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July 20 2017


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PREVIOUS SPORTS
• Sideline: Yes, Non–Conference Games DO Count
• NCAA Preview 2009
• Sideline: Time For The Talking To Stop
• Sideline: In Memory of Air McNair
• Sideline: Will Goodell Hand Out Hard Time?
• Sideline: Marshall's Not Joshing
• NFL Draft: No Rush To Judgment
• NFL Draft Analysis 2009 (Part 2)
• Sideline: NFL Draft Thoughts (Part 2)
• Sideline: NFL Draft Thoughts
• Sideline: Will Play For Food
• Sideline: Wonderlic Scores
• Sideline: Manning and Sanchez
• Sideline: 2010 Leagues Sci–fi, or Fantasy? / March Madness
• Sideline: Break Out The Brackets
• Sideline: LaDainian Tomlinson On The Record
• Sideline: The Incredible Sulk Continues
• Sideline: Guildford Heat Fired Up
• Sideline: Super Bowl thoughts from the Valley of the Sun
• Sideline: I know I came in here for something
• Sideline: College Football National Signing Day
• Sideline: 27 Points — 27 Super Bowl thoughts
• Sideline: An Epic QB Matchup?
• Sideline: Appreciating Arizona for What They Were
• Sideline: NFL Divisional Weekend Preview
• Sideline: Bowl Season Hangover
• Sideline: Six weeks Later
• Sideline: Wildcard Weekend Preview
• Sideline: Santa's Sackings
• Sideline: A Weis Decision ...for Now
• Sideline: Eye on the Ticker
• Sideline: Lions — An Anagram of Losin
• Sideline: Ready for the Turkey
• Sideline: Making it to the Big Dance
• Sideline: Brighter Days Ahead for Chargers?
• Sideline: Unnecessary Hits To The Pocket / Upset: BYU
• Sideline: Romo's Pause / Seattle Seahawks
• Sideline: Weekend Prep: Red River and More
• Sideline: College Football's 'Crossroads' Weekend
• Sideline: Gramatical Error
• Sideline: Turning The Page
• Sideline: So Cal 'Quizzed
• Sideline: 3rd Tuesday Panic / Forté Yard Dash
• Sideline: Two and Oh; Oh and Two
• Sideline: No More NCAAffeine
• Sideline: Week 1 College Football
• Sideline: How To Spell Heisman / Chad Ocho Cinco
• Sideline: A Second Slice
• Sideline: The Favre story STILL won't go away
• Sideline: Olympic Notes / Ricky's Still Relevant
• Sideline: Committee Meetings
• Sideline: Let the QB Battles Begin
• Sideline: Slinging The Slinger — More Favre
• Interview: Clint Dempsey
• Sideline: Welcome to the 2008 season
• Sideline: Plus One
• 2008 NFL Draft Review
• Sideline: Draft: The Morning After
• Sideline: Draft: Thinking the Unthinkable
• Sideline: Draft: Ready For The Long Haul
• Sideline: Sofa–bound Sport
• Sideline: Post–Winter Wonderland
• Sideline: Six Impossible Things
• Sideline: Brady's Misdirection Play
• Sideline: Colorful Language
• Sideline: Let the Romo–bashing begin
• Sideline: Bowl Bites: The Wrap
• Sideline: All About The Coaches
• Sideline: Bowl Bites 3
• Sideline: Bowl Bites 2
• Sideline: Bowl Bites 1
• Sideline: Coach Situations Vacant
• Sideline: For Some, The Playoffs Are Now
• Sideline: A Certain Lack Of Welcome
• Sideline: Unrelated Notes
• Sideline: Two Thanksgiving thoughts
• Sideline: Halftime: NFC
• Sideline: Halftime: AFC
• Sideline: London / A Tale of Two Chads / Intimidation
• Sideline: Damp Squib / Other London Notes
• Sideline: Rock 'Em, Sock 'Em / Dolphins – The Aftermath
• Sideline: The Dolphins Did What?
• Sideline: Notes on the Defenses
• Sideline: Habits to be Broken
• Sideline: Overtime
• Sideline: This Week's Starters
• Sideline: USF: Covering The Spread / Fantastic Football
• Sideline: Grossman: The Final Act? / McNabb, the Epilogue
• Sideline: Eagles QB in Slight Controversy
• Sideline: Leftwich's Parting Gift / Boos cruise
• Sideline: Notre Dame M.I.A.
• Sideline: Looking Beyond NFL Wk. 1
• Sideline: Best Hope For Heisman
• Sideline: Coaching Hot Seats / AP Poll Feeling ’Appy
• Sideline: The NFL’s Prime Cuts
• Sideline: Michigan Falls to Killer Apps
• Sideline: Look Out Couch / The Taint's On You, Bud
SPORTS

