Dennis Allen: At the End of the Day

October 5, 2014
Adam Thomas

Fare thee well, Dennis Allen, fare thee well.

What I will remember most from Dennis Allen’s tenure as a head coach are a few things:

1.) He was previously a defensive backs coach and a defensive coordinator…and the biggest problems with the Raiders during his time as a coach have been the defensive backs and the defense as a whole.

2.) He always wore a visor and on that visor was always clipped a red sharpie marker. I remember one of the Raiders beat writer’s asked a player if they had ever seen Dennis Allen actually write with the sharpie and he replied something to the extent of “no.”

3.) Each press conference, you could count on one of the following phrases to come out of his mouth: “At the end of the day…” “We gotta improve as a football team…” “I’m not here to get into what ifs or anything like that…” I’m doing a bad job remembering all of the little phrases he would use, but the one that stands out the most is ‘At the end of the day.’

4.) When I read articles about his firing like the one on Profootballtalk about how Mark Davis fired the wrong guy, it is infuriating. Because he didn’t.

The Raiders have a TON of problems right now and Dennis Allen was one of those problems. He had 8 wins over two and a quarter seasons. The Raiders just got blown out by the Miami Dolphins. They lost the Texans and Dolphins by a combined scored of 68-28 and I’m pretty sure most of those 28 points came in the 4th quarter.

The Profootballtalk article is titled “Mark Davis fires the guy who really wasn’t to blame.”

WHAT!? Wasn’t to blame? He is the head freaking coach who went 8-28 over his tenure!

Look at this sentence:

“Davis needs to realize that the problems run far deeper than a head coach who made the best batch of chicken salad he possibly could, given a list of ingredients that includes wasted draft picks and overpriced free agents whom no one else wanted.”

Ummm…what free agent that the Raiders signed this offseason is overpriced? Maybe Austin Howard…maybe… but they are set up to have 60 million plus in cap space next year. Are some of the free agents brought in by GM Reggie McKenzie bad? Of course! But they can cut them in the offseason with little to no re-percussions because most of them were signed to one or two year deals.

Also, wasted draft picks? Has Florio seen this year’s draft? It looks like Reggie knocked it out of the park with Khalil Mack–ProFootball Focus’ current defensive rookie of the year–and Gabe Jackson. Derek Carr looks like he is going to be ok, and they’re getting contributions from DT Justin Ellis, CB Keith McGill and 7th round DB T.J. Carrie.

Last year’s draft looks dicey at the top, sure, but D.J. Hayden hasn’t even played this season so it’s a little much to call him a wasted draft pick just yet–although the clock is certainly ticking on that–Menelik Watson may develop into a good right tackle and Sio Moore is one of the best defensive players on the team.

So look, kill the Raiders all you want cause they suck right now, but please, do realize that Dennis Allen was an awful head coach and he needed to go.

At the end of the day, it’s what needed to happen.

On to the picks!

Last week, I went 3-0…finally.

For the season, I am 6-3.

This week, I like:

Ten/Cle under 45.5

Bengals -1.5 over the Patriots (This looks too good to be true. I think I’m getting trapped.)

Pitt/Jax over 46.5

Enjoy the games!

Confusing Italics

September 28, 2014
Adam Thomas

Lost in all this ‘the NFL is a terrible institution’ hullabaloo seems to be the fact that ESPN–who is going all out guns blazing on the NFL and their mistakes–is not the best source of journalism in the world.

For instance, I read their big old Ray Rice Outside the Lines expose and was pretty impressed by it all. It seemed like they had done their work and cross referenced everything but then, the bomb dropped this week that the text messages sent from the Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti to Ray Rice in the report were erroneously reported.

Here’s how it reads from ESPN’s report:

Minutes later, Rice’s phone buzzed. he could scarcely believe what he was looking at–back to back messages from Bisciotti. Rice read them aloud so everyone in the room could hear them:

Hey Ray, just wanted to let you know, we loved you as a player, it was great having you here. Hopefully all these things are going to die down. I wish the best for you and Janay. 

When you’re done with football, I’d like you to know you have a job waiting for you with the Ravens helping young guys getting acclimated to the league. 

You read that and you think two things: 1.) Bisciotti is trying to blackmail Rice with a job offer by sending him two texts out of the blue so he keeps quiet about some things and 2.) Those words are exactly what were sent in the text messages.

