Monday Morning Coffee

November 28, 2022

As a Notre Dame alum, I had both the pleasure and misfortune of attending the USC-Notre Dame game at the Coliseum on Saturday afternoon. It was a pleasure because it’s always a pleasure to see these storied programs go at it. However, the misfortune for me since the Trojans came away with the victory. Caleb Williams went from maybe not even being invited to the Heisman Trophy, to suddenly looking like he’s going to win it, in a matter of just two weeks. He was a magician out there, creating play after play with the pocket breaking down. It’s remarkable how great your team can be if you can have elite quarterback. That quarterback came from the arrival of an elite coach in Lincoln Riley. Which begs the question: why the hell did USC allow Clay Helton to coach them for seven years? I’m still of the opinion that if USC beats Utah and gets to the playoff, they will probably take a street beating from Georgia or Michigan. The Trojan defense is not stopping elite offenses, and their offensive line looks questionable. Nevertheless, it’s hard not to admit that USC being good again is great for College Football.

As for UCLA, they narrowly avoided what could have been a big let down against Cal, by defeating the Golden Bears in the Bay. You could tell from what DTR said before the game that the Bruins were practically uninterested in playing football after losing to USC, and knowing they’ll have to settle for something less than the Rose Bowl. Had they just beaten Arizona though, they might have had a decent shot at the game, assuming USC goes to the CFP. It’s pretty hard to get excited about the Sun Bowl or Las Vegas Bowl for the Bruins, especially after we were talking about a potential CFP appearance just three weeks ago.

As we expected, the Rams got dismantled by the Chiefs yesterday in Kansas City. There were just too many injuries for this team to stay competitive, let alone against an elite team like Kansas City. Things are so bad, Sean McVay may have even suffered a concussion in yesterday’s game. Starting Bryce Perkins at Quarterback in a game against Patrick Mahomes, is like going into a gun fight with a water pistol. Apparently Allen Robinson is now out for the season with a foot injury. I thought dude was basically out for the season with the way he was playing anyway. In case there was any doubt, this team is toast in 2022. Here is the Rams season summarized in one moment.

Meanwhile, the Chargers played most of yesterday like they slammed too much Turkey over Thanksgiving. They were down 24-17 in the 4th quarter, before Justin Herbert delivered a late game miracle for the victory. How is a defensive coach like Brandon Staley, able to consistently deliver terrible results on the defensive side of the ball, while also making idiotic in-game decisions? Had the two-point conversion failed at the end of the game, we would be roasting the man even more than we already do. Sean Payton would probably love to coach Herbert, but that would require the Spanos family paying big money for Payton, giving him team control, and the Spanos family eating some of the Staley contract. If you’re a Charger fan you probably have a better chance of getting $1 million from Santa this year.

To the NBA, where I’m still not going to get too excited about what I’ve seen from the Lakers yet. After a rough start, the Lakers are now 7-6 in their last 13 games, and in the West, that doesn’t put them far from being back in the playoff mix. Unfortunately, the Lakers can’t play the Spurs every game, even if they probably would like to ask the league if that’s possible. It’s true that Anthony Davis is playing elite basketball, but his availability is always in question, and the same can be said about Lebron James, who is still great, but misses games. Given how bad this team is, they can’t afford to have them miss games. It’s also completely unfair to ask them to play at a ridiculous level every night just to drag them into the playoffs. That’s a Rob Pelinka problem that he needs to address, but I’m not so confident that’s ever going to happen.

As for the Clippers, they took down the Pacers yesterday afternoon, but now the injuries are piling up again. Both Kawhi Leonard and Paul George are out with injuries, along with Luke Kennard. The Clips have been so cautious with Kawhi, next time he gets a paper cut they will hold him out of the lineup, and Ty Lue will say there is no timetable for his return. This is bar far the softest era of NBA basketball, in terms of holding players out of the lineup with the most minor of injuries. Kawhi is clearly the face of that approach. The good news for the Clips and a lot of Western Conference teams: nobody is running away with things in the standings.

In baseball, for a team that is up for sale, you can’t help but be impressed by the resourcefulness of the Angels so far this offseason. They’ve actually added about $33 million to their 2023 payroll by adding Tyler Anderson, Gido Urshela, and Hunter Renfroe. The difference from most other off-seasons though is that the Angels are adding depth, and they had very little in the past few years. When the pitching has been bad, the offense has been bad and vice versa. Not sure if that will change this season, but you have to at least respect Perry Minasian trying something different.

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.

Monday Morning Coffee

November 14, 2022

Time of Death of the Rams season: 4:08 pm yesterday. There is no fixing this team in this season. The offense has way too many problems, most notably on the offensive line. It’s like a ship that’s dealing with leaks from everywhere, and you just can’t find a way to plug holes without another leak springing. They are now in last place in the NFC West, and to make matters worse, they might as well have been eliminated form the OBJ Sweepstakes. No way he signs with a team that isn’t a contender. Unless someone tricks him into thinking the calendar says 2021, that won’t happen. Now Cooper Kupp is down with what appears to be a significant ankle injury that could knock him out for a few weeks. That makes me think they won’t be able to score if you locked them in SOFI Stadium for an entire day. It was a nice run, but it’s over for now Ramily.

As for the Chargers, they really “Charger’d” that game against the 49ers last night. There could not be a worse head coach to manage a 10-point lead than Brandon Staley. It’s like this dude is almost betting on his opponents to cover the spread with some of the idiotic decisions he’s making. It also doesn’t help that the Chargers have been ravaged by injuries, but it’s the NFL, so who isn’t? At least Justin Herbert escaped major injury last night.

