Friday, September 23, 2016

All Hail Bill

By Travis Stahl

Remember the other day when I told you it isn't easy to win a game in the NFL.  I should clarify that for you.  It is extremely difficult to win a game in the NFL when you have all of your starters healthy.  When key players sustain injuries, like say most of your offensive line or maybe the best tight-end to ever play or even your top two quarterbacks it becomes near impossible to win.  So, you ready to talk about the New England Patriots?

Last night the Patriots beat Houston 27-0.  Without starters on the offensive line.  Without Tom Brady.  Without Jimmy Garoppalo.  Without Rob Gronkowski.  New England started rookie Jacoby Brissett at quarterback.  Never heard of him?  Most people haven't.  And while Brissett played very well he really isn't the story of this game.  Because somewhere in the confines of Gillette Stadium after the Patriots win sat head coach Bill Belichick with that sneaky little smirk on his face just thumbing his nose at the NFL thinking "I gotcha again."

Remember Deflate Gate?  Yeah, New England is still mad about that.  And when you motivate the Patriots, this is what happens.  This is possibly the best defense the Patriots have had since the early 2000's, they have the best set of receivers the team has ever had in the Belichick era (Randy Moss was one guy) and the best coaching staff to produce on offense with Belichick and Josh McDaniels.  So really, it doesn't matter if it's Brady, or Garoppalo or Brissett playing quarterback.  The rest of the league better take notice.

Sure, the team would love to have Brady out there.  The other day on ESPN they were posing the question who would you rather have for 10 years in their prime Brady or Belichick.  They all said Brady.  I don't agree with that.  Sure, Tommy Boy is talented don't get me wrong.  But Belichick can make another Brady.  He's done it twice just this year.  How many other guys with the ability of Belichick are floating around out there?  Not too many.  Belichick makes the entire organization better, very few quarterbacks in the history of the game have had that kind of sway with a team.

When the season started I thought New England would be 3-1 without Brady during his suspension at worst.  And I felt as though they had a real possibility of being 4-0.  Buffalo is next up on the schedule for the Patriots.  We've all seen what a train wreck the Bills are.  Plus, the Patriots should have more offensive line starters back and Gronkowski on the field as well.  I have a feeling that if you don't like the Patriots you aren't going to like how this season turns out.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

CC Football's All-Time Greats

By Travis Stahl

The great sports debate.  Who is better than who?  What player is the greatest.  This is the best discussion in all of sports because we all have an opinion and we are all correct.  There is no way of knowing with 100 percent certainty who the greatest players of all time in any given sport are.  Especially when you are talking about the history of Columbia City football.  There have been some truly great players in the history of Eagles football.

But who are the best of the best?  Good question.  Randy Metzger is the school's all-time leading rusher but most of us never saw him play.  So for our purposes, we are just assessing the players from the 1980's and on.  Yes, that means some really good players aren't on our list.  We didn't feel it appropriate to rank a player we never saw.  The players we did see though ... boy were they great.  Here is our all-time Columbia City football team from the 1980's to right now.

Defense Starters
Defensive line - Brad Pfeifer
Defensive line - Rodney Metzger
Defensive line - Jason Dohm
Defensive line - Eugene Peoples
Linebacker - Chad Downing
Linebacker - Bronson Ball
Linebacker - Tyler Anglin
Linebacker - Aaron Wood
Defensive back - Bart Cook
Defensive back - Greg Hollenbaugh
Defensive back - Dustin Schrader
Defensive back - Clay McCullough
Defensive Reserves
Defensive line - Jason Bales
Defensive line - Charles Kilgore
Linebacker - Gary Archbold
Linebacker - Brad Wolfe
Defensive back - Greg Myer
Defensive back - Chad Fahl

Offensive Starters
Offensive line - Jason Elkins
Offensive line - Bryce Sims
Offensive line - Chad Hollenbaugh
Offensive line - Thad Mitchell
Offensive line - Nate Wright
Tight end - Matt Heiden
Wide receiver - Jared Murphy
Wide receiver - Kyle Rucks
Running back - Chris Judd
Running back - Josh Monesmith
Quarterback - Logan Rehrer
Offensive reserves
Offensive line - Jake Clifford
Offensive line - Ryan Getts
Tight end - Jared Shinbeckler
Wide receiver - Lewis Fuller
Wide receiver - Kam Bailey
Running back - Cory Sievers
Running back - Jon Stefanko
Quarterback - Levi Knach

