The Book of Mike

"This is no junior college. This is the notorious University of Miami.” -- Marlins starter Dontrelle Willis, after getting knocked around for six runs in 2 1/3 innings by the Canes.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Back?

I had a recurring thought over the weekend: it's time to bring the blog back. Now, this isn't like reuniting The Blues Brothers. There's no need to track down Jake, Elwood, and the rest of the boys. It's just me. To bring the blog back I'd simply have to start writing once in awhile.

So let's start now.

I'm a bit torn about it... well, at least about where to start. Maybe I should start by looking for the Royal We, which is apparently already lost. Or maybe I should start with a recap of what's gone on in my life over the past few years since this blog was actually active. There's been a lot, obviously. But that's quite a bit to get into, so I'll leave the for later.

Instead I'll start where I spent much of the past focus of this blog: on sports.

First, the NFL and more specifically the Cardinals: Yesterday's win over (a probably not very good team in) the Jaguars was impressive. Yes, there was plenty of room for improvement (notably on punt returns, where Antrel Rolle was horrific and with Beanie Wells ability to hold onto the ball). But overall it was a dominating win. And not just that, but a dominating win on the East Coast (with an early start for a team that must have felt like it was an AM kickoff). Even if the Jaguars turn out to be a bad team, the Cardinals proved another point: they beat a bad team soundly. That's what good teams are supposed to do.

On the quarterback front, I will admit that I was one (of many) who was worried about Kurt Warner after the loss in the opening game. Kurt looked downright awful and that came on the heels of a pretty dreadful preseason. But he sure looked a lot better (that's an understatement) yesterday. Maybe the health of Steve Breaston (and Anquan Boldin) had something to do with that. Time will tell. Hopefully Warner found the fountain of youth (maybe he did, having been in Florida and so near St. Augustine).

In yesterday's game I found a new respect for Steve Breaston. The Cardinals offense operated completely differently with him in the lineup (and Boldin at or near 100% health). Without him last week the Cardinals offense looked slow and rusty. Yes, Breaston's the Cards number 3 receiver. But he probably wouldn't be on any other team in the league; on some teams Steve would probably be the #1 option.

Next week's game against the Colts looms large. After it, the Cards head into their bye week. A win will be very important to an up and down team. The Colts may not be what they once were (that's unknown at the moment and we'll probably have a better idea after tonight's tilt). But even if they're not, the game will be a nice measuring stick for the Cardinals.

The biggest positive for the Cardinals from yesterday's game was that they proved they're still capable of playing excellent, top level football. What remains to be seen is whether they can sustain it. Until they put together a stretch of solid games, the doubt about the team and the fear of the up-and-down rollercoaster ride (on defense, special teams and even on offense) the team can provide will remain. Playing well against the Colts -- actually, winning not just playing well -- will help to dispel some of those fears. This Cardinals team does not need to be 1-2 heading into the bye week. If they are, their season is likely done. I don't think the sea change in the locker room has taken hold enough to overcome that.

NFL Comments
  1. If you ever doubted the existence of an East Coast media bias, you only need to see the hype surrounding the Jets-Pats game from this weekend to prove that it exists. Some called this a "Super Bowl". Hopefully that was only said in jest for this week 2 game, especially since we're going on 5 years since the Pats last Super Bowl win (and 40 for the Jets). But I doubt it. Now that the Jets have won, many are annointing them as something special. Time will tell.
  2. The Bengals have to feel like they should be 2-0. Crazy.
  3. The Steelers could easily be 0-2 at this point. They're fortunate that the Titans didn't execute well in the opener.
  4. Speaking of, the Titans are now 0-2 and could easily be 0-3 after the upcoming week. At this point they have to be the best 0-2 team in the game.
  5. Imagine if Andre Johnson played for one of the "New York" (err... New Jersey) teams. Would we be able to handle the hype? Or would 'Dre not get the standard NYC hype because he's a relatively low-key guy?
  6. While I was happy to see the Cowboys lose in the "opener" of their new stadium, which has already hosted (at least) two preseason games, a college football game, and a Paul McCartney concert, it's not like I was cheering for the Giants (despite their pick-6 by Hurricane Bruce Johnson and almost pick-6 by another Hurricane -- Kenny Phillips).
  7. Are they Cowboys really making comparisons between their stadium and the Roman Collisseum? Wow.
  8. The 49ers officially make me nervous. I hope the Cardinals don't look back at the opening week game and think of it as a game that got away (as in a game that kept them from the post-season).

