What your view of sports and life would be if you had too many concussions
By J-Dub and Ryan Meehan
The NFL season is coming, and a thirsty sports media await the impending season-long journey of domestic violence accusations, weapons charges, and driving under the influence arrests. But what the mainstream sports media seems to have forgotten is that the athletes who find themselves in these difficult predicaments have to actually go out there and play football every weekend.
That’s where we come in. See, here at Dubsism and First Order Historians we already know pro football players are going to do stupid shit once they leave the facilities, and most of the time, we really don’t fucking care. We realize that while Ray Rice going Mike Tyson on his girlfriend in an elevator is despicable, there isn’t a whole hell of a lot to discuss there in terms of football-related strategy. That’s right, we’re two sports bloggers who are actually concerned with what goes on between the white lines.
That’s why we have a list of fifteen question we find interesting because not a lot of other people are talking about them, and we really don’t know the answers to them. That’s also why we thought we would pose these questions to you, the blog-reading public.
After all, you can’t get it any more wrong than we can.
1) The New Orleans Saints will miss the playoffs again.
I am making a bold prediction about the NFC South this year that Atlanta will end up walking away with what is slowly becoming the NFL’s crown of shame. One of the reasons is because Carolina isn’t really all that great and had a cake schedule last year, but the main difference here is that the Saints’ defensive struggles have surpassed the point where they can be rescued by Drew Brees’ heroics.
Brees led the NFL in passing last year, but the Saints still ended up coming within a hair of finishing with double-digit losses. How does that even happen? You win the passing crown, yet still finish under .500. Because the Saints defends New Orleans about as well as the British did in 1815. Defensively, there is a very real possibility that the Saints could be even worse than they were last season. Cameron Jordan saw a decrease in his sack production from his 2013 Pro Bowl season, and the rest of the guys on that side of the football are extremely young and inexperienced.
But returning to the offense, Brees is headed in the twilight of his career which means he’s got a bad year coming and this very well might be it. Losing Jimmy Graham and Kenny Stills has to hurt, and you know that off the record Brees is fuming about the fact that Graham in now in Seattle. The clock is starting to run out for head coach Sean Payton, who is now six years removed from his Super Bowl glory and likely will be fired if they post another losing record in a division where there’s no excuse for them winning anything less than ten games every season. Pardon the cheap joke about the power going out at the Superdome during Super Bowl XLVII, but shit is about to get dark down in the “Big Easy.”
Face it. The Saints aren’t just done, they’re overdone. And they aren’t just overdone, they’re more overdone than the burgers at A Kiwanis club picnic. Drew Brees is still a top-flight quarterback, but he has about as much to work with as a quadraplegic brain surgeon. Couple that with the fact the Saints defense promises to be more porous than Octo-Mom’s diaphragm, and this is the years Saints’ fans finally drink Bourbon Street dry. The days of the “Aints” paper bags are coming back.
2) The Washington Redskins will finish with the worst record in the NFL
Right about now, you’re probably wondering how in a league where the Jacksonville Jaguars and Tennessee Titans have become the perennial punching bag there could be a team that’s actually worse, but hear me out: The Redskins lost a promising tight end in Niles Paul, who dislocated his ankle in a meaningless preseason contest against the Browns. He’s joined on the injured reserve by two outside linebackers, a position at which Washington got torched last year.
Then I’m scrolling through my Facebook the other day and there’s this story about how Robert Griffin III says he “feels like he’s the best quarterback in the league, now all he has to do is go out and prove it”. Yeah, like that’s the only issue here. You know when would have been an excellent time to prove it? In 2013 when you were coming off of an impressive rookie season, or last year when both the Giants and the Eagles missed the playoffs completely. Is this kid out of his fucking mind?
There’s two schools of thought here: If he really does believe that, then we have to wonder if he’s just super-confident or totally delusional. If it’s the latter, he could possibly be in the process of losing that locker room – if that hasn’t already happened yet. Now if he doesn’t really believe it but said it to give the media a soundbite everybody could tear apart on the social networks, that’s understandable – a lot of athletes do this – but there are some who would argue that this makes him a liar.
