Sorry for the delay this week, kids. I'm in Nashville, doing Neo Nashville things.
Stay Together for the Kids
Worse than the breakup of Brad and Angelina, at least in my opinion, was the impending breakup of a just as functional, just as fun-loving relationship between Adrian Peterson and the Minnesota Vikings that seems to be on the horizon.
When Adrian Peterson was carried off the field on this week’s Sunday Night Football game against the Packers, I, for sure, thought his season -- and possibly his career --may have ended, most likely with another torn ACL and/or LCL. Wouldn’t that be poetic? The first game in the new billion dollar stadium is AP’s last game? The report came back. He’ll be out several months. The Vikings could have the table set for a playoff run by then. But again, this timetable is all hypothetical. Any setback, and AP won’t see the field again this year.
Money-wise, the Vikes, a team seemingly on the cusp, can cut AP next year and clear up 18 million in salary cap space, allowing them to go out and get a couple of beastly free agents to possibly propel their team in to the Super Bowl conversation next year.
Age-wise, AP turns 32 next year and has had two significant knee injuries in his career. Is he even worth his production when weighed up against the risk?
This will set up an interesting off season for Peterson. Does he come back to Football and play for another team, or retire a Viking and go down as arguably the greatest player in their franchise history, without tarnishing his legacy?
In a perfect world, Peterson returns to the Vikes in December, in time for a playoff run that leads them to the Super Bowl. And the way the Vikes are playing so far this year, is that really that far fetched of a plan? Yeah. Probably.
Ah yes, the Minnesota Vikings are 2-0 behind Sam Bradford? Wait, that can’t be right. I must have the wrong cue card. No, this card says Sam Bradford.
Last year, if you told me the Vikes would be led to a 2-0 start by a dude with Brad in his name, I would have probably said Bradley Whitford, not to be confused with Brad Whitford from Aerosmith, his older brother. I mean Bradley Whitford. You know, Eric from Billy Madison?
He’s been in my head though, ever since TMZ caught him ripping on Billy Madison.
I’m baffled by Eric not recognizing the chemistry he and Sandler had after all these years was pure gold.
But seriously, has Sam Bradford FINALLY turned a corner in his career? He looked great this past Sunday against the Pack. I think a lot of it has to do with the fact that he finally has a number one receiver . They’ve been trying to link Bradford with a receiver his whole carrer and it hasn’t worked; Tavon Austin, Kenny Britt, and any of those Philadelphia jobbers come to mind. Then there’s young upstart WR Stefon Diggs. The latter was just named NFC Offensive Player of the Week, putting up 182 yards with 9 catches, his second 100 yard+ receiving game in as many games. So far, his stats are legit, that’s for sure. I’ll admit, I usually don’t like receivers like the one Diggs appears to be. He’s more the guy that will torch you for 50 yards and a TD, than one you can rely on for a big third down possession in the fourth quarter. He needs to evolve his game a bit to be the latter as well.
Much like the Peterson drama the Vikes will likely face, get ready for a side of Bradford/Bridgewater drama this off season. Bridgewater shouldn’t lose his starting job to injury. But if Bradford produces this year, the Vikes will go all in on him. They’ll be able to trade Teddy Bridgewater with a high-end return.
Little Big Ben
My most impressive QB performance goes to Bradford this year, but I think the real winner in the upswing QB battle so far in 2016 is Carson Wentz. His jersey, which simply says Wentz on the back, is actually the highest selling jersey so far this season.
This is probably due to the fact that the Philly has a fanbase that wants to rock a jersey that doesn’t say COX on the back, for obvious homophobic reasons.
If we rewind back to this Spring’s NFL draft, we witnessed the Cleveland Browns, a team in need of a QB, trading their second pick to the Philadelphia Eagles. Philly’s mentality was simple: Pick whatever QB the Rams don’t. The jury is still out on Jared Goff, who the Rams selected, but everyone already seems to be anointing Carson Wentz as the next Donovan McNabb in Philadelphia. The term “Wentzelvania” is being thrown around in tribute to this 2-0 titan. Yes, they’ve been by considerable margins, but he’s played against the Chicago Bears and, ironically, the Cleveland Browns. Wentz’s stats against the Bears were stellar (21 for 34, 190 yards and a TD). But wins are wins, and the Browns coincidently don’t have any yet.
