Yet another week has passed in the sportsgasm that is the NFL season, and that means it is time for us to tell you some things you need to know without the self-serving spin those assbags at ESPN will never give you. We know this because if you think you can get real football information from guys like Ron Jaworski and Chris Berman, you probably also don’t know that testing NFL players for human growth hormone is a waste of time because they’ve already got a substance made in a lab somewhere in Eastern Europe that will turn punters into Rambo, it’s made from aborted Guatemalan fetuses, and there’s no test for it.
1) The Cleveland Browns May Have Been The Inspiration For The Movie “Major League.”
Remember the scene in that movie when the manager calls the team together and tells them the owner is trying to tank the season? Remember the moment when Jake Taylor says “there’s only one thing left to do…win the whole fucking thing.” We really get that vibe off the Browns. Picture them sitting in the locker room reading a local paper which has them dead and buried, when Brian Hoyer stands up and does his best Jake Taylor impression. They’ve ripped off three straight wins since that trade.
This is what we think happened. At some point, Trent Richardson just started acting like too much of a bitch, demanded a trade, and then every media outlet in the country claimed that the Browns had sold their season. We mentioned that as well, but we said it in the sense that flushing the toilet is a GOOD thing. Well, just look at what is going on in Cleveland.
Those very same guys in that very same locker who got pissed at Trent Richardson were unified by the fact that everyone thought they were a bunch of nobodies and have done nothing since but to take that fact, wrap it barbed wire, and shove it up the collective ass of all those who had them dead and buried. If you doubt that, then ask yourself if it is a coincidence that the Browns have won every game since that the Richardson trade. While asking that, remind yourself that winning streak includes a brute-force win over a Bengals team that made the playoffs last year and who just took down the Patriots.
If you still don’t want to buy this, consider the fact Brian Hoyer (who has clearly seemed to be the leader in this resurgence) got injured at the beginning of this game and Brandon Wheeden stepped right in like he’d been getting first team reps all week. Face it, we’ve been telling you for week the Browns aren’t as bad as people think, and a big reason for that is they have a chip on their shoulder, an axe to grind, something to prove, or whatever other bullshit hack cliché you want. This team is going to be a real test for whoever lines up against them for the erst of this season.
Too bad that just like in Major League, this all ends after this season. Like we said in our Week 3 piece, the Browns are auditioning guys for draft day trades, because this team is obviously going to rebuild using the draft.
2) Josh Freeman and Greg Schiano – This is a more entertaining divorce than Lamar Odom and (insert Kardashian here).
For a small market team which deserves almost no attention whatsoever, it’s hard not to be at least a little bit intrigued by how the whole “Josh Freeman leaving Tampa” thing is panning out (we’ll get to Freeman’s signing with the Vikings later).
This story has become like the covers of those sleazy gossip rags you see when you are standing in the check-out line in the supermarket. To be more specific, this is like one of those rags when the cover is all about something horrible, like which celebrity looks the most like Yoda without their make-up. It’s all sordid, most of it is likely fabricated, it makes you want to barf all over your Pizza Rolls and store-brand vodka, but you can’t take you eyes off of it.
Having said that, there actually one interesting facet in this story. By this time next year, it will fun to see whether Greg Schiano or Josh Freeman will need to have a mop in their hand to get paid doing anything. Freeman got a one-year deal in Minnesota yesterday, and if Schiano is still the Bucs head coach a year from now, we picture Bucs’ fans storming Raymond James Stadium like it it was the Bastille during the French Revolution. In other words this is like watching the divorce of two people who will never get anybody else to marry them EVER.
Really, thee only thing the Freeman signing with Minnesota does is spare us from a shitload of hack jokes this week about how Tim Tebow should get a place with Josh Freeman, or about how they should have their own MTV reality show called “Not Tough Enough” where they struggle to find their way with whatever Arena League team isn’t selling tickets at the moment (which has to be pretty much all of them, doesn’t it?).
The problem with that scenario is that the Tebow thing has pretty much run it’s course. Once even the Jacksonville Jaguars passed on hometown hero Tebow, only those who need to be chained to the floor in a home for the criminally insane still believe Tim Tebow quarterbacks another NFL team. Freeman just has the first part of the Tebow story – Josh had some initial success in Tampa, then came the series of train wrecks. Now, the Vikings get to be to Freeman what the Jets were to Tebow.
On the other hand, to say that Greg Schiano is a fucking idiot is like saying Mt. Everest is a hill. To say that Josh Freeman was the sole problem with the Buccaneer offense is to ignore the fact that Schiano thinks Doug Martin is made out of that same stuff as airliner “black boxes;” Schiano gives Martin so many carries per game he is literally being pounded tender like a six-dollar steak at Sizzler. The Buccaneer offense is more unbalanced then a group of dudes with clubfoot trying to walk up the down escalator. NFL general managers see what a cluster-fuck the Buccaneers are right now, and they also see this is all on Schiano.
