So I woke up yesterday and my fiance' surprises me by saying she is going to the Chi for the weekend with her mother to visit relatives and is taking the kids with her, leaving me to an empty house and my own manly devices. So what did I do? Of course I plopped myself right in front of the tv and immersed myself in opening day of the college football season (very satifying btw to see Michigan lose their opener again, such angst in Ann Arbor!). And after seeing Wisconsin kick butt as expected I realized that I have been long overdue for a Wanking. Please forgive but like so many other of my fellow bloggers this is not my only gig or responsibility. But enough small talk, I'm back so let's get to it.
Packers C+. So the Pack finished up the preseason with only one win, but they did come away with some positives (and who really cares anyway it's the preseason). The Pack only won one game but were pretty much competitive in each one (except for the 49er's debacle). I believe we learned something about the charachter and talent level of AR (Aaron Rodgers). Let's face it there were a lot of reasons AR could have used to kind of sulk around and go thru the motions in training camp. I mean we went thru the whole Favre saga without hearing one negative peep from Rodgers (or really any other players on the team but still). This guy has waited around for four years to be given a chance to prove himself and then after finally getting a chance, management and his prima donna predecessor get into a little girly dance of wills that might delay his chance even longer? Anybody would be frustrated with a situation like that (think about it, if that happened at your job wouldn't you be like screw this company?) and maybe even let some of that frustration leak out. But not AR. He's shown us that he hasn't been lounging eating cheese curds for 4 years, and that he has a pretty good grasp of the offense. During live play he has shown poise and for the most part solid decision making skills. I think he has a ways to go to being called a great leader, but he has engendered confidence in his abilities and has the team solidly behind him.
The battle for a running back spot turned out to be very competitive too, with Vernand Morency and Noah Herron (guys who have been around for a while and have had their big moments)ending up as casualties. Honestly though I'm glad the talent level of the roster has risen above their abilities (I remember their college careers and was never impressed). By the way it was a cushy preseason for Ryan Grant wasn't it? He held out, got a nice new contract, showed up with an injury that is typical for an athelete who is out of shape, and played in one series all preseason. Way to milk those last 8 starts Ryan!
The complete last round of roster cuts is here. No real surprises there, a lot of those guys like Jake Allen and Deshawn Wynn (who could turn into some team's Ryan Grant someday)turned around and got signed to the practice squad.
The defensive injuries and lack of pash rush remain a constant theme, which isn't helped by Johnny Jolly getting busted trying to make sizzurp down south. For the first time in his tenure Thompson has not grabbed anyone off the last waiver wire so it looks like this is what we are going to battle with, Lord help us.
Brewers B+. It'd be an A if they could manage to catch the Cubs who stubbornly refuse to lose all of the sudden (those 5 games left against them loom larger and larger). Currently the Crew is 5 games back in the NL Central, 5 games up on the Cards for the NL Wildcard. Brewers have been on kind of cruise control lately, gobbling up games they should win against lesser opponents (I like how the Cards are so flustered about getting owned this year by the Crew 10-5). CC Sabaithia has been on cruise control throwing shutouts and no hittlers left and right and being mentioned in Cy Young discussions. All very satisfying, I'm glad the Brewers have made me start paying attention this year. But Between the Green Pillars says these things need to happen before we start post season planning.
Speaking of post season runs Brewers Bar speculated on who might get called up in the next few weeks. We've heard a lot about Gamel and Salome over the season, it'd be interesting to see how they react to being exposed to the crucible of a pennant race on their first call up.
Ryan Braun is back in the lineup along with Ricky Weeks, who has had some injury problems but also some success as of late and this makes me wonder why Mike Rivera isn't used more often. Let's hope everybody can stay relatively healthy from here on out.
People have really been piling the criticism on The Mota (Guillermo) this season, but Tom Hardicourt says we should cut him some slack for turning his performance around late season, so we'll see. Besides he might become one of the best pitchers on the roster when Sheets and CC walk.
Let Right Field Bleachers take you down memory lane.
Bucks. Not much going on in Bucks land right now. Guess were still basking in the Redeem Team accomplishment (to which Michael Redd contributed precious little). Bogut got hurt, but also had some performances worthy of a starting NBA center playing on the international level. He practically willed his team into the medal round even though his idiot coach refused to use the basic strategy of designing your team's offense around it's best player. Meanwhile Coach K used Redd in a way that insured he would be uneffective. Redd needs touches and minutes to generate the output generally associated with the starting 2-guard of the Bucks. Coming off the bench (way off) meant these were in short supply thus his subpar performance. But then if you are looking for Olympic basketball gold and Redd is one of your leading scorers on a team with Wade, LBJ, and Kobe you probably have problems.
There's not much enthusiasm going around about the Bucks offseason moves or for the outlook next season, but I think we are headed in the right direction. Obviously Hammond thinks Ramon Sessions could be a gamer and I think there could be one more trade coming down the line somewhere.
Badgers B+. In the win against might Akron. Seriously it was good to see the Badgers on the field again after all the preseason poll posturing. They took care of business against a team that they were supposed to handle, unlike some of our Big Ten conference mates (lol, Michigan!). Allan Everidge looked pretty good in his debut, made some costly mistakes but managed the game well. P.J. Hill picked up where he left, off running over cats with his Ron Dayne impression. And it looks like highly touted freshman John Clay is living up to the hype. Playing on that level should keep us safe against Marshall and Fresno St., but when we go to Ann Arbor at the end of September they will not be the same team that lost to Utah (who are no slouches). So we need to keep improving and get rid of those niggling little mistakes.