Archive for the ‘Killer’s Korner’ Category

The Rise and Fall of Chan Gailey Part III

January 3, 2013

The third and final installment

On the eve of the 2012 season opener against the New York Jets, the city of Buffalo and the Western New York area in general were in an uproar of anticipation. What looked like an unimposing schedule and a vastly improved defense were at the forefront of a team that looked destined to enter the postseason for the first time since the Clinton Administration.  The game kicked off a little after 1:00PM and the end result would usher in the beginning of the end.

Circle back a little more than four months prior to the opener to April 27th at Radio City Music Hall in New York City. One day before the Buffalo Bills nabbed the best player on the board and filled a major need at corner with South Carolina product Stephon Gilmore. With their second pick Nix again hit a home run with Georgia offensive tackle/guard Cordy Glenn (who was projected by many to be a top 20 pick). What looked to have the promise of being one of the best team drafts in recent history fell apart at the seams with their third round pick. The Bills traded up two spots to the number 6th pick in the third and it looked like they were set to finally pick a developmental quarterback in either Wisconsin’s Russell Wilson, Arizona’s Nick Foles or Michigan State’s Kirk Cousins. The Bills front office and Gailey were rumored to be very interested in Wilson and Cousins, interviewing both during the combine and attending each pro day. Instead of investing a third rounder on a QB they could groom for at least a season or two, Nix and Gailey pulled the trigger on NC State wide receiver/kick returner T.J. Graham.

Graham was considered by many to be a 5th round talent at best and both Mel Kiper Jr. and Todd McShay had him tabbed as a 7th rounder. Wilson on the other hand had thoroughly impressed scouts with his combine and pro day workouts and along with Cousins, was one of the stars of the Senior Bowl in Mobile, AL. Alas, Nix felt Wilson was a reach in the third. He was drafted by the Seahawks six picks later and led them to the playoffs as the full time starter this season.

For the third year in a row the Nix and Gailey neglected to take a “chance” on a quarterback (do not bring up Levi Brown, he doesn’t count) and would once again enter a season with Ryan Fitzpatrick at the helm.

Fast forward back to the opener in the Meadowlands. The Bills were out of the game in the first quarter, after Fitzpatrick squandered an early turnover and gift wrapped a pick to Darrelle Revis on the ensuing drive. The Jets put up 21 unanswered on their way to a 48-28 romp of the “upstart” Bills. With that, the Bills once promising 2012 season was over before it even began.

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The Rise and Fall of Chan Gailey Part II

January 2, 2013

The Second Part of a Three Part Series

Prior to his second season in control Gailey had to deal with a severely shortened postseason due to the NFL lockout. The team lost minicamps and training camp was shortened because greed once again reared its ugly face in the professional sports spectrum. The free agency period was shortened to roughly 2 and half weeks while rookies weren’t able to properly become acclimated to the league with offseason team activities and a full training camp schedule.

In the 2011 draft the Bills selected number three overall with their eyes set on drafting Auburn QB Cam Newton if he was available. Newton went first overall however and Nix and Gailey were forced to make the first rational move in recent franchise history by filling a need and snagging the best player on the board at the same time, Alabama defensive tackle Marcel Dareus. Most fans were ecstatic with the pick because Dareus was believed to be one of the most dominant defensive players in the draft. A long awaited day 1 victory after so many reaches in the past seemed to give light to what was sure to be one of the best Bills’ drafts in recent memory. The football gods may have smiled upon the emotionally battered citizens of Buffalo for the day but in Western New York the sun only shines for brief moments.

Going into the draft it was all but a guarantee the Bills would look to address the hole at quarterback with a draft class presumably deep with talent at the position. With Newton off the board Nix and Gailey did the prudent thing by filling a huge need with Dareus and set themselves up with a chance to draft a developmental QB prospect in the second. Of those still on the board sat the hero of the 2011 Rose Bowl in Andy Dalton, an athletic prospect from Nevada in Colin Kaepernick and the super talented/major head case Ryan Mallett.  Instead of picking the best player on the board and filling an enormous need by selecting Dalton Buffalo chose Aaron Williams a cornerback from Texas who projected out as a free safety in the NFL. When asked about the decision to pass on Dalton, Nix and Gailey agreed that the second pick of the second round was a reach. The Bengals, who had the next pick after the Bills nabbed Dalton and have enjoyed the spoils of consecutive playoff births in his first two years in the league as their starting quarterback. Williams on the other hand has developed into a corner that gets beat for huge yardage and scores by average receivers on a week-by-week basis.

