Thursday, December 22, 2011

These Heels are just fine with being the team that just keeps winning while staying anonymous

It seems like this season has mirrored last in some ways down in Chapel Hill for the North Carolina Tar Heels, especially with all-american small forward Harrison Barnes. Barnes came to the Tar Heels with plenty of hype and acclaim as the #1 ranked freshmen in the country, and also became the first freshmen EVER voted to be a pre-season all-american. That in itself is a big accomplishment, and some thought that after the first 1/3 of the season they must've got an impostor.

 Harrison Barnes wasn't playing like himself, he looked like his confidence dropped more and more with every miss, was settling for shots, and was not only soft with the ball but he even looked nervous on the court, like he couldn't get comfortable with something. Even the local media that wrote those worshipping articles and continued to tout his ability with stories and stories saying, just wait, its coming, soon, you'll see..... couldn't build a relationship that could bring the real Barnes out of his shell. 

Some looking on thought he didn't get along with teammates, must be unhappy if he wasn't laughing and joking around like everyone else. But that was just it, Barnes isn't like everyone else, Barnes is a basketball junkie and even the most refined and expensive machines get bugs that need adjusting sometimes. While Barnes continued to put in hours and hours of work behind the scenes on the court instead of playing vids in his dorm room he gradually got the feel back and then the Dean Dome was the same sanctuary that his gym was back home in Iowa. He got his edge back and finally opponents started to pay when they tried to pressure him, easy buckets at the foul line caused foul trouble and more easy looks outside and by the end of the year and throughout the NCAA tournament Harrison Barnes carried North Carolina.

 Give it time, your going to see Barnes back in form again, even if it takes half the damn season, YOU WILL SEE HARRISON BARNES THAT ALL US TAR HEEL FANS KNOW AND CHEERED THE MOMENT HE DECLINED THE URGE TO GO TO THE NBA. The recent news is that he lost ground to Perry Jones and that has lost him position and money ect ect....Just wait, every GM that passes on Harrison Barnes is going to pay for it,...and that payment will be coming out of those checks for years to come, well, until they get fired for all that hurt Mr. Barnes is going to put on them on the court!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Patriots path to Superbowl get harder with another injury

Defensive end Andre Carter is a veteran that came in with questions about his age, declining ability and how effective of a player he would be at this late juncture of his solid NFL career. It's possible the Patriots could be moving him to the Injured Reserve list as early as today with the news and statement from Carter's agent that he will be undergoing surgery for "a quad related injury". That's about as specific as your ever going to get out of a Patriots player, coach, staff, all the way up to executives and ownership. Per coach Bill Belichick, his players and staff know to keep it vague when it comes to everything Patriots, whether it's injuries, playing time, opponents, or the game plan throughout his iconic career, "THE HOODIE" has made a point to run a tight ship.

Carter has been by far the Patriots top pass rusher this season with 10 sacks through 13 games reaching double digits which is something of a rarity for the team from Foxborough. The need for pressure on the quarterback has been a constant problem for the Patriots over the past few years and many thought they would look to fill the void with their array of draft picks this past year. When Belichick chose to instead take 2 different running backs. Shane Vereen and Ras-I Dowling have both experienced injuries throughout the year and at my vantage point have been disappointing in their debut season. 

The Patriots found a bright spot with their signing of the veteran Andre Carter though. He has been a fantastic leader and strong voice in the locker room and has set a great example with his work ethic and attitude for the young guys to follow on defense. The Pats are in the middle of reshaping the defensive side of the ball with their youth movement and has some solid pieces in Jerod Mayo, Patrick Chung, Devin McCourty, Kyle Arrington. 

Even on the offensive side of the ball where many questioned the picks of 2 more tight-ends to a team that already had a couple the Patriots are showing just how smart they are. With the record setting season of Rob Gronkowski for touchdowns for a tight end in only his 2nd season and the other pick Aaron Hernandez totaling 9 catches for over 120 yards against the Broncos these 2 guys have showed just how valuable they are. Not that Bill needs to hear it from you or me but GREAT PICKS BIG GUY.

