Monday, March 21, 2011

Spring Training 2011

By this point, you all know my stance on the Yankees’ roster entering the 2011 season. And it’s not “BuT thEy doN’t HaVe tEh FouRth aNd FifTh sTaRterzz!!!!1!!!” They return the best offense in baseball from 2010, have arguably the best bullpen in baseball on paper entering 2011, and a Top 5 ace in the game, but don’t have proven 4th and 5th starters. The former three qualities far outweigh the last, and the performance of their 2nd and 3rd starters will be a big deciding factor in how their season goes. Basically they are stacked everywhere but the rotation, which they need to figure out. The former has been largely overlooked this winter, and the latter has been a seemingly daily focus since they missed out on Cliff Lee.

Regardless, being in Tampa for Spring Training it was difficult for both of these things not to jump out at you.

The Yankees are absolutely stacked. You know this intellectually by being a fan of the team and knowing who comprises their roster. When you are actually there and see them up close in a smaller setting, it sticks out how many star players they have. Every position player with the exception of Gardner has made an All-Star Team in the last few seasons. Then you see this kind of talent put their work in and the way they go about their business, it’s imposing how good they are. Again you know intellectually how hard they work, but when you actually see it live it gives a greater perspective on it. I said to my father on the phone afterward that we are fortunate to root for a team that despite having a lot of talented guys with a lot of money, they are true professionals in terms of dedicating themselves to maximum performance. We’re used to seeing them launch home runs during the season, but it’s a little different when you see them running wind sprints in the spring. At least it was for me anyway.

The Yankees also have important decisions to make with the back of their rotation. I have downplayed this issue for most of the winter – partly because I know (and I gave the numbers from 2009) that if the Yankees are relying on their 4th and 5th starters that means they’re in trouble, and partly because I was tired of hearing about it – but I also acknowledge that every little bit helps. You want to put the best guys in those rotation slots as possible while also being strategic about it. What I mean by being strategic is that it seems like a pretty good idea to let Garcia and Colon break camp in those spots since you’ll likely lose them if they don’t, and see if you can get anything out of them. You aren’t losing Nova, so you can stash him in AAA, let him get into the groove of the season, and then call him up when there is a need or Garcia/Colon are ineffective. To a lesser extent – because I think he will be the long/swing man – you can do the same thing with Mitre as you do with Nova.

Based on what I witnessed live last Wednesday night, however, Nova has to be making the employment of that strategy a more difficult decision. I am cautious about Spring Training stats, as well all should be, but 6 innings of no hits and no walks against an Orioles lineup that brought a lot of regulars is going to get your attention no matter when it happens. What’s more, subscribing to the traditional notion of throwing the spring stats out, Nova looked every bit the part. His fastball had easy pop and noticeable life. His slider and change-up had hitters off-balance all night, with ground ball after weak contact after strikeout up and down the order.

You can’t read too much into it, because after all it’s only one start. And it is still spring. I’ve always been intrigued by Nova, however. Something I look for when Yankees prospects are coming up is “are the stars saying anything about them?” A lot of people who evaluate talent, and there are a lot of people whose opinions I respect greatly and follow closely. But if you do enough to catch Alex Rodriguez’s or Mariano Rivera’s attention, that’s going to catch my attention too. Rodriguez commented publicly last year how impressed he was by Nova, and that factors in for me. I also like the fact that, in addition to working on his game, he took it upon himself to learn English this offseason so that he could better communicate with his coaches, catchers, and teammates, as well as the media (which is an important part of being a professional). I was always more in favor of giving Nova one of the spots unless someone pitched well enough to take it from him, but I saw the strategic appeal of going Garcia/Colon and keeping Nova at the ready in AAA. After seeing what I saw last week, in conjunction with the rest of this stuff, I’m not so sure anymore. Kid is impressive.

19 comments:

Patrick said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Patrick said...

another thing i like about nova is that he's physical. a great pitcher's frame at 6'4"/225 with long arms and an easy motion that still produces really good velocity and action. there's a lot to like about him. can he hold his own against the really good lineups, on the road, when the pressure is on? that remains to be seen, but even if he can't, i'm becoming increasingly optimistic that he can give the yankees production against the average and lesser lineups, which is what you're looking for at the back of the rotation.

the gm said...

This is not a breakthrough thought. But I agree with Pat's assessment of "the Yankees do not suck this year." Here's why.

