It’s time, once again, for one of my favorite segments – let’s go with a little “Good Idea / Bad Idea”. I present four issues, and I let you know whether I think it’s a good idea or a bad idea.
Yeah, it’s fairly straight-forward.
So, why don’t we get started?
Issue: Minnesota Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor criticizing former franchise player Kevin Love after the blockbuster trade that sent Love to Cleveland
With the Kevin Love-to-Cleveland mega-deal FINALLY over and done with, it seems that his former boss had some things to say about him, and they weren’t what you would call “gracious”.
When Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor reportedly opened up about Love two days ago, he allowed himself to take a few parting shots on the two-time All-Star. The criticisms ranged from the methods in which the trade was facilitated, even the fact that he’s “foul-prone.”
Taylor’s most biting criticisms, though, came with Love’s most oft-criticized shortcomings – his defense and his long-term health:
I think where maybe he got away with some stuff not playing defense on our team, I’m not sure that’s how it’s going to work in Cleveland. […] The only thing I still have a question mark about is health. I had that concern then [when they negotiated his previous contract], and I still have that concern. I think Cleveland should have that concern, too.
He even took a “Chris Bosh-in-Miami” route with his criticisms of Love:
I question Kevin if this is going to be the best deal for him, because I think he’s going to be the third player on the team. I don’t think he’s going to get a lot of credit if they do really well. I think he’ll get blame if they don’t do well. He’s around a couple guys that are awful good.
Now, it’s easy to look at these quotes and simply call “sour grapes”. And, one could make the argument that they simply aren’t (this Bleacher Report article certainly did – at least with the defensive criticisms). After all, the man has had a reputation of not playing great defense at his position. Furthermore, let’s face it – if you want to cry foul, try comparing these quotes to the infamous letter scrawled by Cleveland Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert in the wake of The Decision of 2010. They don’t come close.
Then again, you have to take into consideration who said it. This was an owner who has had a history of not leaving franchise players on the best of terms. When Kevin Garnett was traded to Boston in 2007, it wasn’t long after that Taylor – ironically Garnett’s biggest supporter while in Minnesota – said that he “tanked it” while missing five games in his last year as a Timberwolf.
Now, he’s making all these proclamations about Love, having moved on to a new team in Cleveland, and having he, himself, gotten a major haul of four talented players to showcase in Minnesota. With all that said, what’s the point of saying all this, now?
At least Love took the high road when asked about it earlier today, saying that Taylor “should be focusing on the players that he just received,” and that “emotions are definitely running high right now.”
Let’s take a step back, Glen, realize what you have right now, and not take unnecessary shots – no matter how innocuous – at players that shouldn’t concern you anymore.
Issue: USMNT and Everton goalkeeper Tim Howard taking a one-year break from international play
The announcement came down almost a week ago – Tim Howard, goaltender for U.S. Soccer and certified hero in the squad’s Round of 16 loss to Belgium in this year’s FIFA World Cup, was taking a year-long “sabbatical” from international play, starting in September.
After discussions with current USMNT coach Jurgen Klinsmann, it was agreed that Howard would not be considered for any international matches until September of 2015, just after the 2015 Gold Cup. In the meantime, he will have the opportunity to focus on two things – his goaltending duties for EPL club Everton, and spending more time with his family:
Having played overseas for the last 12 years and missing out on spending time with my family, making this commitment to my family is very important at this time. I am grateful for the willingness of both Jurgen Klinsmann and Everton manager Roberto Martinez to afford me the opportunity to spend time with my kids. It’s the right decision at the right time. Jurgen has always been up front with all the players in saying you have to earn your place, which is something I agree with, so I look forward to coming back next fall and competing for a spot.
Howard made it perfectly clear, however, that he was not retiring from international play (hence the term “sabbatical”). The fact is, he needed a much-deserved break after registering 104 international caps, participating in 55 wins, and playing in every single minute of the last two World Cup runs.
But, one must consider that, in the wake of his sabbatical, it opens the door for other goaltenders waiting in the wings – more specifically, Brad Guzan of Aston Villa F.C., and Nick Rimando of Real Salt Lake – to essentially take Howard’s place. While many of the matches played in Howard’s absence (besides next year’s Gold Cup) will be of little consequence, what happens if one of them plays superbly at goal? Howard’s place on the Men’s National Team could be relegated to the bench.
However, Howard’s sabbatical has been universally supported – and I’m not about to be the first detractor.
After all, we’re talking about a 35-year-old who had been burning the candle at both ends for both the USMNT and Everton F.C. for seven straight years. Like I said before, the break from international play is well-deserved – and analysts like Rant Sports’ Bryan Zarpentine agree with me. Furthermore, it’s not like he’ll be sitting on the couch for that entire year – he will be at goal for Everton for the time being, as the English Premier League started just a couple weeks ago.
