Author Archives: Jan

2017 NFL Draft – Round 1 Reactions

2017 NFL Draft – Round 1 Reactions, nfl draft NFL

Oddly enough, yesterday was one of the premier dates on the NFL calendar even though there is no football being played.   But I fall victim to it as well as I think it’s a lot of fun!  Below are some of my thoughts on the first round.  I think draft grades are silly, especially after the first round when you haven’t seen the team’s complete strategy unfold, as you should wait a few years to see how these players pan out.  However, there are some things I liked, things I didn’t like and some things I found interesting without getting too snap judgy.

 

Cleveland Browns:

Overall, I liked what they did.  Yes, they still need a QB but Mitchell Trubisky was not worth the  1st overall pick, especially when you consider the alternative in Myles Garrett.  I’m making a bit of an assumption that Trubisky was their guy.  Once he was gone trading up from 12 to draft one of the other 2 qbs would not have been smart just so you can say you drafted a qb.  I am surprised at the next 2 players they chose given their analytical approach.  Both are more projection players so we’ll have to wait and see how they work out.  But given that they have lots of time to develop players they do have time to let them develop so that’s a positive.

Chicago Bears:

It’s a bit of an odd strategy they are implying here.  The signing of Mike Glennon makes a lot less sense now.  I guess what they are hoping for is that he plays well and then they can trade him next offseason when Trubisky is ready to take over.  If that works out then sure, I guess that is a great strategy.  However, I feel this is rather unlikely.  First of all, their receiving core is a mess and now that they’ve traded away their midround picks I doubt this will change.  I feel they should have signed a placeholder qb and either rolled over the $11 million savings to next years cap or signed some other free agents.  The reason they are picking so high is they have holes on their roster.  They are not going to be filled this offseason.  Trubisky might work out and be a franchise altering qb which would be great for them, but it doesn’t mean the process was correct.

San Francisco 49ers

Great on them for picking up 2 mid round picks and still getting the guy they wanted.  You can defiantly make the case that they should have drafted for need a little bit more as their last 3 top draft picks play the same position essentially.  But if it comes together than this isn’t and issue.  As for Reuben foster, he’ll either be a great player or wont be able to get himself together and will flame out of the league.

 

Jacksonville Jaguars

I am very weary of this pick.  Ultimately, he needs to produce at the level that Adrian Peterson did when he came into the league.  Anything short of that and it’s a mistake – time will tell but that’s a high standard.

Tennessee Titans

I like what they did.  It would have been nice if they could have traded out of that pick but you still need someone to trade up to be able to do that.  Given the run on receivers that happened after, their guy would have been gone by 18.  You can’t fault a team now for taking their guy when the drop off in talent is so large for when they would get to pick again.

 L.A. Chargers

Bit of a luxury pick given the talent they have at WR, but given their needs they could wait until a later round to address and get a similar player.  If they don’t address their needs than maybe something more can be said about this pick.  That said, they must really like Mike Williams or really fear injuries at that position because he really isn’t that much of an upgrade over what they have.  I’m really interested to see what scheme they end up playing.  If it is the Seattle style that everyone says than maybe passing on Malik Hooker will come back to bite them.  But their current personal is more suited for a man scheme, which Hooker would not nearly have the impact in that scheme so that would make more sense.

Carolina Panthers

I’m very concerned with this pick.  I believe that Christian McCaffrey is worth a top 10 pick, but to a team that can maximize his value and I do not believe Carolina’s scheme will do that.  Time will tell if I’m wrong but those are my thoughts.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

They have a scary group of skilled position players now especially if they can add a running back in the later rounds.  I expect them to play lots of 21 personal now.  This should simplify the game for Jameis reducing his interceptions as well as really help their running game.  With Jackson and Evens on the outside opposing defenses will be very reluctant to play with only 1 deep safety.

New York Giants

It will be interesting how they deploy him.  The Giants have 3 good wide receivers so you would imagine they’ll want to play 3 wr sets.  Assuming that they go that route, they’ll be asking Engram to be an in-line TE which he is undersized for.  If they detach him the only things they can run are quick strike passing concepts as they otherwise their line will get exposed with no help.

