Tag Archives: Denver Broncos

NFL16 Cherry Picks W10: Heavy Mettle Jams Make Super-Duper Slate

9 Nov

Mettle game: A sporting contest where both teams have priorly demonstrated a capacity for exceptional play but a showing that has either, 1) been lacking in its consistency (losses), or 2) not been sufficiently challenged in circumstance (road test, injuries, weather, etc.) or in high-caliber opponents.

wilson-2-5m-11-11-12-l-maurer-wcIn other words, a mettle game is a toughness-test between teams with playoff potential.

Last week’s slate was downright anemic (iron deficient).

The marquee match-ups that football fans come to expect at the midway were in short supply in W9, with majority of contenders paired against opponents that seem headed to a sub-par season.

Broncs @ Raiders, Eagles @ Giants, Colts @ Packers and Steelers @ Ravens were the handful that offered some hope for fireworks. In the end, while some lively play and exciting conclusions were a commonality, all the eventual winners were in control from the get-go with the losers never able to get it all in sync.

brees-wc-804k-11-2-9-e-kirk-cuomo-usmc-j-conwayannetteBut Week 10 is a horse of a different color.

One week the slate o’ games looks peaked & pallid (W9), the next, the National offers up a smorgasbord of mettle matchups that should boost the hemoglobin of any fan’s lab values. Feast your eyes on these iron-clad clashes:

KC @ CAR: The Chiefs are QB-ready, the Cats starting to show some claw
MIN @ DC: Both teams are former streakers (Ws), one starts their way back
GB @ TEN: Inconsistency Bowl, luck for both they toil in weaker divisions
MIA @ SD: Clash of the Coasters, quarterbacks will set tone in TDs and INTs
CIN @ NYG: Seems the Giants haven’t had steady run-game since Joe Morris

And the heavy mettle jams:

DEN @ NO: Saints’ stock rising with three of four Ls by a total of ten points
ATL @ PHI: Falcons’ stock stays high with three Ls by total of twelve points
DAL @ PIT: Wily QB Ben leads Anti-Heroes v. rookie-led America’s Team
SEA @ NE: SB49 rematch sees Patriots still elite and Hawks missing Beastie

cherries-cloth-picdrome-6-2011-thmCherry Picks Week 10

Broncos (6-3) @ Saints (4-4): 11.13 CBS 1:00: Saints win
Falcons (6-3) @ Eagles (4-4): Fox 1:00: Philadelphia wins
Kansas City (6-2) @ Carolina (3-5): Fox 1:00: Panthers win
Minnesota Vikings (5-3) @ Washington Redskins (4-3-1): Fox 1:00: Vikes win
Green Bay Packers (4-4) @ Tennessee Titans (4-5): Fox 1:00: Green Bay wins
Miami Dolphins (4-4) @ San Diego Chargers (4-5): CBS 4:05: San Diego wins
Dallas Cowboys (7-1) @ Pittsburgh Steelers (4-4): Fox 4:25: Pittsburgh wins
Seattle Seahawks (5-2-1) @ New England Pats (7-1): NBC 8:30: Patriots win
Cincinnati Bengals (3-4-1) @ Giants (5-3): 11.14 Disney 8:30: Bengals win

Record: 44 – 43 – 2

......NFL-symbol.wikiproject.6kbSteven Keys
NFL HunchLine
Photo credit: heavymetalviking, wc.cca, Unleashed, Vassil, 2.12.7; R.Wilson, wc, L.Maurer, 11.11.12; D.Brees-J&A.Conway, USMC, wc, 11.2.9, E.Kirk-Cuomo; cherries-cloth, wc, June-2011, picdrome; NFL-symbol, wikiproject
Posted: 11.9.16 @ 6:41, edit @ 8:51pm EST; Copyright © 2016

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NFL16 Cherry Picks W9: In a Sorry Slate, Broncos @ Oakland Beckons

1 Nov

Maybe you’ve got some chores to do around the house (or flat), ones you‘ve been putting off. On Sunday, put on your dungarees and have at it.

Checkout the lawn. Maybe it could use one more mowing before the snowing starts to blowing. Brrrr!

If you haven’t already you could start on your Christmas-Hanukkah list. That’s why they invented catalogs, Sport. You won’t regret it, come December.

You have kids or you‘re a Big Brother / Sister? Take ‘em to a nearby park to breath in some nature, or head to the city zoo. And don‘t feed the rhinos.

Better yet, team-up and give Mom a hand around the house this Sunday, or take her out to lunch, just as long as it’s not fast-food or chain-fare, meaning, somewhere nice. And leave the damn phones at home.

raking-leaves-wc-d-goehring-12-17-09-2-3mBut whatever you do, don’t plan to spend all your afternoon watching the National Football League.

And it ain’t got nothing to do with the Krude one (Colin-of-the-mock-socks). Any TV viewer who’d ditch a date (NFL) simply because of one self-serving racist could not have had a spirit for sport to begin with, making it more likely their reported exit is in support of Krusader’s play-act, making Nielsen numbers they represented ephemeral (false positive) and then no true reflection upon which sponsors might rely.

Check out the next round of NFL contests.

If Week 9 games could fill a Halloween sack you’d have some glum looking kids with a sad haul of tricks n’ treats to spread on the living room floor: Things like butterscotch wraps, gummy-bears, caramel-covered popcorn balls, red delicious, licorice thingamajigs, whatsits & whatevers. All great stuff, if that’s what you like, but void of the candy corn, Milky Way® and M&M’s® we’ve come to expect.

NFL schedulers must’ve figured fans had better things to do at the midway point than lounge in front of the boob-tube with match-ups like Dallas @ Cleveland, Saints @ 49ers, Panthers @ Rams and the Titans heading to San Diego (Zzzz).

This has gotta’ be the sorriest slate of the season, hands down.

DSC_6852There is one game that beckons like a Kit-Kat® sitting solitary on the kitchen counter: The Denver Broncos @ Oakland Raiders (NBC 8:30 EST). Chomp!

Both tied for the AFC West lead at 6-2 with young QBs feeling their oats (T.Siemian / D.Carr), the winner taking command but knowing a re-match awaits Week 17 at Sports Authority in Denver to close out the regular and to drip with playoff ramifications.

The Raiders, led by 3rd-year quarterback Derek Carr whose playing in a different stratosphere this 2016, one where the likes of Tom Brady, Matt Ryan & Aaron Rodgers usually orbit (’Who‘s the dude with the goatee?’), hold the scoring edge (#5 ygpg / #6 pspg) over the Mustangs rather tame offensive output (#27 ygpg / #13 pspg), while the hosts, led by Von Miller and T.J. Ward (SS), continue to exhibit tremendous defensive wherewithal (#3 yapg / #5 papg) as their guests can’t stop feeding off the bottom (#31 / #29).

The immovable object versus the unstoppable force, that is, when the Raiders have the ball and the Mustangs aim to stuff it down their…you get the drift.

In truth, I must concede a smidgen of hyperbole in my watchability ratings. Apart from the AFCW battle-for-supremacy, you could reasonably claim a few other contests capable of converting Mom‘s lunch outing into an early dinner.

siemiant-wc-8-29-15-1-9m-j-beallThat includes traditional tussles where the Philadelphia Eagles fly into the Meadowlands to face the rival Giants, the Colts take to Lambeau and the Steelers return to the Crab Cake city to face the Ravens. All teams flashing flaws but still very much in the hunt for those playoff sweets.

In fairness to NFL schedulers, how were they to know that mediocrity (parity) would come to permeate the 32 teams? Correction, 31 teams (See; Patriotus Juggernautus).

