Jim Souhan analyzes the local sports scene and advises you to never take his betting advice. He likes old guitars and old music, never eats press box hot dogs, and can be heard on 1500ESPN at 2:05 p.m. weekdays, and Sundays from 10 a.m.-noon.

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Posts about Tarvaris Jackson

Tuesday at Target Field

Posted by: Jim Souhan Updated: April 20, 2010 - 8:33 PM

Checking in from Target Field. Writing for the Wednesday paper, then I'll turn my attention to the NFL draft.

So...

-The Wild fires Tommy Thompson. Who didn't see that coming?

Whatever you think of Mr. Thompson, you knew Chuck Fletcher would want his own people in that position, and the previous regime did not do well enough in the draft for anyone to make a case for keeping Thompson around. Nice guy, should land on his feet somewhere as a scout.

-The NFL releases its schedules, with the Vikings opening the season on Sept. 9 at New Orleans.

This is final confirmation of what we already knew: Brett Favre is coming back. The NFL would not schedule the first game of the year to showcase Tarvaris Jackson.

I was covering the Vikings in 1998 and 1999, when they lost the NFC title game to Atlanta, then faced Atlanta in Week 1 the next season. The Vikings won that game, but the NFL is an afterthought in Atlanta.

The Saints and their city will be in full party mode. I still say that NFC title game in January featured the best atmosphere I've ever experienced at a football game.

-The Vikings' schedule is fascinating, and more evidence that the NFL knows how to generate maximum interest in its sport.

The Cowboys and Cardinals highlight the home schedule, but the road games are almost all intriguing. Vikings at New Orleans to start the season? What more could a Viking fan ask for? Vikings at Jets? Who doesn't want to see Brett Favre return to New York?

At Patriots? Vikings vs. Randy Moss. At Redskins? Chilly vs. the quarterback he was once rumored to covet, Donovan McNabb. At Eagles? Chilly plays his former employer again.

Add in the natural intrigue surrounding divisional games, and it's a fascinating schedule.

But you'd expect that from the NFL, a league that once was largely ignored for six months of the year and now is the No. 1 sport in the country even during its offseason.

-I don't pretend to study prospects before the draft, so I'll make my predictions vague: I would be very surprised if the Vikings didn't take one or two defensive backs in the first two rounds. I would be very surprised if they didn't take an offensive lineman. I would be very surprised if they took Tim Tebow. I would be very surprised if they took a quarterback in the first two rounds.

I'll be writing off the draft live on Thursday night.

-Delmon Young scored from second on a wild pitch tonight, when the ball kicked away from the pitcher after Michael Cuddyer scored from third. Young scored in part because he's in better shape and in part because he's much more enthusiastic about playing the game this season. In my opinion.

-Amazing first three at-bats for Joe Mauer tonight: Strikeout with nobody out and runners on first and third; groundout with bases loaded; doubleplay grounder.

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, it is Drew Butera's time.

-I'll be on 1500ESPN from 3 to 6 p.m. Wednesday. I'll sit in with Patrick Reusse from 3-4, then be with Rookie from 4-6. Kevin Seifert and Joe Christensen will be among my guests, talking NFL draft and Twins.

My twitter name is Souhanstrib.

Thursday, I'll be doing the Inside Corner debate with Ron Coomer on the FSN pregame show, which starts at 11:30, and I'll contribute to the postgame show.

 

Ensconsed at Soldier Field

Posted by: Jim Souhan Updated: December 28, 2009 - 5:33 PM

-In a very embarrassing development for Twin Cities reporters, noone in the local media discerned what was really happening in the world of Big Time College Football this week.

Urban Meyer, loyal to the University of Florida, realizes that by stepping down he can allow Florida to make a coup of a hire that will ensure the future greatness of the Gators. He realizes...that Tim Brewster might become available. Better yet, he realizes that Tim Brewster might become available and be willing to bring one of the great Gators of all time, Jedd Fisch, with him to Gainesville.

