The Cleveland Frowns are the next up for HBO’s Hard Knocks

Baker Mayfield went #1 overall in the 2018 draft, do the Browns know something no one else does?

Step right up, you’re the next contestant on HBO’s Hard Knocks – the show that gives an inside look into franchise’s day-to-day process of becoming the 7-9 team that they truly are.

It’s the Cleveland Browns‘ turn to be placed in the NFL spotlight as the subject of the league’s popular HBO reality series. The show will debut Aug. 7 on HBO.

So what lies ahead for the Browns? If the previous 12 seasons of “Hard Knocks” are any indication, there will be lots of drama, crushing injuries, ice cream socials, golf cart crashes and maybe even a brawl or two. Over the 12 years of the show, the average wins in a season for a participating team is 7.5, so the formerly 0-16 Browns have that going for them….which is nice.

Here are the most memorable highlights of “Hard Knocks” according to ESPN writers:

Season 1, 2001: Baltimore Ravens

The defending Super Bowl champions dealt with the season-ending knee injury to star running back Jamal Lewis, and cameras captured the moment when coach Brian Billick received the phone call detailing the severity of the injury. The most memorable moment came during the rookie show, when linebacker Tim Johnson did a spot-on impersonation of tight end Shannon Sharpe. Johnson re-enacted the time Sharpe was locked in the meeting room by defensive tackle Tony Siragusa and wanted his “restitution.” The shot of Sharpe and linebacker Ray Lewis laughing uncontrollably remains one of the series’ most light-hearted moments.

Season result: The Ravens went 10-6 and advanced to the divisional round of the playoffs, where they lost in Pittsburgh.

— Jamison Hensley

Season 2, 2002: Dallas Cowboys

The Cowboys were a team in transition with only Emmitt Smith remaining from the days of the team’s renowned “Triplets.” After a 5-11 finish in 2001, the Cowboys believed they were on to better things in Dave Campo’s third year coaching. The Cowboys definitely lived up to the made-for-TV moments: Chad Hutchinson, fighting for the starting quarterback job, spent time playing the guitar with receiver Richmond Flowers; receiver Anthony Lucas’ gut-wrenching call on Jerry Jones’ phone after he tore up his knee for the second year in a row; and George Foreman speaking to the team. The lasting image from this “Hard Knocks” season was Campo in a wet suit during a break in camp at SeaWorld in San Antonio playing with the dolphins.

Season result: The Cowboys finished 5-11 for the third straight year. Campo was fired and replaced by Bill Parcells.

— Todd Archer

Season 3, 2007: Kansas City Chiefs

Quarterback Casey Printers was incredulous when told by Ray Farmer, the Chiefs’ personnel director, that he would be released. Printers wasn’t good in training camp or the preseason, but he might have played better than any of the other Chiefs quarterbacks. “Hard Knocks” made a cult hero of Bobby Sippio, a journeyman wide receiver who joined the Chiefs in the middle of training camp after injuries struck hard at the position.

Season result: The Chiefs, after winning four of their first seven games, lost their final nine to finish 4-12.

— Adam Teicher

Season 4, 2008: Dallas Cowboys

The Cowboys took to Hollywood this season. After going 13-3 in 2007, they were viewed as Super Bowl contenders with quarterback Tony Romo, receiver Terrell Owens, tight end Jason Witten and linebacker DeMarcus Ware among 13 Pro Bowlers from the previous season. The Cowboys added cornerback Adam Jones and defensive tackle Tank Johnson, who both had faced legal troubles in Tennessee and Chicago, respectively. The Cowboys had memorable practices against the Denver Broncos that featured a back-and-forth between Jones and receiver Brandon Marshall.

Season result: The Cowboys finished 9-7 and were torn apart from within. It didn’t help that Romo missed three games with a broken pinky. The team closed with two losses, including a 44-6 debacle to Philadelphia in the finale. As he walked off the field, Johnson said aloud, “I’m a free agent, baby.”