And then as any fan worth their weight in high fructose corn syrup knows, even the saddest looking match-up can produce the most heated, exciting battle that turns ticket-stubs into collectible gold. So there’s that.

cherries-ripe-chirak-wc-605k-6-24-7Cherry Picks Week 9

Falcons (5-3) @ TB (3-4): 11.3 NFLN 8:25: Atlanta wins
Lions (4-4) @ Minnesota (5-2): 11.6 Fox 1:00: Vikes win
Eagles (4-3) @ Giants (4-3): Fox 1:00: New York wins
New York Jets (3-5) @ Miami Dolphins (3-4): CBS 1:00: Dolphins win
Pittsburgh Steelers (4-3) @ Baltimore Ravens (3-4): CBS 1:00: Ravens win
Indianapolis Colts (3-5) @ Green Bay Packers (4-3): CBS 4:25: Packers win
Denver Broncos (6-2) @ Oakland Raiders (6-2): NBC 8:30: Broncos win
Buffalo Bills (4-4) @ Seahawks (4-2-1): 11.7 Disney 8:30: Seahawks win

Record: 39 – 40 – 2

......NFL-symbol.wikiproject.6kbSteven Keys
NFL HunchLine
Photo credit: V.Miller, wc.cca, J.Beall, 8.20.11; rake-leaves, wc, D.Goehring, 12.17.09; D.Carr, wc, P.Sheffield, 9.28.14; T.Siemian, wc, J.Beall, 8.29.15; cherries-ripe, Chirak, wc, 6.24.7; NFL-symbol, wikiproject
Posted: 11.1.16 @ 7:01pm, edit @ 11:18 EST; Copyright © 2016

Yore Movie Swells: The 25 Best Westerns in Filmdom

15 Aug

Vintage Varieties

The American movie Western: As genres go there’s never been one bigger. Not the rat-a-tat-tat of the gangster, surreal sci-fi, hairy horror, animated adorables, action packed drama, marvelous musicals, cockeyed-romance, screwball comedy nor mad-cap adventure. None has measured up to the Western wherewithal.

..........HighNoon.wc.1952,112k.UA(SB2)It had a great run spanning most of the 20th century, from the silent era (“Inceville”) lasting well into the 1980s, generating reliable revenue for all the studios from big dogs like MGM to pesky pups in Monogram (Allied Artists), not to mention the jobs created in the thousands in costumes, stunt-work, catering, cattle-care and the like.

Horse-opera was a celluloid staple, so big King Kong loaded the Swingline®.

From the days of the nickelodeons (How cool were they!) to Main Street cinema and well into TV time, Western heroes, darling damsels, dastardly villains, loyal sidekicks like Gabby Hayes, Pat Brady and Smiley Burnette and trusty steeds, together pulled in fans and ruled ratings from coast to coast, driving many to vacation destinations West in dude ranches and National Parks to capture a little of the sunshine & adventure seen on screen.

With a few exceptions (The Big Valley (Stanwyck) / Westward the Women / Calamity Jane (Day)), the quick-draw artist was a man and focus of the fable.

......Bonanza.Blocker.1960.nbc.wc.87k(SB3)He could be a sheriff (The Tall Man / Gunsmoke) or Federal man (The Wild Wild West), a rancher (Bonanza / The Rifleman / High Chaparral), scout (Hondo), card-shark (Maverick), gun-for-hire (Have Gun Will Travel / Wanted dead or Alive), cattle-driver (Cheyenne) or roaming Robin Hood (The Restless Gun / The Lone Ranger / The Cisco Kid) promoting pistol justice whenever the need arose.

You think today’s celebrity slurp is awesome? Practically peanuts compared to the star-power emitted by the sagebrush set. Oh my darling!

Even as the Babe topped Hoover in 20s salary rank, the chaps chaps, stars like Tom Mix, William S. Hart, Will Rogers, Harry Carey, Richard Dix, later marquee mojos Tim Holt, Randolph Scott, Joel McCrea, Bill “Hopalong Cassidy“ Boyd, Glenn Ford, Jim Stewart, Robert Taylor, Audie Murphy, balladeers Gene Autry, Roy Rogers & Dale Evans, Ken Maynard, Dick Foran, numbered so many they’d fill the ‘house Ruth built’ and needed a crane to haul their loot, all the while keeping kids debating merits of their favorites and Mom & Dad the value of merchandise in toys n‘ such branded with likeness of the heroes.

Which all helps explain why America’s most popular team in it’s most popular sport is named the Dallas Cowboys. Coincidence? I think not, Packer-backers and Pats-rats. Over 20 years since Dallas saw a Super and they still out-sell all. That should tell ya’ something about the motif because it sure ain’t the football.

......CowboysHat.wc.5.16.8.DukeHa.109k(SB4)I caught the tail-end of the trend on TV, back when it was as free as the air you breath. Really.

Nearly all of silver screen big-shots rode the range at least once. There were Bing Crosby & Francis Farmer (Rhythm on the Range), Charles Ruggles & Laughton (Ruggles of Red Gap), Shirley ‘I know I‘ve been here before’ MacLaine (Two Mules For Sister Sara), the “Maid” Olivia de Havilland (They Died With Their Boots On) and even The Public Enemy turned Yankee Doodle Dandy, James Cagney, starred in a Nicholas Ray horse drama, Run For Cover.

What made the Western so popular? They made people feel good. Course, The Simpsons and The Walking Dead do the same for some people.

Maybe it was the independence, bound to no one but a cowboy’s code, one that city dweller and farm folk alike could dream about in their workaday. A fictional world fraught with dangers & corruption but where brains, brave soul and trusty amigo could together find a bright-line solution to save the day in a simpler world than the complicated, ever-changing one of their own times. What’s new?

....Gulager.NBC.Hill.282k.wc.1960-62It was a standard most every Western espoused, not just for fans to admire but maybe one to emulate, aspire towards or one that might simply buck the spirits in a life where getting a fair shake is never automatic.

A cowboy ideal promoting virtues in courage, calm in crisis, sagebrush savvy, trust, comity (sidekick), though, non-conformist man alone was typical, confident but humble, apostle of due process (anti-mob, i.e., Fonda-Morgan The Ox-Bow Incident), reasonable risk and rangy romance but forgoing that if duty dictated (The Searchers). Aces, they were natural born leaders who took all in stride, could be contemplative (♫) and had the rare capacity for self-sacrifice (“Ask not what your country…(JFK)”), a trait you won’t hear touted this 2016 Presidential campaign on either trail.

With success will come the comical treatments. Joe E. Brown (The Tenderfoot), crooner Dick Powell (Cowboy From Brooklyn), Red Skelton (Texas Carnival), Dustin Hoffman (Little Big Man) and Mel Brooks (Blazing Saddles), all using the genre as a backdrop for laughs, romance & song. “♫ Yippee-yi-yo-kayah! ♫”

But the glory days of the saddle stars have long since passed.

......Duvall.wc.S.Quigley.AFPS.WRAMC.9.25.7.63k(SB6)As the public clamored for themes in realism, war drama, soap opera, sex, social change, sci-fi-fx, teen-topics in music (Elvis et al) and the anti-hero like The Wild One, Bonnie & Clyde and Billy Jack, all whose genesis could be traced to the cowboy chromosomes, the Western’s moral play proved incongruent with the Fast Times at Ridgemont High and there abouts.

Excepting that rare Western that appears on the movie plain like a stray steer separated from the herd (Lonesome Dove / Dances With Wolves / Brokeback Mountain / The Unforgiven), it has for the most part ridden off into the cinematic sunset.

And as long as the classics remain, the Western legends and the pros who gave them life will remain too as benchmarks n’ beacons for those spirited souls who seek to come in from the cold reality that blows from today’s typical fare.

Best Westerns*

Lonely Are the Brave (1962 – Universal)

Directed by David Miller, written by Ed Abbey & Dalton Trumbo and stars Kirk Douglas, Gina Rowlands, Michael Kane, Walter Matthau, Carroll O’Connor and George Kennedy. “Jack Burns” is a man with a horse (“pretty little fuzz tail”), an anachronism who won’t change to suit the time. He’s two friends in a jailed brother whose wife can’t understand either. Monte Walsh had he lived to see Mantle & Maris. Part of the realism wave, it’s tension-filled and a tear-jerker. The good guys are real good, including Sheriff Matthau, the bad oh so bad, i.e., George (deputy) and one-armed force of fierceness, Bill Raisch of TV The Fugitive fame who, had he met up with Tracy’s tenacious character in Bad Day at Black Rock, the outcome would’ve been anybody‘s guess. Ouch!

