finally lost a game, after winning 14 in a row. The Bruins lost to Arizona on the road, despite putting up a fierce rally in the final minutes. The good news though is that this team is still in 1st place in the Pac-12, and still has a shot at a #1 seed in the tournament if things break right for them. They still have their issues to work through, and most of these are offensive. They could use another shot creator, and once Amari Bailey comes back that will help enormously. It will also allow David Singleton to return to his role of 6th man, and one of the best in the nation at the role, giving the team much more firepower of the bench.

To the NFL playoffs, where we learned this weekend that Patrick Mahomes is better on one leg that 90% of NFL quarterbacks are on two legs. The Jags were no match for the Chiefs, but they do have a good one in Trevor Lawrence that they can feel good about building around. We also learned that Daniel Jones wears contacts, and that somebody in his circle must hate him for not telling him about Lasik. That looked like a hell of a problem when the Giants took a beating from the Eagles on Saturday night. I have no idea how Joe Burrow was able to play as well as he did in the Bengals win over the Bills. It’s amazing he could be that good with Tony Romo swinging from his nuts for four quarters. After losing to the 49ers, Dak Prescott threw his helmet in disgust, but it was intercepted. Tough loss for the Cowboys, and the nice play at the end of the game to get your receiver anihilated  in the middle of the field when you needed a Hail Mary.

We’ve waited an entire week and sure enough, Brandon Staley is still employed by the Chargers. He’s not going anywhere folks. The players have also said that they support him. However, what else would you expect them to say? You think if you ask Justin Herbert what he thinks of Sean Payton, he wouldn’t be thrilled to have him as his next coach? This is typical Dean Spanos. They don’t have the stomach to pay two coaches, and they don’t have the guts to be bold and make such a big move. How many years are we going to say “The Charger have arguably the best roster in the NFL”, only to underachieve for various reasons. Brandon Staley is a huge reason why they can’t fulfill that potential.

Finally, the LA Kings rollercoaster ride of a season continued yesterday in Chicago, picking up a win and jumping back into 3rd place in the Pacific Division. It’s clear that the Kings biggest weakness right now is on defense and in goal. They seem to still be riding Phoenix Copley, although he had a couple of rough outings last week. He’s had a nice start, but it’s very hard for me to believe his elite play is sustainable. Jonathan Quick is currently the Kings backup goalie, he hasn’t played great so far this season, and the team seems to play even worse with him in net. Then there’s Cal Petersen who has been awful, on an awful contract, and currently in the minors. Petersen was supposed to be the goalie of the future. Acquiring a goaltender at the trade deadline will be difficult given the investments the Kings have in the goaltender position, so their best chance to improve is by acquiring a big and physical defenseman, that can play in different situations.

Monday Morning Coffee

January 16, 2023

I’m sure you’re all wondering whether or not Brandon Staley should be executed or fired after Saturday nights playoff collapse. The sad part is, once the Chargers went up 27-0, you knew it was a possibility given that we’re talking about the Chargers here. Justin Herbert deserves so much better than this. Of course if Cameron Dicker makes that easy field goal, we aren’t talking about any of this. However, it never should have come down to that. Also, Joey Bosa has the IQ of a donkey for throwing his helmet and getting that unsportsmanlike conduct penalty. When you’re up 27-0, it’s simply about game management, and that’s all on Staley. Now the Chargers have no choice but to hire Sean Payton if they want to keep any sense of credibility in LA. He wants them, but the Spanos family usually keep a tight wallet with these kinds of things. We’ll see if that changes.

Elsewhere around Wild Card Weekend, Mike McDaniel was ripping vapes on the sideline, which might explain why the Dolphins couldn’t get plays in on time in their loss to the Bills. Brock Purdy is now the NFL’s version of Linsanity, as the 49ers took down the Seahawks. If I told you Kirk Cousins and the Vikings were going to Cancun instead of the divisional round, you would have said that’s as predictable as the sun rising. Congrats to the Giants on a remarkable turnaround. The Bengals need a miracle defensive play To beat the Ravens, but Joe Burrow wasn’t worried because either way he gets to show off his cool wardrobe after the game. The Cowboys have to nervous as hell tonight against Tom Brady since they’ve never beaten him.

The Rams got some good news over the weekend. Sean McVay is coming back. He’s also in the process of revamping his coaching staff. You can be sure that he is going to get Matt Stafford and Aaron Donald back. Keep in mind, the NFC is weak. Les Snead can get creative to open some cap space to get some help on the o-line, and a little better health and they could easily be back in the mix.

To the NBA where the Lakers frustration continues. They suffered another pair of tough late game losses to the Mavs and Sixers the past few weeks. It’s ok though, at least they had fun right? Well at least Russ thinks so. I’m Sorry if you weren’t familiar with this team’s game. They are actually frauds. Last night is just another example of why Russ is a terrible fit. He plays hard, but his late-game decision making is horrible. I also blame Darwin Ham for not realizing this, and the same goes for Rob Pelinka for still keeping him on the roster. Unfortunately, it’s sad the none of them seem to see it this way, and won’t before it’s too late. This isn’t just an Anthony Davis health issue.

Speaking of health, the Clippers may have won yesterday, but they still have their issues. Ty Lue has no idea who is going to be available to him everyday. It’s hard to build a winner when that happens. I also can’t understand why a player can be available on Saturday but not on Friday. If I were Ty Lue i would want answers or I would want to resign.

