Jon Gruden Believes Derek Carr Has "Mastered" The Raiders Offense, And I Can't Think Of Any Reason Not To Believe In His Effusive Praise Of A QB...
LBS- Gruden, who is entering his first season back in the NFL since 2008, is regarded as a quarterbacks expert. He has a complex system that takes a while to master, but it can produce great results once you do.
And good news, Raiders fans: Gruden says that Carr has been working hard all offseason and has “mastered” the offense.
“I think he’s one of the best, in terms of processing information,” Gruden said of Carr, via NBC Sports Bay Area’s Scott Bair. “I think he craves new things. He wants more… ‘What do we have today? What are we doing today? What’s new? What do we got?’ He has a photographic memory. It comes so easy to him. He’s got the offense mastered more than I do.”
Normally I'd remain skeptical of such high praise, as the only kind of NFL offense that can be truly "mastered" in under one offseason is the kind that isn't worth being mastered, but the source must be considered here.
I mean, other than approximately 87% of the broadcasts he appeared on during his time as ESPN's resident fluffer, when you have you ever heard Jon Gruden speak glowingly of quarterback play that wasn't entirely deserving of outside erections? I suppose you could argue his televised QB Camp made every prospective first round passer out to be the second coming of Christ, but now that he's approximately 5% more firable there's no way he'd continue to blow smoke in recognition of one passer who is of particular relevance to him as if he is the next Pope.
If all goes well, Jon Gruden is in line to lead the Oak-Vegas Raiders for the next decade. Since there's only two-three dozen massive concerns regarding how those years turn out, I see very little benefit to him talking up the quarterback to which the success of his tenure is entirely tied as said quarterback comes off an underwhelming year. Therefore, if Derek Carr's coach, more or less, implies that he's ready to marry the playbook after a month and could redraw it from memory while blindfolded then we almost have no choice but to believe him. The liquidity of that learning curve makes next to no sense, but if the man who turned the effusive praise of any and all quarterbacks into 100 million dollars has proven anything over the years it's that he's usually right on the money with these things.
Terrelle Pryor Released A Public Statement Regarding #FlinchGate, Which Is Only As Preposterous As His Explanation For It
You know, I never really thought it to be a crime that Terrelle Pryor instinctually ducked and covered when his face became aware of an incoming fist. A terrible visual for someone who was taller, heavier, and more protected than the person who owned said fist? Definitely. An offense so unforgivable that it required a public defense? Not quite.
That's why I kind of feel like I should start viewing the flinch mocked 'round the sports world as more a of a societal violation. After all, the person who committed it was apparently left with no other form of recourse but to go with an even more embarrassing form of self preservation by holding up the irrefutable well-being of children as a transparent shield to playful teasing. Flinching must be a much more inexcusable transgression than I ever imagined if the person who did it felt the only way to come back from it was to talk about the role he modeled himself in as the forbearing example of pacifism for our youth.
I honestly didn't think that Terrelle Pryor owed us any sort of explanation for engaging in the inherently human and involuntary act of detecting danger and reacting accordingly, no matter how bad it looked. Following the most counterproductive and unnecessary of public statements, however, I'm left feeling as though his explanation for getting completely punked isn't good enough.
Apparently, in the split second that his brain had to tell his muscles to protect his face, it also managed to ask what the poor children would think if they saw football players fighting. If that's the case then a couple of his neurons should be fired for not considering what the internet would think about a 6'4, 230 pound wide receiver in pads and a helmet getting shook clear out of his skin by a pump-faked punch.
John Elway Says Colin Kaepernick Had His Chance To Join The Broncos, Which Would Be Correct If There Were No Such Thing As Context
Seeing as all that John Elway did with that answer was take every Colin Kaepernick hater by the hand to carefully lead their blind asses through a virtual minefield of context and facts that would completely blow up his argument entirely, I'm not even going to get into the legitimacy of his claim. It's quite obvious that the "chance" in question came before a particular person's public protest led to his blackballing, as well as required said person to flush five million guaranteed dollars down the toilet to take him up on it. Therefore, it's irrelevant to the point that the Broncos' General Manager probably broke the law in trying to make.
Anyhoo, as an aside to the continued nonsense spewing from the mouthes of NFL executives that are digging themselves deeper and deeper by desperately scrambling to explain their way out of a collusion lawsuit, I do have one question. How has John Elway been at evaluating talent at the quarterback position? Must be feeling pretty damn confident about the state of his team under center to talk down to a guy that didn't feel as though he should have to relinquish damn near half the salary he earned taking a team to the Super Bowl. I'm not surprised, as it was but a foregone conclusion that the Broncos' GM would adequately fill the one position he knows better than the side of his neck that he just spoke from. It feels like years ago that, due to absolutely no foresight of his own, John Elway managed to dodge the woefully inaccurate bullet that was that Brock Osweiler contract. Have to imagine that Paxton guy they spent a first round pick on to replace him is returning dividends in front of a dominant defense by now. Surely that's the Case! I mean, it would have to be for this brand spankin' new "one shot, one opportunity" policy to get put into effect at such an inconvenient time for Colin Kaepernick, right? RIGHT!?!
