published Monday, May 12th, 2014

5-at-10: Draft review, Sterling shiver, Go time for Struggla, who won the weekend

Hope this finds you well and well-rested. Here's hoping you enjoyed Mother's Day.

From the "Talks too much" studios, the world needs ditch diggers, too.

Draft review

We love the draft you know this. The draft came and went. Players were picked and picks were panned. Such is life.

The first round was dominated by the Johnny Football bid-ness. Friday and Saturday were about teams building rosters and hoping to find gems.

Here's one draft aficionado's recap — your views are welcomed as always:

Best overall drafts:

• Love what San Francisco did. Loved it. Yes, the 49ers had the most picks and they were rumored to be looking to move up to get a big-name wide receiver. They did trade a conditional pick to Buffalo for Steve Johnson to help at wide out and they drafted Bruce Ellington as a slot guy/playmaker and got great value getting him in round 4. Look at it this way: the 49ers got a starter at safety, the best running back in the draft, a starter at center, arguably the nastiest defensive player (Wisconsin linebacker Chris Borland), a high ceiling pick in round five with Aaron Lynch and one of the top two fullbacks. The best roster in the league got better.

• Loved the Steelers draft too. A complete and thorough job, as someone who watched more than a little bit of the draft, every pick the Steelers made, you said to yourself, "Man that was a good pick." Really liked the Wesley Johnson and Daniel McCullers picks late in the draft. Both of those guys could be big-time contributors and landing those types of cats in rounds five and after is excellent. The Stephon Tuitt selection in round two could be the steal of the draft. If motivated, dude is a beast.

• Loved the Rams draft. Check this overview: Landed the best tackle in five years. Landed the best defensive tackle in the draft. Landed a legit difference maker in defensive back Lamarcus Joyner and got Tre Mason to boot. It's likely the Rams added four starters and maybe more. That's addressing need.

Biggest busts

• Did not like the Titans draft. First-round pick Taylor Lewan could be a fixture at tackle, but it was not an immediate need. Who decided Bishop Sankey over Carlos Hyde? Puzzling to say the least.

• Why the Patriots did not address wide out is any one's guess. And draft a guy that is your No. 3 QB in round 2 — with Jarvis Landry going to a division rival with the next pick — was especially puzzling.

• The teams that fared the worst in our view were the teams that dealt No. 1 draft picks. The Colts improved the least this weekend after dealing their No. 1 for Trent Richardson last fall. Buffalo paid a huge price to move up and get Sammy Watkins, dealing next year's No. 1.

Side note: TTaylor had the top overall choice (Jadeveon Clowney), the Falcons choice (Jake Matthews), the number of SEC players (11) and was closest (entry at 150 and Murray went 163) on Aaron Murray of the 25-or-so entries we got here at the 5-at-10. We have to check what was entered at ESPN 105.1 FM and we'll contact the winner. Thanks to everyone for playing.

Thoughts?

————

Is 'Sorry' enough

  • photo
    Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald T. Sterling, right, sits with his wife, Rochelle, during a Clippers NBA basketball game against the Detroit Pistons in Los Angeles in this 2010 file photo.
    Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

Donald Sterling is digging in. The entire Sterling is digging in.

The NBA players have said they do not want any Sterling involved.

Back story (if you have been on Pluto for the last month): Clippers owner Donald Sterling gets recorded making racist comments. Social and interweb outrage demands swift and over-the-top action, and the interweb mob gets it — the NBA says Sterling is out and will do whatever it takes to force him to sell.

As we have discussed here, all views and ideas are welcomed as long as we remain civil.

Donald Sterling reportedly told CNN's Anderson Cooper in an interview that airs tonight:

"I'm a good member who made a mistake and I'm apologizing and I'm asking for forgiveness. Am I entitled to one mistake, am I after 35 years? I mean, I love my league, I love my partners. Am I entitled to one mistake? It's a terrible mistake, and I'll never do it again."

So there's that. And anyone who thought this was going to be easy and the Sterlings go quietly were painfully mistaken.

Shelley Sterling, Donald's wife and not his mistress who goes by a single initial and who taped the billionaire owner, said she is prepared to fight the NBA's decision and that she's going to divorce Donald. (Man, all we need is Marlena Evans and John and Hope and Bo and Victor and some cheesy intro music and this very "Days of Our Lives" like.)

So there's that too.

Now LeBron James, the league's best player and arguably one of the biggest stars in all of team sports, says the players want them out. He said it clearly and emphatically. And yes, the players do not run the league but without the players there is no league, and the players through their union get a say in how the league is run.

