Monthly Archives: September 2022

Monday Morning Coffee

September 26, 2022

The Rams made it two in a row with a big division win against the Cardinals. Suddenly, things don’t seem so bad. Matt Stafford’s elbow hasn’t fallen off yet, Cam Akers is starting to get it together, and Cooper Kupp is still Cooper Kupp. The defense is continuing to be dominant, and I don’t know why we should be surprised with a unit that includes Aaron Donald and Jalen Ramsey. I’m also impressed with the fact the offensive line has held up, allowing only two sacks in the last two weeks, after a disastrous first week performance. The only thing a little disappointing is that in the last two games, the Rams have had several opportunities to blow out their opponents, but stupid mistakes have kept their opponents around. Hopefully they can clean that up in the coming weeks. Up next though is their arch rival, the 49ers on Monday night. Even though the Rams won the last meeting in the NFC Title game, San Francisco always finds a way to give them a hell of a time, so this game doesn’t exactly give me a great feeling.

Then there’s the Chargers, who were obliterated by the Jaguars at SOFI Stadium. Why on earth was Justin Herbert still in the game when the Bolts were down by so much? My only explanation is that Brandon Staley must have Herbert on his fantasy team. I also think the Bolts would have been better off just letting Herbert rest for a couple of weeks since he is their entire franchise at this point. He played admirably, but you can tell he is not 100%. The bigger issue though is the fact the defense couldn’t get off the field. The Chargers held the ball for only 22 minutes, and were held to 22 rushing yards. The Jags piled up 413 yards of offense and 151 on the ground. I was told the Chargers had fixed their defense and were capable of shutting down anybody. Right now, they look like they couldn’t shut down a lemonade stand. You would think they would get an easy W next week against the Texans, but that’s what we said last year when Houston ambushed them while completely undermanned.

Elsewhere around Week 3, the Packers got by the Bucs, in a game where Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers agreed that whoever loses has to call their own family. The Dolphins beat the Bills, and Tua Tagovailoa must have had Oral Roberts in the locker room, because he recovered from his concussion in 5 minutes. They also won despite the “butt punt”. The Raiders lost to the Titans, and if Josh McDaniels doesn’t win a game soon, his Raider coaching career will be shorter than the rap career of Vanilla Ice. The Ravens took down the Patriots and Lamar Jackson is wondering how many more TD’s he has to throw to get a new contract. I guess the Eagles finally stopped partying from their last Super Bowl victory because they are finally good again, after crushing the Commanders. The Lions looked like they weren’t the Lions for about 3 quarters, then they remembered who they were in the final minutes against the Vikings. Mark Sanchez reaction to the “butt punt” was priceless though, considering he is notorious for his “butt fumble”.

NBA Training camps is now open, and Lakers media day is today. Much to the disappointment of Laker fans, Russell Westbrook is still on this team. I hate to be honest here, but having him on this roster is a colossal failure. Without moving him for some capable role players, this team is just not good enough. There is simply not enough shooting, defense, or depth around Lebron and AD. Not to mention the fact that sadly, Russ will simply destroy value on this Laker team with his style of play that is such a poor fit in today’s NBA. This is essentially a “throw away” season for this franchise, which is shocking to say for a team with Lebron James and Anthony Davis. Best case scenario, the team stays healthy and avoids the play-in tournament before getting punked in the 1st round of the playoffs.

Meanwhile, the Clippers are getting things going as well this week. They are clearly one of the deepest rosters in the league. My only question around them is the health of their stars, and how those stars will look now that they once again have capable role players. I can’t believe over a year later, Kawhi Leonard’s health is still in question, but the man has missed so many games, it makes sense. Everyone wants to clown Anthony Davis missing games, but AD has actually played more games in the last two seasons than both Kawhi and Paul George. Just keep that in perspective when thinking about any concerns about the Clips.

ESPN came out with their annual NBA player rankings last week. In a tradition unlike any other, they proved that their basketball writers have no idea what they are talking about. Lebron James was listed as the 6th best player, and Kevin Durant was listed as the 8th best player. The top 5 players consisted of Giannis, Joker, Luka, Embiid, and Steph. I will never understand the media’s obsession with taking players like The Joker, Luka, and Embiid, and anointing them as better than championship proven elite players like Lebron and Kevin Durant. It’s downright idiotic, and the list gets even worse as you move through it. How the hell did Jayson Tatum, Ja, and Booker get in the Top 10? None of them are better than Dame, Kawhi, or even Jimmy Butler. It’s like these writers sit around slamming shots of tequila before finalizing the list.

