Today’s live episode of The Fix starts at 11am ET. Click here to vote in today’s poll. GAME SEVEN.
Posted by Sean Tomlinson under Position Battles on Jun 19, 2013
Being the starting running back in Arizona just makes far too much sense for Rashard Mendenhall, which is probably why there was some doubt as to whether or not he’ll rise to that plateau with little challenge. It’s in our nature to doubt things which seem simple, because caution is the way of the football mind, especially as it applies to fantasy footballing pursuits.
Oh, and especially when we’re discussing a running back who tore his ACL at the end of the 2011 season, and then he took the anti Adrian Peterson and Jamaal Charles route in his comeback. Mendenhall missed 10 games this past season due to various setbacks (most notably, Achilles tendinitis), which restricted him to only 51 carries and 60 touches overall.
Wise men claim that time heals wounds, and Mendenhall has had plenty of that tonic now. But despite Peterson’s heroics, we’ve seen plenty of circumstances over the years in which a running back isn’t quite the same again after an ACL tear. So yes, there was reason for doubt when the Cardinals signed him to a classic one-year “prove it” deal, and it grew when they invested two draft picks (a fifth-round pick on Stefan Taylor, and a sixth rounder on Andre Ellington).
And now, Bruce Arians would like to kill that doubt, and send the demon back to hell.
Posted by Richard Whittall under The Story So Far on Jun 19, 2013
I feel like ever since the release of the filmed version of Nick Hornby’s memoir Fever Pitch (the one with with Colin Firth in 1997), the release of the season fixture lists in the summer has become a meta event, a reason to get excited for a season that’s still two months away from kick off. For some people (actual season ticket holders) it’s a time to make entries in google/normal calendars and plan weekend trips. For others, it’s a time to set aside a weekend to ensure that a vital top of the table clash is not missed. For the media, it’s a time to scan the dates for an obvious thread, one that almost always involves a series of difficult fixtures, and report back on the challenge this will pose to X team led by Y manager. Here for example is the verdict on David Moyes’ “trial by fire” at Man United:
David Moyes will come up against José Mourinho in the second game of the season when Chelsea visit Old Trafford for the new Manchester United manager’s first home game.
Before that, Moyes opens the 2013-14 campaign at the League Cup winners Swansea on 17 August and then after hosting Chelsea, United go to Liverpool on 31 August.
The champions then take on promoted Crystal Palace before making the short journey to the Etihad Stadium for the first Manchester derby against last year’s runners-up with their new manager Manuel Pellegrini. The return Manchester derby at Old Trafford is scheduled for March 21.
“Lively start to the season! Let us at them,” the United defender Rio Ferdinand tweeted.
Here is question I think there might be an objective answer to: does a high number of matches against equal or higher quality opponents in a short time frame within a particular part of the season (in this case the start) have an overall negative effect on a club’s final points total than if those matches were more spread out?
There is already some controversy over the relationship between volume of matches in a short time period and skill depreciation. Even so, I’m skeptical that a skilled team facing a number of equally skilled opponents in a short time frame would see an overall negative effect. Moreover, a “difficult stretch of games” implies there will be an “easier stretch of games” at some point in the season too, so any negative effects would theoretically be counterbalanced. Something to look into.
As for clubs actually doing dumb things to threaten their future well-being, Derek Llambas has resigned apparently in protest to Joe Kinnear’s appointment as director of football at Newcastle United. Despite Llambas’ missteps, he understood more than many other clubs the vital importance of increasing commercial revenue. His departure and Kinnear’s leadership could, arguably, have a far more profound effect than David Moyes’ so-called “trial by fire.”
Posted by Scott Lewis under HardBall Talkin' on Jun 19, 2013
Posted by Justin Bourne under Bourne's Takeaways on Jun 18, 2013
I already started this post once, but “I disagree with Jonathan Toews’ usage last night” ended up being 600 words and its own post, so let’s try this again.
