No NFL team rises to the top without the right quarterback, so it’s going to be imperative for the Raiders to settle on their quarterback of the future. Frankly, I’m not sure they’re making the right choice right now.
Matt McGloin will start his fourth game Sunday in New York against the Jets. He’s played well enough to get that opportunity but I hope they’re not giving up on Terrelle Pryor. McGloin is a more traditional quarterback, but Pryor has some special skills that could make him the best choice by next year, if not this year.
And next year is what the Raiders need to be planning for, the year when they can break through and be a playoff team again.
Unlike a good part of the media, I believe Reggie McKenzie as general manager and Dennis Allen as coach have each done a good job. McKenzie had to unload a lot of players who were overpaid and underproducing and he seems to be doing a good job of bringing in young players who have the drive that was notably lacking in many of the players who had been signed to those big contracts. Yes, he made a mistake with Matt Flynn but he’s not the only one who has, and he got rid of Flynn quickly this season.
Allen, too, has been learning on the job. He changed offensive coordinators this year and Greg Olson seems to have done a better job of matching talent and system. One of these nuts on sports radio last week criticized Allen for not being more outgoing on the sidelines. Well, neither Tom Landry nor Bill Walsh was demonstrative on the sideline, but they’re in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Mike Ditka was a firebrand on the sideline, and all that got him was fired.
For both McKenzie and Allen, the quarterback decision will be by far their most important decision.
–Glenn Dickey, San Francisco Examiner
The A’s are due for a fall, and in a refreshing change, Billy Beane isn’t alone in the realization.
Every so often, ownership makes it clear that this “cash-strapped” label is a total fabrication. The A’s are a “small-market” team only because they choose to be. Between baseball’s revenue-sharing system and the financial empire of co-owner JohnFisher, they have tons of money, enough to play hardball with the Yankees, Red Sox or anyone else.
Forbes has estimated Fisher’s worth at $1.25 billion, and A’s fans should know: This man has made a habit of holding back the franchise. Lew Wolff commits the tedious crime of disparaging the Coliseum and clinging to the prospect of playing in San Jose, now a lamentable pipe dream, but Fisher is the one who could turn this organization into a major financial player.
As opposed to Arte Moreno (Angels), Mark Walter (the Dodgers’ controlling owner) or anyone else obsessed with winning, Fisher owns this team mostly for show. Perhaps it spruces up the conversation at cocktail parties. I know friends of the Haas family who have been absolutely furious with Fisher, an ownership magnate who could resurrect a fine tradition but simply isn’t that interested.
The A’s were a thriving, pulsating business when Walter Haas ran the show. Attendance peaked, the roster was filled with marquee players, and the overriding mood was one of generosity, a sense of community, full devotion to the product. Levi’s was the family’s calling card, but baseball was its passion. If a discouraging season unfolded, it couldn’t be traced to apathy, wanderlust or a locked-down wallet.
–Bruce Jenkins, San Francisco Chronicle
Forget the pipe dream of actually competing for a World Cup title, Team USA would be pulling off a minor miracle by just advancing to the knockout round.
Friday’s much-anticipated draw put the Americans in Group G with Germany and Portugal and Ghana. This is the Group of Death everyone feared. It’s the only of the eight groups with two top-five teams.
Germany, which has finished top 3 each of the last three World Cups, is ranked No. 2 in the world. Portugal, featuring arguably the best player in the world in Cristiano Ronaldo, is No. 5. Only two teams advance from each group’s round robin tournament, so USA is nothing short of a long shot.
The worst team in Group G is hardly a slouch. Ghana, which ranks No. 24 in the FIFA soccer rankings, has beaten USA in each of the last two World Cups.
As ESPN’s Taylor Twellman put it: This is like playing in the NFC West.
(Oddly enough, Mexico — which squeaked into the World Cup — got a better draw than the U.S., landing in Group A with host Brazil, Croatia and Cameroon.)
This sucks because soccer has become cool in America. The steady improvement of the national team has turned into a national party every four years, powered by hopes that the US might finally do something big. That buzz might have just been killed six months before the party started.
–Marcus Thompson II, San Jose Mercury News