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So, I don't know why I'm bothering to post this since this is the kind of thing I typically just save as a little text file and tuck away with other random ideas, but I felt like posting this one somewhere.
Basically, I got an idea for a fictional sport-type thing. It's racing.
But with humanoid mech robots, kind of like that IGPX anime a few years ago.
Except with gigantic tracks that literally go above and below the atmosphere, so pilots are playing both in space and inside the atmosphere.
Worth noting that, with the exception of the championship race, the races don't take place on earth - it's set in a future where earth has become beautiful and neolithic and wonderful because we took all our trash, melted it down, and sent it to mars to turn the entire planet into a series of gigantic race tracks. There's also a hotel on mars so the athletes don't have to travel to mars for every race. Sure it's stupid and far-fetched, but I like to think I can be stupid and far-fetched when I'm making up a sport about giant robots racing in and out of the martian atmosphere.
So, as said, it takes a lot from the IGPX thing a while back, so the robots fight while they're racing. Except it's all hand-to-hand, no weapons. Any sort of attack is allowed that doesn't endanger the other pilot's escape pod. The escape pods are inexplicably safe and reliable, so you're allowed to kick each other's asses in space too, although leaving the track for more than 20 seconds per lap is considered down. A robot that is disabled or knocked to the track for more than five seconds straight is also considered down. Down robots are not able to complete the lap, their pilots are recalled to the starting line, board a new robot, and are returned to the course once every functioning member of their team has completed the lap.
There's also football/rugby inspired elements. At the beginning of each race, an oblong ball is shot into orbit, and the two teams have to race up to grab it before it reaches too far into its orbit to grab it. If this happens, a rocket in the ball activates, putting it into position to be grabbed on the second lap.
Once a team gets it, each of their robots that isn't carrying the ball gets a slight speed boost, and the ball carrier is beaconed. The ball can be dislodged in any manner that is legal under the contact rule. The ball cannot be thrown forwards, but can be lateraled. The only exception to this rule is if the thrower is behind every other member of their team, in which case they are allowed one forward pass every 20 seconds. The ball is live at all times, and the opposing team can also catch the ball, regardless of who throws it.
If a player completes a lap holding the ball, his team's speed boost will stack. Note the entire speed boost is lost if an opposing player either completes a lap holding it, or if they gain possession for more than 10 straight seconds.
Each standard team consists of seven pilots in five different robots:
A Manny, a slow, lanky robot with a specially designed arm thats job is to sit in the back of its team, ready to throw if they successfully capture the ball and move if back to them(There are also Vickers, a faster, more lightly armored version that is also a potent carrier, but are much more fragile and easily downed.) Due to their position allowing them a full view of where their team is on radar since they're not busy outracing the other team, and the potency of the forward pass, they're often considered the captain of the team, which they usually are. THey typically don't participate in defensive play.
A slow, heavily armored SATs, pronounced the same as sat, which blocks for the Manny. They often serve as the captain and communicator for teams with either a Vickers, or a team with an inexperienced Manny. Often the primary accoster of the opposing Manny on defensive play, as they're the ones who most easily occupy other SATs.
Two Torrents, fast, light, mobile machines meant for outrunning the opposing team with or without the ball, and for getting big gains when the Manny throws forwards. They're typically either catching, racing and dueling opposing Torrents, or covering the opposing Torrents to intercept a forward pass.
Two GR-0N/Ks, balanced robots which are capable of both blocking for the Manny and catching a forward pass. They're also capable of playing well against a SAT when trying to attack the opposing Manny. The "Jack of all trades, master of none" phrase often applies, but a skilled GR-0N/K pilot is often the most dangerous member of their team.
And finally, a Berry. Berries are smaller, faster, more elusive versions of the Torrents. They're not very useful defensively, and they're not going to win a fight if an opposing GR-0N/K or Torrent spots them and goes after them, but they're ridiculously elusive and hard to land a hit on, and are deadly one-on-one with that ability. Their smaller size makes them a more difficult target for the Manny, however. They're excellent in the lateral game.
This is of course just the standard lineup, many teams experiment and change the lineup depending on their strategy and skillsets.
5 points for every lap completed ahead of all players from your position on the opposing team.
3 points for every lap completed ahead of one player from your position on the opposing team.
1 point for every lap completed behind all players from your position on the opposing team.
7 points in addition to the initial points for completing a lap while carrying the ball, 8 if your team's collective time is leading the other team's collective time.
Bonus 14 points if you complete the entire race without losing possession of the ball.
So yeah, it's kung fu meets giant robots meets space racing meets football. Groovy, huh?
Well, it's been fun, but all good things must come to an end. And more applicably, all bad things too. I've enjoyed this, but given school's starting back up, and the starters aren't playing more than a few series this week, this'll probably be the last analysis thing I do for now. So lets enjoy the last one!
*Cedric Benson: Money well-spent. Sure he's had some off-field issues - who outside of the rookies and Dalton-Green haven't in Cincy? - but Benson has been a consistently good runner for Cincy, putting up three consecutive 1,000+ seasons, including getting 1,251 yards in only 13 games in 2009! I was surprised when they let him walk, and he finally gives Green Bay someone to run and take heat off Rodgers for now. Revenge is a dish best served cold. And with cheese, I guess.
*Dalton's been inconsistent this preseason. For all we know it's just Cincy trying out different schemes and plays and it means nothing, but on numbers alone, the first game he was bad, but not terrible(64.1), then he was great against Atlanta(110.7), and he was abysmal against Green Bay(39.6) this week. It's probably not that reassuring that his worst performance was in the week 3 dress rehearsal, and against a defense like Green Bay's.
