NFL Off-Season: What People Do In Venice Beach For Fun

With the NFL season upon us like a plague of ice-breathing, zombie-dragons; I give you the greatest compilation of NFL-Offseason “bored to death” videos on youtube: “Stuck In Traffic”.

Proving once again that NO MATTER where you live: Venice Beach, California….Manhattan, New York….Richmond, Virginia….or Fort Collins, Colorado, drinking alcohol while filming traffic will always be the most interesting thing you do today.

Thank god it’s football season.

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ESPN’s NFL Fantasy Football TOP 15 Overall Projections

PROJECTED 2017 SEASON STATS
1. Le’Veon Bell, Pit RB YEAR RUSH YDS AVG TD REC YDS TD PTS
2016 Statistics 261 1268 4.9 7 75 616 2 317.4
2017 Projections 303.6 1398.6 4.6 9.8 81.3 669.4 3.8 368.6
2017 Outlook: Bell was suspended for four games to start the 2016 season but still managed to finish fifth at the position in rushing yards, as well as second in targets, receptions and receiving yards. Bell has been on the field for at least 86 percent of the team’s offensive snaps during 25 consecutive games in which he wasn’t injured or limited (25 of his past 28 total). During those 25 games, he was on the field for 95 percent of the snaps and handled 22.2 carries and 6.7 targets per game. The heavy usage allowed him a top-14 fantasy week during all 12 of his outings last season. There’s little reason to expect the 25-year-old to play a reduced role in 2017. His off-field antics are a concern, but Bell is too good to pass on early in the first round of your draft.
2. David Johnson, Ari RB YEAR RUSH YDS AVG TD REC YDS TD PTS
2016 Statistics 293 1239 4.2 16 80 879 4 407.8
2017 Projections 307.1 1229.7 4.0 11.6 77.8 782.2 4.1 368.5
2017 Outlook: Johnson’s breakout 2016 campaign was the highlight of a comeback year at the running back position. Fantasy’s top-scoring running back accrued 2,118 yards and 20 touchdowns on 373 touches. Johnson paced all backs in targets, receptions, receiving yards and end-zone targets (four). He carried the ball inside the opponent’s 5-yard line 22 times (second most). Johnson’s pedestrian rushing efficiency (4.2 YPC, including 1.6 after contact) is far from ideal, but he more than made up for it with volume; Johnson registered a top-10 fantasy week during a position-best 75 percent of his outings. Johnson is in his prime at age 25 and positioned well to again see 22-24 touches every week.
3. Antonio Brown, Pit WR YEAR TAR REC YDS AVG TD RUSH YDS TD PTS
2016 Statistics 155 106 1284 12.1 12 3 9 0 307.3
2017 Projections 159.3 107.7 1420.1 13.2 7.6 4 22.3 0.1 302.2
2017 Outlook: How high were expectations for Brown last season? His 106-catch, 1,284-yard, 12-touchdown season was widely regarded as a letdown. Brown missed a game, but still topped wide receivers in fantasy points for the third consecutive season. He finished top-five in targets, receptions and receiving yards for the fourth straight year. Brown turns 29 this year, so he still figures to have a few years of top-end production left in the tank. Ben Roethlisberger’s top target and fantasy’s most consistently dominant wide receiver should be off the board early in the first round of your draft.
4. Julio Jones, Atl WR YEAR TAR REC YDS AVG TD RUSH YDS TD PTS
2016 Statistics 129 83 1409 17.0 6 0 0 0 259.9
2017 Projections 142.2 95.7 1434.4 15.0 7.4 0 0 0 284.1
2017 Outlook: Jones missed two games with a toe injury, but still managed to finish sixth among wide receivers in fantasy points last season. Jones’ target share dipped a bit, but Matt Ryan’s top target thrived in the breakout offense of the year. Despite eclipsing eight touchdowns in a season just once in his career, Jones has finished as a top-11 fantasy receiver during four of the past five seasons. Durability continues to be an issue for Jones, as he’s missed at least one game during four of his six NFL seasons. The Atlanta offense will surely come back to earth a bit this season, but 28-year-old Jones is arguably the game’s best talent at the position. Select him in the middle of the first round.
5. Odell Beckham Jr., NYG WR YEAR TAR REC YDS AVG TD RUSH YDS TD PTS
2016 Statistics 169 101 1367 13.5 10 1 9 0 296.6
2017 Projections 159.8 97.4 1312.4 13.5 8.1 0 0 0 276.5
