by Ryan Meehan
Thursday night began the beginning of week three in the NFL preseason. While a majority of the preseason is useless, week three is usually the last game where the first string guys start so it holds a little bit of water. Not much, but seriously – How big does your bathtub need to be?
Needless to say, there were a few things that I picked up from the first two days of this weekend nonetheless. Although the games do not count in the standings, there are some warning signs that can alert us as to what might happen once the games do finally begin to matter. This will be the first part of a two part series where I outline what I saw in the Thursday and Friday games…
1. The Patriots may very well be in some serious trouble
I don’t know if guys were running their routes wrong, or if Tom Brady was just way off the mark in some spots, but the impending collapse of Tom Brady that Dubs discussed in our Ten Things to Watch For piece may be happening sooner than Patriots fans would like to believe. Either way, the Patriots offense looked to be sub-scrimmage level in their 40-9 loss at the hands of the Lions, where they had four turnovers in the first half. I would assume that Rob Gronkowski got a lot of direct messages on Twitter Thursday night and Friday morning that consisted of some form of “Get Well Soon” e-card. If this continues, my guess is that we’re going to see a lot of fair-weather Dolphins fans coming out of their caves around week seven or so.
I don’t care what the insider reports say, but Brady looks a little bit more frail than he has in previous years. He looks like he’s lost about twelve pounds. And with him being more prone to injury than ever, there’s been no better time in his career for him to be eating four Baconators a day. Think about it – he’s already perfected the three step drop, but if he can’t find a way to absorb some of the hits he will take this year Tom Brady could be hawking Super Beta Prostate within months. To say the Patriots have a lot of work to do would be like saying Marie Antoinette is looking at some serious neck surgery.
2. Bill Belichick doesn’t give a shit about Tim Tebow
In a game where almost every NFL team is going to be testing out its weapons, and Tim Tebow is supposed to be on the roster as a quarterback – he didn’t play a single down. He’s not hurt (because God knows if he was ESPN would have that shit on the crawl every five minutes) and as far as I know he’s still their third string quarterback. If there is any possibility that he was going to be cut, that possibility just significantly increased when you consider the fact that they didn’t even put him in for a running play in the fourth quarter.
If you’ve read any of our stuff before, you’ll probably think that we run a Tebow-bashing operation here. And that’s partially true, but I’d like to publicly state for the record it doesn’t have anything to do with his beliefs or general “good-guy” image. It has everything to do with the fact that I’ve never seen so much media hype (that is STILL occuring) for a guy that at any moment may not play another down in the NFL. The odds that Tim Tebow is ever going to be a starting quarterback are about as good as Mitt Romney ever becoming head of the Utah chapter of the NAACP. Hell, the odds of Tebow starting in the NFL again are about as good as Utah even having an NAACP chapter to begin with.
3. Reggie Bush might end up having a good year, and I’m going to have to suffer through eating my words if he does
Goddammit. I hope that I’m wrong here, but if Reggie Bush’s preseason is any indication of how his regular season is going to go the Lions might actually have a running game. And if the Lions have a running game, Matthew Stafford might actually not have to throw the ball 50 times a game. And if Matthew Stafford might not have to throw the ball 50 times a game, the Lions might actually be in the playoff hunt once…
Whoa, that was close. I almost went over the edge there but thankfully I caught myself. The Detroit Lions don’t have a snowball’s chance in the showers at Auschwitz when it comes to finishing up by the Bears and the Packers. But that being said, that’s not a guarantee that Reggie won’t have a great year. He also might get plowed over if he’s going to be a return guy AND a running back, but if Detroit can manage their play calling and give Bush the blocking he needs he could have a breakout NFL season – sure as Kanye West can probably taste a little bit of Reggie every time he goes to sing “Land Down Under” by Men at Work.
4. Ron Rivera may very well have whipped the Panthers into shape (Maybe)
Believe it or not, the Carolina Panthers played the Baltimore Ravens very well on Thursday night. While the final score was meaningless, they did win and that’s the exact type of finishing that the Panthers need to work on if they are going to be more than the back half of a highlight reel for a quarter of the season when they play the Saints and Falcons. Good special teams play signifies good coaching, and this game was no exception.
In that division, the team as a whole has a lot to put together because I still believe that those two teams may end up in the playoffs, and if you think a third team from the NFC South is making it into the postseason then maybe football isn’t your thing, and by “football isn’t your thing” I mean “you should fall asleep in the back of a garbage truck”. They will need to put together a lot of pieces in order to become disciplined enough to get into that conversation, but Rivera at least has them headed in the right direction. On that note, now let’s discuss another guy named Ron whose recent work I have much less respect for.
5. Ron Jaworski can eat a dick
I know, I know…we should all know what kind of garbage is coming out of that farmhouse in Connecticut by now. But what else am I supposed to say here? This past week, ESPN analyst and chewing tobacco enthusiast Ron Jaworski said on air into a microphone that was clearly plugged in and about to be broadcast to millions of sports fans who know better that he thinks Colin Kaepernick has the tools to become one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time.
