Sunday, December 19, 2010

I Gotta Feeling: Playoff Sit or Starts

In most fantasy football leagues, the playoffs have either already began or will this week. Every decision to start or sit a player is excruciatingly difficult. For example, last week I elected to start Stevie Johnson over Pierre Garcon. Both of their matchups were beatable but Johnson had been more consistent. Well, that was a mistake. Garcon went off to the tune of 6, 93, and 2 while Johnson, who has been unable to recover from his dropping catastrophe against Pittsburg, produced yet another pedestrian performance of 5 catches for 42 yards. This got me thinking.

Let me begin my saying that my belief in any fantasy sport is to never, ever, under any circumstances, bench a top player. The mark of a great player is someone who performs in difficult situations. To bench a great player in a difficult situation is therefore, to deny that player’s greatness. However, for those B, B+ level guys, the decision to sit or start is most challenging. By B or B+ level I’m talking about guys just like Johnson. They’re certainly consistent and 7 out of 10 weeks should be no-brainer starts. As for the other 3, at least one of those occasions you’ll probably bench them, then start them, bench them again, only to insert them into the starting role Sunday at 12:30. That leaves 1 or 2 times, however, where they should be benched. Here is a list, inspired by some of the songs I’m currently listening to, of players with borderline starts and my suggestions.

Mark Sanchez, “Memories”

Memories. That’s all fantasy owners will be clinging to after the Jets take on Pittsburg. That is, memories of how tremendous Sanchez was about 5 weeks ago. Since then, though, the Sanchize has been nothing but pain for any unfortunate owner. Quite frankly, if Sanchez is your starting quarterback and you’ve managed to make the playoffs, you’ve finagled your way to one of the more improbable success stories in recent memory. Mark is totally overwhelmed right now, has no confidence, and throws to receivers suffering from the same plight. Bench him, bench him, bench him. This one is easy.

Fred Jackson, “Like a G6”

A G6 is a Jet. The Jets run the ball well. Fred Jackson has been running the ball well, thus, he’s very much like a New York G6 running back. The newest starting Bills back is beginning to look like an every week start. Miami did a good job defending the actual G6s last week, but I think the imitation will have success this week. The injury to Lee Evans will probably limit the passing attack, which means more touches for the backs. As long as Jackson can stay away from the “sizzurp” there should be no hesitancy to start him.

Thomas Jones, “Waiting for the End”

The Chiefs will have a surprisingly difficult and even more surprisingly meaningful matchup between 2 teams who, if the season ended today, would be in the playoffs. I really like St. Louis and believe they will be legitimate Super Bowl contenders a few seasons from now. However, the only reason they will get in this season is that they play in the worst division in professional sports. KC should be able to dispatch them this week. You’ll be “waiting for the end” of the game because Jones will see the most action in garbage time. He’s been touching the ball much less the last few weeks, but that should change. Jamal Charles is fresh off a new monster contract and Kansas City will want to save their main man for more pressing situations at either the end of the season or the playoffs.

Mike Wallace, “Tonight (I’m $#%!@&$ You)”

At least that’s what Darrelle Revis will be singing to Wallace owners this week. As bad as the defense has been as of late, Revis has been tremendous. There’s a chance that Ryan will elect to play Revis on Hines Ward and let the speedier Cromartie attempt to handle Wallace. In either case, both corners will be saying, “Let’s remove the space between me and you.” This is one of the trickier calls for the week, but if possible, I’d look elsewhere for a different starter.

Felix Jones, “Bat Out of Hell”

Hell, of course, refers to the Wade Phillips era. During this hellish era, Felix Jones’ talents were seemingly neglected. Somehow the fact that Jones has incredible speed and solid power was forgotten. New head coach, Jason Garret, however, recognizes the potential of his talented back. Felix has been on total tear lately and Washington is beginning to look like one of the worst teams in football. Unlike the other songs on this list, Bat Out of Hell is actually good and one of my favorite songs of all time. It is no coincidence that Jones gets it. He will have one of the 10 best individual performances of the week.

LeGarrette Blount, “Kush”

He has a great matchup this week against one of the bottom rushing defenses in the league. Despite the record of Detroit, they have actually played competitively against their opposition this year. I really doubt that this will be a blowout for Tampa, which means they are going to want to control the clock with Blount. Then again, a blowout would also guarantee Blount some end of game touches. More good news for Blount: Detroit has allowed the fourth most rushing touchdowns. Blount has been a master of inconsistency this season and I think this week will be one of his peaks. Why the song? Well, it has the perfect line, “Blunt and get blunted.” For some reason Snoop Dogg spelled “Blount” wrong, but then again, he spelled “Dog” wrong too. So careless…

Here are a few more guys on the borderline.

Mike Tolbert. Still getting his caries, especially at the goal line. Start.

Stevie Johnson. 4 of last 5 games have been mediocre or worse and no more Evans. Sit.

Mike Williams (TB). Detroit’s secondary is iffy but Lions will score, so lots of chances. Start.

Ronnie Brown. Beginning to wonder if he’s lost it but Bills worst run D in league. Start.

Marshawn Lynch. He’s just not very good anymore and showed that last week. Sit.

Austin Collie. The Robot/Wax Figure says he will play, but I’d like to see something from him as he’s done nothing since week 6. Sit.

Pierre Garcon. Doesn’t have the best catching abilities, but in an injury deprived offense he will get plenty of targets and has quietly had 4 good weeks in a row. Start.

Hines Ward. Brutal matchup against Revis or Cromartie and much like Wallace I’d think about looking elsewhere. Sit.


As seen originally at

Sunday, December 12, 2010

How Should I React to THAT?

The following article was written following the Jets v Patriots Monday Night debacle. The feelings continue after today's disaster:

A lot is going to be said this week by Patriots supporters. They are the best team in football. The AFC East (and the AFC for that matter) is still theirs. The Jets do a lot of talking for a team that has 1 win over a team with a winning record. As for New York supporters, they can only hope that their fade into oblivion for the week is as taunt-free and painless as possible. It was a game that would have meant so much if they won. It is only fair that their annihilation mean so much too. What can they possibly say after their team got obliterated in every single facet of the game Monday night, leaving absolutely no doubt as to the superiority of New England?

Watching the game Monday night was difficult. In fact, I, a fan who watches every snap of aired professional football, walked away by the end of the third quarter, turning towards Dexter to provide some sort of distraction and relief (At least this was successful, I watched 4 episodes). If it wasn’t difficult enough to watch, the constant bombardment of taunts that I received through text and Facebook made it nearly impossible (thankfully, actually). I couldn’t watch most of the first half last night as I was experiencing numerous delays arriving into the world’s worst airport (Newark). My girlfriend took it upon herself to provide me with updates, even though I was listening to it on the radio. “This is pathetic,” I told her. She corrected me. “I’m sure it looks more pathetic then it sounds… like really sucking” (Bless her soul). My fraternity brother and roommate (Pats fan) wrote me simply, “succkkssss.” I can take that. Simple, neutral, accurate. If the roles were reversed last night, I would have instigated him in a far more superfluous manner. Two female friends, who are supporters of New England, (getting it from them stings a bit I suppose) teamed up against me over Facebook with one saying, “I know you are probably very upset right now... so ill save the victory dance for when you’re over it” (Weak, come on, let me have it!). The other was not so passive, retorting, “I would not be so doing a victory dance right now so u can just imagine it haha” (Sorry, too busy watching Dexter to imagine such a sight). Yet, the best one of all came from a Bills fan.

Brief interjection: Bills fans, more so than any other group of fans on this planet, understand the feelings I had last night. My grandpa is a Bills fan, and I spent the entire Sunday of Thanksgiving weekend with him watching football. The Bills game wasn’t on television, that is, until the original early game ended. We were just in time to see a Steve Johnson drop and a collapse that puts some of their early season ones to shame. This event caused 2 things.

1. My grandpa spent the duration of our Sunday commenting after every catch that if the receiver dropped it, he’d have a spot on the Bills.

2. Every team has a motto in their locker room. I exclaimed the following: “No doubt the Bills’ is, ‘Build em up, stab em in the heart’” (Dexter inspired). The Jets usually follow this credo as well, although they really didn’t this season until last night…

Anyways, back to that final text. “This is very similar to a madden game where I just did not bring my A game,” he wrote. “You should blog that verbatim.” Check. I guess I should take solace in the fact that I am the chosen, worthy Jets fan these people choose to berate. I suppose that speaks to my level of fandom.

There really isn’t much football analysis to be done after a showing like that. I mean, pick any aspect, any decision, any play, and you can probably find something that went horribly wrong for the Jets. It’s hard to pinpoint what was most disappointing. Was it the fact that this defense is looking terrible after losing their safety, Jim Leonhard? Possibly. Is it that Sanchez is turning into his old self, with at least 1 interception thrown over the last 7 games and a few brutal ones last night? Yeah, that’s pretty bad. How can I overlook the ongoing terrible play calls from Brian Schottenheimer, a guy who is supposed to be this brilliant offensive coordinator destined to be a head coach? Wildcat on third down?! What about the fact that Santonio Holmes showboated after every first down while his team is down three touchdowns? The Jets have had some head scratching games this season. They got shutout at home following a bye week. They needed late game heroics to defeat the disgracefully bad Lions. They almost lost a game against Houston when they were up 23-7 in the fourth. But, Monday night’s debacle was a whole knew level. It was a vicious, dandruff-in-the-fingernails, hair-on-the-ground type of head scratching.

