Wednesday, April 16, 2014

QB's and the 2014 NFL Draft

With all the hype surrounding the top 4 QB's in the NFL Draft, most of the top 10 teams are looking to make a splash with one of them. This year's draft, while not bad, is not terribly good for QB's. There are four QB's that stand out: Blake Bortles, Derek Carr, Johnny Manziel, and Teddy Bridgewater. Here is my take on this year's draft as pertaining to the QB position.

There is no sure-fire, bonafide stud at the position. There is no Cam Newton, Robert Griffin III, or Andrew Luck in this year's draft. What we do have are probably a couple of mid-level starters and a bunch of backups. However, since most of the top 10 teams in the draft need a QB in the worst way, these teams will overdraft (aka reach) for one of these QB's. The team that hits on one of these QB's will be better off than before.

Most draft analysts are split between Bortles and Jadeveon Clowney as the first overall pick. Again, there is no clear-cut top overall pick in this year's draft. Clowney comes in with issues of his own: that he lacks a solid work ethic and takes plays off. Bortles has a high upside, but he's raw and needs a couple of years of development. In the win-now atmosphere of the NFL, that's very risky.

While Bortles is a solid enough guy off the field, can a team afford to wait two (or possibly more) years of him developing? Perhaps that is why teams like Houston, Jacksonville, Cleveland, and Minnesota are where they are at now: no solid QB play. Any number of factors can also come into play: a slew of injuries, players getting old, and poor drafting over the years.

As for the other QB's, I'd probably be looking to draft one of them in the second round. (As a Fresno State fan and alumnus, I LOVE Derek Carr but realistically he's a late first round to early second round selection.) Manziel is boom or bust. Bridgewater has career backup written all over him. (Do you want to draft him as high as third overall? I wouldn't.) These QB's are not franchise QB's like a Newton, Griffin, or Luck. I think Carr will be a solid starter, probably a QB that takes a team to the playoffs, but in order to go to the Super Bowl, he'll need his team to have a stout defense and a strong running game, plus he would have to have a stellar season.

In short, if I were one of these teams listed above, I'd probably be listening to trade offers and possibly trading down if the right offer comes along. I know Atlanta is looking to trade up, possibly to #1, to get Clowney. I could see a team or two trading back into the late first round of a couple of QB's are still on the board. This year is a bad year to be a poor team needing a QB. It takes about three seasons to determine how good or bad a draft year is. For these teams, wait until 2017 to fully grade out this year's draft.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly -- 2012 Subway FreshFit 500

This week, the Crappafoni Pictures crew is in the desert this week (drying out from Daytona, no doubt) for this week's The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly, southwestern-style.


Denny Hamlin: he gets first billing as this week's race winner. He redeemed himself after dominating the fall 2010 race there but ran out of gas late. He is now the points leader. Good job Denny!

Kevin Harvick: he led the most laps in the race and had a stout car. David Reutimann bringing out the caution for blowing an engine did not help, as Harvick had to pit just outside his pit window. He ran out of gas as he was taking the white flag and was on Hamlin's rear bumper. Still, he has a good start to the season.

Greg Biffle: he had a strong car early in the race, faded a bit, then came on strong at the end. He was running some of his best lap times late in the race. He's looking like the Biffle of a few years ago when he was a consistent finisher in the top 10, mixed in with winning a few races each season.

Jimmie Johnson: he came into Phoenix on a mission after his awful Daytona. He was in the top ten for pretty much the whole race, and it looked like he had the car to beat early on. But as the track got hotter, he couldn't run on the bottom as well as he did early in the race. Still, the fourth place finish gets him out of negative territory.

Brad Keselowski: not bad for starting 28th at a track where you need a good starting position. Through good pit strategy and smart adjustments, the Blue Deuce got better as the race went on. Good job BK!

Honorable Mention: Kyle Busch, Martin Truex Jr., Jeff Gordon, Mark Martin, and Joey Logano.


Michael McDowell: the Phoenix native drew the short stick at the start and parkers' meeting held in the Todd Bodine Meeting Room. Too bad for the hometown fans. He ran a total of eight (out of 312) laps before declaring himself done for the day.


Clint Bowyer: not so much for him, but for the tire issues he had early in the race. He cut the right front tire twice within the first 30 laps. He found himself several laps down and never recovered.

