Friday, June 27, 2008

Javon Walker Update!

There has been a lot of talk of the WR Javon Walker front here is the latest. We all know of the robbery and beating in Las Vegas. First and foremost, he is lucky to be alive and I wish him a speedy recovery. Secondly, he shouldn't have placed himself in that position. Thirdly, I hope this is the last time that we hear of someone spraying anyone with champagne at a nightclub!

There is no greater way to piss everyone in that establishment off by in a sense saying I've got more money than you and to prove it I will spend a large amount of money to spray you with champagne. This type of thing is ridiculous and needs to stop.

Javon Walker came out with a very questionable response to what happened and it isn't even believalbe. The footage from the Bellagio Hotel has proven that his level of intoxication was high and he was not lured into the car. He was however grabbed from behind and robbed. There was an arrest made and that individual will be in court 6/27/08.

The Latest however is that Javon Walker has a fractured jaw. To the extent that the broken jaw prevents Walker from eating solid food, he could end up at significantly less than his ideal playing weight when training camp opens.

Not to be funny, due to this not being a laughing matter, but Head Coach Lane Kiffin did say that he was a little heavy and needed to shed some pounds. This will occur. I hope that Javon Walker takes the necessary time to grieve the loss of former teammate and friend Darrent Williams. Learn from the mistakes of both nights; and when you go out hire security. I will provide further updates as they become available.

He will still have an impact on the Raiders offense in 2008. I also think that Drew Carter will have a breakout year. I just hope that Todd Watkins, Chaz Schilens and Arman Shields join him. Ronald Curry will again be a solid contributor and I hope he breaks the 1,000 receiving yards barrier. Some may want to know why WR's Johnnie Lee Higgins and Jonathan Holland weren't mentioned. The reason is that two of the three mentioned have out played them in the Raiders OTA's.

NFL: Why Isn’t This Guy in the Hall of Fame, Part III

This is a series based on the question posed above: players that are worthy of induction into the Hall of Fame but for some reason have not been.
He had a stellar AFL & NFL career and put up Hall of Fame numbers. He wore jersey numbers 12 & 3. He had two nicknames “The Fireman” and “The Mad Bomber”.
Daryle Lamonica QB – 1963 – 1974 Buffalo Bills, Oakland Raiders, Southern California Sun
Daryle Lamonica was born in Fresno, CA. He grew up on a farm raising peaches and grapes. His first big sports thrill was playing in the Little League World Series in Hershey Park, PA.
He lettered in four sports at Clovis High School, He was an All-State quarterback, and he turned down a professional baseball contract with the Chicago Cubs. Clovis High School renamed in football stadium Daryle Lamonica Stadium in 1974.
He accepted a football scholarship to the University of Notre Dame, where he graduated with a Business Management degree. He was an All-American and the starting quarterback for three years, and still holds (tied) the school record of four TD passes in one game.
After a 20-for-28 349 yard performance he was voted the MVP of the 1962 East-West Shrine Game at Kezar Stadium in San Francisco, under coach Ara Parseghian. He was drafted by the NFL Green Bay Packers in the 1963 draft and by the AFL Buffalo Bills.
He played with the Bills for four seasons, backing up Jack Kemp on a team that won back –to-back AFL Championships in 1964 & 1965. It was in Buffalo that he earned the nickname “the Fireman”, coming into games if Kemp was hurt or ineffective, and pulling out victories.
In 1967, he was traded and came home to the Oakland Raiders with WR Glen Bass for WR Art Powell and QB Tom Flores. In his first year with the Raiders, he threw for 30 touchdowns and ran for four more. In 1969, he threw for 34 touchdowns and more than 3,300 yards.
It was in Oakland that Lamonica’s passing acumen earned him the nickname “The Mad Bomber” which was given to him by none other than Howard Cossell for his ability to throw long touchdown passes.
With Lamonica, the Raiders won three Western Division Titles and one American Football League Championship. The Raiders made one World Championship Game appearance with Lamonica as quarterback, losing to the Green Bay Packers, 33-14, in Super Bowl II.
Lamonica threw for two touchdowns in the game. Lamonica quarterbacked the Raiders during the “Heidi Game”. He was a three-time American Football League All-Star.
His first four years in silver & black were truly special. He led the Raiders to a 37-4-1 record, throwing 89 touchdown passes. He was voted the AFL’s MVP in 1967 and 1969. Lamonica’s last season in the NFL was in 1974. His last year in professional football was short-lived in 1975 for the California Sun of the World Football League.
Career Highlights and Awards
· 5 time Pro Bowl Selection (1965, 1967, 1969, 1970, 1972)
· AFL Champion (1964, 1965, 1967)
· 2 time AFL MVP
Career Stats
· 164 Touchdowns, 138 Interceptions
· 19,154 yards
· 72.9 Career QB Rating
In his 11 year career he played for
· Buffalo Bills ( 1963 – 1966)
· Oakland Raiders (1967 – 1974)
· California Sun (WFL) 1975
He retired as a guy known for his strong arm and accurate deep passes.
Daryle Lamonica was asked the question “What was your most memorable game for you when you played for the Raiders?” He responded “I have had some great ones. We had some really tough battles against the Kansas City Chiefs and the New York Jets.