Watching P.K. Subban Do A Wide Receiver Drill Will Give You A Whole New Appreciation For NFL Athletes
I hate to this about an All-World athlete that can hop on a pair of blades and change direction as fast as a bouncy ball thrown in a phone booth, but P.K. Subban looked kind of awkward and heavy-footed while running through that drill.
That, of course, is entirely relative to the lateral quickness of the people we usually see starring in these videos, and thus not nearly as much of a knock on P.K. Subban's route running as much as it is a massive compliment to those that do it professionally. Still, the same guy that can shave through an entire sheet of ice in fifteen seconds flat merely looked like a slightly above average athlete once he got on grass, which is nothing more than a reminder that we are spoiled by the absolute freaks that are able to move their feet at a mile a minute during football season. Just as spoiled as we are by having the pleasure to watch people that can do this, in fact...
DeAndre Hopkins Forcing A Fight After The First Rep Of A Joint Practice Is The Furthest Thing From Shocking
You know, there's not all that many wide receivers that need no more than one route to create that much animosity between themselves and an opposing corner, but DeAndre Hopkins is definitely one of them. It's not that the Texans' biggest and brightest star beats corners off the line, or beats them out of the break, or beats them downfield. He obviously does all of those things with regularity, but what I imagine drives his opposition the most nuts is that he just simply beats them. Like physically, and with a near oxymoronic display of subtly violent hand jousting. DeAndre Hopkins has creating separation down to such an intricately abusive science that it simply has to be annoying to those that fall victim to the forcibly aggressive formula.
Assuming there was no more to that fight then what met the eye prior, Jimmie Ward wasn't being a sore loser by skipping and jumping up on Hop after the catch. He just foresaw himself becoming a hell of a lot more sore and doing a hell of a lot more losing if he didn't respond to getting smacked and bullied off his spot by a receiver who treats his routes as if they are being run through the thickest of brush.
Although he's one of the most skilled guys in the entire league, I wouldn't go telling DeAndre Hopkins he plays a "skill position". If his decision to throw the first punch sans helmet is any indication, he'd be more than happy to show no finesse in feeding you a lot more than your lunch.
Pour one out for DeAngelo Hall's ankles, which may or may not have been seen since...
Alex Okafor Going Down In Practice Is An Unpleasant Reminder Of The Saints' Lack Of Depth On The D-Line
The good news here is that this is probably the worst news that has come out of Saints training camp thus far. I'm knocking on wood as I say the following, but keeping in mind offseason's past, a man down that forces a little stunned silence but is followed by said man returning to his feet and making it off the field under his own power isn't any reason to take shelter in Chicken Little's coup. It's unfortunate, but it isn't a sign of the sky falling on what looks to be a promising season.
The bad news, on the other hand, is that a pass rush that was starting to look as though it wouldn't be dependent on a significant contribution from the rawest of rookies isn't anywhere as deep as it seems on the surface. A substantial injury to Alex Okafor would obviously be a horrible turn of events for him, as he's responded about as well as one could have possibly hoped coming off a season that was cut short by an Achilles tear. However, it would also be a horrible turn of events for the Saints, as it would make Marcus Davenport's absence from practice a hell of a lot more concerning for an otherwise lopsided defensive line. Trey Hendrickson's development has been encouraging, but a starting caliber compliment to Cam Jordan he is (more than likely) not.
I'm not saying it will, but - to play the pessimist - if Alex Okafor's diagnosis ends up having been foreshadowed by the nerve-wracking reaction of his teammates then the pressure on the player on which the Saints spent two first round picks will be increased substantially. It could be worse, as that pressure was presumed to exist the second he was picked anyway, but his lack of participation in practice isn't going to continue being a footnote if there's a disappointing headline regarding their current starting RDE coming around the corner.
Newly Assumed Browns' Leader Jarvis Landry Spiked A Football Off His Teammate's Helmet Before Rolling Around The Practice Field Wrestling With Him
I don't want to make any declarative statements, as that's how this narrative started, but is it possible we watched an irate Jarvis Landry call the peers in his position group a bunch of bitches while trying to shame them into practicing injured (against their head coach's wishes) by way of a rant that leaned hard on the use of expletives and prematurely assumed he was a great leader?
In retrospect, it feels like we were a little quick to crown the guy that (without further context) looked to wildly overreact to an incidental bump by spiking the football off his teammate's face mask from point blank range thus turning practice into a backyard brawl as captain material. I still think that both his talent and his competitiveness are huge assets for a team that's been woefully untalented and uncompetitive for years. However, it sort of seems like we just saw an accomplished veteran who appeared passionate in voluntarily committing the prime of career to Cleveland and jumped to the conclusion that, due to a lack of capable alternatives, he had to be the one to instill maturity and accountability in an organization that might still be unfamiliar.
