The Chargers Twitter Used the Infamous 'Wolf of Wall Street' Clip to Dispel the Rumor of Relocation to London, but There's Just One Tiny Problem...
Let's, for just the time being, agree to look past the fact that the Chargers' social media manager problem doesn't have a seat at the end of the table when it comes to discussing the inner-workings (or lack thereof) of a franchise whose move to Los Angeles has objectively been an abject disaster. The truth of the matter is that the clip above could be of Chargers' owner Dean Spanos himself denouncing the entirety of the British Empire in front of a backdrop of stars and stripes and people still wouldn't believe he's ruled out packing up his team and hopping across the pond so long as he's been promised a Brexit bump to his bottomline pending his Brentrance. That, however, is neither here nor there, as this defense being entirety disingenuous isn't even the biggest issue to take with it...
What I find most problematic is that the overused pop culture reference in question is completely non-applicable to the situation at hand. If you filed every person that is super concerned about the Los Angeles Chargers taking their perennially underperforming talents overseas into the room in which Leonardo DiCaprio acted his ass off in pledging allegiance to a corrupt company, you'd still need to hire about a 100 extras to fill the gaps of overall apathy.
It's not the fanbase's fault, as they have obviously been dissipated by the disrespect of Dean Spanos, who basically spit in San Diego's face in order to fill the roll of second fiddle in a big city that was more interested in hiring a one-man-band. Regardless, aside from opposing fans looking to attend an unofficial home game in sunny SoCal, almost no one that isn't coked out of comprehension could reach the level of excitement portrayed above in response to the whereabouts of the NFL team taking temporary residence in a half-full soccer stadium.
I'd consider Dean Spanos more of a snake than a wolf anyway, and that's mostly because he doesn't have the support of anywhere close to that large of a pack in Los Angeles (or anywhere else, for that matter). I'd appreciate his organization's use of social media reflecting that better, even if gathering followers for a nomadic failure of a franchise is a job as thankless as that of Philip Rivers.
Sure Starting to Sound Like Teddy Bridgewater Has Lined Himself to Win This Year's Quarterback Lottery in Free Agency
Damn. That quick, huh?
Don't get me wrong, I'm hardly in the quiet car on the 'Pay Teddy' train. Yes, even if Drew Brees keeps turning back the hands on Father Time's clock and that money is being shelled out by a team other than the Saints in a city that will unquestionably adore him less than New Orleans. Considering all that he's been through, and the enduringly optimistic attitude he's maintained while going through it, there isn't a quarterback more deserving of signing a huge contract with a grandiose amount of guaranteed money and, realistically, an impossible-to-live-up-to average salary.
I didn't mean for that last part to come off so doubtful, as I'll continue to emphasize that I love Teddy Bridgewater, but when I say "quick" I'm not even referring the entirety of the five-game win streak during which he pumped cup his price tag by keeping the Saints on the fast track to Super Bowl contention. The truth is that the volume on the hype machine didn't get turned up until he made gator food out of the Buccaneers' secondary in his third start. It echoed long enough to last through an extremely humdrum win over the Jaguars until the bass got kicked into overdrive during a dismantling of the vaunted Bears defense in Chicago. Still, while Teddy was a lot of great things for an otherwise complete Saints' team (safe, smart, stable, and everything else an otherwise complete team needed him to be), what he wasn't was some deadly accurate, 20-30 million dollar quarterback.
Again, I'd be more than happy to see someone compensate him like him and do hope that's a shoe that eventually fits, but he's got what I'd consider two impressive starts that exceeded the average interpretation of game management under his belt this season. Long story short, whoever is stepping on the gas in backing up the Brinks truck for Teddy will be banking high on his Payton-less potential in paying an egregious amount of interest on this dime, which will likely serve as his swan song as a starter while heading into free agency...
There are countless worse options to overpay, and I think all of New Orleans would tell you they'd consider Teddy receiving a monster deal from a QB-desperate team the next best case if he understandably doesn't care to keep waiting out Drew Brees as the heir to a perfectly fit throne. Still, his value already being tagged somewhere in the mid-twenties is a pretty eye-popping reminder of how rash NFL organizations get when it comes to trying to the fill the position that gives you the best odds of being revenant.
It's not happening. Only in the wildest dreams of a Who Dat Nation of fans, that find faith in every flex that follows yet another inevitable first down catch from someone who has turned Cant Guard Mike from a twitter handle to an irrefutable fact of life, does Michael Thomas stand a chance of being recognized as the NFL's most impactful player. That's due in small part to him forever feeling subconsciously slighted and caring about endearing himself to voters as much as he cares about endearing himself to the corners, who might as well be nameless and faceless, whose confidence he chokes the life out of every Sunday. However, it's due mostly to playing a position whose value predominantly pales in comparison to that of those entrusting him with targets.
Of course, the idea that even the best wide receivers are quarterback-dependent has been counter-punched by the unconditional efficiency of a player whose every route run, whether it be at the cue of Teddy Bridgewater or Drew Brees, now comes with the expectation that it will end with him being more open than the MVP race...
Still, the options under center would have to be few and far between come Week 16 for a pass-catcher to break decades of precedent in having the league's most decorated award be within their catch radius.
That, however, doesn't mean it's not worth offering the argument. As deaf as the ears on which they may ring, Michael Thomas' numbers speak for themselves. Receptions. Yards. Catch rate. They voice a level of production and consistency that are setting the pace for history in putting to a damn whimper the play of every single one of his pass-happy peers...
Alvin Kamara and Latavius Murray have taken turns picking up some slack, but the offense of a team that enters the bye on a six-game win streak despite losing its All-World QB for over a month has largely been dragged through the strength of its schedule by the unrelenting vice grip of its money man...
