Chris Harris ACL Injury will take Toll on Broncos defense

The Denver Broncos will be heading against Tom Brady’s New England
Patriots in the AFC title without Chris Harris. After an MRI it was
confirmed on Monday that Harris has a torn anterior cruciate ligament
(ACL).

Last Sunday’s game between Denver Broncos and San Diego Chargers in
which the Broncos won 24-17, Chris Harris left the game due to a knee
and ankle injuries.

The Broncos have dealt with a lot of injuries on their defensive on
their way to the AFC Championship Game, the injury of cornerback Chris
Harris will add to their injury problems and could affect them
greatly. Harris is the fifth important defensive contributor to go
down. It was clearly evident when the Broncos nearly collapsed after
Harris left the game in the 3rd quarter. Before he was injured, the
Broncos shut out the Chargers while allowing just 1.54 yards a pass
play. They took a 17-0 lead into the fourth quarter. After he left the
game Broncos gave up 9.67 yards a pass play and allowed 17 points.
Chargers’ quarterback Philip Rivers capitalized on it to stage a
comeback, too bad for them Peyton Manning saved the Broncos from the
brink of another epic collapse and sent them into the title game for
the first time in eight seasons.

Manning converted a 20-yard pass to Julius Thomas on third-and-17 from
his 20-yard line. He also hit Thomas on third-and-6 from his 45, then
the Broncos hit the dagger on Knowshon Moreno’s 5-yard burst on
third-and-1 with 1:12 left. They did what needs to be done in the
offense in the fourth.

Mike Adams said that the effect of losing Harris was obvious “When
Chris went down, things started to unravel a little bit on the back
end.”

Denver Broncos would need to think long and hard on their replacement
options for Harris. Champ Bailey would be a good choice, he played as
a slot cornerback since his return from sprained left foot.

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Madden 25 – A First Look

As many of you know, I love the game of football and I love video games. But while I do love these two things individually, I’ve learned that they shouldn’t always go together.

Yes, Im talking about Madden 25 newly released from my favorite corporate swindlers and yours.. EA Sports.

download

But let’s not stand on ceremony here, Madden is one of the greatest video games of all time, sports or otherwise. It’s long standing lineage and success story dates back to when Reagan was still in office.

It’s a great game that can be taken as an arcade game, or played straight and sim-like, which truly is what is great about the game.

However, it’s been quite a while since EA has released anything that truly deserves your hard earned money. And with the newest release and a few hours of Madden 25, I don’t see this trend changing anytime soon.

The fact is EA stopped caring… long long ago. I’d say in 2003 or so is when they stopped caring. Why you ask? Well they didn’t need to with exclusive rights to the NFL and NCAA, they are the only game in town per se.

And with a game like Madden whose replay value is zero as soon as the football calender year winds down, EA knows where it’s bread is buttered. And trust me, they have done nothing to buck convention or jeopardize the cash cow that is Madden football.

So many people ask me, is this year’s Madden any good?

Let’s break down the game by category for those curious.

Gameplay

Madden 14…. err Madden 25 really seems like the developers at EA took the horrible broken game that was Madden 13 and simply put more glitz and polish on it. At it’s very core, the gameplay is exactly the same as previous years, which really is the issue with many Madden fans forking over 60 dollars for a roster upgrade.

fc1

The increased defensive backfield intelligence that foiled the crossing routes and spread formations in Madden 13 have been taken away.

Plays like the Falcon Cross and Spread Slot Cross are still as deadly as ever and cannot be stopped against a skilled offensive player with decent stick skills.

Defensive players and defense as a whole has taken yet another step in the wrong direction. For the life of me I cannot figure out players who pick teams with loaded defensive fronts, because they cannot generate much of a rush without blitzing or nano blitzing anyway.

An average player can reliably be trusted to complete over 70% of their passes and rack up the score with the best of them. Sadly none of these numbers seem like the gameplay has evolved into something that actually drive the game but instead unfairly punish the player to create a sense of realism.

Simply put, without the game’s horrible pass interference detection or quirky methods in which the receiver drops the ball, many players would just destroy the computer on it’s default AI settings. Many a time you will see your receiver, star or not, drop a pass for some unknown reason, regardless of how routine the pass or play may seem.

