4-22 Random Rumblings

Another Legend Gone

This is getting old. We've lost absolute titans of their respective worlds multiple times already in 2016 and yesterday's was perhaps the biggest. Musical legend (and that might not be strong enough of a word) Prince died at the age of 57.

I'm not going to pretend that I'm the world's biggest Prince fan, but you have to be a special kind of fool to not recognize his genius. I know many of the hits from "Little Red Corvette" to "Raspberry Beret" to "Purple Rain" and down on, but I've never taken a true dive into his musical catalog. As I listen to the remembrances of him, the depth of that catalogue has been a recurring theme. With some travel upcoming, and thus time to listen to music uninterrupted, I plan on diving into the deep end head first. I'm sure I'll find what so many have already, which is a full appreciation for a one of a kind artist.

Music is a big part of my life. It has been since I was 15 and started dj'ing, suddenly exposed to music of all generations. I would describe my musical knowledge as more wide than deep, although I've started to add depth in a number of genres as I've gotten older (thanks Apple Music!). Old school hip-hop is certainly where I've taken the deepest dive. I started that dive listening to the music from SVP & Russillo and discovered the brilliance of A Tribe Called Quest. When Phife died a few weeks back, it didn't hurt me like it did those older because, while I LOVE the music, it wasn't an integral part of my childhood. That's a different kind of hurt. His music was something I had discovered when I was older, deeply appreciate and appreciate more every time I listen. Phife was a genius. I understood completely the loss to the hip-hop community and anyone who grew up on his music.

Prince is that to all music. I was reading an article from Master Tesfatsion in the Washington Post about his experience with Prince. He talked about how, as he dove into Prince's catalogue, he discovered how influential he was on the music he loved and already knew. I remember going through that with Phife, and I'm 100% sure that it'll happen with me and Prince as I dive beyond the hits into his catalogue. I'm looking forward to it. I just wish I had done so sooner, and that the opportunity to see Prince perform would be there as I did.

I hate James Harden

The preceding bold and underlined header is a 100% true statement in a sporting sense. I don't know James Harden. He might be a swell guy. I have no idea. I wish him no harm. I also acknowledge he's a phenomenal basketball player. I hate watching him play basketball and actively root against his success.

Harden plays a style that is infuriating to watch. He plays consistently in isolation. He draws an inordinate amount of fouls. It's just not aesthetically pleasing. His game-winner last night was no different. He drove one-on-one, got away with a blatant push-off and hit an open jumper.

The push-off should've been called. In a late game situation, if a referee isn't 100% sure of a call (s)he should swallow the whistle. This was not one of those times. There was zero doubt that Harden committed an offensive foul. He pushed Andre Iguodala away with a fully extended arm. Iguodala had zero chance to contest the shot because of that push-off. It has to be called. I hate James Harden. I hate that no-call. I hope Steph Curry's ankle is ready for Sunday and the Rockets, who are just as unlikeable on the whole as their star, lose by 30.

This is the end of my James Harden rant.

Josh Norman's next stop

Former Panthers corner Josh Norman is visiting the Redskins today and reports say they could sign him before the weekend. Norman's asking for an absurd amount of money. He's 28 years old and wants a long term deal worth $16 million. Reports say the Redskins and 49ers are looking more in the $14 million per year range. That's still crazy, but a touch more palatable.

Just because he's asking for a lot of money (and I'm certainly not faulting him for asking) doesn't mean that he's not a really, really good football player. He's not Patrick Peterson or Darrelle Revis. He may not be Richard Sherman, but he's right there and very close based on last year's performance. He's a zone corner, which is just fine for the Redskins. He's also shown the ability to lock guys up man-to-man.

The Skins run a variety of coverages, but love to run Cover 3. They struggled at times last year on the outside in that scheme and had more success late in the year running 2-deep coverages (Cover 2 and Cover 4 aka quarters). No matter the coverage, Norman would immediately become their best cover corner and give them one of the best outside pairings in the league. Bashaud Breeland played at a Pro Bowl level and probably would've garnered that honor if he would've made a few of the interceptions he was in position for. Norman doesn't have that problem. He's got exceptional ball skills and finishes plays.

If they sign Norman, the Redskins have a decision to make on Chris Culliver. Last year's big money cornerback signing could be cut easily, saving the Redskins $8 million dollars on the cap. Essentially they'd be signing Norman for $6 million this year. They could also move the big, physical Culliver to safety. There are real concerns about Kyshoen Jarrett's injury because of the nerve damage that it included. The Skins also have the oft-injured Duke Ihenacho and 32 going on 33-year-old Deangelo Hall. They could use someone in that spot and someone who already knows the defense, albeit from a different position, wouldn't be the worst option.

Culliver's fire and competitiveness helped change the culture in DC last year. He frankly did more in that department than on the field because of his injuries. However there are definitely pockets of the organization that aren't his biggest fan, so it wouldn't surprise me if cutting him was the move.

As for Norman, my thoughts on the move will all depend on the contract structure. If Washington can get out of it after a year or two, then I have no problem with spending big on a player of his caliber. If it's a true long-term commitment to a 28 year old corner who was difficult enough to deal with that Carolina decided to set him free as opposed to keeping him around for another Super Bowl run on a one year, franchise tag deal? Not exactly in favor.

Reads of the Day:

ESPN's Wright Thompson on the secret life of Tiger Woods is jaw-dropping. So many good nuggets. So much information. Set aside 30 minutes and dive in: http://espn.go.com/espn/feature/story/_/id/15278522/how-tiger-woods-life-unraveled-years-father-earl-woods-death

Peter King of the MMQB goes inside the Titans-Rams trade for the #1 pick: http://mmqb.si.com/mmqb/2016/04/19/titans-rams-draft-trade-inside

There are so many good Prince pieces, but I particularly enjoyed this one because it involved Carlos Boozer, who is one of the last people I ever expected to have an amazing Prince story: http://espn.go.com/chicago/nba/news/story?id=6270915