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HWT-15 – Brodus Clay, Barrett, Night of Champions Picks & Evan Wecksell

This week we get ready for Night of Champions PPV with help from Evan Wecksell, comedian and father of the “Two-Year-Old Names 20 WWE Themes in TWO MINUTES!!” We discuss our picks as well as the Youtube video. We also revisit Raw, talk Stone Cold, Brodus CLay and Bad News Barrett. As well as rumors on who is in that bunny suit! Hear this and more on this week’s episode.

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Janay Rice issues statement over Instagram

Janay Rice decided to release a statement over social media today regarding the incident with her husband, Ray Rice.

“I woke up this morning feeling like I had a horrible nightmare, feeling like I’m mourning the death of my closest friend,” Janay Rice wrote. “But to have to accept the fact that it’s reality is a nightmare in itself. No one knows the pain that the media & unwanted options from the public has caused my family. To make us relive a moment in our lives that we regret every day is a horrible thing. To take something away from the man I love that he has worked his ass off for all his life just to gain ratings is horrific.

“THIS IS OUR LIFE! What don’t you all get. If your intentions were to hurt us, embarrass us, make us feel alone, take all happiness away, you’ve succeeded on so many levels. Just know we will continue to grow & show the world what real love is! Ravensnation we love you!”

It seems as if Janay is standing by her man. This situation is just a huge disaster and very unfortunate for the couple. At the end of the day it doesn’t matter about football, money, or fame. The only thing that should matter now is what should be done going forward. Hopefully Mrs. Rice will decide to leave the fame and fortune for her own safety and digninty.

 

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Did Michael Sam get a fair deal?

OK, so Michael Sam did not make the Rams roster, and he did not get picked up by another team for either their active roster.  But he did get signed to the Dallas Cowboys practice squad.  Opinions are all over the place as to whether or not Sam got a fair shot, both on draft day and this summer.  There’s been speculation that he fell to the seventh round because of his announcement prior to the Scouting Combine that was gay, and also a lot of reasons given why his drop was legit.  Was does the evidence say?

Sam was SEC Defensive Player of the Year in 2013, a pretty high honor.  It’s also a usual predictor of an early selection on draft day.  Among previous SEC Defensive Players of the Year there were eight first round picks, one second rounder, and one fifth rounder.  Among the household names who’ve won the award are Patrick Willis, Eric Berry, and Patrick Peterson.  So Sam was in some pretty lofty company to start with.  So why did things go so differently for him?

SI.com ran a piece about him right after he came out, and discussed where he was projected to go beforehand,  and the opinions were all  between the third and seventh rounds.  Now that’s a pretty wide range, leaving  a lot of room for judgement from all the pre-draft activities like the scouting combine and his pro day.  Sam already had his size working against him (6-3, 255 is pretty small for an NFL defensive end), so if he was to have any chance of going at the high end of his projections he’d have to show some superior speed and athleticism.  When it came to that, he failed miserably.

At the NFL Scouting Combine, he ran a 4.91 40 yard dash.  That’s the kind of time that big, slow offensive tackles are known to run.  4.91 for a pass rushing defensive end is pretty abysmal.  Later, on his pro day he ran a better time, 4.73; an improvement but still nothing to write home about.  The average time in 2013 for a defensive end was 4.77, and by contrast first overall pick and fellow defensive end Jadeveon Clowney ran a 4.47 and a 4.53.  So you had an undersized player with average speed at best, and that adds up to someone who gets picked later and not sooner.  But there were some anonymous quotes, and others fully attributed to Tony Dungy and some others, that suggested having Sam around would be too much of a distraction and that warranted not picking him at all.  So the idea that Sam may get jobbed on draft day by the Neanderthal instincts of NFL coaches and GMs became a real thing.

We have no idea what was said in the various War Rooms around the league; unless somebody leaks that a reporter one day it’s going to the grave with everyone involved.  It won’t be the first time a highly decorated player got drafted low; in the same draft the Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year went undrafted and numerous Heisman trophy winners have fallen to the later rounds.  It’s also not uncommon for front offices to value the combine results over what a player did on the field.  It often backfires but it happens; if this is what happened with Sam on draft day then it’s no different than what happens with countless other players.  I believe that if it were Clowney making the same announcement he would have gotten picked right where he did.

Now what about preseason?  Yes, he played well in the preseason while playing with the second unit.  But that happens every year.  I can run off a list of names of preseason heroes for my Redskins who never made the active roster, and I bet you can do the same for yours.  If anything, Sam not making the roster despite his preseason performance should convince you once and for all just how worthless those games are.  We didn’t see the Rams practices, but the coaches who did apparently felt that he was not better than the nine lineman they ended up keeping.  Sam not playing special teams didn’t help his case either.  If you don’t start, don’t play in the regular rotation, and don’t play on special teams, there really isn’t much use for you on a 53 man roster.