I get that training camp fights happen as an organic result of emotions and aggression running as high as the humidity. That said, if that clip of Jarvis Landry's temper turning a run-of-the-mill collision in a contact sport into a street fight is any indication then he's only proven himself as much of a leader as he has a ringleader for a franchise that's yet to prove it's done being a circus. It can't be argued that the former Dolphin hasn't raised the bar on what type of effort and intensity is expected out of his Browns' teammates. Unfortunately, seeing as he only raised it high enough to smash a glass on it and hold it to his own cornerback's throat, I think that's more of an sizable indictment of the organization he joined than it is some massive compliment to the influence his addition has had on it this far.
Jalen Ramsey Went Scorched Earth On A Whole Bunch Of QB's During His GQ Interview, Which Must Make It Pretty Awkward For One Particular QB
Eli Manning and Ben Roethlisberger:
As a football fan, I appreciate Jalen Ramsey for what he is, which is quite obviously an insanely cocky and unabashed asshole that would probably enjoy being identified as such if he actually cared what people thought about him. The packaging on some his opinions is nothing short of obnoxious, but the opinions themselves aren't too, too far off from the general consensus on quality quarterback play, or lack thereof, in the National Football League. As much as I want to say he's wrong for crapping on a bunch of other professionals that have accomplished far more than he has at this point in their respective careers, I would be lying if I said he as was more wrong than he was funny. Therefore, I found some of those critiques worthy of a laugh while knowing full well that my belly might damn near burst when some of these guys that he targeted are inevitably successful in targeting him downfield.
That's not really my main takeaway from what was a league-wide roast of the quarterback position though. Instead, my main takeaway was the one punch that was not-so-surprisingly pulled, as the person that would have taken it square on the chin must be sitting pretty awkward right about now.
Imagine watching a terrible movie in which all the crappy cast members reminded you of a slightly better version on yourself, with that movie being written by one of your immediate family members. That's how I imagine Blake Bortles felt while reading Jalen Ramsey's thorough dismantling of much, much more preferable and decorated passers. I'd like to believe that even the most combative cornerback in the NFL would never wipe his ass with the name of his own quarterback, but there must be a small part of Blake Bortles that wishes he just got it both out in the open and over with by shitting on him. After all, the things that are typically better left unsaid usually aren't so obvious in being unsaid.
At some point or another, I imagine someone is going to bring up this GQ article in the locker room, and only one man's laugh is going to be through gritted teeth when they start joking about it. Unfortunately for Jalen Ramsey, it's the same man with the erratic arm on which his championship aspirations currently resides. As unbearably overconfident and outspoken as the subject of that interview was, the one guy he wasn't comfortable being entirely honest about is really the only one whose performance should matter to him. For that reason alone, being all-too-truthful in talking down all those quarterbacks could make for quite the comeuppance.
Cam Newton Took A Not-So-Subtle Dig At Kelvin Benjamin On Social Media By...Professing His Love To A Wall?
That's it? That's it?!?! Kelvin Benjamin's retrospective blaming of everyone other than himself and his gutlessness in the confrontation that followed afforded his former quarterback all the leeway in the world to be aggressively passive in response to the easiest of targets (that didn't start as a fat joke, but alas...), and with it he chose to go full-Ernie in professing his love to the damn wall? I just knew it was an accident to be so complimentary of the way Cam Newton handled an awkward situation with a scorned playmaker (by position only). I mean, talk about peeing his proverbial pants when it comes to taking advantage of such a golden opportunity...
To be clear, I'm aware that the grade of shade that Cam Newton is able to overthrow from his team's official social media account is limited by the age range of its audience. Still, complimenting the trustworthiness of inanimate objects in an effort to call Kelvin Benjamin a backstabbing snake without actually saying so doesn't exactly disprove his point. I personally think his point sucks. That, unfortunately, makes it all the more inexplicable that the person who was the direct target of it didn't go find one single teammate to loyally stand by his side as sturdily as some sheetrock as he tried his hand at public pettiness.
As far as I am concerned, Cam Newton can take as many shots as he wants at the Bills' wide receiver that's about to learn in the hardest of ways exactly how stupid he was in saying that any QB would have been an improvement to his former QB. That said, if the goal there was to hit Kelvin Benjamin with a comeback, then the first dig was ironically inaccurate.
