Wait, what’d you think I meant?
Have a good one you animals.
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Another week, another series win and the Orioles inch that much closer to the playoffs. They returned home to start an 11 game home stand where they face some lesser skilled teams. Teams the Orioles should be able to beat up on and extend this lead. 76-56 and seven games up on the Yankees, missing some major pieces in their lineup, yet things are looking up for the Birds. BTW, the Yanks haven’t been in first place since May 21st, isn’t that great?
After a slow start to the season, James Jerry Hardy has rebounded to become one of the best players on the O’s and one of their most clutch performers. When the year started, it seemed like Hardy would have a down year, but he actually is turning in one of his best seasons yet.
With his game winning bloop single last night, Hardy is now batting .282, 20 points higher than his career average. His power numbers have dipped a little bit this year and his eight home runs don’t jump out at you, especially when you see he has averaged 26 over the last three seasons. But I’ll take a .280 JJ with less homers, more hits, and less strikeouts over a JJ who hits .240 with 24 homers and triple digit strikeouts. Not sure why the power outage but whatever it is, it’s made him a more complete hitter.
A free agent after this season, Hardy’s “off” year is actually good for the Orioles in free agency. He’s one of the leaders in the clubhouse and his play on the field speaks for itself, look for him to bring home his third Gold Glove this season. Do the right thing Duquette, bring back Hardy.
30 games left and the Orioles are 7 games up, a great position to be in. According to ESPN, the Orioles have a 97 percent chance of making the playoffs, not bad for a team who some “experts” said would finish last. Their magic number is down to 24 and with this weak schedule they have coming up, they could have this thing wrapped up fairly soon.
The Birds are home for four against the Twins and then three against the Reds. There’s something about the A.L. Central that the Orioles can’t shake. The central is the only division the Orioles have played where they have under a .500 record this season. I think the Orioles take 3 of 4 from the Twins. Minnesota gave the Birds a fit earlier this year in Minnesota but that’s before this team remembered how to hit homers. The O’s are gearing up for playoff baseball while Joe Mauer is setting up tee times. No sweat here.
Cincinnati comes to town next and the Orioles should have their way with them. Birds will make light work of the Reds and take all 3. Let’s wrap this puppy up.
Monday’s game is Adam Jones bobblehead day, if anyone goes and gets an extra one or wants to get one for your boy, let me know. I will gladly add the AJ bobblehead to my collection.
— Orioles GIFs (@OriolesGIFs) August 29, 2014
Follow me on twitter @BarstoolRDT
Fall baby! We made it! Football for everyone! Thank goodness, it’s been far too long. And what a season we have to look forward to. New beginnings for the Terps. Finally got rid of that stench of ACC mediocrity and put our B1G boy pants on. And I’ve got news for all you midwestern schools out there- The Terps are here to play. There’s a lot more to Maryland football than the sickest uniforms on planet Earth. They’re no doormat. I’m not saying by any means that they’re going to make a run at the B1G championship game, but they’re gonna compete and they’re gonna win some ballgames. They’ve got as much experience as anyone and some of the best talents in the conference. The key factor is health. If they’re healthy, they’re in a bowl game without question. Let’s learn some more about Maryland football.
MEET THE OFFENSE
The offense is the strong point of this football team. They return 9 of their 11 starters, and 97.5% of last year’s offensive yards. That’s only good enough for tops in the nation. The unquestioned leader is CJ Brown at QB. His experience (along with a pair of stud receivers) is probably his biggest asset, as he’s been the starter since mid-2011. Thing is, he’s been riddled with knee, hip and head injuries since. When CJ Brown is healthy, the Terps can score from anywhere. He’s not blessed with a great arm, but he’s a heck of an athlete that can run as well as any QB in the country.
Stefon Diggs and Deon Long
Love me some Diggs, as should you, because he might be the best wideout in the country. Kid can flat out ball. Let’s have a quick looksie before I start gushing about him.
Man’s the complete package. The second you think you’ve got him trapped, he’s slipped a tackle and beaten you around the corner for 6. Great football IQ as well. He’s joined by fellow 5-star receiving recruit Deon Long. Both of these cats can fly, I’m talking mid 4.3 speed. The downside is that they both broke their legs in the SAME FUCKING QUARTER last year. So they’ve been in the training room all spring healing up instead of getting much needed snaps. They might need this week against JMU to shake off some rust, but they should be all set to tear it up this season. When they’re healthy, it’s pick your poison through the air against Maryland.