So there's that as well.

———

Go time

The Atlanta Braves bounced back in a big way with a three-game sweep of the Chicago Cubs.

Those three wins came with Danny Uggla sitting out of the starting lineup. Uggla did pinch hit in Sunday's 5-2 win, and Cubs pitcher James Russell plunked him. It was his first action since last Tuesday.

The AJC reported over as of Friday that Fredi Gonzalez was going to make some changes but had not spoken with Uggla about them yet. (Side note: It's Managing 101 to discuss something with the player before doing it with reporters. C'mon Fredi, be better than that.)

How long Uggla remains with the club is unclear, and it's nearly impossible to imagine a team trading for a defensively average at best second baseman who is hitting. 184 and has a $13 million salary for the rest of this year and next.

The good: The pitching (again) and the schedule. If the Braves got to play 80 games against the Cubs, that'd be sweet.

The bad: The bats (again). Even the reserves who have been given chances to relieve — or replace — some of the struggling starters have been bad. Tyler Pastornicky is hitting less than Uggla. Jordan Schafer is hitting worse than Stinky Upton. The Braves are DFL in runs scored.

The Uggla: Well, we've covered this right? (See more on this in the questions part below.)

———

  • photo
    Martin Kaymer, right, of Germany celebrates with his caddie Craig Connelly by the Wanamaker Trophy after Kaymer won in a playoff in the PGA Championship golf tournament Sunday, Aug. 15, 2010, at Whistling Straits in Haven, Wis. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

This and that

— Nothing the Cubs can't cure huh?

— Martin Kaymer re-emerged from witness protection and won the Players. Great. Whatever. Hey Jordan Spieth, may want to fix those Sunday hiccups before they become a talking point and you go all David Duvall on us. Also, NBC, quit the "fifth major" mumbo jumbo. There are four majors. Period.

— If you missed it, there has been a slew of high school football in the TFP the last couple of days. Well post some links in a few, but kudos to the gang. And we're super excited about the Best of Preps Kickoff Classic to start the season next year.

— We could not work them into the draft recap stuff, but alarmingly solid drafts for the Raiders and the Cowboys. If we're not going to have crazy picks from the Raiders and the Cowboys, well, that sucks some fun out of it to be honest.

— Think Tiny Richardson wishes he could go back to Knoxville. The Vols starting left tackle declared for the draft and then went draftless. Ouch-standing. So did Florida cornerback Marcus Roberson, too. We'll discuss a few of the big names looking for work and all things draft related on Press Row today with Paschall from 3-6 on ESPN 105.1 FM.

— Monster comeback for the Clippers to even their series with the Thunder. Wow. The Pacers have gotten well, too, getting 39 from Paul George to lead the Wizards 3-1. Tonight Miami (up 2-1) plays at Brooklyn and San Antonio looks to finish a sweep of Portland.

— Speaking of the Players. This Richard H. Lee highlight will leave a mark. Less than good

— Happy birthday Emilio Estevez. He's 52. Where does the Estevez/Sheen brothers duo rank on the Rushmore of acting siblings? Discuss.

———

Today's question

Before we get to our Monday staple, let's have a Bye-Bye Struggla deal. What date will the Braves end their rocky relationship with everyone's least favorite Danny?

Beyond that, let's go to the go-tos.

Who won the weekend?

Who lost the weekend?

You know the drill.

And we're starting to believe Braves fans may have won the weekend, considering the three-game sweep and the ax about to fall on the entire Struggla deal.

about Jay Greeson...

Jay was named the Sports Editor of the Times Free Press in 2003 and started with the newspaper in May 2002 as the Deputy Sports Editor. He was born and raised in Smyrna, Ga., and graduated from Auburn University before starting his newspaper career in 1997 with the Newnan (Ga.) Times Herald. Stops in Clayton and Henry counties in Georgia and two years as the Sports Editor of the Marietta (Ga.) Daily Journal preceded Jay’s ...

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Comments do not represent the opinions of the Chattanooga Times Free Press, nor does it review every comment. Profanities, slurs and libelous remarks are prohibited. For more information you can view our Terms & Conditions and/or Ethics policy.
BIspy4 said...

5, you should know by now that BB would rather go all scrap heap for receivers than draft one, because his draft picks of receivers have mostly been stinky.

Who won the weekend? Georgia Southern. Two draft picks. Two. As many as South Carolina. Also as many as Coastal Carolina, but still. Now that's exposure, folks. Jerick McKinnon is a great athlete and a great kid - played wherever the team needed him, even moving to DB during the playoffs and then coming up with two picks in a game.