Now I realize that it’s the job of these analysts to say things that are inherently ridiculous to spark debate, but at the same time this is bordering on mental instability to the point where it’s almost sad to try and make fun of it. But that’s not going to stop us, and plus it’s Ron Jaworski. This is like saying that Nickelback should be inducted into the Rock N Roll Hall of Fame ten years before they meet eligibility requirements. Conversely, it’s like saying that maybe Casey Anthony isn’t ever going to be a great parent, or like saying AIDS may have had something to do with Liberace’s death.
Now don’t get me wrong, I love Colin Kaepernick. I think in a league full of Peyton Mannings and the like, a guy like K is exactly what the NFL needs. He’s insanely talented, but this is just absurd. Isn’t there something better that could be done with Ron Jaworski’s time? Aren’t they filming a Wilford Brimley biopic or some shit? Isn’t there a George Lopez celebrity charity golf tournament he could be donating his services to?
I have a theory: I think that ever since Ron Jaworski’s services in the Monday Night Football have no longer been needed, he and Jon Gruden are in this bizarre competition to see who can say the most ridiculously outlandish shit known to man. If you’ve caught any of the Monday Night Football broadcasts recently, you’ll know that some of the stuff Gruden tries to sell you on he can’t possibly believe. Somebody will make ONE PLAY, and the next thing you know Chucky will say something along the lines of “Boy, the Jacksonville Jaguars have just totally redefined what it means to be dominant in the pass protection game”. Everybody on the field is the greatest player to ever live, and his accuracy when it come to those statements is still holding steady at 0% and probably always will.
And to make matters worse (I can’t believe I’m still talking about this) I know that Jaws doesn’t even mean it. And how do I know that? Because in a league where a bad year and half an sink your career, Jaws DIDN’T EVEN HAVE HIM IN HIS FUCKING TOP TEN QUARTERBACKS WHEN HE DID HIS ANNUAL RANKINGS. That’s right, a guy who he believes can be one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time ended up in eleventh place behind Matt Ryan and Ben Roethlisberger. I don’t even know where to start with this, so I’ll just go ahead and stop here. I’m done talking about this shit.
6. The Green Bay Packers might not make the playoffs this year, and even if they do they won’t get far
I touched on this a little bit in the Brian Bulaga piece, but after seeing some of the clips from Friday night (in a game they were supposed to be super jacked for) I’m just as uninspired by the Packers as anybody who lives in NFC North country and hates it possibly can be. Regardless of where you might fall in the landscape of feeling towards Cheesehead nation, I think saying that the Packers are a legitimate Super Bowl contender is a stretch. I’m sorry, but it’s true.
In order to get to the Super Bowl, the Packers are going to have to beat at least one really good team, and as I’m about to outline there are two of those teams in the NFC West. I’m still not convinced the Packers are a great team. They will struggle in many different facets and offense is one of those areas. And when it comes to defense, there are still a ton of issues with tackling that need to be taken care of. Maybe some of the starters can go to a fantasy camp with some of the guys who play for the Eagles. It sounds absurd, but at times Green Bay’s defense will be that bad. Certainly not enough to beat a good team when the occasion presents itself, and that’s why if they do make it they are going to end up getting crushed by a team from the Pacific Time Zone. Let’s discuss…
7. The Seattle Seahawks are proving that the days of succeeding with a very imbalanced football team may be over
Remember when the Rams were the greatest show on turf or when the Saints couldn’t stop anybody on defense and it was just a race to see who had the ball last? Yeah, you can forget about that shit, because it’s pretty much over nowadays. Proof? Would the Ravens have won the Super Bowl last year if they didn’t jump out to a 28-6 lead after hearing that they weren’t worthy on offense? Of course they wouldn’t have. Balanced football is the future of football, and there is no better example of that than the two teams that lead the NFC West – the 49ers and the Seahawks.
Russell Wilson looked very good in the Green Bay game, but more importantly he is managing the pace like a guy who’s an eight time Pro Bowler. It’s almost unheard of, and something tells me there’s a whole assload more of that type of play in 2013 for Seattle.
8. The Bears / Raiders game taught us absolutely nothing about either team
The Bears are going to make glaring errors after playing a quarter and a half of really good football even when the starters are in for the whole game. They have issues finishing the job and probably always will, but luckily as I mentioned earlier the Packers are going to struggle amidst their ability to move the ball like they did during the Super Bowl XLV run.
The Raiders are an undisciplined, sloppy, poorly organized assortment of douchebags led by a guy who is probably smarter than the other 52 dudes who will make the team. I feel as bad for Matt Flynn as I possibly can for anyone who is making a living playing professional sports.
The NFL may change a lot this season based on what we’ve seen in the preseason. Whereas in previous years I don’t think it will be nearly as sloppy as the exhibition matchups were, I’m seeing a lot of mistakes being made by first team guys who should clearly know better. More from me in a couple of days.