You want an out-of-the-box (score) stat on which to judge a season that, to this point, has been superior to the one that earned Michael Thomas what was the richest wide receiver contract ever? How about ROI? The return the Saints have gotten on their investment into what's typically considered a complimentary position has been their main source of success. Never mind it being the cost of doing business, because if you had to put a price tag on a performance that has thus far transcended the toughest of circumstance then it might well exceed the 21+ million dollars that Michael Thomas is due this year.
Simply put, we're talking about a guy that knows full well what it's like to serve as the exception to a rule. That far, far more than likely won't prove true when the MVP eventually gets awarded, but - at the midseason point - counting out a competitor as crazed as Mike is as futile an endeavor as guarding him.
In What Has to Be the Coaching Controversy of Matt Nagy's Nightmares, He Apparently Didn't Check Where His Kicker Wanted the Ball Placed Before Killing the Clock
Matt Nagy's crotchety and convoluted defense of his decision to punk out and play for a 41-yard field goal, as opposed to putting even the slightest sliver of faith whatsoever in his offense to gain what would have been precious plus yardage, may lead you to believe that there is nothing that grinds his gears more than being asked how well they are greased...
The mini-camp mind games that he used to torture a team that was probably still waking up in a cold sweat to images of abused uprights, on the hand other, point to a man whose skin is made the most penetrable by field goal failures...
From the outside looking in, it sure seems the bees that buzz the loudest in Matt Nagy's bonnet while baffling his self-bloated brain are questionable kickers and kicking related questions. Therefore, it must feel like he was being swarmed by a hive of hornets after the former slipped up and booted down the door inviting more of the latter into his already cluttered kitchen...
I mean, talk about fighting a two-front war against a monster of your own making. Being stuck between a rock and hard place would probably feel like being swaddled in a warm blanket on a cool midwest evening in comparison to the Bears' in-over-his-head coach having to duel it out with the demons (not named Mitchell Trubisky) that have sabotaged his peace of mind.
The only reason this isn't the double jeopardy of coaching controversies is because it would more accurately be described as the 'Double Doink' of coaching controversies. Only one thing could make worse the nonsensical notion that running against a prepared defense automatically equals a loss of four yards. That one thing is the kicker who failed you, however innocently, making it sound like you desperately tried to secure a sure win in a safe but forgot to close it and set the lock. You could have already easily made the argument that Matt Nagy was more super cowardly than super calculated, but he somehow looks dumber today than he sounded on Sunday.
At the end of day, Eddy Pineiro is absolutely right. He simply has to do his single, solitary job in nailing a game-winning field goal of an entirely reasonable length. That's obvious. Unfortunately, what's also obvious is that a run-of-the-mill missed kick becoming a coaching issue speaks volumes about the stupefying circumstances surrounding it. Not even considering where his kicker might want the ball after precariously putting away the playbook and having literally nothing else to worry about makes the unwavering claim of smartly playing it safe seem a hell of a lot more like a case of being stupidly paralyzed by pressure.
Matt Nagy went out of his way to put himself in the crosshairs during his perfunctory press conference and - wouldn't ya know it - the guy who should realistically be to blame accidentally stumbled into the trigger. Really makes you think that the guy treating a podium like an intellectual high ground should have been a bit more...ahem...cautious about talking in circles while reprimanding a room of reporters. Especially since he's apparently the type to triple-check that he's within the confines of the crosswalk before blindly waltzing into oncoming traffic without looking both ways.
Thumbs Up, Cards Down: Drew Brees Was Very Much Back as the Saints Ruled With an Iron Fist en Route to a 6th Straight Win
Let me start by reiterating something entirely unnecessary. On behalf of the tens of thousands of Who Dat's who loudly let his name ring off the resounding walls of the SuperDome during an afternoon in which he wasn't much more than a spectator/stand-in to a familiar form of Drew Brees' brilliance, Teddy Bridgewater is hereby a beloved person, player, and - pending the conclusion of what's shaping up to be a special season - legend in New Orleans...
As for his revered replacement, any doubts that may have been shamelessly spread amongst those that aren't anywhere near as intimately knowledgeable of the state of Drew Brees' throwing hand as one of the most well-managed teams in the NFL were put to rest yesterday. Never mind blabbering on about two more weeks of rest as if that's not the equivalent of an eternity to a crazed competitor whose numbered days as a professional athlete probably have him on the verge of an existential crisis, because knocking the rust off against an inferior opponent prior to 14 days of pressure-less preparation was clearly the right decision.
I would have been more than fine with going the cautious route in starting Teddy, but Drew Brees needed to get back into the swing of things, as evidenced by an uncharacteristic mismanagement of the clock that - regardless of being a product of endlessly questionable officiating - took points off the board at the end of the half...
He needed to get re-adjusted to the unmatched intensity of the NFL gameday experience, as evidenced by him turning the ball over on an absolute head-scratcher of a "shit, I hit the wrong button"-type YOLO pass to a fullback in double coverage...
When in midseason form, he doesn't make those mistakes, so yesterday was as good a time as any to get him up to speed prior to a point in the schedule when it becomes full-speed ahead. In turning a long-shot into a laugher as the game wore on, he certainly seemed to step on the gas in zooming past any concerns about the health of his hand or his readiness to readily rely on it.
The Saints, as a whole, did what they have done with an increasing level of dominance since the beginning of the season in imposing their will on the opposition. Since the outlier in Los Angeles, they have not coincidentally been undefeated in the trenches. The defense has gone from stuffing the run to flat out scaring teams out of even trying to get the ground game going, and the scary part is that I don't even blame the opposing coaches. I understand Kliff Kingsbury resorting to desperate measures in fighting up a weight class, but calling a 4th down dive into the middle of this defense on his own 30 in a one score game was damn near a fireable act of offense...