ECR Engines: three cars that had ECR horsepower had engine issues: Jamie McMurray, David Reutimann, and Jeff Burton. McMurray and Reutimann blew engines, and Burton finished the race on seven cylinders. Burton was having a stout top 5 run when he lost a cylinder.

Those are my nominees for the week. Feel free to come in with yours!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly-- 2011 Ford 400

This week, the Crappafoni Pictures crew is in Homestead for the final edition of The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly, served south Florida style, and washed down with plenty of cold Coke. Enjoy!


Tony Stewart: Smoke HAD TO win this race to win the title. And he did. He got it done. With five wins in the Chase, he earned his third title. The win tonight proved his mettle. He had to overcome some early adversity: debris from another car punctured a hole in his front grill and the 14 crew had to do repairs under multiple cautions. He passed over 70 cars on the way to the win and the title. He was simply better than Carl Edwards at the end. Although he and Edwards tied in points, Stewart wins due to more wins (5) to Edwards' lone win at Las Vegas. Congratulations Smoke!

Carl Edwards: he led the most laps but was unable to catch Stewart when it mattered. Stewart just had a car that was that much better. Edwards had a great season but lost the title due to his one win this season. Good job this season, Carl!

Martin Truex, Jr.: another strong run by Truex. He was stout all race, and led six laps en route to a third place run. This helps build momentum for next season. Now if they can start strong, they have a chance to make the Chase next year.

Matt Kenseth: he had a typical Kenseth run--strong, with little attention. He did lead 15 laps en route to a fourth-place finish. He also finished fourth in the points this season, overtaking Brad Keselowski.

Jeff Gordon: for awhile it looked like he would have something for Stewart and Edwards but faded a bit at the end. He still had enough to lead seven laps and a fifth place finish.

Kevin Harvick: Happy started 21st, and slowly moved his way towards the front. While he had a strong car, he led 11 laps through pit strategy. He was strong, but not stout. I thought he had a top 10, but not top 5, car. His 8th-place finish was about right. Harvick finished 3rd in the points, about right for the season he had.

Honorable Mention: Clint Bowyer, Kasey Kahne, Denny Hamlin, Jeff Burton, Brad Keselowski, and Kyle Busch.


Michael McDowell: two weeks after subbing for Kyle Busch at Texas, he draws the short stick at the start and parkers' meeting, held in the Todd Bodine Meeting Room. He runs a grand total of 14 laps before declaring his season to be over. (Hmm, I wonder if any of the start and parkers WANT to miss those meetings? I imagine they do.) He hotfooted it out of town faster than any lap he turned in the race.

Ford FR9 Engine: with Marcos Ambrose and David Ragan blowing engines, and Greg Biffle losing a cylinder (and eventually his engine), I'm sure it made Edwards quite nervous. Yes, the engine gets a lot of HP, but also there is a greater likelihood of a blown engine.

Jimmie Johnson: he had issues with the 48 early on. The hood was up, and they eventually diagnosed the problem (carburetor malfunction). JJ lost several laps as a result. This capped his worst season in the Chase era.


None that I saw.

Those are my nominees for the race. Feel free to come in with yours.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly -- 2011 Kobalt Tools 500

This week, the Crappafoni Pictures crew is in the desert, the PHX, for this week's The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly, southwestern-style, served with spicy BBQ beef and washed down with PLENTY of Red Bull. Enjoy!


Kasey Kahne: he gets this week's top spot as the race winner. With the win, Kahne breaks an 80+ winless streak. More importantly, he gains momentum going into next season with Hendrick Motorsports. Good job Kasey!

Carl Edwards: he's becoming a regular in this neck of the woods. He led 27 laps and was pretty much in the top 3 all day. The Aflac Ford was steady, consistently fast, and experienced very little dropoff in speed after a long run. He's in the driver's seat to be the new champion. All he has to do is finish higher than Stewart, or within 3 positions of Stewart, provided Stewart does not win the race.

Tony Stewart: Smoke led the most laps, 160 in all, and it looked like he had the car to beat for much of this race. But a bad pit stop fairly late in the race doomed his chances. It wasn't bad as far as time goes, but in terms of throwing the car's balance off. He remains 3 points behind Edwards. To win the title next week, the formula is simple: win the race and lead the most laps, or finish at least four positions higher than Edwards.

