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.

 

 


Greg Hardy, you seem like a ‘f*cking psychopath’

Written by :
Published on : May 5, 2017

 

 

“I’m not a f*cking psychopath”

 

 

That’s a recent quote from former standout NFL defensive linemen, Greg Hardy. If you know anything about his story then you know that in 2014, he allegedly (and almost certainly) assaulted his then girlfriend, Nicole Holder. The details of the assault are pretty gruesome and it is said that he choked her, threw her onto a pile of assault guns (because why wouldn’t he have a literal pile of weapons?) and threatened to kill her. Hardy was convicted in a bench trial but the charges were later dropped on appeal for a jury trial after Holder failed to appear in court. The prosecutor’s office cited their inability to locate the victim and “reliable information” that the two parties had reached a civil settlement, and the charges were later expunged from Hardy’s record. The next day Deadspin released pictures that had surfaced of Nicole Holder’s injuries, which Hardy later refuted, claiming that they could have been doctored after the fact.

 

I call bullshit.

 

Hardy’s arrest happened only months after the now-infamous Ray Rice domestic violence incident so the NFL was in the midst of a major PR struggle in which they were trying desperately to appear like they were guided by some kind of moral compass and not just the almighty dollar. Hardy was placed on the commissioner’s exempt list while the court case played out and he appeared in only 1 game in 2014. In the end, he missed about a year of football and the next offseason the Panthers decided not to re-sign him, a move which was likely motivated by the team’s desire to rid their team of a violent person of questionable morals and mental stability.

 

Cue America’s team, the Dallas Cowboys.

 

Despite the fact that Greg Hardy was shunned by almost all NFL teams, Jerry Jones and ‘Dem Boyz’ signed Greg Hardy to a 1-year, $11.3 million contract during the 2015 offseason in hopes that he could be a difference maker. While most people wouldn’t touch a guy who had just beat his girlfriend and threatened to kill her, the Cowboys proved once again that winning comes before everything. The league suspended Hardy for the first 10 games of the season but an arbitrator reduced it to 4 games, and after that he was back on the field making millions. Luckily for believers in some form of karma (though not nearly fitting to the crime), Greg Hardy’s tenure with the Cowboys was a complete disaster. He had one of his worst statistical seasons (6 sacks, 35 tackles in 12 starts) and he proved to be as shitty of a teammate as he is a person. After doing things like getting into arguments with his teammates on the sidelines and missing team meetings even the Cowboys decided they had enough and decided against bring him back the following season. He went into the 2016 season without a team and was arrested for cocaine possession shortly thereafter. Hardy hasn’t been back to the NFL since.

 

 

Now he is trying to make some sort of comeback and it’s for that reason that I saw the headline where he proclaimed that he’s “not a f*cking psychopath.” Naturally, I assumed that he was referring to the domestic violence incident and that the context would dictate that he was remorseful for what had come to pass with his ex-girlfriend. When I read further I was appalled to learn that Hardy has no remorse for what happened with Nicole Holder. His “psychopath” comment was in reference to his ill-fated stint with the Cowboys.

 

Being a shitty teammate and a locker room distraction doesn’t mean he is psychopath but the fact that he doesn’t show any type of regret for the domestic violent incident that marked the beginning of the end of his career might mean that. At this point it seems unlikely that any team will take a chance on someone like him. There’s too much talent out there and he’s been out of the game for too long. Oh yea, there’s also the fact that he CHOKED AND THREATENED TO KILL HIS GIRLFRIEND. The NFL doesn’t always do a great job of presenting itself as an organization with a conscience but by keeping this psycho out of the league it could do it this time. Greg Hardy is loose cannon and is not the type of guy I would want on my team.

 

Anytime someone has to tell you that they aren’t something there’s probably a good chance they are whatever it is they’re denying. It’s not a good look. Suuuuuuure, he’s not a psychopath. And neither was Roy Munson at the beginning of Kingpin. 

 

 

 


Tony Romo Retires

Written by :
Published on : April 6, 2017

 

 

It’s official, Tony Romo is hanging up the cleats. The long time Cowboy great is retiring from the NFL. This news comes as a bit of shock. We knew he wasn’t going to stay in Dallas and many had him as the top quarterback available. No doubt, at least a few teams had solid interest in Romo’s services. The most recent rumors saw him staying in the state and joining the Houston Texans. Not a bad fit as it was becoming more clear that Tony wanted to join a winner. Not help some franchise rebuild. After taking some time to weigh his options, the (soon to be) 37-year-old decided it was time to call it quits and will be joining Jim Nantz in the booth at CBS.

