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The Kevin Kolb Era: Coda?

September 3, 2013 Pro 3 Comments

Looks like it just isn’t meant to be

Kolb was the most notable transaction. He was supposed to compete with rookie EJ Manuel for the starting job, but that contest didn’t materialize.

Kolb had a knee injury early in training camp, left the team for a funeral in his family and then suffered a concussion in the third preseason game. The Bills couldn’t afford to leave a precious roster spot vacant while they waited for Kolb to recover from such a serious and unpredictable injury.

Now there are concerns his career could be over.

Kolb went in with more to prove that he wasn’t deserving of the label “injury-prone” than whether he had the tools to be an NFL starter. One rubber mat and a knee to the head later, and I think the guy might be best off taking his savings and start the next chapter. A damn shame, but it is what it is.

The Kevin Kolb Era: Let’s Try This One More Time

March 31, 2013 Pro No Comments

» Buffalo News: Bills add Kolb to quarterback mix

I can’t say I’m crazy about the fit, but it’s a gig and as good of an opportunity that I think Kolb can find these days. I’m not sure what kind of offense Chan Gailey runs up north, but I’ve always seen Kolb as a good fit for anything that favors a high-percentage passing office (Philly’s West Coast style was as good as the NFL offers). Injuries, of course, are perhaps a bigger issue with Kolb. Proving he can go through a majority of the season as the designated starter would be a very welcome first.

But in any event, I’ll be watching Bills games with more interest than I have since Jim Kelly left the USFL.

Inaugural Aggreblogging

January 21, 2013 Politics-2013 No Comments

Another four years, another inauguration. Here’s a random break from whatever it is that I do when I don’t blog.

» Chron: Again, Hall says he will challenge Parker
In case anyone wasn’t aware … Ben Hall really, really wants to be mayor. This story follows a Chronicle blog posting, where Hall had previously announced his intentions. And that follows the KTRK story from a month ago, where Hall had also previously announced his intentions. And that followed the KHOU story from November, where Hall had … well, you get the point by now. And it’s worth pointing out that this is still far from official since Ben Hall has yet to publicly announce and to officially file as a candidate. I’m sure that’ll be worth two new pitches to the local media that he really plans to run this time. Can’t wait to hear if he has anything to say about his candidacy outside of “Hey, I’m running!” But based on his initial foray into civic thinking, I doubt he has anything to offer that moves me off of my default choice.

» SSRC: Evangelicals who have left the right (Marcia Pally)
This follows up somewhat from Pally’s 2011 book, with a little added context from the 2012 election. Responses by Pastor Joel Hunter and Professor David Gushee are also worth a read.

» Nate Silver: What Is Driving Growth in Government Spending?
Good wonky reading from Nate Silver. Nice to see him turn his analytical skills toward public finances. Of some interest:

Another surprise is how little we are paying in interest on the federal debt, even though the debt is growing larger and larger. Right now, interest payments make up only about 6 percent of the federal budget. In addition, they have been decreasing as a share of the gross domestic product: the federal government spent about 1.5 percent of gross domestic product in paying interest on its debt on 2011, down from a peak of 3.3 percent in 1991.

I distinctly remember a few conversations – both online and in-person – where many of my Republican friends rationalized the renewal of deficit spending under Bush-43 by stating how low the GDP percentage was in historical terms. Now, considering the spikes in deficits that began in Bush’s last years in office but are now associated with Obama … the argument is nowhere to be found.

» AZ Republic: Bruce Arians wants QB with ‘grit,’ leadership
Kevin Kolb gets his third head coach as an NFL QB. And the early read is uncertain as to what it means for his future as a starter in Arizona. Of course, even if he does start next season, it’s an open question as to whether he can endure it without the kind of injuries that have ended his previous three seasons.

» NY Times: Dartmouth Stops Credits for Excelling on A.P. Test
» NY Times: Next Made-in-China Boom: College Graduates

Among the issues I get to track in the Lege is education. Both of these are good backgrounders on some issues in secondary ed.

» Chron: Political novices look to gain stature working for legislator (Patricia Kilday Hart)
» Texas Tribune: For Dean of Senate, Public and Private Blur (Jay Root)
Two good reads on matters pertaining to state government. On a somewhat related note, I also attended my first Trib Talk event with Michael Williams being in the hot seat next to Evan Smith. First impression is that the event is a bit too clubby for my taste, but watching Evan interview someone in person is pretty fun to watch.