Unfortunatley, there are two problems.

It turns out that Ray Rice initiated the conversation with Bisciotti and that the text messages read differently than what ESPN wrote.

Here they are in full thanks to Deadspin:

Monday September 8, 7:44 pm

Ray: I understand the decision but I am thankful for what you have done for me and my family. Me and my wife will continue to work on us and being better but I just wanted to say thank you for giving me a chance

Steve: I’m sorry we had to do this. I still love you and believe that you will be a great husband and father If you ever need to talk just call

Tuesday September 9, 10:27 pm

Steve: I just spent two hours talking to Ozzie. It was all about you. We love you and we will always figure out a way to keep you in our lives. When you are done with football I will hire you to help me raise Great young men. I still love you!!!

Ray: I know it’s a rough time for all of us I love all of you and that will never change for life!

Steve: I will help you make it a great life indeed. I give you my WORD

Ray: That means the world to me and my family we greatly appreciate you and thank you.

Now, while the ESPN report does get the gist of the texts messages correct, they clearly manipulated the situation to make their case against the Ravens appear stronger than it seems to be and it does raise some doubt about what else they messed up in their story.

Also, the Ravens owner seems like a sleaze ball, like he should be a WWE manager or something walking down the aisle with the Million Dollar Man’s theme music. Everybody’s got a price.

On to the picks!

Last week, I went 1-2 (although I did call the Chiefs and the over on the Eagles/Redskins game) which makes me 3-3 for the season (hooray?).

This week I like:

Chiefs +3.5

Packers/Bears OVER 49.5

Det/NYJ under 45.5

That’s right, forget picking the games. I’m going with the Over/Unders!

Enjoy the games!

Win Free Agency in the NFL and you Lose

September 21, 2014
Adam Thomas

Watching the Tampa Bay Buccaneers get absolutely shellacked by the Falcons on Thursday reminded me that back in March, I couldn’t escape articles talking about the revamped Bucs roster and how they were the undisputed ‘Winners’ of Free Agency.

From Yahoo: “It’s hard not to like a talented Bucs team getting more talented with some nice additions, namely Alterraun Verner, Michael Johnson, Anthony Collins, Clinton McDonald and Evan Dietrich-Smith. Can’t say too many teams have done more. They can win 10 or 11 games under Lovie Smith and be this year’s Kansas City Chiefs.”

From NFL.com: “Lovie Smith’s influence should be like a warm spring thaw after the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ wintery 2013 season. The Bucs revamped an already solid roster without losing many pieces. The signing of Alterraun Verner more than made up for cutting Darelle Revis. Verner came much cheaper and is a better fit in Smith’s system. Adding Michael Johnson to the defense gives Gerald McCoy a Bash Brother to hunt quarterbacks with. Scrapping the offensive line for upgrades at every spot was a stroke of genius. If Josh McCown can recapture his 2013 magic, the Bucs could surge to the top of the NFC South.”

From Profootball Focus: “The Bucs already had a lot of talent on the roster, but they have filled a lot of holes before the draft rolls around with some impressive moves.”

Sports Illustrated had more of the same, with the declaration at the top of the article that predicting free agency winners is like handing out NFL Draft Grades in that both sets of reactions usually turn out to be at least 50 percent wrong. So….why do them?

Who knows. But one thing is for sure: The Bucs suck. They are 0-3 and have been blown out by the Falcons and defeated by two backup quarterbacks: Derek Anderson and Austin Davis (WHO?).

They are “competing” with the Jags and the Raiders and possibly the Giants for the first overall pick in next year’s draft.

Which is a shame because they spent $121.5 million in free agency, the biggest contract being $43.75 million to Michael Johnson who is currently injured.

So yeah. Out of all those awful teams, I feel the worst for the Bucs. They spent so much money and brought in a new coach so they are going to be stuck with these pricey, bad players and coach for another season. At least the Jags and Raiders can cut bait with their coaches after this season (if not before).

Anyway, enough depressing Bucs, Jags and Raiders talk. Let’s get to the picks!

Last week, I went 2-1 (boo!).

This week I like:

Chiefs +4.5 (I think the Chiefs get their first win this week)

Eagles -6.5 (also, I like the Over of 50.5 points.)