I can only hope that the Jets take this as a learning experience. They were getting by with mediocre play and late game heroics against inferior opponents and that will not cut it against the AFC’s best. It’s still a little too early to panic, but remember this: New York was 8-3 in 2008 and finished with 9 wins. They got off to a 3-0 start last year and had another 3 game winning streak later in the season, but finished with just 9 wins again. Another collapse is not out of reach. At 9-3 the Jets would own the number 1 wildcard spot if the season ended today. Eleven is the magic number for the Jets, since the Ravens are the only other AFC team not in first that can reach such a win total. However, there are a slew of 6-6 teams, most notably San Diego, which can still get to 10. The Jets have 2 divisional games and 2 against 9-3 teams. They can certainly win them all, but then again, they could lose them all too. If the Jets go 3-1 they will probably get the 5 seed. Going .500 would most likely give them the 6 spot (Baltimore has only 1 game against a team with a winning record and they beat the Jets in week 1, giving them the edge against the Jets to claim the 5 spot in this situation). If they fall under .500, however, there is a strong possibility New York will fail to reach the postseason, despite being 9-3.

If you told me 12 weeks into the season that the Jets would be undefeated in games in which they scored a touchdown, I would be thinking 11-1 or 12-0. Unfortunately, they have failed to do that 3 times. Let’s just find the end zone every game from here on out, please.


Monday, December 6, 2010

Predicting the Game of the Year

The New York Jets face off against the New England Patriots in what will be the most significant game of the 2010 NFL regular season to date. Disregard the fact that both teams are 9-2 and atop the AFC. Disregard the fact that the winner of this game is in position to get the number one overall seed, while the loser will need to settle for a wildcard spot. This battle means so much more than simple playoff seeding.

The Jets have won 3 of their last 4 meetings with the Pats. In the six games prior to 2008, New York was only 1-5. With a win on the road, one (I) could begin to make the case that such a victory solidifies the Jets as the new dominant AFC East team after years of playing the role of either second fiddle or bottom dweller. New York has already made progress in claiming the division as their own by making an impressive and unexpected postseason run last year. However, this division is still New England's, as it has been for the past decade. Rex Ryan believes his team doesn't receive enough respect, but even he recognizes the recent superiority of the Patriots. If he wants his team to garner the attention he believes they deserves, New York must win the division, and to make that mission easier, must defeat New England in Foxborough, a place where the Patriots are undefeated this season. However, the Jets are the only team to win all its road games this season.

Both sides recognize the significance of this game for the current season as well as what it may hint at for the future. There are many intriguing matchups in this game. Here are the 2 that will determine the outcome.

Matchup 1: New England's Short Passing Game vs. New York's Talented Cornerbacks

People are disappearing again on Revis Island now that the premier cornerback in the league is back to full strength after his early season injury. In the last 5 games, Revis has limited Greg Jennings, Calvin Johnson, Josh Cribbs, Andre Johnson, and Terrell Owens to a grand total of 15 receptions, 180 yards, and 0 touchdowns. Meanwhile, his teammate and likely fellow pro bowler, Antonio Cromartie, has been playing at a comparable level with his opposition. However, the New England receivers are different than that which the two shutdown corners are accustomed, especially for Cromartie. Cromartie is a tall corner, standing at 6-2, which serves him particularly well against tall receivers who run deep patterns. The small, nimble New England receiving corps of Welker, Branch, Edelman, and Woodhead are the exact type of talent that causes problems for the Jets corners. New England has also utilized all of its tight ends this season. Gronkowski and Hernandez are both viable fantasy starters each week.

I would feel pretty confident starting Welker in this game. He has been one of the few New England receivers to perform well against the Jets during the Rex Ryan era. As for the other wide outs, I'd consider them to be a bit more of a stretch. Branch will probably be matched up either one on one with Revis or in a zone with Cromartie short and Brodney Pool or Eric Smith deep. However, I see the game turning out differently for the non-wide-out-frequent-pass-catchers. The linebackers might struggle defending both tight ends, especially the smaller and more agile Hernandez. However, the player who the Jets should be most concerned with is Danny Woodhead, who they released during the preseason. The Jets have terrific linebackers, but they are dominant because of smart play and good tackling, not tremendous speed. If the Jets rely on them to guard Woodhead they could have major difficulty. If they elect to use a safety on him, things could open up deep. Woodhead will be the X-factor in this game and a very good fantasy start. The Jets' trademark since Ryan took over has been to play tight man coverage and use creative blitz schemes with the linebackers and safeties. However, I think the more judicious move for them this week would be use a healthy dose of short zone coverage, with just a single deep safety.

Of course, the key to the Jets defensive game plan will be to stop Tom Brady, who, like Revis, has been on an absolute tear recently, earning possible MVP recognition. Despite the hair, he appears frightening on the sideline (this really, really speaks to his intensity and desire to win, cause let's be honest, the hair… I mean… As TJ and Keyshawn would say, "Come on Man!"). He is proficient against the blitz and deadly when given time. If the Jets want to win this game, they will need to hit him at least 7-10 times. The Jets D is great, but great fantasy players perform against good defenses, so start Brady this week, although you should be ecstatic if he produces a line like 250, 3, and 1.

Matchup 2: New York's Rushing Heavy Attack vs. New England's Porous Defense

Simply put, this is the worst New England defense we have seen in 10 years. They are young, inexperienced, and inconsistent. They have allowed 288 yards/game passing (worst in the league) and give up an average 110 yards on the ground (16th). Meanwhile, the Jets continue to dominate with a rushing attack that has ranked somewhere from 1 to 4 throughout the season and is currently second. This discrepancy is one that the Jets will obviously attempt to exploit. I know it, you know it, Ryan knows it, Belichick knows it, even Wade Phillips knows it, and he doesn't know anything (sorry, couldn't pass up another opportunity). Regardless of whether or not running the ball will be a surprise, the Jets are going to attempt to do it around 40 times on Monday night. Green seems to be taking over some of the duties he lost to LT earlier in the season, but both should get over 15 touches this week and therefore, are fantasy starts.

The Pats are going to load up the box with 8 guys and make the Jets beat them with Sanchez, who is coming off a pretty awful game. However, the three games prior to the Thanksgiving train wreck were the three best of his career, at least in terms of passing yardage. He is confident, be it warranted or not, and because of this, is especially dangerous. The outcome of this game will probably come down to Sanchez's performance, even more so than it will that of Brady, either team's running game, or the passing defense of the Jets.

Anticipate Sanchez to look towards Santonio Holmes once again this week. Holmes has been one of the best receivers in the league over the last 4 weeks, scoring 4 touchdowns and producing 360 yards. Tis the season of giving and thanks, and Santonio Holmes fantasy owners should be thankful that he keeps giving. However, Holmes' abilities will be tested this week when he goes up against rookie CB, Devin McCourty, who has emerged as one of the best players to come out of the 2010 draft. I still expect him to go for around 60 yards and score in this game.

If the X-factor for the Patriots is Danny Woodhead, then Dustin Keller is certainly the one for the Jets. The coaching staff for New York is going to want to build up Sanchez's confidence early in this game, which means he'll be giving Keller lots of early targets. Prior to the emergence of Holmes, Keller was probably the QB's favorite target, particularly on play action bootlegs. However, fantasy owners are growing frustrated with Keller's role in the offense as of late. This is now the third season in a row that Keller has produced some big games back-to-back and then seemingly disappeared off the face of the planet for consecutive games. I think Keller will be fantasy relevant for the first time in a while this week. I'm confident the Jets will be working him the ball early, so expect something like 30-45 yards in the first half, another 30 or so in the second, as well as a red zone touchdown somewhere along the way.


I would love nothing more than the Jets to win this game and I believe they certainly have the ability to do so. This said, the Patriots have been playing better football recently and I think the Jets will struggle defending all the little guys of the Patriots. Rookie Kyle Wilson, continues to grapple with playing as either the nickel or dime back. Brady loves to spread the ball around the entire field and has an uncanny ability to find the weak link on a team's defense and attack it. Weather is going to play a significant role in the performance of Sanchez, and fortunately for him, the current forecast is calling for temperatures in the mid thirties with a 20% chance of precipitation. You can't really expect anything better given the time of year. If Sanchez can limit himself to only 1 turnover and if the Jets run it over 40 times, I believe they will come out on top. I just don't think that will happen. It pains (PAINS!) me to say this, but I think the Patriots win it 24-21. Then again, maybe this is all just an elaborate voodoo jinx…

As seen originally at:

Sunday, November 28, 2010

What If: A look back at various decisions and the impact they made.

So that’s it. Season over. Again. As Kevin Durant continues to prove he deserves to be in the conversation of the 2-4 best players in the NBA, leading the league in scoring yet again with 28 ppg, Greg Oden, the man with who he will be forever compared, has suffered a season ending injury for the third time in his career. Through his first 3 seasons, Durant has averaged 20.3, 25.3, and 30.1 points per game. It took Kobe 5 seasons to eclipse 25.3, and 10 to surpass 30.1 (although he did get 30.0 after 7 years in the NBA). LeBron’s single best season output was 31.4, also recorded in his third year in the league. Wade topped 30.1 in his sixth season. In other words, Durant’s rise into the NBA elite has been quicker than the guys with whom he currently shares the position. Despite the tragic choice to select Oden ahead of Durant, the Portland Trail Blazers are holding their own in the Western Conference.

The thing about professional sports today is that every decision a team or player makes is analyzed, re-analyzed, and then analyzed again a few years after the fact (and then re-analyzed again). A single choice can have highly significant consequences for the future and everyone knows this. You can’t help but ask…

What If… The Portland Trailblazers were better at drafting?

This goes back to a simple question that NBA GMs (and fantasy owners) must face every year. Should I draft the powerful, dominating center or the flashier scorer? Should I draft based on need or based on talent? For Portland, they decided that a big 7 footer would be more beneficial than a shooting guard-small forward. Unfortunately, this decision would come to haunt the organization for the rest of its history, particularly for the first 13 years following the decision. No, this is not a discussion on Oden and Durant. This is a discussion on an even more poorly conceived decision. Portland elected to draft Sam Bowie with the second overall pick in the 1984 draft, passing on a man named Michael Jordan. As Bowie served as the team coat hanger, Michael Jordan went on the produce the most dominating career in American Sports History. You’d think that when faced with the decision again nearly 25 years later, the front office would remember what can only be described as the biggest blunder in the existence of sports. As philosopher, George Santayana, once said, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”

Well, I guess that would make the Blazers condemned.

Lets pretend they did select Durant. What would this mean? Well, they were already fortunate enough to have young superstar, Brandon Roy. So, with both, you would have to put Portland down as one of the best teams in all of the NBA for the next 5 years. The really scary thing is, as good as Roy and Durant are, they may not been in their primes yet. They are two of the most unselfish and dedicated young stars in the association. Together, they would be like Wade and LeBron in Miami except people would love them.

Here are some other hypotheticals.

What if LeBron took his talents to the windy city?

From the moment the LeBron sweepstakes first took off, I said there was no better fit for LeBron than Chicago. They have one of the leagues best point guards, some terrific defenders, and a fantastic supporting cast that is already good enough to play tough in the postseason the last 2 years. What were they missing? A superstar scorer.

Derrick Rose is currently averaging 25.6 points per game, third most and the highest for point guards. After the aforementioned Durant, Rose might be my favorite player in the league. He has unmatched quickness, tremendous vision, and outstanding leadership. The thing about Rose is that he has unfair responsibilities. He has to run the offense, facilitate, and be the go-to scorer. There’s lots of great point guards right now, but I would argue, given expectations and requirements, Rose is the best. He doesn’t have the talent around him to facilitate like Rondo. He doesn’t have the best scorer in the league like Westbrook. Deron Williams and Chris Paul are the only ones I could conceivably rank higher. But, what if he had LeBron, or should I say, what if LeBron had him?

The simple answer: They would both be surefire top 10 players. Rose could finally become more of a 1 than a 2, but teams would need to respect his ability to shred them on his own. He would almost never get double teamed, since that would be an invitation to sling it to LeBron, in which case, he could destroy most man-to-man defenses. As for LeBron, his assist numbers might decline, but his rebounds would probably increase. Even scarier, his ppg could go up too. With Rose, James could finally become the post presence that he so needs to be, at least on occasion. If Rose could increase his steals and FT%, his admittance into the fantasy elite would be unquestioned. The Bulls would be a better team than the Heat are currently, or will be come May. If LeBron and Wade are Tony Park and Eva Longoria, Rose and LeBron would certainly be Jay-Z and Beyonce (my appeal to different audiences. I think that made sense).

What if Antonio Gates went pro in basketball?

The NFl’s best tight end never played football at Kent State University. He played basketball for the school, averaging 16 and 20.6 points over the course of two years. However, at 6’5, Gates was told he was too small to play in the NBA. He looked towards football. The Chargers signed him as an undrafted free agent. Since 2004, only Marvin Harrison, Randy Moss, and Terrell Owens (the three best receivers since the retirement of Jerry Rice) have more touchdowns. Although fantasy TE overall rankings change from year to year, there should be no reason to draft anyone ahead of Gates. Ever. If Gates went into the NBA, he would have probably been a role/defense/hustle player on some top 10 team and probably never see a starting role on a fantasy squad. What a sad fate that would have been for one of the most valuable of fantasy stars.

What if Wade Phillips was fired when he should have been (this could be anything from he earliest of last season to the latest of week 4 this year)?

I’ve been calling for the firing of Mr. “I Don’t Know Where I am, What I am Doing, or If the Game Just Ended or is About to Begin” for two years now. Finally, after months upon months of frustration, Jerry Jones decided to say goodbye. I just don’t understand how Wade lasted until the end of week 9.

Honestly, the answer to the question at hand is very, very simple. If Wade was not the coach of the Dallas Cowboys at all this season, Dallas would probably be 6-4 at worst and 8-2 at best. I understand that players need to take accountability for poor performances, but it was apparent that the entire team lost all confidence and respect in him. If he was fired after the 1-4 start, at which point things started to get really ugly, I would have to assume that Dallas could have been 4-6 or 5-5 at this point, getting ready to make a San Diego-esque run for the playoffs. You would have to therefore figure that the numbers for every offensive player would increase. Yeah, Romo would still be done for most of the season (he would probably make an effort to come back at the end if his team was actually competitive), but even with Kitna at QB this team has enough weapons to air it out, run the ball effectively, and play consistent defense.

Unfortunately, the removal of Phillips from the organization has brought an abrupt stop to all the jokes being made at his expense. Therefore, I now present my farewell to Wade Phillips in the only way I know possible...

When asked about the upcoming week, Phillips responded by saying, “I don’t even know who we play next.” When asked about the game he just lost, Phillips responded by saying, “I don’t even know who we just played.”

Wade once spent an entire game getting red in the face because none of his players were listening to him and Dallas seemed to totally abandon their game plan. It wasn’t until the fourth quarter he realized he was at a Maverick’s game.

Wade has developed tennis elbow on 17 different occasions due his repeated tendency to plant his right hand against his forehead.

Wade once held the world record for going 3 days without blinking (This award was taken when a committee decided he was using the “squint” approach that had been made illegal 4 years earlier).

The password to Wade Phillip’s computer is “Tony Romo”
The password to Tony Romo’s computer is “Fire Wade Phillips”

Nobody really knows what’s going on in Phillip’s head during games, but I guess it would be something like this:

What if this article ended before those sad attempts at humor?

It would have been better.


To see this article in its original version, go to:

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

The Brilliance of Neil Rackers

There are not many, things in life that can generate feelings of unbounded victory, accomplishment, joy, and arrogance. Making a great fantasy move is one of the select few. A great draft pick is a nice way to go about reaching nirvana. Everyone remembers the picks they made that caused people to shake their heads, whisper to the person next to them, or flat out laugh at you (for some this happens more than for others), but turned out to be the reason you won the league. These bad-by-the-consensus-picks-turned-legendary are great, but a great free agent pickup might be even better. There's something deeply satisfying about ditching some bust-deadweight nobody like Jerome Harrison for a top 15 player like Brandon Lloyd. You feel like you cheated the system, but in the best way possible. Lloyd owners, along with those of Josh Freeman, Steve Johnson, Mike Tolbert, and Peyton Hillis can attest to this. Not everyone remembers great FA pickups, but I do.

The year is 2005, one in which Shaun Alexander, LaDainian Tomlinson, and Larry Johnson put up three of the greatest individual fantasy seasons ever. The running back trio's combined numbers were a ridiculous 5611 all-purpose yards and 72 touchdowns. For comparison, CJ, MJD, and AP put up 6093 all purpose yards last season, but scored 22 less touchdowns. Using standard fantasy scoring, the 2005 trio produced 78 more fantasy points than their 2009 contemporaries. Also consider that LJ got over 13 carries or more only once through the first 7 weeks.

Now, about that great free agent pickup…

Let me preface what I am about to say by clearly explaining my opinion of NFL kickers. Quite simply, there is no such thing as a good kicker, rather, only degrees of mediocrity. Take for example, NY Jets kicker, Nick Folk. Folk started out the season pretty good, hitting 13 of 15 field goals. However, since the bye, Folk has been downright atrocious, connecting on just 5 of his 9 attempts. Last Sunday, Folk committed the infamous, "Woops-I-just-missed-3-fieldgoals" double-whammy, simultaneously screwing over not only my favorite professional sports team, but also my first place fantasy one. As his 24-yard field goal attempt smacked off the right goal post, releasing a disheartening sound that can only be compared to the one produced while flat lining, at first I was shocked, but I soon realized, it should have been expected. I mean, why would he make it? It's in his blood to ruin a 19 play (most by any team this season), 10:04 minute drive to open the second half.

I wrote the following on my blog ( this past May:

Speaking of kickers, I have a total lack of respect for their position. Maybe I don't understand the intricacies of kicking a football, but if kickers are paid exclusively for the purpose of booting a football through the uprights, how in world do so many of them struggle from within 40 yards. I just don't understand. It defies all logic. Can you imagine if the failure rate of kicking was transferred to another job?

"Mrs. Miller, you could bring your son in to see the dentist, or, you could go for it and hope that he doesn't have cavities. It's your risk."

"Risk? Isn't it just a routine checkup?"

"Well, Mrs. Miller, you would think so, but Dr. Brown has a history of inexplicably making mistakes when dealing with the 'routine.'"

"Oh… maybe I should see another dentist then."

"Nope, that wouldn't be a solution. They're basically all like that."

Now that I've gotten that out of the way, after the aforementioned Larry Johnson, the best free agent acquisition of 2005 was none other than Arizona place kicker, Neil Rackers.

Excuse me?

Neil Rackers produced the greatest season for a kicker in NFL history, and resultantly, an unparalleled fantasy season. Rackers' numbers were so dominating that, in my league, he was his owner's best offensive player. Needless to say, anyone whose best player is a kicker doesn't have a very good team, but regardless, that's flat out impressive.

