Antonio Bryant, Laveranues Coles Both Cut, Careers Over?

Somehow it all comes back to the Cincinnati Bengals, that death sentence of a team. Last year they gave big contract to wide receiver Lavernaues Coles whom they figured would replace the departed T.J. Houshmandzadeh. They figured wrongly.

Coles never was on the same page with quarterback Carson Palmer and turned out to be a megabust, catching 43 passes for a mere 514 and five touchdowns. His once superior skills clearly declined last year and the production plummeted. It didn’t hurt Coles in the pocketbook however, as he grabbed nine million in guaranteed money from a four-year $27.5 million deal. Between the guaranteed money and last year’s salary, Coles netted around $200k per catch. Not bad cash if you can get it.

The good news is Cincinnati recognized the mistake, cut Coles in the offseason, and sent him packing with his nine million in hand. They replaced him with another receiver on the downside of his career — Antonio Bryant — who also had chronic knee injuries to boot. The Bengals handed Bryant a $7 million signing bonus and then went out and added T.O. in a low-priced deal. With T.O. in hand and a bevy of receivers selected in the draft, Bryant and his $7 million became expendable. Of course it didn’t help that Bryant didn’t practice after hurting his knee the first day of training camp.

So what’s the grand lesson to be learned here? $16 million doesn’t buy you a whole lot if you’re the Bengals. Oh yeah, and this is probably the end of the career for both receivers. Coles is for sure done whereas Bryant might sign somewhere if his knee heals, but I doubt they combine for 50 catches the rest of their careers. Nice going Cincinnati — way to scout your talent.

Frankie Edgar Dominates Disappointing B.J. Penn

The calls were heard loud and clear prior to the rematch between Frankie Edgar and B.J. Penn at UFC 118: Edgar got a friendly decision from the judges in their last fight and would not be so lucky this time around. We couldn’t have been more wrong.

Edgar came out of the gates in round one setting the same frenetic pace he established in the prior meeting between the men. While Penn appeared unmotivated and listless, Edgar recorded two takedowns in an impressive first round. More content to stand in the Octagon and box, Penn lacked any sort of aggression and strictly reacted to whatever Frankie did to him. B.J. was so inactive it appeared as if his gameplan was to let Edgar tire himself out in the first few rounds and then to finally try and take advantage later in the fight.

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Randy Couture Destroys James Toney

Making his MMA debut at UFC 118 in Boston Saturday night, James Toney defied the critics; he lasted just over three minutes — two more than many people expected.

If you thought this was going to be a matchup of boxing vs. MMA, as it was billed, then sorry, you got suckered into the fight’s selling line.

The 42-year-old out-of-shape Toney stood one chance to win — connecting on a knockout punch early against Randy Couture. It was a 1 in 100 shot for Lights Out and all depended on which came first — his punch or Couture’s takedown. 10 seconds into the fight, we had our answer.

Couture shot on Toney, got him to the ground, and it was over from there. The only question was how much punishment Toney would take before the fight was stopped or he submitted.

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Aroldis Chapman Hits 105mph on the Gun

I was already blown away when I heard that Reds pitcher Aroldis Chapman clocked in at 102mph on the radar gun back in March. The amount of people on the planet who can throw 100mph or greater is scarce, and even still, 102 is going pretty well beyond 100. But 105? I didn’t think that was possible. At least if you weren’t driving a car.

FanHouse MLB reporter Ed Price says Chapman hit 105 in his Triple-A game Friday night and sat at 103mph. That’s so absurd it actually has me worried. My first inclination is to believe that the radar gun was juiced up and giving out high readings. Even if it were, throwing 103mph is ridiculous. I honestly don’t believe our appendages were meant to do that and have that much strain. Any wonder why Joel Zumaya’s arm fell off and Strasburg’s elbow gave out? Throwing that kind of heat is not good for the body.

