Luke Waltons Forehead presented by the Sports Dude.

Friday, January 20, 2006 at 11:11 AM

Weekend Warrior - Final Four Edition.

Not a lot of time today, so here is the “Final Four” version of the NFL Playoffs.

Pittsburgh at Denver

Well, Pittsburgh did the unthinkable last week and still gave me a reason to watch the NFL Playoffs. Look, Saturday night was a very sad time for me, the Patriots all but imploded and it was a very strange thing to watch that happen. However, the Steelers gave me reason to still believe and pay attention by all but blitzing old softy (a.k.a. Peyton Manning) out of the playoffs, even though the refs did their best to try and hand the game to the Colts. All that aside, you know I am pulling for the Steelers and somewhere up in heaven (if you believe in that anyway!) my grandpa is looking down and saying “you better be boy, especially after you pulled for the Patriots to beat them last year!”. Well grandpa, no hard feelings, but since the Pats lost I can now do you right by rooting for the Steelers. Look, they are on a roll and, even though Denver is now 9-0 at home this season, I just can not pick against them for two reasons; first my heart and second that defense looked awful good man! I think it will be a good game, a close game, but I think the Bus and Willie Parker will control the game on the ground, keep the clock moving and there will be no fumbles this week.

Pittsburgh 23, Denver 20

Carolina at Seattle

I am torn here between a team that I really do not care about (Seattle) and a team that is somewhat hit or miss with me (Carolina). Instincts tell me that I should just go for it and pick both the road teams to win this weekend, but can I really do that? The best way I can answer that is with a simple no, but only because the Panthers are without their starting running back (Deshaun Foster). If he were in I might say go for it and pick Carolina, but darn it even though Steve Smith is playing awesome right now I just don’t think it will be enough. Something tells me that Mike Holgrem will finally get the Seahawks to the Super Bowl; something tells me that Shaun Alexander will have a really great game and something tells me there will be little (thanks to some untimely injuries) that the Panthers will be able to do about it. Carolina has done a nice job of winning on the road this playoff season so far but this time I think they will come up a little short.

Seattle 27, Carolina 19

Well, there you go, I was 3-1 the first weekend but fell off to 2-2 last weekend. I guess 5-3 is not that bad, but as long as I get the Steelers pick right this weekend that is all right with me. Peace out, football responsibly and let’s hope the Bus is coming to the D! Be careful, stay safe and see you all next week… the sports dude.

Thursday, January 19, 2006 at 3:23 PM

I'll take the angel hair pasta with the Marinelli sauce please.

Yeah, I know, the title is a little played out, I am sure, but damn I had to use it. I was also thinking along the lines of “MMMM…goodness!” – You know, stressing the four “M’s” there for Marty, Mooch, Marinelli and Millen, but I went with the pasta angle instead. So sue me if you will, you all know by now the sports dude enjoys the silly angles and abstract views in the sports world. That is my job, that is what I do, and whether you admit it or not that is why the three of you read. Hey, but I love the three of you and, besides Tom Brady, I don’t throw my man love around to just anyone. Speaking of man love, and an obvious segue to the next paragraph, let us talk about the new man in town, the man we all hope to love (if he allows it!) as the newest Lion coach, the newest “M” boy, the one and only Rod Marinelli.

I have to admit, when I first heard this guys name mentioned a week ago I said “Whom?” – That was my honest to goodness first reaction. For weeks we had heard the names of Haslett, Grimm, Saunders, Lewis, Carthon, and out of the blue here comes this Rod character. Who the hell are you buddy, from what rock did you climb out from under? After today I realized maybe that is a good thing, at least which is how I am trying to spin it, because maybe that is what we needed here for a change. You see, you all remember when Mooch was hired and for the most part at the time that seemed like a good hire. The pedigree was there, the golden boy image, the return home, all of that was thrown in our face. In Mooch we had a proven winner, an offensive minded coach and a guy who was known to get the most out his QB’s on the field. Well, a few years later, we all know how that turned out and it can be summed up in one word, shitty. In Marinelli we have a guy whom up until only a couple days ago no one really even knew existed and, in fact, I don’t even think anyone else was looking at (except the Raiders, but do they count?). Yes, I know, some may say that is a bad sign, but I am trying to stay positive and say that it is a good sign because God knows, we need all the good signs we can get here.

Another thing I like, and yes I know it is all just words at this point, but listening to this guy talk I couldn’t help but get excited about it for some reason. Maybe it is just the whole “ass kicker” persona this guy seems to have but, if you don’t mind me saying, I think this team needs a good ass kicking. In fact I believe that said ass kicking is long overdue! Furthermore he seems like a guy that will try his hardest to motivate the hell out of his guys in different and creative ways – videos, speeches, and even slogans like he had in Tampa Bay the year they won the Super Bowl, “Pound the Rock”. Well, I put this idea for next season in a comment on the sports pigs site, but I think next seasons slogan could simply be “Down with the Divas” because man, damn it, if he is the ass kicker he sounds like there won’t be any room for the diva shit in that locker room like there has been recently.

Look, the defense to me, for the most part, was always a decent strength here in Detroit the last couple years. I tell you what, something tells me that “Big Daddy” and “Big Baby” are licking their chops right now thinking of all the sacks, all the blitzes and all the QB’s they are finally going to be allowed to smother next year as opposed to this “bend but don’t break” crap we have seen here recently. I also think he will get more out of our LB’s because, when healthy, I think that we really have a young and athletic bunch here in Detroit. Defensively speaking this is a great hire, I am sure he will find a coordinator from his own mold to come aboard here in Detroit and only make the whole unit better. However, where the real question lies is whom will he bring in to be the offensive coordinator because something tells me he is not going to be one of those head coaches that also calls the plays, but that is just a hunch. I think the offensive staff that he puts together will be the key and it will be interesting to see how he approaches it. I would also like to add that no, the sports dude could give two shits about a “Joey rip” here, I already said the economics almost mean that he has to be back, so he better find a coordinator that can milk something out of one Joey Harrington.

All in all I am, for whatever reason, slightly excited but at the same time I want to see it on the field. I like the thought of the guys practicing in pads, I like the thought of someone getting in Charles Rogers, Roy Williams and Mike Williams faces and making them cry. I enjoy the mental picture of Dre Bly ripping Joey now and seeing Rod bitch slap him on National TV and telling him to keep it internal. I like the boot camp thing because to me that is what football is suppose to be – no divas, no country clubs, just down and dirty smash mouth football with all the blood and guts and glory that go with it. I also like the fact that he mentioned the offensive line and that he knows that you start your offense there and that he wants to make sure the Lions have a legitimate line in place. (Sorry Raiola, you got a lot of work to do baby and you may be cut sooner than you think!) I like the fact that he understands the importance of the run because I truly think Kevin Jones could be better if he touched the ball more than 15 times a game, but maybe that is just me! But, like I said earlier, it is all just talk now but I truly hope it transcends from words to the football field, I really do.

So there you have it folks, “Down with the Divas”, print your t-shirts, make your signs and look forward to the upcoming season in Detroit Lions football. I do have one last question for Marinelli though, what receiver you thinking about drafting? Later – the sports dude.

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