Other Thoughts:

With the depth at corner they really got pushed down.  A lot of offensive and defensive line players went higher than expected.  Makes sense as teams feel they can get a similar player later in the draft.  With multiple teams, I believe using this strategy I expect there to be a run on them in the second round

Can’t wait to see how the rest of the draft plays out!  This will give you a few more clues to the team’s strategy as well up coming plans.  After the draft is complete we can judge the team’s strategy much more effectively

image: pixabay

The Force Up – New Rule That Makes Bid Euchre That Much Less Frustrating

Bid euchre is a great game!  If you like euchre and don’t know what bid euchre is google it.  It is a far superior version and once you start playing it you will never go back to regular euchre.  This post is going to be fairly specific – so I suggest only people that are familiar with the game continue reading.

 

The Force Up – New Rule That Makes Bid Euchre That Much Less Frustrating, strategy cardsWhat is the force up?

 

The force occurs when it is your bid and you force your partner to go alone.  Technically it can occur at any time and with any number of assist cards (the cards that are added to the loner player’s hand received from the partner).  However, typically you only see the 3rd or 4th bidding player forcing their partner up.  The reasoning is it is not a good strategy to force your partner up when you have zero idea what is in their hand.

 

Why is this a great rule?

 

The easiest way to answer this is to explain how the rule came about in the first place.  I started really getting annoyed when my partner or myself would be first to bid and we had a great hand – so great that we would be a card or two away from a lay down loner.  But because you’re bidding first you have no information as to what is in your partner’s hand so either you must risk it, hoping your partner has it, or not go alone.   Now in a normal situation, mathematically it makes sense to not go alone.  But when your partner did end up having that card it was super frustrating.  So how to get around this is the force up was created which allows your partner to force you to go alone when they have the card they assume you need.  So, this rule really just removes the frustration of this situation.

 

An example to make sure you’re following

 

Examples are the best way to fully understand in my opinion so here is one.  Let’s say you’re first to bid and this is your hand.  1x Jack of diamonds, 2x Jack of hearts, 2x Ace of diamonds, 1x Ace of hearts, 1x Ace of clubs, 1x King of spades.  Now that is a great hand.  If you were to try going alone with 2 cards, with diamonds being the suit, you would need your partner to have the jack or diamonds or for the opponent that holds it to have no other diamonds in their hand.  You could try going alone but mathematically you’re better off calling 6 diamonds.  So, let’s say you’re a smart player and call 6 diamonds.  It gets to your partner and they do indeed have the jack of diamonds.  They can force you up with 2, giving you the jack of diamonds and either another trump or an ace and it will be a lay down (no matter what your opponent has they cannot beat you).  If they don’t have that jack then they pass and if you win the bid then you’re guaranteed your 6 points, perhaps more.  So, you’re guaranteed 6-12 points with this rule.  Without it you either are limited to a maximum of 8 points or you could go alone but you would risk going down 12.

 

All in all, I think it’s a great rule and I’m sure if you start playing with it, you will agree too!  Next time you play go and give the force up a try!

image: pixabay

Building an NFL Team

It’s draft season and with it comes hope for every NFL franchise.  They bad teams are hoping to use the draft to makeover their roster and set them up for future success.  The good teams are hoping to add that one difference maker to put them over the edge and give them a shot at the Super Bowl.  As a fan, it can be tough to take the emotion out of analyzing the moves of your favorite teamBuilding an NFL Team, NFL Draft, but here is a strategy to consider, most of which use cold hard data, before you criticize too much.

 

Offense over defense – Offensive success correlates more to team wins than defense.  I’ve looked at, what I think, are two of the most important team metrics; DVOA and red zone scoring (TD only).  Both correlate very well to overall team wins and conceptually this makes sense.  What’s nice about these stats is the offensive and defensive contributions can be isolated.  Comparing the offensive and defensive contributions to team wins, both offensive metrics correlate a good amount higher than defensive.  What this means is a team with a good offense should have more wins than a team with a good defense.  A good example of this in action is the most successful team of the current generation, the New England Patriots.  In the recent years that have taken to trading away all their defensive talent.  Yes, there are salary cap considerations but they have retained their offensive talent so it would make sense that they are following this strategy.

