I remember once as a rotten child (likely about eight years old) I decided that since I was not permitted to have a cookie, I also would not brush my teeth. This presented a number of hygiene problems, but I had a goal. And in my mind at the time, the only way to accomplish that goal was evidently to hold my own teeth hostage.
I’m fully aware that none of this makes any sense, but the thought process of a child rarely does. Looking back now, it seems I had a lot of Mike Shanahan in me, which is terrifying. It’s all a game, and sacrifices (be it teeth or quarterbacks) are made to reach a goal.
I say that not because a forthcoming move to bench Robert Griffin III and keep him inactive altogether for the final three games of the season (or at the very least, Week 15) in favor of Kirk Cousins is entirely a poor decision. Indeed, it may actually end up being the right decision made for the wrong, political reasons. Shanny is attempting to get himself fired to keep his severance — while creating an even greater debacle — whereas I just wanted a cookie.
Really, that’s the ultimate motivator here, and during a rapidly deteriorating situation that’s turning into a toxic dumpster fire in which neither man — Shanahan and Dan Snyder — will blink, Griffin and Cousins are mere pawns. But we ask this of you during a trying time, Mike Shanahan: spare us the nonsense and complete fecal speech about wanting to save Griffin from contact and injury, and have him healthy for an offseason program you won’t be running.
If having Griffin playing at his optimal level and saving him from unwanted punishment as his body mended was truly the goal, then he would have sat out for the first three or so games of the season, and not the last three. Now instead an environment in Washington where fans have been given an opportunity to question Griffin’s skill was quickly created, conveniently forgetting that he hasn’t even celebrated(?) the one-year anniversary of his knee shredding yet.
But sure, at this point given Griffin’s unique circumstances, putting an end to the blows he’s taking as his body looks worn out and tired is wise enough, if this move was being made with that alone in mind. Griffin has been sacked a total of 38 times this season through his 13 starts, a rate which has especially escalated since Week 10 (he’s been sacked at least four times in each of the Redskins’ last five games, for a total of 24 during that stretch). The Redskins have also given up 82 quarterback hits, the sixth highest rate in the league.
Showcasing Cousins over these last three weeks also leads to the possibility that if he plays well, Washington could go about the business of Matt Flynn-ing him this offseason, attempting to recoup some of their lost draft picks in the deal to acquire, yes, Robert Griffin III. The Redskins don’t own a first-round pick in May as it instead belongs to the Rams, and right now that’s the second overall pick.
The counter to that, of course, is that despite the punishment he’s taking, Griffin is still only in his second season, and every game is precious development time. Now he’s set to be stripped of nearly a quarter of a season to learn while making the proper reads, and functioning in the pocket.
The balance between development and protection at this point in a lost season is always a difficult one, but Shanahan has neither in mind while making this decision. He’s thinking about Dan Snyder.
More notes, reading, stray thoughts, and other such randomness
Kirk Cousins = fantasy plug and play?
You’re much, much less than crazy if you try this. And if you’re an Aaron Rodgers owner who somehow advanced to the semi-finals, run to the waiver wire now.
In limited time last year Cousins showed us that he’s more than capable, and he has a fine downfield arm. Now he gets to air it out against a Falcons defense that’s been picked apart while allowing 8.0 yards per pass attempt, and 25 passing touchdowns (tied for third worst).
Bill Cowher was just a man living the dream last night
You’ve never heard of it, because the annual Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show isn’t something a guy who reads a football blog would ever watch. But so we’re all on the same page here, it’s a December tradition wherein supermodels walk a sparkly runway in lingerie while the musical acts of the day light their mups.
As is the usual practice, it was taped a few weeks ago before airing last night, and a good time was had by all, including Bill Cowher. You dog, Bill.
Today in inevitable: no Wes Welker for you
Prepare to have some fantasy dreams shattered, kids.
Let’s start with something that’s completely the opposite of surprising. I suppose Wes Welker’s playing status will be made officially official later today when the final injury reports prior to Thursday’s Chargers-Broncos divisional throw down are released. But this is nearly the year 2014, and the days of any football player suffering a concussion and then playing a few days later have long evaporated. That’s especially true when the player in question has suffered two concussions over the past month.
So if there was even the slightest question about Welker’s playing status even now, Jay Glazer would like to kill that for you.
Btw, I didn’t know there was still a question if Wes Welker would play Thursday, he will not.
— Jay Glazer (@JayGlazer) December 11, 2013
You’ll be playing your semi-final game without a receiver who was averaging a mighty fine if not spectacular 5.6 receptions per game. That’s not much fun, but you knew this was coming, and hopefully you put that waiver claim in on Da’Rick Rogers.
More obvious yet depressing injury words
Elsewhere in completely unsurprising, barring a Christmas miracle Adrian Peterson will likely miss Week 15, and quite possibly beyond that too. That’s not a reflection on the severity of his right mid-foot sprain, though being in a walking boot all week as he will be isn’t exactly a good look. No, it’s much more so a reflection of the Vikings’ record, and the senselessness of trotting out a wounded stud running back in three meaningless games.
But let’s not get ahead of ourselves here. What you need to know now is that in addition to Welker, enduring the pain of not having Peterson during semi-final week is something you’ll almost surely be doing. Despite all the rosy words spoken about how he avoided a severe long-term injury, the fact that he “felt it pop a few times” is pretty ungood.
Hopefully you made that Toby Gerhart claim, though it surely cost you several body parts.
Annnd one last painful note
We’ll have a more firm word on this later today, but please excuse me while I walk out on this very thick branch: Aaron Rodgers isn’t playing in Week 15.
Rodgers: Shouldn’t be having pain doing simple movements. Didn’t get better as week went on. Tried a lot on Wednesday, didn’t feel good.
— Tom Silverstein (@TomSilverstein) December 10, 2013
Maybe he hits the practice field today and all is miraculously well. But if that’s how he describes his condition last week — which comes complete with an inability to make “simple movements” — there’s very little reason to feel good about a Rodgers appearance in Week 15.
In fact, I’ll keep walk out on this sturdy branch and say this: the only way we see Rodgers again this season is if the Packers manage to shimmy their way into the playoffs without him.
So hey, about that Cousins pickup…
Get your fantasy basketball claims in on Peyton Manning NOW NOW NOW
Get him on court and he’s trouble. Lest week (BLEEEEPED) around and got a triple double.
— Dennis Bernstein (@DennisTFP) December 11, 2013
The 2013 inconsistency awards
For those of you who didn’t qualify for the fantasy post-season dance, the time for reflection is here. After all, this is the part of the calendar when avoiding your family is paramount.
To begin this process, let’s turn to J.J. Zachariason over at NumberFire, who chronicled the most inconsistent fantasy quarterbacks of the 2013 season. Remember, it’s easy to look back at basic metrics (i.e. passing yards) or overall fantasy points to determine who was the best and who was the worst. But that’s also pretty inaccurate.
Fantasy football is a week-to-week game, and it needs to be treated as such. And as Zachariason notes, the shining example of deception at quarterback is Cam Newton, whose total fantasy points make him the third best quarterback, but he’s had only six weekly top 12 finishes through his 13 games (the top 12 is used because most standard, 12-team leagues start only one quarterback).
An ACL education
Say, when you saw Rob Gronkowski go down Sunday, I bet the first thing on your mind was “huh, I wonder how those ACLs work, and how they’re stitched back together?”. Yes, that’s it.
Go ahead and spend the next 15 minutes or so of your time on this Grantland piece examining the “nastiest injury in sports” and why ACL tears are rising.