Monday Morning Coffee

November 21, 2022

What a spectacular game USC and UCLA played at the Rose Bowl on Saturday night. Caleb Williams definitely showed he’s one of the best quarterbacks in the country, and probably earned himself a trip to New York for the Heisman Trophy Ceremony at minimum. Dorian Thompson Robinson also made some spectacular plays, and deserves credit for playing with a bad hand and most likely a concussion. Unfortunately, the difference in the game were his turnovers. Even James Harden thinks both of these teams played lazy defense. I have no idea how DTR was allowed to keep playing when it looked like he was concussed. UCLA must be employing that Miami Dolphins team doctor on on their staff now. I’m also not sure why Chip Kelly didn’t lean on the run more, which was far more effective and less risky than watching DTR air it out. This feels like more missed opportunities than anything for the Bruins in the last two games. As for the Trojans, if they win their next two games, I think they will end up getting in to the College Football Playoff. However, with defense like this, they will likely get smashed by the likes of Georgia, Michigan, or Ohio State.

To the NFL, where the Rams lost their fourth straight game of the season yesterday, this time to the Saints. The Rams are on the verge of being eliminated from playoff contention, and are suddenly looking a lot like the team that was coached by Jeff Fisher a few years ago. The defense is nice, but the offense looks totally inept, and the offensive line is a train wreck. To make matters worse, Matt Stafford had another concussion. I’m not sure how Sean McVay can keep this team engaged for the next 7 weeks, without them thinking about their January vacations to Cancun. With Cooper Kupp out for the season too, there’s virtually no hope.

Then there’s the Chargers, who were devastated in by Patrick Mahomes in the final seconds of yesterday’s game. Real coaches find a way to take away an opponents best player, or at least minimize the damage from him. The Chiefs didn’t even have most of their receiving core yesterday, yet Travis Kelce kept giving them the business. Then again, we’re talking about Brandon Staley here, so expecting him to do something like that might be ridiculous when he can’t even make sound in-game decisions period. This is still likely a playoff team, but they sure don’t play like one, despite all their talent. That is classic Charger football.

Elsewhere around the NFL, the Cowboys murdered the Vikings 40-3, and Kirk Cousins doesn’t like that. The Falcons got by the Bears, but the entire NFC South should be demoted to the PAC-12. The Broncos lost to the Raiders and Nathaniel Hackett might need to post his resume on LinkedIn this morning given how the season is going for Denver. The Jets lost to the Patriots, and Zach Wilson should go back to getting with people’s mom’s instead of playing football, because his teammates hate him right now. Joe Burrow piled up throwing yards like the Steelers are piling up losses this season, in the Bengals win over Pittsburgh.

Sometimes it’s important to remember that things aren’t usually as bad as they are when things are looking really bad. But things also are never as good as they seem when things are looking really good. That’s how you should look at the Lakers right now. They have been finding the win column, but their three game win streak is a product of playing crummy teams. I can give them credit for a few things though. Their three-point shooting may not be elite, but it’s not nearly as bad as it was in the first 10 games. Anthony Davis is also reminding us that he’s one of the best players in basketball when he’s healthy. I don’t see anybody saying they want to trade him now. Then there’s those of you who seem to be convinced that the Lakers must be better without Lebron, just because they are 0-10 with him this season. Hopefully you’ve all been watching basketball long enough to realize that any team that has Lebron James on their team is better. If anything, this stretch should just remind Lebron that when he comes back, they need to continue to play through Anthony Davis, like they did a few years ago.

As for the Clippers, they got Kawhi back and picked up a couple of wins over the Pistons and Spurs. Kawhi definitely looks rusty. The real question is if he can actually practice and get himself back into shape, and ultimately build chemistry. It’s felt like the guy is a part-time worker in the NBA, and a Part-Time worker at an Amazon warehouse.

To baseball, where the Dodgers non-tendered Cody Bellinger over the weekend. This was definitely the right move. Bellinger made $18 million last year, and hit .210. Everybody keeps talking about all his talent, but he’s been terrible for three season. He’s the bitcoin of baseball, peaked in 2017, and downhill every since. If he wants to come back on a cheap deal fine, but the Dodgers have good young players in their system that are more than capable replacements. There is no amount of defense that is good enough to justify his ineptitude at the plate. Hopefully the Dodgers can find themselves some reliable contact hitting bats though, but finding one better than Bellinger shouldn’t be difficult.

This was a rough weekend for UCLA sports. The Bruin Basketball team was upset on Friday by Illinois, and then they lost a tight one to #5 Baylor yesterday. The loss to Illinois was just annoying, because the Bruins just didn’t bring it. However, if there’s one take away from the loss against Baylor, it’s that this team just doesn’t execute late in games against elite teams. We saw some of that last year in the tournament too. They have an immense amount of talent, but their freshman are extremely raw, and need time to develop. There’s a long way to go, but this team has work to do for sure, and you can be sure Mick Cronin is going to give his team crap all week long.

Finally, for a decade, I’ve covered The Walking Dead on Jock Talk LA, and the series came to an end last night. Spoiler alert for those of you who have yet to see it and plan on watching it later, so read no further if you plan on doing that. I thought the ending was fine considering what they did to the show over the past few years. They took down the latest villain, of course someone good had to die in the process in Rosita, and they’ll all try to continue to move forward and rebuild civilization again. If you knew anything about the comic, you knew she was probably going to die at some point, but that happened much earlier in that storyline. I’m not really surprised they showed Rick and Michonne at the end and still alive, but those two really didn’t wanna just come back to their children and raise them? Imagine knowing that Eugene, Gabriel, and Jerry were the ones that survived after all this. They all seemed like the biggest cowards ever when we first met them. Maggie thanking Negan for saving her son, yet never forgiving him for murdering Glen is about as much as you can ask for of her. The bottom line is that at one point, this show was great, but it went downhill once they had characters leaving the show, and they veered away from the comic storyline. Heck, any show that veers away from a previously written story tends to struggle. Game of Thrones is a perfect example. I do also wish they developed a storyline about solving the disease itself that made people zombies. We never got close to that. I can appreciate it for what it was. I’m not sure I can take the spin-offs though. They probably won’t get us any closer to that.

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