Monthly Archives: January 2021

Monday Morning Coffee

January 25, 2021

The Lakers are now 9-0 on the road. They should just ask the league if they can play all their games on the road, especially since they don’t have to worry about the fans that aren’t allowed to attend their games. They are tied for the best record in the NBA, and have the best defense in the league as well. Everyone thought they would be much worse defensively, but it turns out they are just as good, and even better offensively. Heading into Saturday, the Lakers had a positive net rating of +1.7 when Lebron is on the bench, and a +12.1 rating with him on the court. No team Lebron has ever been on has finished with a positive rating with him off the floor. It certainly helps that Alex Caruso and KCP are shooting like the Splash Brothers right now. There’s some tough road games ahead this week, but the Lakers are looking good. It would be nice to see THT get some more minutes though.

The Clippers are looking strong as well. In fact, Kawhi Leonard should be in the conversation for MVP through one quarter of the season. The media probably won’t vote for him though because that’s like going back to your ex-gf when she cheated on you repeatedly and made you look like an idiot in public. That’s exactly what happened last year when these media clowns picked the Clips to not only win the title, but dominate everyone, and instead they crashed and burned like the Hindenburg in round 2. Nevertheless, Serge Ibaka and Nic Batum have been great value free agent signings that are playing well. However, Luke Kennard, Marcus Morris, and Lou Williams are disappearing like Donald Trump from the White House. That has to be a concern given how much money they are spending on those three, but the Clips flaws aren’t nearly as big as others in the West.

Tomorrow marks the one-year anniversary of the death of Kobe Bryant, and his daughter Gianna. That was the start of what many of us would consider the worst year of our lives. I don’t think a day has gone by since then where I haven’t thought about Kobe. He was truly a legend, and the magnitude of his legacy wasn’t fully understood by everyone until he passed away. In some ways, when you think about his drive and work ethic, sometimes it feels like he is still with us. I’m sure it doesn’t feel that way for Vanessa and her family, and I still cannot fathom how she deals with this everyday. Nevertheless, the only thing each of us can do is to give everything we have to each day, and hold nothing back, because that is the legacy and inspiration he wanted to pass on to everyone.

I love TNT’s Inside The NBA. There’s a reason why it’s an Emmy Award winning show. It’s so good, at times I find myself watching the halftime shows and Inside The NBA, rather than the games than themselves. With that being said though, Shaq and Chuck need to better understand the time and place to be critical of today’s players. There’s no doubt that today’s players are much more sensitive to criticism, and fail to realize that it’s an analysts job to be honest. However, that criticism shouldn’t come in the middle of interviews. I know that Shaq was trying to motivate Donovan Mitchell in last week’s interview, but Donovan Mitchell isn’t Kobe. Not everybody reacts to criticism the same way. This interview is the equivalent of your boss telling you that no matter what you do, you’ll never be promoted in this company, while providing no explanation.

To the NFL, where we had a couple of great games on Championship Sunday, and some surprises. Tom Brady is back in the Super Bowl again, after the Bucs shocked the Packers. Thank god Matt LaFleur kicked that field goal to give Green Bay 3 more points when he was a couple of yards away from tying the game with 2 minutes left! He must have forgotten the GOAT was going to get the ball back. I’m thinking somebody must have replaced LaFleur’s play calling card with a menu of Wisconsin cheeses, because there is no explanation for why he kicked a field goal there. I don’t know why people are surprised the Chiefs beat the Bills. Tony Romo predicted it, like he accurately predicts everything after they played in Week 12. If this guy tells you you’re going to commit a crime in the future, you might as well turn yourself in to the cops right then and there. Congrats to the Chiefs, but also congrats to the Bills and their fans. At least this time you didn’t lose in the Super Bowl! The Chiefs put 38 on the scoreboard and they didn’t even play Chad Henne. In all seriousness though, this is going to be a fantastic Super Bowl with Brady vs Mahomes. Greatness and both sides, and we’re lucky we get to witness it with the stakes the highest they could be.

