Friday, June 28, 2013

Limerick Friday LXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXIX: Dick Whitman Emerges On “Mad Men” Season Finale, Plus Bubba Watson Shows True Colors

Punched a preacher drunkenly
Megan left him finally
He’s put on forced leave
Can no longer bob and weave
Can the truth really set him free?

Lost, Pete fled to the coast
Bob seeks to gain the most
Ted and Peggy humped
Then she got dumped
Now SCDP is nothing but a ghost

Women’s rights they impede
Change the rules so they succeed
The most embarrassing state
Marked by ignorance and hate
High time for Texas to secede

Got a million chances because he could play
But he insisted on throwing it all away
Committed dumbest crime under the stars
Now he’ll be forever behind bars
Just another punk forced to pay today

The latest golfing fraud
Blamed his caddy and the sod
Bubba Watson likes to cry
So everyone thinks he’s a good guy
Actually a douche no one should applaud

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Despite Limitations, “The Essential Smart Football” Offered Unique Insights

“The history of football is essentially the history of ideas meeting talent meeting a moment.”

“There are few absolute truths in football. One is that championships are won with talent and hard work more than anything else. Another is that good ideas don’t die. They merely get assimilated.”

“The Essential Smart Football,” by Chris B. Brown, is less a book than a collection of short essays about various strains of the game, leading to some repetition. The piece is also littered with grammatical errors, a pervasive sense that it was copied-and-pasted from the Internet, and some fanboy-ish usage like referring to Urban as “Coach Meyer.”

That being said, there was plenty to learn as well from these essays. For example, I learned that Bob Davie may have been a misunderstood genius from a schematical standpoint; I learned quite a bit about zone blitzing; I learned about “constraint plays” and what they are designed to do; I learned how “intelligent chaos” and “safe pressure” could, in fact, be football terms; and I learned how the “Run ‘n’ Shoot” offense still sort of lives on.

For good measure, I also learned how many layers are involved in decisions about whether to spike the ball to stop the clock; I learned about all the variations hidden within the broad moniker of “spread offense”; and I learned that Mike Leach once peed on a dog.

The eternal good coaching vs. good players debate was even broached, built into a discussion of Leach’s Texas Tech offense and how a pre-hair-plugs Wes Welker forced some adaptations to it.

“And this is not an uncommon theme in football: great players often do as much to make the game evolve (from both protagonist as well as antagonist perspectives) as coaches.”

To balance out much of the chalk talk and discussion of ongoing trends in the game, the book interspersed some welcome humor as well, the best coming from a conversation between the author and his friend, a high school defensive coordinator.

“When asked what kind of players he likes to coach, he told me: ‘Give me the 2.5 GPA kids. I’ll take them all day, every day. Smart enough to know what’s going on, too dumb to know when something is going to hurt, and not smart enough to remember what hurt last time.”

With an introduction that reminded me a bit of Pat Kirwan’s seminal “Take Your Eye Off the Ball,” Brown has compiled an easy, quick read that also includes a number of important teaching points, intriguing concepts and informed theory. Though short on cohesion and editing, this is a fine book for the avid football fan curious about the ideas behind some of the ubiquitous changes in football.

“And there is simultaneously very little in football that is truly new in and of itself; what is actually new is how the old ideas are synthesized and assembled together, and streamlined in a method that can be taught.”

Monday, June 24, 2013

Deep Thoughts By No-Look McFadden: Episode 66

I am digging a little kid’s to-do list. Those were the days.

It’s hard not to want all of the pretty amazing “Star Wars” posters.

The red rose of Saturn. Just because space is epic like that.

Shane Battier’s “flopera.” Jokes aside, I honestly wonder how guys like this look themselves in the mirror at the end of the day.

HBO ran a four-part series of documentaries about combat photography called “Witness.” Summing up in two words: Holy crap.

So the AT-AT liquor cabinet is a thing. And I picture Lando Calrissian having one of these in his bachelor pad on Cloud City.

What elevates this picture of a failed effort to use a dog’s “Stop Chew” spray from funny to hysterical is the dog’s face in the corner.

