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!
We Always Knew
Ever wonder what goes into building a Loser Dynasty? I’m not talking about a franchise that goes through a bad 3-5 season stretch… I’m talking about the kind of futility that unites three different generations of men. Think of the king of futility that unites grandfather, father, and son– which franchises come to mind? In the Super Bowl era, you can think of two teams that have generated ZERO hope for their fans for stretches on 20 or 30 years: the Browns and the Jets. The Browns have obviously turned their fortunes around the past two seasons and seem to be on the right path, but the Jets? Ugh.
It all begins with QB: if you have the right guy under center, you always have a shot at legitimacy and rarely suffer an extended period of futility. Which explains why the Browns have seemingly broken out of their circle of futility, while the Jets seemingly have not: look at the QB situation. In 2018, the Browns surprisingly took Baker Mayfield #1 overall, while the Jets took Sam Darnold. While he may not be an All-Pro, Mayfield has provided competence, confidence and stability at the QB position, while the Jets have already jettisoned Darnold and replaced him with Zach Wilson.
Look, I’m not saying Wilson will be a bust or that Darnold will be a Pro Bowler with the Panthers. What I am saying is that the Jets took a prized rookie QB and entrusted his development to Adam Gase. That’s right, Adam Gase… the “QB genius” who made his bones with Peyton Manning in Denver, then went on to stunt the career of a first-round QB in Miami (Ryan Tannehill) before getting fired and then hired almost immediately thereafter by the Jets (who were apparently afraid of accidentally hiring a good coach). Well, I think we now know for sure what we always suspected to be true: it wasn’t Sam Darnold’s fault. It never was… it was Gase. Gase ruined Darnold, just like he kept Tannehill down (I guess Manning was just too good to fail, despite Gase’s best efforts).
I’m happy for Darnold’s strong start in Carolina, and happy that Wilson at least has a shot to develop in NY. Unless, of course, Jets ownership decides to hire Kevin Gilbride as a QB consultant.
How Much Can One Man Take?
Sometimes I find myself wondering about my limits. Have I ever been pushed to the point of throwing up my hands in despair and giving up? I have to admit, I’ve come close a few times: most recently it’s happened when I’ve been pushed to the point of rejecting democracy thanks to Trump, or almost stopped feeling sorry when a fellow human dies from COVID (only to find out he was an anti-vax rube who worried about government microchips being injected into his body). Yet despite coming close to giving up, I never have. I don’t know if that’s due to any strong convictions I may have or the lack of viable alternatives, but I’ve never been pushed beyond my limits. But I do know one thing: if I were Tyrod Taylor, I’d definitely give up.
Holy crap, how much nonsense can one person take? Taylor has been Wally Pipped so many times that “Wally Pipped” should forever be replaced by the phrase “Tyrod Taylored”. This poor bastard has been named a starting NFL QB three times in the past four seasons (Browns, Chargers, Texans) only to get hurt in all three seasons in September. Think about how hard it is to compete for– and win– a starting QB gig in the NFL; then consider the intestinal fortitude and perseverance it takes to do it three times. It’d be unfathomable, except for the fact that we’ve seen Taylor do it. Unfortunately, the universe doesn’t give a rat’s ass about our personal limits; I know this because there’s no conceivable cosmic justice to Taylor having to go on IR after a strong start. None at all.
Only time will tell if Taylor’s injury costs him his starting gig in Houston this season, but it’s a damn shame that he has to endure yet another tainted season. I hope he recovers quickly and gets his job back, because I don’t think any of us want to be around in the event three Pipps is the guy’s limit.