2017 Outlook: Beckham’s 2016 season started slowly, but he ended up posting career bests in both targets (167) and receptions (101). Beckham has now managed at least 91 receptions, 1,305 yards and 10 touchdowns during each of his first three pro seasons. He’s finished as a top-seven fantasy wide receiver each of those years. Beckham is known more for his highlight reel catches, but he also ranked seventh in the NFL with 15 end zone targets last season (up from 11 in 2015). The 24-year-old superstar is just getting started and should only benefit from New York’s offseason addition of Brandon Marshall and first-round pick Evan Engram. Beckham is a low-risk, high-ceiling pick early in the first round of fantasy drafts.
6. Mike Evans, TB WR YEAR TAR REC YDS AVG TD RUSH YDS TD PTS
2016 Statistics 175 96 1321 13.8 12 0 0 0 304.1
2017 Projections 159.5 86.8 1202.1 13.8 8.7 0 0 0 260.2
2017 Outlook: Evans was terrific during his first two years in the NFL, but he took his game to a new level in 2016. Evans paced the NFL with 170 targets, a league-high 20 of which came in the end zone, and ranked top-six in receptions, receiving yards and touchdowns. A 6-foot-5 downfield weapon, Evans has ranked top-10 at the position in average depth of target each of his first three seasons in the NFL, which justifies his substandard 54 percent catch rate. Fantasy’s No. 4-scoring wideout was consistent but not dominant, posting only four top-10 fantasy weeks, which tied for ninth. The additions of DeSean Jackson and O.J. Howard will take some heat off of Evans and won’t cost him many targets and scoring opportunities. Evans is a solid WR1.
7. LeSean McCoy, Buf RB YEAR RUSH YDS AVG TD REC YDS TD PTS
2016 Statistics 234 1267 5.4 13 50 356 1 298.3
2017 Projections 240.8 1191.6 4.9 7.4 51.7 416.5 1.7 264.4
2017 Outlook: McCoy turns 29 this summer, but his age and hefty career volume of work didn’t seem to slow him in 2016. Far from it, in fact. McCoy ranked in the top six in rushing yards for the fourth time in six years and, thanks in part to elite run blocking, his 5.4 YPC ranked fifth among backs. McCoy posted a top-10 fantasy week during 53 percent of his 15 outings (sixth best) and finished fourth at the position in fantasy points. McCoy also caught an incredible 50 of 55 targets (91 percent). Buffalo won’t be quite as run heavy with Rex Ryan gone, but McCoy is an explosive lead back in an offense that ranked seventh in touchdowns per game last year. He’s a quality RB1 option.
8. A.J. Green, Cin WR YEAR TAR REC YDS AVG TD RUSH YDS TD PTS
2016 Statistics 100 66 964 14.6 4 0 0 0 186.4
2017 Projections 151.6 96.1 1312.7 13.7 7.6 0 0 0 273.1
2017 Outlook: The Bengals’ 2016 season was marred by injuries and Green was caught up in the onslaught. After posting at least 1,000 receiving yards during his first six seasons, Green caught 66 passes for 964 yards and four scores in 10 games in 2016. He finished an NFL-best 70 percent of his 10 starts as a top-30 non-PPR fantasy receiver. He’s finished top-nine at the position in PPR during three of the past five seasons, but has missed a total of nine games due to injury over the past three seasons. Green turns 29 years old this year and remains one of the best and most heavily targeted wideouts in the league.
9. Jordy Nelson, GB WR YEAR TAR REC YDS AVG TD RUSH YDS TD PTS
2016 Statistics 152 97 1257 13.0 14 0 0 0 304.7
2017 Projections 140.5 92.2 1276.5 13.8 9.9 0 0 0 279.4
2017 Outlook: Considering that he missed his entire age-30 season with a torn ACL, it was fair to wonder just how effective Nelson would be in 2016. It turns out the answer was ‘very,’ as Nelson caught 97 passes for 1,257 yards and 14 touchdowns en route to finishing second among wide receivers in fantasy points. Nelson’s seven top-10 fantasy weeks were second-most at the position and he finished 35th or better during all but two of his 16 outings. Nelson has finished second, third, 13th and fourth during the past four seasons in which he’s appeared in all 16 games. He scored 13-plus touchdowns during three of those campaigns. Nelson’s age (32) is enough to knock him down a few spots, but he’s still a quality target near the first/second-round turn.
10. Devonta Freeman, Atl RB YEAR RUSH YDS AVG TD REC YDS TD PTS
2016 Statistics 227 1079 4.8 11 54 462 2 284.1
2017 Projections 202.3 858.9 4.2 9.5 52.2 446.9 3.3 259.6