— Todd Archer

Season 5, 2009: Cincinnati Bengals

HBO’s portrayal of the 2009 Bengals earned the team and the network a pair of Emmys. It was during this installment of “Hard Knocks” that football fans were more broadly introduced to receiver Chad Johnson (then Ochocinco) and his “child, please” and “kiss the baby” catchphrases. They also met Chris Henry, the embattled but up-and-coming receiver whose quiet personality endeared him to team president Mike Brown. In December of that year, Henry died when he fell off the back of a truck. Brown later said he thought the ability of “Hard Knocks” to tell personal stories about his players humanized the team and helped change people’s view of the Bengals.

Season result: Cincinnati went 10-6 before losing in the wild-card round of the playoffs to the Jets.

— Coley Harvey

Season 6, 2010: New York Jets

It’s still the highest-rated “Hard Knocks” in series history. Colorful coach Rex Ryan stole the show, entertaining many — and annoying some — with his R-rated vocabulary and nonstop sense of humor. The highlight was the “snack” speech. In a team meeting on the eve of a preseason game, the then-portly Ryan punctuated a tirade by barking at his players, “Let’s go eat a goddamned snack!” The season also featured cornerback Darrelle Revis‘ contentious holdout. In the final scene of the final episode, Revis — after signing a new contract — walked out to practice and rejoined his teammates, who greeted him with a “Rudy” clap.

Season result: The Jets went 11-5 and lost in the AFC Championship Game.

— Rich Cimini

Season 7, 2012: Miami Dolphins

The seventh season of “Hard Knocks” was highlighted by the introduction of then-rookie head coach Joe Philbin and the sudden ending to the career of receiver Chad Johnson. Philbin came off as a stickler for minute details in his first year, including one curious instance in which he picked up trash off the practice field. Philbin also had a short leash on Johnson, who got into a domestic incident with his former wife. In a memorable scene, Philbin brought Johnson into his office and cut him from the team. It turned out to be Johnson’s final shot in the NFL.

Season result: The Dolphins went 7-9 and were mostly competitive in 2012 with a rookie coach and rookie quarterback in Ryan Tannehill. However, they failed to post a winning season for the fourth straight year. The streak would reach seven until the Dolphins finished 10-6 and reached the playoffs last season.

— James Walker

Season 8, 2013: Cincinnati Bengals

One of the most-asked questions as it relates to the 2013 Bengals is this: Does Giovani Bernard still drive the minivan? Thanks to “Hard Knocks,” viewers learned the rookie running back drove a van belonging to his girlfriend’s mother to training camp in Cincinnati as he started getting his bearings in the new city. He no longer drives it. This season also told the story of defensive tackle Larry Black. After a promising start to the summer, the Cincinnati native and undrafted free agent suffered a season-ending ankle injury in a practice. The injury gave a raw glimpse at how quickly dreams can be delayed in the NFL.

Season result: Cincinnati went 11-5 before losing in the wild-card round of the playoffs to the Chargers.

— Coley Harvey

Season 9, 2014: Atlanta Falcons

The most memorable moment from a rather dull season of “Hard Knocks” with the Falcons was the number of fights that arose, some of which appeared to be staged. It started immediately with linebacker Kroy Biermann getting into it with rookie offensive tackle Jake Matthews. Then-coach Mike Smith was more vocal and demonstrative than normal, particularly when it came to regulating the fighting. Joe Hawley, Ra’Shede Hageman and Jacques Smith were involved in the fight as well. Hageman was portrayed as an out-of-control, out-of-shape rookie who kept getting frustrated with himself, which he didn’t appreciate when the episodes aired.

Season result: The Falcons finished 6-10 and missed the playoffs for the second consecutive season.

— Vaughn McClure

Season 10, 2015: Houston Texans

Texans coach Bill O’Brien wasn’t delighted to be on the show but wound up one of its biggest personalities. The show documented a set of brawls during joint practices with Washington and also the Texans’ decision to choose Brian Hoyer as the team’s starting quarterback over Ryan Mallett. Cornerback Charles James and receiver EZ Nwachukwu became fan favorites who then were released by the Texans when they cut the roster to 53 players. James eventually returned.

Season result: The quarterback drama continued after the Texans stopped being filmed, and they started 2-5. They recovered to become a 9-7 playoff team but lost in the first round.