The famous “Heidi” game because we were behind and we didn’t know they took us off national television and I’d just thrown a long touchdown pass to Charlie Smith.
It was called back because one of my wide receivers was in motion and Johnny Sample, their left cornerback comes up and pats me on the back and says “nice pass Lamonica, better luck next year”.

That fired my temper up and the defense held and we got the ball back with about a minute and 28 seconds left. I hit Charlie Smith going up the middle and he went in for a 60 or 65-yard touchdown.
We kicked off and they fumbled the ball and we recovered it in the endzone and we ended up scoring 14 points in nine seconds. That was the most memorable game because that one play changed the networks around now so they cannot take games off national television until its entirety.”

Daryle Lamonica went 66-16-6 as a starter, good for a .801 winning percentage, best in NFL history. He was inducted into the Fresno Hall of Fame in 1971; he was also inducted into the Italian American Hall of Fame in 1987. He is a guy who has earned a right to be in the Hall of Fame conversation.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Javon Walker found unconcious right off the Las Vegas Strip

This is bad news for the Oakland Raiders!
Apparently WR Javon Walker was popping bottles in two Las Vegas nightclubs.
He was found unconcious, with significant injuries, off of the Las Vegas strip. He was the victim of an apparent robbery
Police said Walker suffered "significant injuries" and taken to Sunrise Medical Center's Trauma unit where he was listed in fair condition, according to the report. Walker has an orbital fracture and police aren't sure how he suffered the injury. He was found unconscious at the intersection of Koval Lane and Winnick Avenue,
According to a story in the Las Vegas Journal-Review, Walker was partying at Tryst at the Wynn on Saturday night where spraying the crowd with some of the 15 bottles of Dom Perignon Rose champagne he ordered.
The report added Walker was at Body English at Hard Rock Hotel and Casino until 6:30 a.m. Monday. His first round of champagne reportedly cost him $15,000.
No official word from the Raiders on this situation yet.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Why isnt this guy in the Hall of Fame?

Ray Guy—Punter for Oakland/Los Angeles Raiders 1973–1986

Some might say he is a punter and shouldn’t be in the Hall of Fame because punters are insignificant and don’t have a real impact on a game. I wouldn’t agree with that statement and I would argue that his career statistics prove that statement incorrect.

Let’s ponder a punter's importance for a moment. I take you back to Super Bowl XVIII—arguably his best performance—against the Washington Redskins. When the Raiders' offense faltered just outside the range of placekicker Chris Bahr, Guy, known for his power, showed a great deal of finesse by booting a 27-yard punt that pinned the Redskins on their own 12-yard line late in the first half.

On the very next play, Raiders’ linebacker Jack Squirek intercepted Washington QB Joe Theisman and ran it in for a touchdown that gave them a 21-3 halftime lead. The Raiders would eventually win 38-9.

He was the first pure punter drafted in the first round. Several experts scoffed at the selection and said that the Raiders made a mistake in selecting him in the first round. Listed below are just some of career accolades.
Played in 207 consecutive games
Punted 1,049 times for 44,493 yards, averaging 42.4 yards per punt, with a 33.8 net yards average
Had 210 punts inside the 20-yard line (Not counting his first three seasons, when the NFL didn’t keep track of this stat), with just 128 touchbacks
Led the NFL in punting three times
Had a streak of 619 consecutive punts before having one blocked
Has a record of 111 career punts in post season games
Had five punts of over 60 yards during the 1981 season
Never had a punt returned for a touchdown

Ray Guy was selected to seven AFC Pro Bowl teams and was the punter on the National Football Leagues 75th anniversary team in 1994. He was a nine time All-Pro selection and was a key member on three Super Bowl championship teams.

