Pop Quiz: NFL Free Agency

By Reid Kerr
PSDC Offensive Coordinator

The first week and a half of the NFL Free Agency period has been a pretty crazy time, with deals coming fast and furious for defensive backs and edge rushers, while veteran quarterbacks and running backs sit waiting for the phone to ring like Brendan Fraser.

You may have missed some of the big events, so here’s a handy pop quiz to see how much you’ve been paying attention to the NFL’s annual big human garage sale.

1 – This season’s free agency period is a good time to be an NFL…
A) Safety
B) Offensive lineman
C) Lawyer

2 – The market for running backs is similar to the market for…
A) Interior defensive linemen
B) Kickers
C) Bags of used dirt

3 – Eddie Lacy weighed 267 pounds when he signed with Seattle, making him…
A) A two-down back
B) A power back for goal line situations
C) “Feast Mode”

4 –  The best deal a running back has pulled down so far is Kyle Juszczyk, who is…
A) Someone you’ve never heard of
B) A bad investment by a first-time GM
C) All of the above

5 – Adrian Peterson’s dad’s comments about the Minnesota Vikings offensive line were…
A) A bad idea
B) Spot-on
C) Not the biggest thing working against a new contract for AD

6 – The Dallas Cowboys didn’t expect…
A) To have so many problems unloading Tony Romo
B) To lose two cornerbacks in fifteen minutes
C) For Ezekiel Elliott to get all “Girls Gone Wild”

7 – Next year, Tony Romo will be…
A) A Texan
B) A Bronco
C) Injured by Thanksgiving, regardless of job location

8 – The Kirk Cousins situation in Washington is a fascinating example of…
A) Free agency problems
B) How teams use the franchise tag
C) Hostage negotiation gone horribly wrong

9 – The Chicago Bears signed Mike Glennon for fifteen million dollars a year.
A) What?
B) Who?
C) Why?

10 – The New England Patriots appear to be…
A) Reevaluating other players
B) Ignoring most free agents
C) Shopping for groceries out of other teams’ carts

11 – Robert Griffin III still has value as…
A) A veteran backup quarterback
B) A spot-starter
C) An organ donor

Scoring: Give yourself one point for every “A,” two for every “B,” and seventy-three points for every “C” answer. Total your points up and realize no matter how many you have, it’s still not enough to get Jimmy Garoppolo away from the Patriots.

- Reid Kerr talks a lot, as his wife always reminds him. Reid’s second book, “I Hate It Here: A Love Story,” is out now on Amazon.com. You can always tweet questions, comments, and angry messages to him at @reidaboutit.

Here’s The Thing – Steve’s Things

By Stephen Thomas (@15Stephen15)
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I’m Stephen Thomas with Here’s The Thing.

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Hello there, friends and inmates, it’s good to talk to you again. I’ve just returned from Las Vegas, after attending my daughter’s three day volleyball tournament, and I’m tired. Not the normal Vegas-tired, after 5AM tequila shooters and mornings spent uttering the phrase “Where are my pants?” and “When did I get a Yosemite Sam tattoo on my buttcheek?” No, this is just old people/parent tired. Either way, focusing this morning has been difficult. [Read more…]

Here’s The Thing – Thank You For A Great Super Bowl, Stonecutters!

By Stephen Thomas (@15Stephen15)
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I’m Stephen Thomas with Here’s The Thing.

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So let’s see, what to talk about today … bowling? Cricket? Amazingly yummy kale recipes? Nah, I guess we’ll discuss that football game, The Super Bowl or whatever. I mean, bowling and cricket are boring and yummy kale recipes simply do not exist, so we might as well discuss the incredibly ridiculous Patriots comeback that may or may not prove Tom Brady is from another planet. [Read more…]

Here’s The Thing – Super Bowl Locks With Gamblicus

By Stephen Thomas (@15Stephen15)
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I’m Stephen Thomas with Here’s The Thing.