Elsewhere around the NFL, the Raiders should just bring in a new coach every week from their fan base and see if he can any better than Josh McDaniel. Tom Brady apparently is only good now when he doesn’t play on American soil, as the Bucs took down Seattle. The Lion beat the Bears, but I don’t know if anybody noticed that Justin Fields is actually a really good quarterback now. Aaron Rodgers still owns the Cowboys, which Stephen A Smith is going to remind them of endlessly this morning. The Bills and the Vikings played a hell of a game, but apparently Josh Allen can’t be Superman all the time.

To the NBA, where the Lakers finally found a team that is assembled even worse than they are: The Nets. They managed to beat them last night without Lebron James. Anthony Davis went off, and I can’t help but wish he would get that many shots on a nightly basis, and in the 4th quarter in particular. Who are we kidding though? This team stinks. They better win at least 4 of the next 5 games against crummy opponents, especially after having the next four days off. Kevin Durant is now the same as Lebron James at this stage of his career: a very productive NBA player, but not impactful enough to overcome a roster full of bums.



To College Football where UCLA did the most on-brand thing ever, losing to Arizona on Saturday night. This really puts a damper on the the USC game next week, which could have had some really high stakes. On the bright side, the Bruins still have a chance to be in the PAC-12 Championship game, and win the conference, although their College Football Playoff Chances have disappeared like the Republicans on election day. All of a sudden everyone is now back to the “fire Chip Kelly” demands, since he couldn’t come through when it mattered. I don’t think at this point you can do that, given that he’s still putting together a pretty damn good season. As great as Dorian Thompson Robinson has been, I sure wish he had set his feet on that last throw, which would have won the game. Nevertheless, the game should have never come down to that one play, as the Bruins couldn’t contain the Arizona’s quarterback. If they can’t contain him, what chance do they have next week against Caleb Williams?

Meanwhile, the Trojans beat up on Colorado, but they have to be a little disappointed UCLA lost, given that the stakes aren’t quite as high this week. Nevertheless, they still have an outside shot at the College Football Playoff. However, if Trojan fans are true to their word, they will still tell you that they would rather win the conference and the Rose Bowl, then be in some fake playoff with a fake champion. I haven’t heard this declaration in a while, and that’s probably because USC still has a chance to be in that “fake tournament”. Also, prayers up for Travis Dye, who USC lost for the season with a knee injury. Hopefully he bounces back.

Finally, it’s great to see the Dodgers bringing back Clayton Kershaw for another year. Kershaw has earned every right to be a Dodger for as long as he wants. I know some of you want to hate on his playoff resume, but I can name plenty of Hall of Famers and future Hall of Famers that have not been good in the playoffs: Barry Bonds and Justin Verlander just to name a few. However, Kershaw doesn’t get enough credit for still being one of the best pitchers in the National League. He doesn’t need to be the ace of the staff anymore, but he’s still a front of the rotation starter that can be impactful on a World Series Championship team. If this is in fact Kershaw’s last season, I’m glad that he will remain a Dodgers, because it would have been weird otherwise.

Monday Morning Coffee

November 7, 2022

There’s so much disappointment in this edition of Monday Morning Coffee, so I guess let’s get to it. We’ve gotta start with the Rams, whose offense suddenly looks like it’s coached by Jeff Fisher. If it’s not Cooper Kupp finding a way to get open, they have absolutely no chance of getting the ball down the field. You can only give Tom Brady so many chances to beat you at the end of the game, and even this depressed version of Tom Brady will dismantle you if you give him the chance. I don’t necessarily think at 3-5 their season is over given that the NFC is softer than Charmin, but I don’t see any solutions in sight to turn this thing around. The offensive line is dreadful, there is no running game, and no other vertical passing threat. I’m not even sure OBJ is interested in this group anymore, knowing how much they are struggling.

The Chargers managed to pull out a win yesterday against the Falcons. As usual, it was a complete sea of crazy at the end of a Charger game. Austin Ekeler nearly fumbled the game away, but the Bolts recovered a Falcons fumble on the same play. As insane as it is to trust the Chargers, they are just a game behind the Chiefs in the AFC West, which is somewhat miraculous given that they have been ravaged by injuries. They’ve also been ravaged by bad kickers over the years, but not yesterday. Of course it took a kicker named “Dicker” for them to actually overcome their kicker curse.

Elsewhere around the NFL, the Eagles had another game that was a cake walk, this time against the Texans. The NFL has basically granted them bye weeks until the Super Bowl. Tua led the Dolphins to another win, and he’s been amazing in every game that he hasn’t died in this year. The Bengals destroyed the Panthers and Joe Mixon destroyed you in fantasy if you had to play against him. Aaron Rodgers is probably ready for that Jeopardy gig as the Lions handed the Packers another loss. Kirk Cousins beat his former team, well sort of since they have a different name now. The Raiders lost to the Jags, and the silver and black are more like the black and blue this season. The Seahawks wrecked the Cardinals, and now we all have to take Seattle for real again. The Chiefs outlasted the Titans, and at this point, I’m convinced Patrick Mahomes could throw to you and I as his receivers and still win football games.

To the NBA, where the Lakers are sinking like the Titanic and we’re only 9 games into the season. They are 2-7 after yesterday’s loss to the Cavs. This time you can’t really blame Lebron, AD, or Westbrook, because they all put up numbers. The rest of the team should probably be playing in the Chinese Basketball Association. Rob Pelinka should be embarrassed by the lack of shooting he has assembled around this squad. Darvin Ham is calling out his role players to contribute more, but they probably don’t even belong in the association at this point. Kendrick Nunn, Pat Bev, and Damian Jones are basically unplayable at this point. Their defense has to be absolutely perfect to overcome this offensive ineptitude. However, the cold hard truth is that if Lebron, Russ, and AD are no longer good enough to overcome these roster flaws as they were years ago, then is it really worth it to double down on this group and try to make a trade to help them? The answer is probably no, but I’m not so sure Rob Pelinka and Jeanie Buss feel that way.

