Buffalo Bills 2017 NFL Draft Profile

On the 10th day of Draftmas The Game Haus gave to me, a Buffalo Bills Draft Profile!

Summary

Buffalo is an interesting team for many reasons. They went 7-9 last year and ended the year going 1-4 in their last five games. While 6-5 was not a great record it was at least in contention for a Wild Card spot.

They are a team that cannot seem to make that final push. After all of the hope of signing Rex Ryan he was ultimately let go. They have brought in Sean McDermott, one of the many new youth movement coaches as a change of pace. He had done wonders with the Panthers defense and they feel he can only help their stout unit as well.

The Bills surprised everyone by bringing back Tyrod Taylor. He has been a very controversial quarterback for Buffalo. He has been a very mediocre quarterback at best during his time in Buffalo. There are times where he can spark the team and then a drive will stall and he loses his rhythm. If he can play more consistently this Bills team will be much better.

Unfortunately they lost some pieces on offense and could only sign Corey Brown. Even after losing Stephon Gilmore the defensive unit is expected to be tough as ever. A healthy Reggie Ragland should plug the hole left by the most likely departure of possibly last years biggest surprise in Zach Brown.

Lastly their biggest addition this offseason has arguably been Steven Hauschka. A very consistent kicker and probably one of the best in the NFL but, not necessarily someone who signifies the Bills are heading in the right direction.

Picks and Needs

Buffalo has 6 picks in this years draft. Having their first 3 rounds of picks will be crucial for them as they try to get pieces they need to fight for a playoff spot.

First round: (1) No. 10

Second round: (1) No. 44

Third round: (1) No. 75

Fourth round: (0)

Fifth round: (2) No. 156, No. 171

Sixth round: (1) No. 195

Seventh round: (0)

I expect they will be used to try to find players who will get a lot of minutes and their last 3 will be more for depth. Because they were so close last year I expect them to try and get their offense sorted out. Is Tyrod Taylor really the answer at Quarterback? Are they really willing to go with Cardale Jones? Personally I say no to both but, I think Tyrod is their only real option as I am not a huge fan of any of these quarterbacks in the draft.

If they can find players who can give them high minutes in the first 3 rounds then you can expect this to be considered a very successful draft.

Offensive Needs:

Quarterback

Wide Receiver

Right Tackle

Defensive Needs:

Inside Linebacker

Free Safety

Cornerback

Targets and Thoughts

I will pick who I think is best for the team just as I did in my other draft profile. There will be no trades and I will be looking at just the first three rounds.

First Round:

Courtesy of: USA Today

Pick #10: Mike Williams WR, Clemson 

Could this pick be any more perfect? Sammy Watkins leaves Clemson and Williams takes over and does phenomenally. As teammates they could be some of the biggest and most dynamic wideout cores in the league.

Second Round:

Pick #44: Jalen ‘Teez’ Tabor CB, Florida

With Gilmore leaving this is an obvious area of concern for the Bills. He is a little undersized but makes up for it with his athleticism. Teez should be able to hold down the second corner back spot across from Ronald Darby well.

Third Round:

Pick #75: Marcus Williams FS, Utah

Free Safety is an area that could be improved upon. Williams is a play-maker and in a defense that is already solid having that extra ball-hawking safety can make a huge difference. I like Williams to go around here if not earlier.

Conclusion

If Taylor can be the Quarterback the Bills believe in then this team has playoff potential written all over. Adding Williams just gives him another great option next to Watkins. Adding Teez and Williams will solidify a secondary on an already extremely scary defense.

Thank you for joining us on our tenth day of TGH Draftmas! Check back tomorrow where we will be bringing you the Draft Profile of the New Orleans Saints!

You can read all of the previous days of Draftmas below!

Draftmas Day 1: Carolina Panthers

Draftmas Day 2: Cincinnati Bengals

You can ‘Like’ The Game Haus on Facebook and ‘Follow’ us on Twitter for more sports and esports articles from other great TGH writers along with Robert!

“From Our Haus to Yours”

Chicago Bears 2017 NFL Draft Profile

On the third day of Draftmas TGH gave to me! The Chicago Bears Draft Profile! (It makes more sense if you sing it..)

Summary

The Bears had a very underwhelming season in a very tough division. The Vikings, Packers and Lions were all solid teams last year and will probably continue that into next year.

The offseason was an interesting one for the Midway Monsters. They let go of Jay Cutler much to the surprise of no one and they brought in Mike Glennon who seemed to have been forgotten about until this offseason. Personally I think Glennon has a lot to prove and deserves a starting role. We will see if the Bears risk will pay off.

They also strengthened their Wideout core by adding Markus Wheaton, Rueben Randle and Kendall Wright. While all of them have their issues they also all have a lot of talent in completely different ways. Paring them with the surprise in Cameron Meredith and the hopefully healthy Kevin White and this could be one of the more interesting Wide Receiver groups in the NFL.

Lastly they added Prince Amukamara and Quitin Demps to try and shore up their Defensive Backs. While they aren’t big names they still should add some much needed help in the secondary.

Picks and Needs

The Bears have 7 picks in this draft. It is good that they have kept so many and should be able to fill some major holes with them.

First round: (1) No. 3

Second round: (1) No. 36

Third round: (1) No. 67

Fourth round: (2) No. 111, No. 117

Fifth round: (1) No. 147

Sixth round: (0)

Seventh round: (1) No. 221

Having two fourth round picks should allow Chicago to find some solid depth players. Also while I won’t be looking at trades in this Profile I can definitely see the Bears making some moves up or down in the draft depending on their board.

The worst thing Chicago can do with these picks is pick an early Quarterback or panic and trade up for someone they do not really need.

Here are their needs at Offense:

Left Tackle

Left Guard

Backup Pass Catching Tight End (Preferably one that they can grow)

Now for Defense:

Cornerback

Safety (Either one)

Edge Rushing Defensive End

Inside Linebacker to go along with Trevathan

Targets and Thoughts

I will pick who I think is best for the team just as I did in my other draft profile. There will be no trades and I will be looking at just the first three rounds.