Now that the Rams are out of the playoffs, the rumors have started to circulate about how they plan to improve their team. At the center of that discussion is Jared Goff, and if the team will part ways with him. We’ve also heard Rams sources leak to ESPN that they would trade Jared Goff and multiple picks to the Texans for DeShaun Watson. That’s like saying you want to trade in your used Mazda with 50K miles on it for a Ferrari. Every team should want Watson, but the Rams salary cap situation makes it virtually impossible for them acquire him. However, if the Rams can restructure some contracts and free up an extra $10 million, they can go get themselves an offensive lineman or two, and some help at linebacker. They might even be able to find some cheap help at QB to push Jared Goff. It doesn’t sound splashy, but it’s probably all they really need to try and get back to the Super Bowl.

To College Hoops where the Bruins lost their first game in conference play over the weekend, losing to Stanford. UCLA can still win the PAC-12, and even make a run in the tournament, but they can’t afford to take any nights off. They have talent, but not enough to just put it in cruise control. They’ve done that the past few games and it cost them Saturday, especially in the final seconds when they gave up the game-winning layup at the buzzer. The Bruins also need to turn their defense into offense, with easy fast break points. There were no fast break points at all on Saturday, and it’s been limited all-season. It’s called “Showtime”. Not “Slow Time”. Last year a loss to Stanford helped them correct a lot of their flaws, and propelled them to a hot streak. Let’s hope this loss results in the same type of streak.

Speaking of the PAC-12, Larry Scott will no longer be the conference commissioner come June 30th. This is a move that desperately needed to be made. The PAC-12 has a TV network that nobody can watch, and receives far less revenue than the other Power 5 Conferences. On top of that, Scott moved the headquarters to a much more expensive location, in San Francisco. He also had to deal with the wrath of state Governors enacting plenty of limitations this year around all sports. The PAC-12 had better figure out how to come up with a better media deal, because the top recruits are going to go elsewhere if their games aren’t getting a lot of exposure. Let’s hope the next guy in charge is capable of running more than just a hot dog stand like Scott was. That’s huge for the likes of USC and UCLA athletics.

To baseball, where the Dodgers lost one of their big-time performers over the weekend, Kike Hernandez. The super-utility player signed with the Boston Red Sox. Hernandez was a great find by Andrew Friedman, who came over in the trade with the Florida Marlins for Dee Gordon, six years ago. I’m sure this is going to devastate all those women who just watch Kike to play in his tight pants and all, but the reality of it is the Dodgers have cheaper options. More specifically, they have Gavin Lux and Chris Taylor. There’s also talk of the Dodgers going after free agent pitcher Trevor Bauer. They certainly don’t need Bauer, but signing him would be keeping him away from their NL rivals like the Padres. What they do need however, is to re-sign Justin Turner, and add an impact pitcher in the bullpen.

As for the Angels, they actually signed a pitcher! Last week they inked starter Jose Quintana. He’s not exactly Randy Johnson, but he’s a decent middle of the rotation arm that can give the Halos some innings. However, only the Angels would sign a pitcher who suffered an injury in the past year while washing dishes. They’ll need more pitching than that though, and I wouldn’t count on it coming in the form of Trevor Bauer. Arte Moreno treats the luxury tax like a form of cancer causing radiation, so I wouldn’t count on the Halos getting anywhere near it. Still, let’s hope Moreno’s penny pinching doesn’t get in the way of signing another capable starter.

There are certain things in life that you don’t have a true appreciation for until you get a little bit older. One of those things was Larry King, and his broadcasting career. I was saddened learn of his passing last week, as he was truly a legend in his industry. His non-confrontational and conversational interviewing style is one that I wish most journalists would follow these days. Those were the good ‘ol days.

