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.

Here’s The Thing – Bama, Buckeyes … And That’s It

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

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

CLICK HERE TO LISTEN

Another weekend of football is in the books, so let’s discuss what we’ve learned, as we sit in our underoos, covered in barbecue sauce, amongst the leftover chicken wings. I’m kidding, of course – if there are ANY leftover chicken wings, you’re doing football watching wrong, should be forced to order the most unmanly “sweet onion chicken teriyaki” flavor of wings that exists and wash them down with girly looking purple drinks served in a plastic coconut, and most importantly are disqualified from ever being my friend.

See, Here’s The Thing; Even though it’s admittedly still early, the college football landscape is already sorting itself out. At the risk of being bombarded with creatively spelled vulgarities on Twitter by fans in Ann Arbor, Death Valley, Louisville and nearly every locale within the SEC, let me state that the realistic contenders for the College Football Championship and the lifetime supply of Dr Pepper have been reduced to just two. That’s right, even though it’s boring and repetitive and about as predictable as a pilot on Two Broke Girls, that trophy will only end up in Tuscaloosa or Columbus. That’s it. Naturally, anything can happen – injuries, incredible weather, arrests and suspensions, or Nick Saban might snap and murder Lane Kiffin on the sidelines with his bare hands after a missed third down, but if you’re objectively looking at the talent levels, it’s Alabama, Ohio State, a gap larger than any of the holes in the latest Hillary Clinton “explanation,” and then everyone else. The talent disparity between those two programs and the rest of the country is unlike anything I’ve seen since the 1970’s, when about 10 programs dominated, and everyone else hoped to escape playing them with enough healthy bodies to field a team for their BlueBonnet Bowl bid. Michigan, Michigan State, Louisville, Clemson, Wisconsin, Georgia et al – you are EXCELLENT football teams, make no mistake, but the Buckeyes and Tide make excellent look like .. well, me. They’ll put a hurtin’ on ya. heck, their backups will put a hurtin’ on ya.

Look, like I said it’s a long season and anything can happen, but if you tell me anyone but Bama & the Bucks are contenders as of right now, you can go sit with the leftover chicken wing guy in the Not My Friend Zone.

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

Reid’s NFL Mailbag: Deflategate, Cowboys, and Vegas, Baby

By Reid Kerr
PSDC Offensive Coordinator

It’s kind of a dead time in the NFL. The draft and free agency are over, rookies are signing their contracts and mini camps are underway, and since players now have things to do, they won’t be getting arrested any more. It’s Memorial Day weekend, and we didn’t even have the usual “bad news dump” on Friday where the NFL announces all the awful stories they hope no one notices like suspensions, fines, and anything having to do with Buffalo.

Time to catch up on current events with another edition of Reid’s Mailbag.

Q: Did Dallas help themselves in the draft?
A: Absolutely! And yet, not at all. Ezekiel Elliott is a stud, and if he lasts past the first round of your fantasy draft, you’re playing with idiots. But is he that much better than anyone else the Cowboys could have put behind that all-star offensive line? Is giving up a first-round pick you could have used on pass rush worth it to get a great running back? Or could the Cowboys get close to the same results with Matt Bellner in their backfield, running with me on his shoulders? Only time will tell, and that “time” is the amount of time opposing quarterbacks have to throw against the Cowboys.

Dallas is in an interesting position, they’ve got about a three-year window with Romo as their quarterback. After that, it’s anybody’s guess. I shouldn’t have to remind you how bad the post-Aikman, pre-Romo era was for Dallas, so I’ll just say “Hey, remember that year Dallas started a quarterback whose name rhymed with ‘Ryan Schleaf?’”

Can the current crop of Cowboys provide enough talent to take advantage of having a top-flight quarterback in that time span? Maybe, but I need to see some pass rush before I’d favor them over the Panthers, Seahawks, or Packers.

Q: What’s going to happen with #Deflate…
A: Oh, please no.
Q:#Deflategate?
A: Well, the legal case that refuses to die rolls onward. Right now the NFL has won the last case, which means Patriots quarterback Tom Brady will be suspended for the first four games of this coming season. Brady has appealed, and his counsel made a very good point about the NFL only fining players for other equipment violations such as using Stickum, so this one could still go on for a while. Possibly years. Maybe decades.

At this point, I’m not going to change anyone’s mind on this case. Originally, I thought Brady was cheating and Goodell’s punishment was just. After reading through all the case work, I still think Brady was cheating, but four games is unprecedented, especially when the NFL has done an awful job of proving anything was done wrong. When it’s all over, this will be a very odd footnote in both Brady’s Hall of Fame career, and the story of the mid-2010’s NFL.

