Gratz’s Grumblings: Week 5

Well, that’s another week of NFL football in the books. Wing filled, beer soaked, fantasy obsessive, NFL football. While I have a rock hard boner for cold weathered, playoff football I get a little depressed as the number of football Sundays shrink at a Devonta Freeman like pace. Let’s check out what the fuck happened in week 5 around the NFL.

Jamal Charles tore his ACL and will be out for the season as the Chiefs suffered a deflating 1 point loss to the Bears. One of those things that just really fucking sucks. This is the second time Charles tore an ACL, this time in his right knee. Charles is currently 28 years old and everyone knows how hard it is for rushers to perform at a high level beyond that age without  a torn ACL. It may seem dramatic but it’s appropriate to wonder if Charles will ever be able to return to form and if he does, for how long? The Chiefs find themselves in a hole at 1-4 and their season may be over. Luckily, they still have a lot of talent on this team so I don’t think a severe overhaul would be necessary. Not to make excuses for them but their schedule has just been absolutely brutal, having already faced Peyton Manning, Aaron Rodgers, and the scorching hot Bengals. They still should have been able to best the Bears with or without their star rusher and a team with their expectations should have made their other losses a lot closer. Disappointing season? Yes. Still reasonable to expect them to be successful in the near future? Not so much.

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Speaking of the scorching hot Bengals, they were about to be doused with a bucket of ice cold water, until they weren’t. They trailed Hawks 24-7 in the fourth quarter and rallied all the way back to give Mike Nugent the chance to clank one off the upright and get the W. It’s a big time win for the cats but an even bigger loss for the Seahawks. How did that happen? That’s just so crushing after an energizing, Kam Chancellor returning victory last week. At 2-3 they really cost themselves the luxury of future flukey fuck ups. However, they are a defense oriented team and if they can crack the postseason they will still be a threat to make it pretty damn far. Again, that’s if they can crack the postseason.

There is no excuse for the Ravens losing to the Browns. None. Even without Steve Smith Baltimore should have been able to win this game by at least a touchdown. Instead they’re 1-4 and in last place in the AFC North. Josh McCown had a historic 457 yard passing day. JOSH McCOWN. JOSH FUCKING McCOWN. I have no idea what’s wrong with the Ravens but honestly I don’t hate it. Saves us all the breath we’d waste debating Joe Flacco’s elite status, no matter what side you’re on.

The Patriots won. In other news Chick Fil A is scrumptious and Chris Christie is fat.

The Eagles. Chip Kelly is a bum! Chip Kelly is a genius! Fire Chip Kelly! Eagles are winning the NFC East! Honestly, nobody knows what the fuck the Eagles are about still and anybody who makes a prediction about their season is just wasting their time. The Eagles had a very nice win against the Saints but simply put the Saints suck. That’s no reason to be down or knock them, quite the opposite. Their defense is improving and can force turnovers. They almost hit 200 yards rushing in balanced attack amongst their three talented runners. Josh Huff FINALLY got into the action and caught his first NFL touchdown as he led the team in receiving. Sam Bradford has to get better, he threw two ugly red zone interceptions and those mistakes aren’t going to be as easy to recover from against better teams. Because the Eagles won by 22 points nobody seemed to care about how Caleb Sturgis ineptitude as a kicker as he missed another extra point. That kid better figure it out and fucking fast. With this team it’s a better idea to just take it week to week instead of calculating complex scenarios, just enjoy the ride and hope it doesn’t fall off the fucking tracks.

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The Broncos are scaring everyone but I’m still not too concerned. Peyton Manning hasn’t lit it up like he used to but people aren’t realizing how good their defense is playing. They create turnovers, get to the quarterback and a better defense might be even more valuable than a prolific offense come playoff time. Peyton Manning stlll isn’t bad either and they still have talented receivers. They seem to be getting a lot of flack for a team who is undefeated, with more time to figure out this offense they can be a dangerous team if they can put it all together.

Gratz’s Grumblings: Week 4

Predicting what’s going to happen in the NFL is a lot like eating a crave case by yourself, you think you know what you’re doing but the end result is always a disappointing mess that makes you question what the fuck you were even thinking. The first couple of weeks are interesting because there are always surprises. Each team’s offseason creates their own questions to be answered heading into the season and the results are always mixed. Some things go according to plan (the Patriots are still the fucking Patriots and the Packers are still the fucking Packers) and some things completely catch you off guard (Ndamukong Suh is a non factor on the D-line? The Ravens starting 0-3? Week 4 is an interesting time though because it’s right where you can start to gather enough evidence to make worthwhile observations and predictions for how things are going to pan out for the rest of the season. Of course there’s some shit you can never plan for but I think a teams performance after week 4 is a much stronger indicator for how their season is going to be than say after week 2. With that said, lets take a look around the league and try to make sense of just what the fuck is going on in the NFL.