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It’s finally here, friends and inmates, the final Mortal Lock Friday before the Super Bowl! That magical Sunday when football fans gather with non-football fans to watch a game, have fun and become annoyed with the non-football fans after about 8 minutes of having to answer questions with “No, Johnny Manziel isn’t in this game,” “I don’t know why their uniforms don’t have more red in them,” and “I’m sorry no one is eating your broccoli, but I TOLD you not to bring it!” [Read more…]

Here’s The Thing – Super Bowl Prop Bets

By Stephen Thomas (@15Stephen15)
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I’m Stephen Thomas with Here’s The Thing.

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It’s Super Bowl week, friends and inmates! The one day a year when people of all races, religions and creeds gather together, clog their arteries, ruin themselves for work the next day, and most importantly root against the Patriots. It’s also the best time of year to gamble away your family’s savings, not only on the game itself but on silly, ridiculous prop bets that no sane person would risk anything on. [Read more…]

Here’s The Thing – Norm Peterson Saves The World

By Stephen Thomas (@15Stephen15)
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I’m Stephen Thomas with Here’s The Thing.

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Well I want to say good morning to you, friends and inmates. So I will. After all, it’s my two minutes of airtime, and I’m a free man as long as my wife isn’t here to tell me what to do, so I’ll do what I want: GOOD MORNING, FRIENDS AND INMATES. It’s a glorious morning in my part of the world, as I’ve been exchanging Cheers quotes with friends all morning on Twitter. Why does that make it a great morning? Well…

See, Here’s The Thing; My Twitter, my rules, my fun. Besides the fact that Cheers is the greatest sitcom of all time and I will fistfight you in the town square at high noon if you disagree don’t come AT me … sorry, got a little worked up there. My point is, for a guy who thrives on chaos and despises order and routine, the unpredictability of Twitter is a Godsend. For SportsTwitter fans, this chaotic existence holds true to the highest magnitude. The fact that complete strangers can jump into your sports conversation with intelligent witty comments is endlessly fascinating to me. The fact that complete strangers usually jump into your sports conversation with misspelled, vulgarity-laden stupid comments is endlessly entertaining to me. For example, yesterday I had no idea when I woke up that I’d end up being on the butt end of a comment including the phrase “Boo! Ass(bleep)! Boo!” Now I ask you, how can that NOT be one of your best days ever? Some people get so frustrated on social media and I don’t understand it – if someone else wants to be an aggressive moron, that’s just more fodder for my Fun Machine! Point out their idiocy! Egg them on! Most of the time, their own words make them look like a far bigger doofus than anything I could say, so I give them all the rope they want to hang themselves, then sit back and enjoy the show. As that wise old sage Norm Peterson once said “Is any of this going to raise the price of beer? No? Then what do I care?”

Look, we don’t have to agree on sports, it’s not worth fighting about. We only have to agree that Cheers is the greatest sitcom of all time. That? Well, that’s worth dying over. I will cut you. Try me.

Find my Twitter, Facebook Fan Page, comedy schedule and buy my CD all on my website at MiddleAgedMarriedGuy.com. For Project Shanks, I’m Stephen Thomas, and that was The Thing.

HeresTheThingArt

What We Know In The NFC Championship Round

By Reid Kerr
PSDC Offensive Coordinator

And then there were four.

After a really good weekend of Divisional games, we’re down to the Championship Round for the NFL. There’s only three games left in the season, so what have we learned so far?

Well first, this is a great time for quarterbacks. We’ve got an amazing final four. I know it’s shallow to say that because it doesn’t show enough appreciation for the defenses, backs, line play, etcetera, but come on. We’ve got the best four quarterbacks in the league all still standing.

And while we’re at it, this year shows there’s no price too big to pay to get your franchise quarterback. Look at the four remaining teams and you’ll see three Super Bowl winners and a guy who’ll probably be the MVP. Look at the bottom of the league and you’ll see teams who desperately need quarterbacks, and they try and they fail about every other year. Look at Houston hurling millions at a guy they had never worked out, just in hopes he’d be the best quarterback the Texans have ever had, which is to say he’d be slightly better than average. The Jets had four quarterbacks on the roster this year, and might do four different ones next year until something sticks. If you have a Pro Bowl guy taking the snaps, you’ve always got a chance. And if not? Forget it.