Q: What about Las Vegas?
A: Sounds great! Let me grab my go-bag, and let’s go hit the blackjack table. I’ve got a new scheme I learned from a guy in an airport bathroom. I can’t lose!
Q: No, I was talking about an NFL team there.
A: Oh. Well, that’s something else. The fact that the NFL is actually even discussing the possibility of putting a team in Las Vegas is amazing. For decades, pro sports have rejected any connection to gambling, even while playing to gamblers with things like mandatory injury reports.

Remember Tony Romo’s Fantasy Football Convention last summer in Vegas? Of course not, because the NFL killed it. It’ll be in Pasadena this year in mid-July, and I’ll be there.

In 2016, protecting the NFL from gambling seems to be a dead issue, or at least one they’ll revisit. If the Raiders don’t get a new stadium, they’ll try and bolt to Vegas, and I’d put even money they’d be successful in doing so. The NFL seems to be putting the thought of a new market over the old concerns about associating with the gambling industry.

Of course, now you don’t have to go to Vegas to lose money betting on sports. You can do it from your home. You can lose big money on fantasy football for a season, or lose it week-to-week playing Fanduel and Draft Kings. ESPN is now openly talking about point spreads. The NFL can’t just pretend it doesn’t happen, especially since it drives a significant portion of their fan interest.

And by “significant portion,” I mean me, and this column, and my retirement account. Which thanks to my long careers in television and radio, will allow me to live in comfort for the rest of my years, as long as I get hit by a bus no later than the weekend after I retire.

- Reid Kerr talks a lot, as his wife always reminds him. Reid’s novel “The Great Texas Trailer Park Escape” is available from Amazon.com. You can always tweet questions, comments, and angry messages to him at @reidaboutit.

Von Shining Moment: The Unofficial Official Super Bowl Fifty Timeline

Sunday, January 31, 2016 - Denver moves on to the Super Bowl in a thrilling win over New England that goes down to the final minute. Three hours later, Carolina advances with a win over Arizona so lopsided, Cam Newton plays the entire fourth quarter without a helmet, wearing a “Panthers NFC Champions” hat.

Monday, February 1, 2016 – The Panthers arrive in California, and Cam Newton’s pants trend on Twitter. And I don’t have a joke here, either. That’s actually what happened. [Read more…]

Reid’s Week Sixteen NFL Picks: Coasting To The Finish

By Reid Kerr
PSDC Offensive Coordinator

Hope everyone’s had a very merry Christmas, and either enjoyed your presents immensely, or already returned them for something much better. We are about to enter that DMZ of the year, the week between Christmas and New Year’s where nothing ever gets done.

It’s just hard to muster up any enthusiasm for this week, lurching from holiday to holiday. When I worked in television, you always knew you were past Thanksgiving because everyone of any importance at the station was gone until January. From Black Friday through New Year’s Day, You were about as likely to see the big-name anchors on the air as you were to spot Santa in line at Starbucks. [Read more…]

Reid’s Week Fifteen NFL Picks: The Elite

By Reid Kerr
PSDC Offensive Coordinator

It’s always good when a controversy erupts in the NFL, and I say that as a guy who pretty much strip-mined the league for content on a daily basis for radio and TV for the last twenty-five years.

Hey, nothing wrong with being shallow, as long as you can be insightful about it.

The latest talking point came courtesy of alleged Cleveland coach Mike Pettine, who, when asked if he thought this week’s opponent’s quarterback Russell Wilson was “elite,” declined to put him up there and instead said in was in the “second tier.”

After realizing he had provided the very definition of “bulletin board material,” Pettine quickly backtracked the next day as analysts came out of the woodwork to discuss whether or not Wilson was elite, and if a guy who’d been coaching the Browns would even recognize it if he saw it. This dodges the more important question.

Who cares?

Why is it so important to football fans to rank players? Most of these guys bounce from week to week anyway, but we still feel the need to etch in stone which ones of them are worth premature enshrinement.

Face it, Russell Wilson has already won a Super Bowl. He’s earned a fat new contract, his endorsements are everywhere, and he’s apparently so famous he can have Macklemore come over and stand around his pool just to pump him up about bird ownership. Whether we think he’s elite or not is largely irrelevant to his world view.

But still, we want to put him in a box, classify him as “elite” or just “good.”

