Monday, April 28, 2008

Chiefs Draft Dodgers

A new dawn?

The 2008 NFL Draft is history and the Chiefs hope that they have filled a lot of holes on their roster and dodged the bullet of underachievement.

Certainly in the first round most NFL pundits think the Chiefs were either very lucky or very clever by picking two outstanding young linemen who should make an immediate impact on the team: Defensive Tackle Glenn Dorsey and OT/G Branden Albert. By immediately going a long way to filling the gap left by the departure of Jared Allen the Chiefs answered their critics big-time. There are no guarantees in the NFL but with two top draft picks ready to bolster two of the real problem areas of last season - things look good. Now the front office must make sure these players are signed, sealed and delivered before training camp starts!

The Giants Super Bowl win has firmly focussed coaches minds on defence so it was no surprise when the Chiefs took Brandon Flowers, CB, in the second round. The Chiefs need someone who can step right in and they obviously think he's the man to do it. If so, fantastic, if not they covered themselves by taking another CB in round five, Branden Carr from Grand Valley State. I readily confess to not knowing where Grand Valley State is or what kind of football program they have. Obviously, the Chiefs think they do! If the Chiefs can get another starting CB out of Round Five, they will be beyond ecstatic!

The third round was interesting. Three picks produced a running back, a tight end and a safety. If all three make the final roster, even as special teams and backup players, this suddenly becomes a fantastic year.

With their 4th round pick the Chiefs took Missouri wide receiver Will Franklin. Whether this was just a sop to the local fans and sports writers only time will tell. If you're not a complete cynic you have to think a Fourth Round wide receiver has a chance to make the team and be more than just a special teams player. Remember, Jared Allen was a fourth round pick!

The scouts and coaches really earn their money when you get to rounds six and seven. Chiefs had two picks in each round. In round six they took another lineman, Tackle Barry Richardson and a WR and Kick Returner, Kevin Robinson. You do get NFL players from rounds six an seven – but if you do it regularly, it's a real bonus. If you are one of the scouts who recommended these guys, you've got your fingers crossed!

Finally, in round seven the Chiefs took a DE (more cover for Allen?) Brian Johnston from Gardner-Webb – and who ever heard of Gardner-Webb? A quick search finds that they have provided Jim Maxwell, linebacker of the Bengals and Gabe Wilkins a former GB Packers defensive end, so they are not entirely without pedigree! With their final pick they chose Michael Merritt a tight end from Central Florida.

The bottom line is the draft is the Chiefs chosen route to the promised land. This looks like a good start, but all the draftees are untried at the NFL level. If half of them make the team that's six good young players. If among those six are the replacements in the real problem areas, then we are on the way. If two of the top picks sink without a trace, things look very bleak indeed.

The NFL draft is unique in that it supplies a conveyor belt of exceptional athletes for the professional game, and it (mostly) ensures that the talent is shared out among the 32 pro teams. Regardless of what the fans think it's up to the coaches and the front office to get it right. They have made the call and will have to live with it. Another 4 and 12 season and heads will roll. Young QB not good enough – fans will want to know why they didn't draft one?

Armchair Quarterbacks – get ready to rumble!

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Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Chavs and Chavistas

Dewsbury? Screwsbury more like it!

Someday I’ve got to get to Dewsbury, West Yorkshire. Some day, but hopefully not too soon.

Dewsbury must be the Chav City, Arizona! Judging by the shenanigans surrounding the “disappearance” of Shannon Matthews, Dewsbury is inhabited by more completely dysfunctional Chavs and Chavettes than anywhere else on the planet.

The Telegraph has the best article to try and explain this intricate and pathetic situation:

I find it very difficult to judge or even comment on this situation, and I don’t usually find myself at a loss for words!

Here are the highlights of the Telegraph article:

The Daily Telegraph understands that Miss Matthews, who has seven children to five fathers, was arrested on Sunday as she sat in a police car with Det Con Christine Freeman.

Miss Matthews allegedly admitted that she had wanted to leave her boyfriend, Craig Meehan, 22, and that his uncle, Michael Donovan, 39, had offered her a place to stay. Miss Matthews is alleged to have said she intended to leave home but at the last minute "lost her bottle". However, sources said she denied having an affair with Mr Donovan and had not asked him to take Shannon.

Mr Donovan, who slit his wrists while on remand at Leeds Prison on Sunday, is awaiting trial charged with kidnap and false imprisonment.

Mr Meehan is in custody charged with 11 counts of possessing child pornography and will appear before Dewsbury magistrates on Friday.

Now, call me old fashioned, but I’m not convinced that dysfunctional adequately covers the Dewsbury Chavs. Whilst trying desperately to not sound completely like Victor Meldrew, one is tempted to shout, “You cannot be serious!” What chance has society got if the Dewsbury Chavs take over?

Not much.

And, they might.

They might just “out-breed” the rest of us. After all, they seem to have not a lot else to do!

A real case: in my immediate family we have produced four boys. All of them are now just into their thirties. One is married. One has a “partner”. Two have no on-going relationships. None has children.

And the Dewsbury Chavs? Mrs Matthews (and this is no more than an honorary title) has, at last count, seven children by five different fathers. Apparently, she is now fed up with her present “partner” – a gormless looking lad who is charged with child pornography offences.

Ok – we can see the problem – what’s the solution?

