Sunday, September 17, 2017

It the Movie (Minor Spoilers Possible)

Was able to catch the movie It this weekend.  It is a good movie.  I like the horror genre and I liked this movie.  I've never read the Stephen King book nor was I a big fan of the first movie adaptation but I thought it was ok.  I do like the scary clown look as a whole though I do know it can be a bit overdone at times.  It was good but I wouldn't say it was great.  I've heard it is true to the book which is always good.  It deals with many dark tones which makes it an uncomfortable movie on different levels.  And that is with the most controversial scene from the book omitted from the film.  The visuals for Pennywise the clown are great though the more you see of him throughout the film it takes some of the edge off.

The story and how it is presented are pretty straight forward.  Pennywise terrorizes a small town every 27 years killing children.  A group of children with their own issues in life are potential targets but band together to fend off the horrific jester.  There just wasn't that one thing that made me go wow. I really liked Pennywise, the actors and the story. It just isn't a movie that after first watch makes me think I'll want to see it over and over.  Sometimes movies grow on me and they has the chance to be one of those for me.  The movie It Follows was that way for me.  It also sets itself up for a part two as this movie only deals with the parts of the book covering the lives of the main characters during their childhood.  I definitely think anyone who thinks they may enjoy It, whether they are a fan of Stephen King, the book, the first movie or the genre should go see the movie.  

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Buffalo Bills 2017 Preview

I’m late getting this out and Buffalo has already beaten the Jets but I want to look at the 2017 Bills before the season gets too far along.  Last year was another lost year for the Bills when they went 7-9.  Tyrod Taylor started 15 games and by default was forced to resign him in a convoluted messy affair after he was released.  So he returns along with stud LeSean McCoy but there isn’t much else to get excited about.

Taylor while capable doesn’t exactly exude franchise quarterback in his play.  He’s better than many out there and I can’t fault him too much but he doesn’t move the excitement meter either direction.  LeSean McCoy returns after another excellent season and anchors the backfield though top backup Mike Gillislee left for New England in the offseason via free agency.  With Sammy Watkins traded to the Rams the receiving corps will be led by former Eagle Jordan Matthews and also includes Zay Jones, Andre Holmes and TE Charles Clay.  It sounds like the offensive line won’t be too bad so that bodes well for McCoy and Taylor.  We’ll see how that translates when it comes to scoring – in which the Bills ranked 10th in 2016. 

Lorenzo Alexander - 12 1/2 sacks (2016)
The defense has to get better.  The defensive line is pretty solid but from there I’m not sure.  Linebacker is also solid though the loss of Reggie Ragland doesn’t help.  The losses of top corner Stephen Gilmore (free agency – NE) and Ronald Darby (trade – Phi) hurt a lot.  E.J. Gaines (acquired in trade – LAR) and first round pick Tre’Davious White will likely start in the defensive backfield.  Hard to tell how they will do but it seems like the secondary will definitely take a step back.  Add to that two new safeties and the backend of the defense is a very big unknown. 

Though they have one win under their belt I’m thinking they can maybe win six games but in the back of my mind I think five games is more doable when I look at the schedule.  I think most folks would argue that with me but I see a bunch of good teams they’ll have to play and I’m not sure Buffalo has a good enough team to compete.  Hopefully there are some nice surprises as the season progresses but the Jets game did not make me think we’ll see many.  With the offseason trades they made for picks the Bills are definitely looking towards the future.  Hopefully that means a franchise quarterback can be found somewhere in that rebuilding process as they reboot the team…again.  We’ll know soon what this team really looks like as they face Carolina, Denver, Atlanta, Cincy, Tampa and Oakland in the next six games.  Hopefully they can play these teams tough and get a couple of wins.  This stretch will definitely show me if this team is made to compete or not.

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Pro Set Super Bowl XXV Silver Anniversary Commemorative Card Set

As I did Thursday I want to look at some football cards to start the NFL season.  Continuing the Super Bowl theme, today I am looking at the Pro Set Super Bowl XXV Silver Anniversary Commemorative Card Set.  I love this set.  The photos show their age but I dig it. These commemorate the Super Bowls by primarily showcasing "Supermen" from the games.  Some aren't household names but that makes it that much better.  These sets are very cheap and easy to come by on eBay which is where I picked mine up last week.
Cards 1-24 have tickets from the those Super Bowls while 136 through 151 showcase Super include Jackie Smith dropping a touchdown catch for the Cowboys.  Ouch!
There are 160 cards overall looking back at tickets, moments, coaches and players from the first 24 Super Bowls. 
All the player positions are represented to include each offensive and defensive position, kickers, punters and kick returners. 
The backs have a different photo and a nice write-up.  I like the write-ups as they are pertinent to specific performances in the Super Bowl for each player.  There is some fluff but it is better than many write-ups I have seen lately.
The last nine cards in the set make a puzzle showing team gear, pictures and items from Super Bowls.  It is a good way to wrap them all up on one page. 
PERSONAL NOTE:  Timmy Smith (first photo) was from my hometown of Hobbs, NM.  He broke the Super Bowl rushing record against the Denver Broncos and never played another game in the NFL.  Go figure. 
  Information on these sets aren't the easiest to find so I'd like to thank these two sites who had posts that were helpful:

Thursday, September 7, 2017

1990 Pro Set Super Bowl MVP's Insert Set

First day of football so let's look at some football cards - the 1990 Pro Set Super Bowl MVP insert set.  This set contains 24 art cards of the Super Bowls I -XXIV MVP's.
Overall I enjoy art cards and this is one I've always liked but just hadn't taken the time to pick it up.  I finally grabbed it on eBay. 
Not only did I get the 24 card set but the seller also threw in 24 duplicate cards from the set.
I love how the art really captures the players.  They are real deal paintings that look like the players.
There are tons of superstars here as would be expected.
I really enjoy Super Bowl, World Series, NBA Finals, Stanley Cup and all-star game centric cards so this is right up my alley.
For me there are a few all-time favorites/personal collection guys for me in Roger Staubach and Doug Williams.  Terry Bradshaw is also a guy I'm really high on.
 The fronts are nice and simple with no side borders and the art taking up almost all the card. 
The backs have a photo from the Super Bowl game with a nice write-up.  Simple but attractive.  I love these cards.  Everyone enjoy the start of the season!

