Archive for the ‘Dream Team’ Category

Dream Team Owes New York Thousands of Dollars

Posted: December 11, 2011 by Keith Stone in dinero, Dream Team, football, NFL, NYC

The Dream Team isn’t just filled with overrated miscreants on the field. The accountants they signed in the offseason haven’t really panned out well either. The New York City Finance Department just released a list of the top 100 city debtors and among those listed are Heineken USA, Lehman Brothers, the Rev. Al Sharpton, and the Philadelphia Eagles. A motley crew of debtors they are. In Philadelphia, it’s not customary to pay the debts you owe but this is New York. If the Dream Team doesn’t pay their $15,263.69 in back business taxes soon, you better believe that Mayor Bloomberg is sending Justin Tuck and JPP down the Turnpike to collect. Seriously, how pathetic is that organization? Not only have they had one of the most disappointing seasons in recent memory, but they owe taxes to the city of one of their main rivals. Looks like they shouldn’t have given Dogkiller Vick that $100 million extension. At least they could always bring in Juan Castillo to balance the books.

NY Daily News

Expectations are a tricky thing, even if they form the lifeblood of any sports fan.  The buildup to a season is all about establishing your expectations for your team: maybe this will be THE year, maybe we’ll make the playoffs, maybe the young guys will show some promise, maybe we’ll be so bad we get a high draft pick, and so on.  Of course, expectations can (and often do) change over the course of the season.

Some of the most fun to be had as a sports fan is when your team exceeds your expectations.  I still have tremendously fond memories of the 2004-2005 Sonics, a team that came out of basically nowhere to go 52-30 and take the eventual champion Spurs to a sixth game despite being without their second-best player for the series.  Sure, there were Sonics teams that won more games, where the expectation heading into the season was higher, but they had a nasty habit of losing in the first round of the playoffs (now is the time when I tell Dikembe Mutumbo to go fuck himself).

The point is, the surprise is what makes a team memorable, at least in my eyes.  I’m sure Packers fans are enjoying this season a great deal, but I have to imagine that it’s hard to feel the same way about the team that they did last year, when everything came together at the right time.  Football of late has shown that as long as you can hang around the playoff picture, you might be able to put it together just in time to make a run to the Super Bowl, as the Steelers, Giants, Cardinals, and Packers have all done in recent years.

It’s that reason why this Seahawks team has been so unusual.  I privately harbored mild expectations coming into this year: I figured that so long as Tarvaris Jackson wasn’t terrible (and by and large he hasn’t been), the offense would improve as the season went along, and the defense would likely be good enough that the team would hang around an otherwise unimpressive NFC West race until December at least.  Well, the 49ers have somewhat ruined that idea, but the fact remains that the Seahawks are basically what I expected them to be: occasionally good, usually mediocre, and sometimes terrible.

What no one expected is that they’d come into this game arguably a better team than the Eagles.  While I wasn’t exactly handing the Lombardi Trophy over to Andy Reid before the season started, it was hard to picture a team as theoretically dynamic as the Eagles not even sniffing the playoffs.  If you’d asked me before hand to envision a scenario in which they were out of playoff contention in November, it would have involved season-ending injuries to several key players.  While obviously Vick, Jackson, Maclin, and others have all missed some time, that hasn’t been the case overall.  Instead, those guys just haven’t been very good.

So of course whenever the general projection goes awry, the immediate response on the part of most folks is to look for a simple answer: “The Eagles were too cocky,” “Reid is a terrible coach,” “Vick isn’t a winner,” and so on.  Of course, in sports as in life, there are no simple answers.  While the “Dream Team” quotes were premature and stupid, they also came from the back-up QB, meaning it’s hard to claim that everyone on the team just assumed they’d win the Super Bowl.  Similarly, while Andy Reid has his (obvious) flaws, that franchise has been one of the best in the league for his entire tenure.  He’ll probably be sent packing this offseason, if not before, and maybe that’s for the best: in the end, even great coaches wear out their welcome, but the few smart Philly fans out there would do well to remember him as the coach that had their team in the playoffs almost every year, something few others can boast.

In reality, it seems that the biggest problem with the Eagles is that many of their supposed star players were never that good to begin with.  Despite the highlights, neither DeSean Jackson nor Jeremy Maclin are a real number one receiver: both lack the size to go over the middle consistently, and they’re both extremely fragile.  LeSean McCoy may be the real deal, but the team seems hesitant to put the ball in his hands 20-25 times a game with regularity.