Newsflash: It doesn’t matter what we think. Arbitrary distinctions don’t win games.

Is Eli Manning elite? Probably not. Is he a sure fire Hall of Famer with as many rings as his whole family plus Brett Favre put together? You betcha.

What about Joe Flacco? Matt Ryan? Tony Romo? Is Philip Rivers elite? He never led San Diego to a Super Bowl.

And it looks like he’ll never get the chance to.

For as much as we argue about it, no one seems to be able to define this “elite” category. We’re only able to clarify who doesn’t belong. As far as I can tell when we say “elite,” we just mean a quarterback who wins games that we also want on our fantasy football teams.

On to the picks. I went down to the Thursday Color Rush game, where the St. Louis Mustard prevailed over the hapless Tampa Bay Ketchup. I had Dallas last night +3.5, which means Kellen Moore was just good enough to get me the win, even if he wasn’t good enough for Dallas. I’m now 52-39-2 on the year. Here’s my picks for week fifteen. Remember, these are for the purposes of discussion only. As always, no wagering.

Atlanta (+3) at Jacksonville – The Falcons just quit last week against Carolina. If there were playoffs for quitters, Atlanta would have won their playoff game and advanced to play the winner of the Nixon-Roberto Duran matchup this week.
Pick: Jags

Houston (+2) at Indianapolis – This is the first time in NFL history that two first-place teams have met this late in the season with backup quarterbacks starting. Probably. Remember, I’m not really much for research.
Pick: Colts

Buffalo (-2) at Washington – Somehow, through their decision to move Robert Griffin III to the scout team defense, Washington has become the most stable team in the NFC East.
Pick: Washington

Carolina (-4) at NY Giants – Picking the Giants to stop the Panthers undefeated streak because they did it once years ago to the Patriots is like expecting another Oscar-winning performance from Cuba Gooding Jr.
Pick: Panthers

Miami (+2) at San Diego – Philip Rivers is my MVPOAHTATM, my Most Valuable Player On A Horrendous Team About To Move. It’s a prestigious award, but I only get to give it away every couple of decades.
Pick: Chargers

Cincinnati (-5.5) at San Francisco – This week we’ll see if A.J. McCarron is the second coming of Tom Brady. Cincinnati would settle for the second coming of Todd Rutledge, since he was the last Alabama QB to start and win an NFL game. And that was three years before McCarron was born.
Pick: Bengals

I’ll also take solid lights over blinking ones, gift bags over professionally wrapped gifts, and sample size shampoo over fruit in my stockings. Seriously. Fruit just says “I have no gifts, but I want to add mass to your stocking to make it look like I tried.”

- Reid Kerr talks a lot, as his wife always reminds him. Reid’s novel “The Great Texas Trailer Park Escape” is available from Amazon and Barnes and Noble.com. You can always tweet questions, comments, and angry messages to him at @reidaboutit.

Reid’s NFL Mailbag: Jets vs. Cowboys, Serena vs. a Horse

By Reid Kerr
PSDC Offensive Coordinator

We’re finally to the time of the year when the NFL expands onto Saturdays, giving us four out of five days straight containing pro football. I can only assume the NFL does this out of compassion for those of us who always get depressed around this time of the year, and could use a few more concussions and torn knee ligaments to get us through the holiday season.

With that in mind, time to check back in with the ol’ mailbag.

Q: Is Johnny Manziel finally the answer in Cleveland?
A: The best you can say right now is that young Jonathan Livingston Football is no longer a negative certainty, and for the Browns, that’s a huge deal. Cleveland is consistently such a grease-fire-train-wreck-clown-autopsy, having any bright spot in this season is a plus. Manziel’s first two seasons have been a mess in every way, but now that he’s finally getting to start and accepting that responsibility, he’s worth taking a look at. He probably had his best pro game against the 49ers last week. The Browns are characteristically awful this year and will probably clean house again as soon as the season ends, but Manziel has given them enough to think about that the next coach will at least have him as an option. And if not, expect the Browns to draft another quarterback and Manziel to go exactly where you think he’ll go.

Q: How many coaches will get fired on Black Monday, and is Jason Garrett safe?
A: Last question first, yes. He’s still Jerry’s guy, although both of them need to share the blame for stocking a roster of useless backfield parts behind Romo. Garrett’s done an awful job of getting his team ready to play without his starting quarterback, and Jerry is well aware of that. The clock is ticking on Romo and the Cowboys window to make a playoff run, and the cupboard is bare behind him. Keeping the band together right now is the best idea.