Terrelle Pryor Damn Near Flinched Onto A Neighboring Field After Getting Torn To Shreds By Former Teammate DJ Swearinger
Let's start by stating some facts here. Flinching is an involuntary reaction to an instantaneous and unexpected threat of harm. Therefore, it knows not size, safety, or circumstance. We neither will nor should treat the fact that all the Jets' wide receiver did was prove he has the inherently human ability to detect immediate danger as the main takeaway here, but it is important to note that competition only makes a select few athletes into robotic lunatics that aren't programmed to have fearful instincts...
All that being said, this is just a terrible, terrible look for a guy who was already getting zero respect from the team he underwhelmed for last season. That visual of a fully-padded player that stood 6 inches taller and 20 pounds heavier than the entirely unprotected ex-teammate that was verbally setting fire to the fiber of his being getting head-faked halfway into a Tony Hawk trick after having a ball he had both hands on battled from his grasp. That visual is one that can only be recovered from by way of physical confrontation. It's not so much the flinch that I'm critical of, as almost everyone of us would have done the same if we were in his much bigger shoes, but his refusal to tie those big boy shoes back on after having his feet shook straight out of them that leaves me thinking a little bit less less of Terrelle Pryor.
Just take into account the tone that has been set by the Jets and Redskins joint practices...
...and it's almost impossible not to question the personal pride of the towering presence who turtled then tucked his tail in the face of someone who was reminding the entirety of two organizations of his past failures.
I'm not the hyper-masculine type to think that every war of words needs to be hashed out with haymakers, but you can't simply walk away sheepishly after getting both bodied and emasculated like that while playing a sport in which the ability to intimidate is such a huge asset. Especially after having your own claim that your former team can't guard you made to look laughable...
Antonio Brown Is The Latest Player To Take To Twitter Because He Didn't Like That Reporters Were Reporting
And, as Jalen Ramsey so threateningly put it, the "war" on reporters continues. Appointing one who has been on the Steelers' beat since before Terry Bradshaw's hairline was beyond repair to be the court jester of training camp seems a bit odd, but such is the result of athletes projecting their daily frustrations on those with which the general public is most likely to pile on.
I wasn't there, so I have absolutely no idea if Antonio Brown had a little hitch in his giddy-up as he prematurely left practice for a period of time, but I have hard time believing that an elderly journalist maniacally manufactured some limp so that his mentions would turn into a mosh pit of bipolar maniacs overreacting to a matter-of-fact update. Given his flare for the dramatic, there's a chance that Antonio Brown's exaggerated pimp walk was misinterpreted as a side effect of his groin strain from Saturday by a reporter who definitely has a hard time understanding kids these day, but "making shit up" he was not.
I'd imagine training camp is also a grind for the people covering it. Obviously it's not as physically or mentally as taxing as it is for the players, but does anyone - outside of AB, apparently - really believe that a 60-something year old member of the media intentionally made himself the target of the most terrible of towels during the dog days of summer by lying about the health of team's star wide receiver? Seeing as he's seated at the head of the 'Sports' section for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, as opposed to across from Skip Bayless, I see a lot more value in him reporting on what he saw than him compromising his journalistic credibility for some hate clicks. Antonio Brown can paint him in a red nose if he wants, but Ed Bouchette only tweeted about a limp because he saw a limp. That might mean he needs to see an optometrist, but it doesn't mean he needs to be hooked up to a polygraph.
A Steelers Fan Managed To Sneak On The Field To Participate In Training Camp Before Quickly Being Escorted From The Premises
Well, it's not the first time we've heard about an overanxious fan going to extreme lengths in seeking out his 15 seconds of fame in the belly of the beast, but it's sure as shit the time in which the beast was at it's most volatile.
As your average, everyday asshole, I can't think of too many things I'd be more frightful of being mistaken for than an NFL hopeful on an NFL field during the stretch of training camp in which tempers have reached an absolute boil. Like, by all means, let me be caught in a gunman's periphery while wearing all beige and hiking through the woods during hunting season if the alternative is to go head-to-head in a battle for leverage against an NFL safety whose been clashing with familiar faces for hot summer weeks on end. Meanwhile, some schmuck off the street is out there willing to turn himself into the equivalent of a made-to-order carcass in a lion's den all in the name of the unfulfilling and never-ending search for attention on the internet.
Had he gotten the retweets, or whatever he was looking for, then I suppose it would be tough to argue that he didn't earn them, but I still can't help but feel as though the Steelers would have been better served to put him through an Oklahoma drill to set an unmistakable precedent that the gridiron is no place for games. Even if there were legal reasons that deterred them from doing so, the least they could have done was drained the entirety of this intestines by letting him reach the front of the line in a full contact drill. I get that it's important to eliminate distractions, but it seems like Mike Tomlin missed a golden opportunity for his team to bond in a way fitting of a pack of a sharks circling its prey until, at the very least, said prey released some embarrassingly unpleasant secretions.