Defensively, the presumed dominance of Nnamdi Asomugha, Asante Samuel, and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie has failed to manifest, and the front four, despite big-name free agent signings, has been underwhelming.  In fact, despite perhaps 1/1000th of the hype, the Seahawks have the better defense according to most advanced metrics.  Didn’t see that one coming, did you?

So you have two teams that have arrived at tonight’s game with identical 4-7 records, but completely opposite journeys.  The Seahawks have mixed occasional exciting and tantalizing wins over teams like the Ravens and Giants with frustrating losses, like last week’s to the Redskins.  The Eagles’ losses are a bit more explicable (outside of Arizona), but outside of the beatdown applied to Dallas, they’ve never looked like the world-beaters many expected coming in to the year.  Even if they leave Seattle with a win, they’re looking at a long and difficult climb back into a playoff race that might have already lapped them.

For the Seahawks, meanwhile, this game marks an opportunity to show a national audience that some of the pieces of a future playoff team are in place here as well as a chance to heap a bit more humiliation on a team that might well be ready to quit on its season.  Oh yeah, and a chance for me to talk a bit of shit to Phanatic, and really who can’t get behind that?

Here’s are our picks for tonight’s game.

Stone: Seahawks
Slumdeezy: Dream Team
Rory: Seahawks
DP Animal: Seahawks
Phanatic: Dream Team

Rory: 96-74 (Last week: 8-7)
Stone: 96-74 (11-4)
Slumdeezy: 92-78 (8-7)
DP Animal: 84-86 (8-7)
Phanatic: 82-88 (7-8)

WEEK 77 – The Walking Dead

Posted: November 21, 2011 by Keith Stone in 2011 Giants, Dream Team, football, Giants, NFL, Philly sucks

Dream Team 17, Giants 10

The Walking Dead has a great premise and a ton of potential. The six episodes of the first season were action-packed and fast-moving. Then, it stopped. Actually it didn’t stop. It just started moving very sloooooooooowly. It’s like the writers said, “Hey, we have a cool show here. People like zombies. Let’s stretch the second season out for 13 episodes, and add some more dialogue. That’s exactly what people want to see on a show about zombies! More dialogue!”

The Giants coaching staff must be big fans of The Walking Dead. The team has a lot of talent, but seem content not using it. If you’re running a show about zombies, let’s see some dismembering. If you’re running a football team, lets see some touchdowns. Just because you have something good on your hands, doesn’t mean you can sit back and expect success.

The Giants are never going to reach the next level if they’re not playing to win. The play calling has been so conservative this year. I feel like I’m beating a dead horse every week. I’m sick of running on 2nd and 8. The offensive line was flat out bad yesterday. Try to be a little creative. Hey, I know! How about a screen pass? How about Eli just chucks it 50 yards and hopes that Manningham comes down with it? It’s better than Brandon Jacobs crashing into the line and getting two yards a play. You have to keep the defense on their toes.

And where did the defensive line go? Vince Young looked awful at the start of the game. Just keep blitzing him. The Giants have never been a good coverage team. Their strength has always been not only rushing the passer, but bringing different types of pressure to keep him off guard. They did none of that yesterday. Young had time to get comfortable and by the end of the game, he was zinging the ball through in the middle of the field and was able to take advantage of the guys filling in at linebacker.

Of course, Eli still had the crew looking like they were going to send things to overtime, but there was just one offensive line gaffe too many. It’s like when I was in college, I used to always wait till the last second to write my papers. Most of the time, they were great, but every once in a while, I just ran out the time and had to hand in a piece of shit. Time ran out yesterday.

The Giants can’t be happy with mediocrity. They’re better than most of the teams they’ve player. They need to loosen up and take some chances. It’s not like they practiced the Helmet Catch beforehand. Pretty soon they really will be the walking dead.

As I was leaving the Stadium, I got stuck on the escalator behind a Santa Claus-looking guy with his shirt off. His entire back was tattooed with an enormous Eagles logo, uniform numbers, and various events in their history. I was forced to look at this the whole way down. It wasn’t a pleasant way to end the night.