Hurricanes/College Football

  1. Seeing the Hurricanes vault up as far as they did in the polls was a pleasant surprise. Hopefully the Canes prove worthy of the lofty ranking -- especially over the next few weeks. The Canes won't look past Virginia Tech, who always gives Miami fits (or worse). And the Canes will definitely be geared up for Oklahoma the following week, as many of these Canes suffered a rough defeat in Norman two years ago.
  2. It's amazing that USC lost to Washington this weekend. Well, it is and it isn't. USC manages to win all of the big games (seemingly) but somehow finds a way to lose 1 game per year that they should win. That's the one blemish on the recent (decade long) run that USC has been on. My guess is that they rebound and go 11-1, putting them firmly back into the national title picture but find themselves (again) on the outside looking in for the BCS title game (even if they look like one of the best two teams in the country at the end of the regular season). That's the downside to losing to an unranked, not highly thought of school and of being in a conference without a title game.
  3. Florida, despite having Tim Tebow and Urban Meyer, looks beatable this year. Who will do it -- Alabama? Florida State? Someone like significant, non-rivalry underdog (like Washington over USC)?
  4. ESPN was lucky that the Texas - Texas Tech game was close and entertaining. It had all the makings of a blowout, with Texas Tech unranked and withou most of the talent that made it a top team last season.
  5. Florida State remains an enigma. They easily could have beaten Miami in the opener. Only a just-a-little-underthrown pass as time expired kept them from winning. Then they struggled against a Jacksonville State team that most folks don't even realize isn't from the state of Florida. And most recently, they dominated BYU (in Utah) over the weekend. This is a BYU team that knocked off Oklahoma in its opener (and was holding its own just fine even when reigning Heisman winner Sam Bradford was in the game).
  6. Seeing FSU manhandle BYU has to encourage Canes fans (once they move past the Virginia Tech game). While on paper Oklahoma probably has a deeper, more talented, and more experienced team than the Canes, BYU beat Oklahoma, FSU beat BYU, and Miami beat FSU. Following that simple train of thought, Miami should be able to beat Oklahoma. But it won't be that simple. That should be a great game. Hopefully Miami is 3-0 when they get to it.
  7. And it wouldn't be football season without Fake Howard. Hoot, hoot!

Other

  1. We (yes, not just me) saw "Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs" over the weekend. I really liked the movie. We saw it in IMAX 3-D. That was $4 more (each) than the regular 2-D version and $1 more than the "regular" 3-D version. Not sure if the extra dollar was worth it or not (having never seen a non-IMAX 3-D movie at the theater). But it was a cool experience. Sometimes it felt like the 3-D was too much of a gimmick. But overall it helped to immerse me in the experience.
  2. "The Miami Herald" is now printing all of the Sunday features (and comics and coupons) in the Saturday edition of the paper (at the regular Saturday price). This has pretty much stopped me from purchasing the more expensive Sunday edition. I doubt this was a good decision for the Herald. I'm no longer a subscriber to the paper. In large part that's because I can get all the news I want from them for free online. And it's also because their sports scores (and other late news) is often incomplete. It's annoying to have to wait until Saturday to see Thursday night's scores in the paper. But that's often what happens in The Herald. And not just for West Coast games. So now I get the Sunday paper features for $0.50 and read the sports and news online for free.
  3. Somewhat related to that newspaper/Herald rant, I think Twitter is here to stay. It's a great way to follow breaking news and sports. I thoroughly enjoyed following Stewart Mandel and Bruce Feldman's college football entries on Saturday, Adam Schefter on Sunday, and Smart Football all weekend. In regular news, the Herald gave good updates on the Coral Gables HS murder as news was developing last week. People will get hooked on Twitter.
  4. Speaking of Twitter, Dan LeBatard needs to break up the folks on his show into multiple Twitter accounts. There's no benefit to the followers to have Dan, Stugotz, Hoch, Mike Ryan and others (are there others?) posting on the same account. It's confusing and some folks (notably me) don't want to follow some of the flakes on the show. Dan and Hoch are great on Twitter. Stugotz needs to have his own space so some of the rest of us can ignore him.

That's all for now. Yes, that's a lot of words for someone who usually doesn't have much to say and didn't say much with many words here. Whatever. Come back soon. Hopefully there will be more to read.

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