I guess this is one way to run a drunk-driving PSA. But the next PSA would have to address the perils of shitting your pants in public in the UK.

I have some experience with this. And Stephen Colbert nailed it. #totallynotcrying #missingmo

Because the trickiest aspect of the second phase of toddlerhood involves the transition from learning how to walk to learning how to kegstand. For which gear is always needed.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Limerick Friday LXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXVIII: Tony Soprano Finally Goes Gently Into That Good Night, Plus “Mad Men” Teeters To An Intense Finish

James Gandolfini’s time to go
Too young at 51, don’t you know
Such an awful thing
Candles lit at the Bada Bing
Tony Soprano, say it ain’t so

Five years already passed
Can’t believe time flies so fast
Gallo, still missed every day
And remembered in every way
Your imprints will forever last

Why some feel his answers are funny
His anti-acne cream’s a bit runny
The bitterly douchey Pop-a-zit
Of class, he’s got the opposite
Great team, try to be a bit more sunny

A season to remember at State
Alas, the bats went cold late
Inopportune mistakes
Is really all it takes
A title will just have to wait

Mickelson had a trophy under his nose
‘Til another last day of “Oh nos!”
Merion tamed the best golfers around
Tension abounded on the final round
The worthy victor was emotional Justin Rose

The return of creepy Glen
Add Bob Benson to list of con  men
Don sends a message sublime
Saves business at the same time
Plus Pete’s in the game again

Kenny got shot by Chevy
Don’s back to drinkin’ heavy
Sally off to boarding school
Peg’s made to look like a fool
Storylines for the finale? A bevy

Last time

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Heller Renders a Painfully Realistic New World Order in Intense, Emotional “The Dog Stars”

“Life is tenacious if you give it one little bit of encouragement.”

“They bred dogs for everything else, even diving for fish, why didn’t they breed them to live longer, to live as long as a man?”

What happens when roving bands of Arabs rule a disease-stricken land? What happens when the resources we now take for granted are stolen, fought for and died over each and every day? What happens when every relationship—save for one—is calculated on the basis of how much more likely it is that the other person will boost your chances of survival?

What happens when the sky is the only safe place left? And is love possible in a postapocalyptic wasteland?

These questions and more are posed by Peter Heller in his powerful novel “The Dog Stars.” The author relies on clipped sentences, creating natural tension with abrupt, sometimes-jarring prose. The result is a rather frightening story, though it occasionally reads like a journal or shorthand, which can make it difficult to follow at times. The fragmentation also lends a very interesting perspective to how you read and digest the book. Yet Heller is also capable of throwing a beautiful line (“How we gentle our losses into paler ghosts.”) on an unsuspecting reader, as well as occasional humor (“You look like a homeless hockey player.”)

Heller’s protagonist, Hig, is nearly a decade into his survival over a mass death event wrought by an autoimmune disease likened to “AIDS with T cells.” Yet he admits that, despite scattered moments of peace and solitude, he has been merely hanging on almost involuntarily, instead of truly living whatever life he can carve out in this new landscape.

“I cannot live like this. Cannot live at all not really. What was I doing? Nine years of pretending.”

“It caught me sometimes: that this was okay. Just this. That simple beauty was still bearable barely, and that if I lived moment to moment, garden to stove to the simple act of flying, I could have peace.

At a deserted airport, Hig is forced into an alliance with his gun-nut neighbor, Bangley, as almost involuntarily they both become completely reliant on each other for survival. Hig finds himself unable to hide some of his thoughts and feelings from Bangley, because even though they may jeopardize his status with Bangley, he has a need to share, find some common ground. I found the Hig-Bangley dynamic to be very similar to the Rick-Shane juxtaposition from “The Walking Dead”; essentially, an optimistic, moralistic approach vs. a pessimistic, realistic approach.

“Half the time with Bangley I’m thinking about all the stuff I should never say.”

“If I get caught short and killed one day it’s because I’m too soft. Right? Is it worth living the other way? Bangley’s way? Well, I’m an apprentice. Still. An acolyte in the School of Bangley. Just by living here. And not too great at it. Still.”