Kevin Kolb > Tom Brady

September 16, 2012 Pro No Comments

Things that amuse me greatly …

Kolb starts the season, nominally, with a 2-0 record now. His stat line certainly wasn’t better than Brady, nor was it in line with what you’d expect of an Andy Reid-taught QB to produce. But the season goes one week at a time. It’ll be interesting to see how much this fuels a legitimate QB controversy in Arizona.

The Kevin Kolb Era … v2.1

September 10, 2012 Pro No Comments

» AZ Republic: What a relief: Arizona Cardinals QB Kevin Kolb takes short route to redemption
» AZ Republic: Arizona Cardinals edge Seattle Seahawks in Week 1 of NFL season

Not quite how it was scripted, but for the few of us remaining Kevin Kolb fans … we’ll take it.

All Kolb did is what Skelton made a habit of doing a year ago: directing a scoring drive from an offense that tends to spend whole quarters in dormancy.

Many of the 60,032 in attendance booed when Kolb entered with 8:18 remaining, and it didn’t help when he overthrew receiver Larry Fitzgerald on the first play.

But using a no-huddle scheme, Kolb quickly found a rhythm. He completed 6 of his next 7, including a 6-yard touchdown to Andre Roberts that gave the Cardinals a 20-16 lead with 4:59 left.

“It was pretty special, I’m not going to lie,” Kolb said. “To win a game in that fashion, after the way the preseason went, I’ll definitely enjoy it.”

It appears Kolb will be the starter for at least the next several weeks. The Cardinals will know more about Skelton’s condition Monday, but the best scenario seems to be that he has a high ankle sprain.

No definitive word on how long Skelton is out. But the early ballpark estimates seem to suggest 3-6 weeks. If nothing else, it sounds like Kolb will have some time to show what he’s made of by the time Skelton is fully ready to play.

Oh yeah … and the Texans won and the RGIII vs Luck comparisons begin with RG in the lead. I think I managed to catch the end of the Green Bay v 49ers game over the opening weekend. Improvement is definitely needed on my part.

Cougar Aggre-blogging

September 4, 2012 College, Pro No Comments

A pretty busy weekend in extended Cougar sposts …

» Chron: Piland, defense suffer through season opener to forget
» Chron: UH changes offensive coordinators in reaction to Texas St. loss
Brutal day and a dizzying turn of events watching a coach hired after an extensive Google search by Coach Levine. Here’s hoping things turn around fast. For whatever team failings are going to reflect on Levine, the lack of returning starters is a bigger issue in my mind. I’m not sure how many of the kids we have lining up now are likely to be multi-year lettermen, but this isn’t the first time we’ve been at the start of a four-to-five year project with unproven talent in the first year. I’m waiting and I hope to be seeing. Soon.

» AZ Republic: Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kevin Kolb knows there is time to make amends
Also brutal. I’ll be shocked if Kolb doesn’t get some starting time for the Cards at some point in the season. The O-line is just too iffy for the team to see them going through only one QB. What Kolb shows off the bench will likely determine how much of a career he has from this point on.

» Chron: Case Keenum clears waivers; signed to practice squad
» Detroit Free Press: Lions reportedly sign CB Drayton Florence; add Patrick Edwards, Ross Weaver to practice squad
Elsewhere, RB Michael Hayes ended up getting cut by the Chargers (Jackie Battle is still in their backfield, however) and LB Sammy Brown was a late cut by the St. Louis Rams. Of the four, I’d have probably picked Edwards to take his talents to the UFL or CFL to prove what he can do. Nice to see Detroit being smart enough to hold onto him. There’s some good history there with short receivers.

» Chron: Legendary UH athletic trainer Wilson dies at 85
Even our training staff at UH was legendary.

Another Un-Cartographic Aggrepost …

August 22, 2012 Politics-2012 No Comments

Mapping to resume shortly. I hope. For now, a few posts to keep tabs on the world.

» Wash. Post: Is NASA’s InSight too little too late? (Vivek Wadhwa)
A pretty good snapshot on the state of private industry being a better avenue for space exploration even while the government deposits a truck on Mars to take pretty pictures and shoot lasers at rocks.