Courtesy of: Youtube.com

First Round:

Pick #3: Jamal Adams SS, LSU

What is not to like about this kid? He is everything you could ask for in a safety and more. Many people believe he might be the safest pick in the draft.

Second Round:

Pick #36: Cordrea Tankersley CB, Clemson

It seems as though his choice to go back for his Senior Year payed off. He won a National Championship and is now one of the best Corners in the draft. It is very possible he could be off the board before the 36th pick but, if he is still here I think the Bears continue adding to their defense.

Third Round:

Pick #67: Roderick Johnson OT, Florida State

At 6’7, 298, Johnson has the size and arm length to be a very productive left tackle. His footwork needs some fine tuning but, he has the potential to be an extremely good asset for the Bears offensive line.

Conclusion

The Bears can add some needed pieces to help them contend in the brutal NFC North. Shoring up the secondary and adding a tackle may not seem like much but, it can go a long way for a team that struggled much of last season. Hopefully Mike Glennon will be the Quarterback they needed.

Thank you for joining us on our third day of TGH Draftmas! Check back tomorrow where we will be bringing you the Draft Profile of the Jacksonville Jaguars!

You can read all of the previous days of Draftmas below!

Draftmas Day 1: Cleveland Browns

Draftmas Day 2: San Francisco 49ers

You can ‘Like’ The Game Haus on Facebook and ‘Follow’ us on Twitter for more sports and esports articles from other great TGH writers along with Robert!

“From Our Haus to Yours”

San Francisco 49ers 2017 NFL Draft Profile

It is day two of TGH Draftmas, and today we will be looking at the San Francisco 49ers!

Summary

The 49ers have been in a free fall the past few seasons. They fired Chip Kelly, had the Colin Kaepernick situation and do not seem to have a real direction.

Then they hired Kyle Shanahan. He is a great young mind in coaching and helped orchestrate one of the most explosive offenses in the NFL in Atlanta. Kelly always seemed like a reach to me. I think they have found their guy with Shanahan to help them rebuild what has become a pretty bad situation in Santa Clara.

They brought in Brian Hoyer and Matt Barkley to presumably battle it out in training camp. Neither of them are going to be long-term solutions (most likely in Barkley’s case), but they should provide some sort of bridge to whoever is next.

Free agency has been helpful in filling spots, but nothing has been very eye catching. Pierre Garcon will be a small upgrade over Torrey Smith. Kyle Juszczyk is a nice piece, but he plays a position that has little value in the league. They also signed Marquise Goodwin, but they likely overpaid him.

John Lynch is also their new general manager, and I still do not know how to feel about that.

The 49ers have a long road of rebuilding ahead of them. Lets get into their picks.

Picks and Needs

The 49ers have a solid 10 picks in this draft, but most of them are in later rounds.

First round: (1) No. 2

Second round: (1) No. 34

Third round: (1) No. 66

Fourth round: (2) No. 109, No. 143

Fifth round: (2) No. 146, No. 161

Sixth round: (2) No. 186, No. 202

Seventh round: (1) No. 219

Many of the 49ers’ picks will be based on getting the best value they can in the later rounds. Finding diamonds in the rough are not uncommon, but rarely do you get more than one per draft.

Sorry 49ers fans, just about every position on this team could be upgraded in the draft. So I will be focusing on getting the best value in this draft profile.

Overall though, I will say these are their biggest needs in no particular order for Offense:

Quarterback

Wide Receiver

Guard

For Defense:

Pass rushing OLB

Cornerback

Targets and Thoughts

I will pick who I think is best for the team just as I did in my other draft profile. There will be no trades and I will be looking at just the first three rounds.

First Round:

Courtesy of: TexasHSFootball.com

Pick #2: Solomon Thomas DE, Stanford

I think that if Myles Garrett is not picked by the Browns (or whoever they may trade with), that the 49ers will take him. Solomon Thomas is the next best pick in my opinion.

I know many people have also predicted this, but how can you not? He is a strong kid that knows how to get to the quarterback and be disruptive in the backfield. He is basically what every team wants.

Second Round:

Pick #34: Curtis Samuel RB/WR, Ohio State

Many 49ers fans may not like this pick, but I think Kyle Shanahan is going to love it. Samuel is a versatile back that will add explosiveness to any offense. Shanahan is an offensive guy and he will want the best offensive playmaker left on the board at pick 34.

Third Round:

Pick #66: Taylor Moton OT, Western Michigan

Moton may not be the sexiest pick, but if he is still available, I think the 49ers take him. Successful rebuilds require a solid offensive line. Moton could very well be a nice piece for Shanahan to rebuild his line around. He is strong and can even move to guard if they think he works better there.

Conclusion

The 49ers lack many early picks to try and get this rebuild started quickly. I think they will draft the best player available on their board more so than look for any position in particular. This team has a long road ahead of it, but I believe that with a smart draft and a couple lucky picks in late rounds, this draft could be a good start.

Thank you for joining us on our second day of TGH Draftmas! Check back tomorrow where we will be bringing you the Draft Profile of the Chicago Bears!

You can read all of the previous days of Draftmas below!

Draftmas Day 1: Cleveland Browns

You can ‘Like’ The Game Haus on Facebook and ‘Follow’ us on Twitter for more sports and esports articles from other great TGH writers along with Robert!

“From Our Haus to Yours”

Cleveland Browns 2017 NFL Draft Profile

Welcome to the first day and piece of this years TGH Draftmas! A merry time where we will be breaking down the draft profiles for every team for the next 32 days until draft day! So buckle up because we are starting with a fun one in the Cleveland Browns!

Summary

In case you were living under a rock, let me shock you by saying the Browns went 1-15 last year. Hue Jackson is a good coach that has been given a team that needs a lot of work. One can only hope that he will be able to stick around long enough to see his project all the way through to the end. The Browns have trade away many players and traded for (Brock Osweiler) draft picks in order to stock pile them to try and get the best values they can from young players. They are doing what teams like the 76ers and Cubs have done most recently in the NBA and MLB respectively.