Do you guys remember the LA Kings? You know, the hockey team in LA that actually won two Stanley Cups in the last decade. Well they hadn’t played in 10 months, until the season began last week. Their defense looks about as organized as the rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine though. It’s sad to see how far the Kings have fallen, but what’s even more said is that they have the #1 farm system in the NHL, and they aren’t playing many of those prospects. Anze Kopitar, Dustin Brown, and Drew Doughty all made their NHL debut’s before 20 years old. They were cornerstones on those Cup winning teams. Just because the Kings best prospects are all in that age range doesn’t mean they should baby them. Take the training wheels off and let them play now, otherwise what is already a 4-year rebuild will become a 10-year rebuild.

Finally, The Bachelor is back on ABC tonight, and it was an eventful last episode. In a matter of 10 minutes, Sarah became the show’s villain. I’m not sure how though, with Queen Victoria still in the house. The girls wanted Sarah to come out of her room but all they did was make fun of her and single her out. All those girls deserve to be kicked off the show and sent to La Quinta as punishment. I don’t care if Bennet would find Sarah deficient in 3 of 4 emotionally intelligent components. That wasn’t cool. I’m glad there are five more girls coming to compete according to the previews, because those mean girls deserve to have more competition. So do the other 30, I just haven’t learned their names yet. Kit and Victoria really came together in that episode to form a super villain. On behalf of Bachelor Nation, thank you to whoever farted on Victoria’s pillow. Who would have thought the girl showing up with the vibrator on the first night would be the most mature person in the episode? She put both Sarah’s happiness and Matt’s above her own, and that is why she is too good to even be on this show. At this point, it’s Abigail and Katie for Matt, and it’s not close.

Monday Morning Coffee

Rams' Jared Goff plays well, but starting job still uncertain - Los Angeles  Times

January 18, 2021

That was a tough loss for the Rams on Saturday against the Packers. Ironically, it was the defense that didn’t come through this time, but that’s what happens when Aaron Donald is injured and can only play 51% of the snaps. That can’t happen against Aaron Rodgers. Still, the season went much better than most of us thought. Cam Akers looks like he can be an elite running back, and the combination of a healthy Donald and Jalen Ramsey is a championship defense. Jared Goff played fine, but his relationship with Sean McVay isn’t fine. McVay lies about everything, most notably the health of his players. However, for some reason he doesn’t lie about his relationship with Goff. McVay said he’s the quarterback “right now”. That’s like saying “she’s my girlfriend right now until I find somebody hotter.” Somebody needs to tell McVay that he’s stuck with Goff for at least another year, and that DeShaun Watson isn’t walking through that door.

Elsewhere around the Divisional Weekend games, the Bills took down the Ravens, but that game was awkward. The Ravens don’t pass, the Bills don’t run, and none of the kickers can kick. Watching that game was like watching an awkward middle school dance. Thanks to Lamar Jackson, not only was that game less competitive than we thought, but we had to deal with a bunch of poop memes when he left the game. The Chiefs got by the Browns, and still managed to do so after Patrick Mahomes suffered a concussion. Did every kicker in the NFL get drunk this weekend prior to taking the field? Apparently the Chiefs are so good, they can overcome all that, but their opponents can’t overcome the refs officiating the game like the survivors in the movie Bird Box. The Bucs topped the Saints, and Michael Thomas disappeared liked Jimmy Hoffa, while Drew Brees threw the ball like Drew Barrymore, in another disappointing playoff loss for New Orleans. In all seriousness though, my hat goes off to Drew Brees on an incredible career if in fact it was his last game. Of course Tom Brady tried to high-five the referee after all they’ve done for his career.

As for the Chargers, they have hired Brandon Staley, the Rams defensive coordinator as their next coach. Staley did a nice job with the Rams this past season, but this feels like a weird hire the Bolts made for all the wrong reasons. Now that the Chargers have a young and dynamic franchise quarterback, you would think they would hire and offensive coach that has developed quarterbacks. Eric Bieniemy, the Chiefs OC, would make even more sense because he’s an offensive coach that knows their division rivals so well. Not only did they pass on him, but they also passed on Bills OC, Brian Daboll, who developed Josh Allen. It’s like the Chargers said they don’t want to wait for the season to end for those coaches, they don’t care about developing Herbert, and they care only about a cheap coach while sticking it to the Rams as well. That is the typical Dean Spanos mentality that makes this a typical Spanos hire. Not what you want to hear if you’re one of the five Charger fans that actually go to their games.

