Silence the athlete, awaken the people

Written by :
Published on : October 17, 2017

 

When word first got out about Colin Kapernick’s national anthem protest in August of last year, I was pleased. To see an athlete using their platform in a peaceful, and significant, yet (seemingly) unoffensive, manner made me hopeful for this country. The deadly injustices perpetrated by the police against people of color in this country have been business as usual for far too long and to me it was long overdue that it was being opposed in such a public forum. The majority of America is repulsed by the idea that their everyday life might be inconvenienced in the slightest way by people assembling to affect change. In this country, business is the bottom line and if the machine breaks down, we break down. That’s why we see so much negative reaction to mass social demonstrations like Black Lives Matter or Occupy Wall Street.

 

This is precisely why Kaepernick’s protest seemed so good. In no way did it harm the everyday flow of society. No traffic jams, no vandalism, just a man who feels strongly about an issue that is important to millions of people using his stage to bring attention to that issue, and urge our society to finally address it in a meaningful way. I thought to myself “now this is a movement that everyone should be able to get behind.” Surely even middle America can support this action and agree that black people are dying at the hands of police an alarming rate and that must change.

 

Man, was I wrong.

 

It’s been more than a year since Colin Kaepernick first took that fateful knee and he has since been run out of the league. We at SBS have been over this ad naseum but with the number of bad quarterbacks in the league, it’s increasingly evident that he is being black balled because of his protest. In his absence other NFL players (and players in other sports) have taken on the mantle and taken a knee during the national anthem. And it has become one of the most ridiculously divisive issues I can recall. To the point that man-child sitting in the Oval Office found it necessary to share his opinion, basically assuring, due to his ability to ruin every-fucking-thing he touches, that people on both sides of the issue will never be able find any middle ground.

 

 

 

The week after President Trump decided to weigh in on the issue and call for the firing of the “sons of bitches” who made a completely reasonable and unoffensive protest against injustice, players and teams around the league made a stand. Teams decided to stay in the locker room for the anthem (Steelers) or make team statements of unity by locking arms or kneeling prior to the anthem (Cowboys). It was a rebuke of Trump’s attack on player’s freedom of speech and on the idea that the league would silence its own players. Even Jerry Jones joined his players on the field and the hope was that ownership and players, even if they didn’t agree with each other in regards to the protest, were united in the idea that players had the right to use this platform.

 

Things have become less clear as to how the league and ownership feel about the statement that some players are making. Two weeks after kneeling with his players prior to the national anthem, Jerry Jones, said that any players on his team who decided to kneel or sit for the anthem wouldn’t even be allowed to take the field. The same mandate was said to have been placed on Miami Dolphins players by ownership, and around the same time it was rumored that the league was working on some sort of policy change to force the players to stand for the anthem. The league has since come out and said that there has been no policy change. That said, the owners and players will meet today to discuss the protest and work on a way forward.

 

The NFL may have been the catalyst for this anthem protest movement, but it has sparked a nationwide debate that reaches far beyond pro football. My beloved Lions revoked the season tickets of some piece of shit who posted racist remarks about two African American fans who sat during the anthem. Larry McCullough and Cedric Ingram Lewis, Two high school football players at a private school in Texas were kicked off the team and forced to strip their uniforms off on the field in front of the crowd. Guyree Durante, a division III football player at Albright College was also kicked off the team for kneeling. Jemele Hill has been suspended from ESPN for tweeting that fans in Dallas who are angry with the team for silencing the protest of its players should boycott the team’s advertisers. This thing has become bigger than the NFL.

 

                        The cheerleaders at Howard University take a knee during the national anthem.

 

Some people are so upset over the protest that they’ve decided to stop watching the NFL all together. Many of them are the same ones bashing protestors in Minneapolis or St Louis. It seems that to some people no type of protest by people of color is okay and that even in the face of grave injustice citizens should go about their business and keep quiet. These are the same type of people who got Trump elected because they either genuinely believe he is fit for the the job, or are able to rationalize such a reckless decision by saying that he is better than that “nasty woman.” Either way they are resisting the inevitable, and painfully slow, change in our society that has been ongoing for centuries. The change towards equality.

 

The opposing sides in this debate, as ridiculous of a debate as it is, are not likely to agree on much anytime soon. There will always be people who somehow see the anthem protest as an affront to the troops and the nation as a whole. Never mind that these soldiers fight for the idea of protest and free speech to begin with. People like Trump will use the protest to arouse the emotions of their base and create an even bigger divide amongst citizens of this country. And while more and more people wake up to the idea everyone must be equal, there will be those shouting down the movement and trying to keep people asleep.

 

As Eminem said in his video for BET, there is a line being drawn in the sand. Maybe now that Marshall has stepped into the ring, those who appropriate black culture on a daily basis and claim to support equality, but support racism through their actions will come to realize the err of their ways. The criminalization of race is very real thing and there is an entire criminal industrial complex built upon it. That’s what the national anthem protest is about.

 

 

It’s not acceptable that our highly militarized police departments routinely kill black people without consequence. They also kill brown people, and poor people in general at an alarming rate, and it goes unaddressed and unpunished but no other group is murdered at such a high rate. Why doesn’t the president tweet about that? In the absence of those in the highest seats of power taking on this issue, NFL players and citizens around the country and the world have decided to to make themselves heard. And as the movement grows, and the outcry against these police killings become even more pronounced, more and more people will speak out.

 

There will always be repercussions against people who wish to change the status quo, but it’s those who continue in the face of that backlash who will affect change for the better. Colin Kaepernick is an example of this and even if he never plays in the NFL again he will have done something important. He started a movement that has people talking. With a little luck, the talking will lead to action.

 

 


Kneeling & Tweeting… and Speaking Truth to Power

Written by :
Published on : September 28, 2017

 

On Saturday night in Alabama, and then again on twitter, our hate-monger-in chief made it crystal clear that he has a bigger problem with black athletes speaking their minds than with the rise of tiki torch-wielding Nazis in his own backyard. Sunday, football players across the league came out in previously-unseen numbers to make it clear how they feel about the president’s ham-fisted efforts to quash free speech. And as we wrap-up week 3 of the NFL season with QB-turned-activist Colin Kapernick still out of a job due to the despicable and ongoing attempt by the league’s owners to silence him, here are 6 other moments in the history of sports when athletes have dared to transcend their role as national entertainers and took stands against racism and fascism.

 

1) Master Race No More

Olympian Jesse Owens delivers a swift and graceful repudiation of Hitler’s aryan supremacy theory by besting the Germans, and everybody else in the 1936 Games. In front of an audience that included der fuhrer himself, Owens struck gold 4 times – winning the 100 meter, 200 meter, long jump, and the 4×100 relay.

 

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Not content with the symbolic victory, and knowing that America itself was still lagging behind in the global race towards full equality, Owens later proclaimed that: “When I came back to my native country…I couldn’t ride in the front of the bus. I had to go to the back door. I couldn’t live where I wanted. I wasn’t invited to shake hands with Hitler, but I wasn’t invited to the White House to shake hands with the President, either.” Owens knew the fight against bigotry would be a marathon. What he might not have predicted was that his first strides out of the starting blocks in Berlin would pave the way for generations of “woke” athletes to come.

