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NFL Week Seven Status Meeting: Held Hostage

We all need Makers on the rocks to watch Jake play these days

We all need Maker's on the rocks to watch Jake play these days

Mickey: We have a hostage situation, and I don’t think either Kevin Spacey or Samuel L. Jackson is walking through that door to save this team. Much has been written (in fact, full posts have been devoted to scanning the Interwebs to see everyone’s opinion) about Jake Delhomme’s utter decline and how he’s potentially bringing down John Fox with him. Jake leads the league in Interceptions, and at this pace, would be second all time in INTs for a season if he keeps up at his current rate. Seven of his interceptions have resulted in touchdowns — either through the return or scoring just a few plays later. He has so utterly and completely declined as a quarterback that it’s truly befuddling.

But Jake won’t reach those ultimate platforms of ineptitude if the Silver Fox wants to stay on as head coach past this year — if his future hasn’t already been sealed. It is very apparent to anyone that follows this team that Jake just won’t be able to return to his “glory” days — where he made enough big plays to make you forget about the awful decisions and plays he was wont to make. We glazed over them, accepting them, for you knew you were gonna get a good bit of bad from Jake — but that he also had the ability to Houdini late-game comebacks and engineer drives exactly when you needed them. Whether he never fully recovered from Tommy John surgery or if it’s all in his head, we may never know the full reason for his decline.

But a drastic decline it is. He was the leader of a 12-4 team last year, a guy who has taken his team to a Super Bowl and two NFC Championships, a guy who has been to a Pro Bowl. He had “intangibles” and an attitude I loved to embrace. He’s still a good guy, but it befuddles me how unique his decline has been in the NFL. I have neither the time nor the inclination to do actual research on this, but I can’t remember a quarterback who has gotten so much worse through no fault really beyond his own. (more…)

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NFL Week 5 Status Meeting: Party in the USA

Mickey: When the Panthers schedule came out in the spring, I reviewed it and immediately emailed Joseph to ask, “Charlotte road trip October 11th?” That’s right, we signed up for the first official Cubicle GM field trip.

Besides the inevitable epic battle betwixt the Panthers and Redskins that would pit the two of us against each other in Section 539, the trip to Charlotte would also allow us to visit one of the more ridiculous people we know, one Gilbert Garza III (aka Trey aka The Child aka KC Diaz aka Dills). We added a fourth hooligan to our crew, the infamous Andy “Ace” Chevalier, another Skins fan and Herndon, VA native, as the four of us competed on a weekend-long stage to see who could be the biggest handful. We knew it was going to be an awesome time, a reunion of part of the crew from Joey’s Bachelor Party weekend, with the goal of taking the Queen City by storm.

We ended up with a most awesome Party in the USA.

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NFL Week 3 Status Meeting: Fandom as Masochism

Mickey: Three weeks in, and you should know the shape of your team. For me, tonight, this is incredibly disturbing. The Carolina Panthers have limped into the 2009 season, standing as one of six teams sitting at 0-3. In the eight games the Carolina Panthers have played in 2009 — one playoff game, four preseason games, and three regular season games — we have yet to win one.

Being a fan of an underachieving team

Being a fan of an underachieving team

I haven’t read any reports on tonight’s Monday Night Football game in Dallas, so there may be some bright, shiny statistic or storyline that I’m missing. I’m writing on pure emotion and gut feeling right now. And I feel stomach-punched. If you follow the Carolina Panthers, all you can read these days is that an incredible sense of urgency surrounds this team, that this week is incredibly important, it’s the week we turn it around. And the worst of it is that every loss can be explained away: (more…)

The Cube Book Review: Shooting Stars by LeBron James and Buzz Bissinger

I would like to say I go to St. Vincent for the fine academics, but that would not be true. I go there to play basketball with three friends who have become my brothers, Little Dru and Sian and Willie.

After my high school graduation, I too signed a $90M contract with Nike. True story.

After my high school graduation, I too signed a $90M contract with Nike. True story.

From the opening page of the prologue, you know the story of LeBron James and his high school journey is different than yours and mine. Well, you knew that from the moment you decide to read a book written by LeBron James: he’s led a much different life than yours.

