Tuesday, April 26, 2016

2013 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series: What to Watch at Phoenix

After an eventful Daytona 500 that saw Jimmie Johnson win his second 500 ring, Dale Earnhardt Jr. make a last-turn effort to take that win away from his teammate and Danica Patrick turn her pole position into an eighth-place finish – her best yet in the series – NASCAR’s Sprint Cup Series slows down a bit, heading to the nearly-flat one-mile oval in Avondale, Arizona, Phoenix International Raceway.

Multiple winners at PIR – Since its first Cup Series race back in 1988 – best remembered as the site of the late Alan Kulwicki’s first “Polish victory lap” – seven drivers have won more than once at PIR, including two wins by the late Davey Allison. The other six drivers will be competing this Sunday, March 3, in the Cup Series race: Johnson (four wins), Kevin Harvick (three wins), Jeff Burton, Earnhardt Jr., Jeff Gordon and Mark Martin (all two wins each).

Top pole sitters – Ryan Newman leads all drivers with four poles at PIR – three in a row from 2002 to 2004 (when there was just one Cup race per season) plus the spring race in 2008. He also has a win at the track in the spring 2010 event – his first win for Stewart-Haas Racing. Carl Edwards and Gordon both have three poles at PIR, while Martin, last year’s spring pole sitter, has two poles, as does Kyle Busch.

Best finishes – In 32 trips to the track, Martin has 21 top 10 finishes and an average finish of 9.1. Only one driver has a better average finish statistic than Martin: Johnson, with an average finish of 6.7 and 15 top 10s in 19 races. Johnson will be pulling a very rare double-duty this weekend, racing in the Nationwide Series race for Earnhardt Jr.’s JR Motorsports.

Home cookin’ for these drivers – Surprise top 10 finishes at the Daytona 500 put Arizona natives Michael McDowell and J.J. Yeley in the spotlight. These two drivers – McDowell from Glendale and Yeley from Phoenix – put their respective small-budget teams (Phil Parsons Racing and Tommy Baldwin Racing) in the top 10 with the big boys. Another driver with Phoenix ties: Patrick, who has homes in both her native Illinois and in Phoenix. All eyes will be on Patrick to see if Daytona was the real thing; prior to Daytona last weekend, her career-best finish was a 17th-place run at last fall’s race at Phoenix.

Sources: “Statistical Advance: Analyzing Subway Fresh Fit 500,” NASCAR Media, February 25, 2013

“NASCAR National Series News and Notes: Phoenix Offers Johnson New Opportunity, Challenges,” NASCAR Media, February 26, 2013

Paula is a freelance writer specializing in motorsports. She also covers NASCAR at Examiner.com and Skirts & Scuffs.

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2013 Was the Year Mobile Gaming Got Real Serious

All the talk about the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 can be a little crazy with all the numbers being tossed around. According International Business Times, the PS4 has sold 2.1 million units and the One has moved 2 million consoles. Those are impressive sales number for certain, but it is also important to wonder where consoles will go from this generation of hardware. It could be the last, thanks to that device that is probably sitting within an arm’s reach of you right now.

Mobile gaming is all the rage right now with pretty good reason. Tablets and smartphones are changing the way video games are perceived and played. According to Plugged In, four of the top 10 free iPhone and iPad Apps of the year were games. More specifically, the entire top 10 section of paid apps for the iPad were games.

The best-selling console video game of 2013 was “Grand Theft Auto V” moving 26.75 million copies across the globe, according to The Fiscal Times. That is a staggering amount of units, but one successful mobile app makes that number look rather pathetic.

According to BBC News, more than 500 million people have installed “Candy Crush Saga” on their devices. Now it is important to understand that the game is offered for free, people can install it on more than one device, and the overwhelming majority of people put no money into the game at all. That said, King, the company behind the game, reaps about a million a day off the “free” app.

A half billion people and hundreds of millions of dollars a year, from folks too eager to wait for tickets to unlock the next level from Facebook friends, players looking for extra lives, players looking for upgrades, or people looking to pay for something new in the game. All of a sudden, the money flowing into the consoles looks a lot less impressive.

In-game purchases are making their way to consoles, but gamers who have already shelled out $60 for a game and hundreds of dollars for hardware are less inclined to jump on those bandwagons. Mobile gaming offers relatively cheap hardware (many tablets are under $200) or hardware (smartphones) that are already owned. Purchases under a dollar or 99-cents barely register with players bank accounts, which is the key to the success of games like Candy Crush.

Can consoles and mobile games coexist? Of course they can, but how long can consoles keep reinventing themselves? It is going to come down to how much money studios can make developing games for consoles versus turning their attention to your iPhone, Android, or Windows device. 2014 is going to be an interesting year for the gaming world.

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2013 NFL Free Agency: Where Will the Top NFL Free Agents Sign?

NFL free agency begins on Tuesday, March 12. NFL teams can talk to the agents of each free agent before then but they cannot actually sign a free agent until that date.

Where will the top NFL free agent agents sign in 2013? The following are some predictions of where I think the top 15 free agents will land.

1. Mike Wallace, Pittsburgh Steelers: You have to figure that almost every team in the NFL will be interested in the speedster. It will come down to money and receiver-needy teams like the Cleveland Browns and Miami Dolphins have a lot of cap space to make the move.

Prediction: Wallace signs with the Miami Dolphins for five years, $60 million.

2. Cliff Avril, Detroit Lions: Avril had 9.5 sacks for the Lions last season and has had at least 9 sacks over each of the last three seasons. Teams desperately needing a pass rusher will likely pay him as if he is one of the NFL’s best and, although he is good, he will probably not be worth it.

Prediction: Avril signs with the Jacksonville Jaguars for six years, $80 million.

3. Dashon Goldson, San Francisco 49ers: Goldson is the top safety on the free agent market. Even though the 49ers did not use the franchise tag on him, you have to think that they want him back and will find a way to get it done.

Prediction: Goldson re-signs with the San Francisco 49ers for four years, $38 million.

4. Sebastian Vollmer, New England Patriots: Vollmer is the top tackle available but he has battled some injuries throughout his NFL career. The Patriots do not tend to lose key players in free agency, though.

Prediction: Vollmer re-signs with the New England Patriots for four years, $34 million.

5. Paul Kruger, Baltimore Ravens: Kruger was Baltimore’s best pass rusher last season as he tallied 9 sacks for the Super Bowl champions. He is probably a better fit in the 3-4 defense as an outside linebacker rather than a 4-3 defense as a defensive end.