In other words, the game decides for you when you are doing too well and punishes you to create a sense of realism.

NO RAHIM!!!!!

Football is a game played by human beings, and while we are completely capable of making mistakes ( ask Rahim Moore ) there’s not enough humanity in the AI for Madden 25 to be believable/

Defensive pass interference is still as broken as ever, and defensive backs can still “sense” the ball without ever turning their heads to locate it first. Chris Houston may be the greatest cornerback in the NFL if he were gifted with this physic ability.

I’ll get to the “new” additions to this year’s version of the game towards the end of this review, and if you think they are a waste of time for the most part… you are right.

Sound 

Not much to see here, with some obvious musical staples and classic sports crowd songs such as AC/DC’s “Thunderstruck” and Guns N’ Roses’ “Welcome to the Jungle.” Madden 25 stays the course on the music front.

However the new booth duo of Jim Nantz and Phil Simms are horrible if not comedic. The same issues that have plagued the Madden series after John Madden stepped down continue.

Boring generic staples, odd insight and constant contradictions make you want to either cover your ears or reach for your nearest set of earplugs.

As with Collinsworth and what’s his face, these two are not watching the same game you are playing. Broadcast booth is something that the next version of Madden should take a little more seriously, because it’s becoming something of a joke.

Menus 

I had a serious problem with last year’s Madden and their so called “Connected Career Modes” and this year does nothing to change that.

madden25menu

Clunky menu options, long load times and far far far too many options make navigating around the Madden menu a chore.

Play FIFA or NHL counterparts and you will quickly see the huge contrast in styles and efficiency.

Cmon EA… your fans deserve better than this.

Whats new

Run Free – At first I hated this new gimmick and likened it to the failure that was “Run to Daylight” in a previous incarnation of Madden. By pressing down the left trigger and pressing a corresponding button, you can make the ball carrier execute a set of spins, trucks or stiff arms.

At first I thought this was nothing more than a paltry gimmick, but the more I’ve played with it the more I realize that this is actually a pretty nifty control set for those who like to run the ball. ( not me in other words )

Defensive Heat Seeking lock on

This sounds as dumb as it is in execution, because now as a defensive player you can hold down the right stick when you are near the carrier and the CPU will automatically square the defender up.

While this may be useful to the neophyte Madden player, it’s really just another gimmick by EA to fool you into thinking they have done some actual work on the game.

For those who know how to tackle and how to lay a big hit on a ball carrier, I guarantee you will forget this feature even exists.

Madden Share 

You can now share your rosters, tweaked files and classes of rookies using this new sharing option. Unfortunately it’s existed in a previous version, and it’s something the fans have long clamored for ( remember when you still had to manually enter rookie names for the incoming draft class? That’s true love of football.) and so I can’t give EA praise for something that really belongs in the game to begin with.

So in closing Madden 25 is a very solid game with very solid fundamentals and awesome replay value. The problem is you can say any year’s version of Madden in that sentence and be completely correct, and that’s the issue.

Nothing is new, nothing is different, nothing has really changed outside of names and numbers on the roster and the fact that I forked over 60 dollars to play this game… again.

Happy playing!

The Return of the S16?

I’ll admit I was a little more than disappointed when Nissan initially denied any rumor to the S-Chassis returning as a smaller, slimmer version of the 370Z to compete with the Toyobaru twins.

I never get tired of the S15

Many Nissan fans didn’t like the news that Nissan though of the Juke as a suitable replacement in the subcompact sports car class.

hmmm..

In 1996 Nissan unveiled the Urge, a six speed rear wheel drive roadster that was a few years to late to the game.

With Chevy and other manufacturers clamoring to replicate the success of the lightweight rear wheel drive Toyabaru twins, it only seems logical for Nissan to bring back something that’s long been a staple of their company.

In the fall of 2012, Nissan design director Shiro Nakamura talked Austrailian based automotive magazine Drive and hinted to the possibility of a lightweight rear wheel drive coupe.