Meanwhile, the Clippers fell to 5-5 yesterday after losing to the Jazz. The Bigger concern for the Clips though is that Kawhi Leonard is basically a 1099 employee at this point, and barely even a part-time player if we’re being honest. What turned into a couple of days of load management for his knee has now turned into no timetable for his return according to Tyronn Lue. There’s clearly a lot more going on with his knee than the Clippers are letting on, but that’s also because they are the Clippers and people just don’t care about them the way they care about the Lakers and Lebron James. Still, with all the depth that the Clippers have, I expected better than 5-5.

To baseball where we shouldn’t be petty about it. Congratulations to the Astros for winning their FIRST EVER World Series Championship. The 2017 Astros are cheaters, but they have nothing to do with the 2022 Astros, who didn’t cheat, as far as we know yet. It is going to be extra suspicious though when the Dodgers have to sign Carlos Correa and he goes 0-20 in the postseason. Speaking of the Dodgers, free agency gets underway on Thursday, and they will have some decisions to make. My expectation is that Clayton Kershaw, Tyler Anderson, and Tommy Kahnle will be re-signed. After that all bets are off.

In College Football, USC survived their showdown against Cal on Saturday night. If there’s one thing the Trojans need to be concerned about it’s their defense. They were able to stop the run, but the Golden Bears shredded the Trojans secondary, giving up over 400 yards through the air. That could be trouble if USC has any hope of leap frogging a couple of teams and getting to the CFP. In fact, they should probably be nervous about their games against the Bruins and Fighting Irish, since both are physical football teams that have been pushing offensive lines around. It’s basically all on Caleb Williams to provide the fire power every game, or else this teams hopes are sunk. Nevertheless, USC fans can’t complain from where they were a year ago.

As for the Bruins, they are nipping at the Trojans heels in the AP Poll, moving up to #9. They had some problems of their own against Arizona State, but Dorian Thompson Robinson looked like he was ready for the Olympic hurdle event the way he was leaping over defenders. The Bruins will have to survive one more trap game, this time against Arizona next weekend at the Rose Bowl. They will also have to get some help from their Pac-12 friends like Washington, Utah, and Oregon State in handing Oregon a loss or two in the next few weeks. “Friends” is probably too strong of a word though after UCLA and USC are electing to leave the conference in a couple of years.

Monday Morning Coffee

What a surprise. The 49ers came into SOFI Stadium yesterday and beat up on the Rams again, this time 31-14. It doesn’t seem to matter if the 49ers are banged up, where they play, or what the situation is. San Francisco has been smacking the Rams around for 8 straight regular season meetings. What really made this one sting is that Cooper Kupp and Matthew Stafford got banged up, and they were also victimized by Christian McCaffrey, who they tried to trade for a week ago. The problems are still the same. Poor offensive line play, no running game to keep the 49ers off the field, and no vertical threat in the passing game. The only good news is that they don’t have to play the 49ers again for the last 10 games of the regular season. If the Rams could somehow sign Odell Beckham and trade for Kareem Hunt, that would change their offense quite a bit. However, that’s a lot to ask for. Since that probably won’t happen, I suggest Sean McVay send a fruit basket to Cam Akers so he will get back in the lineup and come with a positive attitude.

Elsewhere around the NFL in Week 8, the Bills took down the Packers on SNF, and Aaron Rodgers is ready to send his wide receivers to Greenland for the rest of the winter. The Seahawks got the best of the Giants, and Geno Smith has risen from the dead like Jesus Christ himself. The Colts got beaten by the Commanders, and this time they can’t blame it on Matt Ryan or Carson Wentz! The Eagles crushed the Steelers, and the Pittsburgh fans are going to use those terrible towels to wipe their tears. The Raiders must have had too much jambalaya before their loss in New Orleans. The Broncos beat the Jaguars, but the British informed us that if we ever send those two teams to play in England again, they will consider it an act of terror and will declare war against the United States.

To the NBA, where the Lakers finally found the win column last night, ending a five game losing streak. For just a moment, I will give Russell Westbrook credit for his performance last night, and since coming off the bench. He played well, however, he’s still a terrible fit, and this team has absolutely no shooting. I also found it interesting last night that Jeanie Buss and Rob Pelinka didn’t show for the George Mikan retirement ceremony. That tells me they are self-aware of the public dissatisfaction with the team, and that they didn’t want to endure getting booed. The more and more I watch this team, I don’t even think it’s worth a trade to try and keep the Lebron and AD era alive. AD is elite when he’s healthy, but he’s never healthy. Of course he injured his back again last night, but do you really think he’s going to hold up for another 77 games? Lebron is still excellent, but as great as he is, he doesn’t impact the game like he used to, evidenced by the fact he can’t even get the bums around him to the play-in game. By the time Rob Pelinka makes a trade, it’s going to be too late. I’m also afraid that he’s still focused on Kyrie Irving, who is clearly an idiot, and it would be a mistake to bring that lunatic to the Lakers, even by some crazy chance it goes down. The scary part is, knowing Pelinka, he will probably make a trade when it’s too late.