*Flying Flacco? I just want to say that as a Ravens fan, I loved the Joe Flacco I saw this week, and if this "dress rehearsal" week is at all accurate, I am ridiculously excited for the aerial attack this year. 75% completion percentage, 266 yards, 7.4 average, 2TDs/1INT in a half and a few drives? Against the underrated defense of Jacksonville? That's not what you expect from someone I almost wanted to see benched at times last season, especially since that pick was on a half-ending hail mary you'd never risk in a real game. And that was with both of his much-loved TEs, who'll both be back for week 1, out on injury. I know everyone said this last year, and I am ridiculously biased, but I can very easily see Flacco transforming into a respectable, top-ten QB, and definitely round out the top five in the AFC after Brady, Rivers, Roethlisburger, and Peyton. Hell, he could easily outdo Rivers, Big Ben, or Peyton if they're not of last year's funk, in limbo with Todd Haley, and not his old self, respectively. Speaking of standout Ravens,
*100+ yards one game removed from an ankle sprain, on top of everything else. Torrey Smith will top 1,000 yards, and step above Boldin as the #1 WR this year. Go ahead and take that to the bank. Sure an ankle sprain is a minor injury, but for a WR like him dependent on speed, it can be huge, at least huge enough to keep him from 100 yards for a game or two, though not as huge as his injury all last season was. He has blazing speed(Not even a full .10 slower than DeSean Jackson at the 40!), he's improved his hands and his route running, Flacco likes him, Boldin's not getting any younger, and he's going to play even if you flatten him with a truck - you try running 20 yards on a torn groin muscle, let alone 850! He's like Julio Jones or AJ Green, except since he's not replacing Chad Johnson/wasn't a top ten pick, or even a first-rounder/didn't have a big crazy trade for him, he has nowhere near the hype he should.
*Bobby Rainey again. You know when you get one of those players who nobody expects anything from because they were an undrafted free agent and started at the bottom of their depth chart, but suddenly are looking like one of the top backups? Those guys who go from the names in the press releases you don't even read since it's a fair bet they're getting cut to key contributors to the team? That's Bobby Rainey. Sure he only rushed for seven yards. Because he was too busy catching for 73 yards and a touchdown. As scary as giving a rookie the reins formerly handled by a 12-year vet is, he and Bernard Pierce are looking like a great pair behind Ray Rice, Pierce providing a powerback style on short distances, and Rainey giving something similar to Ray when he needs a breather.
*Blaine Gabbert keeps looking better. Still not good, but this is a very good sign for him - it shows he can improve, that he's not a bust and that last year's embarrassment isn't his ceiling. If he can keep improving at a steady rate, he may provide Jacksonville with a good option at QB after all. He even has a good-looking receiver now in Blackmon! Unfortunately, his O-line still sucks. Seriously, who the hell lets Haloti Ngata, the best defensive tackle in the game, go unblocked up the middle? So much for the lack of Suggs letting people double-team Ngata.
*MJD will be back before week 3. He's not on the same caliber. Definitely not. There are maybe three other backs in the league you can argue can compete with MJD. However between Gabbert playing better, Rashad Jennings looking eager and ready to be a starter, and the fact it's not like they're going to push for the playoffs anyway, all of the leverage is with the franchise, not the player. He'll be back.
*Jake Locker looks less bad. He's still not good, but he's a new starter that I like, and I think will be good in a year or two. Right now though, he's the fresh new kid relying on his star back. He performed well, but there's still needed improvement.
*There are no winners in the Arizona quarterback duel, just losers of a lesser degree. Seriously, this is just ugly. Please just cut Kevin Lolb, trade the Browns for McCoy or Weeden, or preferably the Seahawks for Flynn, make Skelton a backup, and get this over with. It's painful to watch, and it's just plain cruel to do this to Larry Fitzgerald.
*Hey, Cleveland, stop being stupid. I know that goes against your M.O., but please stop being stupid. Weedon is not better than Colt McCoy. Trade him to someone desperate for a QB like Arizona or Oakland or New York or someone before they realize he's no better, instead of benching someone who knows the offense, is younger, and is no worse.
*Nick Foles. People really really like him apparently. I think he may be a little overhyped, but he is playing well. Still, I'll wait to see how he does when Vick is inevitably injured, carted off the field, and he gets shoved into real NFL action.
*Tom Brady needs better line play. Seriously, he may be an all-time great, but even he can't carry the team when he has one second to pick his receiver and throw the ball. His line has been plain bad all preseason. On the bright side though, he may have a running game thanks to Ridley and, once he returns from injury, Vereen. Running games always make quarterbacks better.
*Russell Wilson has won the quarterback duel, much to my delight. He'll also win rookie of the year 2012. They're either going to win the division if things go bad for San Fran, or they're going to be very viable to get the wild-card. He has played out of his mind all preseason, I seriously hope it carries into the regular season. It'll be either him or RG3 for rookie of the year too, if my predictions are right - RG3 I think will do better, but Wilson wasn't a #2 pick, he was a 3rd round pick who had to fight for his job.
*RG3 vs. Luck. It was a fun game and another good look at these two. We still don't know enough, but both look pretty good so far.
*The Steelers aren't competing for anything this year. Mike Wallace is useless for at least the first six or so games, half the runningbacks are injured, the defense is old, Ben's already filled half of his annual injury quota, everyone's learning a new offense, and speaking of which, the chaos of Todd Haley is already brewing, as Ben stopped listening to him and started calling the plays himself. On top of all that, now their #1 pick and one of the young sparks supposed to help their woeful offensive line is out for the season with some serious ankle injuries. It's just a matter of when they explode, they're still going to be competitive because they're that good, but they're not going to push into the playoffs that deep, if they push at all.
*Peyton's coming-out party. Is he a little worn? Yes. But he still looks pretty damn good again. It probably helps it was against the Niner's D, too. Everyone in Denver is praying to their former QB this is the Peyton that goes into week 1. Speaking of whom...
*Loljets? Loljets. Do I really need to say anything else?
So I'm going to be a lot more concise this week than last week, because I'm not watching as many games as last week.