He was named to the NFL’s 1970’s All Decade Team. He has been inducted to the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame, Georgia Sports Hall of Fame, the National High School Sports Hall of Fame, and the College Football Hall of Fame. In 1994 he was the first pure punter to be nominated for enshrinement.

He was an outstanding placekicker at Southern Mississippi University, once kicking a then-record 61-yard field goal in a snowstorm during a game in Utah. Upon completion of his senior season at Southern Mississippi, he was named the MVP of the annual college All-Star game. This was when a group of senior college All-Stars would play the Super Bowl champion.

In addition to his kicking prowess, he was a starter at safety for USM. As a senior he intercepted a USM record eight passes, and was named an All-American defensive back. He played quarterback in his early years and was the last string emergency quarterback for the Raiders.

Ironically he replaced kicker-quarterback George Blanda at that position. Early in Guy’s career he would occasionally kickoff for the Raiders when it was apparent that George Blanda no longer had the range to kickoff.

Ray Guy was a punter that used picture perfect technique and a tremendous leg whip to kick the ball high and keep it there so long that there was little chance of a return. It was his hang time and placement that made him dangerous on the field.

He was able to effectively pin the opponent deep in their own territory, and if the defense upheld their part of the bargain, the Raiders invariably won the exchange of punts and the field position battle. In the 1976 Pro Bowl, one of his punts hit the giant TV screen hanging from the rafters in the Louisiana Superdome.

Not only did Ray Guy punt high and far—“hang time” came into the NFL lexicon during his tenure. He once had an opponent take a ball he punted tested for helium!

“I was never much on hang-time until we got Ray, but then we started clocking how long his punt hung in the air. Sometimes he kept it up there for six seconds!” A quote from John Madden, Former Raider Head Coach.

He placed an astonishing 57 punts inside the 20-yard line during the 1984-85 season. The career statistics are phenomenal but even more impressive is that here is a guy whose only concern was helping his team win games.

“He’s the first punter you could look at and say, He won games.” A quote from Joe Horrigan, Pro Football Hall of Fame Historian.

The College Punter of the Year award is now called the Ray Guy Award.

He has proven his greatness for years, but taking you back to another stellar play, the Super Bowl XVIII. He helped the Raiders avoid a catastrophe early in the second quarter when he soared in the air, stretching out his 6’3” frame, making a one-handed catch of a high snap.

After he landed, the athletic Ray Guy kicked a 42-yard punt. He now runs a kicking academy and has several speaking engagements. He is the greatest punter in NFL history and it is shameful that he isn’t in the Hall of Fame.

Friday, June 6, 2008

NBA FInals: Boston takes game one

After all the talk about the legends of the game, the history of the rivalry, the outcome of the previous 10 matchups, and everyone in America weighing in on the outcome, it was finally time to play ball.

The Celtics came out as what can only be described as physical and resolved.

The Lakers did not.

The result was a 98-88 victory as the Celtics took Game One. The Celtics outrebounded and outhustled the Lakers.

The first quarter featured both teams feeling each other out, like two boxers sparring. The playoffs are all about adjustments, and there were adjustments by both teams. The first quarter was pretty even, ending 23-21 for Boston.

The second quarter featured more adjustments, the Lakers' ball and player movement was crisp, resulting in 12 assists in the first half, and some knocked down shots.

The Lakers were able to capitalize on the Celtics poor pick-and-roll coverage, so Pau Gasol was able to come alive. But Kevin Garnett was a force, and led the Celtics in scoring with 24 points and 13 rebounds. Ray Allen finished with 19 points.

Paul Pierce was saddled with foul trouble and wasn't a factor early on, but that would change. The Celtics used several players to defend Kobe Bryant and did a solid job on him collectively.

The combination of good defense and missed shots saw Kobe shoot 9-26 from the field, he would finish with 24 quiet points.