Hinting to the possibility that Nissan may consider downsizing its sports cars, including possibly a sub-compact 370Z model got enthusiasts excited. He also revealed that the next version of the Nissan Z may not have a higher displacement motor than the current one.

“I much prefer smaller sports cars,” Nakamura said. “With 370Z, we still don’t know if the next-generation will have a smaller or larger engine.”

Besides the possibility of a smaller engine, Nakamura said reducing the weight of the next Z car is a priority and all other future Nissan sports cars will be lightweight.

As well as dropping hints to the next Nissan Z, Nakamura also spoke about the possible return of the Silvia, otherwise known in the States as the 240SX. Nakamura was notably coy when pressed for details from Drive Magazine, could this really be in the works at Nissan?

“I cannot say,” Nakamura said, “A light, sport coupe is a nice concept, I like it.” he would continue after reinforcing the fact that he was a huge fan of the lightweight rear wheel drive platform.

With the 350Z, 370Z, and the Skyline GT-R, could Nissan support all the different platforms and vehicles as well as possibly add the new 240SX to rival the FR-S and BRZ under the same performance moniker?

According to Nakamura, yes. “If there is a market, we will do it,” Nakamura said.

Rumors are abound regarding the MR engine and many have projected it’s use as a 1.8L powerplant. Question is will that be enough to hang with the likes of the new FR-S, BRZ and STi flagships that have recently been released?

If there’s any clue to the temperature of the “market” and the willingness of Chevy and other domestic manufacturers to join the lightweight rear wheel drive coupe race, we could see the S16 make a triumphant return.

Ovechkin’s defense under the microscope…again

stockspyder:

Way to backcheck there Ovi!

Originally posted on ProHockeyTalk:

After Game 3, it was the way he defended (or didn’t defend) Ryan McDonagh at the point prior to the Rangers’ game-winner by Derek Stepan.

Now, after Game 4, it was his effort (or lack thereof) in trying to stop Stepan’s second game-winner in a row.

Following is the goal. You decide if Alex Ovechkin’s defensive play deserves to be ridiculed this morning on Deadspin.

[nbcsports_video src=http://www.youtube.com/embed/ZkuYHbKEuZw service=youtube width=590 height=332]

It doesn’t look good, especially in GIF form.
Derek Stepan goal Capitals/Rangers 5/8/2013 - Created at yt2gif.com

But Capitals blog Russian Machine Never Breaksputs the blame on the other Caps on the ice, calling Ovechkin’s late straight-legged appearance a “bad visual, but that’s all.”

Ovechkin’s a winger, so Stepan — a center — wouldn’t normally be his responsibility. (Wingers take the point men.)

And perhaps Ovechkin figured he was way too late to get to Stepan anyway. Which he probably was.

And hey, at least he got a…

View original 28 more words

2012 NFCDG – Falcons beat Seahawks?

Finally… the monkey is off the collective backs of Matt Ryan and Mike Smith with a strong win over arguably the hottest team in the NFC in the Seattle Seahawks.

As the Falcons prepare for the upcoming game against the San Francisco 49ers though, I have more questions about this win than answers. More on that later.

For now, enjoy a montage of gif action, compiled by AF.com and TheScore.

Love this play… The Real Beast was Jacquizz Rodgers on this play running over Earl Thomas

The win was uncharacteristically sloppy in regards to penalties, expect Mike Smith to clean that up before the NFCCG.

One of my favorite sequences was this one, featuring Richard Sherman and Roddy.

This guy has talent, but he’s also got a huge mouth and zero class.

Sherman made a few key plays during the game, especially on the deflection on an early game Roddy White target in the endzone. Matt Ryan delivered the ball late, allowing Sherman to catch up to the play and deflect a sure touchdown.

Sherman let Roddy have it, talking trash the entire way until this play.

notice Sherman “falling down” as ball arrives…

Of course… Roddy being Roddy, made sure to tell Sherman that yes, indeed he had caught the ball.

Love it.. you are down 20-0 just gave up a huge touchdown and you do the golf clap. #dontgetit

Sherman didn’t impress me much, he was abused several times by Roddy White.