His 95 kick percentage in 2005 was the 13th best single season number of all time. Rackers drilled 40 out of 42 field goals, the record for the most made in a single season. And he hit them from everywhere! Rackers was 13/14 for kicks from 40-49 yards and 6/7 for those 50 and longer. Teams should be happy when their kickers go 19 out of 21 from any distance. Forget about for the long ones.

Rackers wasn't just a good kicker, he was the entire scoring attack for the Cardinals. He produced 140 points in 2005, which is the 31st most ever in a single season by a player at any position. Kicker, Gary Anderson, scored 164 points in 1998, the most ever for his position. But, he got to kick 59 extra points. Fifty-nine! That's the eight most ever in a single season. Rackers got a third of that. His 20 extra points attempted doesn't even fall in the top 250 for a single season.

I have always said that drafting a kicker earlier than the last round in a fantasy draft is a total waste of a pick. Having a good (very relative word) kicker doesn't necessarily equate to a good fantasy kicker. What you really need is a "good" kicker on a team with a 6.5/10 offense. If the attack is too good, you get PATs not FGs and if they aren't good enough, you get punts (In fact, I usually don't even bother drafting a kicker since it can be difficult to judge which ones fit the 6.5/10 group. The difference between the best and worst kickers on a fantasy team is usually minimal. I once won a league in which I picked up a new kicker each week depending on the matchup).

Anyways, Rackers played for the best 6.5/10 offense I have ever seen. The stalling abilities of the team were totally unparalleled. The Cardinals were 8th in total offense, yet, 28th in offensive touchdowns! Are you kidding me!? That is unbelievable! Even Houston and Buffalo, whose respective total offensive rankings were 30 and 28, scored more touchdowns than Arizona. In fact, the only teams who scored fewer touchdowns than the Cardinals were the Ravens (24th offense), Browns (26), Jets (31), and 49ers (32). Only because of Rackers' brilliance was Arizona able to bring their total scoring ranking up to 17. For fantasy leagues in which kickers are awarded an incremental value per kick (1 point for PAT, 3 points 0-39, 4 points 40-49, 5 points 50 plus), Rackers' fantasy total was 165 points. That number has not been matched since. If you play in leagues that penalize misses than his stats are even better.

2005 may have been the year of the running back, but it should be the year of the kicker too.

By the way, next off-season the New York Jets will be the center of a new HBO show: Disbarred Jocks: The Expulsion of the Kicker. As part of the show, there will be an open tryout. There will be no premium placed on experience, since any recent success basically means a collapse is in the near future. If you have 1 leg and an eye you can enter. In fact, the eye thing is optional too.


As first seen at:

Monday, November 8, 2010

What I've Been Up To, Sorting Through the Jumble

No new articles in 2 weeks?

Actually, I have been writing, just not on this site. As you can see in my "About Me" section, I am currently doing some writing for Hot Box Sports, a fantasy sports website. I was originally unsure if I'd be able to post these articles on this site, but was recently informed that doing so would be fine. So, without further holdup, I will share my first article, which appeared on the webpage on November 2, 2010.

Sorting Through the NFL Jumble

Written by Adam Weinberger

Parody. It's probably the only word that's been used in professional football more often this season than the words "Brett Favre." Parody describes so many different aspects of the NFL season thus far. At the start of week eight, only one division leader (Kansas City) sits more than 1 game ahead of the second place team (Oakland, yes, Oakland). Twelve teams are two games or more over .500, but of those twelve, only three teams have 1 loss and two of those teams (Jets and Patriots) are in the same division, hence, greater parody.

Picking the best team in the AFC is a difficult endeavor, as none of its top 5 teams has emerged as the best, since they continue to lose to one another. The Steelers' only loss came to the Ravens. The Ravens lost to the Patriots, whose only loss was to the Jets. The Jets only loss was to the Ravens. The Titans, who have quietly made their way to 5-2, also lost to the Steelers, but were able to beat the NY Giants and Philadelphia Eagles, possibly the two best NFC teams. As for the NFC, the conference is a jumbled as the AFC. Only two NFC teams have reached the five win mark. The Giants are my pick as the NFC's best, as their only losses came against the 5-2 Titans and the 4-2 Colts. Atlanta, the other 5-2 team, lost to the Eagles, but also to the Roethlisbergerless Steelers. Parody.

The effects of the lunacy that is the 2010 NFL season have impacted fantasy football tremendously, but no position has been as affected as the wide receivers. Last years top 20 wide receivers, in terms of yardage, were: Andre Johnson, Wes Welker, Miles Austin, Sidney Rice, Reggie Wayne, Randy Moss, Santonio Holmes, Steve Smith (NYG), Hines Ward, Vincent Jackson, DeSean Jackson, Roddy White, Brandon Marshall, Greg Jennings, Larry Fitzgerald, Marques Colston, Donald Driver, Chad Ochocinco, Derrick Mason, and Anquan Boldin. Only 10 of those 20 are currently in the top 20. Of the top 10 from last season, only Reggie Wayne and Miles Austin currently rank there. Some of this has been due to injury (Johnson, Welker, Rice, D. Jackson), trade (Holmes, Marshall, Moss), suspension (V. Jackson, Holmes, again), or corpses disguised as quarterbacks (CAR Smith, Fitzgerald).

The imminent question is thus, is there a changing of the order for wide receivers? Are top WR fixtures like Steve Smith (CAR), Hines Ward, Larry Fitzgerald, Marques Colston, Donald Driver, and Chad Ochocinco past their expiration date? Are Hakeem Nicks, Austin Collie, Brandon Lloyd, Jeremy Maclin, Kenny Britt, Malcom Floyd, Jabar Gaffney, Percy "The Migraine" Harvin, and Steve Johnson (on the Bills of all teams!) the new class of the NFL? Let's not jump to that conclusion just yet. Choosing whom to sit, start, trade, and release can be an agonizing process replete with frustration, depression, and second guessing. Don't fret, though, for I have provided my second half projections for wide receivers. Here is the top 20 for the duration for the season.

20: Santana Moss (WAS)
Only three times in Moss's career has he reeled in over 1000 yards receiving, although he is on pace to do so this season. Clearly, the change to McNabb has been beneficial for Moss, as he has emerged as the favorite target. His 63 target this season place him ninth on the list. However, the Redskins have 5 games left this season against a defensive that currently ranks in the top 10 in pass defense. Anticipate a little decline in his surprisingly good numbers.

19: Austin Collie (IND)
Collie was a dream-come-true for fantasy owners up until he got sidelined indefinitely with a thumb surgery. Who knows if and/or when he will get back on the field, but anyone who ranks twelfth in receiving yards, fourth in touchdowns, and fourth in receptions must be included. Until he returns, look for Pierre Garcon to emerge as a potential top 10 wide receiver. If you play on the same field as Manning, your numbers will dramatically improve.

18: DeSean Jackson (PHI)
One of my favorite players in the league and probably the most exciting, Jackson's upcoming performance is perhaps the most difficult to judge out of anybody on this list. He's coming off a concussion, must deal with quarterback changes, has 5 games against top 8 pass defenses, and must share the spotlight with a soon to be named wide out.

17: Percy Harvin (MIN)
The premier do-it-all player in the league, Harvin has been on fire since his first 2 matchups. He has scored at least once in his last 4 games in three different ways (receiving, rushing, return). The addition of Moss, and the double coverage he draws, as well as a soft schedule with only 2 top-10 pass defenses, suggests Harvin will continue to prove useful to fantasy owners. The only problem with Harvin is that his success hinges on the health of Favre, who I truly believe will be done for the season within the next few weeks, giving all-worldly-awful Tavaris Jackson the nod at QB. If this is the case, Harvin will fall into the aforementioned group of receivers with "corpses disguised as quarterbacks," a sad fate for any up-and-coming wide receiver.

16: Jeremy Maclin (PHI)
Maclin faces all the challenges of teammate DeSean Jackson, with exception of the concussion issue. He has the big play ability of Jackson, but seems to have a bit more consistency. Maclin has produced at least 80 yards and/or a touchdown in all but 2 games this season. Look for his numbers to continue to improve.

15: Randy Moss (MIN)
It remains to be seen whether Moss will be anything more than a decoy in Minnesota. Only because of past merit, which goes a long way for Randy, is he ranked so highly. His 2 highest yardage outputs this season were 81 and 59. Moss is yet to catch more than 5 balls in a single game. He does have 5 touchdowns, but for somebody who has scored 10 or more touchdowns 9 times in his career, such scoring success is the norm. Again, the Vikings only play 2 more games against a top-10 pass defense, so I do anticipate an increase in Moss' performance, especially if Favre can stay healthy.

14: Terrell Owens (CIN)
There's nothing like a 10 catch, 222 yard, 1 touchdown performance (all in a losing effort) to skew your season numbers. However, Owens followed it up with 16 receptions, 190 yards, and 2 touchdowns over the next two games. Why so low then? I just have little confidence in the Bengals and think Owens owners should start getting used to hit-or-miss games, based on the inconsistency of his team as a whole. Plus, Owens is 36 years old and can, at any moment, have a cataclysmic explosion.

13: Marques Colston (NO)
Colston's production, much like the performance of the entire Saints offense, has been surprisingly pedestrian thus far. Owners have been highly disappointed with a guy who, in four years in the league, has produced 3 seasons of 70 catches, 1000 yards, and 8 touchdowns. However, not all hope is lost. Colston has 24 receptions for 264 yards and his first touchdown over the course of the last 3 games. He continues to be Brees' favorite option and is the only New Orleans receiver with over 45 targets. The Saints will face 3 top 10 passing defenses, but also 3 in the bottom 10. You also have to anticipate an increase in the performance of the Saints passing attack overall.

