Kras Q&A: 6 Questions For October 17 – October 23

By: Kras

Minnesota stories:

1. With the Lynx losing the WNBA title, do you think there will be big changes to the team going into next season?

Kras: I don’t think there will be a complete overhaul, but there might be some changes to come before next season. The Lynx roster is aging with the potential need to get younger. Seimone Augustus, Rebekkah Brunson, Jia Perkins, and Lindsay Whalen all have 10 plus years in the league. Janel McCarville and Sylvia Fowles are right behind that group with 8 years’ experience. Although this is a good team that will likely contend again next year, I do think they would be wise to try and get some younger talent in the near future. That might mean having to move some of the core players (Brunson, Whalen, Augustus). If these players can bring value by bringing a high draft pick or some other younger talent, I think they would have to take a look at an offer. Regardless of what happens, they have Coach Cheryl Reeve and she will have her players ready to play, whoever is on the roster.

Nate Leer: Whalen was repeatedly exposed on the defensive end of the floor. She has been a great floor leader and scorer as one of the best Minnesota athletes of all time. However, she may be more of a liability than a net gain for the team. I am not sure if she has value around the league and it would be a shame to trade away a local hero. That said, the Lynx need to at least relegate her to a part-time role going into next year.

2. Will the Minnesota Timberwolves have a better than .500 record and will they make the playoffs?

Kras: They seem to be trending that way but they have been so bad, for so long, that I will have to see them in regular season action before I get too carried away in my praise. With Karl Anthony-Towns looking like he will be stud, plus the other young talent (Wiggins, LaVine, Rubio) the Wolves, on paper, look like they are going to take a significant step forward this year. I think they will have right around a .500 record. The Wolves are in the Western Conference which makes it tough to get into the playoffs but they are working their way in that direction. Again, before I can believe they will be a playoff team, I will have to see them play solid basketball during the regular season.

Nate Leer: I think a .500 record is a very realistic goal for this team. Getting into the playoffs will be a bit more of a stretch considering the other talented teams in the West. Besides the Warriors, Spurs and Clippers, the Wolves would have to be better than at least 2 of the Jazz, Trailblazers, Rockets, Thunder, Grizzlies and Mavericks. Plus the Kings, Nuggets and Pelicans would also like to think that they are up-and-coming. The Wolves are quite the collection of young talent along with a top notch coach. I think fans should enjoy the process instead of worrying too much about results this year.

3. What was the best and worst of the Vikings 21-10 loss to the Eagles?

Kras: The defense was again the best. They were not as good as they have been, but they still were the shining spot of this team. They held the Eagles to 21 points which is still pretty respectable. They had 2 INTs in the game along with 4 forced fumbles but that still wasn’t enough to overcome a terrible outing by the offense. The worst of the day, was the play of Sam Bradford, who was not helped out at all by his offensive line. That said, Bradford fumbled 4 times and threw a bad INT inside the red zone. Bradford’s decision making was very pedestrian against the Eagles, who had him under pressure all day. The Eagles sacked Bradford 6 times during the game which again tells the tale of poor play from the offensive line. The O-line will need to get it together going forward or it could continue to be disastrous for Sam Bradford going forward.

JJ Bens: I think the worst part of the Vikes game on Sunday was the play of the offensive line.  I have heard said that everyone played their poorest game of the year besides the LT T.J. Clemmings so that might be a good thing.  The O-line may just need some time to gel together but either way come off a bye the line should have played more together.  One of the only bright spots for the Purple on Sunday was the productivity of Cordarrelle Patterson.  I assume that Diggs was not at 100%, when he is out or playing hurt someone else in the receiving core needs to step it up.
Nate Leer: There is no denying that Bradford looked bad. That said, I think the O-line was more of a problem than he was. While Bradford made plenty of mistakes, most came because the O-line had broken down and Bradford does not have the mobility to make them better. I think the Vikes should look hard at a trade for O-line help. Bringing in a low-level player would help but making the move to solidify the LT spot would obviously be much more important. I think talk of trading a 2nd round pick for Joe Thomas should not be dismissed. If I was GM Rick Spielman, I would approach the Browns with one of the Vikes 3rd round picks and DT Sharif Floyd. If Thomas has a few years left, he is worth the pick. Floyd is a decent player who the Vikes have been just fine without. Including him in the trade would also help offset part of the close-to $10 million dollars that the Vikes need to find under the cap to fit Thomas in. To clear the rest of the money, the Vikes could try to get the Browns to take Jake Long and his contract then look to restructure and extend DE Brian Robinson, who has fit better than expected in this D, as well as a couple other vets.

National Stories:

1. With the World Series set, which team do you think will win it all?

Kras: Whether it is the Cubs or the Indians, I personally don’t have much of a rooting interest in either team. As far as which team I think will win, I think it is the Cubs who will finally break the curse. They came back after getting down to the Dodgers in the divisional series and I think they have all the confidence in the world right now. It should be a fun series to watch with some potentially cold baseball to be played in the coming week.

Nate Leer: I think the Cubs are still the favorite even after losing Game 1. They look better in every facet than the Indians except maybe Indians RP Andrew Miller who can’t pitch every day (or can he?) That said, the Indians have been en fuego this postseason and the Cubs still have to get past the curse!

2. Other than the Warriors and the Cavaliers, is there an NBA team that could be considered a serious contender for the NBA Championship?

Kras: There are teams that will still be good other than the 2 teams listed above. Boston, Oklahoma City, San Antonio, and Toronto should all be playoff teams that will look to challenge for their respective conferences. I do believe however that we will be looking at the Cavs and the Warriors in the NBA Finals again this year. Barring any unforeseen injuries, these 2 teams will be the teams to beat all year. It is King James’s league and the Warriors are just living in it.

3. What two NFL teams continued to impress in week 7?

Kras: For me the two teams that continued to impress this week were the Detroit Lions and the Oakland Raiders. Let’s start with the Lions. They have now won 3 in a row, something rarely seen in Detroit. The more important thing is they are now 4-3 with wins over L.A., Philadelphia, and Washington, all teams the Lions could be competing with for a potential wildcard spot down the road. Another encouraging sign: Matthew Stafford has been responsible with the ball this year totaling 15 TDs and only 4 INTs. Marvin Jones Jr. has had more of an impact than I imagined he would and, in the recent winning streak, Golden Tate III emerged as a weapon. The Lions have made a habit of coming from behind late in the 4th quarter of games to get their wins, but a win is a win. The other team I mentioned was the Oakland Raiders, who, despite having fairly poor team stats, are 5-2. The Raiders are giving up 436 yards per game with 128 of that being rushing yards. Even though they are giving up that amount of yardage, they are 4-0 on the road this year. If they can shore up the defense a bit they will be a team to watch.

The two teams that impressed me were the Miami Dolphins and Kras’s Detroit Lions.  The Lions have won three in a row and have put up some gutty performances.  Matthew Stafford is play as good or better then anyone in the league while spreading the ball around to everyone. The reason I am impressed with the Dolphins is the play of the offensive line.  They moved some people around up front and have been controlling the point of attack.  With the retirement of Arian Foster Jay Ajayi looks to be the bell cow for the rest of the season, which also should help Ryan Tannehill going forward.

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