*Brandon Weeden looked better. Unlike last week, Weeden ran the offense effectively, throwing for 12/20 and over 100 yards. Except the defense he happened to be playing was Green Bay, who had the worst passing yardage defense in the NFL last year. Barely completing over 50% of your passes against that? This still feels like the same old song and dance with Cleveland's QB situation, except it's a new dancer, and now he's older so won't give you as long once he's figured the game out.
I will say it again - Weeden is not a star quarterback, and even if he is, by the time he grows into it, he'll only have two or three good years left. Wise up and trade him, start Colt McCoy, get him some weapons, and stop making Colts fans look impatient. People who went from a top-ten all-time QBs to the top quarterback prospect in college football since Peyton look more patient than you do if you settle on Weeden.
*Green Bay's defense is still a weakness. Now granted that Rodgers sets the standard pretty high that the defense has to live up to in order to avoid being a weakness. But still, 16 points in the first half? To this offense? That's just sad.
*Jake Locker did not look good. I still think they should start him, because sooner or later they're going to have to switch from Hasselbeck to Locker, and the sooner you get through these growing pains, the sooner you can get to the #1 job of any professional sports team - winning. But Locker reminded everyone in Tennessee that it is not going to be a seamless transition.
*On the bright side, CJ2K looked good. Chris Johnson is as essential a part of Tennessee's hopes as ever, especially with Jake Locker starting. And he definitely looked more like he used to than he did last year. It's still preseason, but he may help that Tennessee team get somewhere good.
*Megatron isn't giving into the Madden Curse. Everything is in play for Megatron as always. Faster than everyone? Check. Bigger than everyone? Check. More of a nose for the ball than everyone? Check. He looked as good as ever, beating Lardarius Webb in height, Jimmy Smith in experience, and Cary Williams in skill. You cannot cover him effectively.
*The Ravens finally have a return game. There were two returns in the game that went all the way into the end zone. Deonte Thompson and Asa Jackson both brought kick returns in for touchdowns. Unfortunately though,
*Those returns were both called back on iffy holding calls. The second one was probably a hold, but the first one definitely seemed like a routine block to me. Both were far from the runner. I know that doesn't count for anything, but it doesn't lessen my annoyance with these refs. Which leads me to my next point:
*The new refs are horrible. I feel sorry for them, because I know they were thrown into the fire and are doing their best, but it'll be hard to feel sorry for them into the season once their deficiency next to NFL counterparts effects things that matter. I really hope this strike ends soon.
*Again Blaine Gabbert looked good. Granted it doesn't mean much against a porous Saints defense, but Gabbert once more looked composed like a real QB instead of a high school kid. He may actually give Jacksonville some excitement on offense if he keeps it up.
*Kevin Lolb. I swear he must hate playing football, because the way he's playing, I feel like even I could outdo him. He's almost giving John Skelton the job. As Tommy Kelly put it, that boy's scared! Or at least he should be.
*New York looked horrible. The Jets, not the Giants. Sanchez was Sanchez, and Tebow was Tebow, except without the fourth quarter magic. There is no WR depth, and the defense is underperforming. The Jetbows just look worse and worse each game.
*RG3 looked like a rookie. Lets be honest, something is off if a rookie doesn't look bad at some point. Against a veteran defense, RG3 looked worried and uncomfortable.
*Kirk Cousins didn't. 18/23, 264 yards, 3TD/0INT? Damn son, that's impressive even against third-stringers. It wasn't just the numbers, either - on most plays, he looked calm, collected, and in control. Which is important, because an option other than Rex Grossman if RG3 goes down is a very good thing to have.
*Same story on Peyton. Bad numbers but he was better than his numbers say, not the old Peyton, but still a good Peyton Manning. Not much to say that I didn't say last week.
*TO looked bad. Maybe the Allen Wranglers cut him for more than being an ass. He couldn't catch, he couldn't run the right route, he's done.
*The Seattle QB competition. Luck-Griffin is the biggest story of preseason, but this is the best story of the preseason. It's still exciting, both are still playing well, and it could well go into the last two weeks of preseason. It's Flynn's job to lose, and he's yet to do anything horrible to lose it. But just because he has it by default doesn't mean that Russel Wilson is making this easy - I still like him more, I still want to see him get the start, and I am still loving how well he is playing.
*In spite of the numbers, Luck looked good against the Steelers. It's no secret that I do not like the Steelers. At all. But even I have to admit they have an elite defense. So given that, and that one of his picks was because the receiver messed up on the catch, Luck looked pretty good against Pittsburgh for a rookie, once he got used to the tougher opponent. Again, Indy may be in for something good.
*Ike Taylor got a pick six. I loved it, given how much Steeler fans seem to hate on him. Or was it Ryan Clark they hate...actually, I think it may have just been every DB not named Polamalu. Either way it was fun.
*The New England Patriots: They are who we thought they were. I say that because Bill Belichick removed every relevant player he possibly could from tonight's lineup, so we didn't really learn anything at all from this.
*I ask again: What are Philly QBs made out of, and why is it so fragile? Mike Vick is already hurt again. This can't keep happening, or Pilly won't last six weeks into the season as a serious contender. It's just sad.
So, the demo of Madden 13 is out, and what better to do than make dramatic assumptions about the full game from two games and four of 32 teams that it includes?
~The graphics and presentation are better than ever. Players still look weird, but they're almost out of uncanny valley and into "Good videogame character" territory. Additionally, the new CBS/NFL Network-styled presentation, menus, scoreboard, etc., are all absolutely perfect - they look like they're from a real broadcast, not a videogame. As fun as Gus Johnson is, he's too over the top, if I want that, I'll play NFL Blitz. I want Madden to feel like a real game, and Collinsworth was plain boring(No offense Cris) Nantz and Simms do a much better job, and it definitely helps that they have more than one line for every situation. It gets old hearing the same lines over and over whenever you make a play you like. At least there's some variation in here.