2017 Outlook: Freeman registered 57 fewer touches in 2016 than he did when he led all running backs in fantasy points in 2015, but the dynamic young back produced only 32 fewer fantasy points. Freeman posted a healthy 4.8 YPC, thanks, in part, to terrific blocking (3.2 yards before contact per attempt ranked seventh) and high-value carries (his 16 carries inside the opponent’s 5-yard line ranked fifth). Freeman ranked ninth in rushing yards and fifth in receiving yards at the position. He posted seven top-10 fantasy weeks. The presence of Tevin Coleman, departure of Kyle Shanahan and some offensive regression to the mean will lead to a statistical step back for Freeman, but he’s still a back-end RB1 option in all formats.
11. T.Y. Hilton, Ind WR YEAR TAR REC YDS AVG TD RUSH YDS TD PTS
2016 Statistics 156 91 1448 15.9 6 0 0 0 273.8
2017 Projections 146.8 84.1 1292.6 15.4 7.4 0 0 0 258.2
2017 Outlook: Following four years as essentially a solid No. 2 fantasy receiver, Hilton took his game to a new level in 2016. The 5-foot-9, 180-pound playmaker caught 91 of 153 targets for 1,448 yards, all of which were career highs. Hilton averaged 9.5 yards per target (10th best) and finished as a top-10 fantasy receiver during 38 percent of his outings (sixth best). Hilton isn’t a great source of touchdowns, averaging exactly six per season since entering the league, but he makes up for it with heavy volume and high-end efficiency in the Colts’ pass-heavy, Andrew Luck-led offense.
12. Melvin Gordon, LAC RB YEAR RUSH YDS AVG TD REC YDS TD PTS
2016 Statistics 254 997 3.9 10 41 419 2 250.6
2017 Projections 295.7 1196.6 4.0 6.9 42.6 341.3 1.9 245.9
2017 Outlook: Gordon enjoyed a breakout 2016 season, but it would’ve been even better if not for a season-ending hip injury suffered in Week 14. Gordon entered that game with 12 touchdowns and third at the position in fantasy points. Gordon was limited to 3.9 YPC on the season but was good after contact (his 2.0 YAC ranked 16th). Gordon registered 17 carries inside the opponent’s 5-yard line (third most) and his 419 receiving yards ranked ninth. Gordon is entering his prime years at age 24 and will again be the clear feature back for an emerging Los Angeles franchise. Select him in the second round of your draft.
13. Michael Thomas, NO WR YEAR TAR REC YDS AVG TD RUSH YDS TD PTS
2016 Statistics 122 92 1137 12.4 9 0 0 0 255.7
2017 Projections 131.9 94.2 1171.6 12.4 8 0 0 0 258.7
2017 Outlook: Thomas was fantasy’s No. 7 wide receiver despite missing one game as a rookie. The Ohio State product caught 77 percent of his targets (third best among wideouts) and averaged 9.5 yards per target (ninth). He posted an impressive nine top-30 fantasy weeks during his final 13 games of the season. New Orleans’ second-round pick from 2016 is obviously in the WR1 mix, especially with Brandin Cooks gone, but keep in mind that a Saints wide receiver has exceeded a 20 percent target share only once during the Sean Payton/Drew Brees era (Thomas averaged a 20 percent share as a rookie). Nonetheless, Brees will back under center in 2017, so the 24-year-old Thomas is a great bet for a huge second season.
14. Jordan Howard, Chi RB YEAR RUSH YDS AVG TD REC YDS TD PTS
2016 Statistics 252 1313 5.2 6 29 298 1 230.1
2017 Projections 273.4 1245.5 4.6 8 31.8 258.8 1.4 236.7
2017 Outlook: Howard opened his rookie season third on Chicago’s depth chart, but it didn’t take the intriguing fifth-round pick long to work his way into workhorse duties. The big man ranked 11th in the league in carries, but his terrific effectiveness (5.2 YPC, 2.2 YAC) allowed him the second-most rushing yards. Howard’s hands (position-high eight drops) are a concern, but he still managed 48 targets and averaged a healthy 10.3 yards per reception. Touchdowns may elude Howard in Chicago’s underwhelming offense, but the 22-year-old emerging star will push for 20 touches every week. Upgrade him slightly in non-PPR.
15. DeMarco Murray, Ten RB YEAR RUSH YDS AVG TD REC YDS TD PTS
2016 Statistics 293 1287 4.4 9 53 377 3 293.8
2017 Projections 248.4 1088.6 4.4 8 43.5 310 1.8 239.7
2017 Outlook: Following a rough year in Philadelphia, Murray reassumed his spot as one of the game’s top tailbacks with 1,664 yards from scrimmage in Tennessee last year. Murray averaged a healthy 4.4 yards per carry despite facing an average of 8.1 in-box defenders (fourth highest). Murray ranked third at the position in carries and sixth in receptions, which helped him to his third top-six fantasy season in four years. Once labeled as injury prone, Murray has missed one game in the past three seasons. Murray is now 29, and Derrick Henry’s role only figures to expand, but the veteran remains the lead back and a three-down contributor in one of the game’s most run-heavy offenses.

Former Dallas Cowboys WR, Lucky Whitehead Might Be The Most Unlucky Guy In The NFL

The Dallas Cowboys cut third-year wide receiver Lucky Whitehead yesterday after news surfaced that he had missed a July court hearing after being arrested for shoplifting from a Virginia convenience store on June 22.  The big problem with this is that it wasn’t ACTUALLY him that was arrested.

Immediately, Whitehead’s agent called bullshit on the situation.  Citing that Whitehead was not in Virginia at the time of the crime, and that news of his arrest came down to a case of mistaken identity. Arrest records showed that whoever was booked in Prince William County for petit larceny on June 22nd gave Whitehead’s name, birthday and social security number to cops.

This morning, Prince William County Sgt. Jonathan Perok gave a statement admitting that Whitehead was in fact not ( a marine biologist) the man arrested on June 22nd.  The criminal genius who was arrested in the parking lot didn’t have an ID, so he gave cops Whitehead’s birthday and social security number.

Upon reviewing the June 22, 2017 arrest of an individual named “Rodney Darnell Whitehead, Jr.”, the police department is confident that the man charged with petit larceny, and who is subsequently being sought on an active warrant for failure to appear in court, is not Lucky Whitehead of the Dallas Cowboys.

The man charged on the morning of June 22 was not in possession of identification at the time of the encounter; however, did verbally provide identifying information to officers, which included a name, date of birth, and social security number matching that of Rodney Darnell Whitehead, Jr. Officers then checked this information through the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) database. The DMV photo on file was then used to compare to the man who was in custody. Officers acted in good faith that, at the time, the man in custody was the same man matching the information provided.

At this point, the police department is also confident in confirming that Mr. Whitehead’s identify was falsely provided to police during the investigation. The police department is currently seeking the identity of the man involved in the incident. Since the identifying information provided by the arrestee during the investigation was apparently false, the police department is working with the Prince William County Commonwealth Attorney’s Office to clear Mr. Whitehead from this investigation. The police department regrets the impact these events had on Mr. Whitehead and his family.

Whitehead has probably had the worst, strangest, most random off-season of an NFL summer in recent memory.  First, he lost his dog in a bizarre ransom, dog stealing operation, then he was cut a week later by the Cowboys over this legal misunderstanding.  The Cowboys supposedly cut him because of the “totality of dumb stuff” that filled his offseason, a conclusion that I must remind you came from Whitehead getting a dog stolen/ransomed and also being the victim of identity theft.

Garrett’s statement after the release also stressed the moral standards the Cowboys aim to uphold:

“There’s a certain way that we want to handle ourselves on and off the field. There’s a standard that we have,” Garrett said. “We believe very strongly in adhering to those standards and trying to uphold them each and every day in everything that we do.

“When you have someone in your program, in this environment, in this structure, and they don’t grow and develop and they make the same mistakes over and over again, it’s time to move on.”

First thing f&^%kin last on this whole situation, Whitehead (seemingly) had NOTHING to do with either of these extremely random situations.  If the Cowboys are trying to make a statement to the rest of the team about “appropriate behavior”, then they failed miserably.  This would be like punishing your dog because your moron-entitled-bullshit cat took a dump on your pillow while you were at the dog park (with the dog).  To quote the great American philosopher, Biff Tannen:

“That makes about as much sense as a screen door on a battleship”

Meanwhile, the Cowboys organization is hiding behind “morally” cutting Whitehead for absolutely no reason at all instead of just being honest and saying that he’s the 4th receiver on the depth chart and more than likely will be replaced by week 2 anyway.  The real fact is that this remains an organization with a high tolerance for bullshit.  And Lucky Whitehead was unlucky enough to be the scapegoat.