» NY Times: Imran Khan Must Be Doing Something Right
A borderline hagiographic view of Imran Khan that still serves to be somewhat telling about the guy. I had the opportunity to hear Khan address the World Affairs Council of Houston back in 2009. My thoughts from that time still hold. The upcoming Pakistani elections should be pretty interesting. I’m just not convinced that Khan will be much more than a sideshow.

» AZ Republic: The Arizona Cardinals’ Kevin Kolb signing is turning into a great organizational failure (Dan Bickley)
I’d love to see Kolb prove people wrong. But that only happens on the field. Most interesting theory I’ve heard about the difference in the O-line play for Kolb vs Skelton has been that defenses generally want Skelton to throw the ball, but know that Kolb will get rattled and indecisive in the pocket. If Kolb has time to throw, the arm can carry him far. But then again, I was saying the same thing about David Klingler in 1993 & 1994.

Some Un-Cartographic Aggreposting …

Well, so much for continuous mapping through the week. Yesterday got away from me and I’m presently doing some coding and databasing that I was hoping to have done a day and a half ago. First world problems, for ya. Anywho … he are a few links worth noting before they go under-reported by me.

» Chron: Texans’ Keenum appears cut from the same cloth as Kubiak
It sounds as if Keenum will be the third QB in the game and playing with the second unit offense in tonight’s game. I didn’t bother catching the first preseason game against Carolina since I didn’t think Case would play (he did). I’ll be looking for an online feed of this after church tonight to get what I hope is not a last-gasp dose of watching Case chuck a football.

» Chron: UH QB Piland ready to put valuable experience to use
I’m not sure what to expect for this year’s Cougar football team. For starters, I don’t know any of the receivers. Charles Sims appears to be one of the better skill players to return. And as if David Piland’s alma mater wasn’t problematic enough for me, the up & coming running back hailing from arch rival L.D. Bell has me in a complete state of confusion this year. Nothing a good 8-0 start to the season wouldn’t fix, I’m sure.

» ESPN: Kevin Kolb gets some slack for rough start
» AZ Republic: Arizona Cardinals quarterback competition will continue at least a week
» ESPN: Tommy Kelly Rips Kevin Kolb

I’ve said this before … Kolb is the kind of guy who really needs three solid years to settle into a starting role with a team. Sad as it may be, he might not get that unless he shows some major indicators of being healthy and solid in the job this second season with the Cards.

» New Republic: I Was a Teenage Objectivist
Good for a daily laugh here. I made my way through one and a half Ayn Rand books during college. By the time I was approaching graduation at UH, the Daily Cougar editorialists were hard core objectivists. And a considerable number of friends were college libertarians of the Ayn Rand ilk. There was nothing about any of that compelled me to find selfishness and individualistic sociopathy as a worthwhile endeavor.

» Chron: Growth of Hispanic business doesn’t match population
Worth going back and reading this for some additional perspective.

» FW Star-Telegram: Texas risks losing $31 million in federal transportation funding
Some interesting insights into federal budgeting here.

» NY Times: ‘Al’ and ‘Joe’ Lead the Spam Squad
Interesting reading for those interested in online and/or political communication. I’m pretty sure that I’m subscribed to almost every email list under the political sun (and several non-political ones as well). I’ve definitely seen the emails in question for this write-up and tend to loathe the deadline flurry of emails that multiple campaigns send out. But I’m also sure that my inbox is at the extreme end of the spectrum. I’m mostly interested in saving examples that I might want to copy an idea or two from. As for the qualitative disputes with the extent that campaigns hit “send”, I’m not sure I’m seeing as good use of it this cycle as was on display in 2008. I think a big part of that is due to Team Obama’s perspective of being an incumbent with a big, hefty list that they’re interested in milking diminishing returns from. In 2008, the Obama group was new, fresh, and looking to rebuild many of the tools that were started up in halfway form in 2004. When multiple challengers run for an open seat in 2016, it’ll be interesting to see if anyone challenges the existing vendors out there for online communication. And I hope it involves something better than relying on multiple emails a day on fundraising deadlines. If it puts an end to clients asking me if they can sign email blasts as being sent from their iPhone, I’ll be all the happier.

» Foreign Affairs: The New Great Game in Central Asia ($)
Interesting if you’re into Asian/China stuff.

