Friday, August 03, 2007

To The Face...

This is a weekly column (if it can even be called that) today that I'll be running every Thursday or Friday until further notice. It's a really lame personal take-off on the Cheers & Jeers type columns which hand out praise and disdain to many of the items currently residing in our collective pop culture conscious. I'm not promising that this will be anything groundbreaking, or even really worth the effort it will take to read, but it should allow me to get some posts up that cover some of the random items floating through my head without making my consistently hung over brain work too hard at the end of a typically grueling (bullshit) work week. People, Events, etc. will receive one of two items directly to the face: A nice strong punch or a cool refreshing shot of liquor. I'm a total badass so I enjoy both of these in equal measure but since most of you jerks are total pussies we're going to classify the punch as a negative and the liquor as a positive. Because, honestly, is there any situation where a shot (or shots) of liquor could be construed as anything other than an overwhelmingly positive experience?

I swear that I planned to write a little something else this week, but well, you know that usual batch of excuses. Busy, drunk, lazy. Anyway, here we go:

Punch: My TIVO. Somehow it screwed up and neglected to tape the first 50 or so minutes of last week's episode of Big Love. When my girlfriend and I fired up the episode two nights ago the TIVO immediately took us to the murder of Roman Grant. Before we even knew what was happening, Roman was being shot by associates of the Greens. We still watched the episode via OnDemand but it kind of takes drama out of such a climactic scene wh
en you know exactly what's going to happen.

Shot: Margene from Big Love. She didn't do it for me at all last season. Now, I find myself strangely attracted to her chipper disposition and sexual depravity. I understand the attraction to sexual depravity but I'm pretty well stumped on the attitude being a turn-on. I like 'em bitchy, you see.

Punch: Paperwork. I'm not exactly filling out TPS reports all day long but I'm not quite writing out dirty limericks either.

Shot: CNNSI's photo profile of the Top 10 Gator athletes of all time. No real explanation needed here but there are some bonus points to be had for the classic pic of Andy North.


Punch: Whoever murdered Michael Clayton. Somebody's got to track this cold blooded killer down because murder is the only logical explanation for the disappearance of Clayton. This guy was a monster who caught everything thrown his way as a rookie and even enjoyed pummeling DBs whilst run blocking. Now, he's losing playing time in training camp to Maurice Stovall and (punching self) David Boston. It breaks my heart, or hurts my balls. It's tough to tell which at this point. When Chris Simms was getting ready to make his first ever start (during Clayton's rookie year) against New Orleans, FOX ran a great "sounds of the game" clip of Clayton getting Simms pumped up (or at least attempting to) by imploring him to, "Get yo shine on! Get yo shine on!." It was a hilarious while and educational look into Clayton's confidence and swagger. Two years later, I have to wonder if that version of Clayton is laying in the bottom of a Louisiana swamp somewhere.

Shot: Jeff Garcia. I'm probably putting waaaay too much faith in a frail, 37 year old QB but when you consider the guys Tampa has put under c
enter in recent years (Gradkowski, Simms, Rattay), can you really blame me? As I see it, he's the most natural fit at QB that Gruden's had for his offense since he arrived in Tampa and that alone has to inspire some confidence, alright, hope that the Bucs offense can carry its own weight this year.

Punch: The Bucs selection of Michael Clayton over Steven Jackson. Bitter much? Umm, yes actually. I've gone back and forth on this numerous times over the past few years. Actually, that's not entirely true. Clayton's rookie year production pacified my dissatisfaction, as did the numbers posted by Cadillac Williams as rookie in 2005. However, with Clayton now presumed dead and Cadillac reportedly suffering 3 (count 'em 3) bulging disks in his back I'm cashing in my "I told you so" tickets. Cadillac's a good player for sure. Is he anywhere as durable or versatile as Jackson? Not by a long shot.

Philip Buchanon.
The early returns from Bucs camp are that he's already locked down one of the starting corner spots on Tampa's defense. Buchanon was always my favorite player from those late 90's Miami teams and I could never quite understand why he hadn't been successful in the NFL. He's got everything you'd want from a premier corner (save for an inch or two) and was no stranger to covering elite receivers during his days at Miami, as he matched up against the likes of Reggie Wayne, Santana Moss and Andre Johnson in practice alone. However, something never clicked for Buchanon during his time in Oakland. Now, after a few months learning the Bucs' defense it appears as if he may have resurrected his career under Monte Kiffin. If it's true, the Tampa defense has a chance to surprise some of the people predicting its imminent demise.

Punch: Bud Selig. I've never been a
big fan of his but this Bonds chase has further proved him to be the whining, self-serving liar that I've always suspected him to be. You're the commissioner pal, and that means you will follow Barry around the country like a lost puppy dog until he breaks Hank Aaron's record. After that, you get to follow him into infamy for turning a blind eye to the explosion of steroids in baseball earlier in your term as Commissioner. Check your job description, it's all in there.

Shot: Big Ten Coaches. Actually, that's the nicknames that I've heard for Big Ten coaches. My two personal favorites? Cheaty McSweatervest (Tressel) and Grumbles the Sea Captain (Carr). While I'm talking about Big Ten coaches, or former Big Ten coaches. Am I the only person who finds it positively mind blowing that Randy Walker and Terry Hoeppner are dead while the adolescent sized hippo that is Barry Alvarez is still hanging out in Madison eating Polish Sausages three at a time for breakfast?