12: Greg Jennings (GB)
Last season, through the first 7 games, Jennings eclipsed 80 yards only 3 times. He finished the year with 1113 yards. This year, through the first 7, Jennings has surpassed the 80 yard mark twice, but his 5 touchdowns are already more than the number of times he scored all of last year. Even more pleasing for owners, Jennings' 5 touchdowns have been evenly distributed, as he has scored in all but 2 games.

11: Larry Fitzgerald (ARI)
Fitzgerald is one of the three best wide receivers in the National Football League but, to his detriment, might have the worst quarterback situation. The Cardinals are dead last in passing yards per game. He currently ranks outside of the top 25 in both yardage and touchdowns. Fitzgerald has been targeted 65 times, but has only reeled in 29 balls. Nonetheless, I expect to see his numbers reach closer to what is expected as his relationship with his quarterback(s) improves.

10: Brandon Lloyd (DEN)
Lloyd needs only 24 yards to surpass his highest single-season yardage mark of his career. He is currently second in receiving yards with 4 games of over 100 yards. Some might consider this a low ranking for a player currently among the fantasy elite, but I just don't see him continuing his pace and surpassing the guys listed after him. Also consider that Orton's passing numbers have decreased every game since week 3.

9: Anquan Boldin (BAL)
Unlike his long time teammate Larry Fitzgerald, Boldin has thrived since they split. Most of Boldin's numbers have come in three games (344/518 yards, 4/5 touchdowns) but he does have 5 games with 5 or more receptions. The Ravens still face 5 teams with winning records, meaning there is a pretty good chance they will need to be passing and cannot simply take an early lead and ride Rice to victory. I expect Boldin to easily finish within the top 10 this season.

8: Steve Smith (NYG)
Smith is beginning to emerge as an elite fantasy wide out once again. Playing along side Hakeem Nicks (to be later named), Smith has become a reliable possession receiver for Eli Manning. He has five or more receptions in all but 2 games, including 2 games with 9. Nicks takes most of the goal line looks, which explains the low number of touchdowns (2) for Smith. However, those 2 touchdowns have come in the last 3 games, suggesting an increase for the rest of the season.

7: Brandon Marshall (MIA)
New team, same result. Marshall is third in the league in targets, sixth in receptions, and eighth in yards. If he can begin to find the end zone he will be able to move up this list and possibly into the top 5. Even more pleasing for fantasy owners, Marshall has 1 remaining game against a top 10 pass defense.

6: Miles Austin (DAL)
The injury to Romo may actually help Austin. Despite his talents and success, he is ranked 19th in targets. Kitna hasn't played real, meaningful football for a number of seasons and will be looking to the team's best and most consistent receiver for help, suggesting Austin's targets will increase. Remember, it wasn't too long ago that Kitna was a relatively successful fantasy quarterback (emphasis on the word, "fantasy"). Austin has been perhaps the most hit-or-miss receiver this season, despite great consistency in 2009. He has three games of over 9 catches and 140 yards, but also has three with less than 40 yards.

5: Calvin Johnson (DET)
It is becoming evident that regardless of the score, quarterback, or opposition, Johnson is a dangerous wide receiver. He has great touchdown abilities and is on pace for one of his best seasons in terms of yardage. Once Stafford becomes healthy his numbers will improve even further.

4: Hakeem Nicks (NYG)
Speaking of touchdown threat… Nicks already has 8 scores and honestly could have had 3 more if he lowered his head and pushed for extra yardage a little bit. He has all the makings of a great wide receiver and is starting to remind me of another tall Giants wide receiver with the ability to take over a game (unfortunately for the other guy, he may be able to take over a game but can't hold a gun in his pocket). He continues to gain the trust of Manning and may finish as the best wide receiver of the 2010 season.

3: Reggie Wayne (IND)
Wayne continues to prove, year after year, that he should be in the conversation of league's best receiver. He's the number 3 receiver in terms of yards and number 2 receiver in terms of receptions. Wayne is one of the three or four most consistent wide outs in the league and one of the very few to carry his 2009 success over into this season. Following the Dallas Clark injury, Wayne is now the undisputed go-to-guy for Manning and his numbers will reflect this.

2: Andre Johnson (HOU)
The best receiver in the NFL battled injuries through the first few weeks, but has still done a pretty solid job of defending his position. The Texans continue to prove that they run a defense-optional style team, and this decision means tremendous offensive numbers, especially for their star players like Johnson. Unlike some of the other receivers on this list, the defense he faces is almost irrelevant, as Johnson is expected to, and usually does, perform at a high level every week.

1: Roddy White (ATL)
White leads the NFL in targets, receptions, and yards. His 5 touchdowns are sixth best. What makes White so incredible is that he is capable of producing monstrous games (see last week's 201 yard explosion) and also has unmatched consistency (his WORST fantasy performance this season was 6 receptions and 83 yards). He's on a great team with a great quarterback and I see no reason why his production will dip even a little.

Parody, Parody, Parody. Including those last three, that is now seven more times the word has been used in association with football. I hope it's enough to keep its small lead on the words "Br____ Fav____."


To read the article in its original posting on, go to:

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Common Blunder and World Series Picks

It’s the top of the ninth. Your team is down one run. You’ve been facing one of the best pitchers in the game for most of the night, Roy Halladay, but you’ll get Brad Lidge, a sometimes-elite closer who’s regular season ERA was 2.96 this season. In other words, there’s about a 33% chance you produce a run in the bottom of the ninth and anything is possible when you’re playing extra innings at home. Win this game and your going to the World Series, which you haven’t won since 1954. It’s time to try to win the game, right? Wrong.

The San Francisco Giants pulled one of the most frequent blunders in professional sports last Thursday night in their Game 5 battle against the Philadelphia Phillies. Down 3-2 in the top of the ninth, San Fran elected to bring in their middle reliever, Ramon Ramirez, rather than go with their dominating closer, Brian Wilson, whose 48 saves led all of the majors. Certainly, if they were up 3-2 in the top of the ninth, they would have used Wilson and his full, dark, dyed black beard (he does actually dye it, which is in sharp contradiction to what the FOX announcers suggested earlier this postseason when they said, “He has the fakest looking real beard). Why is it more important to prevent a run when up by 1 then down by 1? It really is the same thing. In either case, the relief pitcher is brought in to secure 1 run and win the game for his team. One run is relatively easy to produce? Double, single, done. Now, two runs; that takes a lot more development (After watching the Yankees produce only 2 multi-run innings for their entire series against the Rangers I fully understand this fact). If San Francisco gave up a run in the top of the ninth the game is essentially over, especially with Lidge coming in to face them in the bottom.

To assist the clueless MLB managers, I’ve created a list of situations in which the closer should be used.

The closer should be used:

1. When your team is up by 3 runs or less in the ninth or when the score is tied in the ninth
1a. Exception 1: The starting pitcher is still lights out
2a. Exception 2: The closer has pitched a lot of innings recently, BUT
*This is only the case in a 2-3 run game
*In postseason the closer’s past-pitch count is not as high a concern

2. When your team is down by 1 run in the ninth
*Same exceptions, and exceptions to exceptions, as rule 1

3. There are 6, 5, or 4 outs left in the game and:
3a. You are up by 1 in any of the below situations
3ai. Game decides first place in division or league
3aii. Post season game
3aiii. There has been a dramatic comeback of 5 runs or greater
3aiv. You have exhausted at least 5 different relief pitchers
3av. The closer has not pitched in 2 days and will not pitch the next game

4. For extra innings:
4a. If the closer has already pitched the ninth, he will continue if for an additional inning so long as:
4ai. Game decides first place in division or league
4aii. Post season game
4aiii. There has been a dramatic comeback of 5 runs or greater
4b. The pitcher threw less than 20 pitches in the ninth and/or will not pitch for a few days.

5. Whenever he wants to if his name is Mariano Rivera
5a. If he is pitching at home in the postseason, you have permission to forgo his actual pitching and declare yourself victorious

As I watched Ramirez hustle onto the mound, I announced, “Game over. He’s gonna give up a run and no way do the Giants get 2 runs off Lidge.” As usual, I was correct. Ramirez lost control of his pitch, Jason Werth took advantage and homered, putting the Phills up by 2. Game Over. He should have never faced Ramirez.

Those against this stance would argue that saving Brian Wilson was wise, because if the Giants tied the game, he would be available in the tenth. But this really isn’t a sound argument. If the Giants had enough confidence to bring Ramirez out in the ninth, they certainly have enough confidence to bring him out in the 10th. Plus, according to the above stated closer rules, he could continue into the tenth with a relatively light workload in the ninth and because it is a postseason game. In fact, bringing in Ramirez for the ninth backfired. He got pulled before completing the inning and the Giants were forced to go another reliever (not named Brian Wilson). Instead of using just 1 pitcher, they were forced to use 2, giving them one less for a potential extra-innings game.

Despite the Game 5 blunder, the Giants advanced past Philadelphia in Game 6, sending them to the World Series against the Texas Rangers.

World Series Picks:

Game 1: Rangers at Giants, C. Lee vs. T. Lincecum
A battle between 2 of the game’s 3 best pitchers will probably see less than 4 total runs. Lincecum is great, but Lee is unstoppable and historically unparalleled.
Rangers win, 3-1.

Game 2: Rangers at Giants, C. Wilson vs. M. Cain
Both Wilson and Cain are terrific second options. San Fran cannot go down 0-2 and Cain is 8-4 at home during the season with a 2.93 Era.
Giants win, 6-3.

