I have a busy holiday week ahead. I’m headed to Dallas later today. I’m going to fill in for Glenn Beck on his radio show on Tuesday and Wednesday. Then I’m off to Cincinnati to spend Thanksgiving with my brother and his family.
Come ‘Kick it with me on radio Tuesday and Wednesday. I’m going to do a super deep dive on the column I wrote last week about black pride being the new religion.
For now, enjoy your week 11 NFL Truths:
10) Is there an argument for a quarterback controversy in New Orleans?
I know it’s just one game against the lowly Atlanta Falcons, but Taysom Hill’s first NFL start couldn’t have looked more promising. Could it?
Hill completed 18 of 23 passes for 233 yards. He rushed for 51 yards and two scores. Hill throws the ball better than Lamar Jackson and is nearly as effective as a runner.
Is Hill a better option than Drew Brees? That’s the question. Brees will sit for at least two more games with 11 fractures to his ribs and a collapsed lung.
What’s potentially happening in New Orleans reminds me of a different Drew losing his starting job to an unlikely backup: Drew Bledsoe vs. Tom Brady in 2001.
I’m not calling Taysom Hill the next Tom Brady. I’m simply saying New Orleans head coach Sean Payton might be put in the same position as Bill Belichick. If Hill plays at a high level the next two weeks against the Broncos and the Falcons, I could see Payton sticking with Hill.
Bledsoe, New England’s $100-million franchise quarterback in 2001, suffered a chest injury in Week 2. He missed seven games. When he returned from injury, he backed up Brady. The rest is legend.
The Saints have won seven straight games. Brees has been playing at a high level. He’s thrown 18 TDs and just three INTs. But the old man gives the Saints nothing in the running game.
The extra dimension in the running game might be the edge New Orleans would need to beat Kansas City or Pittsburgh in the Super Bowl.
I would stick with Brees.
But this is a situation worth monitoring. Malcolm Jenkins and Michael Thomas ambushed Brees this offseason in the aftermath of George Floyd and Brees’ defense of the national anthem. Jealousy is a terrible emotion. Is there a segment inside the Saints locker room that is tired of the positive spotlight constantly shining on Brees?
9) Who is Trey Hendrickson?
I kept asking myself that as I watched the Saints defense annihilate Atlanta’s offensive line.
Hendrickson is the Saints right defensive end. He had two sacks on Sunday. He leads the entire NFL with 9.5 sacks. Who is he?
He’s a third-round pick out of Florida Atlantic University. It’s his fourth season. He had 4.5 career sacks coming into this season. Years ago when I worked in Kansas City, I covered Jared Allen’s rise as a pass rusher. Jared was a fourth-round pick out of Idaho State. In his fourth NFL season, he led the NFL with 15.5 sacks.
Hendrickson reminds me of Jared Allen, who later in his career had a 22-sack season.
8) My concern for Baltimore quarterback Lamar Jackson continues to escalate.
Did you know that Lamar Jackson has thrown for 300 yards in an NFL regular-season game just once in his career? Week 1 of last season in a 59-10 romp over the Miami Dolphins. That was an expansion Dolphins team that gave away all of its best players for draft picks and was led by a rookie head coach, Brian Flores.
The NFL is a pass-happy league. Patrick Mahomes has thrown for 300 or more yards six times this season.
The Ravens lost to the Titans on Sunday. It was Baltimore’s third loss in four weeks. Jackson threw for 186 yards. He ran for 51 on 13 carries. The Titans have no pass rush. They’ve recorded just 12 sacks all season.
Lamar rushed for 1,200 yards last season. He cracked the 100-yard barrier five times last season. He’s done it once this season through 10 games. A year ago, Lamar tossed 36 TDs and six INTs. This season, he’s thrown 15 and six.
Matt Ryan and Cam Newton won MVP awards and have never looked as good since winning the award. It feels like Lamar peaked in 2019.
7) I agree with Eagles head coach Doug Pederson that it would be foolish for the Eagles to bench Carson Wentz.
“If you get to that point where you don’t start him or you bench him, I think you’re sending the wrong message to your football team that this season is over, and that’s a bad message,” Pederson said after his team lost to the Browns on Sunday.
I wouldn’t bench Wentz. I would try to trade him this offseason. That’s the solution. It’s a bad fit in Philly for Wentz. His offensive line is dog poop. He was sacked a half dozen times on Sunday. Yes, Wentz tossed two more INTs.