— Tania Ganguli

Season 11, 2016: Los Angeles Rams

A running theme throughout the show was the bizarre convictions of veteran defensive end William Hayes, who firmly disregarded any proof that dinosaurs ever existed and proudly clung to his belief that mermaids might actually be out there. It prompted a trip to the museum, where Hayes hilariously dismissed the fossils on display. It led to a training camp visit by a woman dressed in an Ariel costume. Said Hayes: “This is not something I just thought of a couple years ago. This is something I’ve always believed in.”

Season result: No mermaid or dinosaur, real or otherwise, could have saved the Rams in 2016. Their first season back in Los Angeles was a disaster. They had the worst offense in the NFL, lost their last seven games and finished 4-12. Their longtime head coach, Jeff Fisher, was fired before it was over.

— Alden Gonzalez

Season 11, 2017: Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Quarterback Jameis Winston took center stage as cameras followed him everywhere, including to his childhood home in Bessemer, Alabama, where he stomped on a cockroach and declared, “This cockroach havin’ a baby! This cockroach havin’ a baby, for real! Or they mating. It’s one of ’em.'” But the highlight of the season had to be when the Bucs decided they had to cut kicker Roberto Aguayo, a year after trading up in the second round to draft him. After a dismal rookie season, Aguayo’s struggles continued in training camp, and he was beaten out by veteran Nick Folk. GM Jason Licht said to coach Dirk Koetter, “(Aguayo) can make 20 of his last 20 kicks and then go to a game and nobody’s confident he’s going to make it — not even an extra point. … It’s just such a bigger mistake to keep holding on to him.” The young kicker fought back tears when he got the news from Licht and Koetter: “I let you guys down. I let myself down.”

Season result: The Bucs said all along the show would not be a distraction — and maybe it wasn’t — but the team that many believed would make the playoffs regressed in 2017, posting two five-game losing streaks on their way to a 5-11 season. Winston, who had never missed a game in his first two seasons, sat for five games because of a shoulder injury.

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The new catch rule: uhhhh what?

Here’s The New Part Of The Catch Rule We’ll All Be Confused About

It’s darkly charming that, more than 100 years after the legalization of the forward pass in football, one of the most frustrating parts of the game is not knowing what the NFL considers a catch. The league knows this is a problem, and set priority No. 1 this offseason as simplifying the catch rule. Now we know, in rough terms, what it’ll look like.

Yesterday, Troy Vincent gave a tease:

“Slight movement of the ball, it looks like we’ll reverse that,” Vincent said Tuesday. “Going to the ground, it looks like that’s going to be eliminated. And we’ll go back to the old replay standard of reverse the call on the field only when it’s indisputable.”

Today, the NFL competition committee revealed its recommendations, as relayed by head of officiating Al Riveron. It is expected to be approved by owners at next week’s league meetings.

“The ability to perform such an act.” Yep, that’s it. That’s going to be the main point of debate. A receiver’s going to get hit and lose the ball a beat after putting his second foot down, and the question will be whether he could have made “a football move” or not, and some people will think yes and some will think no and the referees, after a lengthy review, will rule the opposite of whatever you think should have happened.

The NFL is backed into a corner just by dint of using instant replay, because actions and intentions at full-speed bear the scantest resemblance to those same actions viewed on review. Slow motion is alethiological hell.

There’s not really a perfect answer here, but it’d be nice if the NFL’s definition of “catch” resembled what you and I and every English-speaker understand to be a “catch.” Like, if you toss your friend the car keys, you know what it means to say he caught it. (Or dropped it, as the case may be.)

To that end, I’d like to formally propose my foolproof solution to the NFL’s catch rule problem. There will be a tribunal consisting of three 9-year-olds stationed at the league office, or possibly at a California Pizza Kitchen. When a play is challenged or reviewed, the 9-year-olds will be shown the replay. The 9-year-olds will decide—majority rule—if the player caught the ball or if he didn’t. This couldn’t be simpler.

