Friday Fodder: Kaepernick needs to mature on and off the field
January 24, 2014
Sports fodder for a Friday morning … Colin Kaepernick needs to stop trying to be Peyton Manning and Tom Brady. Kaepernick's decision to throw to Michael Crabtree to the right corner of the end zone over Seattle Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman last Sunday was awful. It was the wrong time, wrong place, wrong route and wrong cornerback to throw that sort of pass. And it was the wrong quarterback. It was the second worst error in judgment on Sunday behind Sherman's World Wrestling Entertainment rant after the game. One day Kaepernick might be able to make that pass in that situation. That day hasn't arrived yet.
Kaepernick, obviously, has a lot of maturing yet to do on the field. But he has even more maturing to do off the field. He still goes to post-game press conferences wearing head phones around his neck, a backward baseball cap on his head and a scowl on his face, grunting out cliché, one-sentence answers with a look that says, "that's a clown question, bro." It's like he's channeling his inner Justin Bieber. This is a guy who even admits he gets his motivation from mindless social media criticism and still spends far too much money on baseball caps and sneakers. Here's hoping Kaeperbieber studies and learns from Manning and Russell Wilson this week on how a NFL quarterback conducts himself off the field.
It is almost impossible to predict the outcome of this year's Super Bowl because nobody knows what kind of conditions the Seahawks and Denver Broncos will have to face. Put the game in a dome and, unless the electricity goes out, you'd have to go with Manning and the Broncos' offense. If the Seahawks, who never blitzed Kaepernick, believe they can get away without blitzing Manning, well, good luck with that. Give Kaepernick another year or two of experience and savvy and he doesn't throw that silly pass and beats the Seahawks. Manning has as much experience and savvy as any quarterback who has ever played the game. This game, though, could be played in snow, wind, cold or an ice storm. The worse the weather, the more you have to like Seattle.
This Super Bowl is not about Peyton Manning versus Russell Wilson. It's about Peyton Manning versus his legacy. Manning needs to beat the Seahawks to truly be in the discussion as who is the greatest quarterback in history. One Super Bowl victory isn't enough for Manning to be considered the best. Joe Flacco, Mark Rypien, Trent Dilfer, after all, won one Super Bowl. His own brother Eli, after all, has two. But if Manning wins his second Super Bowl in three tries, wins it in New York in his brother's stadium, becomes the first quarterback to win a Super Bowl with two different teams, does it against a great Seahawks' defense and shuts up Richard Sherman and wins a title after three neck surgeries, well, he's definitely in the conversation.
The Nevada Wolf Pack's 96-86 double overtime victory at Fresno State this week was extremely meaningful. It was the coming out party for sophomore Cole Huff, who scored 31 points and drained six 3-pointers. Deonte Burton remembered to shoot the ball again and made 14-of-20 shots and scored 32 points. A.J. West had eight blocks. The bench contributed almost nothing and the Pack still won a 50-minute game on the road. The Pack is the best 10-9 team in the country and, you can bet, is becoming the team that nobody wants to play in the Mountain West tournament.
The biggest concern with this Wolf Pack team is the lack of production by the bench. The starters played 216 of the 250 available minutes against Fresno State. Burton played 49-of-50 minutes and Huff played 47-of-50. The reason this team has been so inconsistent this year is because the starters simply run out of gas now and then. If the Pack wants to win the Mountain West tournament, the bench (namely Marqueze Coleman, D.J. Fenner, Ali Fall and, when he gets healthy, Ronnie Stevens) has to contribute.
There's no question that Masahiro Tanaka deserves $155 million from the New York Yankees over seven years. Tanaka had basically the same statistics as Yu Darvish in Japan and Darvish is now one of the best pitchers in the big leagues. Tanaka simply received the going rate for a big-time, 25-year-old, dominating pitcher from Japan. But what is a 32-year-old, solid, dependable pitcher from Japan worth? Randy Messenger, who graduated from Sparks High, has had four solid seasons in Japan with a 39-32 record, 3.03 earned run average and 519 strikeouts in 623.1 innings. He was 12-8 last year with a 2.88 ERA. That should be worth about $10 million or so a year, right?
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