Credit where credit is due, and - on this oh-so-rare rainy day in Southern California - there is no one due more deserving of a hat tip than Sam Darnold. I don't want to say that the draft stock of a kid who was once a lock to be a top five pick has fallen. It has, however, become a bit lost in the shuffle of Josh Allen's urban legendary arm, Lamar Jackson's stupidly suggested switch to wide receiver, Baker Mayfield's polarizing personality, and Josh Rosen's questionably questioned commitment to football. The following will probably work in his favor, but - to this point - Sam Darnold has been the least talked about of the blue chip quarterback prospects.
That's why I'm impressed with his inevitably overblown decision to delay his Pro Day performance for precipitation. Not because I think it's all that difficult to keep your balance and accurately throw a football against air during a steady rain shower in a mild climate, but because most would have missed a golden opportunity to easily impress those that are desperately looking for a franchise quarterback.
It might not be as illustrious as slinging a long ball 50+ yards to no one in particular from his knees, but welcoming wetness as opposed to wilting at it's touch is one of those things that gets triple-underlined in the scouting report and harped on far too many times when you've predominantly played on the West Coast. Sam Darnold just got an 'A' in handling the elements, and all he had to do was avoid falling on his face or launching the ball into the 14th row. When you're a future pro whose calling card is his accuracy, that's a risk that's worth the reward, but it's not a risk that all players of his position would have had the wherewithal to bide some time and take.
If the glowing reviews are any indication, it looks like it paid off and put the USC product right back into the crowded conversation...
Bills Wide Receiver Zay Jones Was Arrested While Bloody And Naked After Trying To Break Through A Window Onto A 30th Story Balcony
TMZ- Buffalo Bills wide receiver Zay Jones got into a bizarre naked struggle with his brother -- who's also in the NFL -- and it ended in a bloody mess ... with Zay in handcuffs.
TMZ Sports obtained this video of the crazy fight that went down Monday night in a downtown L.A. apartment building. Zay is stark raving nude while grappling with his brother -- Cayleb Jones of the Vikings...
You can hear Zay yelling, "I'm going to fight for Jesus" ... and according to witnesses, Cayleb was trying to stop him from jumping out a 30th floor window.
Zay eventually broke free, and ran in the direction of Cayleb's gf's apartment ... you can hear her screaming. We're told at some point, he ran back out of the apartment, entered a public balcony area and smashed his foot through a window.
Photos from the scene show blood on the shattered window, and all over the floors and walls.
We're told Zay actually tried to squeeze through the hole in the window, but Cayleb restrained him until police arrived, and arrested him for felony vandalism.
Hmm, let's see. Naked? Bloody? Evidence of self harm that was nearly as nonsensical as the incoherent religious rant that preceded it? No past history of uncontrollably odd behavior that rendered even his brother speechless? I'm no doctor, but I think I may know the cure to what ailed Zay Jones when he went nutty-nuts on the 30th story of a Los Angeles apartment complex. His employer might not want to hear this, but I think a scene that you'd expect to see during an overly dramatized opening to an episode of CSI could have been avoided with the ingestion of some ground-grown drugs.
I know, I know. I shouldn't discount the possibility of CTE given his profession, but - as a 22 year old with no diagnosed concussions on record and a previously untarnished reputation - it seems a lot more likely he was smoking on something synthetic. I don't know what the bar is for clear-headed craziness, but I'm pretty sure the well-respected Bills' wideout tried to run through a sheet of glass in order to hurdle over it from hundreds of feet in the air with his dick flapping in the wind. I don't exactly think I need an M.D. attached to the back of my name to come to the conclusion that those symptoms strongly correlate with the abuse of a substance.
What that substance was? I don't know, but I would think swapping it out for a recreational drug that slightly alters your mind as opposed to completely controlling it would prove beneficial. Unfortunately, if there's one thing I know about said recreational drug it's that it's just as likely to be prescribed to you by a medical professional as it is to get you suspended from the NFL and deemed a more of an unlawful junky than the person screaming about Jesus while finger painting public places with his own blood.
In Defending His Claim That Tyrann Mathieu Is The Best Safety In Football, Deion Sanders Made A Complete Ass Of Himself
Well, at least the Titans' All Pro safety got the clarification he was looking for. If the question is "how do you make this statement and not include the two First Team AP All Pro safeties?" then the answer is to judge only by name, familiarity, and past accomplishments in defending your hyperbolic statement as fact despite it showing an insane amount of ignorance towards the topic you're discussing. It may have been a rhetorical question at first, but the answer somehow became all-too-necessary. The metrics by which recently released Tyrann Mathieu is still the best safety in the game? Friendship, loyalty, and - last but not least - gasbaggery!
