…welp (Keo!!!), we cannot start talking about Week Eleven of the NFL season without referencing that ugly scene in Cleveland on Thursday Night.
Unless you live in a cave, by now you certainly have heard that Browns defensive lineman Myles Garrett wound up and smashed Steelers quarterback Mason Rudolph in the head with Rudolph’s own helmet. This after Garrett was twisting Rudolph’s head by his face mask a bunch of different ways before tearing the helmet off completely.
Now, yeah, Rudolph “started it”, by trying to rip Garrett’s helmet off after Garrett took him down after a pass attempt. Apparently, Rudolph was also ummmmmm…making sure Garrett spoke in a high voice for at least a short period of time. when they both eventually got up from that particular part of the play.
That’s a lot of what I have been hearing anyway.
But wait…didn’t Garrett really “start it”, by hauling Rudolph down somewhat forcefully even though the Steelers QB had already long released the pass? That’s how I saw it. But not hearing a bunch of that since games end.
Either way, both of these guys were in the wrong. Just so happens that one of the guys was waaaaaaay more in the wrong than the other.
Now, I have no idea what was said during any of this. But does it matter?
The game was essentially over and Garrett was a little aggressive on the initial takedown. And if Rudolph took exception to that, can we blame him?
No…but he probably shouldn’t have “taken it to the next level”, so to speak. That being said, Garrett shouldn’t have taken it a million levels further right after that.
Football is a violent game. But what happened was a little over the top, for sure.
Garrett has already been suspended indefinitely by the league…for at least the rest of the season (including playoffs…as if the Browns are getting there. But I guess it has to be said…in case a miracle happens and they do make it). Kudos to the NFL for acting swiftly. And one doesn’t hear the words “kudos to the NFL…” quite often.
If it were me, I’d also take him out for half a season next year. Set some sort of huge precedent.
I know, some of the “real” criminals in the NFL have gotten lesser suspensions. “Real” meaning, “done some serious stuff in real life off the field”.
But this one could have been catastrophic if the helmet hit Rudolph in the right place. The NFL cannot control all of its players off of the field. But sending a message here could hopefully help them control some things better on the field.
Then again, I’d take some of the more egregious criminals out of the league for life. Like the domestic violence offenders for one. A handful of others as well…drug dealers, weapons distributors, etc…but not someone who likes to smoke a little weed, that is. But I digress…
Plus, though the popular narrative is that after the game, Garrett sounded contrite and all…I don’t know…not from what I saw. He SAID all the right things. But I wouldn’t say the way he carried himself during the interview showed a whole lot of contrition. That’s my feeling anyway.
And whither Maurkice Pouncey, the Steelers center who was last seen kicking Garrett in the helmet while Garrett laid on the ground?
Pouncey got suspended for 3 games, but I don’t believe enough has been made of this. It’s ok to protect and support your quarterback. But when is it ok to start kicking people in the head…even if the helmet was still on Garretts’ head? I suppose we should also question what Pouncey was thinking when he initially tried to rain down haymakers…into a facemask…but we will leave that one alone.
In any event, I’d have tossed him for the season too.
Browns defensive lineman Larry Ogunjobi got one game for pushing Rudolph down for no real reason…seems about right.
But maybe Rudolph deserves a game too?
Worth talking about anyway.
As for criminal charges, threatened by Rudolph’s agent yesterday? On one hand, if that happened on the street, there would absolutely be legal action.
But if they start doing that on the field of play? What kind of can of worms will that then open?
I mean, most of us laughed almost a decade ago, where in the NHL, Boston Bruins defenseman Zdeno Chara checked Montreal Canadien Max Pacioretty into a stanchion, resulting in a season ending injury for Pacioretty. Well, we didn’t laugh at that specific play. We laughed when there was a big uproar in Montreal, and Montreal law enforcement “took a look at it” and considered filing charges against Big Z. Even though Chara was never suspended by the NHL.
No charges were filed, but we all thought the talk about that was kind of ridiculous.
I suppose that since that was a check and not something like someone waving a hockey stick around looking for blood makes it a different story. And swinging a helmet around looking for blood may actually be that “different story”.
Just think about it though, the courts getting involved in stuff like that…stuff that happens on the field. If it has happened somewhere at some point in the past, I am not sure I know about it. So if it has, my bad.