Prediction: Kruger signs with the Indianapolis Colts for five years, $45 million.

6. Wes Welker, New England Patriots: Even though Welker and the Patriots seem to always disagree on what he is truly worth, everyone knows that both sides need each other.

Prediction: Welker re-signs with the New England Patriots for three years, $27 million.

7. Greg Jennings, Green Bay Packers: If Jennings is truly asking for around $12 million per season then he will be waiting a long, long time. A team needing a receiver may overpay a tad but Jennings will be 30 years old and has had injuries the last few years. In the end, he will be sorely disappointed by his offers.

Prediction: Jennings signs with the Minnesota Vikings for three years, $21 million.

8. Andre Smith, Cincinnati Bengals: Smith has become a very good right tackle but teams could be scared off that it took him a while to do so. The Bengals certainly have the cap room to keep him so it would not be a surprise to see him return.

Prediction: Smith re-signs with the Cincinnati Bengals for six years, $42 million.

9. Andy Levitre, Buffalo Bills: Levitre is the top free agent guard available and, as a result, there will probably be a lot of teams interested.

Prediction: Levitre signs with the Detroit Lions for five years, $30 million.

10. Aqib Talib, New England Patriots: Talib is the most talented cornerback on the free agent market but there has obviously been off the field problems in the past. Teams will probably be scared away and he may have to take a cheaper deal, as a result.

Prediction: Talib re-signs with the New England Patriots for three years, $18 million.

11. William Moore, Atlanta Falcons: Moore was a bit of a playmaker in the secondary for the Falcons last season as he notched four interceptions on the year.

Prediction: Moore re-signs with the Atlanta Falcons for four years, $25 million.

12. Tony Gonzalez, Atlanta Falcons: The future Hall of Fame tight end will either retire or return to the Falcons for one more year.

Prediction: Gonzalez re-signs with the Atlanta Falcons for one year, $6 million.

13. Jake Long, Miami Dolphins: The former #1 overall pick has become injury prone and has not finished either of the last two seasons. Teams are always desperate for left tackles so Long will probably be able to squeeze the last penny out of the deal.

Prediction: Jake Long signs with the Chicago Bears for three years, $28 million.

14. Desmond Bryant, Oakland Raiders: The top defensive tackle on the market will probably have to take a lesser deal after last month’s arrest.

Prediction: Bryant signs with the Tennessee Titans for three years, $15 million.

15. Reggie Bush, Miami Dolphins: Bush is the most dynamic running back available. He and the Detroit Lions, a pass happy team, seem like a great match.

Prediction: Bush signs with the Detroit Lions for three years, $15 million.

There you have it. Enjoy the NFL free agent frenzy.

Other sources: http://ift.tt/1aB9Tg1 and http://ift.tt/241CI09

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2013 NFL Week 15 Predictions and Picks

It’s time for my 2013 NFL week 15 predictions and picks. Week 15 starts with a Thursday night game between San Diego and Denver. The Broncos have been excellent at home so I don’t anticipate the Chargers will keep it terribly close. In fact, my predictions have the Broncos rolling to a 34-17 victory.

The rest of the 2013 NFL week 15 schedule resumes on Sunday. Washington travels to Atlanta. The Falcons have been struggling but would certainly like to right the ship before season end. The Redskins would like to do the same. I expect this game to be close. In the end, the Falcons win a tight one 27-24.

Chicago goes to Cleveland for another Sunday match up. The Bears will win going away in an ugly manner. Chicago escapes with a 21-19 victory. Robbie Gould hits the game winning field goal in the 4th quarter.

Indianapolis hosts Houston in a game that could be much closer than it initially looks. The Colts have struggled to put anybody way and the Texans have been more competitive of late. My gut says the Colts will win by a touchdown or better. My predictions and picks for this one? Horseshoes win 30-21.

New England is on the road at Miami. The Dolphins would love the upset but it won’t happen here. Tom Brady fires 4 touchdown passes in a 34-24 win.

Minnesota entertains Philadelphia. The Vikings get another solid game from Adrian Peterson but it’s not enough. The Eagles escape with a 27-21 win.

Seattle heads to New York to battle the Giants. The Seahawks seemingly have one of the better teams in the NFL. However, I fully expect the Giants to pull off the upset. New York wins an ugly game 23-22.

San Francisco visits Tampa Bay in another week 15 tilt. The Bucs could play the upset card here as well. My gut says the 49’ers need overtime to beat a stubborn Tampa team 20-17.

Buffalo is at Jacksonville. The Jags would like to finish the season strong but Buffalo certainly has played better this season as a whole. I’ll go with Jacksonville here for a 27-23 win.

Kansas City visits Oakland in another week 15 match up. To the surprise of many, I’ll take the homestanding Raiders for a shocking upset. Oakland forces 4 turnovers and the Raiders win 16-13.

The Jets will play on the road at Carolina. New York has 6 turnovers in a lopsided 34-3 loss.

Arizona visits Tennessee in Nashville. The Cardinals could certainly win this road contest considering how up and down the Titans have been. In this week, Tennessee is up and it’s the Titans who win 24-20.

New Orleans plays at St. Louis also on Sunday. The Rams are playing better particularly at home. The Saints though desperately need this win as they continue to jockey for position in the playoffs. Drew Brees fires 4 touchdown passes as the Saints cruise 35-20.

Dallas entertains Green Bay elsewhere. The Cowboys should have no problems knocking off the Packers but they do. Still, Dallas escapes with a hard fought 27-20 win.

Cincinnati travels to Pittsburgh for a game with large playoff implications. The Bengals can’t win on the road when it counts. Big Ben Roethlisberger fires 3 touchdown passes as Pittsburgh wins 24-21.

The Monday night game features Baltimore in Detroit. This has the potential to be a terrific football game. Detroit wins a tough one 27-21.

That’s it for my 2013 NFL week 15 predictions and picks.

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2013 Tax Planning: Tips and Strategies - Expiring Tax Deductions and Tax Credits

With the 2013 year-end fast approaching, many individuals and business owners are often left scrambling to take actions to reduce or eliminate income taxes they may need to pay. There are many significant tax changes beginning in 2014 to consider in year-end tax planning for 2013 to consider. Of significant importance are the many of the previous tax relief provisions that are set to expire. Here are just a few:

Mortgage Debt Interest Cancellation

You may have made a bad investment in your home. Perhaps your home is worth less now than what you owe. In some cases, you simply cannot afford to continue to make the payments on your mortgage debt and are facing foreclosure. If losing your home was not bad enough, you may be taxed on debt relief you receive. Beginning January 2014, the tax relief provisions for the taxes imposed on the cancellation of indebtedness of your primary residence are scheduled to expire.