To College Football, where USC escaped against Oregon State on Saturday night. I don’t know what it is about OSU, but the Trojans always seem to have a hard time playing up there. Oddly enough, USC just didn’t move the ball like they did in their first three games, albeit they played much tougher competition. However, their defense did hold up nicely. In fact, they probably only won the game because of their defense, which forced four turnovers. Amazingly enough, the Trojans are actually the only team in the nation that has yet to turn the ball over in their first four games of the season. Sometimes, you just need to survive and advance, and that’s what the Trojans did. Although USC moved up to #6 in the AP Poll, their schedule the rest of the way isn’t going to do them many favors. The Trojans will play Utah in a couple of weeks, who are ranked, but fell out of the Top 10. They’ll need to hope for some significant improvements in the rankings from UCLA and Notre Dame to help their CFP chances. Up next is a showdown in the desert with lowly Arizona State.

As for the Bruins, they took down a crummy Colorado team to improve to 4-0. It was all fun and games up until this point, but does anybody actually expect UCLA to win any of the next three games? They’ll face Washington and Utah at home, followed by a road game at Oregon. All three are ranked in the Top 15. That’s like having to walk through a field of land mines. If they win any one of those three games, I will actually be impressed. This must be the most unexcited any UCLA fan base is for a team that’s 4-0 because in reality, nobody likes Chip Kelly, and nobody believes this team is really all that good.

In baseball, I’m really pleased to FINALLY see that the Dodgers are moving on from Craig Kimbrel as their closer. I only wish they had been reading Jock Talk LA earlier in the summer when I was screaming for this from the mountain tops, so they could actually go find another closer during the postseason. I’m not sure what the hell took them so long to realize that Craig Kimbrel just isn’t good enough. If he can’t close, he simply shouldn’t be on the playoff roster either, as there is no use for him. I’d like to hope that Blake Treinen can step in and pitch, but his health is in serious question, as is Dustin May’s. At this point, the pitching is a matter of who is left standing, and the bullpen in particular.

Finally House of The Dragon went down on HBO last night. Spoiler alert for those of you who have yet to see it. I know we just had a major flash forward, but Daemon was way too quiet in this episode. I’m sure he’ll be twice as unhinged in the next one. How the hell is Viserys still alive? I fully expected him to die in about 10 minutes after last episodes, so no idea how he survived 10 more years. You would think the stress of his family alone would kill him. At least Laena got to die on her own terms, rather than her husband’s. I think I speak for everyone when I say that every time Alicent speaks, we all just want to scream “shut up you are annoying!” Not even Aegon wants Aegon to be King. 10 years later, and Ser Criston is more salty than Kevin Durant. You had a one night stand my man. Gotta move on. Not really sure how Hardin can punch someone and lose everything, but Ser Criston can murder someone in front of the royal family and be promoted. Maybe the villain in this show is really Alicent and not Daemon? The show is riveting, but it feels like we’re still trying to figure out where this whole story is going, who the villain is, and what everything means. It’s a lot of questions that need to be answered and time is already running out this season!

Monday Morning Coffee

September 19, 2022

The Rams finally looked like the Rams yesterday. No, I don’t care that they were outscored 17-3 in the 4th quarter. That happened because they shot themselves in the foot, and made fluky mistakes like turnovers and blocked punts. The defense is still showing that it is elite, and the offense is still explosive. The offensive line is still a problem though, as is their running game, but this was sa nice “get right game” for this team. Nice to see Allen Robinson out there getting more than just cardio, as he caught a TD pass and had over 50 yards receiving. By the way in case you didn’t notice, Cooper Kupp is really good at football. Big divisional game next week against Arizona on the road.