Neglecting to grab a QB in either of the first two rounds meant Ryan Fitzpatrick was set to enter the 2011 season as the unquestioned starter for the first time in his career. The early results were indicative of a genius decision by the Bills’ brass as the team enjoyed an improbable 5-2 start with Fitzpatrick looking like a franchise quarterback in the process. Prior to a late October matchup in Toronto against the Washington Redskins, Nix showed his gratitude by paying Fitz like the signal caller the Bills have been sorely missing since Doug Flutie flew the coop for San Diego. Of course, that’s when it came apart at the seams.

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The Rise and Fall of Chan Gailey Part I

January 1, 2013

Chan Gailey’s three year run as head coach of the Buffalo Bills came to an end yesterday after the team’s third consecutive season without a winning record and 13th straight year without a playoff birth. Gailey finished with a record of 16-32 during his tenure and was cut loose after what looked to be a promising 2012 squad grossly underperformed to the tune of a 6-10 record. Examining the reasons for Gailey’s shortcomings may seem to be an exercise in futility but I’ve also been fond of George Santayana’s adage: “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”

Gailey was anything but a popular choice when then recently hired General Manager Buddy Nix named him as his coach in January of 2010. Rumors ran rampant that Ralph Wilson was willing to dish out big money to attract a name like Shanahan, Cowher, or Gruden but in the end Nix and Wilson went with the low cost option of hiring Gailey. For a time after the dust settled on the Cowher talk and Shanahan went to the Redskins, the top candidate looked to be then-Vikings D-Coordinator Leslie Frazier. Wilson hired Gailey, Frazier stuck it out in Minnesota, was named interim head coach after Brad Childress was fired the next season and as the permanent head coach this season led an underdog team to the sixth and final NFC playoff spot on Sunday.

When Gailey signed on he didn’t have huge shoes to fill but he had an enormous task at hand, restoring hope in an exceedingly disgruntled fan base, rebuild a team that’s best player at the time arguably was Lee Evans and end a 10 year playoff drought. His first major decision as head coach was to switch to a 3-4 defense with not defined nose tackle and a linebacking corps that was one of the worst in the league. He added minor free agents in Andra Davis and Dwan Edwards in the offseason before drafting C.J. Spiller as his first pick at the helm with a stable of running backs that included former first round pick Marshawn Lynch and upstart workhorse Fred Jackson. The rest of the draft featured a slew of unheard of picks the likes of Torel Troup, Alex Carrington and Marcus Easley.

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Trying to Care About Sunday’s Game

December 28, 2012

Yes, we’re still alive here at BleedBuffalo.com

Another season just about in the books, another monumental disappointment and the beginning of what looks to be another new regime. You can almost set your watch to it at this point. The final game of the season and absolutely nothing to gain from a win and zero meaningful games in the entire month of December. Some will say at least it’s the last time we’ll likely see Chan Gailey and Ryan Fitzpatrick in Bills gear but honestly it’s just the end of another shitty year in Buffalo, New York.

In the spirit of the season I thought I’d take a look at the positives that have come out of the 2012 Bills campaign. Mario Williams is the first player to record double digit sacks since Aaron Schobel notched 10 in 2009, C.J. Spiller emerged as one of the most electrifying backs in the league and Jairus Byrd has become one of the dominant safeties in the NFL. Did I miss anything?

It feels good to rest on your laurels and search for the positives for about 15 seconds before you realize that your team is an absolute mockery and you haven’t had a group of players that was worth a damn since the 20th century. As we look forward to Sunday’s game there really isn’t much to hope for but I’ll give it a shot.