 

2) “Aint’t No Viet-Cong Ever Call Me Nigger”

Heavyweight boxing champ Muhammad Ali defies his draft notice for service in Vietnam and issues a bold statement of solidarity with oppressed peoples of color the world over. His anti-war stance cost him his belt and earned him a five-year prison sentence (later overturned by the Supreme Court); but it also galvanized a generation of his progressive-minded peers.

 

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“The Ali Summit” as we now call it, is perhaps the watershed moment in sports-activist history. Future Hall of Famers Bill Russell, Jim Brown, Kareem Abdul-Jabar, and several other athletes and community leaders all came together at a 1967 Cleveland press conference to proclaim their support for Ali’s position and deepen the ties between the anti-war and anti-racist movements. Who knows… if our own orange Il Duce keeps sending hate-tweets about famous black athletes maybe we’ll see something like it again soon.

 

3) The Pre-Kapernick Sit Downs

Kap gets all the flack but he’s far from the first sports star to use the anthem to air a grievance. Long before his controversial kneeling, two marquee players, one from the hardwood and one from America’s favorite past-time were sitting-it-out for different, if not similar reasons.

 

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Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf, then a sharp-shooting guard for the Denver Nuggets, started skipping the pre-game ritual in 1996 because in his opinion the American flag was a symbol of racism and oppression. He was fined by the league, harassed by fans, received death threats and even had his house burned down. His compromise with the NBA, brokered with help of the player’s union that had his back (You hear that NFLPA?) was that he would pray silently with his head down. To this day he remains committed to the right to protest and recently spoke out in support of Kaepernick and others.

 

Carlos Delgado, the two-time all-star first baseman who logged time with the Blue Jays and then the Mets, also made a stand by sitting. In the tense political climate that was post-9/11 America, Delgado began planting himself in the dugout during the 2004 season’s new practice of playing “God Bless America” during the seventh inning stretch. Delgado saw the sudden song choice as being used to support America’s ongoing occupation of Iraq. He refused to leave the bench for the whole 162 games that year – including an appearance at Yankee Stadium where boos were probably the nicest thing he heard all day.

 

4) The Round Mound of Tolerance/“That Ain’t on The Cue Card Chuck!”

Basketball legend and outspoken TNT commentator Charles Barkley shocked studio executives at least two different times when he went off script to address issues of social justice while on the air.

 

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During a Martin Luther King Day broadcast in 2011 the NBA Hall-of-Famer invoked the civil rights leader’s legacy to make a passionate speech affirming the rights of the LGBTQ community. And on a Cinco de Mayo themed game-day, Barkley went on a rant about the passage of Arizona’s S.B. 1070, which basically legalized racial and ethnic profiling by the police. He issued a personal ultimatum to the then-governors of Arizona and Alabama: “Leave those people alone. They work their behind off.” He went on: “The Hispanic community, they’re like the fabric of the cloth. They’re part of our community and any time you try to do any type of racial profiling or racial discrimination is wrong.” Not too shabby for a tv talking head — and a one-time Republican at that!

 

5) Say It Loud – The Fists Heard ‘Round the World

Everybody knows the picture. It’s the quintessential image of Black Power. Tommie Smith and John Carlos at the 68’ games in Mexico City, with heads down in defiance and with black-gloved fists raised high in the air.

 

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What most don’t know is that the two runners — Smith who won gold in the 200 meter, and Carlos who netted the bronze in the same event — had carefully planned their moment on the world stage. As the two victorious sprinters approached the podium, their outfits cleverly spoke to the myriad struggles and oppressions which they sought to shine a light on. They took off their shoes to protest poverty, wore beads and a scarf to protest lynching and Carlos un-zipped his jacket, despite Olympic rules, as a salute to “all the working-class people — black and white…who had to struggle and work with their hands all day.” How about that for inter-sectionality? Neither the sports world nor the country would ever be the same.

 

6) Teachers and Teamsters and Cheese-heads?

When mini-dictator and Wisconsin Governor, Paul Walker, launched his attack on the rights of public sector workers in 2011, thousands of union members helped flood the streets and government buildings of Madison in response.

 

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But perhaps none were a more welcome addition to the picket line than the members of everyone’s favorite publicly-owned home team, the Green Bay Packers. About 6 or 7 lesser known players were the first to come out and show face; and then local workers got the big-game play they deserved – Charles Woodson, the team’s defensive captain, union-rep, and all-around football icon released a moving statement in solidarity with all of Wisconsin’s working families. The heinous anti-worker bill was rammed through anyway but workers in Wisconsin will never forget when #21 and his crew of Packers laced up their spikes and knew which side to play for.

 

 


What we learned from Week 1 of the 2017 NFL season

Written by :
Published on : September 12, 2017

 

After what seemed like an eternity, football is finally back. With the return of both NCAAF and NFL action, girlfriends and wives across this great nation begin to weather the long and lonely storm that will last until Super Bowl LII is completed in February. With commencement of the 2017 NFL season, as with every NFL season, there are questions abound. Let’s survey the post week 1 landscape and see if we didn’t learn anything from the first action of the year.

 

The Colts are in disarray.

 

Not only did they get their asses handed to them by the Rams, but during the post game press conference their coach couldn’t even remember which team it was that handed them their aforementioned ass, to the tune of 46-9. It’s was the Rams who the Colts made look like the Patriots, by the way. It’s no secret that Andrew Luck is, by far, their best player, but it’s shocking just how bad the rest of this team is. Much like when they had Peyton Manning as their QB, this organization is content let the signal caller win games single-handily and let the team go down in flames should anything happen to the guy under center. They better hope Andrew Luck gets healthy quick and saves them from a top-5 draft pick in 2018.

 

 

The Jacksonville Jaguars defense could finally be living up to all the hype.

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The Jags came out and wiped the floor with the Houston Texans in week 1. Their defense totaled 10 sacks, a new record for the franchise, and their prized free agent acquisition, Calais Campbell, came away with 3.5 on his own. After years of drafting athletics freaks and paying for big name free agents, it appears that the team with the ugliest uniforms in the NFL could finally be seeing some dividends on that investment.

 

 

The injury bug is back with a fury.

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Week 1 was brutal for many fantasy football enthusiasts (myself included) and for pure fans around the league. The Arizona Cardinals look like they’ve lost David Johnson for a significant period of time to a wrist injury. The Jaguars lost Allen Robinson for the year with torn ACL and the Chicago Bears have once again lost Kevin White for the season with a broken shoulder blade. That’s only the big name offensive specialists that got inured. Their were also significant injuries among linemen and defenders across the NFL in week 1. Football is violent sport and injuries are inevitable but one has to wonder if the reduction in full contact practices in preseason under the current CBA has anything to do with it?

 

 

The Dallas Cowboys are picking up right where they left off last season.

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When the Cowboys selected running back Ezekiel Elliott with the 4th overall pick last year, and then moved on from Tony Romo last season and ushered in the era of Dak Prescott, a 4th round rookie, their was some consternation among fans in Dallas. The doubters were quickly quieted last season after the two rookies set the league on fire, and if there was any doubt lingering, the team squashed it out with a dominant 19-3 victory over the division rival Giants on Sunday Night Football. As much as I hate to say it, the Cowboys will be among the favorites to win the NFC this year.

 

 

It’s criminal that Colin Kaepernick does not have a job right now.

