Archive for March, 2016

RIP Phife Dawg

Posted: March 29, 2016 in Music
Tags: ,
Phife Dawg rocking the Cleveland Indians attire

Phife Dawg rocking the Cleveland Indians attire

With the sad news that Phife Dawg, one of the members of one of my all-time favorite hip-hop acts, passed away last week as a result of diabetes, I’ve put together a bakers dozen of my all-time favorite songs from the legendary group. This list is no particular order, as I honestly can’t distinguish a better track between these, as all are classics in my book.

1nce again

 

Award Tour

 

Can I kick it

 

Check the rhyme

 

Electric relaxation

 

Luck of Lucien

 

Lyrics to go

 

Oh my god

 

Scenario

 

The chase part II

 

The Jam

 

The pressure

 

Versus from the abstract

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Now that the Cleveland Browns have added RG3 to their roster, the smart thing to do is to keep both Josh McCown and Austin Davis as well. With three quarterbacks on the roster, there is no need to waste the No. 2 overall pick on any of the quarterbacks that will be available in this years draft.

I’m not saying that RG3 is going to be the franchise quarterback of the future for the Browns, maybe he will, maybe he won’t, but the better selection for this team all along has been to take the best player available.

This Browns team is lacking talent all over their roster. Laremy Tunsil, Jalen Ramsey, or Myles Jack would help this team much more then Jared Goff or Carson Wentz.

There have been 12 quarterbacks taken in the top five of the draft the last 10 years. Just one of those 12 quarterbacks has a record above .500 in the playoffs. Who is that, you ask? That would be Mark Sanchez, who is best known for this particular play and not for being remotely close to a franchise quarterback.

 

Also, the lone playoff appearances for Sanchez were in his first two seasons (’09-’10) as he hasn’t been back since. That’s right. 12 quarterbacks. One with a winning record in the playoffs.

Here’s another reason why the Browns would be foolish to take a quarterback with the No. 2 overall pick. Of the last 10 Super Bowl winning quarterbacks, just two were taken in the top five. Those two happen to share the same last name and it doesn’t take a genius to tell that there aren’t any Manning brothers available this year. Four of the ten were not even taken in the first round!

Another position that constantly gets mentioned for the Browns by misinformed fans and media at No. 2 is wide receiver. That would be another mistake. I didn’t agree with former Browns General Manager Ray Farmer on many things, but one thing he was highly accurate about was the wide receiver position. This may be the most overrated position in terms of the type of talent that equates to helping a team win games. The best receiver in the NFL over the last ten years has been Calvin Johnson. In eight of those years, he just so happened to have a quarterback that was taken with the first pick of the draft in 2009. Can you guess how many playoff wins Johnson has? I’ll give you a hint. It’s the same number that you have. ZERO! Just to be more clear about wide receivers taken early, in the last ten years, there have been five taken in the top five, and combined they are 0-6 in the playoffs!

With news that Robert Griffin III (RGIII) was in Cleveland over the weekend, there should be a real possibility that the Browns brass would make an offer to the former No. 2 overall pick from the 2012 draft. The Browns failed in an attempt to trade up in that draft to take the Heisman Trophy winner and now have a chance to get him on their roster.

Make no mistake, RGIII can spin it. Often mistaken for a runner first, passer second, anyone who watched him play while at Baylor, knows he is a quarterback that just so happens to be able to tuck and run when the situation calls for it. Sure, he can run the zone read offense as he did when he was named the NFL rookie of the year in 2012, but that was due to the Redskins trying to take advantage of a skill set that most NFL defenses weren’t used to defending. That also is a recipe for disaster as quarterbacks shouldn’t be taking hits from defenders on nearly every play.

After winning the Heisman Trophy at Baylor of all places, scouts were salivating at RGIII’s skill set. There was some consideration (however brief) as to who would be the overall No. 1 pick, which would eventually (and rightfully so) go to Andrew Luck.

RGIII set a rookie record with a 102.4 quarterback rating, had a phenomenal 20-5 touchdown to interception ratio, and led the Redskins to their first playoff appearance since 2007. After spraining his knee late in the season, RGIII missed one game (against the Browns) before returning for the finale, but then suffered a torn ACL to the same weakened knee in an opening round playoff loss.

Things have gone downhill ever since.

In 2013, despite not playing a single down in the pre-season as he was still rehabbing, RGIII returned for the opener. He ended up throwing for more yards while completing over 60% of his passes on the season, but the Redskins struggled and he clearly wasn’t able to take advantage of his agility as he was less then a year removed from major knee surgery. He was deactivated for the final three games of the season with the reason being to avoid further injury.

RGIII was 100% entering the 2014 season, but suffered a dislocated left ankle in the second game of the season. After missing six games, he returned but was ineffective in three losses and was benched in favor of former Browns quarterback Colt McCoy, who was named the starter over an ineffective Kirk Cousins as Griffin rehabbed his ankle. RGIII returned after McCoy was injured for the final two games of the season, throwing for a season high 336 yards in the finale.

