-Well, the Rams were not nearly the same team this week as the one they exhibited on opening day last Sunday. The defense came back down to earth with a thud...allowing a long touchdown pass...a long touchdown run...and not registering a single sack...by my observation.
The offense? Well, we got a touchdown... but, either Marc Bulger is having a terrible time getting used to the Linehan offensive scheme, or young Marc is simply not playing very well. Today...coughing up a fumble, exhibiting "happy feet" in many passing situations, overthrowing deep balls, and generally not looking confident.
The other guy who enfuriates me is Stephen Jackson. Here's one of the most powerfully built running backs in the league who could plow behind his line for three or four yards most times he's handed the ball. But, almost without fail, when he takes a hand-off the first thing he does is take a step sideways...a juke...that negates all of his power and speed. Then it becomes easy for tacklers to knock him off his feet. And he does an awful lot of sideline to sideline running, instead of bearing straight ahead and powering through the originally intended blocking hole. Frustrating to watch.
So, based on the first two weeks of play, it looks to me like we can expect about a .500 club. I predicted a 9-7 regular season a few weeks back. I think I'll stick with that. Unless there's a strong upgrade in play next week, look for the Cardinals to beat the Rams in Phoenix.
-Many condolences to my good hockey friends in the Weaver family. Wilma June Weaver...we called her June...passed away Friday at age 81. She is the wife of Roy Weaver, one of my dear friends in the off-ice officiating crew. Roy actually stepped away from the off-ice crew a few years back to spend more time with June, who battled the effects of diabetes for the last number of years. June is also the mother of Larry and Lon Weaver who are current members of the crew...and Tim Weaver who was several years ago. The Weavers are great, and loyal, members of the St. Louis hockey community...and June will be dearly missed by us all.
-The Evansville Otters wrapped up the Frontier League Championship Friday night with a win over the Chillicothe Paints. The two teams are the only two remaining from the original group of teams that formed the league at it's inception in the early 90's. What's got to be a bit frustrating for Grizzlies fans, and a little weird, is that the Otters finished the season...even with their playoff wins...two games under .500. And, the Grizzlies demolished Evansville sweeping them in a late-season series at GCS Ballpark. At the end of the regular season, there can be no doubt now that the Grizzlies were the best team in the league...having won 11 of their last 12. But, they had dug themselves such an enormous hole in July and August...that they couldn't recover.
(Correction 5p, 9/18--Evansville wound up at even .500 and Chillicothe is an original team to the league start-up in '93...Evansville is the second-oldest team but joined in '95--Thanks to Grizzlies broadcaster Joe Pott for the straight scoop)
-Barb and I attended a wedding reception at the Westin hotel.. right next to the new stadium.. Saturday night. Justin Wilfon...a very talented young guy with a bright future in the television news business..invited us to share in the joy of his wedding to fellow broadcaster Gena Terlizzi. Justin interned with us at WIBV, and later KTRS...while he was attending college at SIU-E. I could see early-on that he was focused...had the smarts...and the "nose for news" to make it big in TV journalism. And, of course, in TV you also have to make a good appearance. And Justin does...(see pic)
I'd like to think a few of the tips I shared with him during his internship are helping him achieve his dream. He's on his third professional gig right now. After stints in Washington state and Louisville, he's currently a weekend co-anchor and reporter at KOKI Fox23 in Tulsa. With a little bit more seasoning (he's only 27) you'll likely be seeing Justin as an anchor on one of the St. Louis stations before too long. He can't be too far away from his beloved Cardinals. All the best to Justin and Gena for a long and happy life together.
-The Blues intra-squad games the last few days have produced a few guys that fans should be able to buzz about. Magnus Kahnberg, a Swede who came over in the Doug Weight deal with Carolina last year popped in a few goals Saturday, and added a shootout goal in the Sunday practice game. Apparently he has great hands and a nose for the net. And, one of the pleasant surprises from last season, Lee Stempniak is off to a good start with a couple of goals in his team's win in Sunday play. With an increased talent level around him, Stempniak could be primed for an even more impressive season than his rookie campaign.
Good luck to the classy Scott Young who announced his retirement at age 38 on Saturday. "Younger" had a great career which included playing on two Stanley Cup champion teams. He'll likely be another to stay around St. Louis and be part of the great alumni group here.