Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Wizards Big Man Held Overseas

Here's a funny story. CSN broke today that Wizards big man and number one draft pick Jan Vesely is not allowed to come to the US as of right now.

Vesely, a native of the Czech Republic, is waiting to acquire his work visa (that's right, NBA players receive work visas, too). He cannot file to get his work visa until he signs his contract with the Wizards. He cannot sign his contract with the Wizards until the NBA lockout is officially over! Oh the drama!

There is a possibility that Vesely will not be in the states in time for training camp. He could still be in his homeland waiting for his work visa (still sounds funny) to be processed.

Espinosa Named to All-Rookie Team

Today, it was announced that Nationals second baseman Danny Espinosa has been named to the 2011 Topps Major League Rookie All-Star Team.

In the 2011 season, Espinosa appeared in 158 games for the D.C. ball club. He recorded a .236 batting average with a total of 135 hits. Espinosa hit 29 doubles and 21 homeruns. He scored 72 runs and finished with 66 RBIs. His slugging percentage was .414. Espinosa was also a threat running the bases with 17 stolen bases in 23 attempts.

Espinosa seemed to explode onto the scene in his first full season with the Nationals. He went through a few rough streaks were his hitting lagged, but, look for him to improve even more during his second full season in the majors.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Wizards Lose Big Man

Brian Jackson reported earlier today that Wizards free agent forward Yi Jianlian has injured his right knee while playing in China during the lockout.

Jianlian was hurt when his teammate for Guangdong Hongyuan fell into his right leg while facing Beijing's Stephon Marbury. He was taken to a hospital and doctors diagnosed him with a strained ligament in his right knee. Jianlian is expected to miss two to four weeks.

Jianlian also missed 19 games last season due to an injury to the same knee. He is currently a restricted free agent and the Wizards have right of first refusal on any offer sheet Jianlian receives from another team.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Capitals Week Preview

This week marks the beginning for new Head Coach Dale Hunter. Hunter will attempt to turn around the Capitals who have fallen from first to eighth in the Eastern Conference standings. He will be thrown to the wolves early, however. His upcoming week looks to be a tough one.

Tomorrow night the Capitals welcome the 13-8-2 St. Louis Blues to the Verizon Center. The Blues rank 2nd in the NHL in goals against with just over 2. The Capitals rank 5th in total goal per game with just over 3. This game should be a shootout and will certainly test the ability of Hunter to make in game adjustments.

This coming Thursday night the will play host to their hated rivals: the 14-6-4 Pittsburgh Penguins. The Penguins are currently ranked in the top ten in the NHL for goals per game, goals against, power play percentage, and penalty kill percentage. Washington won the only meeting between these two team back in early October.

The Capitals the round out the week on Saturday in Ottawa to play the currently 11-10-2 Senators. The Senators rank toward the bottom of the NHL in goals against. The Capitals should be able to showcase their powerful offensive attack. Washington won the only meeting between the two teams.

The Capitals face two very tough teams to start the week. It will test their ability to adapt to new head coach Dale Hunter. They certainly have the game against Pittsburgh circled on their calenders.

Hey Caps Fans!

Hey there, Capitals fans! From here on out I'm going to be trying out a new type of article so you can keep up with your favorite NHL team! Every Monday I will write a week in review and week preview. I will review the previous weeks actions as well as Capitals news! I will also set the stage for the next weeks action! I will let you know the schedule, any player movements, and so much more! Stay tuned, Caps fans!!


This "Tebowmania" thing has to stop. Every time I flip on ESPN or any sports radio/TV show, people are constantly talking about Tim Tebow and his incredible accomplishment of winning games. What?! We're STILL praising this guy for playing like a STARTING quarterback? In my opinion, it's about time he started playing like this!

Let's get something straight: I am NOT a Tim Tebow hater. I think the things that he can do on the football field are simply incredible. His ability to make plays is like no other. He is a breed of quarterback that we have never seen before in the NFL. But, people need to hop off the wagon.