Mortgage Insurance Premiums Deduction

Where you may have financed your home with a low down payment, your lender generally requires you to insure the payments of mortgage insurance as part of your loan agreement. For taxpayers with adjusted gross income of $109,000 or less, the premium payments were previously deductible. Beginning January 2014, these tax deductions are no longer available.

State and Local Tax Deductions

Taxpayers that itemize their tax deductions receive tax deductions for mortgage interest, property taxes paid, contributions to charity and more which also included the deduction of state and local sales taxes in lieu of deducting state income taxes. Where you reside in a state that does not have state income taxes, you would previously generally deduct an estimation of, or the sales taxes you paid. Beginning January 2014, these tax deductions are no longer available.

Personal Energy Property Credit

You may have made certain qualifying, energy efficient improvements to your home. Perhaps you replaced your windows, exterior doors, purchased energy efficient appliances, etc. You may have received a tax credit for these improvements made prior to 2013.

Qualified Leasehold, Restaurant and Retail Improvement Property Depreciation

Previously, small businesses could take an escalated depreciation deduction for certain qualifying property over a 15-year life. Beginning January 2014, your deduction for property improvements are often limited to the standard 39-year, commercial property depreciation.

Expensing Election – Section 179

Perhaps, one of the largest tax incentives available to small businesses was the ability to deduct amounts you paid for new business equipment on the day you paid for it. Previously, small businesses could often expense the purchase o f new business property purchases up to $500,000 subject to certain limitations. Beginning January 2014, the deduction is now limited to $25,000 where amounts spent in excess of this amount must generally be depreciated ratably over several years.

Special (Bonus) Depreciation

Similar to the (Section 179) expensing election, small businesses could previously write-off up to half (50%) of qualifying asset purchases in the year of acquisition. Beginning January 2014, most of the benefits previously afforded by bonus depreciation are no longer available.

Qualifying Real Property

Real property includes qualifying leasehold improvements, restaurant property and retail improvements. Businesses could previously claim the Section 179 deduction on up to $250,000 of qualified real property. Beginning January 2014, qualifying real property is no longer eligible for the expensing (Section 179) deduction.

Other Expiring Tax Credits

Other expiring tax credits include the credit for health insurance costs of eligible individuals, tax credit for research and experimentation expenses, the Work Opportunity Tax Credit, above the line deduction for elementary and secondary school teachers, the special rules for qualified small business stock, S corporations basis adjustment for charitable contributions of property, the reduction in S corporation recognition period for built-in gains tax, certain empowerment zone tax incentives and more.

Tags:2013 Tax Planning: Tips and Strategies - Expiring Tax Deductions and Tax Credits

2013 Mustag GT Vs 2013 Camaro SS

The Camaro and Mustang are undoubtedly America’s most legendary automotive rivals. Both cars were introduced during the 1960s, and since their inception, they’ve always battled it out to become king of the streets.

Engines

The Camaro SS uses GM’s 6.2 LS3 engine that is also shared with the base Corvette. This engine uses a very traditional OHV cam in block design that makes most of its power through displacement. The LS3 shares almost the same basic architecture as the first small block chevy that was introduced in 1955! The notable differences include all aluminum construction (block and heads), displacement and steeper angled valve ports on the cylinder heads. A lot of people in the automotive community criticize the GM V8’s because they’re not as “sophisticated” as engines from other automakers. While it’s true the LS3 doesn’t have all the bells and whistles like, variable valve timing, direct injection, multivalve cylinder heads, or active cylinder management the performance doesn’t lie. The LS3 makes 4xx hp. I can almost guarantee that when it comes to making a specific power output in a NA engine that the LS engines will do so in the most compact and lightweight fashion (note the LS7). This is the beauty of the OHV engine architecture that is almost always overlooked. It is important to not that new technology is not necessarily older technology that has been revamped through the years.

The 5.0 engine used in the Mustang, first debuted in 2011 model year. This engine was dubbed the “coyote” by enthusiast and is truly is an engineering marvel. Unlike the Camaro’s LS3 which uses a traditional OHV design with a single camshaft the Mustang GT uses a DOHC design with a total of 4 camshafts and 4 valves per cylinder! This allows for more airflow and the ability to reach higher RPM’s. Having multiple camshafts also makes it much easier to incorporate variable valve timing which the mustang has. This allows the engines onboard computer to continually optimize the engine to make maximum power and torque throughout the rev range. The ability to produce “area under the curve” or adequate torque throughout the engines operating range is a very important factor that impacts street driving. This engine characteristic is almost always overlooked when comparing cars. The downside to this engine configuration is that it is significantly larger than an OHV engine with the same displacement making it harder to fit under the hood of the car.

From a technological point of view the 5.0 is clearly the winner. Having praised the coyote engine so much I should also say that it took Ford long enough to develop a suitable powerplant for the Mustang. Ford dropped the ever popular Windsor series of engines in 1996 for the modular design and at first they proved to be a big letdown. Ford experimented with all kinds of combinations of OHV based engines with 2V, 3V, and 4V but none could ever match the performance of GM’s LS series of engines.

The only exception was the 2003-2004 Mustang SVT Cobra but that was also thanks to a supercharger. Finally in 2011 Ford got the formula right.

Transmissions

Both cars can now be had with either a 6 speed manual or a 6 speed automatic. First of all I’d like to say it’s about time that both of these manufactures have caught up with the rest of the world to produce a 6 speed automatic. The automatic in the Mustang is phenomenal from what I read, it can withstand much more power than the factory 5 liter can deliver. Unfortunately the same cannot be said about the Mustangs 6 speed manual transmission. It has superb gear ratios that really suite the characteristics of the engine but I’m told that it doesn’t hold up well after the engine has been modified. I would suspect that this transmission could be a plague even on standard power levels if you were launching the car hard and drag racing a lot. The Manual transmission in the Camaro is a durable and well proven design that has been used in a large number of high performance cars since 1993. I have the same T-56 6 speed transmission in my 2000 Trans Am and I think it’s phenomenal. The only major issue I have with the 6 speed in the Camaro is that its ratios were designed more toward fuel economy than performance. Closer gears would most likely improve performance. In fact, the gear ratios are so wide that the theoretical top speed in the Camaro SS would be 269mph if it weren’t for air resistance! Thankfully it is easy and affordable to put an aftermarket differential gear in both cars for that matter to make them accelerate even quicker.