Shane (1953 – Paramount)

......Ladd-Arthur.wc.Shane.Paramount.1953.39k(SB7)Directed by George Stevens, written by A.B. Guthrie, Jack Sher & Jack Schaefer and stars Alan Ladd, Van Heflin, Jean Arthur in her finale, Ben Johnson, Jack Palance, Elisha Cook and Emile Meyer as “Ryker” the cattle king who’s a story to tell. Masterfully works a dichotomy of duel between good & greed (not evil), cowardice & courage. Panoramic back-drop highlights young Brandon de Wilde’s call to stranger turned family friend “Shane.” Heartfelt and haunting, Ladd’s film noir pedigree is well-suited to this genre crossover (See; Ending).

Red River (1948 – United Artists)

Directed by Howard Hawks, written by Borden Chase, Charles Schnee and stars John Wayne, Monty Clift, Walter Brennan, Noah Berry, Harry Carey (& Jr), John Ireland, STB wife, Joanne Dru, Paul Fix and cattle crew that put on one hellacious stampede. Better is pretty Coleen Gray’s early passion plea to corral the Duke: “Sun only shines half the day, Tom, the other half is night.” Zowie! Often talked about as Clift’s 1st flick (released after The Search), this Western’s most notable for its strong cast, memorable music (D.Tiomkin) and survey of cowboy life in the heyday (1820s – 90s), here, figuring on the famous Chisholm Trail that drove doggies north to Kansas cars, then to Chicago stockyards.

The Big Country (1958 – UA)

Directed by William Wyler, written by Rob Wilder and stars Gregory Peck, Jean Simmons, Carroll Baker, Charlton Heston, Chuck Connors, Burl Ives & Charles Bickford. Full flavor flick: Opening tune (J.Moross) will set your spurs a spinnin’ to a feature with strong-willed men, equally determined women, a moonlight fist-fight, good natured hazing, clever horse (“Old Thunder”) and insightful ranch-hand in veteran actor A.Bedoya (“A man like him (Peck) is very rare”) making his finale (d.1957)). Grudge and non-conformity are over-riding themes but water rights and intoxicating nature of the West are under-currents.

Dances With Wolves (1990 – Orion)

......Dances.wc.Juhijbljb.324k(SB8)Directed by Kevin Costner, written by Michael Blake and starring Costner, Mary McDonnell, Rodney Grant, Graham Greene, Wes Studi, Bob Pastorelli & Maury Chaykin in two brief but strong supportives. Next to Kev & Stone’s follow-up flick in JFK (91), Dances remains the great movie of our time, smoothly blending realism, romanticism and humor to depict culture clash that defines the inevitable human expansion into the Western Hemisphere. The Sioux bison hunt, the following feast & trade (Dunbar hat), another smart horse (“Cisco”), playful wolf (“Two Socks”), Pawnee angst (“He’s gonna’ get us killed”) all make indelible marks. The opening Civil War scene is as poignant as it is exhilarating while the river raid and goodbye at closing (“You are my friend”) tie this epic masterpiece up nicely.

The Last Picture Show (1971 – Columbia)

Directed by Peter Bogdanovich, written by Larry McMurtry & Peter and starring Tim Bottoms, Jeff Bridges, Ben Johnson, Cloris Leachman, Cybill Sheperd, Clu Gulager & Ellen Burstyn. Peter knew what Billy knew and convinced Monroe of (Some Like It Hot), that some scripts must be shot in black & white for full desired effect. The effect was an armload of Academy nods, receipts and critical acclaim for both. Tale of a year in the lives of a small, fading Texas town centering on two school seniors and the knowing adults who shape their lives. Think of a dustier, relaxed, more interesting version of Peyton Place.

Lonesome Dove (1989 – CBS – Motown – Pangaea – Qintex)

Directed by Simon Wincer, written by Larry McMurtry & Bill Wittliff, stars Bob Duvall, Tommy Lee Jones, Ricky Schroder, Danny Glover, Diane Lane, Angelica Huston, Bob Urich, Frederic Forest, D.B. Sweeney, Barry Corbin, Glenne Headly & Steve Buscemi. Four-episode TV mini-series recounting the tale of a troop of ex-Texas Rangers who embark on an ambitious cattle drive to Montana, battling assortment of foes on the way, notably an Indian bandit “Blue Duck.” Wildly popular and, excepting the awkward “Clara” sidetrack (Neb.), the story and characters are so engaging you’ll probably last the entire 6 hour trek.

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (1966 – PEA – UA)

......Eastwood.wc.S.Leone.1965.428k.AFDM(SB9)Directed by Sergio Leone, written by Agenore Incrocci, Furio Scarpelli, Luciano Vincenzoni, SL, Sergio Donati & Mickey Knox, stars Clint Eastwood, Lee Van Cleef & Eli Wallach. Third in Clint spaghetti trilogy (A Fistful of Dollars / A Few Dollars More), GBU had biggest budget and it paid off as best of the bunch. Trouble today is too much epic with DVD add-ins of three needless scenes (“Tuco” cave / “Angel Eyes” CSA camp / lead to monastery). Lesson: Editor cuts (theater) are to be respected (choisis). Best Civil War treatment ever done, and by an Italian, The Good is that rarity where the finale of a series is the tops, typically it’s reversed (Terminator 3, Aliens 3). Emerging Tuco – Blondie alliance pleases while the music (E.Morricone) camps on the lips for days.

Monte Walsh (1970 – National General)

Directed by William Fraker, written by David Zelag Goodman & Lukas Heller, stars Lee Marvin, Jeanne Moreau, Jack Palance, Jim Davis and Mitch Ryan. Like Lonely, this one flies under the radar. Not to be confused with fine TV remake (T.Selleck ‘03) that lacks depth of the original. The vehicle is a late 19th c. liquidation of the ranching business, demise of the cowboy life and the harm absentee ownership and “capital” consolidation can wreck on workers. Lee tries to hang on without “spitting on his life,” Jack makes adjustments and Jeanne concessions. The humor’s subtle but warm, the love stories moving and the message on change is potent. Marvin’s best movie.

True Grit (1969 – Paramount)

Directed by Henry Hathaway, written by Charles Portis & Marguerite Roberts and stars John Wayne, Glen Campbell, Kim Darby, Jeff Corey & Robert Duvall. Again, not to be confused with the remake (2010 (Aughta’ be a law)). Quirky dialogue delivery takes getting used to but like GBU dubbing becomes endearing. Also like GBU, friendships forged in the long journey satisfy. Stagecoach was good, The Searchers and Liberty Valance toppers but Grit is Duke’s best, where his full acting range flows free like a wise old owl on the prowl.

Winchester ‘73 (1950 – Universal International)

......Winchester73.wc.1950.52k.Winters(SB10)Directed by Anthony Mann, written by Borden Chase & Rob Richards and stars Mann regular Jimmy Stewart and Steve McNally, Millard Mitchell (“High-Spade”), Dan Duryea, Shelley Winters & Will Geer as “Wyatt Earp.” Classic: Big stars, top support (Jay Flippen, John McIntire, James Best, Steve Brodie, Charles Drake) and future top-bills in Rock Hudson & Tony Curtis. Family feud is focus between “Lin” vs estranged “Dutch Henry” and how the new Winchester repeat rifle, won in contest, then stolen, serves as connector, passing through sets of hands. Hate displayed by brothers is intense (Need more Oscars®). Another nice call on B&W, it’s the ricochet of bullets (Sound: Leslie Carey – Richard De Weese (Western Electric mono)) that authenticates this beauty and leaves its mark on your mind.

Little Big Man (1970 – National General)

Directed by Arthur Penn, written by Tom Berger & Calder Willingham and stars Dustin Hoffman, Chief Dan George, Faye Dunaway, Dick Mulligan, Martin Balsam, Cal Bellini & Carole Androsky. Big budget ($15M), no Oscars® for this tour de force. Dustin’s best. Tootsie was tops but it’s blue-ribbon apples to gold-medal oranges. Support in Faye (“Mrs. Pendrake (“Poor Jack”)), Martin (“Meriwether (“There’s element of risk in every profession”)), Carole (“Men!”), Dan (“Sometimes magic works, sometimes it doesn’t”) and Cal (“Next time I can kill you without becoming an evil person”)” is super. Noted for its comical yet harsh portrayal of Custer, the truth may fall in between Boots and LBM. Age make-up (“Jack”) could not be better today while creator’s refusal to sanctify the Sioux brilliantly brings out the “human“ in the “beings.”