First off: Enough of the references to his devotion to his religion! I am nowhere NEAR against his devotion, I think it's great, but, do we constantly have to reference that? Do you know how many other players pray before, during, and after the game? There are TONS of other players that are just as devoted as he is to their religion. I am not against his devotion, I am tired of people constantly using that to set him apart from other players.

Second: Are we SERIOUSLY praising him for WINNING? We don't sit back and talk about Tom Brady every week. We don't head to the water cooler and talk about Mike Vick every week. What about Drew Brees? Have we already forgotten about Matt Ryan? What's that guys name the plays for that team in Wisconsin again? Those guys are winning every week, as well. Have we lost sight of the fact that Tim Tebow is a STARTING quarterback? It appears so. His JOB is to win football games. I know the way he does it is impressive, but, he's done it the same way 5 different times now. Is it really that new of a thing? He did it for 3 years at the University of Florida.

In terms of being a quarterback, Tim Tebow is awful. His throwing motion is slower than molasses, his read progression only goes to his second or (maybe) third option, and he is inaccurate. He is not a quarterback. He is a running back that can throw the football. He runs more than he passes during the course of a game. He is a 4th quarter player. He is the worst in the NFL for the three quarters, but, turns it on when he has to get the job done (give him credit for that).

Is he the best player in the NFL? No. Is he one of the best play makers in the NFL? Yes. He simply finds a way to win football games. After all, he IS the starting quarterback. That IS what he is supposed to do.

Boudreau Out

(Photo: yahoo!
Early this morning the Washington Capitals announced the departure of head coach Bruce Boudreau. Former Capital Dale Hunter will take over the vacant position.

The firing came after the recent nosedive that the team took from first to eighth in the Eastern Conference. After starting the season 7-0-0 the Capitals have now gone 5-9-1.

Hunter has had some coaching experience. He led the London Knights of the Ontario Hockey League to their first Memorial Cup Championship in the 2004-05 season. He even won Coach of the Year honors in the 2003-04 season. In 11 years behind the bench, Hunter 451-189-23-24 record. He was the fastest coach in league history to get to 300 and 400 wins.

Hunter also played 19 seasons in the NHL from 1980 to 1999. He played in 1,407 games racking up 1,020 points (323 goals, 679 assists) and 3,565 penalty minutes with Quebec, Washington, and Colorado.

Hunter begins his new career with the Capitals tomorrow night at home against the St. Louis Blues.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Redskins vs Seahawks: Gameplan Revisited

Roy Helu Jr. finally had his breakout game. (Photo: yahoo!
Well would you look at that! The Redskins won a game! They took down the Seattle Seahawks 23-17 and ended their 6 game losing streak. Earlier today I pointed out a few things that the Redskins should focus on if they want to win. Let's see how they did!

"It's Roy Helu Jr. time."

Boy was it ever! Roy Helu Jr. ran all over the Seahawk defense. He ran around, through, and even OVER (see photo) the defense on his way to the endzone. The MVP for the Redskins today was easily Helu. He finished with 23 carries for 108 yards and 1 impressive touchdown run. He also piled up 54 yards on 7 receptions. Oh yeah, Roy Helu Jr. has arrived!

"Rex Grossman will need to step up today."

Rex Grossman: 26/35 - 314 yards - 2 TDS - 2 INTS. Grossman played a good game today. He did turn the ball over a couple of times, but, he had a pair of touchdowns to go with it. He moved around the pocket, took a couple of hits, and delivered strikes to his receivers.

"Shut down Sidney Rice."

Sidney Rice gained a total of 3 yards today...on a 3 yard carry. He was only targeted twice and did not catch the ball either time. The Redskins secondary did a great job shutting down the Seahawks number one pass threat.

"The main threat today is Marshawn Lynch."

Lynch played a great game. He was definitely the main threat that the Seahawks had today. Lynch powered through the Redskins front seven numerous times, but, never found the endzone.He finished the day with 24 carries for 111 yards. The Redskins defense did a decent job at stopping Lynch when they had to.