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Scott Tolzien, Tom Savage, Brian Hoyer, Josh McCown. These are names of guys who started in week 1 and led their teams to some brutal losses. That’s not even to mention middle-of-the-road guys like Andy Dalton and Carson Palmer, who looked like trash. Colin Kaepernick could help any one of these teams by at least providing some quality competition for their starters. It’s hard to believe that there is any type of collusion among owners to keep him out of the league but it is puzzling that he hasn’t landed on a roster yet.

 

The most important thing that we all learned in week 1 is… NOTHING! The NFL season is a long and grueling endeavor and anyone who thinks they can truly discern the direction of any team from one week of action is full of shit. Teams that looked like world beaters this week (I’m looking at you, Rams) will miss the playoff and teams that came out flat (the Patriots) could go on to win the rest of their games. There is really no way to tell. So buckle up and enjoy the ride because it’s a mighty long road to Super Bowl LII.

 

 


6 teams that should sign Colin Kaepernick right now

Written by :
Published on : September 8, 2017

 

 

The NFL season is finally here and it’s a total fucking joke that QB Colin Kaepernick still doesn’t have a job. There are many teams that lack a real answer under center, so it makes you wonder what’s really at play here? Save the talk of the bad press. Losing is bad press. Losing gets you fired. Kap is under 30, competed in a Super Bowl, has the arm and the legs to play at a pro level. Plus, he’s healthy. That resume could help at least half a dozen squads win some games. Here are a few organizations that would instantly improve by adding Kaepernick.

 

New York Jets

Who is their starter? Josh McCown? And if that doesn’t work then who? Christian Hackenberg? Bryce Petty? Those sound like NASCAR drivers, not quarterbacks. Kap would be a major upgrade. Or maybe the plan is just to keep tanking and draft someone next year.

 

Jacksonville Jaguars

Both Blake Bortles and Chad Henne have failed to inspire. People keep saying that the Jags are loaded with talent on both sides of the ball. That may be true but it means nothing without someone solid driving the car. Be bold, Jacksonville, decide this is the year you are going to move out of the NFL’s basement.

 

Indianapolis Colts

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Who knows when Andrew Luck will actually be back? And what if he gets hurt again? The current backup is Scott Tolzien. He was named the week 1 starter. But he looked so bad in preseason that the Colts traded WR Phillip Dorsett to the Patriots for their 3rd string QB, Jacoby Brissett. They should have just called Colin and saved themselves a wide receiver.

 

Houston Texans

Deshaun Watson may be the future but the current reigns are in the hands of Tom Savage. It feels like the Texans always have some mediocre signal caller. Their defense is legit but they need a true leader on offense. Plus Kaepernick could be a great mentor to Watson, as both play a more athletic version of the position.

 

Cleveland Browns

Much like the Texans’ situation, the Browns have their QB of the future in DeShone Kizer (or at least they hope). But Cleveland is starting the rookie day one. We shall see how fast the kid learns but maybe it would have been nice to groom the young talent while a real starter shows him the ropes. Or just throw the kid in the deep end and pray he doesn’t drown.

 

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San Francisco 49ers

Colin Kaepernick’s old team. They moved on from Kap but never got anyone better. Their current starter is Brian Hoyer. The guy who couldn’t hack it in Cleveland or Chicago. Plus if Colin came back then all the bay area fans could bust out their old jerseys.

 

Those are just the first six I could think of. One could argue that Denver and Chicago need quarterback help as well. Either way, there will be a big QB injury sometime this year, it’s just bound to happen. And when it does, I hope management gives Kap a chance. More likely, that GM in question will just say “fuck it” and see what Tony Romo is doing.

 

Call the guy.

 

 


Oh no, not again: NFL edition

Written by :
Published on : August 8, 2017

 

The NFL is a wild and entertaining league with tons of new and exciting storylines to follow but then there are these other headlines. The ones you see year after year. It’s like a broken record. You think “oh no, here we go again”. We aren’t even into preseason games yet and already some familiar news items have surfaced. Let’s dive right into it.

 

More off-field trouble for the Dallas Cowboys. Running back, Ezekiel Elliott, got into a fight outside a Dallas bar. This after pervious issues with failed drug tests and claims of domestic abuse. But these are the players that Jerry Jones likes to draft. Fans in Texas are used to their stars having run-ins with the law. It feels like the players act like the old movie cowboys and treat the world like the wild west. Shoot first, ask questions later and hire a great lawyer.

 

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When the Chargers moved from San Diego to Los Angeles, the hope was that the franchise could turn over a new leaf. Start fresh. Shed that rotten luck that always hamstringed a talented roster. Well, I hate to report but the injury bug still haunts the Chargers. They’ve already lost rookie guard Forrest Lamp to an ACL tear and their top draft pick, Mike Williams, is currently out of all training camp action with a back injury. Not a great start for the bolts.

 

Speaking of ACL tears. Miami Dolphins QB, Ryan Tannehill, got hurt again. He re-injured the same knee that held him out parts of last year. He likely needs season ending surgery to repair it. And in a hilarious turn of events, Jay Cutler, has been signed out of retirement/broadcast booth on a 1 year/$10 million deal. He will become the starter with Matt Moore serving as backup. Miami must now consider the future of the quarterback position. Even if Tannehill comes back healthy, can the organization trust him? Next year’s draft will tell us how much faith they still have.

 

Rumors are that the Dolphins considered Tim Tebow for the job as fill-in QB. That’s nuts and officially proves that NFL owners are black balling Colin Kaepernick. That can be the only logical reason. Why else would one look to a minor league baseball player and an announcer before a guy who played in a Super Bowl? I hope Kap gets a shot somewhere. He is too talented and only 29-years-old. Racist ass league. SMH.

 

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As we inch closer and closer to real football, the news cycle will continue to spit whatever they can. Maybe a hyper interesting piece about an aging star going vegan or something else really cool and important. The hope is, among all that noise, some real developments will emerge. But for now, let’s feast on the old faithfuls. Who wants to guess when the next Cincinnati Bengal going to be arrested?

 

Rinse and repeat.

 

 


The NFL free agency mambo

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Published on : March 15, 2017

 

NFL free agency has only been a few days but already the complete landscape of football has changed. Huge names have moved and found new homes while others have decided to hang up the cleats and retire. Millions are being tossed around and it’s a lot to process. Let ScoreBoredSports ease your weary brain with this helpful review of all the big transactions so far. Strap on your dancing shoes and let’s all do the free agency mambo.

 

WR Brandon Marshall to Giants

2 year/$12 million dollar deal saves Marshall from moving homes or facilities as he switches to the Giants. The former New York Jet will join Odell Beckham Junior in the receiving corps. Should make for a pretty solid unit.

 

WR Pierre Garçon to 49ers

This organization is totally rebuilding. They need offensive weapons. Garçon is nice possession receiver but it’s unsure who will be throwing him the ball. Got to start somewhere, though it looks like San Francisco overpaid.

 

 

OT Ricky Wagner and OL TJ Lang to Lions

Oh boy, the Lions add some beef upfront to help keep Stafford alive. As a fan, I love any effort to improve the o-line and help our lackluster running game.

 

TE Dwayne Allen to Pats

This was a trade with the Colts where Allen and a 6th round pick went to New England for only a 4th round pick. Seems like a small price tag for a guy that will blossom under Brady. But that’s what the Pats do.

 

RB Mike Tolbert to Bills

Mike packs his bags and leaves the Panthers to join Shady McCoy and the other backs in Buffalo. This team loves to the run the ball so look for Tolbert to get the short yardage/goal line duties.