Also, did I mention there's original music? Rather than the usual assortment of pop music, they actually went out, got an orchestra - or at least some really good synths and a keyboard players - and made some great pantomimes of the real themes that major networks use for their openings and break tags. The result is a much more pleasant and more authentic experience, down to the 20 seconds of music.
~Kicks are weird now. My first five minutes of gameplay weren't making any plays. They were me futzing with the controller, trying every button to kick off until I accidentally hit it and kicked it 20 yards out of bounds. For reference to everyone else used to button kicking, you flick the analog stick back to start the meter, then flick it forward to kick.
~The offensive lines are better now. Don't know if it's because of the new physics engine or something else, but the pass blocking lasts a lot longer now than it ever did in Madden 12.
~Motion blur everywhere. I really hope there's an option to either turn down or turn off motion blur in the full game, because it is ridiculous how much there is in this game. This is the one issue with the new presentation I have with it; everything else is so much better, but the motion blur is almost laughable.
~The new physics engine is much better. It's not perfect by any measure(Especially after the play, where some hilarious bumps and collisions players are very nonchalant about often happen), but it's much better than Madden 12. If you slam into a tackle on a run, the game won't transfer the defender onto you and drop you for a loss, you'll trip, and stumble forward for a yard or two. There aren't any more stupid hits and strips, or at least many fewer, and the tackling is much more responsive now(Read: Actually responsive). Speaking of stupid defense,
~Linebackers are no longer rocket-powered, and corners are no longer psychic. The days of having to worry about a linebacker jumping five feet into the air or a DB turning for a ball he never saw are gone, or at least reduced to the point they seem like glitches instead of a stupid engine. Passing is no longer "Oh god please catch it please please plea--FUCK NO HE WAS ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE FIELD THAT MAKES NO SENSE", but can actually be run efficiently for more than two or three yards.
The removal of ESP from DBs also makes sideline passes so much more useful since you can throw passes past a defender who wouldn't have seen it until the receiver was holding it without him inexplicably picking it off. This makes so many plays usable that were horrid in Madden 12, including a number of deep passes, which is wonderful for my Favreian "Shoot from the hip" gunslinger preference for passing games. Speaking of bad things from Madden 12 being useful,
~Play-action is useful again! It's still not something you want to do on a vast majority of your passes usually *CoughCamCameronCoughCough*, but it's finally not handing the other team a free sack. It's wonderful. And as long as we're talking about bad things that are suddenly good,
~The Redskins are awesome now. This is the last piece of my first impressions, and it's going to be very longwinded, so just skip down if you don't want to read me gushing about the RG3skins.
I don't know if it's that the Seahawks D is just horrible(Which it shouldn't be, they have a good defense), or that I am doing everything right to use this team to its fullest(Which I doubt with how I underuse RG3's mobility), but whatever it is, the Skins were the most entertaining, most dynamic team in the four-team demo. The Niners and Giants were mostly the same outside of San Fran's much improved receiving corps. The Seahawks I've only played one game with so can't say too much of, but they feel like again, the same team, except with a decent QB now.
But the Redskins...well, lets start by saying that offense, which was sickening to watch last year, is quite potent. Chris Cooley and Fred Davis are underrated at TE, as is Pierre Garcon at WR. Santana Moss is still a good target. The backfield isn't Baltimore or Jacksonville or Chicago strong, but it's still good enough to get you yards, especially when you add RG3 to it. On that note, RG3 is a great face for Washington at QB. Not top-ten yet, but assuming his rookie season doesn't go horribly awry and ruin him in real-life and Madden, he's a quick, fairly accurate thrower with a strong arm and good legs who can throw on the run and from the pocket. It's wonderful, he's better than a lot of higher-rated QBs I've used.
On the defensive side, as I've said over and over again, that defense is underrated because the 3rd-worst offense in the league when it came to holding onto the ball made them constantly work from within their own territory, and all those INT TDs or fumble TDs got counted against the defense. Kerrigan and Orakpo are good pass rushers. London Fletcher is like Ray Lewis, but lower-key and not quite as all-time great. Josh Wilson was only 2% higher on completion percentage allowed than Revis Island. Give that defense an offense that doesn't suck(See above), and they'll surprise you quite pleasantly.
The Skins aren't just a workable team now, they're a fun team. Are they enough to get you a 16-0 in franchise mode? Not unless you're on easy. But if you know what you're doing, you'll have some fun, exciting games and some relaxing blowouts in your favour on the way to a winning record, plus you can finally use them in online.
I know I'm devoting a lot of text to them, but that's because they're not only the biggest surprise of the demo, but they work wonderfully for me. They worked better than Seattle, New York, or San Fran for how I like to play now that the defenders aren't magic anymore. I didn't expect much, but the Redskins are much better than their number in the game, a lowly 79 if memory serves.
So, all-in-all? If the demo is any judge, Madden 13 is looking good. If you're not a football freak like myself, wait for the reviews to come in to be sure, but for someone like me who loves the sport with a passion, between the updates, the improvements, and the new rosters - especially teams that are completely different like Washington - this game is looking worth the money in every regard. The turbulent days of Madden 12 are finally drawing to a close, and football videogames are going to be fun again, instead of just bearable, right Peyton?
*Korn on the Kolb. You know what I notice whenever I watch Arizona? How sorry Kevin Kolb looks as a starter. Skelton's not showing any great flashes, but with Larry Fitzgerald and Todd Heap on the first-team offense, he may not need to if he starts. Put him in as the starter, you won't regret it. This isn't a Tebow type thing where he's completely different and will change your offense irrevocably, he's just a better quarterback.
*Seattle's defense looked sharp. I was genuinely impressed with the defense for Seattle - two interceptions of Hasselbeck, who's in his twilight, but still a decent starter, two fumbles, one recovered, they looked good. If Skittles stays healthy and out of trouble, they may not need Flynn or Wilson to show up strong to be a contender. Speaking of them though,
*The Seahawks QB competition is going to be fun. Both of them looked in-command, comfortable, moved the offense well, and completed the majority of their passes. They both played well, this is an exciting contest. Personally I like Wilson more because I see more upside in him, his legs give him another weapon, and Flynn reminds me too much of Rob "Robosack" Johnson due to circumstances, but in all likelihood of a tie, Flynn's contract will net him the job. Seattle can rest assured though that they've got a good QB behind him if he gets hurt though.