What it boils down to is that Freeman will get at least one more chance after what will prove to be a disaster in Minnesota; the only way Schiano gets another NFL job is if all the stadium valet parking guys go on strike.
3) The Chicago Bears play to the level of their competition.
For those of you who don’t have the ability to read between the lines, this is sports talk for “inability to step the fuck up when needed.” This means that depending on who the Bears play, they exert that amount of effort, not a dime more or less. This game with the Saints was supposed to be close; there was still no line on it by Saturday. In retrospect, it’s easy to see why.
One of the many reasons why Jay Cutler will never be an elite quarterback is because when he faces one, he curls up into a little ball and cries himself to sleep – even at home. As a guy who wants to see himself in that category, Sunday would have been a perfect opportunity for him to make an argument for that. All he had to do was beat the Saints at home with a team perfectly suited to do so. The Bears defense can handle anybody at home, and the offense has the weapons to win.
Here’s another thing. Elite quarterbacks convert in the red zone when they’re down 16 points with only 20 minutes left in the game, especially when they’re first and goal from the 9-yard line. Cutler has a long history of coming up short in the big moment. This is the difference between this year’s Jay Cutler and Tony Romo; they both can play spectacularly for 59 minutes, then when they get to that one moment with the game on the line, Romo will commit the dramatic “Oh my fucking God” mistake, whereas Cutler will die with a whimper. A Cowboy-killing interception for a touchdown versus getting a delay of game penalty that takes the Bears out of field goal range.
To be fair, the Bears’ problems aren’t all Cutler. As far as the defense is concerned, teams who play above the level of their competition don’t allow opposing offenses to convert on fourth down. When teams are giving you an one-shot deal to get the ball back, you MUST do it. Football is a game all about the number of possessions and what you do with them, which is EXACTLY why turnovers are such cripplers (Bonus Note: This also applies to when the Bears are trying to convert a fourth down in the other team’s territory with half of the fourth quarter left, but we digress).
The big problem here is really all about the amount of shit-talking Bears fans do about their defense. It is so far out of proportion to what that team can actually do on the field that Brian Urlacher is going to end up in the Hall of Fame based on little more than the fact the bullshit about how great he was eventually became accepted as fact. But before we get weighed down in that argument, let’s not lose sight of the fact that Bears fans look at every Bears team and drink until they see 1985. Eventually, they run out of whatever cheap-shit beer they drink and slowly regain lucidity in December to the sight of a 7-6 team struggling yet again to be that NFC team that just misses the play-offs.
4) We’ve been telling you this for weeks…but the New England Patriots aren’t that good.
When a team has a quarterback with “golden boy” looks and an undefeated record, it’s easy for people to overlook the smell of bullshit hovering over the Patriots. Right about now, there are Patriots fans like our good friend Aidan from Worcester reading this and screaming at their monitors. The sad part is there’s no denying a big part of that stench was yet another un-Brady like performance. While the whole squad played like a fraternity football team well into it’s second keg, they were led by “Mr. Gisele’s” 18-for-38 afternoon.
Obviously, what’s wrong with the Patriots is not all Tom Brady’s fault. After all, the Pats defense gave up 21 first downs, but somehow only managed to surrender 13 points. We have no idea how they did that, but it doesn’t really matter that much. There are several areas far more concerning to the Patriots that game should have illustrated.
- Is it a coincidence that Tom Brady had his worst outing of the season the first time the Patriots faced a team with a winning record?
- Is it a coincidence the Tom Brady had his worst outing of the season the first time the Patriots played a team that can play defense on the road?
- Is it a coincidence that the Patriots have absolutely no ability to run the ball and the fact they are in the bottom third of the league in points scored?
When you break down the game in Cincinnati, the Patriot offense only notched 15 first downs, and three of those came off of penalties. Think about that for a minute. Teams that win championships capitalize on mistakes, and teams that don’t can’t respond when they get handed a momentum-changer. If that weren’t enough, consider the fact that even if the Patriots had scored off just one of those free first-downs, they still may not have won this game.
Here’s the bottom line. Teams with Super Bowl aspirations typically don’t have 6 point games. The truth is that the Patriots’ offense is becoming less and less credible by the day (their numbers for the season get really scary if you take out the performance against the dumpster-fire Buccaneers), and it’s getting to the point where they can’t hide it anymore.
