Friday, December 16, 2011

I'mma Go Harder Than Baltimore

My initial reaction after hearing how Sam Hurd was arrested was that obviously he's never seen "The Wire." As someone who's well versed in the greatest show ever made, I know that it offers plenty of examples of what not to do when selling drugs. But having slept on the matter overnight, I now realize that Sam Hurd definitely has seen "The Wire," but modeled himself after the wrong characters.

After the news broke that Hurd was arrested for trying to buy huge amounts of drugs, the obvious comparisons to "The Wire" drug king Avon Barksdale were made (and made, and made, and made). But the only legitimate comparison between the two was the quantities they were looking to push. Barksdale had his flaws, but he was much smarter than Sam Hurd acted.

If Hurd wanted to live this kind of lifestyle, that's his personal choice. But with Barksdale-esque aspirations, he should have set his sights on emulating Stringer Bell, the (mostly) legitimate businessman who "got his" but could never be linked to the dope on the table.

But Sam Hurd is no Stringer Bell, and he's definitely no Avon Barksdale. So why are we still talking about "The Wire?" Because there are two characters from the show whose stories actually relate to Hurd's: Wendell "Orlando" Blocker and Chester Karol "Ziggy" Sobotka. I'll let you decide which one he's more like.

The case for Orlando

Orlando was the front-man for Orlando's, a shake-it club used for laundering money that the Barksdale Crew got from selling that brown. Although the club had Orlando's name on it, and he acted like the boss, he was actually a poorly paid, low-level employe whose sole purpose in the organization was to bear a clean name so he could hold the liquor license. But Orlando sees the money that Barksdale, Bell and the other big names are making, and he wants a piece for himself. He wants the "glamorous" lifestyle and the power that comes with being the H.N.I.C.

Sam Hurd, the Bears fifth WR on the depth chart, was predominantly a special teams player who didn't get much shine on offense. Hurd's 2011 salary is $685,000. While it may be a lot of money to you and I, it's near the lower end of the spectrum for NFL players. Although he can afford lots of nice things with that kind of paycheck, he takes a look around and his teammates pushing 600 Benzes and other cars that might put a little too much stress on his wallet. So he supplements his income by moving weight. And during a meeting (with who he thought was a drug dealer) Hurd told federal agents that he was moving 4 kilos per week; but looking to grow.

Orlando wanted the same thing that Sam Hurd wanted: to be Avon Barksdale. They both wanted to be the one with the money, power and respect, and they both fell flat on their face trying to do it. After Bell tells Orlando he wouldn't give him any of that herone, Orlando has to find his own connect. Sam Hurd's guy couldn't give him more than the 4 ki's he already was getting, so he had to find a major supplier.

It doesn't end well for Hurd or Orlando for the same reason... Neither of them do enough homework before finding a real connect and they both get bumped because of it. Orlando gets caught up by the Murdaland State Police, and Hurd deals with the FEDs in the form of Homeland Security. Right now the only difference between the two is that Orlando gets murked before he has a chance to go to prison. Sam Hurd's fate has yet to be determined.

The case for Ziggy

Ziggy is probably the most polarizing character from "The Wire." On one hand, he's a total fuck-up who loves to rub people the wrong way. On the other, he's a good kid at heart who just wanted to be accepted by the people that fuck with him every day. Typically after he comes up with a ridiculous plan that doesn't pan out, he feels remorse at the people that he hurt while trying to prove himself.

Hurd, a union guy like Ziggy, had a legitimate source of income from his day job. But he didn't get the money or attention that he truly craved. He never had the playing time (or skills) to be a big-time WR while in Dallas, and that didn't change when he came to Chicago. He made his name on special teams, which prevented him from seeing a big payday like top-flight WRs get. So Hurd decided to jump into the coke game, because he "always will want to make more" money.

Ziggy proved that he didn't have the sufficient heart-to-brains ratio needed to be a gangsta. He would often let his emotions get the best of him, and it would put him in precarious situations. We don't know whether Sam Hurd was selling that stuff back while he was in Dallas, so maybe he was and was good at it. But we do know he's been running game since the day he got to Chicago. The problem being, he wasn't smart enough to be involved in that game.

