Friday, March 29, 2013

Six More Years of Tony Romo

Congratulations Jerry Jones. You've locked up Tony Romo for six years and $108 million - $55 million guaranteed - and made him the richest player in franchise history. Just when I thought you were going to look to potentially draft the next QB of the future, you decide to keep a good but not great guy because.......well I'm still trying to figure it out.

Romo was going to be a free agent at the end of this season and I was all set to say if he didn't show improvement, it's time to go. At this point, he's a 32-year-old QB who is what he is. A guy who'll throw for 4,000 yards, 25-30 TD's and can't get out of his own way in big games. A guy responsible to the only Cowboys' playoff win since I was in junior high in 1997 but who's thrown my team out of many a games.

My reaction is simple. This is Jerry Jones at his best. Show loyalty until it forces his hand at the absolute moment. Wade Phillips stayed too long before he was fired. Jason Garrett is slowly getting to that point with his playcalling. Now Tony Romo will be a Cowboy until I'm in my mid 30's, assuming he doesn't get waived.

I'm supposed to be happy? I'm just numb. Numb after realizing the Tony Romo Dilemma will continue for one more year.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

An Open Letter to Brittney Griner: The Most Dominant Player in College Hoops

Dear Brittney,

After watching you work last night in your final home game at Baylor to advance to the Sweet Sixteen, I only have one thing to say. I'm sorry I doubted you four years ago coming out of high school and I'm glad that I've come around to appreciating your growth as a senior.

See back then, I saw footage of you dunking. A tall girl with long arms that folks had high praise. Having been used to seeing Candace Parker, Diana Taurasi and other great players, I was amazed at your height but I wondered about your strength. I didn't think you'd get the chance to develop into more than just a young lady who could dunk.

Forgive me for my bias though. I've seen tall kids dominate in high school only to see them struggle in college because height can only go so far. So I was skeptical. But you began to prove me wrong as a freshman.

You set the single-season record for blocks in a season that year. Nobody had an answer for you and it was clear you'd be a defensive stalwart while your offensive game came around. Sadly, most folks remember you throwing a punch that broke Jordan Barncastle's nose and they denigrated you as a thug or a wild player. Nevermind that it was a great teaching moment that you grew from thanks to your excellent coach Kim Mulkey.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

March Madness Update - How's My Bracket Looking?

A quick glance at my bracket says I'm doing pretty well - if by pretty well you mean the entire West region has been blown to smithereens. But I've got 11 Sweet 16 picks along with 5 Elite 8's and 3 Final Four picks.

I also love how Florida Gulf Coast is an indictment of this season in two ways. 1) It speaks to how weak some of the top teams are but in a better way, 2) It explains why college coaches need to let their guys play and not try to hold them back because of a system. Systems are great for college but you have to adjust to your personnel because that'll maximize the system more than just being stubborn.

Finally, I have a few words to the national pundits who are sorry to see Ben Howland go because he had 3 Final Fours on his resume. Enjoy.

Monday, March 25, 2013

A Few Words on Ben Howland's Firing

To nobody's surprise, Ben Howland got his walking papers barely 48 hours after seeing UCLA lose by 20 to Minnesota in the first second round of the NCAA Tournament. It's a long time coming.

First things first, I give Howland credit as the most successful coach since John Wooden in terms of getting to 3 Final Fours. He also made critical adjustments to turn this season around and open up the offense to benefit his personnel. I also believe that if Jordan Adams didn't break his foot against Arizona, we might be having a different conversation.

That said, I grew up in the Steve Lavin era where Sweet 16's and great recruiting classes were an annual occurrence in Westwood. I watched Baron Davis fly around, Earl Watson drop dimes and Jason Kapono light up the court. So my standards aren't Wooden-esque, it's about creating a program where people want to add to the legacy, not just come on reputation.

I admitted before the season that Howland's job was at stake depending on how this season went. Once Tyler Lamb and Josh Smith transferred, it was only a matter of time. 12 players in total. transferred under his watch and it appeared that the most promising season in 5 years was heading into the drain before he changed it up.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

A New Site, A New Beginning

First of all, welcome to the EB Sports Report. If you've followed me on Twitter or read my other site - Virgo Gumbo - you know that I enjoy rapping about sports as much as anything else. I've already explained the rationale for this site on the Gumbo so here I want to give some background on me as well as what I plan to do here.

For those who don't know, I've been a sportswriter in Los Angeles since late 2006. I worked at the LA Sentinel from 2006-2010 and was also the sports editor there since 2008. I've written for ESPN HS, Bleacher Report, The Torrance Daily Breeze and others while I've specialized in high school sports as well as covering the L.A. sports scene.

Fanwise? I rep the Lakers obviously and if you want to know the story behind my other faves, check this link out. But to sum it up, I rock with UCLA, Duke hoops, Dallas Cowboys, LA Dodgers, San Diego Chargers and my alma mater, the University of San Diego.

So what's the EB Sports Report focusing on? I'm taking lessons that I've learned from writing at Bleacher and Rant Sports as well as what I've seen from other popular sites. I've shown some concerns about the state of sports media and this is my way to carve my own solution instead of just complain about the modern sports-industrial complex.

I promise you, the reader, a higher level of sports discussion. I'm still tied to my journalistic integrity first and foremost.  I don't believe in talking about the obvious things and I love looking for different angles that few people are talking about. I'm all about straight talk, good analysis and a side of wit. I may love my teams but in the spirit of Chick Hearn, I'm anti-homerism and I'll call everything as I see it.

I'll focus on the L.A. sports scene but I'm not limited to it. I'll post links of my published stories as well as create new content on pro, college and high school sports. I'll try to also do weekly videos as well. I'm glad to add that to my portfolio last year and I'll be bringing that here.

I'm basically doing the same thing here I did at Virgo Gumbo. I paraphrased Rakim in my tagline because that original line from "Lyrics of Fury" describes what a great writer should do. Sit back, observe and tell you what it means to me. So join me here at the Sports Report and I promise it'll be a fun ride.