“Kyrie Irving is the guy that was born on third base, but thinks he hit a triple.”—Clay Travis
Late Lead Rewrite: Urban Meyer going to Jacksonville is a good move. One, he’s a legend in Florida, and two, his presence keeps the NFL from forcing the Jaguars to relocate to London.
Deshaun Watson wants out of Houston, Miami wants to move on from Tua, there’s talk about the Rams going after Watson…and the buzz has already started about the NFL Draft with the Super Bowl yet to be played.
An NFL draft pick—especially the high ones—depreciate faster than a brand new car driven off the lot.
Think about it. On Draft Day, the months before, the summer after, that draft pick is royalty. He is a treasured son…and then, very quickly, the deficiencies emerge, and the souring begins.
I wonder if anybody is in the ear of this year’s draft group, telling them— “When someone wants you, appreciate it because they’re not always going to want you.”
Every team chooses in the draft, but not every team scores in the draft. Not counting kickers and punters, every NFL team has 22 starters. Do you know why the Rams are playing in Green Bay after the disasters at quarterback this season?
It’s because 14 of the Rams 22 starters were drafted by the team. Other teams have draft picks starting for them, but other teams haven’t survived a muted offense and aren’t playing for a shot at a conference title.
Look at the Rams starters this Saturday (picks by round):
#1—Jared Goff (QB), Aaron Donald (DT/DE), Michael Brockers (DT).
#2—Cam Akers (RB), Rob Havenstein (T).
#3—Cooper Kupp (WR, John Johnson III (FS).
#4—Josh Reynolds (WR), Tyler Higbee (TE), Samson Ebukam (LB).
#5—David Edwards (G), Micah Kiser (LB).
#6—Sebastian Joseph-Day (DT), Jordan Fuller (SS).
Also on the Roster—contributing this season:
#2—Van Jefferson (WR), Gerald Everett (TE), Taylor Rapp (SS).
#3—Darrell Henderson Jr (RB), Joseph Noteboom (OL), Bobby Evans (T).
#4—Brian Allen (OL), Greg Gaines (DT).
#5—Ogbonnia Okoronkwo (LB).
#7—Nick Scott (S).
That tells me days two and three of the NFL Draft are often more important than day one. And we’re not even talking about the key free agents (Darious Williams) and out of the spotlight deals (Austin Corbett) the team has made.
Last Add Rams: They just lost a key individual this week. He doesn’t play, never scored a touchdown, or recorded a sack. He was the club’s college scouting director, Brad Holmes. And Holmes was just named the new General Manager of the Detroit Lions.
As of Right Now (subject to change):
Rams at Green Bay:
The best on-field match-up between these teams on Saturday will be Packers receivers Davante Adams, Allen Lazard, and Marquez Valdes-Scantling going against the Rams secondary of Jalen Ramsey, Darious Williams, and Troy Hill. Edge Rams.
If (BIG IF) Aaron Donald can go, it becomes a significant edge to the Rams. Green Bay doesn’t have David Bakhtiari protecting Aaron Rodgers, so there’s room here for a true upset. It’s okay to dream and believe as a Rams fan…
But one thing is certain—playing or not playing—Donald will not be 100%. Either Jared Goff or John Wolford will be the quarterback. Today’s high in Green Bay will be 39 degrees, snow is projected for tomorrow, and it’s expected to be overcast and 34 on Saturday at kickoff.
As of right now: Green Bay 21, Rams 6.
Baltimore at Buffalo:
Snow is expected in Buffalo on Saturday. And the experts are saying that the Ravens are a scary team and that they’ll win on Saturday–and then win at Kansas City next week.
Possible? Of course…but a new level means a new devil. And that new devil is Bills’ quarterback Josh Allen. At no point, this year has Allen folded or failed to make plays. When Lamar Jackson breaks contain and runs 55-yards for a touchdown, Allen can answer equally as quick with a string of passes to Stefon Diggs.
This game’s close…and today…I’m going to give the edge to the passer.
As of right now: Buffalo 27, Baltimore 14.
Cleveland at Kansas City:
I liked the Chiefs yesterday by ten. Today I like them by 14. Not only would it be a mistake to side against Patrick Mahomes, but it would also be wrong to side with the Browns defense.