Hurd's associate got knocked off with a weed plant and $88,000 cash back in July. So Hurd decided that it was a good idea to go to the police station and claim the money that had been recently withdrawn from his bank account (creating a paper trail). This is when Sam Hurd officially popped up on the radar.

Ziggy got his car jacked by Cheese Wagstaff (cousin of Snitchin' Randy Wagstaff) when he came up short with the money. Thinking he's a big tough-guy, Ziggy tries to confront Cheese to claim his car back. Like Hurd, it doesn't work out as planned for Ziggy, as he eventually witnesses (and smells) his candy paint burnt to a crisp.

But these minor setbacks didn't stop Ziggy or Hurd from putting in more work. Hurd would go on to move four ki's per week for the next four to five months. And Ziggy would go on to do more hoodrat stuff with his friends.

Eventually the lifestyle caught up with both Ziggy and Hurd, but Ziggy's fate already has played out. He ends up blastin' two fools after being disrespected, confessing to the murders and getting sent to the pokey. Sam Hurd is going through the process now (minus the murders, hopefully), but his ultimate destination will be federal-pound-me-in-the-ass prison.

So after hearing both arguments, whose tale to you think better relates to the Sam Hurd story... Ziggy's or Orlando's?


Wednesday, December 14, 2011

I Don't Give a Fuck

I don't understand why there is so much fuss being made about Marion Barber not talking to the media. Barber spoke to the media once at training camp and he made it clear that he has no intentions of speaking to them again -- in good or bad times. While his statement created a small uproar at the time, since then there have been very few mentions that his refusal to speak is causing some kind of issue.
Fast forward to week 14 versus the Broncos. Barber makes two huge mistakes that contributed to the Bears loss. And now that there's a story to write about Marion Barber, all of a sudden it's this huge fucking controversy that he's doing the same thing he's been doing the entire season.

I'm not giving Barber a free pass for messing up. It's clear that he messed up, and it was a huge part of the Bears losing that game. But guess what? Marion Barber does not owe the media one MF word.
While it's true that the NFL has a rule that all players must have media availability, there is no agreement between player and media. But because Barber isn't giving them the sound clip that they want, they have to cry about it and call him selfish and say that he's creating distractions.

If you've been reading my blog for awhile now, you would already know that I don't believe in off-the-field distractions. And if you're a new reader, I suggest that you go back and read that post (and the rest of them because there's plenty of good shit dating back to 2008).

So what about Marion Barber? The media wants to ask him questions but he refuses to talk to them. So the media feels (falsely) obligated to ask Khalil Bell what was going through Barber's head during the game? Bell states exactly what happened, but the media ask every person they speak to about Marion Barber. Who exactly is creating this distraction? It's the people that are asking the question when they already know they aren't going to like the answer that's coming. To me, that kinda sounds like it's the media being selfish because all they really want is a quote for their little article.

But the NFL says Marion Barber has to speak to the media or they'll fine him.

Well, guess what? That's an agreement between the NFL and its players. There's no agreement between players and the media saying the players have to speak. Marion Barber doesn't owe the media a MF word. But since the NFL has warned Barber about a fine, he has three options:
  1. He can take the $10,000 fine and tell the media "I don't give a fuck!"
  2. He can have media availability, but "no comment" every question that they ask.
  3. He can answer the questions that are asked.
Whether he chooses option 1, option 2 or option 3, it doesn't change the fact that he doesn't owe the media shit. If he chooses to answer their questions it will make their job easier, but that's up to him. They're either going to a) ask him stupid questions that they already know the answer to and then rip him in their column or b) he's going to not answer their questions and they're going to rip him in their column.

I don't really see the incentive for Barber to speak, besides the fine from the league.
And what exactly is so important that the media wants to ask Marion Barber? How would their article about him making mistakes be any different if they were to ask their questions? Let's do a little role-playing..