The Kevin Kolb Era: Now or Never

August 6, 2012 Pro No Comments

» Arizona Republic: Kevin Kolb injured as Arizona Cardinals lose to New Orleans Saints

Ugh …

Quarterback Kevin Kolb’s first pass was intercepted, and he suffered a bruised rib muscle and diaphragm on his fourth attempt and did not return.

Coach Ken Whisenhunt said the injury didn’t appear serious and that it was possible Kolb would practice this week.

The Cardinals looked like a team playing its first preseason game in the 17-10 loss Sunday at Fawcett Stadium.

The Saints did not.

Unfortunately, this was supposed to be the third consecutive season that Kevin was either functionally or officially tabbed as the starting QB. I’m obviously rooting for him. So you can imagine my pain in seeing another outing like this.

Aggre-blogging: The Final Countdown

Only a few more days left in the year. I’m ready for the sprint to the end to be over.

» Chron: Veteran lawmaker Abercia decides to retire
It seems as if Abercia’s been around forever instead of just since 1990. But that might be due more to the fact that my family returned to Houston in 1987. Regardless, it sure seems like some political old-timers are hanging it up lately.

In case its totally alien to you about what I do, the demographics and election math in Constable Precinct 1 are below the fold. It’s fairly solidly Dem-leaning. But one tidbit about Constable & JP districts is that they apparently aren’t required to undergo redistricting. Something to do with them being more administrative in function and outside the scope of one-man/one-vote requirements and all that. The result is that Pct 1 has 696,436 people in it while Phil Camus’ Precinct 5 has 1,100,496. The smallest jurisdiction, however, belongs to Victor Trevino’s Precinct 6 with 148,395. Wacky. And I wouldn’t be surprised to see Commissioners Court take up the “emergency” in this discrepancy sometime soon.

» Toledo Blade: Kaptur, Kucinich file for race in 9th District for 2012 Democratic primary
I’m with the chick on this one.

» Wash. Post: Under Obama, an emerging global apparatus for drone killing
Always fascinating reading. And on a marginally-related note, I did not get what I really wanted for Christmas. Probably just as well since I’d need two of them in case I crash one. Oh, and the fact that they run north of $50k probably had something to do with it.

» Wash. Post: Romney and Santorum surge as Iowa caucuses near
Santorum-mentum doesn’t quite have the ring that Roemer-mentum does. But the fact that even Rick Santorum is getting a surge in the GOP field really does suggest that everyone will get their 15 seconds of fame in the GOP primary.

» The Chron editorial board dogpiles on the irony of Rick Perry being kept off the ballot by “election integrity” laws. PoliticalWire has the backgrounder.

» Star-Telegram: Dickey’s winners will get their fill of barbecue
This is exactly what it means to lose by winning. Tried this place once in Clear Lake. It is easily the worst thing passing for BBQ that I could possibly imagine. Sure, I can be finicky about BBQ. I love Pappa’s and am no fan of Goode Co. … just so you know where I stand. But I can at least have intelligent BBQ-related conversations with those who prefer their BBQ with a watery vinegar sauce. I tried Colter’s BBQ while on my JerryWorld vacation. Not great, but a decent knock-off of the Pappa’s formula. I once frequented a local BBQ establishment that was nothing to write home about simply due to the proximity to work and the fact that it’s really hard to screw up a sliced beef sandwich. So it’s not like I’m overly picky. Dickeys, on the other hand … is a complete insult to BBQ. That is all.

» Arizona Republic: Concussion symptoms likely to sideline Cardinals QB Kevin Kolb
The Kevin Kolb Era 2.0 didn’t quite get off to a terrific start in Phoenix. Here’s the stat line for the season, assuming he doesn’t play at all tomorrow:

                      CMP  ATT   YDS    CMP%   AVG   TD  INT  RATING
2011 Regular Season   146  253  1,955   57.7   7.73   9   8    81.1

The QB Rating puts him just beneath Cincinnati’s Andy Dalton and just above Buffalo’s Ryan Fitzpatrick. I don’t see it as likely that the backup for the Cards (John Skelton) is going to get a serious look at competing for the starting role next season. But I wouldn’t be shocked to see the Cards bring in a veteran backup since this is the second season in a row that Kolb has seen extensive sideline action thanks to a concussion. Here’s hoping next year is a lot better.