All of this is completely devoid of the discussion that now there are three very different personalities in charge of very important facets of this organization. Griffin is one: The athletic starting quarterback was a stud in college and has rarely let his frustrations see the light of day the past two years, and who still may not be a good NFL quarterback. His legs are toothpicks, and since you can’t run Alfred Morris every single fucking down and you have no receiving corps whatsoever you’re going to see plenty more of this read option bullshit that will eventually put this kid in a wheelchair.
Not like anything I just said matters because it’s obvious barring injuries, RG III will never start a game for the Redskins again.
Five words: New York Dumpster Fire Jets.
3) The Buffalo Bills will have enough offense to finish with a winning record
Recent issues surrounding the health of newly acquired running back LeSean McCoy have came to light as a result of him re-aggravating that hamstring, and there are a lot of questions about how effective the rest of that ground attack is going to be. Tyrod Taylor will start for Rex Ryan, who has never been known to declare an aerial assault on anybody. But either way, their offensive line had a rough year protecting Kyle Orton last year so scoring points could be a problem.
I feel a little bit remiss having gotten this far in the passage without mentioning Percy Harvin. One of these days, that guy is going to turn into a pumpkin at midnight and people are going to realize that perhaps he wasn’t all that great to begin with. He’s hardly an every down (or every other down) wideout, and although you do get a fantastic special teams player when you fork over all that scratch, he has to be locker room poison to some degree. He’s only been in the league since 2009 and this is already his fourth team, which should alert several of these owners there’s no point in signing such a young buck to anything close to a long-term deal. But if there’s one NFL head coach I can see putting up with his shit, it’s Rex Ryan because both of these guys have a well-timed “fuck you” attitude that seems to follow them everywhere they go. Although it might feel good now, when Week Four rolls around and Harvin realizes how little he’s getting the ball, things aren’t going to be pretty.
New England still owns this division and until they don’t, it’s going to be very hard for Buffalo to stay relevant even though they finished over .500 last year. New coach, new systems, and new rules could all make for some serious problems, so I just can’t go strong on the Bills.
They won’t ever need that much offense, as long as they can find a running back with knees and hamstrings in better condition than Betty White’s, and a quarterback who doesn’t give the ball away faster than Hilary Clinton deletes emails. Tyrod Taylor seems like he could solve one of those problems and like him or not, Rex Ryan is a difference maker. This team was already 9-7 last year without him. Couple that with what promises to be another skull-rattling Ryan defense and a favorable schedule, and 10 Buffalo wins is not out of the question.
4) The Sam Bradford for Nick Foles deal will prove to be unfavorable for the Philadelphia Eagles
Even though the Rams looked very poor in their preseason outing against the Titans, that statement alone is an accurate representation of how little the preseason matters. This whole fiasco says a lot about Chip Kelly and what he thinks an NFL offense is supposed to look like. There’s no way that you get rid of a guy who has a 46 to 17 career touchdown to interception ratio along with not one, but two draft picks for Sam Bradford and one pick. That proves somebody in that organization is fucked in the head, and we know it’s Kelly.
During this off-season, there were several accusations of racism floating around the Eagles camp. I think it’s simply the fact that a fifty-one year old white dude who looks like a child molester doesn’t connect with a bunch of black players in their mid-twenties. This trade of two white guys proves that it’s not a race issue, it’s a culture issue within the Philadelphia Eagles organization. Internally there is something very, very wrong with the Eagles…perhaps Kelly went out drinking with Bill Cosby and hasn’t been right ever since.
This is a fact because it is already bad for Philadelphia. The Rams know what they’ve got, which is why they signed Foles faster than than Bruce Jenner forgot he still has a cock. Meanwhile, the Eagles get to gamble on a quarterback whose knee ligaments are made from surplus Spaghetti-o’s…and not even the good kind with those odd “meat” balls.
5) The Houston Texans will put up a respectable fight against the Indianapolis Colts’ recent AFC South dominance
Meehan: True (sort of...)
J-Dub is probably going to bash me for giving the Colts more credit than they deserve, but they do still own this division. But when you write with a guy who hates the Colts more than ISIS hates gay pride parades, you can almost be sure J-Dub disagrees with me on that point.
Brian Hoyer is probably much better than we know just yet, having been given the reigns to the team that is the NFL’s third largest market. J.J. Watt is an old school player in the sense that he backs up all of the media hype that comes with him. He simply isn’t content with being a great athlete, he wants to show us that he’s not wasting the talent that helps him out in his ridiculous workout regimen.
