Baker Mayfield Has Officially Arrived (In The Lineup), And The Browns Are Officially Back (In The Win Column)
It happened. It finally happened.
The number 635 has been thrown around ad nauseam, as - prior to last night - that’s the depressing amount of consecutive times with which the sun had both risen and set on the city of Cleveland without it’s inhabitants having been able to celebrate a single victory for their professional football team.
However, the picture I’m looking at is much bigger than the conclusion of some near crippling, 21 month long drought from all things encouraging. After all, last night didn’t just provide Browns’ fans the long overdue ability to exhale the booziest of deep breathes. It also, for the first time in an amount of days that’s probably a hell of a lot closer to 6,035 (if not 60,035), gave them a glimpse at a passer who wore the healthiest shade of shit while performing as though his didn’t stink.
There’s plenty of reasons not to overreact to what Baker Mayfield was able to do by instantly injecting energy and optimism into literally everyone invested in a long suffering organization. It’s not like the Jets, who couldn’t even flog the Dolphins after blowing their load against the Lions, are particularly good. It’s not as though they had catered their game-plan to stopping a rookie quarterback who appeared in relief of someone whose arm talent is much more limited. It can definitely be argued that a defense that had grown accustomed to watching Tyrod Taylor over and under throw his receivers under the bus was lulled into a false of security that was soon after exploited by an opponent they didn’t expect to see.
All that being said, there’s even more reasons why we should slightly overreact to a half of football from someone who turned a Thursday night matchup between two teams that could ruin a wet dream, never mind a rookie quarterback, into must watch television. For one, that’s what we, as a football-viewing collective, always do whenever a first year quarterback doesn’t look as lost as a prepubescent freshman on the first day of high school. More importantly, however, the only thing stopping me from saying that Baker Mayfield immediately started making chicken salad out of chicken shit is that what he served up was much more appetizing to the eye than some mayo-based mess. Qualifying someone as a "winner" is a little vague for my tastes, but I'll be damned if you couldn't feel the momentum swing through the screen with each passing completion. In comparison to Sam Darnold (someone who was 11 days removed from being lauded for his work during a much less impressive introduction to the NFL), Baker Mayfield carried himself, and an offense that suddenly looked confident, like a seasoned veteran while leading a team whose veteran signal callers rarely last more than a season.
The truth is, Tyrod Taylor would have drop punted the ball on 2nd down if the alternative was to attempt the picture perfect throw that Baker Mayfield wired to a well-covered Jarvis Landry in bringing the Browns to the brink of evening things up. So yeah, it was just one game, but it was one game that was taken over by a player that certainly showed he belonged.
At the very least, I think we can say that, barring a catastrophe, there won't be any new names added to the back of a jersey that represents quarterback failures that go a lot further back than 2016. The Cleveland Browns might be something close to appointment television, and - as I live and breathe - the star of the show is actually under center. That's definitely something we couldn't have said yesterday afternoon.
Browns' Fans Cheered On Their New Kicker After He Successfully Booted A 40-Yard Field Goal During Warm-Ups
I guess there's two schools of thought here.
The first being that giving the new guy a round of applause before the game even starts only stands to make him feel more comfortable owning the leg that very well might end up be asked to boot the weight of nearly two straight years of weekly disappointment from the shoulders of an entire city. Just in the last week alone we've been given about four good reasons as to why the line between friend and foe is currently razor thin when it comes to kickers in Cleveland. At this very moment, if only for this very moment, Greg Joseph knows that he's on the affable side of it.
The second being that kicking field goals is a pressure-packed task that only stands to be enhanced in difficulty by a reminder of exactly how much you're being counted on to do so without fail. Greg Joseph couldn't even get off a practice kick, albeit a successful one, without being given a huge heads up from a half empty stadium that never before will the hopes of so many otherwise fatalistic fans have ridden on the swing of his leg. I don't think you decide to work two part-time jobs as a hero and/or scapegoat if you're mentally weak, but if the Browns new kicker needs his nerves calmed then The Dawg Pound ain't the place to be tonight.
At the half, Greg Joseph has a 45 yard field goal to his name, but also a a subsequent out of bounds flag on his record. Still too early to call whether or not the premature applause from Browns' fans was overly optimistic. However, with the newly inserted Baker Mayfield coming off the best 2-minute drive we've seen from a Cleveland quarterback since...well...maybe ever, we might just see the Jets' 14-3 lead shrink to a place in which the new guy either drowns in his own nervous sweat or floats off the field under the power of a team that hasn't won since 2016. Stay tuned.
The NHL's Suspension Of Max Domi Is Just As Cowardly As The Sucker Punch He Threw In Cutting Open Aaron Ekblad
The preseason? The WHOLE preseason? You mean, ALL the games that are of no consequence to someone whose spot on the roster is already solidified regardless?
Whew, I figured they would come down hard on the person who flipped out over a harmless shove, subtly de-gloved, and used a sucker punch to bloody the face of unwilling combatant who, as a (regular) seasoned veteran, was just trying to go through the motions of a contest that was virtually meaningless to the both of them. I just can't believe they decided on a suspension that oh-so-coincidentally lasts righhhhht up until the games start having actual ramifications. How is Max Domi ever going to condition himself for the season that matters if he can no longer skate around picking frivolous fights with whoever he so chooses during the "season" that doesn't? Oh, the horror!
Oh well, at least we can rest assured that the player who was completely illiterate to the lack of seriousness of the situation he was in when he popped an unsuspecting opponent in the mouth for almost no reason whatsoever will have definitely learned his lesson after having sat comfortably in a luxury suite and bullshitted his way through a couple practice games. After all, nothing sends the message that the league is serious about player safety quite like ensuring a player's safety up until the season opener, even if said player acted like a dangerous douchebag during his short preseason appearance.
In all seriousness though, can we suspend the members of the NHL's 'Department Of Player Safety' for the remainder of the preseason? If Max Domi is getting slapped on the wrist for being a complete coward then why shouldn't those whose balls shriveled up when it came time to put his ass on notice when he'd actually take notice not face a similarly insignificant punishment? Let's get some interns who aren't afraid to do the dirty work of making a tough decision in that office so that players know they can't just run around being scumbags without risking any real sacrifice throughout the month of September. You know, sort of like they do at the end of the season while knowing that their employer is too gutless to ever let a suspension carry over into the postseason.
I'm just spitballing here, but maybe they should have let Max Domi finish out the preseason and enforced his suspension to start the regular season. I'm no expert, but isn't making him feel as though he's missing out on something he actually cares the most important aspect of punishing someone for being a spineless prick? If nothing else, it seems like a better course of action than hoping that a few nights off during a rigorous training camp will somehow cleanse him of his inherited idiocy...
Jimmy Graham Took Aim At The Testicular Fortitude Of A Reporter Who Reported That Jimmy Graham Was Fined For Refusing To Give Him Anything To Report
I got to be honest, I hate this story. I just hate absolutely everything about this story. From a reporter being forced into coming off as a tattle-tale by doing his job, to the player - who took reporting as snitching, for some reason - acting like an internet tough guy in response to news that he created by running away from his responsibilities. There are no winners here, and that includes me, who feels like a loser for even commenting on this petty, meaningless nonsense.
All that being said, in a case in which manhood is being questioned, I feel as though someone needs to provide the answer as to which balls really need dropping. Unfortunately, that answer is not kind to someone who has been notoriously distant with the media since a lot more was made of his divisive departure from New Orleans than necessary.
As much I can understand why speaking to reporters can be a thankless chore in which your words can be used against you without context (and Jimmy Graham's, right or wrong, have been in the past), you can't talk about the state of another man's testicles after spending two months tucking yours and silently scuttling away. The truth is, nothing Rob Demovsky said about the Packers' tight end was defamatory. It was nothing more than facts of a matter that was created by the continued evasiveness of someone who didn't have the fortitude to say anything of note until he got behind the safety of a screen. If we're talking scrotums, those aren't exactly the actions of someone who is long enough in the shorts to be breaking out the tape measure on the groins of the grown men whose job he's actively made more difficult.
According To Mike Zimmer, An Official Told Vikings' Safety Andrew Sendejo That His Hit Was As Clean As Can Be...After Flagging Him For It
Mike Zimmer said on KFAN's "X's and O's" that safety Andrew Sendejo was told by an official at Green Bay that he was flagged for unnecessary roughness even though his form and delivery was correct by rules standards. "He (Sendejo) said, ‘What could I have done different?'" Zimmer said on KFAN. "He (the official) said ‘You did everything right. You couldn't have done anything different. They just want us to throw the flag.'" Zimmer said he placed a call to the league office to review the incident. Video replay of the hit shows Sendejo appearing to lead with his right shoulder on an open field tackle of Devante Adams after cornerback Xavier Rhodes had made initial contact with the receiver. (h/t ESPN)
First of all, I don't think that play was as clean as the referee apparently made it out to be. You can't go helmet to helmet with a guy who is already in the process of being tackled. While the hit itself is pretty irrelevant to the ridiculousness of the conversation that took place after it, that type of tackle, unlike many others, has been well-outlined as illegal.
Now, I understand why some might find it surprising that a full time official in the preeminent professional football league in the world would all but give a praiseful pat on the ass to a player while in the act of bending down to pick up the penalty flag that he has just thrown against him. It should be a bit shocking that the foremost authority on what's right and what's wrong openly admitted that the thing that was once the most right is now, by vague rule, wrong.
Unfortunately, I personally can't say that it is. You can make a good argument that this alleged interaction is an indictment of the NFL's decision to ease tackling out of tackle football to look as though, upon the arrival of a billion dollar lawsuit, they all the sudden care about the extent of the head injuries that occur during their sport. However, in my opinion, this is just more evidence to the already existing charge that the league is using up all the White-Out in trying to retroactively course correct.
A referee being forthright in saying that his job is to basically make sure every collision between freakishly athletic men moving at full speed that might look dangerous be disciplined by way of 15 yards puts quite the exclamation point on his employer's ineptitude. However, I envy the blissful ignorance of anyone that thought the NFL was doing anything other than shifting the burden of blame to both the players and the officials in trying to make their game safer by way of winging it.
On This Episode Of 'As The Basketball Bounces', A Beef Emerges Featuring Jimmy Butler, Andrew Wiggins, His Brother, And Stephen Jackson
Jimmy Butler asks for trade:
Andrew Wiggins' brother thanks the Lord for said upcoming trade:
Jimmy Butler responds to Andrew Wiggins and his brother:
Stephen Jackson randomly inserts himself, because...well...he's Stephen Jackson:
Andrew Wiggins responds to Stephen Jackson:
Stephen Jackson reminds Andrew Wiggins who he's talking to:
Stephen Jackson and Andrew Wiggins' brother (the two parties not in the NBA) continue to go back and forth:
I would be willing to bet that no one would have guessed that as the plot line to the season premiere of the soap opera that is the NBA, and that is why it's the best reality show running. I mean, even the most creative writer of basketball fan fiction couldn't have Mad Lib'd together a more random cast of characters. Andrew Wiggins' brother? Stephen Jackson? Who knew when that headline generating wheel got spun that it was set to land on something so fortunate!?
Anyway, it's only episode one and it already looks as though we are in for another hysterical year of drama, passive aggression, and the type of entertainment that sports' fans will never admit is only the removal of one round ball away from being fitting of the family of shamelessly narcissistic women that NBA players pass around on the side. It's only mid-September and we're already right back in the thick of petty things with a beef that was apparently just tossed in the middle of the yard for all NBA passer-bys to prey on. If nothing else, the Association sure knows how to organically drum up both a feeding frenzy and an appetite for intrigue.
Now, I don't know that I totally side with Jimmy Butler in this, as he seems like the kind of overly demanding co-worker that has everyone else talking trash about him behind his back at the work happy hour. To put it lightly, it doesn't speak greatly of a player's personality when someone randomly alleges that he may've boned a teammates' girlfriend out of on-court spite and it doesn't seem incredibly far fetched...
That said, I do love that in Jimmy Butler resides the old school mentality and attitude that some kids these days can't quite comprehend. He's close to being the last of a dying breed when it comes to working his balls off and actually saying whatever it is that he thinks, as opposed to inferring it on the internet...
That endears him to those whose athletic twilight is currently keeping the lights on for The Big 3, but it leaves those who were but a glimmer in their parents' eyes at the time in need of a coddling. There's just not a more volatile combination than the late first round pick who rounded himself into a star and a bust of a lottery pick, especially when the former sees the latter as an entitled waste of the talent he wishes he had.
Fortunately for the casual fan, that type of volatility attracts unexpected on-lookers and adds a little spice to the type of social media (ab)use that we will continue to eat up, as it satisfies our hunger for both basketball and it's shameless bullshit. The NBA news' cycle is about to speed up. However, as we sit here in the slow traffic of the offseason, I am now super excited to see whether or not Stephen Jackson catches Andrew Wiggins in it and teaches someone who doesn't truly respect the game a thing or two about respecting his elders. Hopefully we get an update during episode two.
Colorado's Mascot Had To Be Carted Off The Field After Shooting Himself Right In The Junk With The T-Shirt Cannon
And with that, a whole new meaning to 'Chip off the old block'.
While I'm sadistically happy with the results, I have absolutely no idea how you could put yourself in a position to pulverize your own penis with a handheld t-shirt cannon. I'm really trying to give as much benefit of the doubt as I can possibly give to a person overheating in the sun while dressed like a cartoonish buffalo. Unfortunately, I can't help but think that not putting yourself at risk of sniping the entirety of your own sac with a condensed souvenir has to be day one, lesson one of the type of mindless mascot training that's solely administered to avoid a lawsuit.
Malfunction or not, there's not even a bad reason to turn a bazooka that loads from the top on your unborn babies. Therefore, I find this impotently irresponsible use of the most friendly of firearm to be an even more glaring show of stupidity than looking down the barrel of a loaded gun, for at least the pain from that accident waiting to happen would come to an end quicker.
Honestly, even if it's just out of pity, let's give 'Chip' all of this year's Darwin Awards. Even though he managed to survive despite being incredibly unfit to do so, the sperm unto which he pulled the trigger on a death sentence definitely did not.
The Browns' Sideline Reporter Won't Be Working Thursday's Game As A Punishment For Arguing A Call With An Official On Sunday
I get that media members are expected to maintain some semblance of professionalism and objectivity while not making themselves a spectacle to the sport that they happen to be covering. That said, I can't help but think that Nathan Zegura is just the man for the job when it comes to covering the Cleveland Browns.
I totally understand slapping him on the wrist with a suspension of sorts, as officials have enough bullshit to deal with without being berated by reporters. Still I ask, who better to relay news to a fanbase that's somehow remained passionate through the pro sports' equivalent of prolonged purgatory than someone who is emotionally invested enough in that all-too-elusive win to bitch and moan on their behalf?
Nathan Zegura might be a tad rough around the edges professionally, but fanatically he seems like the perfect personality for a target audience that could no longer possibly care any less about how it gets it to celebrate something other than a draft pick for the first time in nearly two years. We've reached a point where I can't imagine there's even one single player, coach, executive, affiliate, or fan that has remained completely calm, cool, and collected throughout the most torturous of losing streaks. To know the Cleveland Browns is to be made borderline psychotic by the team that repeatedly shanked a sure win over to the Saints on Sunday. I'm pretty sure the former falls under the job description of their sideline reporter, even if ranting and raving at referees doesn't.
Chargers' Corey Liuget, Who Is Currently Serving A PED Suspension, Is Suing His Former Olympian Of A Trainer For Injecting Him With A Banned Substance
In most cases, I tend to be sympathetic towards NFL players when it comes to PED suspensions.
For one, the only thing that's more unnatural than the banned substances that lead to failed tests is the amount of pain and punishment inflicted on the human body during a professional football game. In a violent sport with a small earning window in which contracts will never be fully guaranteed, you simply won't find me all that offended by guys fueling themselves with whatever can get them back on the field faster.
Also, monitoring ever single thing that is put into your body is a lot easier said by those that can't strictly stick to a low-carb diet for three days than done by physical marvels who are forbidden to ingest even a trace of some otherwise unknown substance that's spelled with 16 consonants. With how random, vague, and overcomplicated the NFL tends to make things when it comes to policing their sport, I kind of feel for the guys that truly didn't intend to cross a blurry pharmaceutical line when prepping themselves for a pounding.
In this case, however, I feel like getting on my tippy toes to place my dwarfed hand on Corey Liuget's stone chiseled shoulder blade and saying "come on, man". That's not to say he wasn't unknowingly injected with a banned substance by a shady trainer, but it is to say that he should have had some suspicions about the methods of the person holding the syringe. Knowing the tainted history of international competition, an Olympian is just about the last person I would let near me with a needle.
How in the world are there dozens of professional athletes working with some skeevy dude who probably only skirted the system for years because no one cares about non-Jamaican bobsledders enough to suspect them of cheating? You never trust the judgement of those that have dedicated their entire lives to being the best of the best at obscure sports in which participation is incredibly uneasy, and that goes ten-fold when he/she is working with your blood.
If this allegation is true then I hope Corey Luiget gets his name cleared and the only thing that Ian Danney is at liberty to anti-inflame from here on out is his wallet. That said, we all need to be a bit better in looking sideways at those that committed their formative years to doing their competitive sledding against the clock, instead of against their friends.
Senators' GM Pierre Dorion Seemed Rather Perplexed When Asked To Say One Single Positive Thing About The Roster He Built
Against my better judgement, I'm willing to give Pierre Dorion the benefit of the doubt here. I'm sure there were more words that followed a defense of his dumpster fire that was literally the most literal answer ever given. Unfortunately, what I'm not willing to grant him is the assumption that any of those hypothetical words were more encouraging of Ottawa's outlook than "we're a team".
Admittedly, I'm no mind reader. That said, if only given the following still-shot to figure it out, I would've guessed that the man who just dumped a handful of pocket change into his prospect pool in exchange for a generational defenseman had his futile attempt at an optimistic answer interrupted by an off-screen, Final Destination-esque video foreshadowing his own death...
If that wasn't Pierre Dorion realizing there's no meaning to his miserable life while high on mushrooms then it was him getting caught looking straight down into the irrelevant abyss in which his franchise is set to plummet in just a few short weeks. I'm not sure I have ever seen anyone more physically overwhelmed by an open-ended question in my entire life, never mind one as simple as "just say SOMETHING nice about the group of professional athletes you've assembled...".
Those commentators couldn't have been made things any easier in putting one on a platter for him, and he proceeded to look as though he was paralyzed by the reflection of his own inept organization in said platter. I didn't think that anything could make me feel worse about the Ottawa Senators' future than seeing the return on the Erik Karlsson trade, and somehow - while making a puff appearance in between periods - their General Manager did just that with the pessimism of his prolonged silence.
A Superintendent In Texas, Who Presumably Became A Texans' Fan This Season, Accidentally Posted His Bitterness Towards Black Quarterbacks On Facebook
NYPost- Lynn Redden, superintendent of the Onalaska Independent School District, made the comment in reference to the final play of the Texans’ 20-17 loss on Sunday to the Tennessee Titans during which Watson held onto the ball before completing a pass to receiver DeAndre Hopkins as time expired, leaving no time to try a last-second, game-tying field goal.
“That may have been the most inept quarterback decision I’ve seen in the NFL,” Redden wrote on a Facebook post promoting a Houston Chronicle story about the game. “When you need precision decision making you can’t count on a black quarterback.”
But Redden didn’t realize that the post was public. He later deleted his comment and told the Chronicle he wishes he never shared that sentiment.
Redden, who oversees 1,130 students and 175 staffers as the district’s superintendent, did not immediately return a message seeking comment from The Post early Tuesday. He had not faced any discipline in connection with the remark as of Monday afternoon but told the Chronicle he understands how people may consider it to be racist.
Redden said he was referring to the statistical success of black quarterbacks in the NFL.
“Over the history of the NFL, they have had limited success,” he told the newspaper.
Rush Limbaugh, eat your goddamn heart out...
I want to say that even if I were the type of Texans' fan who was made to feel superior by tucking myself to sleep under a confederate flag blanket every night, I still would support Deshaun Watson at every twist and turn. Luckily, I'm not alone in that sentiment. Hell, even though the man who now employs him would rather him be led through the facility in a pair of handcuffs than see him take a knee during the National Anthem, his team was so desperate for a franchise quarterback that they paid the high price of trading up in the first round to select a black one, regardless of all the stereotypical flaws that a bigot might blindly assign to him.
Fact is, if this school superintendent were truly basing his opinion off "historical success", as opposed to abject racism, then the mere sight of another fair-skinned failure taking a 5-step drop for Houston would have him cursing the color of his forefathers. Far be it for me to debunk the "if it's all white, it's alright" theory, so I'll let the Texans' tenures of David Carr, Matt Schaub, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Ryan Mallett, Brian Hoyer, T.J. Yates, Brandon Weeden, Brock Osweiler, and Tom Savage do just that for me.
Although he's had rough go of things behind one of the most offensive lines in the league, I'm pretty sure Deshaun Watson made more good decisions in the six games he started last year than every below average caucasian that came before him combined. Dare I even say that his predecessors...wait for it...paled in comparison to what he was able to accomplish under Bill O'Brien? I doubt it's a "once you go black, you never go back" situation, but - if only because DeAndre Hopkins might retire if he's stuck being thrown to by another Tom , Dick, or Harry - even the most prejudice of Texans' fan needs to strap themselves tightly in on the Deshaun Watson train and enjoy the ride.
Implying that every African American under center is mentally unqualified to for his position is quite obviously racist, and accidentally doing so on your own Facebook page as a supervisor of a damn school district is quite obviously hypocritical. However, failing to realize you support a franchise whose quarterback room has otherwise had far too much in common with an expired jar of mayonnaise since it's founding is equally as inexcusable.
After Getting Hit Without A Helmet On Sunday, Bills' Taiwan Jones Looks Like He Woke-Up With A Post-Halloween Hangover
And the damage...
And there's a sobering reminder of exactly what it is that we are watching to close out our weekends.
To be fair, I don't know what I expected the carnage from a head-on collision between one professional athlete's face and another professional athlete's reinforced protective armor to look like. Still, Taiwan Jones appearing as though he spent hours in a makeup chair on the afternoon of October 31st paints a pretty eye-popping picture of the force with which these superhumans spear each other, over and over again, on Sundays.
If Get Out were based on a true story, I imagine that's the type of nasty wound you might see on someone who had their entire brain replaced, and yet it was simply the result of sport. Sort of makes you feel like an asshole for ever even thinking about questioning why they are slowly but surely ridding football of kicks returns. Freakishly strong and fast humans getting a 40-50 yard head start in acting as padded kamikazes can cause a haunting amount of physical and mental damage to those not properly braced or cloaked for it, who knew!?!
Anyway, I'm glad Taiwan Jones is relatively alright. From the scary look of that play, it could have been much, much worse than even the bruising, bleeding, swelling, and scarring indicate.
Sidenote: The apology (below) was obviously necessary, as launching helmet first at an opponent is exactly the type of thing they are trying to get out of the game regardless of circumstance. That said, I can't really point the finger at Uchenna Nwosu for delivering the hit, or at the officials for failing to blow the play dead, as professional football happens way too damn fast in real time for even the most focused of participant or whistled of observer to react accordingly.
Very, Very Short Time Saints' Center Olin Kreutz Once Threw Drew Brees Against A Wall During An Argument With Former O-Line Coach Aaron Kromer
Kreutz: For me personally, I had a coach in New Orleans, and he was here, in Aaron Kromer. If I would’ve spent one more minute with him I would’ve torn his head off. I had to get out of that building. Didn’t feel comfortable in there. Just, just really a bad situation for me at the time where I knew if this guy said one more thing to me I would’ve put him in the hospital.
McNeil & Parkins: What did Kromer say to you that you hated so much?
Kreutz: Oh it was months. It was months. It was months of saying things to someone who’s 34, 35 years old and put in all that time. It was months of things that you shouldn’t say to a grown man without expecting an (expletive)-whooping. It was months of it, and it came down to where enough was enough and I couldn’t be in the room with that guy one more day.
I knew that it wouldn’t be good for the team for me to be there any more. And I know that when I stood up to go after him and somebody grabbed me and I threw him against the wall, and it was Drew Brees, it was time for me to go.
M & P: You threw Drew Brees against the wall?
Kreutz: Yeah, that would’ve been my last day in New Orleans. (laughs).
M & P: That’s a future Hall of Famer, face of the franchise. you threw Brees against the wall?
Kreutz: Listen, Hall of Famer or not, you don’t grab people.
As much as this debunked my self-assuring theory that Drew Brees steps off the practice field and gets rolled around the Saints' facilities in a protective bubble that somehow prolongs his youth, I do have to tip my cap to Olin Kreutz here. Seeing as the person who went on to absolutely obliterate records during that same season was no worse for the wear, credit has to be given to the savvy veteran signing gone awry. After all, if he did nothing else right in NOLA, he did know how to make one hell of an exit...
I don't know much about the internal operations of the New Orleans Saints, but I feel pretty confident in saying that laying one finger on Drew Brees in an aggressive manner is the quickest way on to the same street on which you'll later find your bags packed. Olin Kreutz may not have made the best player or teammate during his short time in black and gold, but - as an employee - he got to the live out the dream of making a shocking spectacle of his decided departure. Slamming the franchise quarterback, especially one of Drew Brees' acclaim, against the wall is as "fuck this, I'm out!" as it gets, and we all want to feel comfortable enough come the conclusion of our career to do something similar, albeit less superhuman.
Considering the typical demeanor of offensive line coaches, it's not too tough to understand how someone who was already on the verge of retirement got bull-rushed over the edge. The demands of blocking for the best are rigorous, so it's not really surprising that a 35 year old who must have been made physically and mentally exhausted by years of hopelessly blocking for Rex Grossman and Jay Cutler wasn't entirely up to the task.
For that reason, the only thing keeping this anecdote from having an "all's well that ends well" type conclusion is that, in my biased opinion, it should be one of the tales repeatedly told during the reunions of the Saints' second Super Bowl team, as 2011 will forever be the one that got away.
Eli Manning Refused To Place The Entirety Of The Blame For The Giants' Struggles On His O-Line, Which Is Mighty, Mighty Nice Of Him
ProFootballTalk- The Giants offense has been pitiful through the first two weeks of the regular season and much of the blame has been placed at the feet of the offensive line.
Manning isn’t willing to join in the chorus pointing the finger at the line for holding the unit back, however.
“Combination of stuff,” Manning said, via the New York Post. “There was nothing that we didn’t have an answer for. Enough things might mess up a little bit, it’s a combination of everybody, it’s not just the offensive line. When sacks are happening obviously the offensive line gets blamed most of the time but that’s not necessarily the case. You got running backs, you got quarterbacks, you got receivers, everybody plays a part in that.”
Talk about a rock and a hard place. It was either lay the entirety of the blame at the slow, heavy, and two left feet of the group who, despite being piss poor in protecting him, probably wouldn't take kindly to being publicly scrutinized, or accept some of the blame himself. I don't often pity someone whose insanely average existence has been made Hall Of Fame worthy by the rabbits he's pulled out of hat in early February, but it tough to hear that answer after watching these videos and not feel a wee bit bad for Eli Manning...