Especially since it sparked the fuse to the type of scorching one would typically expect from a Drew Brees-led offense in the SuperDome. The clock struck 'Taysom Time' and a spanking much like the one Patrick Peterson endured while being dragged into the end zone at the legs of an unguardable adonis put an emasculating exclamation on the afternoon...
Honestly, it's becoming close to a misnomer to merely say that this team is resilient, because this iteration of the New Orleans Saints is damn near regenerative. It's as if you cut a limb off and it immediately starts growing back stronger. If Drew Brees' performance was an indicator of things to come then his injury will prove to be blessing in disguise in keeping a 40 year old fresh for a strong finish. If Latavius Murray continues to be half the bell-cow back he's been while Alvin Kamara has been reinforcing his rubber limbs for the stretch run? A dynamic duo comparable to the illustrious Ingram & AK connection is hardly out of the question that was being worrisomely whispered amongst the entire fanbase while he sat collecting dust on the sidelines in September. PJ Williams finally got suspended for driving drunk in the dawn of last winter's depressing disappointment, and what has happened since? Dennis Allen has spawned some hybrid of PJ Williams and a pit bull out of a 4th round rook as Chauncey Gardner-Johnson has attacked his opportunity with inexhaustible aggressiveness...
These Saints haven't just kept pace in jumping over ever hurdle set in their path, they've managed to hit the ground accelerating in turning every perceived negative into a long-term positive. Teddy Bridgewater got a flat on the bicycle he rides to and from every home game yesterday, and that is somehow legitimately in contention for the most demoralizing thing that's happened to the team since he started his stainless stint under center...
We are talking 7-1, with the Saints having already pinned the strength of their schedule in running off six straight, and yet we've somehow yet to see the most complete version that either side of the ball has to offer. You couldn't possibly ask for more out of the team without sounding like the most spoiled of brat. That, however, doesn't mean that they won't have much more to offer in giving an elite and energized quarterback an upgraded arsenal of weapons to compliment a suffocating defense after spending a well-deserved week of rest greasing the gears and undergoing a total tune-up prior to an increasingly promising postseason race.
Long story short, when it comes to the trajectory of the New Orleans Saints, I'm not so sure the most adequate representation isn't both simply and symbolically a thumbs up.
Let me be the first to say that I'd gladly spend another week watching Teddy Bridgewater up his offseason ante, especially against an inferior defense who is entering the hostile confines of the SuperDome, if it meant that Drew Brees was even .01% healthier down the stretch for a Super Bowl run. For that reason, I think the Saints probably should take advantage of the leeway they have afforded themselves by somehow breezing through with a blemish-free record while Brees-less and have him spend the next two weeks sitting on his reengineered thumb - metaphorically speaking, of course - as opposed to pushing its limits.
Unfortunately, what I know is that what I think couldn't possibly matter any less. There is exactly one thing that everyone who shares my opinion has in common, and that is a fundamental inability to relate to the near-psychotic level of competitiveness that has enabled a man well into his 40's to maintain an elite level of performance at the most difficult position in all of professional sports.
In theory, yes, the upcoming bye week does come at the perfect time in offering the perfect opportunity for an aging athlete to slowly but surely ease his way back into swing of things. In execution, no, there isn't anyone who is about to test that theory by telling the football-obsessed freak below to choose playing it safe over playing quarterback this Sunday...
I say the following as lovingly as humanly possible, Drew Brees is a lunatic. He lives and breathes football, and more than likely has spent every waking second since his injury doing even the most trivial of exercises in hopes of cutting his recovery time by even a single minute. Telling him he shouldn't participate after the medical staff (presumably) clears him to is the equivalent of telling him he has to wait two more weeks, after what's essentially been a month plus of forced fasting, to cut into a juicy filet mignon as the aroma wafts directly into his nostrils. I haven't the slightest doubt that he's extremely happy for Teddy Bridgewater, but Jesus Christ himself could have been the one chosen to take the wheel from him for the last five weeks and every single missed snap would still eat at his God-fearing soul.
Point being, if both he and a licensed physician, that understands the risks better than fans ever could, agree that he's absolutely good to go then go he absolutely will, and the only "bye" that will be a part of that decision is the one he dismissively waves to anyone that tries to talk him out of it. Sean Payton is perhaps the only other person capable of telling him "no", and he's one of the very few that possesses enough of that same killer instinct to understand full well how futile it would be to even try.
Annnd, that'll about do it. Honestly, other than out of respect for the job Frank Reich has done on the heels of his starting quarterback calling it quits a couple weeks before kickoff, is there any reason not to award Sean Payton the 'Coach of the Year' trophy prior to the mid-point of said season? I suppose it would an endless source of incessant bitching off the board for the stupidity spewers on sports talk television, but I think they can probably stand to have one topic that's not really up for all that much debate left without cyclical, repetitive argument.
In all seriousness, the undermanned schooling that Sean Payton and the Saints gave Matt Nagy and the Bears in Chicago on Sunday was merely the most convincing lecture offered during what's been a month-plus long master class in both coaching and leadership. The backup quarterback-led bullying of what was supposed to be "the best defense in football", without Alvin Kamara and Jared Cook, was simply an exclamation point on a 5-0 stretch that not only kept a 'Super Bowl or bust' season afloat, but may have realistically made for smoother sailing.
