The Quarterback Carousel in February: Great

Will Stevenson

With actual basketball games being out of service since the All-Star Game, the sports world has decided to give us all the transaction stimulation we could handle. The NFL was so taken aback by the NBA, they decided to throw out possible quarterback trade destinations for old guys who either get injured or don’t play well anymore-but they use to play great and now teams who don’t have a quarterback will trade for them-but maybe they shouldn’t because they are old-but then again you could catch lightning in a bottle.

Whew. Football.

The New York Jets, who have fumbled around the past few seasons with quarterbacks we knew to be average, will once again seek out another plus-30 quarterback to lead their team. The Jets have had their chances in the draft, but have not been able to develop a young quarterbacks over the past few seasons with Geno Smith and Christian Hackenberg. They went the Ryan Fitzpatrick route and it got them as far as not making the playoffs, again.

The Houston Texans, a punch line for quarterback play over the past few seasons have began to test the waters for the “Used to be good quarterback” club. Somehow, Head Coach Bill O’Brien hasn’t been able to whisper sweet nothings into the ears of these quarterbacks yet. Brock Osweiler was pretty bad last season, and the Texans once again wasted another year as the defense was as strong as usual, but the offense could not sustain consistency in the passing game.

We like to take the video game approach when it comes to the transaction. We have watched Jay Cutler and Tony Romo for the past two seasons and we know they aren’t who they use to be: but that doesn’t matter when it comes to hope. Tony Romo has a back that couldn’t carry his own shoulder blades, and for some reason we think Jay Cutler can “turn it around” with the Jets, even though the Jets haven’t shown the ability to be an offensive threat since the first half of Brett Favre’s only season there in 2008.

So all offseason we will do this whole song and dance all over again. Teams will talk themselves into trading or signing reformation projects  at quarterback. Even though they did not perform well, teams still feel they can be the ones to extract the greatness that was once there.

Somebody is going to be a sucker for Jay Cutler, and I’m just hoping it’s the Jets. Maybe they will go after Romo, God I hope so.

The Hunt for the Redzone October

red-zoneBy: Will Stevenson

They always say it’s best to never meet your idols in person. They say it’s better to admire them from afar, while they are in their element. If you happen to meet them out on the street, their cloak of deity could evaporate with a slight, or a refusal to acknowledge you. The same ca be said for childhood crushes. Speaking from experience, I remember being head over heels for this girl in my class. I studied her every mannerism, eavesdropped on her conversations, asked her friends what she liked, and admired whatever she wore; I loved that girl. A few years passed, and through Myspace we reconnected. We talked on the phone and reminisced on the old school days. I asked her out on a date, in which she said yes. So that day came, I met her at a bar (I was too young at the time to realize what a “bar date” meant) and had a few drinks. Actually, she had a lot to drink. I paid, thinking that was the gentleman thing to do. About an hour in, I went to the bathroom to re-assess my life, I came back and she was talking to some other guy. I approached, they both laughed: It was her boyfriend. Turns out they were just using me to get drunk for free.

This is exactly how the gameplay for the NFL has been. These games lure us in with things of the past, get drunk off of us, give themselves to another, and wait for next week when we return to them again. We only seem to remember the good things about watching football: Drinks, food, family, friends, Hail Mary, basically the things they show in commercials. What we don’t realize is these games take almost four hours to watch, commercials on end, and so much time in-between plays that you have time to zone out to something else. We have deceived ourselves as the technology and NFL have progressed. We don’t watch the game the same way we use to back in the day. The amount of options available at our disposable has made watching football, disposable.

The Redzone has now become a blessing and a curse. When I think about the Cleveland Browns, I only think of them in a confusing light. When I look at their record, they are winless, but I only seem to recall watching them score. How can that be? Oh yes, the Rezone only shows me when they have the opportunity to score, therefore you have no idea how they got to the 4o yard line or that there 13 play drive was; 4 screen passes, 3 runs for loss, 3 more check downs, 2 penalties, and a beautiful touchdown pass on 3rd down. That’s the thing; You never see those plays! You know when you see those long, exhausting drives? The stand-alone games: Thursday, Sunday, and Monday Night Football.

How many games to do you watch from start to finish on Sunday? How can you with all of the options. You would literally just have to have basic cable or go to a restaurant in which you only can catch one or two games. We know Brock Osweiler is bad because we’ve had to witness the Texans on Primetime four times at the least. He’s bad. We get it. Think about it, the Seahawks vs Cardinals ended up 6-6 OT in the Sunday Night game. That game, if at 1pm or 4:15pm would be on the Redzone Channel maybe four to five times, and that would only be for the field goals attempted.