Packers +2.5

Roger Dodger

September 20, 2014
Adam Thomas

So about that Roger Goodell press conference…what a dope. That was the only thought that was going through my head while I watched Goodell sputter his way through the press conference like me during my sophomore year of college when I had to give a presentation in all Spanish. “Uh…es un necessario…uh…es muy importante….”

Goodness gracious, how did that man ever become commissioner? Just look at this garbage:

Q: The atlantic city prosecutor’s office says they don’t have any trail for the documentation. Can you give us the trail of how you did the investigation so people can know what you put into it?

A: Certainly. Our security department works with law enforcement. They are fully cooperative. We gather almost entirely all of our information through law enforcement. And that is something else we are going to look at, Rachel. Is that the right process. Should all of our information be gathered simply through law enforcement? We understand and respect what they go through and the job they have to do.

Just in case you guys weren’t sure, Goodell would like to remind you that the NFL works with LAW ENFORCEMENT all the time and really respects and loves and cherishes the job that they have to do. What a pandering schmuck. His answer is basically, “is it our facult that we love cops so much? Maybe…”

Also, let’s watch as he talks about the Ray Rice situation, completely absolving himself of any blame and then skirting away when pressed for details like the red headed cyborg that he is:

Q: What exactly did ray rice tell you happened in the elevator and how did what you thought in your mind happen in the elevator differ from what we saw in the video?

A: Judy, a couple of things. First off, i said we got new information from the first time i met with him to my initial discipline, which three weeks later, i acknowledged was not sufficient. It was clear there was an act of domestic violence. But it was inconsistent with the way he described what happened. When we had that new information we had the ability to say we are going to interject and we are going to take additional action. That is what we did. There was new information that developed because we had not seen that second tape that became public roughly 10 days or so ago. That was not consistent with what he said.

Q: Commissioner, what did he say? What did he tell you happened?

A: The one issue with this is this is now a matter of appeal. As you know the nfl p.A. Has appealed this. It is a matter that is going to be taken up with appeal. Without prejudges, i have to respect the appeals process.

Q: You keep talking about transparency. Why can’t you tell us what he said?

A: It is inconsistent with what he told us, what we saw on the video. We have an appeals process. That information will come out.

JUST ANSWER THE QUESTION!

And of course, the question–I think from Rachel Nichols–about the integrity of the NFL’s own half-assed investigation into what exactly happened with the tape was awesome:

Q: Commissioner, you mentioned robert mueller’s investigation. I’m not going to discuss the integrity of the ex-director of the fbi. The law firm that he works for is a law firm with extremely close ties to the nfl. You guys paid that law firm to help you negotiate some television deals, the president of the ravens who will be key in this whole investigation worked at that law firm for more than 30 years. Why hire someone with even the appearance of inpropriety and how do you expect us to accept everything?

A: I respectfully disagree. You are questioning the integrity of the director of the fbi. Yes. That firm has represented us in the past. They have also been on the other side in litigation against the nfl. So this is a highly respected individual, the longest serving director in the fbi. part of the idea of this is to restore public trust.

Q: So even if he does a flawless investigation isn’t there an element here of your leaving the door open for doubt?

A: Well, rachel, unfortunately we live in a world where there is a lot of litigation. A lot of law firms and maybe people have had some interaction with us in the past. Robert mueller has not. The law firm may have. We are hiring robert mueller, his credentials to do an independent investigation reporting to the owners and i’m competent that will be the case.

Q: Did he interview you yet? Did robert mueller interview you yet?

A: That is something that robert mueller is going to have to announce. We are not disclosing or involving. He is running an independent investigation. He will meet with anyone he wishes any time he wishes. He will get cooperation from me and anybody in the building. I’m not making comments about the investigation. He has full access. If he feels he wants to speak to anybody.

And of course, TMZ sports putting the screws to Goodell:

Q: Adam Glen with tmz and tmz sports. I have to go back to your video and curiosity to see the video. You suspended ray rice after our video. Why didn’t you have the curiosity to go to the casino yourself?

A: Two things. We suspended ray rice originally after seeing the first video. When the second video came out last week, that is when we increased our discipline because that was inconsistent with the information we had. It was new information. One of the things i said in my statement and i have said repeatedly here, that is part of what we want to do with all of our experts. Outside, internal, is try to figure out how should we investigate these issues. In the past we have been almost completely reliant with law enforcement. We do not want to interview with a criminal investigation. In particular here when you are dealing with a casino in new jersey there are more restrictions because it is overseen i believe by the attorney general. We have to be very cautious in not interfering with a criminal investigation. We’ll evaluate that. Should we do more to get more information. I would have loved to see that tape. Should we do more —

Q: Mr. Commissioner, we found out by one phone call. You have a whole legal department. Can you explain that?

