published Friday, May 9th, 2014

5-at-10: Friday Mailbag on Blazing Saddles, NFL draft, Braves and strike outs

Gang, hope you guys had a blessed Draftmas and your team got everything it wanted.

The 5-at-10 has another TV-based semi-abnormal and over-the-top guilty pleasure: We love game shows. Seriously. And the Family Feud is on our Rushmore of all-time Game Shows. With that knowledge in hand, we had to share this clip of a women blowing the anchor leg of Fast Money. She needed all of 18 points in the five questions to win $20,000 and she went 0-0-0-0-0. That's amazing.

From the "Talks too much" studio, break the seal and let's wheel and deal.

From T

Dude, your Tweets during the draft were awesome. Why do you not Tweet more? Seriously?

As for the draft, who do you think the three winners and the three losers were after round one and who are the guys to watch tonight?

Thanks, and I'll try to call in Press Row today -- you guys rock.

T —

We are kind of a binge Tweeter (@jgreesontfp) and when we get started we can go through a bunch in a hurry. We actually got put in Twitter timeout once for Tweeting too much during a Baylor-McCallie football game.

Last night was a fun exchange, so thanks for playing along.

Draft winners:

  • photo
    Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel reacts after being selected by the Cleveland Browns as the 22nd pick in the first round of the 2014 NFL draft Thursday in New York. Some projected him to go much sooner.
    Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

Cleveland — They got the guy they eyed at No. 4 at No. 22 in Johnny Manziel and energized their fan base. Could he be a bust? You bet, but in truth, every player on the board could be a bust, and the draft ultimately is about value. Cleveland got great value with Manziel at No. 22. The Browns also were able to move down from No. 4 to No. 9 by trading with the Buffalo Bills and adding Buffalo's first-round pick next year, which could be rather high. Cleveland also picks No. 4 tonight with a slew of prospects on the board that could make a lot of sense.

Atlanta — The Falcons were starving for a left tackle and they landed a guy that has the look — and the genes — of a 15-year starter and a 10-time Pro Bowl, barring injury. It's not the sexiest pick, but it was the smartest. Plus, they avoided the temptation of moving up and kept their picks.

St. Louis — Not often does a team get to add the two best prospects at their position, but the Rams did by drafting the best tackle (Greg Robinson) and the best defensive tackle (Aaron Donald). The Rams have crafted a stud-filled defensive front that will allow DC Gregg Williams to create pressure with a four-man rush. The NFC West is already the best division in football and the West's worst team got measurably better Thursday.

Draft losers:

Buffalo — We love the man you know better as Joe the Policeman from the 'What's Going Down' episode of "That's My Mama" MISTER Sammy Watkins. We think he's going to be a good player. But to give up what looks to be two top-10 overall picks to go get him seems supremely rich for a team that has a slew of needs.

Jacksonville — We think Blake Bortles will be a bust. We thought that at No. 3 or at No. 33. But as we've said multiple times, the draft is as much about value as it is talent. So if you are the Jags would you rather have Sammy Watkins and Derek Carr or Blake Bortles and hope for Marqise Lee?

Philadelphia — They did add extra picks, but picking Marcus Smith left everyone scrambling through their notes going, "Who is Marcus Smith?"

Other questionable decisions included not turning Ray Lewis' microphone off and Jon Grude moving his down the middle butt-cutt hair-do about 2 inches to his right. Welcome to 1987 Jon.

Top five Prospects on the board

USC WR Marqise Lee

FSU DT Timmy Jernigan

Notre Dame DE Stephon Tuitt

Wisconsin LB Chris Borland

Fresno State QB Derek Carr

All of these guys could be in play rather early tonight. We love the draft — you know this. Could the Texans take Carr, the little brother of David Carr, the franchise's first No. 1 overall pick a decade or so ago?

As for the Falcons at No. 6 in and the Titans at No. 11 in round 2 tonight, the Falcons likely will be looking defensive front seven and someone who gets after the quarterback such as Kony Ealy from Missouri or even Jeremiah Attaochu from Georgia Tech. They could even look to add Tony Gonzalez' replacement with Austin Seferian-Jenkins out of Washington. The Titans could use a play-maker — whether that is Carlos Hyde, the best running back in this draft or someone like Bruce Ellington, we'll see.

———

From Ernie

Jay, I really enjoyed your article. What a crap shoot!

Heisman Trophy winners jumped out at me.

Six were busts, one a winner. and the runnerup to Woodson was a winner. Was '97 the best one-two Heisman in NFL History? Had to be.

Busts: R Wms, D Howard, M Leinert, M Ingram, T Tebow, and R Dayne. I may have missed one.

Kinda makes you want to avoid the Heisman, huh?

I listen to your radio show when I can; great job; always entertaining and interesting.

Ernie —

Yes Ernie, the 1997 duo of Charles Woodson and Peyton Manning turned out pretty good. And significantly better than the 2001 class of (in order) Eric Crouch, Rex Groosman, Ken Dorsey and Joey Harrington.

After a nice run through the 1980s — running backs Marcus Allen, Herschel Walker, Bo Jackson and Barry Sanders along with Vinny Testaverde and even Doug Flutie all had at least solid pro careers.

