The Dream Is Dead, As The Devils Have Sent Ty Smith Back To Spokane For The Season
I know it's tough to remind yourself of such while still recovering from the cold hard slap of relatively common sense, but a dream is all it ever was. Granted, it was a dream that felt like it was trending mighty close to becoming a reality with each passing cut, but a dream nonetheless. Whether it would have been the right thing for the development of a promising young defenseman or not, I don't think there's one single Devils' fan that didn't let themselves, at least for a second, visualize how the perfect prospect might fit into a lineup that's obviously desperate for his skill-set. As someone that told anyone who would listen that Ty Smith stood no chance of staying in New Jersey when he was initially selected far too late in the first round, even I can admit that each tape-to-tape pass and time-buying pivot made the possibility of it start to feel a little bit more real than anticipated...
If it's any consolation, those moments of weakness would have come with increasing regularity if that nine game audition came any closer to fruition, so it's probably for the best that Ty Smith was sent back to Spokane before he tickled the collective taint of the Devils' fanbase by being poised beyond his years on the puck. The truth is, not many teenagers are Nico Hischier and an 18 year old defenseman making the Devils' out of his first training camp would have been much more of an indictment of their defense than anything else. Of course, I would have been too excited to question it if it actually happened, but - now that it hasn't - I can attempt to avoid dwelling on my disappointment by saying that you should never let your team's needs dictate a prospect's readiness. Not sure I actually believe that as we speak, but the main goal is to not fuck up someone who is imperative to the future of your franchise. Ty Smith showed that he's exactly that by making it to the last cut, so I bid the smooth skating prince adieu with the understanding that I (and likely the Devils) won't be so hesitant in crowning his ass next time he's in New Jersey.
I Can't Help But Wonder How The Mets Feel About The Ad The Yankees Took Out In The NY Post To Congratulate David Wright On His Career...
Unfortunately I cannot, in good conscience, consider this anything other than a classy move. It pains me to classify it as such, as "class" is one of the many things that the Yankees' organization and all those that nauseatingly boast about the triumphs they largely weren't alive to witness take an inordinate amount of pride in. To clarify, I do think it's a classy move, but I don't think you're really all that classy when you feel it necessary to constantly rant and rave about how classy you are. Just an opinion I picked up having watched many a overpaid player damn near boo'd out of the pinstripes they didn't "earn" after a half-dozen underwhelming at-bats.
Anyway, back to the point. It was undeniably nice of the Yankees to offer a collective tip of the cap to a player who has been nothing short of professionalism personified throughout an up-and-down career at the ass end of the Subway Series. I guess I just can't help but wonder whether or not how they chose to do so irks either the Mets or a fanbase that is second-class in their own city.
There was a day, albeit many moons ago, when seeing the name 'David Wright' caps-locked in navy font above an interlocking 'N' and 'Y' that's as disproportionally large as it is internationally unmistakable was the stuff of nightmares for Queens' natives. Like, if I just arrived in 2018 by way of time travel from 2013 and the first thing I saw was that cover, I'd swear David Wright was pried into the Bronx by an egregious sum of money and wasn't walking away from the game as much he was walking towards his eternal home in 'Monument Park'. Maybe it's just me, but I find shamelessly branding your own organization while honoring someone from a rivaling organization to be the wrong (and obnoxiously non-anonymous) way to do the Wright thing.
I'll begrudgingly give the Yankees the benefit of the doubt in assuming the intent of the ad wasn't to make the bittersweet retirement of a Mets' great almost entirely about themselves...but it's definitely not because they've ever done anything to deserve it. After all, it's not like they weren't given a blueprint on how to take a timeout from enjoying the sniff of their own shit to truly appreciate greatness that's not their own...
The Vikings' Long Snapper Played On After Having Part Of His Pinky Ripped Off In A Facemask Last Night
While I absolutely do have to credit Kevin McDermott for toughing it out after looking down to see a bloody stub where his pinky spent 28+ years rounding itself out, I don't have to envy the position he was in when he made the decision to do so. As someone with one job, and one of the most thankless jobs at that, the hand of the Vikings' long snapper could have turned as purple as his jersey and he'd still have felt peer-pressured to keep on blindly slinging that pigskin through his legs during situations that don't seem all that pressurized until punctured by an unexpected problem.
I don't know what type of injury a long snapper would have to endure before his bruised and battered teammates would encourage him to prioritize prompt medical attention ahead of providing them peace of mind, but not even that pinky going missing would have been enough for him to feel justified in leaving the game for good to go find it. Take one look at a veteran defensive lineman's unwrapped hand and it becomes quite clear, a healthy looking grip is highly overrated on the gridiron. Especially when you play a role that doesn't seem important until it needs to be filled by someone with less game-action reps than fully-functioning fingers.
It Appears That Tristan Thompson Is Going To Ride The Cavaliers' Streak As Eastern Conference Champs Until The Wheels Fall Off
That answer is a lot of things. It's delusional. It's disingenuous. It's ungrateful. On the set of the 14th television show that he's decided to produce in the three months that have passed since taking his talents to Hollywood, sits the best player-agent in NBA history. If only for a quick second, LeBron's bullshit alarm had to go off when he heard Tristan Thompson boast as confidently as he would have if he were still being dragged along as an anchor on the S.S. James. For, if nothing else, that response was completely ignorant of all that 'The King' had done in knighting an otherwise replaceable peasant as part of his royal family of overpaid underlings for so many years.
All that being said, I kind of respect how shameless Tristan Thompson was in coming face-to-face with a harsh reality and spitting between its eyes. As silly as he sounds, that quote also serves as one of the last soundbites we'll ever care to transcribe from the mouth of a largely antiquated role player on a team that instantly became below average. Might as well go out with a bang!
It's not fair to say he's grasping at straws, because he's really only grasping at one straw...and it happens to be the flimsy kind that splits down the side when you slam it on the table to remove the wrapper. That doesn't change the idea that, factually speaking, you're the reigning champs all the way up until you're not. Contrary to the confidence in his voice, Tristan Thompson doesn't believe for one second that the Cavaliers are contenders in an Eastern Conference that somehow stumbled it's way into having a little intrigue for the first time since LeBron James legally indulged in an oaky glass of red. Luckily, he doesn't even have to soak in each and every one of his psuedo-second-hand successes until they run dry.
A Reporter Had To Remind New Defensive Partners Erik Karlsson And Marc-Edouard Vlasic Of The Time The Latter Tried To Impale The Former With His Stick
Just a little confirmation that calling it an attempt to take his life was only a mild exaggeration by Erik Karlsson...
I'd say that long overdue conversation between foes turned friends is about a good a look as you're going to get into hockey culture. Just one man laughing off his attempt at decapitation with the same man whose head he tried to put on a stake. Causal. Ho hum. No biggie. From engaging in the type of ruthless brutality you'd expect from the most savage of Spartans to unapologetically bullshitting about a little drawn blood. Why would that be awkward?
The fact that, despite happening only two years ago, this was an incident that didn't even cross the mind of either player as they got to know each other and readied themselves to play alongside one another for what promises to be a long, long year (and potentially many more) tells you all you need to know about how often the animosity is left on the ice. Just boys being boys by trying to gut each other like fish in the name of competition and having no hesitation in eventually softening any hard feelings in a shared booze bath. Standard operating procedure as far as hockey locker rooms are concerned. Can't even possibly understand why someone outside them might find that weird!
A Cubs' Fan Went Full-Bartman In Snagging A Foul Ball Away From Anthony Rizzo And Sparking A 9th Inning, Game-Tying Rally
And there's your reminder that winning cures all. That even the most long suffering of fanbases forget what it's like to lose after getting just one super satisfying taste of winning at the highest level.
You just can't convince me that the dude who basically stole the ball from Anthony Rizzo and sparked a 9th inning rally that tied a late September game for divisional supremacy would have done the same if there weren't a World Series banner already hanging in Wrigley Field.
That one championship did such a good job washing away the stain of Steve Bartman from a history book that holds 112 straight chapters of pure, unadulterated disappointment that not even a scenario that used to give Cubs' fans PTSD could stop one of their own from recreating the most replayed nightmare in franchise history.
We're talking about an act of interference was as responsible for running one man out of Chicago as the unforgettably ridiculous attire he happened to be wearing at the time. Again, I don't think that man reaches up for a playable ball in a pressurized situation if this was two years ago, but if he had done so two years ago then there's reason to believe he wouldn't have left his seat alive, never mind leaving it victorious with a souvenir in hand.
If that's not a testament to how undefeated winning is in healing old wounds then I don't know what the hell is.
Ohio State's New Motto Is Simply "Silence", Now Kindly Wait As The Jokes Pen Themselves
Off hand, does anyone happen to know how many words are in the English language? An exact number isn't all that important, I suppose, as I am simply trying to narrow down what kind of seemingly insurmountable odds that Ohio State managed to beat (no pun intended) by making one of the top 5 most tone-deaf options in the entire dictionary their hardly relevant motto on the heels of a silence-enabled scandal.
In fairness to the Buckeyes' marketing team, I have always said that complete silence was extremely important to a game with as many moving parts as football, and it's been made pretty damn clear that Ohio State cares nowhere near as much about anything else as it does its pigskin. In that sense, it would fit their problematic priorities pretty well to block out all the noise and mute an outside world that continues to implicate their head coach of pathologically lying about that one time he was medically induced into conveniently forgetting to speak up and fire the domestically abusive douchebag on his staff.
Of course, the victim might not take too kindly to the powerful program that was complicit in her continuing to fear for her life deciding to embrace the very same approach that got them in this whole mess in the first place. Luckily, you only have to listen to Urban Meyer creatively avoid saying the name 'Courtney Smith' but so many times before realizing that they don't give a shit what she thinks!
Domestic violence association, be damned! Silence for one, silence for all! We're nearing Saturday of Penn State (can't make it up) week and that means both schools need to shut up and focus on student-athletes sacrificing their brains and bodies for room and board!
Kevin Durant Has Convinced Himself That The Only Reason He Doesn't Win ALL The Awards Is Because People Hate Him And The Warriors
There is exactly one way in which a deserving professional athlete can guarantee that he/she doesn't win a league-wide award that is voted on by (relatively) respected journalists. Unfortunately for Kevin Durant, I can promise you that it's not by sharing the stage with other great players while playing for a team that's as shamelessly stacked as they are incredibly easy to hate. Never mind the fact that the Defensive Player of the Year isn't decided by a twitter poll, because what gives me the most comfort in believing that merit actually has the biggest impact on NBA accolades is that the same trophy that's being whined about currently resides in the home of the Golden State Warrior who happens to be infamous for causing testicular trauma. Not for nothing, but the "they just don't like us" argument is easier to pick apart than Kevin Durant's repugnant personality when Draymond Green is merely a year removed from dick-kicking his way to DPOY honors while wearing the same damn jersey.
The truth is, the only way to guaranteed you don't get nominated as the Defensive Player Of The Year (other than by simply not being the best defensive player during any given year) is to imply that all the voters are vindictive jerks that cast bullshit ballots that are based entirely on their subjective feelings towards a team and player that are constantly getting their asses powdered with objective praise. You want "pure hate" then you got it, because the only characteristic that experts are now going to take more notice of while watching Kevin Durant is that he's an entitled baby with a self-worth that still hasn't been satisfied by going back-to-back in winning MVP of the NBA Finals.
Seriously, is the second best player in the NBA ever going to be happy with his standing amongst his peers? As nonsensical as it may be, I'd offer Kevin Durant The Sixth Man Of The Year, The Comeback Player Of The Year, and The Rookie Of The Year if it meant that he would just shut the hell up for a few short months and accept that not even the most devout hater (that he's actively encouraging with his bitching above, mind you) can take away all that he's earned. The dude is flat out delusional is he thinks those affiliated with the league he's running through on cruise control is conspiring against him, though I guess spending six hours a day arguing with teenage internet trolls will do that to a professional athlete that's as thin-skinned as he is insufferable.
In Front Of The Screen: Takeaways From Episode 1 Of 'Behind The Glass: New Jersey Devils Training Camp'
I guess I never really considered how awesome it must have been for a player whose career has so often been called into question by those who were supposed to be supporting it to have the appreciation of his efforts echoed throughout the entirety of a building that's grown to love him. Still a lot of work to do for the Devils to have a rock solid case when it comes to re-signing Taylor Hall long term, but those 'MVP' chants certainly didn't do any damage to it. If last season was as special to its Hart Trophy winner as it was to those that constantly plead his case then it's tough to see him having a change of heart anytime soon.
To me, it was already comfortingly obvious prior to watching some clipped together training camp montage. Fans that automatically target coaching and goaltending whenever they need an answer to the inevitable struggles that occur during a long season might disagree, but look no further than how last year's Devils' team handled stormy waters for proof that they had the right man guiding the ship.
As is the case with an first time NHL head coach taking over an objectively piss poor team, there were some bumps along the way. However, if last night's episode drove one point home it was that John Hynes has his finger on the rapidly increasing pulse of a predominantly young locker room. If you still haven't gotten on board with that then I suggest you walk the scenic route and think about why it is that your dumbass is more difficult to please than an entire team of professional athletes (from veteran captain-to league MVP-to-inexperienced rookie) whose play backed up the glowing words they've constantly spoken of a guy who is anything but easy on them. What you just might find is that you have more issues than the Devils' defense, because it's rare for a demanding disciplinarian on the ice to have earned the players collective ear off the ice when his resume is relatively limited.
Simply put, creating a cohesive culture that's predicated on mutual respect with motivated players that know exactly what kind of effort and excellence is expected out of them is much more vital to success than the divvying up of defensive minutes or the selection of who is sitting in a luxury suite on any one night. John Hynes has his players ready to run through a wall (their words, not mine), and - if nothing else - that should make the fanbase feel better about the inevitability of them hitting one during an upcoming season in which house money can no longer buy them the benefit of the doubt.
I'm not sure all that much was learned of an aging goalie whose battling back from the type of injury that's killed off no shortage of careers at his position, but just hearing Cory Schneider speak of his intention to return to elite form was encouraging. It's easy to forget the high level he was playing at last fall and thus consider his near-perfect playoff appearances too small a sample size to judge. However, if Devils' can eventually get anywhere near that much out of him on any kind of consistent basis then they'll be in much better shape. That's a better big "if", of course, but him having more of a "when" mindset was promising.
Interesting perspective on going from just another piece on a perennial playoff contender to a leader of a group that was the furthest thing from relevant, but my main takeaway? The 35 year old needs to record the clip of him making a play before letting out a "still got it!" (at :40 seconds above) and fall asleep to it on loop if that's what it takes to inspire him back to the level of an adequate top-4 defenseman. He honestly shouldn't be expected to fill such a big role at this stage of his career, but he needs to if the Devils have any shot of having their brutal blue-line grade out around a B-. He seems spry, which is all you can really ask for at this stage of the game, but I would prefer he keep speaking that kind of spirit into existence. Ya know, just in case.
Can't say I expected someone who has underachieved since being selected in the first round so many moons ago to be one of the more viscerally vocal guys on the ice during what stands to be the most telling training camp of his career. This team gave every indication that they are a fun-loving group last year, so he definitely fits in from a personality perspective. Hopefully that intensity and enthusiasm translates in his play, because the Devils' front lines are definitely lacking the type of rifle that John Quenneville has at his disposal. Kid can flat out shoot the puck in a way that can pack a punch to a powerplay whose second unit certainly didn't deserve to be sponsored by an energy company. Special teams helped decide the fringe roster spots last season (See: Brian Gibbons, Blake Coleman), so if he's as rambunctious in rounding out the rest of his game as he is in riling up the boys then he might just get that last chance to prove himself in the show.
In theory, I should appreciate any player who is willing to get punched in the face for the team in which I am so emotionally invested. In execution, I would rather have Kurtis Gabriel punch me in the face than watch his storyline play out during a short, four-episode season in which there are so, so, so many more intriguing things to explore.
There is a lot to like about this Devils' team, but their (fleeting, as he's already been axed) interest in rostering a punching bag is not one of them. I literally got second-hand douche chills watching him plead to pick a fight with an unwilling participant as his main contribution to a preseason hockey game in the year 2018. Hopefully those two minutes of my life (that I will never have back, mind you) are the last two in which I'll be left screaming for the camera to scan to any of the dozen players with which the future of the franchise currently resides, as opposed to being figuratively beat over the head by their irredeemable roster fodder.
It sucks for Kurtis Gabriel that the Kurtis Gabriel's of the world have been phased out of the sport, but the truth is that him talking about it isn't going to leave me feeling sympathetic when I could be watching Nico Hischier share a sheepish smile with Jesper Bratt instead.
Overall, it was nice initial look into an organization that's as fun to follow as it's ever been, but I have my fingers crossed that episode two (and beyond) does a better job of following the development of the young Devils who are crucial to the team's ability to take the next step toward contending.
Flyers' Jori Lehtera Is Apparently One Of Many Suspects In A Finnish Cocaine Ring, And I Have A Question...
TheComeback- Philadelphia Flyers forward Jori Lehtera is reportedly a suspect in a Finnish cocaine ring.
According to the Courier Post, the 30-year-old Lehtera is one of 23 total suspects. He has already been questioned by the police in Finland regarding his involvement in a case involving two kilos (roughly 4.5 pounds) of cocaine that started being spread/sold back in January.
Reports have stated that Lehtera’s cottage was raided by police this summer, though he wasn’t home at the time. The police have also seized roughly $762,000 worth of jewelry and valuables in connection to the case, but it hasn’t been confirmed whether any of those assets belonged to Lehtera.
Additional information hasn’t been released, but Lehtera has denied being involved in the case.
This news comes at a time where Lehtera is struggling to earn a regular role with the Flyers. After scoring just three goals and five assists in 62 games last season, the Flyers may bump Lehtera in favor of a younger option. It seems like he’s on the bubble as the Flyers prepare to make their final roster decisions.
I would love to just stop in, drop a line (pun mildly intended) about how those employed by a franchise as futile as that of the Flyers view it as more of a side gig to distributing the type of dust that'll deviate your septum, and draw a loose connection between an international cocaine ring and the narcotics-riddled, not-of-this-world nightmare fuel that they just named their mascot. Honestly, I would. Unfortunately, as a show of good faith towards a lousy player that stands next to no chance of helping a hopelessly hatable team win hockey games, I do have one question first....
Exactly how many suspects are you allowed to have before it serves as proof that you actually have no suspects at all? I know things might work a little differently in Finland, but if you herd someone into a police station to call into question whether or not they are a culprit and every seat is already filled by a potential coke lord then how are they, or anyone else, supposed to take your investigation seriously? I mean, Jori Lehtera is one of 23 suspects. That's not a Finnish cocaine ring, it's a goddamn Columbian crop circle. If you can point every single finger and toe at someone else who might be to blame for what you're being accused of and still have some scapegoats left over then, in my innocent opinion, you're more of a hard rock hopeful than an actual suspect.
If Jori Lehtera were an exciting young player with the skills to succeed in a top-6 then maybe, just maybe, I'd give Finnish police a larger margin of error in publicly besmirching an entire crowd of possible kingpins. Since he's just a lowly 4th line bender, however, I think it's a bit excessive to officially label him a suspect when there's still an entire roster's worth of people he could throw under the bus for approximately 4.5 pounds of quality nose candy that hopefully got cut inconspicuously enough so that he doesn't have to be.
Kelly Bryant Is Transferring From Clemson After Losing His Starting Spot, And (Wrongfully) Called The Move A "Slap In The Face"
Let me start by saying that I don't expect a 22 year old kid who has had a hell of a lot of success at the highest level of college sports to immediately respond to his mid-season demotion in a matter of fact manner. The stats could be making the most damning argument of all time (they pretty much do) and Kelly Bryant, or anyone even remotely as competitive as him, would still debate them passionately enough to leave Will Ferrell's character in Old School speechless. Athletes are an emotional bunch, and that goes ten-fold for those that are both young and near the top of their craft. Therefore, it doesn't come as a huge surprise that Clemson's starting quarterback didn't totally take his finish as such in stride.
That said, the fact of the matter is that the aggrieved party was replaced a top the depth chart by an objectively superior player, and - in the rarest of rare occasions - it actually came at a time that was, believe it or not, convenient to the student athlete instead of those profiting off his efforts. Simply put, what Kelly Bryant got what was the fairest shot possible in a sport that is institutionally unfair. Comparatively speaking, if having the chance to lead a team into National Championship contention for 18 games before being given the opportunity to choose from the pick of the litter in finishing off his highly accomplished college career is a "slap in the face" then the ringer that those who have came before him have been put through is basically a bullet to the scrotum. If anything, I'd call the reality check that Kelly Bryant was just offered a splash of cold water to the face, as it's nothing more than a shocking reminder that sports are often merciless in being a meritocracy.
I hate to say it, as I typically side with those who are not getting paid handsomely for their successes on Saturday's, but Dabo Swinney is right. It's not middle school. Other than room and board, Kelly Bryant was owed absolutely nothing. Yet, somehow, he still got a massive parting gift as he conceded his starting position. That gift was a red shirt that will come in handy as he looks to prove what most people readily accept, which is that he's more than good enough to fill the role of QB1 for approximately 90% of the schools in the NCAA. I totally understand why he might not consider himself lucky now, but - seeing as he was going to lose his job regardless - hopefully in time he realizes that he basically hit the college football equivalent of the lottery in being the first to benefit from a long overdue rule change.
Michael Beasley Dropped Some A+ Stoner Logic When Pressed On The Lakers' Expectations For Themselves
We have all been there. By "we" I obviously mean anyone that has shared a dingy off-campus college house with a roommate who had an iron lung for some half-baked botany, and by "there" I mean sitting on the couch next to him/her after returning from sleeping through some low-level lecture with one eye open.
Most of time the ensuing conversations resulted in non-sensical drivel that reminded you that your mind wasn't anywhere near altered enough to entertain the disjointed rumblings of the spaciest of cadets. For example...
Those rare instances, however, in which either dumb luck or a creative thought process led the faded philosophizing of a stoner into the type of payoff that made humoring a high person totally worth it. For example....
For all his warts as an intellectual, Michael Beasley basically dropped the mic when he responded with "...the future". I'm honestly shocked that the reporter kept pressing for some purposeless playoff prognostication when it was clear that he had already gotten the perfect response from the imperfect source. That was more of a touche-esque cue to press stop on the recorder than Michael Beasley grabbing said recorder and trying to MacGyver a one-hitter out of it, so the fact that it went down hill from there is a indictment of the media member and no one else.
Anyway, it's pretty clear that it's going to take a lot more than playing next to LeBron James to get Michael Beasley to play in the mud of premature predictions...even if MUD is the nickname given to him and his more, shall we say, eccentric teammates by LeBron James...
The Saints Have Placed Patrick Robinson On IR, As What Was Originally Thought To Be A High Ankle Sprain Is Really A Broken Ankle
I suppose it was only a matter of time. Without doing too much research, I think I can confidently say that not one professional football season has ever come and gone without a team having had to endure a single serious injury to a starter. Knowing the New Orleans Saints' luck, they definitely weren't about to be the first.
Of course, you typically prefer that those injuries don't come as a result of scumbag maneuvers made in a game that's plenty dangerous enough without lineman intentionally rolling the entirety of their body weight over the ankle of someone half their size...
It also goes without saying that, if you absolutely have to absorb a loss in your starting lineup, you hope upon hope that it doesn't end up coming at the expense of the one player in a position group that somehow had gone relatively guilt-free despite being a part of a unit that's gotten shredded to the tune of 103 points in three games.
Make no mistake, with the flat out frightening manner in which Ken Crawley and P.J. Williams have performed thus far, Patrick Robinson getting carted out of the slot and onto the IR hurts in a way that's reminiscent of when the Saints' primary source for secondary help was plucking dudes off the street in 2016. Granted, they didn't have a top-notch talent like Marshon Lattimore at the time, but if Calvin Ridley's unencumbered track meet on Sunday was any indication than this team needs a lot more than one capable corner if they want whatever broken scheme they've been running to be even mildly successful.
The news of a potential Sterling Moore signing is encouraging in the sense that he's familiar with the team, but it's discouraging in the sense that said team was pretty damn hopeless when he was fighting above his weight class in playing a significant role for it. Oddly enough, one of the better efforts of his first tenure came against Odell Beckham Jr. the last time the Saints traveled to New York for an early season showdown. Unfortunately, that's not me trying to predict a repeat performance as much as it's me pointing out the deja voodoo of misdiagnoses and trying to patch a secondary that's as wounded as its confidence with a stopgap like Sterling Moore.
The fact is that the Saints need Ken Crawley to figure out what the hell changed over the summer and start treating this season like the contract year that it is. They need Marcus Williams to stop trying to improvise his way past his nightmarish end to last season. They need Dennis Allen to make a damn adjustment or two to a defunct defense that's easily looked the weakest at it's presumed strength. With their d-line coming around and their linebackers developing a bit of chemistry, they can overcome the loss of one of the better slot corners in the league. Whether or not they actually will, however, is dependent on the last line of defense changing things up a bit by actually playing some.
Gritty, The Flyers' New Meth-Addicted Mascot, Looked Fitting Of Philadelphia In His Debut
As much as I despise contrived attempts to seek attention that fall under the "any publicity is good publicity" umbrella, I must give credit where credit is due. Not even the Flyers' could concoct a creature that downright despicable without doing so intentionally, so I'm quite certain that 'Gritty' was born of an over-the-top troll job, but at least it's an over-the-top troll job that finally embraces the loathsome degeneracy of Philadelphia sports' fandom. Self-awareness is a lost art, and the Flyers painted a goddamn Picasso of public perception in trotting an ugly, overweight, unkempt, uncoordinated, and unlikeable excuse for a mascot out in front of those that inspired it's likeness.
So no, I'm not going to focus on the fact that 'Gritty' looks like he could probably be found sitting on the concourse with his helmet held out begging for booze, drugs, change, or a ride to the nearest place he could find any of the three. After all, it's not about him appearing as though he decided to spend the last decade living off animal feces in the wilderness of West Philadelphia after having his role as a homeless muppet cut from Dave Chappelle's Sesame Street-inspired skit...
It's about a long-suffering organization finally giving in to how uncouth as shockingly large segment of their customers are and introducing a mascot that's capable of scaring just as many children as the legion of drunkards stumbling around the concourse cursing at the length of the line for crab fries as their eyes roll around in their head.
Well, it's either about that, or giving FUBAR'd fans a padded target to pelt with projectiles when the referees don't prove as fond of the Broad Street Bullies schtick as the franchise that, despite decades of evidence to the contrary, somehow still thinks that it helps win hockey games.
Either way, 'Gritty' is perfect fit in the only city hateful enough to boo in the face of a mascot that might as well be wearing a mirror.
Vikings' Stud Pass Rusher, Everson Griffen, Didn't Make It To Their Game This Past Weekend Due To A Hospitalization For A Mental Health Issue
FOX9- The Minnesota Vikings have confirmed defensive end Everson Griffen was not at Sunday's game for personal reasons.
"We are aware of the situation involving Everson Griffen and certainly concerned by what we have heard," said Vikings General Manager Rick Spielman in a statement. "We are currently focused on Everson's well-being and providing the appropriate support for him and his family."
According to Fox 9 law enforcement sources, Minneapolis Police were called to the Hotel Ivy Saturday afternoon on a report of threats being made by a guest. When they arrived, hotel personnel said Everson Griffen was making vague threats about “shooting the place up.” No weapon was ever shown or implied. Griffen agreed to leave the hotel.
Griffen was later detained by police in Western Hennepin County. Records show he was never booked into the county jail. Law enforcement sources said Griffen was taken to a local hospital in protective custody for an evaluation.
Griffen was already going to sit out Sunday's game against the Buffalo Bills due to an injury, but later missed attending the game on the sideline.
The good news, and I mean "good" in the most relative sense possible, is that given what we know now, we don't have to immediately assume that Eversen Griffen is some homicidal maniac with a thirst for armed violence. I suppose that he very well may be, but - as there have been no reports of such inexplicably erratic behavior in the past of a 30 year old player with a family - the bad news is that the episode that led to his hospitalization may be the result of the three letter acronym that typically waits until later in life to show it's unforgiving face.
Of course, I wasn't standing next to Everson Griffen when he received the diagnosis of his mental health evaluation, but we've gotten to a point where you have to instinctually worry/wonder about the health of every brain belonging to a professional football player who is randomly involved in news that leaves you scratching your head while muttering "wtf". Like, if we are basing our opinion of this story on recent history then the best case scenario is probably that one of the league's preeminent pass rushers got his hands on a tainted batch of synthetic weed, but I don't know that one bad trip would lead to a prolonged absence from the team.
Speaking both prematurely and speculatively, this sounds like it could possibly be the beginning of the end for Everson Griffen as a player, if only because it's the right decision for him as a person. The hope is that his worst fear isn't realized, but the depression and/or addiction associated with degenerative brain diseases has so often become the problem that it's tough not to consider him slowly saying goodbye to a game that demands an outrageous amount of physical and mental sacrifice to be one obvious solution. Again, it's impossible to know what actually happened or what the motivation for it was, but it requiring an active, dominant player to get a psychological evaluation is as scary a sign as it has ever been for those involved in the professional pounding that is NFL football.
Jason Witten Owned The Libs During Monday Night Football By Attributing The NFL's Increase In 'Roughing The Passer' Penalties To A Left Wing Lean
Whelp, I guess it's about that time we start slowly but surely bullying Jason Witten out of the booth. It's a shame really, as he was just starting to get the hang of stating the blatantly obvious, if not entirely false, with the charisma of a suicidal scientist in a way that made it easy to be woken up from a second quarter slumber after choking on your own drool. Unfortunately, I'm pretty sure that's the course of action we've decided upon taking towards anyone that has the gall to bring up "politics" in the super, duper safe space in which we all view our favorite inherently violent sport. Or is the ability to spend a few hours being blissfully ignorant towards all of society's issues no longer why we watch football now that someone found a nonsensical way to blame a universally despised rule change on the libs?
I don't want to make the NFL's incessant stupidity into a political argument, but the recognizable white male who went out of his way to do just that after being randomly selected to man a highly sought after position for which he's insanely unqualified should probably have a better understanding of how they work. You know, seeing as he can directly attribute the immediate success (in hiring, not execution) of his career change to them. I guess I can understand why someone less in the know might see the pussification of pass-rushing to be a liberal initiative, but Jason Witten? Of all people?
Assuming he wasn't brainwashed, shouldn't a player who worked under Jerry Jones for a damn decade and a half know better than anyone that the NFL's braintrust is much, much more concerned with money than they are with maintaining healthy brains or earning trust? The dangerously detrimental direction in which 'Roughing the Passer' penalties are trending isn't about protecting the players that understood the risks of football when decided to play it professionally. It's about protecting the investments that are premium pocket passers. It's wealthy white dudes who took time out of pandering to the President to make it so that athletes who are freakishly quick for their size have to defy the laws of physics to avoid taking a penalty, because the draw of quality quarterbacks is their key to unlocking yet another super secret tax bracket.
I never even thought about it as such until Jason Witten brought it up, but - if politically influenced at all - the near forbiddance of textbook tackling those playing a particular position solely because they hold the power as the most profitable players in the sport is overly conservative. Though I'd probably avoid making such an unnecessarily biased suggestion on-air during a nationally broadcasted primetime game because it's deffffinitely and toooootally not the ramifications of politics that are ruining sports, but rather uncomfortable reminders that the two are often intertwined...
Some Of The Saints' Not-So-Secret Weapons Spent Monday Fawning Over Each Other's Superhuman Abilities On Twitter
Leave it to one of their beloved former teammates to put it the most accurate way possible...
The truth is, if you asked me to choose between the three players mentioned above in deciding which one is truly too good to have not had their skill set carefully crafted by a kid who was tired of getting his ass kicked by the computer in the latest 'Madden' release, I wouldn't have a good answer for you.
The versatility of Taysom Hill, who - as a "backup QB" - has put the special in special teams, as well as received rave reviews for his playmaking prowess as a runner, blocker, and tackler, is unlike anything ever seen on a non-pixelated football field. There's simply no denying how unprecedented he is as a skillful Swiss Army Knife and the exclamation to the NFL equivalent of the 'ATH' designation...
On the other hand, the quantity of Michael Thomas' target share returning the unmatched quality of a 95% catch rate is simply unheard of. The record setting amount of completions he's hauled in while setting a historically unsustainable pace throughout the first three weeks of the season is somehow only as impressive as the efficiency with which he's done so. The only reason to believe his abilities haven't gotten a virtual bump from a boy who is a bad loser is that artificial intelligence couldn't possibly comprehend a wide receiver whose dependability in getting open and closing the deal is nearly as certain as death and taxes.
Then, of course, there's the 37 year old who has worked himself into such ludicrous shape that he's able to still make plays from a position that's became more and more reliant on athleticism with each of the passing fourteen seasons he's played it professionally. Age considered, working the middle of the field at a high enough level to start under a coach that loves himself some talented tight ends makes Ben Watson as much of a unicorn as anyone else on the roster.
So, in closing, I've determined that a conversation about freakishly gifted athletes that doesn't include Alvin Kamara isn't one worth having. The fun the Saints are having with each other after a huge divisional victory, however, definitely is worth having, so hopefully they keep winning in ways that allow them to do so.
Thirty-Nine Years Young Is The Living Legend That Remained Unrivaled In The Latest Ridiculous Chapter Of The Saints/Falcons Rivalry
Ridley me this, how does a team overcome their own insistence on continuing to deploy a secondary-dependent scheme whose kryptonite appears to be a blind launch of the football to one particular side of the field? Punitively speaking, how does a team overcome a deprivation of discipline that rendered what little defense they were effective in playing completely defenseless? From a mathematical standpoint, how does a team that's visiting a rival on the road overcome getting punched right in the mouth with a fistful of touchdowns?
The answer, of course, is for said team to employ the person who, as of yesterday, has now completed more passes than any other quarterback in NFL history. Drew Brees is the only reason that a team that looks way more disjointed than the one that everyone expected to show up to start the season is currently sitting at 2-1. The truth is that the Saints could (or even should) just as easily be 0-3 and staring down the line at a fairly daunting schedule. After all - whether it be penalties, turnovers, flawed execution, or all of the above - they have gotten in their own way with a far higher rate of success than they've (legally) gotten in the way of opposing wide receivers that have taken off streaking down their sideline. I say that to say this. There just aren't many players in the history of the sport that have proven capable of navigating so many obstacles put forth by their own organization in leading their team to victory, and one of them just did it for the umpteenth time in his illustrious career.
Drew Brees was obviously aided by the matchup proof presence of Michael Thomas and Alvin Kamara, the occasion spell from the titillating transformer of a toy that is Taysom Hill, and the timely relentlessness of Cam Jordan, but - as it so often does - the difference between a depressing loss and inspiring win wore #9 yesterday.
For as anxiety inducing as it was to see a near 40 year old franchise quarterback scramble his way around two defenders and into the end zone with a shocking spin move that twirled him right out of character, it was just as comforting to see the ball placed in his hands to start overtime. While yesterday proved that the Falcons should really take heed to Steve Gleason's advice to "never punt"...
...it was also advice that the Saints needed to follow if they planned on leaving Atlanta having clipped the wings of their rivals. A game that had more ups and downs than the heart rate of those that were emotionally invested in its outcome was left to be determined by whether or not Drew Brees could orchestrate the ball in the end-zone. That is still, after all these years, the sweetest of spots for the New Orleans Saints.
Look no further than Matt Ryan's stat line and/or the penalty yardage totals for evidence that Sean Payton and Co. have a whole hell of a lot of work to do to get a team that's considered a contender to play smart and focused enough to make good on that promise. The P.J. Williams experiment failed Dennis Allen in about as much time as it takes Calvin Ridley to run the 40 yard dash, Ken Crawley wasn't exactly redeeming in relief, and a solid pass-rush and ruthless run defense was left to suffer in supervision of a complete undressing of whoever happened to line up opposite Marshon Lattimore. The Saints' biggest problem is that they continue to have on-going problems (See: their attempts to defend a bunch formation), and right now nothing is more problematic than starting a corner(s) that couldn't be more gracious as a target if he were drunkenly stumbling down Bourbon Street tossing a $20 to every con-man that fooled him with the "I know where you got your shoes..." scam.
That said, the face of the franchise put on a clinic in reminding everyone - least of all, his teammates - that all else doesn't have to be equal when you have the great equalizer under center. Hopefully the Saints get their shit together sooner rather than later, but I'll be damned if Drew Brees isn't still willing and able to provide them as such margin for error as any single player in the league.
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.