Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Texans Trade Logic.

Follow me here...

[John McClain, Chron.com]
The Texans can’t consummate their trade of quarterback Sage Rosenfels to the Minnesota Vikings before 12:01 a.m. Friday, the start of the NFL year and the beginning of free agency.

Like other teams, the Texans are preparing for what is always a whirlwind period.

Besides trading Rosenfels to Minnesota for a fourth-round draft choice, the Texans will waive defensive end Anthony Weaver, who would have made base salaries of $3.5 million this year and $4 million in 2010.

Weaver signed a five-year, $26.5 million contract, including a $12.5 million signing bonus, to leave Baltimore for the Texans in 2006, which was Gary Kubiak’s first season as coach. He started for three seasons but didn’t provide the kind of pass rush the coaches wanted from the left side.

The Texans are expected to use free agency and the draft to try to improve their pass rush.

Weaver said Monday that he felt uncomfortable commenting until the move becomes official.

The Texans and Vikings won’t comment on the Rosenfels trade until Friday.

In 2007 The Texans traded two second round draft picks to the Atlanta Falcons for (then un-proven) backup QB Matt Schaub who they planned to make their starter.

In 2008 the Texans turned down an offer from the Minnesota Vikings of a third-round draft pick for (semi-proven) backup QB Sage Rosenfels.

In 2009 the Texans are trading their (proven) back-up QB, Sage Rosenfels, for a fourth found draft pick to the Minnesota Vikings, who hope to make Rosenfels their starter.

There's very little difference between Schaub's numbers and Rosenfels numbers when you boil it down. Either the Texans overpaid for Schaub two years ago, or they're letting the Vikings get away with highway robbery now.

Monday, February 23, 2009

2009 Mutt Strut Bleg

My wife has informed me that I will be participating in the 2009 Mutt Strut, March 7, 2009 @ 8 AM. We've joined the Cork Cafe team because...well...we enjoy drinking wine there.

I seem to remember volunteering for this a while ago, one of those things happening way in the future that I agreed to without really thinking about it. Oh well, at least I get a t-shirt out of the deal.

As you might have guessed....here comes the bleg.

I've been assigned a fund-raising goal of $250.00 by the computer system. My personal donation to the cause was an initial $25.00 so that means I have $225.00 left to go before I hit my goal. That's 45 people making a one-time (tax deductible) donation of $5 a piece. I'm averaging over 200 readers per day on this blog.

In order to assuage your fears about the money not being put to its specific use (which has been rumored to happen from time to time) I'm providing a direct link to my personal donation page on the SPCA website here:

My Mutt Strut page.

Just click on "Support Cory!" and the system will walk you through the donation process. You can donate any amount you want, from a penny on up. I'm requesting at least $5 per person to make it easy. Dog's like Sly will thank you for it.

All donations are greatly appreciated, just please give what's comfortable in order to help the Houston SPCA and the animals that are housed there.

Thursday, February 12, 2009


Time for a 3CB halftime break. I can guarantee you this: Teams will have plenty of time to make adjustments.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

So much for all that pre-season Rockets hype....

Who let the Dog's out? [Fran Blinebury, Chron.com]
Here were the Rockets up to all of their old tricks - chasing their tails on offense while the defense rolls over and plays dead.

The Bucks were without three of the regulars in Michael Redd, Andrew Bogut and Luke Ridnour.

Then again, the Rockets might as well have boarded Tracy McGrady (1-for-9, 3 points), Yao Ming (2-for-8, 7 points) and Rafer Alston (2-for-8, 9 points) back at the kennel.

Who wants to be the first one to step up after practice today and point a finger of blame at somebody else?

One game from the All-Star break and this is a collection that is far more poodle than pit bull. Oh, they can look pretty strutting with a ribbon in their hair when everything is going right. But they don't have an ounce of snarl.

Rockets latest flop changes game [Jonathan Feigan, Chron.com]
Rockets owner Leslie Alexander said months ago that he wanted to see his team play just 10 games together.

Sorry. It's too late. They've played just six together. That will have to be enough.

The trade deadline is in 10 days and Daryl Morey is on the clock.

There have been too many signs that this team just does not care enough. For whatever reasons - and that silly, little locker room tension would qualify as a pathetic excuse/explanation - the Rockets cannot maintain intensity and focus, effort and energy game after game.

Even for Mr. Calm, It's almost panic time on Rockets [Jerome Solomon, Chron.com]
After last night's horrible showing in Milwaukee, the Rockets have people freaking out.

Yes the King is normally Mr. Calm in these situations, but I've actually unlocked the handcuffs and opened the briefcase in which the panic button is held. ... My right hand is hovering.

