It's a truncated BQBL this week because of the holiday, but in case you missed it, the Jets are still a great big bonfire of disaster and Geno Smith remains the one true king of this Bad QB life in 2013. But lo, just when you thought Geno was the QB of the future.
HE IS RISEN.
Mark Sanchez on his future: "I don't want to go anywhere else." #nyj
It’s pretty clear now that you cannot win a Super Bowl with Matt Schaub as your quarterback. Schaub just lacks that extra gear that sets him apart from the likes of Brady and Manning. The flip side, of course, is that he lacked the extra gear to inspire any real animus. Or so we thought. ntil proven otherwise, he would softly let you down, not break your heart. Schaub certainly wouldn’t cause the ostensibly sensible and grateful Texans fans to burn his uniform in the Reliant Stadium parking lot. Or confront the man at his home. Or cheer when he left a hopeless game against the Rams with a bum ankle. Oh, by the way, Eagles fans are off the hook now — at least they cheer when the other team’s guys get hurt.
If there really is salvation for Schaub, it’s not going to come in Houston. Not right now, at least, not when Case Keenum is living the broken dreams of Colt Brennan, Timmy Chang, Trevor Vittatoe, Graham Harrell, and every other gunslinging system quarterback by getting the big promotion from the practice squad for the hometown team. Plus, how would you feel if Willie D was going at your ass on Twitter with his best material since "We Can’t Be Stopped"?
Ladies and gentleman, we live in the golden age of Bad Quarterbacking. Teams are throwing the ball more than ever and star running backs are an endangered species, but there are also fewer good quarterbacks than ever before. All of it means that there are more opportunities than ever for bad quarterbacks to spread their wings and fly straight into a plate-glass window.
Once upon a time, eons before automated scoring, online league hosting, and indoor plumbing, my dad was the commissioner of an IDP league that depended on newspaper box scores and (presumably) abacuses to keep track of everything. The year was 1992, and as legend has it, one owner who shall remain nameless (we’ll call him “Vinny,” because he hilariously went on to take Patrick Ramsey in a later draft) was looking to round out his defense with one more pass-rusher. After scanning a list of available players, Vinny was thrilled to discover that someone touted by his magazine as a top-five defensive tackle miraculously remained on the board. The player in question had been selected to back-to-back Pro Bowls, tallied nine sacks in '91, and benefited from playing alongside the NFL’s best defensive end, so it’s impossible to overstate how much Vinny thought he was fleecing his fellow owners. Without hesitation, Vinny proudly drafted Jerome Brown.
One problem: Jerome Brown was dead. He had died in a car accident in June, two months before the draft (but apparently after this fantasy magazine went to print). Vinny was forced to use one of his limited add/drop moves to replace Brown with a living, breathing defensive tackle, and proceeded to finish the season in last place. He now lives in Guam, where the whole incident continues to haunt him.
I was out with some friends Friday night, and someone from San Francisco was explaining how he feels about the 49ers. He said he'd grown up watching the Super Bowl teams, and it was harder to care as much these days. Demanding more just made this guy feel greedy. Great players, great teams, Super Bowls. Niners fans has gotten everything they could ever want from their football team.
"So, the exact opposite of how I feel," said a friend who's a Jets fan.
Pretty much! Then we all laughed and spent five minutes discussing Mark Sanchez, Rex Ryan, and the sheer spectacle of suck that this Jets franchise has become. It's all pretty incredible. If teams like the 49ers have been successful enough to make fans complacent, the Jets are the team that has beaten their fans into some sort of dazed, fatalistic apathy.
And nobody can blame them. Every time you think the Jets have hit rock bottom and can't possibly get any more ridiculous, they go and one-up themselves. Which brings us to Saturday night against the Giants, a disaster in five acts.
In case you were busy spending your weekend working for the weekend, here's what you missed in sports last weekend:
It took a three-hitter from Jake Peavy to finish the job, but the Los Angeles Dodgers finally dropped a series for the first time since June after losing the rubber match of their interleague tilt with the Boston Red Sox, 8-1. "Now seeing Jake Peavy here at Chavez Ravine as a member of our league is one thing," said irritated Dodgers legend Tommy Lasorda. "We let him in here all the time when he was down in San Diego. But this? This is an affront to nature. Peavy traipsing into our home, as a member of the miserable American League family? Why I never."