 

 

QB Brian Hoyer to 49ers

I expect the new heads of the organization to draft a QB but this will be their starter for the time being. Hoyer has flashed moments where it looks like he has all the tools for the job. This will be a tough test. Hopefully, they can add a few more pieces around him.

 

S Barry Church to Jags

Jacksonville focused on defense in last year’s draft and maybe those picks will pay off but they couldn’t stop anyone last season. Church is a vet who Jacksonville hopes can bring some leadership to the secondary.

 

WR DeSean Jackson to Bucs

DJax headed to Tampa where his skills should pair well with star WR Mike Evans. This could be a nasty duo. This team has playoff sleeper written all over it.

 

 

K Steve Hauschka to Bills

Hey, kickers matter and Steve is one of the best. The long time Seahawk is bringing his talents to north beach. This is a good pick up for any team.

 

WR Kenny Britt to Browns

Get that money Kenny, but it sucks to be on Cleveland. This team needs tons of help and they don’t seem close to an answer. Would love to be wrong.

 

CB AJ Bouye to Jags

Jacksonville continues to invest on the defensive side of the ball with the splashy signing one of the top cornerbacks available, but they paid for it. 5 year/$67 million.

 

 

WR Alshon Jeffery to Eagles

Philly adds a big time target for a 1 year/$14 million deal. This is all about fit. That’s why the contract was only for a season. If Jeffery soars, expect a huge offer next year.

 

CB Logan Ryan to Titans

The other top defensive back on the market lands in Tennessee. This is another team that is quietly building a real competitor.

 

DE Julius Peppers to Panthers

Homecoming. I love when a player gets a chance to head back to his old team for another tour. Fans bust out their old jerseys and we all have fun.

 

 

WR Terrelle Pryor to Washington

1 year/$8 million and suddenly you are QB Kirk Cousin’s new favorite target. He will replace Jackson and keep the passing attack rolling in the Capitol.

 

TE Martellus Bennett to Packers

Just what Aaron Rodgers needs, a Super Bowl winning-mega talent. Ugh. The only worse headlines are from the real news.

 

WR Brandin Cooks to Pats

God damn it. How do they keep reloading so fast? It’s almost like every player in the league wants to play there and win one of those fancy trophies. New England sent their 1st and 3rd round draft picks to New Orleans for Cooks and a 4th rounder.

 

 

TE Lance Kendricks to Packers

Looks like Green Bay is following the Pats model of the two TE sets as they add another big body pass catcher.

 

WR Kendall Wright to Bears

Chicago needed to do something after losing top wide out Jeffery. Wright becomes the go-t0 guy in the Windy City. The real question is, with Jay Cutler gone, who is throwing the ball?

 

QB Nick Foles to Eagles

Another reunion. Foles will presumedly be the number two quarterback behind Wentz, who just finished his rookie year. Foles should be considered a top tier backup. Someone who is ready to start and win in the event of an injury.

 

 

RB Eddie Lacy to Seahawks

The big back joins Seattle on a 1 year/$5 million deal with $3 mil fully guaranteed. His weight is an issue. Some reports have him at 267 lbs. That’s heavy for a running back. The hope is he becomes the new Marshawn Lynch but that may be unrealistic.

 

QB Mike Glennon to Bears

Chicago has finally cut ties with Jay Cutler and they need a new signal caller. Glennon may not set Chicago on fire but he is young, 6’6″ and has experience. Not a sexy signing but the free agency market for QB’s is slim.

 

Some big names are still available. Guys like Dont’a Hightower, Adrian Peterson and Colin Kaepernick are still looking for a team. The NFL draft is a month away so we can expect to see some more action in the coming days. But most of the high profile talent is already off the board. This is such an exciting time for football. I can’t wait for the season opener.

 

Show me the money.

 

 


What to do with Tony Romo?

Written by :
Published on : February 14, 2017

 

 

What will happen with veteran quarterback Tony Romo? Rookie Dak Prescott kicked ass all last year and soundly won the job in Dallas. Even when Tony was healthy, it was clear that Jason Garrett and company were going to ride the hot hand and stay with Dak. As management plans out the next season, this question begs to be answered. What do you do with a guy like Tony?

 

The one thing we know for sure is that Tony Romo will be leaving the Dallas Cowboys. I’m sure the faithful would love to see him stay on as a backup but Romo is owed way too much money for that type of role. Plus, Tony sees himself as a starter. Those factors say he is going to a new team. His injury history suggests no one is trading for him but you never know. The best guess is that the Jerry Jones will cut the former face of the franchise. This will allow Tony Romo to sign with any team. Let’s check out some of his options.

 

 

San Francisco 49ers

Just hear me out. The 49ers will have zero QB’s under contract once Kap leaves. New GM, new coach, new start. They will need someone who can play day one and bring some leadership to the huddle. Someone to run the offense through. San Fran will no doubt draft a quarterback but throwing that kid right into the fire may not be the best move for development. So bringing in a Tony Romo type on a 3-year deal makes a lot of sense. But most importantly, it would really piss off Cowboy fans. For that alone, this should happen.

 

Chicago Bears

The Bears need a real answer under center. I don’t think anyone in Chicago wants another year of Brian Hoyer or *shutters* Jay Cutler. The team has some weapons on offense and their defense is improving. They are consistent quarterback play away from being competitive. The biggest selling point here is young running back Jordan Howard. He had a stellar rookie campaign and looks to be a complete back. Tony Romo could do much worse than handing off to Howard and playing with that D at Solider Field. Cleveland anyone?

 

 

Miami Dolphins

If the Dolphins ever want to challenge Tom Brady and the New England Patriots in the AFC East than they need an upgrade at signal caller. It may be time to pull the plug on the Ryan Tannehill experiment and find someone who can win right now. This type of splashy move could help bring the organization over the hump. Their roster is loaded on both sides of the ball but they need someone to galvanize the unit as a whole. Plus Miami never gets cold. Sounds like Tony Romo could be taking his talents to South Beach.

 

There you have it. Tony Romo is FOR SURE going to one of those three. Or maybe to the Broncos, Texans, Bills, Jets or even back to the Cowboys on a way smaller deal. Or somewhere else. But it’s for sure one of those. I mean all we know is he isn’t going to the Patriots. They already have a guy. I hear he’s good.

 

Anthony’s song.

 

 


Roger Pretzel’s Haunted Dungeon Weeks 11 & 12 and “Night of the Lepus”

Written by :
Published on : November 30, 2016

 

Welcome back to Roger Pretzel’s Haunted Dungeon. In this spooky sanctum I’ve poured over all the replay tape to come up with my favorite NFL play of the week. Then it’s straight back to the projector to unspool a film you may have not been aware of…

 

Old Roger Pretzel loves him a Thanksgiving feast and this year was no exception, as friends and travel put me out of commission for the entire week. Now it’s back to work and we got some catching up to do!

 

Week 11: Steven Nelson Robs Mike Evans

 

VIDEO HERE

 

Cornerback is the hardest position in the league to play since you’re not allowed to sneeze on receivers, let alone touch them. Kansas City’s Steven Nelson shows great skill and dedication on this play, craftily slipping an arm between Mike Evans’s body and the ball, allowing him to tear it free from number 13 as the two went to the ground.