Looking back at Thursday Night Football, the Chargers did some Charger like things against the Chiefs. They were up 17-7 and then proceeded to hand the game over to KC like a 501C3 charity. For a while it looked like Justin Herbert was good enough to pull the Chargers out of this abyss of crazy losses. Except by the 4th quarter, it looked like Patrick Mahomes had his magic back, and an injured Herbert couldn’t overcome the typical miscues. What’s also not really helping is the fact that Brandon Staley is making some bizarre calls in every game. The fact Herbert wanted to continue to play is admirable, but the Chargers would have been smart to stop him from doing so and not risk further injury. Now it’s going to be an issue moving forward, even if he’s on the field in week 3.

Elsewhere around the NFL, Davonta Adams is probably going to demand a trade back to Green Bay after the Raiders blew it against the Cardinals. The Bengals lost to the Cowboys and haven’t been this embarrassed since before every game they’ve ever played before last season. The 49ers beat the Seahawks, lost Trey Lance for the year, and Jimmy G was actually cracking a smile under his face mask. Aaron Rodgers took out his frustration on the Bears as the Packers got a win, while Tom Brady took out his frustration on an IPad in the Bucs win over the Saints.

To the NBA where the Lakers still haven’t traded Russell Westbrook, but they did sign Dennis Schroeder to a one-year deal. Schroeder is actually a good player and a good defender, two things the Lakers really need, and he comes for a bargain. With Patrick Beverly, Schroeder, and Austin Reaves, the Lakers actually might have improved their shooting and their perimeter defense. I still think if they want to get anywhere, they will need to trade Russ, but this is a decent signing. As for the all the jokes about Schroeder not signing an $84 million offer 18 months ago with the Lakers, obviously a poor decision to gamble on himself. But hey….sometimes you gamble and win…..sometimes you gamble and lose!

Dennis Schroder might have made the worst bet on himself in ...

In College Football USC picked up another win, this time dismantling Fresno State on Saturday night. I’m pretty sure at this moment, there is no Trojan alum or fan that even remembers them dying for Urban Meyer a year ago. The Trojans are making it look that easy, and not only has the offense been looking like it’s straight out of a video game, but the defense has even shown up lately. That was evident on Saturday night, with some big statement shut down drives against the Bulldogs. There’s also plenty of energy back at The Coliseum with the stands full again. At some point the Trojans will be tested, but it will probably be a few weeks before that happens with Oregon State looming next.

I’m not sure what to make of UCLA Football though. They are still undefeated after escaping against Alabama State. They continue to take advantage of a weak schedule early on, but it also seems like at some point the schedule will catch up with them and they’ll get exposed in conference play. They should beat and awful Colorado team, but I feel like the jig will be up on Chip Kelly once the Bruins face Washington, Utah, and Oregon in three straight weeks. The question everyone has to be wondering is what it will take for Chip Kelly to get a contract beyond this year. Is it just beating USC? Or is it just making it to a bowl game? I think most UCLA fans are hoping the bar is a lot higher than that, but sadly, I’m not sure it is.

The Dodgers are showing no signs of slowing down after clinching the division last week. However, the real question is going to be what kind of health their rotation has heading into October. It seems like for now, Julio Urias, Clayton Kershaw, Tyler Anderson, and Andrew Heaney are the best bets to be healthy. It sure would be nice to have Tony Gonsolin back, and although he’s improving, he might not be fully stretched out to start in October. Also, the acquisition of Joey Gallo has proved to be phenomenal. The guy is swinging the bat like he’s an elite player again, and if he keeps this up in the playoffs, this team might actually win another World Series.

Finally, House of The Dragon on HBO went down last night with Episode 5. This episode had some real “Red Wedding” vibes to it. I feel like every episode Viserys banishes Daemon, yet he just walks right back in to Kings Landing like everything is cool again. Daemon also probably wants a mulligan after killing his wife, only to not get to marry Rhaenyra. You should clearly never go to a wedding in this series if your name is “Joffrey”. I feel like every episode Viserys just wants to build his Legos, but everybody is just stressing him out. That scene with Daemon and Rhaenyra is really beginning to test our values as viewers, because I haven’t heard anybody so completely outraged that those two could possibly end up together. I’m also mildly disappointed that we are going to see a set of some new characters, in particular a farwell to Milly Alcock as Rhaenyra, because of the time jump that’s about to take place in the show. We were just getting attached to them. Nevertheless, this show is killing it, and looking forward to what’s next.