Constable Precinct 1 – Demographics

         Total Pop         Voting Age Pop.
------------------------------------------
         696,436           517,185
------------------------------------------
Anglo    202,317 (29.1%)   175,755 (34.0%)
Hispanic 344,008 (49.4%)   226,810 (43.9%)
Afr-Am   114,739 (16.5%)    86,705 (16.8%)
Asian     26,600 ( 3.8%)    22,052 ( 4.3%)

Spanish Surnamed Registered Voters: 22.0%

2010 Governor
----------------------
Perry - 47,231 (35.6%)
White - 83,369 (62.9%)
----------------------
Total   132,590

Downballot contests without a popular former Mayor had Loren Jackson winning 59.1-40.9 and Hector Uribe winning 53.0-45.0.

2008 President
-----------------------
McCain -   74,351 (38.3%)
Obama -   119,575 (61.7%)

2008 Senate
-------------------------
Cornyn -   71,169 (37.0%)
Noriega - 117,002 (60.9%)
-------------------------
Total     192,271

District Map (Pct 1 in blue):

Aggre-blogging: UH Hangover Edition

December 5, 2011 Politics-2011, Sports No Comments

A little reviewing of the weekend reading list. Looks like the dayjob will have me buried in coding, Census results, and some presentation work that may or may not spill over to the blog. So enjoy the condensed takes while they last …

» TNR: Slice the Demographics Any Way You Want, But Obama Is In Trouble (Bill Galston)
This is pretty much where I’m at these days. And that may not be much of a shock since I tend to track pretty closely to Galston on a variety of matters. Regardless, I find it difficult to suggest that demographics alone are going to be a savior for Obama. Or at least as much as sometimes get suggested. This is well worth reading for a different tangent on the Center for American Progress’ big report that suggests that demographics are at least a bit of a crutch for Obama.

» The New York Times has two-thirds of their three-parter on the late Derek Boogaard (Part One,
Part Two). Part three should be online late tonight or early tomorrow. So far, there’s been a fair amount of insight that’s been new – namely how Derek handled the transition to the higher paychecks of the National Hockey League. The insight from some of Boogaard’s connections to the Houston Aeros (Asst. Coach Matt Shaw and former Wild exec Tom Lynn) are also pretty interesting.

» NY Times: Some Cities Object to Being Carved Up by Redistricting
This is primarily a read on how Salt Lake City gets sliced up in Congressional Redistricting, but the overtones are certainly felt elsewhere. If the San Antonio court’s version of the Congressional map for Texas holds up, Austin’s situation seems to be resolved quite a bit more to city leaders’ expectations than the lege had done to it.

» NY Times: Health Official Takes Parting Shot at ‘Waste’
Two things: a) It’s not clear to me that Donald Berwick is really referencing anything that can be fixed legislatively despite his insistence that it is government regulations are to blame, and b) it’s not clear to me that the overly expensive “health care reform” that’s gradually being enacted will have much impact on the matter. Much of what Berwick seems to bemoan are the generic levels of duplication, over-testing, and over-prescribing. That’s not quite the same as saying “Here’s where money is going down the toilet” with regards to the Medicare and Medicaid programs that he oversaw for the past year and a half. If there’s anything specific that could impact those expenses, it’s just not covered in the story, which seems more about the fact that Berwick gave an interview rather than the particulars of what he was interviewed about. Details, please!

» NY Times: The Education of a Quarterback
» AZ Republic: Kevin Kolb’s triumphant return a big stepping stone for the streaking Arizona Cardinals
Somewhere in the wailing and moaning of a lost perfect season for my Coogs, I resigned myself to the fact that I might at least have the joy of watching Aaron Rodgers play some lights-out football in the Packers’ quest for a perfect season. And that came within 58 seconds of being challenged by the NY Giants on Sunday. But as bad as Saturday was for the Coogs, Sunday was a bit more thrilling with Kevin Kolb putting together a solid second-half of football that looked like the Kevin Kolb I recognize from his days as a Coog, plus a nice finishing drive by the Packers to keep their record spotless. Considering what the Coog loss left us with, I’ll take it.