-Sunday will likely be Gailey and Fitzpatrick’s last game in Buffalo red, white and blue

-C.J. Spiller has a good shot to get to the 1,300 yard rushing mark, making him only the fourth player in Buffalo Bills history to accomplish the feat (O.J. Simpson, Thurman Thomas and Travis Henry)

-Stevie Johnson is 65 receiving yards away from becoming the first Buffalo Bill to amass 1,000 receiving yards in three consecutive seasons

-If the Bills lose to the Jets and the Lions and Eagles both win, Buffalo will be propelled to the fourth pick in the 2013 NFL Draft.

Beyond that we’re really just grasping at straws. In the end, Sunday will likely end the Gailey, Fitzpatrick and Buddy Nix experiment in Buffalo and a full regime change is probably on the horizon. Whether it’s Doug Whaley who takes over as the General Manager or if Russ Brandon wants a completely fresh start, another cycle of a failed GM and coach has likely been completed. Nix and Gailey will be written off in Buffalo folklore with the likes of Donahoe and Williams; Donahoe and Mularkey; and Levy and Jauron.

Sifting Down to 53

August 31, 2012

It’s the day of reckoning in the NFL. The day that undrafted free agents, late round draft picks, underperforming and aging veterans fear. By 9:00 tonight all NFL rosters must be cut down from 75 to 53, with an additional 8 that will be asked back to the practice squad to be tackling dummies for $60,000 (not a bad gig right?).

The Bills finished off the preseason with another throwaway performance against the Detroit Lions last night, falling 38-32 and finishing the exhibition season at an impressive 0-4 mark. The starting offense looked great on their one drive of the game as they drove down the field with an impressive mixture of C.J. Spiller running the ball and Ryan Fitzpatrick throwing 8-10 yard slants and ins. Some players stepped up last night but was it enough to avoid the turk’s hammer?

Here’s my projection of the 53 players that will comprise the active roster and 8 who will be brought back for the practice squad for the 2012 Buffalo Bills squad:

Quarterback (3): Ryan Fitzpatrick, Tavaris Jackson, Brad Smith
Cuts: Tyler Thigpen
Analysis: Thigpen looked serviceable against the Lions but benefited heavily from penalties and didn’t do enough to stay on the roster. There’s a chance the Bills keep Fitz, Jackson and Thigpen, moving Smith to wide receiver and wildcat quarterback but it would likely come at the expense of another receiver. Needless to say if (God forbid) Fitz goes down this season this team is royally screwed.

Running Back (5): Fred Jackson, C.J. Spiller, Tashard Choice, Corey McIntyre, Dorin Dickerson
Cuts: Johnny White, Zach Brown
Analysis: White has been held back by injuries and while he’s shown flashes at times in the last two preseasons, he hasn’t done enough to beat out Choice. No explanation needed for Brown. Dickerson makes the team as an H-back and could be a serious threat in the red zone. I’ve been impressed with what I’ve seen in the preseason and don’t think that he’ll only be utilized on special teams. He’s strong, has good hands and runs precise routes. Dickerson could be the breakout trash heap player ala Scott Chandler or David Nelson of 2012.

Tight End (2): Scott Chandler, Lee Smith
Cuts: Kevin Brock, Mike Caussin (PUP)
Analysis: The only lock at tight end is Chandler. Smith has done little to impress in training camp and the preseason and makes the initial roster by default. Don’t be surprised if Buddy Nix scours the waiver wire to find a legitimate number two tight end to pair with Chandler (don’t get your hopes up for Chris Cooley).

Wide Receiver (6): Stevie Johnson, Donald Jones, David Nelson, T.J. Graham, Derek Hagan, Kamar Aiken
Cuts: Marcus Easley, Ruvell Martin, Naaman Roosevelt
Analysis: After Easley’s kick return for a touchdown last night some might argue that he earned a roster spot but his play has been too spotty. After going into camp projected as the dark horse to win the number two job, he’s had trouble even seeing the field until the fourth quarter. In reality Aiken has done more to make this team. He has the ideal build at 6-2, 213 and plenty of speed. He also has shown a propensity to contribute on special teams as a blocker and coverage specialist which sets him apart from Roosevelt. In the end he may not be as reliable of a receiver as Roosevelt but his body-type and ability to contribute on special teams sets him apart and sends the former UB product packing. This certainly won’t be an easy decision and no one is going to like seeing Naaman leave but he’s just not big enough to justify a roster spot for another year with Aiken’s progression. Easley will likely be asked back to the practice squad but might get scooped by a wide receiver-starved team (cough, cough Miami).

