You are in the hands of Brian Lee Rivers every day 10am-3pm on KJ-108. This is working man's radio with a guy at the controls that REALLY knows his rock! BLR brings you Classic and new rock that you can listen to all day long. Plus, at high noon, the Electric Lunch; Win lunch from the Red Pepper of Grand Forks with the Lost Lyric Competition, Name That Album, and more! This REALLY is radio that you can lock into and stay with all day long!
I’ve got two boys that I’m raising and so far they have picked up none of my bad habits. Now that I’m a family man, I left the rock band thing that I did when I was younger. I spent age 17 to 35 or so moonlighting as lead vocalist with a little keyboard playing to help fill out the sound with different bands over those years, Ranging from high school garage bands to serious regional bands that toured a little and to local bands that got it’s ya-ya’s out in small clubs around the area. I was never close to the big time and never expected to get close; I just had a good time doing it. I realized I had to quit because my kids were young and demanding and it was too hard to function as a parent on Sunday morning when you got back from Warroad at . God, do I miss the band thing, but my life with my kids is beyond words and I have no regrets, just a little longing that would probably go away a couple of weeks later if I got back into it again.
My life is Family, Work and Youth Sports right now and it’s been blur.
I have never warmed to Christian Ponder... In my opinion... He takes too long to make the decisions he needs to make and then gets rushed into a making a quick decision and that leads to forced passes and less than optimal result. At the same time... The Vikings were producing points and the Vikings Coaching Staff kept saying that Ponder is the guy and I tend to trust their judgement over mine because they have more information that I do. I just watch the end result with no idea what is happening with all 11 players on a given play. The coaches know information like what is the reciever supposed to do on any given play. What is the QB supposed to do and what is everyone supposed to do on a play. I don't so I've never gotten excited about the QB situation.
With Ponder down with a fractured rib. Matt Cassel got the start and he quickly showed the ability to drop 3 steps and throw the ball to a spot and let his recievers get to that spot and make a catch before the defense can reach him or adjust to a route. It was nice to see but don't be surprised if Ponder is back in at QB when he is healthy again.
I was happy with the Cassel start and I'd like to see him again next week but once again... I remain concerned about the... Defense Defense Defense Defense Defense!!!!!
The Vikings just allowed 27 points to a team tha was averaging 14 points a game. This Ain't good Viking fans. No QB is going to be able to win football games when the Defense is allowing this many points. Who knows what would have happened but the end of the game fumble by Rothlisberger inside the ten yard line prevented what would have been a last minute drive for 3 games in a row.
I have no idea what defensive formations or plays are called and if I did know... I wouldn't know what the inside linebacker is supposed to do in that formation or play. I'm just saying the defense isn't doing very well because they are giving points at an alarming rate.
Ponder or Cassel? It's an easy target for us fans to debate. I'll continue to say that the defense is the main issue and I don't feel very good about it right now... even if I feel good about finally winning a game.
Speaking of Defense... It appears to be a problem at UND. I love my UND Football team... I'm a Chris Mussman fan and I believe in the coaching staff but... Oh My... Things are not good on the defensive side of the ball. The early portion of the schedule has been against some very good football teams... It's been a killer schedule but eventually you have to stop making excuses and say... it is what it is.
1. Zane Zeller comes to town with SDSU and you say "Zeller is one of the finest runningbacks in the country"... It's a decent enough excuse.
2. Montana comes to town and you say "Montana is rolling over everybody... the team is loaded". It's a decent enough excuse.
3. Montana State comes to town and you say "McGhee is the top offensive player in the Big Sky conference". It's a decent enough excuse.
They are all decent excuses unless you take all 3 of them and add them together. Add them together and the sum of those parts is greater than. UND has not been tackling very well and they have not penetrated the offensive line enough to disrupt execution as they have been routinely beaten at the line of scrimmage.
It's too bad because it's exciting football coming to town and we have potentially the best WR corps in all of the FCS division. It's been a powerless feeling watching the other teams march up and down the field. The other teams are not being forced to punt. Punting is part of the game and the other teams don't have to punt. I'm sure that the coaching staff and players are as frustrated as I am. I don't have an answer and I won't pretend to have an answer. I'll continue to look forward to the next game.
UND is at Idaho State next week. I'm hoping for a return to the win column.
Try to forget the non conference schedule... The results don't count in the conference schedule and if you want to win a Big Sky conference title... It begins this weekend with Montana State coming to Grand Forks to take on UND at the Alerus.
UND had a week off to work on the mistakes made against a very very talented Montana team. That Montana game was technically a non conference game. It's also a Montana team that UND will not have to face in the conference portion of the schedule.
UND also had a chance to beat a very talented South Dakota State team. So based on those two game... We are still not sure what UND team will show up on Saturday. However, we are still unsure what Montana State team will show on Saturday as well. The Bobcats are coming off a shocking loss to Stephen F. Austin. This is a Stephen F. Austin team that lost to Weber State earlier in the year and that is a Weber State team that was blown out in the other 3 games they played. Montana State may be 11th ranked when they arrive but an 11th ranked team doesn't lose to Stephen F. Austin.