Again, I don't think he has earned nearly as much benefit of the doubt as Giants fans like to give him throughout his otherwise underwhelming career, but he's definitely earned the right to suck on his own accord. All those high-priced assets his organization has continuously used to surround him with more skill position players while arrogantly ignoring both their offensive line and their future? He's earned the opportunity to stand upright and breathe through his mouth while under and/or over throwing it to the person covering them. The guy is far from irreplaceable, which is why people much smarter than I are already wondering why the Giants didn't take advantage of the golden opportunity to start the process of replacing him, but I can't justifiably front on his performance when he's spending the majority of the time on his back during it.
Take a second to read into that uncomfortable answer above and it becomes painfully obvious that Eli Manning is just trying to spread around the blame, like he's been unable to spread around the ball, so that he doesn't hurt the feelings of those that are going to get him carried off the field holding up his thumb before they get carried off the field holding up his hat.
It's not just that someone forgot to water Ereck Flowers. The entire Giants offensive line, as it has been for years now, is an abomination of such epic proportions that no amount of high-priced playmakers can adequately cover for it. As much as I think that Saquon Barkley was the best talent in the draft and that they had no choice but to pay Odell Beckham, the reasons why they maybe shouldn't have done both those things are being made clear now in a way that makes 19 million a year and the 2nd overall pick seem like too large a price for wasted talents. Eli Manning probably could devalued them on his own, but it would be foolish to pretend like he's had the chance to thus far.
An NFL Player Is Attempting To Trademark The Name 'FitzMagic', But It's Certainly Not Who You'd Expect...
ProFootballTalk- Buccaneers quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick‘s eight touchdown passes through the first two weeks have launched countless headlines that make reference to Fitzmagic, but an NFL defensive back is trying to intercept the moniker.
Dolphins rookie defensive back Minkah Fitzpatrick has filed to trademark the phrase with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. The filing was made on September 12, per Darren Heitner of TheSportz.Biz, and the intent is to sell a range of apparel featuring the term in the future.
Jenna Laine of ESPN reports that Minkah Fitzpatrick’s mother said her son has gone by the moniker since his high school days, although a seach of the phrase finds many more references to the Buccaneers quarterback than anyone else with the last name Fitzpatrick.
I have a pretty rudimentary understanding that nothing is truly yours until it is yours legally, so in that sense I'm impressed that a rookie like Minkah Fitzpatrick is flashing some business savvy in trademarking a nickname that no one outside of his inner circle will ever, in a million years, come to know him by. I just hope he's aware that said business savvy isn't turning a profit if it's aimed at making a likeness that's much less recognizable than Harvard's most homeless looking alum the face of FitzMagic.
I'm going to let Minkah's momma in on a little secret here. When her now 21 year old son was running around high school fields kicking the crap out of his peers and convincing his naive friends to call him Fitzmagic, he wasn't pioneering a pun. He was simply riding the obnoxiously scruffy beard hairs of a miraculously mediocre NFL quarterback who was a decade into an up-and-down career that was somehow being kept afloat by out-of-character spurts of dominance that could only be explained by a supernatural, Angels In The Outfield-esque presence.
Being talented and having the last name 'Fitzpatrick' may have been enough to claim ownership of FitzMagic before the Ivy League graduated a passer whose unpredictable bouts of brilliance and brutality averaged out to make him a decent backup plan as a slightly subpar folk hero. Now, however, Minkah would need to catch a record setting amount of interceptions with his ass crack to attain the type of aura and mystique necessary to sell even one shirt with his face and a legally stolen moniker.
Some nicknames just sound good, and some embody the most notable aspect of a person's entire existence. The NFL equivalent of 'Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde' is 'FitzMagic and FitzTragic', and it's not a tale about some cocky rookie defensive back. It's a true story based on the euphoric highs and embarrassing lows of a 35 year old journeyman of a quarterback who is once again trying to fool us all (myself and DeSean Jackson included) into thinking he's about to make a #1 overall pick a problem child of the Buccaneers' past.
The NFL Defended The Penalty Against Clay Matthews, And Plans On Including It In An Instructional Video On How Not To Hit The Quarterback
ESPN- The NFL doubled down on Clay Matthews' much-debated roughing-the-passer penalty and said Monday that not only was it the correct call, but it will be used on a teaching tape sent to teams.
The Green Bay Packers linebacker was penalized in the fourth quarter of Sunday's 29-29 tie with the Minnesota Vikings for what referee Tony Corrente said was a foul because "he lifted [Kirk Cousins] and drove him into the ground." The penalty wiped out a potential game-clinching interception in the final minutes of regulation.
A league source reiterated Monday that the "technique of grabbing the passer from behind the leg or legs, scooping and pulling in an upward motion, is a foul."
Speaking as someone that has reached the acceptance stage of the NFL's latest moronically subjective rule change, I must admit that I actually love this response. With the damage having already been done, by erasing an interception and granting the Vikings' new life in a game they soon after went on to tie, why not double and triple down on forbidding one of football's most fundamental acts?
The alternative course of action would be the issuing of some lame, halfhearted apology that wouldn't even be accepted by pissed off Packers' players, coaches, and fans that can't compute that Aaron Rodgers' injury (and his reaction to it) is what's predominantly responsible for the change to make quarterbacks untouchable. Therefore, the league might as well remain stubborn and give themselves a leg to stand on in an argument on behalf of a vague, ever-changing rulebook that no one fully understands. There's no chance they put that much thought into it, as the NFL has the foresight of a bird rapidly approaching a glass house, but there's something inherently hilarious about the powers that be looking at a call that almost everyone agrees is dead wrong and claiming that it's actually the most right.
