1. Does RT Mike Remmers have a place on the Vikings next season or is he this year’s Alex Boone, overpaid and under performed?
Nate Leer: While this is an interesting premise, I think there is a major difference in that Remmers seems to be a pro’s pro. Boone was a buffoon who talked harder than he played or practiced and was also a limited player. His height was a hindrance at G but he was not athletic enough to play T. Remmers was okay at RT then struggled with an in season move to LG which was a tough assignment on the fly. Remmers may be overpaid but he can still be a helpful piece to this OL as they hopefully continue to improve this offseason.
Kras: Remmers was overpaid and he did under perform but he will be on the 53-man roster next season barring being on the PUP list. As Nate Leer stated, as bad as Remmers was at times, he was willing to work with the rest of the OL to try and help fill-in when the line was hit with injuries late in the season. I personally think he was less than 100% healthy for most of the year. I am hopeful he will bounce back and be a competent RT for the Vikes. At only 28 years old, one would hope he has a year or 2 left in him. Contractually speaking, Remmers’ deal would look pretty bad if they got nothing from him moving forward.
2. Is Richard Pitino in jeopardy of losing his job given the way this season has played out?
Nate Leer: I don’t think he will lose his job based solely on the on court issues the team is having. Injuries and now suspension have really undermined the team’s success from last year. Plus, Pitino has done well recruiting which can’t be overlooked. Between the young guys they added this year and the next crop, the future still looks bright. If Pitino is gone, those young players would be very likely to leave. All that said, I could see there being enough fallout from the handling of the Reggie Lynch situation, especially in the current political climate. If details emerge that paint Pitino as having turned a blind eye toward a sexual misconduct allegation, there could be an out cry for his dismissal. Let’s hope there was not a cover up so this is not an issue as the program moves forward.
Kras: Nate Leer is spot on with Pitino here. With everything that has happened to the Gophers this season from an injury perspective alone, it would be tough to overcome. Add in the off court issues with Reggie and I think it has all been a recipe for finishing on the outside looking in at the rest of the NIT tournament field. Regarding the Reggie Lynch saga, what Pitino may or may not have known may play a big part in Pitino’s employment moving forward. The U of M already has a black eye regarding it’s handling of these issues and I can’t imagine there would be any tolerance for mishandlings of this sort. I do think Pitino has done a solid job on the court and I would like to see him continue to be HC to the Gophers. However, in 2018, you never know.
3. Is Jeff Teague the PG of the future for this Wolves team or do you think they will make a move on from him sooner than later?
Nate Leer: It seems like Teague may be getting frustrated with how the Wolves are using him which is surprising considering his role. HC Tom Thibodeaux usually gives him a ton of minutes and he dominates the ball when in the game. However, Teague is not an elite scorer or even shooter and he does not set up teammates well at all. Teague has also made bad decisions late in games recently. I did not understand his signing before the season and have been unfortunately proven correct to this point. I hope Teague’s contract in unloadable and the team wises up. I would think that is most likely to happen after the season which makes sense to give this lineup a full season to see how good they can be. I would love to see Jimmy Butler run the point a lot with Tyus Jones, Jamal Crawford and Andrew Wiggins getting minutes in the back court. Adding a shooter to that mix, preferably one who plays D, would be a helpful addition to this team if they could swing it in return for Teague or with money saved by moving him.
Kras: I think Teague will be the PG for the foreseeable future. Tom Thibodeau is still committed to Teague and will continue to give him 35+ minutes whenever he can. Thibs brought Teague in so I don’t think he will be doing anything to change in the near future. I don’t think there will be any action through this season assuming Teague doesn’t completely check out and lose Thibs’s confidence. I think the best thing we can hope for at this point is for Thibs to get frustrated with his play from time to time and give Tyus Jones an uptick in minutes. I don’t see that becoming a trend. The Wolves may reassess after the season but unlikely before that.