The 5 yard touchdown to Snelling. Notice the Julio Jones decoy.

A look at the 5 yard misdirection shovel pass by Ryan… I really do love the fact that DK uses Julio so effectively as a decoy, but maybe it’s time to use him a little more than that?

Gonzalez with the huge touchdown in the 1st quarter. So happy for TG.

Unfortunately, Abraham re-injured his ankle early in the second quarter and did not return. He’ll need to get healthy quick to help a subpar pass rush, although with Colin Kaepernick coming to town, pass rush may not be as important as it is with traditional pocket passers.

containing Kaepernick is crucial

I’ll be back later with more preview of Falcons – Niners, and hopefully the Falcons heading to NO for the Super Bowl.

Rise Up.

How to Choose Your Cam.. Duration, Overlap and more.

Choosing performance cams can often seem like a difficult task for many, considering the many variables that can apply to any one camshaft profile or application. I’ve seen too many cars with the wrong cam profile struggle on the dyno or even worse make their owners struggle with just driving.

Before choosing a cam however, don’t forget to remember what you are choosing the cam for; drag racing? road racing? any daily driver usage?

 

Let’s begin by tackling each term and what it means.

What is valve lift?

How far the cam opens the valves, when increasing lift you increase the length the valve opens, which will produce positive gains in airflow. Be careful when selecting your cam, as too much lift may cause valve float as you will see many manufacturers list recommendations for upgraded springs, retainers or guides.

What is duration?

The amount of time that a valve is open, regardless of intake or exhaust and measured in degrees of crankshaft rotation for that period. What does this mean to you? It tells you what the cam’s potential is within a specific rpm range. Shorter duration cams provide low end torque, while longer duration cams allow for more top end flow.

For all the SOHC ninjas :)

What is overlap?

The amount of time that both exhaust and intake valves are open in any one cylinder at the same time. Usually this is close to Top Dead Center as the piston stroke begins down the bore and the exhaust valves must stay open until the piston pushed the gases out.

 

What is timing?

Enthusiasts most commonly mistake this term “timing” to ignition timing when it comes to valvetrain events. Trust me, this happens way too often to make any sense.

What is camshaft timing? It’s what you can adjust when you have an adjustible cam gear, that will allow you to alter the timing events.

When you advance the camshaft timing, you are making the intake valve open sooner which will give you more low end torque. As always, when advancing or retarding the camshaft timing you must be conscious of the safety window in piston-valve clearance as to avoid a “catastrophic” event.

Retarding the camshaft timing will delay the intake closing and keeps the intake valve open for longer. This is one of the oldest tricks in the book for turbo Eclipses, Talons and Lasers in the mid-90s by selecting just one exhaust cam and retarding it to -5.

EPSON DSC picture

By retarding the one exhaust cam you could sacrifice idle quality for some terrific top end by holding the intake valve open to move the overlap higher in the powerband.

This is a shot of my old 1999 Mitsubishi Eclipse Spyder, before AWD conversion, retarded negative -5 on the exhaust cam and putting down 395 to the wheels @ 22 psi on 91 octane, extremely reliable.

Of course in today’s age of variable valve timing in everything, many of these older tricks are not needed to generate huge amounts of power without sacrificing idle and start response. In the mid 90s however, you weren’t doing that unless you had a turbo VTEC motor, which had it’s own set of problems in that era.

Increasing the duration is increasing the amount of time the valve is open, therefore helping the engine effectively fill the cylinders and produce power. Many camshaft profiles maximize flow by opening the exhaust cam extremely early in the cycle, increasing exhaust output and increasing the exhaust valve fully open when the exhaust stroke begins. During the power stroke, the burning fuel has used about 80 percent of its available force on the piston by the time the crank has turned 90 degrees.

The bottom half of the power stroke actually provides very little in terms of engine power, and it can be better used to help exhaust the combustion chamber so that there is more efficient cylinder filling on the intake stroke.

Meanwhile a more aggressive profile with higher lift velocities will shorten the duration which will help power, but narrow the powerband.

What is LSA?

Lobe separation angle is the number of degrees between the centerlines of the intake and exhaust lobes on any one cam. The lower the LSA, the more overlap you create while increasing the separation decreases overlap.

