Harrington to NYC, Crawford to the GSW

Marc Stein and Marcus Thompson report that Al Harringotn to the Knicks for Jamal Crawford.

I was fooling around with the trade machine after Baron opted out and I looked at the Knicks and Crawford, of course I wanted David Lee, too. The W's are playing for the playoffs this season, which will make the fans happy. If Morrow, Wright and Randolph can get some quality minutes along the way, they'll be playing for the future as well.

I guess there will be no LBJ/D-Wade/Bosh action in 2010. Oh well.

I know Crawford has 3 years left on his deal, but he fits well with Monta. As Monta's undersized, Crawford is a 6'5" PG, granted a shooter PG. It'll be nice to see what the team looks like with Crawford, Ellis/Morrow(if he stays hot), StackJack, Maggette and Biedrins are capable of. Hopefully, they're capable of a playoff spot.

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Giants Strike First

The Giants signed the first free agent in the MLB for 2009, today. They inked Jeremey Affeldt to a 2-year $8 million deal.

Keith Law breaks down the signing and is surprisingly supportive of the move and the terms.

Law is usually pretty pessimistic and seemingly more so with the Giants, so this was a nice change.

The Giants weren't able to find a reliable left handed reliever since Eyre left and Affeldt is more than just a LOOGY.

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It's Official, StackJack Got His Extension

Per Marcus Thompson II, StackJack will extend for 3 years and about $28 million.

I'm hoping Rowell did this extension because he knew that only a happy StackJack would be a productive StackJack. If StackJack isn't happy and he's not playing/practicing/being a leader on this young team, then that could lead to further problems down the road.

It is strange to work out an extension with a guy two years away from free agency who's already 30 when there is absolutely no need to do the extension now.

I like StackJack, so I'll give it the 'ol wait and see approach, but I'm cautiously pessimistic, just like any good Warriors fan.

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Rossum paying dividends

A 104 yard kickoff return for a TD to open a MNF game opens eyes, but besides that play how has he been doing? According to Football Outsiders:

San Francisco's kickoff returns have been worth 10.7 points in estimated field position compared to the NFL average, more than any team except Cleveland.

So, the 49ers return game has been even better than Chicago? I know Hester missed a game or two, but wow. I didn't think Rossum would offer much when he was signed this off season. I thought he'd be decent and able to hang on to the ball, but he's old. Instead, he's been a bright spot, giving the offense decent field position at worst and even contributing on offense occaisionally, well, one play, but it was a touch down.

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Game Charters Speak

Here's what I wrote for Football Outsiders for the games that I've charted for them this season. I'll post the link to the FO site when they post it on Friday.
***Update*** Check out the NFC comments.

AZ(Week 1 & 10)- The Cardinals’ success is directly related to their passing game weapons and the fact that opposing defenses can’t double team everybody. In week one, Anquan Boldin was held without a reception in the first half. In the second half the Cardinals moved Boldin around and used Larry Fitzgerald as a decoy to create open space underneath. Boldin had eight catches on 11 targets in the second half, six of the catches resulted in first downs. Boldin is a beast and is continually exploiting mismatches. With Larry Fitzgerald demanding attention wherever he is on the field and the emergence of Steve Breaston as a deep threat, smaller nickel backs or slower linebackers are forced to try and stop Boldin who racks up YAC once he gets the ball. We saw a lot of this in last Monday night’s game against the 49ers as well. Fitzgerald had eight catches, but most underneath for shorter gains. Breaston got deep and had over 120 yards receiving while Boldin caught most of his passes within ten yards of the line of scrimmage and found the end zone twice. We also saw Boldin running the Wildcat a couple times. I was going to say I’m surprised we haven’t seen Boldin running the Wildcat more this season, but I think I’ll say don’t be surprised to see Boldin running the Wildcat more the rest of this season. Pay the man.

