October 23, 2023
Brett Maher absolutely screwed the Rams yesterday against the Steelers. The Rams had more total yards, rushing yards, passing yards, yards per play, better third down efficiency, fewer punts, and better time of possession, yet still lost. Maher missed two field goals and an extra point, which was the difference in the game. When you’re probably on the playoff bubble, it’s these types of losses that can keep you out of the postseason. When Maher gets to the facility tomorrow, don’t be surprised if they change the locks to keep him out. Kenny Pickett was also short on that sneak, which didn’t help either, and that wasn’t a pass interference play on Witherspoon. That unfortunately felt like a home game for the Steelers, but we also forget that we didn’t have football for about 20 years in SoCal, so there are going to be some remaining transplant fans that will exist for a while. The next two won’t be easy on the road at the Cowboys and the Packers, but maybe the football Gods will give the Rams a few breaks along the way to even things out.
You can’t tell me you’re surprised by seeing the Chargers get beat by the Chiefs yesterday at Arrowhead. However, that doesn’t change how disappointing the way they lost is. I realize that Patrick Mahomes is really good and that Travis Kelce is basically invincible since he’s dating Taylor Swift. However, Brandon Staley is supposed to be a DEFENSIVE COACH. His defense is getting completely obliterated on a weekly basis, and yesterday was just another stark reminder of that. I think the question also has to be asked at this point if Justin Herbert is regressing as a quarterback because of Staley, and not able to take his game to another level because of him. We’ve seen some of his other peers like Joe Burrow and Tua Tagavailoa take their game to another level with good coaching. Herbert clearly doesn’t have that. Sure you might be able to point to his hand injury, but some are starting to question if he’s really a good 4th quarter or clutch quarterback. If Staley weren’t his coach, you probably wouldn’t be wondering that. The real question though is how the Swifties feel about Taylor’s secret handshake with Brittany Mahomes.
Elsewhere around the NFL in Week 7, Josh Allen and the Bills lost to the lowly Patriots, and they haven’t been this embarrassed since the last time the fans tailgated in Buffalo. The Lions decided to have a throwback game to when they stunk, and got blown out by the Ravens 38-6. The Bears dismantled the Raiders in the backup quarterback bowl. The Giants beat the Commanders, Tyrod Taylor looked solid, and they have to be wondering if Daniel Jones was the wrong guy to give $44 million to. And the Packers got beat the Broncos, and Jordan Love is apparently not allowed to throw a pass beyond 5 yards.
In a matter of two weeks, the Trojan season looks like a complete catastrophe. USC lost to Utah for their second straight loss, and there could easily be 2 or 3 more losses to come before the end of the regular season. The Trojan defense is still looking more inept by the game, with poor tackling and poor scheming, and Defensive Coordinator Alex Grinch looks like he will need to start looking on LinkedIn for his next gig if he keeps this up. What people need to realize is that this was actually a much bigger rebuilding job than you originally thought, and there’s nothing wrong with that. Caleb Williams covered up a lot of those flaws because he’s that good, but somewhere along the way, USC stopped recruiting lineman and good defenders. However, what’s more disturbing is the rumors circulating that Riley is interested in an NFL job, especially one where Caleb Williams ends up. That sounds ridiculous though for an NFL team to hire him, especially when his defenses couldn’t tackle a car parked on fraternity row.
Then there’s UCLA, who beat up Stanford. However, the story is that Chip Kelly decided to switch quarterbacks and go back to Junior Ethan Garbers. Look, if this move was really made because Dante Moore wasn’t healthy, then fine. However, I can’t help but think Kelly made the switch because Moore made mistakes against the three toughest opponents on the schedule so far. If that’s the case, Kelly is wrong for ripping the confidence from the man who is likely to become a star college quarterback in the next year or two, especially against an opponent that could have helped him regain his confidence. Naturally, Garbers looked great against an opponent that should be playing in the annual Women’s Lingerie Bowl instead of the PAC-12. Hopefully Moore gets back in the lineup against Colorado for the long-term benefit of the UCLA Football program.
The Lakers are ready to get the season underway tomorrow night on the road against the Denver Nuggets. Savvy move by the NBA to schedule the Lakers on the Nuggets banner raising night, otherwise, nobody would care and nobody would watch. Then again, I’m still not actually sure the Nuggets care they won the championship, as they seem to care more that they beat the Lakers along the way, given all the trash talking they’ve been doing since. In typical Laker fan fashion, after one bad preseason game against the Suns, they suddenly have no depth, Christian Wood is terrible, and the Lake Show is doomed. Relax people. This Laker team is going to be solid. I’m not going to promise you they will win the title, but they will be in the mix in the Western Conference, and they certainly shouldn’t start the season 2-10 like they did last year. They might start 0-2 given that they have the Nuggets and Suns to start the season, but relax. This is a good team that will be competing well every night in a tough Western Conference.
As for the Clippers, I’m surprised we’re still hearing the noise about James Harden. Bringing Harden in is a terrible idea for them. If Kawhi and Paul George start missing games, Harden is going to be salty and bring his bad attitude to the table again. That’s exactly what he did in Brooklyn when Kyrie and KD started missing games. The only positive is that strip clubs in the Los Angels area will be thriving if Harden comes to LA. Also interesting that we haven’t heard any talks about extensions for Kawhi Leonard or Paul George. Something tells me that Steve Ballmer isn’t quite ready to back up the brinks truck for his start until they start showing up to work a little bit more often.
We’re now almost two weeks remove from another traumatic Dodger postseason exit. I’m not sure if many of you realize this, but the Dodgers can easily spend over $100 million this off-season to improve what is already a pretty good regular season team. However, how they spend that money is going to be very interesting. Anybody with half a brain can tell you they need 2-3 starting pitchers, and even people with no brain can tell you they should at least pursue Shohei Ohtani. However, even with all that they need more to succeed in October. They need better defense up the middle and in the outfield, better place discipline, and better run manufacturing capability. The Dodgers can literally do anything they want this off-season, because they are flush with all the resources they need. It’s not even the pitching or Ohtani that I’m really keeping my eye on. It’s the other fringe moves to improve those deficient areas I mentioned, which won’t be talked about, that I’m looking for. Ultimately, It’s how they use all those resources that will be how their future is defined.