published Monday, August 1st, 2011

5 at 10: College football, Atlanta Braves and the NFL ticker

Montana was amazing — bigger than we ever expected. The scenery was breath-taking; we expected that. The love for gambling out there was unexpected; there are casinos every where. In the golf clubhouse there was a poker machine (yeah, like we'd ever leave that place: Beer, check; Golf, check; Gambling, check). In fact we passed a place with this on the sign: "Sushi buffet & Casino."

Yep, they do everything bigger in Montana, even gambling problems.

OK, let's get to it. From the "7-Up Stinks Studios," here we go...



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    Indianapolis Colts quarterback Peyton Manning calls a play during the first half of the NFL Super Bowl XLIV football game against the New Orleans Saints in Miami, Sunday, Feb. 7, 2010.
    Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

NFL needs its own ticker

Was anyone else mesmerized by the ESPN scroll this weekend? Every team is making so many moves, it's like the 32 GMs have entered their own fantasy league, but without a draft they are gobbling up free agents at every turn.

Here's the top 5 things that stood out from all the moves and machinations this weekend:

— The Falcons are Super Bowl contenders: Atlanta added pass-rusher Ray Edwards and kept its offensive line largely intact.

— The Eagles are, too: Philadelphia now has the NFC's top cornerback duo after trading for Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and signing Nnamdi Asomugha. Lock-down corners are supremely valuable; having two on the same team is doubly so.

— The Patriots aim to be Super Bowl contenders, too: New England added defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth and Chad Ochocinco — two players that could be huge, Huge, HUGE difference-makers or two huge locker room distractions. If good Albert and good Chad show up, that's a team with a lot of talent.

— Jets stay intact: After getting to the AFC title game last year, the New York Jets retained their two biggest free agents — receiver Santonio Holmes and corner Antonio Cromartie. Plus they added Plaxico Burress. If Mark Sanchez is simply solid, the Jets are going to be good.

— There were a bunch of former high, High, HIGH draft picks shown the door. Teams cut their loses with Jamaal Anderson (No. 8 overall pick by the Falcons), Reggie Bush (No. 2 overall pick by the Saints) and Vince Young (No. 3 overall pick by the Titans). Other former first rounders on the move were Haynesworth, Donovan McNabb (who is now in Minnesota) and Charles Johnson (who is now in Carolina).

Just when we thought we were done with the NFL, they pulled us back in.



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    Atlanta Braves players swarm Scott Proctor, center after batting in Julio Lugo to win the baseball game against the Pittsburgh Pirates during the 19th inning of a baseball game, Wednesday, July 27, 2011, in Atlanta. Atlanta won 4-3. (AP Photo/John Amis)

Braves make moves, stand still

Atlanta made what the 5-at-10 believes was the best trading deadline move, dealing three minor league pitchers and Jordan Schafer to Houston for ultra-fast leadoff hitter Michael Bourn. Let's go ahead and get all of the "Bourn" headlines out there now.

In a couple of years during the contract negotiations, we'll have the "Bourn Ultimatum." His first four-hit, two-steal game for the Braves will be the "Bourn Supremacy." His next four-hit, two-steal game for the Braves will be "Bourn Again." We're sure there are more.

The 5-at-10 almost always believes in dealing prospects for a chance to win championships, and the Braves were able to add a huge piece without dealing any of their top three young arms. That's called a win-win scenario.

That said, the Phillies added former Houston outfielder Hunter Pence, and it's going to take a lot more than Atlanta's recent 4-3 mark on its homestand to catch Philadelphia.

Sidenote: OK, who had July 27 as the day Dan Uggla passed the Mendoza Line. That's right, the Braves second baseman has moved beyond .200 to a lofty (some might even say pretentious) .206 average with a 22-game hitting streak. He has a hit in every game of the 2011 Season, Part Deux (which started on July 5) and he hit .293 in July.



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    Tennessee's Malik Jackson (center) pressures UAB quarterback, Bryan Ellis, while be blocked by Darion Smith (75). Staff File Photo by Jake Daniels/Chattanooga Times Free Press

College football starts

College football practice starts around the country this week, and it's safe to say the 5-at-10 is ready. More than ready.

In honor of that, here are the five players for teams with the most local interest that need to worry more about staying healthy and staying sharp. That's right a 5-in-10 by the 5-at-10 on which players, if they were injured would send a shock wave through the fan base.