I was carelessly musing on this question just the other evening and (jocularly) let slip the contention that perhaps Hitler had the right idea. Certainly there would have been no Chavs or Chavettes in Nuremburg. He would have gassed them.

Consequently, Hitler gave fascists a bad name. And, more importantly, his legacy is to make us all slightly queasy at any idea that bears only the remotest similarity to his obscene attempts to rid Germany of undesirables.

Could it be that in this new century we could dust off some of the ideas and have a sensible discussion?

The European Convention on Human Rights guarantees Ms Matthews the right to a family life. So it should.

Does it also guarantee her the right to reproduce as much and as often with whomever she chooses – whilst the State picks up the tab?

I don’t think it should. I think there should be limits. We can discuss where the limits should be – but, unless we accept that there should be some kind of limit we are open to the charge of fascism. Can we afford to ignore this? No. What chance have we if the fittest in our society choose selfishly to “look after number one” while the Dewsbury Chavs do belly-bouncing - secure in the knowledge that the state (you and I) will pick up the tab?

Now we find that Chief Chavette Matthews has been arrested and charged.

My case is nearly rested. These morons have a right to life – but not an indiscriminate right to breed like rabbits (or perhaps vermin might be more apropos)!

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Saturday, April 05, 2008

Nobt Waving - but Sinking

Harmison sinks his way to the back of the queue!

The travelling chorus of cricket troubadours has arrived triumphantly from New Zealand. After losing the first test, they managed to comprehensively demolish a very mediocre Kiwi side and restore some much-needed confidence. Whether or not this is a false dawn is more problematical.

Perhaps the most troubling aspect of the series concerned the batsmen who found runs difficult to come by.

Commentators Bob Willis and Michael Atherton were banging on throughout the whole series about how bowlers seem to get the chop after a few poor performances, whereas the batsmen just keep going on and on – seeking to find their form – without any activity from the selectors. At various times, the commentators were almost apoplectic in their rage at the selectors.

Bob and Michael were probably being a bit over-simplistic. Much was made about the lack of centuries. Statistics “prove” a poor runs per over rate from England batsmen since the Ashes series. As a unit, the batsmen have definitely under-performed.

Problem is: there are no batsmen charging to the front of the selection queue, nor will there be until the English season gets under way. It is more than slightly unrealistic for Willis and Atherton to call for changes when there are no batsmen in the tour party surging for selection. They know this. Perhaps they were just filling in the time for the benefit of Sky TV?

Here are the facts – as I see them.

Michael Vaughan is out of touch, but he’s the captain and will not be replaced because of a dip. He will be given lots of opportunity to play himself into form this summer before anyone seriously challenges his place in the side.

His opening partner, Alistair Cook, has an exceptional record for a young test opener. Those who question his attacking skills are just being silly. Even though the commentators bemoan the lack of Test centuries, he is one batsman who is likely to grind out a big score in difficult circumstances.

Andrew Strauss is not a number three. If he’s not opening the innings it’s difficult to find a spot for him if Vaughan and Cook hold any sort of form. What England need is a solid batsman at three for the times when an opening partnership doesn’t come off, but one who can attack when the situation presents itself. Strauss is probably not the man for this job. Petersen should bat at three. (see below)

Ian Bell is a lucky batsman. That’s not a bad thing to be, but in his case his luck will probably run out some day soon. Every time he hits a run of low scores and is just about to be axed – he finds a big one. One thing is for sure – he’s not a test number 4.

Kevin Petersen is over-rated. Bowlers have worked out his limited game and he is struggling. He seems indispensable because he is capable of the Holy Grail – a big score and in quick time. Unfortunately, his average is plummeting as the going gets more difficult. He had one good score on tour against a very weak attack. He ought to stop reading his press clippings before he starts believing explicitly in them.

Paul Collingwood is perhaps the one batsman who can take some credit from the series. He consistently got runs and at a reasonable pace. He even did a bit of bowling. He seems at least to understand his role in the side and plays to his strengths. He’s probably the best we’ve got right now to bat at 5 or 6.

Tim Ambrose looks a promising bat and a reasonable keeper. Therefore, he plays. Mind you, this time last year we also had a promising bat and a reasonable keeper. We seem to have a lot of promising bats with reasonable keeping skills. What we don’t have is an Alec Stewart. It’s unlikely we’re going to find one.

Stuart Broad should now be a “must play” player. He can bowl and will get better. He can bat. He may be a genuine all-rounder. When Andrew Flintoff returns, England could have two class all-rounders in the side and bat right down to number 8.

Ryan Sidebottom is having the best time of what will be a short career – but only because he is the wrong side of thirty. In England this summer he should take a packet of wickets and have the NZ openers having nightmares.

After years of injury worries, Jimmy Anderson looks set to cement his place. Waiting in the wings should he stumble are Hoggard and Harmison. Both should be smarting from being discarded in NZ. The press had a field day when it was revealed how much they were getting paid to under perform. I expect to see Hoggard fighting tooth and nail to get back. Harmison should be discarded – he simply brings too much baggage and his salary should go to a younger bowler.

Monty Panesar is a bowler and a number 11. He cannot do anything else. He must play every test match regardless of the perceived conditions. He must not be allowed to bat or field if possible. How about a strategic spell of intestinal diseases when England are in the field – recovering when he needs to bowl?

Much has been said about beating a mediocre NZ team but I'm more positive. If Flintoff is 100% he can work his way back into the side without much pressure. The Ashes can be won in 09.

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