Jeff Burton: another very solid run by the 31 today. He took four tires during the competition caution while everyone else took two tires. That brought the 31 car to life and he gained numerous positions during that run. He was able to gain more positions through solid pit stops, good pit strategy, and passing cars. Unfortunately for Burton, Luke Lambert, his current crew chief, will be the crew chief for Austin Dillon in the #3 Nationwide car next season. Shane Wilson, Clint Bowyer's current crew chief, will be Burton's crew chief next season.

Ryan Newman: he had a "quiet" top 5 finish. He didn't have much face time, and I'M left scratching my head at that. But Phoenix has always been a good track for Newman: he got SHR's first win in April 2009 at Phoenix driving the Tornados paint scheme. Good job Ryan!

The Veterans: to all those who have served and are currently serving in the military, a hearty THANK YOU for your service. Thank you to all the brave men and women for fighting for our freedom.

Honorable Mention: Matt Kenseth, Kurt Busch, AJ Allmendinger, Marcos Ambrose, David Reutimann, Paul Menard, and Clint Bowyer.


Travis Kvapil: he ran a grand total of 20 laps before declaring himself done for the day. He drew the short stick at the start and parkers' meeting in the Todd Bodine Meeting Room before the race. He hotfooted it out of town with his earnings faster than he turned laps on the track.

Hendrick Motorsports: they were uncharacteristically bad today, with the exception of Mark Martin. Jeff Gordon had brake issues, and Jimmie Johnson and Dale Earnhardt Jr totally missed on the setups. Usually they are pretty stout at Phoenix, but not today.

ESPN's coverage: even by their standards, they were atrocious. Missed restarts. Missed cautions. Not adequate explanations as to WHY cautions came out.


Brian Vickers: WHY cannot he let Martinsville go? His dumping of Matt Kenseth was TOTALLY uncalled for. A Good to Kenseth for taking the high road. (He probably knows that Vickers won't be in a Cup ride next season.) He effectively eliminated Kenseth from running for the Cup title next week. NASCAR should have parked his butt, or at least penalized him five laps for rough driving. If you're going to penalize Kyle Busch for rough driving, then do the same for Vickers. A BAD goes to NASCAR for inconsistently enforcing penalties.

Those are my nominees for the race. Feel free to come in with yours. 

Sunday, November 6, 2011

The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly -- 2011 AAA Texas 500

This week, the Crappafoni Pictures crew is deep in the heart of Texas, Texas Motor Speedway, for this week's edition of The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly, served BBQ-style, with plenty of heaping helpings of beef brisket, complete with all the fixin's and washed down with the beverage of your choice. Remember, in Texas, EVERYTHING is bigger! Enjoy!


Tony Stewart: Smoke is becoming a regular in this spot, at least in the Chase. Once he took the lead, he was DOMINANT, and the only time he relinquished the lead was during green flag pit stops. The 14 crew hit on the setup again, and it didn't take long for Smoke to get to the front. He's become the man to beat. He is strong at each of the final two tracks: Phoenix and Homestead. The win was his fourth of the season, all in the Chase.

Carl Edwards: try as he might, he didn't have enough to catch Stewart. His points lead is cut to three now. He was stout early, faded midway, then rebounded to a second place finish.

Kasey Kahne: he is stout on the 1.5 mile tracks, and Texas is no exception. He looked the part, even getting a lucky break on a caution when he had just exited pit road when the caution came out. Because he was still on the lead lap at the time, he didn't have to pit, and he came away with the lead at that point. If he's that stout in the #4 Red Bull Toyota, he's gotta be licking his chops when he begins driving the #5 Farmers Insurance Chevrolet for Hendrick Motorsports next season.

Matt Kenseth: once again, a typical Kenseth performance--steady, not spectacular. He was strong early, and pretty much stayed in the top 5 throughout the race.

Honorable Mention: Jeff Gordon, Dale Earnhardt Jr, Clint Bowyer, Martin Truex Jr, and AJ Allmendinger.


J.J. Yeley: he drew the short stick at the start and parkers' meeting in the Todd Bodine Meeting Room. He ran a total of 10 laps before declaring himself done for the day. He hotfooted it out of town faster than he actually ran on the track.