— UT defensive lineman Malik Jackson: A locker room leader at UT's thinnest position

— UGA quarterback Aaron Murray: RB's already an issue, but Murray's the man

— Alabama running back Trent Richardson: A true stud atop a limited depth chart

— UTC quarterback B.J. Coleman: Mocs' big hopes pegged to big-time QB

— Auburn offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn. What? We have to go with a player? OK, Auburn running back Mike Dyer: MVP of BCS title game is top threat



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    Crew members push Paul Menard's car back to the garage after the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series' Heluva Good! Sour Cream Dips at The Glen auto race was postponed due to rain in Watkins Glen, N.Y., Sunday, Aug. 9, 2009. (AP Photo/ David Boe)

This and that

— Apparently somewhere in the new NASCAR contract, every driver gets to win once in the next three years. How else can you explain Paul Menard winning at Indy and Trevor Bayne winning the Daytona 500. That has to be it. Or it's the fact that the only stra-teeg-ery not involving fuel is to hang back, stay clean and make a sprint to the end.

— Those crickets you hear are the negotiations on the NBA labor deal. In fact, we're going to need GlobalVision to watch the NBA stars play overseas this winter.

— Cleveland High School quarterback Chad Voytik committed to Pitt while we were away. Kid can play folks, and here's saying there will be some SEC schools wondering why they let him go north.



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    Atlanta Braves first baseman Fred McGriff heads home after hitting his 300th career homer against the Cincinnati Reds Sunday, May 19, 1996 in Atlanta. McGriff missed the record on a previous at-bat Sunday that would have been a grand slam. That ball flew two feet outside the left-field foul pole. (AP Photo/Tannen Maury)

Today's question

It may not be as big of a homer as the Fred McGriff deal, but tell us Johnny Braves Fan, how happy are you with this team heading into the stretch run? Did the Braves do enough to catch the Phillies?

about Jay Greeson...

Jay was named the Sports Editor of the Times Free Press in 2003 and started with the newspaper in May 2002 as the Deputy Sports Editor. He was born and raised in Smyrna, Ga., and graduated from Auburn University before starting his newspaper career in 1997 with the Newnan (Ga.) Times Herald. Stops in Clayton and Henry counties in Georgia and two years as the Sports Editor of the Marietta (Ga.) Daily Journal preceded Jay’s ...

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Eustice_Chase said...

Glad to have you back...and thanks for sending my regards to Ted..up in By Sky Country...THE Fruit Basket he sent was lovely...All this NFL player swapping has been hard to keep up with but Fun to attempt to... THE Eagles..once they Sign Desean Jackson are gonna be hard to stop on both sides of the ball... Would anyone else care to see an NFC Title Game involoving THE Atlanta Falcons vs THE Philadeilphia Eagles ?? That would be CRAZY good...and THE possibility is equally CRAZY good...

THE Braves Signing Former Astros speedster is gonna be awesome...if he and Martin Prado can get on base...i Trust that THE real Dan Uggla will drive them in...two 3-run Homers in as many games... I'm sorry but I think we had an imposter posting up at 2nd base for THE first half of THE season....Welcome Back Dan...to the same ol'place that you Laughed about...some things have changed since you hung around...you know the tune..lets all join in...

In Other news...Dan Henderson won at Strikeforce over THE weekend...He was victorious via TKO late in the 1st round stopping Fedor Emilienako ...the stoppage could have been seen as premature..but When Hendo hit Fedor with THE Right hand his body went limp...check THE replay and slo-mo if you doubt me ? I would have liked to have seen Fedor given THE oppo to recover...but hey Herb Dean is THE best MMA official in the world...no debating it... hes THE Ed Hochuli of MMA ...

I am very happy with THE move THE Atlanta Braves made... now if we can just get everyone healthy...and please tell me we have someone other than Eric Hinske and Brooks Conrad ready to step in if Chipper has to hang it up anytime soon....please ...

August 1, 2011 at 10:23 a.m.
BIspy4 said...

Holy Marty Smith's hair, while the Braves certainly got a leadoff hitter, the lineup is still a mess. The Phillies, by getting Pence, have clearly distanced themselves. They got a dependable right-handed bat to go along with Utley and Howard, not to mention switch hitters Rollins and Victorino.