1. Was there any player on the MLB HOF ballot that did not make it in this year that you thought should have got in?
Nate Leer: To me, P Curt Schilling is a surefire HOFer who is not getting in because of his personality, which is a shame. All HOFs become popularity contests which undermines their credibility but that is the nature of the beast. Schill has a rough personality and he expressed political views that are not always popular. However, he should be judged solely on his onfield performance which was spectacular for a stretch. He took a bit to mature as a P so does not have the cumulative stats of some other HOF candidates. That said, his postseason performances definitely out him over the edge as a candidate, bloody sock or not.
Kras: Although I agree highly with Nate Leer’s take on Schilling, I am going to give the nod to DH/3B Edgar Martinez. I have always been a bit of a Mariners fan, mainly because of Ken Griffey Jr, but Martinez was as solid a player as there was. A lot of his numbers don’t jump off the page when looking at them but they are better than most. A .312 career average over 18 seasons has some value in my opinion. When looking at Martinez, the most glaring stats are strikeouts and walks. Martinez drew 1283 walks in his career while only having 1202 strikeouts which is unheard of by today’s standards. This year was Edgar’s 9th year on the ballot. It’s time he goes to Cooperstown.
2. Does Blake Griffin make the Pistons a playoff team? If so, are they any threat in the Eastern Conference playoffs?
Nate Leer: I do think the Pistons can make it into the East playoffs but they are not a real threat to the top teams in the conference. I could see any of the current 4-8 seeds fading except probably the Bucks and only 6 games separates that group with 30 to play. Griffin gives Detroit a legit scorer who can play enough on the perimeter to work with C Andre Drummond, even if it isn’t optimal. Drummond is a nice teammate for Griffin on the other end of the floor so their D shouldn’t suffer too much. The top teams in the East, however, are not going to be afraid of the Pistons. Without a true superstar, they can’t really compete with LeBron, the Celts, or Raptors and are probably not as good as the Bucks or even Wizards if they get healthy. The feeling is that LeBron will be headed west after the season so it is good to see some talent going back East. Griffin’s former team the Clippers actually seem clearing cap space for a potential run at LeBron with this trade. The Pistons definitely need to improve their backcourt but getting Griffin in exchange for solid if limited players makes them significantly better right now.
Kras: I think they will sneak into the playoffs but in fairness, I thought they would likely get in before the Griffin deal. Assuming they do make the playoffs I don’t see them being any higher than the 7 seed given where they are at now and what they still have to accomplish before they get that far. As Nate Leer alluded to, the Pistons are not going to scare any of the top seeded teams in the East by any means. Having the strong frontcourt is nice but they are awfully thin around the perimeter which is cause for concern. However, I do think they can manage to string together enough wins with the squad they have to give the city of Detroit at least 1 playoff team.
3. Who do you have winning Super Bowl XLII?
Kras: I have to go with the Patriots. How could you not? I hope the Eagles bring their best and make it a game. Hell, I hope they win just to have someone other than the Pats hoist the trophy but I can’t bet against them. With 5 Super Bowl rings already, they know how to win in whatever situation they find themselves in throughout the game. HC Bill Belichick has the answers, all of them. DC Matt Patricia will do what he needs to take away QB Nick Foles’s best options and force him to hold the ball and go to second or third reads. Offensively. they have QB Tom Brady, enough said. Regardless of the players around him, he will make them better and get the most out of them. That said, having TE Rob Gronkowski on the field would most certainly help the look of that O. However it shakes out, I just want to see a good game.
Nate Leer: Another bet on the Pats here. I was disappointed with Vikes HC Mike Zimmer’s approach against the Eagles and lack of adjustments. I am sure of one thing: Belichick will not make those mistakes. I don’t believe Eagles QB Nick Foles will be able to exploit the Pats D as Belichick will force him to do things he is not good at. I was impressed with the Eagles OL and D in the NFC Championship game but I expect Brady to find ways to score and Belichick to find ways to pressure the QB. This game could be a blowout if Brady gets rolling. We all know he is a different level of talent from the QBs the Eagles D has faced so far in the playoffs. I hope it is a competitive game but ultimately the Eagles won’t be flying high.