Ron Frickey

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

NFL Week Two Round Up

By Travis Stahl

We are two weeks through the NFL season and things have been crazy already.  Think about this for a second.  Carson Wentz and Jimmy Garapalo are 2-0 as starting quarterbacks.  Andrew Luck and Kurt Cousins are 0-2.  Don't think we saw that coming.  Still, you have to keep moving forward and looking for the next win.  It's not easy to win a game in the NFL, just ask the Cleveland Browns.  Here are some random thoughts from week two.

Cutlered again - That's got to be it for Jay Cutler in Chicago right?  Last night, in the Bears loss to the Eagles Cutler requested to be taken out of the game due an injury to the thumb on his right hand.  Yes, that is his throwing hand.  It was probably difficult to complete all the throws.  But you have to at least try to stay out there.  For the love of pete did you see Sam Bradford's smashed up hand Sunday night?  Bradford stayed in the game so he could keep playing and help his team win.  I'm guessing Cutler won't be in Chicago next season.

Packing it in - I could be completely wrong here but I don't think I am.  I have had Aaron Rodgers as my starting quarterback in fantasy football long as I can remember so I watch a lot of Green Bay games.  Over the last three seasons this team has gotten progressively worse.  I know they have played well in the playoffs in a few games.  But just when you think the Packers have it figured out they come out and lose to a Vikings team with Bradford as their starting quarterback.  That can't happen.  The Green Bay offense is broken and they better figure out how to fix it in a hurry.

Nothing up my sleeve - Did you see that wry smile on Bill Belichick's face two weeks ago after the Patriots won in Arizona.  Like he knew all along that Garapalo was going to play the way he did and New England fooled us again.  Well now Garapalo is out too and the Patriots will be starting third-string quarterback Jacoby Brissett.  Never heard of him?  Neither has anybody else but he went 6-for-9 in replacing Garapalo last week.  The Patriots play Houston Thursday night so Brissett has a short week of preparation but for some reason I get the impression it doesn't matter.  I'm guessing Belichick and Josh McDaniel will have Brissett more than ready to play against the Texans and Bill will be smiling again.

Bug bites - The injury bug is starting to play a big factor in this season and it's still early.  Danny Woodhead tore his ACL, Garapalo has the shoulder injury, Adrian Peterson tweeked his knee and Russell Wilson still looks hobbled.  Injuries are a part of the game.  The teams who have competent back-ups are the teams who move forward and keep winning.  That's easier said than done.  And, some coaches are better about moving on from injury than others.  Mike Zimmer in Minnesota is pretty good at keeping the Vikings moving along after losing Teddy Bridgewater.  Now we see what life without Peterson looks like for the short term.

Remember, it's not until week three or four before we know the whole story of a team.  If your team is 0-3 after next week, ya got some problems.  Conversely, if your team is 3-0 after next weekend you can start to feel pretty good about how things are going.  Remember, nine wins can get you in the playoffs sometimes.  Three wins already would be a huge step towards playing postseason football.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Fantasy Adjustments Are Key

By Travis Stahl

My kids just got done running the half mile at their elementary school.  They did not do well.  The Stahls are not distance runners.  It's not our thing.  We weren't built for endurance.  The only marathon I'm good at its the season-long fantasy football race.  And fantasy football is definitely a marathon and not a sprint.

If your team struggled mightily this first weekend in fantasy football don't panic.  It's one week.  Rule of thumb, it takes three weeks to get a good feel for what you really have on your team.  Don't make wholesale changes to your roster after the first week.  Sure, work the waiver wire to grab a guy or two who looks like they have some skills.  Don't get crazy though.

