Posted on: March 3, 2011 8:11 pm

Charlie Monfort

It appears that Charlie Monfort's fall that sent him to the hospital was not too serious, and I'm glad Charlie is okay.  It doesn't hurt that the Rockies appear to be a changed team from the one that fans saw do very little right for more than a decade.  This is an organization that worked hard this off-season and for the first time in the history of the Rockies it really looked like our management wanted to secure our talent and give the fans a future to look forward to. 

In 2007 things looked extremely bright for the Rockies with lots of talented young prospects, but when Matt Holliday was shipped to Oakland it once again looked like we would not secure our own talent for the joy of fans in Denver.  Sure we'd made big contractual commitments to a few select players in our history.  The Todd Helton, Larry Walker, Daryl Kyle types, but in general the Rockies didn't spend on a very high level.  Now this summer they locked up Tulo and Cargo and brought back Jorge De La Rosa.  Ubaldo's contract still has some legs and post the Broncos McDaniels era, the retirement of Joe Sakic, and the exodus of Carmelo Anthony and Chauncey Billups the Rockies find themselves the most star studded lineup around.

The Rockies rise comes at a perfect time for them to have a huge push of fan support in the stands and at the box office this summer and their investments will pay dividends immediately.  Hopefully it will result in the first Division Crown in Rockies history and maybe even another trip deep into Rocktober.  But for now, I would acknowledge that for all of the negative press the Monfort family took for being cheap, they have redeemed themselves and sending well wishes to Charlie can be done without also begrudging the departure of yet another Rockies star.
Category: MLB
Posted on: January 26, 2011 8:15 pm

Is Jay a Quitter?

When Jay Cutler was drafted by Mike Shanahan and the Broncos, the fans in Denver were excited.  The kid had displayed an electric arm at Vanderbilt.  Jake Plummer was the Broncos QB at the time and just a season removed from leading the Broncos to the AFC title game in January of 2006 he found himself knocked from the helm in favor of Jay Cutler that following fall.  Perhaps after the Super Bowls of the late 1990's Broncos fans suffered the same affliction as the fans of the Yankees, Steelers, Red Wings, Longhorns, Lakers, or Celtics, a sense of entitlement to always be good and talk down to the fans of inferior sports organizations.  Broncos fans cheered the Jay Cutler replacement and the Broncos fell from a playoff spot with Plummer to out of the race with Jay.  I don't mean to imply that Jay was the problem and I certainly understand that the Broncos brass felt they had to give Cutler the nod so as to not be paying way too much for a backup QB, but I never felt the huge number of Broncos fans who put down Jake Plummer were fair to the gutsy former Cardinals QB. 

All that said, Jay Cutler made some electric passes when he became the Broncos playcaller.  A 70-yard bomb to Javon Walker in one of his first starts certainly caught my eye as a throw that Plummer didn't have in the arsenal.  Cutler was beloved in Denver.  Not John Elway style beloved, but the fans supported him and made custom tee-shirts ("JC Saves", etc.).  Just as fans were quick to turn on Plummer, and Brian Griese before that, fans found a way to take Josh McDaniels side and actually celebrated the end of the Jay Cutler era and crowing of Kyle Orton.

This week Jay Cutler was knocked out of the NFC title game and the mixed reactions in Denver were very interesting.  Some still harvest great resentment towards Jay and called him a quitter.  It seems others, although a minority, still support Jay and felt bad for an injury ending his season shortly before the Bears were knocked out of contention.  Well for any Broncos fans, or for anyone out there at large who has revelled in Jay's injury this week, your opinion of Jay's toughness is dead wrong.

We had people like Pete Prisco of CBSSPORTS, and he wasn't alone, saying Jay Cutler would have played on a torn MCL if he had guts like Philip Rivers.  This is such total garbage.  You hear about player playing hurt but saying they can't go when they're injured.  Look at all the hits Jay sustained this year and in total during his years in the NFL.  It's easy for internet tough guys to say Jay's soft, because they've probably never felt the pain of a rough day as NFL QB a single day in their lives.  Comparing Jay to Rivers is probably the lamest thing you can do too.  Without medical knowledge you have no way of comparing the injuries.  "Well they were both MCL's..." 