Reporter: How come you decided to run out of bounds on that play?
MB: I didn't decide to run out of bounds. I was knocked out of bounds; it was an accident. The play was a run to the left and I saw an opening. I knew that if I could get a first down, the game would be over. I got too close to the sidelines and when I was hit, the momentum took me out of bounds. I fucked up. It was an accident, but I fucked up.

Reporter: Did you know that the clock would stop if you went out of bounds?
MB: Are you serious? I had no fucking clue. I haven't played this game for the last 20 years of my life, so thank you for letting me know. Where were you before the game so I could have known that?

Reporter: Well did anybody on the sidelines or in the huddle remind you to stay in bounds to keep the clock running?
MB: No. Nobody said it.

Reporter: If somebody had reminded you, would you have stayed in bounds?
MB: Have you listened to a fucking word I've said? I just told you I didn't run out of bounds on purpose.

Reporter: What about in overtime, what happened on the play where you fumbled?
MB: I saw an opening to the end zone. I was trying to win the game, but I fucked up and I only had one hand on the ball.

Reporter: OHHHH... now I know why you fumbled. I couldn't figure that out from watching the game. That was the missing piece to my story, I was going to write that you fumbled on purpose because you didn't know that fumbling was a bad thing.

Reporter: Let's change the topic... What happened last week when you lined up wrong and it nullified a TD?
MB: Are you seriously asking me about last week? I fucked up. I know better than that, but I just had a mental lapse and I fucked up.

Reporter: You know, you should have just told us that last week. My story would have been completely different. I could have wrote that you told us that you fucked up. Instead, I just wrote that you fucked up... not that you admitted to fucking up. It would have been way better if you had just told us that last week.

As you can see, whether a player chooses to answer the media's questions has little-to-no-effect on the article that's written about him. Basically, they're looking for two things. The first thing they want is a quote from the player that co-signs whatever's written in the article (e.g. "Marion Barber admits that he fucked up"). The second thing they want is for the player to get so annoyed with the questions that he says something bad, thus creating an entirely new story to write about the next day. But the media does whatever they want because they're "just doing their jobs."

Monday, December 12, 2011

Look What I Got

I'm not afraid to admit it... I love to pre-judge people. And even though you might be scared to say it, you probably like to do it to. But even though I have my initial thoughts on what somebody is about, that doesn't mean I'm not gonna give them a chance to show me who they really are.

When Roy Williams signed with the Bears this summer, we already had our idea of what this cat was about. Somebody who was drafted very high and never panned out to be a dominant football player. We knew about his excessive first down celebrations and the ridiculous amount of draft picks that Jerry Jones gave up to make him a Cowboy. And we also knew that he was "a Martz guy," just like Brandon Manumaleuna was before him.

Admit it... before Roy Williams ever stepped foot at Halas Hall you did not like him.

You might have even hated him. I didn't really like him either, but I still saw it as a low risk -- high reward addition to the Bears roster. I knew he wasn't the elite receiver that he was projected to be out of college, so my expectations were tempered. And most people didn't have huge expectations for him either.

It wasn't until Martz told the media that Roy Will could catch 70-80 passes this season, that expectations like that came out of anybody's mouth.

Now please read that sentence again... It was Mike Martz, and only Mike Martz, that put that ridiculous number into conversation. And yet everybody held it against Roy Williams when he didn't even say shit. This is when everybody really started hating him because we knew he had no chance to reach those numbers.

And when everybody that you know starting talking mad shit about Roy Williams, before he ever put on a Bears jersey, that's when I started paying attention to him. I always get drawn to the athletes that most people don't like (Grossman), because I can't stand when everybody has the same generic opinion about someone. It's called groupthink and it's fucking annoying.

I know Roy Williams is not a special player, but the fact that people won't admit that he has contributed to the Bears success this season shows that you can't put your feelings aside and talk real football. He has definitely struggled with drops, with 5 on the season, and his drop against KC was one of the biggest factors in that that loss. But because he has a history of drops, our reactions are magnified anytime that he drops one.