Sam Cassell scored six big points. The Lakers outplayed the Celtics in the second quarter, and took a five-point lead at into halftime.

In the third quarter, with 6:49 to go on a Kobe Bryant drive, Paul Pierce collided with teammate Kendrick Perkins and left the game. He lay sprawled on the floor before being carried off the court, and later wheeled into the locker room with what appeared to be a sprained knee.

The Boston crowd cheered loudly when Pierce came back to the bench, and louder when he re-entered the game at the 5:04 mark. The return of their leader rejuvenated the Celtics.

Pierce outscored Kobe Bryant in the quarter 15-12, giving the Celtics a 75-71 lead. Paul Pierce’s two three-pointers in 22 seconds made the difference in the game.

Derek Fisher and Pau Gasol finished with 15 points apiece, and Lamar Odom added 14 points, as the Lakers suffered their fourth loss in the playoffs. The Celtics led 77-73 at the end of the third quarter.

In the fourth quarter, Boston quickly pushed their lead to eight points after a three-pointer by James Posey. Fisher and Sasha Vujacic scored to get the Lakers within four at 86-82, but then Paul Pierce countered with a jumper and two free throws to put Boston up 90-82.

The Lakers would fight back and get within six points, until Garnett, who had missed nine shots in a row, followed up a miss with a ferocious dunk to seal Boston’s Game One win.

Game One lived up to the hype and made the legends proud. The Celtics outplayed the Lakers, and executed down the stretch. The Lakers will need to make some adjustments in order to have a different outcome in Game Two Sunday night.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Lakers vs. Celtics: 2008 NBA Finals Preview

The Lakers swept the Nuggets, beat the Utah Jazz in six games and dethroned the former defending NBA champions in five games to win the tough Western Conference.

The Celtics were taken to seven games, in the process of beating the Hawks and Cavaliers, then beating the Pistons on the road in six games to win the rugged Eastern Conference.

This is the NBA Finals match-up that several people wanted to see.

A classic NBA rivalry renewed.

Every year the names on the back of the jersey’s change, but when you hear Lakers vs. Celtics, that brings back several memories, good and bad, of a bitter rivalry with sweating intensity.

It can be referred to as a gift from the basketball god’s or a real life throwback, but for the eleventh time L.A. faces Boston.

The Celtics were founded in 1946 and this rivalry took shape in the 1950’s when the Celtics hired Arnold “Red” Auerbach to coach the team. He took the league by storm winning their first title in 1957.

Prepare yourself for a battle for supremacy of professional basketball—a world championship.

The Lakers were 0-2 in the season series against the Celtics. Both teams have changed since those two match-ups.

This is a match up of the best offensive team in the league (Lakers) vs. the best defensive team in the league (Celtics).

This is the Lakers first time in the Finals since 2004. This is the Celtics first time in the Finals since 1987.

Let’s fire up the flux capacitor and set the date to 1987.

Riggs & Murtaugh blew up downtown Los Angeles; two governors were spawned thanks to Predator; several people were sporting Jheri Curls, Afro’s and mullets; we found out that Cher could act; Run-DMC was Raising Hell; LL Cool J dropped a classic—Hip Hop’s First Love ballad on his second of 13 albums; Doug Williams became the first black QB to win a Super Bowl; and the Lakers received vengeance and beat the Celtics 4-2 after losing to them in 1986. Played at the Boston Madison Square Garden located on top of North Station, which was demolished in 1997.

This time around, the Celtics big three, Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Jesus Shuttlesworth a.k.a. Ray Allen, will square off against L.A.’s big three—the league MVP Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol, and Lamar Odom.

Starter Match–Ups

PG Derek Fisher 6’ 1” 210 lbs. 11th Year, Avg. 11.7 Pts, 2.9 Ast, 2.1 Reb, 1 Stl
PG Rajon Rondo 6’1” 171 lbs. Second Year, Avg. 10.5 Pts, 6.6 Ast, 4.2 Reb.

Derek Fisher is a savvy veteran with championship experience. After chasing the gauntlet of leagues best point guards in Allen Iverson, Deron Williams, and Tony Parker to reach the Finals, there’s nothing Rondo can do to surprise him.