The Redskins have finally ended their losing streak. Even though this one came against the Seahawks, it is still a quality win. Seattle came into this one winning their past two games and played this one at home in front of one of the loudest crowds in the NFL.

The Redskins improved to 4-7 (1-3) with today's victory. Next week they come home to play the always entertaining New York Jets. Kickoff will be a 1 o'clock and you can find the game on CBS.

NFL: A Nice Guys Game

What is going on with NFL these days? It seems that guys can't play tough anymore. Players are afraid of hitting another player hard because the NFL could fine or penalize them. Referees protect quarterbacks like they do their own daughters!

I am not trying to say that dirty players should be idolized, but, the NFL front office is starting to get a little ridiculous. I am also not trying to defend Ndamukong Suh and his actions in last Thursday's game against the Packers. I am simply saying that the NFL is not a game for tough guys anymore.

When players sign their multi-million dollar contracts to join the league, they should understand that they are in for some pain. To be honest, I think they DO know that. They have been playing the game since they five years old. I understand that the NFL wants to "protect players" and "make the game safer", but, the only way to do that is to eliminate the game all together.

Hard hits and rough plays is what makes If the guys in the NFL front office doesn't understand that, then maybe they shouldn't be in charge! Why do they care? These are the same guys that have turned the game into a business. Hard hits and rough plays sells tickets.

The NFL front office needs to just let the players play. I know that there is a difference between intentionally hurting someone and just laying a good hit. Football, back in the day, was awesome to watch because it was just grown men stepping out onto a battle field every Sunday and just imposing their will against their opponent. Now they go out there and try not to be too rough. It's almost as if they are playing scared.

I am tired of the NFL stepping in and reviewing every single big hit. It was a great hit, let it go. Football is a violent game. It always will be a violent game. There isn't anything that anyone can do to change that. If you don't like the big hits and the violent play, then maybe the NFL just isn't for you. In the immortal words of ANY true football coach: "Just shut up and play."

Redskins vs Seahawks: Gameplan

Roy Helu Jr. could have a breakout game today. (Photo:
Today the Redskins are in Seattle to take on the 4-6 Seahawks. The Redskins, who have not won since week 4, have a great chance at picking up a win today. These two teams are simply identical. They both average around 300 yards of total offense and allow around 335 yards on defense. They even score (16) and give up (20) the same amount of points! They both have a quarterback situation that has yet to be resolved and both have offensive lines that provide many of their own problems. What do the Redskins have to do? I'll tell you!

It's Roy Helu Jr. time. Since coming off the bye week, the Redskins have not been able to run the football. They average 84 yards per game running the football. The Seahawks average giving up only 100 yards rushing; not bad. Helu has proven to be a difference maker. He is the teams second leading rusher with 248 yards. He runs down hill and can move side to side, as well. But, of course, this can not be down without a healthy offensive line. Not to worry! Trent Williams is expected to be in the line up today.

Rex Grossman will need to step up today. The Seahawks allow 230 yards passing. If Grossman can get some time, then the Redskins receivers will easily get open against a less than stellar secondary.

Special Teams:
What? They're important, too! Redskins have done a pretty good job in kick and punt coverage. Keep it up, guys! Gano...hit your field goals.

It is expected that Tavaris Jackson will start today for Seattle. With him at the helm, the Seahawks average 203 yards passing. There is one way to stop that: shut down Sidney Rice. Sidney Rice is also banged up, but, is expected to start.

The main threat today is Marshawn Lynch. The Seahawks average just under 100 yards per game on the ground. The Redskins defense ranks 18th in the league in stopping the run. They have also not proven themselves against quality runners. I'm sure we all remember Lynch's improbable post-season touchdown run against the Saints. The Redskins should try to avoid that today.

It all comes down to the running game. This game will be tough for the Redskins to win. Keep in mind that rain is expected to fall during the game. If the Redskins can hang on to the ball and keep traction, today could be there best chance to break the losing streak.

