WHEELER: Weekend Round Up (Cards Swept, Head to PIT)
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Let’s do this rapid fire in bullet point style because, well, just because…
* The Cardinals bats were silent in Atlanta and the team got swept. No need to panic. The Pirates lost 2 of 3 to the Marlins and only gained a game.
The Braves sent three good pitchers to the mound this weekend and they happened to be better than the three good pitchers the Cardinals sent to the mound over the three days.
It was a frustrating series, no doubt, but things like this happen. The fact that this is the first time they’ve been swept in a road series this season is pretty remarkable.
They still own the best record in baseball and they still control their own fate.
* These next four days will be of far more significance because of the implications for the NL Central race. Five games in four days against the Pirates will be fun but since these teams meet nine teams AFTER this series ends, this week marks the beginning of the race rather than a “defining moment.”
Unless the Cardinals sweep. If that happens, the Pirates won’t win the division. Now, I don’t expect that to happen. I suspect that one team will win this series 3-2. I don’t know which but that seems like the most likely scenario.
Heck, forget sitting on the fence. I say the Cards take 3-of-5 at PNC Park.
* The non-waiver trade deadline is coming up on Wednesday and whether the Cardinals make a significant move or not, they’ll be just fine. John Mozeliak has been a shrewd operator since taking over as GM. He doesn’t overpay and he always makes sure his team has what it needs to win when they’re in contention.
A veteran starter and a bench bat would be ideal but in sports the “ideal” isn’t always realistic. There are a lot of reports saying asking prices are high from the few teams that have deemed themselves “sellers” though I think the market will change.
The Angels and Phillies are jumping into the “sellers” end of the pool and with more teams (and therefore players) in that mix you can bet some of those prices will come down over the next three days.
I’d be more worried about the deadline if I thought Pittsburgh or Cincinnati had something big up their sleeves but that doesn’t appear to be the case at the moment.
It’s way too early for me to make predictions about what the Rams’ record will be this season – I’ll save that for the END of the preseason – but I am completely convinced they’re a better team than they were last year, assuming reasonably good health.
There are questions for sure (safety, running back serve as good examples) but Jeff Fisher is a top tier coach and his staff is strong all-around. The talent pool has been upgraded significantly and while this is a young team it is also the most gifted team this organization has fielded in a long time.
If he doesn’t get hurt, this will be Sam Bradford’s breakout season. Everything is trending in the right direction for him and now he has people around him capable of making big plays. It’s finally coming together.
Bradford will finish in the Top 10 in passing yards and touchdowns this season. He threw for 3,702 yards and 21 touchdowns last season with a porous, oft-injured offensive line and virtually no playmakers in the passing game.
4,018 yards and 26 touchdowns were the cutoffs for Top 10 in the league last season and I see no reason why he can’t add 19.75 more passing yards per game this year and an extra touchdown every three games. That’s the difference between what Bradford did last season and what he would have needed to do to finish in the Top 10 in both categories.
That doesn’t seem like a whole helluva lot to ask, does it?
Oh, Johnny Football…
I like Johnny Manziel. I want to get that out there right away to avoid the “hater” label. There is nothing for me to “hate” about Manziel.
That said, there is plenty to “dislike” and I’m beginning to wonder when someone is going to sit this kid down and explain to him how the real world works.
See, I don’t mind any of the celebrity stuff he’s done over the last 8-9 months. That’s perfectly fine with me and I can guarantee I would have eaten that stuff up at his age. Hell, I’d eat it up now. Who wouldn’t?
I’m more worried about his lack of common sense and apparent stupidity. Allow me to explain by pointing out the things he’s done the past couple of weeks…
1) He got sent home from the famed “Manning Passing Camp” for sleeping through an entire morning’s worth of meetings, workouts, etc. I don’t know if he was out partying the night before or not but when you’re in a situation like that, surrounded by the best college QB’s in the country and working with people like Peyton and Eli Manning, you’d think that would be a time you were on your best behavior, wouldn’t you? I get that 20 year-olds like to have fun – we 40 year-olds do too – but for one weekend you can’t reign yourself in to the point where you can live up to what you’ve committed to doing?
2) The SAME DAY he got sent home from the Manning Camp because he was “sick” or “dehydrated” he was seen out having a good ol’ time in College Station, TX. Hello, McFly…a little common sense would do you some good. You just got embarrassed in front of the entire nation, doing yourself no favors with NFL scouts who already have football related questions about you, and you don’t have the brain power to understand that maybe you should just LAY LOW for a couple of days?
3) Now we have video of Manziel being kicked out of a frat party…on the Texas campus. So, Mr. Star Football Heisman Trophy Winner, you think it’s a good idea to show up at a party at a RIVAL SCHOOL? You think they’ll want you there? You think they won’t somehow try to make you look bad?
Check out the link here to see the video I’m talking about and also to see Johnny Football standing at the party holding a Keystone Light in his left hand (see the picture a bit below the video).
Yeah, Johnny Football is 20 years-old. He turns 21 in December, by the way.
I’m no prude. College kids drink, even the underage ones, but again my concern is with Manziel’s complete lack of common sense. You’re going to break the law at a party where you’re surrounded by people who would love to take you down a notch just because you’re an Aggie? Really, Johnny? Really?
I’m no college football reporter but I do know a lot of people in the sports world. People in the media, people in scouting, people in the coaching community, people who work in athletic departments. Forget what we media people think. Forget what football fans around the country think.
From what I’m told, Johnny’s teammates and coaches are getting fed up with his antics. And this isn’t from some guy on the street. I’m not “reporting” anything, I’m just relaying something that was presented to me (unsolicited, by the way) from someone in the college football world who has contacts in College Station, TX.
His tweets about winning being the only thing that matters prove his immaturity. And they prove my point. Johnny Football isn’t very smart. Oh, he’s football smart and he’s a gifted athlete but he’s more Forrest Gump than Albert Einstein.
I’m okay with him being mature. He’s 20. I’m okay with the kid having a good time. We all did at his age.
What I’m not okay with is how this kid is HURTING HIMSELF. Before all of this he was a favorite of just about every college football fan out there. He is still a favorite player of mine.
But now he’s making people think twice about him and not in a good way.
He’s making NFL personnel men think even more than that about him. Now he’s not just a short quarterback with average arm strength who runs nothing close to an NFL offense. Now he’s all of those things AND he’s a full blown drama queen who responds to criticisms of his obvious stupidity with snark on Twitter.
The kid’s not doing himself, or his coaches and teammates, any favors.