» The New Yorker: Monday Night Lights: How Jon Gruden became America’s football coach.
I honestly do not watch a great deal of Monday Night Football since I have a general aversion to ESPN (which is insanely strange considering my addition to watching sporting events), so I’m certain that I don’t have quite as much appreciation of Jon Gruden as this article requires. But even from the perspective of seeing how coaches adjust to something close to the real world. And I swear … I never sat through an entire viewing of The Great Santini, so I’m not sure where the fascination comes from. Maybe it’s just from the parallels in seeing how folks who watch the same games as I do, but get so much more detail out of it that intrigues me. That at least makes sense when you consider that I keep re-reading this piece from The Atlantic about three or four times a football season since it came out.

» Yahoo: Web an increasing tool to link campaigns, voters
An interesting read if you’re fine with the fact that it’s basically free advertising for folks like Google. There’s not a lot of depth here, but it still strikes me as odd how few local candidates are doing online advertising. The Parker campaign did a bit of pre-roll video ads combined with display ads on the same site for a dual impact. That’s not the most cost-effective buy, but the fact is that most folks selling the service are overstating the benefits while the campaigns that do tend to devote some resources to it aren’t too particular to follow through on seeing what they do get from the ads. I know I’m spoiled since that was one of my tasks with the Bill White campaign. But I’m really curious what it’s going to take to make local campaigns realize how cost-effective the medium can be.

» Chron: Manvel silences La Marque 38-35 to advance
Easily, the most rewarding sports news from the weekend. Two Klinglers are a win away from playing for a State Championship in two weeks. My tickets are already procured, regardless of who goes. Here’s what my viewing options are down to so far in the Final Fours:

5A-I … Southlake Carroll v Dallas Skyline … Fort Bend Hightower v San Antonio Madison. Odd bracket on the DFW side since Allen was knocked off by Trinity and Trinity was upset by Arlington Martin. This is the first time since 2003 that the season does not end with a champion that is either Trinity or a team that beat Trinity to advance in the playoffs. I’m pulling for a Skyline/Hightower matchup. If the other teams win out, I may just skip this game. If it’s Hightower vs Southlake, I’m going in full Hightower apparel to root against Southlake.

5A-II … Mansfield Timberview v Spring Dekaney … Port Arthur Memorial v Cibolo Steele. Cibolo Steele made it to JerryWorld last year. Great school and a nice success for a new school, at that. They’re easily one of the bright spots out of the extended San Antonio region. It’d be nice to see if they can repeat, but I’m not opposed to seeing teams that are new to me play for all the marbles.

4A-I … Hewitt Midway v Tyler John Tyler … Lake Travis v Pearland Dawson. Midway is the only school I’m not familiar with. Any of the other three would be some great viewing in Arlington. My sense is that the championship really comes down to Lake Travis and Pearland Dawson, though.

4A-II … Aledo v Corsicana … Manvel v Calallen. I like Manvel’s odds this weekend, but the reality is starting to dawn on me that the “reward” for such a win is to run into the buzzsaw that is Aledo. Aledo had to avenge their season-opening loss to Stephenvill to advance to the quarters and all-world RB Johnathan Gray is tearing up everything in his way. At least when he’s not getting ejected from the game. One step at a time. But it’ll be pretty danged nice to see Manvel in the Championship game.

There’s also a final four pairing in the 2A-1 bracket that has Tatum and Hempstead deciding who goes to the championship. That’s an interesting matchup of two teams I might like to see.

On Ranking Subjectively

December 1, 2011 College 1 Comment

» Chron: Cougars make strong case for best UH team ever

I seem to recall during my teenage years, that there was a certain hobby among those of us who owned (and sometimes practiced playing) an electric guitar of ranking the big-name guitar heroes of the day as a way of expressing our preferences. Yeah, so now the Chronicle does that with UH football teams …

There are cases for teams from the Bill Yeoman era – 1973, 1976 and 1979 in particular – the Jack Pardee and John Jenkins days of 1989 and 1990, and, if you really want to dial it back, the 1952 Cougars, who were an impressive bunch on defense.

But if the No. 7 Cougars (12-0, 8-0 Conference USA) are to win Saturday when they host No. 24 Southern Mississippi (10-2, 6-2) in the C-USA Championship Game at 11 a.m. at Robertson Stadium, they could make a strong case of their own. In many ways, they already have.