1. Life for Chicago after Hossa: not hopeless, but awfully bleak
After the game we found out Joel Quenneville knew there was some chance Marian Hossa may take warm-up and call it a day as he did, which makes it awfully bizarre that Ben Smith didn’t warm-up and Jamaal Mayers did, despite the former playing and the latter not. But anyway.
When Hossa’s out it tips the balance of the series to Boston with a reasonably heavy weight. Bold, I know. But he really is one of the league’s best puck possession players (and I mean actual ability to maintain possession, not Corsi), a nasty offensive threat with finishing ability and a big body that’s tough to deal with. In a series so even, with over 60 minutes of overtime played after three games, his absence looms as the potential back-breaker for Chicago. Apparently he’s going to play in Game 4, but if he’s seriously hindered, so are they.
2. Tough, clean hockey
We don’t generally talk about dirty hits in hockey until there is one, and this season there was no shortage. But it came across my inner brain-screen pretty early in the first period: for all the big, cringe-inducing hits in the last few weeks of hockey, players have really reined it in (the cleanliness of said hits, I mean). David Krejci absolutely crushed Jonathan Toews last night, and neither player so much as looked at the other after. Just “Good?” “Good.” “Good.”
Maybe there’s just been less games, or maybe Raffi Torres was eliminated. Both are reasonable options. Whatever the case, it’s been a pleasure to not have to deal with. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted by Scott Johnson under MLB: The Show, PS3, Baseball, Sony on Jun 18, 2013
Yasiel Puig fans rejoice as a new roster update for MLB 13: The Show is out, and this update feature Dodgers rookie Yasiel Puig. Though the Dodgers are in last place, Puig is off to one of the best rookie starts in MLB history.
Puig has an overall rating of 87, “A” potential, and a 92 arm strength. Be sure to download the update for your PS3’s.
Posted by Joseph Casciaro under Alvin Williams, Kyle Lowry, Tim Leiweke, Masai Ujiri on Jun 17, 2013
As Tim Leiweke stressed the need for improvement for an organization that wasn’t good enough and Masai Ujiri talked about building his own small staff here in Toronto, many of us were able to foresee the organizational house cleaning around the corner. So when guys like Ed Stefanski and Jim Kelly were let go, I don’t think anyone around the team was exactly floored.
But I don’t know how many people saw this coming, as fans and media alike were surprised to hear the news on Monday that former fan-favourite Alvin Williams had been relieved of his duties as a scout. In addition, Doug Smith reports that CEO Tim Leiweke made the decision and that General Manager Masai Ujiri never spoke to Alvin.
Coming into Sunday at the 113th U.S. Open, the story was all about Phil Mickelson and his pursuit of his national championship. With five runner-up finishes, the most in the history of the event, Mickelson had some unfinished business with this tournament and the USGA. As is the case usually on U.S. Open Sunday, the winner would be crowned on Father’s Day, and with Mickelson seen as the ideal family man and loving father, the golf media worked itself into quite the lather leading into the final round. Did I mention that Sunday was also his 43rd birthday? You couldn’t write this stuff. The problem is, nobody told Justin Rose that he wasn’t supposed to win.
Even for the most ardent of golf fans, Rose has been a bit of an enigma. He first appeared on the national stage as an amateur in the 1998 Open Championship, where he ended up tied for fourth place at 17 years old. He turned pro the next day but struggled with his game, going winless until the 2002 Dunhill Championship. His father Ken, who had been fighting cancer, passed away soon after that victory. A few more wins and inconsistencies followed until Rose hired Sean Foley at the end of the 2009 season, leading to victories at huge PGA Tour events like the Memorial, AT&T, BMW and WGC-Cadillac, but the major championship still eluded him.
Highs and lows are common on the golf course, even for the professionals, but it’s magnified at the U.S. Open, where the USGA does it’s very best to manipulate the course in a way that protects par, as if the best players in the world breaking it would cause some kind of cataclysmic event. The list of players who missed the cut on Friday was littered with some of the game’s best, including twelve major champions. Another nine major winners who made the cut never threatened the leaders on the weekend.