I can't get any closer to pushing the panic button than I am now.

Do you think after talking to a few players, Rick Adelman and the GM, I'll close the brief case without a detonation?

Rockets still have 30 games to figure it out. [Richard Justice, Chron.com]
I keep going back to what Rick Adelman said a couple of weeks ago when he finally had both Ron Artest and Tracy McGrady back in the lineup. He said it would take a few weeks to get guys comfortable with one another and to figure out a rotation. At the time, he left open the possibility of changing the rotation depending on the matchup.

So I keep telling myself there's still a chance a light will come on, and the Rockets will start to resemble a team. They've done that for a few stretches, but then they follow it up with another embarrassment.

This loss to Milwaukee qualifies as an embarrassment on several levels. It's so bad that you wonder if what is broken can ever be fixed. Coaches sometimes use the phrase ''lightning in a bottle'' to explain how teams click.

In other words, they can't really explain. We all saw it last season in the 22-game winning streak. The Rockets played as one. They moved the ball, were terrific on the defensive end and made winning plays. They also seemed to be having fun.

They're clearly not having any fun now. I don't know if Tracy McGrady is to blame, or if it's Ron Artest. I don't know if one or both of them has killed the lockerroom chemistry.

I still think a few victories would improve things dramatically, but maybe they're just not capable of that.

The NBA trading deadline is 10 days away, and Daryl Morey has decisions to make. I'm not sure his decisions now are as tough as they would have been, say, a month ago.

This season began with the Rockets thinking this group was good enough to win a championship. They're clearly not. If Morey makes a trade, he's not going to be breaking up something that works.

It's important to note that the season also began with Chron Sports columnists falling over themselves with rampant Rockets praise...
There's something hugely refreshing about the Rockets. That is, they're really good and they know they're really good and they know these next few months are going to be all kinds of fun.

It's going to be hard for some of us to enjoy the regular season because there's a feeling that this time the playoffs are going to be different. That's a danger, but it's a good problem to deal with.

This isn't the kind of situation we get from our professional teams very often. The Astros have had success, but Drayton McLane is never going to put all his chips on the table and go for it. He's going to spend just enough to be competitive, is never going to allow his people put a complete team on the field.

Meanwhile, the Texans just seemed jinxed. There's no other explanation for it. You can take two or three steps back and see a team with a pretty good offense and with a defense that did a lot of good things against the Colts. And someway, somehow it fell apart.

Leslie Alexander gave his people the go-ahead to do whatever needed to be done. He had to be talked into the Ron Artest deal, but when Daryl Morey and Rick Adelman wanted to do it, he did it.

Likewise, the Carl Landry signing put the payroll higher than Alexander wanted it to go. He agreed, though, because in the end, it closed the gap on the Spurs, Lakers, etc. I once heard a NASCAR owner say: "When our people come to me with something new, you don't ask how much it's going to cost. You ask if it'll make us go faster. If it'll make us go faster, we have to have it."

Whoops. If this season has been anything, it's not a lot of fun. What all of the Chronicle's columnists are lacking is the ability to provide serious analysis of Houston sports teams. Analysis such as this is sorely lacking {Houston's Clear Thinkers}
Frankly, looks to me as if the Rockets would be better off at this point working on their "Life-After-McGrady" plan.

So far I haven't heard anyone address what is now unquestionably the Rockets folly of ridding themselves of Jeff Van Gundy in exchange for Rick Adelman. Even after a loss in which they gave up 124 points (wait, say that again 124 freaking points) to a middle of the pack Eastern Conference team, such as the Milwaukee Bucks (25-29, currently the 8th seed in the East) there's little talk about what a disaster the Rockets' defense has become. If you need any more convincing that's 25 points higher than what the Bucks are averaging per game all season long. For a team with a player whose unofficial motto is "no layups", the Bucks sure had a ton of them last night.

Granted, you can't expect to see 'gloom and doom' 24/7 when it comes to the local sports fanchises, that would be unreadable. But isn't 'sort of' fair to expect sports analysis to be, I don't know, based on reality?

Reality says that McGrady has been a good player in constant decline over past years to the point that he's morphed into the injury riddled, no heart, just-above-average player he is today. Yao is Yao, a quality big man whose game is limited by his size and slow feet. Ron Artest is over the hill, Rafer Alston is the worst starting point guard in the league, and Shane Battier playing team defense is hurting the Rockets because no one else is. If you add to that the reality there's nothing in Adelman's resume that suggests an improvement over Van Gundy and you have another average season with a first round loss in the playoffs dead in your sights.

Depressing? Yup, and given that this is Houston the Rockets will hang on to declining players for too long. Where's that analysis?