...Actually, the parallels to the Rob Johnson/Doug Flutie Bills and this Seahawks team are uncanny. A team bolstered by a strong defense and a good run game, a short, exciting mobile quarterback with something to prove playing second fiddle to a big, prototypical passer who was brought in after spending time backing up a successful franchise QB, with a big contract to be the star QB for this franchise that nobody expects much from, but could come in with a shot at going all the way.
Now I've gone and made myself really excited for this competition. I really hope Russel Wilson is the second coming of Doug Flutie now, because I love Doug Flutie. The world needs more players like him. Wilson 2012! Contact the company that made Flutie Flakes and get them cracking on Wilson Wheaties!
*Andrew Luck scares me. I said it before - things only look this good in sports and life when they're about to go horribly wrong. Too much looked good about Andrew Luck, but...unless yesterday was a fluke, it's real. I was scared by what I saw of him. Not the reads, not the throws, not any of that. But by how comfortable he looked. He didn't look like a rookie adjusting, he looked like a calm NFL veteran, moving in the pocket, reading the defenese like a book, scrambling and extending plays, getting the ball to the right places, it was unnerving. Most importantly, he never panicked. He wasn't cagey, he was comfortable even when being flushed out. Sure it's the Rams defense, but nearly 200 yards, about 12 yards per completion, 2TD/0INT, and a 142.7 QB rating sounds about par for a good veteran QB against the Rams in the first half. For a rookie to do that...damn. Just damn. Either St. Louis is even worse than advertised, or Luck's as good as advertised.
*Who's better; Andrew Luck or Robert Griffin III? Only time is going to tell. Right now the discrepancy in what we've seen between the two is too big to really make any assessments. I do know though that Luck gave us the first full-sized taste of this duel, and it set the bar high. Luckily, I think RG3 is up to the task. Either way, these two are going to make for an exciting season.
So, the first week of the NFL preseason is in the books.
...Well, except for Dallas and Oakland, but lets be honest, nobody outside of
Cowboys fans and Raiders fans cares about that matchup. Besides, Romo's a star until he's under pressure, so in the consequence-free environment of the first quarter of a preseason game, he's going to thrive, so
we all know how that's going to work out already.
With that in mind, here are some thoughts of mine from the
preseason games I've seen:
*RG3 looked good. Granted we
only saw six passes from him, and that was against the defense that ranked 26th
in yardage and 30th in points, but with all the defensive additions they made
between draft and free agency, that has to count for something with a rookie,
right? We need to see more from him, obviously. But if the plays he made in the
game were anything to judge his rookie year by, Washington may actually be a
threat this year, especially with an underrated defense. Also he really likes
offense. The fact it looked that sharp against one of the league's
elite defenses should give Falcons fans some confidence. ...Or at least it
would, if Courtney Upshaw wasn't out with a shoulder bruise. ...And Haloti
Ngata hadn't had a hamstring tweak, so the leader of the defensive line and the
best D-tackle in the game today was out. ...And they were resting Ed Reed, so
the leader of the secondary and one of the best DBs in NFL history was out.
...And Jimmy Smith wasn't out with a sore ankle. ...And they were resting Ray
Lewis, so the leader of the linebacking corps, the defense in-general and arguably
the best LB of all time was out.
Two sure-fire hall-of-famers were out, one of the best D-linemen who has a decent shot there if he keeps up his performances, and the first draft picks by the team in 2011 and 2012 were all out. That's four starters and the primary nickel DB that weren't on the field. That defense was about as good a look as
the second-stringers were at the 2012 Ravens D.
Moral of the story: It's preseason. It's a good judge of a team
that's made changes, not a team looking to polish a championship-caliber
roster. Most of the injured players will be back this week though, so Detroit
should give a better look.
*In spite of
everything I said above about that game not mattering, can we
talk about how great Julio Jones looked for a minute? It's very rare and
special when a team trades as much as Atlanta did for a single pick, and come
out looking like the smart team - in part because Cleveland wasted their picks
on being stupid(More on that later) - in the trade. Cary Williams was a
starting corner last year, and he dominated him with over 100 yards and a
touchdown in the first quarter. I was still apprehensive that he may have just had a lucky year where teams underestimated him, but f he can keep doing that on top of last year's
performance, he's looking like a star receiver for Atlanta. Switching gears though to the Ravens since everyone knows that's what I want to talk about most,
*Speaking of standout performances, how about Bobbie Rainey? While not as impressive as Julio Jones, given the other two Ravens RBs not named Ray Rice fell flat, while Rainey played well both as a runner and a receiver, much like Rice, he deserves mention. I'm not saying he's Ray Rice 2.0, but he's the same height and just 7 lbs. lighter than Rice, he's definitely similar. 64 combined yards and a touchdown isn't bad at all for your first NFL performance. Bernard Pierce, a back the Ravens liked enough to draft, is back from injury, but so far in both preseason and practice, Rainey is making his case to replace Ricky Williams.
*Joe Flacco: Not a statue anymore. It's only two games, but while I didn't like the amount of pressure the Falcons got(though since the Ravens had a rookie center and right tackle, and flipped their starting RT to the left side, I expect more protection during the season), I really liked the fact that when that pressure came, unlike last year where he'd stand in the pocket and take a sack or worse, Flacco moved, got around defenders, and in-general looked like the play-extender we thought he was and that he played like in New England last year. Remember, this is someone who's first NFL touchdown was one he ran in, he's not just a pocket passer. Whatever coaching Caldwell is doing, if it gets him to extend plays like this, I'm very happy with it.