Jalen Ramsey Has Been Suspended A Week For Threatening The Media After They Dared To Do Their Job By Videotaping Dante Fowler's On-Field Freakout
Yeaaaaah, nope. Considering the presumptuous and disingenuous state of click-bait culture, there's not a lot that we won't consider well-deserved when professional athletes point the finger back at the media, but essentially dragging that finger across their neck in the form of a threat definitely isn't one of them.
I don't want to make it seem like I don't understand the frustration. The media makes for an easy target to players who are tired of targeting each other, as they are inclined to make too much of training camp dust-ups that are typically just a byproduct of teammates beating the bejesus out of each other throughout the dog days of summer as they blend into one another. That said, I hardly classify videotaping two professionals running around in circles trying to fight each other without pads on after practice to be "too much", just as I hardly classify the dutiful beat reporter doing so to be a mal-practicing member of the media.
I mean, we probably asked for one of these outbursts to finally go awry by finding Jalen Ramsey's outspoken antics to be overwhelmingly amusing, but if I were him I'd save the forewarning of impending violence for those that aren't simply leaving exactly what happened open to public interpretation. Unless I am missing something, Phillip Heilman merely did his job objectively, making him far less worthy of the twitter finger crosshairs than those that are going to turn the suspension the Jaguars' contentious corner went out of his way to earn himself into 48 straight hours worth of intentionally combative content.
The umbrella under which the term "media" falls nowadays is big enough for every person with a public platform to gain access. Therefore, if you're going to go from throwing shade to raising hell then at least take specific aim at the people making something out of what you perceive to be nothing as opposed to the person who posted that "nothing" as clear and concise context for the suspension it was inevitably disciplined with...
Killing (literally or figuratively, apparently) the messenger isn't going to stop the message from circulating regardless, so maybe it would be wiser to throw shots at the entities that are far more likely to mismanage it.
Maryland Looks Pretty Complicit In The Death Of 19 Year Old O-Lineman Jordan McNair, Making Them Neither The First Or Last Example Of How Broken College Football Is
ESPN- Maryland offensive lineman Jordan McNair showed signs of extreme exhaustion, had difficulty standing upright while running a set of 110-yard sprints and was found to have a body temperature of 106 degrees at a local hospital before he died of heatstroke suffered during a football workout, multiple sources told ESPN.
The 19-year-old from Randallstown, Maryland, collapsed during an outdoor Terrapins workout on May 29. He died two weeks later. No cause of death has been officially released, but ESPN has learned of an official heatstroke conclusion and new details about what happened to McNair based upon interviews with multiple sources in and close to the Terrapins program, as well as two witnesses to the workout.
Current Maryland players describe a culture of fear and intimidation within the football program in the run-up to offensive lineman Jordan McNair's death.
McNair's death, and whether university coaches and officials followed proper protocols after he became distressed, are being investigated by Dr. Rod Walters, a university-hired, former longtime collegiate athletic trainer. Walters' report is expected to be released Sept. 15. McNair's parents have hired the Baltimore law firm of Murphy, Falcon & Murphy to investigate as well.
The May 29 workout, which was organized and led by the Maryland strength and conditioning staff, began at 4:15 p.m. ET. McNair and other linemen were near the end of their sprint set when McNair started having obvious difficulties, according to multiple sources. McNair family attorney Billy Murphy told ESPN on Thursday that McNair had a seizure at about 5 p.m., following a sprint.
Maryland athletic director Damon Evans has said previously that the team gathered for a scheduled, supervised workout around 4:15 p.m. at its outdoor practice fields. The strength and conditioning staff, led by Rick Court, supervised the workout. Certified athletic trainers were present. It was about 80 degrees when the workouts began, and after a warm-up, the players were told to run 10 110-yard sprints.
Evans has said that McNair completed the entire workout before falling ill. He said trainers noticed that McNair was having some trouble recovering and began "providing necessary care."
But multiple witnesses at the workout told ESPN that McNair had physical difficulty before the workout ended and needed two teammates to help him complete the 10th sprint.
"There's no way he finished on his own," one of the players at the workout told ESPN.
"There were multiple people that said, 'Wow, Jordan looks f---ed up, he doesn't look all right,'" the player said. "We knew he was really exhausted, but we didn't know he was in danger of his life. But that doesn't mean that a medical professional shouldn't know to put him in an ice tub."
Multiple sources said that after the 10th sprint finished, Wes Robinson, Maryland's longtime head football trainer, yelled, "Drag his ass across the field!"
A second player at the workout told ESPN: "Jordan was obviously not in control of his body. He was flopping all around. There were two trainers on either side of him bearing a lot of weight. They interlocked their legs with his in order to keep him standing."
Maryland officials have said McNair "was talking to our trainers throughout" and that after the completion of the workout, the trainers "began supporting an active recovery and providing care."
Multiple sources estimated that trainers walked McNair around for about 80 yards after he started showing distress.
"They tried to walk him for a while after he collapsed," the second player who spoke to ESPN said.