But what I took away from LeBron’s coming-of-age story is that, while his high school days were spent pursuing a very real basketball national championship at an age when most of us were still trying to figure out if you should just leave the note in her locker or actually give it to her yourself, is that it’s a story of friendship that the lucky of us are able to share. What I took away is that LeBron shared the experiences of growing up with a tight knit group of friends that would lay down in traffic for him — and he’d do the same for them — and that is something I can most certainly identify with.

King James’ autobiographical coming-of-age book — his true Catcher in the Rye if you will — came out in hardback cover today, and I read it one sitting yesterday on a trip from DC to NYC. James wrote it with acclaimed sports author Buzz Bissinger (a man not unfamiliar with the world of sports blogging — our thoughts here!), and since I got my hands on an advanced copy from the good folks at Press Box Publicity and The Penguin Press, I plowed through it with ease.

So welcome to what we hope can be an expanding feature on the site: The Cubicle GM Book Club. (more…)

NFL Oh-Nine Previews: NFC North

Back when Smokey and I were doing our own thang at the Sports Brethren, we would double-team a weekly post about every Carolina Panthers game. We might not see eye-to-eye on everything, but we always brung the heat and the passion in our weekly chronicles of the NFL’s greatest team. Here at the Cube, we’re hoping to bring that same noise and funk on the NFL as a whole, in our true double-team style.

With that in mind, holyfuckingshit football’s a’comin! We are but a scant 6ish days from the first NFL Sunday, which means it’s high time we stop pandering on about baseball and fanciful things and get down to business.

Thus we present the Cube’s NFL Oh-Nine Previews: NFC North

Bears, Lions, and Firve oh my!

Bears, Lions, and Firve oh my!

Mickey: The NFC North, the oldest division in the NFL, it’s now famous for its collection of young shit-brick quarterbacks and the oldest, biggest shit-brick of them all. That’s not to say the NFC North won’t be entertaining this year — their quarterbacks will be some of the biggest storylines of the year — which is both strange and frightening.

I will admit quarterback play is why I like the Green Bay Packers to win this division. They’re the one team who seems to have a semblance of an idea of how to develop a QB. And I used to heavily dislike Aaron Rodgers; I don’t respect the college system he came out of (Tedford from Cal-Berkeley can suck a dick), and I laughed at his “drop” in the NFL Draft. But from everything I’ve read (which is not much), and mostly from his production as my QB in fantasy football last year, I have come to like and respect Rodgers. I like his receivers, and though I can’t name his running back and really only know AJ Hawk and Charles Woodson on their defense, I’m putting my faith in Rodgers to win this division. (more…)

NFL Oh-Nine Previews: NFC East

Back when Smokey and I were doing our own thang at the Sports Brethren, we would double-team a weekly post about every Carolina Panthers game. We might not see eye-to-eye on everything, but we always brung the heat and the passion in our weekly chronicles of the NFL’s greatest team. Here at the Cube, we’re hoping to bring that same noise and funk on the NFL as a whole, in our true double-team style.

With that in mind, holyfuckingshit football’s a’comin! We are but a scant 24ish days from NFL kick-off, which means it’s high time we stop pandering on about baseball and fanciful things and get down to business.

Thus we present the Cube’s NFL Oh-Nine Previews: NFC East

The NFC Least! Hah!

The NFC Least! Hah!

Mickey: Ah, the great NFC East. I’ve always imagined the NFC East as the great, old statesman division of the NFL. The NFC North may be older, but they’re more “get off my lawn” kind of old, whereas the NFC East has the war veteran, wise, strong persona to it.

With 19 Super Bowl appearances and 11 titles between the four three squads who have won titles (haha Iggles), this “Greatest Generation” division leads the league in both of those categories. A division to be respected surely — but not to be loved. No, in fact, all four of these teams can go straight to hell as far as I’m concerned. Not a redeeming quality among the bunch at all.