I've never been a Fredi fan and I don't pin the blame on the offensive woes on him. He can push buttons all day long. If the buttons don't work, that's on Wren, not him. But ... the non-answer he gave to the press corps about Uggla and that he hasn't had a sit-down with Uggla yet about his role and future, well, let's just say Bobby Cox would have done that first and done it right away. He wouldn't have let that situation linger. And with Jordan Schaefer wanting more playing time, that's something Cox also would have tried to address immediately and not let simmer.

Concur on the "fifth major" crap, 5. Even Stu Scott (Boo ... no) said on the ESPN highlights, "some people call it the fifth major." And those people need to be slapped silly. Still, huge putt by Kaymer on the 17th. Just clutch. So his two wins on the tour are the PGA and the Players Championship. Not bad.

Who lost the weekend? How bout the Thunder. And the Wizards.

May 12, 2014 at 10:30 a.m.
jomo11 said...

As an Indy Colts fan, the draft was not very fun for me. The Colts, maybe during an "Irsay prescription drug stupor" traded away first round draft pick for Trent Richardson, who stinks. . .as for Uggla, the Braves are just going to have to eat the contract and cut him at the end of the year. . . .Please dont let the media to even insult the struggles that Jackie Robinson went through by comparing Michael Sams to Jackie Robinson, apples to oranges ! acceptance of your choice of sexual preference is so main stream today, there is very little if any predjudice. Jackie Robinson's courage was the real deal, he had no choice and trully broke a barrier. . . . your thoughts Jay ? or can you touch that subject ?

May 12, 2014 at 10:46 a.m.
MocTastic said...

Jackie Robinson could not eat in the same restaurants as his teammates, stay in the same hotels, had separate water fountains marked "white" and "colored" ( I remember seeing those in downtown Chattanooga in my youth in stores such as Sears)....agree JoMo11, no comparison.

Once again, the media seems to want to make an issue out of this. How many 7th round picks have live remotes when they are drafted? The vast majority of the public does not care one bit which way he swings, but the media apparently wants to keep hammering the issue.

May 12, 2014 at 10:49 a.m.
jomo11 said...

Hey Bipsy4 that was good exposure for Georgia Southern with 2 guys drafted. McKinnon could be a star in the NFL . . . .however, Ga. Southern aka Waffle House U is going to need all the exposure they can get now they have joined The Sunbelt ( FBS version of the witness protection conference )

May 12, 2014 at 10:56 a.m.
chas9 said...

Soddy-Daisy native Kelsey Nunley, UK's sophomore pitching phenom, won three games in the SEC softball tournament, leading the Wildcats into the championship game, which they lost to #3 Georgia. The 15th-ranked Cats have won 44 games this season, most ever for the program, and now they enter NCAA tourney play.

In the SEC tourney, Kentucky beat #13 Tennessee and # 20 LSU. Nunley is now 6-0 in postseason play.

Texas A&M students won the weekend when Johnny Paycheck bought them $2K of booze to celebrate the draft. But the drinks he chose, Fireball Whisky and Miller Lite, prove once again he's a punk. By 40 he may be a man, but that's in some doubt.

And Marshall Henderson lost the weekend while hurting his eventual NBA paycheck with his ignorant anti-Sams tweets. We knew he was impulsive and hot-headed, but how big a contract will a team risk on a ticking timebomb? (There's still a bit of anti-gay violence, but MT and jomo make a fair point that much media coverage was overboard.)

May 12, 2014 at 11:08 a.m.
jgreeson said...

Spy —

Jerrick McKinnon could be one of those guys with a 10-year career. Seriously. Talented guy that's not afraid to work at it. That's a money combo.

Kaymer did drop a bomb. Good times.

Bobby Cox would be telling the Atlanta media about Uggla's strengths, and Danny would know when to pack his bags for sure from Bobby. Heck, Bobby didn't even discuss his hatred for Andruw Jones with the media even when he pulled him in the middle of an inning for crying out loud.

Say what you want about his bad postseasons and underachieving with that pitching staff in terms of World Series titles, but no one was better at treating players the right way and the public/private talks that Bobby Cox.

Jomo —

Tough year too for the Colts to stink. A stud WR from this class to put with Luck for the next decade would have been nice.

There's ZERO comparison between Robinson and Sam. Not saying there's not some bias against homosexuals, but it's nothing like the hatred Robinson had to endure.