Meanwhile, the Clippers should be very worried about Kawhi Leonard. I realize that Kawhi has often been handled with extra care, and load managed quite a bit since leaving San Antonio. However, even for Kawhi, you have to wonder if his knee is really going to hold up. He hasn’t played basketball for over a year, yet he’s going to miss 5 straight games after tonight, due to “load management” of his knee. On top of that, despite all their depth, the Clippers haven’t looked good. Were it not for the disasters that are the Lakers and Nets, people would be talking more about this. Not only do the Clippers need Kawhi to be healthy, they need him practicing and on the floor so they can build chemistry. It’s definitely a problem to keep a very close eye on given the expectations.

Every since the Dodgers got sent home early, all I keep hearing about is rumors about who they are interested in pursuing this off-season. The name that keeps coming up is Aaron Judge. If Andrew Friedman, or anybody else thinks the Dodgers need Aaron Judge to solve their problems, you seriously haven’t been paying attention. You really think the Dodgers need more talent? You really think they need another guy that is swinging for the fences all the time and strikes out a lot? You really think they need to give another long-term deal to a player in his 30’s? Just because they have the money to go get a guy like Judge, doesn’t mean it’s a good idea. The Dodgers problem isn’t personnel. They will have a talented team next year that is in contention once again. Their issue is their approach to postseason baseball, and until they fix that over-analytics based approach, we’ll be having the same conversation again this time next year.

To College Football, where USC outlasted Arizona over the weekend, in another typical Lincoln Riley shootout. Caleb Williams is out here throwing another 5 touchdown passes for the 2nd straight game, and racking up over 400 yards in passing. This guy is putting up video game numbers, and this time it came without his leading receivers, Jordan Addison and Mario Williams. As great a Caleb Williams has been, he’s still probably 3rd in the race for the Heisman Trophy. Hendon Hooker from Tennessee and CJ Stroud from Ohio State are the two front-runners for now. Whether or not Williams candidacy improves will depend on how his team finishes over the course of the next month, and especially if the Trojans can’t find a way to sneak into the CFP.

Williams isn’t the only Southern California College Quarterback vying for the Heisman. Dorian Thompson Robinson from UCLA is also continuing to put up impressive numbers every week, including this past week in the win over Stanford. It’s amazing that we are talking about DTR in this light, after everything we saw from him before this year. Then again, these are just college kids, and not everybody develops at the same rate. If UCLA finds a way to sneak into the CFP, and there’s still a chance, then DTR will at least find himself in New York for the Heisman ceremony. The Bruins are up to #10 in the AP Polll, but they have two tough games against the Arizona schools before their showdown against the Trojans.

Monday Morning Coffee

October 24, 2022

It’s been three games, and the Lakers are still winless. Did I expect them to beat the Warriors and Clippers? No. However, I did expect them to beat the Blazers. I could easily sit here and tell you that the defense has been much improved, and that Anthony Davis looks elite again, and Lebron is still elite. I’m not going to though, because the problems are just too big. Their biggest problem is Russell Westbrook. Never in my life have I seen a player destroy value the way he has. Yesterday, the Lakers had the game in the refrigerator, and he ripped it out of there by coming back in the game, and taking a stupid 2-for-1 jumper that missed everything with plenty of time left and the lead. He was 1-6 on shots at the rim. He was also 0-11 from the field on Thursday night. This isn’t about him being a bad fit anymore. This is about an NBA skillset that has completely eroded, and he needs to be sent home immediately. Even if you can’t trade him immediately, let Russ have the peace of mind and enjoy his $47 million, and let this team move forward. Whether you think it’s Russ’s fault or the Lakers fault doesn’t matter. Both sides need to move on immediately, and they will both be better off for it.

Meanwhile, the Clippers may have lost last night to the Suns, but they have the potential with all their stars and depth. That depth will get them through the season successfully. However, I’m shocked that both Kawhi and John Wall are still being load managed, considering the fact that both haven’t played NBA ball in over two years. That actually adversely impacts their conditioning, as well as their long term ability to build chemistry with their teammates. We saw this issue come up in the bubble, but in the long-run this is probably something the Clippers need to keep an eye on.

To the NFL, where the Chargers got wrecked at home by the Seahawks. Just when you think the Bolts are elite and ready to seize control of the AFC West, they lay an egg against Seattle. All I keep hearing before the start of every season is how talented the Chargers roster is, and how man for man it’s arguably the best in the NFL. Either none of you have any idea what you’re talking about, or the Bolts are just horribly coached. Then again, I suppose both are possible. Even though the Seahawks are probably a little better than most of us thought, they shouldn’t have been able to run over the Bolts they way they did, especially with a “defensive guru” like Staley. In fact, the sooner the Bolts do this, the sooner they can start competing for the services of Sean Payton, who is a proven head coach that has won before. To add insult to injury, the Chargers also lost Mike Williams and J.C. Jackson to injuries, both of which looking very significant. This team is unfortunately looking more and more like a .500 team, and not the powerhouse you thought they were going to be, even with the greatness of Justin Herbert.

In baseball, Andrew Friedman is a man who sees no problems. This is a problem. When asked about the Dodgers October woes, naturally, he defended Dave Roberts, but offered up almost no solutions for the Dodgers October troubles. He reminded me of that Elmo GIF of him shrugging. He suggested that some of this might just be the way baseball is, and that there is no solution for not being able to hit with runners in scoring position. What I was hoping to hear is how they might consider manufacturing runs in stretches when the offense is struggling, or how they might manage the pitching staff differently in October, rather than pre-scripted managerial decisions. The first step to solving a problem is admitting you have a problem, and Andrew Friedman isn’t even at step one yet, which is even more upsetting.