Asthetics

Styling wise I think both cars are awesome, and I actually think it’s funny that both cars (and the Dodge Challenger for that matter) were designed to look like their ancestors from the late 1960’s, when the muscle car era was at its peak. What bothers me about the Gen 5 Camaro is its front end. I’m not a huge fan of the way the bumper grille and fascia are angled and come to a slight point. Yes the The rest of the Camaro is very sleek looking though with its low roofline. I especially love the rear end with those bulging wheel wells. However this comes at a price, having had an opportunity to drive a 2010 Camaro I must say that it is one of the hardest cars to see out of with its tiny little windows. This is especially prevalent in comparison to the 3rd 4th gen F-body which were both hatchbacks with huge rear glass window. But like most things in life there are compromises, and having a sleek sports car with small windows does impact the rear-view ability pretty significantly.

I absolutely love the aggressive front end of late model Mustangs especially the 2013+ models which now have xenon headlights stock with those ultra cool horizontal day time LED’s. At first I was a little bother by the rear tail lights on the later 5th gen mustangs, but I’ve kind of grown to like them. At first I thought they were sort of big and plastically but, they do look cool and almost have a 3D effect when lit up! As for the blinking pattern where the rear turn signals blink in sequence, I kind of think it’s a dumb gimmick.

So in short, appearance wise both cars are awesome, and I think that anybody driving one of these modern Muscle cars looks like a total badass behind the wheel! I think that a fast sports car should have killer looks that go along with performance. I personally think the Mustang is bolder and meaner looking, especially that aggressive looking front end, the first think you see when it’s coming at you or in your rearview. However, keep in mind; looks are subjective so my opinion doesn’t count here.

Performance

Finnally we get to the most important part of this car comparison. Which one is faster?

2013 Chevrolet Camaro SS
0-60 mph 4.7s ¼ mile 13.0s @ 111 mph

2013 Ford Mustang GT
0-60 mph 4.4s ¼ mile 12.7s @ 111mph

Tags:2013 Mustag GT Vs 2013 Camaro SS

2014 New Orleans Saints NFL Draft Report Card and Player Analysis

The New Orleans Saints made the playoffs again, beating the Philadelphia Eagles a slim margin, 26-24. They lost to San Francisco and finished the season with an 11-5 record. Much different than the 2012 season disaster, when Head Coach Sean Payton was serving out a 1 year suspension for “bounty-gate”.

Payton is back in 2013 and he hires a new defensive coordinator

The 2013 New Orleans season started off strong bringing in new offensive coordinator, Rob Ryan from the Dallas Cowboys and he turned around their much beleaguered defense immediately by transitioning them from a 4-3 to a 3-4 scheme. The New Orleans Saints went from giving up the 31st most points per game in 2012 to being ranked 4th in points allowed in 2013. How Rob Ryan didn’t get defensive coach of the year honors is beyond me. A total re-build from the ground up, to me that was amazing and I expect them to only get better in 2014. The ironic part of Dallas Cowboys and Jerry Jones firing Rob and essentially making him the scapegoat for their 2012 implosion is the fact that the Cowboys led the league with points allowed under new defensive coordinator, Monte Kiffin the following year, thus getting worse He lost that job at the end of 2013 season which is a typical Jerry move. Reality is the Dallas Cowboys are a terrible defense and that will remain the same in 2014 as well.

New Orleans needs in the 2014 NFL draft

The New Orleans Saints need to add these positions: CB, WR, LB. They signed free agent Safety Jairus Byrd giving the Saints an All Pro Safety tandem. They need an edge rusher than can help disrupt the opponent’s QB. The Saints signed veteran CB Champ Bailey from the Denver Broncos and he can bring leadership in the secondary. I had The Saints drafting Kyle Fuller with their first round draft pick in my 2014 NFL Mock Draft, but the Chicago Bears destroyed that prediction when they chose him with their 14th draft pick.

2014 NFL DRAFT PICK RECAP AND ANALYSIS

Brandin Cooks WR, Oregon State Round 1 Pick # 20

Moving up and trading their 3rd round draft pick to Arizona Cardinals was a smart move with the Green Bay Packers drafting next with the 21st pick and definitely in the market for a premiere speedy wide receiver. Sean Payton pulls the trigger and adds a speedster with sure hands for Drew Brees to play catch on Sunday with. An immediate impact player, New Orleans fans will love this guy. Brandin Cooks may also get punt return duties. Losing Lance Moore will not factor in with Cooks on the field in his place. A healthy Jimmy Graham and Marques Colston spell trouble for the NFC South. I predict that Brandin Cooks will be the 2014 Offensive Rookie of the Year.

Stanley Jean-Baptiste CB, Nebraska Round 2 Pick # 26

The Saints make a statement in the NFC South taking this “Richard Sherman” type CB. Today’s prototypical Cornerback stands 6’4″ and weighs 220 pounds and will match up perfectly with division rivals the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Atlanta Falcons who both have two tall wide receivers to cover. The Saints are officially stacked in the secondary and can afford to play a man to man and DC Rob Ryan can be the blitz obsessed defensive coordinator that will make him a happy crazy guy. Love this draft pick and shocked other teams earlier didn’t jump on him.

Khairi Fortt LB, California Round 4 Pick # 26

Very quick linebacker who moves like a defensive back. Has amazing strength as evidenced by his 30 reps at the NFL Combine and his 4.7 40 time should make him a great stunt blitzing ILB and he can also patrol center-field as an extra safety in the nickel. Needs to become a student of the game and if he goes the Saints got themselves a versatile Pro Bowl player in the 4th round.

Vinnie Sunseri SS, Alabama Round 5 Pick # 27

Some depth at the Safety position for Rob Ryan to work on. Will be a special teams player until he develops NFL skills and there is an opening. His football intellect will accelerate that evolution.

Ronald Powell LB, Florida Round 5 Pick # 29

Picked up this draft pick when the Saints traded RB Darren Sproles to Philadelphia. Former #1 ranked high school player, this guy never achieved was what expected in college. Never really worked and everyone caught up to him. Will have to put in the blood, sweat and tears to make the club and Payton and Ryan won’t but up with his lazy attitude for very long. Typical bust player but worth a shot.