Comparing those two is idiotic.

MT —

It is a story, and he got a live remote because he was the first. Not unlike Jason Collins getting in the middle of USA Today for signing a 10-day contract.

The first-time nature of this makes it newsworthy.

That said, we can see the viewpoint of being tired of seeing it shown over and over again. (But that's kind of the nature of ESPN morning shows).

May 12, 2014 at 11:16 a.m.
MocTastic said...

A two part question...does anybody think the NFL might have been on the phone and urging St Louis, or anybody, to take Sams as the draft was winding down? Second part, does anybody think that the Rams will be be completely impartial when the cuts start happening or will they go the extra mile in keeping Sams on the roster? Would the NFL apply quiet pressure not to cut Sams?

May 12, 2014 at 12:11 p.m.
Stewwie said...

I didn't watch any of the draft coverage on Saturday, and I'm especially glad I wasn't watching when Sam's name was called. Did ESPN really think that the draft nerds who were still tuned in wanted to see what they showed of Sam? His reaction was shown on tape delay so they could have only shown the non-disgusting parts of it if they'd really wanted to. But no, it's clear that ESPN is less concerned with Michael Sam as a football player, and more concerned with trying to promote homosexuality as something that is normal. If Sam really wanted to be known as a football player only, he would have told ESPN to buzz off when they wanted to bring the camera crew in.

MT, it wouldn't surprise me if the NFL tried to encourage/incentivize/bribe a team to take Sam, especially after ESPN had been set up at his house ready to film for hours. All in the name of supposed progress. And the media will heavily scrutinize the Rams if they end up cutting Sam at some point.

[Now LeBron James, the league's best player and arguably one of the biggest stars in all of team sports, says the players want them out. He said it clearly and emphatically.]

That's his own opinion. Others may agree with him, but he hardly speaks for the rest of the league. And what does he have against Mrs. Sterling? Based on these and other comments in the past that he has made, I am starting to think that he might be racist. Not that the media would care anyway. Not if a guy like Sir Chuck can say whatever and still be around.

[And yes, the players do not run the league but without the players there is no league, and the players through their union get a say in how the league is run. ]

True, but in a fight between millionaires and billionaires, I would put my money on the billionaires. The millionaires would run out of money first. Maybe LeBron could deal with it better than most because of his endorsements, but the "other" guys in the league would be itching to play to make their money. Plus, I think the NBA is at a point now where LeBron needs it more than the league needs LeBron.

As for players running the league, well, that's up to Adam Silver. The players already pushed him around to scare him into giving the death penalty to Sterling. But that's where Silver should have taken a step back and tried to make a more fair decision. If people under you feel like they can make you do anything they want, you'll get no respect. In that regard, I think Silver is off to a bad start as commissioner.

May 12, 2014 at 1:30 p.m.
MocTastic said...

A quote from an article (thanks to JoMo11):

An NFL.com writer was in the Rams’ draft room and reported late Saturday night that head coach Jeff Fisher unexpectedly suggested taking Sam, a player the team had not given much consideration to before

http://stlouis.cbslocal.com/2014/05/12/sam-i-should-have-been-drafted-in-the-first-three-rounds/

I do think the NFL was trying to talk some team into making the pick.

Stewwie, when you said: "If Sam really wanted to be known as a football player only, he would have told ESPN to buzz off when they wanted to bring the camera crew in." you make a great point.

May 12, 2014 at 1:42 p.m.
GratefulDawg said...

"Donald Sterling is digging in." Digging in and assembling an all-star cast of lawyers. Given Sterling's past, no one in their right mind could have believed he will conveniently go away. There will be lawsuits and counter suits for years to come. This is why I think the NBA should have given more thought to Houston Rockets owner Leslie Anderson's suggestions. Sterling is the owner of the Clippers; he acquired the team by legal means. Thus the only precedent for taking his team away would be on shaky legal terms at best. What the NBA could have done, and should have done in my opinion, is grant extenuating circumstances waivers to every player on the Clippers roster allowing them to enter the free agent market at the end of this season. Donald Sterling can keep his team. Blake Griffin, Chris Paul, and the rest of the players that comprise the roster can shop around for a better deal with a franchise owned by someone they have a modicum of respect for.

Donald Sterling supporters should have no issue with this recommendation. Sterling's "right" to own his team has not been infringed upon. The players have choices about when and where they utilize their marketable skills. Win, win. Some might say, but the Clippers will die a slow death because none of the players want to sign with Sterling...Oh well, in free market economics sometimes the rich get richer and other times the rat goes down with the ship. Think of it as a cross-over dribble performed by Adam Smith's invisible hands.