Scenario 1: Colon OR Garcia absolutely suck when the actual season starts (50% likely). They get shelled during games that count and the Yankees deem it necessary to pull the plug on them. As they are making pennies, the Yankees CAN pull the plug on them and replace them with Ivan Nova - unproven but not terrible.

Scenario 2: Colon AND Garcia BOTH suck horribly (25% likely). They turn NYS into a launch pad and both get jettisoned by Memorial Day. As they are making pennies, the Yankees CAN pull the plug on them and replace them with Nova and Mitre.

CONSIDER THE ALTERNATIVE.

Scenario 1A: Matsuzaka OR Beckett blows (50% chance) and pouts about it. They're both making a sizeable chunk of change, so unless they get hurt or "hurt," the Red Sox will just lose a bunch of games. If they get "hurt," they can be replaced by Alfredo Aceves.

Scenario 2A: Matsuzaka AND Beckett BOTH repeat their downright-embarrassing 2010 performances (25% chance). Neither of these guys are making little enough to be in DFA danger, so the Red Sox will suck it up, say it's not a sprint but a marathon, and go .500 until Flag Day. When they come up with phantom injuries to both of these guys, they're replaced by Aceves AND Tim Wakefield.

Where would you rather be?

Enjoy yo day.

the gm said...

3A. John Lackey. Enough said.

Ross Kaplan said...

Then again, Epstein could have signed Ollie Perez at $12 million a year, which has to go down as one of the worst contracts ever I personally think even worse than Zito or Pavano.

Anonymous said...

Ross

I don't know if there ever was one contract in baseball that will ever be as bad as Barry Zito's. Maybe Vernon Wells'?

PF

Anybody who thinks that the Yankees are in trouble hasn't been watching them the past decade or so. They will be right there to win 95+ plus games like they always do. The only reason we're even discussing this is because the media has been fawning over the Red Sox this spring and so the Yankees are an afterthought. Both teams should win a ton of games and both should make the playoffs.

The bigger story right now is the Knicks, and specifically Carmelo Anthony. If you wish to spend time talking about this, just send up another comment, but the long and the short of it is--while it is only 16 games into his Knicks tenure, I'm fairly confident that everything I ever said about Lebron James is absolutely true of Carmelo Anthony.

Also, despite his rough 4th quarter last night, Amare Stoudemire IS worthy of being a franchise guy.

--the Gunn

Patrick said...

dv -

i agree with your analysis. the red sox group passes the name test more, and as we've discussed before the middle-back of their rotation has the higher upside for 2011. but in terms of basement and uncertainty theirs is very similar to the yankees.

gunn -

your assessment is absolutely on point. people are being more critical of the yankees because the red sox got better, when the red sox getting better has no bearing on how good the yankees are or aren't. what it does impact is the yankees' competition during the season, which has undoubtedly gotten a lot tougher with the improvements the red sox have made. even if the red sox end up being a better team in 2011, you look around the rest of baseball and you have to like where the yankees fit in on paper.

given the venom you've directed at lebron james since the 2008 eastern conference semi-finals, to say i'm intrigued as to how these same qualities could be true of anybody else would be an understatement.

Anonymous said...

PF

I'm glad we can agree on the Sox/Yankees, which oddly enough, we often do. What we don't agree on is anything about basketball unless it has to do with Colby hoops.

You cannot tell an entire story based on one game. Just can't do it. But we have more than one game to judge Carmelo Anthony on. He didn't like the pressure of having to be THE MAN in Denver. He wanted to play in New York, and it became very attractive once they signed Stoudemire. Why? Because the pressure isn't on him to be great every night. That's strike one.

He doesn't care about playing any sort of defense and his leadership qualities have certainly come into question. And I'm not just talking about how he pouts whenever he doesn't get his way and/or the ball exactly when he wants it. I'm talking about how he took the same type of shot to the face that Ray Allen took, only he stayed on the floor and pretended he'd nearly been assassinated. And then went to the bench in the last two minutes of a two point game that the Knicks really needed to win. They had been reeling. They had blown a big lead. They had lost several games to bad teams in recent weeks. They needed somebody to step up and will them to a win. And he didn't do it. Not because he doesn't have the talent. He's WILDLY talented. One of the 10-15 best players in the NBA. No doubt about it. But his make-up is soft. Very soft.