UCLA got another couple of nice wins over the weekend. This time they took down Utah and Colorado. They have been rallying against such motivated competition, and not necessarily at the top of their game. However, the way they won on Saturday makes you wonder if they can keep this streak going for a lot longer. The biggest game changer has been Adam Bona, who has been a beast in the paint. When the season started he was just raw athleticism, but now he’s a more polished force at both ends f the floor.

The LA Kings are pretty good again, but their goaltending is raising questions. Jonathan Quick isn’t the same Quick that won’t two Stanley Cups, and right now the guy is Phoenix Copley is the man in net for now. The problem is Copley is 30 years old, and he’s just the hot goalie now. How long that lasts is seriously in question. Still, while some of you want to write off Quick and send him to a desert island, he is still better than you think. He looks like a guy who isn’t playing well due to rust and lack of confidence, rather than a deteriorating skill set. You haven’t heard the last of Quick with the Kings. He’s too competitive and too proud for that to happen.

Finally, stop freaking out about the Dodgers people. They are going to be fine. I know you’re all used to having a stacked lineup that costs about $300 mill. However, they have real talent in their farm system, that will make an impact. Their success will be dependent on their flexibility and approach in the postseason. It’s that part you should be concerned about. Not the talent.

Monday Morning Coffee

January 9, 2023

So which is it guys? Are the Lakers actually a good team that is poised to make a run, or are they an aging poorly constructed team? Well the truth is usually somewhere in between.  The Lakers have won 5 in a row and are looking confident.  However, they still aren’t optimally constructed, which limits their ability to go deep into the playoffs (if they’re fortunate enough to be there).  It is safe to say though that Thomas Bryant has been awesome, while Dennis Schroeder, Lonnie Walker, and Austin Reaves are outplaying their contracts.  Even Russ, Pat Beverley, and Kendrick Nunn are now finding ways to positively impact the game.  However in this day and age, you have to have more shooting to succeed.  The Lakers don’t have a lot of it for having their two best players as post players.  What’s more concerning for me though is this idea that Jeanie Buss has told Rob Pelinka he needs to get under the cap this summer to avoid the repeater tax.  That would be upsetting if true and would mean a trade won’t happen in the next month.  It would also be upsetting because in reality, the Lakers won’t improve enough via free agency.  Plus when you have Lebron and he’s still this good, you owe it to yourself to try and compete to win now. Besides, the rest of the West is a train wreck. No team can seem to get out of their own way, including the Clippers.

Speaking of the Clippers , suddenly they have lost 6 in a row.  They’ve slipped to 7th in the West, and Ty Lue has to be wondering about the continuity of this team.  When are his stars going to consistently be available to practice and perform on a nightly basis.  The idea of the Clippers always sounded great, but it’s never come together, and you have to wonder if it ever will. At some point Ty Lue, or the Clipper front office needs to sit down with Kawhi and Paul George and be frank with them. If we’re going to compete and build some level of continuity, we need you on the floor. If Kawhi is hurt, then sit out. If he’s not, he should be on the floor, and the same with Paul George. Part-time players equal part time chemistry for the Clippers, and that’s what they are getting from their entire roster.

To the NFL, where the Rams wrapped up their season with a loss to the Seahawks yesterday. However, the big concern for them is that Sean McVay is rumored to be stepping down as their head coach. This would be a huge blow to the franchise if true. In fact, it could have a disastrous ripple effect that could result in Aaron Donald retiring, and maybe even Matt Stafford walking away. This would be disappointing if true. The Rams still have enough star power when healthy to be a great team. They simply need to fix their offensive line, and get everybody else healthy. However, if McVay is just burnt out because he works like a crazy man, then that’s going to trigger a massive and lengthy rebuild. I never expected McVay to coach for 10 more years, but I certainly did not expect him to leave the Rams this soon either. This could be rough.

As for the Chargers, they lost to the Broncos, but they are headed to Jacksonville for a first round matchup with the Jags. Brandon Staley of course managed to screw things up by playing his starters too long and getting Mike Williams and Joey Bosa banged up. Nevertheless, this is probably the best first round matchup the Bolts could have asked for, despite the fact they have to go on the road. Yes, the Chargers got dismantled in week 3 vs the Jags, but Justin Herbert was ailing, Keenan Allen and Joey Bosa were out of the lineup, and Staley was……..ok well he was just as bad as he usually is, but you get the point.

Elsewhere around the NFL, Aaron Rodgers and the Packers were eliminated from the playoffs last night by Lions. These aren’t your fathers Detroit Lions! The Cowboys forgot how to play football against the Commanders, and will be relegated to a matchup with Tom Brady next week. The 49ers clinched the #2 seed and I know everybody thinks they win the Super Bowl every win they get, but the Seahawks are a dangerous team that can upset them. Then there’s the Chiefs who were playing “ring-around-the-rosey” in their huddles, and beating up on the Raiders. The Texans are complete idiots and found a way to lose the #1 pick after beating the Colts.

