Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Wings and Things Power Rankings: Week 3

The most delicious grub in Stamford: the High School from Garden Catering, in honor of DandyBoy.

1)  Vlad Ducasse -- As Tommy Satran aka Satchy Satch said, Danny is the best teammate.  I put him at the top of the power rankings and he made sure to make me look good for doing so.  Soom's mouth tastes like foot because Big Vlad gave the Shape Ups the business.  Amish Rifle and Ray Rice got 20 apiece, but even more impressive is the work that Dandyboy does to get 19 and 18 points from Jimmy Graham and Tim Hightower, respectively.

2)  Softer Knocks --  The matchup of the week did not disappoint, but Timmy's Golden Boy QB's were no match for Joe.  Matt Stafford, beast QB of the 3-0 Lions has passed for 977 yards, 9 TD's , and only 2 picks through the first three games.  At this point, we can safely say that the former Elite 11 favorite of Football Jukes (below, far right), is officially and Elite NFL QB as long as he can stay healthy.  The Knocks look strong even in the wake of Jamaal Charles' injury thanks to Jermichael Finley (who scored 31 points last week) and the man who is on pace to gain over 2,000 yards receiving this season.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Like a Phoenix, The Friars are Rising From the Ashes

In 1973 two local kids put a small, regional, catholic school on the map. Not only did Marvin Barnes and Ernie DiGregorio lead Providence college to the final four, they established the school as a viable national force. Over the next three decades, Providence built upon that foundation, in the process producing an astonishing number of NBA players and becoming a farm for elite coaching talent like Rick Pitino, Rick Barnes, and Pete Gillen. Although Providence was as good of a program as almost any in the country, there were, and continue to be, structural disadvantages that make the Providence's margin for error slim. As hard as it is for me to say, Providence is not UNC, Duke, or even UCONN; they are a program that is on the level of Xavier, Marquette, or Villanova. What these programs have shown, however, is that with the right coach anything is possible. Unfortunately for Providence, that coach has been missing for over a decade. As fast as the program shot off in the 70s, it had fallen off the map by the end of this season. Were the Friars going down the same path as Iona, Canasius, or Loyola Marymount? These were the questions being asked in all corners of Friartown.

Then came a glimmer of hope. It came in the form of a hometown hero. A man who valued integrity about anything else. Ed Cooley was the complete package. He would win and he would be at Providence for a long time.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Better-late-than-Never NFL Division Preview: AFC North

After two eventful weeks, the AFC North is all square, each team sitting at 1-1.  That means it's fair game to roll out another division preview featuring two Super Bowl contenders and two...teams that have a couple young guys we like.

1. Go on record and then explain why. Who is the better safety: Ed Reed or Troy Polamalu.

Dave Hendrie: This is tough going forward because I think that Polamalu could be better going forward. Reed may only play for a few more years. Up until this point, I will have to give a slight edge to Reed. He is a slightly better playmaker and makes far fewer mistakes. Polamalu is explosive but makes too many mistakes in coverage.

Sam Widdoes: Sadly, I going to say Ed Reed.  I watch every play the Steelers make, so I see ever play that Troy overcommits on and every tackle he misses, and also every spectacular interception and tackle he makes.  I just don't see Ed making the mistakes Troy makes, or being out of position the way he is sometimes.  I realize that's a product of the way Troy plays, but Reed seems to be just as effective without as much of the detriment.  Plus, Ed ranked a couple spots higher on the NFL Network Player's Vote.

Scott Simon: Both are great players but I think, when playing at their peak, Polamalu is a SIGNIFICANTLY better safety than Ed Reed. He just does more. Reed is the league's best centerfielder- without a doubt. When he gets his hands on the ball he generally ends up in the end zone. He's a big play waiting to happen. But he can go quiet for GAMES at a time. Polamalu is more consistent and he is known to make a big play from time to time as well. Ed Reed is more Ken Griffey where Polamalu is Willie Mays. Both are top 5 safeties of all time, but Polamalu is just better.

Johhny Hendrie: Ed Reed. Slightly better big play capability. Slightly better pass defender, in a passing league. Went to The U as compared to USC.

Wings and Things Power Rankings: Week 2

Beef on Weck, at worst the 2nd best grub Buffalo.  In honor of the 2-0 Bills.

1)  Beefcakes -- Timmy's in first place and he has a good team, so he's #1 in the power rankings now.  I took my whoopin' last week thanks to 29 points apiece from Brady and Jahvid Best and 26.6 more from LeSean McCoy.  Epic showdown between two of three 2-0 teams this week, the Beefcakes and Softer Knocks.  Can Timmy hold on to the top spot?

2)  Vlad Ducasse --  The Vlads had another strong showing in a Week 2, 152-150 loss to Dream Shake.  I was all ready to give it to Soom for doubting my ranking prowess, then Will ruined everything by pulling out a comeback win on Monday night.  Unavailable for comment, Soom's publicist issued a statement for Dandyboy, saying of their Week 3 matchup, "if Michael Vick is allowed to play after sustaining a concussion and not practicing all week, you're going down!"