The Backfield and Offensive Line
The Terps have a nice collection of decent running backs. Brandon Ross has been listed as the top running back, but it’s really a 3 man attack. Ross is a smart, downhill runner who tends to fall forward, but isn’t really a standout talent-wise. That more accurately describes Wes Brown, a former UA All-American recruit that missed last year due to suspension. Brown is a bruiser, and might see more red zone carries (and the majority of the carries overall) as the season goes on. Albert Reid is the speedster of the group, and played solid in Brown’s absence last year with 4.3 yds/carry. The major flaw with this offense is the size and lack of depth on the offensive line. There are going to be growing pains as some of these guys get used to facing the bigger boys that play at the likes of Michigan State and Wisconsin. They were dominated by FSU’s D-line last year, and it lead to CJ Brown getting injured (albeit on a massive cheap shot). Center Sal Conaboy has been around seemingly forever, and it’ll be up to him to lead and keep this unit from holding the offense back.
MEET THE DEFENSE AND SPECIAL TEAMS
Brian Stewart’s 3-4 Defense
Quick synopsis here. Brian Stewart is the former D-Coordinator of the Dallas Cowboys and uses a 3-4 defense. In his two years, his defenses have placed in the better half of the ACC despite having a collection of undersized players by most FBS standards. And that’s the way he likes it. His defense is all about speed and athleticism, especially from the linebacker corps. That’s where guys like Matt Robinson come in. Robinson’s the veteran of the group who converted from safety to linebacker. The strength of this defense will be the 4 senior linebackers. Along with DE Andre Monroe (9.5 sacks last year), these guys are great at pressuring the QB and should wreak some havoc this year.
The secondary is capable and will hold its own, but I want to talk about my boy Will Likely for a minute. He is ferocious. At 5’7, 175 lbs, but he plays 6’5. Extremely exciting to watch. He’s your typical undersized athlete with a chip on his shoulder. Flies around the field and knocks the big boys on their asses. Had a big year last season as a freshman, and terrorized the opposition in the return game after Diggs got hurt. Kicks and punts were Stefon’s domain early last year, but I think it’s all Will, all the time now. And he’s only going to get better. Be afraid B1G boys.
He’s the kicker. Sucked in 2012, was great in 2013. Moving on.
Even by Big 10 standards, this is a TOUGH schedule. Starts off fairly easy, but gets real rough, real quick. The way I see it, they gotta cut it into segments. Focus on getting out of September with 4 wins. They could easily take 5, but let’s not get greedy. From there, it heads downhill fast. That stretch of Ohio State, Iowa, at Wisconsin, at Penn State, Michigan State, and at Michigan is down right dirty. I’m hopeful they can win 4 of them and finish at 8-4, but it won’t be an easy task. They’ll score a big upset somewhere in there though, and that’ll be epic.
So that’s it. Your 8-4 Maryland Terrapins. Holler at me on gameday, I’ll be in Lot 1 bright and early.
Oh my lerrrrd. How do you even decide whose salad to toss here? I know I can’t. I have no idea. I’m just typing words now for no real reason. Nothing I type will help me decide, help you decide, or give the blood that has rushed below the belt to the rest of my body. But rules are rules. We have to MFK them.
Marry: Helen Owen. We don’t always all agree on one thing, but we all pretty much agree she’s on top of the world right now.
Fuck: Tara Booher. I don’t know who she is or where she came from, but I’d like to get a sniff to find out.
Kill: Ellie. Oh my lerrrrrrd.
Part 2 of my 2 part series about the choices the Redskins have to make on offense. First I focused on the running backs, now we are looking at the traffic jam at wide out. And as jam packed as the backfield is, it is even more crowded at the wide receiver position. WRs fo dayz. DeSean Jackson and Pierre Garcon are one of the top WR tandems in the league. And the fun part is they brought in speedster Andre Roberts as a big offseason acquisition before they signed Jackson. So their top 3 WRs might be the best 3 in the NFL.
And then the fun begins. Rookie Ryan Grant looks phenomenal. Makes every catch. Footwork is off the charts. Corners haven’t stood a chance against him. I could see him pushing Roberts from the 3rd WR spot at times. If they play 4 WR sets, the defense is cooked.
So that leaves a shit ton of people we once thought would make the team for the 5th WR spot, and possibly the 6th if they want to make me happy.
Santana Moss – Before the preseason, I thought he was a goner. Just a part of the business. But he’s looked GREAT in preseason. Shockingly. Last year he was terrible. Was running like that old guy who runs around the neighborhood slower than you can walk it. And he’s come in this preseason and made every catch, made people miss in the slot, and looked like a guy you want in on 3rd downs. Ageless. I think he makes the team.