Some of the Rest of the Best of the West

The Searchers (1956 – Ford – WB): Wayne’s doorway exit at end onto the panoramic plain is the greatest visual close in American moviedom, just edging out Pierce’s ‘can’t-get-away-from-that-crazy-brat-finally-behind-bars-fast-enough’ exit from L.A. Gothic City Hall in sun streaks of the Mildred closing.

Jeremiah Johnson (1972 – S. Pollack – WB): Sound of prying that Hawken rifle from the frozen, dead grasp of “Hatchet Jack” was special, as too was the “Swan (D.Bolton)” unveiling (“Dear Lord!”).

.....Grapes.Fonda.1940.Zanuck.wc.thm(WP.USA11)The Grapes of Wrath (1940 – John Ford – 20C-Fox): Evolution of the genre. Now the Westerner (“Tom”) has a family, forgoes the pistol, drives an old truck, picks fruit and still will never abide a bully.

Rio Bravo (1959 – Hawks – Warner Bros.): Story’s a bit thin but sure beat’s El Dorado (Caan: “Mississippi”). What was Bing Russell thinking anyway, hassling Claude Akins? But its likeability n’ lyrics (“♫ My Rifle, My Pony and Me ♫”) will hit your high notes and bring you back for more.

Blood on the Moon (1948 – Robert Wise – RKO Radio): No “Joey” nor off-limits married woman (“Marian”), but before Ladd cleared the Wyoming “valley” of guns, Bob Mitchum did the same in AZ. Cinematography by Nick Musuraca.

Hud (1963 – Martin Ritt – Paramount): A persona reprised by his Butch Cassidy & Sting partner in “Little Fauss & Big Halsy.” Filmed by J.W. Howe.

.....Misfits.1961.wc.MacfaddenPub.608k(SB12)The Misfits (1961 – John Huston – UA): Clark Gable is 100% cowboy in this tense, tearful drama marking his and co-star Marilyn Monroe‘s final films and arguably best showings on screen. Monty makes the grade as well, matching his Red River role in quality if not character traits. Marilyn gives her best line: “If I could be anyone, a child who could be brave from the beginning.” Amen.

High Noon (1952 – Fred Zinnemann – UA): Too tall to remake.

The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (1948 – Huston – WB): Down Mexico way. Tenacious ticket hawk little Robert “Bobby” Blake nearly steals the picture when early on he takes a bath in failing to heed Bogart’s warning (“I’ll throw this glass of water”) to the irritant, but hangs tough and melts “Dobbsie’s” heart.

The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (1962 – Ford – Paramount)

The Outlaw (1943 – Hawks – UA): Russell, who’d become a fine actress, was ill-suited and subject of an absurd ad-campaign at benefactor Hughes behest, but Tom, Walter and under-rated lead Jack Buetel were terrific, the later looking the quintessential Kid, skillfully selling a clever persona central to Billy legend.

.....Walsh.1.1.18.wc.thm(WP.USA13)The Big Trail (1930 – Raoul Walsh – Fox): Over-looked, under-loved but billed as “most important picture ever produced“ and that wasn’t far off.

City Slickers (1991 – Ron Underwood – Columbia): Comedy-drama, “Norman” scenes choke me up. But like Vince said, “If you’re gonna’ get in this business (NFL) you better bring your emotions.” Veteran cowboy (WW2) Jack Palance hoists an Oscar® and delivers best line: “I crap bigger’n you (BC).” The #2: “Colorado, it’s always the last place you look.” Not for Lombardis, it ain’t.

Author’s Addendum: This “Western” perspective is of course relative to my own land (USA) with exceptions in The Treasure, set in Mexico, and Italian-made TGBU.  Another, more informed version could go global to include greats like Seven Samurai (54) set in 1500s Japan but with a Western flavor in themes of tumult, weapon-play and community, where the relevant region in need of justice (or ♫ song ♫) might instead be known as Eastern, North or South.

....brass.thumbtack.J.Dalton.wc.thm(WP.SB.USA14)Steven Keys
Brass Tacks
Photo credit: L.VanCleef, wc.cca, PEC-UA; G.Cooper, wc, 1952-HighNoon, UA; D.Blocker, Bonanza, NBC, wc, 1960; Dallas-Cowboys-helmet, wc, DukeHa, 5.16.8; Clu Gulager-M.Hill, wc, TheTallMan, 1960-62; R.Duvall, wc, S.Quigley, AFPS-WRAMC, 9.25.7; Ladd-Arthur, Shane, Paramount, 1953, wc; K.Costner, DWW, wc, Juhijbljb; Clint-Eastwood, wc, 1965, S.Leone, AFDM; Winters-Stewart, Winchester73, 1950, wc; Henry.Fonda, The Grapes, wc, Zanuck, 1940; Monroe-Gable, TheMisfits, 1961, MacFaddenPub, wc; R.Walsh, wc, 1.1.18; brass.thumbtack, J.Dalton, wc.
Posted: 8.15.16 @ 6:15pm, edit 8.22, 6.28.17; Copyright © 2016
Asterisk (*): Random order
Sources of reference: Wikipedia and IMDb

NFL16: Red-Doggin’ the Media’s Roger Goodell Ruse

1 Aug

Ensconced in Boom

He’s become the whipping-boy of nearly every online editor & scribe in the land, a terrain now populated with more apps, acronyms (sabrmetrics), video & mock drafts than you can shake a latté stir-stick at, or, put another way, than there are sleazy storylines in a Taboola – Outbrain booby box that blight the bottom of every endless page.

Who‘s the poor chap? NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, that’s who.

With the 2016-17 kickoff slated for early September (9.8), matching February finalists Carolina and Denver, the Jamestown, New York native and Paul Tagliabue successor (‘06) will embark on his 2nd decade at the helm of America’s most popular & profitable wingding value (1920), not including vacation – conference destinations (Las Vegas / Chicago) and gastro-addictions (sugar).

.........Clifford.reddog.4.1.6.DoD.thm.wcAnyone who fancies him / herself to be that hip, happening kinda’ sportswriter, the one who loathes greedy owners but imagines a special kinship with the jocks as if in another life they’re more likely to be a 1st-round draft choice slingin’ TDs than hangin’ out on the yacht with the blue bloods, rags on Roger with a regularity rivaling today’s Pavlovian hand-held habits.

Which is funny because most of the higher paid scribes in pursuit of that journalism B.A. probably pledged on the same Greek row as did most of those money-maniacal NFL owners. Oh well, who’s always consistent anyway?

When that idea well runs dry, when you’ve already posted your position and all-time greatest rankings for the week or when you just want to release some pent-up frustration, not to worry, there’s always good ol’ smiling Roger Goodell to “kick around” in your column.

So why all the hate for just another rich guy, one of the 2% who run the world and keep us gerbils running on that consumer treadmill?

Maybe because Roger’s standing in the way, i.e., the friends (RG) of my enemies (Snyder) are my enemies, you might say.

Most of the griping on Goodell, which invariably leads to the feeble claim his job is in jeopardy and what a fine replacement so-n-so would make, is illusory, likely a ruse to cover the real purpose: Get a new Commissioner, check-mate Dan Snyder and get his beloved Redskins motif bounced outta’ the League.

A kooky call? The best heist is always an inside job.

Business As Usual

Nobody really expected that the NFL would make a determination on whether or not Peyton Manning actually used PEDs that were reported last fall to have been subject of a home delivered parcel to his wife Ashley a few years back.

.........Manning.wc.thm.3.1.13.Sgt.B.Peterson.USO.USMCUnless the lordly one had been giving blood samples in a testing protocol at the time of the package’s believed arrival (nyet) and that every molecule of said PED supply was tagged, tracked and accounted for, there was no possible way for any inquiry to make a sustainable determination, fact finding or certain conclusion on whether Pey-Dirt did or did not in fact partake in the prohibited performance enhancers his wife was reported to have received by mail.

