Sports Outside the Beltway

Dallas ‘Final’ 2008 Roster

The Dallas Cowboys cut 21 players at the 5 pm deadline Saturday to get their roster down to the mandatory 53: QB Richard Bartel, WR Mark Bradford, WR Todd Lowber, WR Danny Amendola, WR Mike Jefferson, TE Rodney Hannah, TE Drew Atchison, RB Alonzo Coleman, RB Keon Lattimore, FB Julius Crosslin, C Ryan Gibbons, OT Cory Lekkerkerker, DE Marcus Smith, DE Marcus Dixon, NT Junior Siavii, NT Remi Ayodele, LB Darrell Robertson, LB Erik Walden, LB Tyson Smith, LB Tearrius George, S Dowayne Davis.
The “final” roster, then, looks like this:

QB (2) – Tony Romo, Brad Johnson
RB (4) – Marion Barber, Felix Jones, Tashard Choice, Deon Anderson
WR (5) – Terrell Owens, Patrick Crayton, Sam Hurd, Miles Austin, Isaiah Stanback
TE (3) – Jason Witten, Martellus Bennett, Tony Curtis [UPDATE 2 - Forgot tight ends, too. My bad. Again]
OL (11) – LT Flozell Adams, LG Kyle Kosier, C Andre Gurode, RG Leonard Davis, RT Marc Colombo, G Montrae Holland, T Pat McQuistan, G Joe Berger, C Cory Procter, OG James Marten, OT Doug Free [UPDATE - I forgot Free on the first run through. My bad.]
DL (6) – Chris Canty, Jay Ratliff, Marcus Spears, Tank Johnson, Jason Hatcher, Stephen Bowen
LB (8) – Greg Ellis, Bradie James, Zach Thomas, DeMarcus Ware, Kevin Burnett, Bobby Carpenter, Anthony Spencer, Justin Rogers
DB (11) – CB Terence Newman, CB Anthony Henry, S Roy Williams, S Ken Hamlin, CB Adam Jones, CB Mike Jenkins, CB Orlando Scandrick, S Pat Watkins, S Courtney Brown, CB Alan Ball, CB Evan Oglesby
Sp (3) – P Mat McBriar, K Nick Folk, LS L.P. Ladouceur

I put scare quotes around “final,” of course, because the other 31 teams are having to make similar moves and, inevitably, all teams will sign at least one player for someone else and churn the bottom of the roster.

It looks, for sure, that the Cowboys will bring back Keith Davis, a special teams ace who’s been a very mediocre safety.

Tampa Bay has cut QB Chris Simms, who the Cowboys have long rumored being interested in.  Will the Cowboys bring him in as their number 3, hoping to displace Brad Johnson as the backup at some point?  Will Simms be willing to do that, rather than trying to go to a team less solid at the QB1 slot than Dallas?

Jamaica Rector, a former backup receiver for the Cowboys, has been cut by the Arizona Cardinals.  Do the Cowboys re-sign him, at least on a short-term basis, given all the injuries at wide receiver?  He knows the system, you’d think, but is having insurance at WR worth cutting a developmental player?


Alabama Rolls Over Clemson, 34-10

Doug Benc/Getty Images  Nick Saban watched the Crimson Tide dominate No. 9 Clemson on Saturday.The Alabama Crimson Tide came in as heavy underdogs against the #9 ranked Clemson Tigers but surprised everyone by dominating the game from start to finish.


Nick Saban may face his toughest task yet: Holding down runaway expectations for his inexperienced Alabama team. Crimson Tide’s $4 million-per-year coach gave Alabama backers a reason to think big Saturday night, leading ‘Bama to a thorough 34-10 beating of No. 9 Clemson 34-10 at the Georgia Dome.

“Nobody can be satisfied with a one-game performance,” Saban said. “This will be a challenge for our team and it’ll be interesting to see how they respond.”

