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Best sports posters from your childhood

Unathletic put together a post of the five best posters that kids had across the country. In other words, the five best sports posters from the ’80s (and ’90s). Check out their list and then see my favorites after the jump.

Michael Jordan “Dunk Contest”

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Secondary pitches will keep Chapman in big leagues – not 105 mph fastball

LOUISVILLE, KY - APRIL 16: Aroldis Chapman #51 of the Louisville Bats is pictured before the game against the Columbus Clippers at Louisville Slugger Field on April 16, 2010 in Louisville, Kentucky. The game was cancelled due to bad weather (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

I love the Reds’ decision to call up Aroldis Chapman for the stretch run. Why not bring him up? First of all, the kid has posted a 2.40 ERA and 49 strikeouts in the minors over 30 innings after being converted into a reliever. Cincinnati also gave him a six-year, $30 million contract last winter so let’s see what he can do.

But while his fastball (which was reportedly clocked at 105 mph last Friday) has garnered the most attention, it will be his secondary pitches that will help the Reds now, and subsequently keep him in the big leagues for good.

It doesn’t matter how hard a pitcher throws – major league hitters are going to catch up at some point. If a hitter doesn’t have to worry about a player’s secondary pitches, then they’ll just sit dead red on the fastball and drive it into the gap.

That’s not to suggest that a fastball isn’t important because it is, of course. But when hitters have other pitches to worry about, then a 105 mph fastball may as well be 205 mph.

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2010 NFL Preview: AFC East Predictions

New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady calls a play against the New Orleans Saints in the first quarter of their NFL pre-season football game in Foxborough, Massachusetts August 12, 2010.  REUTERS/Brian Snyder  (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT FOOTBALL)

2010 NFL Division Previews & Predictions: AFC East | AFC North | AFC South | AFC West | NFC East | NFC North | NFC South | NFC West | 2010 Question Marks Series

The AFC East is arguably the most difficult division to predict because the Patriots, Jets and Dolphins all have enough talent to claim the top spot but all three also have huge question marks that could hold them back.

The Bills, on the other hand…not so hard to predict. (Sorry Buffalo fans.)

Here’s how I see things shaking out in the AFC East this season. Be sure to check out the link entitled “2010 Question Mark” under each team’s preview, which is a breakdown of one or two potential weaknesses that could derail that squad’s hopes in 2010.

1. Patriots

What to Like: Wes Welker is apparently healthy, which is a great sign for Tom Brady and the rest of the Pats’ offense. Although they failed to recapture the magic they had in 2007, the offense ranked third in the NFL in yards per game, sixth in total points and eighth in third down percentage. Along with Welker and Randy Moss, Brady will also have talented rookie tight end Aaron Hernandez to throw to in the passing game and Julian Edelman proved when filling in for Welker last season that he can be productive as well.
What Not to Like: It appears that the pass rush, or lack thereof, will be a massive concern all season. It was a concern heading into the offseason, it’s been a concern thus far in preseason and it’s going to remain a concern unless guys step up. Granted, Tully Banta-Cain is coming off a career year and rookie Jermaine Cunningham has potential, but Derrick Burgess needs to stay motivated and be productive. If he doesn’t and Banta-Cain can’t put up the numbers he did last year then Bill Belichick’s defense could suffer at every level. There’s also the very real concern that starting left guard Logan Mankins will skip the entire season because of a contract despite, meaning promising but inexperienced tackle Sebastian Vollmer will be inserted into the starting lineup.
Keep an Eye On: Darius Butler
In five starts last season, Butler had three inceptions and although he was inconsistent in coverage and needs to cut down on penalties, he could blossom into a star this season. He has already become a leader in the locker room.
The Final Word: Even though the offense stalled in the second half of some games last season, it will still be tough to stop this team a weekly basis. Plus, after struggling to a 2-6 record on the road last season, the Pats will face only two 2009 playoff teams away from Foxboro this year. In fact, six of the 2009 playoff teams they face this year will have to come to New England, which is obviously a major advantage. I think given the problems that the rest of the teams have in the division, the Pats will once again come out on top, although this is far from a Super Bowl team in my eyes.