That the Manning household did or did not receive the package in question was easy enough to establish by parcel company records which questioning (under oath?) could verify. But the usage question, i.e., who, how much and when, if such package was accepted, would necessarily remain open-ended, a dark cloud hanging overhead the SB50’s winning QB.

So when the League released statement earlier this week (7.27) clearing Peyton, claiming to’ve concluded, found that Manning did not use subject PEDs, it threw most of us for a loss, throwing a flag on the play.

On that day Roger finally does hang up his Commissioner’s key, this funny finding will rank near the top as one of his poorest calls and should rightly earn him a small, swift kick in the shin (figuratively speaking) like the one little Kurt Russell gave Elvis Presley (It Happened At the World’s Fair (‘63)). Ouch!

.......package.emojione.12.21.15.wc.thmThe special handling shown Peyton, Broncos & GM John ‘I ain’t playing in Baltimore’ Elway and the League (SB validation), in opposite of a just but max penalty meted-out in Deflategate, smacks of favoritism, standard dilution and no small amount of arrogance for thinking fans would swallow the ‘strange brew.’

Should this awkward result and curious Commissioning work a black mark on Goodell‘s record? As it would’ve been nearly impossible, were Peyton to have in fact engaged the suspected PED supply, that any evidence of their use could’ve been obtained (short of a Manning admission), NFL’s silly extension of that state to a finding of innocence speaks more to misguided policy than corruption. If we fired everyone for making a bad call, 90% of the nation’s jobs would come open within the week.

65 Clifford Red Dog Trap

Because last May’s Washington Post poll (90% of aboriginal Americans are not offended by Redskins’ motif, < 10% answered yes) has not swayed the bully bunch to the side of public opinion, even as that revelation makes any sort of vote seem likely to just amplify its findings, and then that the legal process can only end up in one place (SC) where its current moderate but conservative-leaning majority bodes well for Dan Snyder’s embattled trademark, it’s now imperative for the anti-Redskins side to create a turnover.

When the PC playbook flops (nobody likes a bully) what’s the Coach to do? Call the old red dog (blitz), that’s what, and take out the QB. Hello, Roger.

.......Clifford.reddog.wc.WH-L.Bush.4.9.7.S.Craighead.thmThe media mantra to oust Goodell actually began taking discernable shape in 2012 (See; Nike NFL) and might just be masquerading under a different banner as another ‘means to an end’ to get that Redskins logo retired.

Readers might say (I‘m an optimist), ‘Stevo, c’mon, remember Bountygate, the Rice – Palmer incident and Deflategate? Those are the reasons why Roger Goodell is in bad with most everybody.’ Wrong.

I remember the 2010 NFCC, subject for Bountygate. Still cringe at the over-unders Saints defenders laid on Brett Favre, the most exciting QB since Namath & Staubach laced ‘em up, the 2d ambush perpetrated post-Warner the week prior. In truth, most ‘everybody’ was fine with the bans Goodell handed those sorry Saints in question, excepting the homers and a federal jurist, of course.

The knockout punch Rice put on fiancée Palmer in 2014, it’s etched in the mind, thanks to the sleazoids at TMZ whose video drop inflamed the story to a state where Roger, who hit no one, took more flak than the crook. And while I’m on the topic, why does SAS’y still have his job (“don’t provoke”)? Right, it’s Disney.

And if there was an 11th Commandment it could’ve read like this: Thou shalt not impede an on-going investigation, even if thy sandals hurt or the sheep & sand are driving you crazy. Tom Terrific destroyed his cell phone in the Deflategate audit. Not so terrific. Penalty fits the misdeed. Besides, real Pats fans aren’t losing sleep. They know Tom benefits from the extended R&R (18y).

.......Silver.11.21.14.K.Allison.wc.thmbThe dubious effort to remove Roger stands about as much chance of success as the Vikings’ new US Bank Stadium does of going the entire 2016-17 season without a glitch. Why make the lines simple and construction cool (outdoors) when you can complicate it and beg for problems? Ask the rich guy (Zygi Wilf).

One can’t really think a Commissioner should be treasured anyway, unless one has just ‘fallen off’ that proverbial ‘turnip truck,’ or favors an asylum, so to speak, one that’s run by the trustees (players).

As for the NBA Commissioner, the standard is gold, not Silver.

Ousting an owner in dementia (Sterling) whose babble is secretly taped in-home and moving an All Star game that pulls in about as many viewers as Lone Ranger re-runs from a State whose political majority has gone “extreme,” well, those aren’t exactly tough calls. Add in what appears a lack of concern over the dicey co-mingle of sport & gambling and you’ve got nearly no standard at all.

Back to Roger.

They don’t pay the man enough. Big money must be great ($40M) but you can’t take it with you. Oxidative stress is America’s #1 health concern.

Other jobs are stressful but even the President of the United States, with all the important hats the Chief Executive must wear, does not suffer the vilification from press and army of anonymous trolls as does this Commissioner.

But Raja’s got some backers:

......Nooyi.wc.1.23.8.thm.Davos.WEF1) Owners: Roger’s been so good for the Big Wheels, growing buyers & revenue sources, that he’s moved into Rozelle territory, the man who made the NFL America’s #2 religion and the only one showing a growth spurt;

2) Fans: Put aside grudge-holders (NE, NO, etc.) and online nasty-boys and 9 of 10 fans (all genders) are practically jumping outta’ their skin for September kickoff. That’s called customer satisfaction;

3) Sponsors: Their resilience in face of anti-Redskins flash-mob has been nothing short of amazing. Usually as skittish as a major sportswriter, the Suits & Skirts (Indra Nooyi (PepsiCo)) have backed Dan & Roger to the goal-line, show no sign of buckling and have absolutely no interest in validating a racist logo.

And the players, their opinion on Goodell will turn on who asks the question, how it’s framed, respondent’s length of NFL tenure and assurance of anonymity.

NFLPA members are naturally suspicious of those sitting across the table in CBA negotiation. But they’re no dummies and make their choices, i.e., assumption of risk (concussion) for big benefits incurred. Most appreciate the challenges RG faces in his many duties, including DD greeter and disciplinarian who must enforce rules to ensure NFL viability and their own job success as rosterees.

The red-dog tactic will not take down Roger Goodell. He’s got a stout offensive line and even with a furious on-rush he won’t rabbit. No run-QB, Goodell’s a mobile-manager who matriculates with the best of ‘em and likely will remain under center, suffering the “slings and arrows” of a petulant and perfidious press as long as he enjoys suiting up for the action.

......NFL-symbol.wikiproject.6kbSteven Keys
NFL HunchLine
Photo Credit: R.Goodell, wc.cca, 8.30.12, SSG-T.Wade, USMA; Clifford-RedDog, wc.cca, 4.1.6, DoD; P.Manning, USO-USMC, wc.cca, 3.1.13, Sgt-B.Peterson; package, emojione-project, wc.cca, 12.21.15; Clifford-RedDog, WH-L.Bush, 4.9.7, S.Craighead; A.Silver, wc.cca, 11.21.14, K.Allison; I.Nooyi, wc.cca, PepsiCo, 1.23.8, Davos, WEF; NFL-Wikiproject.
Posted: 8.1.16 @ 10:53am, edit @ 4:45 EST; Copyright © 2016

NFL16: Tom Brady’s Grounded, What About Your Quarterback?

6 Jul

“Brady, Brady, Brady!”

“To be or not to be, that is the question
Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune
Or to take (legal) arms against a sea of troubles.”
     Hamlet, Edward de Vere (Shake-a-Spear), 1590s

Barring an unexpected reversal in his pending court case (Deflategate), a turnaround that would be analogous in football to a Herm Edward’s game-winning scoop & score of a Csonka – Pisarcik fumble (11.19.78), Tom Brady’s 4 game suspension for NFL 2016-17 will be implemented.