If he ever decides to defend and buy into the concept of D'Antoni's offensive scheme the Knicks will have every chance to leap-frog the Heat, Celtics, Bulls, and Magic in the next few years. But if that's going to happen, he needs to take a serious look in the mirror and re-evaluate things.

Lastly, Amare Stoudemire deserves a ton of credit. A lot of people crushed him last summer for leaving the Suns. And, in a way, those people had a point--why leave a good situation in Phoenix for a struggling Knicks team? But that line of thinking overlooks one thing--that for somebody who wants to the THE MAN, and is convinced he can do it regardless of whom he plays with, that's the exact move to make. Leave a good team, head to a bad team, turn them around. That's what a great player and great leader can do.

--the Gunn

Patrick said...

gunn -

i don't think that assessment quite matches up with lebron outside of "the man" argument and "soft makeup". i think we can both agree that with lebron there were/are a multitude of things going (whether one approved of them or not, these things were at play) that are not going on with carmelo. i'm also not a big fan of "the man" argument generally, because it doesn't exist today the way it used to. the days of jordan, magic, and bird all playing on separate teams are over, and we should probably stop longing for them to come back. you need at least two guys to win a championship in the nba, and the players know that. so staying somewhere to be "the man", while noble, is actually an unintelligent play because you can't win. i don't blame these guys for choosing the opportunity to win over being known as someone with old-school bravado. there are definitely some guys that are wired more like "the man" than others (amare coming to new york as you referenced is a prime example), but there really is no more this guy can be THE ONE guy to carry his team and that guy can't. it exists on a much more dialed down level these days, like who is the man in terms of closing games or putting his team on his back in big spots, etc. all of this said, i agree with some of what you said and disagree with others, and will go point by point.

1. he didn't like the pressure of having to be the man in denver. sort of already addressed above, i'm not going to fault someone for not wanting to get left out of the party as stars pair off in the name of being the guy. because, while showing some bravado, that's dumb. if we aren't already past it, we should be nearing the point where stars deciding to join other stars is not a sign that they don't like being the man, but rather that the understand what it takes to win in the nba and are seeking such a situation. championships are more important than individual perception.

that aside, some facts on this point. trailing by 2 points, 1 point, or tied, with 24 seconds or less remaining, of all players to attempt at least 30 shots in such a situation since '96-'97, carmelo has the HIGHEST field goal percentage in the game at 47.7%. carmelo has made 15 game winning/tying shots in the last 10 seconds of games/overtime in his career, 5th most in the last 11 years (one more than paul pierce) despite having only played in 8 of those seasons. this caused an espn article to say, "If you were going to choose one player to challenge Bryant for his title of Mr. Clutch, it would have to be Anthony." how do we marry your proposed strike one with these facts? we know he was the man in denver (took a flawed team two years ago to the western conference finals on his back), so does seeing the nba landscape and recognizing how he needs to position himself to win mean he didn't like being the man, or just that he doesn't want to be left out of the championship party (that he didn't start)?

2. defense and leadership. valid points on both fronts. he's not a good defender, and he hasn't shown himself to be a leader (he's avoided the media twice in new york already - i don't know if anybody has ever won that battle in this town - and has publicly jawed at two teammates for not doing what he wanted - something you can do when you've been in a place for a while and won, not when you're new and haven't). the latter, however, i'm not concerned with because 1) the knicks have amare to lead, and 2) he's the best player on the floor most nights, which is what the knicks needed, not another leader. the former, however, is a major concern. considering the position he plays (where most of the present talent in the nba is), he has to defend really good players most nights. he is as good a scorer as there is in the league, but in the big winning picture you have to worry about how much of that he is giving back on D.

Patrick said...

gunn -

i don't think that assessment quite matches up with lebron outside of "the man" argument and "soft makeup". i think we can both agree that with lebron there were/are a multitude of things going (whether one approved of them or not, these things were at play) that are not going on with carmelo. i'm also not a big fan of "the man" argument generally, because it doesn't exist today the way it used to. the days of jordan, magic, and bird all playing on separate teams are over, and we should probably stop longing for them to come back. you need at least two guys to win a championship in the nba, and the players know that. so staying somewhere to be "the man", while noble, is actually an unintelligent play because you can't win. i don't blame these guys for choosing the opportunity to win over being known as someone with old-school bravado. there are definitely some guys that are wired more like "the man" than others (amare coming to new york as you referenced is a prime example), but there really is no more this guy can be THE ONE guy to carry his team and that guy can't. it exists on a much more dialed down level these days, like who is the man in terms of closing games or putting his team on his back in big spots, etc. all of this said, i agree with some of what you said and disagree with others, and will go point by point.