Calvin Johnson Says What Everyone Already Knows

originally posted on deadspin.com


Calvin Johnson Says He Retired Because The Lions Weren’t Going Anywhere

Kena Krutsinger/Getty Images

In the year since Calvin Johnson unexpectedly retired from the NFL at age 30, the wide receiver has hinted at some displeasure with the Detroit Lions, mostly over the team’s attempt to recoup his signing bonus, but he’d never indicated that the Lions had anything to do with him walking away from the sport. Now he has, and it’s about what you’d think.

In Italy doing press ahead of the Italian Bowl, the championship game of American football in that country, Johnson said the Lions’ futility definitely played a part in his decision to quit, in addition to the toll football was taking on his body.

“I didn’t see a chance for them to win a Super Bowl at the time,” Johnson said.“For the work I was putting in, it wasn’t worth my time, to keep on beating my head up against the wall, and not go anywhere.

“It’s the definition of insanity.”

“That’s everybody’s goal, when they come to the league, is to win a Super Bowl. That’s the ultimate goal. … I wanted to win it, and like I said, I just didn’t see that opportunity [with the Lions].”

Johnson implied he would still be in the NFL if the Lions had allowed him to go anywhere else. Detroit has historically denied players’ requests for trades (as Barry Sanders found out upon his early retirement), and the Lions apparently refused Johnson’s request to be released to go elsewhere.

“I mean, I thought about it,” Johnson said, when asked if he thought about changing teams. “Just like in basketball, you know, guys, they create these superteams. But it’s not quite like that in football where I had the freedom just to go. I was stuck in my contract with Detroit, and they told me, they would not release my contract, so I would have to come back to them.”

The asymmetry in football contracts is striking: Teams can end them at any time for any reason and just stop paying what they agreed to, but players are trapped in them. At the time Johnson retired, he still had four years left on his deal.

The management bootlickers are already out in force this morning, but some facts are unchangeable. Like that Megatron was the best and often only reason to watch the Lions for most of a decade. And that the NFL is a worse place without him. And that two of the most exciting skill position players ever to play the sport left it early because Detroit couldn’t build a real contender.

Around the NFL Offseason (there is no offseason)

Jordan Cameron Retires After Four Concussions In Four Years: “I Can’t Risk My Mental Health In The Future”

Miami Dolphins tight end Jordan Cameron announced his retirement yesterday at the age of 28. After suffering four concussions in four years, he said that the possibility of long-term health risks was too much. As he told ESPN yesterday:

“I started thinking about concussions too much. You can’t play football like that…. If I didn’t get concussions, I’d probably keep playing. It’s one of those things. I can’t risk my mental health in the future. I don’t have any symptoms now. I’m perfectly fine. But they can’t tell me with 100 percent certainty that if I keep playing and I get more concussions, that I’m going to be okay. I’m not risking that at all. There’s nothing more important than your health. It’s just not worth it to me.”

The Dolphins had expressed concern about his long-term potential in the NFL back in October, a few weeks after his last concussion. He signed with Miami two years ago—then just a season removed from an 80-catch, 917-yard Pro Bowl season with the Browns. But he never reached those heights again and his concussions meant that he only played in three games last year.

 Though he has been cleared by a neurologist to return to play, he’s decided it isn’t worth it. When asked by ESPN if he felt the NFL had properly educated him on the danger of concussions before he was drafted in 2011, he said he personally believed that they’d done what they could at the time: “I want to say I hope they didn’t know the serious implications of these things. I feel like it was just starting, just on the brink of this coming to light and all the seriousness of these things. Now I feel like seven years later people know how serious this can be. Unfortunately it takes people dying to figure that out. That’s the saddest thing in the world to me.”

God Help Them, The Cleveland Browns Are Trying To Outsmart The NFL

Reaction to the Cleveland Browns’ surprising trade with the Houston Texans for Brock Osweiler Thursday ran the gamut from fulsome praise to “Bill Polian Yells At Cloud.” Cleveland indeed waded into new territory (for the NFL) by using its extraordinary surplus of salary cap space to essentially trade for a higher draft pick, with Osweiler serving as simply a means to an end. It’s the latest chip in the Browns’ protracted effort to amass draft capital, and while it’s certainly an innovative approach, it’s still just an early step.