I don’t think Arian Foster will ever be a legitimate MVP candidate with his vegan diet and very “Anti-Tebow”-like stance on the existence of God, but as long as he has eleven hundred yards rushing this year, I see absolutely no reason that the Texans can’t make the playoffs. I don’t buy that they can win the division, largely because Foster gaining that kind of yardage will require him to actually be on the field at some point. Given Foster’s recent groin surgery, that is very much in doubt at this point.
I don’t get all the fawning over the Colts. What they are is a Wal-Mart version of the non-Super Bowl winning Patriots. They’ve got a stud quarterback with precious little else, an offensive line that’s more patchwork than a quilt at a 4-H competition, and a defense about as effective as the Maginot Line. In other words, blowing past the Colts in the AFC South will be like passing a moped on the freeway. The only question will be did the Texans remember to buy gas?
6) The Cincinnati Bengals won’t get a chance to execute their annual January face-plant
The mere thought of Cincinnati missing the playoffs brings a smile to my face that makes the Cheshire Cat from Alice in Wonderland look like a homeless teenager in the flesh-dens of Bangkok. I was actually pro-Cincinnati for a while, because it was a blast to watch their defense. During the regular season it was fun to watch Andy Dalton scramble to make something out of what was essentially less than nothing. But in reality, he’s fucking soft.
Their current depth chart makes San Francisco’s roster look like the ’77 Steelers, and let’s not forget that roster still includes Adam “Pacman” Jones. He’s a hell of a return specialist, but he could blow that locker room apart at any moment. I definitely wouldn’t invite him to my bachelor party unless I wanted all of my groomsmen to be paralyzed for the wedding.
They won’t get the chance to blow it wild card weekend, because they could self-destruct as early as October.
Sure, it’s easy to get your faith in the Bengals and Andy “The Ginger Rifle” Dalton shaken faster than a Christian Scientist with a severed artery. But having faith in either the Steelers or the Ravens is harder than Ron Jeremy chain-gunning Viagra with the Swedish Bikini Team.
7) The Lions will be able to recover from losing Nick Fairley and Ndamokung Suh and finish over .500
The Lions probably should have won their wild card game against the Cowboys last season, but Dallas is going to get that call eleven out of ten times. Detroit finished 11-5 last season, but benefited greatly from having one of the easiest schedules in the league. This year they are set to try to win this division back from the defending NFC North champion Green Bay Packers, and it won’t be easy with such obvious holes in that lineup where superstars used to play.
The only real bright spot would be that the only way a team can succeed with a struggling defense is if their quarterback can throw the ball fifty-five times a weekend, and if nothing else Matthew Stafford can definitely do that even though he looks like he’s straight out of an Archie comic. But if he goes down, you’re going to see a lot of Dan Orlovsky forgetting that NFL end zones are only ten yards deep.
They’re the Lions. They are the NFL’s version of the Chicago Cubs. They’ve found more than one time to fuck up a ton of promise, and until they show differently, there’s no reason to think anything has changed in the Motor City. As a retired bookie, I will tell you never – NEVER – bet on a team like this until they show you a trend breaker. They will find a way to fuck up everything they touch. It’s the law.
8) The Arizona Cardinals will finish with the worst record out of all of the teams that made the postseason last year
Although Arizona’s defense is an absolute killing machine, Carson Palmer is now 35 years old. According to my calculations, in “Carson Palmer in 2015’s NFL” years, that would make him at least 166 years old.
The truth is, even before he was hurt, the Cardinals were hardly lighting up the scoreboard. They didn’t score more than eighteen points in any of their last seven games of the year, but then again they only scored thirty points in a single contest twice before that, and one of those games was against Washington. While they had four Pro Bowl selections (Justin Bethel, Calais Campbell, Patrick Peterson, and Antonio Cromartie) the reality is that none of those guys lined up on the offensive side of the ball, and Peterson is the only one who is likely to head back to that pointless face-off the week before the Super Bowl. Not to mention, early this spring he announced that he had been diagnosed with diabetes, so you can make your own Jay Cutler joke here or pick from any of the numerous ones we’ve made about him in previous pieces.