Game 3: Giants at Rangers, J. Sanchez vs. C. Lewis
Look for the offenses for both teams to explode in the Ranger’s first home game. Texas has one of the best offenses in the league, thus:
Rangers win, 8-4

Game 4: Giants at Rangers, M. Bumgarner vs. T. Hunter
Neither team is expected to send their ace on three days rest. Look for middle relief to be exploited for both teams. It’ll be Game-1-ALCS-esque for the Rangers.
Giants win, 7-5.

Game 5: Giants at Rangers, T. Lincecum vs. C. Lee
If Lee was able to defeat Lincecum in Game 1 at San Francisco, what do you think he’ll do at home with the series tied at 2 and heading back to San Fran?
Rangers win, 5-1

Game 6: Rangers at Giants, Probable Starters: C. Wilson vs. M. Cain
Same matchup, same location, same result. C.J. Wilson struggles early and San Francisco dominates the relief.
Giants win, 9-3

Game 7: Rangers at Giants, Probably Starters: C. Lewis vs. J. Sanchez
Same matchup, different location, same result. Neither pitcher is game 7 material and I anticipate a somewhat sloppy, offensive-minded, exciting game 7.
Rangers win, 7-6.

Texas wins the World Series 4-3, capturing their first World Series title and crushing the hopes of the San Francisco fans in attendance and across the country. Cliff Lee narrowly beats out Josh Hamilton for World Series MVP.

(In other news, Brett Favre goes down with an injury. Can’t say, “I told you so.”)
(In soon to be news, Wade Phillips gets fired)


Friday, October 22, 2010

To Fire or not to Fire, That is the Question

At the conclusion of week 6, you can already forget about an undefeated season for any team in the NFL. In fact, almost as many teams have a chance at going 0-16 (Bills, Panthers) as the number of teams with a chance to finish with only one loss (Steelers, Jets, Patriots). Of the 12 playoff teams from last season, only 7 of them currently have a winning record and of the five without one, two (Charger, Dallas) are already 2 games under .500. Moreover, NFC West favorite, San Francisco, is 1-5 to go along with a slew of poor teams such as Buffalo, Cleveland, Carolina, and perennial loser, Detroit. The question is, which coaches are to blame for the current failures?

We’re So Bad Even the Wax Figure/Robot Himself, Jim Caldwell, Could Have a Better Impact

Detroit Lions

Since 2002, the Lions have had a top 10 draft pick every seasons except for 2008 and have had 5 within the top 3. Of their 9 top draft picks, they drafted 4 wide receivers, 2 quarterbacks, 1 defensive tackle, 1 linebacker, and 1 lineman. What’s missing for the most part? Offensive lineman! Eight top ten draft picks over the course of 9 years should be more than enough to take a team into the ranks of the contenders. In fact, a single effective number one pick can turn a team around in just a year or two! When discussing the Lions’ recent abysmal performances, I like to compare their draft strategy to that of the New York Jets. In the 2006 NFL draft, the Jets selected LT D'Brickashaw Ferguson with the forth pick and Nick Mangold with the 29th pick. The two have evolved into the premier players at their respective positions and through them, the Jets have become the leagues most dominant rushing team over the last three seasons. Their current success has a direct correlation to the draft strategy of 2006. Offensive lineman = future success.

Therefore, I’d say the biggest problem with the Lions is not so much the coaching staff, but the fact that all members of the front office over the last 9 seasons have run the organization like a Fantasy Football Team, drafting flashy wide receivers and highly hyped quarterbacks. BUT, and this is a big but, any coach that fails to turn top college talent into NFL talent and in doing so leads his team to a overall record of 3 and 18, deserves to have his job given to a more deserving and able minded human being. Sorry, Jim Schwartz, but you fit into this category.

Coaching Verdict: Schwartz needs to be fired. He has some individual talent (Bess, Johnson, Suh, Stafford) but seem incapable of getting W’s, which are all that matters in the NFL. I hate the term “winning culture” (honestly, what does that mean? What organization doesn’t want to win? The hard part of establishing a winning culture is actually winning) but it seems to be most appropriate here. Peace out.

Buffalo Bills

Imagine you are a hunter who’s main pray, for whatever reason, are small, tree-living rodents, such as a squirrel. Now, lets pretend you see your target squirrel in the woods. Bigger animals, such as a moose, a deer, and an elk, surround the animal. But, being that you hunt squirrels, you elect to shoot the squirrel with a gun. That was easy, the squirrel is little, weak, and no match for a bullet. But, you’re not done yet. You proceed to take the squirrel into the street, run it over with your pickup truck, grab the flattened animal and cut it in half with a machete, take the two halves of the squirrel and put them into a blender with some ice, make a squirrel smoothie, take the smoothie and feed it to one of the animals you found it near, wait for the deer to take a shit, and then light the fecal matter on fire. That seems a bit excessive given the already puny nature of the squirrel but that’s just what some divine power had in store for the animal from the beginning. That’s sort of how I see the Bills’ season.

A wise man once said regarding the Bills 2010 seasons, “The Bills have the most unjustly difficult schedule of any team in the NFL. They not only have to play 6 games against the other 3 teams in the division, but they also must play Green Bay, Minnesota, Baltimore, Cincinnati, and Pittsburg. Those are 11 possible losses right there.” You can add to that list the surprising teams of this season, the Chiefs and the Bears, as well as Jacksonville, to whom they already lost, and that leaves only 2 more possible wins. One is against the aforementioned Detroit Lions and the other is against the soon to be mentioned Cleveland Browns. The Bills are bad, but they aren’t 2-wins bad.

Coaching Verdict: Over the last 10 years the Bills have had 5 different coaches. Of course, the reason for this has been their poor performance over that same time span. However, I’m not ready to dismiss Chan Gailey. The Bills are yet to play a team with a losing record and probably will not do so until week 10. I already agree with two of the moves the Bills made this season; releasing Trent Edwards and trading Marshawn Lynch. The quarterback situation was a necessary change after tremendous disappointment and the combination of Jackson and Spiller is a fine one at running back. If the Bills can win 4 games this season, I would consider Gailey’s performance to be a success. As of now, Gailey’s still got the job.

Cleveland Browns

The Cleveland Browns and head coach Eric Mangini are kind of like the food at Union’s dinning halls. You know it’s gonna be bad, and perhaps even worse; you know its going to be boring. There seems to be no hope for change and you wonder after every encounter why things are the same as they were a year-and-a-half ago. The franchise has failed to improve because of utter stupidity, indecision, and second guessing concerning the starting quarterback position. The question in 2009: First-round pick, Brady Quinn, or sixth-round-nobody-but-relatively-successful-pre-injury Derek Anderson. In a classic dilemma teams must face every season, Cleveland elected to go with the rarely seen, quarterback-by-committee strategy, making three different switches throughout the course of the season. After realizing they shit the bed with this approach, Mangini and company elected to rid themselves of both and start over with the absolute definition of mediocrity, Jake Delhomme and Seneca Wallace, one and two on the depth chart respectively. After realizing this was a mistake as well, they decided that second-level talent and rookie, Colt McCoy, was to be the new starter. All these changes proved to be as helpful as the comment cards given to the Union dinning hall employees.

Coaching Verdict: This is all a direct effect of terrible coaching. Eric Mangini is among the worst head coaches in the National Football League. His smug nature and inability to instill anything resembling trust or respect among his players is only surpassed by his utter lack of understanding regarding clock management and how to win football games. After watching him run a Jets team, which was just as talented as the one that advanced to the AFC championship last season, into the ground with the assistance of Brett Favre, I was shocked to find that there existed a team in the NFL desperate enough to pay for his services (They soon found these “services” are nowhere to be found). Mangini should be fired today, no question about it. Each day he retains his job is a slap in the face to all the soon to be head coaches eagerly awaiting an opportunity to succeed. I cannot be more certain of this obvious choice.

Carolina Panthers

Much like the Buffalo Bills, the Carolina Panthers have the unfortunate fate of being a less-than-stellar team dealing with a challenging schedule. However, they do get to play the NFC West, which are all opportunities for a win, as well as their games against the Bucs. Again, like the Bills, they are yet to play a team with a losing record. The bottom line here is the Panthers are too one-dimensional to compete with most NFL teams. They rely almost exclusively on the run game, and to the horror of their fans, the Panthers currently rank 26th in rushing offense. DeAngelo Williams is yet to eclipse the 100 yard rushing mark in any game.

Coaching Verdict: John Fox has earned the respect of most people across the league because the guy produces successful football teams. In his eight seasons as the Panther’s head coach, he has taken them to the playoffs three times (once to the Super bowl) and has never done worse than 7-9. However, that will probably change this season as his team has already accumulated 5 loses. The bottom line is that Carolina lacks in the talent department and I doubt there is any amount of coaching that can make up for their atrocious quarterback situation. Fox has proven that he can get the job done and he should still have his position at the conclusion of the season.

Class C Underachiever

San Francisco 49ers

Many people, including myself, picked the San Francisco 49ers to run away with the AFC West and contend for a deep playoff run. After a 1-5 start, that is beginning to look less likely. Perhaps the team is underachieving, or maybe, the expectations were too high for a team that finished 8-8 last year. Led by a fiery head coach and arguably the league’s best defensive player, Patrick Willis, the defense of San Fran was supposed to be among the best in the league. Well, the unit has actually been ok (they rank 11th and 19th in passing and rushing defense), which, considering they are 1-5, is more like pretty good. Frank Gore has been solid at running back and Vernon Davis is on pace for another good season. The problem however, and this is a problem of cataclysmic proportions, is that the fans of San Fran chanted “We Want Carr!” towards the conclusion of their week 5 game. As in, “We Want David Carr!” As in, “Alex Smith is So Bad We’d Rather Subject Ourselves to David Carr, One of the Biggest Busts of the Last 10 Years!”

