Welcome to this edition of the Lowdown. This is my little corner of the fantasy football universe — feel free to pull up a chair and stay a while!
The Spark is Gone
Last week’s Packers-Saints contest ended up being a real treat for me: in addition to a profitable trip to the pay window, one of my early preseason “going out on a limb” selections, Jameis Winston, threw for five TDs. That was nice to watch, but it wasn’t all fun and games: Aaron Rodgers had a brutal game. It wasn’t that Rodgers had a bad performance that upset me; after all, so did Aaron Jones and Davante Adams. No, the thing that upset me was that I was witnessing the end of a long-time relationship.
We all knew the couple was having trouble in their marriage: after all, Rodgers and the Packers had public displays of discontent in the past– including an alleged Packers’ Love interest. Yet it seemed that after some intense counseling, the couple was back on track: the Packers even went so far as to by Rodgers a gift he really wanted (Randall Cobb). One of the strongest couples we knew, back on track! Everything was right with this miserable world!
Except that everything was not right. Last Sunday, in full view of the world, the ugly truth was laid bare for all to see: the spark was gone. Rodgers was just going through the motions. No emotion of any kind from Rodgers, no sense of panic from the Packers… nothing. Just a public display of discontent. Things got so bad that by the end, the Packers had to turn to their Love interest for some relief… and they didn’t care who knew about it. The long-rumoured concubine was finally introduced to polite society in an impolite manner.
After that public humiliation, the Packers described the ordeal as an absolute embarrassment while Rodgers rather ominously warned us that this was “just one game”. What does that mean?? Stay tuned, kiddies!
Now that my homage to Cindy Adams is done, I’ll do my duty as an analyst and remind everyone that things can change in a hurry in the NFL; today’s embarrassment can serve as impetus for tomorrow’s heroics. But one does wonder, as many did throughout the off-season, why the Packers were so short-sighted and bull-headed. Rodgers is done with the franchise, and regardless of this season’s outcome, they should’ve traded him for a king’s ransom and started grooming Jordan Love as their next QB. After all, once you’ve gotten some side, there’s no going back.
List of Grievances (and it’s not even Festivus)
I’ve been critical of the Giants for a while now. After watching their performances in the first two weeks of this season. I can now announce that I’m done with this regime.
Last season, I urged the G-Men to tank the season in order to force management’s hand into drafting a real NFL QB, and avoid the false sense of optimism that invariably comes with yet another 5-11 or 6-10 season. Yet here we are, with an 0-2 start for the fifth straight season. To mark the occasion, I’m taking the time to inform the Maras of things the fans are completely done with:
* Daniel Jones – Jones seems like a nice enough guy, but as Leo Durocher taught us: nice guys finish last. Jones simply isn’t a starting-caliber NFL QB. It’s tough enough to replace a long-time, 2x Super Bowl champion QB, but to try and do so with someone who has all the traits of an accomplished clipboard holder while maintaining a 1+ fumble per game ratio is impossible.
* The Offensive Line – get rid of all of them. I’m serious. Five street agents couldn’t be too much worse than this group (which includes several high-round draftees), and the cap savings could be put towards quality free agent signings in 2022.
* The Play-Calling – it’s not so much that they refused to go for the coup de grâce against the Football Team this week, but they seemingly couldn’t decide what they wanted to do in that situation. Either run the ball three times to force Washington to kill the clock and burn all their timeouts, or try to get the first down to put the game out of reach; but doing neither resulted in Washington getting the ball back with time and a timeout in pocket. It’s almost as if they have an incompetent play-caller in the coaches’ box who ruined the Dallas Cowboys for several years.
* The Defense – remember when the Giants could always count on their defense? Yeah, those were good times. This version of the Giants defense can’t stop the run when it has to, has no one who can get to the QB, and even manages to have the nose guard jump offside on the last play of the game, snatching defeat from the jaws of victory. If Lawrence Taylor were dead, he’d be rolling in his grave.
* The Coaching Staff – I bitched when Joe Judge was hired, and I haven’t stopped bitching since that fateful event. For all his draconian methods, the Giants remain an undisciplined team that commits horrendous penalties and runs out of gas at the end of games. It also doesn’t help when Judge himself trips up, like throwing a challenge flag on a non-reviewable TD.
* David Gettleman – perhaps the most difficult thing to accept is that Gettleman has lost his touch. The selection of Jones with the sixth overall pick was bad enough, but his refusal to admit his mistake is just childish. Perhaps most damning: his trench draftees have all failed to live up to expectations. This was his claim to fame, his ability to draft “hog mollies” and build a team from the inside out. He signed Nate Soder to a huge deal. He spent a second rounder on Will Hernandez. He made Andrew Thomas the fourth overall pick last year and the first OL off the board (Jederick Wills, Mekhi Becton, and Tristan Wirfs all went after Thomas). He drafted Dexter Lawrence. His refusal to draft or sign any sort of proven pass rusher… the list goes on and on. All this, and the Giants constantly find themselves up against the salary cap, despite a dearth of talent.
Here’s the deal: the Giants have some built up draft capital in 2022. Let that be Gettleman’s final heroic deed in service of the club. Play for a Top Five pick in the draft, hire a modern GM who will turnover the entire coaching staff, grab a promising QB, and start over.
The Jets have been a long-running joke in New York, but at least they keep trying; the Giants continue to live off the glory days (cue Springsteen).