*New England may
have a run game this year! Big T, I apologize for being so doubtful about the
2012 Pats backfield. I still need to see more, but combining for 5.5 YPC and over 100 yards is a
good sign, even if it is New Orleans. Is it Rice, Forte, Foster, or anything like that? Probably not. But
it doesn't have to be with Tom Brady. Speaking of whom,
*Tom Brady got hurt. I keep saying things only look as
good for you in sports as they do for the 2012 Pats when you're about to have a
dramatic turn for the worst. Tom got sandwiched between two Saints pass
rushers, and while he didn't show any injury, he looked sore on the sidelines
after that hit. I want to see him confirm he's healthy with a good play or two
*New England needs Vollmer back. That hit happened because Brady
was scrambling from Will Smith, who overloaded the tackle that, correct me if
wrong, subbed for Vollmer. He backed right into another pass rusher, who
delivered him to Smith. A good offense starts with your line play, and New
England needs better line play.
*What are Philly QBs made of, and why
is it so fragile? Kolb
- who I still consider an Eagle even if his feathers are red now - gets knocked
out of the first game with bruised ribs, Vick hurts his hand on his line's
helmet, then Mike Kafka broke his hand. Actually, come to think of it, PA quarterbacks in-general are fragile; Big Ben already had what, a sore ankle, a torn rotator cuff, and a bruised elbow before the preseason even started? Fortunately for Pittsburgh, he's immune to pain, so he'll play anyway, but Philly is going to end up
trading with Buffalo to get Vince Young back by their bye at this rate. Speaking of Picksburgh though,
*The line still looks bad. Better? It's debatable - especially with how little attention linemen get compared to skill positions - but I think so. Good? No. Mike Adams needs improvement in the next two weeks if he's supposed to be a rookie starter, or else fans of the Steel Curtain are going to be watching Ben dance an all too familiar dance.(Fortunately for them, it's a dance he's very good at)
*Godgers looked very
un-godlike. Granted there was a dropped TD his receiver failed him on,
but 2/8, 0TD/1INT? Those are Tebow numbers, I don't care of it's one quarter,
Aaron Rodgers was either not trying, or was still shaking rust from last year.
*Antonio Gates looks
healthy. Ryan Matthews, does not. It's still too early to tell, but
between fumble problems and the fact he's had a good year and a bad year, along
with his college knee injury and this injury, he may start losing value in San
Diego. I'm not calling him a bust yet, but when pick #12 is inconsistent, it's
a bad sign, and with runningbacks, you have to judge quickly since they can be
very short-lived. Plus with Rivers it's not the end of the world to lose your
*In spite of the
stats, Peyton looked good. Numbers don't lie, but they don't always
tell the whole story. Peyton's a little rusty from a year off, and he's getting
used to a completely new environment, but all things considered, he looked
sharp, in spite of poor numbers. And as long as we're talking about this game,
where was Jay Cutler?
*No Tebow Time.
...Yet. I still think Tebow will win the job midseason, but Tebow looked
like, well, Tebow. He made some questionable throws, but got them moving down
the field, and if not for that INT, would have put together what is a very good
drive for Tebow. When you have something as unusual as the QB situation with
the Jets, preseason is less about getting them to work, and more about
experimentation to figure out how. This is not the role Tebow will inhabit, but
it's nice to see as someone who isn't a Jets fan that I'm still in for some
off-the-cuff, unscripted, uncertain Tebow drama when he does come onto the
field. It's just not as fun without it.
Browns: You are so dumb. You are really dumb. For real. There is
nothing on that offense. Especially with Richardson out. And it showed. Brandon
Weeden looked as bad as Colt McCoy has looked - 3/9 for 62, 0TD/1INT, and it should
have been two. Also there was a fumble. It's not that your QB sucks, it's that
your offense sucks. Who other than Mohamed Massaquoi is there? Nobody, and he's
not even that good. Wise up and trick some other stupid team into trading a
receiver or two for Weeden while he's still somewhat valuable. He's no better
than McCoy, who's at least familiar with the offense. Stop wasting your draft picks.
looked better. Good? Probably not, but maybe. More details needed. Better
than last year? Infinitely. He looks actually like a QB now, not like someone
who's pretending to be a QB. I'm excited to see what he does, though without
MJD I can't see the offense being potent. He's not good enough on his own, and
that defense needs some help. But it's at least possible now.
*How about Ryan Tannehill? For all people have been saying about him not being ready and needing to sit for a year, he looked pretty ready to me out there. He got nearly 200 yards, for a rookie he was fairly accurate, he even got a touchdown. Most importantly, he looked comfortable. Nothing is worse than a QB panicking and either checking down early or making a bad throw. He looked fairly calm and collected.
*Speaking of QBs, what about Dan Orlovsky? He didn't miss a single pass. Even if it was only 8 passes, let me repeat that: This guy hit all his receivers, got them 91 yards of offense, and didn't miss a pass. The NFL is a weird place, man.
*Child Please. No receptions in your return to the NFL? Against a backfield like the Bucs have? Come on Chad, for someone trying to reestablish himself as a #1 receiver, that's just shameful. Even more shameful? Your domestic assault charge if that ends up being a guilty verdict. Honestly, I think the Dolphins are better off with him cut and hoping they get lucky with a rookie, because between the media frenzy and it looking like Pats Ochocinco instead of Bungles Johnson, it's just not worth it. Good call by Philbin.
Things you need to kill any creative block writing music:
One eight-sided die(D8)
One ten-sided die(D10)
One four-sided die(D4)
One twenty-sided die(D20)
Pick a time signature, or if you want, Roll the 20-sided die twice, and use the numbers you get as your time signature(ie, 7/8, 12/16, etc.), or you could just be sane and use 4/4.
Now roll the eight-sided die. 1 is A, 2 is B, 3 is C, etc., roll again on an eight. That is the key you'll work in. Now flip the coin. Heads is major, tails is minor. Mix in melodic, harmonic, and other scale variants if you want.