To College Hoops where you can’t help but be impressed with what UCLA is doing. The Bruins are now 5-0 in PAC-12 play, and in 1st place after beating USC at home last week. They should also be climbing well into the `10 of the AP and coaches poll as we head into this week, and especially after #5 Arizona lost over the weekend. Some of you may be asking yourselves if this is really a top 5 or top 10 team after the last two games. I would argue that it is because they defeated two highly motivated teams, and did so when they weren’t necessarily at their best. You won’t be at your best on every night, but if you can win those games, that is the sign of a really good team. `

Finally, the Dodgers made it official by designating Trevor Bauer for assignment on Friday. That means they have 10 days to either trade him or release him, and you can be sure they will release him. Judging from the way this played out, it seems as though Andrew Friedman wanted Bauer to pitch for the team, but Dodger ownership did not. Bauer himself said in recent days, he was told by the Dodgers they wanted him to pitch for them. The bottom line is this simply isn’t a good decision. If you think it was, it’s just because you don’t like Trevor Bauer. That’s fine, I’m not saying you need to like him, and I’m not even saying he isn’t a total douchebag. What I am saying though is that he served his suspension, and wasn’t even convicted, let alone charged with a crime. He’s served his punishment, and deserves the right to work again. Otherwise, you are subscribing to cancel culture at it’s finest. Unfortunately, Bauer has been cancelled. Even worse, the Dodgers actually need the pitching, and either way, he’s going to cost them $22 million this year.

Tuesday Morning Coffee

January 3, 2023

Welcome to a special New Years Edition of Tuesday Morning Coffee! That was a Hindenburg like collapse by the Trojans against Tulane yesterday in the Cotton Bowl. They had a 15-point lead with 4 minutes to play, yet managed to give it away like a 501C3 charity. That game really just reinforces the idea that Caleb Williams was so spectacular, he nearly lifted USC into the CFP by himself. However, Williams made up for a defense that cannot tackle and has a poor scheme, as well as a leaky offensive line. That’s very problematic for the future. If anything, next season Lincoln Riley owes it to his star quarterback to come up with a defense that gives up less than 45 points a game, and an offensive line that can keep his star healthy. Those really shouldn’t be terribly big asks heading into 2023.

Meanwhile, UCLA suffered their own devastating defeat in the Sun Bowl against Pitt. The Bruins collapsed in the final minutes, and lost on a field goal in the final moments. Dorian Thompson Robinson had his moments where he looked sharp, but others where he did not, ultimately suffering a back injury late in the 4th. Still, there’s two ways to look at this. It was a nice season for the Bruins who did better than you thought. Or, this is the best Chip Kelly is going to do, and it took him 5 years and an easy to schedule just to lose in the Sun Bowl. I tend to lean a little more toward the latter, especially if next year we see much of the same. Dante Moore could change things immediately for UCLA, but the fact Chip Kelly can’t find a defensive coordinator to save his life is also unbelievable. At least the Bruins faithful has the basketball team to look forward to for the time being. More on that in a minute.

Elsewhere around the College Bowl season, death, taxes, and Michigan losing in the College Football Playoff! Meanwhile, Georgia must be the luckiest team in America. They won on a miraculous field goal miss by Ohio State. Can you really cheer for Ohio State though? I mean Jeffrey Dahmer went there. Props to Notre Dame’s Tyler Buchner for combining an excellent performance and a terrible performance all into one Bowl game, in Notre Dame’s victory in the Gator Bowl. The Irish might be a quarterback away from being really elite, but then again, USC just reminded us this year that isn’t everybody?

In the NFL, the Chargers beat up on the Rams over the weekend and I would certainly hope so. The Rams were missing just about all their star players and had Baker Mayfield playing quarterback. The Chargers are also getting even more good news, which is strange for them. Joey Bosa is healthy again, and they will likely play Tennessee or Jacksonville in round 1, which is a great matchup for them in either case. That’s assuming they beat up on those bums from Denver coming in next week. If they don’t beat them though, they’ll be faced with the likes of Buffalo, Kansas City, or Cincinnati on the road, which is instant doom.

As for the Rams, despite the tough season I’ve actually gotta give Sean McVay a lot of credit. He’s really been coaching his ass off the last three weeks, prior to that loss against the Bolts. Top 10 in the NFL in 6 different offensive categories over that stretch. That included 4th quarter scoring, total points, and Red Zone TDs per game. It also appears as though Cam Akers and the Rams have salvaged their relationship, and they can probably move forward together. The Rams aren’t done for the future as long as their stars come back. They do badly need to fix their offensive line so they’ll have to get creative salary cap wise.

Elsewhere around the NFL, my thoughts on prayers go out to Demar Hamlin and his family after he was rushed to the hospital last night and in cardiac arrest. Hopefully he pulls through and is alright. It’s also a little disturbing that it’s really the players who made the NFL call off that game, rather than the NFL themselves. It’s becoming far too common in the last few years to see these athletes collapsing on the field. As NFL athletes get bigger, stronger, and faster, the hits only get harder and more violent. It almost seems inevitable that the results will be more disastrous with these violent hits. I hate to paint such a dim picture, but I’m not sure there is a solution to this if football is going to be continued to be played, and obviously none of us see that stopping anytime soon.

To the NBA, where when was the last time you saw the Lakers this far down in the MMC column? That’s because they are still a walking disaster, despite winning the last two games on the road. We’re nearly halfway through the season, and this team is still 5 games under .500. Lebron James is 38 years old, and last week, he was publicly BEGGING the Lakers to make a trade to help him and Anthony Davis. I can’t blame him. He’s still phenomenal. So is Anthony Davis when he’s healthy. Unfortunately, even if you think this team should rebuild, do you really have the confidence in Rob Pelinka and Jeanie Buss to be able to do it? They did it once, but that’s also because they landed a once in a generation player in Lebron. If the Lakers fail Lebron, he could easily trash their reputation in the league, preventing them from getting top free agents to come to LA for the next 5 years. Since Rob Pelinka and Jeanie Buss don’t really know how to build a roster anymore, do you really think they can do it for a second time? I’m skeptical. At some point when you don’t build a basketball organization on and off the floor in a modern way, it catches up with you. In the meantime, I can’t see how this team can survive another month without Anthony Davis on the floor.