"His head, he barely had control over it. His head was limp to the point where it was back. They were walking him across the field to get him up and moving, I guess. But then they basically took him over to position drills, which took a long time. I didn't see them bring him in, but it was a while."
The first player who spoke to ESPN said: "It was a good [distance] for a guy in his state to be walking, and it was away from the athletic training building, away from any resource that he probably needed at the time. Probably 100 percent the opposite way."
Maryland officials said trainers walked with McNair as part of their active recovery efforts before he was taken by a motorized cart to the athletic training room in the football team house for "further observation and continued treatment."
Maryland players are required to receive a medical clearance at the start of the practice season, and all players participating in the May 29 workout had previously received medical clearances from team physicians to participate in football activities, according to the university. That heatstroke might have been the cause of McNair's death was first raised by his family on a personal website. His parents, Tonya Wilson and Martin McNair, declined comment for this story.
According to the Mayo Clinic, heatstroke can occur when a body temperature rises to 104 degrees or higher. It requires emergency treatment and "the damage worsens the longer treatment is delayed, increasing risk of serious complications or death."
Not that any amount of retrospection is going to bring solace to a family that lost their 19 year old son to college football conditioning drills, but it probably shouldn't have taken us this long to realize that a teenage kid with enough athletic ability to earn himself a free education at a reputable university didn't simply fall victim to working out on a hot day. Sadly, we probably only accepted that as an explanation for what took the life of Jordan McNair because Maryland isn't what anyone would consider "good" at football and therefore they couldn't possibly be one of the universities that prioritized success in it above basic human decency, but such is the state of a broken institution.
I really don't want to let D.J. Durkin and the rest of the Terrapins' staff that has been belatedly placed on administrative leave off the hook by viewing these particularly unforgivable incidents through a panoramic lens over the landscape of the Power 5. However, the fact that this story is far more jarring than it is surprising is pretty telling of the type of toxicity we've come to accept as an occupational hazard of a sport that is amateur in power structure only.
In no world, other than the one in which college football unabashedly operates under the damn near religious premise that winning is to be done at any and all costs, could the line between endurance-based exercise and authority-based exhaustion become as blurry as the vision of the kid whose life was cut insanely short by the ambiguity. The one workplace in which the entirety of the labor force gets no financial return on their physical and emotional investment is the same one in which the higher-ups are most ruthless in reinforcing their leverage. I suppose attaching the job security of unsupervised disciplinarians to the performance of student-athletes whose only recourse is to be massive inconvenienced by transferring was bound to lead to pseudo-dictatorships. Still, it couldn't be more damning of the nationwide culture in which Maryland football operates that one of their players was forced to run himself into an early grave before they were viewed as abnormal enough to be noteworthy.
Even as someone who loves nothing more than plastering his ass to the couch throughout the entirety of a September Saturday, I can say that the finished product isn't anywhere near worthy of the shady business practices that go into its manufacturing. In a "if you love something, let it go..." type of way, I think I'd be fine with firing college football as a collective into the sun and hoping it re-enters the atmosphere having been incinerated free of it's dangerously corrupt and shamelessly exploitative aura. If only that option were anywhere near as profitable as it would be beneficial to the standing of sports in society then it might actually be on the table.
The Patch The Saints Are Wearing This Season In Honor Of Late, Great Team Owner Tom Benson Is As Fitting As It Gets
Perfect. Just perfect. Dare I even say, the most perfect of all the commemorative fabrics sewn onto sports jerseys in fond memory of the legends that have left us behind en route to a better place? It's not necessarily a knock on its competition, but - in terms of both creativity and cultural significance - Tom Benson's iconic likeness is exponentially easier on the eyes than those I can even remember seeing over the years. I want to again make it clear that it's not a contest, as "which late, great lived on through the most aesthetically pleasing patch?" would be a super grim poll. However, if (and only if) it were, the golden silhouette of Tom Benson would be taking home a medal of a similar color. That's just a fact.
The image of the patriarch of professional sports in New Orleans with his signature umbrella in twirl is just too perfect in its representation of both the city and the Saints, as Who Dat?! will never be asked of the person it memorializes who was undeniably synonymous with both. Here's to hoping this season is made as special as the contributions of the man, myth, and legend it's dedicated to, for without Tom Benson it wouldn't even be possible.
I've got to tell you, as much as I too sacrifice an unhealthy amount of whatever waning mental stability I have left into sports, I really think we should all sent our well wishes to the kid that took a disproportional amount of pride in throwing back a collector's item on behalf of his football fandom in August. I know he was probably made intoxicated by approximately two dozen domestic beers and the excitement of seeing his Giants live for the first time in what feels like forever to us nut-cases that live and die with each snap. However, pounding on one's chest in a way that would make the people beating the absolute crap out of one another for bargain basement job security below say "bro, chill" while slowly backing away is a bit disturbing to say the least.