Now roll the three-sided die. 1 does nothing, 2 flats the key, 3 sharps it, 4 rolls again.
So lets say you get a 6 on the D8, a 2 on the D4, and heads. You're now working in the key of Fb major, a.k.a. E major to most guitarists.
Now roll the 20-sided die. That's how many measures this verse will be. Repeat this for the bridge, chorus, solos, etc.
Roll the eight-sided die to decide which scale degree to use for a chord, for example, in the key of Fb/E major, if you roll a 5, the first chord is going to be the fifth, Cb/B.
Now roll the ten-sided die to decide which chord voicing to use. 1 is major, 2 is minor, 3 is major 7th, 4 is minor 7th, 5 is dominant, 6 is diminished, 7 is dominant 7th, 8 is diminished 7th, 9 is major 9th, 10 is wild-card and you pick.
Repeat ad nauseum to create a songthing. You can also use the rolling of the eight-sided die to decide the scale degree to play to write the melody if you feel so inclined.
So, with teams losing and gaining players, it's time for another mock draft. More will be coming once the draft is closer.
1. Indianapolis Colts - Andrew Luck - QB - This is fact by now, more or less. Indy's marketing guys are probably already printing Luck jerseys.
2. Washington Redskins - Robert Griffin III - QB - I just want to say to everyone who was saying the Browns were getting RG3: I called this trade, suck it. On that note, Since I called this one, is there any way I can get Brilliant Bill Belichick points?
3. Minnesota Vikings - Matt Kalil - OL - I like Christian Ponder. I am terrified though of that O-line. Not only does Ponder need protection if you want him to get comfortable with the NFL, Purple Jesus needs help while he's recovering. An O-line addition helps both.
4. Cleveland Browns - Trent Richardson - RB - I still think Colt McCoy needs targets. But more than that, with Hillis gone, the Browns need a runningback.
5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Morris Claiborne - DB - I know nothing about Tampa except they were awful, especially their defense, and that everyone is saying this.
6. Saint Louis Rams - Justin Blackmon - WR - With the Browns taking a back instead of a receiver, the Rams are going to get Bradford a good target instead of bolstering that line.
7. Jacksonville Jaguars - Riley Reiff - OL - I said it before, whether or not Gabbert has potential, I don't know. But MJD is awesome, and improving a bad O-line will make them both better. With Reiff available, Jacksonville springs for him.
8. Carolina Panthers - Dontari Poe - DL - Fact: Cam Newton is awesome. Fact: Carolina's defense was anything but. Fact: A good pass rush makes your entire defense better thanks to errant throws, unless you're rushing Ben Roethlisberger, who has the magical ability to extend plays indefinitely, or Aaron Rodgers, who is the avatar of one of the football Gods. It was Poe or Quinton Coples, and I liked Poe better at the Combine.
9. Miami Dolphins - Ryan Tannehill - QB - Crazy Al Davis - Miami has been turned down by no fewer than four quarterbacks in about one week: Peyton Manning, Alex Smith, Matt Flynn, and Tim Tebow, a local hero who got more cheers when Denver visited than the Dolphins themselves did. It's genuinely sad. Maybe David Garrard will prove to have some merit, but they need some young blood there. Why is it a CAD? Because Tannehill is nowhere near top-ten-pick good. He's good, but nowhere near this good. What would make sense would be to use this on some good defensive elements or someone you can trade, and pray you can nab Matt Barkley next year. But they're more desperate than the Browns, Miami needs something now, not next year.
10. Buffalo Bills - Quinton Coples - DL - The Bills offense is 13th. Not superb, but fine by all means. The defense sucked at everything but interceptions. Add Coples to Mario Williams, and that front starts showing promise.
11. Kansas City Chiefs - Luke Kuchely - ILB - I honestly didn't watch any Patriots West games other than the fall of Packerfection, and Orton's Revenge. Most people like Kuchely though.
12. Seattle Seahawks - David DeCastro - OL - Any part of Andrew Luck's O-line is going fast. Sidney Rice opens up everyone else on that defense, if the Hawks want the Matt Flynn experiment to work, they need to get him time to throw, and they need Skittles taking pressure off of him. The only way that happens is with an improvement from that line, and the draft is a good place to go for that.
13. Arizona Cardinals - Jonathan Martin - OL - The Cardinals need to get someone to help keep the pressure off Fitzy, but he still notched a 1,400 yard season. With all of the secondary. With Kevin Kolb. He can wait. That O-line can't, it's been bad ever since Kurt Warner left.
14. Dallas Cowboys - Dre Kirkpatrick - DB - The Combine I feel is overemphasized. However when you fall as flat as my previous pick for Dallas - Courtney Upshaw - you basically shoot yourself down at least a half dozen positions, if you're lucky. With DeMarcus Ware's successor not looking on the way, Dallas will work on the more important part they need to improve: Their defensive backfield.
15. Philadelphia Eagles - Luke Kuechly - ILB - The offense is fine, but Jason Babin is the only good thing on Philly's defense. Good middle linebackers improve everything - they stop the run, they drop into pass coverage, they blitz well, and they can even call defensive audibles. If you need to revamp your D, start there.
16. New York Jets - Cordy Glenn - OL - The Jets need a lot of help in a lot of places. The offensive line is probably the most pertinent though, even if they put Tim "Impossible to bring down and scrambles like a boss" Tebow under center. Glenn feels right.
17. Cincinnati Bengals - Janoris Jenkins - DB - I don't care that the Bengals decided to be stupid and keep Pac Man. If they do not bring in a DB to give him competition, they don't deserve Andy Dalton, Green-Ellis, or AJ Green.
18. San Diego Chargers - Michael Floyd - WR - They need a replacement for Vincent Jackson. With Antonio Gates sticking around, they can afford for that replacement to be a rookie.