Sam got a fair shake, as fair as everyone else who seeks employment in the league.  His career is not yet over; the practice squad thing in Dallas could very well be the springboard to greater things.  But put away the picket signs if you have them because they aren’t warranted here.

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Frank Caliendo’s hilarious John Madden, Morgan Freeman, Jon Gruden impression on ESPN

Frank Caliendo has always been a favorite of mine when it comes to impressions.

Caliendo appeared on Numbers Never Lie starring Michael Smith and Jemele Hill and performs a “Rapid Fire” of impressions of some of his best acts.

If you are a sports fan or not, you will enjoy this.

Frank Caliendo Rapid Fire Impressions (ESPN)

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Maryland WR Taivon Jacobs to miss remainder of season with knee injury

Late last week the Maryland Terps learned that they would be without junior wide receiver Levern Jacobs. A reliable weapon for the Terps, Jacobs was suspended indefinitely for violating the school’s student code of conduct.

Now the Terps will be without his little brother.

Freshman Taivon Jacobs, who was one of the players expected to help replace his brother at wide receiver, suffered a severe meniscus injury early in the first quarter Saturday against James Madison. Taivon, who underwent an MRI today, was scheduled to only miss up to four weeks of action. However, his injury will now sideline him for the rest of the 2014 season.

Luckily for the Terps, they have players who have demonstrated that they can step in and contribute at the wide receiver spot.

Jacobs probable replacement, Junior Marcus Leak, returns as a full-time starter from 2012. A North Carolina recruit, Leak showed much promise upon his arrival to College Park. However, he voluntarily left the program in 2013 to tend to family issues. Leak finished Saturdays home opener with two receptions totaling 17 yards.

Coach Randy Edsall and his staff will undoubtedly spend time this week adjusting the receiver depth chart. At its disposal Maryland has proven sophomore Amba Etta-Tawo, who finished the 2013 season with 31 catches for 500 yards and two touchdowns. In addition to Etta-Tawo, the Terps will look to sophomore Jacquille Veii, a converted running back, who has shown to be effective in his new role. Veii operates strictly in the slot, and will likely serve as the Terps’ fourth receiver.

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“No Love, No Problem” Timberwolves break ticket sales records since trade

All Hail King Wiggins!

That is what you call “True Fans”. I’m glad to see Timberwolves fans coming out to support the team. The trade was not as one sided as people are making it out to be. Andrew Wiggins will be a stud. I am very excited to see him play in the NBA. Minnesota fans must be also.

Timberwolves have a exciting, young, and athletic team that will be very fun to watch. I’m glad they will have the support in the arena every night.

I’m hoping I see a “No Love, No Problem” sign in the Target center on Opening Night.

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Rajon Rondo has informed Celtics “He Wants Out”

It has been a downward spiral in Boston since the breakup of the “Big 3″.

Rajon Rondo has seemed pretty miserable in Beantown since last offseason when fellow Celtics Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, and  Head Coach Doc Rivers left town for “Greener Pastures”.

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Rondo has been vocal in the past about not wanting to be part of a rebuilding process. Rondo stuck around last season, and this offseason expecting Boston to land a big name to help them compete.

That did not happen.

Now Rondo has made the choice to request a trade. Do you blame him?

A lot of players take criticism  for leaving a team to compete for a championship. Rondo is in his prime and one of the best point guards in the NBA. He will be a great asset on a championship contending team. He should not have to waste the few prime years of his career playing with a team that won’t win in the near future.

Being a rare “true point guard” Rondo is a player that a lot of teams would love to have. However, two teams come to mind as the favorites to land him.

The Houston Rockets and New York Knicks should do whatever it takes to aquire Rondo before the trade deadline.

The Rockets have no offensive flow to their game. That became very apparent in the 1st round series against the Portland Trailblazers. Dwight Howard couldn’t dominate the inside, Chandler Parsons seemed to just stand around at the arc waiting, and James Harden would shoot even when he was on defense. The Rockets need a unselfish PG that can put the ball in the right places and help to guard those top guards of the Western Conference, Rondo can do just that.

The New York Knicks need a lot of help, but Rondo would be a start. Raymond Felton was the starting point guard last season and the Knicks struggled on both sides of the ball. Rondo would be a huge upgrade for the Knicks backcourt. I believe he and Carmelo Anthony would make a great pairing. The best years of Carmelo’s career were with Chauncey Billups starting at PG for him in Denver. Billups and Rondo’s game is very similar in a sense. Like Billups, Rondo looks for the best play and not the “highlight moment”. I believe with the moves Phil Jackson has made already this offseason, he will not hesitate to make this one. With Rondo in a blue and orange, the Knicks become a contender in the East.