.......Brady.wc.3.30.16.DeanAdams21.thmThe starry New England signal-caller will likely make his return in W5 to take the reins from 3rd-year backup QB Jimmy Garoppolo (EIU) in resumption of the starter’s role Tom’s carried out with expertise (172-51) since supplanting the capable Drew Beldsoe in 2001. That would mean Brady’s first foe would be the Browns in our nation’s newest city of champions (See; Cavs (Trump hopes it’s trending (RNC 7.18-21))), his on-field arrival marking the final command performance of NFL 2016’s opening act.

Until Tom takes to the turf it‘s just not the NFL, making one wonder why Roger Goodell and the disciplinary folk are so determined to see their punishment of Brady et al upheld? Answer: Standards, and already having so much loot ($) that giving your top star an extended off-season is a bearable cost if it bolsters appearance of the League‘s blind-justice policy.

With Peyton Manning having decided to hang up his cleats, with little objection from Denver brass whom I suspect showed the legendary QB that proverbial ‘thanks for the Super Bowl win but just retire already’ door, the sure-fire 1st ballot HOF’er foregoing one last shot at a full season and victory tour after one of the most memorable leadership displays on record, it leaves TB as the undisputed face of the League.

A fitting state of affairs given both well decorated AFC field generals are the two most recent to hoist the coveted Lombardi (SB 49 (SEA) & 50 (CAR)).

.......PatsHOF.wc.10.24.8.thm.LeoparmrFor the Pats the early schedule will be challenging (@ AZ, MIA, HOU & BUF) but with the W-L result being of only marginal consequence. Criminy, it’s the Patriots, the juggernaut that just keeps on juggering…or nauting.

The New England product that Bill Belichick, Brady, owner Bob Kraft and the rest of the Foxborough folk have built is so sound, self-sustaining and of such stature that even in an AFC East fast becoming one of the League’s best, a rough start (1-3?) can be diluted in the wealth of wins to follow.

And by all appearances Brady, though somewhat pressed by the legal wrangle, still looks to be fit as a fiddle and well grounded for the upcoming NFL season.

Not grounded like Dad & Mom might mete out penance for Junior in those days of youth when he may’ve strayed off the straight & narrow by engaging in a bit o’ tom-foolery and was daffy enough to get caught (Ding-dong ditch-it?).

Nor grounding by a spouse (Gisele Bündchen) with that emotional ball & chain when your much-in-demand hubby is, through sense of obligation, giving too much time to the celebrity gropers seeking to profit from his fame & fortune.

And no worries that Tom’s laidback head coach and matriculator mentor in Bill has decided to ground his QB’s proficient aerial show and revert to the Halas – Lombardi principle: Ground it out with the run attack. Not gonna’ happen.

......grounded.girl.repos.WA.Bouguereau.1865.Philbrook.wc.thmNo siree-Bob. Tom Brady is the good grounded.

Still in the dark? It’s a happening thing, right there with spirituality, awesomeness, pro-biotics, automotive gadgetry (See; Honda, etc.) and gluten-free munchables (Pretzels can be epic, but bread & pasta…Ughsville).

Making sure one of your jumper cables is grounded when giving a car-battery a boost o’ juice is sound, safe procedure, but it’s also becoming a common practice for more & more people seeking to put body & soul in electron harmony with the “spinning world” and its forever flowing invisible field of charged molecules.

Here’s a better description of grounding, a practice in wholeness and well-being that our pre-industrial age ancestors had been engaging in for thousands of years and many humanoids today are now re-discovering the benefits.

“When you are in direct contact with the ground (walking, sitting, or laying down on the earth’s surface) the earth’s electrons are conducted to your body, bringing it to the same electrical potential as the earth. Living in direct contact with the earth grounds your body, inducing favorable physiological and electro-physiological changes that promote optimum health (“The Ultimate Antioxidant” / Dr. Joseph Mercola / 11.4.12).”

.....Brady.8.28.09.K.Allison.wc.cca.thmbIs Tom Brady intentionally grounding, earth-hugging with the holistic crowd?

I’m no groupie nor groper so I couldn’t say for certain but even from afar it’s easy to see the ring-laden QB carries himself with such a confidence, dignity, discernable self-awareness on and off the playing field that if he’s not walking barefoot on his palatial estate to connect with earthy electrons he’s doing something akin to keep it all in balance.

Simply deciding to stay clear of any political convention is sign enough the man’s got both feet firmly planted on terra firma.

......NFL-symbol.wikiproject.6kbSteven Keys
NFL HunchLine
Photo Credit: grounded-girl, C.Giraud, 19c, wc.cca, Dorotheum; T.Brady, wc, 3.30.16, DeanAdams21; Pats-HOF, 10.24.8, Leoparmr, wc; grounded-girl, WA.Bouguereau, wc, 1865; Brady, 8.28.9, K.Allison, wc; NFL-wikiproject
Posted: 7.6.16 @ 1:17am EST; Copyright © 2016

Inking Kaep Krusader & RG3: ‘Strange Destiny’ or ‘Experiment(s) Perilous?’

6 Apr

It’s a strange destiny that has brought me to this new life, a new home (“Ben-Hur (C.Heston)” speaking to a gathering in celebration at the house of his adopted father Counsel “Quintus Arrius (J.Hawkins) (Ben-Hur (‘59))”).

Or…

Life is short, art long, decision difficult and experiment perilous (Hippocrates & “N. Bederaux (Lukas)” in movie by the same phrase (Experiment Perilous (44)).”

Rome would prove a strange place for “Judah” to call home.

Formerly enslaved on a charge of attempted murder upon the Governor (his jailed sister “Tirzah” the true culprit) then freed for saving the life of an Admiral (“Quintus Arrius”), the City was capital of the vast Italian empire and base for the army which occupied his own land of Judea.

Likewise, the Forest City on the banks of Lake Erie, even with it’s industrious people who ♫ rock ♫ the cradle in the State that theoretically gave birth to pro football (See; Canton, AAFC, NFL, etc.), could not have been where Bob Griffin even imagined a residence 4 years back when his newborn NFL career took it’s first baby steps in our own nation’s capital, DC.

I’m the metaphor guy, what can I say?

.....RG3.Baylor.8.15.9.wc.Caesarscott.thmBut like the charmed chariot racer and Christian convert “Ben-Hur,” Cleveland’s newest add-on at the quarterback spot in the former Heisman hoister and Redskins’ hopeful (2y, $15M), Rob too may find his new home provides the place where he can re-charge his battery to power a similar rebirth in spirit and success, sans any grizzly bone-crushing horse-trample (See: “Messala (S.Boyd)”). Ouch!

The Brownies and their Super Bowl starved fans sure hope so. It’s been a downhill ride ever since Bernie Kosar (‘92) and then the original team left town for the Crab Cake City in 1995.

What may be more surprising than where Bob has ended up is how last season played-out in DC, or more correctly, didn’t play-out for Washington’s former starter as he didn’t take nary a snap in Redskins regular slate.

After starting summer camp fit & ready to re-prove himself (All-Pro ‘12), Bob got concussed in a pre-season contest where Detroit coach Jim Caldwell apparently had his felines go full-tilt and Bob got his bell rung hard. The Sporting Gods were not all too pleased with Lions’ decision-making and as they will often do sent bad karma the offender’s way in-season (1-7 start, W13 L-GB, Calvin exit, etc.).

.....Cousins.7.31.12.wc.cca.K.Allison.thumbThat’s all it took for coach Jay Gruden to insert the man who’d prove to be the season long #1 in Kirk Cousins who made most of his opportunity by leading ‘Skins to a 9-7 mark, NFC East title, playoff birth and Fatty Arbuckle-wide stats.

So girthy were the digits (70C%, 29t-11, 4166y) that KC & Agency have been engaged in an off-season duel of contract-swords with owner Dan Snyder over how much coin the new franchise face will collect. Corked tips, of course, nobody wants blood.

Considering that Kirk played for relatively (pro) peanuts his first 4 years ($2.5M) and that we’re presently and likely to remain in a seller’s market for pro-style NFL signal-callers for some time, the man from Holland, Michigan who’s set to turn 28 in August should get a princely sum.

Ask Bob about Kirk’s situation and he’d likely not begrudge his former ‘mate the moolah and the same opportunity to succeed as he received in 2012-13 when hope was springing eternal for the former Baylor Bear.