To College Hoops where UCLA got a couple of big road wins over the Washington schools over the weekend. The win on Friday night against WSU was especially impressive. On the road, not at the top of your game, yet they grinded it out with a late rally and very tough defense. That’s a confidence building win that will help carry them throughout conference play. I’m also happy to see Adam Bona developing nicely the last few weeks, and making a bigger impact. Now if Amari Bailey’s foot injury can heal and he can do the same, this UCLA team might be poised for something special come March Madness.

Monday Morning Coffee

December 26, 2022

Merry Christmas observed everyone! The Dallas Mavericks took a crap in the Lakers Xmas stockings yesterday afternoon at American Airlines Arena in Texas. I think it’s safe to say that Rob Pelinka has done unbelievable damage to this roster, which I’m not sure they can recover from in the Lebron-AD era. The even more frustrating part is that Lebron signed an extension, AD is under contract for a while, and they are acting like they don’t believe in them anymore and want to rebuild. That’s what it sounds like given that they have refused to make a trade repeatedly when opportunities have presented themselves. Even if that’s not the case, they might even be pursuing an an even more unimaginative plan, which is saving cap space for free agency. It’s silly because there are no elite level free agents out there this summer. Watching this team is beyond aggravating and will continue to be for a while.

The best news for the Clippers is that the West is really up for grabs. They are only four games over .500, and that’s good enough for 5th place in the West. Not bad considering Kawhi Leonard and Paul George are basically 1099 employees. The bad news though is that if the Clippers want to build any sustained momentum, these guys need to not only play, but practice on a regular basis. Kawhi and his people are consistently pushing back on this idea, suggesting that he’ll be ready to go come playoff time, but that plan hasn’t worked out so well since he’s been a Clipper. Nevertheless, we’ll see if the Clips can build any sustained momentum.

To the NFL, where the Rams had their way yesterday afternoon with the Broncos. Russell Wilson has looked like Russell Westbrook playing quarterback. The Broncos are going to need to call one of those companies that gets you out of time share contracts, and ask them how to get out of Russell Wilson’s contract. It’s nice to see Baker Mayfield playing well and rehabilitating his value in the last couple of weeks. I wouldn’t mind if he was the Rams back up next year behind Matt Stafford, but let’s be honest, he’s going to be pursuing a job as a starting QB.

As for the Chargers, they can clinch a spot in the postseason for the first time since 2018 if they beat the Colts tonight. That means that we might finally see Justin Herbert in the postseason, which is something both the media and fans have been wanting to see. The Colts have really been in the spirit of giving this holiday season, giving up a 33-0 lead last week. Plus Matt Ryan has also played more like Meg Ryan for the Colts at QB, so I like the Bolts chances.

Elsewhere around the NFL, the Bucs took down the Cardinals last night, and you would think Tom Brady would try even harder to impress his new side piece that everyone is talking about. Tua played liked he was drinking spiked eggnog on the sidelines, as the Dolphins lost to the Packers. I think we are all ready for Cowboys v Eagles in the NFC Championship game after watching a great game between them on Saturday. The Raiders have been eliminated from playoff contention. They were eliminated when they hired Josh McDaniels are their head coach.

With College Bowl season upon us, it’s nice to see a final four that doesn’t include Alabama and Clemson. My favorite part about this though is what we’re seeing in the transfer portal. It’s becoming NBA free agency. There are 1900 kids that have entered the portal. Everyone is looking to get paid, and they have an even better chance to do it by attending a California school with the NIL rules. This is just the start too. When the playoff gets to 12 teams, you’re going to see even more talent dispersed through throughout the Top 25 schools. That will increase the parity you’re seeing in College Football, which is exactly what we’ve wanted for ages.

To baseball, where the Dodgers are back in the news after learning that Trevor Bauer was re-instated by the MLB after an independent arbitrator issued the ruling. The Dodgers have 14 days to either release him or add him to the roster. While I realize the Dodgers will probably release him because they feel it’s not a great PR look, they should really consider letting him play. The man served the longest suspension in the history of the sport, so why should he continue to pay the price for his mistake? Should he never be allowed to work again? He’s paid his debt for a crime he wasn’t even accused of. Do you have to like the guy? No. Is he a total douche bag? Sure. However, he’s going to cost the Dodgers $21 million against the tax and they could use the pitching, so why let him walk? Dodger fans want to win. If Bauer helps them win, they won’t care. He’ll also be motivated to go pitch well to secure another big contract and re-establish his value. This probably isn’t how it will go, but that’s how the Dodgers should really be thinking about it.

Dodgers pitcher Trevor Bauer delivers during a 2021 spring training game against the Colorado Rockies.