May 12, 2014 at 2:35 p.m.
Stewwie said...

GD,

Since Silver said they're currently not considering that option makes me think that it might not even be legal. If the players want to play elsewhere once they're able to opt out of their contracts, that's their right to do so. But to issue a special and unprecendented waiver to speed that up all at once might be a violation of our nation's antitrust laws that try to help ensure fair competition. And if it is a violation, Sterling would certainly bring that claim to court.

So then, if Sterling is still owner at the start of next season, and CP3 and others say that won't play for Sterling, what happens? I guess CP3 won't be playing basketball until he can opt out or be traded. That's how it should be. He needs to decide if boycotting would be worth it to him or not. The NBA would survive without his whining antics on the court anyway.

May 12, 2014 at 3:34 p.m.
MocTastic said...

and with California being a community property state his wife is going to sue til the cows come home to keep half of the team. The NBA is claiming she can't, but lawyers will claim she can.

They need to find a face saving way out of this, a solution where everybody wins and nobody loses. Quietly work a deal behind the scenes to sell the team, but publically proclaim he doesn't have to. So, he can sell the team, but be able to say he wasn't forced out, thus save face, and the NBA will be rid of him.

May 12, 2014 at 3:45 p.m.
fechancellor said...

10 Ring, tough day at the salt mines, but glad to see what the gang here is about.

Back in the day, Branch Rickey searched and searched for a person who could play the game at a high level, while having the intelligence and the emotive ability necessary to break Baseball's Color Line. NFL has no way knowing Michael Sam become today's version of Jackie Robinson.

http://stlouis.cbslocal.com/2014/05/12/sam-i-should-have-been-drafted-in-the-first-three-rounds/

The Rams selected the former University of Missouri defensive standout with the 249th pick in the seventh round, which was the seventh-to-the-last pick in the 2014 Draft. The openly gay football player, who was SEC Defensive Player of the Year, thought a team should have chosen him during the first three rounds.

“From last season alone, I should’ve been in the first three rounds. SEC Defensive Player of the Year, All-American,” Sam said during a conference call, adding that other teams chickened out on selecting him.


From what I read here, Mr. Sam may not be in the very long in the Not For Long if he doesn't pipe down and work his butt off on the field and with his coaches in the building. The gratuitous kiss didn't help much either.

May 12, 2014 at 4:04 p.m.
GratefulDawg said...

Stewwie,

At this point it doesn't matter if Sterling is considering that option or not. He is the technical owner of the Clippers, but when the lifetime ban was handed down the office of Adam Silver became the de facto controlling owner of the team. Donald Sterling is now relegated to being a non-controlling owner meaning he can tell everyone that he owns a team and that's about the extent of his legal ties to the franchise.

Adam Silver could extend extenuating circumstance waivers to the players and any claims of antitrust law violations would need to be brought by the office of the commissioner against the office of the commissioner. I don't think it likely that Adam Silver and the NBA will bring an antitrust claim against themselves. Donald Sterling can file lawsuits against everybody and their brother, but that does not mean he has a snowball's chance in hell of winning in the short-term much less the grand scheme.

May 12, 2014 at 4:23 p.m.
Stewwie said...

[...any claims of antitrust law violations would need to be brought by the office of the commissioner against the office of the commissioner.]

Huh? Mrs. Sterling still owns half the team too. If not Donald, then she could go forward with that lawsuit instead. And if it's not even a valid legal issue, why isn't Silver proceeding with the option you presented? Either way, Sterling will fight having to sell the team, if for no other reason, because of the major tax implications involved.

May 12, 2014 at 4:41 p.m.
GratefulDawg said...

Stewwie,

Mrs. Sterling is not now nor has she ever been a controlling owner of the Los Angeles Clippers. To understand this issue you would need to understand the importance of the differentiation between the status of controlling owner and non-controlling owner. The Sterlings are non-controlling owners. Adam Silver is the de facto controlling owner. The Sterlings may have the pink slip, but Silver has the keys.

As for why Silver isn't proceeding with the option I presented...Shocking as it may be, the NBA front office does not consult with the posters here at the 5@10 when making its decisions. I was offering my opinion in a comments section of the online edition of a newspaper, that's it. Leslie Anderson, on the other hand, has the commissioner's ear and we will wait and see what pans out. The media coverage is dying down, but the legal fight has only just begun.

May 12, 2014 at 4:59 p.m.
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