Apparently Giants defensive coordinator Perry Fewell didn't get the league memo about raising sensitivity toward concussions… how else do you explain the hellacious pass rush he unleashed Sunday night that reduced the Bears QB depth chart to 1) Caleb Hanie, 2) the punter, 3) sending an intern to run around the luxury suites to see if anyone is hosting Bobby Douglass.
I was reminded of old AFL games, when there were no rules against roughing the passer and guys invested a 110 percent effort into making the quarterback burst into tears… once he woke up in the hospital. At one point, it seemed like Jay Cutler was sacked on six consecutive plays. Upon further review of the game log, he was -- albeit spread out over three different "drives." (I have to put that in quotations because "drive" is an awfully big word for these crimes against moving the chains.) The greatest show on turf it wasn't. More like the training camp sessions a few years back when the Bills literally put an alarm clock on Drew Beldsoe in an attempt at torturing him into getting rid of the ball faster than your typical park statue. Fewell may have arrived in Buffalo after that debacle, but I have a funny feeling he heard the stories.
It made for an incredibly awkward Sunday night, which we all know makes for great TV.
It was hard not to suffer whiplash as pre-game sound bites of Cutler and Mike Martz talking about the instant chemistry they had in the offseason smash-cut to blocking breakdowns, missed reads, Cutler refusing to release the ball for what seemed like minutes, and ultimately walking to the wrong sideline. Enter Todd Collins, exit Todd Collins, add a nice sideline shot of line coach Mike Tice chomping a wad of Hubba Bubba like it contained the antidote to a pass offense that averaged two yards per attempt, and you've got car-wreck quality prime-time football. I would go so far as to say it was on par or better than Monday night's increasingly uncomfortable cutaways to John Bonamego, the artist formerly known as Miami's special teams coach.
Try as we might, life remains a series of awkward moments, awkwardly broken up by those delusional moments when we believe we are finally beyond awkward moments. They happen, they sting, but hopefully you live long enough to be able to throw up your arms and have a laugh.
Take Maurice Jones-Drew, for example. In Week 4, he finally got on the good foot and delivered the kind of numbers every fantasy owner who drafted him expected to chalk up like clockwork.
Or take me -- I have MJD on my NFL Network League team, which is starting to look like a "Who's Who" of fantasy imposters. There is still hope here -- this week, MJD gets to play the Bills, who haven't stopped a running play since Fred Smerlas left town. The thing that irks me is the fact that I didn't listen to that little, annoying voice in my head that said, "Wait a minute -- MJD is the first active player to host a fantasy football radio show? Cool, I love that he's into it, but isn't it a little jinxy/cocky/hubris-adjacent? Isn't he flying a little too close to the sun by inviting callers to chime in when he doesn't deliver?"
Sort of a perfect storm of awkwardness.
Of course, he isn't the only member of Team Bakay that has shattered my trust like a lost weekend with a stewardess. I got no beef with Tony Gonzalez, Hakeem Nicks, Kevin Walter or Jeremy Maclin. I also know they aren't going to win me anything, either. Nope, my problems lie at the marquee positions.
Fantasy is becoming more and more like the NFL -- if you want to win a Super Bowl, you better have a fantastic quarterback. Look at your Super Bowl QBs throughout the history of the game: Your winners are all good to Hall-of-Fame great, with one exception -- Trent Dilfer... and he beat Kerry Collins, not Tom Brady. Otherwise, it's the Bradshaws and Elways and Montanas along with guys having an exceptional year inside of strong careers -- guys like Jeff Hostetler and Mark Rypien. You could make a case that Brad Johnson was more journeyman than star, but he had the Gruden Edge on Oakland's DNA, so you can throw that one out.
Long story short, I need my QB to put up superstar numbers. In the meantime, I'm 1-3 and sinking fast. That's why Matt Schaub can take a seat in the waiting area while I prepare his quarterly review, which is pretty academic: Arian Foster's gain is my loss, and now Andre Johnson is iffy until further notice.
Elsewhere on my incredibly awkward team:
Then there is my plight at RB2, where I am staring down the trembling gun barrel of regret. The mess thickens thanks to Reggie Bush, who started out looking like a steal until he hit the big whirlpool. Now he can't even make it up by giving me his Heisman. God how I wish I hadn't hooked his parents up with that sweet condo…
The only slight sign of a pulse in my backfield came thanks to the trade that sent Marshawn Lynch to Seattle. Lynch, as we all know, is a four-game suspension waiting to happen, so I have every reason to assume I will regret showing some hope here, but I got no options. My add/drop options are highlighted by Earnest Graham and Rashad Jennings.
This is what happens when you compete in a league that never allows any good running backs to linger on draft day or on the waiver wire.
If I had a time machine right now, I would be sorely tempted to set it for the day we held this draft and slap myself silly. An unforgivable waste of incredible technology? You bet, but sometimes you gotta do the right thing.