In this edition of Rapid Reactions, Charlie Bernstein takes a look at some stories around the web and offers his unique take.
Was Vogel To Blame?
By most accounts, Indiana Pacers head coach Frank Vogel has done a wonderful job getting every last bit of performance out of a young, talented team. Coach Vogel finds his team in the Eastern Conference Finals as heavy underdogs against the NBA Champion Miami Heat, and he will likely need to use some smoke and mirrors for his Pacers team to top Miami four times in seven games.
In one of the very best basketball games you will ever see, LeBron James capped his monster evening with a game-winning layup at the buzzer to lead the Heat to a 103-102 victory. Frank Vogel has received an unbelievable amount of criticism for his decision to substitute out center Roy Hibbert at the end of his team’s loss.
Our take: In retrospect, Vogel admitted that he would’ve done things differently if offered a “mulligan.” Hibbert was going to be exposed if he was in the game by Chris Bosh, but in this situation you have to make someone other than the best player in the world beat you in a buzzer situation.
Urlacher Makes Life Tougher For Barber
Chicago Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher decided to retire yesterday, making it a very packed Hall of Fame class in 2018. Urlacher follows both Ray Lewis and Ronde Barber as historic, single-franchise greats who have decided to hang up the cleats.
Urlacher’s place in history can be debated, but there’s little doubt that he will be a first-ballot Hall of Famer, and that will hurt long-time Tampa Bay Buccaneers cornerback Ronde Barber.
Our take: Ronde Barber was never the best cornerback in the league for any part of his career and Urlacher’s retirement slams shut any doors that may have been left a crack open that Ronde could be a first-ballot Hall of Famer. It will take a while for Ronde to get in, if ever and if John Lynch gets in the hall before him, Barber may never have his bust in Canton.
Crabtree’s Injury Could Shift Power Out West
San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Michael Crabtree went down with a tear of his Achilles during this week’s OTA’s. Although the Niners may boast the deepest roster in football, Crabtree’s injury may paralyze the team’s passing game as the former Texas Tech Red Raider quickly became Colin Kaepernick’s favorite target after winning the starting quarterback job last fall.
With injury questions about Mario Manningham, age questions about Anquan Boldin and talent questions about the rest of the wideouts on the San Francisco roster, the 49ers passing game might not look anywhere near the same in 2013.
Our take: The margin between San Francisco and Seattle seemed minuscule prior to the Crabtree injury and now one can reasonably assume that the Seahawks could be the better team. Unless Colin Kaepernick can repair the relationship with tight end Vernon Davis, the 49ers may be very one-dimensional.
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