Joe Gibbs Racing: without their top driver for the weekend (more on that later), they had no input on the changing track conditions. For all his faults, Kyle Busch is excellent on providing vital information to his team and his teammates as a whole on changing track conditions. He was not racing, and the other members looked lost. Michael McDowell was never a factor and finished three laps down. Joey Logano blew an engine and finished 37th. Even Denny Hamlin was a couple of laps down at one time. Hamlin rebounded to finish 20th.

Kevin Harvick: gotta put him here. He came into the race 21 points back in third place. He's still in third place, but 33 points behind points leader Edwards. He was never a factor, and even when he was running sixth at one time, he struggled to find the handling on the 29 car. He was also the victim of bad pit strategy late when he took two tires on his final pit stop and went backwards, all the way to 13th. I always had the sense the 29 team missed on the setup, anticipating a cloudy day and evening, and when the sun came out during the race, they were toast.


Kyle Busch: he was rightfully parked through the weekend for rough driving during the Craftsman Series Truck race when he put Truck Series contender Ron Hornaday into the wall DURING the caution on Lap 14. Hornaday got loose, made contact with Busch, and sent both of them into the wall. Busch was within his right to be displeased, but wrong for putting him into the wall like that. Further penalties are forthcoming. His JGR teammates missed his valuable input, as he is one of the best drivers out there when it comes to providing information about the changing track conditions. Hopefully Busch will look in the mirror, learn from this, and resolve to make himself a better man without changing his driving style too much.

The race itself: I considered it a snoozefest, as most 1.5 milers are. I found my mind wandering because of the sheer boredom. It's no fun when all four Roush drivers are in the top 5. And there's still another 1.5 miler to go! Sheesh.

Those are my nominees for the race. Feel free to come in with yours.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly -- 2011 Tums Fast Relief 500

This week, the Crappafoni Pictures crew is in southern Virginia to bring you this week's heaping helping of The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly, served with PLENTY of Martinsville Hot Dogs, and washed down with copious amounts of Coca-Cola. Enjoy!


Tony Stewart: he wasn't very good at the start of the race; in fact he was fighting tooth and nail with Denny Hamlin to keep from being lapped when a caution came out. But through a series of pit stops to gain track position and some great pit stops late in the race, he was able to hold off Jimmie Johnson. With the win, he moves to second in the standings, 8 points behind Carl Edwards. Chance to win the championship: VERY GOOD.

Jimmie Johnson: he held the lead on the final restart but was not able to hold off Stewart. He was strong throughout the race, and was pretty much in the top 10 the entire race. Johnson is still 43 points behind Edwards with three races left. He's still mathematically in this, but he's going to need stout runs while the five drivers above him struggle. Chance to win the championship: ALMOST NIL.

Jeff Gordon: like Johnson, he was stout throughout the race. He had a winning car early, but tapered off later in the race when he was in dirty air. He's still 76 points behind leader Edwards. Chance to win the championship: NONE, he's done.

Kevin Harvick: he didn't have a good car early, but props to the 29 crew for making the car better as the race went on. Props also for taking two left-side tires late in the race to get track position and to lead laps. He did a good job of leading for several laps, but got freight trained. He did a good job in gaining a couple of positions in that run. He was able to escape the late race melees to finish fourth and gain five points and two positions in the standings. Chance to win the championship: GOOD, but needs help.

Denny Hamlin: for much of the race, he looked like the Hamlin that dominated Martinsville. He was shuffled back late in the race, but managed to avoid trouble and finish a solid fifth. Chance to win the championship: NONE, he's done. He's almost two races behind with three to go.

Carl Edwards: he's gotta get his props. He battled back from a lap down, was fighting an ill-handling race car all race long, but managed to stay out of trouble. His ninth place finish was huge, as he was able to maintain the points lead going into tracks where he's been historically stout at. A bad finish, and his chances to win the title would have diminished drastically. Chance to win the title: EXCELLENT.

Honorable Mention: Jeff Burton, Dale Earnhardt Jr, Martin Truex Jr, and Ryan Newman.


ESPN: the constant lovefest with Edwards was sickening. Not even an interview with Kevin Harvick after the race! Some excuse to do SportsCenter or something like that. SHEESH!


ESPN: see above.