My Prediction:
Redskins: 30 - Seahawks: 27

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Oh So Close

The Rams fell just short of the playoff field this year. They did all they could do, but, came up just short.

The teams that the Rams needed to lose this weekend won. California, Kutztown, and Elizabeth City all took care of business and put themselves in the playoffs.

A team that got in as a little bit of a surprise was Concord. Concord finished the season 7-3, but, since they defeated Shepherd they were able to jump ahead of  Shepherd.

A team that, surprisingly, did not make the field was West Virginia Wesleyan College. WVWC lost to Concord this past weekend 48-40. That bumped them down below Shepherd, but, did not move Shepherd up enough to put them in.

Many believe that Shepherd should have been ranked higher coming into the final week of play. I, for one, think so. I predicted that the Rams would have been ranked 9th, not 10th, coming into this past weekends game. Had the Rams been ranked 9th, they still would not have made it into the post-season.

Ram fans can now only dream of what could have been. The Rams had a good enough to be able to make some noise in the post season. I also believe that this team was starting to peak in the past couple weeks just in time to make a huge playoff push.

Last season the Rams made the final four, this season the Rams did not make the post season. It was a great season. I am sure that the Shepherd faithful cannot wait till next year.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Redskins vs 49ers: Gameplan Revisited

Roy Helu broke the franchise record for receptions in a game with 14. (Photo:
Today, the Redskins were once again defeated. This time the San Francisco 49ers handed the Redskins their fourth straight loss. Let's break it down according to the gameplan.

"Today is John Becks coming out party."

If you decide on this one based on stats, Beck played an O.K. game at best. He finished 30-47 with 254 yards and 1 touchdown with 1 interception. John Beck's decision making was God awful today. Many times he had a receiver that was wide open deep and, instead, passed it to the check down receiver. On one play in the second half, two receivers were wide open and could have walked into the endzone had the ball been thrown to them. He would do the exact opposite, as well. He would go deep when the check down would be the better option.

"The offensive line is going to have to give him some time."

The pass protection was not as bad as it has been. Keep in mind, this is the 21st ranked pass defense the Redskins went against. John Beck was hit 6 times and was sacked only once. For an offensive line that has lacked in protection the past few weeks, they showed much improvement today.

"It is the same thing week in and week out: they must stop the running game."

49ers team rushing totals: 32 carries, 138 yards, 4.3 yards per play. The Redskins did a poor job of tackling today. Frank Gore ran through numerous arm tackles on his way to another 100 yard performance.

"The secondary cannot feel comfortable today. They have been picked apart week after week and now they are lacking back there when it comes to talent due to injuries."

Alex Smith (49ers 31st ranked pass offense): 17-24 with 200 yards and 1 touchdown and a passer rating of 109.7.

Roy Helu Jr. and Graham Gano made history today. Helu broke the franchise single game reception record with 14. The previous record holder was Hall of Famer Art Monk. Graham Gano broke the franchise record for longest field goal. Gano booted a 59 yard field goal right before halftime.

There is one positive thing that happened today: the no huddle offense. I think the Redskins may have found something with it. Statistically, the Redskins have done much better this season when they have gone to the no huddle offense. John Beck looked much more relaxed and went 10-11 on a drive that ended with a touchdown and a 2-point conversion. I know that the defense was probably a little more relaxed in coverage, but, it is still something for the Shanahans to ponder.

Next week the Redskins travel to face the Miami Dolphins. The game will be on Fox and kickoff is at 1 PM.

Redskins vs 49ers: Gameplan

Today the Washington Redskins will play host to the 6-1 San Francisco 49ers. The 49ers come into the this game on a 5 game winning streak. Here are the keys to success for Washington.

Today is John Becks coming out party. Yeah, I JUST said that. The 49ers have the topped ranked run defense in the NFL and the 21st ranked pass defense in the NFL. The Redskins running game has not been a factor against mediocre run defenses and I don't expect it to do much against a great run defense. John Beck has played O.K. over the past few weeks and now it his time to step up to the plate. Today he needs to take charge. The front seven for San Francisco will be coming after him. He is going to have to make plays and move out  of the pocket.