.....Manziel.8.2.14.ED.Drost.wc.thmb.headThe Browns signed the now well-rested if a bit rusty RG3 to a widening QB klatch in Cleveland that no longer includes Jon Manziel who unfortunately probably disdains the java brew, benefits & all.

So where does Robert stand (sit) in the depth chart?

Checking in with Ourlads.com “NFL scouting services,” Bob sits at #2 behind last season’s early starter Josh McCown (1-7, 64C%, 12t-4i) and ahead of Austin Davis (0-2, 59.6C%), Connor Shaw and Pat Devlin. Johnny ‘Uh-Oh’ Manziel (2-4, 57.8C%, 7-5) was released in March, maybe on his Tebow-esque techniques (2-4, 57.8C%, 7t-5, 37ra-230), sans the wins, but more likely on as his juvenile and addictive mental states.

Josh is bit toothy, set to turn 37 in July and has not made the most of his chances in five stops (18-39, 59.5C%, 73t-63i) AZ, OAK, CHI, TB, CLE). But he’s always had good size (6’4), mechanics and must be saying the right things because coaches keep giving him a shot. In his defense, the teams he’s led have been short on top talent. Cleveland in 2016 is not much different.

All that means Bob has a good chance of becoming Browns 20th (+/-) starting QB (10 HCs) since post-Kosar. On opposite end of success spectrum, Packers have had just two, Favre and Rodgers (Flynn 6gs). But that’s anomaly cheese.

.....Jackson.8.12.8.wc.K.Allison.thmWhether or not Bob earns the starter’s job in autumn, and I’m confident Browns’ brass expressed it as such and Griffin agreed, it will likely come eventually. Whomever gets the nod in September the pressure to win will be high at FirstEnergy Stadium, as unrealistic an expectation as that my be with the current roster.

The Browns have more holes than a nightshirt come April (I’ll be damned if I can’t find a pair of quality long-johns anywhere at any price anymore) and first year head coach Hue Jackson will have his hands full.

Hue will need to utilize every bit of offensive know-how in strategy and development to get the Brownies scoring game in gear. In 2015 Cleveland ranked 25th in ygpg (331.9), just two spots behind the QB-set Packers (#23 / 334) and 30th in ppg (17.4), topping the terrible Cowboys (17.2) and 49ers (14.9). Browns didn’t fare much better on the D-side where returning DC Ray Horton will be expected to shore things up (CLE ‘13 (TN ‘14-15)), coming in at 27 (379 / yapg) and 29 (27 papg) in the key components.

Will Cleveland draft a QB in May? Best guess, no, late Rd possible, of course. Instead expect them to plug top picks elsewhere, especially that the collegiate QB talent pool’s been rated shallow this time around. Rated, not necessarily reality.

If & when Bob does happen to win the starter’s job, big question on most minds will be what style of quarterbacking will he and his coaches implement?

.....RG3.LBoyd.MGreen.USMC-NY.wc.4.26.12.thmWill he work in the office, behind the line of scrimmage, refine his read skills and learn to love the pocket or will he go back on the road and revert to the run mode that served him well at Baylor and his rookie campaign when he scampered for 800+ and led Redskins to 10-6?

Wise answer: The former, no matter the learning curve. His knee can’t handle the latter, not for long, anyway.

The prediction: Something in-between, a half-measure which’ll prove impotent. But life’s full of surprises and maybe Hue has one or two up his sleeve.

Old dogs, new tricks

Bob’s still fairly young in NFL terms (26) but like Shane (A.Ladd) said, “Man has to be what he is, can’t break the mold…the brand sticks.” That’s a high drama and flowed from a situation much hairier than Bob’s, but it does hold true most often for mature athletes, as well.

Once a flash-QB, always a flash QB.

There’s a stubbornness, an arrogance-in-athleticism, fed by the occasional burst of brilliance or playoff run, that will likely inhibit the conversion from run-under-pressure to cool-as-cucumber in the pocket. Those hunker skills are honed over time, a process starting in Jr. High when you learn to brave the first hard hits and fight natural instinct to rabbit. It’s a long, painful, educational process, not something you just pick-up spending a few extra hours in the film room on Wednesday before your next shoe-wear photo-shoot. Only those dedicated to the switch will survive and thrive. Maybe that’s Bob.

.....Kaep.2.3.13.wc.cca.Au.Kirk.thumbAnd it’s why Denver might be wiser to take a pass on the Colin Kaepernick deal, Super defense aside. But then maybe finding, fashioning that elusive good fit ain’t exactly keeping John Elway awake at nights anyway, feeling his oats & all after piecing together a team that made one of the best championship runs in NFL annals.

After letting Peyton retire (showing him the door?), arguably greatest QB in history, one I believe wanted to be ‘wanted back’ for one more, hopefully healthy and celebratory season in Broncos blue & orange (It’s just not the same on the links), and then parting ways with a ready-man starter in Brock Osweiler who should’ve been reminded that he will not be passing to J.J. Watt in Houston colors, the Mustangs seem…content.

Denver’s defense has Kaep Krusader déjà vu-ing “all over again (SF 2012-14).” And he’s got some call to feel cocky: He’s been there before (two NFCCs (SB47)), is not careless with the ball (brass love that) and he’s presently shopping his services in a seller’s market for established QBs.

But while Kaepernick will do his best to bust through brick walls, he’s so cautious, slow-to-read routes he won’t easily thread-the-needle (59-C%), is dealing with the #2 franchise in negotiation wherewithal (GB #1) and tenses-up in the red-zone (See; SB47 & NFCC14). Guy’s still a project of sorts and then not exactly made from the Denver Broncos‘ mold of quarterbacking.

Broncos clearly have the edge here, budget or not. Kaep & Co. are well advised to give some ($) now to make the deal, then make it up later, if he can win over the guys in the locker-room who already got their rings (SB50). Keep in mind new Denver QB in Mark Sanchez has guided teams to Conference games himself (Jets), though, like Colin (10-14 post-NFCC14), has looked more like a caretaker-QB (PHI 4-6) than a take-care-of-business field general (See: Patton).

What’s more, the run-around routine won’t often catch Ds off guard anymore.

.....Newton.2011.wc.thm.Pantherfan11Sure, their ‘athleticism’ will see they break off a 80-yarder now & then (See: Mariota), and it’s most successful adherent to date in Cam Newton did lead Carolina to only their 2d Super Bowl (50) last February, garnering the MVP in the process.

But Carolina got thumped like San Fran (SB47), before the lights went out.

Camster-the-Hamster is a special player. His size (6’6”) and not yet fully unrealized pass potential will extend his tenure beyond most (See; Young, Vick, Tebow, Manziel), that is if his ACLs can take the add’l tackles to which run-QB subjects himself. And like other flash-men, Sir-Runs-Alot is plagued by the same foible: Red zone funk: An indecisiveness wherever advanced reading skill is required (SB50). A deficiency Elway and Jackson may compensate but never overcome: Old dogs, new tricks.

And it’s why a setting like Cleveland is a good fit for RG3.

If Browns’ front-office can muster the patience, a rare virtù these days in any operation, a mindset that allows Bob to develop his own patience in the pocket, and then fashion an O-line that can protect (53sk 2015), find a pair or two of go-to hands that can assist and a ground-man who “run(s) to daylight (See; NFL Draft.16),” this “experiment” can be less “perilous” and more profitable for the history-laden franchise on the lake.

.....macroecono.lamcasinoroyal.2011.wcSteven Keys
MacroSport
Photo credit: Ben-Hur, Berti-Heston, MGM, 1959, wc; R.Griffin, wc, 8.15.9, Caesarscott; K.Cousins, wc, 7.31.12, K.Allison; J.Manziel, 8.2.14, ED.Drost, wc; H.Jackson, wc, K.Allison, 8.12.8; RG3-Lboyd-Mgreen, wc, USMC-NY, 4.26.12; C.Kaepernick, wc, 2.3.13, Au.Kirk; C.Newton, wc, Pantherfan11, 2011; macroecono, lamcasinoroyal, wc-11;
Posted: 4.6.16 @ 3:05pm EST; Copyright © 2016

NFL16 Cherry Jam: Denver’s Inside Man & Peyton’s Plan

11 Feb

Michel Mode

..........Michel.TheDeposition(JA).wc.1553.Sailko.thmMichelangelo (1475-1564), the great Italian sculptor of the Renaissance, understood the art of masterpiece. He’s credited with saying something along this line: There exists inside every block of granite a form of which it is the task of the artist to find, give life.