Prado's back, but Chipper's gimpy. Uggla is hot, but Heyward is not. Freeman is killing it but McCann's in pain. And Gonzalez ... well ... he's like 7 Up now.

The Braves have to somehow manufacture runs. They failed at that task Sunday despite getting like 35 hits. Maybe Bourn's the answer, giving them someone who can get on base, steal the next base and put a little pressure on the defense, allowing Prado and Freeman and put the ball in play.

Love, love, love the Pats getting Ocho. Maybe the Patriots will now have someone who will at least entertain the gathered media corps rather than the Emperor continuing to peer out of his hoodie with "It is what it is." Haynesworth? Eh. Wilfork's their stopper up the middle. He's also a buffet stopper.

August 1, 2011 at 10:29 a.m.
patrickd said...

Practice starts this week and... wait for it, wait for it... exactly 1 month from right now there will be a football flinging in the air headed toward an endzone (unless it's Auburn in which case it'll be some gimmicky trick play Gus Malzahn comes up with to kickoff the season).

August 1, 2011 at 10:39 a.m.
patrickd said...

Since I've already started the Auburn hate train I'll climb on board and ride it a little further.

Looks like the stats on Cam Newton's rookie card is missing a particularly important time in his college career. I see Florida, I see Blinn... didn't he play somewhere else also?

http://bit.ly/r85y35

August 1, 2011 at 10:47 a.m.
bigbearzzz said...

Cinco glad to have you back from my future retirement destination, brother. First and foremost I have to give a huge SHOUT OUT to the TFP and their coverage of the LARGEST EVER ASA National Championship Tournament! Ya know its a big deal when you have the team from Hawaii show up with their grass skirts at opening ceremony's! It's gonna be a crazy weak, crazy HOT especially when Oso sets up behind the plate this afternoon! But looking forward to seeing some crazy good softball as well. So thank you to you and the rest of the staff down there...keep up the good work...and stay thirsty, my friends.

Quickly: NFL too crazy right now to even comment. Gotta let some of the dust settle before seeing where we stand, but we must say, might have to polish up on the ol' dirty bird dance before its all said and done. UGGLA WHAT?!?! Over .200?!? That's it, kiss me momma and send me off to bed, I've seen it all now. And nobody's catching the Phillies...that hurt even typing it.

August 1, 2011 at 10:54 a.m.
jgreeson said...

Gang,

First, and we're remiss that we did not include this in the intro this morning, but great job carrying the conversation last week. And shout outs to some of the non-regulars who stopped by, Astropig, Najones, LivinLarge and the rest of the folks. You know who you are.

That said, let's move quickly.

Seriously, there's no way to put a number of the amazing things that Montana holds. Among these was the final hike in Glacier that the Mr. and Mrs. 5-at-10 had to stop short ("Hey, that's my move") because there was 2 feet of snow on the ground. Yes, snow. On July 27. And the next morning as the sun was coming up we could see our breath. Awesome in its awesomeness.

And seriously, add any three words together you would see on a sign and add "Casino" behind it and that was probably an option. "Gas, snacks and Casino," check. "Cheese, mattresses and Casino," check. "Bail Bonds, credit checks and Casino," You bet.

EC —

Is this like the Super Bowl week or the SEC Championship week for the Tito (don't call me Jackson and expect to keep your teeth) Ortiz followers? Rate your level of giddy-ness right now on the 1 through 5 scale with 1 being a trip to the dentist and 5 being, well, whatever 5 represents to you and your's.

Braves' move was gold, Jerry, gold. Here's saying they have the look of a really tough out in the postseason. Call it a hunch, but if good Dan sticks around for a while, this team has some potential.

BIspy —

We like the Ochocinco move, too. Has Moss landed any where yet? Here's hoping it's Indy. If big Albert's motivated, that could be a huge addition (yes, pun intended) and if he's motivated, Jerod Mayo will have like 350 tackles this season.

PDavi —

We know Alabama has a very good team that could be great this fall, but truthfully, you're petty jealousy needs to stop. It's OK. Just move forward and embrace this year. We don't even remember all that much about last fall any way. What happened?

Oso —

Thanks for the shout-out. The TFP Sports Dept. has a lot of folks that work really hard covering the area. It's fun to be a part of it. And now it begins.