The offensive line is going to have to give him some time. They have been lacking in the pass protection since the bye week. If Beck has time, he will be able to pick apart of very poor secondary.

It is the same thing week in and week out: the must stop the running game. The 49ers have the 6th ranked run offense in the NFL. Frank Gore imposes his will on linebackers all across the league. By taking away the running game early, they will force the 31st ranked pass offense to win the game.

The secondary cannot feel comfortable today. They have been picked apart week after week and now they are lacking back there when it comes to talent due to injuries.

It's to come down to whether the defensive line and stop Frank Gore and whether the offensive line can protect John Beck.

My prediction: Redskins 27 - 49ers 24

Win and In?

The dream of winning a national championship can still become a reality for the Shepherd University Ram football team.

Coming into this weekends action of division 2 college football, the Rams were ranked 10th in the Super Region. The top 6 teams will advance to the playoffs. Here is the standings prior to this weekends games (region record shown):
  1. New Haven 8-0
  2. Winston Salem 8-0
  3. West Virginia Wesleyan 9-0
  4. Bloomsburg 8-1
  5. Elizabeth City 7-1
  6. Slippery Rock 8-1
  7. S. Connecticut 7-1
  8. California 7-1
  9. Kutztown 8-1
  10. Shepherd 6-2
There were some major upsets that took place across the region this past weekend, however.

West Virginia Wesleyan was defeated by Charleston by a score of 28-17. Bloomsburg was topped by Kuztown 52-14. Slippery Rock was taken down by Gannon 33-27. South Connecticut had a bye week.

With a win this past weekend, the Rams improved to a region record of 7-2. The new top 9 should look something like this:
  1. New Haven 9-0
  2. Winston Salem 9-0
  3. Elizabeth City 8-1
  4. West Virginia Wesleyan 9-1
  5. S. Connecticut 7-1
  6. California 8-1
  7. Kutztown 9-1
  8. Slippery Rock 8-2
  9. Shepherd 7-2
With a win against Fairmont State, Shepherd will have its best chance at making the playoffs. Slippery Rock and Kutztown play each other this week. With a loss, Slippery Rock will then drop behind Shepherd in the standings. Shepherd will move up to number 8.

California will play Cheyney. If California loses, they will most likely  fall behind Shepherd, as well. Shepherd will then move up to number 7.

If Southern Connecticut loses, Shepherd will then slip past them in the polls. Shepherd will then crack the top 6 and have a playoff spot.

Concord and West Virginia Wesleyan play. If Concord can hand West Virginia Wesleyan its second straight loss, that may be enough to move Shepherd up to the number 5 spot.

In order for all this to even be a factor, Shepherd has to defeat Fairmont State this weekend. If they win in blow out fashion, that will only help their chances at cracking the top 6.

It all comes down to this. Shepherd has played through 10 grueling weeks and their chance at the playoffs all comes down to one final game. They will play at Fairmont State at noon on Saturday. This is going to be one wild weekend.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Rams Defeat Pioneers

This past weekend, the Shepherd University Rams traveled to Glenville State to play in a much anticipated rematch. In the regular season finale last season, the Pioneers defeated the Rams at home on senior day to ruin Shepherd’s perfect season. This game, however, would see a different ending.

The scoring began early for the Rams. After the Glenville punter dropped the snap and attempted a pass, Larry Lowe caught the ball for an interception and returned it 45 yards for the game’s opening touchdown.

The Pioneers would attempt to answer on their next drive. Glenville’s Joe Mesadieu took the first down hand off 33 yards to the Shepherd 27 yard line. After an incomplete pass on third down, kicker Colston Bayless connected on a 36 yard field goal.

The Rams would showcase the passing attack of Bobby Cooper to Nikkolai Norrell on their second drive. The duo would find each other three times for 26 total yards. Cooper would finish the drive himself, however. On second and one on the Pioneer 3 yard line, Bobby Cooper snuck it in himself for the touchdown.