Rondo is the primary distributor for the Celtics. Expect Derek Fisher to outmuscle Rondo. Advantage: Lakers
SG Kobe Bryant 6’ 6” 220 lbs. 11thYear, Avg. 28.3 Pts, 5.4 Ast, 6.3 Reb, 2 Stl. SG Ray Allen 6’5” 205 lbs. 11thYear, Avg. 17.4 Pts, 3.1 Ast, 3.7 Rebs.
Ray Allen has experience facing Kobe Bryant from his days in Seattle. Ray has had, for him, a less than stellar playoffs with a slight loss of confidence in his shooting recently.
He has the tough assignment of guarding Kobe Bryant, the league MVP who is unpredictable, unstoppable, and sometimes unbelievable. Advantage: Lakers
SF Lamar Odom 6’ 11” 230 lbs. Eighth Year, Avg. 14.2 Pts, 3.5 Ast, 10.6 Reb, 1 block
SF Paul Pierce 6’ 7” 235 lbs. 9thYear, Avg. 19.6 Pts, 4.5 Ast, 5.1 Rebs.
This is a good match up that has the potential to take away Paul Pierce’s post up game and force him to stay on the perimeter. He is a solid scorer and leader on this team and will more than likely take the last shot if the opportunity arises.
Lamar Odom will be a key in this series due to his ability to do so many things. He will be in the triple threat position and can post up Paul Pierce and score in the low post or draw a double team and find and open cutter to the basket or pass out to open shooters. Advantage: Celtics
PF Vladimir Radmanovic 6’ 10” 235 lbs. Sixth Year, Avg. 8.4 Pts, 1.9 Ast, 3.3 Reb.
PF Kevin Garnett 6’ 11” 220 lbs. 12thYear, Avg. 18.8 Pts, 3.4 Ast, 9.2 Reb.
Kevin Garnett is a tough cover for anyone and I’m expecting a lot of cross matching in the series, but Vladimir Radmanovic will start out covering KG.
He is 6’ 10” and if KG guards him he can take KG away from the basket. He must knock down open jumpers to spread the floor for the offense. Advantage: Celtics
C Paul Gasol 7’ 0” 250 lbs. Sixth Year, Avg. 18.9 Pts, 3.2 Ast, 8.4 Reb, 2 Blocks
C Kendrick Perkins 6’ 10” 264 lbs. Fourth Year, 6.9 Pts, 1.1 Ast, 6.1 Reb, 1.5 Blocks
Pau Gasol has been epic for the Lakers' offense and the last line of defense. Gasol’s scoring, decision-making, passing, and rebounding helps the Lakers on both ends of the court.
Perkins is a force in the middle and one of the main reasons the Celtics are in the Finals.
Gasol has the potential to outscore Perkins as well as keep him in foul trouble which would weaken the Celtic defense. Pau Gasol, after playing against Utah & San Antonio, should be prepared for his battle with Perkins. Advantage: Lakers
The Celtics have received production from their bench; however, just like the Spurs, the Celtics have several older players on their bench. The Lakers' bench has been productive for them all season.
This could be the difference in the series.
The Lakers' athletes on the bench will bring speed, energy, and scoring. This group has the ability to change speeds and run the opposition out of the building. Advantage: Lakers
This will be a tough series in yet another classic NBA battle.
The Lakers have that one player on their team that won’t allow his team to lose and can get a needed bucket or get to the free throw line in Kobe Bryant. He is a guy who when feeling it and playing like a man possessed, who will not be denied.
You'll see a lot of cross matching in this series where Luke Walton & Radmanovic will guard Paul Pierce as an example, although Kobe will more than likely be his primary defender.
Sasha Vujacic will chase Ray Allen. James Posey will have an opportunity to guard Kobe.
Both teams are tough to beat at home. The TD Banknorth Garden isn't the scariest place to be in the U.S. It's not like you roll up and see $4.58 per gallon on a gas pump, now that's scary.
I recall going to a game, back in the day, donning my Lakers jacket and I was booed at the train station, on the train to the stadium, at the Garden when fans didn't just come to watch the game they manned battle stations.
I heard the deafening "beat L.A." chant that has already started. The Los Angeles Lakers were the first team in history to beat the Celtics in the Finals in Boston. My prediction for the NBA Finals, Los Angeles Lakers in six games.