“For Bangley, we only get so many fuckups before the jaws close ... That’s what steams him the most. He doesn’t want to lose because he suffered some fool.”

Bangley’s code is more in line with the shift that has taken place in the world, while at the same time it may be leading to the schisms that rip nations and people apart—regardless of geography or volume of land.

Hig’s incredible, adaptable dog, Jasper, has become his de-facto family in the new world order, though Hig must also come to terms with the realization that not only has Bangley joined that family, but they have become “like a married couple”—this despite marked and likely irreconcilable philosophical differences in how they perceive the globe they now live on.

“Still we are divided, there are cracks in the union. Over principle. His: Guilty until—until nothing. Shoot first ask later. Guilty, then dead. Versus what? Mine: Let a visitor live a minute longer until they prove themselves to be human? Because they always do. What Bangley said in the beginning: Never ever negotiate. You are negotiating your own death.”

“Me versus him. Follow Bangley’s belief to its end and you get a ringing solitude. Everybody out for themselves, even to dealing death, and you come to a complete aloneness. You and the universe. The cold stars. Like these that are fading, silent as we walk. Believe in the possibility of connectedness and you get something else. A tattered union suit flying on a flagpole. Help asked and given. A smile across a dirt yard, a wave. Now the dawn not so lonely.”

The unlikely duo must constantly stave off raids from outsiders who envy and cherish all the resources that Hig and Bangley have at their plum location. The rote that killing has become due to this—the normal part of the routine it has developed into, the way he has become used to it—frankly terrifies Hig. Within this realization is an acknowledgment that he must embrace some fundamental change in how he views his new life to avoid turning into Bangley.

Yet in the end, the essential humanity involved in forging a relationship with someone based on mutually assured survival overcomes all divides—philosophical, spiritual, ideological, emotional. It is set against this backdrop—and that of Bangley’s mortality—that  Hig stumbles upon the tie he has created with Bangley.

“Never know how you feel about someone until their house is torn open ... Never know how you feel about someone until they die and come back.”

Despite the forced bond with Bangley, it becomes apparent that Hig’s true remaining loves are Jasper and his 1956 Cessna 182 airplane. Hig views his ability to fly as carrying a responsibility along with it, and he becomes a steward for the Mennonites—a community afflicted with the blood disease but not yet dead—which give him some level of human contact and sense of community and helping.

However, there is much more to the gift of flight that Hig treasures—and Bangley suspects. The act of escape, of freedom, of distancing oneself from all that is pain, up close and unavoidable.

“From up here there was no misery, no suffering, no strife, just pattern and perfection. The immortal stillness of a landscape painting.”

“And for a time while flying, seeing all this as a hawk would see it, I am myself somehow freed from the sticky details: I am not grief sick nor stiffer in the joints nor ever lonely, nor someone who lives with the nausea of having killed and seems destined to kill again. I am the one who is flying over all of it looking down. Nothing can touch me.
“There is no one to tell this to and yet it seems very important to get this right. The reality and what it is like to escape it. That even now it is sometimes too beautiful to bear.”

Despite a dramatic encounter with a group of savage rapists and plunderers—when a specific object owned by one pushes Hig over the edge and into violence he can’t avoid—the early part of the book was really a tale/tail of a boy and his dog, with the touching, emotional events that occur between the two leading to tears for both narrator and reader. The aspect of the story was so powerful and painful that this reader needed to get out of the world of the book for a few days.

The loss is so enormous and almost unfathomable that Hig is rendered unable to move by his inability or unwillingness to process it.

“You can’t metabolize the loss. It is in the cells of your face, your chest, behind the eyes, in the twists of your gut. Muscle sinew bone. It is all of you.”

“Grief is an element. It has its own cycle like the carbon cycle, the nitrogen. It never diminishes not ever. It passes in and out of everything.”

 “The tears that weren’t there yesterday flood. Break the dam and flood ...
“Jasper. Little brother. My heart.”

His identity was tied up in taking care of Jasper, even though the relationship was symbiotic. And the chasm between he and Bangley is never so evident as when he tries to explain his lack of rational thinking in the hours after saying goodbye to Jasper.