The NFL Ruins Another Fantasy Receiver’s Day

The NFL changed its replay rules this year to create a decision-making Czar who is defined as: “a designated member of the Officiating department at the League office.”  That particular nerd in front of a TV-official is located at a desk in New York City and is in charge of communicating the dumb-fuckery he sees in a monitor from hundreds to thousands of miles away directly with the referee on the field.  The referee on the field then  consults with the round-table of zebras on the field and regurgitates the NYC decision to the rest of the world.

While every fantasy football owner and general fan of the team/player in question sits on pins and needles (literally if you live in Buffalo), inevitably the ref on the field with the microphone clicks onto public-mode and crushes dreams in real time.

It gets even worse when the refs on the field don’t understand why a catch was ruled NOT a catch:

NFL rule 15-2-3 states this: “A decision will be reversed only when there is clear and obvious visual evidence available that warrants the change.”

“Clear and Obvious” sounds like the title for the inevitable biopic film based on Caitlyn Jenner starring the “Going Clear” mega-star, Tom Cruise.

During the game, CBS aired replays from several angles, you be the judge:

Rarely do I agree with anything that CBS’s officiating studio-stooge and Dean Cain stand-in candidate, Dean Blandino says but…..

Even FOX Sports’ own version of Dean Blandino seemed to agree with his network-nemesis of truth and fake news on this matter:

For a league that places 100% of it’s own financial success on a Quarterback’s health and ability to throw it deep, they sure do manage to take away valid catches and scores on a VERY consistent basis.  This catch-non catch rule is a tidal wave of contradiction and inconsistency, which is pretty much on-par for the rest of the NFL’s dealings in general.  So by that standard, the league’s officials and NYC office are right on track for another jelly-of-the-month club kind of season.

Can’t wait to see what kind of rule the NFL puts into place this off-season to take this sinking battleship further into the abyss.  There’s already talk of microchips inside the footballs, drone cameras hovering over the field like a plague of tech-locusts and a reward for kickers who boot the ball between the uprights on a kick-off.

Like, maybe a cookie or something.  By the way, I hate fantasy football and it’s slowly killing me inside.  When I die, I want my headstone to read: “He should’ve just played Tyreek Hill”.

 

 

The Denver Broncos Are…..Bad

After starting the season 3-1 and demolishing the Dallas Cowboys in the process, the Broncos looked on their way to a competitive, possibly playoff-filled season in 2017.  Fast-forward to Week 6, the one-win New York football Giants come to town and EVERY SINGLE wheel on the wagon flies off, barreling down the road, spontaneously catching fire eventually murdering puppies and setting ablaze anything you hold dear in your life.

Now after yesterday’s beyond-frustrating loss to the Cincinnati Bengals, we sit at 3-7 and firmly in last place in the AFC West.  If there was ever a must-win game this season, it was on Sunday.  Here we sit, two years removed from a Super Bowl victory, third degree burns on our body, and our faces stuck in “The Ring” position:

But who’s to blame?

As taboo as it may sound, I blame John Elway.

When Peyton Manning came to Denver in 2012, everyone knew it was his last hurrah.  Four neck surgeries under his belt, but with a little gas left in the tank was the word floating around Manning’s third and final act to his career.  Two Super Bowl appearances with the Broncos, one devastating loss to Seattle and one GREAT win over Cam Newton’s Carolina Panthers helped put an exclamation point on his greatness and HOF career while also procuring Denver’s Papa John’s pizza sales to an all-time high.

Here’s where Elway fits in, when Manning limped his way through the 2015 season with a Super Bowl caliber defense leading the way, Elway had to of seen that the future of the franchise was based on one simple truth: We need a QB for the future worse than Cleveland needs a……well, everything I guess.

Two seasons later we have no actual QB and yet somehow Brock Osweiler is starting games for us after we ran him outta town and he got dumped by two other teams, one of which was the aforementioned Cleveland Frowns.  We’re wasting away our top 5 defense, the prime Von Miller years and any and every opportunity to get back to a Super Bowl.  I mean, Elway couldn’t possibly believe that Trevor Siemian, Paxton Lynch or Brock Osweiler were REALLY going to be the follow-up to Manning, right??  Without opening a whole new can of worms here, Colin Kaepernick is available……I’m just saying.