 

 

If you’re looking for a reason as to what helped make up Tony Romo’s mind, maybe it had something to do with the offer from his new job. CBS reached out to Tony at the end of last season so the QB has had tons of time to think about what his life would be like in broadcasting. It seems like a natural fit for quarterbacks to transition to analyst positions. So much of what signal callers do is watch film, study players and make it their job to know more than everyone else. Plus, Romo gets to stay in the world of football and bring home a decent pay check. A much smaller check but still giant in terms of us regular folks.

 

Other things to consider. Tony Romo has a serious history of injuries. Most notably, issues with his back. The guy seems healthy now but the grind of starting 16 games is grueling. One good shot and he could be facing more surgery. Romo has already made a pretty penny tossing the pigskin and it looks like he wants to preserve his health so he can enjoy it. What good is all that money if you aren’t psychically able to play with your kids?

 

 

Tony Romo gave the Dallas Cowboys over ten years of blood, sweat and tears. 34,183 passing yards and 248 touchdowns. He leads the organization in many passing categories which is impressive when you think of the other names in the team history. He never got them to the Super Bowl and that may be part of his legacy but he will be remembered in Texas for a long time. And on a personal note, I respect that he played for one team he loved and decided to retire before starting a new chapter somewhere else. It’s more and more rare in today’s game.

 

So to Tony Romo, I say good luck in the future and please don’t come out of retirement in a year. You made the right call. Now stick to it.

 

New chapter.

 

 


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.

 

 


Most Annoying People in the NFL

Written by :
Published on : June 16, 2016

 

I love football. Who doesn’t, right? But just because I love America’s (true) pastime does not mean that I love all of the players or coaches in the NFL. In fact, as a rule, I dislike almost everyone who doesn’t play for my beloved Detroit Lions. Of course there are players on other teams who I enjoy watching and maybe even cheer for, but that’s not what I’m here to talk about. It’s the players and coaches that drive me crazy that bring me here today. Not because they constantly beat and embarrass my home town team (well, maybe), but just because they suck at life. Let’s take a look at some of the most annoying people in today’s NFL.

 

Aaron Rodgers

 

Okay, this one might be partially caused by jealousy and resentment but still, fuck this guy. If I have to see him do the stupid discount double check (or beat the Lions) again, I’m going to explode. Plus he is dating Olivia Munn!?! What an asshole. He’s super talented and all that, and maybe it’s just those ugly ass green and yellow uniforms, but I seriously can’t stand him. He’s so smug, especially when sporting one of his various creepy ass mustaches. Here’s to hoping the Lions sack him 25 times next year.

 

AaronRodgers
                              He looks like that uncle in the family that no one wants to leave alone with the children.

 

 

JJ Watt

 

JJ Watt is a totally regular guy, just like you and me. Oh wait, no he’s not. He’s arguably the best player in the league and is also a total clown who I’m tired of seeing. Let’s just all be thankful that Hard Knocks isn’t covering the Texans again so we don’t have to see anymore of his fake ass country, good ol’ boy routine that he desperately uses to get his legions of fans to relate to him. I honestly enjoy watching him play. He’s a beast out there. But I honestly can’t stand him anymore. Like Jennifer Lawrence, if you have to constantly remind the world that you’re just a regular person, then you’re probably not. Also he just released a logo for his personal brand that I think sucks. What is that, a ‘W’?

 

jj-watt-logo

 

 

Russell Wilson

 

Russell Wilson may be the lamest person ever to put on a helmet and step on to a NFL field. From claiming that God speaks directly to him, to claiming that something called Recovery Water helped cure his concussion, this dude is completely full of shit. His whole relationship with Ciara makes me want to barf. Saving yourself for marriage, Russell?  Why don’t you save the bullshit. This dude is a robot who will do whatever it takes to get people to like him. And you know what? No one outside of Seattle does. I realize the dude is really talented, but he is also super corny. Just watch his University of Wisconsin commencement speech from a few weeks ago and see. Notice the pity laughter he gets from his not so funny, totally not relatable Super Bowl interception joke at the 1:43 mark.