What that offensive and defensive clinic wasn't, however, was the most impressive thing that Sean Payton has orchestrated since watching the longtime lifeblood of the franchise that had just entrusted him with its uncertain future under center, by way of a contract extension, fail to grip a football. In my opinion, that title is reserved for whatever he said and/or did to motivate and challenge a team that he helped build to withstand a crisis at quarterback - in a break-glass-in-case-of-emergency sort of way - to prove him right in its construction. The last of what was initially and understandably bleak body language got left in Los Angeles along with the player whose injury could have easily derailed the dreams of a less relenting roster. Putting the kibosh on any lingering self-pity, above all else, is an accomplishment that speaks to the culture of a team that has largely been made in the likeness of Sean Payton's personality.
What we've seen on the field since is a fluid formula whose lone constant, outside of Michael Thomas' inability to be guarded and the defense's ability to step up and captain the ship through unforgiving waters that would have drowned them in the past, is that it has equated to victories. The game scripts haven't been the same, but the endings have been more dependably happy than those of rom-coms. That's a testament to a complete team that has hardly played mistake-free football, but instead played supplementary football in finding a versatile variety of ways to make up for those mistakes. It's also a credit to opponent-specific game plans, on both sides of the ball, that have made Sean Payton, Dennis Allen, & Co. look as though they were slipped the world's most elaborate cheat sheet prior to the biggest test of their respective careers.
Still, the execution of those game plans wouldn't be at all possible without a level of belief and buy-in that's done the near impossible in making Colin Cowherd's claim that a team that rebounded from the 'Minneapolis Miracle' would have its spirit shattered by the 'NOLA No-Call' out to be the stupidest fucking thing he's ever said. At this point, you can just definitively call that take the worst of all time, as not even the worst case scenario coming to fruition was able to break this team's will.
On both the field and the sidelines, the Saints' biggest advantage resides between their ears...which says quite a bit given the amount of god-given physical talent wearing black & gold ever weekend. They haven't just been resilient in rallying around Teddy Bridgewater, whose sprinkled in just enough dimes during his first extended stretch of play since 2015 to collect the interest of a fat chunk of change this upcoming offseason. They have appeared completely unbothered in being without the services of someone who has long been their beating heart. They haven't just been coached towards the top of the NFC without their future first ballot HOF quarterback. They've been galvanized in a way that allows for their future first ballot HOF quarterback to step back under center for a team that barely has any body fat in being more solid, strong, and intimidating than any he has predominantly done the heavy lifting for over the course of the last 14 seasons.
Hell, the only reason not be consider Sean Payton to have already lapped the pack for 'Coach of the Year' is because he somehow made the somewhat miraculous midseason maintenance of a Super Bowl contender, that was assumed to have lost its soul, look far too easy despite facing a schedule that was supposedly tough.
Colts' Fans Definitely Shouldn't Have Boo'd Andrew Luck, but I'm Not Exactly Sure What They Should Have Done
I think it pretty much goes without saying that it’s a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad look for a fanbase to boo a selfless teammate and leader who gave his body and, apparently, his self-worth/peace of mind to a franchise that proved wildly undeserving it for the better part of a career cut short.
What does bear mentioning, however, is that it’s also a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad look for a superstar to have his early, unexpected, and untimely retirement leak while he’s ON THE SIDELINE in front of thousands of fans that had the return on their investment into season tickets scorched to ashes by receiving devastating news during a practice game that’s supposed to predominantly serve as the peak of offseason optimism.
Andrew Luck obviously didn’t plan on being in a position so obnoxiously awkward that it would make Larry David dig a hole for his head. However, the circumstances caused by the insatiability of social media didn’t just put him in that situation. They also put the people who paid a full ticket price (or 10-15x the actual value of the product on the field) for what ended up being the most shockingly unfulfilling sports experience of their entire life in that situation.
To clarify, if I were a Colts’ fan I couldn’t personally envision myself booing a player who undoubtedly just made the most difficult decision of his life after sacrificing the vast majority of his professional potential to an organization that was blissfully ignorant of its own incompetence for far too long. That’s partially because I find the act itself to be that of a drunken caveman and partially because my ability to utter sound probably would have temporarily departed my body along with my violently extracted soul. That being said, a well-deserved round of applause would have fallen behind two dozen depression beers at 25th on the list of rounds I felt up for participating in.
The truth of the matter is that there is no wrong time to do what’s right for yourself, so credit has to go to Andrew Luck for pushing aside an ungodly amount of peer pressure in refusing to put a price tag on his health and happiness. Prioritizing both your family and your long-term future while presently entrenched in a billion dollar business in which you’re widely worshiped is as commendable as it is rare. He earned every last dollar he made in getting bludgeoned into bi-monthly body scans behind an offensive line that, for years, was only addressed from in-house with “hey, at least you tried”, and in doing so reinforced his right to walk away from what is nothing more than a game when it stopped fulfilling him as much as frustrating him.
Still, we are talking about someone who is retiring prior to the age of the 30 with the Fort Knox equivalent of financial security in part due to the same fanaticism that saw him leaving the field for the final time to a chorus of half-baffled boos. Never mind that the emotional and overly invested idiots that couldn't help but get caught up in such a morose moment were likely "speaking" to an unfathomable organizational failure as much as they were the main victim of it. There's an inherent stupidity that comes with placing such an obsessive value on the athletic achievements of people in a particular uniform and it's one that drives both profit and popularity. In simpler terms, fandom makes people act irrationally, and that doesn't even take into account that the fans in question were hardly granted any time to accept an announcement that was universally stupefying throughout the entire sports world.