Still, as the Alabama band broke into Queen’s “We Are The Champions,” at the end, you had to wonder if they were honoring the Crimson Tide’s past, with 12 national titles and years of dominance in the Southeastern Conference under Bear Bryant, or gazing into the near future.

“It’s still early. We still got a long way to go,” cautioned quarterback John Parker Wilson, who threw for two touchdowns and ran for a third. “But we’ve got a good group of guys here who can do it.”

The statistical comparison was overwhelming:

Team Stat Comparison
1st Downs 25 11
Total Yards 419 188
Passing 180 188
Rushing 239 0
Penalties 6-40 6-43
3rd Down Conversions 11-17 1-9
4th Down Conversions 0-0 1-2
Turnovers 0 2
Possession 41:13 18:47

It’s worth pointing out that Clemson’s vaunted offense was held to a measly field goal, with 7 of the 10 Tiger points coming on a kickoff return.

ESPN’s Ivan Maisel thinks Alabama is ahead of schedule after a disappointing first year for head coach Nick Saban:

Alabama coach Nick Saban wanted to play No. 9 Clemson in the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Classic for a lot of reasons. He wanted the national prime-time exposure of the opening Saturday night. He wanted his No. 24 Crimson Tide to have a presence in this recruiting hotbed. He wanted his young team — 14 freshmen on the two-deep — to play in a bowl-like atmosphere.

Saban, in sum, wanted this game in order to prepare his team for a future when they would be ready to contend for championships. In the wake of Alabama’s 34-10 victory, that may have been Saban’s only miscalculation.

Future? The future is now. If Alabama continues to play as well as it played Saturday night, the Crimson Tide will play in the Georgia Dome again this season — in the Southeastern Conference Championship Game.

It’s an exciting start to the season. Clearly, Saban has done wonders in recruiting. But Alabama faces an absolutely brutal schedule, playing at Arkansas, at #1 Georgia, at #18 Tennessee, at #7 LSU, and closing the regular season at home against #10 Auburn. If they can even win three of those games, it would be a spectacular year. Even that, though, wouldn’t be enough to guarantee them a spot in the SEC title game, let alone the BCS championship game.


Life imitates Dash Parr

From the Incredibles.
Dash: You always say ‘Do your best’, but you don’t really mean it. Why can’t I do the best that I can do?

Outside the Beltway links to a story about a little league pitcher who’s too good.

Nine-year-old Jericho Scott is a good baseball player — too good, it turns out. The right-hander has a fastball that tops out at about 40 mph. He throws so hard that the Youth Baseball League of New Haven [Connecticut] told his coach that the boy could not pitch any more.

Eugene Volokh though says that the problem is not that he’s too good for his age, but that he ought to be allowed to compete against older boys, who are at his level of talent.

Players who excel far beyond their age group should of course still be playing. They just should be playing against others who are roughly their equals in ability. It sounds like the other players in New Haven Youth Baseball are out of Scott’s league (in a more literal way than usual for that phrase) — and they should indeed be in different leagues. (If the next higher league doesn’t allow Scott because he’s too young, even if he’s good enough, then that should be the target of criticism, it seems to me, and not the actions of the Youth Baseball league.)

(h/t Instapundit)

Yes, let him compete against a higher level of competition. But I think MLB is a little much. Even the Orioles.

Crossposted on Soccer Dad.

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Frank Cornish, Cowboys Super Bowl Lineman, Dies at 40

Former Dallas Cowboys offensive lineman Frank Cornish died in his sleep Friday night.  He was only 40.

Frank Cornish (left) and teammate Brian Nielsen meet police constable Sue Dawson before training at London\'s Crystal Palace sports ground in August of 1993. The Dallas Cowboys travelled to England to play an exhibition game with the Detroit Lions.Cornish, an offensive lineman, played for five NFL teams during a six-year career that started in 1990 when he was a sixth-round pick out of UCLA by the San Diego Chargers. He played with the Cowboys on Super Bowl-winning teams in 1992 and 1993, starting five games.