The 1990s had some flashes — Eddie George, Woodson, Ricky Williams — and some nightmares — Hi Ty Detmer, Desmond Howard and Gino Toretta.

  • photo
    Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton. (AP Photo/Paul Connors)

And since Y2K the best pro is likely Cam Newton.

Thanks for the kind words and for listening to Press Row. It's been a ton of fun.

———

From A Reader

Hey Sir Talks A Lot did you see what Mel Brooks said this week?

He said his masterpiece 'Blazing Saddle' is the funniest movie ever made. He also said that there's no way he could get it made today because everyone is so politically correct. Here's the quote from a story on Yahoo:

"They can't make that movie today because everybody's so politically correct. You know, the NAACP would stop a great movie that would do such a great service to black people because of the N-word," says Brooks. "You've got to really examine these things and see what's right and what's wrong. Politically correct is absolutely wrong. Because it inhibits the freedom of thought. I'm so lucky that they weren't so strong then and that the people that let things happen on the screen weren't so powerful then. I was very lucky."

What do you think?

A Reader —

We read that interview and thought it was interesting.

Our first and foremost view on politically correctness is there's no way I can judge what is offensive to you or to anyone other than what offends me.

He makes a very fair point in regards to film, TV and other arts of expression. And it does feel there are plenty of times that the needs or the wants or the feelings of an 'offended' few are put ahead of the masses.

But who are we to judge what offends? And Mel Brooks has two benefits here to make that statement: First is hindsight that Blazing Saddles was such a grand slam; second as an equal-opportunity offender, Brooks truly is willing to make jokes of anyone — including his own Jewish faith. That screams to his pursuit of comedy rather than insults or another agenda.

He's probably right, though. And Blazing Saddles is not alone as one of the funniest comedies ever that would have a hard time clearing the P.C. Police of today. There's no way Archie Bunker would have cleared the network censors of today. None.

That said, Blazing Saddles is certainly in discussion for the Rushmore of Comedies, but we do not agree with Mr. Brooks that it should be 1-4.

What's on your Rushmore of comedies?

———

  • photo
    B.J. Upton runs bases on a two run homer during the sixth inning against the Miami Marlins in a baseball game, Saturday, Aug. 31, 2013, in Atlanta.
    Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

From L.G.

This is a letter I wrote to Braves GM Frank Wren. I'd like your answer to it to. Thanks.

"Just in case you did not see this very accurate article, by Mr. Greeson, regarding your team in the ‘Chattanooga Times Free Press’, today, May 7, 2014, I am enclosing it.

Mr. Greeson failed by the way, to mention the worst player, B.J. Upton who, according to the paper, you signed to a 5 year, 75 Million dollar contract. I am sure you are already aware of his Stats for last year, and so far this year. They are ridiculous. These actions are far below what a good General Manager should condone.

It seems odd, that most everyone is aware of this but you. I would like to hear your explanation of this."

Thanks and thanks for the 5-at-10

L.G. —

We have been all over the details of Danny Struggla's struggles.

But Bad Upton has been almost as bad. And his contract is worse.

Looking at his time in the A-T-L, Upton has hit .191 in 157 games with 11 homers and 19 steals. That's brutal.

And his $15 million annual contract runs through 2017.

LG, we'd be interested to see what GM Wren (Not to be confused with former NWA member MC Ren) has to say about your question.

As for the blockheaded TFP sports editor, well, there's no telling why he left him out of his Braves brutal bats column.

————

From Stewwie

Early question for the mailbag: I read an article in SI from this past week about the ever-increasing strikeout rate in MLB. The strikeout rate was at a relatively modest 16.5% in 2005, but it has risen every year since then to 20% today. Part of the issue is that pitchers have gotten better (40 threw an average of 93 MPH in 2002 (at least 50 innings pitched); 95 did it in 2013). Another issue is that bullpens are more specialized and the strikeout rate increases in the later innings as the fresh flamethrowers start hitting the mound. As a result, fewer balls are being put into play than before. What would be your preference of changes to make to help increase the action in the game again? Options may include reducing the strike zone, lowering the mound, moving the mound back, and/or reducing the number of pitchers allowed per game.

Stewwie —

As always, you generate great questions. Thanks for that.

We are definitely not for shrinking the strike zone. If anything changes about the strike zone it should get more adjusted to the rule book — the return of the belt-and-above strikes and quit giving pitchers three inches off the outside corner.

Another angle to this is the new approach to the game. Guys are taking and taking more pitches, working counts — and sometimes getting behind in counts because they are being forced to be patient — to get into bullpens and wear out starters.

It's also a by-product of the long-ball or bust part of the money ball era that loves a Steve Swisher — 100 walks, 150 strikeouts, .260 average and 25-plus-homers — more than say a Mark Grace.

As for rule changes, well, we could be talked into lowering the mound ever so slightly. Moving the mound back seems drastic and expensive to get to all levels. Reducing the number of pitchers can't work because then you have safety issues about pitch counts and that alters the inner workings of strategery. As a general rule, we're not a fan of rule changes that alter the fabric of any game — it's one of the reasons we're not a big fan of Roger "Rope-A-Dope" Goodell.

