Jay Cutler is the biggest baby I have ever seen. The latest news on the Broncos’ QB front is that the team has given up and is going to trade their pivot before the draft. That news has apparently been confirmed by owner Pat Bowlen as well, so it is past the point of just being a rumor. The impetus for this latest move is that apparently neither Bowlen nor coach Josh McDaniels has apparently been able to get Cutler to return a phone call for the last 10 days. Seriously? Not returning phone calls is what you do when you are in grade school and you are having a fight with your friend. It’s not what you do when you are a highly paid and well respected professional who has yet to prove that they can actually do their job – lead the team to playoff success. I don’t think that there is a quarterback in the league that could justify this kind of immature, prima donna behaviour, but at the very least you should have to have a winning record before you do it. Teams will line up for Cutler, and he’s probably an upgrade for at least half the teams in the league, but this whole episode has convinced me that Cutler doesn’t have what it takes to go all the way. I mean, can you imagine Tom Brady not returning Robert Kraft’s calls? Or Peyton Manning screening out Tony Dungy? Ridiculous.
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This has not been a good preseason for pitchers. Johan Santana is behind schedule, Justin Duchscherer is out for a month or more, and we’re hearing even more today. Cole Hamels’ elbow isn’t recovering as quickly as they hoped it would, and he officially isn’t in contention to be the opening day starter anymore. His fastball is still only in the 85-88 miles per hour range so he has some work to do, but that’s much better than what it was earlier in the spring. The Angels also got some bad news – John Lackey is out until late April or May. The good news, if there is some, is that the MRI showed that the damage wasn’t as bad as it could have been. The Angels have a lack of depth in their rotation at the best of times, so the sooner they can get their ace back the better.
The 2009 NFL Draft is one-month away. I’ve been thinking a bit about what guys are the best of the best in their positions. Let’s take a look at the three top-rated quarterbacks who have a shot at having an impact in the pros.
1. Suck on that, Blake Griffin.
2. Roy Williams proved yet again how incredibly good he is. He and his staff had the Tar Heels as prepared as they possibly could have been for the Oklahoma game. The first half was as brilliant a defensive performance against a formidable foe as I have ever seen. I have been down on North Carolina for a while now, but that showing made it harder for me to stick with my opinion – especially now that they have a week to get ready for the Wildcats.
One college tourney is on everyone’s mind; most TV sets are focused on the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament. The Final Four are about to become a reality. This year’s Elite Eight had few surprises as it was composed of one through three seeds.
1. Jay Wright is a very lucky man. He’s the coach of a Final Four team now, but he came very close to being second-guessed for the rest of his life. With his team clinging to a late two point lead with seconds to go, Wright made the very bold call for a home run throw from the in-bounds. The receiver at the far end of the court couldn’t catch the ball and stay in-bounds, and they turned it over and gave Pitt a chance to win. The Panthers tied it up and Nova took the lead for good with less than a second left, though. If it hadn’t turned out that way, though, then Wright would have been haunted for life by questions about why he went for the bomb when he could have gone for a traditional in-bounds, probably gotten fouled, and won with less stress. Beyond that, though, that was probably the most entertaining game of the tournament. At least for a while, anyway. It was a slugfest between two heavyweights, and Nova proved that they are going to be very interesting down the stretch. They have been a nice, reasonably safe moneyline play as a mild underdog the last two rounds, and there is a good chance that that will continue next round.
With the exception of the Michigan State win over Kansas that was one incredibly boring night of basketball. Sadly, neither of the early games were even remotely interesting. I had high hopes for Syracuse, and I thought Arizona was feisty enough to at least make it interesting, but they both fired blanks. The biggest conclusion out of those games is that I feel very confident in my pick of Louisville to win it all. It’s not just that they can score like they can, or that they play such good defense, or that their style of play is so unconventional that it gives other teams major headaches. It’s that they are so freaking deep – they are better five deep on the bench than most teams are two deep. Very impressive.
1. Watching Purdue lose today was pretty decisive. I saw them play several times this year, and this game was pretty indicative of their season – they can be very good, but they can’t sustain it. Robbie Hummel’s night is a microcosm of their issues – Hummel had 15 points in the first seven minutes or so, and would up with 17 on the night in 35 minutes of action. That’s not to take anything away from UConn , mind you. They have all sorts of distractions and excuses to put in a less-than-perfect effort, yet they played pretty fine today. I still don’t think they have what it takes to win it all, but they looked nothing but business like and impressive tonight.
A State Senator in New Jersey has sued the U.S. Justice Department seeking to legalize sports betting in the United States. Sports betting is only legal in four states, and just two states legally sanction it. This, to me, is a brilliant move, though one that is about 20 years too late.
I snuck away with my wife and my dad for a few days a week ago to Phoenix and Las Vegas. I won’t bore you with a lot of details, but I do want to briefly reminisce about two very worthwhile destinations for sports fans: