If you’re into defending unpopular QBs, calling Hall of Famers 'system guys' and ignoring statistics that don’t fit your argument, you should probably seek help … or read my new weekly column. Just don’t call these hot takes because they make perfect sense to me.
1. I have issues with the unabated tidal wave of Andy Dalton criticism. Plenty of quarterbacks have struggled early in the season – Cam Newton, Eli Manning, Carson Palmer, Russell Wilson, etc. – but they aren’t subject to this kind of abuse …
No one cares that the Bengals have faced stingy Houston and Baltimore defense, they let left tackle Andrew Whitworth go, his replacement Cedric Ogbuehi has struggled andthey can’t run the ball.
Typically quarterbacks get too much blame when teams lose and credit when they win. When Dalton wins, it’s because he has great weapons. If they lose, he’s the worst quarterback in the League.Neither is the whole truth, but the media is never going to treat Dalton fairly… Like I said, I have issues.
2. Tom Brady’s new book “The TB12 Method: How to Achieve a Lifetime of Sustained Peak Performance” came out Tuesday. The book should be called “How to dominate in pro football with a Dad bod.” Why would I want diet tips from the one NFL player whose body resembles mine? What do I need pliability for? To reach under the couch to get the remote? If I’m going to buy a diet book, how about someone like Packers RB Ty Montgomery? I want to go from a wispy WR to an action figure-like running back. Give me steak and bicep curls over turnips and avocado ice cream.
3. Leave Kevin Durant – and his aliases - alone. He was falsely labeled a villain for leaving Oklahoma City and continues to be unfairly criticized. But every elite NBA player gets ripped for even the smallest things. Even ones with impeccable careers like Durant, LeBron James and Steph Curry. These three guys should never wear the black hat and yet we find flaws.
Durant didn’t take a shortcut to a title. He left a team that played the wrong way – isolation – to join one that moved the ball. We should celebrate his decision to add to the beautiful game instead of sticking to a style of basketball that wasn’t working. Instead, we continually berate him – especially now that he shows vulnerability. No wonder he had a social media meltdown. (FYI, this is me, not Kevin Durant writing this).
Which leads to …
4. Lee Jenkins’ profile on Dwight Howard is a reminder of how great Howard actually was and that athletes have real lives that can get in the way of their performance. I have issues with anyone who judges the second half of Howard’s career without acknowledging he was one of the players every GM would have loved to build around.
My favorite line is agent Aaron Goodwin trying to dissuade the big man from acting: “I told him, ‘Slow down, Deebo. You’re 6-foot-11. You’re not a movie star. The only person you can play is yourself or a [Wookiee].”
4. Why is everyone so confident that USC quarterback Sam Darnold is the No. 1 pick? Consensus opinions on college QBs in September are meaningless. At this time last year, DeshoneKizer was the No. 1 pick in the Draft and no one knew about Mitchell Trubisky and Patrick Mahomes. In 2015 we were talking about Christian Hackenberg and Connor Cook early on… not Jared Goff and Carson Wentz.Someone else out there is to break up the big three – Darnold, Josh Allen and Josh Rosen. I thought Oklahoma’s Mason Rudolph was a strong candidate … until TheMMQB.com’s Albert Breer convinced me otherwise…. (https://www.si.com/nfl/2017/09/19/mason-rudolph-nfl-draft-2018-scouting-report). But the college QB carousel has plenty of turns left.
5. NFL celebrations aren’t cool now that they’re legal. They’ve lost their spontaneity and look like something out of a high school drama class. Steelers rookie receiver broke into Guys and Dolls by gathering teammates to imitate rolling dice. The League is on a quick slope down toward Sharks and Jets snapping their fingers at each other West Side Story-style. Matt Stone and Trey Parker nailed it with a football team breaking into the Riverdance in the movie Baseketball….
6. Baltimore is the NFL’s Terminator. The Ravens won’t die. They have no right to be 2-0 and should be deep into a rebuild. But still win despite injuries, old age and a flawed roster. Their starting running back, Terrance West, and tight end Benjamin Watson were both cut by Cleveland. How do you win with Browns cast-offs? Their quarterback Joe Flacco didn’t have a preseason because of a back injury. Their defense features a 34-year-old pass-rusher, Terrell Suggs, a 32-year-old safety, Eric Weddle, and a 31-year-old CB, Brandon Carr. And they just lost All-Pro guard Marshall Yanda. Yet they’ll persevere. That’s coaching and organizational excellence. If Baltimore finishes 8-8 John Harbaugh deserves Coach of the Year.
7. Why do people keep going to see the movie “It?” It’s up to $370 million worldwide and unseated Crocodile Dundee as the highest grossing September film of all time. Why would I add the thought of a murderous clown that lives in the sewer into my subconscious?
Crocodile Dundee is more my speed…