But if it hasn’t, it’s not really something we all want. To bring the justice system inside the playing field. Speaking of “taking things to the next level”. Not necessarily a good thing. When boxers kill someone in the ring, they don’t go to jail, do they? Ok, maybe not apples and oranges here, because boxers are SUPPOSED to be fighting. But I think you get my point.
In any event, this situation was an eye-opener. And hopefully, it actually did open some eyes. Players past and present are saying the right things anyway. That doesn’t hurt.
Let’s just hope those feelings last.
As for the rest of the games, short and sweet after that elongated opening:
Dallas (-3.5) at Detroit
I still don’t love the Cowboys. But we are looking at Jeff Driskel instead of Matthew Stafford again this week.
Dallas 31, Detroit 13.
Jacksonville at Indianapolis (-2.5)
Jacoby Brissett will be back, but so will Nick Foles. Indy is still heading in the wrong direction.
Jacksonville 21, Indianapolis 17.
Atlanta at Carolina (-5.5)
I’m not buying into any Falcon resurgence, despite the big win against New Orleans last week.
Carolina 27, Atlanta 21.
Buffalo (-5.5) at Miami
Look out for the Dolphins!! Kind of…
Buffalo 23, Miami 20.
Denver at Minnesota (-10.5)
Let down for the Vikes this week? Broncos off a bye too. But I don’t think so.
Minnesota 31, Denver 17.
New York Jets at Washington (-1.5)
Washington 17, New York Jets 13.
Houston at Baltimore (-4.5)
Texans off a bye, can they slow this Raven train down a bit? Just a hunch.
Houston 34, Baltimore 31.
New Orleans (-5.5) at Tampa Bay
Two weeks in a row for the Saints? I doubt it.
New Orleans 38, Tampa Bay 31.
Arizona at San Francisco (-13.5)
The Niners’ schedule gets significantly tougher in the second half of the season. Maybe not yet, but this one could be close as well.
San Francisco 27, Arizona 24.
New England (-3.5) at Philadelphia
Super Bowl rematch? Seriously?? I love it when things are marketed like this. Actually, this time hasn’t been as bad as what usually happens. Either way, the Eagles will be missing some key guys. The Pats are off a bye and likely have been stewing about their first loss that happened right before it. The doubters have been starting to come out. The Pats usually respond to that.
New England 31, Philadelphia 17.
Cincinnati at Oakland (-10.5)
The Raiders are a double-digit favorite??! Ummmm, yup, against the Bengals they are. Isn’t every team a double-digit favorite against the Bengals?
Oakland 27, Cincinnati 13. Lock of the week. (Raiders the lock?? Scary!!)
Chicago at Los Angeles Rams (-6.5)
The Bears have been muddling along all season. But so haven’t the Rams. Your guess is as good as mine here.
Los Angeles Rams 24, Chicago 23.
Kansas City (-3.5) at Los Angeles Chargers
Not looking at much defense here.
Kansas City 38, San Diego 34.
Week (against the spread): 1-0
Week (straight up): 1-0
Lock Of The Week (season, ATS): 5-5
Season (against the spread): 75-74
Season (straight up): 97-52
Ok, that title was a reach.
But the point is, the NFL just isn’t what it’s supposed to be this season:
*After the New England Patriots’ 8-0 start, the masses (especially locally) were all ready to hand them their 7th Lombardi Trophy. Despite getting all of those wins against horrendous competition. After getting smoked by the Baltimore Ravens a week and a half ago, the first legitimate team they have played, now the masses (especially locally) are fretting about the rest of the season. Like they are going to finish 11-5 or something.
*Kansas City has 4 losses. Sure, Patrick Mahomes was out for a stretch. But he came back and threw for almost 450 yards and the Chiefs still lost. Their defense is ghastly.
*Lots of backup QBs are in the mix now. The Saints had a nice stretch from Teddy Bridgewater. The Titans are getting some production out of Ryan Tannehill. The Jaguars got a little boost from Gardner Minshew II. Carolina and Pittsburgh are having some success with Kyle Allen and Mason Rudolph, respectively. Those are the good stories. Some kids such as Ryan Finley, Brandon Allen and Dwayne Haskins have recently taken over so who knows? But some of these backups have come in and been pretty good, surprisingly enough. I’m sure it has happened, but I am not sure I remember so many different QBs playing in one season. Even “long time consecutive start” guys like Matt Ryan and Matthew Stafford have missed time this season. Interesting to me anyway.