Which means they have to bring a 6th WR onto the club. Will DeSean play a full season? Unlikely. And with Moss not a guy who will play special teams, I think they need to bring another guy. The options:
Aldrick Robinson – He looks good. Before Santana looked good in the preseason, I would have assumed Robinson would be the last WR on the team. Last year he had 18 catches for 365 yards, which gives him a 20 yards per catch average. Can’t teach speed, and his hands work pretty well too..unlike…
Leonard Hankerson – Another tall, fast WR who couldn’t put it all together. I think the Hank experiment is over. Just not enough room on the roster. Despite having 30 catches last year and 38 the year before, DeSean is the game breaker this club needs, making Hankerson and his inconsistency a last man off the roster cut.
Nick Williams – A white guy who plays like a white guy. Sure hands, white guy speed, good special teams player. Does nothing great, but does everything right. A good special teams player too. Not enough space on the roster for him though.
So I do think the Skins keep 6 WR and keep Jackson, Garcon, Roberts, Grant, Moss, and Robinson.
As for the other exciting preseason battle, the kickers. I think Kai won his job last night when he hit a 45 yarder and then put the kickoff into the back of the end zone. Zach Hocker looked good all preseason, and was more consistent on kickoffs. You can even argue his leg on kickoffs is more valuable to the team than keeping a 3rd QB. And I can’t argue that at all. A 3rd QB can always be brought in, and your season is already shit if it comes to that. But getting a touchback after every kickoff is important. Much more important than Colt holding a clipboard. I’m not sure if they do it, but it’s worth a thought.
I just tried to write this blog but it morphed into a blog about how much I like Alfred Morris. So this is attempt number 2.
Since the first preseason game, we’ve known there is a logjam in the backfield. Alf is the starter. Helu probably gets the #2 spot based on experience and pass catching. Just a solid 3rd down back. Doesn’t blow your dick off, but a solid dude who can pick up the first down. So the problem is the 3rd running back. Here’s your options:
Evan Royster – Has been that guy the last couple of seasons, and he probably already has his bags packed. He will get picked up somewhere else, as he’s a durable 3rd running back who can take on the backup role when needed.
Chris Thompson – The guy is fast. But his whole body is as durable as RG3′s knee. Guy gets all the chances in the world but doesn’t stay healthy. He had the chance to shine yesterday and he didn’t deliver. Maybe they can stash him on the practice squad.
Silas Redd - A rookie bruiser who plays similarly to Alfred Morris. Had 14 carries for 79 yards last night. A guy I want on the team. He can run downhill but he can make people miss too. I hope they can sneak him onto the practice squad, as I don’t see him becoming the 3rd back because…
Lache Seastrunk - A 4.3 40 rookie from Baylor. Last night took a screen pass 80 yards to the house. The perfect lightning to Alf’s thunder. I’m all aboard the Seastrunk Train. Wasn’t forced to catch out of the back field in college, but appears to have decent enough hands. Speed rules, and he has it in spades.
I think there is somewhat of a chance they carry 4 RBs and fullback Darrel Young. It depends on if they think they can sneak Silas Redd or Chris Thompson onto the practice squad. I think Thompson is replaceable, but people in the know seem to feel he has too much talent to let walk. So my 3 are Morris, Helu, and Seastrunk. Hopefully Redd too. Thompson and Royster, thanks for your time, drop off your playbook on the way out.
I’m going to be completely honest with you. This blog started out about the Redskins having to make RB and WR cuts today since they are loaded at both positions. That blog will come later. This blog is solely about how good Alfred Morris is. Guy is a stud. Maybe the most underrated back in the league. I’m guilty of not talking about him enough, and to be honest, Alfred Morris doesn’t talk about Alfred Morris enough. He’s a humble hard worker and deserves to be talked about. 1600 yards in his first season, 1275 last season while only getting 17 carries a game. It was preposterous how poorly Kyle Shanahan used Alf last season. Just thinking about it is driving me crazy. For fucks sake the guy didn’t have a 20 carry game until their 8th game. 8th!!! While averaging over 5 yards per carry coming off a 1600 yard season! FUCK! They would go throw, throw, throw, punt with the lead in the second half. Alf would pick up 7 yards on first down and they would go throw, throw, punt. The play calling was atrocious, to put it nicely. My jaw would be on the ground watching the play calling in action. Redskins Twitter would have an aneurism. Was just insane how terrible lil’ Shanny used him. I read something a while ago that Morris was first in the league last season for yards after first contact (To be honest I can’t find the source again, but I think that’s what I read). He’s a bulldozer and still can bust out a long run too. Hopefully new offensive coordinator Sean McVay gets it right. I love fucking Alfred Morris!