Remember to avoid the most common mistake, and that’s going with the most aggressive cam available only because “It sounds so badass” An overly aggressive long duration cam may sound cool at idle, but will give you a very top heavy and small window of power in the rpm range.

Add to that equation the idle, emissions and starting issues, and you can quickly see how a mistake in cam selection can ruin your enjoyment with your car. Which isn’t the point… right?

In the end, choosing a cam that’s right for you is a big part of your performance equation. If you have any more questions, feel free to shoot me an email or post below! As always, if in doubt ask your nearby tuner in your area!

Happy shopping!

How to Dyno Tune your VTEC Honda

Many people ask me questions about dyno tuning their Hondas, both in N/A and boosted applications. With the advent of affordable engine management in this day and age, it makes sense to see many people taking the power of their PCM into their own hands.

As with any dyno session, your car should be in perfect running condition and with all fluids, wires and hoses checked. A dyno should be NO LESS dangerous than if you were to go WOT down the street yourself, always remember that.

Here are my step by step processes to dialing in your VTEC Honda.

A. Dial in your VTEC crossover point.

If you have a Hondata or VTEC Controller, now would be a good time to set your VTEC switchover point to redline, or close enough to it.

Make one dyno pull in third gear, and determine the highest rpm in which the hp tails off without the engine entering VTEC. Set your VTEC crossover point to 300 rpm before this point for your optimal VTEC engagement point.

We take a look at our Project Fit’s dyno plot for a close look at what we are talking about.

Using this example, we set our VTEC engagement point to 300 rpm just before the hp begins to fall off. Some use torque as a better starting point, the preference is up to you of course.

B. Move on to Low throttle settings or STFT

You can opt to do one of 2 things here, either do the mathematical equation for injector sizing and dial down the fuel  map accordingly, or do it on the fly.

I prefer to set a baseline using the injector sizing equation, and then dialing it in on the fly from there. With a stoichmetric mixture as a target ratio, 14.7:1 is what we are aiming for, most importantly at highway speeds.

i.e. when your stock injectors are 440cc and you upgrade to 750cc injectors, your base low throttle setting should be -40% of the base tune in question.

Now with your baseline dialed in, you can move forward to tuning your Wide Open Throttle ( WOT ).

If you are not familiar with what size injectors you run, or are confused by my usage of #lb injectors or XXXcc injectors, use this conversion chart below.

Conversion Formulas

To convert cc / min to lbs. / hr. – Divide by 10.5
To convert lbs. / hr to gal. / hr. – Divide by 6
To convert cc / min to gal. / hr. – Multiply by .015873

Remember to maintain or bring your STFT as close to zero as humanly possible to prevent your PCM into tripping a rich condition or limp mode. For more information on STFT, try looking at my How to Tune Your Super AFC writeup.

C. Dialing in your Wide Open Throttle.

You can now initiate a baseline pull in 3rd gear ( or 4th for you boosted cheaters ) and identify where the torque curve begins to fall in contrast to your rpm. This will be the target rpm for your fuel controller to modify to extract the maximum power from your vehicle safely.

Now using a wideband sniffer ( preferably ) lay the A/F curve vs the rpm/torque plot to see where you need to enrichen or lean out the fuel mixture. Be aware of what target A/F or Lambda reading you are aiming for, this will depend on what kind of power adders you have on the car and what you are aiming to do with the tune.

Now comes the balancing act of IPW ( Injector Pulse Width ) and injector duty vs how much fuel is available to you at what time. Your main goal is to create a broad torque powerband without heavily taxing your IPW or duty cycles.

Remember that 80% duty cycle is a industry standard, anything about that mark and I start getting worried. Call me paranoid.

For most all motor setups, our ideal air/fuel mixture is 13.5:1 to create a safety window in which the vehicle can perform without worry. For turbo or boosted applications, anywhere from 11.5:1 to 11:1 will be your target depending on how much load you are putting on the motor and how high your duty cycles currently are.

Next up : How to dial in your vehicle’s overlap and ignition timing.

Happy Tuning!