Posted on 28 March 2014 by WNST Audio
Posted on 28 March 2014 by Brett Dickinson
By: Brett Dickinson and Barry Kamen
BK: The Baltimore Ravens continued their strong off season by acquiring C Jeremy Zuttah from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for a 5th round pick in the 2015 NFL Draft. Zuttah, a 6-year veteran out of Rutgers, is an ideal player to become the starting center in offensive coordinator Gary Kubiak’s zone-blocking scheme. With Zuttah as the new starter, the Ravens interior line has become crowded, with incumbent C Gino Gradkowski, backup G/C A.Q. Shipley, and last year’s 6th round pick Ryan Jensen. Brett, what are your thoughts on the Ravens trading for Zuttah, and how does this low-risk move influence the O-line picture?
BD: I absolutely bow in the greatness that is Ozzie Newsome, when it comes to pulling off deals like this. The Ravens were able to get a player, just entering his prime, at a position of desperate need for only a 5th round pick. He has starting experience at four of five positions on the line, which only adds to his value for a team that arguably had the worst protection in football last year.
Most importantly, this move changes the focus of the Ravens draft board. It is well known the team strictly adheres to the “best player available” mantra when it comes to the draft. With the addition of Zuttah, it is one less hole Ozzie would have to reach for in the middle rounds of the draft. Many experts were wondering when (not if) they would take a future starting center, even predicting a high round pick for a position that notoriously can be filled later in the draft. With the depth of having Gradkowski, Shipley and Jensen on the interior, they may not be even inclined to take a center in the draft at all. There is also the outside chance one of those earns a starting spot at left guard, pushing Kelechi Osemele to right tackle. Essentially, retooling the entire picture in front of Joe Flacco.
Now the Ravens are not the only team in Baltimore making moves this week. The Orioles made a late Spring Training trade, sending IF Alex Gonzalez to the Detroit Tigers for super utility man (and Maryland native), Steve Lombardozzi. What do you think of the move, trading for the former Washington National, and what type of role do you see for him?
As a Hammond graduate who had the privilege of watching Lombardozzi play both basketball and baseball at Atholton, I am very happy to see a fellow Howard County kid back in the area after a couple of seasons with the Nationals and the briefest of stints with Detroit. Lombardozzi’s versatility is what makes him valuable to this Orioles team. As a switch-hitter with the ability to play 4 positions, Lombardozzi should see plenty of at-bats early in the season with Manny Machado on the disabled list. I would not be surprised to see “Lombo” in the starting lineup on Opening Day, where the Orioles will face LHP Jon Lester. While the attendance and fanfare will be heightened on Monday, Buck Showalter has historically played the matchups; the bottom half of the Orioles lineup could feature Lombardozzi playing third, with Jonathan Schoop playing second in a right-handed dominant lineup.
My biggest question with the acquisition of Lombardozzi is how the Orioles will find at-bats for all of their infielders. When the news broke that Machado was going to start the season on the DL, it opened the door for the Orioles to reward Schoop with the starting job at second base, while moving Ryan Flaherty to third. Lombardozzi was a quality bench player for the Nationals, and admirably filled in for Ian Desmond and Danny Espinosa up the middle, and also saw time in left field. Flaherty’s versatility is very similar to Lombardozzi’s, and even Schoop can play second, shortstop, and third. The balancing act will be left to Showalter, and the first priority should be to continue the development with Schoop at the major league level. I am all in favor of Schoop as the starting second baseman, with Lombardozzi coming off of the bench as a pinch hitter and as a fill-in starter against left-handed pitching.
Posted on 28 March 2014 by WNST Audio
Posted on 26 March 2014 by WNST Audio
Posted on 18 March 2014 by Brett Dickinson
Each week on the Brett & Barry Show (Saturdays 9am-12pm), we gather each others’ analysis on the biggest local and national stories and headlines of the week for a couple of minutes a piece in a segment we call Rapid Fire. We post our responses in blog form every week to a visual version, with links to our segment in the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault.