Let’s just be honest here; the Browns are going to get shit for this. They passed up on this kid when they NEEDED a quarterback! We’ve seen plenty of teams trade down in the draft when they have their QB of the future lined up already. But the Browns weren’t in this boat.
When asked about Wentz and the Philly/Cleveland situation, Ben Roethlisberger responded with, “I was really surprised (Cleveland didn’t draft him). I thought I would be facing him two times a year in Cleveland.” Now, technically this is an inaccurate statement, because one of those games would be in Pittsburgh, but we get what you mean, Ben.
Let me defend the Browns here: They were gun-shy, and rightfully so. The Manziel thing was an embarrassment for them, even though Manziel was not a high draft pick in the 1st round, he was expected to pan out somewhat. The good thing for Cleveland is that Manziel has made such a writhing ass of himself post NFL, that Cleveland for once can take the “It wasn’t our fault” stance and we buy it.
I actually think the Browns have done some good things as of late. They drafted what appears to be a number one receiver in Corey Colman. He was off to a great start this year, notably last week when Josh McCown connected with him for 5 receptions, 104 yards, and 2 TDs against the Ravens. Of course, he broke his hand in practice this year, as is out for the month. But an old friend is coming back soon (3 weeks to be exact): Josh Gordon. I am very excited to see Josh Gordon opposite Coleman in a passing attack. I also like what converted Wide Receiver Terrell Pryor has done so far in Cleveland. He can be a great long-term third down option for the Browns. Keep in mind, for years the Pittsburgh Steelers got a lot of yards from a QB to WR convert named Antoine Randle El.
I know this sounds weird, but all you Browns fans shouldn’t get down on Wentz or your team's future. The immediate may be bad, but right around the corner seems to be something promising. They’re play in a very tough division, no doubt of that. But with youth on their side, and youth not on the side of the other teams in the AFC North, I think they’re about three seasons away from being a viable contender for that division.
Who Are You and What Have You Done with You
Remember the NFC Championship between Seattle and Green Bay, and the AFC Championship between the Patriots and the Colts (also known as Deflate Gate)? Is it me, or have both Andrew Luck's and Aaron Rodger’s careers been on the downswing ever since that double-loss day?
The obvious of the two is Luck, who basically gets ripped on everytime he touches a football these days by the d-list commentators they send to cover his games. He doesn’t even get the Chris Collinsworth treatment.
In these evil commentators' defense, Luck’s really been inaccurate with the football over the last two years. I think his lack of accuracy in someway coincides with him lacking a security blanket receiver, like Reggie Wayne, that he had the luxury of throwing to since he entered the NFL.
His offensive line has always been lackluster, but now it’s one of the worst in the league. Dude gets pummled every other play.
Rodgers is the more baffling of the two. His brother won The Bachelor this year. “Your move, Aaron.” It seems like Rodgers has lost he knack for winning big games. He can win a first-round playoff game, and win a pivotal division match-up when necessary, I guess. But these gaffed up big television games seem to have him rattled. He’s missing open targets he used to nail on his back foot. He’s also dealing with an offensive line that blows compared to ones he’s had in years past.
It might take the Luck era ending via a trade to mercifully right that ship. As far as the Pack go, plane and simple, it’s going to take one year of Rodgers not leading them to the playoffs for that regime to wake up and ask what they’re doing wrong. This year, it probably starts with letting pro bowl o-liner Josh Sitton go for personal reasons that will cause Aaron to be more on his back than usual.
The Packers have four, yes four, home games in a row coming up. They do not play a road game again until November, which is insane to think about. This will be a make-or-break run for the Pack. Stockpile some wins or maybe, just maybe, sit home this January.