Nobody expected the Dolphins to be this bad. In fact, it was almost universally agreed on that they were going to build off their 8-8 campaign from the year before and compete for a playoff spot which has eluded them since 2008. They spent a boatload of money on Ndamukong Suh and it’s already looking to be a complete disaster. He seems to be frustrated at times and indifferent at others. Reports from earlier in the year said that he was ignoring defensive calls and going rogue and doing his own thing. Not only is that not the type of play the dolphins payed for, it’s also not the leadership they expected from a veteran who has proven he can be one of the leagues most dominant forces. We’ve seen free agent fiascos before, on the defensive line too *cough Albert Haynesworth cough* but this one went downhill fast. The Dolphins have to find someone to get through to him and figure out a way to get him on the same page as the team or else this can cost this team a severe amount of not only money, but further headache and complications going forward. The big question is if head coach Joe Philbin will be losing his job soon. It’s a shame too, Philbin has been a solid coach the past few years but if he has lost the locker room it may be best for him to go so the Dolphins can scrap this year and start to plan for next season. Week 4 is still early, but once a locker room is lost it’s very, very hard to recover. Plus they play in the same division as the Patriots and while they’re only 2.5 games back, it doesn’t take an expert to realize they aren’t going to catch up to them and claim the division title and as always, grabbing a wildcard spot in the AFC is like grabbing a doorbuster from Walmart on Black Friday, a fucking dogfight.

Update: While in the process of writing this, Joe Philbin has been fired. He will be replaced by Dan Campbell, the Dolphins tight end coach of the past 5 years. Campbell will be the youngest head coach in the league at 39.

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Moving right along, the Jets rebounded nicely from their loss to the Eagles. However, it’s fair to wonder just how far they can go with Ryan Fitzpatrick (or Geno Smith, whatever) as their quarterback.

Kicking (or lack of) was a major theme in week 4. It cost the Steelers a chance to put the Ravens in a daunting 0-4 spot while gaining ground on the Bengals for the AFC North. Josh Scobee lost his job because of his performance in this game. It was still encouraging for the Steelers, Mike Vick showed that he is a capable backup for Ben Roethlisberger and Le’Veon Bell is still an absolute beast and being paired with Antonio Brown on the offensive side should be enough to keep the Steelers afloat until Big Ben returns.

Caleb Sturgis had big time kicking problems as well this week. The Eagles replacement to Cody Parkey missed a 33 yard field goal as well as an extra point while the Eagles lost by 3 points to the Redskins. As frustrating as this is for Eagles fans the team has bigger problems than an inept kicker. They again showed their inability to produce substantial offense in the first half. The defense was on the field for 42 minutes and allowed a game winning touchdown drive to Kirk Cousins. Kirk fucking Cousins. While people will argue the defense was gassed, they still need to improve (they gave up a first down on 3rd and 19 off a draw play on the first drive of the game). It was nice to see them taking more shots downfield but they can’t just seem to piece everything together. DeMarco Murray has spoke out against his lack of touches in the offense. Luckily, the NFC East is one of, if not the weakest divisions in the NFL so the Eagles can still make a push for a playoff appearance, but with the way they’re playing the words eagles and playoffs shouldn’t even be in the same sentence.

Todd Gurley was finally ready for a full time workload and the rookie took advantage, accumulating 146 yards on 19 carries as the Rams pulled the upset and delivered the Arizona Cardinals their 1st loss of the season. The Cardinals, despite losing are still a good football team. However at 2-2 the Rams are a classic example of the “pretender or contender” debate. They are a pesky team and time will tell but I would expect them to be around .500 at the end of the season, maybe 9-7. Definitely an encouraging sign for a team who is way past due for success.

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One of the most impressive teams this year so far has been the Atlanta Falcons. Insiders have applauded their offseason strategy of getting hard working, mid level free agents who bought into the culture instead of throwing money at high profile names with big price tags and even bigger egos. Stellar rushing performances and a smart, efficient Matt Ryan carried the team to a 48-21 rout over the Texans. You never want to jump the gun, but the Falcons look like the real deal this year.