Deion Sanders actually went so far above and beyond in proving Kevin Byard's point for him that I'd be inclined to think he did so intentionally to bring attention to Kevin Byard's outstanding season. It's just tough to believe that someone whose job is to stay up to date with the NFL could remain so self-righteous in his patently false claim....until you realize the "analyst" in question still unironically refers to himself as 'Primetime'. Then the idea that his ego led him unarmed into what quickly became the most lop-sided battle of sports knowledge that the internet has ever seen becomes a bit more understandable. Going the "I played the game" route is already a sure sign that your running low on ammo, but doing so with someone who currently plays the game at the absolute highest level is like firing your one bullet while holding the gun backwards. Deion Sanders tried to talk down to a "fan", and - in the process - actually made it seem like he could be found waiting outside Texans' training camp with a Sharpie in hand and a Tyrann Mathieu's #1 Fan hat perched atop his head.
It's a good thing Deion Sanders role at NFL Network is predicated on his ability to make up for a lack of information and insight with an abundance of volume and self-important bullshit, or not even recognizing the name of one of the best defensive backs in the league he "covers" would be a fireable offense.
Eric Decker Was Reportedly Visiting The Saints, Until Sean Payton Shot That Report Straight Out Of The Cloud
I absolutely love this and by "this" I don't mean a denial that the Saints are looking for a slot receiver more trustworthy than the curious case that is Willie Snead IV, but rather the evidence that their head coach's disdain for the epidemic that is NFL insider-dom is everlasting. I don't know where Nicki Jhabvala got her information from, but - if, and only if - Sean Payton didn't just put her credibility six feet under then the first step in the recovery of her online presence should be tightening her circle of trust. I mean, goodness gracious, that attempt at halfheartedly sticking to her unloaded guns in the face of someone armed with the truth just had to be hard to watch.
Well, for everyone other than Saints fans that have bi-anually gotten beaten over the head by the rumor mill so incessantly that they take pleasure in watching the coach whose name has been run through it countless times take the rare opportunity to through a kink in its cycle, that is. For the Who Dat Nation, that proverbial choke slamming of the not-so-curiously anonymous "sources" was years in the making. It may have just been in reference to what wouldn't have been all that big of a news break, but - by basically breaking that "news" over his knee - Sean Payton reminded those that are far too eager to shoot their shot that he's got the ability to block it with the foremost authority. If that interaction wasn't a deterrent for other self-assured media types then at least it was proof that the person with unlimited animosity towards them still goes hard in the paint.
Baker Mayfield Is Releasing A Pre-Draft Documentary, And - For His Sake - I Hope It's Boring As All Hell
As much I think that NFL GM's, as a collective, view Baker Mayfield through a "less is more" prism, I don't want to judge this documentary before I actually see it. It very well could be an insightful look into the journey of a misunderstood kid with something to prove that only stands to increase his standing throughout a league in which he hopes to make his presence immediately felt.
That being said, if that's all this really is then the most controversial thing it should feature him doing is him slicing his avocado toast diagonally. If he's trying to set himself apart then he should probably only do so by swapping out lettuce for spinach in his dressing-less, pre-workout salad. Like, best case scenario, this documentary puts Baker Mayfield's biggest fans right to sleep. If he wants to get out ahead of the pre-draft hole poking then the only things we should see Behind Baker is a tape measure that reads 6'3. In order for the production of this video to do right by him in the NFL's eyes, it would have to be half Rocky-montage, half him sitting in a dark room watching game film with a bible in one hand and a 300-page playbook in the other. For it to not get instantaneously labeled a distraction by a league that considers every single thing that doesn't earn them money to be a distraction then it better paint the cocky Heisman Trophy winner like a complete loser. The way the league categorizes personalities at the quarterback position is basically 'paint drying' (Russell Wilson) or 'problem child' (Johnny Manziel), so let's hope there's no 'CAUTION: WET APPETITE' signs necessary after the release of a doc-u-series that is just as likely to hurt his draft stock as it is to help it.
I don't say the following to kill the buzz of bringing back a player that, when healthy, helped to lighten the egregiously heavy load of the Saints' do-it-All Pro defensive end, but rather to state a fact. Alex Okafor did a hell of a job balancing a previously lop-sided defensive line, but increasing his salary by 150% on a two-year deal when he was only able-bodied enough to "prove it" for a little over half of his one-year deal is a sign of how much of a premium has been placed on quality pass rushers. I think he fits into a system that was far more effective with him than without him, but - generally speaking - athletes whose effectiveness is predicated on short bursts of speed aren't supposed to have leverage while recovering from Achilles injuries.
