Thursday, October 31, 2013

Why do Knicks Fans Hate the Chicago Bulls?

COMMENTARY | Dating back to the early-1990s, the New York Knicks and Chicago Bulls have had a heated and storied rivalry thanks to Michael Jordan, Patrick Ewing and several hotly contested playoff series.

With the two teams set to do battle in primetime Thursday night, there's no better time to recap the many reasons Knicks fans have to hate the Bulls.

Bandwagon Fans

When a sports franchise wins multiple championships in a short period of time, there are always fans that "always liked the team" even though you never knew it. For those who grew up in the 1990s, those teams in the three major sports were the New York Yankees, Dallas Cowboys and Chicago Bulls. The Bulls' fan base grew significantly in that time span thanks to multiple championships and having the best player on the planet.

Read the rest at Yahoo Contributor Network

Week 8 Draft Insider Rookie Report: Dobson, Moore Step Up

We’re almost halfway through the 2013 NFL season after Week 8’s action, but some rookies are just finding their way. More injuries and inconsistency around the league has led to opportunities for first-year players and this week’s Rookie Report, like most others, includes a couple of undrafted rookies who took advantage of their extra playing time. A few other highly drafted rookies are getting a shot now as well after struggling through the start of the season. Chris Tripodi will break down who caught his eye from last week’s NFL games.

Montee Ball (RB-Den)

Drafted in the second round with the intention of stepping into the starting role, Ball struggled in pass protection during training camp and the preseason and as a result, Knowshon Moreno has been Denver’s lead back throughout their 7-1 start. On 54 carries this season, Ball has averaged barely over 3 yards per carry and regardless of issues in pass protection, he hasn’t been able to prove his worth as a runner either in limited time.

Read the rest at Draft Insider

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Week 9 AAC Scouting Notes: SMU-Temple

Behind the arm of true freshman quarterback P.J. Walker, Temple jumped out to an early 28-7 lead and looked like they had a shot at their second win of the season. Instead, SMU outscored the Owls 52-21 the rest of the way behind the arm of Garrett Gilbert, another AAC QB with an NFL future along with Teddy Bridgewater and Blake Bortles. This was a high-scoring, entertaining game that featured a lot of big offensive performances. 

Garrett Gilbert, QB, SMU (#11), 6’4, 223

The same Garrett Gilbert who played much of the 2009 BCS Championship game for Texas against Alabama and almost brought the Longhorns back, Gilbert transferred to SMU after a medical redshirt in 2011 and was able to play immediately since he graduated from Texas. This was the best statistical game of his career at either Texas or SMU as Gilbert had 538 passing yards and 97 rushing yards to go with 6 touchdowns (4 rushing).

Read the rest at Optimum Scouting

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Week 7 Rookie Report: Joseph Randle, Star Lotulelei and More

After six weeks of the NFL season and 48 rookies profiled, the pickings start to get a little slim in finding impact players from week to week. A common theme of these pieces tends to be injuries piling up all over the league and providing opportunities for talented rookies to prove their worth and this week was no different. Some guys below will even have a shot at starting for the rest of the season if they prove worthy. Find out who stood out to Chris Tripodi in Week 7.

Joseph Randle (RB-Dal)

With DeMarco Murray hurt, Dallas’ fifth-round pick got the chance to fill the role everybody expected him to get a shot at this season with Murray being one of the more injury-prone runners in the NFL. Lance Dunbar was also out for the Cowboys, leaving the backfield to Randle and Phillip Tanner. Despite drawing the start, Randle played just 46 of 82 snaps while Tanner saw 20 as the Cowboys called passes on 52 of their plays, showing a lack of confidence in their replacement backs by going even more pass-heavy than usual.

Read the rest at Draft Insider

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Week 6 NFL Rookie Report

Only one top-75 pick from April’s draft made this week’s Rookie Report as the season moves into its sixth week. Many high picks have already found a way into their team’s starting lineup, leaving the new opportunities to mid-round picks and undrafted rookies who are seeing the field with players in front of them hurt or playing poorly. Chris Tripodi will let you know which unheralded first-year players are making front offices around the NFL look smart with his Week 6 Rookie Report.