Monday Morning Coffee

December 19, 2022

Congratulations to all of us lifelong Argentina soccer fans since like two hours ago. It’s been a lot of trials and tribulations but we finally did. I don’t consider myself a soccer fan, but yesterday’s World Cup Final was spectacular. One of the reasons why we watch sports is to see greatness, and there was no shortage of it yesterday when watching Lionel Messi and
Kylian Mbappé  deliver one spectacular play after another, in one of the most critical games of their careers. I’m so happy for Messi, who capped off a fantastic legacy with that win, and certainly has a case to be the GOAT. Even more impressive is the fact that Argentina won after Drake predicted they would win. That’s an incredible curse to overcome because if Drake predicted the sun was going to rise tomorrow, I’d be convinced the world was going to end.

To the NFL where the Chargers found a way to win a game with their kicker. I don’t remember the last time that ever happened. The Chargers probably don’t either. Justin Herbert made some incredibly clutch throws down the stretch, which makes me think that the Bolts might actually be able to overcome their end of game stupidity with him under center. The Chargers are also looking like a good bet to make the playoffs now as well. Their win vaulted them to the 6th seed in the AFC. The only bad news is that the more the Bolts win, the more likely Brandon Staley will remain their coach.

Elsewhere around the NFL, the Patriots lost to the Raiders on what must be the stupidest play in NFL history. The Commanders got robbed on a pass interference call against the Giants and lost a tough one. Don’t make fun of children who believe in Santa because I still know grown men who believe in the Dallas Cowboys. We’ve reached that awkward moment where Jacoby Brissett might actually be better than DeShaun Watson, who is owed $230 million. The Lions are actually in a playoff spot right now as well. That must mean hell has officially frozen over.

To the NBA, where the Lakers got a win yesterday, but they also got some tough news over the weekend: Anthony Davis is going to be out for at least a month with a foot injury. Just when you thought the Lakers might climb back to .500, they suffer another setback. What will be interesting to see though is if this pushes them to make a trade, or if it pushes them to say it’s going to be a lost season. I still stand by my feeling that this team should rebuild, but the fact Rob Pelinka and Jeanie Buss have been trying to sell us a bill of goods and pretending like they are going to make a trade to improve this team is embarrassing. If that’s really true and that’s their intention, they are failing Lebron, AD, and all the fans, because this team has desperately needed a trade for months. The fact it hasn’t happened and now with AD down for a while just shows you the basketball malpractice going on in the front office. Also, don’t try to tell me that Patrick Beverly or Kendrick Nunn are going to bring back anything to help this team. Those two guys wouldn’t bring back a WNBA player right now.

Imagine being a Clippers fan. It must be really difficult for the five of you. I mean if you went to the game against the Suns earlier in the week, they rested everybody because it was a back-to-back game. What a joke. Imagine paying for tickets to watch a bunch of role players play for 48 minutes. If you did, it’s like you paid NBA ticket prices to watch a scrimmage at 24 Hour Fitness. Perhaps if Kawhi Leonard, Paul George, and the rest of these divas would grow a pair and play a little more than part time this wouldn’t be an issue.

In baseball, the Dodgers have basically traded Tyler Anderson for Noah Syndergaard, and Justin Turner for JD Martinez. By itself, that doesn’t really make them better. However, their top prospects deserve the chance to show they can make an impact and be good players. I think everyone is discounting that, and because the Dodgers have such a great farm system, they should get the benefit of the doubt there. Would I have loved to have Turner back for another year? Sure, but let’s be honest people……he’s getting older and can’t play everyday. Besides….at least now the Dodgers have Syndergaard and “Gingergaard” in their rotation.

That was really nice win for UCLA hoops over the weekend in New York against Kentucky. The Bruin defense was ferocious. They contested everything, great help defense, didn’t foul, and played the passing lanes extremely well. It had to have been a Mick Cronin dream come true. However, if UCLA wants to have a real chance to win it all in March, they will need the likes of Adam Bona and Amari Bailey to contribute more. Both have great potential, but have had very limited impact lately. That will be something to keep an eye on over the next two months.

Monday Morning Coffee

Congrats to Caleb Williams on winning the Heisman Trophy. It’s well deserved and a great story for the Trojan fans. I’m sure Williams would probably trade the trophy though for a spot in the College Football Playoff. I’m also not so sure about that ugly suit Williams was wearing. Good thing the tags are still on it so he can return it to the Men’s Warehouse.

Nice win by the Chargers last night against the Dolphins. They did it while shorthanded, and by shorthanded, I mean they are playing with a coach that’s an idiot. Justin Herbert was amazing and the Bolts are clinging to the final playoff spot in the AFC. Not bad for a first half team.

As for the Rams, I’m happy for Baker Mayfield that he had a nice moment on Thursday night against the Raiders. I’m not gonna lose my mind like these other media yahoos and suggest he’s their quarterback of the future. With that being said, there is definitely a non-zero chance that Matt Stafford, Aaron Donald, and Sean McVay all retire this offseason. That’s going to be a long rebuild if that’s the case for the Rams, especially without any 1st round picks for a while.

So just like that everybody thinks Brock Purdy is going to be the next Joe Montana huh? I’m telling you, every time the 49ers win the media acts like they won the Super Bowl. Then every time the Cowboys lose or almost lose, the sky is falling. Is it me, or are the Lions actually a decent football team? Hell must have frozen over.

I realize many of you have looked at the Lakers in recent weeks and felt optimistic. I’m still not sold, even after a couple of nice wins. Sure AD is balling, but there is just no margin for error with this team. Yesterday they needed AD and Lebron to go crazy just to beat the Pistons in a close game. This team badly needs a trade, but I’m just not convinced they are going to make the right trade. For all the talk that Russell Westbrook has been a great teammate (and he has) and good sixth man, he’s only shooting 40% from the field, under 30% from 3, and under 70% from the line. That’s not great, but everyone is pretending like it is.