Just as an example here are the first 2 comments listed from fans when I clicked on the ESPN story:

Andre Carter comes across with so much dignity and class in his interviews. Easy to see why his teammates respect him so much. And this is in addition to what he does on the field! Hopefully, he will spend as much time as he can with the team and continue to offer support and leadership.
Andre, get well soon and come on back. You're a class act and a big part of the team.

+Joshua Hastings 

Monday, December 19, 2011

December 19th 2011 in NBA Headline News

Peja Stojakovic will not be playing this year and has decided to retire

In the wake of Jeff Green finding out about his aortic aneurysm the Boston Celtics and coach Doc Rivers is talking about the positive over the negative. Doctors don't think the problem will be life threatening so it's possible to look forward to his return eventually but don't start the countdown just yet, this will be a drawn out process to evaluate and assess exactly what is the best way to go about everything.

Do everything small forward Shawn Marion of the Dallas Mavericks has been listening to ALL of this NBA news everyday. It's been such a short period to get ready that free agency, trades and practice for teams has been full of surprises. The one thing that Marion doesn't think he's hearing quite enough of....respect for the title holder! At this point I think he's right that there hasn't been much talk but I don't understand why he cares. Last year they believed in themselves and as a team rallied together and took on the world together and then in the end, they were the last team standing, TOGETHER, WITHOUT GETTING MUCH RESPECT STILL! If I was on the Mavs, i'd want to just go about our business, have a solid regular season and keep all of our veterans healthy and then get ready for a deep run hopefully.

+Joshua Hastings

Hope you didn't take this one off cause it was such a gimme, thought it wasn't even worth watching the "beating"

Well, personally I didn't see this one coming. To be completely honest I thought that the Packers were pretty much going to go all out through 3 quarters for the rest of the regular season, this game and then 2 more at home. I figured they would have enough of a lead in each, in order, Chiefs, Bears, Lions by the end of the 3rd beginning of the 4th that the starters could get a little rest and start getting their minds right for the Superbowl run.....and if I had to pick one game that would be an upset, a game that would end their bid for a perfect regular season and then continued complete perfect entire season including playoffs, THIS WOULD DEFINITELY NOT BE THE GAME THEY WOULD LOSE. Shit, I didn't think the Chiefs had a chance to be within 30 by the end of the first half basically. 

The Kansas City Chiefs came ready to play. I don't know whether it was the fact that they had an undefeated team coming to their home field at Arrowhead stadium with a chance to knock them off and do what no other team could do in the last 19 straight games. I don't know whether it was because they talked up this game as a chance for a bright spot in an otherwise disappointing season since the loss of Matt Cassell. Or I don't know whether they rallied behind their temporary coach for the remainder of the season because they're head coach Todd Haley got fired just this past week. For whatever reason though, the Chiefs came to play on the defensive side of the ball, and that defense held one of the best offenses of all-time to a total of only 14 points. THAT'S RIGHT, THE CHIEFS HELD THE PACKERS TO 14. It's not much of something to yell about when you put up 19 on that Packers defense, but to hold reigning NFL MVP of the Superbowl Aaron Rodgers to only 2 touchdowns for his offense your def doing something right.

Overall it was 4 field goals and a score of a touchdown in the 4th quarter for the Chiefs and a single touchdown in the 3rd and 4th quarters each for the Green Bay Packers who said after the game they weren't even sure how to feel....."it was the first time they have lost in 19 games". That spanned nearly an entire year for them, and many players simpily said, "it sucks". Well, next week against the Bears they'll have their chance to take their frustrations out on the conferance rival, but with a look towards the playoffs just a few weeks away I'd be careful with letting Brian Urlacher get too many shots with his speed and power to put a hit on Rodgers and blow up their hopes for a title run.....