Look for other teams to talk to Danny Ainge about this trade. The Dallas Mavericks, Memphis Grizzlies, LA Lakers, and Detroit Pistons should be making calls as well. Whatever happens, I hope the Celtics try to do what’s best for Rajon Rondo.

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Terps Conquer James Madison In Season Opener

In front of a crowd of more than 48,000 in Byrd Stadium, the Maryland Terrapins opened their inaugural Big Ten season with a 52-7 route of the James Madison Dukes.

The Terps (1-0) led by sixth year senior C.J Brown started out with a 24-0 halftime lead and never took their foot off the gas.

While Brown was not perfect in the season opener, going 11-24 for just 111 yards total passing. He was effective on the ground, rushing for 61 yards on seven attempts and scoring three touchdowns. Brown also finished off the night with a 41 yard touchdown strike to wide receiver Deon Long midway through the third quarter.

While much of the Terrapins off-season was focused on their wide receiver core led by standout Stefon Diggs, todays game showcased the versatility of the Terrapin backfield. Led by Junior tailback Brandon Ross, who amassed 86 yards on 16 carries with one touchdown. The Terrapins dominated the Dukes on the ground with 285 total rushing yards, scoring 5 touchdowns and averaging 5.7 yds per carry.

The Terrapins defense also showed up to play, holding Georgia Tech transfer Vad Lee to a 16-37 passing night totaling 141 yards while tossing two interceptions. The Terps held James Madison to just 3.7 yards per offensive play, while keeping the Dukes out of the endzone until the beginning of the fourth quarter when the Terps were leading comfortably with a 45-0 lead.

While the Terps looked good in their drubbing of James Madison the schedule only gets more challenging from here. Next Saturday the Terps head to South Florida to take on the Bulls. And while coach Randy Edsall has the Terrapins playing with confidence, C.J Brown knows some fine tuning is in order. In a post game press conference Brown told reporters “The stats speak for themselves, and thats unacceptable. I didn’t play well, I understand that, and I’ll get better”.

And the Terrapin faithful is looking for Brown to get better sooner, rather than later.

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Do we still need twelve Pay Per Views?

As head towards Night of Champions in a few weeks, it’s a good time to revisit whether or not twelve Pay Per View shows are even warranted anymore.  We’ve gotten used to having one every month, and it’s been the practice for almost 20 years.  But is it overkill now?  Is the need to book for twelve events a hindrance to creating meaningful storylines for the whole roster?  And if they went to fewer events, what would fill the void?  It’s important to know that most of these shows were creating as a reaction to a move from WCW or a way to derail an existing WCW event.  Only WrestleMania and SummerSlam were created with pure intentions.  The Royal Rumble and Survivor Series were created to disrupt WCW’s pay per view plans for the Bunkhouse Stampede and Starrcade, respectively.  And the other eight shows  originated as counters to an expanding WCW pay per view schedule in the mid 1990s.  As they stand now, I’d divide them into three tiers:

  •  Tier 1 – Royal Rumble, WrestleMania, Money in the Bank, SummerSlam
  • Tier 2 – Night of Champions, Hell in the Cell, Survivor Series, TLC
  • Tier 3 – Elimination Chamber, Extreme Rules, Payback, Battleground

Events in Tier 1 are where the biggest things happen.  The Royal Rumble decides the challenger at WrestleMania.  Money in the Bank anoints a future title winner.  ‘Mania and SummerSlam are the company-crowned two biggest shows.  Tier 2 is where titles can change and some other things can develop, and where specialty matches are the highlight.  Tier 3 events are largely filler.  Elimination Chamber hasn’t mattered since 2010, Payback and Battleground have been largely no-news nights, and Extreme Rules is largely comprised or ‘Mania rematches.  You really could drop them without losing much.  And with the WWE Network (just $9.99!) now, the company will slowly be losing monthly PPV revenue as it is in favor of subscriptions.  The longterm financial hit will very likely even out if people keep signing up.

The time could be spent fleshing out existing storylines better and adding new ones for mid and low level talent.  You’d also have less need for short WWE Title reigns and more time for  the other titles to get good emphasis on RAW and Smackdown.  So I say go for it, WWE!  Less really would be more here.

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HWT-12 – Steve Austin, Kurt Angle and Bad News Barrett Return Rumors and HLW’s Sean Kaleta

We talk return Rumors on this week’s episode of HWT. From Stone Cold Steve Austin to Kurt Angle, Bad News Barrett and Batista. Also find out about Raw and how the WWE landscape would be if Daniel Bryan was still around. We sit down with Heroes and Legend’s Sean Kaleta to talk about their upcoming September 13 event as well. Hear about this and more on this week’s episode of Harrell Wrestling Talk.

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