Photo by Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire
Life is weird, right? One minute you’re at a photo shoot, pulling your hamstring, and the next you’re catching passes from QB Tom Brady. One week, you’re Superbowl MVP and acclaimed author, and the next you’re “fumbling” your way to a loss against this guy and a team that projected to win 6 games before the season began. The Football Gods (see: bad coaches) spend their time in the early stages of the NFL season differentiating between all of the things we plebeians thought were true and all of the things that are actually true. For example:
Thing we thought was true: Tom Brady against a Fournette-less Jags was going to be a romp.
Truth: It was a romp, and we should now call QB Blake Bortles by a new, more accurate nickname…my suggestion is Tom Brady or something like that.
Thing we thought was true: We’d be friends with 2-0 instant NFL icon QB Ryan Fitzpatrick if only he knew we existed.
Truth: Ryan Fitzpatrick doesn’t need friends; he’d just use us like he used the Eagles DB’s this week.
Thing we thought was true: fantasy RB Todd Gurley is the second-coming of fantasy RB LaDainian Tomlinson.
Truth: Gurley miiiiight actually be better but it doesn’t matter because he pales in comparison to fantasy God, multi-positional RB/WR Tavon Austin.
Thing we thought was true: WR Josh Gordon must have forced Cleveland’s hand, as his time in Cleveland is unceremoniously over after “6” seasons. Without a failed drug test, there is little tangible evidence to suggest what led to his release aside from hearsay and PR-crafted official statements, but whatever he did it must be pretty bad.
Truth: This is HC Hue Jackson we’re talking about. Engaging in a trade with HC Bill Belichick. In terms of football acumen and reasonable decisions, I defer to one of these Head Coaches and i’ll let you guess which one. Seriously — submit your guess in the comments section below I’ll message you if you’re right. First one gets a prize. Is it Hue or Bill? Can’t wait to see which answer you come up with.
As we assess this set of smoke and mirrors from every bad coach and crummy gameplan from the first two weeks, here are some things that stand out to me:
Where art thou, Fireman Ed?
I had the distinct pleasure of being in person for QB Sam Darnold’s Met Life debut this past weekend. Let me be clear: these fans desperately need Darnold to succeed. That Week 1 win against the Lions brought so much anticipation heading into week 2 that the fans were in an uproar the moment Darnold even looked like he was heading towards the field. Then Darnold did step on the field, and then things like this happened. If you are a Jets fan, you’re lucky that hyperlink went to a sack and not one of his INT’s on the day. Or the errant throws that should have resulted in INT’s. Or the offense built around gadget passes that are barely thrown past the line of scrimmage. There’s an 11-minute highlight on the NFL Youtube page of ‘Every Sam Darnold Throw from Week 2’. I planned on telling you how many of his completed throws went 8 yards or longer in the air, but after wasting 4 minutes of my life with no success, I gave up.
The game just felt very very fast through Darnold’s eyes. His feet were happy, his reads felt rushed and his throws were either short or off target. His running game didn’t do him any favors, but then again when your running game is RB Isaiah Crowell and RB Bilal Powell you’d be a dummy to expect them to instill fear in opposing defenses and their game plans. I rolled with a Darnold and WR Quincy Enunwa stack in DFS this past week and somehow CA$HED thanks to my best good friends WR Michael Thomas and RB’s Christian McCaffery and Corey Clement. I will not be rolling with Darnold anytime soon. I will also politely step off the Enunwa hype train, as the inconsistency of the offense can’t lead me to start these dudes with any confidence week-to-week. But listen up my Mets/Jets/Nets fans: you have a lot to look forward to with this one. I could feel the talent was there and the accuracy is absolutely killer. For fantasy purposes however, Darnold’s development will take time. This rookie showed on Sunday that the speed of the game is faster than his mind is able to properly work, and as long as that is the case those natural talents and learned instincts will continue to do more harm than good.