But I don't know about you guys, I am buying what the Amish Rifle is selling.  Ryan Fitzpatrick is making that magic in Buffalo to the tune of 472 yards, seven touchdowns and only one pick through two games, so it'll be up the the gritty bunch from The Estates at Benedict Canyon Woods to knock them back down to earth.

3)  Dream Shake -- Another team with crap quarterbacks that is just getting it done.  The receiver-rich (Megatron, Hakeem, Stevie Johnson and Steve Smith) Dream Shakers are rolling and as long as Matt Forte and Beanie Wells keep up their production, we could see them at 3-0 after facing Kerry Collins and the G-MEN this week.

4)  Kiss the Baby -- Demps made sure to put an end to all that "Jukes may go undefeated" talk with a swift, 195-139 beatdown in the battle of last year's cellar dwellers.  Vincent Jackson let the charge with 36 points and both Ryan Matthews and Peyton Hillis got over 23, but it was a total team effort that his Guy has to be proud of, wherever he is.

5)  G-MEN -- The fantasy G-MEN rebounded from a crappy Week 1 and panic over the QB situation to produce the biggest blowout of the week, a 197-139 win against the preseason power rankings leader, the RI Bulldogs.  (The real life G-Men also won, but predictably looked like crap).  Same story this week, a lot will be riding on Rodgers, Purple Jesus and Miles Austin (38 points last week, but projected for 0 this week on the matchup page as of 12:08 PM EST, is he hurt or something?) to carry the load.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Got Next: Anthony Johnson

The RFH Collective loves to see who is coming up the ranks in all of our favorite sports. That is why we created the "got next" segment. Check out the other players profiled, Bubba Starling, and Anthony Davis.
Typical Freshmen Year Picture
Last night LSU and Mississippi State had a typical SEC bloodbath where both teams made an average NFL team look soft. At one point, a MSU player seemed to be paralyzed on the field, but it didn't seem like anyone was phased in the slightest. Just another day in Starkville I guess.

Amidst this otherwise typical game, a defensive tackle on LSU caught my eye. He was over 300 pounds, got off the ball quicker than anyone on the field, and made a splash play that was astonishing. Just as I was about to look this kid up, the TV crew began singing his praises, in the process dropping that he was a true freshmen. 

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Wings and Things Power Rankings: Week 1

Not sure where these are from, but I want to go there.

Week 1 is in the books, but not before some big time shake-ups in the power rankings.  I tried not to be too reactionary because it's only one week, but some teams really showed me something so I had to adjust my initial evaluations of each team.  As always, feel free to comment and send pics of wings and/or things.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Wings and Things Draft Recap and Preseason Power Rankings

Wings from Anchor Bar, Buffalo

This year’s draft got off to a horrible start, thanks to a clerical error on my part and general confusion that I blame on everyone but myself, because I’m the commissioner so I’m the one who doesn’t have to do anything I don’t want to, like be organized.  That’s my word and I’m sticking to it.

First we did a live draft lottery, in which Craig and Scott’s G-Men (present) and my Roger Goodell squad wound up with the first two picks.  (Imagine the possibilities for my season!)  When I went to plug in the order and the keepers, Yahoo! had already generated the random order and made changing it impossible.  The best we could do was to take our keepers in the first round and go from there – meaning that Round 2 was essentially Round 1.  For those keeping score at home, that makes this the most triple-randomly determined drat order of all time.

Once the dust settled, we were off and running with the third annual Wings and Things draft.  The season begins tonight, but not before we look back at the draft and ahead to our first power rankings of the year.

New England Renaissance Series: #3 Kaleb Tarczewski

The New England Renaissance Series is an ongoing countdown of some of the best prospects in the region regardless of class. It is important not to dwell on the order of the rankings but rather on the unprecedented amount of talent the region possesses.

#3 Kaleb Tarczewski (2012)
Height: 7'0   Weight: 220
Hometown: Claremont New Hampshire
School Team: Saint Marks
Travel Team: New England Playaz
NERR Rank: 2     National Rank: 6

Kaleb Tarczewski is one of the rarer talents ever to come out of New England. He runs the floor beautifully, has great hands, and solid footwork. The fact that Tarcezewski has already come this far as a high school 7 footer makes this writer think that he has a 10 year NBA career written all over him. Whether he goes to Kansas, UNC, or Arizona, it will be surprising if he is there for the full four years. That is how rare of a talent this kid is. Here is his ESPN evaluation and highlight tape.