That may sound like a pessimistic take on a move that solidifies the only level of the defense that has gone unaddressed since the start of free agency, but - in actuality - it's just an acknowledgment of how difficult that level of the defense is to address. Even a rehabbing Alex Okafor is the best supplemental sack specialist the Saints have had since Junior Galette went full-Junior Galette, so signing him at a cost that might be considered an overpayment for someone in his position from another position was a necessity. Especially since the only other reliable alternative at this point would have been to tack on an arm and a leg to that $5 million dollar price tag to make a seemingly impossible jump up in the draft, and I highly doubt New Orleans was rushing to make a pass at Bradley Chubb.
There is risk involved with committing to Alex Okafor, but it's a hell of a lot less than the risk involved with committing to Ndamukong Suh and - not to doubt Mickey Loomis incomparable cap crunching - but I highly doubt they'd be able to do both.
Tom Benson Passed Away At The Age Of 90, But What He Was Able To Build In New Orleans Has No Expiration Date
To be quite frank, I am in no way qualified to write a tribute that comes anywhere to close to doing justice to Tom Benson's professional importance. As fans, we typically have a greater appreciation for the more public figures that have a tangible impact on the games that we find ourselves wholeheartedly invested in. That, of course, is a very simpleminded approach to sports, seeing as New Orleans might not have a home team to call their own if it weren't for the the late, great owner of the Saints. Still, it would be disingenuous of me to act like my greatest memories of Tom Benson aren't of him triumphantly twirling his patented umbrella and of him graciously passing the Lombardi Trophy to his brilliant head coaching hire who helped recruit a future HOFer to play quarterback. That's a pretty huge disservice to what he's meant to the business that he left in a far, far better standing than it was in when he acquired it, but - since those running the show from behind the scenes are likely to gain notoriety for the negative - remembering Tom Benson as a shockingly fleet-of-foot fan doesn't seem like all that bad of a legacy to leave.
People in such powerful roles aren't always what you might call...umm...approachable, so it's not even just the success of a franchise that survived a season and stadium altering storm to serve as inspiration for a region that was left in ruins by said storm that should have you in awe of Tom Benson's achievements. Rather, it's the amount of players - both current and past - that have come out in droves to show love for the man, and now legend, they called 'Mr. B'. The concept of franchises as "families" is one that is largely bullshit, but there's certainly something to be aid encouraging organizational kinship through action.
Now, I have a better chance of understanding the aerodynamics that keep jetliners in flight than I do of understanding all that goes into owning and operating a sports team, never mind two. Therefore, hearing about who Tom Benson managed to be as a person while engulfed in a business as cutthroat as professional sports is much more impressive to me than any day-to-day operations. If the thoughts, prayers, and general sentiments of those that worked most closely to him are any indication, who the Saints' owner was as a person was more or less the selfless ambassador of a state that benefited greatly from the life he led. So, on behalf of those, much like myself, that too often completely ignore the tip top tier of the team they root for, here's to Tom continuing to craft the 'Benson Boogie' for all of eternity. Something tells me it won't be a passing fad in the city that would have never had the opportunity to call themselves champions without him...
At the risk dehumanizing a player by referencing the sentimental value he possesses, I really can't help but appreciate this move far more than the addition of any old backup offensive lineman. It's not that I don't understand how important it is to have a player who is familiar with the system that can admirably fill in up and down a quality line that lost its most savvy veteran to retirement and its most trusted depth player to free agency. Still, as far as the 2009 Super Bowl Saints are concerned, those big, fat, diamond encrusted rings on their fingers will always factor into how they are judged. Admittedly, I haven't kept a close eye on the trajectory of Jermon Bushrod's career after he departed New Orleans, but the fact that he helped host the city's first party with the Lombardi might leave me inclined to believe that he's still got some gas in the tank until long after his transmission has quit on him.
I suppose it also helps he got Sean Payton's seal of approval. It's always good when the football minds make decisions based on the future, as opposed to fawningly reminiscing about the past. That said, you could tell me that Jermon Bushrod was only brought on board to fill the void left by Zach Strief's championship pedigree and I would consider it money well spent. Best case scenario is that he plays sparingly, but if the worst case scenario comes to fruition and he's left protecting Brees' blindside then at least he'll have some hands-on experience paving the way for a long playoff run on a young, upstart O-line.
So, the only remaining question is...who's next?
The Saints Finally Got Frisky In Free Agency, And The Reunion Is Back On But With A Much Different Guest Of Honor
This reunion might not have the same pop of the one that would have brought back one of Drew Brees' all-time favorite targets, but - if only because it makes one less former player to serve as a haunting reminder of badly the Saints' defensive coaches failed them in the past - I feel inclined to celebrate it nonetheless.