Joe Montana authentic signed football
comes with certificate of authenticity
Played with Cheifs after 49ers
Packers Clay Matthews autographed
authentic football inscribed #52
with certificate of authenticity

+Joshua Hastings

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Wow. Thank God. FINALLY. Phew it's over with. Now stop asking about the losing streak and if we are EVER going to win a game again.

Those are all different things that the Indianapolis Colts players could have been thinking or saying after their first win of the entire football season in week 14 finally, against the Tennessee Titans and Matt Hasselbeck.

Personally, I thought the Colts were going to win either this game or one of their last 2. You've always got a chance when you play a backup quarterback and next week the Colts match-up against the Texans and their somewhere around 4th choice at QB. Their final game is against the Jaguars who typically give the Colts a hard time, but maybe that is a Manning thing. Now i'm ABSOLUTELY NOT SAYING THE COLTS ARE BETTER OFF WITHOUT PEYTON OR HAVE A BETTER SHOT AT BEATING ANYONE. But, the Jaguars and Titans play the Colts tough because of their defense. They typically have tight games against Peyton Manning and it comes down to the end. That's why I figured they would have a chance at one of those final 3 games.

Lastly, a team really does rarely go winless for the entire season. I am 28 and can't remember it happening since I have been watching football, or at least since i've been old enough to really pay attention and follow pro ball. At the end of the season playoff teams start resting players so teams are getting to play against 3rd and 4th string sometimes. Players that do play don't go all out because they want to stay healthy for the playoff run. Then again, that's EXACTLY when players get hurt. When your trying to go half speed or not really playing is when your going to pull something, or get leveled by someone your not looking for, all because it's not how your used to playing, your body isn't used to going at 30%. When during the year are you doing that? Probably not even in practice really.

As for the game it was controlled by the defense for the majority of the first half with the Colts the only team scoring in the first quarter and that was a field goal at the later stages. The second quarter was all the Titans as they managed to tie the Colts and then finish the half with twice as many total points as Indianapolis, halftime score of 6-3 with the Titans on top.

In the 2nd half the Colts managed to score twice in the third quarter with Orlovsky throwing a touchdown and then the Titans Hasselbeck getting picked off by the Colts and then it getting returned for a touchdown. That was all the Colts would need but they put up a touchdown and another field goal in the 4th while Tennessee could only manage one touchdown, and that was their only TD of the entire game.

+Joshua Hastings

STOP THE MADNESS!!!! If you thought if was gonna continue you were more then @ MILE HIGH

It may have taken a lot longer then a lot of people thought. It spanned the course of 6 straight games and in just that streak Tim Tebow had engineered an amazing 4 straight 4th quarter comebacks. A lot of people didn't think Tebow could win 6 games all year, let alone 6 straight games with 3 of the last 4 coming against the Jets, Chargers and Bears. All of which were thought of to be playoff teams possibly challenging for the superbowl at the start of this crazy season.

New England made sure that they didn't have to hear anymore of this invincible, god is on his side, he's been "touched" Tebow talk anymore.....well at least not in regards to how THEY couldn't stop him. Maybe the rest of the NFL isn't ready for Tim Tebow and the spread option attack but the Patriots put up 41 points on what was considered a solid defense, and also talked about being the main reason that the Broncos were able to stay close in all those games, and staying close is what enabled Tebow to manufacture all of those crazy comebacks.

Tebow and the Broncos offense had one of those games that can't really be explained by anything other then the fact that the final score really was just about what it should have been if not for people considering this recent hot streak. The Broncos scored on their first 3 offensive possessions for a total of 16 points and then managed only 1 more touchdown the rest of the game. 

The Patriots capitalized on 2 2nd quarter turnovers and put up 20 in that period to go with the touchdown they scored in each other quarter. Once again Brady and his machine pumped out another impressive outing, while continuing too add to Aaron Hernandez's record and amazing statistical season. This time he had 9 catches for 127 yards and only 1 score. Now he has put himself solidly in the lead for most touchdowns in a season total by a tight end. Remember the Patriots still have 2 more regular season games to go, and until the completely wrap things up, don't expect Bellichek to let this finely turned machine he has get out of sync.