First, a look at the terms:

  • Cleveland receives: Osweiler, 2017 sixth-round pick, 2018 second-round pick
  • Houston receives: 2017 fourth-round pick, $10 million in cap savings

Osweiler sucks and is due $16 million in guaranteed salary, for which the Browns are now on the hook. The trade gave the Texans an easy escape from the laughably bad contract they gave Osweiler last year while also providing them with the flexibility to pursue another experienced starter, most likely Tony Romo. It was quickly reported that Cleveland intended to release or trade Osweiler—moves that would require the Browns to eat all or a significant portion of his 2017 salary—but even that’s in keeping with the grander plan.

When chief operating officer Paul DePodesta and general manager Sashi Brown were hired in January 2016, they made no secret of their intention to take a quantitative approach to Cleveland’s rebuild. DePodesta and Brown began their project last year by letting several in-house free agents (offensive linemen Alex Mack and Mitchell Schwartz, wideout Travis Benjamin, free safety Tashaun Gipson) walk before twice trading down in the first round of the draft. The Browns were rewarded with four compensatory picks (a third-rounder, two fourths, and a fifth) to add to their boatload of draft choices.

 All told, Cleveland now has 11 picks each in this year’s and next year’s drafts. That haul includes five of the first 65 overall selections this year and four picks in the first two rounds next year. The Browns also maneuvered to set themselves up with a whopping $102 million in salary cap space this year, right when the timing was perfect. The league’s cash-spending rules require teams to spend 89 percent of the salary cap, but only in cumulative, four-year increments. And this is the first year of the latest increment, which runs from 2017 to 2020.

What the Browns did, insofar as Osweiler concerns them, is use some of that surplus cap room toward a sunk cost (Osweiler’s $16 million in guarantees) that allowed them to obtain Houston’s 2018 second-round pick in exchange for flipping late-round picks this year. It’s an NBA-style move that’s drawing comparisons to what Sam Hinkie did with The Process in Philadelphia. ESPN’S Bill Barnwell went deep to try to gauge the relative value of the assets the Browns swapped, in addition to the gray areas of whether a trade like this is even permitted by the NFL, which prohibits dealing players straight up for cash. But the larger question is this: What will Cleveland ultimately do with all these draft assets? They’re worthless unless some of them are used to obtain good football players.

 Stockpiling draft choices is not a novel strategy, even for the stodgy-ass NFL. As Barnwell noted, the Jimmy Johnson-era Cowboys of the late 1980s and early ‘90s did it by trading running back Herschel Walker. The Packers and Patriots have been doing it for years. And from 1996-2014, the Ravens hoarded 41 compensatory picks, more than any team in the league. As Ravens assistant GM Eric DeCosta told The MMQB’s Jenny Vrentas:

“We look at the draft as, in some respects, a luck-driven process. The more picks you have, the more chances you have to get a good player. When we look at teams that draft well, it’s not necessarily that they’re drafting better than anybody else. It seems to be that they have more picks. There’s definitely a correlation between the amount of picks and drafting good players.”

All of the above are success stories, but it doesn’t always work out that way. In 2014, then-Jets GM John Idzik wiped the team’s cap slate clean and entered the draft with 12 picks—a deliberate attempt to mimic the Ravens’ strategy. Idzik was canned at the end of that season in part because he and head coach Rex Ryan had been so horribly mismatched, but also because nearly every one of those 12 picks (Jace Amaro in the second round, Jalen Saunders and Shaq Evans in the fourth, to name a few) turned out to be a dud. The Browns have (in theory) set themselves up nicely with a fresh approach into an old system. Actually getting players is when the hard part begins.


Here Is A Thing That Happened In Tim Tebow’s Spring Training Debut

(just seeing if you’re paying attention)

At the start of the bottom of the third inning, New York Mets designated hitter Tim Tebow left the dugout to get some warm-up swings in before stepping into the box. But, strangely, he walked all the way around behind the plate—from the Mets dugout on the third-base side to the on-deck circle in front of the visitors’ dugout, on the first-base side.

Boston’s Rick Porcello, warming up on the mound, said he assumed it was a bat boy. After all, why would a Mets player be over there?

After a few swings, home plate umpire Ryan Additon noticed Tebow in the wrong on-deck circle, and told Tebow to get back to his side of the field. Tebow sheepishly complied.