Tarczewski is a true center with great size and tremendous upside. He runs the floor extremely well and has good mobility for a 7 footer. He has excellent hands and finishes drop off passes and clear paths above the rim. He has become an explosive and powerful finisher with both hands around the basket and his good hands allow him to catch tough passes and turn them into baskets. He has a good left shoulder hook with a high release and is gradually developing his right shoulder as well. He is a excellent area rebounder especially on the offensive end and is also a decent on ball shot blocker. Physically he is becoming more and more immovable in the paint as his frame continues to fill out. Tarczewski is also a big man who takes to coaching and has shown great improvement over the course of his career as a result.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

NFL Division Preview: NFC North

Kiss the Ringzzz

In honor of the World Champion Green Bay Packers kicking things off tonight, we move to the NFC Norse for our next division preview...

1.) Who is the best player in the NFC North: Aaron Rodgers (GB), Calvin Johnson (DET), Julius Peppers (CHI) or Adrian Peterson (MIN)?

Dave Hendrie:  I love AP but I have to go with Rodgers based on the importance of his position.

Johnny HendrieThe top talent in the NFC North is obviously as good as it gets, not counting Tom Terrific. A top-3 WR, top-3 QB, top-3 pass rusher and the best running back alive. I first became aware of Peterson after seeing a special on him when he was still in high school. I declared that he was the best running back I had ever seen. Nothing has changed.

Scott Simon Aaron Rodgers is the best player in the entire league. I said it.

Sam WiddoesI have loved Julius since his Tar Heel days, and his resurgence in Chicago is a beauty to see, but Adrian Peterson is the best running back in the league still and top dog in the NFC North. 

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

NFL Division Preview: AFC West

 Jamaal Charles > The Broncos

Next up, the AFC West, in the style of Cold Coors Light 6-Pack of Questions:

1) When you're talking about the running backs in the AFC West, you're talking about a lot of good running backs under the age of 25.  How do you rank Jamaal Charles, Knowshon Moreno, Ryan Mathews and Darren McFadden?

Dave Hendrie: Charles and McFadden are a clear one and two. Choosing between Moreno and Matthews is hard. They both are young with potential, but neither has been especially productive so far in their respective careers. I will give the edge to Matthews because of the situation he is in.

Sam Widdoes: Darren, Jamaal, Ryan, Knowshon.  Ryan might get to the level of the top two, but McFadden and Charles are clearly way ahead of the pack.

Scott Simon:  Mathews is last. Sorting out the other three is like ranking my favorite pairs of socks. 1,400 is a big number these days so I respect Charles' 2010 season. Ill give Charles my #1 ranking, followed by McFadden, then Moreno (then Mathews).

Johnny Hendrie: Great question. Jamaal Charles has to be the top dawg in this group as he is an established, elite back already. Right now, Run DMC narrowly beats out Ryan Matthews in my book but I was head over heels in love Matthews when he was coming out of Fresno and he could have a breakout year in 2011. Moreno is solid but unproven.

New England Renaissance Series: #4 Wayne Selden

The New England Renaissance Series is an ongoing countdown of some of the best prospects in the region regardless of class. It is important not to dwell on the order of the rankings but rather on the unprecedented amount of talent the region possesses.

#4 Wayne Selden (2014)
Height: 6'4   Weight: 200
Hometown: Boston Mass
School Team: Tilton
Travel Team: BABC
NERR Rank: 2    National Rank: 10

The Collective's love of Selden's game is well documented. The fact that he was just a freshmen last year is frightening. One could go on an on about all of Selden's tools, but his most impressive attribute is his killer instinct. Expect big things from this young man. Here is his ESPN evaluation and highlight video.

A powerful forward who already owns a man's body, Selden is strong as an ox and able to overpower virtually anyone in his age bracket. He goes strong to the rim, going right at any shot-blocker, and consequently getting to the free-throw line in high volume. He is at his best in the open floor where he combines his power with some break-away athleticism and good instincts. While he is naturally a good passer, his perimeter skill set is also coming along with both his three-point shot and mid-range pull-up vastly improved.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

New England Renaissance Series: #5 Ricardo Ledo

The New England Renaissance Series is an ongoing countdown of some of the best prospects in the region regardless of class. It is important not to dwell on the order of the rankings but rather on the unprecedented amount of talent the region possesses.

#5 Ricardo Ledo (2012)
Height: 6'6    Weight:180
Hometown: Providence, RI
School Team: Notre Dame Prep
Travel Team: Expressions Elite
NERR Rank: 3    National Rank: 22
It pains me that I have Ledo ranked this low but thats just how good New England is right now. Ledo was built to be a NBA wing. He already has the nuanced offensive game to be a one and done type of player in college. He is an extremely gifted mid range scorer and passer. Here is his ESPN evaluation and highlight tape.

Ledo is a pure scorer who is capable of getting buckets from any spots on the floor. He has great size for his position with a long build, explosive athleticism, and the full range of offensive skills. He is quick off the bounce with a tight handle and corresponding range to the arc off the rhythm dribble. He has great body control in the lane where he can finish either above his man or around multiple defenders he is very creative with his finishes. Watch him attack and beat the first defender then beat the help as his instincts to score are special.