Time for another reminder why you can’t spell ‘ADD’ without DD…
• The football world is expressing stunned appreciation today for another fine showing by Andrew Luck, as though the Stanford grad has had a horseshoe placed in one his orifices. How ‘bout we stop dropping our jaws over rookie QBs playing well? It was an anomaly when Danny Marino dominated from the get-go 30 years back, but Newton, Dalton, Roethlisberger, Ryan, Flacco, Bradford, and even Vince Young have made rookie success pretty commonplace these days. I’d suggest the old-school guys who yammer about QBs needing four years of seasoning DVR some 21st-century football games, but they’re probably still using VHS.
• He’s not a rookie, but Jake Locker is gonna have a big 2012. Just like his regional counterpart 400 miles away in Charlotte, Locker has a huge arm and is a rugged, lightning-fast runner. Unlike Newton, Locker’s gonna win a lot in his first full year under center. Here me now, believe me later: The Titans are going to the playoffs.
• I hate to be a bummer – what with this being the time of year when every NFL fan theoretically has hope for his team to go to the Super Bowl – but I have a hunch/recurring nightmare the Patriots already have the AFC locked up. Believe me, it disgusts me to type those words as much as it hurts your eyes to read ‘em, but facts are facts: Brandon Lloyd, Wes Welker, Aaron Hernandez, and Gronk are four of the division’s six best pass catchers (and maybe the four best period – sorry, Santonio & Stevie); 2011’s woeful defense can’t help but be better with playmaking additions at all three levels; and Tom Brady, like most of the all-time greatest athletes, is at his best with a chip on his shoulder… so after another late Super Bowl loss to Chip Manning’s Giants, we can expect Mr. Bundchen to be gangbusters in 2012.
• Oh yeah, and the Pats also have a cupcake schedule. Two tough out-of-division road games vs. the Ravens & Titans, three tough out-of-division home games vs. the Niners, Texans, & Broncos, and… that’s it. The AFC East stinks. The Dolphins are junk, the Tebows are meh, and the Bills might – might – be good, but how scary can they really be with Ryan Fitzpatrick at QB? (Answer: not very.) It’ll be an upset if New England is anything worse than 13-3.
• NFL head coaches oughta be sweating out what happens in New Orleans this season. If the Saints go 13-3 without Sean Payton, he and his peers will become the equivalent of a Malibu beach house: a nice luxury if you can afford it, but not exactly essential.
• One caveat to all my Pats’ hype: the play of new left tackle Nate Solder, who’s taking over for the retired Matt Light. That’s a lot of pressure on the second-year kid from Colorado. Unlike Rodgers & Roethlisberger, but like his pal Peyton, Brady needs to stay clean to be effective.
• Speaking of Denver’s new QB, he’s prominently featured in the latest edition of ‘The N-if-L’, alternate reality for pro football as animated by the talented fellas from Bindledog. Have a look, won’t you? http://davedameshek.nfl.com/2012/08/16/n-if-l-what-if-elway-hadnt-skipped-out-on-the-colts/
• If I’m gonna be a self-promotional heel, I may as well go all the way. Please also check out ‘The Uniform Monitor’s 122 of 2012: Ranking The Teams in America’s Four Major Sports Leagues’.
• By the way, even if Solder fails, he and RT Sabastian Vollmer – both of whom are 6’8” – have gotta win the award for tallest pair of bookends in NFL history, no?
• More good news for Solder, Vollmer, and their o-line colleagues: they should be especially adept at pass-blocking since they can devote 100% of their attention to it. If my analysis is correct, the 2012 Pats have a great shot at becoming the first team in NFL history to run the ball zero times in a season.
• In response to charges he was the driving force behind the Red Sox players’ recent attempted mutiny, new Met Kelly Shoppach told reporters over the weekend, “Nothing I did yesterday does anything for today, and that’s going to be my stance for the rest of my life. ‘What am I going to do today? Yesterday’s gone. It ain’t gonna do (expletive) for me today.’ That’s my philosophy on life.” Awesome. If only OJ, Sandusky, and every convicted murderer had tried that defense, I’m sure they’d be free men today. Terrific lesson for the kids, Kelly.
• Wrapping up the conversation I had a couple days ago on the Dave Dameshek Football Program with Adam Rank and ‘Around the League’ scribes Dan Hanzus & Marc Sessler, here’s my list of the ‘Funniest Sitcoms Ever’:
1. The Simpsons
3. The Larry Sanders Show
5. Curb Your Enthusiasm
6. Arrested Development
8. (tie) The Office [UK]; The Office [US]
9. All in the Family
10. 30 Rock
12. It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia
13. The Jeffersons (Season One)
14. Three’s Company
• Don’t miss Adam Rank and me on the latest Rich Eisen Podcast (RichEisen.NFL.com). Along with some spirited fantasy football conversation, Rich & I engage in a Chris Berman-off.
• If you like impressions more expertly executed, take a look at one of the ten funniest things I’ve ever seen: Steve Coogan & Rob Brydon in a Michael Caine-Off in “The Trip.”
Hope to see you in NYC for Fantasy Draft Week this Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. More details here. Until then, I bid you… good day.