Tavon Rooks T,Kansas State Round 6 Pick # 26

project player that will take a few years to become even mentionable. Has the raw skills and quick feet, but needs to add size and strength. If that happens with some god coaching, he could eventually earn a starting job. Excellent use of the 6th round pick.

Overall Team Draft Day Analysis

Excellent draft by Sean Payton and the New Orleans staff. They moved up and cherry picked Brandin Cooks right under the nose of the Packers, They added a CB in Jean-Baptiste that will counter the draft pick of Mike Evans in Tampa Bay and prepare to meet a healthy Julio Jones and Roddy White in Atlanta. 4th round they find a hybrid linebacker/safety that will be a huge help to maintain the Saints new top rated defense. Great Draft and should put the New Orleans Saints in the playoff conversation.

Draft Grade: A-

Saints had a great day really without any bad moves. Had they gotten a Center in rond 5 with their 29 th pick I would have given them a Grade A.

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Tags:2014 New Orleans Saints NFL Draft Report Card and Player Analysis

2013 USC Trojan Football Top 12 Players – 7 Through 12

The 2012 college football season did not go the way the University of Southern California Trojans had envisioned when the year started. The men of Troy were feted as the next national champion before the schedule began but by mid-season, it became clear this wasn’t a national championship caliber team. Ending the year with a miserable loss to lowly Georgia Tech in the Sun Bowl was a final nail in the coffin of a season of missed glory.

However, every new season brings new visions of grandeur which certainly at USC is a common occurrence. Whether greatness befalls the 2013 Trojan team or not, talent is once again aplenty and ready to show off their abilities at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum as well as nationally. So who are these young men that would lead USC back to prominence? Here are the top seven through 12 players who will have a significant impact on the outcomes of every gridiron battle on the 2013 schedule – listed from 12th to seventh.

12. John Martinez – The 6’2″ 305 pound guard has been a mainstay on the offensive line. The fifth-year senior originally was a center and is versatile enough to move into that position but will be starting for the third year in-a-row at guard. He’s always been a strong run blocker with a dogged determination.

11. George Uko – At 6’3″ 285 pounds, the physically powerful tackle has improved but has not yet played to his potential. The fourth-year junior will be a starter for the third straight year but now in an aggressive 3-4 defense and not the 4-3 the Trojans have used in the past. Capable of playing the new nose tackle spot, expect his athleticism to push him to defensive end.

10. Kevin Graf – A fifth-year senior, the 6’6″ 300 pounder will be starting for the third season in-a-row at right tackle. Graf has dutifully gone about his work and although somewhat unsung, he’ll be relied on more than ever to anchor and solidify the right side of the line.

9. Marcus Martin – The 6’3″ 325 pound junior came almost out of nowhere to end up starting at left guard as a true freshman but now in his third year of starting, Martin moves over to the all-important center position. Marcus looked good during spring but this is one of the most critical spots on the team and will be watched closely by everyone in fall camp.

8. Dion Bailey – The fourth-year junior appears to be remaking himself again, this time moving from outside linebacker to safety – his more natural position. The 6’1″ 210 pounder was originally a defensive back when he came to USC but was moved to linebacker where he created havoc. However, with the new defense, Bailey will move to the secondary where the team is somewhat thin. Dion is coming back from shoulder surgery so making the position move will be difficult and critical to watch as fall camp develops.

7. Nelson Agholor – The 6’1″ 185 pound sophomore wide-out who came on strong in the latter half of 2012 appears ready to fill the shoes of his counterpart at receiver, Marqise Lee. With Lee the main target and likely to get a lot of attention from defenses now that Robert Woods left early to the NFL, Agholor will be leaned on heavily. He’s shown big-play ability and USC will need it.

Next up and soon, one through six.

Sources: University of Southern California

Related articles:

Early Pac-12 Review: Is Leach-led Washington State Ready?

The AAC which looks like Conference USA is the new Big East – Huh?

The Pac-12 in 2013: Top Six Quarterbacks

Daryle has lived in California his entire life and is a fan of the USC Trojans and Pac-12 Conference, having closely followed the Trojans since he was just a youngster. Fight On!

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2014 Baltimore Ravens NFL Draft Report Card and Player Analysis

Overview

Coming off an 8-8 season, Ravens need a few positions to get above the .500 mark. Ravens needs are Center, Right Tackle and Safety. They could always strength their WRs even with the signing of long-time veteran Steve Smith. With the health of TE Dennis Pitta and the signing of TE Owen Daniels, look for the Ravens to deploy the two TE set for a LOT of their passing downs. With Steve Smith and Torrey Smith coupled with two seam threats. The Ravens might be a tough act to follow and look a lot like the New England Patriots during the Gronk/Hernandez years. If Ray Rice doesn’t improve quickly and dramatically, look for GM Ozzie Newsome make a change. The two TE set works only if a run game is established and the sub par 700 yard season by Rice in 2013, Isn’t gonna cut it. Ravens also have a need for a QB since Tyrod Taylor is definitely NOT the answer. On with the recap.

C.J. Mosley LB Alabama Round 1 Pick 17

Typical move by Ozzie Newsome taking the best talent on the board and ignoring the team’s biggest needs at OT and Safety. But that’s Ozzie and as the preeminent drafting GM, anything he does is fine in my book. Mosley exemplifies Raven football in that he is a machine that keeps on going. A tackling machine, he led Alabama as Team Captain to two National Championships. Excellent athlete with instincts on the football field coupled with a high football IQ. His work ethic and character leave nothing to be desired. He will surely become a MONSTER player for the Ravens for years to come.

Timmy Jernigan NT Florida State Round 2 Pick 16

Three technique defensive tackle, naturally strong but some concern about his weight room regiment cause of his natural strength. Won’t be able to rely on that strength in the pros. Has excellent tackling technique and aggressive swims, slaps, rips and spins to get by the blocker. Doesn’t allow anyone to engage him, keeps his feet positioned correctly and keeps defenders guessing which way he is going. A little slow on the move but as an inside anchor, possibly he will be am inside force stopping the run.

Crockett Gillmore TE Colorado State Round 3 Pick 35

Sounds like some wild west name back in the day. Love it! Not sure what this pick is all about. Slow, weak TE with no real qualities that afford him a c career in the NFL as a TE since all he can do is block. Transitioning him to another position besides water boy makes zero sense either. They already have two premiere TEs and needed help at other positions and I am still wondering why Newsome decided on taking a blocking TE, a poor one at that. Huge hands, stands 6’6″ and plays at 260 may be the answer and maybe Ozzie knows something no one else does cause most had him projected in the 185 range as far as being drafted and Newsome takes him at #99, a definite puzzle. Lots of weaknesses and not many strengths make this to me the most confusing player drafted in the entire draft.

