The Notebook: What I’ve Been Watching the Past Week

By Justin Cherot

I’ve tried this a couple of times on the old BETA Live From the Nosebleeds site, but essentially the gimmick with “The Notebook” is this: a smattering of thoughts that pop into my size seven head (by New Era standards), none of which are either big enough for an entire post or that I feel like writing about for an entire post.  This “Notebook” probably fulfills the latter criterion. 

And, to borrow an old joke from LFTN, no ladies… this has absolutely nothing to do with Ryan Gosling.  But just for the hell of it…

Nice.  Anyway, as the title of this post suggests, here’s basically what I’ve been watching this week:

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I don’t get to watch a ton of football due to my work schedule (for the record, I am the king of the auto refresh at my job) , but I did catch a whopping two games this week, from which I came to four very different conclusions about the four teams involved.  I watched Billy Cundiff kick the Baltimore Ravens past the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday night, and I watched a good portion of the New Orleans Saints drubbing of the New England Patriots on Monday night.  The four conclusions I came to, you ask?

Ever wonder if Drew Brees has had a bionic arm since 2006?

Saints- I forget whether it was the WWE or WCW, but either way Lex Luger used to straight up knock dudes out with his forearm.  Turned out the reason why–at least the storyline why–was because he had some kind of metal in his forearm.  The point I’m trying to make is that we should really check Drew Brees‘ throwing shoulder, because while he was good pre-injury, he was never this illegal.  He leads the most complete offensive football team I’ve ever seen.  Ever.  I’m not talking about from a “Let’s throw it up and score a zillion points” standpoint, which is nice and all, but far from complete.  Yeah, Breezy can win a game throwing 60 times to the likes of Marques Colston  and Devri Henderson, but he can just as easily take mismatches with Jeremy Shockey all day… or, he can give it to Mike Bell for punishing runs up the gut… OR maybe Pierre Thomas can bounce it outside.  The whole scheme just keeps you honest.  It helps that the defense is vastly improved over last year, but is that “D” good enough to get them a chip?  Questionable at this point.  If everything holds to form, that Saints/Vikings match-up could be redonkulous. 

Patriots- Yes, they’ll still make the playoffs.  Yes, Tom Brady is still a great quarterback.  Yes, Bill Belicheckthestatsregardingfourthdownswemadetherightcall can still hold his own against the top coaches in the league… but you may want to selectively ignore this next statement if you’re a New England Patriots’ fan: the dynasty is over.  Deal with it.  Too many stop gap solutions in important spots, too many botched draft picks, too many critical pieces of the coaching tree gone. 

Ravens- These guys may be the best 6-5 team in NFL history.  Would I need be evaluated psychologically if I told you they should be 10-1?  Think about it: all five of those losses have come in the all-in, A-K vs. 9-9 fashion.  Actually, with the way they’ve lost the games, you’d argue that they were the ones holdings nines (if I’ve lost anyone, nines hold about a 51% advantage prior to the flop…and if you’re still lost, just go back to my original point that the Ravens should have won the majority of those games).  True, the defense isn’t exactly impregnable this season (the secondary denies the rumors about being preggers with Chad Ochocinco’s baby), and the offense has been inconsistent throughout the year, but at some point you’ve got to think the Ravens will start winning these coin flips.  Maybe Sunday was the start of something new.

Steelers- Forget the game.  In fact, if anything I commend Dennis Dixon for his composure against a tough Ravens’ defense for 90% of the night.  Everything with them is all mental.  Literally.  First and foremost, Hines Ward throwing Ben Roethlisberger under the bus before the game???  It was like trying to process Rick James’ interview with Charlie Murphy.  I couldn’t believe what he was saying!  Playing with a bad ankle is one thing: when you go to play with your grandkids later on in life, yeah, you may have trouble catching Jimmy, but at least you won’t be calling Jimmy “Julio” instead.  You don’t agree with B. Roth not playing?  Fine… but that’s probably one of those situations where you’d want to keep your mouth shut (we’ll get to restraint much later on in this Notebook).  The bigger picture here?  Winning a Super Bowl twice in a row is tough, and it won’t happen again this year.  Too many variables.  The competition is tough enough, but when you mix in chemistry and overall chemistry?  Too much.