To the NBA, where the Lakers are still rolling. They have the best record in the league and their 3-point shooting is looking like that of the Splash Brothers. Their defense has been so good, not only are they shutting down their opponents, but they are also shutting down their haters on Twitter. The real question though is how threatened should they feel about the Nets, after assembling their own big three. The answer is not threatened at all for now. Heck, the Clippers are a greater threat to the Lakers than the Nets. Acquiring James Harden is a social experiment just as much as a basketball experiment. They’ve acquired all three types of Brooklyn guy: weird skiny guy, a guy with a beard, and a guy obsessed with astrology and conspiracy theories. Usually when you put three top 20 players together they end up in the finals, but this time I’m skeptical.

As for the Clippers, they are still looking good. Winners of 7 of their last 10 games, and very much a contender in the Western Conference. However, Paul George is already taking a victory lap three weeks into the season. He claims he’s “back with vengeance”, and that last season everybody saw his weaknesses. That’s not true because I only saw accountability as his weakness, and didn’t see any strippers, but that is a well-documented weakness of his. Maybe if PG just changed his self-proclaimed nickname to “Preseason P” it would be more appropriate. It’s the same story every year: Play well early, say it’s finally the year you’ll succeed, fail in the playoffs, find an excuse, then start the cycle all over and claim it’s revenge season. Show me when it matters!

Last week Alabama won the College Football National Championship. That is the least surprising thing I’ve heard in my life. Devonta Smith was putting up numbers that you couldn’t even put up playing Madden on easy mode, and it was in the 1st half. He was great, but I’ve seen better defense at the Capitol than what we saw on the field last Monday night. Before you tell me that Notre Dame doesn’t belong in the playoff again, remember that the Irish and Crimson Tide were actually the closest playoff game we had this season. Nick Saban is awesome and arguably the greatest ever, but the sport needs him to go away to level the playing field. By the way, Saban was probably in the office at 7 am the next morning, since he has a psychopathic work ethic. We don’t need the playoffs expanded. We need Alabama, and even Clemson and Ohio State to come back to the pack.

Speaking of College Football, now that Urban Meyer has been hired by the Jaguars, USC Football fans can only wonder what could have been. The Pac-12 desperately needs the Trojan program to become a powerhouse again to give the conference credibility. Not to mention the Trojan faithful are tired of achieving nothing but mediocrity. Meyer may not be a great fit in the NFL, but he could have turned the USC program into the powerhouse they were back in the Pete Caroll days. Clay Helton said he sees an upward trending football program. That’s like the Captain of The Titanic saying he saw the iceberg. The expectations aren’t simply to win a mediocre conference. It’s to win National Championships, or at minimum contend for them. I’m not sure Carol Folt or Mike Bohn understand this either. Until that happens, don’t expect much to change.

Watching UCLA Basketball is like watching “the Bizarro World” episode of Seinfeld. They are starting to look like a juggernaut on offense, averaging 86 points per game in their last two games, but a work in progress on defense. A defensive work in progress is the last thing you would expect from a Mick Cronin team, but they made the Washington Huskies look like the Golden State Warriors on Saturday at home. In any case, the Bruins are still undefeated in the conference, and in sole possession of 1st place. It’s their best start in 26 years. The bad news is that Steve Lavin jinxed them though by saying they are National Title Contenders. Over the years it feels like when Lavin says something about UCLA on National TV, it’s like a guy talking about his ex-girlfriend, saying nice things about her, but you’re not really convinced he’s saying those things out of sincerity.

The Dodgers lost a couple of players last week, including pitchers Alex Wood and Pedro Baez. Woods signed with the Giants, and Baez with the Astros. I wish them both well, but certainly not any of their scum bag teammates, especially those cheating Astros. For Baez, I guess the Astros figured he would have been pretty good against them if they weren’t cheating. His contract is really for one year, but it will take him two years to get through since Baez pitches like a human rain delay.