After a pitching duel between Ivan Nova and Alex Cobb left matters unresolved, an 11th-inning sacrifice fly from Curtis Granderson proved to be the difference-maker in a 3-2 win over the Tampa Bay Rays as the Yankees avoided a three-game sweep. "But the guy won't make the ultimate sacrifice," Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said as he looked over his "thought wall," which contained a number of news stories about the Yankees, large numbers, and cutouts of indecipherable symbols, connected with different colored string. "Look, it all adds up; Curtis Granderson is 32 years old and is set to be a free agent next year. Free-agent outfielders are historically overpaid on the open market. I don't want to pay Curtis Granderson a lot of money, but I need him to play baseball for the Yankees because otherwise all we'll have is the rotting corpse of Vernon Wells." Cashman then pointed at a number of New York Post headlines referring to Wells thus, before continuing. "It all adds up! If Curtis Granderson pays the New York Yankees $63 million and seven of these hypercubes you can see here for the privilege of continuing to wear pinstripes next year, I can guarantee we'll be under the luxury tax and also in the World Series." Cashman then grabbed the lapels of his assistant and said, "He'll do it right? Right? Right? Tell me he'll do it. Please, I need this. Won't you look old Dollar Man in the eyes and tell me it'll all work out?"
In case you were busy letting down the thousands of people who retweeted you by not getting yourself arrested at a public event, here's what you missed in sports on Monday:
Despite being suspended for 211 games by Major League Baseball for violating the league's drug policy, Alex Rodriguez's appeal of the suspension allowed him to play his first game of the season, in which he went 1-for-4 in the Yankees' 8-1 loss to the Chicago White Sox. "Tough game, but it's good to be out there with all my friends, fighting the good fight," Rodriguez said as he sat desperately alone both physically and spiritually at the team's postgame press conference. "I'm at home when I'm with my teammates, and while I've made some mistakes, we all agree that the punishment I'm facing is unfair. Right guys?" Rodriguez then nodded confidently while saying, "Sure thing, Alex. With you to the end," in a falsetto out of the corner of his mouth. Rodriguez then pulled out an acoustic guitar, and yelled, "OK boys, all together now," before launching into an off-key rendition of "This Land Is Your Land."
In more positive baseball news, Jeremy Guthrie threw a shutout while Kansas City's offense exploded in a 13-0 win over the Minnesota Twins. Guthrie, despite the win, was fuming after the game, saying, "'This Land Is Your Land'? Seriously? Son of a bitch besmirches the game, and now he besmirches my family's good name? He better hope he's suspended before the next time we face the Yanks."
What's that? You were wondering exactly how many days until the start of the NFL season? Well, you're in luck! We here at the Triangle are set to spend the next month and a half providing a daily reason to get excited about pro football's return.
I know what you’re thinking. Most teams don’t even open training camp until Friday, so choosing the winners of the league’s highest-profile position battles before these guys take a single snap is a fool’s errand. To that I say that you obviously aren’t aware of my never-ending quest to embarrass myself. For the next few days, we’ll be anointing starters around the league based on nothing but speculation and guesswork. Because here at the Triangle, we’re all about science.
Kevin Kolb vs. E.J. Manuel, Bills
Five years ago, this is Kolb’s job, no questions asked. With a new GM and a new head coach in place, Buffalo is far from win-now mode, and using Kolb as a stopgap while bringing along an admittedly green quarterback makes a lot of sense.
In case you were out enjoying a theatrical production of Moby-Dick in Space, here's what you missed in sports on Thursday:
Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter returned from the DL in New York's 8-4 win over Kansas City, but his return might prove short-lived as he was forced to leave the game early with a quad injury. "Don't say a word," Yankees general manager Brian Cashman yelled to a backhoe parked outside of Yankee Stadium as he awaited the results of Jeter's MRI. "Do you think you're a big man, sitting there, laughing at me? Laughing at us? Laughing at the goddamned Yankees way? Do you? A big man, huh. A big ol' snorting man. Are you even a man? What do you got under the hood there? Boy parts or girl? And don't tell me gender's a fucking construct. I know what fucking constructs are. I built this ramshackle piece of shit team; I know what constructs are." Cashman then angrily threw the lobster bib he was wearing as a shirt to the ground. "You're a fucking machine, man. That's what you are. You didn't give birth to me. You don't get to tell me what to do. Unless " Cashman then paused, asking, "Mom? Are you my mother?"
Matt Moore struck out 10 for the Tampa Bay Rays en route to his 13th win in a 4-3 victory over the Minnesota Twins. "Playing the Twins is never easy for me," Moore explained after the game, "ever since I stayed with my parents at this hotel in Colorado as a kid. We were supposed to take care of the place through the winter, but then things got weird. There were these two girls that were always asking me to come play with them. I guess that isn't that weird, but it gave me the willies. I mean, why weren't they in school? Come to think of it, why wasn't I in school? My parents really dropped the ball on that one."
With the NFL offseason trudging along, there are plenty of questions for every NFL team. But for most, there's one issue that trumps the rest. This is the latest in a team-by-team look at the offseason tasks that just can't get botched.