EC, uou have our permission to quit reading this post right now...

Sadly, Oso we think you're right. The Braves are going to be really tough to catch

August 1, 2011 at 11:29 a.m.
patrickd said...

5 at 10, it's probably a good thing that you don't remember much about last year, the NCAA is going to help you forget whatever you do remember.

August 1, 2011 at 11:40 a.m.
chas9 said...

5-foot-10--Casinos are fun in their way, but if you didn't see Glacier National Park, you didn't see Montana. It's the real life Busch Bavarian billboard. It's always a good thing to remember the Crime Dog. Thanks. When Fredi G. announces the team's new speed emphasis, it'll be "Bourn To Run." And when the Bravos fail to re-sign him next year, it'll be "Bourn Free." Extra credit for the best combination of Bourn and Freeman in the same sentence.

August 1, 2011 at 12:15 p.m.
jgreeson said...

C-9er,

We did not step a foot into a Montana casino. We spent all Thursday trying to see as much of Glacier as possible. It was breath-taking. Seriously. It looked like a movie set (We're trying to post a couple of photos the Mrs. 5-at-10 took of the sunset/sunrise from our room in Glacier National Park).

You're right, 9er, Glacier was amazing.

That's two pretty strong "Bourn" headlines. Here's one possible for tomorrow "New Bourn leads Braves to 12-1 win." How about a 10-game hitting streak for each Freeman and Bourn so the headline could be "Freeman, Bourn Again. Amen"

— 5-at-10

August 1, 2011 at 12:46 p.m.
Eustice_Chase said...

In the Tito Ortiz and Rashad Evans camps this week is all about trash talk, game plan and also how you cannot let oppurtunities like this pass you up. Evans and Ortiz will both be in TOP condition for this weekends fight...and tonight Spike TV will air the UFC 133 Countdown..tune in will you? I cannot wait..and I would like to take this time to share a story with the group..and it will also double as the explination as to why I stay at home to watch Tito Ortiz Fights..

At UFC 73 when Rashad and Tito first met...I had endulged in a few of the finest ice cold beverages the Hixson Buffalo Wild Wings had to offer..and when the decision came down that the fight was a draw....well i was beside myself...and as the crowd cheered (being a prodominately anti Tito crowd) I felt it was my duty to stand on the banister and give the double finger Stone Cold Steve Austin salute to the crowd.... and the rest shall we say is history ?!?!

August 1, 2011 at 1:30 p.m.
jgreeson said...

EC —

I knew we had some sort of connection that was not made clear until this moment.

My moment was in Knoxville in 1993 — Sweet P Pernell Whitaker was robbed and the decision was awared to Julio Cesar Chazez. Right after the bell, the few Sweet P fans in attendance were celebrating until the decision was announced. Outraged, we unloaded the double guns salutes to all and challenged the rest of the place to a showdown. From there it got out of hand.

And yes, we know you were in like grade school, but remember, we're a man, we're 40.

Good times, indeed.

August 1, 2011 at 2:08 p.m.
Eustice_Chase said...

Way to go 5er! I failed to challenge all comers to a bare fisted pavement brawl...but I was invited to enter as an ammatuer in the North GA MMA event that was the following weekend...apparently i really got under the skin of the promoter who was in attendance...lucky for him...I had plans lol

August 1, 2011 at 2:35 p.m.
Eustice_Chase said...

To the group...

Which NFL Team will have the toughest secondary in the league..Eagles? Chiefs? or Jets?

August 1, 2011 at 3:03 p.m.
Eustice_Chase said...

Moss ? Retirement? Wow, didnt see that coming.

August 1, 2011 at 3:06 p.m.
jgreeson said...

EC —

Great question. If safety Jim Leonard returns healthy, the Jets are slap nasty. The Chiefs have Eric Berry, who will be an NFL Hall of Famer if he stays healthy and the Eagles have gone from actually bad to street-lingo bad in the course of a weekend. We'll take the Jets because their DBs tackle well too.

That's crazy about Moss. Crazy. Something tells us that the right offer will get him into training camp. Who makes the late push? Indy? Dallas? Could he go back to Minnesota? Here's saying that he's retired in title only.

— 5-at-10

August 1, 2011 at 3:49 p.m.
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