For the first time in many years the Browns have been very active in trying to grab Free Agents that they value. This includes Kenny Britt, Kevin Zietler, JC Tretter and more. These are major improvements for a team that has struggled for a long time, but they are starting in the right spots. Grabbing a deep threat in Britt was much needed with the departure of last years biggest surprise in Terrelle Pryor. Also building in the trenches at guard and center with Zietler and Tretter are the start to what should be a solid line for the Browns.

Alas, their biggest problem is they have no one to captain the ship at Quarterback. While Cody Kessler showed flashes many do not believe he is a franchise Quarterback. They also trade for Brock Osweiler. The rumor has been that they are trying to flip him, I honestly do not know if he has even flown up to Cleveland yet or ever plans to.

The defense also has seen improvements in their recent draft picks. Danny Shelton, Emmanuel Ogbah and Carl Nassib were all nice pieces added in recent years. Also do not forget about Jamie Collins. Joe Hayden is slowing down but is still solid.

Picks and Needs

Next we will look into the 11 draft picks the Browns have stock piled.

First round: (2) No. 1, No. 12

Second round: (2) No. 33, No. 52

Third round: (1) No. 65

Fourth round: (1) No. 108.

Fifth round: (3) No. 145, No. 175 No. 181

Sixth round: (2) No. 185, No. 188

Seventh round: No picks.

As one can see, they have a lot of picks in the first 5 rounds, 8 to be exact. This is generally a good sign for rebuilding teams, IF, they are able to hit on their picks.

In my opinion there are many needs for the team overall but, definitely less than last year. I will start with the Offense.

I see the major needs in no particular order as:

Quarterback

Wide Receiver (Preferably one with great hands)

Tackle

Tight End

Now on to the Defense:

Edge Rusher at Defensive End or Linebacker

Linebackers in General (Specifically Outside)

Cornerback

Both Safety Positions 

Targets and Thoughts

I will pick who I believe the Browns will be targeting in their first three rounds. This will be without trades since they are so unpredictable although, I will say that I think the Browns trade the first overall pick.

First Round:

Pick #1: Myles Garrett DE, Texas A&M

Myles Garrett (Photo courtesy: 12thman.com)

If they do make this pick I believe it will be Garrett along with basically everyone else. Do you really need me to go into why? Everyone else has so I will spare you.

Pick #12: Marshon Lattimore CB, Ohio State

While I do think they will end up picking a Quarterback in the real draft, I personally would pick Lattimore if he’s still available. He is an explosive athlete and in a passing league I believe the Browns need to target DB’s early and often in this draft. I also am not a huge fan of this Quarterback class and believe that the Browns are much more than a Quarterback away from contending.

Second Round:

Pick #33: JuJu Smith-Schuster WR, USC

While Kenny Britt and Corey Coleman are great options they can be a little inconsistent. Terrelle Pryor was a major contributor to the team last year due to his size and play-making ability. JuJu is a similar player. He will body up smaller DBs and make them work to make a play on the ball. He may not be the flashiest pick but, at 33 I think hes the best WR still available.

Pick #52: Josh Jones SS, NC State

Safety was another position the Browns got little production out of last season. They need an upgrade and Jones should be a solid answer for that. He is a tough kid with great closing speed and can tackle well in the open field.

Third Round:

Pick #65: Brad Kaaya QB, Miami (FL)

Yes, I am finally addressing the elephant in the room. Again I am not a huge fan of any of the Quarterbacks in this class mostly due to their draft value. I do not believe any of them can start day one. I believe this is true of Kaaya but, Kessler will need a back up and at this point I think Kaaya might be worth it. He has the arm and is the all-time passing leader at a storied program like Miami. He has things to work on but, if given time (which the Browns have) I believe he could develop into something special.

Conclusion

The Browns have an opportunity to really have an incredible draft. This is one that they can pass on the Quarterbacks and get great value in their first two rounds of picks. I believe that this team is on the up and drafting for the best talent at positions they desperately need it at is the smartest decision.

Thank you for joining us on our first day of Draftmas! Please make sure to check back tomorrow for our look at the San Francisco 49ers!

You can ‘Like’ The Game Haus on Facebook and ‘Follow’ us on Twitter for more sports and esports articles from other great TGH writers along with Robert!

Chris Sale Goes From One Sox to the Other

In case you had been living under a rock, Chris Sale has been a major trade target ever since he had his major outburst and cut up a bunch of jerseys. This made him by far and away the most attractive trade or free agent target for teams looking to contend. He is a true ace in a league that no question lacks number ones.

With the Winter Meetings in full swing and trades and signings happening left and right, this is probably the most notable deal. Honestly, this is probably the biggest deal in the last 365 days and probably will be until the next trade deadline.

Most rumors had been that up until this morning the clear front-runner was the Washington Nationals, but today the Red Sox came in and gave the White Sox an offer they could not pass up.

Generated by IJG JPEG Library

In return for the illustrious but troubled ace, the White Sox got arguably the best prospect in baseball, 2B/3B Yoan Moncada. With him they also got the Red Sox’ number five prospect, RHP Michael Kopech, the number eight prospect OF Luis Alexander Basabe, and their number 29 prospect in Victor Diaz. All ranking and stats below are courtesy of MLB.com.

This deal works out well for both teams. Let me break it down for you.

For the White Sox, this is probably the best deal that they could have hoped for. Moncada is an absolute stud who can either play 2nd, 3rd, or DH. It will depend on if they feel he is a better fielder than either Todd Frazier or Brett Lawrie. Frazier has always had a solid glove so I doubt they move him. My bet is Moncada either plays 2nd or DH and bats in the 2 or 6 hole in the lineup. Either way they will make sure his bat is in that lineup everyday.

But Moncada is not the only player in this deal. Yes, he is possibly the best prospect, but the White Sox also get Michael Kopech with him. He was drafted in the first round in 2014, has great size at 6’3”, and can hit the upper 90’s with a developing slider. The hope is that he becomes a top of the rotation guy as he gets older. I imagine he will realistically be looking at a 2018-2019 call-up time.