“Before I could locate myself: I am a widower. I am fighting for survival. I am the keeper of something, not sure what, not the flame, maybe just Jasper. Now I couldn’t. I didn’t know what I was. So grieve.”

“You got in your plane and flew past your point of no return. In a world maybe without any more good fuel. You left a safe haven, a partnership that worked. For a country that is not at all safe, where anyone you meet is most likely going to try to kill you. If not from outright predation then from disease. What the fuck were you thinking? Hig.
“My dog died, I said.”

Hig doesn’t have much time to consider what a void of companionship may mean to him, as he’s quickly launched into a scenario where he’s being stalked by nine pursuers, ramping up the intensity to 11. Bangley proves his worth by saving Hig’s skin, which leads to some revelations about Bangley that came almost too late for Hig, who bids him an surprisingly emotional goodbye as Hig takes to the skies to see what else the horizon and life might hold.

“We have traveled.
Now you will be the path
I will walk I will walk
Over you.”

Through flashbacks, we are periodically given insight into Hig’s pre-cataclysm life. We eventually learn that he was forced to free his pregnant wife of the sickness in a gut-wrenching way. Though she is scarcely talked about, the words used by Hig to describe the pain involved in easing her passage makes the impact evident.

“I’d been crying. I tried with every ounce not to, not to weep as I saw my world, everything in it of any importance, vanishing from my grip.”

The book’s true pivot point came in the aftermath of the loss, as Hig makes a conscious decision to go beyond simply trying to survive. He must embrace and accept that he has the freedom and right to search for something more, to yearn for more meaning, to attempt to construct some real life beyond the horror of where they now found themselves.

“Nothing to lose is very close to the Samurai You are already dead. That’s what I told myself.”

“In that instant I knew what I had come for ... It was to be glad again to be alive.”

“Nothing to lose is so empty, so light, that the sand you crumble to at last blows away in a gust, so insubstantial that it’s carried upwards to shirr into the sandstorm of the stars. That’s where we all get to. The rest is just wearing thin waiting for wind.”

It is during one of his visits to the Mennonites, when their inability to have any kind of human contact truly reveals itself, that he arrives at this internal decision to quest for more and better.

“It was Jasper, not just. It was all of it. Was this hell? To love like this, to grieve from fifteen feet, an uncrossable distance?”

“I met her hazel eyes, a little bloodshot with the immune system war raging inside her, and held to her tiny fingers for a long moment, held to them like they were a rope and I was a man drowning.”

In his distracted search for something he can’t quite name, Hig stumbles into a discovery of a former nurse named Cima and her father, who are staking out a hidden life in a box canyon. The trio struggles to re-create what interpersonal interactions are supposed to consist of in a dearth of society, and Heller struggles here to clearly convey the development of the relationship between Hig and the father in particular. Not surprisingly, Hig and Cima begin to fall for each other (though it turns out that epic cases of blue balls persist even in a postapocalyptic world) in a fitting end-of-the-world romance.

“In the dark she radiated a soft light of her own like waves breaking at night.”

“I felt lonelier then than I had felt before the canyon. The hearts thudded and ricocheted against each other, but the spirit did not. I could not stroke her more than absently, or kiss her, or even talk with authenticity. As if failing in consummating love had robbed me of all legitimacy as a lover. Had stripped my license to love or even express affection. It was awful.”

“Funny how you can live a whole life waiting and not know it.”

The trio eventually comes to an agreement that they should seek out hope in a broader world, though some readers may assume that Cima’s father would either die or refuse to leave. After some struggles with math involved in ensuring that Hig can take off in the plane given the weight involved and the runway space, they agree to swing back around and pick up Cima’s father on the highway. Miraculously (or not, considering a fiery plane crash would be an odd editorial choice to end the story at that point), they make it by two feet in the boxed-in takeoff.

Following a harrowing takedown of a demented air-traffic controller, Hig and his new friends endure an intense return to Hig’s airport, where they find a wounded Bangley clinging to life after a series of hellacious attacks in Hig’s absence. After things return to some semblance of normalcy, Cima seeks to find her purpose through treating the Mennonites—especially the kids.