And the Emmy Goes to…EVERYONE!!!
I wanted to talk really quick about the Emmys, which for those of you who don’t know are the television equivalent of the Oscars, and fall right behind a Tony for pulling weight for getting a table at Sardis.
I heard Julia Dreyfus won for Veep, and cried. That was her fifth time winning an Emmy, by the way. If we’ve learned anything from football, when you get to the end zone, act like you’ve been there before.
Then I heard Sarah Paulson won. Maggie Smith won, for still being alive. Jeffery Harharwood from Arrested Development. The lead actor from I Klatus, or whatever that robot show is, won. Remember Craig’s little sister in Friday? She won. Then over breakfast on Monday, my girlfriend told me all five kids from Stranger Things won, and finally I was like “How many winners were there?!”
Like every year, the NFL fed us those that are up for nomination for the NFL Hall of Fame this year. I hate reading this list every year, because honestly it’s full of players that are win-worthy, but not Hall worthy.
How the NFL Hall works is fans vote on a list of 25 players on NFL.com who they feel deserve to be submitted to the next round for “consideration.” The list of 25 is a joke. For example, Willie McGinest is on the list. Willie McGinest was the outside linebacker of the New England Patriots of the early 2000s that won three Super Bowls. He made the Pro Bowl twice in his entire career. How is this dude even up for FAN consideration?
By this rational, one of my favorite outside linebackers ever, Chicago Bear Lance Briggs, will be a first ballot Hall of Famer (7 Pro Bowls, 1 All-Pro first team, 2 All-Pro second teams). He probably wont even be considered on the list of 25 suggestions when his time pops up in a couple years.
Shawn Alexander is also on the list. Good RB. Went to three Pro Bowls and won an MVP. Not a Hall of Famer.
Darren Sharper is on the list. 5 Pro Bowls, 2 First team, 4 second team, and a Super Bowl champion. He’s currently serving a 20-year stint in prison for multiple rape and drug charges. Yeah, no.
On the list of 25, these are the only I would consider electing immediately:
Kurt Warner: One of the greatest QBs of all time, as far as I’m concerned. Humanitarian, Pro Bowler, Super Bowl winner, and twice loser. Will arguably go down as the greatest St. Louis Ram of all time, and the man responsible for sparking the career of the Greatest Arizona Cardinal of all time, Larry Fitzgerald. He’s in.
LaDanian Tomlinson: The closest thing the NFL will ever get to the second coming of Walter Peyton. Amazing player. Perfect combination of finesse and brutality as a rusher. Multiple Pro Bowler, MVP, rushing titles. Wore tinted helmet. In, easily.
Hines Ward: Two-time Superbowl winner. Five-time Pro Bowler. Over 12,000 yards receiving in his career. Greatest blocking receiver in the history of football.
Honestly, I think these will be the only three dudes that will get in this year.
And finally this week, I’d like to talk about this dude we should know named John Sutcliffe. He’s a sideline reporter for ESPN. He actually sucks. When I started penning this article, I was going to rip a new asshole for an entire paragraph. He did reports from the sidelines and butchered his delivery during the Bears/Eagles game this week. I first laughed at him while pointing at the TV. Then I became furious. “Why is this guy fucking up my shit!
I probed deeper and found that he’s actually a bilingual reporter who mainly works for ESPN Deportes who got time on a regular ESPN broadcast in conjunction with Hispanic Heritage Month. So, immediately felt like shit. Even though I hate his broadcasting skills, I’m happy with what ESPN is doing with Sutcliffe, especially in context. I’ve always felt, mainly based around their ties to baseball and actual football (i.e soccer) that the American Latino community has purposely gravitated away from the sport of football. ESPN recognizing that it doesn’t have to be this way is a win for them. I actually wish more sports, namely hockey, would take the time to try and form an all-in-compassing demographic like ESPN is trying to do with the NFL. Nicely done.
Pick of the Week
Cleveland +7 over Miami