The Broncos went 12-4 and won the Super Bowl just two seasons ago, and sure there are all sorts of fun, interesting ways to explain the fact that they are now 3-7 and done for the season.  The running game is garbage, our Special Teams looks like a 7th grade JV squad at best. Seriously, what’s going on with our special teams?  You fire Mike McCoy but somehow Brock Olivo (special teams coach) is still cashing checks?  Does he get paid per muffed punt and by opposing team’s Touchdowns?

But the biggest reason is also the most obvious one and the golden rule in the NFL: They don’t have a decent quarterback, and the blame for that rests entirely with Elway.

Firing Mike McCoy is a waste of time at this point in the season, without a QB who can complete a pass beyond 15 yards consistently, nothing else matters.  The Broncos STILL have incredible talent at the skill positions and on the defensive side of the ball, but with no captain at the helm, the blow-up raft of a football team is heading for a glacier the size of the Red Rocks Amphitheater.

 

Nate Boyer Dropped A Knowledge Bomb

Last year when President Frump was elected, I wrote a piece about our country’s momentary laps of human decency and the break-down of our country’s general ethos.  You can read it here.

Then recently the Colin Kaepernick protest became a twitter-fest of classic magician’s diversion tactics from our President, when he attacked every NFL football player who knelt during the national anthem.  In blustering “Great and Powerful Oz” – like form, the Orange Menace (Trump) quickly raised his tiny hand and spewed to the world, “PAY NO ATTENTION TO THE MAN BEHIND THE CURTAIN” as he waived his not-so-magic wand around the country drawing a line in the sand for us all.

On one side, the “Patriots” who honor the flag and what it stands for by arguing points that contradict the entire point of the flag and this country.  On the other side, “Sons of bitches” who kneel in order to stand for those who’s voice will not be heard, they kneel so that they can stand up against tyranny and unjust actions in this country.  The lost messages in this argument have become thicker than Trump’s dumb head.

Almost a year later, we’re further down the rabbit-hole and no red or blue pill is going to pull us out of the darkness and bring us towards the light.  Our country is in shambles, completely dis-jointed and the appointed “leader” is swinging the wrecking-ball.

But today, I read this article on ESPN and felt hope for a mere moment.  Hope for a better future, hope for a discussion and movement forward for EVERYONE.  If you’ve got half a brain, you’ll read it.  If you’re a Trumpian, I’ll warn you it’s a lot longer than 140 characters, so strap your self in.  And maybe, just maybe, you can be more open-minded than our President and think in terms of US instead of ME.


Ex-Green Beret Nate Boyer writes open letter to Trump, Kaepernick, NFL and America

Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” — Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Dear Every Single American,

Every. Single. American. Including President Trump, Colin Kaepernick, and my brothers in arms overseas who are wondering, “what in the hell is going on back there?” I’m sitting in the same chair, in the same apartment that I sat in almost a year ago when I wrote an open letter to Colin Kaepernick. I was hurt when I saw him sitting on the bench during the national anthem, but I’m much more hurt now. Not by him, not by where we’re at now with the protests, but by us.

Simply put, it seems like we just hate each other; and that is far more painful to me than any protest, or demonstration, or rally, or tweet. We’re told to pick a side, there’s a line drawn in the sand “are you with us or against us?” It’s just not who we are, or at least who we’re supposed to be; we’re supposed to be better than that, we’re Americans. This doesn’t even seem to be about right or wrong, but more about right or left.

Today it feels like this national divide isn’t even really about the anthem, or the flag, or kneeling, or sitting, or fists in the air. It’s not about President Donald Trump, it’s not about Colin Kaepernick, it’s not about the military, or even police brutality. It feels like it’s about winning. That’s what makes America so great, our sheer competitiveness. We’re winners, and we won’t quit until victory is ours.

We see it in sports everyday, we “live and die” by the outcomes of our teams. That desire to win at all cost is costing us greatly now among our neighbors. This winning mentality seems to have spilled over into an obsession with being right and not willing to admit that maybe, just maybe we were wrong. We repeat mantras to ourselves like, “no matter what I will never ever surrender.”