Offensive Line (8): Cordy Glenn, Andy Levitre, Eric Wood, Kraig Urbik, Erik Pears, Chris Hairston, Chad Rinehart, Zebrie Sanders
Cuts: James Carmon, Sam Young, Mark Asper, Colin Brown, Keith Williams
Analysis:
Besides receiver these might be the most difficult cuts for Nix and crew. The Bills can’t cut Sanders. He was arguably their biggest value pick in the draft this season and even though he’s looked shaky at times has serious potential to be a starter down the road. Young is an intriguing prospect and really hasn’t done much wrong this preseason but has practice squad eligibility left and will almost certainly be asked back. Asper just didn’t do enough to earn a roster spot and it would be surprising to see him asked back for the practice squad. Brown is versatile at guard and center but just didn’t stand out enough. Williams is another practice squad candidate.

Defensive End (5): Mario Williams, Mark Anderson, Chris Kelsay, Kyle Moore,Jarron Gilbert
Cuts: Robert Eddins
Analysis: The top four of Williams, Anderson, Kelsay and Moore are pretty much set in stone. The Bills will likely keep 9 defensive linemen in all and I’m going out on a limb and saying they’ll keep 5 defensive tackles instead of ends. Gilbert is going to be a tough cut to make because he can play both tackle and end and has really had a nice preseason. If he makes the team he’ll likely be the 52 or 53 player to earn a spot. It’s highly unlikely that if he’s cut he’ll be brought back because there’s sure to be teams out there that will scoop him up in a heartbeat.
*****With Dwan Edwards being cut Gilbert is likely to make the team because of his versatility. It would be surprising to see the Bills keep Carrington over Gilbert at this point.

Defensive Tackle (4): Kyle Williams, Marcel Dareus, Spencer Johnson, Kellen Heard
Cuts: Alex Carrington, Dwan Edwards
Analysis: Williams and Dareus will form one of the most dominant interior defensive lines in football and Johnson is as solid as they come in terms of backups. Edwards getting cut is a bit surprising and may open the door for Carrington but I still say Heard makes it over him. Carrington has been supremely disappointing and will likely be the 6th member (including Easley) of Nix’s inaugural draft class to get the axe. Heard is a beast at 6-6’ 339lbs, and played very well in spot duty last season (21 tackles, 2 sacks, 1 FF). Injuries set him back in camp and the preseason but he has serious potential as a run stuffer on goal line and short yardage situations. Troup likely would’ve gotten the axe as well if he wasn’t placed on IR.

Linebacker (7): Nick Barnett, Kelvin Sheppard, Arthur Moats, Bryan Scott, Nigel Bradham, Kirk Morrison, Tank Carder
Cuts: Scott McKillop, Chris White
Analysis: White officially punched his ticket out of Buffalo last night with multiple missed tackles, blown coverage assignments and his inability to run with running backs in coverage. McKillop is a bit perplexing. He looked great in the first two preseason games but saw his playing time cut in half when Morrison starting getting reps at the backup middle linebacker slot. Unless they use Edwards’ spot to keep an extra linebacker McKillop will likely be heading out of Buffalo.

Cornerback (5): Stephon Gilmore, Aaron Williams, Ron Brooks, Leodis McKelvin, Justin Rogers
Cuts: Isaiah Green, Terrance McGee (PUP Possibility)
Analysis: It’s gotten to the point where the Bills just can’t count on McGee anymore. He’s frequently injured and if the Pittsburgh preseason game is any indication, he’s lost a big step. The Bills might chose to put him on the PUP list or the conditional IR but I can’t see him taking up space on the bench and taking away a spot for someone who really deserves it.