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Why I love College Basketball

I give you....Speedo Guy


Friday, February 06, 2009


Probably, by now, you've heard about the ESPN story regarding the Texan's taking some liberties with O.T.A. workouts (allegedly) and you probably had the same reaction as did I. (And the Houston Press' John Royal for that matter.)

Just how dumb IS Gary Kubiak really?

To their credit, despite being scooped the Chronicle's terrible trio isn't pulling any punches after the fact. I 1/2 expected to witness a Richard Justice unloading on Alex Gibbs remeniscent of his "I am the media" tirade (or his un-called for trashing of Stephanie Stradley). Instead he (rightly) laid the blame at the feet of Head Coach Gary Kubiak, who most certainly had the final say in this matter.

For the Texan's part (according to a radio report this morning on 1560 The Game) they're responding to the negative reporting by the local media by questioning why they're saying something now, but didn't say something in May when the drills were taking place? Over on Sportsradio 610 the Texans radio team was busy casting this as "no big deal" and something that "every team does". Yeah, its just the Texans that cut players after they receive career-ending injuries after (allegedly) illegal practice drills right?

The most depressing thing about all this? Imagine you're a free agent and the Texans are on the other line...Would YOU want to play for the Texans now?

The bottom line is that the Texans are in a mess of their own making. Their attempt to cast the blame on the media is lame, as is their radio team parroting the line that these are things every team does. Yes, the writers for the Chronicle should have noticed something was wrong. That's what they're paid to do. According to industry sources however spotting newspaper or TV guys at a Texans OTA is something akin to hearing an Aggie talk about those nice folks over at UT. The notable exception to this rule is Fox Sportscaster Mark Berman (who, coincidentally, often scoops the competition on big stories.) The fact of the matter is the newspaper guys should be there, or have a reporter there, at every practice following up every lead. Unfortunately in Houston it just doesn't happen that way. Maybe our reputation as a bad sports media town is not as undeserved as some contend.

What 3CB is fairly sure of however is that this is another black-eye for a Texans organization that can't seem to figure out how to handle player, executive or fan relations. This is a mess of a team that no, credible, veteran free agent is going to want to sign with because of their track record of handling things in a less-than-first-class manner. Whose fault is it? The coach's fault. Kubiak has almost complete control of football operations. Rick Smith knows perfectly well that its his job to work with Kubiak to get the pieces of the puzzle in place. But Kubiak's got the blueprints. So far all we're seeing are blueprints for mediocrity despite team assurances that the 'talent is in place'. The talent may be there (although I dispute that) but the organizational discipline that's needed to win consistently is missing. After this debacle and embarassment there can be little debating that point.

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Minor League Soccer

(h/t: Mike McGuff)

The Chron's David Barron is reporting that the Houston Dynamo (Houston's Minor League Soccer franchise) has inked a deal with KHOU Channel 11 to broadcast 17 games not on KHOU itself, but on their back-door digital affiliate 11.2.

In other words they're moving from my20TV in Houston, which is a small network but over the air, to a obscure portion of the KHOU channel that's mainly known for Great Day Houston re-runs and The Dining Diva?

Judging by the comments in the Chron article MLS fans are trying to spin this as a positive. After their efforts spinning low ratings experienced on Thursday nights by ESPN2 one has to wonder if they're getting dizzy?

In a way I feel sorry for MLS fans. Soccer is a great game, I'm a huge fan of the International leagues and play at the National level, the MLS? Not so much. Rather than offering up the best soccer in the world, it's developed into a farm league where Americans can play alongside other Country's rising stars or their aging names. Which is OK, but it's nowhere near deserving of the level of hype head-in-the-sand fans heap on it.

Moves like this position the Dynamo closer to the Houston Aeros than they do the Houston Texans. The main difference being the Aeros understand their place in the Houston sports heirarchy and are content to play their games at the Rocket's pad. The Dynamo are still trying to get Oliver Luck his downtown corner office at taxpayer expense.

Hope Springs Eternal

For those of you whose favorite College Football teams made you want to hollar "Wait until next year!" (Yes, I'm speaking of us, Michigan fans) Well, today markes the Beginning of next year.

The Chron has a nice database for local football talent but the go to place for Big School recruiting news is Rivals.com...

For instance. A quick glance at the "Top Dual-threat QB" page reveals that the Wolverines have a commitment from Tate Forcier, one of the top QB prospects in the country and someone who's tailor made to run Coach Rodriguez' spread-run option attack. Overall the 2009 Wolverine recruiting class is shaping up quite nicely. Teric Jones is a RB in the mold of current Houston Texans standout Steve Slaton and the entire list is full of quality speed, especially on the lines (where the Big Tenelven suffers against other conferences).