The Clippers have both Paul George and Kawhi Leonard back in the lineup. They are doing ok, but the question is still around Kawhi. Is this just him looking rusty and trying to get his game back? Or is this the Kawhi we can expect moving forward? If the answer is the latter because of all his injuries, the Clippers are toast and all this hype was for nothing. Only time will tell, but Kawhi has missed so much time practicing and playing in games you have to wonder.

I don’t really have an issue with the Dodgers not spending money in free agency like everybody else this year. This team still has a lot of talent, and I think many of you forget that there is some major league ready talent in their system that should make an impact next year. That’s how good the Dodger farm system is. When you have dudes like Cody Bellinger hitting .200 and making $17 million, and even Justin Turner aging, you gotta find a way to get production elsewhere for cheaper. The Dodgers are still a good bet to make the playoffs in 2023, and there will probably be less pressure than when they won 110 games. Whether they do anything in the playoffs is all about their approach, not their talent level. That part unfortunately, I don’t expect to change.

Lastly, congrats to the USMNT for advancing out of the group stage. The Netherlands took them out, and it was largely because the US had too many MLS level defenders with man buns. Nevertheless, this is a young team with a bright future in International play. Even more exciting is the next World Cup will be right here at SOFI stadium.

Monday Morning Coffee

November 28, 2022

As a Notre Dame alum, I had both the pleasure and misfortune of attending the USC-Notre Dame game at the Coliseum on Saturday afternoon. It was a pleasure because it’s always a pleasure to see these storied programs go at it. However, the misfortune for me since the Trojans came away with the victory. Caleb Williams went from maybe not even being invited to the Heisman Trophy, to suddenly looking like he’s going to win it, in a matter of just two weeks. He was a magician out there, creating play after play with the pocket breaking down. It’s remarkable how great your team can be if you can have elite quarterback. That quarterback came from the arrival of an elite coach in Lincoln Riley. Which begs the question: why the hell did USC allow Clay Helton to coach them for seven years? I’m still of the opinion that if USC beats Utah and gets to the playoff, they will probably take a street beating from Georgia or Michigan. The Trojan defense is not stopping elite offenses, and their offensive line looks questionable. Nevertheless, it’s hard not to admit that USC being good again is great for College Football.

As for UCLA, they narrowly avoided what could have been a big let down against Cal, by defeating the Golden Bears in the Bay. You could tell from what DTR said before the game that the Bruins were practically uninterested in playing football after losing to USC, and knowing they’ll have to settle for something less than the Rose Bowl. Had they just beaten Arizona though, they might have had a decent shot at the game, assuming USC goes to the CFP. It’s pretty hard to get excited about the Sun Bowl or Las Vegas Bowl for the Bruins, especially after we were talking about a potential CFP appearance just three weeks ago.

As we expected, the Rams got dismantled by the Chiefs yesterday in Kansas City. There were just too many injuries for this team to stay competitive, let alone against an elite team like Kansas City. Things are so bad, Sean McVay may have even suffered a concussion in yesterday’s game. Starting Bryce Perkins at Quarterback in a game against Patrick Mahomes, is like going into a gun fight with a water pistol. Apparently Allen Robinson is now out for the season with a foot injury. I thought dude was basically out for the season with the way he was playing anyway. In case there was any doubt, this team is toast in 2022. Here is the Rams season summarized in one moment.

Meanwhile, the Chargers played most of yesterday like they slammed too much Turkey over Thanksgiving. They were down 24-17 in the 4th quarter, before Justin Herbert delivered a late game miracle for the victory. How is a defensive coach like Brandon Staley, able to consistently deliver terrible results on the defensive side of the ball, while also making idiotic in-game decisions? Had the two-point conversion failed at the end of the game, we would be roasting the man even more than we already do. Sean Payton would probably love to coach Herbert, but that would require the Spanos family paying big money for Payton, giving him team control, and the Spanos family eating some of the Staley contract. If you’re a Charger fan you probably have a better chance of getting $1 million from Santa this year.

To the NBA, where I’m still not going to get too excited about what I’ve seen from the Lakers yet. After a rough start, the Lakers are now 7-6 in their last 13 games, and in the West, that doesn’t put them far from being back in the playoff mix. Unfortunately, the Lakers can’t play the Spurs every game, even if they probably would like to ask the league if that’s possible. It’s true that Anthony Davis is playing elite basketball, but his availability is always in question, and the same can be said about Lebron James, who is still great, but misses games. Given how bad this team is, they can’t afford to have them miss games. It’s also completely unfair to ask them to play at a ridiculous level every night just to drag them into the playoffs. That’s a Rob Pelinka problem that he needs to address, but I’m not so confident that’s ever going to happen.

As for the Clippers, they took down the Pacers yesterday afternoon, but now the injuries are piling up again. Both Kawhi Leonard and Paul George are out with injuries, along with Luke Kennard. The Clips have been so cautious with Kawhi, next time he gets a paper cut they will hold him out of the lineup, and Ty Lue will say there is no timetable for his return. This is bar far the softest era of NBA basketball, in terms of holding players out of the lineup with the most minor of injuries. Kawhi is clearly the face of that approach. The good news for the Clips and a lot of Western Conference teams: nobody is running away with things in the standings.