While I hope this doesn’t mean that I’ll regress to the point of practicing Ozzy’s “Crazy Train” for 12 hours a day, I’ll simply say that the 1976 team is pretty hard to top from my perspective. But I’m not worried about records, NFL draft picks, sentimental choices for favorite players. What I grew up knowing about that team was this: the year before, the Coogs went 2-8.

My parents made a habit of driving from Mississippi to Houston about 3-4 times a year to catch games. The next year, we won the Southwest Conference in our first year, beat Texas 30-0, won the Cotton Bowl against undefeated Maryland, and finished #4 in the nation. Again, the folks dragged us from Mississippi to Houston just as before. But this time, a couple of trips to Austin and Dallas were added. I watched the 1977 Cotton Bowl on a small black & white TV of the babysitter we were staying with at the time. It doesn’t get more hardcore than that. Somewhere in my parents’ house is the commemorative Dr Pepper bottle from the game. And Jerry Wizig’s book, “Eat ‘Em Up” ends with this moment in history.

All of this effectively stamped in my mind as a definitive moment of what it means to be a Cougar. Be as much of a fan during the lean times as you are in the good times. Everything else – Andre Ware winning a Heisman, David & Jimmy Klingler being the best passers the school ever saw, Kevin Kolb & Coach Art Briles (a member of the 1976 team) restoring a great deal of lost luster since the Klingler days – all of that adds to the foundation for me. But the foundation is the foundation.

I’m certain that there are older Cougars who might point toward the 50s and 60s teams that are worth consideration. That’s fine. For a lot of younger Cougars, Case Keenum’s certainly a great foundation for their perspective. But at the conclusion of the parlor game, the entire exercise is more about defining what the school’s team means to you or I. I just hope for the sake of kids today, that Dr Pepper makes another commemorative bottle.

Chuck Norris hides when he sees Kevin Kolb approaching …

August 17, 2011 Pro, Sports No Comments

» AZ Republic: Arizona Cardinals QBs share Texas bond

Once, [Kolb] was walking with his future wife when they encountered an angry western diamondback. Kolb took off his boot, put it at the end of stick and dangled it in front the snake. According to a published report, the snake struck the boot 10 times before giving up the battle.

Kolb then picked up the snake, took out his gun with the other hand and shot the snake in the head. He removed its rattles with a pocket knife, keeping them as a good-luck charm. He was 17 at the time.

Kolb confirmed the encounter Tuesday, adding that he knew a rattlesnake feigns death when its bite has no effect on an intruder. But the rattles have lost their significance.

“Oh, I’ve got a bunch,” he said.

Just two months ago, Kolb took down another rattler with a perfectly thrown rock. Such accuracy surely bodes well for the future.

For more technical football updates on Kolb’s progress, the Cardinal’s have a pretty good snapshot of the situation posted on their blog. Friday night has the Cards playing the Packers. Regular season can’t get here soon enough for me.

Preseason Among Us

August 12, 2011 Pro, Sports No Comments

Five practices with his new team later …

» AZ Republic: Cards get answers in preseason opener

Given the timeframe that teams had for preparation, Kolb’s line wasn’t the most important thing in the world. But for whatever it’s worth, not bad for one quarter of play:

Kolb played through the first quarter, completing 4 of 7 passes for 68 yards, including a long of 43 yards to Larry Fitzgerald.

Kolb-to-Fitzgerald may be one of the more entertaining things to watch for this season. But given Kolb’s problem of keying on his first option in Philly, it may of some interest to compare Fitz’s productivity with Kolb against his productivity with Kurt Warner.

The Kevin Kolb Era … 2.0

July 28, 2011 Pro No Comments

It is done …

Coverage from elsewhere …

» ESPN: The Cardinals’ big bet on Kevin Kolb
» Arizona Republic: Arizona Cardinals’ trade for QB Kevin Kolb is all but done
» Philly Inq: Kolb-for-Rodgers-Cromartie trade done

For the record, I have priced out a potential trip to see the Cardinals play and eagerly await the precise second that I can purchase a #4 Cardinals replica jersey. Kolb always looked better in red anyway.