“The Bruin family sends our deepest, heartfelt sympathy to the Cornish family,” said UCLA head coach Rick Neuheisel, a Bruin assistant for most of Cornish’s college career. “I was a coach when he was a player, and he was just a gifted guy. Frank was a great guy in the locker room and a huge personality and a fun guy to be around.”

Cornish’s father, Frank played in the NFL in the late ’60s and ’70s.

Frank Cornish IV is survived by his wife, Robin, three daughters and two sons.

Truly sad.


Gene Upshaw Dies of Pancreatic Cancer

Gene Upshaw, Hall of Fame offensive lineman and executive director of the NFLPA, has died of pancreatic cancer at the age of 63.

Upshaw played for the Oakland and Los Angeles Raiders from 1967 through 1981. He was a seven-time Pro Bowl selection and an 11-time All-Pro, playing on two Super Bowl-winning teams with the Raiders. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1987, but has been better known for the past 25 years as the executive director of the NFL Players Association.

From his involvement with the NFLPA as a player through his tenure as executive director, Upshaw took part in negotiations of the 1977, 1982 and 1993 Collective Bargaining Agreements between the NFL and NFLPA, and extensions of the CBA in 1998, 2002 and 2006.

Upshaw was born on Aug. 15, 1945, in Robstown, Texas, and played collegiately at Texas A&M. He was a first-round draft pick of the Oakland Raiders in 1967 and became the starting left guard as a rookie. He quickly became part of one of the NFL’s most dominant offensive lines, lining up between fellow Hall of Famers Art Shell at tackle and Jim Otto at center. Upshaw became the first player who was exclusively a guard to be enshrined in the Hall of Fame.

It is no exaggeration to say that Upshaw had as much of an impact on the shape and success of the modern NFL as any owner or group of owners. His influence on the game and his advocacy for and on behalf of players (past and present) was a major factor in making football such a popular sport. R.I.P.

UPDATE (James Joyner): Truly a sad and unexpected loss. Driving in this morning, I heard the news on Sirius NFL Radio. They were stunned that Upshaw hadn’t told anyone but, as it turns out, he only learned of his illness this past weekend.

I started watching the NFL on a serious basis with the 1979 season, during which I also collected the Topps player cards. Here’s the front and back of Upshaw’s card from that year (via Milo’s Cards):

Topps Front Topps Back

I should note, too, that when I tuned into the middle of the Sirius discussion about how the upcoming labor talks would go without Upshaw, I presumed he had been fired. In recent months, there was a movement within the union seeking to replace Upshaw because he was perceived as too cozy with ownership. They’ll soon find out, to their chagrin, how good they had it.


Phelps: 8 Golds and 8 World Records?

Alice Park believes that Michael Phelps might have a bigger ambition than topping Mark Spitz’ longstanding record of seven gold medals in a single Olympics.

Gold medallist Michael Phelps, right, of the United States celebrates with South Korea\'s silver medallist Park Tae-hwan after the men\'s 200m freestyle swimming final on August 12 Jason Reed / ReutersPhelps collected his third win in the Water Cube in the 200m freestyle on Aug. 12 — and his third world record. “Being in lane six, I was out of the middle of the pool. I knew that if I jumped first, the guys in the middle of the pool wouldn’t be able to see me, and by the time they did, hopefully I had enough ground where I could hold them off,” he said of his record-breaking win.

Could he and Bowman have set an astoundingly high bar of not only winning eight gold medals, but of earning eight new world records in the process? With any other swimmer, the very thought would be ridiculous. But with Phelps …

Of course, Phelps won’t admit to it. But if you’re as gifted as he is in the water, and you shrug off world records as easily as a coat, no mere clocks will keep you feeling challenged — you need something to motivate you. Setting eight new marks in a single meet might do it — Phelps has already broken five world records in a meet at last year’s World championships.