*The Rams seem to have more than the proverbial “Super Bowl loser hangover”.
*Seattle is only 3-2 at home, but 5-0 on the road. The Chiefs are 2-3 at home and 4-1 on the road. Not typical.
*Kirk Cousins took a lot of heat in September. Now the Vikings are 7-3 and aren’t looking so bad after all.
*Lamar Jackson looked like he couldn’t play for a high school team in last years’ playoffs. Now he has a real shot at an MVP award.
*Buffalo is 6-3. This could change for sure. But still shocking.
*San Francisco is 8-1. Similar to the Pats, they haven’t faced very many powerhouses either. So we will see where they finish after their rough stretch the rest of the season. Still…8-1?
*The kickers are more abysmal than ever. Once they moved the extra point line back a few years ago, kickers started wetting themselves all over the place. But this year? Just truly awful. Led by Adam Vinatieri. Sure, Adam is like 127 years old. But he still kicks mostly indoors. And he has missed like 13 kicks this season. He is only the tip of the iceberg, however. The kicking is worse than ever.
*The Miami Dolphins are supposed to be tanking, right? Didn’t they trade and/or release a lot of veterans prior to and even during the season? And acquire a whole slew of draft picks? So what the hell are they doing winning two in a row?
*The Raiders are over .500 and competitive?? This could be the most surprising development of the 2019 NFL season.
I am sure there are more…and more specific examples of course. But that’s at least a capsule look at some of the crazy stuff going on in the league in the 2019 season.
Pittsburgh at Cleveland (-2.5)
The Steelers have won 5 of 6, though not against Murderer’s Row by anyone’s count. The Browns have lost 4 of 5 and have looked fairly pathetic all year. Thursday Night game, divisional matchup. You know what that means.
Cleveland 21, Pittsburgh 17.
Week (against the spread): 7-6
Week (straight up): 7-6
Lock Of The Week (season, ATS): 5-5
Season (against the spread): 74-74
Season (straight up): 96-52
…some random thoughts on recent events, once again, in no particular order:
*Do we even need to talk about the actual New England Patriot win over the Pittsburgh Steelers this past Sunday night?
Not really. But I will say a few things.
A little surprising on how easy the win was. Isn’t Pittsburgh supposed to be a prime contender in the AFC this season?
The defense looked pretty damn good, and that was even playing without linebacker Kyle Van Noy. There seems to be a lot of bodies out there that can contribute, that’s for sure.
The offense could have been crisper. I mean, four field goals from Stephen Gostkowski is probably at least two too many. Though I will take the fact that he made all of them. He has been shaky at times recently. And the new holder, punter Jake Bailey, hasn’t always inspired confidence thus far.
Sony Michel supposedly looked very good in training camp. He did look very good in the very little he played in the preseason. He did not look so hot in this game, however. Let’s hope this changes.
But all of a sudden I am not worried about this receiving corps. And that’s not because of the guy we will talk more about later. I feel pretty good about Julian Edelman, of course. I have this gut feeling that Josh Gordon will stay out of trouble this season. If the team keeps Phillip Dorsett active, I actually feel ok about him. I mean, I don’t think Dorsett is going for almost 100 yards and 2 TDs every game…let’s not be ridiculous. But I think if the team doesn’t bury him now, he is trusted by Tom Brady and can be useful. And Antoni…ok, let’s get back to him in a bit.
I think the team will miss Rob Gronkowski, don’t get me wrong. But I am not as concerned about the tight end position as most. There will just be a whole lot more blocking out of that group. But I think Ben Watson and Matt LaCosse can make at least a few grabs in the passing game.
I would worry more about the offensive line. But in reality, the Pats have such a soft schedule the first half of the season, I think by Game 7 or 8, Dante Scarnecchia and the boys will have something decent figured out. Even if that means bringing in more bodies still.