Again, I'm sure I've looked vaguely similar in my stupidity at sporting events, but I'm near certain those games at least counted in the standings. We're talking about Week 1 of the preseason. Half the players he screamed in support of won't own so much as a Giants t-shirt a month from now, so maybe it would have been wiser to hold on to an asset that could at least recoup the money spent on overpriced beer and a lower bowl ticket to a meaningless NFL game.
For one, there's no reason to be that outwardly defensive about an irrelevant out-of-conference team scoring on your backup defense. More importantly, acting like a complete lunatic in a half-filled stadium with an audience that's only mildly interested is going to get a lens on you, and that camera won't exactly provide forgiving lighting when you ultimately do something as stupid as tossing back the first touchdown pass (however meaningless) of a #1 pick for the entire internet to see.
I already assumed he was a pretty big fan due to his presence at the first preseason game, but now I'm concerned that's literally the only thing that matters to him and I can't imagine that bodes well for anyone seated in the general vicinity of his section when the regular season actually starts. This kid might be heart attack waiting to happen if the Giants switch things up and decide to play competitive football into October this year, so maybe he should be put down until September.
Sidenote: Is Baker Mayfield already the most accomplished quarterback the Browns have had since returning to Cleveland?
Cam Jordan Has Apparently Had Just About Enough Of Donald Trump's Bullshit, Regardless Of Who That Might Upset
If we are being honest, it would be negligent not to cap off a tweet storm that stated only facts and spun an empty threat into an invocation of philanthropy with the most fitting of GIF's...
Of course, we aren't being honest, as something that has absolutely nothing to do with politics is somehow, someway still being used to distract and pander to those that can't tell the difference between arguing right vs. left and right vs. wrong. Therefore, Cam Jordan's comments, as logical, genuine, and good-natured as they may be, will be seen as polarizing amongst some fans that would die for him as a player as long as it doesn't mean granting him the human right to argue for equal protection under the law as a person.
I know it's probably because I am sofa-king-lib-todd-did, but I stand with Cam Jordan in thinking that the supposed loss of Saints' fans whose support is circumstantial seems like addition by subtraction to me. Personally, I see a hell a lot of value in replacing those that think of football games as patriotism pissing contests with underprivileged youths, but that's just me...and the vast majority of the people putting their health at risk to participate in said football games.
It's obviously easier for me to say the following as someone who has judged Donald Trump off the entirety of his laughably checkered past and determined that he's a morally (and financially, depending on the week) bankrupt toddler. Still, I am now a bigger fan of Cam Jordan than I have ever been before, and that's saying a lot as he has always been as much of a leader in the community as he is on the field. Hopefully that helps split the difference in support made by those that are only now realizing that ownership of the athletes wasn't included in the purchase of their season ticket.
Either way, the player who has not once had the integrity of his intentions questioned quite clearly doesn't care about those who take it upon themselves to speak for the troops while using them as a political prop to make their point, or their spokesperson. Seeing as they only seem to care about him when he's rushing the passer, why in the hell should he?
Some NFL Scouts Suggested That Alvin Kamara "Clean Up" His Look Ahead Of The Draft, And Completely Ignoring Them Couldn't Have Possibly Worked Out Better
BleacherReport- The next day was technically Kamara’s off day, but he spent the majority of his day at Athletix to work out, hit the field for speed training and receive treatment. We return to the same metal chairs outside Smoothie King after he finishes.
As he sips on his strawberry Hulk, Kamara wonders if he would've gone higher in the draft had he changed his appearance. Selected as the fifth running back off the board—behind Leonard Fournette, Christian McCaffrey, Dalvin Cook and Joe Mixon, who was captured on video punching a woman in the head in 2014—Kamara says there were NFL scouts and executives during the draft process who told him to cut his hair and take his nose ring out, including one NFL executive explaining how a team’s head coach wouldn’t approve of his look.
"I might have [gone higher]," Kamara says. "But if I wasn't myself, I wouldn't have been as successful this year."
If we are being honest, there's probably a more impactful point to be made about (mostly white) NFL executives trying to play God in turning (mostly black) kids who are often only as gifted as they are otherwise underprivileged into prim and proper foot soldiers that fit their preconceived notion of professionalism in a sport that's basically just organized barbarianism. I mean, it's not a point that I personally want to spend too much time exploring, as I'm really looking forward to the fun that comes as a result of football season. Not that I'm subjectively blind enough to think I'm witnessing the most wholesome of product, but doing a deep dive into how unqualified those who make a living during it are in dissecting every fiber of 20-22 year old beings when they can't even see past the stupidity of stereotypes doesn't exactly stand to supplement the solace of my Sundays. Still, that point is definitely out there to be fully examined, it's just better left to someone both smarter and less of an accurate generalization than myself.