LISTEN TO THE AUDIO SEGMENT HERE
Barry 1: As the Baltimore Orioles continue with spring training games in Florida, the Opening Day roster has started to take shape. South Korean P Suk-Min Yoon will start the year in Norfolk, and 3B Manny Machado appears headed for the DL to begin the season. The one major unknown for the Orioles is what they will do with prospect Jonathan Schoop, who has had a fantastic spring (.423 BA, .692 SLG, 6 RBIs). What are the chances that Schoop, the Orioles top position prospect, is on the Opening Day roster?
BD: Though I think he may be the best option by the time the Spring Training is complete, I think the Orioles will exercise patience with their best positional prospect at this point. They do not want to hurt his confidence, as well as affect his service time clock. They may be more inclined to follow the Manny Machado path with Schoop, bringing him up around the All-Star break. Now with the injury concerns at third base, anything is possible, though I think they exhaust all other options before possibly using Schoop.
Brett 1: After many reports had the Baltimore Orioles as the favorites to win the Ervin Santana sweepstakes, he landed with the Atlanta Braves. Key injuries to the rotation forced them to get serious about adding a pitcher, signing the free agent to a one year $14.1 Million deal. With thoughts being the Orioles were only willing to give Santana $13 Million deal, did they drop the ball on adding another quality starting arm?
BK: I am slightly disappointed that the Orioles did not go harder for Santana, but the fact that Santana signed with the Braves lessens the blow. Initial reports had the Santana sweepstakes limited to the Blue Jays and the Orioles, but the recent injuries to Atlanta’s rotation made sense for both sides. Had the Orioles lost out to their AL East foes, different story. Santana will have a better chance of extending his career and commanding a long-term deal by playing in the NL East, where a percentage of his starts will come against the Marlins, Mets, and Phillies.
Barry 2: On Twitter, former Alabama and Oakland Raider LB Rolando McClain has hinted at a return to the NFL. Last season, the Baltimore Ravens signed McClain, only to have him retire following an arrest that happened just two weeks after becoming a Raven. McClain is only 24, and appears to be in a much better mental state than he ever was as an NFL player. With the Ravens having the rights to Rolando McClain, can he be a contributor to the Ravens defense?
BD: The key to your question was ‘CAN’ he contribute. He may come back to the NFL with a new found enthusiasm towards the game; a willingness to put the game first in his life. He is certainly young enough and I feel the same way about him, as I did last year. It is worth a shot; give him a Training Camp invite and see what he has left. But I would not bank on him making the roster, though if he does, he would have earned his spot.
Brett 2: St. Louis Rams free agent offensive tackle, Rodger Saffold, initially agreed to a five year $42 Million deal with the Oakland Raiders. Only to have that mega-deal voided after he reported failed a physical. Since then he resigned with the Rams for much less money (five years $37 Million). Did the Raiders void Saffold’s deal just to get out of a bad contract considering the market value for other players that signed this off season?
BK: This story is way more bizarre than anything that the Orioles’ doctors did this offseason. The Raiders were concerned with a shoulder injury that Saffold had, while the Rams found no such injury. For the Raiders, the failed physical leaves the team out of a thin left tackle market, with all of the marquee free agents off of the market. Saffold’s return to the Rams also has a major impact on the NFL Draft. The Raiders will be in the market for either LT Greg Robinson or Jake Matthews, while the Rams can turn their attention to WR Sammy Watkins or DE Jadaveon Clowney.
Barry 3: Amidst all of the NFL free agent signings, two of the more brash players in the NFL were making headlines for a different reason. Seattle CB Richard Sherman and Washington CB DeAngelo Hall got into a war of words on Twitter (you can read the whole conversation HERE), with Hall questioning Sherman’s skills. What do you make of the Twitter beef between these two divas?
BD: I saw these reports and then followed the actual conversation. I instantly thought I was wasting my time, as these players are just going to talk. I do think Richard Sherman has the right to call himself the best cornerback in football, because he has proved so on the field. For DeAngelo Hall to try to argue that fact is simply nonsense, as a player that has been terrible for several years now. Though it was entertaining for about 30 seconds, it means nothing, as Sherman has a Super Bowl ring and DeAngelo Hall is still stealing money from the Redskins.