SIDELINE
Observations, Opinion & Occasional Silliness by Richard L Gale

Turning The Page
September 30, 2008

It's time to turn the page. After eight years of mismanagement leading to a crisis and a widespread lack of confidence, the President needed to be held to account.

And sure enough, the Lions cuts Matt Millen loose last week.

The Lions aren't the only team looking for a new beginning. In St Louis, the Gateway to the NFC West (everybody travels through, and every visitor leaves smiling), the Rams decided that 17 losses in 20 games was as much of Scott Linehan as they could take, and promoted Jim Haslett to interim coach, perhaps figuring that a defensive coordinator hasn't had anywhere near as much opportunity to antagonize the offensive stars as Linehan.

However, as investors will be acutely aware, it's easy to talk about turning the page, but solving the crisis takes a little longer. The Lions are free of Millen, but not of the ineffective collection of players and coaches he assembled, nor of their 0–3 start. Jim Haslett may be the new head of the headless Rams, but his defense was hardly the team strength: next to last in the league in both yards allowed and points allowed. How Haslett will have to solve the offense while his defense is still a disaster.

And then there's the Raiders. Coach Lane Kiffin could be sacked 'as early as today' (as the press have been telling us for three weeks) but bizarrely remains in place, losing leads, calling for 76–yard field goal attempts and throwing heavy hints that he's not much in charge anyway. At least with Oakland it seems clear that when Kiffin finally earns his endgame, and the page is turned, it'll just be the same Al Davis storyline.

After a weekend of college upsets, several national championship contenders are going to turn to conference concerns for a while. USC lost to Oregon State, Florida to Ole Miss, Georgia to Alabama, Wisconsin to Michigan — not just falls from grace by top 10 teams with national aspirations, but upsets to conference rivals. All have a long way to climb and can't be worrying about the polls again until some other contenders slip.

There seems to be a pattern to these wild, 'upset' weekends, or at least two universal rules. (1) Upset weekends rarely develop late on Saturday with a flurry of unlikely results; more usually they begin with a Thursday of Friday wobble by a big–name team, sending a ripple through Saturday's games as all the underdogs catch the 'can–do' attitude. And last season, the Appalachian State upset of Michigan in week one sent a shiver through the entire year. (2) Minnows break out early in games while the high–ranked team is flat; when was the last time you can recall the underdog mounting a big come–from behind surge to snatch the game at the last moment?

This week, there's little time to move on from the upset atmosphere, with a raft of mid–week college games, and some unbeatens amongst them. 3–0 Boise State plays Louisiana Tech on Wednesday; Thursday has 5–0 South Florida against 3–1 Pittsburgh (an NASN game), and Oregon State — yes, that Oregon State — hoping for another scalp against 5–0 Utah with the Pac–10 reputation on the line. Again. Only more so. And on Friday, BYU defends its new top 10 ranking against Utah State.

The world could be a different place before we even get to Saturday.

Their record may have a blemish on it now, but I'll admit that I was wrong about the Baltimore Ravens' prospects this season. Maybe they're further along than the Ravens themselves knew — rookie QB Joe Flacco has been thrown in at the deep end after injuries to Kyle Boller and Troy Smith, and appears to be a very good swimmer. Returning to Pittsburgh — the city he escaped when he transfered to Delaware — there were moments of seasoned brilliance in his first Monday Night Football. Ultimately, the Steelers prevailed over the Ravens in overtime, but Flacco's stats simply didn't reflect the confidence, arm strength, mental toughness and great decision making that flashed across our screens.

This wasn't Baltimore as advertised. For the past decade, we've been used to seeing a Ravens team big on defense and conservative on offense, telling their quarterbacks to play safe and tidy, manage the game, let the linebackers and the running game beat up the opposition. Flacco blows that idea out of the water. He's going to give them the cannon–armed threat of the pass. The Ravens could be about to change.

It isn't just talk. In a topsy–turvy AFC, this could be the genuine page–turner.

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