We don’t care though. The NFL is giving us booty-juice every single week, but we still come back for more. We keep thinking it’s going to get better, but it doesn’t. Just like I still messaged that girl after the “bar date”. Sometimes, winning isn’t everything… Scoring is.

Jags vs Titans Thursday Night. Enjoy!

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Troubled Road Ahead for Watt-less Texans?

Sports Elite

By Michael Eccleston

The Houston Texans are always missing something, aren’t they? They just can never put it all together. Last season, Houston took advantage of a weakened AFC South and defensive end J.J. Watt and wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins led them to a 9-7 finish, which was good enough to win the division. The Texans were then exposed by the Kansas City Chiefs in one of the ugliest playoff games of all time because Houston lacked a quarterback. Brian Hoyer isn’t going to win you too many big games, especially in the postseason. Unfortunately, they learned that the hard way. Hoyer had a miserable time at home against Kansas City’s defense, throwing for just 136 yards and 4 interceptions. His QB Rating was 15.9 in that game… Just let that sink in.

I mean, good grief. I was puzzled by the fact that head coach Bill O’Brien didn’t pull the plug earlier in the game when he saw how lost Hoyer looked…

But anyway, the Texans went into this offseason knowing that they had a defense that was good enough to compete with nearly anybody, but it was no secret that they had a suspect offense, which was ranked 21st in the NFL in points for last season. No more Arian Foster, who was about as unlucky and injury prone as it gets. The loss of Foster is a big hit because of the fact that when he was healthy he was one of the best all around runningbacks in the league, but at the same time, Houston needed to move on. They added runningback Lamar Miller from the Miami Dolphins who is extremely talented in his own right. Miller is a threat both as a runner and a receiver out of the backfield so he expects to carry a lot of the load this season. Alfred Blue will also see a decent amount of time.

The Texans desperately needed a quarterback, so they swooped in and nabbed young 6 foot 7 Brock Osweiler from the Denver Broncos. Osweiler signed a 4 year 72 million dollar contract on March 9th in hopes to be the answer in Houston. Over-paid? Maybe. That’s yet to be seen. This team has always intrigued me because they have had solid pieces to work with on both the defensive and offensive sides of the ball, but they’ve never had a quarterback that could take them over the hump. A lot of pressure on the 25 year old Osweiler? Yeah, but welcome to the NFL, kid.

Houston was looking primed to be much improved from last year… And then the news struck that J.J. Watt needed to have back surgery and may have to miss part of the season. More bad news for the Texans: The AFC South will be MUCH better than it was last season. Andrew Luck will be back for the Indianapolis Colts, the Jacksonville Jaguars made countless moves to improve both in free agency and through the draft. Blake Bortles, Allen Robinson, Julius Thomas, Chris Ivory and T.J. Yeldon are nothing to sneeze at on the offensive side. Not to mention Dante Fowler Jr. will be back after he missed his entire rookie year to play with a suddenly stacked defense with Malik Jackson, Paul Posluszny, Myles Jack, and Jalen Ramsey. The Tennessee Titans are also improved. Quarterback Marcus Mariota is looking to take the next step going into his second season and they acquired DeMarco Murray to receive the bulk of the carries with rookie Derrick Henry to complement him. Second year receiver Dorial Green-Beckham looks to step up as a major weapon alongside Kendall Wright and Delanie Walker.

So what are the results going to be for Houston this season?

Well, the Texans’ offense improved this offseason. There is no question about that. They signed a quarterback who has some promise and signed a talented Lamar Miller to solidify the running game. But if they have to play without Watt for any amount of time this season, they could be in big trouble. Outside linebacker and former first overall pick Jadeveon Clowney will need to step up in a huge way to fill the role as a top pass rusher. The Texans’ secondary with corners Jonathan Joseph and Kareem Jackson isn’t bad, but they need that pass rush to be ferocious in order for this defense to strive. The sooner they can get Watt back the better. We’re talking about one of the best players in the NFL today (if not the best). If Watt can start the season at 100 percent, I like the Texans’ chances to make the playoff picture interesting both in the division and for the wildcard, but without him, I see a troubled road ahead of them in this improved and all of a sudden exciting AFC South division.

 

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