A: I can’t explain how you got the information. Only you can do that.

Yeeeeeeeeeesh. This dude is clueless.

Picks will be up tomorrow!

Suspending Disbelief

September 14, 2014
Adam Thomas

So…the NFL, amirite?

Jeebus, what a terrible week. The whole Ray Rice fiasco now Adrian Peterson is an accused beater of children.

The weird part about the Adrian Peterson story is that it prompted about a billion, “If hitting your kid with a switch is illegal, then my mom would be in prison!” har har har jokes on Twitter, which is…interesting.

For one thing, everyone making that joke needs to realize, their mom is not Adrian F-ing Peterson. Peterson is chiseled, and wrecks grown men for a living, just imagine what he would do to a FOUR YEAR OLD CHILD with a switch. Actually, you don’t have to imagine because the pictures are all over the internet, and please bear in mind, those pictures are a week old.

For my bachelor party, I got shot like 35 times during a Bachelor run with 20 some paint ball guns. That hurt like hell and I threw the biggest (debatable) tantrum of my life afterwards, but even those welts were mostly gone after a week. The Vikings made the right call deactiviating him for this game.

Just read this excerpt from CBS Houston:

According to police reports, the child, however, had a slightly different story, telling authorities that “Daddy Peterson hit me on my face.” The child also expressed worry that Peterson would punch him in the face if the child reported the incident to authorities. He also said that he had been hit by a belt and that “there are a lot of belts in Daddy’s closet.” He added that Peterson put leaves in his mouth when he was being hit with the switch while his pants were down. The child told his mother that Peterson “likes belts and switches” and “has a whooping room.”

Egads.

Also, the Panthers owner cried hysterically about how seriously he takes domestic violence but is still allowing his star player–and convicted woman abuser–on the field Sunday because, well, winning trumps crocodile tears.

(Update: Apparently Jerry Richardson reads theHeadrush cause Greg Hardy has now been deactivated. Good job Panthers).

So anyway, happy times in NFL land.

Here are my 3 team teaser picks with the lines from Delaware Park:

Lions +2.5; Patriots -3.5; Cardinals -2.5

Wednesday Quick Hits

July 9, 2014
Adam Thomas

1.) Man, Brazil….what can you say? That reminded me of my senior year when we played St. Marks and got shelled 9-0 under the lights of good old Newark. I remember at one point it being about 5-0 and I joked with one of the defenders, “Hey, you think you guys can just take it easy on us?” And he sneered at me something fierce. 4 goals later, and I knew the answer.

There is no sympathy for the devil but you gotta feel bad for a country who spent millions (billions?) and built stadiums solely to hold this tournament only to watch a European or Argentinian entity walk away with the trophy.

They must’ve felt like Phil Collins in that Bone Thugs N Harmony video. What did I do to get here? What happened to me? I wrote the soundtrack for Tarzan!

Moving on…

2.) If I were Lebron, there is no way in hell that I would go back to Cleveland after what their owner wrote about me, and if he thinks that we will all forget about the decision and the “not one, not two, not three, not four…” nonsense by going back to Cleveland, then he’s got another thing coming.

If I were Lebron, I would double down, hold the Decision 2 and then proudly announce, “I’m taking my talents to Philly!”

But again, I’m not Lebron. And he is weird. So he’s probably going back to Cleveland (I know this because Chris Broussard told me so during Sportscenter).

3.) By the way, I reference the Bone Thugs song because it’s on this CD I found that I made over at Randy’s house the summer after our senior year of high school. Other songs on the CD? Poppin’ Tags, In Da Wind and Throw Your Hands up by 8-Ball and MJG. Daaaang that song is awesome.

4.) WWE better put a belt on Bo Dallas and soon. That dude has got Intercontinental Champion written all over him. I am a BOliever for sure and can’t wait to see that fool work his way into the main event scene.

5.) For today?  I’ve got Netherlands 2-1. Of course, I had yesterday’s game as a 1-1 tie and Brazil winning on PKs so…take that with a grain of salt.