Zac Stacy (RB-StL)

With Daryl Richardson’s demotion heading into Week 5, Stacy has taken the reigns in the Rams backfield and looks to be running with the opportunity. After seeing 41 of the 73 snaps in his first start with Richardson still seeing 23 plays himself, it seemed Stacy would simply be the leader of a St. Louis committee. On Sunday, however, Stacy played 38 out of 47 snaps compared to just 5 for Richardson and ran for 79 yards on 18 carries. It looks like the St. Louis backfield belongs to the rookie fifth-rounder until further notice.

Read the rest at Draft Insider

How Hot is Mike Woodson's Coaching Seat in New York?

COMMENTARY | What does a 54-28 record, an appearance in the second round of the NBA playoffs and an exercised option get an NBA head coach

If you answered job security, you would generally be right. Unless you're New York Knicks head coach Mike Woodson, that is

The Big Apple is a tough place to last in sports for an extended period of time, particularly when you're employed by the Knicks. This is the same team that just named its third president and general manager since 2008 and doesn't have a single player on its roster from the 2009-10 season

Things move quickly in New York, and there are more than a few reasons why Woodson's job is not safe heading into this season.

Read the rest at Yahoo Contributor Network

What Does Mike Goodson's Injury Do to the Jets' Backfield

COMMENTARY | Just as the Jets' running backs were returning to the field from injury (Chris Ivory) or suspension (Mike Goodson), their backfield is once again up in the air. New York couldn't even make it through two full games with three healthy runners, as offseason signing Goodson tore both his ACL and MCL in the fourth quarter of the Jets' loss to Pittsburgh on Sunday

Goodson was making just his second appearance of the season after serving a four-game suspension for substance abuse, which stemmed from an offseason arrest for possession of marijuana and a semi-automatic handgun. Goodson was off to a good start with his new team, rushing 7 times for 61 yards and catching 3 passes for another 19 yards.

Read the rest at Yahoo Contributor Network

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Week 7 Scouting Notes: Teddy Bridgewater and More from Louisville-Rutgers

Much has been made of Louisville’s weak schedule this season, with last Thursday night’s game against Rutgers viewed as their stiffest challenge. The Scarlet Knights have a talented defense with a few NFL prospects of their own and while the Cardinals won 24-10, the score wasn’t indicative of how close this game actually was. While the broadcasters lamented what this performance meant for Louisville’s BCS Championship hopes as well as Teddy Bridgewater’s Heisman resume, none of that affects how we evaluate player performances for the next level.

(JR) Teddy Bridgewater, QB, Louisville (#5), 6’3, 196

Bridgewater didn’t have his best day against Rutgers but still put together a good stat line, completing 21-of-31 passes for 310 yards, 2 touchdowns and an interception. He left a third touchdown on the field after a great pump fake freed up Damian Copeland, but Bridgewater’s pass led the wide open Copeland out of bounds when he had plenty of room to the inside. This may have been an overcompensation for his interception earlier in the game, when Bridgewater put extra air under a deep pass into the endzone that he left too far inside, allowing the safety to come over for the pick. If Bridgewater had lofted this ball to his receiver’s outside shoulder or thrown it on more of a line to the inside, he would have had 3 or maybe even 4 touchdown passes in the game.

Read the rest at Optimum Scouting

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Week 5 Rookie Report

Big names dominated among this week’s rookies with two players from each of the first three rounds making an impact in Week 5. Just past the one-quarter mark of the season, it’s about the time when the light goes on for many rookies around the NFL and you can expect most of these players to continue to play well for their teams as the season goes on. Chris Tripodi will let you know who caught his eye from Week 5’s action.

Eddie Lacy (RB-GB)

After a concussion knocked him out early in Week 2 and allowed James Starks and Johnathan Franklin to put up 100-yard games in his absence, Lacy missed out on a 100-yard day of his own by just a yard in Green Bay’s 22-9 win over Detroit on Sunday. Franklin was set to work in a change-of-pace role until he was benched after a fumble on his third carry. Lacy had 23 carries on the game and added a reception and looks like the Packers’ feature back as long as he stays healthy.

Read the rest at Draft Insider

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Week 6 NCAA Scouting Notes: USF-Cincinnati

After starting the season 0-4 before AAC play, the South Florida Bulls hosted 3-1 Cincinnati in a game they were expected to lose. Thanks to two first half touchdowns on defense and special teams, the Bulls built an early lead and held on despite a poor overall performance on offense. But their defense was tenacious especially in the first half, which led to a few big performances from their defensive stars.