 

I’m seeing more and more plays like this as the rules and officiating evolve, with defenders playing to stop the ball with arms and hands, up close and personal with their target as opposed to more physical body positioning and plays where the defender tries to pull off flawless glove-like coverage. I like it. Let the ball come in and play it from there.

 

Week 12: Ndamukong Suh Stuffs Kaepernick For the Showstopper


The Niners have had an expectedly dismal season, but surprisingly the Miami Dolphins have been on a hell of a run as of late. Chip Kelly’s potentially tying drive in the game’s final minute showed pep and promise with some good throws by Kap and a great play by Torrey Smith to get out of bounds.

 

But with 2 seconds left on 2nd and goal Colin Kaepernick dithers for just a second as he decides whether to throw or run. Personally, I think he might have had this one if he committed to the run and turned on the jets, but ultimately one of football’s hardest working and most reviled bad guys, Ndamukong Suh, came back to pull Kaepernick down from behind as Kiko Alonso provided some steam-rolling insurance up front.

 

Weeks 11 & 12: Night of the Lepus

night_of_lepus_poster_02.jpg.html

Director: William F. Claxton
Released: 1972

 

The giant-animal-on-a-rampage film had its golden age in the 1950’s with nuclear and commie paranoia getting conjured up into massive ants, lizards, and tarantulas, amongst other beasties. The genre had a bit of resurgence, as well as a modification, with the “revenge of nature” films in the 1970’s as the country’s concerns about rampant pollution increased. This period provided us with gems like Food of the Gods (1976), and stinkers like Frogs (1972), but the most preposterous of them all was Night of the Lepus.

 

Night-of-the-Lepus

 

This is a movie about giant bunny rabbits that terrorize an Arizona town. Giant killer bunny rabbits.

 

Admittedly, the visual effects are pretty strong here with some great miniature sets and the occasional matte painting background. It also boasts performances by Psycho (1960) shower-scene victim Janet Leigh and Star Trek’s own Dr. Bones, DeForest Kelley, slumming it for the drive-in crowd. Oh, and let’s not forget the great Rory Calhoun either. Puppets are generally used for the attack scenes and while the picture’s questionable subject matter benefits from a deadly serious tone, the liberal use of paint-red blood in the wake of the carnivorous rodents is comically over the top.

 

lepus kelly and cast

 

The mad science behind the wascally wabbits is pretty well thought out for a film of this ilk with a hormone serum in testing, and a rabbit that is accidentally liberated from the researchers’ control group. There’s also some worthwhile social commentary with the rabbits becoming local pests in the first place due to humans killing off all the coyotes who were once the rabbits’ natural predators.

 

It’s ultimately a bit hard to watch Night of the Lepus and not struggle with a little cognitive dissonance: how can one take a movie about cattle-sized killer rabbits seriously even if the film is effective and dare I say… good on its own merits? Regardless, whether you’re in it for the novelty or are a true believer this one comes highly recommended.

 

nightofthelepus5

 

Scope out the trailer here:

 

 

Available for rental on Amazon and iTunes.

 


Kaepernick is starting, and still protesting. Deal with it.

Written by :
Published on : October 14, 2016

 

 

This NFL season has been as much about protest as it has been about football. San Francisco 49ers quarterback, Colin Kaepernick, brought the NFL to the forefront of a major civil rights discussion when he decided to sit for the national anthem in the preseason. Kaepernick claimed he was not going to “stand up and show pride for a country that oppresses black people and people of color.” Kaepernick specifically brought attention to the police brutality against black people and people of color. “There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder.”

 

Immediately after Kaepernick’s protest, there was a waive of negative reactions accusing him of disrespecting the military. But Kaepernick quickly debunked this, saying “I have great respect for the men and women that fought for this country,” making it clear that his protest has nothing to do with the military. After all, it is the U.S. national anthem, not the U.S. military anthem. He’s been clear from the beginning that he is protesting one specific issue he has with the country he lives in. A country that’s best attribute is that it gives its citizens the freedom to speak their minds and stand up for important causes. Kaepernick even decided to change his approach and take a knee instead of sitting for the national anthem to continue supporting his cause while showing respect to the military.

 

 

Many NFL players have joined Kaepernick in his protest, and many others have said they respect his cause and right to protest, but they still choose to stand in respect for their country. All of the above are very reasonable reactions. But there have been many other unreasonable reactions, mostly from people who don’t want to think about the idea that racism and police brutality against black people are real problems, and would rather redirect the discussion by arguing that his protest is offensive or troublesome for reasons completely unrelated to race.

 

Exhibit A: Trent Dilfer.

For those of you who aren’t familiar, Trent Dilfer is the worst quarterback ever to win a Super Bowl, riding the heels of a Ravens defense that was one of the best in NFL history. Now he makes a living screaming into the camera at ESPN while veins pop out of his perfectly round bald head, as he harshly criticizes players that are much better than he ever was. Dilfer’s issue was not that Kaepernick was anti-American, or anti-military, but that Kaepernick is a “backup quarterback.” Dilfer claims a backup quarterback’s job is to “be quiet, and sit in the shadows, and get the starter ready to play week one.” Funny coming from a guy who left football to talk for a living when he was no longer wanted as a starter or backup quarterback by any team in the NFL. Kaepernick quickly fired back at Dilfer, appropriately labeling his comments as “ridiculous.” Kaepernick explained, “You are telling me that my position as a backup QB and being quiet is more important than people’s lives.” This is just a small sample of Kaepernick’s verbal beatdown of Dilfer.

 

Dilfer’s off-base concept was echoed by Lowell Cohn of the Santa Rosa Press – Democrat. Cohn is a longtime whiney curmudgeon, and terrible sportswriter, who has been attempting to smear Kaepernick since he began his protest, with weekly factless articles overselling the idea that Kaepernick has somehow had a negative impact on his team. In a press conference in September, Cohn tried to force 49ers coach Chip Kelly into belittling Kaepernick’s cause. Kelly firmly denied Cohn’s efforts, while somehow managing to keep his cool during Cohn’s extreme dickishness. The exchange, as well as Lowell Cohn’s impressive level of unprofessionalism, can be seen here:

 

 

Yes Chip, that is the great thing about this country. But like Trent Dilfer, Cohn tried to hide behind the safety net of claiming he respects Kaepernick’s cause, but… he should be more focused on football instead. Yes, if only Martin Luther King had focused more on sports the world would be a better place… No, I’m not saying Colin Kaepernick is MLK, but he has made it clear throughout this process that he is dedicated to an important cause. But people like Trent Dilfer and Lowell Cohn continue to argue that his fight for human rights is overshadowed by his lack of devotion to football, despite the fact that Chip Kelly and 49ers CEO Jed York have praised Kaepernick for bringing attention to an important issue, and for his football work ethic.

 

In fact, Chip Kelly announced this week that Kaepernick will take over as the 49ers starting quarterback on Sunday. So obviously his devotion to football has been strong enough to win back the starting job for one of the most iconic franchises in the NFL. It looks like Trent Dilfer and Lowell Cohn will have to come up with new reasons to disrespect Kaepernick’s protest.

 

If disrespect is what you’re looking for, look no further than Donald Trump. After Kaepernick called Trump “openly racist,” which is hard to argue, since blatant racism has pretty much been his entire political platform, Trump responded by saying, “maybe he should find a country that works better for him.” The great thing about America is, he doesn’t have to. He can stay right here, love his country, but still exercise his right to protest. It’s kind of ironic that a man who is running for president with the slogan “Make America Great Again,” suggesting that our country isn’t great, and constantly bashing our current president, is telling someone peacefully protesting a very important issue that he should leave this country if he doesn’t like it.