Watching the Eagles' Super Bowl run wasn't just painful because the Saints were merely ten seconds away from having the opportunity to put an abrupt end to it, but also because Malcolm Jenkins and Patrick Robinson - two players who were apparently unfairly maligned in New Orleans - made significant contributions to it. Now, the latter might not have lived up to his draft status the first go around, but the same can be said about an all-too-suspicious amount of players that went onto bigger and better things after making fundamental football look far too hard during similarly tumultuous tenures in 'The Big Easy'.
It's arguable that he was on his way to doing so in the black & gold, but what Patrick Robinson has done since leaving the Saints is morphed into one of the best slot/nickel corners in the NFL. So, if going back and watching his game-altering pick six in the NFC Championship Game doesn't wash the bad taste out of your mouth then the fact that he's proved his worth for three separate teams over the last three seasons certainly should. The Saints got much, much better at a position that requires a very specific skill set, and - from an optics standpoint - it doesn't hurt that they retroactively boosted their 2010 draft grade in the process.
I'm not going to pretend I spent a lot of time watching the New York Jets, never mind giving the eye test to specific members of their defense. That being said, if the eye-popping numbers don't tell Demario Davis' story then I'd hope that the grading of people far more studious than myself would....
Maybe I'm wrong, but I don't exactly think you need to do a brain swap with Bill Belichick to come to the conclusion that you don't rack up 135 tackles as the league's 8th most efficient linebacker without having sideline to sideline range in today's NFL. I'm not quite the second coming of Mike Singletary, but 5 sacks and 15 additional close calls seems like a hell of a lot from the second level.
Lost in what was a long-belated defensive resurrection was that playing with the lead allowed the Saints to mask a suspect run defense, and Cam Jordan's DPOY-caliber season allowed them to squeak by with a lack of secondary pass rushing options. It appears both of those have been addressed with the addition of a versatile veteran coming off a career year whose attitude looks as though it will be a seamless fit with a young, rambunctious group that only stood to improve even without reliable reinforcements...
If absolutely nothing else, this gives Saints fans their "Jonathan Vilma" when they try to force comparisons between this team and the one that hoisted the Lombardi Trophy nearly a decade ago. To some, the "quality" of reminiscence might be just as important as his ability to bring 3-down stoutness to the middle of a defense whose primary strength is its secondary.
Drew Brees Turned Down Bigger Offers, And Both Parties Upheld Their End Of The Bargain In Keeping Him A Saint
ESPN- Fifty million dollars over two years might not sound like much of a discount. But considering that Drew Brees' latest extension with the New Orleans Saints includes just $27 million guaranteed, he might be as much of a bargain as anyone who signs in free agency this year.
A source said that at least one other team was willing to give Brees $60 million guaranteed over two years to try and woo him away from New Orleans.
“I’d be lying if I said it [wasn’t hard to weigh maximizing his value and raising the bar for other players versus helping the team],” said Brees, who was once a prominent member of the NFL Players Association’s executive committee.
“Because I know that when any player does their deal, they typically look at the comps and base their deal on those -- and what is 'market value.' ... I’m sure that one of these quarterbacks coming up -- Aaron Rodgers, Matt Ryan, Kirk Cousins -- is going to set a new mark."
“But for me, this was about putting our team in the best position to go win a championship in the next few years. ... I’ve made it very clear from day one that I was always gonna be a New Orleans Saint as long as they would have me."
“I love my agent. I think he’s the best there is. ... But at the end of the day, my intent was much different in regards to building the team," said Brees, who noted that it was interesting to hear what other teams were willing to pay him for the first time in 12 years, since teams were free to negotiate with Condon when the "legal tampering" window opened on Monday.
"I've never had a chance to hear that, except for when I was hurt back in 2006,” Brees said. “But in most cases when my agent would begin to open his mouth about another team, I would not even let him finish the sentence."
I can't say I am surprised that someone who, despite rapidly nearing the big 4-0, still maintains top five talent at the quarterback position turned down far more alluring offers than the team-friendly deal he ultimately accepted in remaining the face of a franchise that he helped to resurrect. Business is business, but there was no reason to believe that he didn't mean it when he said he would be a New Orleans Saint for as long as the organization would have him. That's a credit to both his undeniable kinship to the city as well as the love and loyalty that exists between him and his kindred spirit in Sean Payton. However, let's not lose sight of the fact that were probably having a much different conversation if the team that asked him to compromise was closer to 0-2 form as opposed to being damn close to contending for a championship.
