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!

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