As for the Angeles, they signed Kurt Suzuki to shore up their catching, but still need lots of pitching. Everybody has been saying they need pitching, yet it’s still not happening. I’ve decided that Arte Moreno would rather inject himself with COVID-19 before paying big money for a pitcher. Way back in 2003 when he purchased the team, Moreno went on record to say he did not like to spend big money on starting pitchers, since they only play every five days and are injury prone. That doesn’t give me any optimism that they’ll address this problem they’ve had for years.

Finally, the Bachelor is back tonight and went down last week. I don’t know what Victoria’s skincare routine is, but it’s more toxic than the environment she’s creating on the show. She may also have the ugliest dress in bachelor history. Somebody convince me that she wasn’t actually at the Capitol two weeks ago. Did she really say “oil and vinegar”? That’s salad dressing. Where’s Bennett and his emotional intelligence book when you need him? It wasn’t all Victoria, but unfortunately, much of the episodes significance revolved around her. Ok Matt, we get it, you’re cut. You don’t need to spend the whole show walking around without your shirt off, making every man alive feel terrible about their New Years dieting resolutions. Matt vowing to take care of Bri to her mom when they’ve known each other for two hours is pretty hilarious. How did the producers decide to leave us on a cliffhanger, then spoil the cliffhanger with a preview? Couldn’t Sarah have waited until later in the season to get hammered and blackout? It’s only the 2nd episode!

Matt James "The Bachelor"

Monday Morning Coffee’s

January 11, 2021

The Rams got a big playoff win over Seattle on Saturday! I’m really glad the offense finally scored a touchdown in the red zone because I was about to start calling it “The Twilight Zone”. Cam Akers is a stud running the ball, but the defense is the story. They put so much pressure on Russell Wilson, he would have struggled passing the salt at the dinner table. Aaron Donald was dominant as ever, and it’s hard to argue with Howie Long’s assessment that he’s going to end up as the greatest defensive tackle to ever play when you see that. The Rams were fortunate that Donald seems to be ok since none of his ribs were broken. We’ll see about Cooper Kupp and John Wolford, but it’s hard to imagine Goff not starting next week. This team has been very up and down, but so has the entire NFC. You have to be intrigued at the thought of this team going on the road with a shutdown defense and a good running game. That plays very well against the Packers.

Elsewhere around Wild Card Weekend, if the Bills had lost, America would have had its second riot in three days. I’m not sure why Frank Reich went for two. It was like Doug Peterson kidnapped him and took over the play-calling in that moment. If the Colts had pulled that off though, you can bet your ass there would have been a 10th Rivers baby by October. Meanwhile in Tampa, the Bucs beat Washington and even though Antonio Brown scored a touchdown, he has been out of football so long he didn’t realize the chest bump is played out. It’s all about the side bump now. Taylor Heinicke played great in the loss, and who knew that Washington would find their next quarterback before their next team name? The Ravens took down the Titans on the road. Mike Vrable at one point said he would be willing to cut off his penis to win a Super Bowl, but wouldn’t go for it on 4th and 2 at the Ravens 40 yard line and down 4. Watching the Titans try to stop Lamar Jackson was like watching security try to stop the Capitol from being invaded by idiots. If you didn’t watch the Saints-Bears on Nickelodeon over CBS, then you were doing it wrong. I thought we would see a little more SpongeBob content though. How does Nickelodeon explain to the kids that Anthony Miller got ejected for punching someone in the face? He should be suspended like Trump’s Twitter account. The Browns shocked everyone by beating upon the Steelers. Pittsburgh looked more terrible than their towels last night. I don’t know what happened to Big Ben with all those turnovers. He got manhandled as if the Browns shoved him forcefully into a bathroom stall. I guess now he know what it feels like.