Not sure there's any rule that can fix this issue — it's a question for fast-pitch softball too — but we're not too sure it's that big of an issue overall. In truth, pace of play is a bigger ache for baseball in our eyes, and a pitch clock should happen sooner rather than later.

Thoughts gang? If not, have a great weekend and God Bless the Moms out there.

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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Comments do not represent the opinions of the Chattanooga Times Free Press, nor does it review every comment. Profanities, slurs and libelous remarks are prohibited. For more information you can view our Terms & Conditions and/or Ethics policy.
chas9 said...

Hands down winner of draft night? Brett Favre in jorts. Did you see the pic from his draft night? And Jay's winners and losers are good, too.

Blazing Saddles is good, but is it much better than Young Frankenstein?

And when UK pays a Calipari assistant $1M (two years), does UT have to raise their ante?

May 9, 2014 at 10:21 a.m.
jomo11 said...

Jay- dont you think that Johnny Manziel should make sure his lawyer takes a careful look at the contract Jim Haslam puts in front of him, in case GAS REBATES are part of his compensation ?

you also have to say that the Titans had a scratch your head first round pick ? They already have 2 OT Michael Oher and Michael Roos ? not to mention that Taylor Lewan comes in with a longer criminal rap sheet than Packman Jones ???

May 9, 2014 at 10:22 a.m.
fechancellor said...

10 Ring,

I'll be glued up to pick 5 to see if the Raiders move up and snare Carr or will assign the task of gathering a QB 'till next year. Very happy with Khalil Mack and his wheels, but speed ain't everything, and he will make mistakes learning the Pro Game.

Rushmore of Comedy

Blazing Saddles, Animal House, Easy Money, (dark horse) Operation Petty Coat.

I do see where Mr. Brooks is coming from on PC, however, it doesn't seem to stop Trey Parker and Matt Stone. Their Randy as N-man episode, the one that begins on Wheel of Fortune, was outstanding.

May 9, 2014 at 10:42 a.m.
jomo11 said...

Cleveland Browns sold 1,200 season tickets from midnight to 7 am after drafting Johnny Football . . . . .Titans sold 5 season tickets to the family of Taylor Lewan

May 9, 2014 at 11:10 a.m.
jgreeson said...

FE to the C —

Great call on the South Parkers. And because they are equal opportunity offenders — including more times than not poking fun at themselves — it seems less hateful in a lot of ways.

Mack does have wheels, but as a Falcons fan, we're much happier with Matthews than Mack, because when Kiper and Gruden talk about how a LB "struggles in space" well that's not a compliment.

If Carr is there at 5 good for the Raider Nation. Here's saying he may not get by No. 33 and Houston.

Jomo —

Maybe the Titans are going to let Roos go? Maybe they are going to move Oher to guard? Maybe they just looked to add the best player available?

Hard to know, but it does seem a little less that Wow considering that was not an overwhelming need like St. Louis, Atlanta and even Dallas and Miami.

Maybe Johnny Hot Dog will get paid in Pilot snacks and gift cards? Travel Johnny Football, maybe?

9er —

Great call. Here's the web address for that famous moment in Jorts history — http://ftw.usatoday.com/2014/05/brett-favre-predicts-nfl-draft. And how about that wireless phone? Hope he had call waiting back then.

May 9, 2014 at 11:17 a.m.
BIspy4 said...

When your draft panel is berman, ray lewis, gruden and Mel Kiper Jr, all I could think was thank God for the mute button and the bruins-habs on another network.

Rushmore of comedies ... and the Spy has long been a student of comedy, so much so that I would break down a comedian's performance on Carson when I was 7 (great upside but needs work on timing; next to last joke would kill if he could work blue, etc) In no particular order:

Animal House

Caddy shack

Blazing Saddles

Raising Arizona.

And this is leaving out Vacation/Christmas Vacation, Coming to America, The Naked Gun series.Airplane and ... It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World. And The Producers (the original) and the original The In-Laws ("serpentine Shel, serpentine!)

May 9, 2014 at 12:32 p.m.
Stewwie said...

[Cleveland — They got the guy they eyed at No. 4 at No. 22 in Johnny Manziel and energized their fan base.]

And in just a few short years, Johnny Football will have a primetime special on ESPN to announce that he is taking his talents to South Beach.

[Reducing the number of pitchers can't work because then you have safety issues about pitch counts and that alters the inner workings of strategery.]

How about a rule that limits a team to using 2 pitchers, unless one of them gets to 80 or 90 pitches...then an additional pitcher can be allowed. If more pitchers are needed/wanted after that, penalize the team a run for going deeper into the bullpen. The idea would be to encourage teams to make reasonable use out of their starters. Also, it would help prevent too many pitcher changes which hold up the game with the additional warmups.

A pitch clock is a great idea. And why do pitchers get 4 balls and batters only get 3 strikes? Advantage, pitcher. Never have understood that one. Change the rule to allow walks on the 3rd ball instead of the 4th.

May 9, 2014 at 2:33 p.m.
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