Come collect your Executive of the Year award, Dave Gettleman.
This Giants offensive line flat out stinks. As it has stunk for years now. Just about anyone could have told Gettleman not to use the #2 overall pick on a player whose success depends upon one of the weakest lines in the league. The Cowboys blitzed on 300% of the snaps on Sunday night and it brought continued success against what should be an explosive offense. RB Saquon Barkley may be a miracle, but much to Giants fans chagrin, he’s no miracle worker. Probably for the best though, because if he does turn out to be a Miracle Worker that definitely makes QB Eli Manning our Helen Keller. Nevertheless, Saquon is good. Like, real good. As a counterpoint to Sam Darnold’s game, the speed of NFL football must feel so slow through Barkley’s eyes: he has the patience and imagination to turn a play from the way it’s supposed to go to the way he wants it to go. Unfortunately for him, that offensive line doesn’t have the same sort of imagination — my guess is they mostly spend that mental energy picturing themselves on a beach somewhere, reading all the puff pieces from training camp about how they are a much-improved unit.
From here on out I plan on referring to Eli Manning as ‘Helen’, as it makes me happy. So does watching this terrible Giants offensive line give more terrible performances. It was almost worth seeing the Cowboys succeed to get to watch Helen and Odell struggle. AFTER 6 SACKS, HOW DOES HELEN NOT GET THAT HE NEEDS TO GET THE BALL OUT QUICKER? Whatever the answer for that question, it is probably the same for why Pat Shurmur looked aloof and confused every time the camera cut to him on the sideline. Every time I saw him, he had the look I have when I’m trying to remember why I got out my phone from my pocket: a million miles away in a strange and confusing place.
I do have to give the faceless Cowboys receivers credit — on that soul-crushing 4th quarter touchdown drive there were consistent catches on big downs where the ball wasn’t thrown well at all. Each time, I was expecting to see the DB celebrate as the ball squirts out along the ground. But each time, the receiver got up and the umps moved them chains. Good on them. As long as Cowboys are converting 2nd and 9’s into 3rd and 1’s that offense can use all its tools and succeed — those QB Dak Prescott keepers on the read option are tough to stop in 3rd and short.
Also, a lot of love and a huge shoutout to that Onside Kick recovery late in the 4th for helping me in a backdoor cover of a 4-team tease. That play made me MO_NEY I had no right to win.
Life hack: draft the entire Chiefs offense.
Except for Kareem Hunt. No time for ball a-running when you got Patrick Mahomes hitting dingers. Just to be clear: “dingers” are touchdowns and “hitting” is throwing. I KNEW the key to unlocking this sleeping giant of an offense would be to pay Sammy Watkins $16 million a year. Maybe next week is his turn to get 30 fantasy points….right? Guys? Right?
Hello Darkness My Old Friend.
19 missed kicks in week 2 of the National Football League. I fully endorse anything that gets me to start talking like a mix of a generic grandpa who is mad at the lazy youth, and Uncle Rico, and BOY are these kickers getting me all hot and bothered.
These players are getting paid millions of dollars and all they have to do each day is stand around and kick a pigskin through a 38 ft wide goalpost. Yes, I know how wide goalposts are, my first job (I made $1.30 a day!) was to bend the metal for goalposts. How is it possible we cannot find 32 individuals who can consistently put the ball where it needs to go? How are these kickers so bad and we have no one to replace them? I should’ve spent some time on the field instead of under the bleachers with the cheerleaders, then maybe I’d be raking in the millions myself!
Shame on the kickers for not being better when they’re making as much as they are. And shame on us for continuing to use Kicker as a fantasy position in standard leagues. Why the heck is Daniel Carlson deciding my fantasy week? Back in my day, LaDainian Tomlinson — AND LADAINIAN TOMLINSON ALONE — decided who won every fantasy matchup.
Is LaDainian Tomlinson still a thing?
The answer is yes, and his name is Todd Gurley.