Monday Morning Coffee

September 11, 2023

I was told the Rams were going to be garbage. Apparently their demise were greatly exaggerated. They handled the Seahawks without Cooper Kupp, with a bunch of dudes you’ve never heard of as wide outs, and on defense. It’s just a reminder of how competent you can be with solid coaching, a good quarterback, and a good offensive line. I’m not sitting here telling you the Rams are some Super Bowl juggernaut. But the idea of them bottoming out looks very unlikely. Then again, if the Matt Stafford trade showcase has begun, we may be having a different conversation.

As for the Chargers, new season, same dreadful outcomes. I was told Brandon Staley was a defensive coach, yet his team just gave up 536 yards of total offense. Once again, this team still finds a way to lose games in the biggest moments. If you’re a fan, this is like loving someone that will simply never love you back. This is the least surprising thing I’ve seen since the last time I saw the Chargers play.

Elsewhere around the NFL in Week 1, the Giants dismantled the Cowboys, and Danny Dimes looks like he should be paid about a dime for his play instead of $44 million. Travis Kelce and his agent are just counting the dollars on his next contract after missing Thursday Night Football and the Chiefs lost to the Lions. The Denver Broncos still have NEVER beaten the Las Vegas Raiders. The Browns must have gotten DeShaun Watson a really good masseuse or two before the game, because he played well enough for Cleveland to beat the Bengals. The Eagles won, but they probably don’t feel great. Everybody expects them to be good, which usually means they won’t be good though. Meanwhile, if Ryan Tannehill keeps throwing interceptions, DeAndre Hopkins is going to fight him. Kenny Pickett played so bad for the Steelers yesterday in their loss to the 49ers, they might lock him out of the building this morning.

In College Football, that was quite a beating USC put on Stanford over the weekend at The Coliseum. Caleb Williams looked like he was playing a video game again, piling up another 281 yards and three touchdowns in just one half of work against the Cardinal. Also, considering that USC didn’t allow Stanford to score until the final minutes, for now it seems their defense is holding up. Williams is probably annoyed for two reasons right now though. First, he is probably being told nobody will vote for him again for The Heisman Trophy, even if he cures cancer, just because the voters like to see new kids win it. Then he’s probably annoyed that his dad is telling people that he may return to USC next year if it looks like he’s going to go to an NFL team that stinks. Sorry pops, but no matter when your son goes to the NFL, he’s going to go to a team that stinks. That’s just how the system works. You may be able to keep your kid getting paid and getting laid by sorority girls for a year, but eventually, your kid will have to start playing for a bad NFL team. In the meantime, up next is a duel in the desert with Arizona State for the Trojans in two weeks.

As for UCLA, it’s amazing how good Dante Moore looks. He threw for 290 yards and three touchdowns, and the Bruins dominated the Aztecs 35-10 in San Diego. After all that, and not even playing Ethan Garbers, Chip Kelly still refused to publicly say Moore was going to be his starter. That’s nice Chip, but we all know that if you plan on trying to win football games this year, Moore is your guy. I’m sure Garbers and the rest of his teammates would agree, especially after wide receiver Logan Loya said “he’s going to be a star”. I’m not necessarily convinced the Bruins are some conference title contender, but they probably crack the Top 25 this week, and if they continue to play Moore, he’ll continue to get better, and they may surprise a few teams.

To the NBA where Rob Pelinka should probably be arrested for shoplifting. The man signed big man Christian Wood to a veteran minimum contract. Wood may have his attitude issues, but given that he’s playing for the equivalent of NBA welfare, he’s going to be on his best behavior. He’s also extremely talented, can stretch the floor, and will give the Lakers additional front court depth and versatility. In this age of load management, he’ll be a very nice luxury to give Anthony Davis a break, and he’ll get his share of playing time to make an impact. Forgot all this adding a 3rd star nonsense. The Lakers have had a very sensible off-season, and it should at minimum, put them in the hunt for title contention this season, even in an extremely competitive Western Conference. That’s all you can ask for if you’re a fan.

As for those of you wondering if there’s any progress in the Clippers attempts to acquire James Harden, there is not. Multiple sources have repeatedly reported that the Clippers are not willing to trade anything more than picks and expiring contracts for the Sixers disgruntled and strip club loving star. Nor should they. They might be more interesting with him, but they don’t need him. Instead, they need their stars to be healthy and available, whether Harden is on the team or not. On the other hand though, Daryl Morey cannot afford to trade Harden for pennies on the dollar. His best bet is to keep him, or else the optics look really bad in front of his star, Joel Embiid.

Speaking of basketball, I love how some of you still act like it’s 1992 when hearing that Team USA lost in international competition. Since clearly a lot of you don’t understand how this works today, we can no longer win an international competition without sending our very best players, and even then it’s hardly a guarantee. Team USA didn’t even medal. They got 4th in The World Cup. Canada defeated them in the bronze medal game. Yes, I know most of you think that Canada is good for nothing but cheap medication and hockey, but they actually have NBA players that play for them in international competition. Of course when Team USA loses, it gets all the star players fired up to want to play in the Olympics. However, I don’t know why Lebron and Anthony Davis want to do it at their advanced age. On the bright side though, this tournament was a great showcase for Austin Reaves, who is getting better with every game he is playing, and may even be an NBA All-Star one day.

In a matter of 7 days, the Dodgers playoff chances look like they are in shambles. Much of this has to do with their rapidly declining number of good starting pitching options. Julio Urias is an idiot, who got himself in another domestic abuse incident. He’ll probably never pitch for the Dodgers again, and will be lucky if he gets to pitch in the majors again. He can kiss his fat contract goodbye too, because he was pitching poorly this season. Walker Buehler announced he won’t return this season, Clayton Kershaw’s velocity is suddenly down because he doesn’t look healthy, and Lance Lynn remembered that he’s…….Lance Lynn. That leaves a bunch of inexperienced kids that will likely have to come through in October like Bobby Miller, Emmit Sheehan, Ryan Pepiot, and Gavin Stone. That’s a scary thought considering these guys have such limited MLB experience, let alone playoff experience, despite their promising talent.

Meanwhile, what’s happening for the Angels on the field isn’t really interesting anymore, as they are now out of playoff contention. However, what is interesting is that Bob Nightengale from USA Today is now reporting that if Mike Trout asks for a trade, the Angels are open to trading him. That sounds like a big deal, but how big can this dude’s market really be? He has a no-trade clause, he’s 32, he’s owed $249 million for the next 7 years, and he’s missed 249 games in 3 years. The fact they are leaking this makes me think they may be trying to free up some additional money to increase their bid for Ohtani. Also, don’t completely count the Angels out of the Ohtani sweepstakes. His injury clouds his pitching future, which could bring him closer to the value the Halos can pay, especially since the Angels give him the power to do what he wants and shield him from the media. What about winning? Well perhaps Ohtani decides to take a one year deal to rehab his value, and then take his max pay day elsewhere in the fall of 2024. Is it likely? No, but it’s a possibility you can completely dismiss.

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