Brett 3: Steve Nash has officially been shut down for the season by the Los Angeles Lakers, as he played in only 10 games due to back/neck injuries. With still almost $10 Million dollars due to him next season, Nash says he will not retire because he wants the money. Do you think this is the right move for the former MVP?
BK: Steve Nash’s time with the Lakers has been extremely disappointing, and it is a shame that his body has failed him over the past few seasons. It makes sense for Nash to stick around for as long as he can. The Lakers are in the process of rebuilding, so there is a good chance that Nash will play elsewhere. Could Nash be the missing piece off of the bench for a contender, similar to Derek Fisher? We shall wait and see.
Posted on 11 March 2014 by WNST Audio
Posted on 07 March 2014 by Robert Canady
After having to miss last year’s Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) tournament due to low APR scores under a previous administration, the Towson University basketball team will finally get to take the floor in postseason action this weekend.
The Tigers finished the season with a Division 1 school record 22-9 (13-3 CAA) campaign. That was good enough for second place in the league and the No. 2 seed in the tournament which begins tonight at First Mariner Arena in downtown Baltimore.
James Madison University the defending CAA champions will be the Tigers opponent in the first round game played at 6:00 PM tomorrow night, as the third game in the four game slate. The Dukes lost a lot of players from that Championship team, but bring in a very talented young group, that played the Tigers tough in the two conference games this year, before ultimately losing both contests.
Below is a look at the matchups for the first round game tonight and the quarterfinal matchups that take place tomorrow, the teams CAA record is in parenthesis.
First Round: #8 Hofstra 9-22 (5-11) vs. #9 UNCW 9-22 (3-13) Friday night at 7:00 PM
Hofstra swept the regular season series between the two teams, winning 69-64 in Wilmington, and 61-52 at home. The Pride are led by graduate student transfer Zeke Upshaw who was selected to the All CAA 2nd team at last night’s awards banquet. He was second in the league in scoring at 19.6 points per game.
UNCW, lost its first 10 conference games before finally breaking through with a surprise win against Towson in Wilmington on February 10th. The Seahawks started using a five man substitution plan during that game. In doing so they finished the last six games of the season with a 3-3 record. Junior Cedric Williams is the leading scorer for UNCW putting in 11 points per game.
Saturday 12:00 PM #1 Delaware 22-9 (14-2) vs. Hofstra/UNCW winner
The Blue Hens come into the tournament off the most successful regular season ever for a Delaware basketball team. As a result Head Coach Monte Ross was voted CAA Coach Of The Year. Delaware started the conference season 11-0 before losing to Towson 78-63 at SECU Arena in February. Devon Saddler a senior leads a dynamic scoring attack with 20.2 points per game. Baltimore native Davon Usher a graduate student transfer from Mississippi Valley State added 19.4 points per game, good enough for third in the CAA. Jarvis Threatt missed six games due to a suspension which did not allow him to qualify for league leaders but he averaged 17.9 points a game.
In addition junior Kyle Anderson (11.1) and senior Carl Baptiste (10.9) gave the Blue Hens five players scoring in double figures.
Saturday 2:30 PM #4 Drexel 16-13 (8-8) vs. #5 Northeastern 10-20 (7-9)
Drexel battled injuries all season long, at one point having four starters miss multiple games. The biggest injury came in the pre-season when junior guard Damion Lee a pre-season favorite to be 1st team all CAA tore an ACL that would cause him to miss the entire year.
Despite the injuries, the Dragons predicted to finish second in the CAA polls were able to secure a No. 4 seed. Drexel is led by first team All CAA guard Frantz Massenat a senior who led the team in scoring (17.4) and the CAA in assist with 4.8 assist per game.
Northeastern features all CAA Defensive Player of the Year Scott Eatherton, who battled the Tigers Jerrelle Benimon most of the year for the nations lead in double/doubles before finishing second to Benimon in that category with 18. Eatherton put up 15.5 points and grabbed 10.1 rebounds per game for the Huskies.