Brent Urban DT Virginia Round 4 Pick 34

Another strange draft pick by Ozzie. A Canadian raised player with huge injury history. ACL tear in 2010, wrist surgery in 2011, high ankle sprain in 2013, had a medical exclusion at the NFL Combine for his knee. Drafted by the Hamilton Tiger-cats in the CFL. Ozzie should have let him go back. This kid has a huge hockey background and I wouldn’t doubt if his tendency to injure was tied to that at all. 6’7″ 300 pound with a 34.5″ wingspan will enable him to definitely swat passes. Seems to have some good moves getting by the defender and has the ability to collapse the pocket but that was in college and this is a totally different arena. No way does this guy do anything against a starting offensive tackle in the NFL. Personally, this is a really poor pick and I am at this point in the draft wondering if Ozzie is drinking or smoking the wacky tabacky. Bust city written all over him.

Lorenzo Taliaferro RB Coastal Carolina Round 4 Pick 38

OK, so they thinking RB. Shame they settled on this guy. A vanilla type runner. No dazzle and no real talent that I see watching some tape on him. I see a mediocre speed guy on the field who is hesitant to make moves. Seems to rely too much on lateral jukes rather than committing to a gap. Seems to be dependent on others creating holes and doesn’t have big enough hands to be a great ball handler and fumbling will be a concern. I think the reason he got so many accolades in college is he should have been at a higher division school than Lackawanna College in Scranton, PA. And Coastal. Had he played in the SEC or the Big 10, we would have never heard of the guy. Another head scratcher by Ozzie Newsome. I am at this point really concerned that this is a bust draft for the Ravens.

John Urschel OG Penn State Round 5 Pick 35

Recipient of the William V. Campbell Award which is the equivalent as the Heisman for Academics and graduating with a Master’s degree in Mathematics proves that any NFL playbook will feel like a paperback. This is one smart guy. Will see if his fall back academics has an issue on his motivation. He will be successful without football so it is a concern he bails early in his career for more interesting challenges. Played for Bill O’Brien at Penn State so should have zero issue making the transition to the professional schemes. Underpowered and lacks explosion off the snap. Sure to find his match opposite him in the pros. Possible move to Center. Without sound coaching and a strength program, there is little chance Urschel lasts long in the pros. Another Bust Pick, too many intangibles for him to succeed.

Keith Wenning QB Ball State Round 6 Pick 18

Wow, finally, Ozzie gets on track with this under the radar pick. A kid that bleeds football from every pore. A 6’3″ 220 pound QB that has guts and skill. Engineered 10 fourth quarter comebacks and has the will to win and doesn’t give up. He is a definite project player with a good core of skills that can be transformed into a reliable back up. Don’t see a future starter in the NFL but will be a cheap low risk/ high reward investment. A definite alternative to Tyrod Taylor, the current QB backup.

Mike Campanaro WR Wake Forest Round 7 Pick 3

A 5’9″ slot receiver who can’t run routes and has been prone to injury. It;s the seventh round and this is what is out there. Has some success at Prep returning kicks and punts so maybe this is Ozzie’s plan for him. If not, I don’t see this kid even making the roster. Sorry, but he is a bust.

Overall Draft Analysis

Outside of the first two picks, I don’t like the draft picks of Ozzie Newsome and John Harbaugh. They seem to be a reach from three to seven and I just don’t see the normal drafting guru present. I’m most likely wrong. Trying to analyze Newsome is like a 8 th grade science teacher grading a paper by Einstein. Quite over matched. With that said, I am a huge Ozzie fan and trust him on his decisions.

Draft Grade –C+

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Tags:2014 Baltimore Ravens NFL Draft Report Card and Player Analysis

2014 Draft Report Card and Player Analysis for the Cleveland Browns

The Cleveland Browns made a lot of moves the first day all in the effort to squeeze as much value out of their #4 pick as possible. They did that very well, maybe the best job of any team but will it help them move the needle on wins and losses. No one judges a team by the wheeling and dealings that went on in the draft. The coaches and general managers are judged by the win-loss column. Did the Browns use their picks wisely and did the players they draft optimize their roster. Let’s look at the players in detail and see if they will positively impact the Browns and turn around what has been a dysfunctional franchise.


Justin Gilbert CB Oklahoma State Round #1 Pick #8

Arguably the best cornerback in the draft and Cleveland managed to trade down to the 8 spot and snag him and thus gambling that their Quarterback would be there in the later part of the round. This move proved to me that the Browns were locked on a group of QBs, not just one and had great latitude in adjusting to which one would be on the board. A definite case of “not falling in love with one guy.” Gilbert instantly upgrades their secondary and he is a starter the first day of the season. Also returned kicks and punts in college and played basketball and ran track, so he is extremely athletic. He is a 6’0″ speedster on a 200 pound frame. Will be a top cover corner in the league and has the ability to jump the route creating interceptions. Obvious weakness is playing the run and soft when hitting a player. Opposing teams may run sweeps and screen plays is his direction to test him early and often in his career.

Johnny Manziel QB Texas A&M Round 1 Pick #22

The Browns used a trade up to snare Johnny Football. Whether it was a good or bad move, the future will only tell. The Browns needed a franchise QB and with Blake Bortles drafted by Jacksonville with the #3 pick, they had a choice of Manziel, Derek Carr, or Teddy Bridgewater. If Hoyer goes down, we might see Manziel huddle up in his first season, if not it could be a long bench ride for Johnny and who knows if Manziel won’t act like his typical “spotlight” self and demand to play or sulk. This could get ugly quick with the Browns visiting “Tebow territory” where the media makes everyone’s life miserable. I am neutral to the pick. I hope The Browns did their due diligence concerning Manziel but the leaked scouting report out of New England really scares me. Time will tell if the Browns got skunked by the pomp and circumstance surrounding Manziel. Wouldn’t be the first Heisman trophy winner to bust out of the NFL and won’t be the last.