 

 

 

Rex Ryan

 

I don’t understand why this guy keeps getting head coaching jobs in the NFL. He is a (supposed) defensive mastermind, but the dude can’t develop a decent quarterback to save his life. On top of that, he constantly puts his foot in his mouth by saying some of the most boneheaded things to the media. I guess he can be mildly entertaining from an outsiders standpoint but if I was the owner of a NFL franchise and really wanted my team to succeed, why would I choose someone who has proven time and time again that they can’t provide the type of offensive football necessary to succeed in the game of pro football? Seriously, Buffalo, what were you thinking? This guy is just some good defense and a bunch ridiculous soundbites. As a defensive coordinator, sure, but as my head coach and face of the franchise, no thanks.

 

alg-ryan-jpg

 

 

Jerry Jones

 

People used to talk a lot of trash about Al Davis when he was still around, but at least you could never question his knowledge of the game of football. He was a bit of a loose cannon as far as NFL owners go, but the dude knew the game. If you ask me, the same does not go for Jerry Jones. To be fair, he’s living out a lifelong dream of mine by having purchased an NFL franchise and played GM for the past few decades, but you can’t ignore some of the major blunders he has committed while running the team, the biggest of which has to be the firing of Jimmy Johnson after two consecutive Super Bowl victories. That’s insane. Jerry Jones is nothing but a rich attention whore who was lucky enough to be able to buy a pro football team. And it’s time for him to go away.

 

Oct 21, 2012; Charlotte, NC, USA; Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones point to the fans prior to the game against the Carolina Panthers at Bank of America Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeremy Brevard-US PRESSWIRE

 

 

Did we miss anyone who you bothers the hell out of you? Call them out in the comment section below, and tell the world why that person is the worst.

 

 


Champ and Chump: Week 9

Written by :
Published on : November 11, 2015

 

Week 8 is in the books, a special thanks to all of those who came to see some of the SBS staff at the tailgate at USC on Saturday. Wish I could have been there but hey, someone has to separate the heroes and villains each and every week. After all, when your team loses like my Spartans did on Saturday night, it helps to know there are some weekly champs out there that could use your support. This week, the gridiron monopolizes our Champ and Chump sections, taking home almost all of the hardware. We celebrate a great individual effort, a clutch late game performance and a total team effort for slowing down a speeding train. On the flip side, some zebras got in the way of a great football game (again) and a legendary winner appears to be an absolute loser. Let’s get to the picks.

 

 

Champ: Antonio Brown

Can’t stop him

 

17 catches, 284 yards in a 38-35 win over the Oakland Raiders

In a game where the Steelers again saw their quarterback leave the game due to injury, Antonio Brown and backup running back Deangelo Williams took over and put the team on their backs. Just for the hell of it, Brown also carried the ball twice for 22 yards and even made two tackles. With the win, Pittsburgh improved to 5-4 on the year and is in the thick of the wild card race. With Cincinnati off to an 8-0 start, the wild card is likely all the Steelers can hope for but with Antonio Brown playing like this, even the Bengals will be taking note. Big Ben is expected to be sidelined for at least one week and the Steelers have a brutal stretch following their week 11 bye.

 

Honorable Mention:

 

Carolina Panthers- It isn’t always the prettiest, but Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers are 8-0 after 3 straight wins vs the Seahawks, Colts and Packers. Not a bad stretch.

 

Reggie Jackson- Jackson scored 26 of his 40 points in the 4th quarter on Sunday night. The Pistons outscored the Trail Blazers 41-11 in the 4th after trailing by as many as 18 earlier in the game. The Pistons went on to win 120-103.

 

Alabama- Held Heisman front-runner Leonard Fournette to just 31 yards on 19 carries in a big 30-16 win over LSU on Saturday.