1. he didn't like the pressure of having to be the man in denver. sort of already addressed above, i'm not going to fault someone for not wanting to get left out of the party as stars pair off in the name of being the guy. because, while showing some bravado, that's dumb. if we aren't already past it, we should be nearing the point where stars deciding to join other stars is not a sign that they don't like being the man, but rather that the understand what it takes to win in the nba and are seeking such a situation. championships are more important than individual perception.

that aside, some facts on this point. trailing by 2 points, 1 point, or tied, with 24 seconds or less remaining, of all players to attempt at least 30 shots in such a situation since '96-'97, carmelo has the HIGHEST field goal percentage in the game at 47.7%. carmelo has made 15 game winning/tying shots in the last 10 seconds of games/overtime in his career, 5th most in the last 11 years (one more than paul pierce) despite having only played in 8 of those seasons. this caused an espn article to say, "If you were going to choose one player to challenge Bryant for his title of Mr. Clutch, it would have to be Anthony." how do we marry your proposed strike one with these facts? we know he was the man in denver (took a flawed team two years ago to the western conference finals on his back), so does seeing the nba landscape and recognizing how he needs to position himself to win mean he didn't like being the man, or just that he doesn't want to be left out of the championship party (that he didn't start)?

Patrick said...

2. defense and leadership. valid points on both fronts. he's not a good defender, and he hasn't shown himself to be a leader (he's avoided the media twice in new york already - i don't know if anybody has ever won that battle in this town - and has publicly jawed at two teammates for not doing what he wanted - something you can do when you've been in a place for a while and won, not when you're new and haven't). the latter, however, i'm not concerned with because 1) the knicks have amare to lead, and 2) he's the best player on the floor most nights, which is what the knicks needed, not another leader. the former, however, is a major concern. considering the position he plays (where most of the present talent in the nba is), he has to defend really good players most nights. he is as good a scorer as there is in the league, but in the big winning picture you have to worry about how much of that he is giving back on D.

3. his make-up is soft and needs to re-evaluate. point 1 is a difference in perception. point 2 we agree on. this is the only point i truly disagree on. watching from a knicks perspective last night, he was the ONLY player trying to make a play on the defensive end/backboard to change the game when it was going wrong. he kept a ball alive that was big baby's all the way, and had amare had anything left (more on that in a second) to reach out and grab the ball from carmelo, it's knicks ball. he was the one aggressively challenging an inbounds pass at half court trying to turn the celtics over. was he on the court after that pretending like he was just assassinated, or did he and/or the medical staff understand that if he left the floor play was going to resume without him and there might not be enough time to stop the bleeding before the game ended? because that's exactly what ended up happening after he tried to play and the bleeding wouldn't stop. he didn't CHOOSE to go to the bench, he had to because you can't play with blood and there wasn't enough time to stitch him. i think using this situation against him is really just spin, especially given the above statistics about his work at the end of games.

Patrick said...

and make no mistake about it, carmelo was doing this all alone (with a little 4th quarter help from billups on offense). amare had three separate HUGE opportunities (two defensive rebounds, one loose ball) where the ball was his and he didn't get it. big baby buried him under the basket from 10 feet our for 1, he let rondo come out of nowhere and knock a ball off him out of bounds in the corner, and he didn't grab a loose ball that bounced almost right into his hands on the offensive end. all in the last few minutes of the game. this isn't because amare wasn't trying, or because he doesn't have heart. we know he was and we know he does. he was on the floor with garnett minutes earlier for a loose ball. it's that he doesn't have a single thing left in the tank. this is the residue of what he did night in and night out from november-january on that incredible run he went on. he still gets his points, but he doesn't dominate the game at both ends in a way where he literally couldn't be stopped. this probably isn't going to change until he has the summer to re-cooperate. i don't blame amare for this because of what he did for us early, but until then it puts a lot more on carmelo. and even though the results haven't been there, if you watch from a knicks fan perspective you see carmelo doing this. he wants it. he doesn't know how to do it yet here, but as a denver writer recently pointed out, one thing about carmelo is that he always figures it out.