Coaching Verdict: I really like Singletary and I really, really want to think he’s a good fit. How can you not love his enthusiasm (Can’t play with ‘em, can’t do it!) or the fact that Patrick Willis seems to be the second coming of his head coach? Prior to the start of this season, Singletary was 13-12 as the head coach of the 49ers and in his defense, much like some of the other coaches and teams on this list, his team has had a pretty rough schedule to start the season. They certainly have the ability to win 6 of their next 7 games, which, given their division, would put them right in the middle of the playoff race. I’m going to delay the decision on Singletary until the end of that stretch. If San Francisco is looking at something like a 4-9 record, then perhaps the intense, always entertaining Singletary is on a team that just doesn’t fit his demeanor.

Class B Underachiever

Minnesota Vikings

As Dwight Lowery ran Brett Favre’s interception into the end zone at the end of the week 5 Monday Night Football matchup between the Jets and Vikings, I needed a moment to reflect on the event I just watched. I mean, I was shocked. Did Favre really just throw an ill-advised pass to lose the game for his team, even after Rex Ryan did everything in his power to give the game to Minnesota? No way, I must have seen it wrong. “Show the replay, show the replay,” I screamed at the TV. “That must have been some type of Wildcat pass play, right? Someone other than Favre must have been quarterbacking that train wreck!” To my shock, the replay revealed that, no, it wasn’t some running back/wide receiver that just threw the pick (I pretty much ruled out backup Tavaris Jackson for obvious reasons) but rather, Brett Favre, the best quarterback of all time, just lost the game for the Vikings. Perplexing.

The biggest problem with the Vikings, aside from the fact that their season is resting on the brittle arm/shoulder/leg/penis of their starting quarterback, is that all their talent just cannot formulate the way it should. There is no question that Minnesota has one of the best collections of individual talent in the NFL, but likewise, there is no question that Minnesota has WASTED one of the best collections of individual talent in the NFL. Just because I like sorting things in a hierarchical fashion:

Top 5 Most Individually Talented Teams in all Phases of the Game:
5. Green Bay Packers
4. Minnesota Vikings
3. San Diego Chargers
2. New York Jets
1. Dallas Cowboys

But, I digress. When you have the talent for a top 5 rushing attack, a top 5 defense, and a top 5ish passing attack, and probably the number 1 return game, it is inexcusable to have a losing record midway through the season.

Coaching Verdict: Childress recently signed a contract through 2013 so the chances that he will be fired a probably pretty slim. The addition of Moss should make this team better, and, on the off chance that Favre only gives away, say, 2 more games, and makes it through the season long enough that Tavaris Jackson only has the opportunity to cost Minnesota 2 additional games, then they could still actually make it to the postseason. If this is the case, 2010 would be the third straight year Childress has taken Minnesota to the promised land. He can keep the job under 2 conditions.

1. When it comes time to day goodbye to Favre at around week 11 or 12, Childress must have the backbone to say goodbye to his quarterback and not let Favre take control of the situation and dictate the actions of the organization like he has done the past 2 years.


2. Minnesota goes on at least a 4 game wining streak somewhere during this season and finishes 9-7 at worst, which, given the bland NFC, may actually be enough for a playoff spot.

San Diego Chargers

Who’s to blame for this underachievement? According to the Weinberger Team Talent Rankings, the Chargers rest one position above Minnesota, which means, their slow start is even more disappointing. Unlike some of the other teams on this list, the Chargers have faced a who’s who list of overachieving teams, destined for a late-season crumble (Kansas City, Jacksonville, Seattle, Arizona, Oakland, St. Louis). Honestly, the Chargers should be 6-0. But, they aren’t.

I have little respect for Norv’s coaching. I have watched his teams, which are usually highly successful during the regular season, crumble, time and time again, against inferior opposition. His idea of clock management is about as diverse, well conceived, and productive as an average night on The Jersey Shore. The guy has absolutely no clue how to run a 2 minute offense or protect a lead with 5 minutes to go. Want proof? The Chargers have lost all their games by eight or less, aka, one-possession games. This is particularly embarrassing considering the talent of their opposition in all these games. As for the Chargers’ victories, well, those 2 have come by a combined 56 points, aka, a big enough margin of error that Norv was actually incapable of blowing it.

Coaching Verdict: In three seasons in San Diego, Norv Turner has taken his team to the postseason three times, and on two occasions, San Diego won 11 or more games. However, San Diego’s success has been in spite of their coach, not because of him. Turner must frequently handle player disputes to go along with his poor “coaching.” Severing ties with coaches that can’t win when it counts is the current trend (see Mike Brown). I know it probably won’t happen given his new contract, but Norv Turner deserves to be fired by seasons end, baring a miraculous turnaround.

Class A Underachiever

Dallas Cowboys

Simply put, the cowboys have the most talented team in the NFL and have one of the worst records. Dumb penalties, terrible management, and an overall lack of coaching and discipline have plagued them. Moreover, they don’t seem terribly bothered by this fact. Romo’s boyish charm and old-man hat never seem to leave his face, Jerry Jones continues to insist things are fine although everyone knows they are not, and overall there has not been a single high emotion interview. I’m tired of listening to things like this:

Reporter: “Tony, People are beginning to wonder if this team can make the postseason. What are your thoughts?”
Tony: “Well, you know, Andrea, we can’t control what people are saying. All we can do is get ready for our game against the Giants.”

Or This:

Reporter: “Three games this season have been altered by penalties. DeMarcus, where can you go from here?” (DeMarcus, Where = DeMarcus Ware. Funny coincidence)
Ware: “Those things are behind us. We will try to improve”

Honestly, can someone please freak out, just to reassure the fans and media that The Dallas Cowboys actually have a pulse, because right now, I’m beginning to think they’ve already accepted failure and just want to try to fly under the radar as much as possible. Well that’s too bad, because Dallas will never fly under the radar, especially when they’re underachieving at a Class A level. Please, please, please, can someone just react like this:

Reporter: “What are your realistic plans for this season.”
ANYONE: “You know what? I’ll tell you our fuckin’ plans – “
Reporter: “Sorry, I didn’t mean to offend you or any – “
ANYONE: “I’m sorry buddy, but you have offended me. And its not just you. Its your entire breed of gossip-hungry, sons of bitches that harass our team week after week, salivating over the fact that America’s team is down the shitter. So, in answer to your intrusion, our plans are to win the Super Bowl. Okay!? And you know what? We’re gonna bash in the fuckin skulls of those pieces of shit Giants we’re playing this week. Once we are done with them, everyone better get ready because we’re coming for you with vengeance! This bullshit is over. We’re the best team in the National Football League and we are ready to let everyone know it. Our little hiatus has come to an end. We’re going to win the Super Bowl. Quote me, fine me, I don’t give a fuck! We are the Dallas Cowboys and we are going to win every game from here on out. This little field day of yours is over. Now. No more comments. In fact, I’m done talking to you cocksuckers until we are in first place of our division, which will come very soon.”

Coaching Verdict: Fired. Done. End of story. Wade Phillips has the most talented team in the league, an owner that will do anything to win, and a brand new stadium and state of the art facilities to run his show. When all those things add up to 1 playoff victory in 3 seasons and a 1-4 record to start this season, the debate over worst coach in the league should end. He honestly should never walk onto a Dallas football field/office/gym/training facility ever again. But then again, it’d probably take him at least a few weeks to realize things were different.

So there you have it. A conclusive analysis of the worst of the worst.


Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Why I Can’t Stand Brett Favre

I’m not one to rip someone apart for an extended period of time (maybe sometimes), but this article has been a long time coming. A once highly respected and loved football player has turned his career into a mockery. I said it before and I will say it again, Favre will not complete this disappointing season. Let’s chronicle my displeasure.

Reason 1: “Brett Favre is the best quarterback of all time.”

I have always had a special interest for statistics and records. Some of my earliest and fondest sports memories involve my dad and I talking sports for the duration of lengthy car rides. Actually, it wasn’t so much of “talking sports” as it was an inquisition on his sports knowledge. I’d ask him a wide variety of random, impossible questions that even the greatest of sports enthusiasts would be incapable of answering. “What’s the record for most homeruns in an inning by one team?” “How many touchdowns have the Jets scored ever?” “Will Derek Jeter be a hall of famer (not an obvious answer in 1997)?” “What basketball player has had the most dunks?” “What is the longest punt ever, and who kicked it?” Seriously, these are only a small sample of what my dad would need to endure. Yet, maybe one out of every 10 questions he could answer, or at least tell me some type of anecdote or tidbit of knowledge somehow related to what I was asking, which was good enough for me. Why did I do this? Maybe it’s because when you’re 7 years old your dad is an encyclopedic, infinite knowledge source. Or maybe I was just starting to understand how much I was interested in sports. It’s funny how seemingly insignificant incidents can come to impact one’s life so significantly. Those conversations were the beginning of it all.