Monday Morning Coffee

September 12, 2022

What a brutal first game for the Rams against the Bills on Thursday night. Buffalo basically “Negan’d” them on their home field. Cam Akers had the same number of rushing yards as Queen Elizabeth, the O-line was awful, Allen Robinson looked like he was back in Chicago, and Matt Stafford looked like he was back in Detroit. The good news for Robinson is that he ran a bunch of routes, so he at least got some great cardio in. The O-line is by far the most concerning thing for the defending champions. If they can’t protect Matt Stafford, they won’t be able to run the ball, and Stafford isn’t mobile enough to create offense. How long before the Rams make calls to Andrew Whitworth and OBJ? The only good news is that it seems to be a rough week for everybody in the division. The bad news is they have a lot to fix before week 2 against the Falcons.

Meanwhile, the Chargers got their revenge on the Raiders by taking them down yesterday at SOFI. Don’t be fooled by Twitter, as it was nearly 50/50 Charger and Raider fans in the building, and maybe even slightly more Bolts fans. Justin Herbert is amazing, and Khalil Mack is making that defense elite already. However, Brandon Staley looks like a kid who is just learning the Madden Playbook with some of the moves he’s making. Somebody unplug his PlayStation because if it weren’t for some terrible Derek Carr throws, this might have been a Raider victory.

Elsewhere around the NFL, Dak Prescott needs surgery and will be out, while Cowboy fans are blacked out after last night’s loss to the Bucs. Botox Brady wasn’t all that sharp, but good enough to win a game. Michael Thomas remembered how to play football again in the Saints comeback win over Atlanta. The jury is still out on Trey Lance, but I guess he’s not good enough to overcome 12 penalties and a Monsoon. The Lions are still the Lions. Baker Mayfield is still Baker Mayfield. The Colts finishing with a tie against the Texans is like taking a kick to the balls for Indianapolis. The Steelers took down the Bengals, in a game of “whatever you can I can do worse.” Tua owns Belichik and the Patriots, Lamar Jackson took his contract anger out on the Jets, Patrick Mahomes singlehandedly dismantled the Cardinals, and Aaron Rodgers probably needed to take more psychedelics to get him through that loss against the Vikings.

To the NBA, where I think it’s time we give up hope on the Lakers moving Russell Westbrook before the season starts. Whatever offers are out there, they seem to be requiring multiple first round picks, Westbrook, the Laker girls, and a copy of the Playboy that Jeanie Buss posed in. I personally think Buddy Hield and Myles Turner are worth two 1st round picks if the Pacers are willing to accept that. Apparently Rob Pelinka doesn’t think so. If it’s cap space the Lakers are concerned with next summer, Turner is a free agent, and Hield will be easy to move with one year left on his deal. Not to mention there are no elite free agents worth pursuing. Given that there will be no Westbrook trade, it looks like at best, the Lakers will be a fringe playoff team.

Ok USC fan I get it. You beat Rice and now you just beat Stanford. You’re looking good, but let’s not get too crazy yet. Some of you are pretending like USC just chased the Russians out of Ukraine. The Trojans are basically playing Big 12 Football: Basketball on a football field. No defense whatsoever. Pretty soon they might not even be hitting people. To be fair, you can’t help but be impressed with both Caleb Williams and Lincoln Riley, but there is still a lot of work to be done. They will best tested. Maybe not next week against Fresno State, but shortly after that. Vegas is apparently sold though, because the Trojans improved from 14-1 to 12-1 odds to win the National Title. USC is now up to #7 in the pool

As for UCLA, they took down Alabama State on Saturday, but the story of the game was the QB situation. Dorian Thompson Robinson was injured, and Chip Kelly is releasing about as much info on the injury, as the CIA releases classified information. Ethan Garbers came into the game and looked like a very capable QB. Call me crazy…..I’m sure you all have if you’ve been reading Jock Talk, but I want to see more of what that kid can do. I still don’t really think this team is that good, but there schedule is extremely soft, so they might win more games than you think, which means Chip Kelly might stick around a little longer. I’m sure something that every Bruins fan is just loving hearing.