RGIII was in line to be the starter last year, but suffered a concussion in the second preseason game and was inactive the entire year.

A change of scenery is just what RGIII needs. We in Cleveland know about dysfunctional organizations and the Redskins are right up there with the Browns in terms of dysfunction. The Redskins are a team that is having discussions about building a moat around their stadium. I always thought moats were to keep people out, but hey, that’s the Redskins for you. Its not a crazy thought to think that Washington just didn’t know how to handle his personality. Again, the Redskins are far from a stable franchise, having won 10 or more games just once in the last 10 years (2012).

The quarterback position is a fragile one in the NFL. A guy can have all of the physical skills in the world, but it doesn’t matter one iota. Sure RGIII is a bit of a loner, but could it be because he was raised in a military family? I know first hand about that experience. It’s hard to become close with people when you are forced to move every two to three years. That said, he comes from a strong family, with high values, which is the total opposite of what the Browns have had in their locker room the last two seasons.

The Browns have hired EXTREMELY smart people to run their franchise, and I’d be willing to bet that they would do everything in their power to make sure a quarterback with franchise changing skills is comfortable. Also, it’s not as if the Browns would have to offer RGIII a huge contract. They could sign him to an incentive laden deal, where both parties win if he pans out.

By signing RGIII, the Browns then can turn their attention to drafting a player at No. 2 overall that can help them win games right away, as opposed to any of the quarterbacks that all pose major question marks as the whether or not they can even play in this league.

otto graham

After Peyton Manning announced his retirement, among the most frequent questions asked was where he ranked among the all-time greatest quarterbacks. Was he better then Joe Montana? How about Brett Favre? Is he ahead or behind of John Elway, Johnny Unitas, and Terry Bradshaw? Even current players like Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers, and Drew Brees often come up in these types of discussions. I’m not here to say none of the aforementioned quarterbacks weren’t or aren’t all-timers, but one player that consistently gets left out of this discussion is perhaps the GREATEST quarterback of all-time.

Cue the ESPN “30 for 30” theme. What if I told you there was a quarterback that played ten years professionally, went to ten Championship games, winning seven of them, was a first team All-Pro selection eight times, and was a three-time league MVP? And if I asked you to name that quarterback, most wouldn’t believe those stats to be real. Most would probably think that those accolades were built in “Dynasty mode” in the Madden football video game series. Well you would be wrong.

There actually was a quarterback who did ALL of those things! No it wasn’t Montana, Unitas, Elway, Bart Starr, or Joe Namath. As a matter of fact, the quarterbacks that are always mentioned as the all-time greats don’t even come close to having all of those accolades.

Want more? This quarterback, who again, is frequently left out of the discussion for the greatest quarterback ever, led the league in passing yards five of his ten years, led the league in quarterback rating five times, had the most touchdown passes in a season three times, led the league in completion percentage four times, and his 9.0 yards per attempt ranks No. 1 all-time in NFL history! Oh yeah, I already mentioned he took his team to TEN straight championship games, winning seven of them, right?

The quarterback I’m referring to is none other than Otto Graham. Unfortunately, because the NFL wants its fans to believe that football didn’t exist before the advent of the Super Bowl, his name hardly gets a mention. And most media members who draw up these lists, fail to take the time to do some actual research, leaving Graham as an afterthought.

Of course, when the next all-timer retires, the lists will come out again naming the best of all-time, and again, these lists will remain a joke as long as one name doesn’t appear on them. Otto Graham.

  1. With all the news that made the rounds this week, the best was undoubtedly the fact that Cleveland Browns team president Alec Scheiner will be stepping down on March 31st. Scheiner was supposedly in charge of the business decisions and oversaw the recent renovations to the stadium, but for some reason he needed to be included in how to conduct film study, which was baffling to say the least. Scheiner was also one of the many behind the scene voices demanding that the undersized frat boy got on the field, regardless or not if he was ready.

 

  1. Speaking of the spoiled, undersized frat boy, he was in Vegas this weekend taking in the UFC fights and who was with him, none other than the Browns other often troubled player, wide-receiver Josh Gordon.

 

  1. Gordon, currently suspended by the NFL due to drugs, is trying to regain the Browns trust. While he hasn’t had any mishaps during his current time away, hanging with the troubled quarterback should be the last thing on his priority list. Gordon, unlike the frat boy, doesn’t come from oil money and needs NFL paychecks to live the life of luxury he so desires.

josh-gordon-porsche-panamera

 

  1. Is anyone else growing tired of the cryptic messages Lebron James continues to tweet out?

 

  1. I mean, just say what you mean already or just stay silent. All this does is bring unwanted and unneeded attention to an underachieving team that consistently plays to the level of their opposition while finishing 2-5 against the Warriors, Spurs, and Raptors.