Likewise, inside every football team is a champion’s medallion, a little Vince Lombardi trophy of which it’s the job of every coach, player and GM to help find, form and then ultimately showcase in pomp & pageantry for generations come.

The 2015-16 Denver Broncos found their little Vince.

Sculpted Sorrow

.....Newton.2011.wc.thm.Pantherfan11Team success requires not only coordination, a synthesis of skills but a subjugation of the brimming selfishness that fills the vessel of the star athlete (or Cufflink) and can turn a roundtable of knights into a sniveling pack of paupers or, after an especially hard defeat, “sore loser(s) (See; C. Newton, 2.9.16, BoA-Stdm).”

That line between “sore” and insolent is a fine one but as bright as the gleen that streams off the Vince Lombardi silver.

“Sore loser” may make it’s way onto t-shirts, hats and into rap lyrics but it ain’t never gonna’ be “cool,” Cam.

All in the Family

And like the sculptor’s quest in quarry, the gridiron version of chop n’ block does not happen overnight. It can be a long, arduous journey, sometimes an Odyssey, fit with demons and demi-gods all along the way.

........Bowlen.wc.9.26.10.J.Beall.thmDenver’s discovery process began in 2011 when owner Pat Bowlen, acting a modern day de’ Medici, hired former Carolina coach John Fox and VLT – QB John Elway for front office duty. Four consecutive playoffs followed, including the Tebowmania win in 2012 (v PIT) and Super Bowl runner-up at MetLife (SEA) with the emotionally indomitable Manning (‘12) under center.

Out goes Fox, in comes Gary Kubiak who, before a brief stopover in BAL (OC ‘14), had guided the Texans (‘06-12) to their first 9-7 and playoffs (2012-13), as well as having served as John Elway‘s back-up in pads (‘83-91). Gary brought with him his offensive coordinator (DEN) and QB-coach (BAL) in Rick Dennison, then signed former frequent head coach (NO(i), DEN, BUF, ATL(i), DAL, HOU(i)) and his DC in Houston (‘11-13), Wade Phillips (‘15).

The nucleus of granite (players) was already set in stone. Now, all the artisans had to do was finish the form with a whittle here, a hammer there, and, le voilà, there it was, the pièce de résistance: 2015-16 Denver Broncos.

........Ware.8.7.14.wc.J.Beall.thmWhile finding that matriculatory QB is critical to the sculptor‘s success, a top D is clearly key in this age of Sir-Runs-Alot and aging pocket passers.

But like many great works and ideas before them, public appreciation is not always immediate (See; Copernicus, Columbus, Van Gogh, Bill Belichick, Marshawn Lynch (’07-15); Jim Plunkett ‘71-86), etc.).

Adversity Trail

Typically, any memorable creation is fashioned in a journey that was visited by some sort of adversity. And these Denver Broncos had their share.

.......Harpie.wc.JJ.Zeiller.Bavaria.W.Sauber.thm.1748The harpies (See; Clash of the Titans (‘81)) made their first appearance in SB48 when the Mustangs took a drubbing at the hands (talons) of Seahawks (43-8). Nothing’s so painful as having something within your grasp to only see it slip away.

But Denver stayed the course and returned to the PS in 2014-15 (IND (L)). As this season got off to a fine start (7-2), Manning went down midway but capable back-up in Brock Osweiler, bolstered by stout lines on the O and D sides both, kept the ship steady until Peyton’s return where Broncos proceeded to run the playoff gauntlet of AFC favorites (PIT / NE) and punched their ticket for a return visit to the Super Bowl, this one in Santa Clara.

Odd Bowl

Forget sabrmetrics. Look no further than simple team stats in SB50 comparison and you soon discover this may‘ve been the strangest of all NFL title tussles.

......Broncos.IF@MH.6.27.11.Jkinsocal.tm1) Though they lost 24-10, the Panthers had nearly double (21) Denver’s 1st-down total (11) while both clubs were a combined 4 for 29 in 3/4th down efficiency. Ugh.

2) Panthers out-paced Denver in nearly every offensive category (plays, avg.per, total yards, rush, pass, TOP), but also key red-flag tallies in fumbles-lost (3 to 1) and penalties (12 to 6); and

3) Glory stats (INTs / sacks) get the ga-ga (CAR: 5; DEN: 7). But it’s tackles that set the tone and close the deal. There the Denver bested the Cats, 48-38, while their place-kicker Brad McManus was perfect for the PS: 10-10 (3-3).

Manning Over Mind?

Denver had the answer for the Carolina question in SB50. Now, the League and it’s followers have two more questions for the Broncos’ Peyton Manning: The fans, Denver brass, friends & family all want to know if he’ll lace ’em up to play another season, while the NFL wants to know all the facts behind the Al-Jazeera / HGH story that ran last January.

.....Manning.thm.9.14.14.J.Beall.wc.ccaThe first query is a two-parter: On Pey-Dirt’s pondered pathway, 1) Should he return for 2016-17, and 2) will he decide to get “♫ back in the saddle ♫?”

The first one’s the toughie.

His domestic side says, ’Go out on top as you did what Mr. Favre made valiant effort to accomplish (MIN) but couldn’t do (SB Ws w/2 clubs), give My bones a break (breather), get My golf clubs primed, line up My endorsements, spend more time with My and wife Ashley’s two kids and help My legal team by boning-up on issues & facts relevant to the claimed ‘Indiana Connection (HGH)’ NFL is investigating.

The answer awaited on the League’s Manning et al inquiry is “The ($50 million) Question.” It’s a game-show in which the powers-that-be want no part. The last two NFL titlists QBs (Brady) have had legal clouds hanging over their heads and it’s no way to close a Super season.

Manning undoubtedly has his sources in the League office. What they tell him on the tenor of the investigation must be minimal at this early stage. If he returns for another season in Denver, and the Broncs should be his only desire, the notion that NFL would go easy on an active, reigning champ is a poor one indeed. Whether playing or retired, neither state will have any bearing whatsoever on the thinking of Roger Goodell, as it shouldn’t.

......Osweiler.8.4.12.wc.J.Beall.thmBut being in uniform may, emotionally, be a better place to be if the news is bad. If it’s good, Peyton is clearly still vested with the spirit to play or he’d not be pondering it now. His throwing arm, well, that’s another story. From the looks of it his wily wing is pining for the La-Z-Boy® and remote control.

Broncos, they want their titlist QB back for a celebratory year, even if that means he’s on the sideline giving Brock pointers and back-up as needed. His ego can stand it. The contract, not an issue. Bowlen & Co., Manning, they’re all on cloud 9 and will work the deal to all’s satisfaction.

Will Peyton return for one more year? Little man inside says, ‘yes.’

Qurious Quote

“I’m too young to retire.” Sentiment of former New York Giants and currently contemplating NFL return…coach, Tom Coughlin (Fox News / 2.8.16).

...NFL-symbol.wikiproject.6kbSteven Keys
NFL HunchLine
Photo credit: P.Manning, wc.cca, 11.12.15, D.Overstreet, CO-NG; Michelangelo, Italy, The-Deposition-(JA), 1553, Sailko, wc; C.Newton, 2011, Pantherfan11, wc; P.Bowlen, wc, 9.26.10, J.Beall; D.Ware, wc, J.Beall, 9.26.14; Harpies, JJ.Zeiller, wc, 1748, W.Sauber, Bavaria; IF@MHS, Denver, wc, Jkinsocal, 6.27.11; Manning, wc, 9.14.14, Beall; B.Osweiler, wc, 8.4.12, Beall; NFL-sign, wikiproject.
Posted: 2.11.16 @ 11:53am, edit 11:20pm; pic-fix 5.13 @ 10:51pm EST; Copyright © 2016