The two teams split the season series.
Saturday 6:00 PM #2 Towson 22-9 (13-3) vs. #7 James Madison 11-19 (6-10)
We’ve already talked about the matchup earlier, so I’ll just add some of the awards the Tigers picked up at the dinner last night.
Jerrelle Benimon: CAA Player of the Year, First Team ALL CAA, All CAA Defensive Team
Marcus Damas: All CAA Third Team
Rafriel Guthrie: All CAA Third Team
Timajh Parker-Rivera: CAA All Academic Team, CAA Dean Ehlers Leadership Award
Coach Pat Skerry was also one of only three coaches that received votes for Coach of the Year, along with Tony Shaver of William & Mary and Ross.
Saturday 8:30 PM #3 William & Mary 18-11 (10-6) vs. #6 College of Charleston 14-17 (6-10)
The Tribe spent a good part of the year either tied or just one game behind Towson for second place in the CAA before going 3-3 in its final six games. However, two of those losses came at the hands of Towson. The Tigers defeated the Tribe 85-70 on the 15th of February, and closed out the regular season with a thrilling 70-68 win at SECU last Saturday.
William and Mary is led by First Team All CAA Guard Marcus Thornton, who finished 5th in the CAA with 18.6 points per game, and led all CAA players with 85 three-pointers on the season. The Tribe also feature the Rookie of the Year for the CAA in freshman Omar Prewitt.
College of Charleston is a newcomer to the CAA this year and found the quality of the teams in the CAA was much deeper than the Southern Conference in which it left after last season.
The Cougars are led by senior Willis Hall (12.2) and they allowed the fewest points scored per game at 62.5 of any team in the conference.
The quarterfinals are sure to produce a lot of what the regular season featured, close games that come down to the last few possessions, and possibly overtimes. While Delaware and Towson are the decided favorites, and a lot of people would consider a Tigers/Blue Hens finals matchup a marquee event on Monday night, there are seven other teams that feel they are very capable of ruining the hopes of either the No.1 or No. 2 seed.
Posted on 04 March 2014 by WNST Audio
Posted on 03 March 2014 by Brett Dickinson
By: Brett Dickinson and Barry Kamen
Each week on the Brett & Barry Show (Saturdays 9am-12pm), we gather each others’ analysis of the big news stories and headlines of the week for a couple minutes a piece in a segment we call Rapid Fire. We will post our answers in blog form every week to a visual version, with links to our segment in the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault.
Listen HERE to last week’s Rapid Fire Segment.
Barry 1: During the first week of Spring Training, Frank Robinson visited the Orioles in Sarasota, where he bumped into prospect Josh Hart in the hallway of the facility. When Hart did not recognize the Hall of Famer, Manager Buck Showalter assigned him a research report on Robinson’s career and impact for the organization and the MLB. What is your reaction to Showalter handing out a homework assignment to the 19 year old prospect?
BD: I absolutely love this move by Buck, as a man that knows baseball and the history of the game. I think more players need to understand how they received the opportunity to be on a major league roster; it started with players, like Frank Robinson, paving the way. A lot is lost with younger generations, when it comes to appreciation for those who changed the game for the better. Josh Hart will not only be a smarter person because of this “assignment,” but a better ball player as well. He has the opportunity to make millions upon millions of dollars in the near future, which would not have been possible without Frank Robinson.
Brett 1: After a conference game between Utah Valley and New Mexico State, a brawl broke out on the court, when a player threw the basketball at his opponent (Watch the Video HERE). Players, coaches and even fans began throwing punches after a court-storming. Should the NCAA ban court-storming, citing safety issues for everyone involved?
BK: Although the Southeastern Conference has had success in banning the joyous, silly tradition, I do not think that the NCAA has the willpower or ability to get involved. This particular incident is very sad, as two schools made national news for the wrong reasons. I hope that we can get back to rooting for our respective teams, enjoying rivalries for what they are, and allow college students to enjoy a major victory with their team.
