Saturday, June 9, 2007

Big is in, complaints not valid, Smooth

Who knows what the Denver defense is going to be like this fall but give the Broncos credit for aggressively pursuing a new approach, starting with defensive coordinator Jim Bates' hire, the trade for cornerback Dre' Bly and the recent elephant hunting that has netted them jumbo defensive tackles Sam Adams and Jimmy Kennedy to go along with draftee Marcus Thomas. This may not become a dominant unit but it will be a different look and one with intriguing potential. I like it. Now if the team can only get that offense up to speed.

Yes, CU basketball coach Jeff Bzdelik is one cold fish when it comes to stroking the emotions of others but we all know life isn't fair, that Bzdelik is paid to run a clean program and at the same time win, win, win and that recently displaced players still do have a promising future, if they so choose. That the father of James Inge is upset is understandable, as he loves his son, but to not respect Bzdelik's honesty, to expect that his son have a stronghold on a scholarship when he won't be allowed to play is shortsighted. Instead, the Inge family should be out hitting the pavement, marketing, seeking a solution, even if short-term so their son can continue his education and playing career. Bzdelik's approach makes him easy to dislike in some people's eyes but he isn't the bad guy. Fan's expectations of winning are to blame.

Seeing a headline that reads "Ex-Bronco" when referring to linebacker Al Wilson still ain't right because Wilson was such a dominant presence in that organization and to think it ended like it did for him doesn't really work for the heart. Some food for thought -- if D.J. Williams doesn't excel in the middle, which I think he eventually will and Wilson gets healthy, a long shot, Little Al could get another shot in Denver in 2008. The word here is the former Tennessee Volunteer won't play in 2007.

Chauncey Billups must feel valued at CU these days. AD Mike Bohn talked to him last season about the program, Billups has committed himself to supporting it and now a basketball camp to be held in Boulder. Maybe it is difficult to see with the naked eye but good things are coming to Buffs basketball with the hiring of Bzdelik and his make-no-excuses, hard-line ways and Billups' name recognition and tangible contributions.

Rockies Rap

Jeff Francis made one mistake Friday against Baltimore and it cost him. Nick Markakis is not the guy to jack around with, yet Francis tried and got punched. Lesson learned.

O.K., Todd Helton can start hitting any day now. We're ready. Ditto for Garrett Atkins. If Matt Holliday wants to go on a torrid power surge, we're ready for that too. You all don't have to be shy. Get up and do your thing.

The Rockies have one of the better farm systems around so you can't entirely knock the way they do business but they do make mistakes. Last year was one example talked about here before. Pitcher Greg Reynolds, Colorado's top pick, looks good early but pitchers Andrew Miller and Clayton Kershaw (the WSN picks last year) are better talents and looking big time and hitter Evan Longoria looks like a future star. Tim Lincecum and Brandon Morrow are in the major leagues and Kyle Drabek is a hot prospect.

This season, picking a reliever in Casey Weathers instead of hitters Jason Heyward or Matt Dominguez or pitcher Jarrod Parker was shortsighted. Yes, the Rockies need help in the bullpen but unless Weathers becomes "all that" this was a mistake. Book it.

The National Sweep

This space is devoted to the Broncos but KC would be smart to at least investigate the possibility of acquiring quarterback Daunte Culpepper. Brodie Croyle, currently pegged to be the Chiefs' starter was considered John Elway-esque in high school but injuries and well, the fact that he isn't Elway, never let him live up to the hype. Croyle has an interesting story and seems to be one to respect but Culpepper can play if he's healthy and KC would be foolish not to try to pick him up. Seeing him in Denver once a season would be good for business too.

I see people, and when I say people I mean the media, are back questioning LeBron James. Niiiice. The man is in a bad relationship. No matter all the good he does he will never be able to please those who disseminate the sports news. Lift a joke of a franchise to the NBA Finals, then laugh at him as his team loses Game 1. Remember the Super Bowl losses of that Denver quarterback. Interesting parallel. Let's clear things up for the media -- James has always been great, is great and will be great and the Cavs work towards surrounding him with quality talent he will bring that city a championship. Oh, and one more thing -- Tim Duncan is no stiff, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobli are quality, Bruce Bowen is like jock itch that won't go away, Greg Popovich can coach a little and the Spurs, well, they're kind of like always championship-kind-of-wonderful. Did the sports' experts forget all that?

Nebraska just took a bit hit, losing big-play receiver Maurice Purify. The cat just, like me, knows how to attract men in uniform. If he's not playing bar room stunt man and breaking up the place and people, Purify is arrested on suspicion of drinking and driving. What will be interesting is this -- will the Huskers dip into the past and use the Tom Osborne model of guidance and allow Purify back on the team, excusing all this as boys being boys or will Nebraska do the right thing, acknowledge Purify is an idiot and throw him overboard, allowing him to fend for himself after breaching the respect for his scholarship?

Final Salvos

The Reds will look hard to trade Ken Griffey Jr. this season. The future Hall of Famer is healthy (for now) and crushing baseballs again. Such a move makes sense, allowing Cincinnati to build up a mediocre team and giving Griffey another shot at playing on a winner.

Don't miss the Sunday Truth column. Will begin a new series -- the WSN Lists, with first up a rating of the state's quarterbacks, college and pro.

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