 

  1. Speaking of the Cavaliers and Lebron, maybe being the underdog is just what they need. Then again, they were the underdog against the Spurs in 2007 and against the Warriors last year after Kyrie went down and we all know how those series turned out, with both winning the deciding game at the Q. Ouch.

spurs warriors

 

  1. Spring training has begun which means baseball season is right around the corner. Opening day is less than a month away as the Indians will take on the Boston Red Sox. The pitching matchup will be fantastic with former Cy Young winners facing off in Cleveland’s Korey “KluBot” Kluber taking on David Price. Sure the Tribe didn’t sign a major name to help with its lack of power in the lineup, but I, for one, am looking forward to the development of shortstop Francisco Lindor, who just missed out on being named the American League rookie of the year last season. Lindor is a future star that the city will no doubt get behind.

 

  1. It will take some longer than others when it comes to watching soccer, but it is growing significantly both in terms of involvement and television ratings. And why wouldn’t it be? With all the rule changes, player antics, as well as 2.5-3.5 hours of game time from the “Big 3” sports, soccer games last a mere 2 hours and provide plenty of excitement. Plus there is a major league team just two hours away from us. Pipo Higuain, who plays for the nearby Columbus Crew, had the early contender for goal of the year on the season’s opening day!

 

  1. Sure there was a big time UFC pay-per-view this weekend, but let’s not forget about the great knockouts that boxing provides. Here’s what this weekend brought us in the squared circle of the “sweet science.”

 

 

 

 

  1. Speaking of boxing, on this day, March 6th in 1976, future Hall of Famer Wilfred Benitez became the youngest World Champion in history at just 17 years old when he defeated Antonio Cervantes for the WBA Super Lightweight championship of the World.
  1. Also on this day in boxing history, Pernell “Sweet Pea” Whitaker became the WBC Welterweight Champion of the World after defeating James Buddy McGirt in 1993.

 

  1. Speaking of Pernell Whitaker, he will be one of many retired boxers that will be in attendance during the Boxing Hall of Fame induction weekend June 9th thru the 12th. If you have never been, I recommend taking the easy drive to Canastota, NY. You can find all the information you need here: http://www.ibhof.com/index.html

 

  1. Living in northeast Ohio, I try to take advantage of every clear and warm day. I came across this waterfall right by my house in South Lorain just last week. Never knew one was so close.

waterfall

Like many Cleveland fans, I fell into the category of “hater” regarding Stephen Curry of the Golden State Warriors. “Why is that,” you ask?

Could it be his cocky demeanor?

cocky 

Or the trash talk? And no, I don’t want to “read the whole quote.”

http://www.slamonline.com/nba/stephen-curry-hopes-locker-room-in-cleveland-still-smells-like-champagne/#k7t6IhcmtBg9GjX0.97

What about the halfway out mouthpiece?

mouthpiece

Or the shimmy in front of an opponents bench?

How about the fact that because of him, the Cavaliers chances of bringing a championship to Cleveland after over a 50 year drought seems to be diminishing with every effortless 30 foot three point attempt that barely grazes iron.

Notice I said, “fell” in the first sentence of this column. As I sat and watched the Warriors come-from-behind win over the Oklahoma City Thunder last Saturday, I subconsciously started rooting for Curry. After making the game winning basket on this incredible shot, I quietly said to myself, “Good Lord, this dude is amazing.”

 

 

After a short moment of silence, it hit me. I thought about what makes sports great and why I would rather watch a Sun Belt Conference football game on a Thursday night then a political debate in the middle of a Presidential race. The answer is quite simple; the opportunity to witness greatness. Stephen Curry is a “once in a generation” type of player.

Ever since Michael Jordan retired, we’ve longed for the next “Airness.” First it was Grant Hill, then Harold Minor, then Kobe Bryant, then LeBron James. All were compared to the GOAT, but none could duplicate his aura.

Curry’s game is a complete 180 degree circle from the gravity defying moves that made Jordan seem like he was from another planet. Maybe we were just well-wishing because there will likely never be another Jordan.

Curry is different. No one ever compared him or his game to Jordan’s. He’s already the best shooter to ever play. Honestly, have you ever seen anything like it? The same things we said about Jordan when he made jaw dropping dunks, reverse layups, or hung in the air for what seemed like an eternity, are now being said every time Curry hoists a shot from well behind the three point line.

And Curry and the Warriors have the look of a dynasty, just like Chicago in the ‘90’s. When Jordan and the Bulls won their first title, everyone knew they were just getting started. Well, here is Curry, fresh off his first title with the Warriors, and no one is expecting anything different this season.

Don’t let the hate consume you, and I know that’s tough for Clevelanders, but we are witnessing what we all long for as sports fans. Sit back, drink your favorite beverage, and enjoy the ride, even at the behest of another year without a Championship in Cleveland. But hey, we’re used to things just not going our way. The last time the Cavaliers had a legit shot at an NBA Championship, we were stumped by the greatest player ever, now we are being stumped by the greatest shooter ever.