On a side note, I felt the Mennonites represented a larger, more interesting aspect of the tale than the space allotted to them dictated; as Heller pointed out, they represented some aspect of society’s final clinging to discrimination: “The misperception that had saved their lives ... Kept them away, all attackers, preserved their lives as it killed them.”

During interactions with the Mennonites, Hig’s love for Cima grows as he sees her in her natural setting, pursuing her passion more in line with the natural progression of things—caretaking, healing, treating.

“Watch anyone enter their arena of real mastery and you see it, the growing bigger than themselves.”

“As if part of her relaxed, as if there were a shucking of some old skin. A husk of herself that had been a barrier I hadn’t even been aware of. And in the sloughing off, she opened and flowered. Corny, huh? Not really. Magical. I mean to watch a person let go of something and flower.”

“Dog Stars” ended rather abruptly in my view, with some vague potential promise of Arabic rescue and wrapping up with a poem to end the novel. Of course, I understood the move by Heller, as this story held potential for developing into a really, really long book.

I felt that Heller took advantage of an interesting tool in the writing of this story—one that could be construed as either a conundrum or a convenient literary license. Because it’s written in essentially an apocalypse context, the author isn’t forced to delve too much into relationships, since there are no rules, dividing lines, parameters, boundaries or, really, guiding principles. As a result, we are not forced to consider whether it’s fair for Hig to abandon Bangley without really telling him why.

Despite some minor quibbles over certain aspects of the tale, I found this to be an engrossing, emotional read, rife with monumental questions about humanity, religion, morality, love and society. Heller takes on an ambitious environment with aplomb, sketching out how what we might cling to, turn to and lean on in times of unthinkable depravity and loss. In that sense, he has pulled off a minor miracle in “The Dog Stars”—painting a believable picture of what an America might look like after it goes to the dogs.

“Still, some nights I grieved. I grieved as much at what I knew must be the fleeting nature of my present happiness as any loss, any past. We lived on some edge, if we ever lived on a rolling plain ... that sense of being in a painting.”

“Goodbye, bud. You are Jasper. My heart. We are never apart, not here, not there.”

“Is it possible to love so desperately that life is unbearable? I don’t mean unrequited, I mean being in the love. In the midst of it and desperate. Because knowing it will end, because everything does. End.”

Friday, June 14, 2013

Limerick Friday LXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXVII: The Pack Nine Are CWS-Bound, Plus No Joan Sinks Already Depressing “Mad Men”

An Omaho trip for the Pack
After 45 years, they’re back
They’ll take on the cheaters from the hill
Looking for a College World Series thrill
Less bunting, and more on the attack!

It’s the return of Linden and Holder
The atmosphere both darker and colder
“The Killing” so gritty it hurts
Seems like everywhere evil lurks
A much darker version of Scully and Mulder

“Big Brother” says “Don’t misbehave”
Reasons for surveillance, none gave
Is there unsanctioned spying?
Or else which side is lying?
Orwell just rolled over in his grave

Tebow ESPN coverage a disgrace
Place a palm over your face
Latest move by the Hoody
To sign an overrated goody-goody
Is there even a Patsies plan in place?
So Bob Benson’s gay for Pete
Peg as an old maid’s nearly complete
Sally walked in on Don
Banging her crush’s Mom
With lies and low points, this epi was replete

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

2013 Draft: Dolphins Go Bold, Target Potential Game-Changers

Some seven weeks after the draft, I've recovered enough to dissect what Miami has come up with in the Annual Bust Invitational ...

First Round (3rd overall): Dion Jordan, DE, Oregon
I’m about as cynical a ‘Fins fan as you’ll find (as has been well-documented in just about all of my Dolphins posts). However, I have to admit: I loved the move to trade up and snare Jordan.
Sure, there are concerns about his relatively small body of work and how he was used at Oregon, but Miami has been tracking this dude for two years, they got great value in the trade up (giving up only a single second-rounder) and landed arguably the draft’s top defensive playmaker.
A move like this makes the ‘Fins better at multiple positions. Cam Wake is considered by some to be the best pure pass rusher in the NFL, but he’s been in desperate need of another legitimate threat for a while. The hope is that Jordan’s emergence will give Wake more one-on-one looks, while also opening up some room for Randy Starks to operate on the interior.
The bottom line is that Ireland gauged the top portion of the draft, identified a possibility for an advantageous deal and pulled the trigger when everything was on the line. Who or what Jordan turns out to be obviously remains to be seen, but in terms of strategy and execution, this was a tremendous move for Ireland and the ‘Fins.