Read the rest at Optimum Scouting.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Should a Return to the Yankees Be in Joe Girardi's Future?

(Originally posted at

COMMENTARY | Throughout the 2013 season, the possibility of Joe Girardi not returning to the Yankees in 2014 was broached by baseball reporters and Yankees fans alike.

Despite fielding a starting lineup consisting of multiple backup-caliber players for the entire season, some still considered Girardi as good as gone when his contract expired.

After keeping the Yankees in contention until the final week of season, Girardi is a better candidate for Manager of the Year than he is to be replaced by the Yankees. The job he did to keep this team in contention without its highest-paid players on the field was remarkable and there are multiple reasons the Yankees shouldn't be blaming their manager.

(For more of this article, please visit the link above)

Geno Smith on Film: What's Plaguing the Jets' Rookie Quarterback?

(Originally posted at

COMMENTARY | Rookie quarterbacks are bound to struggle in their first NFL season. The 2012 NFL draft produced three quarterbacks who led their teams to the playoffs but even Andrew Luck, Russell Wilson and Robert Griffin III looked like first-year players at times.

In Luck's first career game, he barely completed 50% of his passes and was intercepted three times. Wilson didn't throw for more than 160 yards until Week 5, as Seattle protected him early with a run-heavy offensive philosophy. Griffin III threw for 300 yards twice in his first four games but as the league adjusted to him, he only cracked 250 yards passing once in his next six games.

New York Jets' quarterback Geno Smith has certainly experienced the highs and lows of rookie life in the NFL through four weeks. After starting the season with a last-second victory over Tampa Bay in Week 1, Smith failed to capitalize on multiple opportunities in Week 2 against New England and threw three fourth quarter interceptions to seal the Jets' fate.

There were many reasons behind Smith's struggles, which I noted in an in-depth two-part breakdown for Jets 101 that can be found here and here. After watching every passing play from his first two weeks as an NFL quarterback it was apparent to me that despite the mistakes, there were a lot of positives for Smith to build on.

(For more of this article, please visit the link above)

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Week 4 Rookie Report

(Originally posted at

The big rookie news heading into Week 4 was Mike Glennon taking over for Josh Freeman in Tampa Bay but the Steelers also debuted first-year running back Le’Veon Bell, playing his first game since suffering a foot injury before the season. Glennon’s undrafted safety valve made this week’s report as well as two other second-round picks who have had their shares of ups and downs in the early season. Chris Tripodi returns with another look at impact rookies around the league.

(For more of this article, please visit the link above)

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Training Camp Questions Abound for the New York Knicks

(Originally posted at

COMMENTARY | Fresh off their first second-round appearance since the 1999-2000 season, the cap-strapped New York Knicks still managed to add pieces to their roster this offseason by trading for Andrea Bargnani and signing Metta World Peace.

Despite adding talent and losing little from last season's roster, the prevailing opinion on the 2013-14 Knicks is that they are not one of the Eastern Conference's elite teams

The Miami Heat won their second straight NBA title. The Indiana Pacers are a young, improving team that will get Danny Granger back. The Chicago Bulls will welcome back point guard Derrick Rose, the 2011 NBA MVP, and the Brooklyn Nets added Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, Jason Terry and Andrei Kirilenko

The Knicks also have a new GM as Steve Mills replaced Glen Grunwald just over a month before the start of the season. As a result of all the offseason turnover, the Knicks enter training camp with many unanswered questions for the upcoming season. What are the biggest issues facing the team leading up to its October 30 season opener?

(For more of this article, please visit the link above)

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Week 5 College Football Scouting Notes: UCF-South Carolina

(Originally posted at

Junior quarterback Blake Bortles has gotten a lot of attention here at Optimum Scouting and with good reason. Bortles has everything NFL teams want in a quarterback with good size, arm strength and mobility to break the pocket. Bortles recently said he wasn’t thinking about the NFL after this season and while there were certainly scouts on hand to watch his performance against Jadeveon Clowney and South Carolina, they would probably agree that he shouldn’t be thinking about the NFL until the 2015 draft.

(For more of this article, please visit the link above)