Afterward Tebow explained his mistake, saying he had always thought that lefty batters warm up on that side of the field no matter which team they play for.

“I thought you walk around because you’re a left-hander. I found out you don’t do that.”

“It looked like he hadn’t played baseball in a while,” Mets hitting coach Kevin Long said.

“He’s so far behind on the nuances of the game,” Mets OF Jay Bruce said.

“Definitely there’s a lot of things I’m trying to play catch-up on,” Tebow said.

Tebow went 0-for-3, with two strikeouts and a grounder into a double play. He reached base when he was hit by a pitch; he was promptly doubled off on a soft liner when he strayed too far from first.

 Here are some highlights:

The Minnesota Vikings Hate Birds

As Expected, The New Vikings Stadium Is Killing A Record Number Of Birds

Jim Mone/AP Images

No one can say they didn’t see this coming. Well, the birds can.

The Audubon Society warned that U.S. Bank Stadium, huge and glassy and inviting, would prove a “death trap” for birds who smacked into its massive walls. Now they’ve got the data to prove it. It is, by far, the deadliest building in Minneapolis.

Over a span of 11 weeks, volunteers from three conservation groups undertook regular circuits of the stadium, which officially opened last year. They discovered 60 dead birds, and 14 more “stunned” birds which had flown into the glass and were injured or distressed. City Pages has a good write-up, but if you want to dive into the details, the full report is available here—complete with lots of photos of dead birds, and mortality charts by species.

Audubon Chapter of Minneapolis
Audubon Chapter of Minneapolis

That’s 60 deaths in a single migration period, and doesn’t count the birds that were disposed of when volunteers weren’t there. (Interviews with maintenance staff and security guards indicate they regularly remove bird bodies.) Over a three-year period that projects to about 500 bird deaths. The previous recorded high for a single building in Minneapolis over three years was 250.

“We knew that the glass would be highly confusing to the birds,” volunteer Jim Sharpsteen says. “They see a reflection of a blue sky in the glass, they think it’s a blue sky. They see reflections of trees, they think they can land in those reflections of trees. This confirmed what we already believed would be bad.”

There are relatively simple things the Vikings and the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority could do to severely reduce the mortality rates, including installing glass with a visible patten. That’s what they did at New York’s Javits Center, and immediately cut bird deaths by 90 percent.

Conservation groups, including the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, were calling for the stadium to be made bird-safe for years before it opened (in line with Minnesota Department of Commerce guidelines, which would appear to require it for all publicly financed structures like), but the MSFA declined to take any steps. There’s no indication they intend to do anything about it even now. Enjoy your bird mass grave, Vikings fans.

Ranking The Remaining Playoff QBs

We’ve reached the NFL’s Final Four (all rights reserved by the NCAA), only the toughest, meanest and most photogenic teams are left.  Well, except for the Steelers, they re-define “ugly football”.

This weekend the REAL playoffs begin, let’s be honest no one out there really believed in Houston, Las Vegas (Oakland), Kansas City the ghost of Seattle and/or the Jerry Jones disciples in Dallas.  The cream of the crop and the superstars always show-out in the playoffs, I’m talking about players and coaches combined.  The Pats are a pillar of consistency for the AFC championship game, the Tim Allen of the NFL, if you will permit me to obscurely reference (doesn’t it seem like he’s ALWAYS working??).  New England is in their 6th straight AFC championship game; death, taxes and Patriots in the AFC Championship game are the only absolutes in this life.  Good luck to you Steeler fans, don’t forget your live-streaming devices.

Divisional Playoffs - Baltimore Ravens v New England Patriots

In the NFC, we’ve got two incredibly hot (so hot right now) teams in what will be the Mad Max of an NFC Championship game.  Absolute chaos lead by pass-crazy, do everything yourself, not following any of society’s rules, Quarterbacks both vying for the sweat cream of a trip to the Superbowl.   Aaron Rodgers has been borderline videogame satus, throwing darts and strikes like he was Michael van Gerwen or Ravichandran Ashwin.  Extra points if you can tell me who either of those guys are, without clicking the links.

With the remaining gunslingers left in the NFL-Koi pond, the question naturally arises:  Who’s the best QB left in the playoffs, RIGHT NOW?