The only thing more important than quarterback might be the overall philosophy of these teams. The organization is all on the same page, from owner to coach to assistants to scouts to popcorn vendors. There’s a long-term buy-in there from three of them, and Atlanta is well on their way too. The teams still playing are, for the most part, always there. Their team philosophy is well understood, and has been for quite some time.

Basically if you can imagine the team name fitting into the sentence “The (Blank) Way,” they know what they’re doing. The Patriots Way. The Packers Way.

Ever try it with a bad team? Can you define “the Jaguars Way” without stammering for a moment and then just letting your voice trail off?

Speaking of locker rooms and attitudes, just a reminder, kids. Post-game complaints are whiny. They put the “loser” in “sore loser.” Travis Kelce blamed the Chiefs loss on a holding penalty, and called out a referee who’s going to be working the Super Bowl. Kelce also committed one of the dumbest after-the-play penalties I’ve ever seen in the playoffs, and plays in an offense that couldn’t make a two-point conversion from the twelve if you gave them six downs to do it. So calling out the ref for a fairly obvious penalty is a pretty weak argument.

And please, that “you never played the game so you can’t criticize me” argument is beyond lame. The NFL is a public entity, it’s not a secret society. The reason these players can buy houses and cars and mistresses is because people who never played the game at the highest level are willing to shell out thousands of dollars for seats, shirts, jerseys, socks, caskets, and anything else the NFL is willing to slap a logo on. If that means you have to answer questions once in a while from a guy who went to college and actually went to class, then that’s a small price to pay for league minimum wage.

And finally, we learned bad teams are willing to take some chances. We saw no major retreads in the coaching hires, and lots of (sometimes very) young, hungry assistant coaches working their way up the food chain, earning one of those thirty-two gigs.

Of course, the success rate on those young coaches is somewhere around thirty percent, but one of them could be the next Bill Belichick, just as soon as they get fired from this first job and land another one.

On to the picks for Sunday. I was 1-3 last week, and also 1-3 against the spread, which makes me 5-3 straight up, and 4-4 against the spread in the playoffs. I’ll need to get lucky this week to stay on the sunny side of the street.

Here’s the picks for Championship Sunday. Remember, these are for the purposes of discussion only. As always, no wagering.

Green Bay (+5.5) at Atlanta: This game might come down to two or three defensive plays, quite possibly because those are the only plays made defensively in this entire game. Aaron Rodgers may be the most exciting quarterback in decades, but magic runs out in Green Bay eventually. Or at least Don Majkowski did.
Pick: Falcons to win and cover, which means I think they’ll win by six.

Pittsburgh (+6) at New England: I don’t know what the big deal was about Antonio Brown’s live video from the locker room. That’s pretty much what everyone outside of the immediate Boston area calls the Patriots.
Pick: Patriots to win, but Steelers with the points, which means I think the Steelers will lose by five or less.

I’ll also admit here that I’m hoping for the exact opposite of those results, but you root with your heart and bet with your head. I’ll be back next week to talk about the exquisite ridiculousness of the Super Bowl, but until then, good luck, everybody.

- Reid Kerr talks a lot, as his wife always reminds him. Reid’s second book, “I Hate It Here: A Love Story,” is out now on Amazon.com. You can always tweet questions, comments, and angry messages to him at @reidaboutit.

Here’s The Thing – Countdowns Are Cool

By Stephen Thomas (@15Stephen15)
PSDC Funnyman And Brad Pitt Doppelgänger

I’m Stephen Thomas with Here’s The Thing.