All the credit in the world goes to Drew Brees for taking a hometown discount on - at the risk of doubting his agelessness - what could easily be the final pay day of his career. However, at the very least, an honorable mention has to be offered to the likes of Mickey Loomis, Sean Payton, and Jeff Ireland for building a complete team, seemingly out of nowhere, that made taking less money seem like a worthwhile sacrifice for their savior. Drew Brees may be the most understanding athlete to ever strap on a jock, but the leap of faith required for a future first ballot HOFer to commit the twilight of his career to a team that was marred in mediocrity and couldn't get out of its own way financially would make the Grand Canyon look like a puddle of piss. The Saints' braintrust had to be looking into a black & gold tinted rearview to believe that their roster was far closer to surpassing expectations than it appeared, and keeping disbelief in their blind spot ultimately paid off in that their quarterback's new contract doesn't seem anywhere near as impossible to pay off.
To the Saints' last two draft classes I offer the sincerest of gratitude, and to the feet of the men that orchestrated them I offer my lips. The Saints looked dead in the water before resurrecting themselves in a way that made it far easier for someone who could have easily set an asinine market to selflessly decide to keep walking on it for a franchise that has too often required him to be superhuman. I don't know where the franchise would be if last year's all-too-familiar start were a sign of things to come, but I do know we wouldn't have considered it anywhere near as inevitable that Drew Brees would continue to vehemently pledge his allegiance to it while better offers sat on the table.
As disappointing as it is that there will be no Jimmy Graham reunion in New Orleans that fully mends what was a seemingly broken relationship, it is pretty damn fitting that a disagreement over his value was the only thing standing in the way of a mutually beneficial reconciliation. I guess this is just another case in which I should have been careful what I asked for, because while I wanted the Saints to do it for old time's sake, I wasn't referring to them fighting to a stalemate in a monetary tug-o-war with a dynamic yet flawed offensive weapon. Oh well, I guess the Saints' hole at tight end is still one that's in desperate need of filling, but considering how familiar this all feels, I wouldn't be surprised if all they really missed out on was the opportunity to debate a player over a self-proclaimed position change.
The bad news is that the Saints' third down offense still needs some fixing, but the good news is that I don't have to look like a hypocrite for celebrating the return of a player whose weaknesses were far more glaring when he was viewed as a number one option. The truth is that I said some things that, while true, may have been exaggerated by spite, so - from a personal standpoint - it's nice that I won't have to force down my pride for the time being.
Now, I would have gladly welcomed the taste of my own foot if it meant a re-creation of an offense as unstoppable as that of 2011. However, if Jimmy Graham was too rich for the Saints' blood then it's safe to say, as is the case with most sequels, that the blown budget wouldn't have been worth the finished product. Simply put, without even seeing the Packers offer, I can say that whatever the Saints saved by matching it can be more efficiently allocated than by adding a luxury lifeboat to an already formidable offensive fleet. Considering how many times Sean Payton has worked his magic in finding diamonds in the rough, spending money on proven players to help the front seven and provide depth to the secondary were much more pressing needs than another pass catcher.
That doesn't mean it wouldn't have been pretty awesome to see Drew Brees exploit defenses with an old friend that who hasn't completely aged out of being a matchup nightmare, but knowing that it leaves them free to improve an up-and-coming defense makes it a missed opportunity that's easier to get over.
Signed, Sealed, Delivered: Drew Brees Remains In New Orleans For Two More Years And 50 More Million Dollars
Oddly enough, given the loyalty that he and the Saints have shown towards one another throughout what has become one of the most successful and productive marriages in the history of both free agency and football as a whole, I actually think Drew Brees' track record of contract negotiations is a preeminent example of just how painstaking the business side of sports can be. What New Orleans did by signing the embodiment of their franchise to a two year, 50 million dollar deal that will likely bring him to the verge of retirement was nothing more than the inevitable, yet - even at their most imminent - those dealings still went down to the 11th hour.
Of course, I know it's more complicated than figuring out the term, the final figure, and how much of it is guaranteed. Still, it's pretty indicative of the penny pinching process that my dumb ass would only have been two million guaranteed dollars off if I had made a prediction on how things would play out two months ago. Obviously I think the calls placed by the Vikings, as well as a handful of other unnamed teams, to the representation of Drew Brees were cut shorter than those made by a delivery person standing outside a hot-boxed apartment building. Regardless, the fact that the Saints let it get to a point where they were able to be made legally is a sign of just how stubborn and unwavering the two sides were in desperately wanting to prolong their relationship.
As for the deal itself, it seems about right for an aging quarterback who couldn't be more significant to the success of an otherwise young team. He definitely could have gotten more elsewhere, but it feels like a fair compromise for a player and an organization that work far better as a tandem.