Chapman’s accomplishment also signifies an athletic change in baseball. Much like in football and track, bigger, stronger, and faster players keep developing. We’re reaching athletic levels that were previously unthinkable. 15 years ago, there were maybe two or three guys who could hit triple digits. Between guys like Ubaldo Jimenez, Justin Verlander, Strasburg, Zumaya, Matt Lindstrom, Billy Wagner, Felix Hernandez, Bobby Parnell, Bobby Jenks and probably a few others, the list of 100mph pitchers is growing.

If you’re wondering why pitching has been dominating this year, aside from drug testing, the development of hard-throwing pitchers has played a huge role. Chapman will be up with Cincinnati in September. Sucks to be a hitter.

Curt Schilling Loved Stephen Strasburg, Now Hates Him

ESPN has been rolling out a a video of former pitcher Curt Schilling breaking down Stephen Strasburg and his mechanics over the past few days. There is quality analysis in the video and some excellent side-by-side comparisons of Strasburg against a similar pitcher, Josh Johnson. While I appreciated the analysis, this video was the prototypical “Monday Morning Quarterback” story.

It’s much easier to criticize the phenom after he’s hurt himself and after it’s likely he’ll need Tommy John surgery. After all, this is the same over-the-top Schilling who boldly declared that Strasburg might be the best pitcher in baseball upon being called up to the Major Leagues from the Minors. Better than Sabathia, better than Carpenter, better than Wainwright, better than all of them.

Clearly Schilling’s gushing and praise had no limits in May, and now his disparaging comments and criticism will be the most piercing. Schilling may have forgotten his words because this analysis fits today’s story much better, but we haven’t. If Strasburg’s so bad and has so many flaws in his delivery, then where was all this brilliant analysis in May when you were busy declaring him the best pitcher in baseball, Curt?

Feel free to disregard everything Schilling says from now on, if you weren’t already doing so. Here’s the video of Curt Schilling breaking down Stephen Strasburg in case you missed it:

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Forward Progress Anyone?

Sports trivia:  what’s the difference between the following video of a high school football player running the wrong way and throwing the ball behind him and the play where DeSean Jackson flipped the ball up in the air before he crossed the goal line?  If you said, “Jackson was happy when he threw the ball whereas the high schooler was frightened,” you’re absolutely right.  Hilarious video courtesy of Out of Bounds via YouTube user Obamaallah:

Morning Tweet: Worst rushing play ever? [Out of Bounds]
Video Credit: YouTube user Obamaallah

Matt Leinart Sounds Off About Benching

Derek Anderson is going to start at quarterback for the Arizona Cardinals in the all-important third preseason game on Saturday night against the Chicago Bears.  From a fan’s standpoint, the NFL preseason is meaningless.  For a player, there are certain moments that are crucial.  The third preseason game is one of those moments, as it represents the game that is most closely treated like a regular season game where the projected starters get the most playing time.

If you start the third preseason game, there’s a good chance the position you start at is yours to lose.  With that in mind, it’s understandable that Matt Leinart is frustrated he has been benched.  To the outside viewer, it’s hardly a surprise.  We knew the Cardinals weren’t comfortable with their quarterback situation when they brought Anderson in this past off-season and explored adding Marc Bulger.  I don’t know if it’s the former Heisman winner’s absence of effort or his attitude, but the Cardinals have never seemed enthusiastic about him as the starter.  Based on his recent comments to Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic, I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s a combination of the two.

I’m disappointed. I’ve done everything to this point that they’ve asked me to and more. I’ve worked hard and been a leader. I’m trying to be that guy in this new role. I have high expectations for myself.”

“I feel I’ve been efficient. I’ve been accurate. I haven’t turned the ball over. I don’t know how we judge performance when you have 13 pass attempts to the other guy’s 40. I’m not going to sit here and complain and point the finger. I have to get better and I’m going to get better.”

The only problem with his logic is that talking about how you haven’t gotten enough snaps and essentially whining about not being given a chance can easily be construed as complaining.  At this point we have no idea who the starter will be come the first game of the regular season.  I wouldn’t be surprised if it were Leinart.  I also wouldn’t be surprised if he were no longer on the Cardinals roster.

Leinart talks about demotion [Arizona Republic]
Matt Leinart bristles at his benching [Pro Football Talk]