In 2012... Montana State finished in a tie for the conference title with a 7-1 record. QB Darius McGhee was the Big Sky Conference player of the year. After a strong 2012 and a returning Darius McGhee at QB. The Bobcats opened 2013 ranked #3 in the FCS poll and they were the preseason favorites to win the Big Sky ahead of Montana and Eastern Washington.
It hasn't been going as planned. Darius McGhee hurt his shoulder and he is not expected to play this weekend. His backup has been prone to turning the ball over and that has been causing the Bobcats major problems.
All signs point to Montana State running the ball and running the ball alot.
1. Back QB Jake Bleskin has thrown as many interceptions as touchdowns.
2. Montana State ran the ball for 400 yards last year against UND
3. Zach Zenner ran for 296 yards against UND this year
4. Montana ran the ball very effectively against UND this year
5. Montana State Coach Rob Ash has stated that he doesn't think that running will be as effective as last year and coaches lie in pre-game interviews like they are playing poker.
UND hasn't proven that they can stop the run and they need to stop the run. If they can't stop the run... It will put their young talented QB's between a rock and a hard place. The Rock being the need to produce points each possession because they will have limited time of possession with the opposing offense running and milking the clock and the hard place is the occasional rookie mistake that gives up possession and gives the Montana State running game the ball again.
Now that I've made the run game as scary as possible... I think UND will win this game.
1. They are at home
2. The passing offense is among the best in the country.
3. Montana State is struggling to overcome the injuries they have suffered and re-inventing themselves on the fly.
4. 11th Ranked is way too high a ranking for Montana State.
5. Comparative Scores suggest that South Dakota State is a better football team and we could have beat the Jackrabbits.
6. UND has had two weeks to prepare.
It should be a great game... I'm going with UND 41 Montana State 33.
The Tigers clinched the AL Central last night at Target Field with a 1-0 win. There is no doubt that Max Scherzer of the Tigers is going to win the Cy Young Award this year with his now 21-3 record. It was Max Scherzer who held the Twins scoreless for 7 innings last night. It was Kevin Correia who kept the game close for the Twins while Scherzer did his thing.
When Kevin Correia was signed as a free agent during the off season. There were many Twins fans upset about it. The Twins gave Kevin a two year contract for 10 million total so he will be part of the Twins plans for next year as well. Kevin wasn't considered to be a high upside free agent pitcher. He has very low strikeout totals and he had the very definition of average numbers in 2012 with the Pittsburgh Pirates. So average were his numbers that the Pirates actually took him out of the rotation for a brief period after they acquired Wandy Rodriquez in a trade in July.
Twins fans were upset because there were Free Agent pitchers out there that were thought to be better. They were upset because Terry Ryan said that he would be aggressive in Free Agency to improve the rotation and that was percieved to mean that we would bring some guy or guys who could blow some hitters away. They were upset because Kevin Correia was average. They were upset because he got a two year contract instead of a one year prove it deal.
I was not one of those Twins Fans... Don't get me wrong... I wanted one of the top tier guys... I was confused by a two year deal... but at the same time... I had seen Kevin Correia pitch with Pittsburgh and I was impressed... He was competitive and capable. I looked through his game log from 2012 start by start and he kept the Pirates in the game the majority of times that he took the mound. I never expected Kevin to pitch like Clayton Kershaw... I just expected Kevin to come in and be better than what we had throwing for us in 2012 and with that perspective... Kevin Correia was a welcome addition in my mind.
I was right... 2012 worked out great... He was average and we needed average in the worst way.
Kevin Correia threw his last pitch in 2013 last night for the Twins. He ate up 185 innings for the year and he finished with an ERA of 4.18. That's a decent year and his numbers translate to the top starter for the Minnesota Twins this year. We can now safely say that Kevin Correia was not worth the handwringing over his signing. He is a long ways from the top problem to worry about on the Twins.
Correia will be in the rotation for 2014. Who will be pitching with him is the question. Kevin Correia as your top starter is a problem. Kevin Correia as one of your starters is just fine. The Twins need minor league prospects Kyle Gibson, Alex Meyer and Trevor May to grow up quickly. The Twins need Sam Deduno to get and stay healthy... They need Andrew Albers to stay impressive while Scott Diamond, Vance Worley get back to where they were before. AND... AND... AND... They need to take a chance and sign a couple of free agent arms and hope they come ready to get it done. They got some money to spend and they got to ignore the sticker shock and take a chance.
Whoever is in the rotation for 2014 is yet to be determined... We do know that Correia will be in it and that is all we know right now.
It was actually a fun game to watch last night. Pelfrey kept the team close while Verlander racked up the strikeouts and the Twins rallied to tie the game on a Brian Dozier Home Run in the ninth and then win it with a Josmil Pinto single in extra innings.