New England Patriots 2010 Question Mark: Pass Rush

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Offensive line has emerged as the Dolphins biggest issue

MIAMI - JANUARY 4:  Jake Long #77 of the Miami Dolphins looks on while sitting on the bench during an AFC Wild Card playoff game against the Baltimore Ravens on January 4, 2009 at Dolphin Stadium in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

Merry preseason, everyone. It’s been a long offseason, but football is finally gearing up again and to celebrate I’m rolling out a new series on TSR entitled “2010 NFL Question Marks,” where I discuss one or two of the biggest concerns that teams have heading into the new season. Granted, some teams have more issues than others, but I’ll primarily be focusing on the biggest problem areas. Today I’ll be discussing the issues the Dolphins have had on their O-line thus far in preseason.

Had I wrote this piece before the preseason started, I would have written it about the Dolphins’ free safety position. But considering how good Chris Clemons has looked this offseason, it would be a reach to say that safety will be a big issue for Miami in 2010. (Especially when the ultra-productive Yeremiah Bell remains the starter at strong safety.)

After watching their first three preseason games, the biggest question the Dolphins’ faithful should have is what happened to the offensive line? Once considered a strength because of how well the team could run the ball, Miami’s O-line has be incredibly suspect thus far.

Jake Long and Vernon Carey remain entrenched at the tackle positions, while Richie Incognito and John Jerry are the projected starters at left and right guard, respectively. Joe Berger is slated to start at center after beating out Jake Grove this offseason.

The biggest problem is at the two guard positions, where Incognito and Jerry haven’t been good in pass protection or run blocking. Both are getting shoved backwards at the snap, which is troubling considering the Dolphins signed Incognito this offseason because of his power and drive in the running game.

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Is pass defense still the Lions’ biggest concern?

SEATTLE - NOVEMBER 08:  Safety Louis Delmas #26 of the Detroit Lions returns an interception for 29 yards against the Seattle Seahawks on November 8, 2009 at Qwest Field in Seattle, Washington. The Seahawks defeated the Lions 32-20. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)

Merry preseason, everyone. It’s been a long offseason, but football is finally gearing up again and to celebrate I’m rolling out a new series on TSR entitled “2010 NFL Question Marks,” where I discuss one or two of the biggest concerns that teams have heading into the new season. Granted, some teams have more issues than others, but I’ll primarily be focusing on the biggest problem areas. Today I’ll be discussing the huge issues the Lions still have in their secondary.

A year ago, it was easy to spot the Lions’ biggest weakness, as their offensive line was an absolute mess. But after a productive 2009 campaign and a couple of offseason additions, Detroit’s O-line is no longer an issue.

Now the concern shifts to a secondary that received an offseason makeover, but remains the Lions’ biggest question mark after a dismal performance in 2009.

Last year, Detroit finished dead last in passing yards allowed, yielding 265.6 yards per game. The poor play of the defensive backfield contributed to the defensive unit giving up 30.9 points per content and over 6,000 total yards.

To address the issue, the Lions traded for former second round pick Chris Houston, whom Atlanta had given up on after signing big-money free agent Dunta Robinson. Houston has an impressive skill set and enough talent to make him a No. 1 corner, but he has yet to put it all together for an entire season.

The biggest issue with the former Arkansas product is that he always seems to put himself in position to make the play, but rarely does. He has great speed and is a physical corner, but he’s at his worst when the ball is in the air. He fell out of favor last season in Atlanta because he had major trouble locating the ball when it was in the air and making a play on it. In fact, 66% of the passes thrown his way were completed, which is a staggering number to say the least. That said, if he ever lives up to his potential he’s going to be a solid player.

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