Speaking of problems, the Angels also have a Shohei Ohtani problem. Ohtani went back home to Japan, and told the local papers, he has a “negative impression” of how the season went down. Othani is one of the nicest and most polite people you will ever meet. What he really means to say in the nicest way possible, is that this franchise has been an absolute joke since he has joined them, and is run by fools. If you believe Joe Maddon, who was on the Dan Patrick Show a few days ago, he believes he is on his way out of Anaheim after the season, and will have 30 options to choose from. This doesn’t seem to bode well for new ownership that will be coming in over the course of the next few months, and their hopes of retaining Othani. Their only hope is to sell them him on a vision.

On to College Football, where UCLA got beaten down by Oregon over the weekend in Eugene. Although it has to be disappointing for the Bruins, if you had told them they were going to win 2 of 3 games in this stretch, most of us would be very impressed. They are still #12 in the AP Poll, and still have an opportunity to win the Pac-12. The mistakes against Oregon were fixable as well, as much of the momentum in the game was altered with that onside kick in the 2nd quarter. The Ducks have a tough schedule the rest of the way with games against Utah and Oregon State, but UCLA could still play them again in the Conference Championship game. Dorian Thompson Robinson was good, but not playing out of his mind as well for the first time in weeks. Nevertheless, for where we were with Chip Kelly just a couple of months ago, things still don’t look so bad.

Don’t forget about UCLA Basketball, which is about to get their season underway. The Bruins are ranked #8 in the preseason poll, and should have an excellent team. This is going to be a much different Bruins team than we saw last season in terms of personnel, but also in terms of style of play. The team could actually be a lot more athletic with freshman guard Amari Bailey, and center Adam Bona. Since this is still a Mick Cronin coached team, I would still expect to see elite defense, but more of an uptempo style than they played before. They’ll still have some big time competition in the conference from the likes of Arizona, Oregon, and USC, but this team is still a title contender.

Memo to Jonathan Quick, the LA Kings Future Hall of Fame Goaltender. I don’t know if anybody has told you, but the Kings are going to need you to play until you’re about 45 years old. The Kings have started the season winning just 3 of their first 7 games, and they’ve given up more goals than any team in the league. For a team that prides itself on defense and goaltending, they are getting none of it. The defensive zone coverage has been problematic in Jonathan Quick’s starts, and when Cal Petersen starts, the goaltending is awful. That’s a problem given the fact Petersen is making $5 million, and was supposed to be the heir apparent to Quick. Right now, he’s looking more and more like he’s going to be bought out and driving Door Dash in the next year at the rate he’s going.

Finally, the season finale of House of The Dragon went down on HBO last night. Spoiler alert for those of you who have yet to see it, so read no further if that is the case. I’m pleased to announce that I will be fully supporting all of Rheanyra’s war crimes next season. Aemond is a little turd that probably should have lost both of his eyes, let alone one, after that prank he pulled that got Luke killed. It’s probably going to be a quiet Dragon ride home for him after that. I guess Viserys was right when he said
“the Idea that we control the dragons is an illusion, they’re a power men should have never have trifled with.” Aegon learned that the hard way, and probably didn’t mean for Luke to die, and will probably have nothing to say to his mom other than “my bad”. I can’t believe we now have to wait until the summer of 2024 to see the next season. I mean you would hope that at least we would get something in 2023, but nooooooo. Some of these shows take way too long between seasons, and it really kills the buzz and the momentum. Nevertheless, I’m fully invested, and can’t wait until it comes back.

Image

Monday Morning Coffee

October 17, 2022

Here we are again, enduring another painful October of Dodger baseball. The Boys in Blue lost the NLDS to their little brother, 3 games to 1, after a pair of disappointing and devastating losses over the weekend. The fans are pissed, and they should be, since a 111-win team couldn’t even win a playoff series. I’m not sure we should be all that surprised though. In ten straight years of being in the playoffs, the Dodgers have one World Series title, and just three World Series appearances. When the stakes are the highest, the team isn’t performing. Why? It has nothing to do with personnel. It has everything to do with organizational philosophy and approach. Even if you have a great bullpen, using them as early as the 3rd inning on a nightly basis is never a good idea. They are relievers for a reason. It’s especially not a good idea when your starter is dominating through 5 innings. The Dodgers also didn’t get much out of Freddie Freeman, Mookie Betts, and Trea Turner until game 4. Why? Because they actually started playing small ball and manufacturing runs in game 4. Had they done this earlier and not relied on the same “wait for the 3-run homer” analytics that got them through the regular season, they would still be playing today. This also has nothing to do with Dave Roberts. This is a strategy and philosophy that is dictated from Andrew Friedman, and Roberts simply is executing what he is told. This is the extreme version of modern day baseball. The Dodgers might have $160 million to spend this offseason, but it doesn’t matter if they don’t change their approach come October. Since nothing has changed in 10 years, why would I think anything would change next year?

Something also need to be said about LA sports fans in this case. Fans are outraged. The outrage is that a 111-win team could be this kind of a post-season failure. While they do have a right to be disappointed and upset with the inability to capitalize on postseason opportunities, there is an element of baseball that is a crapshoot. You should expect to compete for championships every year in LA, even in baseball. However, it’s not the NBA, where your talent is everything, and if you have the talent there’s no excuse not to win. It’s also much harder to win in baseball because of all the intangibles, especially timing. For all the success the Astros have had in the last decade, they only have 1 World Series win to show for it. And they cheated to get it. That’s how hard winning is in baseball. It’s not fair to expect a tyrannical dynasty per se, but it is fair to expect the Dodgers to change their approach to the postseason when their approach hasn’t been working.

