Around the NFL  

 

Mailbag: Is it already time to count out the Jets?

Print

The preseason is here. Thank God. We needed something new to complain about. Let's dig back into the mailbag. Thanks to everyone who sent in questions.

Let's get to it.

One of the downsides of Twitter is the high level of schadenfreude that plays out when your favorite team fails or otherwise embarrasses itself on a grand scale. The Jets managed to do both this week. And to think I caught a fair amount of crap for giving the Jets the No. 2 spot in my Pain Rankings this summer.

Let's be clear: The starting quarterback getting his jaw broken into three pieces by a teammate over $600 is something that can only happen to the New York Jets. There are teams that have suffered as much or more than the Jets on the field, but no one touches Gang Green when it comes to hearty embarrassment from which there is no return. I like to say -- or like to tell myself -- that being a Jets fan builds character. But it's really like being in Vegas and getting killed on the blackjack table, only you refuse to get up out of principle. The Football Gods have dealt me 12s and 13s my whole life, but I can't give in -- the fear that the table will turn the second I get up is too great. This, in case you didn't guess, is a special brand of hell.

I bailed on True Detective after the fourth episode. Total letdown, but still miles better than Ballers. If you're going to make another Entourage without our permission, you could have at least given Turtle a job. That's just common sense.

Confession: I have never been in a legitimate fight. In ninth grade, my best friend got into a fist fight at the local playground and I served as his manager (or valet, to use the proper WWE parlance). It was pretty stupid. I will say that the loss of $600 would be pretty crushing in those financially-trying, post-collegiate years. That's a rent check right there! But I was making around $24,000 a year working at a local newspaper when I was 23. IK Enemkpali made over $500,000 as a rookie. To put it into perspective, IK broke his teammate's jaw in two places over, like, $20 to the average guy his age. He's a crazy person and Rex Ryan should be committed for welcoming him into his home.

I talked about this very scenario on the Around The NFL Podcast this week. If you look at Fitzpatrick's career, you can easily talk yourself into some Evil Harvard Genius stuff going on. A significant injury to the guy ahead of him -- and sometimes more than one guy -- has led to starts with six different teams. Six!

The rundown: In 2005, Fitz starts three games for the Rams after both Mark Bulger and Jamie Martin get hurt. In 2008, he starts 12 games for the Bengals after Carson Palmer hurts his elbow. In 2009, he starts eight games for the Bills after Trent Edwards suffers a concussion. In 2013, he starts several games for the Titans after Jake Locker suffers a hip injury. In 2014, he loses his starting job to Ryan Mallett, but quickly gets it back when Mallett suffers a pectoral injury. Now, I know quarterbacks get hurt all the time. But still. Don't count out the Evil Harvard Genius angle.

The Colts are a solid pick, but I think you're getting too cute. The smart money is on the Packers. As Rotoworld's Evan Silva noted in his stellar Offseason Low Down series, the Packers led the NFL in scoring and yards per play despite ranking just 24th in offensive snaps. There's a pretty decent chance last year's Packers team would have been the greatest scoring unit in history if they didn't blow so many teams out, a reality that led to less aggressive second-half playcalling. Then, factor in 1) They return all their key skill position players and O-linemen 2) They could be in season-long rampage mode after the NFC title game meltdown in Seattle and 3) Aaron Rodgers is in his prime and might be -- no joke -- the best quarterback ever. Barring a Rodgers injury, this team feels like a lock for 500 points, with the chance to clear that bar with ease.

I don't think the Redskins will have a top-10 defense and I don't think the offense will be markedly better in Jay Gruden's second year in charge. The Junior Galette signing felt like a desperate move; like seeing a killer outside your door (in this case a locker-room killer) and you invite him in for drinks. And I can't talk myself into a RGIII redemption season. I got sucked into that trap last season. His coaches seem to genuinely dislike him and the knee injury likely robbed him of the athleticism that made him so special in the first place. I hope the guy finds a way to carve out a decent career, if only for the reason that we may get a few more of these bad boys ...

There's a senior class quote I can get behind. By the way, notice Griffin's body language and face after his drops that gem. It's like he can't even believe how cheesy he is.

I, like many other NFL bloggers, cranked out a post Wednesday on the courtroom sketch of Tom Brady that made the photogenic Patriots quarterback look like a monster from a mid-period Stephen King novel. About an hour after I hit publish on the article (titled "Hideous Tom Brady rendering connects with the people"), I happened across a Vice Sports Q&A with Jane Rosenberg, the sketch artist responsible for the Brady rendering.

"Does it bother me, people making fun of me?" Rosenberg asked. "I don't know. It hasn't sunk in yet. I might be very depressed. I'm my biggest critic, myself. So I feel terrible when I do a bad sketch. So when the whole world is criticizing me, I might just kill myself. Or I might just laugh it off. Who knows?"

I'd be lying if this answer didn't briefly lead to me ponder writing a Jerry Maguire-like mission statement about The Problem With Our Business. I didn't do that, though. Next meme please!

I'll give you five, from least to most likely to be canned by Christmas:

5. Jim Tomsula: I'm rooting for Jimmy, but he's been hired to re-arrange Titanic deck chairs.
4. Lovie Smith: Any coach coming off a 14-loss season has to be considered here.
3. Ken Whisenhunt: See above.
2. Jay Gruden: New GM in place, shaky first year, bad roster
1. Joe Philbin: Big expectations, middling roster, three straight seasons at .500 or worse. A vanilla version of vanilla.

You know who deserves some overdue credit for seeing the T-Rich flameout before anybody else? None other than Mr. Jim Brown. Brown called Richardson an "ordinary talent" the day before the Browns selected the former Alabama star with the third-overall pick in the 2012 draft. What seemed like a Get Off My Lawn lament from an old-timer looks pretty prescient now. If anything, Brown still somehow oversold Richardson, who's averaged 3.3 yards per carry in his first four seasons.

That the quarterback numbers matter. Take it from me, the guy who shoveled piles of coal into the Brandon Weeden Hype Machine after a strong preseason run in 2013. You have to treat all quarterback play with extreme suspicion -- there's probably a good chance your underdog signal-caller just carved up a secondary made up of future UPS delivery men and sanitation workers.

If you want to be part of the next mailbag, send your question to @danhanzus. Don't forget to use the hashtag #ATNmailbag or your query will almost certainly be lost in a swarm of binary code.

Print

Fan Discussion