5) Your Official Dr. Kelly Brackett NFL Death Watch
We know at Sports Blog Movement we aren’t the experts on everything…that counts double for Meehan and J-Dub, who would be the kids in the hockey helmets on the SBM “short bus.” That’s why we brought in a fictional doctor from a 40-year old television show to assess the health of all 32 NFL teams.
Grave Condition – This category is for teams that are even beyond “pulling the plug.” In other words, the only reason we are keeping the plug plugged in is we are waiting for you to fill out those organ donor cards.
- New York Giants: This team is so far beyond dead that the entire 53-man roster will be playing the zombies on the upcoming season of The Walking Dead. For the ugly details. see Meehan’s piece from yesterday, or just sign the back of your drivers’ license for more details. We all know Meehan is waiting for Eli Manning to take a shotgun blast to the face.
- Jacksonville Jaguars: The Jaguars are in a situation where they don’t really know what is killing them, but the only choice for treatment is an experimental blood transfusion from a Ugandan AIDS patient (Bonus Joke: Work in your own “Tom Coughlin coached both the Jaguars and the Giants” comment).
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers. In the next section, you will see a reference to the “Shanahan Syndrome.” This refers to the fact that Mike Shanahan-coached teams which aren’t winning tend to dissolve into in-fighting and using the media to snipe at each other (see the Donovan McNabb saga). Soon we will have a new term term known as the “Schiano Syndrome;” the difference being Schiano-coached teams never had even the illusion of not sucking.
- Pittsburgh Steelers: At least Pittsburgh fans can ignore this team by watching the Pirates…for now.
Critical Condition – This category is slightly better than grave, but you may still want to keep the funeral home on speed-dial.
- Buffalo Bills: This is a team that looked great against the Super Bowl champions, then ate it harder than Jenna Jameson without her throat-relaxer spray against the Browns. They have one foot in the grave (just like the Beck album of the same name) because they just named the quarterback from the practice squad as the starter for next week.
- Minnesota Vikings: They just signed Josh Freeman. Once again, as J-Dub has said time and time again, this club understands the quarterback position less than a Masai tribesmen understands the missionary position.
- Washington Redskins: The “Shanahan Syndrome” is kicking in…there may be fist-fights on the Redskin sideline before the end of the season. Hopefully, one of them will involve Mike Shanahan getting punched in his “beef jerky meets liver cancer”-colored face.
- San Diego Chargers: This is really what we expect after a Norv Turner-ectomy.
Serious Condition – This category is for teams that better start responding to treatment right fucking now.
- Atlanta Falcons: The key to all effective treatments is a good regimen. The Falcons are like the heart patient who just won’t quit smoking. They are about ready to have yet another heart-attack, which may prove fatal.
- Detroit Lions: Just like the Falcons, except they are the diabetic who keeps super-sizing at the drive-thru window.
- Houston Texans: There’s a theme here, and in keeping with it, the Texans are the guy who keeps shaving with a blade razor even though he’s on enough blood thinners to turn a cinder block into chocolate milk.
- New England Patriots: This team has all the signs of the 50-years old marathon runner who seems to be in perfect health until he flops over dead in a storm drain.
- Chicago Bears: The morbidly obese guy who keeps mainlining Polish sausage. We aren’t even sure following the regimen would do the Bears any good. Like we said, they play how they have to play – and that’s the worst thing about them.
Stable Condition – This category can best be defined as “not bad, but not good either.” These patients are still probably going to die, not likely because of their disease, but because the family purposely put a wrong contact number in the paperwork for the nursing home…they already spent the inheritance to buy a ski cabin in Montana.
- St. Louis Rams: The Rams will continue to get a win here and there, but we all know they’re not a factor.
- Arizona Cardinals: See St. Louis Rams.
- Tennessee Titans: Normally, the loss of the starting quarterback would cause a team to drop in the rankings, but nobody really ever expected anything from this team anyway.
- Carolina Panthers: The only reason that this team is not 1-4 right now is because due to a bye week, that would be a mathematical improbability.
- Cleveland Browns: The fact they are listed as “stable” is a victory considering what Cleveland’s history has been in the last 20 years.
- Oakland Raiders: Admitting the Matt Flynn move was a mistake is like an alcoholic admitting they have a problem. It’s the first step.
- New York Jets: Believe it or not, this team is only one game out of first place. Amazing considering this team has more fatal diseases than we have toes. J-Dub has thirteen alone (toes, not diseases). By the way, if Rex Ryan was responsible for everything that was wrong with the Jets, then why is he getting no credit for the fact this team isn’t a train wreck?