Cleveland’s defense got them here—bravo, but it’s done now. KC won’t gift the Browns a 28-0 headstart, allowing the defense to sit back and play prevent for most of the game. To win, they’ll have to make plays against the Chiefs’ offense. How many teams have done that the last two years?
As of right now: Kansas City 34, Cleveland 20.
Tampa Bay at New Orleans:
Alvin Kamara is more dangerous than Drew Brees. If I knew how to stop Kamara, I wouldn’t be writing this column. I’d be collecting an NFL paycheck. The Saints running back can wreck any game plan in an instant.
With that said, I’d sell out in making Brees as uncomfortable as possible. Blitz early, blitz often, just blitz, blitzkrieg, Wolf Blitzer, or Ballroom Blitz…blitz, blitz, blitz. Make Brees fearful for his tender ribs.
I’m not rational on this one. Have I mentioned that I hate the Saints? I hate the Saints so much that I wouldn’t even root for them if they played the Russians.
Tom Brady connects twice with Antonio Brown—and a new uproar will ensue as to why Brown is being allowed to play in the NFL.
Why? Because someone always needs a reason to be offended.
“But what about Marshon Lattimore? Won’t he shutdown Brown?”
Okay, let Lattimore shutdown Brown or continue his feud with Mike Evans…he can’t do both. And the other starting corner, Janoris Jenkins, gives up big plays at a Marcus Peters clip.
As of right now: Tampa Bay 31, New Orleans 21.
NBA: In the pre-game of the Nets & Knicks, ESPN color analyst Doris Burke hyped Brooklyn’s trade to acquire James Harden. She said the four-team deal that landed Harden gave the Nets three legitimate offensive superstars.
Funny because I only count two. Kyrie Irving is still MIA. I do not doubt due to the gutlessness of NBA leadership, Irving will be allowed to skate back in like nothing happened.
There was a debate on the radio about why hardly anyone in the media is calling Irving out as he keeps popping up on social media, maskless, at social gatherings.
“No drama’s effecting this team.”—Kevin Durant.
I’ve shared this before. There’s no NBA media. The NBA media is a butt-smooching public relations arm. No player is ever honestly assessed, evaluated, or called out. If Irving were my teammate—and costing me success and ultimately money—I’d want to clock him.
If I were Steve Nash—my reputation in the game secure—I’d tell management Irving’s not coming back. If he does, then I’m gone. But the chances of that happening? About as good as Jared Goff throwing for 500-yards in Lambeau on Saturday.
Last Add Nets: They should have held on to Jarrett Allen. And Brooklynites should see this as a two-man team.
Brooklyn at New York—Nets win—116-109
Off the top, the Knicks (5-7) black uniforms constitute a significant abomination. I didn’t say not nice, I didn’t say tacky…but given the franchise’s historical standing in basketball, the NBA, and New York City, they are a fricken abomination!
Hard to talk about the Nets (7-6) without talking about the trade, but beyond the new triumvirate (Durant, Irving, Harden), they have solid players. Solid players like Joe Harris and Jeff Green will be reduced with Harden’s presence. It’s early, I’m just back to the league, but I don’t see it working. And I’ll tell you why…don’t be shocked…there’s no Lebron in that locker room.
It was no trick for Brooklyn to beat the Knicks last night, but it will take a whole lot of abracadabra for them to be successful.
New Orleans at Clippers—Clippers win—111-106
The Pelicans (4-6) played without Zion Williamson, Lonzo Ball, and Eric Bledsoe. They only missed Williamson. I’ve seen New Orleans five times this season, Bledsoe is meh at this point, and I’ve already spoken about Ball being just a guy.
What I saw for the first time was (guard) Nickeil Alexander-Walker and (Big) Jaxon Hayes…And if I was seeing it for the first time, I have to ask what has Pelicans HC Stan Van Gundy seen all season? Why don’t these guys see more light?
The Clippers (8-4) won. The Clippers are better than they were a year ago, but I’ve seen nothing to tell me they won’t fold in a big series. In basketball terms, I don’t think they know what it means to put a foot on an opponent’s neck.
NBA Games Seen: 30
The Dude abides…
1 Corinthians 1:20
Joe T. is the author of “Tangent Dreams: A High School Football Novel” … “Temple City & The Company of The Ages” … “The Dead Bug Tales” … “The Dark Norm” & “FaithViews for Storm Riders”…all five available through Amazon.com.
Follow Joe on Twitter @joet13b
MeWe: Joe Torosian