The Odds of Kolb Being in Philly Next Season

February 10, 2011 Pro No Comments

» NFL Network: Pondering the future of Kevin Kolb

I can’t say I’d be shocked if Kevin Kolb spent another year in Philadelphia – either due to the labor agreement not being done in time for the draft, or for the Eagles insisting on too steep of a price for him. The NFL Network’s Michael Lombardi seems to think returning to Philly might be at the top of the probability rankings …

There’s also the distinct possibility, due to all the factors involved, the Eagles simply decide to ride with Kolb during the second and final year of his contract.

“I think he’s worth a lot more to the Eagles than he would be to most of the other teams in the NFL, with the exception, perhaps, of the Browns,” Lombardi told NFL Network. “I think he’s more valuable to the Eagles because of the durability issues with [Vick]. If I let him go for a third- or fourth-round pick, am I really helping my team? I’d rather have him play out the year in the backup role and then let him go to free agency. … For the Eagles, it either has to be a first-round pick, or keep him.”

Lombardi adds that the Eagles would get a compensatory 3rd round pick, assuming that that’s still a part of the new labor agreement (whenever it gets done), if Kolb were to leave after his contract is up next year. That’s a factor I’d forgotten about and strikes me a huge, since it raises the bar for the Eagles’ asking price and means they won’t get nothing if they have him back next season. Still, the Cody Carlson and Danny White experiences I’ve witnessed in my time don’t bode well for good quarterbacks left on the shelf too long.

Of course, there are other factors at work. Like All Pro receivers telling their team that the QB they want throwing the ball is the kid out of Houston. Especially when said All Pro receivers are up for free agency next season. It’ll be interesting to see which side of the tug-of-war battle wins out, but the first contest is going to be getting the labor deal done by Draft Day. Otherwise, I tend to think the odds of Kolb backing up Vick in Philly for another season increase greatly.

Kiper Ponders Kolb’s Fate

January 31, 2011 Pro No Comments

The current chatter out of Philly is that, as expected, the Eagles will put a franchise tag on Michael Vick in order to secure him for next season and that they’ll also start entertaining offers for Kevin Kolb. A lot depends on what becomes of the labor talks, but hopefully something happens between the Super Bowl and the draft. Otherwise, there are no trades to be made for draft picks until a new CBA is a done deal.

That said, I’d expect the Eagles to start the bidding with a first round draft pick. Whether they back off of that or if the secondary picks add up to something substantial enough to not worry about a first-round pick, we’ll see. Given that a lot of the teams looking for a quality QB are also sitting on the top of the draft board, I’ve got to think something eventually gives.

Enter Mel Kiper, with his top five teams that could land Kolb:

1. Arizona Cardinals
2. San Francisco 49ers
3. Tennessee Titans
4. Minnesota Vikings
5. Cleveland Browns

Not much mention of the Carolina Panthers, apparently. The one thing that makes me think Carolina might have a good offer for Kolb is that they could offer their 2nd round pick, which is the 33rd overall pick. That’s a good slot since you don’t have to pay a first-round premium, but you get a quality player nonetheless. I’d be a little surprised if they wouldn’t be tempted to offer something like a 2nd & 4th round pick in this draft for Kolb and maybe either a conditional 2nd or 3rd round pick in next year’s draft or a later pick in this year’s.

That said, I could easily see Kolb working out well in Arizona, SF, or Minnesota. Definitely not crazy about him going to Tennessee or Cleveland and I’m not even sure I could bring myself to order a Titans jersey if it were to come to that.

Kolb’s Next Season, Ctd.

January 10, 2011 Pro No Comments

News updates still coming out of Tucson; the state Comptroller releases revenue projections; State House Republicans will vote on their choice for Speaker (maybe). And as if the day wasn’t packed with newsworthy items enough, today is the day that Kevin Kolb and Andy Reid sit down for a post-season debrief.

It’s expected that Kolb will say he either wants to start or wants out of Philly in order to start elsewhere. It’s a pretty interesting scenario that the team has this off-season. I don’t think they’ll let Vick enter free agency, so it comes down to getting something for Kolb this off-season or losing him for certain next year and getting nothing in return. I’ve got to think that they’ll bend a little on trade demands for Kolb in order to get something for the $11M signing bonus they gave him after the McNabb trade.

There’s a lot of possible suitors for Kolb out there and a lot of good QBs available in the draft as well. It ought to be interesting to see what happens and when.

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