The big but not unexpected news of the day was word that Joe Mauer suffering from concussion symptoms has been shut down for the year.
First of all... It's not a big deal for the rest of this year... The Twins are going nowhere and Josmil Pinto is getting a chance to play alot and Pinto is looking real good.
But... 2nd of all... It's kind of a big deal because Joe Makes a lot of Money... 23 million each year to be exact. He still gets paid 23 million and he is hanging out at home.
Concussions have become a major topic across all sports these days. We remember how long we lost Justin Morneau due to a concussion so it would be a mistake to take them lightly. I freely admit that I have no idea what the consequences are for trying to play through them and the effect they have on you in the short term or long run.
What I do know is this... Joe Mauer will be paid 23 million a year weather he is on the field or not on the field. He will be paid 23 million a year every year until 2018. 23 million is a major investment for the Yankees or Dodgers to make. It is completely out of scale for an organization like the Minnesota Twins. 23 Million could bring in two quality pitchers or it could bring in 5 Average pitchers so I really hope that this thing doesn't linger ala Justin Morneau.
If something happens to Joe... The Twins will not... can not... simply won't bring in another 23 million type player to take his place with Joe's salary on the books. No matter the win/loss record in any given year... Joe's importance to the team can't be mistaken. From his talent to the dent he makes in the team payroll.
As for this year... it doesn't matter. Keeping Joe healthy is going to be a huge priority.
After 3 weeks of play... There are 6 teams without a win in the National Football League. The Cleveland Browns are not one of those 6 teams. The Browns beat the Vikings 31 to 27 yesterday on a late touchdown and this put our Minnesota Vikings in that class of 6 teams without a win.
You don't have to walk very far in any direction to hear someone complain about Christian Ponder. That's been going on for awhile now and it probably isn't going to stop but I'm inclined to wonder about what is happening on defense. The Browns just put 31 points on the Vikings. This is a Browns team that scored 16 points combined in the two games before and just traded their top RB to the Colts in a surprise move. The cupboard was bare on paper but they didn't the stuff in the cupboard to take on the Vikings Defense.
Don't get me wrong... I can join a lynch mob as easy as everyone else. I'm not a Ponder fan but let's face it. The QB position is an easy target... Offense is an easy target... as football fans we get the concept of scoring. You run or you pass... We don't have to know if the guard pulls or what route the recievers are running. We can latch onto run or pass... Success of failure. The ball leaves the hand of the QB... Someone is supposed to catch it. If that doesn't happen... It's easy to look at the QB and say... Bring in the backup and it does seem to happen quite a bit with Mr. Ponder.
Offensive Coordinators are easy targets because we can second guess them from our living room. "I would have thrown the ball here or I would have ran the ball here". The truth is... The offensive coordinators have computer programs that track the succuss of each play... They ain't working off the cuff. They have actual information that guides play selection. Us normal folk... don't. Yet we are strong with our convictions that we are right and it ends up twisting into "they don't know what they are doing" so they must be replaced.
It's much harder to criticize a defense because the play calls are not as obvious to the untrained eye. We don't sit on the couch and say... "They should have blitzed the Strong Safety and dropped the Sam linebacker into pass coverage to cover the tight end on that play. Blah Blah Blah... I don't even know if linebackers are called Sam or Will anymore.
So... I get it... The QB and the offense is going to get the lions share of the disapointment of a 0-3 record.
So while everyone is ready to place blame once again on Ponder and Offensive Coordinator Bill Musgrave. Statistically... I'd like to point a couple of things... The Vikings have scored 81 points in 3 games... That's a 27 per game average... That ain't bad. Only 6 teams have produced more points in the NFL so far. This also been done without Adrian Peterson going nuts like he did last year.
The defense has allowed 96 points. Only 2 teams have allowed more(Giants and Redskins). That says something doesn't it?
Ponder??? I don't care anymore... The Coaching staff keeps putting him out there. They obviously feel he is the best option. They have more info than I do and the offense has found the end zone more than most teams. The backup QB is always going to be very popular until he isn't the backup anymore (remember Joe Webb last year). Once the backup starts... the new backup sees a big spike in his poll numbers.
The defense... Let me say that again... Defense... Defense... Defense... I feel fairly confident in saying... That's the main problem and it has to be fixed quickly. The Browns scored 16 points in the first two games... They scored 31 yesterday!!! It's also two weeks in a row that the Vikings defense allowed two last minute drives with the game on the line. Players have to step up and make plays... not mistakes when the game is on the line.
I just don't have the strength to be anti-Ponder right now. Next week the Vikings take on the Steelers... Pittsburgh is 0-3 along with the Vikes... One of those teams is gonna be 0-4. The Steelers have put 42 points total... Averaging 14 points a game. The defense has to step up and keep them off the board when they face a struggling offense. If the Steelers score over 24 points... We can leave Ponder alone... He won't matter anymore. The Defense will be a much larger problem.