Ok, that was more than a few things. In the end, it was a good win. But I am actually not going too crazy about it. Pittsburgh may not actually be as good as we think. Plus, I think we all thought that the Pats would be like 7-1 or 8-1 to start out the season…certainly no worse than 6-2.
It may not even be worth commenting more until we actually get some real games…especially the 19-0 talk. It’s waaaaaaay too early for that nonsense.
*Boston Red Sox President of Baseball Operations Dave Dombrowski got fired late Sunday night.
Questionable timing? Perhaps.
But I think that is something else we all saw coming. There has been some talk that maybe Dombrowski “asked for it” because he knew it too and wanted to get a jump on other opportunities that may be available in a few weeks.
I’m guessing the Sox just wanted to bury it, especially after ownership subsequently has refused to talk about it. That last part is kind of bizarre.
Either way, is it the right move? Most likely. There are some moves to be made this offseason and Dombrowski may not be the right dude to be in charge of those. Primarily because one of the moves COULD be trading Mookie Betts. And a move of that nature will involve most likely getting a package of prospects…not exactly DD’s strong suit. He’s better known for stripping down a farm system for major league talent.
And, by the way, I am not advocating trading Mookie. So pipe down. But the reality is that if he doesn’t want to sign an extension this upcoming offseason, you can’t lose a guy like that for nothing the following offseason. So you HAVE to investigate trading him. I’ve been pretty clear about this for quite some time now. I’m not looking to run the guy out of town. I hope he re-signs…even if it is for a gazillion dollars. John Henry has the dough, after all.
In any event, how much blame does Dombrowski get for this year? A piece for sure. But I don’t think it is as much as people want to lay on him.
Not getting a closer has been beaten to death when pointing fingers at DD. And that’s valid, for sure. He didn’t have to re-sign Craig Kimbrel for a jillion dollars. But getting SOMEONE that had ninth inning experience would have been nice.
But what else?
People like to point to re-signing Nathan Eovaldi to 17 mil per (4 years) and Steve Pearce for 6 mil this year. And that hurt them acquiring more bullpen help.
I say that’s bogus. Pearce was short money and he SHOULD have formed a nice platoon at first base with Mitch Moreland for this year. Then they both go elsewhere next season. It is a lot of money for Nate, who never stays healthy and doesn’t have a tremendous track record (other than the playoffs last year). But someone was going to give him some dough. And having some starting rotation depth is never a bad thing.
To top it all off, you hear more about those contracts now that both of those guys barely played this year. Only a few naysayers on them when they were handed out.
The Chris Sale extension? Stupid. But I think most of us would have given him good money over 3 years (instead of the 5 he got) though, no? And that extension starts next year, so it has nothing to do with his performance this season. Plus…I think ownership may have had quite a bit of say in handing that one out. My opinion.
The bullpen? Kind of in shambles. But doesn’t that describe the bullpen for many major league teams? And isn’t that why these guys are in the bullpen in the first place? They can’t start, they can’t close and they are inconsistent from year to year.
Matt Barnes is no closer, but he should be a capable bullpen arm. So should be guys like Brandon Workman, Heath Hembree and maybe even Steven Wright. But Wright got hurt again and Hembree missed a chunk of time as well. Relying on Ryan Brasier was probably foolish, but then you had guys like Marcus Walden, Josh Taylor and Darwinzon Hernandez pitch pretty well instead. Typical of the year to year inconsistencies of most bullpen arms.
The point is, Dombrowski could have gotten more bullpen arms for sure. But would they have even worked?
I suppose the fact that he did nothing at the trade deadline may have been one final straw. I think he should have sold. Others think he should have bought. But in the end, he sat on his hands. The consensus is probably that he should have picked one way or the other and made something happen.
But I don’t believe he should have the lions share of the blame. Manager Alex Cora then? Some to him as well. He hasn’t been as good as last year, but how could he top that? We need to realize that he is just a second year manager and will make some mistakes. I think he has acknowledged a great deal of the mistakes he has made. He will presumably get better the more experience he gets. I’m not blaming him a ton either.
This all lies on the players. Some of them are putting up gaudy numbers. But SOMETHING has been missing all year. There is plenty of talent on this team and it should have made the playoffs. Injuries to Sale, Eovaldi and David Price, of course, did not help. But this roster should still be a lot better.