As for the rest of the league, I’ll say the Chargers, Colts, Browns, and Lions will all make a move. The Falcons and 49ers should but won’t, and the Dolphins and Titans have already switched, and should keep looking.

Q: What do you think about Sports Illustrated naming Serena Williams as their Sportsperson of the Year, and snubbing American Pharoah?
A: Since the NFL player who probably deserved it was the same one on trial for Deflategate the entire year, I can see how they’d ignore the NFL. I would have probably gone with the Kansas City Royals, but I can see their point about Williams. As for people rooting for a horse, good luck with all that.

Don’t get me wrong, I get horse racing. It’s like the lottery for rich people and organized crime figures. But I prefer to follow sports that have more than three events people can name, and consider athletes who actually know they’re in a competition.

And don’t tell me that horses understand they’re racing in the Preakness or wherever. Even if you believe that, you definitely don’t believe they’re aware enough to understand the concept of “injuries.” If they had any idea of what would happen to them if they broke their leg while racing, every event would take the half-speed pace of Pro Bowl out there.

On to the picks. In Week Fourteen I went 3-3, overestimating the Bucs, Falcons, and Cowboys. And as bad as the Cowboys are, the Falcons are even more soul-crushingly worse. Remember when they were 5-0 this season? I do, and so does Falcon ownership, and that’s a major problem.

I’m now 51-38-2 on the year. Here’s my picks for the early games in week fifteen, I’ll be back Sunday with the rest. Remember, these are for the purposes of discussion only. As always, no wagering.

Tampa Bay (+1.5) at St. Louis – They lose games they should win, then pull off upsets. They’re led by the highest-regarded coach in history with the lowest winning percentage. Forget LA, the only way the Rams could be any less stable would be to move them directly onto the San Andreas Fault.
Pick: Bucs

NY Jets (-3.5) at Dallas – At some point you just have to stop rooting for wins, and turn all of your hopes towards tanking and getting a good draft pick. You have to go “Full Browns.”
Pick: Cowboys

I’ll also take Christmas Vacation over White Christmas, “Please Come Home For Christmas” over “Santa Baby,” and “Angels We Have Heard On High” over “Silent Night.”

- Reid Kerr talks a lot, as his wife always reminds him. Reid’s novel “The Great Texas Trailer Park Escape” is available from Amazon and Barnes and Noble.com. You can always tweet questions, comments, and angry messages to him at @reidaboutit.

Reid’s Week Twelve NFL Picks: The Romo Problem

By Reid Kerr
PSDC Offensive Coordinator

The old saying goes that every fighter has a plan until they get punched in the mouth.

It’s credited in some places to Mike Tyson, but I doubt Iron Mike was as original and quotable as we like to pretend these days, so we’ll just call it an “old saying.”

We all saw round two of that proverbial punch to the Cowboys on Thanksgiving. Tony Romo was the plan for Dallas, and now with the collarbone injury, the Cowboys have to fall back on Plan B, which is actually Plan C at this point. Plan D is next year’s draft, for those of you who doubt this season has a happy ending.

I’ve defended Jerry Jones before. I’ve long said I don’t think he gets enough credit for some things, but stocking this roster is not one of them. In the NFL, you don’t just build a championship team with stars, you assemble quality players all over the roster. Seattle won with a defense full of play-makers. New England’s biggest play of the Super Bowl came from a well-coached unsigned free agent.

The Cowboys have several stars who sell a lot of jerseys, but Dallas went into the season content with a backup quarterback who was a thirty-year-old minor league pitcher with a quarterback rating right around room temperature, and this season is doomed. Dumping him for a guy who couldn’t win the starting job in Buffalo is a minor upgrade, perhaps, but still not exactly a switch that’s going to set FanDuel on fire.

Good teams draft young quarterbacks before they need one so they can evaluate them without having to burn a season playing them. Since Troy Aikman was dragged off the field for the final time in 2000, the Cowboys have drafted two quarterbacks. Can you name them?

And if you can, why? Why would you want to name them, dear reader?

In 2001 they blew a second-round pick on Quincy Carter. Stephen McGee came in the fourth round of 2009.

That’s it.

Quarterback is the most important position in team sports, and the Cowboys have drafted as many kickers as QB’s in the last fifteen years.

Let’s put that in perspective. Since the Patriots took Tom Brady in 2000, they’ve drafted seven more quarterbacks. That’s seven young talented players who have a chance to turn into something, whether it’s a current Cowboys backup, Texas Tech’s head coach, or a guy who’s missed enough alarm clocks to sleep his way out of the league.