 

 

So if that’s how Trump feels, maybe he should take his own advice. If America is really in such a terrible state, and the president is really such a disgrace, do what you just told Kaepernick to do, and get the hell out! Otherwise, deal with the fact that people in this country are allowed to voice their issues with the government, the police, or any other problems they have, even if those people aren’t old white racist billionaires.

 

The most recent angry old white person with harsh words for Colin Kaepernick was Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg. Ginsberg, who has spent much of her life on the forefront of women’s rights issues in America, called Kaepernick’s form of protest “dumb and disrespectful,” in an interview with Katie Couric for Yahoo Global News. “I would have the same answer if you asked me about flag burning. I think it’s a terrible thing to do.” Ginsberg continued to condemn Kaepernick and other NFL players who have exercised their right to protest by sitting or kneeling for the national anthem, but refused to address the race issues they are actually protesting.

 

Colin Kaepernick had a strong response to Ginsberg, as he has to all of his detractors, saying, “it is disappointing to hear a Supreme Court Justice call a protest against injustices and oppression ‘stupid’… the flag is just a piece of cloth and I am not going to value a piece of cloth over people’s lives.” I never thought we would see the day that an NFL player would be schooling a Supreme Court Justice and a presidential candidate on human rights issues, but here we are.

 

 

It’s time to start respecting the fact that Colin Kaepernick has a great reason to be protesting. He has made it clear that the only part of America he is protesting is police brutality against black people and people of color. His message is not that all police are bad, but that police who use unnecessary violence need to be held accountable. It’s possible to admit this is a problem and still support the police, just like it’s possible to want your head coach fired but still be a fan of your team.

 

And it’s important that we acknowledge that white privilege exists and that people of color deal with much more difficulties in America than white people do. That doesn’t mean white people never have to struggle in America, it doesn’t mean that your accomplishments are less significant if you’re white, and it doesn’t mean you have to spend your entire life apologizing for your race. No one is asking for that. Just try keep it in perspective and be respectful of what Colin Kaepernick and many others are standing for. Can you honestly say he doesn’t have a point? Can you truly tell yourself that America doesn’t have a problem with police brutality against black people?

 

 

If you have an intelligent comment on this discussion, I think you should feel free to express it no matter what your race or background is, which is exactly what I’m trying to do now. But if you really want to join the discussion that Colin Kaepernick is trying to encourage, then join that discussion. The discussion about police brutality against black people in America. Don’t hide behind the anti-military argument, or the anti-flag argument, or the devotion to football argument, or anything else that detracts from his cause.

 

This Sunday, when Kaepernick takes back his job as the 49ers starting quarterback, he’ll be the focal point of the NFL. Unfortunately many people will try to tie the relevance of his protest to his success on the football field, where the cards are stacked against him playing for a 1-4 team that’s in rebuilding mode. But Kaepernick’s cause is much more important than football, and win or lose, starter or backup, he’s using his fame to stand up for something he thinks is important. He’s willing to take all the controversy, criticism and anger being thrown his way, and he’s continuing to fight for his cause. I think that’s something everyone should be able to respect.

 

 


Peaceful Protest? You’ve Got It

Written by :
Published on : September 10, 2016

 

When the “news” broke about San Francisco 49er’s quarterback Colin Kaepernick sitting out the National Anthem, I thought, “hmm, it’s definitely the preseason and we need a 24 hour story”. Nope, this sparked a national outrage among those who feel like he has disrespected the flag, the military, and those who were wounded in battle. I try my best not to live in an echo chamber and follow those on Facebook who will post more conservative leaning rants or articles. Naturally, all of them were white and were claiming, “he’s mixed and his adoptive parents are white”, and “he’s never felt oppression, he’s a millionaire”.

 

Shoot, I guess you have to be poor in order to feel oppressed or notice racism. It’s malarkey, and you know what else is malarkey? Tami Lahren’s rant on Colin Kaepernick that seemed to go viral among those who disagreed with Colin Kaepernick. While I support her right to rant, I also support and urge those to watch or read what Kaepernick had to say post-game the other week. Lahren could have probably saved herself the embarrassment by actually listening to what Kaepernick had to say.

 

“So many people see the flag as a symbol of the military. How do you view it and what do you say to those people?

 

Colin Kaepernick: I have great respect for the men and women that have fought for this country. I have family, I have friends that have gone and fought for this country. And they fight for freedom, they fight for the people, they fight for liberty and justice, for everyone. That’s not happening. People are dying in vain because this country isn’t holding their end of the bargain up, as far as giving freedom and justice, liberty to everybody. That’s something that’s not happening. I’ve seen videos, I’ve seen circumstances where men and women that have been in the military have come back and been treated unjustly by the country they have fought for, and have been murdered by the country they fought for, on our land. That’s not right”.

 

I did a bit of surveying on social media and here’s what some people had to say:

 

— “I’ve been saying it all along – what he’s doing is as American as it gets. He’s silently protesting. He has that right, even if I don’t agree with his point of view”.

 

— “I’m a veteran and fully support what he’s doing. As US-ians, we have a first amendment right to free speech. That means ALL speech, whether or not we like it or even whether or not it’s offensive.


–“I also would support the NFL if they choose to sanction him, even though I disagree with that, because the right to free speech means freedom from government restriction. They can work out the dispute (should it be necessary) in civil court. Further, I feel that people have an obligation to speak out against government endorsed injustice, whether the injustice is the result of action or inaction by the government. Elections are not enough in some cases. In this case, he has a very real issue and a really big stage on which to “petition for a governmental redress of grievances. Rock on, man.”

 

— “This is exactly how you should protest. I support this 100%. It’s funny how everyone was all over Kaep’s nuts when he was playing well and he had a couple bad seasons so now they all want to dump on him. Football fans can be gigantic babies”.

 

I think it’s funny because this is literally the exact right that gets you killed for expressing in countries that aren’t free”.

 

These same “heroic patriots” (and I get the tounge-in-cheekiness) are most likely the same ones who also have a problem with the BLM protests. They don’t like the “aggressive” tactics of blocking a freeway, but then they don’t like the peaceful tactic of sitting during the national anthem. So really what it is, is that they don’t like non-white people expressing discontent. I’ll be shocked if we as a country make it to 2050″.

 

That last quote is why I surveyed my social media outlets. The people against protest generally complain about the inconvenience it causes them and the general public. A highway or a major road might get blocked during a protest, but Colin Kaepernick sitting out or kneeling for the anthem is causing a problem? This is exactly what the anti-protest crowd has wanted: a peaceful protest, and yet, the public is still going to complain? Then again, you have the right to complain or to be offended by Kaepernick’s actions, but he also has the right to keep doing what he does that makes you upset.

 

 

Imagine if Aaron Rodgers, Drew Brees, or Tom Brady took a knee or sat out the anthem? My hunch is that we’d be listening a bit harder to them versus an athlete who’s declining and is black. Take the race out of it, and imagine if Kaepernick was still on top of the world the way Cam Newton, LeBron James, Steph Curry, or any top African American athlete out there. I have my doubts that society would give LeBron James a hard time for this type of protest.