I’m certainly not blaming Andrew Luck for getting Schefter'd in making official the end to his thankless, rinse-and-repeat process of constant rehab, nor am I endorsing the actions of the people that took part in such an undeniably cringeworthy display of disrespect towards him. What I am doing is saying that I get how such a completely FUBAR'd farewell that seemingly came out of nowhere and cratered the otherwise realistic championship hopes of the home crowd two weeks before the kickoff to what was presenting itself to be a promising season wasn’t a fond one. It's far more important to be sympathetic to the plight of Andrew Luck as a person, but those outside Indianapolis can hop off their high horse in acting like his decision to stop being a player is one that should have been fully absorbed, understood, and embraced by his most impassioned fans in the time it took literally everyone else to triple-check to make sure they weren’t being trolled on twitter.
Much Like Almost Every Football Thrown in His General Direction the Last Three Years, 100 Million Dollar Mike Finally Secured His Bag
It might read like a weird thing to write about a contract negotiation that resulted in a star player’s absence from a Super Bowl contender’s training camp, but I don’t think there was a more fitting way for the New Orleans Saints and Michael Thomas to finally commit to each other for the next five years. Honestly, given everything we’ve come to know of a braintrust that’s always been bullish on their ability to replace skill position players who are up for a raise and a wideout who was aggressively and openly aware of his need for a massive one, it wouldn’t have felt right had the two sides been ready to break the bank immediately after breaking the proverbial bread. If it had been as easy as we were being led to believe prior to his holdout, I’d have spent more time trying to find a catch than the Saints’ offense when Michael Thomas wasn’t the intended target last season. Therefore, in the sense that some of Mickey Loomis' funny money was necessary in the making of a milestone extension, the extra time it took to get signed, sealed, and delivered really reinforced the belief that Michael Thomas is the perfect Saint, as he basically reflects the near-stubborn confidence of the front office that just rewarded it.
Please allow me a 50 mile head-start before telling him I said so, but Michael Thomas isn’t the best wide receiver in the National Football League. What he is, however, is close enough to that crown to quite easily justify leveraging the Saints’ over-reliance on his efforts in the passing game into an amount of zeros previously unmatched amongst offensive players that don’t wear a different color jersey at this time of year. What he might lack in game-breaking ability he makes up for in the proficiency of his efficiency. Never mind keeping happy the go-to guy that’s helped a first ballot HOFer age gracefully as he looks to add another ring to his finger before waving goodbye to the game. Think it might matter that when Drew Brees inevitably rides off into the sunset that his replacement will be lucky enough to throw to a reliable playmaker who is such a guarantee to catch everything thrown in his general vicinity that it makes you believe he can't possibly come as advertised without there being some tomfoolery in the fine print?
Historical precedent might say that paying top-dollar for receivers doesn’t result in a high level of organizational success, but all that history serves as to a player as profoundly prideful as Michael Thomas is a challenge...
We're talking about someone who is so self-motivated that I wouldn't be surprised if his biggest rival was his mirror. Someone who relies just as much, if not more so, on expertise as athleticism. Someone whose attitude and work ethic are infectious throughout the locker room. Position aside, Michael Thomas is the type of competitor you don't mind paying big money to because he makes everyone better and there is no amount of dollars that could pay away his undying desire to be dominant.
Of course, the Saints really had no choice but to pay him big money as the window to win a championship is closing by the day and they certainly weren't doing so without #13 on the field drawing attention and bullying open passing windows for Drew Brees. Still, the concerns that come with paying a premium for a pass-catcher aren't as worrisome when said pass-catcher has a chip on his shoulder than even surgery couldn’t remove and fully bought into a cohesive culture long before his annual salary allowed him to buy any damn thing he pleases.
Oddly enough, given the absurdity of the feat, I don't think the most impressive part about this clip is Myles Garrett going from flat-footed to jumping multiple feet in the air with the free-weight equivalent of a prepubescent teenage boy in tow. Rather, I think the most impressive part of this clip is that, somewhere along his path to NFL stardom, the Browns' quarterback crusher just assumed he was strong and agile enough to be able to do so.
Of all the exercises out there, I'd say a box jump is one of the few that you don't even consider attempting unless you're at least 90% certain of your ability to complete it. I imagine that also stands true for professional athletes who, while inherently more confident, are just as likely to fall backwards and bust their ass or bang their head if their eyes do happen to travel higher than their vertical. Therefore, there was a time when Myles Garrett instinctually knew himself to be capable of adding injury to injury, in the form of weight to body mass, while spitting on the laws of science and standing to tell the tale before even successfully doing so.
That time probably wasn't the one we just watched. After all, he seemed a bit too casual in his otherworldly athleticism, as if he were a seasoned vet of such superhumanity. However, with there being a first time for everything, the first time Myles Garrett circumstantially proved gravity a farce makes the umpteenth time seem just ever so slightly less impressive than the most impressive thing ever.
KC Radio Host Kevin Kietzman Went Full Shameless Shock Jock in Indirectly Referencing the Tragic Death of Andy Reid's Son to Criticize His Coaching
“Andy Reid does not have a great record of fixing players. He doesn’t. Discipline is not his thing. It did not work out particularly well in his family life. That needs to be added to this as we talk about the Chiefs. He’s had a lot of things go bad on him — He is not good at fixing people. He is not good at discipline. That is not his strength. His strength is designing football plays.” - Kevin Kietzman
Ah yes, because why wouldn't Andy Reid's son tragically succumbing to a deadly addiction that's become an awful, awful epidemic throughout middle-to-upper class America "need" to be added to a conversation about his coaching? I mean, how else could we possibly question his leadership and put into context his inability to completely alter the instinctually erratic behavior of a grown ass adult like Tyreek Hill, whose dangerously destructive mind dates back to him choking out his then pregnant girlfriend in college?