Admittedly, it's a little concerning that wrapping up a quarterback in the most basic and literal sense possible, is now punishable by 15 yards. However, nothing says "shut up and deal with it" quite like taking a universally chastised penalty and editing it into an instructional video in which some condescending blowhard who has never put on a pair of cleats dissects it frame by frame. You want to get mad that the NFL is slowly killing a contact sport that, in its current form, will never not be extremely dangerous? By all means, but you might as well get allllll that anger out now because the preposterous precedent is about to officially be set by the NFL's production team.
A Former Steelers Staffer Criticized Antonio Brown On Twitter, To Which He Responded With A Halfhearted Trade Request
Whew, what a relief. Here I was thinking that getting off to a winless start to an otherwise promising season, that included a tie against the beleaguered Browns and a flat out pelting from the arm of a quarterback making his third career start, would have the Steelers acting out of character. How wrong I was, as it looks as though it's still business as usual in Pittsburgh!
Granted, that business is a dysfunctional one that allows players to do and say whatever the hell it is that they want as their head coach shrugs his shoulders like he's calling whatever confused defense his team played against Patrick Mahomes yesterday. Still, consistency is supposedly a good thing, and not much has changed since a training camp in which Antonio Brown threatened to assault a reporter for questioning the exact type of character he displayed in sulking back to the bench after someone other than him scored a touchdown for the Steelers yesterday. Therefore, Pittsburgh is in midseason form if you ask me, even if that form is something you'd expect to see punished by way of a middle school detention...
In all seriousness, the argument that Antonio Brown is the lucky one in the union between him in the Steelers is one that could literally only be made by the pissed off PR person who spent seven straight seasons trying to clean up the messes made by the most dramatic of diva. It's undoubtedly Ben Roethlisberger that should be on bended knee thanking the man above that, in the 6th round of the NFL draft, his team happened to stumble upon a transcendent talent who undeniably increased his margin for error. Antonio Brown more than likely would have developed into 'AB' no matter where he ended up, as a quarterback that can't throw to the most gifted receiver in the league is a quarterback that's not long for the league. Ben Roethlisberger, on the other hand, might be facing quite a few more questions if the completion percentage of his long passes wasn't fluffed by someone who fights above his weight class when it comes to attacking the ball in the air.
Now, I don't think Antonio Brown really wants to be traded. Never mind that his suggestion that they move him was obviously a tongue-in-cheek challenge, because only organizations that are in a much worse position to win than the Steelers would let him get away being so shamelessly self-involved.
In that sense, Antonio Brown is lucky that Pittsburgh took him, as only their carefree culture would have remained complicit in the creation of an absolute monster of a millennial. Had he gone to a franchise whose head coach didn't allow him to play Rufio to a locker room full of lost boys then he may have been forced to develop some semblance of maturity and/or professionalism by the age of 30. God forbid, as he seems to have enjoyed taking lessons from Mike Tomlin in bitching, moaning, and pointing the finger elsewhere whenever he doesn't get his way.
Josh Gordon, Who Looks As Though He'll Be A Patriot By Day's End, Laughed Off The Report That He Broke The Browns Trust On Instagram
To be honest, I don't know what to make of this whole Josh Gordon saga. The decision to grant him either a trade or his release seems clouded in the type of pessimistic uncertainty that you'd typically expect of his playing status, so it's a fool's errand trying to guess what he might actually have been guilty of this time.
What I do know is that the Cleveland Browns, who have hung onto him through the forgettable up's and extended down's of a 4+ year span in which he was both available and active for all of 11 games, have more than enough reason to have finally had enough of this nonsense, no matter what this latest transgression was.
I, among many others, am rooting for Josh Gordon to overcome the addiction issues in his problematic past to realize some of his superhuman potential. His whole life has been a tragic tale, and it would be nice to finally mix in an uplifting chapter of redemption.
That being said, the idea that he broke the Browns' trust is just about the furthest thing from laughable. I mean, this is the most encouraging offseason he's had since 2013, and it included him being granted a pass from the vast majority of training camp (potentially Hard Knocks related) while also having his regular season availability called into question due to a child support dispute. I know that Cleveland isn't what anyone would consider competent, so the jokes will be a plenty if this move ends up backfiring when he predictably ends up on the Patriots...
However, who are we to judge the weight of the straw that, after all this time, finally broke the back of a Camel that had to breathing heavier than Joe with all the baggage it's been carrying? What's a young team that's desperately trying not to be seen as a laughing stock supposed to do? Keep around a player who has found so many new and creative ways not play for them that whether or not he just sabotaged his way out of a city that he's openly criticized in the past by posing his way onto the injury report at the last minute is worthy of debate?
We're probably about to learn really, really quickly whether or not Josh Gordon is simply too troubled an individual for a league in which even the most talented of players are so often expected to fall in line, as Bill Belichick will likely have dressed him up as trash or treasure by Halloween. Even if it ends up being the latter, I simply can't blame the Cleveland Browns for deciding this was their last stop on the Josh Gordon train, as it's done nothing but ride them around in turbulent circles and take them absolutely nowhere for the past four seasons.
UPDATE: The compensation is...well...not great (for my argument), Bob!
Wil Lutz And Thomas Morstead Made Sure To Offer An Encouraging Word To Browns' Kicker Zane Gonzalez After His Nightmare Of An Afternoon
As proven by the fact that he was both sitting and standing alone when approached by Wil Lutz and Thomas Morstead respectively, it's a lot easier to be feel sympathetic towards Zane Gonzalez after having benefited from what ended up being his last day as a member of the Browns. Therefore, I guess it's no surprise that I retrospectively feel horrible for a kid who, despite failing miserably at his one job, doesn't deserve anywhere near the amount of death threats that are both sadly and inevitably headed his way in the coming week.