Safety (4): Jairus Byrd, George Wilson, Da’Norris Searcy, Delano Howell
Cuts: Nick Saenz
Analysis: Saenz finished off a horrible preseason getting run over by the likes of Joique Bell and Mikel Leshoure. Howell was arguably the defensive MVP of training camp and the preseason. He’s proven that he’s a solid hitter, who can play special teams and has some coverage ability. Howell is built more like a strong safety but Searcy could always be used in a backup situation for Byrd if he were to go down. If a player like Howell who showed great production and growth throughout camp is cut at a position where the team needs an additional player, it just proves how USELESS the preseason is.

Kicker (2): John Potter, Rian Lindell
Analysis: Potter is a weapon and has earned a spot as a placekicker.

Punter (1): Brian Moorman
Cuts: Shawn Powell
Analysis: Powell challenged Moorman at the beginning of camp but no one is going to replace the most recognizable Bill of the 21st century. Moorman will be a Bill until he retires or dies, whichever comes first.

Long Snapper (1): Garrison Sanborn
Analysis: Sanborn is one of the best long snappers in the league. Enough Said.

Practice Squad (8): WR Marcus Easley, T Sam Young, G Keith Williams, LB Chris White, G/C Mark Asper, CB Isaiah Green, DE Robert Eddins, P Shawn Powell

There it is, agree or disagree I really couldn’t care less. The great thing is I’ll know how close I am in about 4 hours so I’ll try to do a follow up tomorrow. 

100 Days and Counting…

May 31, 2011

As the NBA Championship gets ready to tip-off tonight and the puck drops for the Stanley Cup tomorrow, most sports fans are given a nice distraction from the harsh reality that the NFL regular season is slated to start 100 days from today. June 3rdmarks what could be the beginning of the end of the 2011 season when the owners and players present their respective cases to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit to determine whether or not the lockout should be lifted. The general belief is that the Court will favor on the side of the owners and the lockout will be upheld which means it will be up to the players and owners to iron out a deal in the coming months for the season to kick off on time.

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Buffalo Bills 2011 Draft Recap

May 19, 2011

Alright this may have taken a lot longer that I would’ve liked but welcome back to the return of Bleed Buffalo. For your reading pleasure I’ve done a pick-by-pick recap of the Buffalo Bills’ 2011 NFL draft, analyzing each drafted player while adding other options that were available for the Bills with each pick. Enjoy!

First Round (3rd Overall): Marcell Dareus, DT Alabama- Dareus is the Bills safest first round pick since the team drafted Antoine Winfield in the 1999 draft. Not only does he address a need but he is arguably the most NFL-ready player in this draft. Dareus is a beast on the interior, with the ability to play any position along the Bills 3-4 defensive front. Playing in a 3-4 throughout his college career at Alabama, Dareus played every position on the line and was a dominating force against the run with enough agility to get after the quarterback. He’s the highest defensive linemen selection since the Bills chose Bruce Smith first overall in the 1985 draft and like Smith should start from day one. Dareus and Williams should form a dominating interior one-two punch for years to come.

Other Possible Selections: None, Dareus was number two on the Bills draft board behind Cam Newton and thank god the Panthers took that option away from them. (more…)

Killer’s Korner 1-6-2011

January 6, 2011

Well the hectic nature of the holiday season put a damper in my ability to consistently post the Killer’s Korner and one thing became unavoidably clear to me: sports don’t take a vacation. I apologize for the tardiness of this article but my New Year’s resolution is to post Killer’s Korner every week in 2011.

Here’s the “Reader’s Digest” version of what happened in the sports world since I last posted. Cliff Lee immediately made the Phillies’ rotation one of the most intimidating in MLB history; the Boston Red Sox evidently were upset about missing out on the postseason with their flurry of free agent and trade activity; the NFL playoffs are set and will feature the first ever team with a losing record; the UCONN women’s win streak ends at a NCAA record 90 games; Terrelle Pryor and a few other Ohio State players get suspended for five games next season for pulling an A.J. Green; and if you haven’t seen HBO’s “Lombardi” special, there is something wrong with you.

Like I said that’s just a quick overview of what I missed over the past month. Here’s the headlines that popped out at me this week: the Titans pick Jeff Fisher over Vince Young; Rich Rod gets the axe in Michigan and the Panthers are s&@t out of Luck.