If I were to justify such an idiotic criticism with a response, that response would be to wonder when we started demanding that NFL Head Coaches become licensed therapists and round-the-clock babysitters to the dozens-upon-dozens of professional athletes assembled by those higher than them in the organizational hierarchy. Luckily, I don't feel the need to have to dive head first down the deep, black hole where Kevin Kietzman's heart is supposed to be, as the most shameless of shock jock doesn't even deserve to be debated on such an inexplicably stupid take. Exploiting a coach's most heartbreaking moments as a human in basically blaming him for the passing of his one son and/or the imprisonment of his other son as a plea for "any publicity is good publicity"-type attention in sports talk is just unspeakably tasteless.
While we're on the topic of needing help, Kevin Keitzman's current employer should let him use the last of his medical benefits, prior to unemployment, to hire a medical professional to find what exactly has him so fucked in the head. The parallel between disciplining football players and making sure those football players aren't terrible people away from the field is only even slightly existent relative to the parallel between disciplining football players and parenting someone with the disease that is drug addiction. Anyone that can even find any correlation whatsoever between the latter, even if doing so entirely disingenuously, has no place to be judging anyone for being unable to "fix" others, as if people can be "repaired" as easily as a leaky facet, since they quite clearly can't even fix them-fucking-selves. As evidenced by this blubbering line of unapologetically misdirectional bullshit below...
Cam Newton Offered Another Passenger on His Flight $1,500 to Switch to a Seat With Less Leg Room and Got Reminded of What It's Like to be Regular
Just given the...shall we call it...tumultuous history of the player in question, there will likely be no shortage of people scoffing at Cam Newton trying to throw money at a rich person problem in trying to pay his way into a more comfortable spot in coach. I'd venture to guess the one thing that all those people have in common is a somewhat normal-sized human body that can be crammed uncomfortably into a uniformly-sized seat without a single concern regarding the profitability of their professional career. Point being, even though I am the furthest thing from a Cam Newton apologist, I can sympathize with his plight of being a 6'5 professional athlete who was willing to give a more than gracious gift to not have to jam his long legs, that are made even more precious by an arm of questionable accuracy, into the back of stranger's seat for ten hours on end. Even if it was a product of his own careless booking.
That being said, I am even more empathetic to a much more relatable plight, which is that of the passenger that told a high-end NFL quarterback straight to his face that his pride plus his traveling convenience couldn't be bought. I won't take umbrage with Cam Newton for his offer, but I will say that he re-learned a valuable lesson that he may have forgotten over the course of his career. That lesson, of course, being that going about the painstaking process of commercial travel, never mind a flight spanning multiple countries, without being unnecessarily bothered is priceless.
As far as I am concerned, negotiations on both sides were more than fair. I'd say going into said negotiations wearing sunglasses and a particularly pretentious hat made for an asshole-ish look that was easy to say "no" to out of principle, especially considering the shortness of one's patience when preparing to spend damn near a full day trapped in a steel tube thousands of feet in the air. Still, in my opinion it was an entirely understandable question and, to anyone that understands the inherent irritability of travel, an even more appreciable answer.
The Saints Sound Willing to Pay Top-Dollar to Keep Michael Thomas Happy, As They Know Better Than Anyone That He's Not Someone You Want to Make Mad
Money. If you've been paying any attention whatsoever to Michael Thomas' social media presence, two themes were mistakable. The first being an unrelenting adoration of all things New Orleans, and the second was...you guessed it...money. After both statistically and aggressively proving every team that passed on him wrong, multiple times over, a higher grade of fuel was needed to keep accelerating his eternally dissatisfied drive to remain dominant, and what motivator throws more gas on a competitive fire than money?
Unfortunately, being on an insatiable search to secure the bag meant that the adversary most likely to become the target of Michael Thomas' immutable irritability was the franchise for which he has become an emotional leader. For that reason, this surprise that Mickey Loomis and New Orleans Saints are, for the first time in a long time, more than willing to break the bank on a skill position is a pleasant one that serves as precautionary damage control to what could have pretty easily become a distraction.
The wide receiver that proved, time and time again, that you can't guard him has earned a payday unprecedented at his position, and giving Michael Thomas the ability to flex on every last one of his peers by offering him what he earned is the best way to keep his eyes laser-focused on a much more elusive prize. The thing that made him so great, with that being hyper-competitiveness, is also one of the only things that could have caused a rift in an otherwise cohesive culture if he, rightfully or wrongfully, felt disrespected within his own organization. Said organization appears ready to reinforce what's been an insanely productive relationship in approximately 100 million different ways, and the negotiating table was exponentially more likely to be the place where it went awry than the football field or the locker room.
Now, I do have a slight hesitancy towards setting the market for a pass catcher when they haven't proven to be a time-honored piece to the championship puzzle, but Michael Thomas is the type of irreplaceable playmaker that can help ease an inevitable transition from an elite quarterback. He's a prominent member of a young, talented core, and if the Saints are going to keep open their window after they, Lord willing, send Drew Brees off into the sunset with a second Super Bowl then they are going to need to both retain and lean heavily on said core.
To put it another way, I can promise you that this implication that a deal is all but done sits well Teddy Bridgewater, so it stands to reason that it should also set well with the fans who expect to see him starting under center sooner rather than later. Michael Thomas has proven too money not to be paid handsomely, and doing so now should keep happy a guy who, as opposing corners can attest, you certainly don't want to see mad.
Yankee Stadium Greeted Giants' Daniel Jones With a Rousing Chorus of Boos, As it Has Become Pretty Hard Not to Feel Bad for the Kid
Leave it to nauseatingly insufferable New York sports' fans to ruin a great thing with their entirely unjustified entitlement. First it was a laundry list of overpaid yet under-appreciated superstars that didn't quite account for the rampant toxicity of the fly-by-night human fleas that the limelight attracts. Now it's the pleasure the rest of us were deriving from watching the Giants do backflips in trying to secure Eli Manning's starting job until his AARP card arrived in the mail.