So, what does that have to do with Mr. Favre? Statistics and records might be nice and fun to talk about, but you really need to look at them in context (My dad was the first person I ever heard bash on the 1,000 yards rushing achievement. Honestly, every starting back in the league should be able to muster up 65 rushing yards/game. If someone finished their career averaging 65 yards per game, would they get many votes for the hall of fame? I certainly think not. It’s not a mark of consistency, but rather, one of mediocrity and expectancy). It drives me berserk when someone says the infamous, uninformed, and poorly conceived statement, “Brett Favre is the best quarterback of all time.” Please! Best of all time? If by best, you mean, has the record for many passing categories, then yes, he is the best. But I would like to believe it takes more than longevity to be considered the best. I would like to think that the best quarterback of all time wouldn’t have the most interceptions thrown in a career, and nearly 50 more than the next closest (3.3% of his pass attempts have resulted in an interception, that’s 55th all time). I would like to think that the best quarterback of all time would be better than 9th among retired quarterbacks for career passer rating. I would like to think that the best quarterback of all time is better than 18th all time in pass completion percentage.

Now, at this point, if you were a strong critical reader, you’d stop me and say, “Hey, Adam, you just said how you can’t go off stats to accurately assess one’s career. You just used statistics to reject statistics.” Good job, critical reader. I am merely attempting show that statistics can be manipulated in many different ways to prove a point. The truth is, the quarterback position, perhaps more so than in any other professional sport, is dictated by distinct eras. Who is to say Favre is better than Unitas, Bradshaw, Starr, Montana, Marino, Staubach, Brady, or Manning, just to name a few. He is an all time great, and unanimous selection for the hall of fame, but please, refrain from the Gruden-esque superlative. But above all, the reason he is NOT the best quarterback of all time is…

Reason 2: “The Gunslinger Mentality”

Has there ever been a better term describe something so bad? Can someone please explain to me (1.) What the hell does that even mean and (2.) Who was the Brett Favre lover who invented this term? When Brett rolls out to his right and heaves the ball across his body to the left side of the field, ultimately having his pass intercepted and probably run the other way for a touchdown, was that stupid? No, don’t be ridiculous. That was just the gunslinger mentality. When Favre is under intense pressure and elects to try and underhand pass it, but has the ball stripped, was that ill advised? Nope, gunslinger again. When Favre decides not to pass the ball to the wide open underneath guy on third and 1, and instead heaves the ball deep down the field into triple coverage, he acted foolishly, right? You guessed it, he’s jus being a freakin’ gunslinger. Stupid me. And when Brett Favre single-handedly eliminates his team from the playoffs with one terrible decision 2 out of the last 3 years, everyone must say something like, “This guy is a total moron,” right? Incorrect. Instead, analysts, fans, coaches, and all other types of people just say, “Well, you have to live with that, I mean, he’s a gunslinger!” Actually, I disagree. Why do I have to live with his bullshit and then hear people who have the audacity to say, eh, you get what you pay for?

Let’s take a look at how “the best quarterback of all time” can eliminate 2 teams from the playoffs with 2 passes.

Note, nobody really mentions he had an open receiver for a safe pass, nor gives any major fault to Favre. “The ball must have slipped.”

Everyone has seen it a million times, but I still smile every time. At least the pissed Vikings fan has a clue.

Reason number 3: “Its about me, pay attention.”

This one doesn’t require too much explanation. I simply cannot stand listening to the same thing over and over and over again, especially when the current story is not only static, but also seemingly unable to progress for weeks, or in Favre’s case, months. From the time he knocked the Vikings out of the playoffs last January, Favre was hard at work making sure that the he was the top story, rather than the Super Bowl, free agency, or the draft.

Reason 4: “Go to hell Green Bay”

Brett Favre ruined his legacy in Green Bay in a rude, cold, and condescending nature. I have always said that the best fans in the NFL are the cheese heads of Green Bay. Who is Green Bay to have a professional football team, while big cities like L.A., San Antonio, Memphis, and Las Vegas, are without one? Honestly, I have no idea, but that’s what makes the fans so special. Green Bay has approximately 100,000 inhabitants. Lambeau Field holds 72,928. If need be, the entire city could fit into the stadium. They love their football, and in particular, their quarterback. For Favre to give them a big f-you and peace out to NY, only to return to an inter division foe the next 2 years, I mean, that is frozen tundra cold. And what got him so pissed anyways? Was it the fact that Green Bay correctly identified him as past his prime and realized Aaron Rodgers was a stud in the making? I think they knew exactly what they were doing when they kicked his wrinkly ass out of town. Did I mention he left for the Jets?

Reason 5: “Screw you Mangini, I’m going deep”

This one was obviously going to be on the list as it effects me most personally. In fact, I’m still bitter about the way the 2008 Jets season ended. In a career stricken with poor decisions, arrogance, and disregard for the team, reason five still sticks out. After week 12 of the 2008 NFL season, the Jets were 8-3 and regarded as the best team in the AFC. Then, they got Farve-a-fied.

Week 13. Loss, 34-17

Favre’s numbers Less than 10 yards 10 Yards or more
Comp 19 4
Att 32 11
Yds 188 59
TD 0 0
Int 0 1
Rating 76.0 16.9

Why did he keep passing deep? I feel like that kept resulting in failure. Oh, cause he’s a gunslinger, right, ok, never mind. I guess that’s a reason to not feed Thomas Jones the ball, although he had 138 rushing yards and 2 touchdowns in this game. By the way, Peyton Hillis went for 129 yards and a touchdown. For those of you who thought he came out of nowhere this year, he actually had solid numbers before the season. Moving on.

Week 14: Loss, 14-24.

Favre’s line: 20/31, 137 yards, 0 touchdowns, 1 interception. By all comparisons, relatively harmless. Perhaps that’s the most tragic part.

Week 15: Win, 31-27.

Only because it was against the pitiful Bills were the Jets able to get a win, thanks to a defensive score at the end of the game. Favre, to his credit, did his part to hand the Jet’s their third straight loss (17/30, 207 yards, 1 touchdown, 2 interceptions). You can’t say he didn’t try.

Week 16: Loss, 13-3.

18/31, 187 yards, 0 touchdowns, 2 interceptions. Now there’s the determination we missed in week 15! Favre managed to bring the Jets record down to 9-6, and his numbers over the 4 games stretch to an abysmal 1 touchdown vs. 6 interceptions. All of this against a 3-11 Seahawks team.

Week 17: Loss, 24-17.

To highlight Favre’s disregard for the team and his gunslinger mentality, he put up a disgraceful 20/40, 233 yards, 1 touchdown, 3 interception performance. Why throw it 40 times? Who knows. But, what I do know, is this loss to Miami put the final nail in the coffin that was the NYJ season.

Favre’s numbers for the final 12 games? 9 touchdowns and 18 interceptions. I want to vomit just writing about this.

And then, to top off this awful season ending performance, Favre would later make the claim that the Jets knew he was injured and did not include in him on injury reports or inform other teams of the injury. As if that would have made any difference. Let’s just pretend that the Jets medical staff told Favre he was injured and that they suggested he not play, which very well could have happened. Given this situation would Favre have said,

A. “You know what, guys, I think you’re right. You’ll probably need me at my best in the playoffs so why don’t I sit out the next game or two. I’m sure you will be able to beat the lowly Seahawks and Bills, especially with Thomas Jones and all having another great year. After all, I’m almost 40 years old!”

Or, could Favre possibly have said,

B. “You have got to be kidding me. The only reason I came to this stupid organization is to show Green Bay that I can still play ball. If I sit out a game, think about how stupid I’d look! Not only will the greatest record in professional sports, my consecutive games streak, end, but everyone’s gonna start to say, ‘Hey, that Brett Favre, I think it’s time for him to retire already.’ No way; I’m playing next game, and the one after that, and the one after that. Why? Because I’m Brett Motherfuckin’ Favre, the gunslinger, and I ain’t gonna let some low level organization ruin me. In fact, don’t even put me on the injury report. Brett Favre don’t get hurt.”

Favre cares only about his own records, such as touchdowns and yards, but no record means as much to Brett as his starting streak, that is, except for perhaps the single season sack record.

Reason 6: “I’m not just a gunslinging great, I can play God too!”

In 2001, Giants defensive end, Michael Strahan, was in pursuit of the single season sack record of 22, which at the time was held my Mark Gastineau. Sitting on 21.5 and entering the last game of the season, he spoke briefly with Favre before the game began. They spoke again towards the end of the game and on the following play, in perhaps the greatest evidence for sports conspiracy of all time, Favre ran a play action play, and rolled to his right, where Strahan was waiting to sack him. The sack would have counted in a 2-hand-touch football game, as he slid down and Strahan merely needed to touch him. See it all in this intriguing video and let’s see if something looks a little unusual at the 1:50 mark…

The most frustrating part of this is that, for all we know, Strahan could have legitimately sacked Favre at some point, giving his record real credibility. Yet, for whatever reason, Favre decided that the season Strahan had was better than that of Mark Gastineau. Who is he to make such a decision? I suppose this just goes to further show that for Favre, personal records trump winning. After all, what professional quarterback would intentionally get sacked? The same professional quarterback who plays football in his backyard with a bunch of middle-aged men.

Reason 7: “I’m comfortable in jeans that are tough. I’m conformable in jeans that last. I’m comfortable in Wrangler, real comfortable.”

Give. Me. A. Break. Honestly, Brett Favre in a Wrangler jeans commercial playing highly organized football with offensive and defensive lines out back in the mud with his truck, dog, and his middle-aged redneck friends… this is the most nauseating commercial I’ve ever seen. But then again, I guess he isn’t exactly taking it easy during all those OTA’s, training camp, and preseason games. Clearly, he’s just having his own football game in his real, comfortable, jeans. No doubt, even in this type of game he makes some serious dumb, oh sorry, gunslinger moves.