Hope Everyone Had A Good Holiday Weekend

Posted: October 11, 2011 by Keith Stone in Dream Team, Phillies, Philly sucks

WEEK 69 – Giant Nightmare

Posted: September 25, 2011 by Keith Stone in 2011 Giants, Dream Team, football, Giants, NFL, Philly sucks

Giants 29, Dream Team 16

“They can continue being the Dream Team and keep dreaming.”—Brandon Jacobs

The thing about the Giants is that they’re not intimidated. They might not be the best team out there but they’re never intimidated. It’s not the same cast of characters that won the Super Bowl, but most of the important people are still there and that swagger carries over to the younger guys. It felt great to beat the Dream Team. In Philadelphia. You got seven-year-old kids throwing beer bottles and giving the team bus the finger. Fucking great. This proves that the Giants are a legitimate team. They looked mediocre at best in the first two games but maybe they just needed a little motivation.

Really, the best revelation to come out of the game was Victor Cruz. Having a reliable third receiver is going to open up the offense so much more. He did work against Nnamdi Ashomaskjdhsasakjdhdsjhsa and that’s no joke. His first TD was amazing. Defenders colliding all over the place. Amazing. We still need Manningham but this is a big factor. The running game was also great. Jacobs got the ball a little more and Bradshaw is starting to get those important five- and six-yard runs. The O-line is improving and still isn’t perfect but we’ll take it.

The D was marvelous. JPP continues to be a force to be reckoned with and the Dream Team O-line looked even more pathetic than it is. Mike Vick can whine all he wants about getting hit, but I didn’t see any egregious missed calls. If the guy has the potential to run for 70 yards, then yeah, defenders are going to come at him until the very last second. Don’t blame the refs, don’t blame Chris Canty. Blame your horrible linemen. Then, don’t say you’re not complaining, you’re just pointing out that you never get flags. You know what that’s called? Complaining! Sorry about the boo boo on your hand. Maybe you shouldn’t have killed those dogs. Oh, and did I mention that Osi Umenyiora didn’t play?

McCoy killed us but Andy Reid is so stupid he’d rather run the fullback on the game’s biggest plays. Aaron Ross finally contributed and hopefully this will bolster his confidence in the future but as long as those rushers bring the heat, the secondary won’t get picked on as much. The soft part of the schedule is coming up. The team can’t take anything for granted and needs to continue playing at a high level and get better, especially the offensive line. The best is yet to come.

Dream Team Preview

Posted: September 6, 2011 by phanatic417 in Dream Team, football, NFL

The Dream Team.

Superbowl Contender.

Lombardi or Bust.

A lot has been made of the 2011 Eagles – the additions of Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, Jason Babin, Steve Smith, Vince Young, Ronnie Brown, and, of course, Nnamdi Asomugha (million of Philadelphians are still practicing that one) signaled to all national media outlets that it was time to over-hype and slather on crazy expectations for this year’s Birds.

But the Eagles certainly still have issues to contend with, most notably on the defensive side of the football.  With the exception of Trent Cole, there are no dominating pass rushers on the D-line and their linebacking crew has been decimated by injuries and player departures, spurring many questions in front of the now-lethal secondary.  This is in addition to a brand new defensive coordinator in Juan Castillo who has no experience on that side of the ball.

The offensive power is pretty solidified at this point and no one can really argue with the bevvy of top fantasy football options at the big positions: Vick at the helm with McCoy in the backfield, as well as weapons in front of them like DeSean Jackson, Jeremy Maclin, Steve Smith and even Brent Celek and Jason Avant.  Will Vick shake off any lingering issues preventing him from being a top-notch QB?  We’ll see, but I certainly don’t miss Kevin Kolb and anyone who does is an idiot.  The O-line should improve as well with new offensive line coach Howard Mudd and some young blood from the draft.

Wildcard – the departure of David Akers, kicker and the highest-scoring NFL player of the past decade.  Eagles fans could sleep through most field goal attempts, but that comfort is long gone with newly-drafted kicker Alex Henery.

The fact of the matter is that the Eagles will be good this season, especially if they stay healthy.  They’ll probably win 11 games.  That will probably be good enough to win the NFC East this season.  Wonderful.  But the major question is still Vick, and him getting over that hump that prevents him from being brilliant all of the time.

And if we don’t go all the way this year, someone is getting a cheesesteak to the head.