Basabe is also a very interesting piece. He is someone who can hit from both sides and is starting to show some power. If he can keep hitting well as he moves up and gets those strikeout numbers down he could be a middle of the order bat. This is not something that you see very often in young played anymore as they are encouraged at a young age to focus on one side of the plate.

Lastly, the White Sox get Victor Diaz. This kid has a cannon for an arm. His only problem is that it is taking him a little while to learn to be a pitcher instead of a thrower. With time this guy could develop into a top-end closer if he can continue to learn his slider and splitter in tandem with the fastball.

What this signifies is that the White Sox are probably renewing the farm and will soon start to sell off other players. I imagine this will not be the last deal they make this winter.

For the Red Sox, they are getting a bonafied major league ace. The lanky lefty had a league high six complete games, 226.2 innings pitched, and 233 strikeouts. He’s also a perennial All-Star, Cy Young candidate, and someone who even garners MVP votes.

during game one of the American League Divison Series at Progressive Field on October 6, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio.

They are adding him to a rotation of this year’s surprising Cy Young award winner Rick Porcello, previous Cy Young winner David Price, knuckleballer Steve Wright, and Padres Former ace Drew Pomeranz. This is easily a top 5 pitching rotation next season if everyone stays healthy.

Along with the high powered offense the Red Sox have, this team is easily a top early World Series contender.

While it will hurt the Red Sox farm quite a bit, it is clear with this move, the pick up of Tyler Thornburg, and their current pursuit of Mitch Moreland, that the Red Sox are going for it all.

Overall it seems as though both teams got exactly what they are looking for. With starting pitching at such a high demand, it is no surprise that the Red Sox had to give up this much in order to grab Sale.

Pokemon GO: Day One

Pokemon Go Avatar

As many people know Pokemon GO has released in the United States, New Zealand, and Australia. It is already the #1 Free App on iTunes and everyone has been talking about. And why not? It is the first major Pokemon Mobile game and its premise is intriguing to say the least.

It’s a game that basically uses google maps to track where you are and place Pokemon that you can catch with the swipe of a finger (or a few swipes depending on the Pokemon). It is seemingly every fans dream, as it is augmenting our reality to put Pokemon in it.

I have been playing this for a full day now and wanted to tell you all about my experience with the world’s #1 free mobile game.

The Good

As a child I literally dreamed and prayed that Pokemon would be real. I wanted to be a 10 year old kid and go to Professor Oak’s lab to grab my starter. In that sense this game is as close as you may ever get outside of some really advanced virtual reality.

At first look one can see that the ability to walk around and catch Pokemon in your neighborhood and at Walmart is awesome. That part is absolutely fun. Catching Pokemon that you can see in your surroundings is just, well a dream come true.Pokemon Go Day 1 Pokemon

By catching Pokemon in the wild you will gain candy that is specific to each evolutionary branch. For example if you catch a Caterpie, in order to evolve it to a Metapod you have to keep catching Caterpie. This continues up to Butterfree. Once your Pokemon can  no longer evolve you must up its combat power. This can be done by using candies and dust. Starust you can get from stops, catching Pokemon, beating gym leaders and leveling up. Candy you obviously get from catching more Pokemon on the line of that particular species.Pokemon Go Butterfree

Oh, and for all of you people out there who only like Generation one (Red, Blue, Yellow), either because you’re stubborn or have never played a Pokemon game outside the originals, you will be happy to know you can only catch the original 151 for right now.

Landmarks have been changed from just buildings or other interesting sites into PokeStops and Pokemon Gyms. I find this concept to be very intriguing. The stops allow you to basically spin their pictures and get rewards like pokeballs, eggs, and other items to help you with your journey. These are crucial if you are going to have enough pokeballs and other items as you go through the game. Or at least, they seem to be crucial, again it has only been out for a day.

The Gyms are interesting. Essentially people take over the Gyms by placing their Pokemon there to defend it. If you are on the same team as your friends you can stack your toughest Pokemon together. Once that has been done people can go and challenge these Gyms. To take them over for yourself or your team you have to continuously battle to take down the defenders Pokemon. There are Gyms placed sporadically, no longer just the 8 gyms in a region.

Also when battling you have to tap quickly for normal attacks and hold your finger down for special attacks. This allows there to be some strategy. Also you are able to swipe left or right to attempt and dodge your opponents attacks.

My last positive is this is a game that will make you exercise to be successful. Yes, you can drive and get Pokemon, but that takes a lot of the fun out of it and is very dangerous. I just got my first egg from a Pokestop and I have to walk 5 Kilometers to hatch it. This is a wonderful thing and I think a true first for a major game like Pokemon.

The Bad

I have been tweeting about it and so far I think my tweets have held up, this was not the game everyone was hoping for. It is like Battlefront was for Star Wars fans. It is a decent game but, not what we were hoping it would be.

When I originally heard about this game I was about as hyped as one could be. I thought to myself “They (GameFreak/Nintendo) have been making us wait long enough for a Pokemon MMO. This could be worth the wait”. So far it is not.

While this game has interactions at the Gyms with other trainers that is it. Being on a team may prove that to be untrue but, so far there is little reason to play this game with friends outside of walking around with them. You cannot trade with them because too many Pokemon just aren’t that rare and there is literally no possible way to (yet).

There is also no direct battling. WHAT?! I can battle someone at a Gym, but not my sister or cousin who are sitting right next to me? That makes zero sense to me.

Both trading and battling are the two major parts of Pokemon. I guess catching them all is too, but you can’t even do that because you cannot trade. If Pokemon really are only available in certain parts of the country or maybe even world then how are you supposed to catch them if: A. You are a kid with no means to travel or B: You’re too poor to travel.

This game is marketed toward children, while big children like myself still play it, we are not the target market. How is a kid expected to catch different Pokemon if they can only go to their neighborhood, friends house, school , and occasional vacations? After a few weeks they will run out of things to do. This seems to be a major flaw and I am curious to see how or if Game Freak and Nintendo will fix it.