 

 

Chump: Jerry Jones

Looks evil

 

Last week, some very graphic images were released that showed the extent of the assault Greg Hardy put on his girlfriend last year. As we all know by now, Greg Hardy is an absolute garbage human being who is somehow allowed to cash in on the football field when he should be behind bars. What we didn’t know, or maybe what we always thought and now know for sure is that Jerry Jones, Cowboy’s’ owner is also a despicable person who values dollar signs more than actual values that a respectable human would care about. We’ve all since lifted our jaws back up off the floor after seeing the disturbing photos and found ourselves wondering what the Cowboy’s would do with Greg Hardy after these photos were released. Would Dallas bench him, or hide him by not having him available on Sunday, suspend him perhaps, or what many NFL fans hoped, would Dallas be so appalled at the severity of what Hardy did that they would outright release him? The answer, none of the above. Jerry Jones stands by everything he had previously said regarding his “leader” Greg Hardy and continues to support him. I disagree with many who think Jerry Jones is so naïve and is so willing to invite his players into his family that he sometimes defends them to a fault, instead I feel that if Jerry Jones is so blind to think you can sweep all of this under the rug and that the wins and revenue that Greg Hardy can create will somehow repair the bruises and welts he dealt, well then Jerry Jones is almost just as vile as Greg Hardy. And if the Dallas Cowboy fans, and sponsors, have any moral fiber to actually put the well-being of human lives above your glorified football team, then prove it. Make a stand and force the hand of the Dallas Cowboys to do something right.

 

Dishonorable Mention:

 

Michigan State Football- With under 2 minutes left, Michigan State led by 12 points. Undefeated and playing a 3-6 team, the Spartans broke down defensively and blew a huge opportunity, potentially ending their possible playoff run.

 

Referees- Alex wrote a great piece with some ideas on how to solve the issues with referees in football. This past weekend another absolutely inexcusable call may have cost a team a win. Nebraska’s touchdown with 17 seconds left over the Spartans was absolutely illegal with the Wide Receiver taking himself out of bounds only to come back in and catch the football. He was ruled forced out, and after further review it was somehow not overruled. The Spartans blew it by letting Nebraska hang around, but the refs stole their victory.

 

Aqib Talib- In a loss vs the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday, Aqib Talib received a penalty and ultimately a one game suspension for poking Dwayne Allen in the eye on Indianapolis’ final drive. In a game where the Colts ended up winning by 3 points, Indy was allowed the opportunity to run out the clock because in part of the penalty.

 

 


Roger Pretzel’s Cloudy Crystal Ball: NFC East

Written by :
Published on : August 27, 2015

 

There is no other division in the NFL in which the specter of injury looms so heavily over every team. Dallas has its brilliant but weary O-line protecting a fragile veteran QB, Philadelphia has built a winning crew that can sustain injury up to a point, the Giants are looking to rebound after two seasons of a seriously depleted squad, and Washington has brought a curse upon itself for not changing its unfortunate and offensive image.

 

Sweet crystal ball: murky and jumbled though your whispers may be, illuminate our way!

 

Dallas Cowboys:

 photo dallascowboys_zpsl1ytzif4.jpg

 

There was a brief period of time where I didn’t totally hate the Cowboys. I moved away from general knee-jerk disdain and grew to recognize their brilliant offensive line. I also realized that Tony Romo is a solid, likable, and hardworking quarterback, and even thought that Jerry Jones’s desperate ramblings became amusing, endearing even. Then along came Dez Bryant. The dude is by far my least favorite NFL superstar. He’s the epitome of a diva and I hate his whininess towards referees, as well as his frequent fights with coaches and teammates. I will never deny that he is a fantastic talent, but as a human personality, I’m just kind of grossed out by his ego and sense of entitlement. He is Calvin Johnson’s evil twin, no doubt about it.

So here we are in 2015 and I think that Jerry Jones knows in his wizened coal-black heart that last year was the ‘boys best chance at making a run for the title in a long time, and the best chance they’ll get for quite a while. Romo is good for another couple of seasons as long as he stays healthy, but that surgically repaired back is one hell of a sword of Damocles hanging over the entire organization. That previously mentioned O-line is the key to keeping things regular, but even they’re starting to show signs of wear and tear. Should they falter, this will prove very problematic for Darren McFadden.

 

The crystal ball says:

 

The crystal ball likes Dez much more than I do, predicting a stellar season for a big time receiver in his prime. Romo will hold down the fort, thanks to that crucial offensive line that will suffer only minor injuries, and remain more or less intact through the season. Darren McFadden will show promise at first and then eventually disappoint. Dallas has a shot at the wildcard spot but she’s still a leaky boat holding herself above the surface in a division that is returning to its highly competitive ways.