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Did you know it’s 19 days until The Super Bowl? I do, because countdowns are something that I love. I am a red blooded American male and a sports fan, which by law means I love bacon, cheerleaders, steak cooked rare, beer in mass quantities, and knowing exactly how many days until my next opportunity for bacon, cheerleaders, steak cooked rare and beer in mass quantities. Plus, counting backwards is cool. [Read more…]

Here’s The Thing – DraftTwitter And Testosterone Fights

By Stephen Thomas (@15Stephen15)
PSDC Funnyman And Brad Pitt Doppelgänger

I’m Stephen Thomas with Here’s The Thing.

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Well joyous greetings to you, friends and inmates. Another glorious day of sunshine coats the Earth, we’re all above the dirt and breathing and most of us don’t have angry squirrels attacking our genitals. In other words, it’s a good day. You’d never know that if you’re an NFL fan and currently reading DraftTwitter, though. You’d think we’re 4 hours into The Purge, and you’re the best friend that everyone just knows isn’t going to make it to the end of the movie. [Read more…]

Here’s The Thing – These Jokes Are Golden

By Stephen Thomas (@15Stephen15)
PSDC Funnyman And Brad Pitt Doppelgänger

I’m Stephen Thomas with Here’s The Thing.

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I greet you today as I always do, friends and inmates. With a smile on my face and a song in my heart. Of course, after the news of yesterday that song is “Yellow River” by I.P. Freely, but that’s mostly because I’m basically still 12 years old. Finding it difficult to write about sports today without inserting all kinds of peepee jokes, but let’s give it a go, shall we? (Hehe … “go”)

See, Here’s The Thing; I’m having trouble saying or doing anything today without it leading to a weewee joke for several reasons. Number one … HAHA! “NUMBER ONE!” OK, last one of those, I promise. Number….FIRST, because as I said I’m an overgrown child at heart, and jokes about peepee and poopoo are right about my level. (Side note: a solid fart noise will NEVER not make me laugh, and if you don’t agree, we likely can’t be friends) Number two (STOPSTOPSTOP!) with the way the world is today, subtlety has been lost on many. You can’t dance around the point, even in a joke. You have to feed the information directly to people, with a steady, strong stream right in their face. Drown them in it, you understand? Comedy these days seems to only have an impact when people have paid good money to have the flood of jokes come directly at them, and most comedy clubs are successful when multiple performers can shower the audience with what they want, not just one guy. Let me tell you something else I’ve learned in over 21 years of comedy: If you can make jokes so straightforward they somehow break the language barrier, you are golden. I mean, let’s say if you can make those who speak (as a random example) Russian fall to their knees, thoroughly enjoy the comedy you’re spraying at them, and pay to come back for more, you have a chance to be one of the most powerful people in the free world. Seriously, gather all of your joke streams and push them together into one headed directly at your target, and urine for a treat.

Look, tomorrow we may mo e on to something different, but for today (even though I’m not Chinese) I play joke, I put peepee in your Coke.

Find my Twitter, Facebook Fan Page, comedy schedule and buy my CD all on my website at MiddleAgedMarriedGuy.com. For Project Shanks, I’m Stephen Thomas, and that was The Thing.

HeresTheThingArt

The Biggest of NFL Disappointments

By Reid Kerr
PSDC Offensive Coordinator

The Wild Card weekend wraps up today, and while there’s plenty of time to celebrate the twelve teams that made the playoffs, there’s twenty others who have already cleaned out their lockers and headed off for vacation. Some have known for weeks their season would end January first, and some just found out Sunday night. And while places like Dallas and Oakland experienced better than expected seasons, I tend to settle in on the more morbid questions.

Who was the most disappointing team?

Perhaps it’s my nature as a Buffalo Bills fan, but I can appreciate anguish. Note I’m not talking about the worst team, Cleveland definitely had the worst record, but wasn’t the most disappointing. The Browns are headed in the right direction, although they’re moving about as fast as that old man character that Tim Conway used to play.

Yes, kids, I know that’s not a timely reference. Just YouTube it, and thank me later.

And even though they fired their coach and general manager, San Francisco can’t realistically be disappointed with two wins from that talentless grease fire of a team. The only way they could be a playoff team would be if they played the Rams every week.