Back to battling for a second. I do not like that I cannot level up my Pokemon or catch Pokemon by battling, only simply catching them. What is the point of having a starter if you cannot battle to train it? I have yet to even see another Squirtle. This means that it could be forever useless as it will fall behind in levels to my other Pokemon. Also Gyms could seemingly be overrun and take forever to beat. If people just grind it out and have very high level Pokemon there then it will be nearly impossible for newer trainers to have any chance.

In the Pokemon Handheld games gyms were level tiered to combat this problem. I hope that Game Freak will eventually do this in order to keep it fun for newer fans. Otherwise again they could lose interest.

Also if for some reason your regional server has not gone down today or if you haven’t had a Pokemon glitch away right as you catch it then you must be literally one in a million. This has been a major problem and annoyance all day. While I understand today is the launch I would have expected something more, well, polished from Game Freak.

My last and biggest complaint is PokeCoins. WHY?! I know they need to make money on this but, why just why make it so that paying gives people who do such a huge advantage? It makes it so they can skip actually walking around and catching anything. It makes it possible for them to pay to own gyms essentially once they hit level 5.

Again I know they need to make money but, why not have just had us pay for the game or put annoying advertisements? Anything but pay to get a huge advantage. I am not saying pay to win, because I do not think there is a true endgame.

Conclusion to Day 1 as a Real Life Pokemon Trainer

Pokemon Go Walking

All of these are my opinions and what I have experienced on day 1 of the game. I understand that I am only level 5, I would be higher but…servers, need I say more? I also understand that there may be more that I have not seen as well as more that will come with updates. So far this game is addicting but, overall a little bit of a disappointment.

Being able to catch Pokemon while walking around and seeing them on your phone as if they are in front of you is amazing. Some of the concepts make sense but are not traditional to what fans have had in the past.

Not being able to battle your friends seems like a major flaw in this game. Adding that I don’t think would be super hard (you’re able to do it against people at Gyms). Also I think it would make this game exponentially better.

Also the in app purchases make me so mad that I want to scream! I think that the fact that I can pay money to get an advantage is infuriating and I wish they could take it out. I know they won’t, that is fine, I just wish they could.

Overall this game seems like it will be addicting for a little while because of the hope for more down the road. If that ends up not being true I believe that the game will fall flat on its face in a couple months. This will be because of lack of, well, anything to do outside of catching the same Pokemon in your region over and over again. Also the lack of truly being able to test your strength against your friends makes me wonder why not just play the handheld games?

These are my Day One impressions and thoughts! What do you all think? Please feel free to comment below, tweet at me @roberthaness, or go to our new forums and we can discuss it all there!

Amateur Coach Diaries: Practice Habits Part 4

Courtesy of, www.pinterest.com

Courtesy of, www.pinterest.com

Albeit what was said in previous articles about League being a different sport from other traditional sports, you can draw some similarities. A player has to be well-practiced, conditioned, and has to have studied up on new trends. But the number 1 thing that all sports share is that the game always starts with a clean slate. At the start of a new game, no matter the sport, the game is always basically zero to zero. For League, this leads into the early game which is where a lot of games can be decided. The elements of the early game never really changes. Monster camps will always spawn at their same time, minions will make it to lane at the same usual time, and everyone will have a yellow trinket up at the start of the game. And to be honest, a lot of amateur teams don’t know how to go back, back to the beginning.

One of the hardest things about coaching is talking about a level 1 invade 45 minutes after it has actually happened. Telling a team that they lost at 10 minutes into the game doesn’t help them at all. The next game is just going to be a different comp with different early game goals. How can we make practicing the early game more efficient? We play 15-minute scrims. Here’s how the scrims work out. You go through your picks and bans and then use your drafted comps to play the first 15 minutes of the game a couple of times through. That means, after you pause at 15 minutes, you remake the game with the same comp and talk about what you need to do differently against their team. It’s a very simple practice drill that no amateur teams (at least to my knowledge) are doing.

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This does not mean that you pick Leblanc, Corki, and every other early game one item power spike champions you can pick. Scrims are not for winning. This goes double for early game scrims. You need to set goals for your scrims, early or full games. A goal for an early-mid game team is win the game by 15 minutes, while the goal for a double scaling game could be don’t lose the game by 15 minutes. Also, if you’re scrim partner is trying to practice a level 1 invade, don’t try to set up a trap for them to counter the same exact level 1. This completely defeats the purpose of practicing a level 1, because the same invade won’t be used twice in a row in the same best of series (if it is, the other team might have issues?).
There’s a lot a team can get out of playing a lot of early games. Yes, you sacrifice practicing the ability in closing out a game, but once you figure out how to play your certain comp in the early game, then you can practice closing out the game. It’s hard to talk about the early game when the last thing in the player’s minds is that teamfight they got aced or the baron steal your jungler just made to win the game you shouldn’t have won at all. Sometimes to improve our team’s play overall, we just all need to start back at the beginning, over and over again. Hell, you might even need to go back farther than the start of the game, maybe to what goals you set for your team for that game. The early game gives the foundation for the rest of the game, so let’s build a better foundation within the amateur scene. The next article will be on the most important thing we can do as a scene. See you then!

Amateur Coach Diaries: Practice Habits Part 3

Courtesy of, Seth Varner and Pintrest

Courtesy of, Seth Varner and Pintrest

When I was about 12 years old, I wanted to be a pitcher for my little league team. My dad was one of the coaches of this team. We had one of those pitch-back net devices in the backyard, so he made a 18in by 18in square in the netting with a rope and then put a stick 50 feet away from the net. He told me I had to hit the square 25 times in a row before he would let me pitch. He told me how my grandfather did the same thing with my uncle and I would have to do the same. I can’t remember if I got it or not, to be honest I only remember that I took a pitch to the head while at bat during fall ball that year. Anyways, the morale of the story is that Baseball takes 10 players on the field to play the game. 9 people in the field, and 1 at bat. But when I was practicing that one aspect of the game, just myself and the net, it only took 1 person and a practice device. This is exactly the same as having players practice in a custom game. Custom games can be useful in many different ways: jungle clears, lvl 1’s, CSing, warming up, and lane swaps.