19. Chicago Bears - Nick Perry - DL - With Brandon Marshall added to Cutler's weapons, my focus for Chicago now switches from the offense to the defense, where Julius Peppers needs a companion.
20. Tenessee Titans - Melvin Ingram - DL - Tennessee is another one I didn't really pay attention to. However I know everyone is saying they're going to the D-line, and Ingram seems fitting from the remains.
21. Cincinnati Bengals - Lamar Miller - RB - With the Browns taking Richardson, the Bengals will take the #2 runningback in the draft to replace Benson.
22. Pittsburgh Steelers - Brilliant Bill Bellichick - Traded to Steelers by Browns for Rest. FA Mike Wallace - Mark Barron - SS - There's no reason Cleveland shouldn't do this. It gets you a proven playmaker who instantly makes McCoy at least decent, you have the cap space to do it, they lose little and gain much, and it deals a huge blow to a divisional rival. It makes too much sense for them not to. So, this would mean the Steelers either use this to get a replacement - unlikely after Antonio Brown's performance - or to fill one of their needs, their aging defense. Polamalu's in the same boat as Ed Reed, great, playmaking safety who's getting old. Bring in his replacement now and let him get trained by a future hall-of-famer.
23. Detroit Lions - Stephon Gilmore - DB - After thinking about it, I'm going to go back to the Lions taking Gilmore over Dennard. It just seems to fit better with what the Lions need, and given how much Calvin johnson's mismatches have benefited them, a big DB makes sense.
24. Pittsburgh Steelers - Mike Adams - OL - Along with the defense getting old, the Steelers have a horrible offensive line. They're lucky Ben Roethlisberger can extend plays how he can, because that's all that's kept the passing game alive in the Steel City. Especially coming off his injury, Big Ben needs help out there. Look what happened when he didn't - again, he got an injury even he couldn't bounce right back from, and that playing through probably cut a year or two from his career.
25. Denver Broncos - Kendall Wright - WR - The Broncos have Peyton now, so the already-good defense will be improved since opposing offenses will have to keep up. The best thing they can do right now is get a good offensive lineman, but most of them are gone outside of centers, and they seem to want to bring in Jeff Saturday. Next best thing is to grab a receiver.
26. Houston Texans - Mohamed Sanu - WR - With Pittsburgh taking Cleveland's 22nd pick, and not using it on a receiver, that means the Texans can get Andre Johnson a wide receiver to run opposite of him, rather than a tight-end.
27. New England Patriots - David Wilson - RB - If there's one thing the Pats showed us this season, other than that Gronk is a beast, and TEs create great mismatches, it's that just because Brady can score 30 points a game and carry the team the entire season, does not mean he should. Because when he does, he's eventually going to burn out and collapse. He almost made it, but in the home stretch after blowing out Denver, he was not himself, he got outplayed by quarterbacks he's better than, and the end result was he lost the superbowl, and should've lost the AFC. He needs a run game to give him some breathing room sometimes, and he needs a more competent defense. Defense is being addressed in free agency, but with the Law Firm closing up, the run game needs addressing elsewhere, like the draft. The ACC player of the year is still a pretty good snag at 27th.
28. Green Bay Packers - Fletcher Cox - DL - Much like the Pats, Green Bay needs help defensively and on the ground. However being much younger and, for now at least, better, Godgers can do what wore Brady out, and carry the entire offense, so the run game can wait. The Packers had an alright secondary, but that doesn't cut it when your front seven can't apply pressure, which, credit to Clay Matthews, they tried to do, but couldn't. Getting young blood up there will help everyone, as will Nick Collins' return to the secondary. Beef up that front, and the backfield can let Woodson's age and the inexperience of a lot of guys slide.
29. Baltimore Ravens - Stephen Hill - WR - Honestly, the Ravens need a center more, but more on that in a minute. Right now, lets be frank: the Ravens should've had a superbowl berth. They lost the AFC championship not because they were outplayed, but because a receiver dropped a perfect throw, and a kicker missed an easy field goal. Lets go to Lee Evans' drop for a minute - the corner, Sterling Moore, is 5'10", as is Evans. Stephen Hill is half a foot taller than both of them. If you have a gigantic receiver like him, that ball is never touched by the DB. The Ravens go to the superbowl. He's faster than Evans, too. He's an incredible value as a projected low first-round/early second-round pick since he had a very run-based college, but he was strong when he performed, and was a Combine standout. Based on Smith and Green, I think the Ravens would love this guy to start immediately, especially after the superbowl proved a three receiver set is a valid move.
30. San Francisco 49ers - Coby Fleener - TE - With Moss, Manningham, and Crabtree loading up the Niners WRs, and the defense being arguably the best there was last year, there's really one hole left to fill if Smith can keep himself at the least decent - another pass-catching tight-end to flank Vernon Davis. That's either Fleener, or Dwayne Allen, and I like Fleener more right now.
31. Baltimore Ravens - Brilliant Bill Belichick - From Patriots - Peter Konz - OL - Funny, using a BBB on a Pats trade...I have no idea what the Ravens would trade for this. The only things I can think of are Webb, who the Ravens are intent on keeping, and late-round draft picks, which I can see since Belichick doesn't usually draft normally and likes quantity, the Ravens have the most to gain from two first-rounders, and it's essentially a second-rounder, so won't command high price. Right, onto the pick. Konz is perfect in almost every way for Baltimore, the only reason he's here instead of 29 is because Hill is a hotter commodity. Konz is not only a capable center, but he used to play guard, which is currently a hole for the Ravens. He can fill in there until the Ravens find a permanent solution, all the while learning from former perennial pro-bowler Matt Birk. I'll be amazed if Baltimore doesn't get Konz either like this or with #29.
32. New York Giants - Dwayne Allen - TE - There really aren't a lot of first-round caliber defenders left at this point, so lets help New York join the rest of the NFL in going to a two-tight-end offense. Allen and Fleener are fighting for #1 TE, and lets say for now that Fleener wins.