Disappointment doesn’t come from low expectations, it’s the hangover from high hopes dashed. It’s the difference between hoping your team can fight their way to .500 ball, and starting to plan your Super Bowl Party in August.

For example, the Bengals went from 12-4 to 6-9-1, and finally ended their string of first-round playoff losses. Cincinnati fans had big expectations this year based on past regular season performance, and the Bengals disappointed at every turn. This was a team where fans couldn’t even take extra points for granted.

After five weeks, Minnesota was 5-0 and the team to beat. Vikings fans were crazed, but injuries caught up with them, and eventually Sam Bradford remembered he was Sam Bradford. On their way to 8-8, the Vikings not only lost four of their most important offensive players, they lost their offensive coordinator and head coach at various times during the season. The only way it could have been worse was if the injury cart ran through a barricade and wound up frozen in an ice floe.

Two years ago the New York Jets were playing for a playoff spot in the final game of the season. That was the year Jets fans and Ryan Fitzpatrick will tell stories about for some time to come, because this year’s team stunk. They went from 10-6 to 5-11, fired five assistant coaches and let Chan Gailey retire. The Jets had four quarterbacks, none of which could throw their way out of a paper bag. After being six points from the playoffs, the Jets fell apart like the last few seasons of “Dexter.”

For my money, the most disappointing team in 2016 was Carolina, from 15-1 and MVP to 6-10 and SOL. Injuries derailed them early, and while Cam Newton wasn’t as bad as it seemed on paper, him complaining about getting hit so much didn’t help to rehab his public image after an awkward Super Bowl performance. If you’re a Panthers fan, you go from thinking you’re at the beginning of a dynasty to watching your offensive line getting turnstiled, Kelvin Benjamin sleepwalking through games, and your MVP superstar getting leveled every other play because he doesn’t know how to slide.

On to the picks. For the regular season, I wound up 69-40-1 straight up for a winning percentage of 63.2%, and 45-62-3 against the spread, which is 42.3%. Both of the numbers would fall into the “crying shame” category for me, so I really need to make my reputation back in the playoffs.

Here’s the picks for Wild Card Sunday. Remember, these are for the purposes of discussion only. As always, no wagering.

Miami (+10) at Pittsburgh: This is the first playoff game the Steelers have ever played with Roethlisberger, Bell, and Brown all healthy. Not so fast, Ndamukong Suh says.
Pick: Steelers to win and cover, which means I think they’ll win by more than ten. And I really hope I’m right here, because I think the Steelers are our only hope of keeping the Patriots from romping through the AFC Playoffs.

NY Giants (+4.5) at Green Bay: This one’s a question of what we’ll see. Is this the Giants team that beat Dallas twice, or the one with the atrocious offense that’s either a touchdown to Odell Beckham Jr. or a rush for a yard and a half? And is this the 4-6 Packers, or the team riding a six game winning streak with a running back wearing a weird number? It’s defense against offense, Rodgers against Manning, State Farm against DirecTV.
Pick: Packers to win straight up, but Giants with the points, which means I think they’ll lose by less than five.

I’ll also take Alabama over Clemson, “The Goldbergs” over “The Big Bang Theory,” and winter in Texas over winter in Kentucky, because the snow won’t kill you in Texas. Good luck, everybody.

- Reid Kerr talks a lot, as his wife always reminds him. Reid’s second book, “I Hate It Here: A Love Story,” is out now on Amazon.com. You can always tweet questions, comments, and angry messages to him at @reidaboutit.

The Black Monday That Wasn’t

By Reid Kerr
PSDC Offensive Coordinator

The NFL is a league of quick turnarounds, and I mean that both coming and going. Half of the teams that made the playoffs last season are out this year, including both Super Bowl teams. Hello Dallas, Atlanta, and Oakland. Goodbye Denver, Carolina, and Cincinnati.