To the NFL, where the Rams got back in the win column yesterday against the Carolina Panthers. The team hasn’t been looking all that sharp, but clearly the best way to resolve this is to play a team is crummy as the Panthers. The Rams still have offensive line issues, a limited running game, and no deep threat beyond Cooper Kupp. Some of this is fixable if they can bring in OBJ, but they’ll have to both get healthier on the o-line, and find some other solutions than they currently have from within their roster. The OBJ saga is like watching an on again, off again, couple flirt with each other for years, inevitably knowing that the two of them will end up together. OBJ would definitely be one solution, but another solution doesn’t appear to be Cam Akers, who apparently wants out and is not comfortable with his role.

Elsewhere around the NFL in week 6, Tom Brady is probably thinking that he didn’t leave his super model wife to lose on Sunday to Kenny Pickett and the Steelers. Death, taxes, and 49ers players getting injured every year. The Niners got punked by the Falcons. The Browns and Patriots fans came together in the Pats win, and chanted “f*** the Yankees!” Nice to see our country coming together on that one. If Aaron Rodgers had All-State instead of State Farm Insurance, he would probably have been better protected and the Packers wouldn’t have lost to the Jets. Tua is out of concussion protocol, but the Dolphins aren’t out of hell yet, losing to the Vikings. Matt Ryan finally did not look like the worst QB in the league, as the Colts took down the Jags. The Eagles took down the Cowboys and it’s suddenly looking 2017 all over again with a 6-0 record.

In the NBA, the Lakers are about to start the season on Tuesday, after a 1-5 pre-season. Russell Westbrook got told he was coming off the bench, and suddenly, his hamstring started to ache. Nothing suspicious there. Then there’s Dennis Schroeder, who apparently might be out for a while with a finger injury. No joke, this team could easily start the season 1-5, and 4-9 with the looks of their schedule. It’s a mine field, there’s a ton of distractions with the Westbrook situation, and the defense is quickly looking as bad as it did towards the end of last year. I can’t say I’ve got a great feeling about this team, until they are able to offload Russ for some capable role players, and I don’t have much confidence that’s gonna happen anytime soon.

To the college ranks where the dream is over. USC and UCLA won’t meet each other both undefeated in a few weeks, after USC lost to Utah. You certainly can’t blame this loss on the referees, even though I know most of you want to find those Pac-12 referees and burn their houses down, like a soccer fan from a 3rd world country would. There were horrible calls on both sides, and the Trojans had plenty of opportunities to win, blowing a 14-point lead twice, and then another lead with 6 minutes left. The Trojans also should have started using timeouts with 1:30 left, ultimately getting the ball back into Caleb Williams’ hands. Instead, they relied on their defense, which is like relying on Russell Westbrook’s defense these days. It’s still possible for the Trojans to sneak into the CFP, but they will need UCLA to keep winning until the play them, win the rest of their games, and chaos to ensue within the teams ranked ahead of them.

On the other hands, UCLA didn’t play but they continued to move up the ranks in the AP Poll. In fact, don’t look now, but it’s not out of the question for the Bruins to make the CFP. That would be a whole new level of unexpected, considering we all wanted Chip Kelly to be ejected from the universe about six weeks ago.

Elsewhere around College Football, Alabama got upset by Tennessee on Saturday. This is the worst thing to happen to Bama fans since they found out it is illegal to marry your cousin in 13 states. Michigan ran all over Penn State, and suddenly nobody minds Jim Harbaugh anymore. Notre Dame couldn’t even score points against lowly Stanford. The Irish haven’t been this embarrassed since they played last week.

Finally, House of The Dragon went down last night with episode 9 of the season. Spoiler alert for those of you who have yet to see it, so read no further if you plan on watching later. Rhaenys could have ended this whole thing by going dracarys on Alicent at the end of the episode, but she apparently showed mercy. If we know anything from Game of Thrones, usually that gets you killed. I like how all of us have become ok with incest on the show, but when it comes to a foot fetish, we consider that disgusting.
Rhaenyra did everything she could to prevent this. Tried peace, proposed marriages and alliances and still, they usurped her throne. Whatever war crimes she’s about to commit, I’m on her side.

Monday Morning Coffee

October 10th, 2022

The Rams look pretty awful right now. Yesterday, SOFI Stadium turned into AT&T Stadium West. Meanwhile, the Rams offensive line provided as much protection as a busted condom. The Cowboys defense was all over LA, who’s offense is like an NBA team without three-point shooting at this time. In other words, no deep threat. Cooper Kupp is as close as it comes to that, but there is nobody else that can even get open, and without an offensive line, there is no running game either. Allen Robinson is getting paid boat loads, and he can’t even get open. At this point, the offensive line needs some in-season re-tooling, and LA needs to call OBJ immediately and sign him. The only good news for the Rams is really that the rest of the NFC isn’t that good right now. Does anybody rally believe that the Eagles or Vikings are legit? I certainly don’t.

Meanwhile, the Chargers came up with a victory against the Browns, but it looks like they are coached by a buffoon. What in the hell was Brandon Staley thinking, going for it on 4th down, where all he had to do was punt to seal the game? This guy must have been playing Madden on Play Station a few too may times. This dude needs to basically issue an apology letter to everybody on his team for putting them in a position to lose that game. They should force him to stay in a three star hotel in Cleveland for an extra night and fly home on Spirit Airlines the next day punish him. Otherwise, a spectacular effort by Justin Herbert and Austin Ekeler to get another win.

Elsewhere around the NFL in Week 5, the Broncos and Colts game was so bad on Thursday night that everyone is going to cancel their Amazon Prime subscription after having to endure that game. The Packers flew all the way to London just to lose to Daniel Jones and the Giants. The Steelers fought harder protecting Kenny Pickett than they did in their loss against the Bills. The Jaguars and Texans played in a game that Houston won, but frankly, should have been aired on Comedy Central. The Jets hammered the Dolphins, who are running out of quarterbacks. The Lions remembered that they are only the Lions in their loss to the Patriots. Tom Brady found the win column on the field when the Bucs beat the Falcons, but he’s losing the battle off the field in his marriage. I still have no idea why he wants to play football after all he’s accomplished.