- Dallas Cowboys: Even after Sunday’s latest debacle, this team is tied for first in the NFC East. This is like being the most attractive prostitute in Bettendorf, Iowa
- Philadelphia Eagles: The team with whom the Cowboys are tied. This only gets better the longer Michael Vick is off the field.
Passed the physical, but there’s some issues we need to discuss
- Cincinnati Bengals: You just know that after the Bengals beat the Patriots, there was a line of reporters waiting for their turn to lick Andy Dalton’s ginger-spuzz off a truck-stop bathroom floor. We really don’t get why because if there was any team in the league who could actually be 2 1/2 – 2 1/2, it would be the Bengals. We all know the opening game against the Bears was the closest thing to being a tie without actually being a tie.
- San Francisco 49ers: At some point, Colin Kaepernick has to make big throws on a consistent basis.
- Baltimore Ravens: At some point, Joe Flacco has to stop worrying about who is going to takes his shitty McDonald’s chicken wings and go back to throwing touchdown passes again. Has anybody else noticed his numbers went into the shitter once those commercials hit the air?
- Miami Dolphins: A signature win would trump the signature on your “Do Not Resuscitate” order which has been in place for two decades now.
- Indianapolis Colts: They could very easily could be in the next category, except the fact they gave up 28 points at home to the Seahawks makes us want to keep them overnight for a few tests.
- Kansas City Chiefs: Another team we’d love to put in the next category, but we really want to run some more tests to make sure this team isn’t one of those “Rain Man”-type savants. Not to mention, Dr. Brackett would really like a look at Andy Reid’s cholesterol level.
- Denver Broncos: We said it in our Week One piece. Peyton Manning may be setting the world on fire, but that defense sucks swamp water.
- Green Bay Packers: See the Denver Broncos, except add the fact the the Packers’ offensive line couldn’t stop a junior varsity pass rush and the Packer defense gets even worse depending on how serious Clay Matthews’ thumb injury is.
The test results were so good the lab technician who handed them to Dr. Brackett levitated, spoke 14 languages simultaneously, then pissed rainbows and unicorns
- Seattle Seahawks and New Orleans Saints: Like it or not, these are the two best teams in the NFL right now.
6) Who is more hated in Texas right now…Tony Romo or Matt Schaub?
If we’re basing this decision on disappointment, this is a tie because Romo will at least to have some huge statistics to fall back on. But once again, Romo found a way to gag with the game on the line; that was such an incredibly stupid pass that the words “incredibly stupid pass” are the only words to describe it. It wasn’t a “mistake,” or a “miscue;” it wasn’t even “ill-advised.” It was “drinking a quart of varnish, then playing with an arc-welder while sanding barefoot in a tub full of salt water”-level stupid. On the other hand, Schaub had dick on a plate for four quarters while the entire country laughed in his face between commercials for a show starring the dude who played the gay guy on “Will & Grace.”
Much like the average sit-com, Matt Schaub was largely devoid of humor, even the ironic variety. He’s been a Texas-sized barbecued shit sandwich for a month now, and as time goes on the brain-numbing idiocy of that Richard Sherman interception is fading as the freshest highlight of him doing something microencephalic. Regardless of whether or not bringing T.J. Yates into the game happened was done because the game was out of reach is unknown, but the fact remains that the Texans better figure this shit our real quick, because they have Kansas City next week and the Colts don’t look to be slowing down anytime soon.
So, when it comes down to which guy is more hated in Texas right now…well, it’s just too close to call, if for no other reason than there are crushingly large number of moron Cowboys fans which outweigh the number of smart Texans fans. It really doesn’t matter because we know now a team can’t win with either of them.
7) The undeserved scapegoat of the week: Tony Romo
Having said everything we just said, that Cowboys loss on Sunday wasn’t Romo’s fault, even with that stupid turnover. To be honest, the Cowboys should have been ahead by two touchdowns by that point in the game, and there’s a host of reasons why.
First of all, there’s the fact the Cowboy defense had more holes in it than an over-used washcloth. Granted, they were facing the best offense in the league, but no team can give up 51 fucking points and point fingers at the quarterback.
Then there’s the matter of the fact that the Cowboys had a two-touchdown lead at one point in this game. Why Jason Garrett didn’t start running the ball at that point to eat up the clock and keep that scary Bronco offense off the field is a mystery right up there with how many licks does it take to get to the center of a Tootsie Pop.
So, that puts the Cowboys in a position where despite the fact Romo had already thrown for over 500 yards and led the offense to 48 fucking points, he still is being asked to throw late in the game when even that sorry Bronco defense knew the Cowboys won’t run the ball. Think about it, if the Broncos thought for a minute there was a serious threat of a Cowboy running game, Danny Trevathan wouldn’t have been in pass coverage all day long.