It’s a quick-trigger league for most franchises, and Black Monday is a famous part of the NFL year. The day after the regular season concludes, teams fire coaches, general managers, coordinators, and anyone else they can find to blame for their season. However this year, we didn’t even get to Black Monday. We had a whole Black December, followed by a Black Last-Sunday-of-the-regular-season where everybody got fired before Monday even arrived.

There are six coaching vacancies in the NFL, with different levels of job attractiveness.

Denver didn’t kill Gary Kubiak, but he wasn’t going to stick around and wait for that to happen. The Broncos are easily the best job opening with a world-class defense and good receivers, plus John Elway ready to go out and make deals. This one is the gold standard of opportunities, and it’s only come open because coaching football is simply not good for the nervous system.

Jacksonville is a better team than their 3-13 record, especially if reports of Blake Bortles playing through a separated shoulder is accurate, because that would explain why he stunk like a trunk full of fish in Tijuana in mid-summer. A horrible division, decent receivers, and some cornerstones on defense make this a nice fit for someone who doesn’t mind spending time overseas.

The Rams canned Jeff Fisher because, well, he was Jeff Fisher, and now it seems like they’re trying to make a love connection with Saints coach Sean Payton. The Chargers also fired Mike McCoy, mostly so they can use his salary to buy boxes and packing tape. These two franchises certainly seem like they’ll be tied together in LA, because if the Chargers move as expected, they’ll be competing for the same audience. And that’s an audience that’s already shown they won’t support two teams, or even just one bad team. You only have to look at the Lakers and Clippers to realize that. Both teams need to bring in a big name as head coach to stay relevant. I’d rather have the Chargers right now than the Rams, but both are rebuilding efforts with some nice pieces in place.

The Bills fired all the Ryan brothers they could find, mostly because management felt they didn’t get enough wins out of their “talent.” If you’ve ever watched a football game in your life, please do me a favor and tell me where that supposed “ten-win season” was supposed to come from, based on Buffalo’s roster full of hot garbage. The Bills got eight starts from their last four years worth of first-round draft picks, and no one seems to understand the chain of command in Buffalo. It’s been since 1999 the Bills made the playoffs, and things may be as bad now as they’ve ever been.

But it could be worse. The 49ers made it two straight years with the firing of a first-year coach, by canning Chip Kelly and general manager Trent Baalke. Their list of coaching possibilities is simply a post-it note with the word “Anybody” on it. Four head coaches in four years, and a roster that undermines the word “awful.” No quarterback. No receivers. No run defense. No hope. Somehow they were in a Super Bowl four years ago, and now they’re a clown autopsy. Good luck to whoever takes over in San Fran. And whoever takes over after that, too.

On to the picks. Last week I went 5-3, and 4-4 against the Las Vegas spread. I finish the regular season with a record of 69-40-1 straight up, and 44-62-3 against the spread. Just for the purposes of discussion, if I had wagered a hundred bucks on every one of those games this season, this morning I would be more than two thousand dollars in the hole, and living in a dumpster. That’s why the best advice you can give to anyone considering a career in gambling is just to walk into a casino and look around. Those casinos look like they cost a lot of money, right? Exactly.

Here’s the picks for the first half of Wild Card weekend. Remember, these are for the purposes of discussion only. As always, no wagering.

Oakland (+4) at Houston: If there’s a better argument against an 18-game season than this playoff quarterback matchup of Osweiler versus Cook, I don’t know what it is. Perhaps if a team had to start Brandon Weeden in a Super Bowl.
Pick: Texans to win and cover, which means I think they’ll win by five or more.

Detroit (+7.5) at Seattle: Richard Sherman used the media to announce he was boycotting the media. I saw full coverage of that on ESPN-I, the sports irony channel.
Pick: Seahawks to win and cover.

I’ll also Alabama to win and cover against Clemson at –6.5, Myles Garrett to be the first pick in the draft, and the Jets to draft four more quarterbacks. Good luck, everybody.

- Reid Kerr talks a lot, as his wife always reminds him. Reid’s second book, “I Hate It Here: A Love Story,” is out now on Amazon.com. You can always tweet questions, comments, and angry messages to him at @reidaboutit.