I’m sure J.Price would disagree — although he struggles with his own love/hate relationship — but the simple fact is that the rest of the country rightfully can’t stand these four teams. And it’s not because we’re “jealous” or because we wish we had their history or any BS like that. It’s, quite simply, because these are some obnoxious-ass teams. (more…)

NFL Oh-Nine Previews: AFC East

Back when Smokey and I were doing our own thang at the Sports Brethren, we would double-team a weekly post about every Carolina Panthers game. We might not see eye-to-eye on everything, but we always brung the heat and the passion in our weekly chronicles of the NFL’s greatest team. Here at the Cube, we’re hoping to bring that same noise and funk on the NFL as a whole, in our true double-team style.

With that in mind, holyfuckingshit football’s a’comin! We are but a scant 32ish days from NFL kick-off, which means it’s high time we stop pandering on about baseball and fanciful things and get down to business.

Thus we present the Cube’s NFL Oh-Nine Previews: AFC East

What a guh bunch of teams

What a "guh" bunch of teams

Mickey: The AFC East is one of the divisions the Panthers play each team in during the 2009 season, so it’s a particularly important division for the Cube. A division that generally annoys me, mainly because of Dreamboat and his cheatin’ Pats, the ’09 version doesn’t give me much reason to like it. They’ll be talented teams, for sure, but I can’t think of any reason to root for any of these four teams.

At gunpoint, I’d say I enjoy the Dolphinines the most. I respect the Big Tuna, and their 2008 turnaround from 1-15 to playoff team reminded me of John Fox’s first season with the Panthers. They brought the Wildcat formation back en vogue last year, which was entertaining, if not in a “oh dahling, isn’t that wonderful” sort of cute way. And Sparano seems to know his shit, which demands respect, but I just can’t see them putting together back-to-back winning seasons. Pencil them in as the #2 team in the AFC East. (more…)

Friends in the MLB

Often in college, J. Price and I would sit around and talk about our athletic careers of yesteryear — specifically our baseball careers — and talk about how if this injury hadn’t occurred, or if that coach had just recognized our brilliance, we woulda seriously considered finding a little D-III school and tried to play baseball for a living. Lord knows we dreamt about playing in the Bigs for years on end as kids, and Joey loves to talk about until he was about 14, he had never assumed he’d be anything other than a major league baseball player when he grew up.

Far too often, those dreams die as silly dreams because we have people who don’t believe in us, or we don’t have the balls to stick to it. Well, I know a guy whose stuck to his dream against so many odds, and yesterday I got to watch him pitch in a major league game.

Matt Daley -- Long Island Legend

Matt Daley -- Long Island Legend

One of my good friends from UVa is none other than Andrew Daley (a long-time friend of the Sports Brethren), and on Monday night, his older brother Matt pitched in his 27th game of the year since being called up in late April for the Colorado Rockies. Daley is from Garden City, Long Island, and there were hundreds of Daley-supporters in attendance at Citi Field last night for his NY-debut against the Mets — and I was fortunate enough to be one of those on-hand for the game.

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Assassins to Watch, Bred in the Best City in the South

The NBA’s Summer League got off to its inoncuous start this past week. Not usually terribly fan-friendly for most followers of the League — or at least not a very meaningful exercise in fandom — this year has proven to be no exception, as only 21 of the 30 NBA franchises have actually fielded a Summer League team. The recession can be to blamed, I suppose, but it’s also mostly the sort general malaise that only the genius possess and the insane lament that accompanies the NBA in July.

And whilst my favorite team, the Charlotte Bobcats, is one of the cheapskates not ponying up enough to send a team to Vegas or Orlando, there’s still plenty reason for a basketball fan from Charlotte to be keeping tabs on what’s going on in summer NBA ball.

Follow through the Jump for a run-down of my favorite plot lines from the NBA Summer League:

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Enjoying the Beauty of Summer Sports

I tend to travel more and pay a little less attention to the sporting world during the summer months. The Summer of Awesome 2009 has been no exception. I’ve traversed to Charlottesville, VA, Myrtle Beach, SC, Cancun, Mexico, Chicago, Illinois, and Washington, DC all in the past 11 weeks for various get-togethers with family and friends, and I’ve enjoyed the hell out of it.

Which makes it just a perfect time for the summer sports of baseball, golf and tennis.

With the two founders of Cubicle GM for J. Prices wedding

In the summer, I travel and don't pay as much attention to sports. For example, here I'm in DC, looking awesome in suspenders with the two founders of Cubicle GM for J. Price's wedding

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