The Titans announced this week that they will either trade or cut Vince Young this offseason in a move that almost definitely means that Jeff Fisher will continue his streak as the longest tenured head coach in the NFL. The move seems like a no-brainer, Fisher has become one of the best coaches in the league and Young is nothing but trouble. Starting with his apparent suicide attempt a few years ago and finally boiling over when he stormed out of the Titans facility after a verbal altercation with Fisher after he was put on IR following week 11 this season, Young’s talents haven’t equaled the constant headache he’s become to the Titan’s franchise. To play devil’s advocate however, Young did compile a 30-17 record as a starter, went to three Pro Bowls (somehow), and led the Titans to two playoff appearances. In the long run the nuisance outweighed his deceiving production and Bud Adams made the right move by staying loyal to his steady coach and giving Young the boot.

Being a fan of the Big East, I thoroughly enjoyed watching Rich Rodriguez getting the boot from Michigan on Wednesday. Rodriguez left the Wolverines with a 15-22 overall record, 6-18 in the Big Ten, and three years of probation stemming from improper practice violations. Rich Rod ran College Football’s winningest program into the ground during his three-year tenure and who knows how far he’s set the Wolverines back. Michigan is now left to rebuild with the country’s worst defense, a spread offense that has only one true star in Denard Robinson and probationary restrictions from the NCAA for the next three years. Even if they can somehow immaculately snare Jim Harbaugh away from Stanford, the future looks desolate for the former powerhouse.

The second worst season in franchise history looks like it may have been all for naught for the Carolina Panthers. Andrew Luck, arguably the most complete quarterback prospect since Peyton Manning, announced today that he plans on staying at Stanford for at least one more season. The Panthers received the dagger to the heart a day after they declared that they would draft Luck if he opted out of his last two seasons of college eligibility and headed to the NFL Draft in April. What seemed to initially be a desperate plea for Luck to declare for the draft could actually have been a great move by Carolina. I thought it was a little bit peculiar for the Panthers to disclose their intentions to the media before the playoffs, let alone the offseason, even began but it seems like they may have used it as a tactic to determine Luck’s interest. By eliminating him as a possibility they can now focus their attention on finding the right coach to replace John Fox, improving their team in free agency, and scouting the top flight defensive prospects to help rebuild their woeful excuse for a defense. Although losing out on the best QB prospect in recent history will certainly sting throughout the offseason, the Panthers can now focus on developing Jimmy Clausen and building up an offense around him.

Killer’s Korner

December 10, 2010

What an action packed sports week. The BCS Championship is set and will feature two of the most exciting offenses in the country; Brett Favre learned the hard way that nobody crosses the Moats; we said goodbye to Ron Santo and Dandy Don; Iron Mike and the Italian Stallion head to the boxing Hall of Fame; and Tom Brady tore the Jets apart in what may have been the most overrated game in NFL history. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

Here’s a preview of some other stories that leapt of the page this week: Josh McDaniels gets the axe for being a chip of the old block (and a 3-9 record); Albert Haynesworth’s mouth costs him four massive paychecks and thousands of Whoppers; Urban Meyer calls it quits again; and the Major League Baseball free agency frenzy starts with a bang.

Five weeks after Josh McDaniels tried to pull off Spygate 2.0 and a little more than a season and a half after he was hired as the Broncos head coach, he received the inevitable axe on Monday. In his second season as the head man in Mile High, McDaniels led the Broncos to a dismal 3-9 record and a 5-17 overall record since his team got off to a promising 6-0 start last season. That’s just a taste of the hole that he’s left the Broncos in during his short-lived tenure. Upon his arrival, McDaniels felt the need to alienate himself from his star wideout and franchise quarterback. Jay Cutler departed for Chicago before last season while Brandon Marshall headed to South Beach this summer. Kyle Orton, Cutler’s replacement for the time being, has performed admirably this season but what does the future hold for this once proud franchise with Tim Tebow at the helm? Sure he’s pounded the ball into the endzone on some goal line opportunities this year but what’s going to happen when he needs to sustain drives and carry this team down the field with more than just grit? I won’t even begin to mention the shambles that the defense is in with Champ Bailey set to test the free agent market this offseason and Elvis Dumervil’s torn pectoral muscle which cost him the season. The connection between Brandon Lloyd and Orton may be exciting to watch this season but don’t kid yourself, McDaniels has set this team back to full rebuilding mode for the foreseeable future.