Here’s hoping he can fight for his job back when he returns to Team USA next September.
Issue: Tiger Woods possibly forgoing instructors altogether after firing current swing coach Sean Foley
With another rehab stint and more questions than answers that face 14-time major winner Tiger Woods, perhaps a few changes were in order.
The first of such changes occurred just a couple days ago, when Woods decided it was time to end his professional relationship with current swing coach Sean Foley. While Foley had been his coach for four years, starting in 2010, Woods had failed to win a major tournament in that time. Much of the blame goes to Tiger’s failing body – he had been incapacitated due to various injuries for stretches of time in his tenure with Foley – but it seemed that Foley’s tutelage had not helped when it mattered most: at major championships.
In any case, Woods is currently without a swing coach. And with former coach Butch Harmon shooting down rumors that he will be reuniting with his old pupil, it begs the question: who will Tiger work with in what may be his final stretch as a tour professional?
According to a number of golf instructors, perhaps it should be with Tiger Woods.
A growing consensus of instructors believes that the 38-year-old has the capabilities of working it out, himself, and that another formal instructor couldn’t help with the intricacies of his swing – let alone re-invent it completely.
“The last thing he needs is to go to another formal instructor,” said Paul Azinger, who believes Tiger’s swing could be fixed in 10 minutes. “He needs to see somebody that can just break it down.”
Former swing coach Hank Haney echoed these sentiments (while coming off, at least, a little condescending):
To me, he’d just be better off just doing it himself. That’s my opinion. Because he’s the only one that he listens to anyways 100 percent. I mean, are we sure he was listening to Sean Foley? Who knows? We don’t know that.
At first, I thought that the idea of moving forward without a swing coach would have been ludicrous. He needed, at least, someone to offer a second opinion as to what is currently wrong with his swing. Even a “golf whisperer” would have sufficed (if those people exist).
But the thought of Tiger being Tiger’s next swing coach actually makes sense. Only he can really know what’s wrong with his swing. And, I’m sure a lot of it has to do with his health – and, obviously, only he truly knows the limits his body can reach. Perhaps he needs to get out of his own head, and approach his swing problems, himself, with a combination of disciplined, controlled practice and psychological/spiritual reflection.
Ultimately, it would work out that, should he continue to fail on the major front, he would have no one to blame but himself, right?
Issue: 49ers QB Colin Kaepernick not being worried about the state of the first string offense so far this preseason
Despite the many projections that put the San Francisco 49ers squarely in contention for a Super Bowl title, that isn’t stopping many an analyst and fan pushing the panic button after what they’ve seen this preseason.
After another poor showing against a middling starting defense in the San Diego Chargers this past Sunday – one that saw a mere 3 points go on the board in the first quarter – it was difficult to ignore for 49ers supporters. While San Francisco ended up with their first win at Levi’s Stadium, 21-7, the majority of the points were surprisingly scored by the backups, led by 2nd-string QB Blaine Gabbert. Meanwhile, starting QB Colin Kaepernick finished with 59 yards on 6-of-12 passing. Not impressive for a guy who just got the nod this past offseason as the long-term franchise QB.
Nonetheless, the 26-year-old isn’t concerned heading into a possible make-or-break season for the 49ers.
I’ve never seen worrying help anyone’s problems, or help them get better. So I don’t worry.
You would think that he would have every reason to worry. After all, the 49ers’ most hated rival, the Seattle Seahawks, just won a Super Bo–
In any case, Seattle is considered head-and-shoulders above the rest of the league to win the Super Bowl this year.
Not to mention the many questions on both sides of the ball for the Niners: NaVorro Bowman’s absence; Aldon Smith’s impending suspension; Alex Boone’s continued holdout (and the front office’s continued unwillingness to budge), piled on top of perhaps the team’s worst projected showing for an O-Line since 2010; and continued issues at wide receiver, despite their best projected lineup at the position since Jim Harbaugh arrived in San Francisco.
But, despite what people may say about Kaepernick possibly being in denial, that doesn’t necessarily make him wrong.
You have to consider that things also looked pretty bleak at the beginning of last season – they started the 2013 campaign 1-2, with two straight blowout losses to Seattle and Indianapolis. They went on to win 13 of their last 15 games, including a 10-game win streak to end the season, and a third straight appearance in the NFC Championship game.
Then, there’s just Kap’s overall attitude – he’s absolutely right that worrying doesn’t fix anything. The best thing to do in situations like the one the 49ers are facing is a brave face, an “us vs. the world” attitude, and a continued lack of feeling sorry for themselves. With that said, I guess he should just leave the worrying to 49ers fans.
As for Kaepernick? The only thing he should be concerned with is how he can help the team win early and often, despite all of the problems they seem to have, both on and off the field.