ATL(Week 2 and Week 4) – Week 2 at Tampa Bay. Michael Turner was held in check this game. Turner had a third of his carries stopped for no gain against Tampa Bay. The Falcons red zone offense suffered because of the struggling running game. Only two of the Falcons’ 12 red zone plays gained more than one yard. The Falcons were not afraid to pass the ball after the running game stalled as they tried to attack Philip Buchanon, but he played relatively well, for him, giving up five completions on eleven targets. Tampa’s running game was strictly boom and bust this game. Dunn only had two carries for more than 15 yards(1 TD and 1 FD) while he had eight rushes for less than five yards. Earnest Graham had a similar line, but broke a 68 yarder to appease fantasy football owners. The Bucs spread the passes around amongst the coverage, but all four of the passes at Chevis Jackson picked up first downs. Tampa’s running game was inconsistent and that carried over to their red zone performance. One of nine rushing plays in the red zone gained a first down, Dunn’s 15 yard scamper. This game was won on field position as Matt Ryan threw two picks on Atlanta’s side of the field that gave the Bucs the ball in the red zone. Ryan didn’t look like a shell shocked rookie this game, rather just an inexperienced QB running into a disciplined, strong defense.

Week 4 at Carolina was similar to the week 2 matchup versus Tampa. Michael Tunrer struggled running the ball against a good defense and the passing game wasn’t able to create plays down field. Micahel Turner’s longest run on 18 carries was for ten yards. Again, the Falcons weren’t afraid to go to the passing game, but Ken Lucas and Chris Gamble were up to the challenge. Ryan completed 11 of 21 passes against those two, but only four first downs and no touch downs. Another game where Matt Ryan looked uncomfortable, but not panicky, but the Falcons weren’t able to move the ball inside the Carolina 15 yard line all game. Meanwhile the Panthers picked on Brent Grimes, a lot, with Muhsin Muhammad no less. Delhomme completed eight of twelve passes against Grimes, seven of the eight for first down/touch downs. All six of Muhsin’s catches against Grimes were for first downs and a touch down.

OAK (Week 2 and Week 6) - An Oakland Raiders game is a tough watch in real time. It’s even more excruciating to chart them, but they don’t throw too much so at least the clock moves a little faster. Since the less that is said about the Raiders is probably the better, I’ll stick to the interesting stuff. The Bills attacked DeAngelo Hall 11 times in the Week 2 game. The first four were incompletions including and interception. Six of the next seven passes were completed, four for first downs, all in the second half. In Week 6, Drew Brees completed more passes in three quarters than JaMarcus Russell completed in the two games I charted for the Raiders, combined. In fact, Russell couldn’t even attack 2007 FO PiƱata Jason David, instead, David only allowed one catch on seven targets and grabbed and INT. On the other side, the Saints didn’t attack Hall that much and instead focused on the Raiders LBs. Brees completed 13 of 15 passes against Raiders LBs to seven different receivers, eight of those receptions gained first downs or touchdowns. In fact, 14 of the 30 pass plays for the Saints got first downs and they were six of six on third down rushing, five first downs and one touchdown. If game charting is “Press Your Luck,” drawing the Raiders is a “Whammy.”

SF – My home town team and team I’ve charted most of the season has been a disappointing roller coaster, but it’s better than trying to watch the Raiders. Nate Clements has been solid and I think he’s living up to his contract. Although Larry Fitzgerald caught a touchdown in each game against Clements, he’s been limited to underneath routes and I don’t know anyone that can stop Fitzgerald one-on-one inside the five yard line. I charted the 49ers-Lions game, but I don’t even feel like that counted. 11 of 16 completions went for a first down or touch downs and eight of 25 rushes did the same. The Lions receivers were sloppy and had six drops. Although Roy Williams and Calvin Johnson caught six passes against Walt Harris and Nate Clements, five were in the second half, well after the game was decided. Vernon Davis has played rather well, which probably sounds strange, what with the poor numbers and missed opportunities. Davis is an excellent blocker, which has doomed him to being held back to block a lot more that in the past because of all the deep drops in the Martz offense. Last season, Davis caught 52 passes, while this season he only has 17 receptions. This discrepancy has less to do with his abilities as a receiver and more to do with the amount of targets he’s seeing. Another “loser” in the 49ers offense if Frank Gore, which sounds absurd because he was leading the league in yards from scrimmage for a while. Gore is the type of runner who is always capable of breaking a big play so it makes no sense to limit his touches. Martz seems to forget about Gore sometimes, important times. Against the Pats, Gore didn’t have a third quarter carry and only three fourth quarter carry even though the game was close. Against the Eagles, when the 49ers gave up 23 points in the fourth quarter, while JT O’Sullivan turned the ball over three times, Gore only had two carries.