So how about a stat for you...

A stat that shows, more than anything, what he has contributed to the Bears this season. When the Bears are in 3rd down situations, Roy Williams has 10 catches for 1st downs, which leads the team. Second in that category is Johnny Knox with 7, then Matt Forte with 6, Earl Bennett with 6 and Dane Sanzenbacher with 6. When the Bears are only converting on 32% of 3rd downs this season, that's a significant impact on the offense in terms of sustaining drives.

On 8 of those 9 first down conversions, the Bears ended up scoring on that same drive. Without any of these conversions, the Bears are either punting or they're taking a FG instead of a TD that came after the drive was extended. These catches came over the course of 5 games, 4 of which were wins:
  1. win vs ATL
  2. win vs TB
  3. win VS PHI
  4. win vs SD
  5. loss vs DEN
I'm not saying that Roy Williams has been the Bears best receiver this season. I'm not denying the fact that he's frustrating to watch or that he drops too many passes. All that I'm saying is that the people who have been calling for the Bears to cut Roy Williams are completely off-base and are blatantly ignoring the fact that he's been an important part of the team. Roy Will has contributed just as much as the other WRs on this team have. Of all the Bears WRs, he's second on the team with 33 catches and second on the team with 447 yards. Most importantly, he leads the team with 15 FDCs on the season.

So the next time that Roy Will comes up with a big catch this season, don't just run to Twitter and RT the 40 people on your timeline that say "OMG Roy Williams actually caught the ball?!" Maybe you can appreciate the fact that he's making plays for the team you love so much.

Roy Williams 2011 3rd down conversions that lead to scores:

vs ATL 3rd-6, CHI26 - J. Cutler passed to R. Williams to the left for 23 yard gain, leads to FG
vs ATL 3rd-6, ATL32 - J. Cutler passed to R. Williams to the left for 15 yard gain, leads to FG

vs TB 3rd-7, TB25 - J. Cutler passed to R. Williams to the left for 25 yard touchdown
vs TB 3rd-11, TB33 - J. Cutler passed to R. Williams to the left for 12 yard gain, leads to TD

vs PHI 3rd-2, PHI37 - J. Cutler passed to R. Williams down the middle for 14 yard gain, leads to FG

vs SD 3rd-8, CHI16 - J. Cutler passed to R. Williams to the right for 15 yard gain, leads to FG
vs SD 3rd-4, CHI23 - J. Cutler passed to R. Williams to the left for 11 yard gain, leads to TD

vs DEN 3rd-2, CHI45 - C. Hanie passed to R. Williams to the left for 17 yard gain, leads to FG



Sunday, December 11, 2011

Ho Sit Down! Week 14 - Lovie Smith

While it would be easy to give Marion Barber the Ho Sit Down! treatment this week after he made a terrible mental mistake with 1:55 left in the game and then fumbled the ball in overtime, this game was lost on the sidelines. The shit that Barber did was inexcusable; but the Bears lost this game because of a philosophy that they've followed for as long as Lovie Smith has been in charge... go limp when you have the lead.

I've seen it too many times in the past to overlook the fact that it happened again versus the Broncos. When the Bears have the lead in the 4th quarter, they drop the safeties back deep and leave the middle of the field wide open for easy completions. The idea is that if you prevent the big play, it makes it harder for the other team to score. The problem with this philosophy is that even though they are forced to burn clock, the offense can easily march the entire field by dumping the ball over the middle. Then once they get in the red zone it only takes one defensive breakdown to allow an easy touchdown.

Remember last year how the Bears dominated the Eagles for three quarters and then give up 13 points in the 4th and almost lost? The Eagles couldn't do shit against the Bears all game, averaging just over 23 yards per drive through the first three quarters. Then the Eagles last three possessions go for 65, 58 and 68 yards and three scores. It's not that the Eagles suddenly remembered how to run an offense, it's that the Bears defense got the orders from The Top to bend over and expose their middle parts.