What a wild weekend around College Football, and by “wild” I mean downright terrible for Notre Dame. The Irish were upset by Marshall over the weekend, and it’s becoming apparent their quarterback play is in shambles, as is their o–line. The worst part is their schedule gets even tougher. Clearly, Marcus Freeman wouldn’t trust Tyler Buchner with with a cup of coffee right now. Meanwhile, Texas A&M lost to Appalachian State, which means they will likely punish their players by confiscating all the Ferrari’s they bought them in the off-season. Alabama narrowly escaped an upset by Texas, and now the referees are probably the top candidate in the Heisman Trophy race as far as they are concerned. The upsets kept coming though with Wisconsin, Pitt, Houston, Florida, and Baylor getting their weekends ruined, and likely free falling from the Top 25.

This is the part of the Dodgers season where I’m getting nervous about injuries. Blake Treinen is back on the injured listed with shoulder troubles. Tony Gonsolin’s recovery from his forearm issue doesn’t seem to be progressing fast enough, and Gavin Lux is now banged up too. I’m beginning to worry that all of these key pieces are in jeopardy of missing the postseason. Then there’s Cody Bellinger, who continues to fall off a cliff in terms of production. There is simply no amount of quality defense Bellinger can play that can justify keeping him in the lineup with an average under .200. He’s become a strikeout machine, and an easy out for opponents. On the bright side though, Justin Turner has really caught fire, and been on of the best hitters in the NL in the 2nd half of the season. Nevertheless, the next few weeks for the Dodgers are going to be very critical in terms of getting healthy.

Finally, House of The Dragon went down on HBO last night with episode 4. Spoiler alert for those of you who have yet to see it yet. Did the King just Door Dash his daughter some Plan B after all her shenanigans? Rhaenyra really went off the rails in this episode. She nearly smashed her Uncle, did smash Ser Criston, lied on her mothers grave to her best friend, and then gaslighted her father into firing Otto. Weird because I still found myself in her corner after all that, given the world that they live in. It’s all clear now though: Daemon wants both Rhaenyra and the Iron Throne. Poor Viserys. It’s like he shows up to work in a family business everyday, but his family are all idiots. I’m beginning to think that the King is going to die in the next couple of episodes, and at that point all hell will break loose in terms of trying to vie for the thrown. The show is getting good already after four episodes. Looking forward to next week!

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Monday Morning Coffee

September 5, 2022

Happy Labor Day folks! We’re only a few weeks away from NBA training camp opening up and much to the dismay of Laker fans, Russell Westbrook is still on the team. Frankly, most Laker fans are probably on Zillow everyday trying to find Russ a new home in Utah or Indiana. Both teams have very useful role players that could certainly make the Lakers better. However, there is a much more disturbing idea floating around out there. That idea is that the Lakers are trying to save cap space for next summer. That’s an absurd idea because Lebron James is 37 years old, Anthony Davis is in his prime, and the window to win is now. The only elite talent max level free agent the Lakers could pursue is Kyrie Irving, and they’ll never be able to open up a max level salary slot with LBJ and AD on the roster. I’ve also documented here before how Kyrie just isn’t worth pursuing anyway, because he’s not reliable. Hopefully the Lakers aren’t actually thinking this, because it’s an absurd idea. Trading the 2027 and 2029 draft picks is completely justified to move Russ for any combo of Buddy Hield, Myles Turner, Bogdan Bogdanovich, and Jordan Clarkson.

To College Football where USC opened up the season on Saturday at the Coliseum and dismantled Rice. I also made it a point not to create some cheezy tag line in this paragraph like “Trojans cook Rice”. Nevertheless, a new season with Lincoln Riley coaching and Caleb Williams at QB made this feel like a completely new era. It was probably weird for Trojan fans to see someone calling plays that weren’t out of some 1990 Techmo Bowl video game playbook like Clay Helton would. It was only against Rice, but there were a lot of things that USC can feel good about here, including an explosive offense, better play calling, and improved discipline. Apparently the LA Times was so excited about this win that they let people start commenting again on USC content, while you still can’t comment on other content. Props to those 60,000 people who braved the 95 degree heat at the Coliseum to watch the game.