To baseball, where the Dodgers and Padres will meet in the NLDS beginning tomorrow night at the Ravine. Yes, this is a better matchup for the Dodgers than the Mets, but don’t be fooled by the regular season domination. The Boys in Blue will have their work cut out for them to advance to the NLCS again. The extra days off will definitely benefit the pitchers, but it’s the hitting that concerns me. I’m pretty much assuming that when it comes to hitting elite pitching, it’s all going to come down to Mookie and Freddie. Trea Turner has been a bust in the playoffs historically, and I think if we’re lucky we get occasional hits from the likes of Will Smith, Gavin Lux, or Justin Turner. Notice I didn’t even mention Cody Bellinger. This is about being able to manufacture offense against elite pitching, so we’ll see if the Dodgers are able to do that to advance. Let’s be real….if the Dodgers are going to win the World Series, they will have to run the gauntlet against the Padres, Braves, and then the Astros. Can they do it? Sure. They’ll have their work cut out for them though.

Meanwhile, the Angels season came to an end last week, and we got some interesting news. Phil Nevin had the “interim” tag removed from his title, and will now return as the skipper of the Halos for at least one year. That of course means that you can be sure nobody is going to be spending any money this offseason on improving the ball club. Even Shohei Ohtani’s $30 million is just making it easier to trade him if they need to because it creates cost certainty for teams that want him. Best case scenario for the Angels is to sell the team by the time spring training starts, and then maybe by the deadline, they can start making some real moves. It’s going to take some time unfortunately, which they don’t have with Trout and Ohtani.

In the NBA, I don’t love drawing any significant conclusions from preseason basketball, but the Lakers effort and intensity has been much improved from last season. I’ve seen ball movement, more focus on defense, and role players that seem halfway decent around Lebron James and Anthony Davis, in the limited preseason minutes that we’ve seen from them. Russell Westbrook doesn’t even look like the disaster he was last season, albeit, still a very poor fit for this team. I’d still trade him if I could. As for the Rob Pelinka extension, I don’t think it’s unreasonable, even though most Laker fans want the guy ejected from the universe. Yes, he made a poor trade for Russell Westbrook, which has hurt the team, ultimately sacrificing the wing depth and defense with KCP and Alex Caruso. However, he did the salary cap gymnastics to get Lebron here, made the AD trade, put together a good supporting cast in 2020 and 2021, and he got Lebron to sign an extension. I can’t blame him Lebron and AD got hurt in 2021. Also, don’t underestimate the importance of building a relationship with Klutch. If you want to criticize him, you can criticize him for being hated, which makes it difficult to do deals. However, if you look around the league, most GMs haven’t accomplished what Pelinka has. You’re just a Laker fan and aren’t used to that.

In College Football, USC found the win column again on Saturday night against Washington State. The Trojans are now 6-0 heading into a big showdown with Utah next week. WSU isn’t a bad team, but USC’s offense looked a little sluggish again at times, before breaking it open late. Nobody is going to be terribly upset where USC is, given how bad things were last year. However, they probably aren’t the 7th best team in the country, as the AP Poll indicates. Frankly, there’s a lot of teams in that poll like Kansas, James, Madison, and NC State, that shouldn’t even be ranked in the top 50. They might as well start calling this the “Friends With Benefits” poll, based on how well the opponents you beat fare later on.

Then there’s UCLA, who continues to shock the world, all the way up to #11 in the aforementioned, “Friend With Benefits” poll. Dorian Thompson Robinson and Zach Charbonnet have been running the ball right down opponents throats, and the offensive line has been obliterating everyone. Suddenly, Chip Kelly doesn’t look so bad to everyone. Of course, nobody really expected DTR to become a potential Heisman Trophy Candidate in the last three weeks, but here he is. Now UCLA has a bye before they take on Oregon. Of course everybody wants an undefeated showdown between UCLA and USC in a few weeks, but we still have a lot to get through before that happens.

Finally, House of The Dragon went down last night on HBO. Spoiler alert for those of you who have yet to see it, so read no further if you plan on watching it later. You knew it was gonna happen, but finally Viserys died. I’m shocked he lasted this long, given how he looked two episodes ago, which was 10 years ago. I think it’s safe to say that Daemon took “keep my wife’s name out yo mouth” to a whole new level. Even Will Smith would have been shocked by that. When Daemon helped Viserys to the throne and placed his fallen crown on his head, that was a touching moment. For the last few episodes we thought he was trying to take his crown, but in the end, he had his brothers back all along. Alicent actually thought for a hot second that Viserys wanted her rapist son to be King. All this bullshit really started because Aegon was the most popular baby name in Westeros. Now that Viserys is dead, you know all hell is going to break loose, especially within these two families. They may be talking a good game as far as playing nice, but make no mistake about it, it’s going to get nasty again real quick. I can’t believe there are only two episodes left in this season. I don’t even know that they can cover enough ground in two sixty minute episodes, unless they turn this into what we saw in the last season of Game of Thrones. Either way, I’m excited to see it.

Image

Monday Morning Coffee

 Chargers running back Austin Ekeler dives for a touchdown past Houston Texans safety Jonathan Owens.

October 3, 2022

Welcome to October!  For a moment the Chargers looked like they were gonna “Charger” that game against the Texans yesterday.  However, Justin Herbert looked like he was healthy again, and Austin Ekeler returned after disappearing for a few weeks like Hodini.  It’s good to see the Bolts find the win column again, but the win doesn’t come without concern.  They are still getting ripped apart on the ground, giving up another 131 yards to Dameon Pierce.   That of course has to do with the fact Joey Bosa is going to miss the next 8-10 weeks after having groin surgery.  Nevertheless, the next two games are very winnable against the Broncos and Falcons, so let’s see if the Chargers are game, even with the injuries.