The Rick Reilly's of the world, and all of the sports curmudeons showed up in droves both before and after the game to pile onto Jay, were also completely dispicable.  "Oh, Jay's playoff win doesn't count, because they beat a 8-9 team."  "Jay Cutler is soft and has no leadership."  If Jay had no leadership then why did Josh McDaniels get rid of every single major playmaker that Jay played with, except Eddie Royal?  Jay had friends in that locker room.  The offense was the heart of that team and they trusted Jay and Josh McDaniels got rid of every player who had loyalties to Jay and Shanahan and tanked an average team into one of their worst seasons.  Notice that not a single Jay Cutler former teammate from the Broncos was on Twitter blasting the embattled QB.

Jay joined a Bears team where the defense is the heart of the team.  There is and has been a terrible offensive line and a lack of weapons in the receiver spots.  Still Cutler led the offense of a team that earned the second seed a bye week in the playoffs and played a considerably more difficult schedule than the top seeded FalconsBrian Urlacher didn't treat Cutler with respect when he joined the team, but I would submit that after two years of Urlacher seeing Jay absorb incredible punishment behind a terrible line and continue to fight that Brian now respects Cutler.

It's unclear why Jay Cutler is such an NFL piriah right now.  I personally think all the venomous articles swarming the media have tainted the national perception of the talented QB.  Were any of these people watching the Monday Night Football game against the Packers where Jay took a vicious heatshot from Frank Zombo and stayed in the game to lead the Bears to victory?  Even look to the game on Sunday night, where he clearly couldn't step into his throws and continued to get pummeled in the pocket.  The Bears' doctor declared it unsafe for Jay to return.  Why on earth should we expect a player to risk life and limb when he's shown the ability to play through pain before.  He just couldn't go.

Let's try to remember how to be real fans.  Just because Deion Sanders, a guy who tried as hard as he could to never take a hard hit in his life, Tweets about Jay doesn't mean he's right.  And in the post Josh McDaniels era fans need to recognize what a personel nightmare we lived through.  It's not Jay's fault that McDaniels was intent on clearing out all of the best offensive threats.  Jay Cutler isn't a media darling, but he plays football like a professional and deserves some respect especially from his peers and those that once cheered him in Denver.
Posted on: January 20, 2011 6:05 pm

Shame on the Nuggets Fans

When Jay-Z and Mikhail Prokhorov were rumored to be arranging talks with Carmelo Anthony this week, it seemed a foregone conclusion to many writers around the nation that a deal to send the Nuggets' star to the Nets was all but done.  Yesterday when Prokhorov announced that the Nets would no longer pursue "Carmela" it should have been a time of rejoicing for the Nuggets faithful.  The Nuggets handled the Thunder last night thanks in large part to another huge performance from Carmelo Anthony.  What was the celebration after the game?  A chorus of boo's raining down on him during the post game interview.  As Melo walked from the court idiot meatheads yelled at him with anger on their faces.  The negative treatment towards Carmelo is sheer stupidity.

Let's break this down for all of the idiots in Denver that would cut off their noses to spite their faces.  The Nuggets were a bad franchise from the time Dikembe Mutombo left in 1995 all the way until the day Carmelo Anthony arrived in 2003.  The Nuggets won 17 games the year before Melo arrived and won 43 with Melo starring as a rookie.  Carmelo led the Nuggets to more playoff appearances than LeBron James led the Cavs to, and the Nuggets had to compete in the much more competitive Western Conference of the 2000's. 

Carmelo signed a five year contract at the end of the 2006 season with a player option that Melo could choose to excercise at the finish of the current season.  What exactly do Nuggets fans feel Melo owes them?  It's his player option that he could pick up for next year or he could sign an extension in Denver if he wants to stay.  He has not demanded a trade.  The Nuggets have looked to get value for Carmelo by trading him in the middle of this season in part because of the massive criticism they fear if they get left "empty handed" like the Cleveland Cavaliers did.  If the Cavs had it to do all over again to you really think for a second that they would have traded away LeBron James during the middle of last season?  Even as everything played out, the Cavs got to the Conference Semi-Finals and sold a heck of a lot more tickets and merchandise than they would have without LeBron.  Nothing they could have traded for would have made them an instant contender again.  In fact, the smartest move for Cleveland may be to get the most lottery balls and hope you grab a number one pick in the draft again.