Hopefully 2009/2010 will turn out a little better than 2008/2009 did for the maize and blue. Bowl qualification would be nice.

Unfortunately, for smaller schools Rivals just doesn't commit the resources to scouting and often miss-grade several prospects.

The Houston Cougars have a list that's full of local talent, and (predictably) heavy on defense. A.J. Dugat and Tyler Chambers are two potential stars at Wide Reciever and Phillip Steward out of Hightower is a potential impact LB (Rivals has his rating incorrect at two stars, he should be a four-star guy). Houston has five OL recruits verbally committed that could be 3-4 year quality starters. Coach Sumlin is building what has the potential to be a CUSA powerhouse over the next two to three years. This is the best Cougar recuriting class that I've seen since before Art Briles came to town.

Rice (which doesn't have a rivals.com team page and who's self-ran team-page is a terrible recruiting resource) has a solid recruiting class led by Turner Peterson and Charles Ross. Looking to replace all-world WR Jerret Dillard will be difficult, but undersized Donte Moore and Andre Geautreaux could grow into a competent tandem. Defensive End Cody Bauer is an undersized, high-motor guy of the type that's experienced success at Rice for quite a while now.

Of course, it's possible that none of the players I've mentioned here will ever see the field. More likely is that fact that some will excel, some will be average, some will change schools and several players unregarded out of HS will become stellar players, such is the inexact science of HS recruiting. I can tell you this however, USC, Florida and Texas will be hovering around all of the National pundits "top 5" lists. There's a reason the same schools compete for National Championships almost every year.

Next year is here.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Pre-March Madness

Feeling those post-Stupid Bowl Blues? Fear not Sports fan, It's time to start seriously thinking about your March Madness Bracket.

UConn is number one (for now) and could be the best team in the land. Jeff Adiran is a power forward throwback to the days of Larry Johnson and Karl Malone while Center Hasheem Thrabeet could be the best big man in the land. Add to that the strong backcourt duo of A.J. Price and Jerome Dyson, the coaching of Jim Calhoun and a deep, deep bench and you have a team that's poised to make a deep, deep run into the tournament.

Oklahoma is number two and boasts one of the Country's best players in Black Griffin. Oklahoma's bench is 10 deep, which provides Coach Jeff Capel plenty of flexibility to run the offensive and defensive principles that he learned while playing at Duke under the tutalege of Coach K.

Handicapping top seeds at this point of the game is liar's poker, but right now I'm pretty comfortable stating that these two teams have at least a 50/50 chance of securing a coveted number one seed from the selection committee.

Looking at things from a conference standpoint, The Big East Conference looks to have seven seats locked up with West Virginia being a possible eighth team 'on the bubble'. The Mountaineers are going to need a quality win or two on the road to make the dance IMO however. The ACC has the potential to place a stunning NINE teams in the tournament. I think they'll cap out at eight, but they are certainly the best conference in the land right now. Due to top-end potential however the Big East (with Marquette, UConn and Pitt) is a strong second. A distant third is the Pac-10 and Big XII which are pretty equal in my mind. Each should garner somewhere in the 4-6 bid range.

Locally the picture is a little less rosy.

Houston (12-7, .5335 RPI[110th]) is currently stuck in the middle of a three game losing streak that was highlighted by two must-win losses against Arizona and Memphis respectively. The Cougars had a large halftime lead against the Wildcats which quickly evaporated after the (now infamous) stomping incident. Current projections have the Cougars finishing at 19-10 which will probably guarantee them yet another invitation to either the NIT or some other tournament (as was the case last year). There are growls in Cougar land that Tom Penders has taken this team as far as he can and that AD Dave Maggard might want to consider a change.

Rice (7-14, .04751 RPI [205th]) - As grim as things are for the Cougars they're looking worse for Rice. Short-term that is. With a new coach, a new building and tons of optimism for the athletic department the Owls are hoping to use this year as a learning experience and move forward in a new direction. It's still a shame that former Coach Willis Wilson wasn't allowed to enjoy the fruits of his years of laboring under adverse conditions however.

What this means for Houston is that (this year) the tournament is going to be primarily viewed via television. No Houston site is on the list as a tournament venue in 2009. Expect productivity to slow to a crawl as frazzled bracketers refresh their web-browsers religiously to see is that 5-12 upset they picked will put them over the top.

It's the best playoff system in sports, and it's a little over a month away.

Monday, February 02, 2009

The SuperBowl in 20 words or less....

"Three bad quarters, followed by two outstanding plays."

Congrats to the Steelers.

We can now shift our focus to the 2009 NFL draft.