Evidently somebody does put baby in the corner. After whining during the entire offseason about the Redskins switch to the 3-4 and his general lack of interest in playing this season, the former Defensive Player of the Year and $100 million man got on Mike Shannahan’s last nerve on Monday after he stated that he would not speak to his head coach for the rest of the season. Haynesworth’s punishment for his insubordination will make his pockets just a little bit lighter as he was suspended for the Redskins’ remaining four games. 20 games played, 12 games started, 53 tackles and 6.5 sacks equals a seven year $100 million contract. Money well spent Dan Snyder. Good luck trying to unload that contract this offseason especially with the uncertainty surrounding the CBA.

For the second time in less than a year, Urban Meyer is calling it quits in Gainesville. Two years removed from hoisting the BCS Championship trophy over his head, Meyer assures that this time his resignation is for real. In the Brett Favre retirement era, it’s tough for us to believe anyone who says they’re hanging it up and come back for another run. After claiming health concerns as his reason for initially resigning last year, Meyer claims that this time it’s all about his family. Meyer sacrificing his prominent career as possibly the best head coach in all of college football is no doubt a selfless and admirable act, but one has to wonder if the Gators’ disappointing season didn’t have something to do with his departure. When Meyer arrived at Florida via Utah he inherited an embarrassment of talent and recruited a golden goose in Tebow. It is somewhat peculiar that the year Tebow leaves for the NFL Meyer announces his resignation. I can understand the reasoning behind his initial decision considering the drop off between Tebow and John Brantley but it almost seems as if Meyer wasn’t up for the challenge. I can’t imagine that Meyer won’t step on the field again one day in the near future but it is somewhat disappointing to see a 46 year-old coach in the prime of his career walking away from the game no matter what the reason.

Oh how the tides have turned in Major League Baseball in a matter of one week. There was a huge power shift in the AL East, two teams in the AL Central added some pop to their lineups and the Washington Nationals are actually a free agent player? Here are my winners and losers thus far in MLB free agency.

Winners:

  1. Boston Red Sox: I guess the Sox were pretty bitter about missing out on the party this season. They certainly made up for it this week, landing prized slugger Adrian Gonzalez from the Padres and inking Carl Crawford to a massive seven year $142 million deal. Not only did Boston nab perhaps the most coveted player in the free agent market, they did it in grand fashion, stealing him away from the Yankees clutches and making the Rays lineup that much weaker in the process. It doesn’t appear that John Henry and Theo Epstein are quite done yet either. The BoSox reportedly offered free agent catcher Russell Martin a contract on Thursday which would sure up their weakest position and make their line up even more formidable.
  2. Washington Nationals: Who would’ve thought that the Nats would be a player this offseason? Landing Jason Werth is the biggest free agent signing in the team’s short history since their move to the nation’s capital. He didn’t come cheap at $126 million but this signing could ring in a new era for Washington baseball. Werth’s signing proves that the Nationals front office is willing to break the bank to bring in talent and could entice more big names to consider D.C. in the not so distant future.
  3. Chicago White Sox: Welcome to the American League and the Designated Hitter position Adam Dunn. Dunn brings some much needed pop to the cleanup spot for the White Sox and he no longer has to be burdened with playing an actual position in the field. Dunn immediately makes Chicago a threat in the Central. Resigning Paul Konerko for three years was a great move to.

Losers:

  1. Tampa Bay Rays: What a difference an offseason can make. During the first real week of free agency the Rays are down a starting first baseman, a leadoff hitter, and could soon lose their number two starter in Matt Garza and two all-stars in Jason Bartlett and Rafael Soriano. The Rays may have quickly dropped from first place to fourth best in the AL East. At least the fans in Tampa Bay won’t know what they’re missing this season.
  2. Chicago Cubs: It’s tough to consider a team a loser after they just snagged a slugger who has averaged 40 home runs a year over the last three seasons but how in the world do you give Carlos Pena a $10 million contract after he failed to hit .200 this season. When will the Cubbies learn that these ridiculous contracts can seriously impede your ability to be a contender? Case in point: Alphonso Soriano and Carlos Zambrano. The Cubs could quickly go from losers to winners if they are able to land Garza however.