The Nuggets best chance to return to the Conference Finals again is with Melo on the court.  The Nuggets have no history of success without a single title ever coming to Denver, so the chance to compete for a championship is a rare and golden opportunity.  Keeping Melo is the only option that Nugget fans should want to see.  It may only be a relationship that only lasts for another half a season plus playoffs, but it will be worth it.  The Nuggets have no obligation to trade their star forward, they are doing this to themselves.  This emergency "player-dectomy" is almost certain to kill the team.  The Nets were the only team to offer real prospects and not just bad contract salary dumps.  The Nuggets will have an automatic salary dump if Carmelo leaves, Kenyon Martin doesn't get picked up, and Chauncey Billups either leaves or re-ups to a smaller deal.  That's almost $60 million that would come off of next years books without even considering the new collective bargaining agreement. 

Losing Carmelo could set the Nuggets back seven years to the time before Melo, but trading Carmelo Anthony will set the Nuggets back almost as much.  The Nets are out.  The draft picks and real prospects are gone.  The obvious choice is to keep Melo and take your chances with what he will do at the end of the season. 

So what's the point?  Don't boo Carmelo.  He's done nothing but pour his heart out for the Nuggets his entire NBA career.  He doesn't deserve it and until he actually moves there is always the possibility he will stay in Denver.  If you follow the stories closely you will see that Carmelo has indicated that leaving town isn't a foregone conclusion.  I admit that odds are he will land in a Knicks jersey as soon as the impending labor dispute is resolved, but no matter what he decides Melo deserves love and class from the fans of the Mile High City.

I think Denver has a lot smart fans that understand the players and teams that entertain us year round.  That being said, there are also a ton of dummies around here.  The people who crucified Jay Cutler and got behind Josh McDaniels were complete morons.  How is that working out with the Broncos at 4-12, Josh McDaniels working for Kroenke in St. Louis, and Jay Cutler and the Bears a game away from the Super Bowl.  You know who you are and I wouldn't be surprised if you are a lot of the same people booing Melo.  Class it up people and to all the true fans let's hope that Melo sticks with the Nuggets through the end of this year and that good things happen.

Posted on: January 14, 2011 12:32 pm

Out'Fox'ing McDaniels

There has been mixed reviews to the John Fox hire in Denver.  Some hang their hat on his league worst record in Carolina last year and others remember Fox taking the Panthers to the Super Bowl in February 2004.  Personally I think the hire was the smart choice and the right one and perhaps the best way to explain why is to point out the differences between the terrible Josh McDaniels hire and this current hire:

1.  Experience - John Fox had over 20 years of experience as a defensive backs coach and defensive coordinator before spending the last eight years as coach of the Carolina Panthers.  Josh McDaniels was a Patriots assistant from 2001-2004 and then a QB coach and offensive coordinator for five years.  He had no prior head coaching experience at any level.  Josh got the nod in Denver because people looked at young successful coaches like Mike Tomlin and John Gruden, but it's hard to beat 30 years worth of experience from a guy who is still just 55-years-old like John Fox.  Picking a coach with prior NFL head coaching experience was a great choice especially with a team hurting after the mistakes of a young purported genious blew up in the Broncos face.

2.  Offense/Defense - The Broncos had some of the brightest young offensive stars in the league with Jay Cutler, Brandon Marshall, and the awesome talents of Ryan Clady.  In Shanahan's last season the Broncos witnessed one of the harshest injury rashes an NFL running back core has ever seen, but in Peyton Hillis they found an absolute stud who all savvy fans were excited to see come back from a hamstring injury in the 2009 season.  The Broncos defense stunk on ice and couldn't stop anyone.  Why the Broncos hired an offensive despot like McDaniels will never be clear, but only Clady remains with the presents former coach being huge question marks going forward.  Knowshon Moreno has not impressed and has been a beacon of what happens when you take a running back who isn't Adrian Peterson or Bo Jackson way too high in the draft.  Hindsight is 20/20, but the Broncos should have hired Leslie Frazier in 2009 if they wanted to give a young coach his first chance.  Now they are getting a defensive coach and there has to be some hope that the defense can return to respectability.  My advice is to resign Champ Bailey and forget about drafting LSU's Patrick Peterson as a rookie corner back and pick up Nick Fairley to match up with Elvis Dumervil for a fearsome pass rush.