Therefore, I won't get all philosophical in trying to figure out how some teams noticed a nose ring but all teams (including the one he's currently on) repeatedly missed the elusiveness, versatility, and humility of the transcendent talent whose septum it pierced. Instead I'll just appreciate how well staying true to his eccentric self worked out for both Alvin Kamara and the perfect fit of a franchise that sprung into action to break a fall down the draft board that seems laughable in retrospect. I couldn't tell you whether or not his golden grill truly charred his chances of getting taken prior to the 67th pick, but I can tell you that the team that came to own that 67th pick resides in the one city that not only embraces those that venture from the beaten path, but also encourages them to do so.
I don't know if everything happens really does happen for a reason, but there was a reason that the eventual Rookie Of The Year didn't go full-Steve Urkel to satisfy a couple regressively repressed scouting departments. I'd imagine it's the same exact reason why New Orleans almost immediately took such a shine to every damn dreaded lock poking out from beneath his helmet. Alvin Kamara is unapologetically himself, and while it's impossible to know if that made his wait even two minutes longer last April, it's the authenticity of his unique style and personality in conjunction with a skill set that Sean Payton (wet) dreams of that has unquestionably made it all the more worth it.
Alvin Kamara Said The Saints Would Have Beaten The Excrement Out Of The Eagles, Which Is As Debatable As It Is Irrelevant
As it turns out, Alvin Kamara isn't perfect. He might be damn close, as just about the only time he lost ground throughout his first full year in the NFL was when he ran the tape backwards to speak retrospectively about the Saints' chances in the NFC Championship Game that they prematurely penciled themselves into, but he's not perfect.
It should be noted that this quote came from a piece that was developed over the offseason, when the subject of it was still looking back on a heartbreaking end to his rookie season as opposed to looking ahead to an incredibly promising sophomore season. Still, the "woulda, coulda, shoulda" mentality is both one of losers and one that's almost always worthy of an eye roll. As much as I love Alvin Kamara's (over) confidence, this specific case is no different. The tangible (and lop-sided) results provide next to no reason for the Saints to believe that they would have beaten the Eagles into a clean pair of underwear this past January, nor does the brightness of their future give them any reason to dwell on a dark moment in their past.
Now, if I absolutely had to re-write history then I would say that New Orleans would have put up much more of a fight than Minnesota, as the Vikings looked very much like a team whose luck ran all the way out when Stefon Diggs crossed the goal line with zero seconds remaining. That being said, I don't have to, because only one team kept its shit entirely together in raising the Lombardi Trophy, and it wasn't the one that rostered the Rookie(s) Of The Year.
Personally, I think his filter malfunctioned when this quote was transcribed, as Alvin Kamara has otherwise been the picture of humility despite slithering through hundreds of prospective tacklers into superstardom. Unfortunately, the fact that what he said was out of character won't stop it from being posted on Philadelphia's bulletin board come Week 11, so he better be prepared to slap a couple dollar signs onto talk that is currently cheap when it actually matters.
Due To No Fault Of His Own, Jarvis Landry's Speech From 'Hard Knocks' Has Been Wildly Overhyped. There, I Said It.
I know we are currently living in the age of sensationalism, where everything that is not completely awful is absolutely flawless by default, and vice versa. However, as much as it pains me to play Debbie in talking down that diatribe, I can't help but think that those who have yet to view Jarvis Landry's speech on Hard Knocks could benefit from the fairness of a 4-Star review that managed to withstand the urge of the "football is back!" bump. As anyone that has felt underwhelmed by an otherwise great movie can attest, hype can be a fickle beast, and I think it might claim a few victims here.
I most certainly don't mean for this to come off as a knock on the orator or his expletive-laden message. You need not look further than the Cleveland Browns record over the last two years to come to conclusion that they needed a veteran leader to light a fire under their previously coddled asses. Jarvis Landry setting a resounding no-nonsense tone in a wide receivers' room that has way too much talent to have made more noise in the headlines than they have on a football field was the perfect example of the type of leadership that made him both a welcomed and necessary addition over the offseason. It was undoubtedly a very compelling (and extremely telling) call to arms.
What it was not, however, was some Braveheart-esque battle cry. If anything, it was a scolding. A well-deserved scolding, but a scolding nonetheless. If you had replaced his words with equating actions then that would have just been a video of Jarvis Landry going around the room smacking each one of his physically prudish peers on the nose with a newspaper. So spare me on being "ready to run through a wall" after listening to that speech, because the people whose homes were hit the hardest by that truth bomb looked as though they were more ready to sit facing the corner to think about they've done. It damn well better lead to more showing and proving during their next practice, but apparently that bar was as low as the Browns' annual expectations.
Simply put, Al Pacino gives that verbal kick in the ass one thumb up and doesn't think the tomatoes were anywhere near as fresh as advertised...