The Bears beat the Raiders. Whatever.

Colin Kaepernick has been disastrous since week 1 and there is starting to be some chatter about benching him. Doesn’t it seem like just yesterday he was playing in the Superbowl with Jim Harbaugh on the sideline? I’m always amazed by how fast things change in this league. Kaepernick, to me, is hard to evaluate. Is he a quality starter just on a disorganized team with a weak supporting cast or is he really just not good enough of a passer to relive his past success? I think in the right system Kaepernick can shine. You can’t expect him to run an offense like Aaron Rodgers or Peyton Manning but with an offense tailored to him and the right people around him Kaepernick would be a hell of an addition for another team at some point. Perhaps a split from the 49ers would be in both parties best interest in the near future.

The Giants walloped the Bills 24-10 for their second consecutive double digit win. Still have no idea what either of these two teams are about just yet. The Bills are really banged up and were without both LeSean McCoy and Sammy Watkins this past week and with Tyrod Taylor at the helm its not a surprise that they only scored 10 points. I still think the Bills are trending upward going forward but they simply have to get healthy and establish some consistency.

I heard an interesting point by Mark Schlereth this past week on ESPN, the NFL is having an offensive line crisis. He mentioned that offensive lineman simply aren’t learning the technical skills they were once taught in the past and that is a big reason why O-line play this season has been dismal. This can be directly accountable for the overwhelming amount of injured quarterbacks so far this season. It will be interesting to see if this is addressed in the future as teams need to protect the most coveted position in sports. We mentioned that the Steelers lost without Big Ben, the Colts survived a big time scare from the Jags with Matt Hasselbeck running the offense and Brandon Weeden and the Cowboys lost a wild overtime thriller to the Saints. It’s probably not too smart to evaluate these teams until we have a better idea when their true signal callers are ready to return to action.

Speaking of signal callers, Peyton Manning has been the subject of a lot of gloomy talk this year. He’s too old. He doesn’t fit Gary Kubiak’s system. Yet, the Broncos are 4-0 and two games ahead of everyone in the AFC West. This is in large part to their defense which has looked downright scary. They can really get to the quarterback and create turnovers. If the offense can get clicking to a vintage Peyton Manning level then this team will be a force to be reckoned with as the season progresses.

Finally, as a depressed Eagles fan I like to keep tabs on good ol’ Andy Reid to see how he’s doing in Kansas City. The Chiefs are 1-3 however they have had a brutal schedule so far with their past three games against Denver, Green Bay and Cincinnati. Still the Chiefs were supposed to compete for the AFC West so perhaps this really isn’t a valid excuse. Remember Eagles fans, the grass aint always greener on the other side…

5 Year Old Tries To Wear Broncos Gear, Gets Rejected Hard By Teacher

So here’s the deal, elementary school in Washington has an event called ‘Blue Friday’ where the kiddies are supposed to wear their Seattle Seahawks gear. However, one five year old wanted to instead wear her Denver Broncos garb and thats when her teacher had to lay down the fucking law.

According to Fox 31 Denver, the teacher allowed all students to wear Seahawks colors on “Blue Friday”, but told the 5-year-old Broncos fan that if she didn’t change out of her Broncos dress and into Seahawks gear, she’d have to wear her school uniform. The school later issued a statement in opposition to the teacher’s actions, clarifying that students can wear the colors of whichever team they choose”.

This is exactly the kind of person we need leading America’s future right here. These little turds today are so entitled, having fucking Ipads at like 6 years old. Gotta teach em at a young age that rules are rules and if they don’t like them they can look like a damn outcast in front of their peers and wear the lame school uniform. The Broncos? They were embarrassed by the Seahawks in the Superbowl two years ago, teacher was trying to make sure this little bugger wasn’t ridiculed because we all know how ruthless kids can be amidst this bullying crisis, very honorable move. We’re lucky something like this didn’t happen in Philly. If it was “Green Friday” and some little shit wore a Cowboys jersey they’d be beat to a pulp and rightfully so. It’s just that if you let the Seahawks jersey slide then whats next? Allowing her to use Walmart coupons at Target on Black Friday? Getting fried nuggets at Chick Fil a even though the coupon says grilled nuggets? We should all be happy this has been put to an end and take a moment to appreciate such noble educators.