New England(Josh McDaniels) is really good at creating mismatches for their receivers, just like the Cardinals. Moss is a constant deep threat and often draws double teams allowing McDaniels to move Wes Welker around underneath as he sees fit to exploit coverages. Against the 49ers, Welker caught seven of the eight passes thrown his way and got five first downs. New England focused on nickel back Donald Strickland, much like the Cardinals did, and completed five of six passes against him for four first downs. I didn’t get what the 49ers were doing on defense against Moss. The 49ers chose to double Moss a lot, which is valid, but they used two cornerbacks to do it. I don’t understand that logic. After all, corner backs are used to getting help over the top and not giving help over the top. Secondly, the book on Moss is to jam him at the line and disturb him physically. The 49ers played off Moss. On Moss’ long touch down catch, he ran free down the field for 10 yards before Walt Harris and Nate Clements were on him, only Harris stumbled and that was that, TD.

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Tim Lincecum 2008 NL Cy Young Winner

The best day of the 2008 season.

First Cy Young award for a Giant since 1967 when Mike McCormick won. Too long. I don't think it will be 40 years before the next one.

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Scattered Thoughts From MNF

Where to begin? Well, how about the beginning? Good call, brain.

Allen Rossum has worked out well as a returner and he returned the opening kickoff 104 yards for a touchdown. Great blocking by the return team and great vision by Rossum.

Overall, the defense played pretty well. They got a decent amount of pressure on Warner, who seemed able to get the ball away just in the nick of time to the only open receiver. No sacks, but good pressure.

Larry Fitzgerald is a beast and the 49ers defense forced him to catch a bunch of underneath routes. He had 8 catches, but only 49 yards and a score.

Anquan Boldin is also a beast and he always seems to burn the 49ers. He had 7 catches for 92 yards and two scores.

The real problem was letting Steve Breaston get open down the field, going 7 for 121 yards. This is where the team missed Goldson and is hurt by Michael Lewis' inability to play the pass effectively and Mark Roman's decline as a starting safety.

Jason Hill looked amazing. Now, that's a relative "amazing," but with only a hand full of catches coming into the game he went 7 for 84 yards and helped carry the team down to the goal line before the final play(s).

Josh Morgan also looks to be rounding back into the guy from pre-season going 4 for 54 yards and a nice score in the first half.

With Bryant Johnson on a 1-year deal and likely out the door after this season. I'd say the same for Arnaz Battle after this game. Hill and Morgan have too much upside to keep Battle around. The team can only keep one old WR and it'll probably be Bruce, unless he bolts to wherever Martz lands.

Mike Martz, what were you thinking?
Why are you trying to send in a new package before Hill can spike the ball, costing the team 20 clock seconds?
Why call a fullback dive from the 2.5 yard line? Don't teams have special 2 point conversion plays? I don't have a problem running the ball right there, but the setup was retarded.

The 49ers brought in a goal line package. This bunched almost everybody at the ball. I would rather see a spread offense to create some space if you wanted to run it. The way Jason Hill was catching the ball on that drive and just the way the passing game was working that last drive, you'd think a pass play would have been the better fit for the last play.

This is my main problem with Martz, he like to do things his way too much, as opposed to just doing what's working. JTO was sucking balls for the first half of the season, but the team stuck with him because he was Martz's guy. Well, JTO sucks. Shaun Hill isn't very good either, actually his game is ugly, but he's a gamer. A guy who tries hard and can make some plays despite his own shortcomings. Like when the referees think your pass was batted at the line of scrimmage because it's so wobbly, but you fight as hard as you can for a first down with or without your helmet.

It's obvious that Shaun Hill isn't the QB of the future, but he's not going to run out of bounds on fourth down like JTO did against the Giants.

It was a painful loss, but it did leave 49ers fans with hope for next week. More than could be said of most Nolan-coached games.