I mean, it's easy to crucify kickers, but there can't possibly be a lonelier place in the entire world than lined up about 18-19 yards offset behind center, with every one of over 100,000 eyes in the building staring through you, while the weight of a year and a half long losing streak weighs heavily on your shoulders, as you've already booted away whatever job security you might have had to start the season. Mix in that Zane Gonzalez was allegedly working through a sore groin, of all things, and - although it's what he signed up for - I wouldn't wish those circumstances on my worst enemy...
I credit both Wil Lutz and Thomas Morstead for their classiness, as they didn't have to interrupt their excitement and go out of their way to give a 23 year old kid a sentence or two of support, but I'm certainly not surprised by it. They basically got a first hand look at another man literally living out their worst nightmare. The place-kicking community is a fraternity, which makes sense, since - like most fraternities - almost all the news that they create is bad news. Unfortunately, in the case of kickers, being the scapegoat for a team of 46 active players is an occupational hazard, so it's no wonder those that do said job have a special appreciation for others that potentially sacrifice their career with every swing of their leg.
A Win Is A Win, Which Is About The Only Positive Thing That Could Be Said About The Saints Ugly, Lucky, And Undeserved Victory Over The Browns
Wins are far too hard to come by in the NFL for any of them to ever truly feel like a loss. That's simply a fact.
That being said, it was a fact whose legitimacy as such was put to the test by a Saints' team that spent the vast majority of the afternoon doing the counterproductive things that so often lead to defeat against a team that's damn near allergic to victory. It's a cliche for a losing team to claim they lost the game as opposed to it being won by their opponent, but - as a fan of said opponent - I think the Cleveland Browns would be well within their rights to in saying they repeatedly booted the sure victory they've been waiting nearly two years for outside the uprights. Simply put, the Saints really don't deserve to be 1-1 headed into an important, tie-breaking matchup against a division rival on the road, as they needed the Browns to Brown as hard as they have ever Browns'd just to win by a field goal in come-from-behind fashion.
Be it drive-killing fumbles from Michael Thomas and Ted Ginn that were only technically forced as they came as the direct result of unnecessary attempts to gain empty yardage. Be it missed opportunities, as Drew Brees dropped a sure touchdown about five yards out of the bounds that restrained a wide open Ben Watson and later short armed a streaking Ted Ginn. Be it points taken off the board, as an Alvin Kamara touchdown was brought back by enough holding to satisfy a lover with abandonment issues. Be it Sean Payton's play-calling that clearly didn't account for a prominent pass rush, as he was undeniably outwitted by the sick and twisted mind of Gregg Williams. Be it dumb penalties that extended drives and took away from what was an otherwise intriguing performance by a defense that was coming off a thorough dismantling. Be it that same defense saying "not so fast..." in being let off the hook by allowing the only thing they couldn't let happen to happen when Ken Crawley lost focus and let a receiver get behind him on 4th down to score what should have proved to be a go ahead touchdown with a minute left. Be it Dennis Allen showing he learned next to nothing from the Minneapolis Miracle by giving up just enough yardage to allow for a game-tying field goal attempt in next to no time flat. The Saints made so many fundamental mistakes that I'm near positive that this extremely elongated paragraph didn't account for them all.
The NFL is as year-to-year a sport as you'll find, as a short 16 game schedule allows for the closest possible thing to a purely fresh start, but the Saints have already rotted out all the optimism that surrounded them coming into this season. The truth is that their first two opponents are probably a lot better than expected, but what's false is the sense of security they look to be playing with against less talented teams. Other than Drew Brees stat line, there's just not all that much that currently speaks to this team being a contender in a loaded conference. As proven last year, that could certainly change quickly, but it's going to happen almost immediately if they want to come anywhere close to reaching their potential.
To a fanbase who knows all too well what 7-9 looks like, this team has no excuse to appear strikingly similar. With the amount of mistakes that have haunted them, from the front office on down to the sideline and out onto the field, a team that was presumably poised for greatness comes off as having a shocking amount of complacency considering they've accomplished next to nothing. There's still hope that this is but a slow start, but - since their season was basically saved in Week 2 by the sheer incompetence of a team that hasn't walked off a winner since 2016 - it would be a lie to call that hope anything but subjectively blind at the moment.
- An underachieving offensive line hasn't helped, but Mike Gillislee has looked like the exact opposite of the type of player you reconfigure your roster for in making everyone, including Alvin Kamara, miss Mark Ingram...
- It was both a huge relief and a little redemption for Marcus Williams to make the play most responsible for letting the sanity of Saints fan live to see another Sunday. The game against the Buccaneers made it easy to forget how great he was in camp, but - boy, oh boy - did he literally pick a hell of a time to make his lurking presence felt...
- I don't know if saying that the best defense against Michael Thomas is himself, as his competitiveness is what has allowed him to post historic numbers throughout the first two weeks. However, he clearly needs to pick and choose more appropriate times to fight for every inch, as his fumbles have sabotaged ungodly stats in being the only person, place, or thing proven capable of stopping him...
- It's just about never that you say this about a team with Super Bowl aspirations, but the Saints have got to find a way to get their 3rd string quarterback on the field more. With his first chance at kick return duties, Taysom Hill almost did what's so rarely seen from those wearing black & gold by breaking one the distance. If anything has been made clear through the first two weeks, it's that this team is too reliant on Michael Thomas and Alvin Kamara. As great as they may be, another playmaker only stands to make their jobs easier. I don't how or what can be done to get one of the most athletic players on the team the ball more often, but if there's someone that should be able to figure it out then it's Sean Payton.