Honestly, watching Daniel Jones take the stage on draft day, and - more importantly - listening to the bitching and moaning of a fickle fanbase that had not one reason to expect a more rational pick before he did was absolutely delightful. Ever since, unfortunately, I can't help but feel bad for a rookie who isn't even being given a real chance by a city that is trying to self-fulfill his prophecy with failure before their first round pick even steps on an NFL field in any sort of meaningful way. To feel better about pointing and laughing at Giants' fans for their feces-flinging front office, I'm going to need them to start believing in the shit their team has thrown against the wall. I just don't feel right being a part of the world that is clearly against a young, talented player who certainly didn't idiotically draft himself at 6th overall when that world is also inhabited by a bunch of (up-their-own) assholes dressed in Eli jerseys and cloaked in nonsensical superiority complexes.
I genuinely hope David Gettleman made the mistake of all mistakes when he trusted misinformation and highly-opinionated anecdotal evidence to make a selection that no one else in their right (or wrong, for that matter) mind would have. However, I'm going to need the Giants' fans of the greater New York area to get on board with that potential mistake so that I can take comfort in knowing that Daniel Jones will have some support on the ship while I mock its General Mismanager as he inevitably navigates it directly into a goddamn iceberg.
Congratulations to Everyone That Had Mid-June in the 'First Time Aaron Rodgers Gets Pissy About the New Playbook' Pool
Mini-camp. Fucking mini-camp. I thought I was a little too skeptical of Aaron Rodgers' ability to maintain a professional relationship and compromise with a new Head Coach by having productive back-and-forth conversations about the playbook behind closed doors. Yet, even I had my first "told ya so" tentatively scheduled towards the end of training camp.
That's not to say that the most irritable arm in the NFL doesn't make a fair point about winning games by way of winging it, as he's done just that an entirely inconceivable amount of times over the course of a career that wasn't exactly maximized with Mike McCarthy having the adaptability of AOL. It is, however, to say that getting passive aggressive about play calls before even running them in pads is a precursor to a pretty familiar type of petulance. Matt LaFleur is is still getting used to gimping around on a torn Achilles and he's already got his superstar starting quarterback undercutting him out of nowhere in handicapping his hold on the philosophy that got him hired in the first place.
I don't want to give too much benefit of the doubt to someone whose last gig had him teasing what ended up being an endlessly impotent Titans' offense, but it stands to reason that more than a quick summer fling with Matt LaFleur's style would breed a little freedom within it. Kind of feels like Aaron Rodgers hit 'Install' on a new operating system, saw the loading bar have a quick hiccup around 12%, slapped the entire fucking computer off the table, and immediately went back to drawing up plays in the dirt. Spent all offseason discrediting any and all reports of an entire era of undeniable agitation atop the Packers' organization only to start massaging his own ego, at the expense of his new progressive play-caller's peace of mind, the first time he had an audible abolished.
In fairness, he has earned the right to be more of an arrogant asshole than most. That, however, doesn't make him any less of an arrogant asshole for going out of his way to create a little tension in the locker room before going out of his way to put a name to every new face in it.
The Saints and Michael Thomas Have Begun Talks on an Extension, So Cue the Cautious Optimism of What is a Prematurely Positive Development
PFT- Payton said that the team and Thomas “probably have already begun discussions” about an extension. Saints General Manager Mickey Loomis confirmed that was the case during an appearance on Mad Dog Sports Radio without saying much else about where things stand.
“Yeah, listen, we’ve had some conversations, and I like keeping that close to the vest until there’s something to report,” Loomis said. “Look, we love what Mike’s done for us. He’s a fantastic player, one of the best at his position in the league, and hopefully we can keep him as a Saint for a longtime as well.”
Thomas, who is in the final year of his rookie deal, said last month that he’s “pretty certain that everything will get taken care of” in time to ensure he stays in New Orleans.
Realistically, the only thing to take away from this relatively meaningless morsel of information is that both the New Orleans Saints and Michael Thomas are interested in prolonging what only the incredibly cocksure Ohio State product could have predicted to be as mutually beneficial a relationship as it has been. Seeing as it's not all that surprising that a player who has embraced all things New Orleans and a team that is currently at its most promising due in large part to his productivity are interested in lasting the long haul, I can't put too much stock in the fact that contract talks have commenced. I suppose it's a good sign that said contract talks haven't sent Michael Thomas into one of his infamous Twitter tirades, but I'd imagine that things are still quite far from a done deal.
Simply put, when it comes down to brass tacks, there's not one single reason to believe that an athlete who has made no bones about being in search of a secure bag will waive any sort of tax on behalf of anyone. In order to get Michael Thomas to legitimately listen, the money is going to have to talk. That same money has been hesitant to speak to other prominent playmakers that have, to varying extents, been a product of Sean Payton's offensively-friendly system. I don't doubt that it will actually raise its voice this time around, as Michael Thomas has both the tools and early resume to be far and away the best wide receiver in Saints' history. I do, however, wonder whether it'll boast loudly enough to out-annunciate the entirety of a market that Michael Thomas might very well envision himself setting, despite it being one that hasn't historically returned too many titles from the top down.
Someone who has backed up his moniker in proving pretty damn unguardable has already made as great a case to break the bank on the field as he has on social media, so time will tell if two, at times, temperamental sides can come to terms. However, barring a sizable concession one way or the other, I can't exactly see that time being upon us.