 

New York Giants:

 photo newyorkgiants_zpsohv8rzx3.jpg

 

I think it’s pretty easy to get hyperbolic over New York’s potential this season, but I’m afraid that’s more from what’s expected of them than actual evidence. Sure, Eli’s too good to keep playing so poorly, and it’s easy to write off the last two seasons because of the mass of injuries sustained by Big Blue, but that’s also the lazy approach. Like many, when it comes to analyzing the Giants, I want to have my cake and eat it too. Yes, I think a healthier team will win more games, but I’m still dubious that this is a club that’s going to sweep back into the division.

I’m not particularly concerned about the stories surrounding Eli Manning’s contract, but regardless of what he purportedly wants, the fans and coaching staff need to see his ratio of INT’s to TD’s drop precipitously. He’s certainly proved it can go either way. I also didn’t like how Jason Pierre-Paul dealt with his team following that unfortunate sparkler accident. It looks like he’ll be returning to the Giants, and will play before the first half of the season is out, but his cagey statements from the hospital and seeming lack of interest to meet with the team’s officials had me seriously doubting his return to New York, or anywhere. At least JPP can rest assured that he won’t go down in history as the NY Giant guilty of the stupidest unnecessary injury of all time…

 

The crystal ball says:

 

Eli will bring his pick numbers down to below Andy Dalton levels, which will be considered a victory. There will be lots and lots of speculation as to whether or not Tom Coughlin keeps his job. He will, while chomping angrily on his gum the whole time. Jason Pierre-Paul will come back. He’ll do fine. Odell Beckham Jr. and Victor Cruz will be frustrated with the heavy coverage they receive from defenses that aren’t particularly scared of the run game. The Giants improve, making them a viable threat, but not as much as expected. THEN things will get crazy with Eli’s contract!

 

Washington Redskins:

 photo washingtonredskins_zpsvrcgzusi.jpg

 

It’s pretty obvious to me that the central cause of the Washington’s woes over the last few years have been due to a longstanding Native American curse brought on by owner Dan Snyder’s absolute refusal to change the franchise’s name and image in the face of good taste or common decency. RGIII is constantly nursing a bum knee or sitting concussed on the bench; relegated to selling sandwiches alongside a once obese pedophile. Now, Niles Paul and Junior Galette are out for the whole damn season. It doesn’t seem fair, and it shouldn’t be… Unless you remember that this team is named after a derogatory term coined during the genocide of an entire population. Feel free to write Dan Snyder a letter telling him how you feel.

Thanks to the curse, we’re left with an extremely weak offensive line supporting a glass-jawed QB. However, the defensive line is really interesting, and I think it’s the best thing the ‘skins have got going for them. There’s a good pass rush to be had there, and a good defense overall if the secondary can hold up. I don’t care if it’s Kirk Cousins or Colt McCoy, but either of these dudes will fare better than Griffin.

 

The crystal ball says:

 

More deserved suffering for a team with a shamefully behind-the-times character. RGIII will continue to fail and the Redskins will focus more on a mediocre ground game because of it. Fans can expect some joy through the defense, and some excitement when either of the backup QBs start airing it out to DeSean Jackson, the most electric offensive weapon this team has.

 

Philadelphia Eagles:

 photo philadelphiaeagles_zpsckjzuez0.jpg

 

Chip Kelly is the closest thing the NFL has to a mad scientist. He’s a singular coach in that his megalomaniacal vision for his club’s success is less predicated upon individual player performance and more so on the crazy scheme in his head. I mean that as a compliment. The Foles/Bradford trade wasn’t about Foles’ merits or deficiencies on the field; it was about Sam Bradford working better in Kelly’s vision.

So Bradford and Murray are going to be the experiment and the gamble. Both are players that fit with Chip Kelly’s Eagles (trademark registered), but both are also injury prone. Unlike other teams in the NFC East, Philadelphia has a deeper bench. Mark Sanchez works well in this offense and Ryan Matthews and Darren Sproles can certainly help take some of the pressure off of Murray. All the meticulously planned and thought out offense in the world can’t cover a weak defense that ranked near the bottom of the league last season. If things looked as exciting for the Eagles on the other side of the ball then they would be a true Super Bowl contender.

 

The crystal ball says:

 

The ball likes the Eagles this year, and thinks they’re the frontrunner to win the division, thanks in part to a cushy schedule. The mad scientist has the offense that he wants and I think it’ll come through for him. The defense will improve incrementally but there’s going to be plenty of shootouts to keep Bradford’s throwing arm in shape. Finally, I’m proud of myself for having made it this far without making a single Tim Tebow joke.

 


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