The Rams and 49ers will get after it tonight on Monday night football.  The Niners are actually 1.5 point favorites here, which may seem surprising but it’s really not.  The Rams may have beaten the Niners in the NFC title game last year, but San Fran owns them in the regular season.   In fact, it’s to the point, where I’m rather nervous about the game tonight, and the Rams actually being able to win.  The Niners have always played much more physical, and constantly find a way to win the battles at the line of scrimmage.  That could once again be a problem tonight, as the Rams o-line isn’t exactly it’s biggest strength.

Elsewhere around then NFL, I still can’t believe Tua was allowed to play on Thursday night, and it could have killed him. So much for NFL player safety protocol, which would have even let JFK back in the parade. Patrick Mahomes cooked the Bucs, while Tom Brady is still getting cooked at home by Gisele for playing football. The Raiders beat the Broncos, and ironically, the Broncos look an awful lot like last year’s Seahawks. Antonio Brown showed more D yesterday than the Seahawks and Lions combined.  The Bills came back from the dead to beat the Ravens.  The Giants got by the Bears and the last play of the game took about an hour when the Bears tried for their own version of the Music City Miracle.  The Jets took down the Steelers and Zack Wilson was dancing like he had another Netflix and Chill planned with his mom’s friend.  The Packers got by the Pats, and Bill Belichik is probably going to hold QB tryouts this week with fans because they have no signal callers left.

In College Football, USC took down Arizona State on Saturday at the Coliseum to stay undefeated. Jordan Addison went crazy with 8 catches and 105 yards in the Victory. The Trojans also now have 12 interceptions in 5 games, which is amazing, considering they were basically playing arena football for the first handful of games. USC played like they were out partying at the Kappa house the night before in the 1st half, but Lincoln Riley must have slapped the fellas around at halftime. They probably won’t get much of a test next week against Washington State at home, but then things get real after that against Utah.

Calen Bullock runs for USC as coaches, teammates and fans cheer

As for UCLA, they have our attention now. The Bruins ran all over Washington at the Rose Bowl and shocked all of us. I did not expect UCLA to win that game, let alone any of the two after that. However, if DTR is going to turn into Michael Vick and play the game of his life, that is going to change things. UCLA is dominating at the line of scrimmage, and they might just have an elite running game to go with it. It’s not exactly how we envisioned a Chip Kelly offense, but to his credit, it’s working. And yes, I realize that last thing any of you want to do is give Chip Kelly credit. Nevertheless, the Bruins might just be a real contender in the PAC-12. We’ll find out for sure in the next two weeks.

The Lakers have kicked off training camp and a few things have stood out in the first week. First of all, Russell Westbrook still shoots worse than that gorilla you see in all those internet memes. Second, somehow, the Lakers still view this guy as a starter, or at least are giving him that opportunity to begin with. I have no idea why, but once he starts destroying value again, he must be sent home immediately. Then there’s the Pacers. Indiana is still trying to negotiate with the Lakers through the media, leaking that they would gladly deal Buddy Hield and Myles Turner to LA for two 1st rounders and Russ. We get it Indy. You want two 1sts, but the Lakers won’t give you that, even though Russ isn’t good at basketball anymore.

To baseball, where Dave Roberts cannot have it both ways. Roberts told us before the season started that the Dodgers were going to win the World Series. However, yesterday, when asked about the perception of a “win or bust” mentality of fans, he suggested that they just don’t know how to enjoy the ride, and that they were only interested in the team during the postseason. Sorry Dave, but none of that is true. Dodger fans aren’t interested in only the postseason, because they’ve been packing the stands for six months, and even switching cable providers just to see your games. However, we are also LA sports fans, and whether you like it or not, the mentality of an LA sports fan is “championship or bust”. That’s the standard of excellence professional and college sports franchises have set in this town. Don’t try to tell me otherwise. Dave knows it, but he’s deflecting the noise. That’s also the last thing I want to hear with the Dodgers heading into the postseason.

The Angels terrible season has almost come to an end, and the only intrigue left is whether or not Shohei Ohtani can win an MVP award. Unfortunately, he probably won’t, because Aaron Judge has people that actually stay up and watch his games. If we’re being honest though, Shohei Ohtani’s season is far more impressive than Judge’s. Judge is having a a nice season, but passing Rodger Maris and Babe Ruth in the single season home run catagory isn’t as impressive as it used to be. Baseball made us feel this way by watering down the home run, since everyone is swinging for the fences now. On the other hand, to hit 35 home runs and win 15 games as a pitcher on a terrible team is way more impressive. Aaron Judge may be doing something more impactful, but since when has the baseball MVP ever really been about who is “more valuable”? It’s really a “who is having a better season” award.

Finally, House of The Dragon’s 7th episode went down on HBO last night. Spoiler alert for those of you who have yet to see it, so read no further if you plan on watching it later. It’s official, incest went down, and let’s be honest…..most of you we’re totally ok with it and even liked it. I truly enjoyed watching those kids fight more than I probably should have. How evil is Alicent for suggesting that Rhaenyra’s son needs to lose an eye for justice? In the end, what a stunt pulled by Rhaenyra, where she gets what she wanted, and so does Laenor. It was riveting and honestly, I can’t wait for the next episode!

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”.

https://twitter.com/mark_sanchez/status/1574132836830887936?s=21&t=veAXZVRn6sugNt8zskQg0g

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!