Killer’s Korner

December 1, 2010

This is the first installment of Killer’s Korner, a weekly perspective on the wide world of sports. This column will be posted every Wednesday night with my reaction to the weekly sports stories that peak our interest.

Here’s a preview of what’s going on in that sports crazed world of ours: Lebron’s two face act comes full circle; the Sabres may have found an owner with deep pockets who actually knows a few things about hockey; Derek Anderson loses whatever sanity he had left; and we say goodbye to a legend.

Almost five months after Lebron James rocked the NBA world with the absolute mockery that was “The Decision”, he returns to the city that once praised him as the second coming. Almost like a scene taken out of the 2008 blockbuster the “Dark Knight” the Lebron saga comes full face, so to speak. The parallels are endless between James and District Attorney Harvey Dent. Like Dent, who was epitomized as the “White Knight” of the fictitious Gotham City, James was praised as the savior of the Cleveland Cavaliers. When James was taken first overall by the Cavs in ’03 he brought something to the rust belt city that they hadn’t had in years: Hope. When he takes the court at the Q Arena on Thursday night however, that hope will be fully submerged and James, like Dent and his alter ego “Two-Face”, will complete his transformation from hero to villan.

On a lighter note, another rust belt city seems to have some hope of its own. Rumors ran rampant on Tuesday morning about the sale of the Buffalo Sabres to Pennsylvania billionaire Terry Pegula. Pegula is supposedly somewhat of a hockey nut with deep pockets who could be the answer this city has been searching for, for so many years: an owner who is willing to open up his checkbook to bring a Championship to Buffalo. After donating $88 million to Penn State to start their own hockey program it’s obvious that Pegula has the funds and the willingness to break the bank for success. This could be the dawning of a new age in Buffalo hockey. Lets just hope Golisano and Larry Quinn don’t muck it up like they’ve done so many times in the recent past.

What happened to Derek Anderson? I came to the realization a couple of years ago that Anderson’s breakout season in ’07 was a fluke but I think he’s finally hit rock bottom. Not only was his performance against the 49ers on Monday night putrid, his press conference after the game was certifiably insane. Anderson was questioned at the podium about why he was chuckling with guard Deuce Lutui during the fourth quarter of the Cardinals 27-6 pounding by the Niners. Instead of keeping his cool about the situation, Anderson went on a tirade about how he supposedly takes his job really f*%@ing seriously. Hard to believe considering the fact that his pathetic play this season led to his benching in favor of rookie Max Hall who can’t throw the ball ten yards down the field accurately. Well Derek, enjoy that one year $5 million contract you suckered the Cardinals into because you’ll probably be heading to the UFL next year. Was Matt Leinart really that bad Ken?

To end this weeks rant, I thought it would be appropriate to remember a great sports writer who we lost yesterday. Former Buffalo Sabres, ESPN.com, Sportsnet.ca and Sports Illustrated hockey writer Jim Kelley passed away on Tuesday after a year-long bout with pancreatic cancer. Kelley began covering the Sabres in 1981 and is probably most remembered for questioning Dominik Hasek’s “mental toughness” during the Sabres ’96-97 playoff run. Kelley didn’t make a lot of friends in the Buffalo community during that stretch, seeing as though Hasek was viewed as the Sabres entire team for the majority of the ’90s and questioning him was blasphemous in most people’s eyes. That was Jim Kelley though. He was unbiased, thorough, fair and called it like he saw it; everything a journalist should strive to be. To take a few lines from Kelley’s Sportsnet.ca bio in his own words: “I don’t ask you to agree with what I write, but I would hope you read it with an open mind, think about what’s being said and, hopefully, realize there is always more than one way to see the game.” You personified what it means to be a true journalist Jim and you will be truly missed.


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