In baseball, for a team that is up for sale, you can’t help but be impressed by the resourcefulness of the Angels so far this offseason. They’ve actually added about $33 million to their 2023 payroll by adding Tyler Anderson, Gido Urshela, and Hunter Renfroe. The difference from most other off-seasons though is that the Angels are adding depth, and they had very little in the past few years. When the pitching has been bad, the offense has been bad and vice versa. Not sure if that will change this season, but you have to at least respect Perry Minasian trying something different.

Monday Morning Coffee

November 21, 2022

What a spectacular game USC and UCLA played at the Rose Bowl on Saturday night. Caleb Williams definitely showed he’s one of the best quarterbacks in the country, and probably earned himself a trip to New York for the Heisman Trophy Ceremony at minimum. Dorian Thompson Robinson also made some spectacular plays, and deserves credit for playing with a bad hand and most likely a concussion. Unfortunately, the difference in the game were his turnovers. Even James Harden thinks both of these teams played lazy defense. I have no idea how DTR was allowed to keep playing when it looked like he was concussed. UCLA must be employing that Miami Dolphins team doctor on on their staff now. I’m also not sure why Chip Kelly didn’t lean on the run more, which was far more effective and less risky than watching DTR air it out. This feels like more missed opportunities than anything for the Bruins in the last two games. As for the Trojans, if they win their next two games, I think they will end up getting in to the College Football Playoff. However, with defense like this, they will likely get smashed by the likes of Georgia, Michigan, or Ohio State.

To the NFL, where the Rams lost their fourth straight game of the season yesterday, this time to the Saints. The Rams are on the verge of being eliminated from playoff contention, and are suddenly looking a lot like the team that was coached by Jeff Fisher a few years ago. The defense is nice, but the offense looks totally inept, and the offensive line is a train wreck. To make matters worse, Matt Stafford had another concussion. I’m not sure how Sean McVay can keep this team engaged for the next 7 weeks, without them thinking about their January vacations to Cancun. With Cooper Kupp out for the season too, there’s virtually no hope.

Then there’s the Chargers, who were devastated in by Patrick Mahomes in the final seconds of yesterday’s game. Real coaches find a way to take away an opponents best player, or at least minimize the damage from him. The Chiefs didn’t even have most of their receiving core yesterday, yet Travis Kelce kept giving them the business. Then again, we’re talking about Brandon Staley here, so expecting him to do something like that might be ridiculous when he can’t even make sound in-game decisions period. This is still likely a playoff team, but they sure don’t play like one, despite all their talent. That is classic Charger football.

Elsewhere around the NFL, the Cowboys murdered the Vikings 40-3, and Kirk Cousins doesn’t like that. The Falcons got by the Bears, but the entire NFC South should be demoted to the PAC-12. The Broncos lost to the Raiders and Nathaniel Hackett might need to post his resume on LinkedIn this morning given how the season is going for Denver. The Jets lost to the Patriots, and Zach Wilson should go back to getting with people’s mom’s instead of playing football, because his teammates hate him right now. Joe Burrow piled up throwing yards like the Steelers are piling up losses this season, in the Bengals win over Pittsburgh.

Sometimes it’s important to remember that things aren’t usually as bad as they are when things are looking really bad. But things also are never as good as they seem when things are looking really good. That’s how you should look at the Lakers right now. They have been finding the win column, but their three game win streak is a product of playing crummy teams. I can give them credit for a few things though. Their three-point shooting may not be elite, but it’s not nearly as bad as it was in the first 10 games. Anthony Davis is also reminding us that he’s one of the best players in basketball when he’s healthy. I don’t see anybody saying they want to trade him now. Then there’s those of you who seem to be convinced that the Lakers must be better without Lebron, just because they are 0-10 with him this season. Hopefully you’ve all been watching basketball long enough to realize that any team that has Lebron James on their team is better. If anything, this stretch should just remind Lebron that when he comes back, they need to continue to play through Anthony Davis, like they did a few years ago.

As for the Clippers, they got Kawhi back and picked up a couple of wins over the Pistons and Spurs. Kawhi definitely looks rusty. The real question is if he can actually practice and get himself back into shape, and ultimately build chemistry. It’s felt like the guy is a part-time worker in the NBA, and a Part-Time worker at an Amazon warehouse.

To baseball, where the Dodgers non-tendered Cody Bellinger over the weekend. This was definitely the right move. Bellinger made $18 million last year, and hit .210. Everybody keeps talking about all his talent, but he’s been terrible for three season. He’s the bitcoin of baseball, peaked in 2017, and downhill every since. If he wants to come back on a cheap deal fine, but the Dodgers have good young players in their system that are more than capable replacements. There is no amount of defense that is good enough to justify his ineptitude at the plate. Hopefully the Dodgers can find themselves some reliable contact hitting bats though, but finding one better than Bellinger shouldn’t be difficult.

This was a rough weekend for UCLA sports. The Bruin Basketball team was upset on Friday by Illinois, and then they lost a tight one to #5 Baylor yesterday. The loss to Illinois was just annoying, because the Bruins just didn’t bring it. However, if there’s one take away from the loss against Baylor, it’s that this team just doesn’t execute late in games against elite teams. We saw some of that last year in the tournament too. They have an immense amount of talent, but their freshman are extremely raw, and need time to develop. There’s a long way to go, but this team has work to do for sure, and you can be sure Mick Cronin is going to give his team crap all week long.