to that point, i agree with your last point that he needs to figure it out. but i don't think it's because he's soft. he won a national chamionship as a freshman. as one of the big 4 entering the 2008 olympics, he willingly took a back seat to kobe, lebron, and wade, slid from the 3 to the 4, and just defended and rebounded realizing this is what the team needed him to do to win. this is particularly impressive given the fact that most good international teams have versatile 4's that play more like nba 3's, and melo often had a tough match-up. this stood out to my father and i at the time (before there was even a conversation about carmelo to the knicks), and continues to be a big thing in my mind when look at what kind of player he is. it really stands out to me, especially in this age of ego and it being a lot about scoring.

i'm under no false impression that this team is there, or that carmelo is there, yet. long way to go. he's not a defender and he's not really a leader. but he's possibly the most efficient-clutch 4th quarter player in the nba, he rebounds really well and hard for a 3, and he wants it. you don't come to new york, with the pressure here, if you don't. most importantly, he's the best player on the floor most nights. as bill simmons, who has a bizarre dislike for the knicks bordering on obsession, recently wrote, this is why he wouldn't want the knicks in the first round, because you don't want to play a team in the playoffs that has the best player in the series. we can talk all we want about how a guy is or isn't wired (and often times this is overblown - just look at alex rodriguez and the actual numbers, and of course 2009), but talent is the most important thing. it just needs time to come together, especially in basketball.

Anonymous said...

Pat,

Talent is not the most important issue. Drive, desire, and will is the most important issue.

Anonymous said...

PF

Your comments are thorough and well stated. I think we actually don't disagree all that much about Carmelo as a player/person and that if I had toned down some of the rhetoric it would have been more acceptable.

I do want to say this though--wanting to play with other great players is one thing because you want to win is one thing, wanting to leave the situation you're in because you can't handle it is another. Now, let's just take Anthony out of this conversation. I'm looking at Kobe Bryant (whom I loathe) and Lebron James (whom I also loathe). Kobe basically said, "screw Shaq, I'm the best the player and I can handle LA without him." Was it brash? Obnoxious? Potentially dangerous to his health? Yes, yes, and yes. But it showed us what type of competitor Kobe is. He's an absolute bastard. He believes he's the best player on earth and that he can win games all by himself. And he wants to be THE MAN. As a fan (and frankly, as an American) I find those qualities admirable.

Lebron just left Cleveland (interesting note here--the Heat this year will not win as many games as the Cavs did in either 2009 or 2010. That's worth talking about) because, as he said himself, he didn't want the pressure of having to carry a team every night. And so he went to play on Dwyane Wade's team. Which is fine. It's not illegal, and it's immoral. But it suggests something about his character.

--the Gunn

Anonymous said...

Also

Bird, Magic, and Jordan are gone. But I'm not looking for them to come back. And really, they all played on stacked teams. Magic's 1987 Lakers had FOUR number 1 overall draft choices and six top 5 picks. Think about that for a second. Bird's Celtics had four hall of fame players and Jordan played with Scottie Pippen, who is arguably one of the 25 best players ever. So for me, it's not about teaming up with other stars. No one player can win a championship.

The difference is that we should all hope that our current NBA stars are as competitive as our previous stars. Jordan would have (and did) bitched about getting somebody other than Brad Sellers in his front court. Magic got his head coach fired (Paul Westhead). Bird was notoriously critical of McHale (a top 50 all-time talent). And while we'll never know if they would have left their respective teams for greener pastures, we do know that if they had left, it would NOT have been because they were wilting under the pressure of having to be THE MAN. And that's what I'm critical of. You want to sign somewhere else? Go ahead. That's exactly what Amare did, and I'm not busting on him. Just make sure that if you're going to be a max contract player and demand max contract attention, that you also have max contract intestinal fortitude.