 

Also, that team in Washington D.C. hasn’t changed their nickname yet.

 

 


Sam Bradford is now a Viking

Written by :
Published on : September 5, 2016

 

 

When the Eagles traded up for NDSU Quarterback Carson Wentz in the April draft, Sam Bradford was not thrilled. Bradford, who finished the 2015 season with the Philadelphia Eagles in good fashion, demanded to be traded. Understandably, NFL teams balked at what it would cost to get Bradford, as NJ.com reported, it was going to cost, “more than a second round pick.” Fast forward to Tuesday, August 31st: The Eagles got more than they could ever bargain for by trading Bradford to the Minnesota Vikings for a 2017 1st round pick and a 2018 4th round pick.

 

Bradford has never lit up the league or taken any teams to the playoffs, but in his defense, the playmakers around him over his years with the Rams and his one year with the Eagles were rather non existent. The best name to come out of that group was Danny Amendola in St.Louis. Bradford now goes to a team with Charles Johnson and Stefon Diggs on the outside, Kyle Rudolph at TE, and Adrian Peterson in the backfield. There’s also Laquon Treadwell waiting in the wings to take over Charles Johnson’s starting spot.

 

Several talking heads in the NFL considered the Vikings to be contenders for the Super Bowl with Bridgewater under center and now there’s no reason why Minnesota couldn’t have the same hopes and dreams. Mike Zimmer has built the Vikings to be a contender with an old school style of ball. Zimmer is going to grind Adrian Peterson to the bone with Jerrick McKinnon as a change of pace running back. It doesn’t hurt that the defense is filled with young studs (Barr, Smith, Floyd, Kendricks, Hunter) and savvy veterans (Newman, Griffen, Joseph) and were at the top of the league last year in points allowed (17.1 per game).

 

 

When news broke about QB Teddy Bridgewater’s injury last Tuesday, I immediately was banging the drum for Colin Kaepernick to get to Minnesota. The idea of Kaepernick, McKinnon, and Peterson coming out of the backfield and making people look foolish with their legs sounded really intriguing over potential vanilla veterans that Vikings’ offensive coordinator Norv Turner has worked with: Matt Cassel, Brandon Weeden, and Brian Hoyer, or current backup Shaun Hill. Most people around the league never thought that Vikings General Manager, Rick Spielman, would make such a bold trade to try and save the season. Bradford does’t need to put up elite stats for the Vikings to contend for a playoff birth. Zimmer is going to preach ball control and mistake-free football. It’s exactly how Zimmer wants Teddy Bridgewater to run the offensive unit. Bradford can do the same, and arguably push the ball down field a bit better.

 

Here’s an interesting fact from Pro Football Focus: “Last season, Bradford played with the worst receiving corps in the league, a group that dropped 7.6 percent of his passes to lead the league. He missed all of 2014, and while there was some early-season rust, he was one of the top-graded quarterbacks during the second half of the season. On the year, he actually finished 12th in PFF quarterback grades, at 85.3, one spot ahead of 13th-place Bridgewater at 82.6.”

 

Spielman was indeed bold with this move, but the Vikings are built to go deep into the playoffs now. It’s not so much that they don’t trust Shaun Hill to win a couple of games, but I don’t think the front office viewed him as a 16 game starter and remaining healthy. Bradford has been bitten by the injury bug since joining the NFL, but he won’t have to throw as much with the Vikings. My only concern is that the Vikings run the most plays with 7-step drop backs and frequently use the play-action pass. Getting Bradford up to speed on the playbook will be a priority for the Vikings and we’ll more than likely see Hill split reps with Bradford during practices.  Another thing to consider: Bridgewater may not be ready to go next season.

 

 

One major plus going for Bradford in Minnesota is that tight ends coach, Pat Shurmur, was Bradford’s offensive coordinator during his rookie campaign in 2010 with St.Louis and his offensive coordinator in Philadelphia last year. Although Shurmur doesn’t call the plays, I am guessing that Shurmur and Norv Turner can help Bradford with the playbook and the terminology at an accelerated rate. For me, this doesn’t stink of another Josh Freeman disaster.

 

One thing that the Vikings will miss with Teddy Bridgewater being out: mobility in and out of the pocket. Teddy Bridgewater has underrated wheels and elusiveness and the fact is Bradford just doesn’t match up with him there. I had the Vikings at 11-5 with Bridgewater as the QB, but I think they drop off a game to go 10-6, but still make the wildcard spot for the playoffs.

 

Take a deep breathe Vikings fans….it’s either going to be a really smooth or really rocky flight.

 

 


Keep Hope Alive: What the NFL’s Worst Teams Have to Feel Good About in 2016

Written by :
Published on : February 25, 2016

 

 

For many people, right now is as good as it get’s when it comes to football. In places like Cleveland, Detroit and Jacksonville, the offseason is time that is full of hope and possibilities. Last season’s pessimism is out and next season’s optimism is in. With the new league year and the start of free agency just weeks away, we thought we would talk about what some of the NFL’s worst teams in 2015 have to look forward to this year, besides the opportunity to blow it with their high draft picks.

 

Tennessee Titans: Marcus Mariota’s continued progression

 
I’m not going to lie. The outlook is pretty grim in Tennessee. They retained their interim head coach Mike Mularkey for the same position, and he didn’t exactly improve the team when he took over last year. They do still have last year’s number two overall pick playing quarterback, though. Marcus Mariota should continue to improve in spite of the lack of a coaching staff, and for that reason they should keep hope alive.

 

Cleveland BrownsThe New Regime

 

I know we’ve all heard this before, but it seems like the Cleveland Browns might finally be getting their heads out of their asses. The new director of football operations, Sashi Brown, went out and got the Hue Jackson, the former offensive coordinator in Cincinnati. Jackson was the guy pulling the strings behind the scenes of the league’s seventh-best scoring offense in 2015. It also looks like he will soon be putting an end to the Johnny Manziel fiasco, and for that we should all be thankful.

 

San Diego Chargers: Return of the injured

 

The Chargers got hit very hard by the injury bug last season. It was kind of ridiculous. Luckily, time heals all wounds and with an offseason to mend up, the San Diego Chargers can’t possibly do as bad as they did last year. The team placed a total of 17 players on injured-reserve last season, which directly led to their 4-12 finish. Many of those players will be back this year and that should lead to more wins.

 

Dallas Cowboys: Dez Bryant

 

He’s a little bit of a head case, but Dez Bryant is by far the best thing the Cowboys have going for them. He is a physical freak who can make plays all over the field. He was limited by injuries in 2015, but then again so was everyone else on the team. Look for him and a healthy Tony Romo to get back to their old play-making ways in 2016.

 

San Francisco 49ers: Chip Kelly’s antics

 
There’s a chance that Chip Kelly is able to come in and fix Colin Kaepernick, but I wouldn’t get too optimistic about that. The 49ers are lacking in quality talent all over the field and it will probably take a couple of years to right the ship. On the bright side, we get at least one more year of watching Chip Kelly roast the NFL media!

 
 
All of these teams had five wins or less last season. Most probably won’t improve enough to make a playoff run but with a little luck they could pass as watchable football teams. Be sure to keep and eye on them, if for no other reason than those I listed above.