Opposing offenses will still have problems dealing with the Cardinals’ defense, but Carson Palmer won’t be 100% at the outset of the season and it’s only a matter of time before Drew Stanton will be once again given the task of trying to keep Arizona relevant in the NFC West. Seattle is going to be great again this year, and the Rams are also going to be much improved as well. San Francisco will be dog shit microwaved in aluminum foil. The Cardinals have a tough schedule outside of their division having to face the AFC North, so this will really all come down to Carson Palmer and his 166-year old knees. That’s going to make for a lot sleepless nights in Arizona.
Did you ever sit at your desk, fucking around with a paper clip, bending it back and forth until it snaps. Peyton Manning’s neck bones are just like that paper clip, and every time he straps on a helmet is another bend in that paper clip. There’s two of those paper-clip bones in Manning’s neck, and nobody knows how many bends are left before the final break. That’s all that stands between the Denver Broncos and a 5-11 record.
9) The Denver Broncos won’t host a playoff game for the duration of Peyton Manning’s career
Pay close attention to the item…If you re-read it, you’ll notice that it doesn’t say they wouldn’t win one – it says they won’t host one. I think the days of the Broncos finishing 12-4 are no longer, and that the Chargers can easily pass the Broncos for AFC West dominance at some point this year. This would put the Broncos at about 10-6 at best, and unfortunately the manner in which the NFL playoffs are structured – which by the way is ridiculous and allows average teams who win bad divisions – isn’t going to give them much of a chance to host said playoff games. It’s no secret that Manning’s career is in decline, and he did lose some healthy targets in Tamme, Welker, and Julius Thomas. The end of Manning’s career is closer than you think, and at the risk of sounding like I hate the guy, he’s not riding off into the sunset with the Lombardi trophy. I certainly wouldn’t put my bladder on it. (Editor’s note: Meehan’s bladder is not in very good shape)
Take what I said in the previous question, add a crap offensive line and the fact Manning is another year older, and the writing is pretty much on the wall here. Just keep bending the paper clip, gang…
10) The Dallas Cowboys will reach the NFC Championship game
Color me gullible if you will, but I really like this to happen this year. Seattle has the same potential to implode based on their poor decision making skills, and unless Green Bay can sign another wide receiver to replace Jordy Nelson, you can see how they might not have enough depth to go all the way. As for Dubs’ pro-Eagle-and-handle-of-bourbon influenced assessment of Romo, you have to respect the way that dude can take a hit. He takes bigger hits than Michael Phelps off a monster bong, which should prepare Cowboy fans for a year where Romo going to be dropping back to pass a lot. A lot. Like all time, because their running game without DeMarco Murray will be a joke. It’s my belief that they aren’t going to really need a stud running back to win this division – and probably get a bye – so I can see them winning one divisional playoff game to make this statement true.
Take those two weak bones out of Peyton Manning’s neck, put them in Tony Romo’s back, add one unchecked blind-side blitz, and all of a sudden we have “Arts & Crafts Stephen Hawking” on our hands. Granted the Cowboys have a much better offensive line than the Broncos, but all it takes is one good shot to Romo’s spine for Brandon Weeden to become the top-selling jersey at the Cowboys’ Pro Shop.
11) Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach Lovie Smith will be fired by the conclusion of Week Fourteen
That offensive line stinks worse than former owner Malcolm Glazer’s corpse, and Lovie Smith is an NFL coordinator – not a head coach. When your franchise looks like Tampa’s currently does, you have to start thinking long-term – five-year plan and beyond. A good first step in that process is to realize that Smith isn’t getting anything done down there, and I believe that’s exactly what they’ll do after they become mathematically eliminated from the NFL continuing to bring cameras to Buccaneers games.
It’s called the “Dennis Green” rule. It means incompetent black coaches always get more time than they deserve before they get fired. See Raheem Morris, Ray Rhodes , and Tony Dungy.
12) The San Diego Chargers have a legitimate shot at winning the AFC West this year
As previously stated, I believe that Denver is not going to have a fantastic year. And if you’re counting on the Chiefs to post a ten-win season, I have lakefront property on the moon I’ll sell you that is beautiful this time of year. Looking at their schedule, if you don’t buy the Lions as a powerhouse – which I don’t – if the Chargers can sneak by the Steelers at home in the week 5 Monday Night Football matchup, they could easily start the year 5-0 before having to head to Lambeau Field and take on the Packers the following week. After that, there are still enough winnable games on the schedule for them, and their bye week happens right smack in the middle of the season. It might take a while for Melvin Gordon to get going, but I believe he will, and I really like the receiver combination of Stevie Johnson, Keenan Allen, and Malcolm Floyd. I can also see them eating a heaping plate of dick this season and it wouldn’t exactly shock me, but I would be surprised and I don’t think that’s going to happen.