As for the Chargers, immediately after their last game of the season, Anthony Lynn said the team did a good job under the circumstances. Apparently he was “the circumstances” because he was fired the following day. I have no idea who the Bolts are going to make their next head coach, but this is a critical moment for the franchise. Searching for a new head coach is the right move, as long as they find the right guy. By “right guy” I mean someone who can take Justin Herbert’s development to the next level, and help the team understand how to win close games. The latter has been something that’s felt impossible for this team forever.

To the NBA, where the Lakers crushed the Rockets last night and now have the best record in the Association. That game was definitely one for the “I’m tired of the Lakers not playing hard” crowd. Let’s be honest though: they aren’t always playing hard and sometimes they look like they want to be elsewhere. I get it though. It’s because they barely got an offseason. However, you can’t really complain when they are still the #1 seed after not playing hard for much of their first 11 games. That just tells you when they decide to start playing, the rest of the league better look out. Talen Horton Tucker is a more promising young prospect than Baby Yoda. I really wouldn’t mind seeing Lebron and AD just sit out every 6 or 7 games, and play this kid some real minutes to develop him further. It’s clear that he has talent, and might be not just a good player, but an excellent player in this league.

The Clippers also found the win the column yesterday against the Bulls.  It’s safe to say that while the league is in preseason form, the Clippers are in playoff form because they keep blowing 20-point leads.  In all seriousness though, the Clips  have moments where their team looks very disengaged and uninterested in playing basketball.  It makes you wonder what the locker room dynamic is like since Ty Lue took over.  It’s too early to tell if there’s a problem or not, because the Clippers’ problems aren’t as bad as much of the league and they’re still a team that can contend.  However, I also wonder how effectively Luke Kennard and Marcus Morris are going to fit over the long haul, especially given the money they were paid.  Their contributions have been up and down, so only time will tell.

In College Hoops UCLA is is 5-0 in PAC-12 play and in first place. The Bruins swept an Arizona road trip by defeating the Sun Devils and the Wildcats over the weekend. Since Chris Smith went down with a season-ending injury, they are 3-0. This team is just grinding out wins by playing solid defense, winning the battles for loose balls, and getting just enough offense from a 10-man rotation. It’s not sexy, but it’s winning basketball games, and should put the Bruins back in the Top 25 this week. This is exactly why Coach Mick Cronin is more consistent than A Few Good Men on a rainy Sunday. Up next are the Washington schools at Pauley Pavilion.

My thoughts and prayers go out to Tommy Lasorda and his family after he passed away last week. Lasorda was someone who made Dodger fans, sports fans, or just ordinary fans of the American way feel good about themselves. He was someone that just put a smile on your face when you saw him. He was also one of baseball’s most accomplished Managers, winning the World Series and Manager of the Year twice, along with four NL pennants and eight division titles. I’m sure Lasorda was probably cussing up a storm with the way baseball teams are run today, and the way Managers are now just figureheads, unlike in his era. Nevertheless, at least he was alive long enough to see the Dodgers win another World Series before he passed.

Finally, the season premiere of The Bachelor went down on ABC last week, and it’s back on tonight. Matt James is the Bachelor this season, and he is the first black bachelor in the history of the show. I can just envision Matt telling Chris Harrison he’s ready to send Victoria home after the first episode, and Chris threatening to kill him if he did so. Anna saying she was trying to telepathically tell Matt to pick her is one of the weirdest moments I’ve seen in the history of the show, and that’s saying a lot for all the weirdos we’ve seen. How did we not have a major meltdown with two girls wearing the exact same dress? I almost feel cheated that I wanted that for two hours and didn’t see one. I guess ABC saved their budget for The Bachelor and not The Bachelorette since night one was at some spectacular mansion, instead of some shack in the desert like we saw a few weeks ago. I think one of the most disappointing aspects of the first episode was that we’ll never actually know what the vibrator looked liked, other than that it was apparently sparkly. Who knew that you could not show an image of a vibrator on television? Looking forward to seeing where the season goes from here.