 

Now that’s not to say to only focus on offense and just sign undrafted free agents to play on defense.  What it means is that a team should prioritize having a good offense over having a good defense.  And I would further break it down to be a team should prioritize having a good offense over having a good defense apart from pass rush.  I haven’t looked into the numbers on this to see if this theory actually is valid but I feel the concept behind it is sound.  Assuming a team has adopted the above philosophy it’s unrealistic for them to have a dominate defense.  I believe that if a team puts a few recourses into having a good pass rush and is not absolutely terrible elsewhere on the defense they can be a bend but don’t break defense. The reason this is important is it goes back to the red zone metric described above.  On defense, you want to reduce the amount of red zone TD’s given up per game based on this metric.  I believe that if you have a good pass rush, a team will be able to have a low red zone td percentage which will lead to few red zone TDs conceded.  The reasoning for this is in the red zone the space a defense must defend is a lot less.  With each defender having to defend a smaller zone (assuming zone defense will be played as it is unlikely for a team that doesn’t have great corner’s to be playing man) it should take longer for receivers to get open, allowing more time for the pass rushers to get home.  If you have a good pass rush this should be a recipe for stopping teams once they get to the red zone.

 

There was a lot of theories and numbers outlined above, but what you should take away from it is if your team goes into this season with a good offense and pass rush, chances are they are going to be in playoff contention.  And as a fan, what more can you ask for!

 

image: pixabay

Upgrade Your Heating System

In order to upgrade your heating system, you need to understand it first in order to get a right system for your home. If you are aware of the types and the specs of it then you can get a fine one. Otherwise, you will end up installing a wrong type. You need to maintain the units properly and those are needed to be serviced by the professional on regular basis. This will help you in minimizing of the cost that leads to damages and repairs.

Upgrade Your Heating System, heating system

One thing that many heating repairs companies recommend is regular maintenance to these types of systems. If you have a company come out every year before winter strikes, they can check your system. They can clean it and fix any parts that are not working right or that look worn out. This is one of the best ways to prevent outages from occurring during the cold winter months of the year. There is a cost for this, but you will save money and frustration by doing this. It is always better to find a problem before it occurs, than to wait for a problem to happen and try to fix it from there. Consider this furnace repair and installation company.

You can clean the permanent filters yourself by using a non-toxic detergent and then rinsing with warm water. Once you’re done, you reinsert them into the unit. It’s important to use cleaners that are non-toxic since the filters will affect air quality. In addition to heating repairs problems, bad filters cause the indoor air quality of your home to suffer, so it’s important to get them changed regularly.

Have you noticed your heating bills going up consistently? A lot of heat is lost through switch plates, outlets, baseboards, window frames, and door frames. You can spend a few bucks on some winter weatherstripping and upgrade any caulk around windows. This simple investment can lower your winter fuel costs by as much as 20%. While heating bills often go up and down based on the seasons, if you notice that the cost is going up even when you aren’t using it or even when it is getting minimal use, you may need a furnace repair. Call in a local professional to take a look. While it could be that the temperatures outside could be causing the energy increase, it is a good idea to check and make sure there are not problems with the equipment. Repairs are much less expensive than a complete replacement. Install a preventive maintenance to extend the life of your furnace.

Plumbing services, home ac repair, heating repairs, water leak repair: name it, and these home maintenance companies can provide assistance with their services. These people can enter all the rooms of the house, from the bedrooms to the kitchen to the dining area, to the bathroom and living room; I mean all rooms. Who knows when a certain part of the house would need immediate attention? Nobody, so it is really nice to have these companies around 24/7.

US Debt A Burden To Future Generations, USA US national security us debt Obama foreign investment fiscal policy debt ceiling

US Debt A Burden To Future Generations

US Debt A Burden To Future Generations, USA US national security us debt Obama foreign investment fiscal policy debt ceilingThe United States of America’s debt jumped by $328 billion this year making the total federal debt now stands at $17.075 trillion. This federal debt is owed by the government but has a significant impact on how the public lives, and how much they give back to the government. The amount the treasury can borrow is limited by the US Debt Ceiling.

Major concerns have been raised about the long-term sustainability of the US federal government’s fiscal policies. In the beginning of 2013, approximately $5 trillion (47%) of the public debt was owned for foreign investors, the largest of which were the People’s Republic of China and Japan at just over $1.1 trillion each.

To make matters worse, according to the Government Accountability Office,

“The United States is on a fiscally unsustainable path because of projected future increases in Medicare and Social Security spending, and that politicians and the electorate have been unwilling to change this path.”

