Monday Morning Coffee

September 24, 2018

The Rams continued their assault on the entire NFL yesterday, this time taking down the Chargers in the so-called “Battle For LA”.  Jared Goff looked amazing, but he also could have gone out for Sunday brunch, come back and still thrown touchdown passes.  So much for the idea that Goff is the Rams’ weakest link.  The only bad news for the team is that both starting cornerbacks, Marcus Peters and Aqib Talib might be seriously injured.  That would be a major blow to a defense that was playing excellent Peters went down yesterday.  At this point it feels like only injuries can stop this freight train.  As for the Chargers, it was actually surprising that they had fans show up yesterday.  However, only a team owned by Dean Spanos could manage to move to Los Angeles, and have its valuation nearly unchanged from last year.  The Bolts have talent, but the move to LA has been nothing but an embarrassment for the franchise and the league.

Elsewhere around the NFL, the Browns finally won a game and Baker Mayfield should have his statue done by week 5.  Scientists are still trying to come up with a mathematical explanation for how  Cleveland actually won a game.  The Chiefs crushed the 49ers and Pat Mahomes is so good, it’s like he’s playing Madden on rookie mode and destroying everybody.  The Bills shocked the world by crushing the Vikings, and Vontae Davis was ready to un-retire at halftime.  The Packers lost to the Redskins, and Clay Matthews would probably get called for a penalty just for walking onto the field during pregame warmups.  The Raiders are still winless in the 2nd coming of the Jon Gruden era, and Johnny boy is still trying to figure out why his team can’t get any pressure on opposing QB’s.

In College Football, USC escaped with a win against Washington State, so Clay Helton can wipe the sweat of his forehead for now, but the program is looking very mediocre.  This is what happens when you let your players pick the coach.  The man is just too nice.  They practice only once a week in pads.  A couple of weeks ago he let them off early to watch Sam Darnold’s first NFL game.  Wait until this afternoon when he cancels practice so the team can watch tonight’s episode of “Better Call Saul”.  SC also has two punters on scholarship that can’t get it done.  Clay should just walk across campus and find out if the goalie on the women’s soccer team can kick more than 15 yards.  She probably can, and should be on the team instead of those two kids that can’t punt.  USC is proving to be a finesse team, with a soft line, that is very poorly coached.  This university is in desperate need of both a President, and a football coach.  Considering how bad the Pac-12 is, Helton might be around longer than you think.

UCLA football is awful as well.  If this keeps up, pretty soon people will start boycotting Nike for making Chip Kelly look like a good coach.  Kelly is definitely not making any friends early on, and especially not Dorian Thompson-Robinson’s dad, Michael Robinson.  Michael has clearly been taking parenting advice from Lavar Ball, as he criticized Kelly on Twitter last week.  As foolish as that was, the real issue so far is Kelly, who has not exactly been a pleasant personality for UCLA folks to deal with.  It’s obviously very early, but when you are winning, it’s much easier to deal with a grumpy sour puss personality like Kelly.  I don’t think the Bruin faithful expected to be 0-3 out of the gate, and wondering when exactly they might win a game.  Perhaps Under Armour can just make a series of ridiculous and ugly 3rd and 4th jerseys for the Bruin football team, and that might lead to some victories.  It worked for Chip Kelly when he was at Oregon.

Meanwhile, Oregon had a spectacular choke job against Stanford.  All they had to do was kneel on the football yet the managed to screw it up.  You think the Pac-12 is garbage? The ACC is Clemson and a dumpster fire after Virginia Tech’s loss to Old Dominion.  Army nearly embarrassed Oklahoma on the road.  There were 23,000 people watching a cell phone stream of that game.  That’s more than the number of people that show up for a Chargers game every week.   Brian Kelly thinks he’s a genius for making a quarterback change as Notre Dame beat up Wake Forest, but something tells me that’s not that last change he makes.  It also helped that they played a team that forgets to send out a kicker during field goals.  Bold strategy.

Congratulations to Billy Jean King for joining the Dodgers ownership group.  I’m waiting for a statement from Andrew Friedman and Farhan Zaidi taking credit by saying “we ran the numbers first but it made sense to add her.”  On the field though, this team still has me very nervous with a slim division lead heading into the final week of the regular season.  The post season is still no sure thing, especially given the fact they find a way to play down to their competition.  The most frightening scenario is a one-game playoff having to go to Colorado without Kenley Jansen.  The next most frightening scenario is a one-game playoff in St. Louis, where Clayton Kershaw is starting and having to face all his demons all over again.  This team is so up and down, pretty soon Universal Studios is going to replace “Jurassic Park The Ride” with “The Dodger Ride” because it’s a roller coaster of emotions for their fans.

NBA training camps open up this week and the Jimmy Butler drama has been keeping things interesting.  Butler thinks Karl Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins know nothing about winning.  Then he told the T-Wolves he wanted to be traded to one of three biggest loser franchises in the NBA: The Clippers, Nets, or Knicks.  This is why NBA players need to stay in school longer folks.  I’m not that into the idea of Butler joining the Lakers, but I think it’s extremely notable that the Lakers aren’t on his list, since Adrian Wojnarowki reported that he didn’t want to play in Lebron’s shadow.  If this were Kobe, I’m sure many of you would be screaming from the mountain top that “nobody wants to play with Kobe because of his ego.”  This is definitely something to keep an eye on since the Lakers badly need to add one more star free agent in the next year.

As for the Clippers, the idea of trading for Jimmy Butler now makes very little sense.  Sure they have some attractive assets, but Butler by himself isn’t going to help them contend this year.  Besides, they have a lottery protected first round pick, so no matter what they try to tell us, I’m convinced they will really try to tank this year.  Also, congratulations to Lee Jenkins for being hired by the Clippers front office.  Jenkins admitted that he knows nothing about evaluating talent.  Don’t worry Lee! Doc Rivers doesn’t know crap about evaluating talent either, so you should fit right in and can’t do any worse! In all seriousness though, by all accounts Lee is a great guy who should be very successful.

NBA social media is amazing! The Jimmy Butler drama led to some entertaining trash talking between Andrew Wiggins’ brother and Butler, followed by some barbs between Wiggins and Stephen Jackson.  That wasn’t even half as good as Joe Ingles posterizing Blake Griffin on Twitter.  Ingles had tweeted at his teammate, Ricky Rubio, saying he was surprised that the team jerseys were selling like they were, including his own.  Then Griffin reacted to it, which was clearly a big mistake on his part.

Finally, the LA Kings announced last week that they are no longer going to be broadcasted on AM radio this year, and instead will be streaming their games on their own platform on the iHeart Radio App.  This of course has all the old-timer fans up in arms over not being able to listen to the games on radio.  These sound like the same “get off my lawn” fans that complain when baseball tries to do something a little more modern.  I’ve got news for you complainers: the Kings and the rest of the NHL are trying to grow the game and attract the next generation of fans.  Unlike you, those fans don’t still use an eight track player, a flip phone, and have an email address.  It’s actually a great move, but unfortunately, some people just can’t appreciate it.

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