An NFL Reporter Taught His Son a Powerful Lesson (About Taking Yourself Far Too Seriously) by Destroying His Tee-Ball Participation Trophy and Posting it Online
I don't want to act as though I don't get the premise of pulverizing a pity prize for participation, because I do. Society as a whole has become increasingly concerned with making children feel like winners, as if legitimate winners are even possible without a hell of a lot more losers. There are definitely lessons to be learned from the disappointment of going home empty-handed, and those lessons aren't being taught as often amongst sports.
Unfortunately, I have a hard time believing that breaking the smiley-face of a baseball off an award that was given for showing up to play a sport in which success is quite literally placed on a tee for all children to repeatedly swing wildly at, without limit, is the best way to teach those lessons. After all, we are talking about kids who still need to be helplessly directed around the base paths with an urgency that would put my father's oft-ignored GPS to shame. Therefore, whether Albert Breer's 5(ish?)-year-old son is eventually MLB material or not, I have serious doubts that he fully understands the "lasting" impact of his dad destroying his otherwise attic-bound piece of crap for the greater good of attention on Instagram.
I genuinely hope this is an example of an NFL reporter showing a sense of humor in mocking the type of former NFL player that it goes ill-advised to mock, in James Harrison, but it being posted with complete sincerity âis neither anywhere near out of the question nor at all rational.
Mike Vrabel Admitted to Hating Lines and Always Being in a Hurry, As if That Makes Him Special or Something
First and foremost, I have very little doubt that Mike Vrabel is a highly competitive person. I think that much is supported by him carving out a 14-year NFL career during which he was entrusted as a jack-of-all-trades by one of the greatest coaches in sports' history for a team that won three Super Bowls in four years. If, for some strange reason, that isn't enough proof of his aggressive ambition then his ability to transition to the sidelines with enough success to work his way up through the entirety of the ranks and snag a head coaching gig as a spry 42-year-old certainly should be.
That being said, him (over)valuing his time as an impatient person who hates lines enough to silently race other adult men to them does not make him special. That's not to say that he's not special. It's just to say that being an anxious and irritable asshole that wants to be where he wants to be when he wants to be there without anyone, his own family included, slowing him down or standing in his way only makes him as special as every non-special ingrate that spent a significant portion of their life living in the Northeast.
Perhaps instilling in his team the "kill or be killed"-type attitude that one develops when dealing with Massholes daily for nearly a decade could coincidentally inspire a sense of urgency that breeds winners on the football field. Sort of sounds like a big load of Belichickian bullshit, but I suppose I could see that being the case.
On the other hand, I could also see how forcing those around him to adopt the same socially abrasive mindset might make life less stressful for someone who has probably found himself biting his tongue while being inconvenienced by one too many tedious acts of Southern hospitality since his arrival in Tennessee. Judging by how taken aback the local media was by what is standard operating pissyness above the Mason-Dixon line, I'm leaning towards the latter, as strictly enforcing a speed minimum greatly reduces the road rage of those living life in the fast lane.
This isn't a particularly surprising viewpoint from a player who has appeared fairly care-free in taking things as they come throughout a rocky (top) ride to the peak of his profession. In a lot of ways, Alvin Kamara's public persona comes off as the polar opposite of Michael Thomas', in that he remains pretty low-key in taking anything he may or may not take personally in a familiarly smooth stride. For that reason, I hardly envisioned him bashing those that were laughably far-sighted in not being able to see clearly an unprecedented playmaker while he was directly under their nose.
That said, can you imagine being one of the coaches that so poorly mismanaged the otherworldly talents of someone who went on to become the NFL's Offensive Player of The Year that said talents waited until the second day of the draft to get selected? Butch Jones has since been humbled, as he was interning as Nick Saban's most trusted window washer while Alvin Kamara was turning in a studly sophomore season...
However, I wouldn't be surprised if his original reality check came in the form of watching #41 make a stage out of every single Sunday. In fact, I don't even know how you don't look in the mirror after one of your offensive afterthoughts immediately becomes the NFL's ultimate X-factor, and question your entire life's work as a coach. Alvin Kamara is so preposterously versatile that you have to actively try harder to underutilize him that badly than you do to utilize him to the best of his abilities. We're talking eating steak with a spoon levels of stupid. If the former brain trust at Tennessee couldn't figure that out over the course of one single New Orleans Saints' offensive series then merely telling them how dumb their depth chart was when Jalen Hurd was a top it certainly isn't going to do the trick.
During an Old Radio Appearance That is Now Making its Rounds, Dabo Swinney Referred to Himself as the 'Osama Bin Dabo' of Alabama Recruitment
Ah yes, the old "compare myself, by both name and overall animus, to the mastermind behind the deadliest and most tragic terrorist attack on American soil" move. As an age old joke amongst the comedy community, who could have predicted that such a quirky analogy would fall on deaf ears until it was later stumbled upon by those who, oddly enough, don't exactly find the person most responsible for the national nightmare of 9/11 to be a laughing matter?
I mean, when you really think about it, the similarities between a persuasive recruiter of regional athletic talent that won a National Champioship and a persuasive recruiter of radical suicide bombers that ended/forever altered countless innocent lives become too stark to ignore. All Osam....scratch that...Dabo did was make the unfortunate, albeit tooootally hilarious, connection before the rest of us inevitably put our collective finger on it. Pretty selfless on his part to finally put himself in the same sentence as one of the most evil assholes in all of history in terms of operational secrecy. After all, the endless parallels were really starting to become an elephant in the room.......where two older white guys struggled to discuss the intricacies of their respective sports without the wildly unnecessary use of taboo topics like politics and terrorism in kickstarting the conversation.