You can check out the full story here:

http://ftw.usatoday.com/2015/09/teacher-tells-5-year-old-she-isnt-allowed-to-wear-her-broncos-dress

Gratz’s Grumblings: Winners And Losers From Round 1

Round 1 of the NFL Draft is officially in the books and while Thursday night might have been a little, say, anticlimactic, it still gave NFL fans what they ultimately wanted: new players for their beloved professional football teams. As you know, not all drafts are created equal, with some fans rejoicing, and some feeling dejected as they prepare for another year of misery and shame. Well, Gratzfeed and their team of super analysts (me, Gratz) are here to break it down for yall. Let’s begin, shall we?

Winners:

New York Jets: Leonard Williams- DT- USC

There seemed to be a universal consensus that Williams was the overall best player in this years draft. However, due to the importance and need for elite quarterbacks, along with other teams drafting for need, Williams saw his draft stock take a small tumble. Now he ends up in New York with hot new Head Coach Todd Bowles, a defensive oriented mind who will know how to utilize this Jets d-line. They say that Williams is more prone to shine in a 3-4 compared to a 4-3, which Bowles prefers to run, but I’m confident Bowles will figure out a way to make it all work. Additionally, the Jets are rumored to be entertaining trade rumors for Mohammed Wilkerson. Now, if they trade him, they will compensate with Williams, but if they keep him, they will have a monstrous d-line that will give opposing quarterbacks nightmares.

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San Diego Chargers: Melvin Gordon- RB- Wisconsin

Interesting turn of events for the Chargers. Just a few days ago there were rumors that the team could deal their franchise QB Phillip Rivers (going into the last year of his contract), who appeared to be fed up with the teams lack of progress. Now, the team has apparently declared (you can never say never in this league though) that they will not trade the 30 year old and then traded up two spots and snagged Wisconsin stud Melvin Gordon. Running Back was an excruciating position for the Bolts last year as they finished 30th in rushing and lost their injury prone “starter” Ryan Matthews in free agency to the Eagles. Melvin Gordon is tall, shredded, and just a total bull and immediately fills a glaring need for the Chargers.

Denver Broncos- Shane Ray- DE- Missouri

Ray could have easily been a top ten pick this year. The problem was that just days before the draft he was caught with marijuana possession, which lets be honest is really fucking stupid if you’re about to get drafted and make millions of dollars. But, it happened and he was already being questioned because of a foot problem which still remains a little murky. Denver is the perfect landing spot for him though, not because pot’s legal, but because he’s going to a veteran team, with strong leadership that will take care of any off the field problems he has. Listen, if you have Peyton Manning on your team you’re not going to want to fuck up for some stupid shit. Also, he’ll have Demarcus Ware guiding him as well, who’s nearing the end of his career as well, showing him how the position is played and grooming him to eventually take the reigns. Ray could have been a riskier pick elsewhere, but with veteran leadership in Denver I think the Broncos took a high upside guy who has the opportunity to learn from some of the best.

Losers:

Cincinnati Bengals: Cedric Ogbuehi- OT- Texas A&M

The Bengals have been notorious for early playoff exits, despite having a quarterback (who’s paid) like a superstar, and an actual bonafide superstar in AJ Green. Of course, it’s important to have offensive lineman to protect your stars, but the issue here is that Ogbuehi tore his ACL in December and is seen as more of a project. Why would you take a project if you’re trying to win now? They got bounced in the wild card round by the Colts, making you think they would look to add a difference maker who can immediately come in to contribute. They were also lacking a pass rush last year and with a lot of talented prospects falling, it would have been a good opportunity to take a risk on one of them. Ogbuehi could someday end up to be a fixture on the Bengals line but, given their roster, for this draft they should have been more focused on the now instead of the future.

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St. Louis Rams: Todd Gurley- RB- Georgia

Listen, I don’t have anything against Todd Gurley, I think he’s an absolute stud and has the highest upside out of any running back in this years class. I don’t even mind that he’s another guy coming off an ACL injury either (I swear I don’t hate all injury picks). The problem with this one was how high the Rams took him and the multitude of other positions the Rams needed to fill. Who’s going to block for him? The Rams had one of the worst O-lines last year, throwing Gurley behind those dudes seems just cruel. The Rams might have even been able to trade down, stockpile some additional picks, and still grab Gurley. If they traded down and Gurley was scooped up by another team they could have still gotten a rusher, perhaps Melvin Gordon, or just draft one of the other positions they desperately need to improve on. I hope I’m wrong on this one, I hope he makes a full recovery and has an amazing career (he’s not going to be Adrian Peterson though) and bucks the trends of teams not drafting rushers high. But for now, I think the Rams could have filled more important needs.