Monday Morning Coffee

January 4, 2020

The Lakers are off to smooth 5-2 start and are looking good. They are also load managing games, without actually load managing players by sitting them out. That’s pretty important for a team that just finished playing last season about 5 minutes ago. If there’s one thing I’m also keeping an eye on it’s just how good the Lakers are defensively compared to last season. Their defense in the paint seems somewhat selective at times, but they have shown they know how to tighten the screws in the 4th quarter, and lock their opponents up. Keep in mind this is also coming while missing one of their best perimeter defenders, Alex Caruso, for about the last week. The best part about it is that Frank Vogel can mess around with lineups all he wants for the next few weeks because the Lakers have a very soft schedule until the end of January. At this point, if you’re a Laker fan, the only thing you should be complaining about is that you can’t go watch the team in Staples Center for a while.

The other team that still looks elite despite enduring relentless mocking from Jock Talk LA is the Clippers. The Clips took down the Suns yesterday, although we’ve reached the point where if the Clippers jump out to a 20-point lead, the opponent has to feel confident they can erase it pretty quickly. I guess Paul George was done celebrating Christmas since the team actually played to it’s potential yesterday. The Clippers need to watch out for those holidays, since PG uses them as an excuse when his team gets destroyed anywhere near them. In all seriousness though, even though it feels like the Clippers either win by 30+ points every game or lose by 30+ points every game, you can see the talent is still there from last year, and they are a dangerous team when they want to be.

To the NFL, where the Rams overcame some big injuries and clinched a playoff spot yesterday. It sure helps that Cliff Kingsbury’s playbook is just one giant Denny’s menu, or at least feels that way given some of his decisions yesterday. Nevertheless, the Rams took care of the Cardinals with backup quarterback, John Wolford, running the show. Wolford didn’t do much through the air, and his LinkedIn profile is a lot more polished than his skills as an NFL Quarterback, but his rushing ability was impressive. Then again, heading to Seattle next week to play the Hawks doesn’t sound very appealing given how banged up the Rams are. Even if Jared Goff is healthy, I’m not sure he’s mentally in the right place to win a playoff game on the road. The last time we saw him on the field was at Seattle, where he looked like he was only playing football because his parents were making him. The Rams always play the Hawks tough, but right now it doesn’t feel like much is going their way headed into this game, so I’d be surprised if they can pull it out.

Meanwhile, the Chargers got themselves nothing more than a morale boosting win over the Chiefs yesterday. Neither team had anything to play for, and the Chiefs had a a bunch of Door Dash drivers in their lineup since their starters were resting after clinching. Watching Anthony Lynn getting aggressive and making analytics-friendly decisions in Week 17 is like eating that one celery stick after finishing off 12 wings…’s too late! According to Jay Glazer, Lynn is going to be fired today, and likely by the time you are reading this article. When it comes to these situations though, I always ask the larger question: if you’re firing him then who are you replacing him with? I don’t suspect the Chargers are going to make some splashy hire like Urban Meyer or even Robert Saleh, who is the hottest name right now. These guys aren’t going to spend $10 million on a head coach. It’s simply not the style of Dean Spanos. Whoever it is though, they better be able to take Justin Herbert to the next level as a QB, or else the Bolts are just wasting away the golden opportunity they have with Justin Herbert.

Elsewhere around Week 17 of the NFL, I think most of America didn’t care who won the NFC East as long as it wasn’t the Cowboys. The Colts beat the Jags and good thing because if they didn’t make the playoffs, Philip Rivers wife would been angry that Philip would have retired and been around the house all the time. The Browns clinched by beating the Steelers, and Pittsburgh should be nervous that Big Ben looks worse than Mason Rudolph. The Bills hammered the Dolphins, sending Miami to their living room to watch the playoffs. The Ravens suddenly look a lot scarier heading into the playoffs after throttling the Bengals. The Jets lost to the Patriots, then fired Adam Gase for winning too many games this season. That Tom Brady guy isn’t too bad at football, as the Bucs beat the Falcons. It turns out only 3 women at a club can shutdown Alvin Kamara, rather than anyone on the football field, but the Saints beat the Panthers anyway. The Titans got a miracle from AJ Brown and a goal post to win the AFC South as they got by the Texans. The Raiders beat the Broncos but they are social distancing from the playoffs. The Seahawks beat the 49ers, who have so many injuries and a training staff that couldn’t heal a paper cut in a week. The Packers beat the Bears, but Chicago is going to the playoffs which is more impressive than anyone that can eat an entire Chicago Deep Dish Pizza by themselves.