Second Round (54th overall): Jamar Taylor, CB, Boise State
Miami had a neon-lit need at cornerback after jettisoning Vontae Davis a year ago and allowing Sean Smith to walk via free agency (and with vets Brent Grimes and Richard Marshall coming off serious injuries), and Taylor was a first-rounder on many boards.
He’s got solid corner size (5,11, 192 pounds) and speed (4.39 second in the 40), and he’s considered a tactician best suited to zone coverage. Taylor will have every opportunity to secure a starting spot very early in his Dolphins career, and this would appear to be a situation where a good player at a need position fell fortuitously to Miami.

Third Round (77th overall): Dallas Thomas, OT, Tennessee
Lest I get too comfy with the approach after two dead-on picks to start the draft, Miami couldn’t help itself in making its first reach of the draft. He has experience playing both guard and tackle as a three-year starter in the SEC—never a bad thing—but there are concerns about his footwork and strength.
Opinions did seem to vary on Thomas, but the fear here is that he’s a bit of a ‘tweener between guard and tackle. The good news is that he likely won’t be counted on to start right away, giving him a chance to get his feet wet while the franchise determines where he fits best along the offensive front.

Third Round (93rd overall): Will Davis, CB, Utah State
After nailing the first two selections of the draft by most accounts, the Dolphins made their second straight “iffy” pick, trading back into the third round to grab Davis. The braintrust felt that cornerbacks were going off the board a bit too quickly for their liking, so they jumped back into the late third to ensure they weren’t left wanting.
Davis has a similar built to Taylor, but has less experience, recovery speed and discipline. He could certainly develop into a starting-caliber player, but you never like to hear about your general manager making moves out of perceived desperation. In fact, I have to admit that I was secretly hoping that this trade-up may have been to land one of the two free-falling quarterbacks, USC’s Matt Barkley or Syracuse’s Ryan Nassib, as I’m not as sold on Ryan Tannehill as many.

Fourth Round (104st overall): Jelani Jenkins, OLB, Florida
Though Jenkins is a bit undersized (6-0, 243 pounds), I liked this get for Miami. He’s an athletic player who can maneuver out in space and is battle-tested in the SEC. He was dinged up quite a bit in college and there are some concerns about his ability to pick his way through the wash of blockers to find the ball, but his myriad of skills should allow him to at least impact on special teams as he gets acclimated to the pro game.

Fourth Round (106th overall): Dion Sims, TE, Michigan State
Two picks after snaring Jenkins, the Dolphins tabbed this enormous tight end out of the Big 10. He’s seen as a wide-body receiver who is dangerous after the grab, though he has a ways to go in the blocking category.
I think Sims represents a perfect example of how a blown draft pick can have a ripple effect on subsequent selections. After striking out on third-rounder Michael Egnew a year ago and then losing Anthony Fasano in free agency, Miami likely felt some pressure to find a seam threat tight end, turning to a raw prospect with significant off-the-field issues in Sims. The ‘Fins have to hope Sims is a developmental prospect who “gets it” faster than Egnew has shown to date.

Fifth Round (164th overall): Mike Gillislee, RB, Florida
Having said goodbye to Reggie Bush in free agency and being lukewarm on 2011 second-rounder Daniel Thomas, the ‘Fins chose the intriguing Gillislee at an attractive spot. At 5-11, 208 pounds, he has a deceptive blend of power and speed, and he put together a solid final campaign in the SEC.
Gillislee has been criticized for not following his blocks and trusting the development of the play—a trait that ushered Bush out of town—and will need some work in pass pro. However, with only Thomas and unproven second-year man Lamar Miller at tailback, he’ll get a chance to show his stuff relatively early in Miami. And as a bonus, his “NFL comparison” in his scouting report was Andre Brown, the former Wolfpack standout.