3.  Loyalty - Josh McDaniels learned a terrible habit from Bill Bellichick.  Josh saw Bill ship off pro bowl talent on a regular basis.  Richard Seymore, Ty Law, and Asante Samuels did all get the boot in New England, but what I think Josh missed was that Bill always had the respect of the remaining players.  Bill would never get cross with his franchise QB.  McDaniels came to Denver and replaced high level offensive talent with huge athletic downgrades.  I credit Kyle Orton with some huge improvements this last season and Brandon Lloyd really impressed, but overall how can the Broncos players not resent sending good players out to bring less talented guys in?  Some people might think it is a fault, but when John Fox stuck with Jake Delhomme through his struggles it was a demonstration of good leadership.  Steve Smith and Jake took that team to the Super Bowl and, if you remember those playoffs in 2004, they were both playing out of their minds.  Jake was matching Tom Brady shot for shot in the Super Bowl and hit some spectacular passes.  Hard to say everything that went wrong for Jake, but Fox stuck with him for as long as possible and that means a lot.

At the end of the day, what happens on the football field will determine whether the John Elways hiring of John Fox is a success or a failure, but they worked quickly so that now draft preparations can be put in order.  The Broncos are a prideful organization with as good a fan base as any team on earth and glory days will return.  Let's hope John Fox is the catalyst.
Posted on: December 28, 2010 7:58 pm
Edited on: January 20, 2011 7:00 pm

How to Solve A Problem Like Carmelo

Following my first blog entry regarding the Rockies batting woes in late September, I had some bad words to say to some trash talking Phillies fans...which led to CBS blocking my blogging for three months.  Well, believe it or not, when I wrote that blog the Rockies were in the playoff hunt, the Broncos were in the playoff hunt, and the Buffs were in the hunt for a bowl game.  Good thing I was blocked because I probably would have had a bunch of bad words to say about a Broncos team with a now fired coach, a CU team now captainless, and a Rockies team that...well I am pretty pleased with locking up Troy Tulowitzki and Jorge De LaRosa.

With football season dead and gone, and professional soccer no longer masquerading as a Mile High interest now that the Rapids Championship talk has died down, the Nuggets get center stage over a good young Avs team.  Melo is here for now and the Nuggets are hugely underrated.  They have three home losses on the year including what should have been a win over the Spurs.  But for another infamous Manu Ginobili flop, the Nuggets would have wins this year over the Mavs, the Lakers, the Magic and the Spurs.  Even as is, they have an elite resume for a team that has been far from healthy with Kenyon Martin, Birdman, Carmelo and Chauncey all missing time. 

If the Nuggets can string together another strong winning streak before the All-Star break, the Nuggets should certainly consider holding onto Carmelo and taking his talents into the playoffs for one more shot with the current Nuggets team.  With as tough as the Nuggets are at home they would be a difficult draw for almost any team.  What are the alternatives?  Melo, allegedly, would be willing to go to the Knicks right now and sign an extension, but the Knicks don't have the lucrative prospects and draft picks the Nuggets deserve.  The Nets have assets worthy of making the Nuggets abandon the current season and send Melo to the Nets for the reverse of the Kenyon Martin deal that has haunted the Nuggets for so many years now, but Melo has said he doesn't want to sign the extension for a team without talent to win right now.  Why would Carmelo want to transport himself back to 2004 when he needed to drag the Nuggets into the playoffs on his back?  Then there are the contenders who are looking for the knockout punch by picking up Melo.  The Magic and Mavs would love to have him, but how much would they realistically send back to Denver?  Any way you look at it, Melo is hard to move, so do the easy and obvious thing and keep him in Denver.  Sell as many seats as possible the rest of the year.  Hope for another good playoff run like the 2009 campaign.  However this ends up, it's not a Mutumbo situation no matter what anyone says.  Bernie Bickerstaff let a franchise building player go who would have had no problem staying in Denver.  Melo apparently does have a big problem with staying in Denver but is playing hard for this team, so take the effort while he's here and then move on.

Category: NBA
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com