Then Minnesota athletic director Joel Maturi, always proactive, recognizes the peril in letting a coach of Brewster's accomplishments leave, and quickly counters Meyer's thrust with a parry, offering Brewster a contract extension. Tragedy averted.

Meyer, disappointed his ploy didn't work, agrees to return as Florida coach after a leave in which he will mourn Brewster's loyalty to the University of Minnesota.

How did everyone miss this?

-I completely disagree with Colts coach Jim Caldwell pulling his starters with an undefeated season within his grasp.

Yes, it is possible that a key player could have gotten hurt if he had kept his starting lineups intact. My arguments for playing for 16-0, though, are these:

-How often does any team get a chance to make history? The Colts could have become the first team ever to go 19-0. Isn't that worth playing for? Aren't your players motivated by that?

A team wins the Super Bowl every year. Rarely does a team have the chance to achieve a truly history feat. Caldwell blew it when he pulled Manning.

-The Giants proved when they won the Super Bowl that playing your best at the end of the season is an ideal way to set yourself up for postseason success, and a handful of Tony Dungy's Colts teams proved that rust does accumulate at the end of the season if you rest your starters and then sit through a bye week in the playoffs.

This is time to peak, not rest.

-How would you like to be a father who took out a second mortgage so you could take your kids to Colts games, and then, with your team on the cusp of history, you're all of a sudden watching a preseason lineup blow the game you paid so much to see?

-I'm writing this before the Bears-Vikings games, and maybe the Vikings will change my mind tonight, but right now I think I'd rather bet on the last four teams in the projected NFL playoff seedings than the top two.

New Orleans is reeling. The Vikings are slumping. The Eagles, Cardinals, Packers and Cowboys are not only playing their best, they also have passing games that would test the Saints and Vikings. Like I said, it's about peaking at the right time.

In the AFC, I'd bet everything I owned on San Diego making it to the Super Bowl - if I bet on sports.

-I continue to say that the Favre-Childress skirmish is not as big a deal as ESPN has made it out to be. That's because World War III wouldn't be as big a deal as ESPN has made this out to be.

Childress told ESPN that he wanted to pull Favre to protect his health. I believe that. I also disagree with the decision, for many of the reasons listed above. The Vikings need to play well in December and they aren't going to get sharper with Tarvaris Jackson trying to save the day. Even if Jackson had played well, that wouldn't have helped the offense prepare for the playoffs.

-This isn't exactly groundbreaking, but I believe the key to tonight's game will be the performance of the Vikings' offensive line. If the boys up front give Adrian Peterson holes and protect Favre, this could be a blowout. If they don't, even Jay Cutler has a chance to beat them.

I'll check in again after the game.

Tonight

Posted by: Jim Souhan Updated: December 22, 2009 - 5:45 PM

-I'm at Wolves-Hawks tonight. I'll be on pregame on FSN debating Jim Petersen at about 6:35-6:40, then on again for the postgame show.

-To summarize the column I wrote for the Monday paper on the Favre-Childress sideline spat: Although I've come to like and respect Brad Childress greatly, I believe in seeing the big picture, and the big picture is you don't recruit (read: beg) a Hall of Fame quarterback to join your team, then start benching him when he's healthy and playing well, even if he does change a play or two.

Would you rather have a full season of Tarvaris Jackson running exactly the plays that are called in, or a full season of Favre, replete with his foibles? I'll take Favre. Childress obviously would take Favre, too. So Chilly is just going to have to loosen up and let Favre be Favre the rest of the season. There are no worthwhile alternatives.

-My happy thought for the day: I got stuck in a snowbank (because I keep putting off putting on my snow tires), and a random stranger stopped to push me out.

And that man was Tim Brewster! Joy to the world.

-You can follow me on Twitter at Souhanstrib. I'll blog after the game, if there's anything worth writing about.

 

Bud needs to leap into the new millenium

Posted by: Jim Souhan Updated: November 11, 2009 - 2:44 PM

So baseball's braintrust watches its umpires post a lower batting average during the postseason than the pre-Kate-Hudson A-Rod, and comes to this conclusion:

``Ah, everything's fine.''