It may have been in a losing effort, but Drew Brees proved during the last game of the Saints' season that they desperately need him if they want to make the most of their improved defense and multi-faceted rushing attack. Now, I wouldn't be surprised if another quarterback, e.g. Lamar Jackson, were brought in later in the offseason to ease the transition of a future first ballot HOFer going triumphantly into the night after winning another Super Bowl, but that's a conversation for another day. Today is a day for Saints' fans to use the faux relief of a fateful signature as a reason to pop their heads outside an open championship window and breathe deeply the smell of an appropriate amount of optimism. As if there were any doubt, Drew Brees remains a New Orleans Saint and - if only for a couple hours - all remains right in the world of sports.
In Announcing His Retirement, Zach Strief Gave The Saints A Pretty Good Reminder Of How Much He'll Be Missed
I got to be honest, I would have welcomed a bit of heads up that Zach Strief was planning on both comedically and emotionally jerking at the tear ducts of every teammate, coach, executive, journalist, and fan that came to appreciate what he consistently provided on and off the field as one of the longest tenured New Orleans Saints. Seeing as his retirement was foreshadowed, I don't think the announcement came as much of a surprise, but I certainly didn't expect it to have me all up in my feelings on a Monday afternoon. That's probably my fault for not realizing that having chemistry with the only player he didn't outlast (::knock on wood::) wasn't the only good reason that Zach Strief was also able to block aside the cold-blooded business of pro sports as he remained a beloved member of one, and only one, ever-changing locker room for well over a decade. Still, I doubt too many considered that the Saints long time offensive lineman was going to step to the mic and humbly wax poetic about the Saints in an emotional way that gave all those invested in their success a much greater appreciation for it.
As fans, we like to baselessly believe that all the players we root for are a part of a fantasy land in which our favorite teams are run flawlessly. While that's never true, I think the picture that Zach Strief just painted told a story of not just the career of a selfless player, but of an admirable organization that he helped mold. It's tough not to respect just how intertwined the two have become through the ups and downs of a franchise that had no idea it was selecting its right tackle of the foreseeable future when they made a 7th round selection in the 2006 NFL Draft. They are obviously glad they did, but don't take my word for it, because there's no shortage of people who know far better what Zach Strief has long meant to a team that will miss his unifying, experienced, and good-humored presence no matter how talented they are in the trenches...
The Saints And Drew Brees Are Experiencing "Miscommunication" In Trying To Get A Deal Done Before Monday
I suppose it was only a matter of time, and I say that not because the deadline was looming, but rather because prior negotiations between the New Orleans Saints and Drew Brees have - even at their most inevitable - always been clouded with an air of uncertainty. This news popping up out of nowhere is slightly discouraging, but it's only a break from what was anything but the norm. The way the two sides have been fawning over their future together this offseason has been the exception, not the rule, so a little bit of untimely "miscommunication" is nothing compared to what's sickened Saints' fans in the past.
That said, what in the actual fuck is this "miscommunication" we are speaking of? You know what I consider "miscommunication"? When I tell the dude at the drive-thru that I don't want cheese on my burger only to end up with cheese on my burger, and that's resolved with nothing more than an awkward convo and the swallowing of pride that looks a hell of a lot like spit. I'd say the fate of a resurgent franchise is a little more important than my dairy intake, so it would be great if the two parties could stop hammering out the details of a deal by way of string-attached solo cups from across the yard.
Now, I still don't have much doubt that Drew Brees, when all is said and done, will be back in the black & gold and competing for another Super Bowl next season. Still, it would be great if "both sides are pinching pennies tighter than the cheeks of their grandchildren" wasn't worded in a way that makes it sound like the Saints are one bar of service away from losing their future HOF quarterback for nothing. Hey Mickey? Drew? Can you guys hear me now? Stop coyly negotiating like two crazy kids who are unsure what they want out of the relationship, and get this shit done so my sphincter can unclench and I can get mine done. Thanks a million...or 20-25.
Three Years After Getting Shot In The Head, Former Rams Wideout Stedman Bailey Returned To Football At Marshall's Pro Day
SportingNews- Stedman Bailey has made tremendous strides recovering from a drive-by incident where he was shot in the head and ended up in critical condition. Many thought his football career would end there, however, he's ready to prove his playings days aren't over yet.
Bailey worked out at Marshall's pro day Wednesday hoping to get the attention of some NFL scouts.
“I don’t think the Mountaineers would be happy to see this, but at the same time, those guys and everybody back in Morgantown knows what kind of mission I’m on,” Bailey told the Huntington Herald-Dispatch. “This is the first opportunity for me to show scouts what I’ve got and how I’m feeling. I don’t care about the colors. I’m just here to capitalize on the opportunity.”
The 27-year-old said he had surgery in October to insert a plate into his skull, which "changed the game" for his return. The Herald-Dispatch noted the plate is stronger than a skull bone and will be able to protect him against forceful hits he would take playing in the NFL.