Punch: The NCAA. I honestly don't care if NCAA athletes are compensated in ways beyond their scholarships. I mean, I think high profile sports like football and basketball deserve it but I'm not about to egg Myles Brand's house over it. Now, having to pay $25 so that I can hear Brad Nessler say "Tebow throws for a TD!" instead of "QB #15 throws for a TD!" on NCAA '08. Yeah, that's gonna get you punched Myles, maybe even a nice kick to the shin to go with it.

Shot: Football Practice.
The Gators kick off Fall practice on Sunday and it can't come any sooner. For me at least. The lack of work achieved by me while I scour Gatorcountry for in-depth practice reports over the next 28 days is probably gonna be a problem for my boss.

Shot: Half-days.
They're perfect for a Friday really. You come into work, sit on your ass for 4-5 hours and then go home and sleep off the remainder of your hangover. Speaking of...have a great weekend.

Update: Numerous Shots for Jake Brown. He took one of the nastiest falls you'll ever see last night during the Skateboarding: Big Air competition (Which is, sure to end up killing a competitor one of these days). Check out the clip below and tell me you didn't cringe (or worse). I still can't get over what happened to his shoes.


Jerry said...

Long-term, it's unfortunate for Bucs fans that Gruden is coaching for his job this year because Garcia is not the answer for that franchise. He might be OK and win some games, but I don't think they're set up for any major success. I guess they're tried some young QBs over the past few years, but they never found the right guy. It's kind of a frustrating limbo period they've been in since the SB.

Greg said...

Garcia will be good for an 8-8 record this year and next year. Then he's gone. Luke McCown might be the best back up QB on the roster.

The Clayton over Stephen Jackson thing surprised me when it happened. But like most people, I got over it when he had a great rookie year. Then he sucked.

If Thomas Jones didn't bolt like he did (for the same amount of money), then Caddy wouldn't be here and the defense might be just a little better.

Mark said...

I was never sold on Jones in Tampa so it didn't hurt when he left, well, until he had two straight beastly seasons in Chicago.

Garcia definitely isn't any type of long term answer but I don't have a major problem with him coming in for a year or two. Right now, Simms isn't healthy yet and I'm not enthused about 16 games of McCown/Gradkowski (at least at this stage). If Garcia can provide some offensive success (which has been few and far between) and possibly build a bridge to Gradkowski or Simms (if he can regain his health & mechanics)then I could see his tenure in Tampa as a successful one.

Gruden's finally got a QB who he wanted and who has the neccessary experience to be successful in his system. It's up to him to make the offense successful if he wants another couple of years to continue his reconstruction project. At this point, I'm not sure what I want. While I'm not completely sold on Gruden's "vision", I don't love the idea of rebuilding with a whole new regime either, and the requiste house cleaning that comes with it.

Greg said...

Maurice Stovall is ahead of Clayton on the latest depth chart for the No 2 receiver. David Boston is right behind Galloway for the No 1 receiver.

Greg said...

Other notes from the latest depth chart: P-Buch is behing B-Kell for the starting CB spot. And P-Chuk is in front of Gaines for the DE spot....which is a little disappointing considering that a lot of other top-10 picked DEs are starters right away and it's not like P-Chuk is a Pro-Bowler.

Also, rookie Arron Sears is starting at guard.

Mark said...

I liked Sears at Tennessee so its nice to see him playing well. If he pnas out, thats three starting O-lineman in the last two drafts.

I'm okay with Kelly and Buchanon fighting it out for the #2 spot, either of them should be able to do a better job than Bolden at the nickel.

Greg said...

It's four starting linemen in the last three drafts if you count Dan Buenning who started at guard but is switching to center; he's not that good at center right now, but it's only his 3rd year so he's got time.

David Boston is either going to be really interesting as a player (comeback player of the year, maybe) or he might not even make the team. It's got to be one or the other.

This could be a playoff bound team but a lot of "ifs" have to fall into place; mainly dealing with players performing up to levels they've achieved before, specifically: Garcia, Caddy, Clayton, Jjerrammyy Stevens and Boston. Unfortunately, Garcia and Boston probably have their best years behind them, Caddy's got some health issues and Stevens has some attitude issues.

Greg said...

What are the 'gic going to do with Turkoglu? Keep him?

Mark said...

Well, Stevens is currently sitting at #3 on the depth chart so I'm not sure that bodes well for him. Though, Gruden does love TEs so maybe he keeps 3 this year.

I'd love to see Boston have a comeback year but he hasn't been a threat at WR in over five years. Its tough of rme to imagine him being anything outside of a marginal contributor at this point in his career. Talk about a guy who's infatuation with bulk/steroids really cost him his career and/or truckloads of cash.

Mark said...

I forgot about Buenning. The Bucs have done a good job of building the O-line recently and seem to be in a good position for years to come. I'm especially encouraged by that long term. Now its time to see if they can do the same thing with the defense.

As for Turk, Otis Smith seems to think that he and Lewis can/will play together. I don't share this sentiment. Both are very streaky offensive players (due to their reliance on their jumpers) who provide little in the way of rebounding or defense. I think you're settign Howard up for a ton of fouls by putting those two out on the frontline together, and lets not even pretend that Turk can guard 2s.

I'm still hopeful they can trade him but judging by their lack of activity since the Lewis signing it seems as though they are content to go into training camp with the roster as currently constrcuted (sigh). Typical Magic, they make one big move (a bad one at that) and then sit back and admire their handiwork.