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Who is Trevon Hughes going to catch next with the ill handle? ESPN.com

As of December 4th, 2009 at 1:34 Eastern time, Trevon Hughes, a senior guard for the Wisconsin Badgers, is not projected to be picked in the NBA Draft according to NBADraft.net.  I don’t know.  Maybe I’m missing something, or maybe he’s a victim of an overreaction to a small sampling, but Hughes is far and away the best point guard I’ve seen so far this season.  Maybe it’s because he has a little combo in him, but he can get his shot off against anybody while still maintaining his composure in that calculated attack that the Badgers employ.  Oh yeah… and he plays big against big competition: just ask Greivis Vasquez and Jon Scheyer, who he’s destroyed within the past couples of games.  The Spartans get all the attention in the Big Ten, but if Hughes’ play thus far is any indcation, Sparty is in for a fight.

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Brandon Jennings owns Milwaukee. BrandonJennings.net.

Got my first look at Brandon Jennings last night when the Washington Wizards beat the Milwaukee Bucks on a really sketchy bail-out call with one second left (on a positive note, though, Earl Boykins is the winner of the “weirdest, most random signing in the world that could possibly save a team’s season” award). 

Like most young players, yes, his shot selection is atrocious, but unlike most young players, he’s not afraid to take the big shot.  That’s amazing in itself, but what may be even more amazing than that is the fact that his teammates are force-feeding him the big shot… and they’re shocked when he misses.  That’s the sign of a leader to me. 

That being said, his shooting is finally coming back down to earth… although it’s hilarious that a guy whom paid experts said was an eratic shooter is shooting close to 48%  from three.  Still…  PROP BET ALERT!!!  PROP BET ALERT!!!  I’m taking the under on 40% from three by Dec. 25th.  Action???      

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Finally, without linking because I’m not giving either one of these stories anymore pub, we received two very different test cases on how to confront off the field issues within the past week.

We all know about Tiger Woods and the car “accident”.  Depending on when you’re reading this, by now it may have come out that an alien abducted Woods for 31 months and they just released him, leaving him with this bizarre PR mess (Vegas odds: 3-1… I’m just saying).  Still, despite the hoards of media digging and scraping for every obscure fact, Woods has actually handled himself in the correct, “this is an in-house issue let’s keep it that way” approach. 

The other case, Mr. Ron Artest, is like the polar opposite of Woods.  I watched Finding Forrester before class today (sleeper pick for my favorite movie ever), and Sean Connery has a line that Artest would benefit from hearing: “You can learn a little something about restraint.”

I get it: he’s wired differently.  So?  Many would say I’m wired differently.  Yes, I write some of the most asinine prose on the face of the blogosphere, but even I know when to tone it down a tad (right, Colin?  Colin???).  And, I think I’ve got a surefire way to fix Artest’s problem: according to my “research” (AKA Googling with no significant results), Ron-Ron is not currently involved in a steady relationship.  Solution: he needs to find a woman.  A serious woman who he plans to either marry or stay monogamous with.  Most importantly, a sane woman who can buffer him. 

See, ever since getting screamed on by Shanta for one of my posts back in August (I will not share which one for I am smarter now), I have put everything I type on the web–whether it’s here, Facebook or Twitter–through the Shanta Test.  I don’t neccesarily run everything I type through her, but I just say to myself “Is this in any way going to embarass Shanta or anybody in her family?”  If the answer is yes, edit.  If the answer is no, fire away.  Simple is that, Ron.

With that said, I hope Eddie House breaks his face and has to have re-constructive facial surgery.  Stop looking at Eddie!

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3 thoughts on “The Notebook: What I’ve Been Watching the Past Week

  1. Pingback: HEADS-UP: Curry vs. Evans II (This Time It’s Personal) « Pick and Pop

  2. Pingback: Emptying the Notebook « Pick and Pop

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