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Harrington Confounds

So, per Marcus Thompson II and TimKawakami, Harrington is getting an MRI on his back today. Here's the important line:

His agent, Dan Fegan, says that Harrington has been nursing a back injury since late last month and that Harrington is scheduled for an MRI later today.
The "real" question here for me is was Harrington's back hurting when he publicly announced his desire for a trade? Seems like a bad idea to "ask" for a trade when you know you're hurt and usually teams aren't too eager to trade for a guy who's hurt, especially back hurt. I wonder if this is what led to Nellie's comments a couple days ago:
"He thinks he's a superstar. I think he's a very good player. If he wants to be traded, we'll try to accommodate him,"
Nelllie is usually good for some straight talk, so nothing immediately stood out about his quote. When we revisit the quote it shines a little different under the news today.
1) Only superstar's are allowed(read: not killed in the press) to ask for trades. Even hurt ones.
2) Nellie's underlying sarcasm with "we'll try and accommodate him" speaks both to Nellie's opinion of Al's "superstar" status and the proposition of trading a big guy with a hurt back who doesn't rebound.

Now that the McCain campaign is over, I look forward to dominating the blogosphere's "air quotes" tally unopposed.

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Different Year, Same Old Warriors

The last two seasons have been, essentially, miraculous for Warrior fans. The fact that the last two season have included an 8th playoff seed and then winning 48 games and missing the playoffs speaks volumes about miracles in general.

Warriors' fans have paid their dues and achieved the "Die Hard" status for putting up with such a putrid product for so many years and still persevering to create a big home court advantage for its team. Unfortunately, the way the team is being run from the top is endangering the "Die Hard" status which could be swapped with "Foolish" as the team shows the inability to build on it's own momentum.

The latest evidence is Robert Rowell's power play. An egotistical move that has nothing to do with the quality of play on the court, but rather infighting in the front office and status posturing. No matter the outcome, Rowell v. Mullin has one loser, the fans.

Tim Kawakami's item today details the latest event in the Lord of the Flies battle. Lord of the Flies might be too nice of a categorization, after all, that was a fictional story. It didn't really happen, and this is really happening. So, we'll call this a Stalinist maneuver. If somebody is making you look bad by looking good, murk 'em. Now, you look good because they're gone.

Have we returned to 2004-05 times? Not quite. The 2008 W's are better than that, talent wise, but probably equal, standings wise. Home games will be vastly different than road games, so at least money paying fans will be entertained at the Oracle.

Until a legitimate point guard is brought in, even when/if Monta returns, the team will struggle to stay afloat as a playoff contender.

What does it say about me as a Warriors fan that all I want to see is Brandan Wright get more playing time? I've completely given up on this season already. The team is 2-3 and I'm done. Last season the team started 0-6 and I didn't give up. But last season was last season, and this season is what it is.

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Orlando, get to know Pietrus

From the Orlando Sentinel:

The Magic picked Pietrus this summer to be the team's go-to defender against some of the league's best talent. But with his grasp of the Magic's defensive scheme going slower than expected, there has been an early November surprise.

And it's that reserve guard Keith Bogans has been called on in several key moments ahead of Pietrus, who has easily been more impressive offensively with two 20-point games.
Really? I can't believe it.

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10 thoughts for Monday

1) Michigan State 8-2? Despite overhyped/overworked Javon Ringer?

2) Why is the third game of the W's season not televised, on a Saturday?

3) Classic Nellie quote from Saturday re: Harrington, "He thinks he's a superstar. I think he's a very good player. If he wants to be traded, we'll try to accommodate him,"

4) Baron Davis has played 42 minutes in 3 games and won't play tonight.

5)Just when you thought the Raiders could make up ground in the "least despicable bay area NFL team" category, 305 yards to -2 yards in the 1st half.

6) The Sharks are good, but nobody really cares. I care, but I know you don't.

7) Have you ever seen Matt Schaub and Peanut Brittle in the same room? I haven't.

8)A.I. and his expiring contract for Chauncey and McDyss. Does Detroit now get the inside track to either Dwayne Wade or LBJ in 2010?

9) The return of Sexy Rexy. Next up, Titans D. Uh-oh.

10) Speaking of the Titans here' their remaining schedule: @CHI, @JAX, v. JETS, @DET, v. CLE, @Hou, v. PIT, @IND

14-2 seems almost likely with weeks 16 & 17 being the toughest matchups, especially if TEN has home field wrapped up.

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