ROSENBERG: Patience, for now, is paying off

September 29, 2012 

rosenberg

Stu Rosenberg.

HENRY B. KOSKO — Modesto Bee

There might just be something to this patience thing after all.

Winless after two weeks and sprinting toward irrelevance, I needed somebody, anybody, to step up and provide my team with a Red Forman-sized kick in the pants.

Tony Romo and Marques Colston didn’t get the memo, but Darren McFadden, Michael Turner and Heath Miller did, and it was their combined efforts that helped me break into the win column for the first time in Week 3 and, at least temporarily, restore hope to my universe.

McFadden’s breakout game, particularly his electrifying first touchdown run of the season, was the highlight of the weekend at the Casa de Rosenberg.

As my sons and I parked ourselves in front of the TV before the Raiders-Steelers game, I began to lament my team’s early struggles, which quickly turned into an impassioned history lesson in what it was like to be a Raiders fans in the 1970s and early ’80s, a time when every game was a must-see event that seldom disappointed.

Just as I finished delivering my sermon on Mount Plunkett, off went McFadden, knifing his way through the Pittsburgh defense, then sprinting 64 yards for a score that had all three of us hopping around the living room like lunatics. I almost shed a tear when our volume drove my wife to close the bedroom door, for it took me back to when Dad, Uncle Brian and I, then a junior moron, did the exact same thing 30 years earlier.

Like the Raiders, I will only go as far as McFadden takes me, so I was more than a little relieved to finally see my horse strut his stuff. And though I still worry about Turner becoming the forgotten man in Atlanta’s pass-happy attack, it was comforting to see him find another gear and pound his way to some big runs and into the end zone for the second straight week.

While my big guns finally got it in gear, other owners are still waiting to see signs of life from their brand-name disappointments.

And there hasn’t been a bigger disappointment than Tennessee’s Chris Johnson.

The former 2,000-yard rusher and perennial first-round draft pick hasn’t been able to outrun a 3-year-old on a Big Wheel through the season’s first three games, rushing for 45 yards in 33 attempts, which ranks him second on the Titans behind quarterback Jake Locker (67 yards).

Johnson’s owners find themselves in the same awkward place I was last week with McFadden and Turner — getting nothing from the player with the biggest say in their fate and unable to hit the eject button because 1) he could go off at any moment and 2) he wouldn’t bring much more in return than a warm Fresca at this point.

My advice to Johnson’s owners is to stay the course. It might not be a bad idea to chain him to your bench for a week or two until it appears his shoelaces are no longer knotted together — and a Week 4 date with a hard-nosed Texans defense doesn’t exactly inspire confidence that this is his week to snap out of his funk — but don’t give him away, as sharks are surely circling the waters at this point, anxious to see just how little you’ll take in return.

Worth a look

While passing remains the name of the game in Detroit, second-year back Mikel LeShoure could make running the ball a bigger part of the Lions’ plans in 2012.

LeShoure, a second-round pick in 2011 who missed his rookie season with a torn Achilles tendon and was suspended for the first two games this season, put himself on the fantasy radar last week in his NFL debut by rushing for 100 yards and a TD while catching 4 passes for 34 yards in the Lions’ 44-41 overtime loss at Tennessee.

LeShoure was a limited participant in practice this week with a strained groin and is listed as questionable for today’s game against Minnesota, though all signs point to him playing against the Vikings in a key NFC North matchup.

If you’re thin at running back and looking for a jolt, LeShoure could provide it if he becomes an integral part of Detroit’s offense.

My Week 4 lineup — QB: Tony Romo (Bears); RB: Darren McFadden (at Broncos) and Michael Turner (Panthers); WR: Marques “Do Something” Colston (at Packers) and Miles Austin (Bears); TE: Fred “Let’s Try This Again” Davis (at Bucs); K: Sebastian Janikowski (at Broncos); D/ST: Texans (Titans).

Top 20 Preview

Just for giggles and grins, here’s my top 20 player rankings entering the 2013 baseball season:

1. OF Ryan Braun, 2. 3B Miguel Cabrera, 3. OF Mike Trout, 4. 1B Albert Pujols, 5. OF Josh Hamilton, 6. OF Matt Kemp, 7. 2B Robinson Cano, 8. OF Andrew McCutchen, 9. 1B Joey Votto, 10. C Buster Posey, 11. OF Carlos Gonzalez, 12. P Justin Verlander, 13. Of Adam Jones, 14. 3B Adrian Beltre, 15. P Clayton Kershaw, 16. SS Troy Tulowitzki, 17. 1B Prince Fielder, 18. P David Price, 19. 2B Ian Kinsler, 20. 3B/OF Jose Bautista.

Bee fantasy sports columnist Stu Rosenberg can be reached at srosenberg@modbee.com or 578-2300.

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