Despite what some of you would yell at me when you called my radio show, Tony Romo’s been an unquestioned starter in the NFL for a decade. In that time, Dallas hasn’t made a move to provide him with a backup that wasn’t already washed up. Having Brad Johnson or Jon Kitna in the locker room is great if you want to talk about bands from the 80’s, but as quarterbacks, their time was done.

Matt Cassel isn’t a starting quarterback in the league anymore, and Brandon Weeden never was, but those were the emergency plans the Cowboys made. We’ll see how that goes with Cassel over the next five weeks.

On to the picks. On Thanksgiving, I went 2-1 because just like Philadelphia’s management, I overestimated Chip Kelly’s ability to field a team. I’m 42-29-2 on the year, still in the positive money, and still with no idea what I’m doing.

Here’s my picks for week twelve. Remember, these are for the purposes of discussion only. As always, no wagering.

New Orleans (+3) at Houston – Rob Ryan’s business cards say “Rob Ryan, Defensive Coordinator & Scapegoat.”
Pick: Texans

San Diego (+4.5) at Jacksonville – The Jags got two wins in five days. Last season it took them six weeks to do that.
Pick: Jaguars

NY Giants (-3) at Washington – A team from this game will make the playoffs, which is about as fair as letting one of the actors from “Dumb and Dumber To” win an Oscar.
Pick: Giants

Minnesota (+1) at Atlanta – Minnesota Offensive Coordinator Norv Turner is running the same game plan as the 2003 Palestine Wildcats. It’s all Adrian Peterson, all the time.
Pick: Vikings

New England (-3) at Denver – Trust me, in ten years we won’t remember this season for Peyton Manning at all. It’ll be just like the last Vikings season for Bret Favre, Joe Montana with the Chiefs, or Sean Connery in “The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen.”
Pick: Patriots

Baltimore (-3) at Cleveland – Joe Flacco shreds his knee and finishes the game. Johnny Manziel somehow loses his starting job in a bye week.
Pick: Browns

I’ll also take a sunny day in the park over Black Friday, flying home for Christmas over driving, and gift cards over cash.

- Reid Kerr talks a lot, as his wife always reminds him. Reid’s novel “The Great Texas Trailer Park Escape” is available on Biting Dog Press from Amazon.com. You can always tweet questions, comments, and angry messages to him at @reidaboutit.

Reid’s Week Nine NFL Picks: The Hardy Situation

By Reid Kerr
PSDC Offensive Coordinator

I am not defending Greg Hardy, nor would I ever.

That’s something I feel like I should say right up front because judging from my Twitter feed, some people only read about ten words of my articles before they start tweeting me 140 characters of pure anger.

So for the purposes of discussion, I’ll say it again. I’m not defending Greg Hardy. I read the reports when his domestic violence arrest happened. Once you do that, you realize the guy is, for lack of a better term, cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs.

Here’s what I wrote about Hardy for Project Shanks.com last year.

“It’s a great deal for the Cowboys. Except, of course, for the fact that Hardy is by all accounts a despicable human being. Just Google him some day when you’ve got time, then read up and go home and start building that defensive-end-proof panic room in your house. The only way anyone would ever root for Greg Hardy is if he faces off in a dark alleyway with Darren Sharper.”

Still true. Hardy’s got more issues than National Geographic, and this week Deadspin released the previously-sealed pictures of his former girlfriend and the injuries she suffered at his hands.

Let’s be clear here, Hardy’s not a good guy, and domestic violence is a crime that should be taken much more seriously.

But why is this such an issue now?

Honestly, this second round of outrage frustrates me. If you’re telling me that what he did is somehow worse because now you’ve seen pictures of it, that’s your problem. Admitting you want more punishment now just indicates you didn’t take the assault charges seriously enough the first time, and we shouldn’t need TMZ or Deadspin to show us actual bruises before we get angry.

Here’s the problem, and it’s a simple one. He’s already been punished. He was suspended for almost an entire season last year, and then for four games this season. He can’t be re-punished by the NFL, and the charges have been expunged from his record.

Legally speaking, Hardy is in the clear. Why? Because domestic violence is a crime we don’t take seriously enough as a society. Even if Hardy was found guilty in North Carolina, he was only looking at the standard punishment of eighteen months of probation.

You can be angry at the Dallas Cowboys, but it’s North Carolina that ignored clear evidence and didn’t impose any punishment at all on a guy who beat up his girlfriend. And North Carolina would have done more in this case than New Jersey did to Ray Rice, in spite of Rice being shown on video knocking his wife out and dragging her like a bag of dirty laundry. Rice got anger management and $125 fine.