Those are my nominees for the week. Feel free to come in with yours. Last, but not least, my condolences to the Wallace family on the loss of patriarch Russ, who passed away at the age of 77.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly -- 2011 Good Sam 500

This week, the Crappafoni Pictures crew is in the heart of Dixie, Talladega, for this week's The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly, complete with BBQ and all the fixin's. Served Southern-style, of course, and wash that down with PLENTY of Coke and sweet tea! Enjoy!


Clint Bowyer: he gets this week's top spot as the race winner. He had a stout car all day long, as evidenced by his last lap pass on his teammate Jeff Burton. Very rarely was he in mid-pack, where all the trouble was. (Ask Kevin Harvick about that.) For Bowyer, it was his first win of the season, it was car owner Richard Childress' 100th win as a car owner, and it breaks the tie between RCR and Hendrick Motorsports for most wins at Talladega. It was RCR's third win in the last four Talladega races. A very nice parting gift for RC, indeed. Good job Clint!

Jeff Burton: this was his best finish of the season, and it looks like things are starting to turn around on the 31 team. Try as he might, he just didn't have the juice to hold off Bowyer for the win.

Dave Blaney: the third-place run tied his career-best finish. He and Brad Keselowski worked very well together: a veteran of plate racing and a youngster. More importantly, it was HUGE for his team as they have some breathing room inside the top 35 now. A very nice birthday present, indeed. (Blaney's birthday is tomorrow.) Happy Birthday!

Brad Keselowski: he did a great job pushing Blaney to the front all day. And unlike some drivers that thought you could win the race halfway through (Allmendinger and Ambrose come to mind), Keselowski stayed patient and was rewarded with a solid fourth place finish, plus moves up three spots to third, 18 points behind leader Carl Edwards (who I think will points race his way to a championship).

Brian Vickers: another very solid Talladega run for BV. Perhaps he's auditioning for a ride next season, as Red Bull is pulling out of NASCAR at the end of the season. He led three laps en route to a top 5 finish. He has one of his two wins at this track, this same race in 2006.

Kasey Kahne: much like Vickers, he had another solid Talladega run. UNLIKE Vickers, he'll be driving the 5 car at HMS next season. (This makes it four makes in four years: Dodge in 2009, Ford in 2010, Toyota this season, and Chevrolet next season.)

Tony Stewart: Smoke led the most laps, but got shuffled back when he and Paul Menard got separated late in the race. He gains a position in the standings, but is 19 points behind Edwards.

Michael Waltrip: I've got to give a shout out to ole Mikey! He kept the car in one piece, stayed out of trouble, and was rewarded with a top 10 finish.

Denny Hamlin: he lost a lap early when he lost the main draft, got it back under caution, and kept the 11 in one piece. He eventually finished in the top 10.

Honorable Mention:  Matt Kenseth, Juan Pablo Montoya, David Ragan, Jamie McMurray, Robby Gordon, Paul Menard, and Kevin Harvick.


Kevin Conway: he ran a grand total of two laps before declaring himself done for the day. Yeah, you guessed it: he drew the short stick at the start and parkers' meeting in the Todd Bodine Meeting Room before the race. He hotfooted it out of town with his earnings faster than the laps he turned on the track.

AJ Allmendinger/Marcos Ambrose: sorry guys, I have to put you here. Your carelessness in a crowded part of the track definitely killed Kyle Busch's chances at a title, and put a serious dent in Kevin Harvick's title chances. Harvick gave you guys PLENTY of room; I guess the WHOLE state of Alabama was too small for you guys! (Harvick and Menard had BOTH of their left side tires on the double yellow and were GIVING you the position, but you guys ****** it up!) IF Harvick wins the title (and it's looking quite remote now, thanks to you guys), it will be NO thanks to you guys. EVERY FREAKING YEAR someone has to get a LITTLE TOO RACY WHEN THEY DON'T NEED TO. SHEESH!!! Next time do us a favor: don't be so careless and reckless when you're in a pack of cars; they WERE trying to give you the position, but you decided to get racy!!


AJ Allmendinger/Marcos Ambrose: see above.

Those are my nominees for the race. Feel free to come in with yours. HINT: I'm pretty upset right now, as you can tell. (The two guys I DON'T want to win the title are 1-2 in the standings and Kevin's half a race out. Thank you, AJ and Marcos for that.)