Joel Bitonio OT Nevada Round 2 Pick #3

An underrated Offensive Tackle that probably was the best value pick of the Browns. 6’4″ 300 pounder who can afford another 30 to 40 pounds being put on by the Browns strength conditioning coach. Definitely has been underestimated by everyone in the NFL. Look at his college tape against Anthony Barr of UCLA and other quick edge rushers and he stopped them in their tracks. Bitonio has better technique, quicker feet and is extremely strong which should make him a premiere offensive tackle Pro Bowl player in just a few short years. A natural meanness and qualities that will make him a natural team leader, should make up for his smaller size till they bulk him up.


Christian Kirksey OLB Iowa Round 3 Pick 7

A 3rd round pick that can play inside or outside linebacker. Browns should use him on the inside but his versatility is a huge advantage. Two-time Captain at Iowa should mean instant leadership for the defensive unit of the Browns. Ran a sub 4.6 yard 40 at his pro day workout and ran track in college winning two state titles. Another undersized player drafted by the Browns, but fear not, they will put twenty pounds of muscle on him in the first year. His agility and speed with added muscle should translate to an excellent three down linebacker in a year or two. Won’t instantly impact the Browns but is a great project player and future starter.

Terrence West RB Towson State College Round 3 Pick #30

A power running back with good hands. Not afraid of running between the tackles and likes to score as evidenced by his 83 TDs in his three seasons at Towson. Needs coaching with ball handling and dexterity, but has good down field vision and runs with a purpose and fights for extra yards. Reminds me of a Jerome Bettis type running back. Should be a welcome addition to the Browns especially in goal line situations. Projected as a 3rd-4th rounder, Browns get good value drafting him with the 30th pick of the 3rd round.

Pierre Desir CB Lindenwood Round 4 Pick #27

Redshirted for Division II Washburn University in Kansas and then transferred back to his hometown and started for Division II Lindenwood University in St. Louis, Missouri. The 2013 recipient of the Cliff Harris Award, presented to the country’s top small-college defensive back as well as earning invitations to the East-West Shrine Game and the Senior Bowl. Recorded the second best broad jump at the NFL Combine and a bigger than average CB at 6’1 and 200lbs. A sub 4.6 40 should make him an excellent bump and run cover. Known to play hurt and plays mentally tough. He is married with two children so the maturity level and motivation will be there for this player who emigrated from Haiti and had two surgeries when he was younger to correct chipped bone in his left knee. Needs help transitioning from the bump and run to cover but that is just a matter of coaching. Could be the steal of the 4th if this player works hard in the next two years. The Cleveland scouts did their homework finding this raw gem.

Analysis and overall draft grade

Browns got a starting CB. Browns took a risk on Johnny Manziel, but the upside could be huge. Browns got a player that could be starting by week 8. The Browns filled a few need positions but the only thing that makes me wonder is the Josh Gordon situation. Knowing ahead of the draft that he failed a drug test for marijuana, makes you wonder why they didn’t target a wide receiver. Do they have inside knowledge that the NFL is about to announce a loosening of the marijuana penalty? Is the NFL considering this change because of the public stance on marijuana usage and the country legalizing it in some states that the NFL does business in like Colorado. Just a thought that would explain them not drafting a wide receiver when excellent talent was available.

Draft Grade:

  • A minus–Josh Gordon doesn’t get suspended for a year
  • B–Josh Gordon gets a 4 game suspension
  • C minus–Josh Gordon gets sidelined for a year

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Tags:2014 Draft Report Card and Player Analysis for the Cleveland Browns

2014 National League West Preview

In 2013, the Los Angeles Dodgers were expected to conquer the world. They did not. 2014 looks to be much brighter for the team from Chavez Ravine. Don Mattingly has an assembly of once great baseball players that, in their prime, could move mountains, drop panties and put the bomp in the bomp-she-bomp. This is a division of the ‘once was’ and is easily the worst total division in baseball, so picking winners is like choosing your favorite Nickelback song. Los Angeles and Arizona kicked off the season in Australia on March 22nd, but that wasn’t the official Opening Day of the season.

Opening Days are March 30th and 31st, so here’s a look at the 2014 National League Central.

NL Central:

1. Los Angeles Dodgers – Los Angeles features the greatest one-two pitching punch in the National League. Reigning Cy Young Award winner, Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke provide an incredible start to the best rotation in baseball. As previously mentioned, the Dodgers lineup is a who’s who of what used to be. Manager Don Mattingly had a season to get this team to mesh, and all signs point to this project working out for him. Following their 42nd loss on June 22, 2013, the Los Angeles Dodgers had the best regular season record in baseball. There is reason to be optimistic about this team and their chances at a World Championship. Starting with a ridiculous pitching staff that is anchored by Clayton Kershaw, this rotation is the deepest in baseball. Zack Greinke is one of the most under-appreciated arms in the game. Hyun-Jin Ryu finished fourth in 2014 NL Rookie of the Year balloting. Dan Haren has nine consecutive 30-start seasons and Josh Beckett has a resume full of successful big-game experience. When healthy, Matt Kemp will return to center field, boosting an already elite offensive line-up. The maturity of Yasiel Puig will only make this lineup more dangerous. Los Angeles will not disappoint in 2014, and world domination is not out of the question.

Projected 2014 Los Angeles Dodgers Lineup

1. Yasiel Puig, RF
2. Carl Crawford, LF
3. Hanley Ramirez, SS
4. Adrian Gonzalez, 1B
5. Andre Ethier, CF
6. Juan Uribe, 3B
7. A.J. Ellis, C
8. Dee Gordon, 2B

2. San Francisco Giants – San Francisco is only one year removed from a World Series title (2012). Last year the team figuratively imploded, but there is no reason to believe this young core can’t literally pull it together in 2014. Buster Posey is one of the greatest offensive weapons in the league, and the fact that he is still a primary catcher is mind-blowing. Brandon Belt provided a break-out season in 2013 and Hunter Pence could be the most reliable five-hole hitter in baseball. If Pablo “Skinny Panda” Sandoval and Michael Morse can provide even a little boost at the bottom of the lineup, this is a championship caliber offense. Madison Bumbarner will be the Opening Day starter for the Giants, which will be quite the change of pace. Matt Cain had a “Matt Cain” second half last season and hopes it will carry over. Tim Lincecum is no longer relevant and seems so far removed from the back-to-back Cy Young Awards. Lincecum has 72 ERA+ over the last two seasons. Ryan Vogelsong was inneffective in 2013 and Tim Hudson is coming off a very serious ankle surgery. If Bumgarner and Cain pitch to potential, this team will land in second place.