“I never had a doubt in my mind that I’d be able to play again,” Bailey said. “It kind of hurt with reports from doctors that I may not be able to walk or I may have trouble speaking again. Me, just being a positive person that I am, I just waved those reports off like, ‘OK, we’ll see.’ I set it in my mind to show them differently."
Seeing as I'm not much of a Mike Mayock or Mel Kiper, giving Stedman Bailey a passing grade on my eye test doesn't say all that much about his chances of completing what would be a hell of an NFL comeback. He looked pretty quick off the line and adjusted well to the off-target ball that he caught against air, but my endorsement isn't the one he's looking for in trying to win back an opportunity that was taken from him by life-threatening circumstances.
That said, I feel pretty confident in saying that someone who went from potentially unable to regain his ability to walk and/or speak to running routes with hopes of impressing professional scouts has already become a fell-good story of perseverance. Obviously he didn't battle all the way back from near death and get a plate surgically inserted in his skull just so he could become a heartwarming sidenote during the NFL offseason, but if that's all it ends up being then he'll have overcome far more than most.
I, for one, hope a team takes a chance on him come training camp. Regardless of whether or not he looks to have the goods to people who have a keener eye for them, there's no telling what type of odds can be defeated by someone with his level of drive and desire.
At The Combine, The Browns Asked Baker Mayfield If He Liked Food Trucks Seeing As He Was Arrested Following A Fight Near Them
SI- The interview schedule includes a room number—not a team name—but prospects at the scouting combine are given a map of which team would be in which room for the 15-minute sessions. So by the time Baker Mayfield arrived for his interview with the Browns, he was prepared to meet head coach Hue Jackson and GM John Dorsey. He just wasn’t anticipating what happened next.
Right off the bat, before the handshakes and intros, and before the Heisman trophy winner sat down, Dorsey in his booming Southern Maryland drawl fired one across the bow.
“So you like food trucks?”
Early last year, Mayfield was arrested after fleeing while being questioned by the police over a fight that occurred amidst a cluster of food trucks in Fayetteville, Ark. With Dorsey’s jab, everyone had a nice laugh at Mayfield’s expense, Mayfield included. Then they got down to business.
You know what, I actually like this move. That may run slightly contrary to what I said here, but - seeing as he didn't get caught drunkenly blowing a dude behind a dumpster the night prior to a game - there was really no basis for wondering where Derrius Guice fell on the scale of sexual fluidity. The same can't be said for Baker Mayfield's apparent proclivity for eating on the move, since a congregation of food trucks served as the audience for the fight he eventually failed miserably to flee..
So, while I'd prefer NFL teams err on the side of asking relevant questions to the players they are trying to mentally dissect, I'm totally cool with them asking a seemingly irrelevant one if it's intended at both introducing the elephant into the room and giving it a seat at the table. I am a little surprised it came from an organization like the Browns, that's provided no shortage of equally embarrassing ammo with their long, decorated history of quarterback flops and follies. Still, all things considered, using a rhetorical question (everyone loves food trucks) was a fairly clever way to reference a very valid concern.
Not sure why it's such a rarity for teams to address prospective employees in a relatable manner that encourages them to open up, as opposed to addressing them in a confrontational manner that pushes them into a corner where they are liable to start protecting their image. Oh well, credit to the one organization that's figured out how counterproductive that can be...even if it's because said organization is all too familiar with running counter to productive.
SportingNews- Appearing on SiriusXM NFL Radio, LSU running back Derrius Guice said one team representative at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis last week asked whether he was homosexual. Such a question is prohibited under the league's Excellence in Workplace Conduct policy and potentially illegal under state law.
"Man, it was pretty crazy, bro," a laughing Guice said when asked to recall the most unusual question he fielded at the Combine. "Some people really try to get in your head, man, and really just test your reaction and see what your reaction is going to be.
"I'd go in one room and a team would ask me, ‘Do I like men?' just to see my reaction. They'd try to bring up one of my family members or somebody and tell me, ‘Hey, man, I heard your mom sells herself. How do you feel about that?' Just random stuff like that, man, to see how you respond."
All it takes is one. One short-tempered prospect who is confident enough in his draft stock to react how any person not under the microscope of overly intrusive NFL organizations would react. One big fish who knowingly takes the bait of condescending instigation and hooks off on a scout that thinks a question that basically equates to "you gay, bro?" is some foolproof test of mental acuity. Maybe then these employees of NFL teams will be a little wary of telling freakish athletes that their mothers are hookers instead of actually getting to know them as people.
I mean, probably not. In reality, it would likely just result in some jackass with a black eye who feels like he unveiled a fatal character flaw by picking a fight with a football player dropping said football player down a draft board. But still, I'm keeping the dream alive that one day an NFL scout might get some sense knocked into him and serve as a cautionary tale for everyone of his peers that comfortably goes against just about every one of 2018's social norms by being far too interested in where a certain prospect puts their penis.