The Mike Tannenbaum era for the New York Jets will, justly, be remembered for two things. The first is the freewheeling 2008 offseason that saw the Jets bring in a massive free-agent class designed to retool a team that went 4-12 a season earlier. Before ascending to his role as general manager, Tannenbaum had earned a reputation as a cap master, and the complications that come with several huge veteran contracts seemed to be ones he was leaving to Future Mike. Well, putting his franchise against the cap with a bunch of misplaced free-agency money was enough to ensure that we never actually got to Future Mike, and instead, it was new GM John Idzik who inherited a roster more than $20 million over the limit.
The second is actually the more telling, and also what’s made the past 24 hours a sign of a new start in New York. In the 2009 draft, the Jets picked three times. Their first selection was the fifth overall, a pick they’d gotten by trading first- and second-round picks to Cleveland in an effort to secure USC quarterback Mark Sanchez. That Sanchez hasn’t worked out — and that the Jets compounded that problem by giving him heaps of guaranteed money anyway — matters, but it isn’t the point here. Now with no picks left in the top 75, the Jets sent third- and fourth-round choices to Detroit in exchange for the first pick in the third round. That pick was Shonn Greene. Finally, the Jets picked in the sixth round, where they took Nebraska guard Matt Slauson — the best player of the three, and also one who was allowed to leave town this offseason to sign for close to the minimum in Chicago.
The Boston Celtics were met with boos as they jogged onto the court for pregame warm-ups Saturday, which seemed about right. It didn’t matter that the Celtics were wearing commemorative shirts that would be auctioned off for The One Fund Boston or that they had scrawled messages of support on their sneakers. “Get outta here!” a Knicks fan in the not-exactly-cheap seats playfully hollered, over and over, and why hold back? The rivalry between New York's and Boston’s teams is constant and occasionally vicious. It’s not like Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett were medics or detectives or firemen, they just happened to work there. Pray for Boston, etc. — but down with the afternoon’s invaders.
I can’t imagine anyone impartial rooted for the Knicks on Saturday, not with the game happening in such close proximity to last week’s events in Boston. It feels good to witness magic and harmony and spontaneous proclamations of civic pride, even if these moments of coming together can’t turn anything back. But someone had to lose, and it’s not like Doc Rivers wanted New York’s pity anyway. Shut off from the sentiments prevailing elsewhere, the atmosphere in and around the Garden was lively enough, though nowhere near as raucous as one would expect in this post–Honey Nut Cheerios world. After members of the New York and Boston fire departments presented the flag, Carmelo Anthony and Pierce strode to the center circle to offer statements on behalf of each team. Some fans started booing as soon as Pierce spoke, but everyone else aggressively hissed them quiet. You could resume hating him in a few minutes.
Four years ago, Andre Smith got off a plane in Indianapolis as the best left tackle at that year’s NFL combine. The previous season, he was awarded the Outland Trophy, given to college football’s best interior lineman. He’d been named an All-American by every outlet with a printing press or an Internet presence. And come draft time, it was expected that Smith would be one of the first five players off the board.
Then he left.
Before completing any of his workouts, Smith was back on a plane to Alabama, without telling anyone. Later, his explanation was that in switching his representation, he’d lost some time to prepare for the drills. He didn’t feel ready.
This excuse was hardly enough for those involved. He was skewered — for a lack of maturity and a lack of attention to detail. Smith’s pro day in Tuscaloosa didn’t help much, either. The video of his jiggle during the 40-yard dash is still Internet legend. A tumble down hypothetical draft boards began. Smith went from the best tackle in the draft to the consensus no. 3. By March, Mel Kiper had him clear out of the top 10. In botching the “pre-draft process,” Smith had done himself in.
Could there be a more fitting final play in the 2012 NFL season than Tony Romo clinching defeat with a horrific interception? No, there could not. That super Romo-ish floating Christmas gift to the football fans of the beltway not only marked the end of the Cowboys' season, but the ends of both the BQBL season and 2012. Each year, December 31 provides us a moment to look back at what has passed and pay tribute to those who passed to the wrong team. So this year, at the end of this column, I'll be handing out the first set of BQBL Awards for lack of achievement at the quarterback position. But before we get to that, there’s plenty of carnage from Week 17 to address — namely, the work of Mr. Chad Steven Henne, who seemed eager on Sunday to secure the no. 2 overall pick for the Jags.
Three and Out
Jaguars (Chad Henne), 67 points: Chad Henne threw four touchdown passes against the Titans on Sunday: one to Justin Blackmon, one to Jordan Shipley and two to Zach Brown. The only problem is that Zach Brown is not on his football team. Details.
In case you were out living a life of leisure, here's what you missed in sports on Tuesday.
The Lakers came back from an 18-point third quarter deficit to top the Bobcats, 101-100, and avoid what would have been the most embarrassing moment of their already difficult season. It was a Pyrrhic victory for some Lakers, including Pau Gasol, who suffered his latest humiliation when Kobe Bryant shoved him into the scorer's table to create a distraction just before hitting the winning bucket. "Make sure you whimper," Kobe hissed. "Really Gasol it up."