Projected 2014 San Francisco Giants Lineup

1. Angel Pagan, CF
2. Marco Scutaro, 2B
3. Brandon Belt, 1B
4. Buster Posey, C
5. Hunter Pence, RF
6. Pablo Sandoval, 3B
7. Michael Morse, LF
8. Brandon Crawford, SS

3. Arizona Diamondbacks – After a much-celebrated first year as a manager, Kirk Gibson has managed an 81-81 record for two seasons in a row. Arizona had an extremely busy offseason, yet for the second year in a row, netted very little. Every aspect of Arizona’s game has issues and the outlook seems iffy for 2014. Cody Ross will miss the beginning of the season, but will be set to take over in right field, moving Gerardo Parra to center and A.J. Pollock to the bench. Miguel Montero had a horrendous offensive season last year and will most likely drop several spots in the lineup if his woes continue. The biggest acquisition is Mike Trumbo, who will add some major pop in a hitter friendly park. The biggest drawback seems to be that the free-swinging Trumbo is the reincarnate of Rob Deer. There is nothing super impressive about the Diamondbacks’ rotation. Bronson Arroyo is already dealing with back issues, which is the last thing Arizona wants to hear BEFORE the season begins. There is nothing solid about this team going into 2014. If there was any word that could describe Arizona it’s mediocre, though it would appear they have been the definition of that over the last two years.

Projected 2014 Arizona Diamondbacks Lineup

1. Gerardo Parra, RF
2. Aaron Hill, 2B
3. Paul Goldschmidt, 1B
4. Miguel Montero, C
5. Mark Trumbo, LF
6. Martin Prado, 3B
7. A.J. Pollock, CF
8. Didi Gregorius, SS

4. San Diego Padres – San Diego hasn’t had a winning season since 2010. In 2013, the Padres put a player on the DL 22 times. After that slew of injuries to position players in 2013, 2014 should be better. Regular center fielder, Cameron Maybin will be out until at least early May with an injury, but this offense revolves around Chase Headley and Carlos Quentin. If Headley regains 2012 form, the middle of the lineup can provide enough pop to score some runs. Last year San Diego ranked 12th in the NL in rotation ERA. San Diego quietly acquired Josh Johnson, a boom or bust pitcher capable of great things when he’s not on the DL. It’s too much to ask that Johnson pitches a full season, but with Ian Kennedy and the breakout potential of Andrew Cashner, San Diego will decidedly be far improved in regard to rotation. This team is better than 2013, but it all depends on how healthy they can stay. Key injuries will devastate any ball club, but the 2013 San Diego team looked more like an ICU than a baseball team.

Projected 2014 San Diego Padres Lineup

1. Everth Cabrera, SS
2. Will Venable, CF
3. Chase Headley, 3B
4. Carlos Quentin, LF
5. Yonder Alonso, 1B
6. Jedd Gyorko, 2B
7. Seth Smith, RF
8. Nick Hundley, C

5. Colorado Rockies – If baseball players never got injured, Carlos Gonzalez and Troy Tulowitzki would be two of the greatest players in the game. It’s easy to forget how dynamic both of them are in the middle of the lineup, when healthy. Colorado’s offense flows with the injuries, but make no mistake, this is a last-place offense. Pitching in Colorado is a bigger gamble than the stock-market and 2014 doesn’t have any standouts. The Rockies lone bright spot on the staff was starter, Jhoulys Chacin, who finished with a 4.3 WAR in 167 2/3 innings. In fitting Colorado fashion, Chacin is dealing with shoulder problems and will start the season on the disabled list. The biggest strength for the Rockies is the bullpen, but that’s not saying much. LaTroy Hawkins rejoined the team and was immediately name closer. Rex Brothers and Matt Belisle are two of the best setup men in the National League. In order for a good bullpen to have an impact, the team needs to be able to not overthrow their rotation and still be in the game after five innings. Colorado is clearly the fifth best team in this division and the misery continues.

Projected 2014 Colorado Rockies Lineup

1. Corey Dickerson, CF
2. Michael Cuddyer, RF
3. Carlos Gonzalez, LF
4. Troy Tulowitzki, SS
5. Justin Morneau, 1B
6. Wilson Rosario, C
7. Nolan Arenado, 3B
8. DJ LeMahieu, 2B

Tags:2014 National League West Preview

2013 TED Prize Winner Wrong to Say Spelling, Grammar Don't Matter

COMMENTARY | As a high school teacher I know how hard it is to get kids to write. Most days I begin class with a “freewrite” exercise where teenagers get to explain their positions or opinions on a broad economic topic. There are no right or wrong answers and scores are based on effort. Moaning, groaning, and griping often result from students being expected to complete at least three sentences about wide open topics like raising or lowering taxes, what students plan to accomplish during their future careers, or whether or not the government should provide more college tuition subsidies. Include proper spelling and grammar? Fuhgeddahboudit.

Professor Sugata Mitra of Newcastle University, the esteemed recipient of the 2013 TED Prize, hurts rank-and-file teachers by saying that spelling and grammar are obsolete in our era of digital autocorrect. According to the Daily Mail, Mitra asserts that electronic tools like autocorrect make it unnecessary to teach spelling and grammar today, relegating the skills “were very essential maybe 100 years ago but they are not right now.” Unfortunately, Mitra ignores the importance of learning spelling and grammar to the establishment of strong mental foundations.

Learning spelling and grammar is not exciting. It is tough work, rote and tedious, much like weightlifting. However, like weightlifting, it develops strength that runs deep. Only after students learn proper spelling and grammar can they move on to more complex skills like appreciating and utilizing tempo, flow, rhyme scheme, alliteration, voice, and countless other tools of the trade. Poetry and prose are lost to mechanized sanitations of txt spk. Having ceded their development of literary skills to silicon, a generation of students never develops greatness.

Unable to write well, these students never develop a potent voice. They are unable to be their own advocates in all venues that appreciate the written word: Law, politics, education, the arts. Even the progress of the technical fields will be blunted by those whose minds were dulled by being unable to appreciate literature. Never having developed the necessary foundations early on, an entire generation of students does not learn how to ably innovate and improvise.

To successfully innovate and improvise you must first know the rules you intend to bend or break. I quote the Dalai Lama XIV: “Know the rules well, so you can break them effectively.”

Allowing computers to be the knowers of our rules, serving as our mindless correctors and sanitizers, is a bad fate.

Tags:2013 TED Prize Winner Wrong to Say Spelling, Grammar Don’t Matter

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