Todd Gurley this week was horrible and the Rams offense is a joke.  Gurley scored four fantasy points.  That's doesn't mean I'm going to dumb him because he was outscored by Derek Henry.  Hold on to your stars, these things have a way of evening themselves out.  Look for somebody you can sign to put in your line-up in two weeks if things still aren't going well.  But you don't want to cut a guy like Gurley, somebody else will swoop in and grab him up in a heart beat and he is going to score some points this year at some point.

When you hit the waiver wire to mine for talent don't just grab the guy who scored the most points this week.  Look for the guy with the most potential for lasting results.  For instance, I bypassed several other running backs this week to pick up Falcons running back Tevin Coleman.  Coleman scored some decent points this week.  More importantly, Atlanta doesn't seem to be sold on last year's starter Devonte Freeman.  Coleman has the potential to get some big opportunities.

Be fluid when it comes to adding new players to your roster.  Remember, fluid does not mean flood.  Give a starter ample time to show you what he is really all about.  Dez Bryant scored zero points this week.  That isn't cause to cut the guy.  Stick with the stars and at the very least relegate them to your bench.

Monday, September 12, 2016

Good Job NFL

By Travis Stahl

Good job NFL, you win.  As always the opening weekend of the NFL season was a success.  Don't forget, we still have the Monday night games tonight to cap off the first week.  There were lots of teams who stood out this weekend, some who were a little disappointing and others who may be in for a long year.  One week does not make or break the season.  But it sure can hurt some feelings.

The Raiders plunder - Bold call by Raiders head coach Jack Del Rio yesterday.  Down one point, one the road in New Orleans the Raiders head coach decided to "win the game right now" and go for two.  Oakland quarterback Derek Carr threw a beautiful fade route that Michael Crabtree came down with in the end zone to give the Raiders the win.  That could be a huge confidence boost for the season.

Tom Who? - If you remember correctly I said very emphatically that I was hoping the New England Patriots would go 4-0 in the absence of exiled quarterback Tom Brady.  Well, one down, three to go.  Jimmy Garapalo looked pretty good last night in place of Brady as the Patriots beat a very good Arizona team.  This was the one game everyone was unsure of too.  I think New England is going to be just fine.

The Rookies - Hats off to Philadelphia quarterback Carson Wentz who won first first start in the NFL as the Eagles beat Cleveland.  Yes, I know it was the Browns.  But getting an NFL win is no easy task and Wentz looked pretty good.  Dallas rookie Dak Preskott wasn't spectacular in his NFL debut against the Giants but he wasn't horrible either.  You have to play to learn.  Which makes it all the more odd as to why the Rams aren't even dressing No. 1 overall pick quarterback Jared Goff.  Not a smart move Jeff Fisher.

Taking On Water - As I said, one loss isn't the end of the world.  But if you are sitting in Buffalo, Indianapolis or Atlanta right now you can't be too happy.  All three of those teams had outside aspirations of making the playoffs this year, and that can still happen.  But the Bills, Colts and Falcons have a lot of holes to fill and quickly or it's going to be a very long season.  Losing the way each of them did can't be real encouraging to the fans who were watching those games.

When you lose to a good team the way Jacksonville and Miami did I would think those fan bases would be fairly encouraged.  The Jags gave the Packers all they could handle and if Kenny Stills catches a wide open touchdown pass the Phins beat Seattle.  It usually takes about three weeks into a season before we get a really clear picture of what the year is going to look like.  If your team is still struggling then, start panicking.

Thursday, September 8, 2016

The Myth of Tim Tebow

By Travis Stahl

One thing that always surprises me about people is how gullible they are.  People will form an opinion on something and then refuse to ever let go of it regardless of what factual information is presented to them.  Like being wrong is the worst thing that could ever happen to them.  But once people get an opinion stuck in their head they will carry it to their grave and there is nothing you can do about it.  By god I'm gonna try though.  And I'm starting by dispelling the myth of Tim Tebow.

Tebow is in the news again today because he was just signed to a minor league contract by the New York Mets.  The former Florida and NFL quarterback will now go to the instructional league and then go play in the Pacific Fall League to see what he can do on a baseball field. Nobody doubts Tebow's athletic abilities.  Although the guy is 29 years old and hasn't played baseball since he was a junior in high school.  I commend the Mets for giving Tebow the chance to play.  Now, on to that myth.