One of the first practices I had with my team was a lane swapping practice. We pulled up LCS vods of lane swaps and grinded out the timing. I’m not going to go into the logistics, but basically we spent that night,  practicing lane swaps. I could tell through vod reviews of even the best amateur teams, we had the best lane swap timing in all the amateur scene. We were getting 30-second tempo swings off the first turret and sometimes it would lead into a sub 15-minute inhib turret. The thing that confused me was that teams we played our lane swap against, still had a slow lane swap a week after we played them. logo v3

In a meta that relies on tempo and getting the turret down the fastest, you’d think teams would want to figure out how to replicate it. It comes down to players not wanting to go into custom game after custom game. So instead, the team just scrims with the same slow lane swap they ran the week before. Obviously there is more to do in customs then lane swaps, but that is a great way to use them. The other night, one of our junglers and I were working on a new jungle pick. We played maybe 20-30 custom games of the jungle pick with different runes/masteries/skill orders/ camp orders. You can also practice timing for a level 1 invade. Sometimes what you draw on rift kit won’t translate on to the game field when the pressure is on. Customs are also a great way to try out new match-ups or train a player in a certain match-up. Maybe they need to work on their Ahri into Zed or their Cass into Ryze.

There are so many uses for customs, and a lot of amateur teams just refuse to use them. Well, surprise, this is the closest we are getting to sandbox mode for now. “Why would we go into customs when we could have a scrim block?” Because if you want to make something game ready, you need to practice it before the scrim for it to be effective. I mean, I’m not saying make your team practice a lane swap to their point where they can get sub 3:30 times 25 times in a row. But hell, you do you, coach. You do you. The next article will be about spamming the restart button. See you then!

2016 American League West Preview

Courtesy of, brokenbatsingleblog.wordpress.com

Courtesy of: brokenbatsingleblog.wordpress.com

The Texas Rangers were the best team in the AL West last year. The Rangers had a solid offense with good enough pitching to back it up. They had some vets like Prince Fielder and Adrian Beltre who really helped them push their way to a division title. However, they were not the team everyone talked about. That team, was the Houston Astros. They came out of nowhere and almost won the division and were good enough to make it to the Wild Card round.

The Astros finished second last year but, were a major surprise to baseball as they had been picked by many to not contend at all. Their young players stepped up and shinned. Carlos Correa has the talent and the ability to be a perennial All-Star and MVP candidate.

The Angels finished third last year and played well throughout the season, just barely missing the playoffs. They had the offense coming from their superstar Mike Trout and future Hall of Famer Albert Pujols. Their problem was, and still is, pitching.

The Seattle Mariners finished fourth last year in a disappointing 2015 campaign. They struggled in hitting as they finished in the bottom three for both runs scored, strikeouts, and batting average. Their pitching was also nothing to write home about as they finished the year with a 4.16 ERA.

Last were the Athletics who were expected to have a down year. They traded away many of the pieces they had brought in for the 2014 playoff run. Billy Beane decided it was time to rebuild. They brought in some interesting players through trades and Sonny Gray was spectacular.

That was last year though, lets move on to what should be an exciting 2016 for the AL West. I will start by giving which place I believe the team will finish in, then I will go through almost every position and tell you all what I see and lastly I will name my player or players to watch.

1st Place: Houston Astros

Courtesy of: www.sports-logos-screensavers.com

Courtesy of: www.sports-logos-screensavers.com

Last year the American League West had a surprise team, the Astros. While they did not win the division they had everyone talking. This was because they were well ahead of schedule. The Astros were a young team that many thought wouldn’t be contending this soon after they had blown everything up years before. Everything is finally coming together for a team that was the worst in the majors for almost 3 years. Their loyal fanbase will have to opportunity to watch a team that has unbelievable talent.

The outfield rotation of Rasmus, Gomez, Marisnick, Tucker and especially Springer are all solid. They can play defense well and carry some impressive bats. Springer and Gomez should have excellent seasons this year. Gomez will finally be able to play a full season with a winning team. Springer will look to continue to improve on what was a spectacular 2015 season. As long as the injury bug does not get to him he should have a monster year.

The infield, particularly the middle of it, will be amazing as well. Jose Altuve was one of the only good players on the team during their rebuilding process. His patience has paid off. With him and Carlos Correa manning the middle of the field the Astros may have the best middle infield in baseball. Correa has shown that he can be a major force. He can hit for average, power, bat with runners in scoring position, steal bases and play defense. The kid was a number one overall pick for the Astros and he has not disappointed. Look for him to have an amazing year and look for his name on the MVP ballot at the end of the year.

The starting rotation added Doug Fister to the mix which is a solid pickup. Keuchel, the reigning Cy Young Winner, McHugh, Fiers, and Feldman make up the rest of what should be a solid rotation. They have their ace and a great number 2 in McHugh. Those two should make the top of this rotation deadly. The back of their rotation is also made up of solid overall pitchers. Many of them are innings eaters who will keep you in a ballgame and give you a good chance of winning once you get to the bullpen.

The bullpen has the potential to be great. Ken Giles who was the Phillies closer was traded to Houston this offseason. He did not win the closing job, it was announced that Luke Gregerson would have that job, but, I can see Giles eventually winning it back. Pat Nesheck and Tony Sipps will also round out what will be an older but, effective bullpen.

The Astros should win this division barring any terrible injuries. Look for them to make some trade deadline deals to improve their corner infield positions and maybe add one more starter if they have the money to. They are one of my picks to make it to the World Series this year.

Player to Watch: Carlos Correa

2nd Place: Texas Rangers

Courtesy of: www.sportslogos.net

Courtesy of: www.sportslogos.net

This Rangers team came out and won the division last year, yet they were not the talk of the division. Many people outside of Texas had forgotten that they were the Division Champions, not the Astros. They will be looking to improve on their performance last year as they will have Yu Darvish back this year and an interesting piece in Ian Desmond patrolling left field. Ultimately they will finish 2nd behind an up and coming Astros team because their age will start to show and I do not think they will end the season with a healthy enough team to win the division.