Unlike sportswriters who have afternoon shows on ESPN, I’ll freely admit I don’t have all the answers here. If you say that someone should be banned for life from the NFL for domestic assault, I can certainly understand your point. If that’s where you draw the line, it’s admirable, but don’t stop there. Volunteer or donate to a women’s shelter so battered wives have a place to go. Write your representatives and let them know how you feel about the punishment for domestic violence not being strict enough. Stop being amused by Charlie Sheen, Bobby Brown, or Mike Tyson.

Do you enjoy movies with Sean Penn or Josh Brolin in them? Do you watch “Empire?” Be consistent, that’s all I’m saying.

Because if you’re adamant that Greg Hardy doesn’t deserve his high-paying job, but you’re riding around listening to Chris Brown, that makes you a hypocrite.

Time for an awkward segue, as I get back to my regularly scheduled picks. I was 4-2 in week eight, thanks to Dallas being bad without being awful. I somehow overestimated the Lions and Browns, which is a lot like looking forward to an Adam Sandler movie. There’s no point.

I’m now 32-17-2 on the year, still floating right along. Here’s my picks for week nine. Remember, these are for the purposes of discussion only. As always, no wagering.

Tennessee (+8) at New Orleans – Ken Whisenhunt was fired this week by the Titans. He won his first game in both seasons as head coach, then went 1-20 in the rest, thus making him the M. Night Shyamalan of the NFL. Big splash, horrible follow up.
Pick: Titans

Washington (+14) at New England – Just saying, but Redskins and Patriots seems like an odd matchup to schedule so close to Thanksgiving.
Pick: Washington

Green Bay (-3) at Carolina – Everyone loves the Panthers this year because Cam Newton plays for them, and Greg Hardy does not.
Pick: Panthers

Atlanta (-7.5) at San Francisco – Even Colin Kaepernick has dropped Colin Kaepernick from his fantasy football team at this point.
Pick: Falcons

NY Giants (-2.5) at Tampa Bay – Orleans Darkwa is either the name of a Giants running back, or a Bon Temps festival on True Blood. Not sure which, I’ll have to get back to you.
Pick: Giants

Philadelphia (-3) at Dallas – Remember Cowboys fans, trading for a quarterback who couldn’t win the starting job in Buffalo is like buying a used lottery ticket. Yes, it doesn’t cost you very much, but the odds of it being successful ain’t too good.
Pick: Eagles

I’ll also take Houston to lose on their bye week, the Colts to have a new coach after the season ends, and the Jaguars to come back and win the division.

- Reid Kerr talks a lot, as his wife always reminds him. Reid’s novel “The Great Texas Trailer Park Escape” is available from Amazon and Barnes and Noble.com. You can always tweet questions, comments, and angry messages to him at @reidaboutit.

The PSDC Best Bet: Week Six

Here at Project Shanks.com, we are committed to covering sports. And watching sports. And most importantly, winning money on sports. With that in mind, this season we’re debuting a new feature.

We proudly present…the Project Shanks.com Best Bet.

Get-Money

Every week, we’ll pore over the spreads, check the ever-shifting lines, and come up with our best idea on the one game that we’re completely, absolutely, 100% certain about. Each one of our writers will give you their favorite of the week, and explain in brief why this game is their sure-fire lock for the weekend, the one they feel comfortable betting their car payment on. [Read more…]

The PSDC Best Bet: Week Five

Here at Project Shanks.com, we are committed to covering sports. And watching sports. And most importantly, winning money on sports. With that in mind, this season we’re debuting a new feature.

We proudly present…the Project Shanks.com Best Bet.

Get-Money

Every week, we’ll pore over the spreads, check the ever-shifting lines, and come up with our best idea on the one game that we’re completely, absolutely, 100% certain about. Each one of our writers will give you their favorite of the week, and explain in brief why this game is their sure-fire lock for the weekend, the one they feel comfortable betting their car payment on.

Reid Kerr: Falcons -3.5 over New Orleans. The Saints play like drunken tourists at home, and Atlanta is undefeated. This seems like a trap game, so I’m walking right into it.

Tony James: People should start fading these but I’m sticking with betting against Mike Vick. I’ll take the class of the NFL only giving -3 at Pittsburgh.

Chris Stuckey: Colts +10 over Patriots. I’ll take a home team getting 10 points at home all day, errday.