Wentz has been doomed in Philadelphia ever since Nick Foles led the team to a Super Bowl. Bill Belichick or Kyle Shanahan would love to have Wentz next season. Trade Wentz. Don’t bench him.
6) Pittsburgh pass rushers T.J. Watt and Bud Dupree need to be in the MVP discussion.
Watt and Dupree have nine and eight sacks, respectively. Pittsburgh is 10-0, thanks to having the best defense in football. The Steelers are giving up just 17.4 points per game.
I know it’s tradition to give the MVP award to the quarterback on the best team in football, or the quarterback with the best stats. If Ben Roethlisberger or Patrick Mahomes wins the MVP, I won’t be remotely upset. They’re my two favorite players.
But if the Steelers go 16-0 because of their defense, Watt or Dupree should be the MVP.
I’m tired of quarterbacks always winning MVP.
5) The refs ruined the Colts-Packers game with the late-game barrage of penalty flags against the Colts.
As Indy tried to salt the game away in the final 3 minutes of regulation, the refs threw seven penalty flags. Nearly every play had a flag that stopped the clock. Many of the penalties looked legitimate. The Colts were called for holding five times. The replays showed the players holding.
I don’t care. You can call holding on almost every NFL play. In fact, I’ve argued for years the easiest way to improve the NFL is to allow offensive linemen to hold. It would lead to more offense, and it would make the viewing experience more enjoyable.
If the league wanted to cut down on big collisions in the secondary, they should loosen restrictions on defensive backs holding. Let them hold. There’s a difference between pass interference and holding.
The Colts-Packers game was decided in overtime. It was not enjoyable to watch. It was frustrating.
4) I’ve been a huge Matt Stafford fan for years. I’ve lost faith.
Zero points against the Carolina Panthers. That’s inexcusable. You can’t get shut out by the Panthers. All the heat in Detroit is on head coach Matt Patricia. I get it.
But it’s also time for Detroit to move on from Stafford. Let him go to Dallas or Jacksonville. He starts games too slowly for my taste. Detroit is almost always playing from behind with Stafford.
3) The social justice TV commercials bothered me this weekend.
The one with Dr. Harry Edwards is particularly annoying. It’s the one about moving the chains against racism. Couple that commercial with the “end racism” message in the back of the end zone and on the back of helmets. It’s just too stupid.
It’s a wonderful sentiment. But how do you end racism when we’ve reduced racism to an opinion? Racism was not an opinion when Dr. Martin Luther King and his generation fought discriminatory laws, laws that denied access.
Racism is now an opinion. People have the opinion that Derek Chauvin kneeled on George Floyd’s neck because of racism. Incompetence is a more likely explanation. People have the opinion that racism explains why Breonna Taylor was shot. Her boyfriend shooting a policeman is a more likely explanation.
Any negative interaction between black and white people is defined as racism when the black person is the victim. When a white person is the victim, it’s not racism. Or if a white liberal does something racist, it’s not racism. It’s just an honest mistake.
How can you end a one-sided opinion?
Throughout history, when people have engaged with each other, there have been negative encounters. As long as there are negative encounters, the race baiters will always have a chance to define them as racist.
It’s like COVID deaths. If you want to blame every death on COVID, you can find a coroner or doctor willing to list the cause as COVID. There’s money to be made blaming COVID.
Dr. Harry Edwards is on a national TV commercial because he’s willing to see racism in every negative encounter.
2) The other commercial that bothered me was the Beats by Dre riff about “You Love Me, You Love Me Not.”
Again, it taps into a wonderful sentiment about love. If you didn’t see it, the commercial argues that America or white Americans have a superficial love of black culture but they don’t love black people.
The commercial ends with the narrator saying what a wonderful world it would be if America loved black people.
Do we understand the concept of America? America does not promise love. America promises freedom. For several hundred years, America did not deliver its promise to black people. Slavery and Jim Crow segregation denied black people freedom.
America fought a war that ended slavery. Dr. King waged a civil rights campaign that ended Jim Crow. Freedoms promised in our Constitution and Bill of Rights were delivered to black people.
If you’re looking for love, you should look above and within. Love is between you and a higher power. When you’re on a constant hunt for love from an outsider, it pretty much reveals you hate yourself.
Pray about your self-hate.
1*) Andy Dalton is going to make the Cowboys the best team in the NFC East.
That’s not much of an accomplishment. But it will make Jerry Jones happy.
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