The outfield will have Ian Desmond who to an extent is an experiment out in left field. He has been an infielder for his entire career but, he looked serviceable during Spring Training. They brought him in for his bat and they got him cheap. They are hoping this move will pay off. The rest of their outfield is much less exciting. Delino Deshields Jr. will be playing center field and while he is solid on defense he has a lackluster bat. Shin-Soo Choo will be playing right field and is a solid, but not all that exciting, player. He had a great season last year but, has been known to be injury prone throughout his career. Lastly is Josh Hamilton who should be back sometime in May. He has always had the potential to be a star but, his past and his age are starting to catch up to him. Sadly I do not see him playing all that well this year.

The Rangers infield will be solid. Adrian Beltre will playing solid defense and swing a mean bat. People are wondering if he is a Hall of Famer, I think he is and I think he will continue to prove that this season. Elvis Andrus will continue to bat for a decent average, steal bases, and playing great defense. Rougned Odor won the starting job at Second for now. Jurickson Profar will be called up if Odor starts to struggle at all. Mitch Moreland will be manning first base and will continue to hit. The big man has finally come into his own and deserves to be their starter. Prince Fielder will also play some first but, will mostly be their big bopper at DH. He will continue to do what he always has done, hit.

The most exciting part about this team is their starting rotation. Lets get the 3, 4, and 5 pitchers out of the way to start. Martin Perez is young and has good stuff but, he will need to prove that he deserves to stay in this rotation. Colby Lewis has been the Opening Day starter in the past and he has also dealt with health issues. If he can stay healthy he will be a solid back of the rotation guy. Derek Holland is in the exact same situation as Lewis. Now we get to the fun part, Yu Darvish who will be back in May and Cole Hamels. These two are both Aces and have been top 3 in Cy Young Voting. They are one of the best 1-2 punches in the game. Their only problem is staying healthy. If either of these two are down for too long a time the entire rotation gets significantly worse. If they are healthy for the entire year they will be fun to watch.

Here is most likely the biggest weakness for the Rangers, their bullpen. Look at these names and tell me what average fan will know them? Not one. Shawn Tolleson will be their closer and he has been solid the last two years with ERA’s of 2.76 and 2.99 respectively. He is not flashy but, he should get the job done. After him is a mix of many no name players. This will be an area they will need to improve drastically if they want a chance at winning the division.

Overall this Rangers team will be solid if they improve the bullpen and if they stay healthy. That is two too many ifs for me. I doubt they will stay healthy and I don’t think they will be able to improve the bullpen enough. I do think they will have a good year and have a chance at the wild card.

Player(s) to Watch: Yu Darvish and Cole Hamels

3rd Place: Seattle Mariners

Courtesy of: www.sportslogos.net

Courtesy of: www.sportslogos.net

This team has consistently under-performed.  Robinson Cano, King Felix, Nelson Cruz and Kyle Seager are their best players. These four are great but, they have never been enough to push them over the top. There are just too many holes. They will play some good baseball but, they will not be anything spectacular this year. This team outside of a few players is boring.

The outfield will consist of Nori Aoki, Leonys Martin, Seth Smith, and Franklin Gutierrez. All of these players are good, but none are great. Aoki will hit for a good average, Martin has not hit well, Smith was once a solid player but, age has caught up to him, and Gutierrez is the definition of OK. This outfield will be boring, not much more to say than that.

The infield is similar. Kyle Seager is fun but, will most likely be forgotten as his brother Corey takes over in Los Angeles. Ketel Marte is 22 and could be a fine major league player. The only problem is that he wont be a star. He, like most of this team will be good but, not great. Robinson Cano has been solid but not the Superstar Seattle wanted. His power numbers have dropped off a cliff seemingly and age is not on his side. He will be good like every year but, unless he regains that power stroke he will not be the Superstar Seattle desperately needs. Adding Adam Lind to play first adds  power and stability to the position. He is again like the rest of this team, solid, but nothing amazing. He will play well and hit 20+ homeruns this year. Nelson Cruz was a great addition to the team. He was the only really exciting hitter last year for this squad. For a time it seemed like he alone could carry this team on his back along with his 44 homeruns. Sadly that was not the case. Cruz is 35 this year and he should start slowing down, right? Chris Iannetta will be the catcher this year. He is a good defender with no bat. They are all solid but, will any of them bring the necessary boost that the Mariners need? I do not believe so.

The starting rotation is a little more interesting. Wade Miley, Taijuan Walker and Nate Karns are like the rest of this team, solid but nothing great. King Felix is well the King of Seattle. He is always in the talk for Cy Young and has been the backbone for this lackluster pitching staff. I am sure he will be in talks for the Cy Young again this year. Iwakuma won 15 games last year and proved he could be the number 2 behind the King. This was something Seattle has needed for a long time. The only problem is that he is heading into his age 35 season and will most likely not be able to put up the numbers as he has been for much longer.

The bullpen has some intriguing players but again none of them are great. Steve Cishek will be trying to get back into form as he once was in Miami. Joaquin Benoit has always been a good option in the pen and will most likely continue to be just that. Lastly the addition of Nick Vincent from the Padres is a move that will go under the radar but, should prove to be a great one for the Mariners.

The Mariners are a good team, do not get me wrong. The problem is they are boring. They do not have what it takes to push for the division or a playoff spot. Some people are picking them as a dark horse team but, until there is a spark from one of their players I do not foresee them being anything more than a .500 team.

Player to Watch: King Felix

4th Place: Oakland Athletics

Courtesy of: en.wikipedia.org

Courtesy of: en.wikipedia.org

Billy Beane has been doing Billy Beane things. He has brought together a cheap but, intriguing roster. I do have them finishing 4th just to be safe but, I think this team could make a charge at the wild card if certain things can go their way.