 
 
 


New Faces In New Places: 2016 NFL Quarterback Edition

Written by :
Published on : January 4, 2016

 

 

The NFL playoffs are primed to begin. Every playoff bound team is set with a signal caller for next season, and it’s said that to have a chance in the NFL, a team needs a good quarterback. If that is the case then that would explain why 20 of 32 teams in the league currently have a record of .500 or below. That’s astonishing considering how much money is paid not only to NFL quarterbacks but the front office personnel that are entrusted to secure the services of a competent field general. Next season, teams will shell out millions in free agency. There are only a few first round prospects at the quarterback position and they aren’t necessarily considered elite players. Their draft stock has more to do with necessity than it does to pure talent that translates to the NFL.

 

Here are a few free agent quarterbacks I feel may be on the move and the team(s) they’re likely to play for.

 

Colin Kaepernick

(Currently under contract with the San Francisco 49ers until 2020)

 

Best options for new team: Philadelphia Eagles, Cleveland Browns, Arizona Cardinals

 

Why? There are a few things to note about Kaepernick’s contract. It was considered to be a record breaking deal, however, the contract is only guaranteed for injury and has several criteria that could lead to de-escalators. It can be voided by April 1st and the 49ers can release him without penalty. With that said, there are rumors that he could remain in San Francisco next season. Head coach Jim Tomsula is not a lock to remain at the helm next season and a fresh start could help the struggling franchise.

 

If Kaepernick does leave, the Philadelphia Eagles (now without former head coach Chip Kelly) could be an ideal destination. Pairing him with running back DeMarco Murray and wide receiver Jordan Mathews could be a good start to rebuild after Kelly’s failed tenure. The Browns will be in the market for a quarterback and drafting the third first round QB in five years is not ideal. The Browns would be better suited to draft a mid-round quarterback and get a veteran such as Kaepernick with a team friendly contract. The Cardinals come to mind as the team desperately needing a backup quarterback for potential 2015 MVP Carson Palmer. Who has come back from an ACL injury and the team is too good to entrust to a mediocre backup. If Palmer was to go down, at least the team has insurance in Kaepernick to continue to compete in the NFC West.

 

Drew Brees

(under contract with the New Orleans through the 2016 season. Projected cap hit of $30 million for 2016)

 

Best Options for New Team: Houston Texans, wherever Sean Payton is.

 

There are conflicting stories as to what the Saints plan to do with both head coach Sean Payton and Brees. After a remarkable run to a Super Bowl and multiple passing yard titles, the end seems near for Brees in The Big Easy. Payton may also be on the move as the team has missed the playoffs in consecutive seasons and the NFC South is rather young at quarterback. Jameis Winston (21), Cam Newton (26), and Matt Ryan (30) have plenty of time to create havoc for the 37 year old Brees. The Saints defense has also been historically bad the last few seasons and regardless if Payton is an offensive guru or not, the league has caught up to his schemes. A ‘mutual’ split may be on the horizon and there is one perfect fit for Brees should he leave the Payton nest.

 

The Houston Texans have a talented team that has been derailed by a lack of a competent quarterback. Head coach Bill O’Brien hitched his future to Brian Hoyer and Ryan Mallett. Both quarterbacks have been so bad this season that the team had to call T.J. Yates back into the fold. They have passed up on several quarterbacks in recent drafts that could have at least been serviceable, most notably Minnesota Vikings quarterback Teddy Bridgewater. If Brees were to leave New Orleans for Houston then the Texans would be an instant AFC contender. Running back Arian Foster should be returning from injury, they have a budding superstar in wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins, and let’s not forget their formidable defense led by super-alien defensive end J.J. Watt.

 

Brees and Payton could decide to be a package deal with another team, like the Miami Dolphins or Philadelphia Eagles, but I think the two would be best off without each other.

 

Robert Griffin III

(under contract with Washington Redskins through 2016 with Team Option)

 

Best Options for New Team: New Orleans Saints, Dallas Cowboys, Seattle Seahawks, St Louis Rams.

 

Most people would think that RGIII’s career would be best suited on a team where he can become the instant starting quarterback. I think that is the worst thing that could happen. The Redskins have done him a favor by not playing him. RGIII has been relegated to 3rd string by a team that drafted him 2nd overall. The quarterback selected to back him up is now the starter and may receive a near-massive contract extension. Yet, I think RGIII is the winner in this situation.

 

How is that?

First of all, RGIII needed a public relations makeover. By not suiting up for many games this season, we have not heard much of anything from him. That helps. Moreover, he has had the time to get healthy. He can’t learn much by watching Kirk Cousins play, but what he should have learned this season is a sense of humility and how to become a student of the game. All the physical tools are there, from arm talent to mobility. Hopefully, he has a handle on his ‘handlers’ and he can go back to just playing football, drama free.

 

If Payton and Brees were to stay in New Orleans, RGIII would be a great fit. He is young enough where he can still sit another year or two as an understudy. Payton will find a way to utilize RGIII’s talent and when Brees is gone, the team would have the cap room to build around Griffin. The best scenario for RGIII is to be on a team with an established star quarterback that is exiting his prime and near retirement. The Cowboys are a good choice, as he can back up Tony Romo, whose health entering the twilight of his career should be a concern of owner Jerry Jones. Having a player of RGIII’s stature would fit into Jones’ “entertainment before winning” business model.

 

The Seahawks are a stretch, as they are a team that does not do well with distractions. However, if Russell Wilson were to get severely hurt, would the team want to rely on Tarvaris Jackson for multiple games? RGIII’s skill set is similar to Wilson’s and would at least give the team short-term insurance if Wilson goes down. The Rams are only intriguing considering that the team took all the Redskins draft picks to give up RGIII. I don’t see Jeff Fisher being pleased to have RGIII in the lockerroom as he does not do well with high maintenance players. However, the Rams will be in the market for a quarterback and with Fisher in the middle of his contract, he would have to put his faith in a veteran to secure his job. Irony?

 

Johnny Manziel

(under contract with the Cleveland Browns through the 2017 season)

 

Best Options for New Team: Dallas Cowboys, CFL, Kansas City Chiefs.

 

All signs point to Manziel being released by the Browns after only two years on the team. Now that Mike Pettine has been relieved of his duties, there’s a chance he could stick around. The two seemed to be at war. Their personalities clashed and there was no trust. A new coaching regime could help Manziel, but looking at how the organization is run, it may not do any good. A change of scenery may benefit all parties involved.

 

The Dallas Cowboys would be the ideal destination for Manziel. Jerry Jones would love to have the Texas native backup Romo. Manziel would be able to maintain his star appeal in Dallas with an owner that is known to give players multiple chances. The Cowboys have gambled on reclamation projects before (La’el Collins and Rolando McClain), so Manziel would not be an issue. As for his value on the football field, the Cowboys have one of the best offensive lines and pairing with that and wide receiver Dez Bryant could lead to an interesting team.

 

The Canadian Football League is also an option. There have been many college stars that the NFL deemed not talented enough that have found success up north (Troy Smith of The Ohio State University comes to mind). A few years of seasoning in another league may do Manziel some good.

 

A far stretch is to backup Alex Smith in Kansas City, Head coach Andy Reid is still an innovative mind and could put Manziel in the best position to win when his time comes to be a starter.

 

 

Honorable Mention

Peyton Manning (Houston Texans), Sam Bradford (Jacksonville Jaguars), Geno Smith (San Diego Chargers)

 

 

Let us know who you think is on the move and where they are going.

 

 


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