There are those people out there, we will refer to them as crazy, who think the world hates Tim Tebow.  They will tell you there was an NFL wide conspiracy to prevent Tebow from ever playing quarterback in the league because of his religion.  These same crazy people will try to tell you that ESPN hates Tebow (even though he was employed there), the news media in general hates Tebow and NFL fans hate Tim Tebow all because he is a Christian.  Really?  If everyone hates him so much then why does everyone gravitate towards the guy every time he crosses the street?

The fact of the matter is just the opposite.  The media loves Tebow.  Fans love Tebow.  I suspect NFL coaches love the guy as much as his teammates love him.  There was no conspiracy to keep the guy out of the league.  The fact of the matter that prevented Tebow from playing quarterback in the league is that he just really wasn't that good.  Not good enough to be a starter anyway.  Sure, Tebow could stand on a sideline and hold a clipboard but he refused to do that.  Just like he refused to go play in the Canadian Football League.  The only thing preventing Tebow from being on an NFL roster right now is Tim Tebow.  Not collusion.  Not the media.  Not anti-Christian groups.  Stop being crazy.

If you buy into these myths about Tebow you are looking for issues where there are none.  You want there to be a UFO in Area 51 just like you want those pictures of Bigfoot to surface.  There is not backroom agreement to keep Tebow out of the NFL.  Now that Tebow is in the Mets organization you watch, the media surrounding him is going to be unbelievably intense as every news outlet as far as the eye can see is going to be at all of the those Fall League games.  There won't be one story, NOT ONE, trashing the guy for being a religious professional athlete.  I know this because there weren't any before.  Nobody ever bashed Tebow, we all wanted him to be successful.  Tebow just chose to leave when he couldn't play in the NFL on his terms.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

NFL Predictions

By Travis Stahl

One more day folks.  That's right, tomorrow night we have live, real NFL football and the outcome matters.  The new NFL season again kicks off on a Thursday night with a Super Bowl rematch of Denver facing Carolina.  It has finally happened as we waited six long months.  No NFL season opener is complete without some outrageous predictions.  Might as well throw some out there.

Rushing Leader - Todd Gurley of the Los Angeles Rams will lead the league in rushing this year.  The offensive line is decent and head coach Jeff Fisher only knows how to do one thing well, feed the ball to a good running back.  Plus, the Rams don't really have any other options on offense.

Receiving Leader - This might be the year we see a receiver go over 2,000 yards in Atlanta with Julio Jones.  Jones catches so many deep balls the yards rack up quickly.  And, like Gurley, the offense is built around getting Julio the ball as much as possible.

Passing Leader - Total shot in the dark here, but I'm going with Derek Carr of the Oakland Raiders.  I think the Raiders will be much better this year and with Amari Cooper on the field Carr can really sling it around.  Again, call me crazy on this one but I think Oakland has a really good year.

Bust of the Year - Every season there is one guy who just completely shows his age or flames out with mental issues.  This season that guy is Sam Bradford in Minnesota.  I don't think things will go well for Bradford with the Vikings and this disaster will be Bradford's last shot at starting in the NFL.

Surprise of the Year - Who is going to come out of nowhere to shock the NFL world this year?  How about Jadeveon Clowney in Houston.  Remember Clowney, the No. 1 pick in the draft two years ago with the Texans?   Yeah, that guy is healthy now and will be facing single blocking all season.

Arrest of the Year - We all know it's going to happen it's just a matter of when.  Just based on previous reports (and this breaks my heart) but I'm going with Dallas rookie running back Ezekial Elliot.  Too many red flags already.

Injury of the Year - Maybe this is Teddy Bridgewater or Tony Romo.  But I think somebody else significant will go down also, that's usually how it goes.  My guess this season for the player to miss most or all of the year due to injury is Saints quarterback Drew Brees.  Age catches up to everyone.

I hope you all enjoy the season.  It should be pretty exciting.  If there is one thing we know about the NFL it's that you can never be too sure what will happen.  Yes, we have a good idea but cray things happen all the time.  Should be very entertaining.