Their outfield consists of Khris Davis, Billy Burns, Josh Reddick, Coco Crisp, and Chris Coghlan. These 5 could be a great rotation. Davis and Reddick bring power. They could each hit 25+ homeruns this year. Burns and Crisp bring the speed and Coghlan is just solid all around. They could do great things as a group. If Davis can reach his full potential watch out, he could be a monster hitter. Billy Burns is probably the most exciting player you have never heard about. He is the typical Billy Beane player.

The infield should be interesting as well. Marcus Semien could be very good if he can bring down the strikeout numbers. The A’s received him in a trade with the White Sox last year and he has been pegged as their Shortstop of the Future. Jed Lowrie is always a solid veteran to have on your team. He is manning second because age is starting to catch up with him but, his bat should still provide solid at-bats. Yonder Alonso, Mark Cahna, and Billy Butler will all be splitting time at DH and first base. Alonso was picked up from the Padres last year and has been a solid everyday player. He can hit for contact and has gap power. If he can hit with runner is scoring position and add some more power, Alonso could finally reach the potential many thought he had. Steven Vogt was a suprise player last year. He hit 18 homeruns and drove in 71. He is a solid bat and even better behind the plate.

The rotation will be where this team will need to improve. They have a lot of injuries to deal with and not much talent to speak of. They will be the reason this team does not make the playoffs and they are why I have them fourth. Of course their is one Superstar, Sonny Gray. Everything I said before only talks about the rest of the rotation. I think Gray could win the Cy Young away this year. He has amazing stuff and is very collected for how young he is. People need to start paying attention to him. The only problem is that knowing Billy Beane he could get traded if the season completely implodes.

The bullpen will be a major strength for this team. They have the potential to be one of the best ones in the game. Sean Doolittle will be closing this year and doing his normal thing of getting outs as long as he is healthy. They brought in Ryan Madson and John Axford who were both previously All-Star type closers. If they can get back into form, watch out. These three could be what they Pirates had a few years ago with Grilli, Melancon, and Watson. Liam Hendricks and Mark Rzepczynski also have a track record of getting the job done. This bullpen could be amazing and if the starters can keep the game close and give it over to the pen the A’s could win many more games than people are predicting, including myself.

This team has potential if the moves they have made pay off. They could make the playoffs as a wild card. Sadly it is more likely that they will finish right around .500 because not every move can always pay off.

Player(s) to Watch: Sonny Gray and Billy Burns

5th Place: Los Angeles Angels

Courtesy of: en.wikipedia.org

Courtesy of: en.wikipedia.org

I know many of you have been wondering where this team would be. I can tell you right now that this team is vastly overrated because of two players, Mike Trout (he is not overrated, just the team) and Albert Pujols (he is overrated). They will have a bad year for many reasons, one being money and two being the lack of any prospects. This is normally any team’s nightmare. When you have all your money sunk into just a few players and no prospects that means rough years are heading your way and I think that starts this year.

The outfield of Daniel Nava, Craig Gentry, Mike Trout and Kole Calhoun is just not good. Left Field will be platooned by Nava and Gentry and neither of them are all that great. Trout is obviously one of the best players in baseball so no matter what else I say, much of it does not apply to him. Calhoun is solid but, it seems as though he has already reached his best. I think that last year will be the best year he ever has which again is not bad but, left much to be desired.

The infield is a train wreck outside of Andrelton Simmons. Yunel Escobar is decent but, nothing great. Johnny Giavotella is serviceable at best. CJ Cron is a similar player to Calhoun except he plays first base. Albert Pujols is one of the best players ever and he hit 40 bombs last year but, he is still a huge chunk of their payroll and he can’t carry teams like he used to. Simmons is a wizard on the field and is improving at the plate. The problem is that the Angels gave up so much to get him and for what reason? They will not be good this year. These kinds of moves are made by GM’s and Front Offices who are afraid to lose their jobs. Lastly Carlos Perez and Giovanni Soto are behind the plate and are decent at best. Perez is young and has some potential but, I would not count on him for much.

The rotation is not terrible but, there are many questions left unanswered. CJ Wilson is having shoulder problems which means it is just swollen and he isn’t out for very long or, it means surgery and he is out for quite awhile. Garret Richards has the potential to be solid but, I just do not know if he has what it takes to be the Ace for a team. 2014 was a great year for him but, 2015 was average. Alex Heaney was a top prospect for the Marlins and has been traded around a bit. If, and I really do mean if, he can pull it all together he could be a nice young player. I just have not seen enough of him to be convinced that he will be able to. Santiago and Shoemaker are not bad but, they are not playoff caliber players and Jared Weaver is in the twilight of his career.

The bullpen has even more questions than the rotation. How much longer can Street be this good? He and Joe Smith are the only good players in a very average bullpen. Will anyone step up? Does their depleted farm system have a diamond in the rough? They do not have the money to go out and get anyone and their farm system is atrocious.

The Angels are heading into what could be a long string of bad years. They will need to try and dump contracts near the trade deadline to try and revamp this team. They have no money and a bad farm system. All of this spells impending doom for a once great franchise. They may be in the hunt near the beginning of the year but, eventually I think it will all fall apart. The worst part about this is that they cannot blame it on injuries. As of now Wilson is their only injury problem. This could be the year the Angels start to fall apart.

Player to Watch: Mike Trout (Who else?)

My Top 10 Video Games of All Time

Courtesy of, www.reddit.com

Courtesy of, www.reddit.com

I have been an avid gamer for many years. Video games have brought me much joy over those years and many of them for very different reasons. They are what I do to relax. They have allowed for me to expand my mind and become much more creative. They have also driven my love for history and strategy. Overall I feel like video games have had a very positive impact on my life.

Making this list was not an easy task. Because I have played so many games in my life it is hard to just narrow them down to 10. This will not be a list of similar games mind you. This is a list of games spanning different genres and many different gaming systems.

These are games that I have spent countless hours on and I love them all for very different reasons. Here is my top 10 games of all time:

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