The defense would then flex its muscle. After a sack by Howard Jones, Dom Dixon intercepted a pass and returned it 30 yards for a touchdown.

Glenville would finally answer with a touchdown drive of their own on the next possession. Darold Hughes took the handoff 34 yards for a touchdown. Shepherd was leading after one quarter by a score of 21-10.

After relying on senior running back Thomas Addison, the Rams were once again within striking distance. After two straight Shepherd penalties, the offense would stall and Eric Dobratz booted a 34 yard field goal attempt.

The Pioneers would show off a passing duo of their own on their next possession. Darold Hughes found Jordan Griffin four times with the last being a four yard touchdown pass. Glenville State was back within seven with a score of 24-17.

Shepherd managed to keep scoring throughout the first half. The Rams relied on the wrecking ball that is Kenny Williams by feeding him the ball seven times on the drive. Once again, the Rams drive stalled inside the red zone and Eric Dobratz connected on yet another field goal, this time from 24 yards out.

Cooper and Norrell were not done, however. Cooper found Norrell three times in the final minute of the first half. Dobratz came on to kick his third field goal of the game with just under a minute left in the half. The halftime score was Shepherd: 30 to Glenville: 17.

Glenville opened the second half with a field goal producing drive to bring the score back to within ten points.

The Rams looked unstoppable as the fourth quarter began. Kenny Williams once again led the offense down the field to the Pioneer 1 yard line. Williams was not able to punch the ball through the goal line, however, and Shepherd was stopped on the 1 yard line on fourth down and turned the ball over on downs.

Shepherd’s defense forced a three and out and the offense took the field on Glenville’s 33 yard line.

The offense once again could not get the ball in the endzone. Eric Dobratz took the field for a 24 yard field goal. The kick appeared to come out low and the attempt was blocked.

Dom Dixon once again proved to be the Pioneer offense’s worst enemy. Dixon came up behind the runner and forced a fumble by punching the ball out of the ball carrier’s hand.

Thomas Addison once again was the focus of the drive. Addison carried the ball three times for 25 yards all the way down to the Glenville 5 yard line. The Rams then brought in Kenny Williams to put the game out of reach. After an offsides penalty was called against the defense, Williams found the endzone on a 3 yard touchdown run.

The defense was not done. On fourth down, Corey Washington dove and intercepted Steffen Colon’s pass.

When the dust had settled, the Rams were victorious by a score of 37-20.

“It’s been a while since we won [against Glenville]. To be able to beat them down here is pretty special. Our effort was excellent,” said Head Coach Monte Cater.

The Rams were penalized 13 times for 136 yards. When asked about the penalties, Coach Cater declined to comment.

Thomas Addison led the way for the running backs with 16 carries for 90 yards. Kenny Williams finished the game with 20 carries for 85 yards and 1 touchdown. “The line did great and I just hit the holes. We came out hard and our line put us on their back,” said Williams.

Bobby Cooper had a solid outing going 17-20 with 185 yards. Cooper also contributed to the running game with a touchdown of his own. Bobby Cooper has now eclipsed 2,000 yards passing this year.

Nikkolai Norrell led the receivers with 9 receptions for 90 yards. John Frick and Larry Lowe both had 2 receptions for 42 and 29 yards respectively. “We practiced really hard. I have never beaten these guys and I really wanted to,” said Norrell.

The offense finished with 349 total yards. The defense held the Glenville offense to 218 total yards.

Dominic Tolson led to way for the Rams defensively with 7 total tackles. Howard Jones and Xavier Tyler both had one sack. Dom Dixon forced a fumble and had an interception return for a touchdown. Corey Washington and wide receiver Larry Lowe both had an interception. “It was a team game. We won as a team,” said Dixon.

The Rams have improved to 8-2 overall and 5-2 in the WVIAC. This week the Rams travel to Fairmont State for their regular season finale. Kickoff is at noon.