--the Gunn

Patrick said...

i think you are right about us agreeing. the comparison to lebron (given your views on him) is really what threw me for a loop, because i don't see many of those same things applying to carmelo. i also agree with your distinction between kobe and lebron. i'm not saying carmelo is in that kobe group of "the man" yet - clearly he isn't. but i also think he's clearly not in the lebron group, and what he is trying to do is set himself up to have the opportunity to be in the kobe group. he can't help it that his contract situation didn't allow him to get to new york before amare. he wanted to be in new york, the biggest pressure cooker there is, and that alone says something. i guess that's really the only thing i disagree on, that his move away from denver signifies that he didn't want to be the man the way lebron going to miami signified the same. carmelo was the man in denver, and i think he just wanted new york as opposed to be afraid of being the man in denver, because he already was.

i also agree with your second comment, and was thinking about that point (that jordan, magic, and bird had super-talented sidekicks) as i wrote my initial comment. i agree that it's more about competitiveness. going back to your initial comparison, i'm certainly not suggesting carmelo is in kobe's group, but i do think his body of work at 26 years old suggests that his makeup is other than soft. which tying into the above, again, is really the only thing i disagree with you on. to make that many big shots late in games, at that kind of efficiency, (after his team basically asked him to go in the post all game every game and make plays by himself, which is what their offense was in denver) says something. so does the way he rebounds from the small forward position. and again, for me, so does the way he prioritized team and winning over his role on the team in the 2008 olympics.

i guess what i'm really interested in is, do you really think he's soft and similar to the way you view lebron, or were you just saying that because you were a little geared up after an impressive comeback win last night where emotions ran high on the court and for fans (something i would not blame you for)?

Anonymous said...

PF

I was just disappointed that Carmelo went to the bench that late in the game. That's what it really boils down to. Now, I can't say for sure just how hurt he was. And I have no idea what his pain threshold is. But my thinking was that if he were a really mean hombre he'd have called time out, wiped the blood off, and put on a heavy-duty bandage and not missed a play. And I'm sure I'm reading a lot more into those last two minutes of what will ultimately be just another regular season game, but that's what bummed me out.

And I mean it when I say it bummed me out. As a Celtics fan I was thrilled. As a basketball fan, I wanted to see him come out breathing fire and get right up under Paul Pierce and deny him the ball and then put the ball on the floor and get to the rim on the other end.

I guess I'm not so concerned with the finished product as I am with the effort behind it. Carmelo Anthony can be the guy who wins a championship for the Knicks. And we all know what that would mean for his reputation. And frankly, in a year where the Celtics are bottom dwellers (and let's be real--those days aren't too, too far away) I will absolutely pull for the Knicks over either the Heat or the Lakers. I just want Carmelo to be more like Kobe than Lebron.

--the Gunn

Patrick said...

i can understand that. i was watching the game with big DC, and we were both hoping for him to stay down on the floor as long as possible so that they could stop the bleeding. at that point they couldn't afford to miss him for even a possession and that's what was going to happen if he left the floor. the new york announcers even pointed out how he was down there way longer than should have been allowed, and i think it was intentional. without over-analyzing this more minor detail, i think the issue was that the cut was too close to the eye to put a bandage on without obstructing his vision. so they had to get it to stop or stitch it up. my guess is if he could have put a bandage on he would have, because it wasn't until after he went out there without nothing on at all right after the play that he had to leave the game again because he was bleeding.

whether carmelo will go to that kobe/championship level, we'll just have to wait and see. but i think he's in a position to do it. he and amare bring different things to the table, and even if neither of them has "it all" (which they may or may not, we'll find out), they have enough between the two of them to find a way to get it done. i think we'll have to wait until next season, when they've had time to mesh and amare doesn't have to give his entire season in the first few months, to start to see. on the former point, d'antoni has been asked to gel a new roster almost every season (and in some cases, such as this one, twice a season), and i feel for him on that point. he's under a lot of pressure here now, and i'm not sure how entirely fair that is. i'm not a huge fan of his, but i do like him more than i don't, and i also know that the nba is very much a game where you need five guys to gel with the system. you can't just throw talent out there and let it happen. this process takes time and d'antoni hasn't been given a lot of it with most of his rosters. that's a good thing, of course, because the knicks have been improving their roster. but in terms of bringing that improved roster together, the coach needs time. i hope d'antoni continues to be afforded that time into next season.

Anonymous said...

PF

Last thought on this topic--I've heard people grumbling about firing D'Antoni. I think that would be a terrible idea at this point. Give him a chance to work out with these guys for a full training camp and preseason and see what happens. If it's not working at this point next year, that's one thing. But just because it has been a bit of a struggle for 16 games is no reason to go firing the coach.

--the Gunn