Finally, for a decade, I’ve covered The Walking Dead on Jock Talk LA, and the series came to an end last night. Spoiler alert for those of you who have yet to see it and plan on watching it later, so read no further if you plan on doing that. I thought the ending was fine considering what they did to the show over the past few years. They took down the latest villain, of course someone good had to die in the process in Rosita, and they’ll all try to continue to move forward and rebuild civilization again. If you knew anything about the comic, you knew she was probably going to die at some point, but that happened much earlier in that storyline. I’m not really surprised they showed Rick and Michonne at the end and still alive, but those two really didn’t wanna just come back to their children and raise them? Imagine knowing that Eugene, Gabriel, and Jerry were the ones that survived after all this. They all seemed like the biggest cowards ever when we first met them. Maggie thanking Negan for saving her son, yet never forgiving him for murdering Glen is about as much as you can ask for of her. The bottom line is that at one point, this show was great, but it went downhill once they had characters leaving the show, and they veered away from the comic storyline. Heck, any show that veers away from a previously written story tends to struggle. Game of Thrones is a perfect example. I do also wish they developed a storyline about solving the disease itself that made people zombies. We never got close to that. I can appreciate it for what it was. I’m not sure I can take the spin-offs though. They probably won’t get us any closer to that.

Monday Morning Coffee

November 14, 2022

Time of Death of the Rams season: 4:08 pm yesterday. There is no fixing this team in this season. The offense has way too many problems, most notably on the offensive line. It’s like a ship that’s dealing with leaks from everywhere, and you just can’t find a way to plug holes without another leak springing. They are now in last place in the NFC West, and to make matters worse, they might as well have been eliminated form the OBJ Sweepstakes. No way he signs with a team that isn’t a contender. Unless someone tricks him into thinking the calendar says 2021, that won’t happen. Now Cooper Kupp is down with what appears to be a significant ankle injury that could knock him out for a few weeks. That makes me think they won’t be able to score if you locked them in SOFI Stadium for an entire day. It was a nice run, but it’s over for now Ramily.

As for the Chargers, they really “Charger’d” that game against the 49ers last night. There could not be a worse head coach to manage a 10-point lead than Brandon Staley. It’s like this dude is almost betting on his opponents to cover the spread with some of the idiotic decisions he’s making. It also doesn’t help that the Chargers have been ravaged by injuries, but it’s the NFL, so who isn’t? At least Justin Herbert escaped major injury last night.

Elsewhere around the NFL, the Raiders should just bring in a new coach every week from their fan base and see if he can any better than Josh McDaniel. Tom Brady apparently is only good now when he doesn’t play on American soil, as the Bucs took down Seattle. The Lion beat the Bears, but I don’t know if anybody noticed that Justin Fields is actually a really good quarterback now. Aaron Rodgers still owns the Cowboys, which Stephen A Smith is going to remind them of endlessly this morning. The Bills and the Vikings played a hell of a game, but apparently Josh Allen can’t be Superman all the time.

To the NBA, where the Lakers finally found a team that is assembled even worse than they are: The Nets. They managed to beat them last night without Lebron James. Anthony Davis went off, and I can’t help but wish he would get that many shots on a nightly basis, and in the 4th quarter in particular. Who are we kidding though? This team stinks. They better win at least 4 of the next 5 games against crummy opponents, especially after having the next four days off. Kevin Durant is now the same as Lebron James at this stage of his career: a very productive NBA player, but not impactful enough to overcome a roster full of bums.

To College Football where UCLA did the most on-brand thing ever, losing to Arizona on Saturday night. This really puts a damper on the the USC game next week, which could have had some really high stakes. On the bright side, the Bruins still have a chance to be in the PAC-12 Championship game, and win the conference, although their College Football Playoff Chances have disappeared like the Republicans on election day. All of a sudden everyone is now back to the “fire Chip Kelly” demands, since he couldn’t come through when it mattered. I don’t think at this point you can do that, given that he’s still putting together a pretty damn good season. As great as Dorian Thompson Robinson has been, I sure wish he had set his feet on that last throw, which would have won the game. Nevertheless, the game should have never come down to that one play, as the Bruins couldn’t contain the Arizona’s quarterback. If they can’t contain him, what chance do they have next week against Caleb Williams?

Meanwhile, the Trojans beat up on Colorado, but they have to be a little disappointed UCLA lost, given that the stakes aren’t quite as high this week. Nevertheless, they still have an outside shot at the College Football Playoff. However, if Trojan fans are true to their word, they will still tell you that they would rather win the conference and the Rose Bowl, then be in some fake playoff with a fake champion. I haven’t heard this declaration in a while, and that’s probably because USC still has a chance to be in that “fake tournament”. Also, prayers up for Travis Dye, who USC lost for the season with a knee injury. Hopefully he bounces back.

Finally, it’s great to see the Dodgers bringing back Clayton Kershaw for another year. Kershaw has earned every right to be a Dodger for as long as he wants. I know some of you want to hate on his playoff resume, but I can name plenty of Hall of Famers and future Hall of Famers that have not been good in the playoffs: Barry Bonds and Justin Verlander just to name a few. However, Kershaw doesn’t get enough credit for still being one of the best pitchers in the National League. He doesn’t need to be the ace of the staff anymore, but he’s still a front of the rotation starter that can be impactful on a World Series Championship team. If this is in fact Kershaw’s last season, I’m glad that he will remain a Dodgers, because it would have been weird otherwise.