Barry 2: We mentioned a couple of weeks ago that Seahawks QB, Russell Wilson, was working out with the Texas Rangers during Spring Training (read our reaction HERE). Now Heisman winner and National Championship QB, Jameis Winston is playing baseball for Florida State during the football off season. Do you think he could be a professional two-sport star?
BD: Like I mentioned before, I am not opposed to the idea of another Deion Sanders or Brian Jordan or Bo Jackson, wrecking havoc in two different sports. The problem is none of those athletes were a QB; it just takes too much dedication in preparation to become elite in the NFL. Winston could be the first overall pick in next year’s NFL draft, which means he will have the added pressure of performing right away. Taking time away from the mental grind that is involved in not only mastering an offensive scheme, but earning the respect of your teammates as the face of the franchise and leader of the team, would simply be a mistake.
Brett 2: Thankfully ESPN analyst (and QB guru), Ron Jaworski stated that he would not take Texas A&M QB, Johnny Manziel, in the first three rounds of the upcoming draft (making me feel much better about my analysis). You already know that I do not believe he is a first round prospect (let alone a top 10 pick, as heard HERE), but what is your reaction to “Jaws” analysis on the controversial former Heisman winner?
BK: Jaworski’s analysis on Manziel may not be popular, but it is more accurate than those experts who consider Johnny Football to be a top 10 prospect. The success of Russell Wilson, a shorter quarterback with abnormally large hands and great awareness, has paved the way for Manziel to be fairly evaluated. However, there are a lot of question marks when it comes to Manziel, both as a person as a player. Teams in the top 10 who are in the market for a quarterback (Jacksonville, Cleveland, Oakland) would all be making a mistake to use their first selection on Manziel. By giving Manziel a mid-round grade, Jaworski is essentially saying that the former Heisman winner would be best served in a backup role to start his career, with the potential to become a starter. Following the NFL Combine, Manziel still appears to be a top 10 pick, but teams would be wise to take note of the dissenting opinion.
Barry 3: This NFL off season, most players are taking time off relaxing, preparing their minds and bodies for another grueling season. Well, Ravens second year Safety, Matt Elam, has a different approach; he took a job as a shoe salesman at Finish Line to gain a better understanding of the business (which he plans to invest in the future). What is your reaction to Elam taking a job this off season, preparing for his life after football?
BD: After the past couple weeks of bad news for the Ravens, this definitely uplifts the spirits, when looking at a young man that just simply gets “it.” Elam obviously already has an understanding that football does not last forever, while preparing for a career after he hangs up his cleats. Realistically, he could only hope to last in the NFL for the next decade; meaning he needs to find a way to occupy his time for the following 40-50 years of his life. Add in the fact that with his notoriety as a professional athlete, the money he does make while on the field, will likely not last to support his family in the future. Elam has proven to be a smart and mature young man beyond his years, with his humility to clock in and out of a “low-paying” job; professional sports needs more people like this.
Brett 3: Reports came out that the Browns tried to work out a deal to trade for San Francisco 49ers Head Coach, Jim Harbaugh. Looking at a deal that would cost multiple draft picks, for a coach who has led his team to three straight championship games (and one Super Bowl loss). Would you make such a deal if you were either team?
BK: The Cleveland Browns should not be ashamed to admit that they were interested in Jim Harbaugh. He has proven himself to be one of the top coaches in both college and professional football, and his track record of taking bad teams and turning them into winners speaks for itself. The Browns have not had the proper leadership in place for quite some time, and getting a man like Harbaugh via trade makes sense, no matter what the cost. Unlike Robert Griffin III, there isn’t an injury risk associated with dealing a number of high draft picks.
If I were the San Francisco 49ers, I would have entertained, but not accepted an offer for Harbaugh. While the 49ers could absolutely put the extra draft picks to good use, there is no way of putting a value on Harbaugh’s relationship with QB Colin Kaepernick. The 49ers are just too close to winning the Super Bowl to make such a drastic change.
Posted on 01 March 2014 by WNST Audio