Obviously, these four passers are among the league leaders in just about every category.  One of Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers or Matt Ryan is likely to win the AP’s MVP award this season, while Ben Roethlisberger isn’t far off from their 2016 standard.  Roethlisberger comes in as the 10th-best passer in the league by opponent-adjusted Total QBR, while Ryan, Brady and Rodgers each rank in the top four. The only top-four passer missing is Dak Prescott, who’s soul was imploded by Rodgers on Sunday.

So who ya got?  RIGHT NOW, leading your team the rest of the way?

Tom Brady:

tombrady

He’s Tom Brady.  12-time Pro Bowler, 4-time Superbowl Champ, 2-time Superbowl MVP.  And just to re-iterate the point, he’s TOM BRADY.   Over the last 5 games (Houston, Miami, New York Jets, Denver and Baltimore) Mr. Bundchen has gone 101 out of 168 for 1,371 yds and 11 TDs.  He’s had a QBR of 74.96 and the golden locks of an angel high on heavenly opiates.  He’s gone 5-0 against 3 of the NFL’s top 10 defenses to round out his yellow-brick road travels to the AFC Championship game.

Ben Roethlisberger:

bigben

Big Ben, the 5-time Pro Bowler and 2-time Superbowl champ has been his normal, scrambly, impossible to freaking tackle, water-buffalo with a rocket for an arm-self in 2016.  When Ben is healthy, he’s a Top 5 QB in the league.  He’s gone 5-0 to lead his Steel-curtain boys through the end of the regular season and make this AFC Championship run, beating Buffalo, Cincinnati, Baltimore, Miami and Kansas City.  Over the last 5 games, Big Ben has gone 95 out of 149 for 1,206 yds and 6 TDs.  His QBR is only at 58.9, but it goes along with 2 broken ankles, 3 lacerated pelvises, 6 cracked vertebrae and a scorching case of herpes.  Big Ben is an animal, the guy only needs one leg and a half an arm to make a back-shoulder throw to Antonio Brown for a 70-yard touchdown.

Matt Ryan:

mattryan

Matt Ryan has been on a tear this season, posting career highs in basically every offensive category and making a very strong push for MVP of the league, not to mention being just a really, really nice guy.  I mean look at him , doesn’t he seem like the kind of guy that’d hold the door open for an old lady, or stop traffic for a family of ducks?  In his last 5 games, his overall QBR has been a staggering 86.68, which leads the remaining playoff QBs.  He’s thrown for 14 TDs (tied with Rodgers) and 1,469 yds in the last 5 games, taking the Falcons through LA, SF, Carolina, New Orleans and Seattle to finish the regular season strong and procure a spot in the NFC Championship.  If it wasn’t for Aaron Rodgers’ late game heroics and badly-acted but somehow still funny every time-State Farm commercials, EVERYONE would be talking about Matt Ryan’s MVP season in 2016.

Aaron Rodgers:

arodgers

Discount Double-Check has been damn near perfect over the last 5 games.  He’s raised his normal greatness to another level of ludicrous-greatness (we can’t stop, it’s too dangerous), and if he leads his injury-ridden Packers squad to the Superbowl then he’s solidified himself as the 2016 MVP and the biggest late-season hero in green since the Grinch gave the Whos from Whoville their presents back.  I’m not sure if it’s the luck of the Irish or if Aaron Rodgers has a deal with the devil, but he’s been on fire and seems unstoppable the rest of the way.   I’m not gonna give you any stats, cause Mr. Rodgers doesn’t need numbers to win games……nerd.

 

Football Fan Fights Of 2016

As the year ends and we all reflect upon the ups, the downs, the itches, the scratches, the zigs and the zags, and the many, many drunken decisions we may have botched during past 365 days, one fact remains true EVERY single year; drunk football fans love to throw bows and knuckle up when they feel they’re shitty team has been disrespected.

With the help of the world wide interwebs, I’ve collected a few of the highlighted fan-fights from the past year.  Enjoy.

JAGS vs. BEARS (combined 6-24 records)

DOLPHINS vs 49ERS (Niners fans are so cute)

CHIEFS vs RAIDERS (sons even a mother couldn’t love)

MIAMI vs WEST VIRGINIA (College’s equivalent of RAIDERS vs CHIEFS)

sidenote: so many good things in this video, the WVU fan had a prosthetic leg……and the Miami fan gave him the “club punch”, punch and run!  Do you see the irony?

CARDINALS vs 49ers (seeing a theme here with SF fans?)

GIANTS vs EAGLES (Giants fan gets knocked out in front of his GF)

RAIDERS vs RAIDERS (is there anything MORE Raiders than this?)