“To deploy overseas, train, live with, fight alongside, and ultimately defend foreigners that you have little in common with is truly a challenging task. But returning home to a country that is so divided, so judgmental, and so hateful of one another is almost as difficult to deal with as burying a fallen comrade.”

Nate Boyer on the pulse of America right now

Earlier this week I sat down with a group of five Combat Arms and Special Operations Veterans. The round table discussed our individual feelings on the flag, the anthem, and the players who knelt when it was played. We all had very different takes, but what surprised me most at the end of the discussion was that we all agreed on one thing. Colin Kaepernick and President Trump should be the ones uniting our country together. Wait…what? I know it sounds crazy, but maybe that’s exactly what we need to see. Maybe that’s how we start to heal. Two men sit in a room and talk, simple as that.

That’s how it all started with Colin and I, neither of us knew that kneeling would be the result of our conversation. Colin wanted to sit, I wanted him to stand, and so we found a common ground on a knee alongside his teammates. I believe that progress and real change happens in this world when you reach across the divide, you build a bridge, you swallow your pride, you open your mind, you embrace what you don’t understand, and ultimately you surrender.

Now I don’t pretend to speak for everyone who fought overseas, many veterans rightfully disagree with my position. But I do feel that I echo the sentiments of most war fighters when I say that what we hope for more than anything right now in America is unity. To deploy overseas, train, live with, fight alongside, and ultimately defend foreigners that you have little in common with is truly a challenging task. But returning home to a country that is so divided, so judgmental, and so hateful of one another is almost as difficult to deal with as burying a fallen comrade. In fact we’re still losing our brothers in arms overseas right now and it’s hardly mentioned it in the media; but that’s OK, we don’t risk our lives and sacrifice so much for fanfare or recognition. It’s not at all why we do what we do. We do what we do because you are worth it, because we love you.

I would love for those two leaders to have that conversation, but more than anything I just want us to love one another again. One great thing about freedom is that you get to choose everyday how you treat your neighbor. This IS the best country in the world, but we can always do better. I’m laying it all out there because I have to, I swore to defend this land and its people, and I will die trying. I know some people will hate this (we love to hate things these days), and I’ll get called a disgrace to the Green Beret once again. But I don’t care, the United States means more to me than any of that.

Over the past year I’ve come across veterans from various walks of life. We may actually be the most diverse sub-culture in the America. Since I myself am a Green Beret, I want to share with you a couple of messages that were sent to me from men in my former unit. One of them is white, and one of them is black:

“Hey brother. At first I was with you on the Kaepernick issue. However, I just stood in formation while one of our brothers was pulled off a plane with our nation’s flag draped over the coffin. I had to fight back tears as I saw the pain in the eyes of Staff Sergeant T’s wife and family. While I would like to sit here and tell you that I rose above it all, I have to be honest. My heart filled with rage. Rage for anyone who takes for granted the ideals and symbols that we fight and die for.”

“Hey Brother, this is J. I spent nearly 18 years in 10th Special Forces Group and wish I had an opportunity to meet a brother like yourself. I just want to say I appreciate your views on this national anthem and flag issue. I love our country, but at the same time I have to take the time to tell my sons to act a certain way out of fear for their lives when dealing with police officers. Most of my neighbors and friends here in MD are law enforcement personnel and will tell you they also have to act a certain way to avoid confrontation and situations that normally don’t occur for those that are not of color. Not all officers are bad, the majority I believe are good and poor training is attributed to some of these issues we hear of. I really just want to thank you for your taking the time out to understand and convincing him to take a knee and not sit out on what we have fought for. God Bless You Bro!”

Different backgrounds, different experiences, different colors, but at the end of the day they just want the same basic things for their families.

So please, no more lines in the sand, not at home, not among our people. No more choosing sides, no more “for or against.” I believe our Veterans will be called upon to lead the way in healing the world and solving its problems; right now our country needs that more than I can remember. So I’ll be here, standing in the radical middle, doing what I can to continue fighting for those that can’t fight for themselves. Let’s get this thing fixed together, you and me. I love you all with all my heart.