I feel pretty confident in saying that whatever is to be learned from testing someone's ability to keep their composure by calling the person that birthed them a street walker in a relatively formal setting is not nearly enough to justify the implication that homosexuality needs to be highlighted and underlined in the 'con' section of a scouting report. Unfortunately, I feel just as confident that nothing will change and we'll just continue to get George Costanza-esque "I...I...I...didn't know I couldn't do that" type apologies after the fact.
Here's Alvin Kamara Casually Shouldering A Full Weight Rack While Manually Towing A Jeep Down The Street
Now it's all starting to make sense, and I say that not because Alvin Kamara's ridiculous training regime looks as though it's more than capable of providing him the strength to effortlessly slip and shed professional tacklers like he just bathed in Vaseline. Instead, I say it because the relative ease with which he is apparently able to lug an oversized motor vehicle down the street while simultaneously hauling around an entire home gym on his back is reminiscent of the calmness and coolness he displayed while dodging, ducking, and discarding of professional football's most feared defenders.
Seriously, if you turned down the volume and judged solely by his speed and tempo you'd think the Saints' do-it-all back was simply going for a leisurely morning power walk. You definitely wouldn't think he was in the process of hand delivering James Harrison his exercise equipment in one trip. So don't treat the "casually" in the headline as sarcastic, unless you know of someone else who makes the supernatural look so smooth on such a routine basis.
Alvin Kamara went from a glorified third string running back to the Offensive Rookie Of The Year with an all-world performance that put him amongst elite company in NFL history, but more impressive than all the big plays, touchdowns, and accolades was how insanely easy he made them all look. At least now we know that's because he actually makes everything he does look insanely easy, even if it's doing double duty as a human tow truck during his offseason workouts.
For your viewing pleasure...
As goes the plot to approximately 87.3% of romantic dramas, nothing brings people together quite like sharing a traumatic experience. In movies, that trope is generally used to explain the formation of eternal love. In reality, there is nothing more traumatic than realizing that no amount of coaching experience can prepare you for the impossible undertaking of teaching the Cleveland Browns how to win. Ipso facto, why can't it also be used to explain the formation of gluttonous bingers between grown men that were lucky enough to get canned by the same dysfunctional employer?
I don't want to let all these party-goers off the hook, because they share some of the blame for the Browns' woes. Their inability to help reverse a losing culture only made it more and more deep-seated. That said, if there's a team whose long-term prognosis can drive a bunch of fired dudes to drink in celebration of no longer being a paid part of it then it plays football in the city of Cleveland.
The concept of bonding over a mutual ex is a lot more common than people think. When that ex is well-known for being the type to drag down every person with which they form a relationship, the bonding typically results in the literal and figurative lifting of spirits...even if it done at a literal and figurative Rock Bottom.
I can't sit here and guarantee that Marcus Williams will bounce back better than ever after suffering the type of season-defining setback that makes you a universally recognized name for all the wrong reasons. Promising players with just as much potential have had their careers turned into nothing more than punchlines by circumstances that were similarly unfortunate and unforgettable. He, himself, called it an actualized nightmare, so to pretend that it's an impossibility that the game-winning-tackle-that-wasn't won't haunt him going forward would be a disservice to the trials and tribulations that someone like Bill Buckner faced in distancing his name from a defeat that was pulled from the jaws of victory.
Now, all that being said, there's no shortage of reasons to believe that he won't put what's been deemed a mistake-aided miracle in his past. Even if you think it's irrelevant that he had instantaneous support from the majority of a fanbase that largely triumphed over the troubles of technology to rally behind him instead of against him. If he's as ready for redemption as this video indicates then he's in the perfect head space with the proper work ethic and a soundtrack that could hype him into running straight through whatever mental blocks might still be trying to block him from perseverance.
I've remained optimistic that Marcus Williams' most notorious moment on a NFL field is still yet to come from the second Stefon Diggs hit playoff pay dirt, but nothing reinforced my belief in his continued development quite like knowing that at any given moment he might be listening to the speech from Any Given Sunday. If we are being totally honest, he whiffed on that fairly routine tackle by a couple of feet, but if he's been in the gym channeling his inner-Al Pacino all offseason then the amount of inches he'll be adding up come September may be able to cover the ground he gave up in the fateful finale of what was an otherwise auspicious rookie campaign.
The fact is, he'll never totally separate himself from a highlight that will easily outlast his stay in the NFL, so it's good that Marcus Williams hasn't run away from the most torturous of replays. It's even better that instead he's decided to carry it with him in the form of a chip on his shoulder.