What We Will See In The Future

As the national debt rises, the likelihood of the US federal government defaulting also increases; therefore the treasury will have to raise the debt yield. This reduces the amount of tax revenue available to be spent and what happens is the US has less money to spend on public activities; specifically economic enhancement projects become more difficult to execute.

The other thing that we are going is see is significant inflation. As the rate offered on federal securities increases, investments in companies in the US looks worse. Corporations will then need to start raising the prices of goods and services and hence inflation will likely occur.

The most imperative risk is the risk to the US national security, especially given the significant foreign investment from countries like Japan and China. When there is a risk of the US defaulting on its debt service obligation, they will (and are starting to) lose its social, economic and political power. What will this mean for the future of the ‘most powerful country in the world?’

This issue is a big one, and one that is extremely hard to understand, even for the brightest in our society. What we know for sure is that the US needs to do something about their level of spending and put an action plan together that aims to be more fiscally responsible. I’m nervous for the years to come.

Car Hire Problems for Disqualified Drivers: The Facts

When it comes to the major crimes (murder, theft and so on) everyone knows not to do them and the vast majority of people would never dream of committing them. However, like it or not, there are some offenses that somehow still don’t register as “real crimes” in the minds of a lot of otherwise law-abiding citizens.

Car Hire Problems for Disqualified Drivers: The Facts,

Drink driving and driving without insurance are two such offenses. Both of them are irrefutably illegal and morally wrong, but many drivers still consider them to be ‘victimless crimes’ because they rationalise that nobody gets hurt if they get away with it.

This kind of logic is so often tragically dashed once the driver in question becomes involved in an accident. Not only are there the obvious consequences of damages to both people and property, there are more long-lasting effects as well that many blasé drivers will not have even considered.

Car hire is one of these additional problems that will affect those who have suffered a disqualification from holding a driver’s license or incurred a series of major endorsements.

Car Hire Problems for Disqualified Drivers: The Facts,

Most drivers will already know that minor endorsements on their license – such as speeding – will be wiped off after a period of time usually amounting to around 3 years, depending on the severity of the infraction. Provided that the endorsements didn’t result in a period of disqualification, the penalty points will be removed along with all subsequent problems that go with them (e.g. higher insurance costs, etc).

This is not the case with major offenses that involve a disqualification. If you are disqualified from driving for endorsements such as those coded DR10 (drink driving) or IN10 (driving without insurance) then the conviction will not be removed from your license for the next 10 years. This is the case even if the ban period is significantly shorter, such as 1-3 years.

dui judge

Clearly this means that the disqualification will continue to have a marked effect on the offender’s life even after the ban has run its course. Not only will their insurance remain markedly higher but hiring a car will be all but impossible. This is because the majority of car hire firms will not accept a driver with a DR10 or IN10 endorsement on their license, even if their ban period is over.

Policies differ from company to company and other countries have slightly different rules on the subject but the overwhelming majority of cases will find such drivers to be out of luck and out of options. This is just one more reason to avoid these crimes which may be viewed by some as minor but are all too serious in reality.

Unemployment in UK takes a further dip after the 2012 London Olympics

The iconic Olympic flame might have moved on from London and is well on its way to Rio, where it will make its next grand appearance in 4 years time. But it seems to have lit up the lives of several people, even if it might be on a temporary basis.

Apart from all the interest it has generated, the media frenzy and the influx of infrastructure and increase in tourists, the games seem to have brought down the unemployment number in UK as well.

Unemployment in UK takes a further dip after the 2012 London Olympics,

Dubbed by some as the Social Olympics, this seems to have been more of a Corporate Olympics event — as it brought in new jobs for many in the London area, as unemployment among Brits fell to its lowest level in nearly a year in the three months.

The Euro Zone crisis and the shrinking economy has had many fearing the worst in months to come and experts in the economy sector still feel that this a temporary boom which will soon vanish away and that will subsequently see a raise in unemployment levels. But the London 2012 effect saw 5,900 people who stopped claiming the jobless benefit in the month of July and that number might hit 6000 in August. But those close to the sector feel that the economic troubles that started in 2011 and continue to plague most of Europe will see this current upswing die down pretty fast.

With no major improvement in the economy on a broader scale, the London 2012 games were just a tiny unusual blip and as the effect of the games dies down and normality restores, things seem to be only heading towards the worse. Add to that growing inflation that is swiftly beating the average earnings of Brits and tough times are predicted in the coming year of two.