De Oppresso Liber

— Nate Boyer

Duck, Duck, Goose Reminds Bears Fans They Still Suck

The 1-4 Chicago Bears began the Trubisky-tour 2K17 last night with a loss to the walking Quarterback Injured Reserve List of a franchise, the Minnesota (flapjacks) Vikings.  Trubisky actually impressed in his first rookie start going 12-of-25 passing for 128 yards, one touchdown and one interception.  Not a bad first game for Bears fans, especially considering the previous choices in gun-slinger over the past 6 seasons were: Mike Glennon, Jay Cutler, Brian Hoyer, Matt Barkley, Jimmy Clausen, Josh McCown, Jason Campbell, Caleb Hanie and a zombie-parrot named Chico.

That’s a Cleveland Browns-ian list of QB’s starting and failing at an exceptional pace, so good for you Bears fans.  You might have a QB last more than one season in your lineup, slow clap initiated……..

Head Coach John Fox on Trubisky:

“Our guys feel it. They feel his presence,” I know he scrambled for a first down. I know they were able to do some different things with him as far as attacking the corner. For a first outing, I thought he was really good. I know his teammates feel the same way and he’ll just get better with time.”

And Yet, Colin Kaepernick Still Has No Job…..

originally posted on deadspin.com…..


Brandon Weeden? Brandon Weeden.

The Tennessee Titans have reportedly found a new quarterback to replace an injured Marcus Mariota, and it’s former 28-year-old rookie Brandon Weeden, a.k.a. the most hilarious Cleveland Browns draft pick ever, a.k.a. the guy last seen as a third-stringer behind Tom Savage and Brock Osweiler.

Mariota, who suffered a hamstring injury against the Texans, is questionable for Sunday afternoon’s game at Miami.

Weeden—and not, say, a younger quarterback who actually played or started last year, and whose skill set and scheme experience would be a closer match for the offense run by Mariota—will battle for the starting job against 35-year-old Matt Cassel, who is also old and who also sucks, but at least unlike Weeden, didn’t always suck.

Weeden, seen above getting sacked by the American flag, started 20 games for the Browns in 2012 and 2013, eventually losing the starting role to Jason Campbell. Now 33 years old, he reportedly won a Titans contract over such luminaries as Matt Barkley, Matt McGloin, and T.J. Yates.

Who Will Lead?

Three thoughts I never imagined I’d ponder on a Monday in September:

1.  The NFL and it’s players are under attack, not by worried mothers, not by CTE or brain damage and not by a league-wide plague of herpes….but from our own President of the United States.

Donald Trump:

“Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say, ‘Get that son of a bitch off the field right now, out, he’s fired. He’s fired,'” Trump said. “You know, some owner is going to do that. He’s going to say, ‘That guy that disrespects our flag, he’s fired.’ And that owner, they don’t know it [but] they’ll be the most popular person in this country.”

2.  According to near-sighted people, kneeling is the most disrespectful act a person can demonstrate towards the American flag.

“The flag should never be used as wearing apparel, bedding, or drapery. It should never be festooned, drawn back, nor up, in folds, but always allowed to fall free.”

“The flag should never be carried flat or horizontally, but always aloft and free.”

“It should not be embroidered on such articles as cushions or handkerchiefs and the like, printed or otherwise impressed on paper napkins or boxes or anything that is designed for temporary use and discard.”

“The flag should never be used for advertising purposes in any manner whatsoever.”

“No part of the flag should ever be used as a costume or athletic uniform. However, a flag patch may be affixed to the uniform of military personnel, firemen, policemen, and members of patriotic organizations.”

3.  The country is being divided and bred to harbor anger towards fellow Americans by our own President.

The main question I have at this point, is how did we get here?  How did we go from Colin Kaepernick kneeling to protest the injustice and killing of African American citizens due to a systematic problem with the police department, to Donald Trump calling NFL players “sons of bitches” and creating a false-narrative about patriotism?