He could do it, certainly.  This pool seems to be exceptionally fast and Phelps is the best swimmer in history.  Still, one would hate to win eight gold medals — or even six — and come away from the Games disappointed in one’s performance.


Kyle Busch wins Watkins Glen

In the process he makes some NASCAR history. From AP-

WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. – If Kyle Busch has a weakness, it’s apparently going to be awfully difficult to find. After rivals Jimmie Johnson and Jeff Gordon said during the week they thought he was slipping following two straight lackluster finishes, Busch answered by making NASCAR history on Sunday.

He led 52 laps from the pole and won the Centurion Boats at The Glen at Watkins Glen International to become the first driver in NASCAR’s history to win three road course races in one season.

“That’s pretty neat, pretty special to me,” said Busch, who finished second Saturday in the Nationwide race here. “To be a force to be reckoned with means a lot. This year has just been phenomenal. It’s just crazy.”

Busch, who also clinched the top spot in the 10-race Chase for the Sprint Cup title, has won 16 races in NASCAR’s top three series this season — eight in Sprint Cup, six in Nationwide and two in trucks. His win Sunday completed a trifecta on road courses that includes the Nationwide race in Mexico in April and the Cup race at Sonoma in June.

Busch also joined another select group. Only Jeff Gordon, Tony Stewart and Robby Gordon had swept both Cup road course events in the same year.

So this conclusively proves it requires more of a driver than lots of left hand turns to win a NASCAR race. Before someone shoots me, let me note I used to watch alot of NASCAR when I was a teenager. Ask me about the finishes of the 75 and 76 Daytona 500s if you don’t believe me.


When Irish eyes are smiling…again- Padrig Harrington wins the PGA Championship

Three weeks after winning his 2nd consecutive British Open, Ireland’s Padrig Harrington wins the PGA Championship. Back to back 66s gave Harrington a two-shot win over Sergio Garcia and Ben Curtis.

Harrington has been a top European golfer for a decade. I thought he could win a major one day, but 3 out of 6 and back to back? Never. His 2007 British Open win may have been more than a little fortunate. Several golfers having Sunday meltdowns. In 2008 Padrig came out on top at the British and PGA playing the best golf, at the same time no one else blowing the tournaments. Will there be Padrig slam talk now? He’s two Major championships away from holding the Grand Slam. That seems an impossible feat for someone not named Tiger Woods, but who would have thought Harrington would have the chance?


Oh no- Amy Yang wins the Scandinavian TPC

A South Korean born golfer has won twice now on the Ladies European Tour aka the LET in 2008. From AP-

STOCKHOLM, Sweden — Amy Yang of South Korea spoiled Annika Sorenstam’s finale on home turf, tying the course record with a 9-under 63 Sunday for a six-shot victory at the Scandinavian TPC.

Amy Yang said she had no idea she could win Sunday, but a course-tying record 63 lifted her to victory.

Sorenstam eagled the par-4 17th to move into second place. The Swedish Hall of Famer took a double-bogey on the last hole, hitting her tee shot into the water and three-putting.Amy2.jpg

Sorenstam, the tournament host, shot 72 and finished seven strokes back to tie for sixth with three other Swedes. She was greeted by a packed gallery on the 18th green.


The 19-year-old Yang captured her second win as a professional in the rain-shortened 54-hole tournament with a 14-under 202 total at the Frosaker Golf and Country Club.

“I never thought I could win the tournament,” said Yang, who accepted the trophy and a hug from Sorenstam. “The leader was four shots ahead of me, so I thought I’d just go out and have fun. I’m very happy.”

When will the European golf press start talking about the Asian invasion? Will anyone propose there be a LET quota for players from that part of the world?(Time to turn off the sarcasm)

Yang has been having a very impressive year. After her win in Germany, Amy Yang stood #1 on the LET money list. Yang has lost the top spot, but is like #2 or #3 now. If Yang wins a LPGA major in 2008 it will hardly come as a surprise.