WTSP – A 29-year-old woman was arrested Wednesday after police say she hung up on a deputy who was trying to find her missing daughter. The Pasco Sheriff’s deputy said he was notified by the woman’s grandmother that the 10-year-old girl did not return home from a bar-be-que up the street. The deputy said Bobbey Jo Boucher left her daughter at the bar-be-que as she went to work. The deputy contacted Boucher on the phone while she was at work at Calendar Girls strip club and she told him she was the last person who saw her daughter. While he was trying to gather information on her daughter so he could file a missing child report, Boucher told him, “I have to get on stage,” and hung up the phone. The girl was found around 9 p.m. Wednesday in Pasco. Boucher was later located and arrested for resisting an officer and obstruction. She later said she did not hang up on the deputy, but transferred to another call.
This story kind of writes itself. What else can you possibly say? Of course she had to hang up on the police, you miss a shift at Calendar Girls, your ass is dead meat. They don’t let just any ol schlub dance at Calendar Girls, obviously. So Bobbey Jo here made the only rational decision there was- get her tits up on that stage and wave them around in the air like she just didn’t care. She knew her daughter probably was just taking a nap somewhere, and those bills aren’t going to pay them damn selves. Kids are always causing problems, bein rebellion. Bobbey Jo was trying to make an honest living while her daughter was trying to ruin everything, as kids always try to do. By the way, how convenient that she was born with a stripper name already? Bobbey Jo. Some people have names where they don’t really have a choice what they are going to be. D’Brickashaw Ferguson was born to be a football player, Bobbey Jo was born to scrip. But hey, it ain’t no sin bein a scripper.
10 days. We’re almost there. One more bullshit football contest left before we get to eat. This week brings us to New Orleans, our first trip back to the Big Easy since we left as World Champions 18 months ago. For most Ravens, this is an opportunity to bask in the memories of Super Bowl success. Others are fighting for their careers. This is their Super Bowl. They’ll fight tooth and nail for every damn inch to be one of those 53 getting a jersey next week. These guys are what Preseason Week 4 is all about. These are their stories.
It’s his show tonight. Given that he’s a free agent after this year, this may be the last time we get to see Tyrod in action with the Ravens. Not because he’s on the cutting board, but because Flacco is as tough and durable a quarterback that has ever walked the planet. Seriously. He’s never missed a game. The guy had to stand for an entire 6 hour flight to Oakland a few years back because he physically couldn’t sit with a hip injury. And he still played that week. But I digress.
Taylor has been adequate so far this preseason, putting points on the board on half of his offensive drives. He worked with Jeff Garcia over the summer to nail down the nuances of the West Coast offense, and it looks like it’s made a difference. But I wouldn’t describe him as impressive. What I need to know is how long can Tyrod keep the boat afloat should Flacco go down. There’s no question in my mind he can’t carry this team on his own for the better half of a season, and especially not the playoffs. But is he the kind of quarterback that can keep us in the race if Joe’s out for a month? 2 months? Or are we boned if it’s any more than 2 weeks? Tonight I’m watching to see how he looks when he’s the general. Time to test our safety net.
Michael Campanaro and his fellow wideouts
There’s a logjam at receivers as they cut down the rosters to 53 on Saturday. Kamar Aiken, Mike Campanaro, Deonte Thompson, and Jeremy Butler are all vying for a roster spot, and it’s unclear whether the Ravens keep 5 or 6 guys at WR. The Smiths, Marlon Brown, and Jacoby Jones are set in stone, but who’s gonna join them? I’m confident they’ll go 6 deep. The team invested next year’s 6th rounder in Campanaro, and I can’t imagine them cutting him. I’d love to see him get out there and prove his worth tonight though. As for the 6th spot, I think they’ll take Aiken for his special teams coverage abilities. Thompson has shown that he can produce as a returner, but we already have guys that can do that. Unless he comes up with another big performance, I’d cut him.
Derek Cox and the cornerbacks
I’ve talked about cornerback depth all preseason, and rightfully so. Although Webb and Jimbo Smith look to be ready to go Week 1, it’s a disaster area behind them. They made big strides last week, but Ozzie still went out and signed a vet by the name of Derek Cox, who was cut by Minnesota last week. I don’t feel great about scooping a guy not good enough to make the Vikings first cuts, but then again, he was a pro bowl alternate in 2010. And we’re not looking for a shutdown guy, just another body who can keep his guy in front of him. Webb and Smith are sitting again, so guys like Cox, Chykie, and Franks will carry the load as Luke McCown and Ryan Griffin duke it out for the backup job behind Drew Brees.
And that’s all I got. I tried to make preseason week 4 football sound fun, I really did. If you’re watching 1st place baseball or SEC football tonight, I certainly don’t blame you. But these games do make an impact down the road. You never know what fringe players might become tomorrow’s superstars. And the Ravens have an opportunity to finish 4-0 in the preseason, which is kinda neat (it’s not, ask the Redskins last year).