And Dombrowski put together that roster. So I guess it’s all his fault…
*So the Red Sox are 9 games out of the wild card with 17 games to go.
It’s over. We know that. We have known that for a while.
But you still have to compete until you are officially eliminated. Use all your best players…even if you have to use 8-10 bullpen arms because that’s all you have.
Not sure why Xander Bogaerts wasn’t in the lineup last night, but whatever…
That being said, once the team is officially eliminated from the playoff race, since the team dumped Dombrowski early, maybe they can dump a few more dudes early too?
I mean, why are we bothering with guys like Gorkys Hernandez, Chris Owings and Josh A. Smith for? They can also let Moreland and Rick Porcello walk soon for all I care.
Let guys like Darwinzon and Marco Hernandez, Travis Lakins, Sam Travis, Trevor Kelley, Mike Shawaryn and Bobby Poyner play more. Call up some dudes that they have to add to the 40-man roster this offseason and give them a taste. They may not even be overwhelmed since there are plenty of minor leaguers in the majors at this time of year.
And why no Rusney Castillo? Gorkys, Rusney, what’s the difference? Rusney’s salary won’t hurt the luxury tax at this time of year. May as well see if you can get SOMETHING in return for that investment.
Even if it’s a couple of late September hits.
And…I’m fairly certain I am the only one thinking about this…
*Last, but certainly not least? Antonio Brown!!
If I still have you after 1,500 plus words, thanks for being here! If not, well then I guess I successfully “buried the lead”. Or is it “buried the lede”? Either way, I’m not sure “successfully” is the proper word either. Let’s move on…
I’m actually not going to talk much about him here. I mean, everyone else has been talking about him non-stop. How much more can I really add?
In a football sense, I have decided that I am ALL IN with this dude.
Make no mistake, the guy is an arseclown. The stuff he was pulling this summer up to and including this past weekend has certainly been juvenile. You know the list of stuff he pulled in Oakland, so we don’t need to rehash it here. He apparently has been doing that kind of stuff his whole career. Including the videotaping stuff in the locker room. And how last year ended in Pittsburgh…etc., etc., etc.
I don’t THINK he will get away with that stuff here. I mean, one never knows, but I would think before any kind of nonsense would get to Bill Belichick, guys like Brady, Devin McCourty, Matthew Slater, Dont’a Hightower, etc. would squash most things.
The Pats paid Brown a lot of money, so he will get more than one chance. It’s not a risk free move, as some have been saying, but for one year it is worth the gamble. As fans, we just have to hope he keeps in line for this one year.
Listen, I’m never going to hold any athlete as a role model. Most of these guys are total jackwagons. Even Brady can act bizarre at times…you know, the concussion water, avocado ice cream, etc.
I make no apologies for adding great players. None. Just like I make no apologies for the Patriots winning ways the past couple of decades. People forget (or don’t even know) the doormats they were their entire existence before then.
People also compare Brown to past Patriot “headaches” such as Randy Moss, Corey Dillion, Adalius Thomas, et al. They forget that there is one dude on the roster right now that has the potential to be a loose cannon…Michael Bennett. There’s probably more in that locker room as well. They just aren’t a superstar like Brown. And as good a player as Bennett is, he’s not at Brown’s level either…I don’t think anyway.
You’re gonna have some crazies in any locker room, no matter what team you are.
What’s one more?
UNLESS…the story that broke last night about Brown being accused of rape is true.
Sadly and unfortunately, I am skeptical of a lot of those stories, especially when they come out of the blue like this one did. And I am hoping that the story is not true of course.
But what if it is?
Now we are talking Tyreek Hill territory. And that’s not somewhere you want to be.
As I said above, Brown has done some juvenile things over the years that kind of makes him look like a jackass. So he’s kind of an idiot. But is any of the stuff that has gone public really all that harmful? Probably not. He’s just kind of immature and pretty much a tool.
But if these new allegations are true, that changes EVERYTHING. And Brown should be in jail, not ever on the field at Gillette Stadium.
Also, unfortunately, we may not know the truth until Brown has already played his year in New England. So at this point maybe the only thing we can do is accept him as a player on the field. Or at least try to. Until that truth comes out.
Won’t be the first time this is the case for an athlete. Which is another sad state of affairs…