Fifth Round (166th overall): Caleb Sturgis, K, Florida
That “ugh” you heard came from thisaway. Not only is it usually inadvisable to pick a kicker in the fifth round, but Miami’s incumbent, Dan Carpenter, is widely regarded as a top-10-ish kicker. Sure, he’s coming off an uneven campaign, but to me, if you grab a kicker in the fifth, you are pretty much expecting him to be, well, your kicker. And that’s no sure thing with Carpenter standing in the way. And to the argument that this puts “pressure” on Carpenter, the Dolphins could have done the same thing by retaining Nate Kaeding (or another vet) and saved a fifth-rounder.
All that being said, it’s certainly possible Sturgis beats out Carpenter, Miami saves a ton of money at the position, and Sturgis goes on to win a couple of games for the ‘Fins with clutch kicks. But right now, I think this was a luxury pick for a team with a few more needs out there.

Seventh Round (250th overall): Don Jones, SS, Arkansas State
Jones was widely linked to Miami throughout the draft process, so if such a thing as a “predictable” seventh-round draft pick exists, this was it. The ‘Fins have had some success with late-round safeties over the years, thought it has been a position of weakness for too long in Miami. Reshad Jones went a long way toward righting that wrong last year, but let’s see it for a second season before we anoint him at the back end of the Dolphins secondary.
As to Jones, he’s an undersized (5-11, 191 pounds) safety with some potential to shift to corner or perhaps dime back. However, he has conditioning measurables, leading one to believe that he could make his name on special teams if he can stick early on.

Miami stuck to its guns on a potential trade for Kansas City offensive tackle Branden Albert, refusing to part with a respectable pick on draft day(s). Instead, the Dolphins had a veteran carousel of tackle workouts before deciding on free agent Tyson Clabo, most recently of the Falcons. Will the gamble on an older vet over an expensive (and still relatively unproven) youngster pay off? That will be one storyline to watch as 2013 unfolds.

The Dolphins took no wide receivers or defensive tackles, and while the decision on wideouts was understandable after signing Mike Wallace and Brandon Gibson, Miami is headed for salary-cap heartache sooner rather than later with the duo of Randy Starks and Paul Soliai. Though there is some position versatility with Jared Odrick, it was surprising that the ‘Fins didn’t target a DT at some point during the draft.

As noted, I fight a bit of a dry heave when it comes to a kicker in the fifth round, and the run on Florida Gators was a bit perplexing. However, the first two picks—Jordan and Taylor—cemented this as a strong draft for Miami, with some high-potential, low-risk selections peppered throughout the rest of the list.

The sense I get is that the Dolphins felt good enough about what they did in free agency that it afforded them some freedom to target playmakers in the draft. And while any type of contributions from the later-day guys would be icing on the cake, this draft’s success or failure will hinge on the development of Jordan—a fact that Ireland himself likely wouldn’t debate.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Excuse Me, I Must Commence To The Weeping Now ...

It's not funny because it's true.

Friday, June 07, 2013

Limerick Friday LXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXVI: Sweeping The Hated Yanks A Rare Bright Spot For Mets, Plus Joan Steals The Show (As Usual) On “Mad Men”

Four times they faced the Yanks
And they came up with four spanks
For the Metsies, a sweet sweep
From the Bronx, nary a peep
For a light in a lost season, many thanks

He cracked on Catholics with glee
And he’s a Mormon? I see
The latest Buckeyes prick
Pulled a self-disappearing trick
Enjoy “retirement,” Gordon Gee

Another fake-tough-guy tool
Trying too hard to be cool
Then he refused to handshake
As the Heat left him in their wake
Hibbert, just one more poser fool

Had sacks of quarterback bones
Filled foes with whimpers and moans
One of the faces of the NFL
A demon of pass-rushing hell
Rest in peace, Mr. Deacon Jones
Power struggles abounded
Don on hash nearly drownded
Roger got punched in the beans
Joan got a client with forward leans
Turmoil everywhere, the alarms sounded