Let me repeat myself- LPGA Tour Commisioner Carolyn Bivens has to go

In only a few days two women’s professional golf tournaments in the USA have bit the dust. First, The Fields Open.

The Fields Corporation, title sponsor of the Fields Open in Hawaii, has announced it will not renew its title sponsorship for the LPGA tournament for 2009, leaving an early-season hole on the tour’s schedule for next year.

Fields officials said the Japanese entertainment company will concentrate its future marketing efforts primarily in Japan.


“I hate to see our tournaments go,” veteran player Juli Inkster told Golfweek. “What’s going on with the economy, it’s tough. We’re just going to have to fight through it.”

Inkster, a member of the LPGA Player Executive Committee, said although the tour is worldwide, it’s still primarily American-based and needs more strong events in this country.

“I think our No. 1 objective is to get more U.S. tournaments (with) full fields,” Inkster said.

Ryan at GNN writes- “That seems to fly in the face of international expansion of the LPGA Tour.” That’s true, the LPGA appears to be pay little attention to shoring up its US based schedule. I have no problems with the LPGA playing events around the world, but understand where those tour players are coming from, when they say the increasing amount field of limited events isn’t necessarily a good thing.

If one plumetting sandbag aimed at Carolyn Bivens head wasn’t enough, then this news broke on Friday.

The organizers of the LPGA’s Ginn Tribute hosted by Annika Sorenstam announced Friday they couldn’t obtain the sponsorships needed to keep the tournament through 2010.

Ginn Companies chairman Bobby Ginn blamed a faltering economy and less corporate funds for the demise of the tournament at RiverTowne Country Club.

“The golf tournament business is primarily fueled by economic support,” Ginn said in a statement. “We did everything in our power to generate the sponsorship necessary to continue with the Ginn Tribute, but given the current market and corresponding cuts in corporate spending, it was an uphill battle.”

The Ginn Tribute’s demise was written about in this post almost two weeks ago. There were even rumors that Ginn tried to pull out of the 2008 event. I wonder how Seon Hwa Lee feels at this moment. Her first three tour victories coming in tournaments that went belly up immediately afterwards.

One of those wins was the Shoprite Classic. Let me remind my readers, why that tournament is not on the LPGA schedule anymore.

There is more turbulence on the LPGA Tour between its administration and tournament sponsors. This week’s dilemma: Will a new sponsor with deep pockets double its presence on the tour? Will the rookie commissioner turn her back on an event that has been loyal to women’s golf for 21 years and give its spot on the schedule to the rich new kid on the block? And will the spurned event strike back by taking legal action against the LPGA, further complicating what has already been an awkward transition in leadership? The answers, mostly, are “yes.”

According to sources familiar with the situation, the LPGA will announce next week a new event in South Carolina and sponsored by Ginn Clubs & Resorts, which debuted as a sponsor this year with a $2.5 million stop in Orlando. That’s the good news. The problem is the date discussed with the new tournament is the week before the McDonald’s LPGA Championship–a spot currently occupied by the ShopRite LPGA Classic, won this year by Seon Hwa Lee. Larry Harrison, general chairman of the Atlantic City event since its inception in 1986, says he’ll sue if his date is given away.

No lawsuit was filed. Carolyn Bivens gave the Ginn Tribute the Shoprite’s dates on the LPGA tournament schedule, and not long afterward that particular sponsor ended its association with the LPGA.

Now the Ginn Tribute is dead in addition to the Shoprite. I was highly critical of this maneuver by Bivens when it took place.

This is suicidal for a tour with money problems, decaying tournament scheduling and sponsor retention problems.

I don’t hit the bullseye too often but was I ever right about the Shoprite fiasco.

With the Ginn Tribute gone plus the Shoprite, LPGA players would be more than justified to begin calling for Carolyn Bivens head because of the outright managerial incompetence she has more than shown herself able to do. What I said two years ago, still applies today.

Carolyn Bivens has to go or the LPGA is sunk.

Further posts about Ms. Bivens blunders can be read here and here.


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