Monday, September 4, 2017

2017 Atlanta Falcons

The Atlanta Falcons are coming off a devastating loss in the Super Bowl to the New England Patriots.  No matter how tough that loss was you have to think this team is built to compete for at least the NFC Championship for years to come.  There must be some concern as offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan is now gone and new coordinator Steve Sarkisian is an unknown at the pro level.  It would be hard if not impossible to repeat last year offensively but the offense still has all their weapons coming back so you have to think the Falcons are set up for another great year on that side of the ball.

Quarterback Matt Ryan is truly one of the best in the league.  As the team’s anchor you have to feel Atlanta is in good hands.  Stud receiver Julio Jones as well as Mohamed Sanu and surprise Taylor Gabriel give Ryan plenty of weapons to throw to. The running back duo of Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman are formidable giving the Falcons a balanced attack.   All the skilled positions look good if not great.  I worry about the line.  Matt Ryan was sacked 37 times last year which put him tied for 6th in the league.  First and foremost you have to worry about your franchise quarterback getting hurt and obviously you have to wonder how much better your team could be if Ryan wasn’t under so much pressure.  For reference Tom Brady was sacked 15 times, Derek Carr 16 times, and Ben Roethlisberger 17 times. 
The defense was not good last year sans a few one-off games here and there and three quarters in the Super Bowl.  Digging deeper than just points you can say they played better towards the end of the year.  Top cornerback Desmond Trufant will be back this year after missing seven games and the playoffs in 2016.  Vic Beasley led the pass rush last year that will hopefully get better with the drafting of defensive end Takkarist McKinley in the first round.  Everyone raves about the speed and youth of this defense.  That needs to translate to a better defensive effort this year if Atlanta really has a shot at a title. 

The Falcons will have to get over the nasty loss in the Super Bowl quickly.  Coach Mike Quinn won’t want to stumble out the gate and have to listen to folks talking about a “hangover” from the Super Bowl.  Atlanta also has a brand new stadium to christen which will hopefully be helpful.  I expect 11 wins from this team and a trip to the NFC Championship.  It could definitely be more wins but history says there is a letdown after teams lose the Super Bowl.  We’ll see if Atlanta can buck the trend.  They have the talent on offense and need improvement from their defense but this team could definitely be back in the title game – at least that is what I’m hoping for – well and a win in said Super Bowl.

Saturday, September 2, 2017

2017 Michigan Wolverines Football

Michigan had a good year last year going 10-3 but all three losses were by three points or less including a close game with rival Ohio State.  After losing to the Buckeyes they lost to the Florida State Seminoles to end the season on a down note. 

I'd like to say expectations are higher this year but the team returns only five starters to include one on defense.  Needless to say there are a ton of unknowns right now to include who the starting quarterback will be.  Coach Jim Harbaugh is keeping that competition close to the vest so we may not know who is starting until the first game against Florida. 

I wish I knew what to expect out of this team and could write at length to what will happen during the season.  What I do know is Jim Harbaugh has this team relevant again which is enough for me to be happy.  A championship is definitely the goal but being in the discussion every year is half the battle.  Now we just need to beat Ohio State.  That would take a lot of sting out of whatever disappointments that might come, and some of those from the past.  I'm hoping for double digit wins and a satisfying end to the season.  I'm sure there'll be plenty of entertainment in between. 

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Kyrie Irving Traded to Boston Celtics

It finally happened and boy it didn’t disappoint.  Kyrie Irving was traded and headed to the Boston Celtics for Isaiah Thomas, Jae Crowder, Ante Zizic and the Brooklyn Net’s 2018 unprotected first-round pick.  I really like this trade and I think this is a win-win for both teams.  And this happens just as it looked like Cleveland was struggling coming up with a decent trade.      
Cleveland gets better by replacing Irving with Thomas while adding Crowder.  Thomas isn’t better than Irving but is a capable substitute while Crowder brings good defense and much needed depth.  I can’t say what Zizic brings to the table except for a cool name.  I think this team could be better than last season’s assuming everyone gels in Cleveland’s system.  For the future Cleveland would have a top 5 pick to help infuse the team with some young talent.  If Thomas plays well and Cleveland wants to retain him they can look at re-signing him once his contract is over at the end of the season.  It also means that if LeBron James leaves in free agency, something I don’t think will happen, they’ll have the Nets’ pick, can let Thomas go, find a new home for whatever holdovers are still on contract and start from scratch.  In theory they have all their bases covered. 
Boston gets a 25 year-old stud of a point guard for at least two years.  Irving may not be there past two years but if he is he can definitely be the cornerstone for years to come.  Combined with Gordon Hayward, Al Horford and some of the other young pieces they have to include the #3 pick in this year’s draft, Jayson Tatum, Boston should compete for years to come.  As with any trade you must worry about how players will gel but I’d expect this to be a good team.  If Irving does leave you still get two years of his top caliber play and Boston has stock piled other first-round picks which should help them reload or can be used to trade for top talent.