Why not? In order to say “no,” I have to put far too much faith in the aforementioned neck bones of Peyton Manning, and the bursting strength of Andy Reid’s lap-band.
13) Jimmy Graham will be able to block well enough to fit in the Seattle Seahawks’ offensive scheme while still being effective as a tight end/receiver
It’s a fact, although he probably will take plays off. Graham is a stud, and his paycheck certainly backs up that assessment for sure. But this one is tough, because even after last year’s Super Bowl boner, the Seahawks have decided to hang on to offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell. With this clown in control of the offense, there’s no telling what could happen. Graham could have an MVP season, or they could make no discernible effort to get him the ball. It’s likely the latter won’t happen, but I think he should be able to block well enough to get a very mobile quarterback the extra quarter-to-half second he needs in those situations. Baldwin’s still on the roster as well, which means that they still have a guy who’s a solid #1 receiver on the roster for big plays, so Graham should be able to provide extra pass protection in those instances.
I really don’t know how to grade this one out, because the Seahawks’ offense is like Jamies Winston taking the SAT…passing when they really shouldn’t have.
14) The 49ers offense will be able to make up for the losses that franchise has sustained on defense
I believe that there is no void in the NFL that is going to match that of Jim Harbaugh not being around to discipline a group of guys that are lead pipe locks to end up in prison the second their NFL careers come to a close. I also believe as football fans we may have been a little bit prematurely sold on Colin Kaepernick being the superstar he has been made out to be. The two career performances we associate him with are two moments in two extremely important football games, but he failed on both occasions. Last year he wasn’t very productive at all, and with a depleted roster it’s going to be even harder for him to succeed. No Michael Crabtree, Brandon Lloyd, or Frank Gore. I have to think Reggie Bush and Kendall Hunter won’t be able to fill that void, and Colin is going to be running for his life. After Kaepernick snaps an ankle, the fate of the 49ers gets left to Blaine Fucking Gabbert. See you in hell, San Francisco.
The 49ers are like that commercial which has the kraken hiding in the water hazard on a golf course. There’s something just below the surface in that locker room which promises to destroy everything in it’s path.
15) The Patriots can repeat as Super Bowl champions
I’m going to get literal with this one: The item says that they can, not that they will. Of course they can win. They are still a killer team that makes great off-season moves. They are going to be in the playoffs for sure. I’m not sold on Buffalo yet, the Jets suck subhuman levels of shit-pipe, and I will probably never trust Ryan Tannehill even though he looked great in the preseason. All that means what happens in the first portion of the Patriots’ season usually doesn’t make a bit of difference. Their only concern is how they play heading into January, so another Super Bowl win is definitely possible.
One of the things that has gone unnoticed in all of the “Deflate-gate” garbage is that the once harmonious “family” relationship between Tom Brady, Bill Belichick, and Robert Kraft has definitely been strained. When the damage happened is anybody’s guess, but am I the only one who found it strange that Robert Kraft offered a table-pounding defense of his quarterback, then essentially butt-fucked Brady’s case by agreeing to Kommissar Goodell’s punishment? Sure, Brady eventually prevailed, but you know that he certainly noticed who was willing to fight with him and who threw up the white flag.
While everybody was squawking about crap like “legacies,” nobody bothered to remember that championships are about having that moment in time where everything -EVERYTHING – goes right. Relationships are very much a part of EVERYTHING. Don’t forget, last year’s Patriots championship came down to one play call, which means no matter how small, EVERYTHING means something.
That especially matters in this case because no matter how you slice it, this is now all about how the “Brady-Belichick” era ends in New England. Like it or not, you can now tell that the “Big Three” which brought about this era of Patriots greatness all now have their own interests at heart. Can they hold it together for that 5th championship? History says no; relationships which are strained like this usually don’t last through much more.
Then, there’s the on-the-field angle. Let’s not forget the Patriots are basically Tom Brady and little else, and he’s not getting any younger. Let’s not forget the Bills aren’t that far behind them. But most importantly, let’s not forget that the odds that EVERYTHING goes right for the Patriots are pretty slim.