Everything is not fine.

The networks cover every angle in remarkable detail, in HD clarity. The better the broadcasts get, the more often we see the umpires fail.

One fine writer, Joe Posnanski, expressed sympathy for umpires, revealing that he wanted to be an umpire when he was young.

Here's my problem with sympathizing with umpires, and with failing to correct their many mistakes: The kind of people who like the idea of being big-shot, big-league umpires are the kind of people who need checks and balances.

To me, too many umpires are like parking-lot attendants: They recognize that they are in the only position of power they will ever hold, and they want to make the most of their moment in authority.

What is the most common personality profile of a big-league ump? Desperate to get into, or stay in, baseball. Desperate to be a part of what happens on the field, instead of a silent arbiter of the action. Desperate to show off, with flashy strike calls and emotional out calls. Eager to argue, to reassert their power. Sensitive _ and here is where I am sympathetic _ because every game, for them, is played in hostile territory.

That personality profile leads to umpires not only missing calls, but defending their wrong calls, or refusing to meet with other umpires to consider changing calls.

Replay is necessary in baseball. Without it, baseball will continue to look like an anachronism next to the other major sports. Without it, umpires will continue to blow calls, then defend their mistakes.

I've defended Bud Selig occasionally, saying I think his lack of gravitas hurts his image as much as his actual decisions. This is a classic Selig mistake, though, ignoring an obvious problem when just about every baseball fan in the country is sickened by it.

C'mon, Bud. Stop making baseball look like the sports version of a horse and carriage.


Anyone else notice that, every week, Brett Favre comes up with a new injury? Usually, he drops a mention of his new affliction in an interview with a national writer, like, ``Yeah, Peter, that leprosy cost me a few toes, and I wasn't sure if I was going to play, but, you know, I toughed it out. Awesome.''

In the Packer game, it was his groin. He said Wednesday that he told coach Brad Childress and backup quarterback Tarvaris Jackson to be ready to replace him.

Does anyone believe that? Does anyone believe that Favre would come out of a game in Green Bay with a minor injury?

He's played wonderfully, and his press conferences are spellbinding, but Favre seems to believe the public is as gullible as P.T. Barnum suggested.


It's nice that Joe Mauer won the Rawlings Gold Glove for fielding excellence, but, to me, this is the postseason award of least value.

I've been in too many manager's offices when the ballots are handed out, and listened to too many managers and coaches base their votes on how someone fielded in the handful of games the managers and coaches saw that player in person.

Mauer might be the best defensive catcher in the American League, but this is an award won by reputation, not performance.


Quick thoughts:

-The Twins should look into signing third baseman Pedro Feliz. He's not great, but he's a good fielder who drove in 82 runs this year, and he could hold the position until Danny Valencia is ready.

-For today's paper, I wrote about the MCTC basketball program being disbanded after this season. I'd have a lot more respect for President Phil Davis if he just declared that he didn't value the program instead of hiding behind a student council and never taking charge of, or responsibility for, the decision-making process.

-Wolves GM David Kahn waited until after the draft to hire a coach, and then hired a coach who insists on running the triangle offense despite having very few players who can run the triangle effectively. Jonny Flynn is a shoot-first point guard and Al Jefferson is a low-post player who requires time and space to be effective. Neither is a classic triangle player.

Of course, that's now why the Wolves lost by 382 points at Golden State. They lost by 382 points because they displayed no pride, no guts, not toughness. It's one thing to lose because you lack talent; it's another to lose badly because you are soft.


Upcoming: I taped the latest Unsportsmanlike Comment with Reusse, and it should be posted on startribune.com soon. Tomorrow morning I"ll be on am-1500 with Reusse at 6:40, and on WJON at 7:14.

As always, you can follow me on Twitter at SouhanStrib.

I'll be at the Wolves' game tonight with a few hundred other masochists.