Meanwhile, UCLA picked up a sloppy win over Bowling Green at the Rose Bowl. It took almost an entire half for the Bruins to realize that they needed to start playing football. Eventually, their talent was just too much for their inferior opponent, but there are already glaring weaknesses. Special teams are garbage and pass protection is non-existent. The fans were also non-existent, because there were only a reported 27,000 people in the stands. If you saw it on social media, it seemed for like 25,000 people showed up dressed as empty seats. Still, I can’t blame people for not showing up to watch an average football team in 100 degree heat. For all those idiots who respond to this by saying “well the SEC does this every year in places like Vanderbilt”, you’re forgetting a very basic fundamental principle. YOU DON’T LIVE IN SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA. YOU LIVE IN A PLACE WITH NOTHING ELSE TO DO.

Elsewhere around College Football, Ohio State took down Notre Dame in a battle of Top 5 teams to start the season. Buckeye fans claim that it’s been 31,354 days since Notre Dame beat Ohio State, but did anyone actually check their math? I mean these people did go to Ohio State so that’s questionable enough. Georgia crushed Oregon like a grape, and it’s clear the Bull Dogs have a bunch of kids that grew up on the “free lunch program”. Utah was upset by Florida, and Utes fans probably cured their depression by taking shots of ginger ale. Watching LSU and Florida State finish that game yesterday was like watching two drunk Bears go at it. It’s amazing how these coaches get paid tens of millions of dollars to screw up a game like that at the end. Perhaps Brian Kelly will really mean it this time, and actually execute his team.

To baseball where the Dodgers beat up on the Padres again over the weekend. The Boys in Blue had a bit of an up and down week, losing two of three to the Mets, before taking two of three from the Padres. The series with the Mets is a reminder that if these two teams meet in October, it should be a pretty back and forth series that is very even. The Mets made a couple of more big plays that was the difference last week, but it’s a big reminder that I’ve said before: if the Dodgers hit elite pitching, they’ll win the World Series this year. They didn’t quite do enough of that last week, but they’ve shown they can in the last month. The real question they’ll have to answer is which pitchers are going to be healthy enough to be on the playoff roster. It’s hard to imagine everyone will be, because there are so many question marks with health, but hopefully Tony Gonsolin, since he’s easily been the best pitcher in the NL this year. I also don’t know how the Dodgers can leave Trayce Thompson off the playoff roster with him playing like he’s Babe Ruth. Even if that means keeping Cody Bellinger at home, which is starting to makes the most sense.

The Angels are still putting out terrible lineups on a nightly basis and embarrassing themselves on the field. However, the good news is the rumors about who is interested in buying the team. The Golden State Warriors ownership group has interest, as does Stan Kroenke. Those are both owners that clearly have demonstrated success in building very modern day sports franchises with forward thinking strategies. That goes especially for the Warriors ownership group. Without a doubt, either one of those groups have much deeper pockets than Arte Moreno, and should fundamentally change how the Halos organization is structured. That’s going to be the most important part of a sale of the organization.

We’re just three days away from NFL Football. The Rams will kick off the season at SOFI against the Bills, in what is expected to be a very difficult first game. The Rams have a great team still, but it’s funny how everyone is basically expecting the Bucs and Bills to be in the Super Bowl this year. It’s almost like the Rams are flying under the radar and playing with house money in that sense. That’s probably because nobody ever expects any team to repeat as Super Bowl Champions, but don’t count out the Rams on this. Much of the NFC actually got worse, and the division really isn’t much better. As long as Matt Stafford’s elbow stays in tact, this team should still be in the hunt all year.

Finally, House of The Dragon went down on HBO last night with episode 3. So far, things are kind of crazy. We’ve covered 3 years of time in 3 episodes, and we already have a kid that was born and is 2 years old, in Aegon. The irony of this show is that in Game of Thrones everybody wanted to sit on the Iron Throne. In this show, Viserys doesn’t even really want the job, because he’s faced with alienating either his daughter or his son. Meanwhile, Daemon took the military support from his brother about as personally as Michael Jordan took everything. The battle scenes are incredible, the storyline is great, but it’s interesting that so far there are no light hearted characters we’ve seen yet like a Tyrion Lannister, or anybody that lightens the mood. We also don’t entirely know who the villain is either. It’s just a lot of intensity so far through three episodes. There’s nothing wrong with that, but that’s the difference in this show and Game of Thrones so far. We do have a clone of Jon Snow in Criston Cole, and a Daenerys clone in Rhaenyra. I also have no idea why the crab dude was significant or not, but the battle part was interesting. Nevertheless, I’m sure many of these questions will be answered shortly, but great TV so far.