The NFL timeline since Colin Kaepernick’s protest, a post-Kaepernick era:

  • Aug 14, 2016- Colin Kaepernick sits for the national anthem…..and no one noticed.
  • Aug 20th, 2016- Colin again sits, and again, no one noticed.
  • Aug 26th, 2016- Colin sits and this time he is met with a monsoon of hatred unseen against an athlete in recent memory.  Even the future President (Trump) of the United States took shots at him while on the campaign trail.  Colin went on to explain his protest had NOTHING to with the military.
  • Aug 30th, 2016 Nate Boyer, a former Army Green Beret turned NFL long snapper, penned an open letter to Colin in the Army Times.  In it he expressed how Colin’s actions affected him.
-Excerpt from the letter:
“I’m not judging you for standing up for what you believe in. It’s your inalienable right. What you are doing takes a lot of courage, and I’d be lying if I said I knew what it was like to walk around in your shoes. I’ve never had to deal with prejudice because of the color of my skin, and for me to say I can relate to what you’ve gone through is as ignorant as someone who’s never been in a combat zone telling me they understand what it’s like to go to war.
Even though my initial reaction to your protest was one of anger, I’m trying to listen to what you’re saying and why you’re doing it.
There are already plenty people fighting fire with fire, and it’s just not helping anyone or anything. So I’m just going to keep listening, with an open mind.
I look forward to the day you’re inspired to once again stand during our national anthem. I’ll be standing right there next to you.  Keep on trying … De Oppresso Liber.”
“De Oppresso Liber” is Latin, a motto of U.S. Army Special Forces, which can be translated to meaning “To free the oppressed,” or possibly “Free from having been oppressed.” Or even “Free from the oppressed one.”
Nate Boyer expressed empathy, and Colin Kaepernick responded by inviting Nate to San Diego to speak with him about the topic.  In the 90-minute discussion between the two men, Nate Boyer suggested a compromise that few and proud among us could only HOPE to reach when in the midst of clashing philosophies.
Nate proposed Colin kneel instead of sit for the National Anthem.
But why kneel?
In a military funeral, after the flag is taken off the casket of the fallen military member, it is folded 13 times and then presented to the parents, spouse or child of the fallen soldier by a fellow service member while KNEELING.  The two decided that kneeling for the flag would symbolize his respect for those that paid the ultimate sacrifice while still allowing Colin to peacefully protest the injustices.
Empathy and understanding is what brought Kaepernick and Boyer to a compromise that both felt was a common ground.  The power of discussion, dialogue and listening overpowered the notion of hate or hubris between the two completely different men.
What can we learn from these two men that we obviously can not learn from our “Commander and Chief”?  We MUST look through the fine-brushed canvas painting portraying patriotism as division and really SEE the truth of ourselves and our country.  The toughest window to look out of is a mirror.
The divide in our country permeated by our country’s “leadership” can be mended, but this bitter argument about a man kneeling during the National Anthem has opened Pandora’s box of confused rhetoric.
A nation divided can not stand.
The truth is out there, but understanding the story without rushing to judgement is the key to any growth or compromise.  From this rubble and ash we need a leader to rise, someone to unify and lead.
  • Great leaders remain positive even when under pressure and scrutiny
  • Great leaders exhibit confidence but not arrogance or hubris
  • Great leaders have a sense of humor but also know when to be serious
  • Great leaders embrace failure and use it as a tool for learning and moving forward Great leaders manage setbacks and manage emotions
  • Great leaders listen intently to the opposition and respond articulately
  • Great leaders inspire and motivate
  • Great leaders take responsibility and never place blame
  • Great leaders make decisions based on experience and lessons learned
  • Great leaders lead by example and commit to doing what’s in the best interest of the group   

 Who will stand and lead?

“The First Amendment (Amendment I) to the United States Constitution prohibits the making of any law respecting an establishment of religion, ensuring that there is no prohibition on the free exercise of religion, abridging the freedom of speech, infringing on the freedom of the press, interfering with the right to peaceably assemble, or prohibiting the petitioning for a governmental redress of grievances. It was adopted on December 15, 1791, as one of the ten amendments that constitute the Bill of Rights.”