To the College Ranks where Alabama beat up on Notre Dame over the weekend to advance to the National Championship game against Ohio State. The Buckeyes also took down Clemson. I’m tired of this stupid narrative that Notre Dame doesn’t belong in the playoff because they get blown out every time. In what sport does your performance from previous seasons actually prevent you making the postseason? The reality of it is Alabama, Clemson, and even Ohio State are just that much better than anybody else. I don’t think Cincinnati or Northwestern would do much better in the CFP, but I’m all for expanding the playoff. It’s also performance in previous seasons that adversely impact those other schools, which is wrong as well. It’s always been a flawed system, but don’t act like the Irish are some scrub team like the Twitter mob seems to think. As for Clemson’s loss to Ohio State, this was good practice for Trevor Lawrence, because he’s going to be trailing a lot next year with the Jaguars.

Speaking of College Football, I’ve got bad news UCLA fans. Martin Jarmon isn’t planning on getting rid of Chip Kelly right now. Jarmon came out and said he supports Kelly, but also said he wants to win more, and looks forward to seeing that. Jarmond also complimented the effort put forth in every game they played this season. These are exactly the type of words that are spoken by an AD who is mostly concerned about a $9 million buyout, which is the main reason why he has to be so supportive of his football coach. I don’t suspect that will be an impediment after one more mediocre year with Kelly, which is as sure to happen as the sun is to rise tomorrow.

As for UCLA Basketball, they received some devastating news over the weekend, learning that Chris Smith is done for the year with a torn ACL. Smith was arguably UCLA’s best player, and one of their top scorers. The ceiling for the team isn’t quite as high without him, although they did pick up a victory over Colorado on Saturday to improve to 3-0 in Pac-12 play. UCLA is going to have to share the ball and turn up the intensity on the defensive end to overcome this. Up next are the Arizona schools next week for a couple of duels in the desert.

Chris Smith - Men's Basketball - UCLA

This baseball off-season has been unbelievable so far. NOTHING HAS HAPPENED. I wonder what GM’s are doing? Their bosses must have given them a 6-month vacation since none seem to be allowed to spend money. I know everybody wants to talk about the Padres being the only team that made moves by acquiring Chris Snell and Yu Darvish. However, don’t buy the hype because the Dodgers still own the NL West until further notice. With that being said though, the Dodgers still have moves up their sleeves and decisions to make. There’s a lot of talk around DJ LeMahieu, which would be great if the price is right. Still, I would rather see the Dodgers bring back Justin Turner on a reasonable deal and sign Liam Hendriks or Brad Hand to strengthen their bullpen. However, since everyone in baseball apparently doesn’t seem to care about being competitive other than the Padres, I think the Dodgers will be pretty good no matter what they do.

Then there’s the Angels, who’s absolutely blow my mind. This team has never needed pitching more, but they don’t seem to be making any effort to get any. I bring this up because two of the best pitchers in baseball last season were just traded to the Padres for a bottle of hand sanitizer, and some rolled tacos from Roberto’s Mexican Cantina. I realize that the Halos didn’t have the prospects to get Chris Snell, but they sure as hell could have tried for Yu Darvish. Instead, it appears as though Arte Moreno had no desire to add to the payroll to help his team win, which is contrary to what he’s trying to tell us publicly. Apparently nobody has told him that he currently has one of the greatest players of all-time, in his prime, on his team. Arte must want to win, but on his own terms. Otherwise, he must hate pitching.