Archive for the ‘Links’ Category

manning face2

If you’d ever like to feel totally humbled, cold, and alone, try to predict the outcome of an NFL football game through either betting or fantasy. Many a noble man has lost both his money and sanity through this pursuit.

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cousins throw2

I’m not sure anymore what the appropriate adjectives are for what’s going down in Washington, though I’m still siding with the range that falls in line with selfish, confusing, reckless, and destructive. After a day to absorb the goings on around the good ship Snyder and to hear the various press conference babbling, there are still opposing and clashing thoughts everywhere, and there’s no way anything Mike Shanahan is doing will lead to happy returns upon his inevitable exit.

Let’s pretend for a moment that we believe the primary message in his nearly half hour press conference diatribe yesterday, and that Robert Griffin III is being benched solely to protect his health. Where was that concern, say, two months ago, or even beyond that? Though he’s improved lately, it’s been clear to even the most casual eye that Griffin isn’t at all the Griffin we saw in 2012, and expecting him to be was always foolish. Ignoring that for 13 games and then using it at your convenience speaks to a far larger motive at play.

Following the aforementioned day of sober reflection, that’s what bothers me the most here. Despite what John Madden says, the act of shutting a reasonably healthy player down isn’t unorthodox. If the Packers were out of contention there’s little doubt in my mind that Aaron Rodgers would have been given a more permanent seat, and although he’s out of his walking boot and says he’s fine, few would begrudge the Vikings for a similar move with Adrian Peterson. But with Griffin, there’s been over three months of ignorance.

Then there’s the lost snaps and development time for Griffin, and the very real possibility that if Kirk Cousins plays well, the Shanahans will leave Washington with a quarterback kerfuffle of sorts, though all involved still say Griffin is the starter, and there’s far too much invested in him through draft picks for any other future outcome. The ingredients for a quarterback death fight are aligned, though, and the potential for one in the never silent court of public opinion is plenty distracting.

But enough about that. Soon the offseason of Griffin will be upon us, and this dumpster fire will overtake our lives. I want to deal with the here and the now, and the possibility that as you prepare for fantasy football semi-final matchups which begin tonight, Cousins could be your hero and/or dark knight.

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cousins again2

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.

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There’s a certain due process to football thought as it relates to quarterbacks, and the changing of them. This is especially true when, as is the case with the Chicago Bears, an injury is at play and the incumbent starter hasn’t necessarily played himself out of a job. The problem, though, is that before breaking Jay Cutler didn’t quite do enough to solidify his position either.

The backup is at first just a placeholder, with all involved impressed and satisfied if he merely avoids a Matt Flynn-level face plant. But if the circumstances align just so, thoughts of the backup becoming more than a backup arise, as he forces that idea into existence. Then eventually the idea is more than a passing joke; it’s a legitimate discussion.

This is where we’re at with Josh McCown.

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andre johnson run2

If you were brave enough to watch last night’s came in its entirety, you saw a surprisingly entertaining affair. Those aren’t words I would have ever thought of using to describe a Texans-Jaguars game, but here we are.

In a game the Jags won 27-20 to officially kill whatever shred of Teddy Bridgewater contention they had left, you saw Maurice Jones-Drew bust out of his slumber with 123 total yards before inevitably leaving early with a hamstring injury, and much of that came on a season long 48-yard run. You also saw the expected comedy, with Case Keenum getting yanked in favor of Matt Schaub, and then both Texans quarterbacks posted nearly identical numbers. So yeah, about Bridgewater then.

But what remains truly astounding despite this loss and all the Texans’ losses (11 straight) is the play of Andre Johnson.

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josh gordon again2

No really, that’s a serious headline. And yes, the mere thought of doing such a thing gives me the heebiest jeebies I’ve ever had.

For most of you, when the Jaguars-Texans game kicks off tonight in what will become the greatest test of your ability to waste three hours of life, the first round of the fantasy playoffs will begin. That means the importance of every lineup decision you make is amplified and blah blah yada yada.

You don’t need me to tell you that playoffs are a pretty big deal, and that anxiety you’re feeling is a real thing that may in some circles be viewed as a compulsive problem. But due to all the crumbling around him, the decision you’ll have to make with Josh Gordon may go down as the worst possible fantasy playoff scenario in fake footballing history.

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larry fitz again2

Time and youth. They will either get us, or replace us all. This is a fact of our feeble and fleeting existence on this Earth (good morning!).

Right now, though, we’ll save the broader life lessons for another time and ponder how both age and a youth uprising could affect the future of one Larry Fitzgerald in Arizona. We’re through three quarters of the season, and for many of you another noble fantasy run has ended. But choke down that sadness, and let’s begin to look back and learn lessons about what we’ve witnessed in 2013.

That begins with the tale of Fitzgerald’s end-zone based production, and his dwindling targets.

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