Bud needs to leap into the new millenium

Posted by: Jim Souhan Updated: November 11, 2009 - 2:44 PM

So baseball's braintrust watches its umpires post a lower batting average during the postseason than the pre-Kate-Hudson A-Rod, and comes to this conclusion:

``Ah, everything's fine.''

Everything is not fine.

The networks cover every angle in remarkable detail, in HD clarity. The better the broadcasts get, the more often we see the umpires fail.

One fine writer, Joe Posnanski, expressed sympathy for umpires, revealing that he wanted to be an umpire when he was young.

Here's my problem with sympathizing with umpires, and with failing to correct their many mistakes: The kind of people who like the idea of being big-shot, big-league umpires are the kind of people who need checks and balances.

To me, too many umpires are like parking-lot attendants: They recognize that they are in the only position of power they will ever hold, and they want to make the most of their moment in authority.

What is the most common personality profile of a big-league ump? Desperate to get into, or stay in, baseball. Desperate to be a part of what happens on the field, instead of a silent arbiter of the action. Desperate to show off, with flashy strike calls and emotional out calls. Eager to argue, to reassert their power. Sensitive _ and here is where I am sympathetic _ because every game, for them, is played in hostile territory.

That personality profile leads to umpires not only missing calls, but defending their wrong calls, or refusing to meet with other umpires to consider changing calls.

Replay is necessary in baseball. Without it, baseball will continue to look like an anachronism next to the other major sports. Without it, umpires will continue to blow calls, then defend their mistakes.

I've defended Bud Selig occasionally, saying I think his lack of gravitas hurts his image as much as his actual decisions. This is a classic Selig mistake, though, ignoring an obvious problem when just about every baseball fan in the country is sickened by it.

C'mon, Bud. Stop making baseball look like the sports version of a horse and carriage.


Anyone else notice that, every week, Brett Favre comes up with a new injury? Usually, he drops a mention of his new affliction in an interview with a national writer, like, ``Yeah, Peter, that leprosy cost me a few toes, and I wasn't sure if I was going to play, but, you know, I toughed it out. Awesome.''

In the Packer game, it was his groin. He said Wednesday that he told coach Brad Childress and backup quarterback Tarvaris Jackson to be ready to replace him.

Does anyone believe that? Does anyone believe that Favre would come out of a game in Green Bay with a minor injury?

He's played wonderfully, and his press conferences are spellbinding, but Favre seems to believe the public is as gullible as P.T. Barnum suggested.


It's nice that Joe Mauer won the Rawlings Gold Glove for fielding excellence, but, to me, this is the postseason award of least value.

I've been in too many manager's offices when the ballots are handed out, and listened to too many managers and coaches base their votes on how someone fielded in the handful of games the managers and coaches saw that player in person.

Mauer might be the best defensive catcher in the American League, but this is an award won by reputation, not performance.


Quick thoughts:

-The Twins should look into signing third baseman Pedro Feliz. He's not great, but he's a good fielder who drove in 82 runs this year, and he could hold the position until Danny Valencia is ready.

-For today's paper, I wrote about the MCTC basketball program being disbanded after this season. I'd have a lot more respect for President Phil Davis if he just declared that he didn't value the program instead of hiding behind a student council and never taking charge of, or responsibility for, the decision-making process.

-Wolves GM David Kahn waited until after the draft to hire a coach, and then hired a coach who insists on running the triangle offense despite having very few players who can run the triangle effectively. Jonny Flynn is a shoot-first point guard and Al Jefferson is a low-post player who requires time and space to be effective. Neither is a classic triangle player.

Of course, that's now why the Wolves lost by 382 points at Golden State. They lost by 382 points because they displayed no pride, no guts, not toughness. It's one thing to lose because you lack talent; it's another to lose badly because you are soft.


Upcoming: I taped the latest Unsportsmanlike Comment with Reusse, and it should be posted on startribune.com soon. Tomorrow morning I"ll be on am-1500 with Reusse at 6:40, and on WJON at 7:14.

As always, you can follow me on Twitter at SouhanStrib.

I'll be at the Wolves' game tonight with a few hundred other masochists.

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