Sticking to the same old script versus the Broncos, the Bears held Denver to just under 20 yards per drive for their first 12 drives. Then when the clock starting running low in the 4th quarter, the Bears go soft on a 63 yard TD drive before a 39 yard drive that ends in a FG to force overtime.

They've been running this end-of-game defense for years, even before Rod M starting calling the plays, so it's not like he was the one that decided to pull back the defensive reins. Lovie is the only person that makes these kinds of strategic decisions.

So while Tim Jennings allowed a huge completion to let the Broncos tie the game in the 4th, and although Marion Barber coughed the ball up in OT which gave Zack Bowman a chance to do his best "Johnny Knox falling down" impression, there was a much Higher Power to blame for this big letdown... Lovie Smith calling the shots From Above.

Lovie, drink your cough syrup and sit your ho ass down!




Monday, December 5, 2011

Ho Sit Down! Week 13 - Roy E Williams

When you give the general public an opportunity to voice their opinion, you need to be prepared to hear some pretty stupid shit. Maybe I'm just saying that because I think that most people I come in contact with on any given day are, in fact, stupid. It's not because I think I have a superior level of intelligence... it's just that I like to take a step back, apply common sense, and make rational choices in my everyday life. But after 26+ years on this Earth, I'm slowly coming to the grips that most people don't actually do this. Whether it's the oblivious MF driving 60 MPH in the left lane while you lay on your horn behind them or the grimey MF who refuses to wash his hands before spreading his dick germs all on the bathroom door handle, a lot of people just don't use the thinking part of their brains.

So what did I do?

I went straight to them for their opinions.

I decided to let the people vote for who deserves the Ho Sit Down! treatment for week 13. We polled eight NFL experts -- seven are Bears fans and one is an unbiased 49ers fan living in Chicago -- to see how they answer the following question:

"If you could pick one person who fucked it more than anyone else in the Bears loss to the Chiefs, who you got?"

After such a poor offensive display against KC, I'm not surprised at the variety of the answers. What was surprising is the fact that the only person to vote for Jerry Angelo was the only person that's not even a Bears fan. And while he's definitely right about this whole thing being JA's fault, we're not gonna talk about how Angelo failed to recruit a legitamate backup QB, in case Cutler went down.

I was (almost) shocked to learn that only two people voted for Caleb Hanie. Hanie was the first response I received, as well as my vote (had I registered to vote), so I figured he might run away with this poll. Hanie missed badly on throws to open receivers when he wasn't busy making poor decisions (like holding on to the ball too long instead of throwing it away). But since Hanie only received two countable votes this week, he'll have to try a lot harder to get the HSD! treatment next week.

The runner up in this week's poll was Mike Martz. Although he only came one vote shy of defending his HSD! belt, he just couldn't do enough to come out with this week's award. But with the incredible perseverance that we know him for, we can all expect Martz to be in the running again next week and beyond.

That brings us to this week's scapegoat (and first time recipient of the HSD! honors)... Roy E Williams.

Williams struggled throughout the game to get off the line of scrimmage while being jammed. He lost his footing a few times and was a general non-factor. It wasn't until the most crucial drive of the game that Roy E made his presence felt, dropping a potentially game-tying TD with 4:01 left on the clock. Not only did he not catch the big brown thing flying at this head, he decided it would be smart to play popcorn with it in a sea of KC defenders, allowing the ball to be legally up-for-grabs. When the Chiefs came down with the interception, that pretty much wrapped it up.

Personally, I think Hanie fucked it way worse than anybody else with his poor play, but since my vote doesn't count this week (and only this week), I'll bring it full circle with the most important theme of the 2011-2012 Bears season... Roy Will did not have one MF first down celebration for the second straight week. Now, it's kinda hard to celebrate a first down when you don't have any catches and it's hard to catch the ball when it's only thrown in your direction one time all game, Caleb Hanie. But this is the NFL, and we can't blame anybody but Roy E Williams for a ho-ass-zero-FDC performance against the Chiefs. So Roy E, this one's for you...