I fucking LOVE Damian Lillard. I was always a fan of his, but when I read his player’s tribune article Loyalty Over Everything. That’s when I truly became a fan of his forever. The article is long but worth the read. To summarize: Damian Lillard believes in Loyalty, it was instilled by his family, and he’s not going to leave the people he rides with. In an age where every NBA player is thinking about their next team, Dame only wants to win for the team that believed in him and drafted him.
Cut to: Bubble Basketball.
The Blazers are finally healthy, except for the fact CJ McCollum is playing with a broken back (yikes) Lillard has put the team on his shoulders and he’s willing them into the playoffs. Jusuf Nurkic and him have been playing great two-man basketball. Carmelo Anthony has been contributing. Gary Trent Jr. and Zach Collins have been very good. But let’s be real it’s all about Dame time right now. On Sunday Lillard dropped 51 on the 76ers to win 124-121.
This came the day after he missed 2 clutch free throws vs the LA Clippers in a loss that put the Trail Blazers playoff hopes in jeopardy. Paul George and Pat Beverly were celebrating the missed free throws and after the game when asked about it, Dame had this to say.
It turned into a war of words online for a minute, don’t battle with Dame Dolla.
51 points vs the Clippers and my guy still has these idiot pundits running their jaws.
Skip Bayless with a future freezing cold take because on Tuesday in an almost must-win game Dame dropped 61 on the Mavs, his 3rd 60 point game of the season. Wilt Chamberlain is the only other player in NBA history to have three 60 point games in a season.
The return of the NBA has been a bright spot in this shitty pandemic and Dame has been the brightest star of the restart. I really wish his running mate CJ McCollum wasn’t fighting back problems, they need CJ if they want to beat LA, but for the time being Dame is putting the Blazers on his back like Greg Jennings.
Meet Ella Delphine Kernkamp. She is a rising star in the modeling world, Boutinela babe, animal lover, equestrian, and an all-around stunner. Put her on the cover of the Swimsuit Issue. Put her on the silver screen. Put her on the cover of a Wheaties box.
(Does Wheaties still put people on the cover? Does Wheaties even exist? I digress)
The World needs more Ella, she’s too beautiful to just exist on Instagram.
She reminds me of a young Michelle Pfeiffer, grace and beauty, and able to slay you with one look. Did I mention she loves animals? Go ahead and check inner beauty as well. She is the total package of a human being.
Pat Mahomes signed the richest deal in NFL History (A 10-year extension worth 503 million dollars)
People have been coming out of the woodwork talking about how this deal will make it impossible for the Chiefs to compete while paying one guy a ton of money.
Let me give the basic bitch tweet from a ton of talking heads in the sports world. It goes something like
“Yeah Mahomes is great but the Chief won’t be able to pay anyone else, the team around him is gonna suck WHAAAAAAH.”
FALSE THIS IS A GREAT CONTRACT FOR THE CHIEFS
First, let us examine the immediate cap hit.
So despite being highly paid guys like Goff and Wilson put their teams in a worse financial position.
The Goff contract stinks because Goff is not that good. Wilson is very good and the Seahawks can live with that deal, they are still a playoff team. It’s not a problem to pay a good QB a ton of money, it is only if you pay a bad QB a ton of money that will kill the franchise. Right now nobody is better than Mahomes.
Next year the Chiefs will bring almost the same team back to the field, they are not like the Rams who had to cut guys they just signed like Todd Gurley to pay for Goff. Tyreek Hill, Tyrann Mathieu, Travis Kelce are all signed up for at least two more years. Mahomes’ two best weapons and the team’s best defender are not going anywhere.
Second, let us examine where the NFL was 10 years ago in terms of QB deals.
The highest-paid QB was Peyton Manning at 15.8 million per year. He was far above the next three highest-paid QBs who were McNabb, Sam Bradford, and Matt Stafford.
10 years later what kind of QB does 15 million dollars buy?
So ten years later 15 million doesn’t even get you, Jacoby Brissett. What was once the paycheck for Peyton in his prime is now something an average QB can scoff at. I’m not saying that in 2030 45 million per year will be what they pay middle-tier. QBs but it is very possible. One thing is for sure by the end of that deal a lot of QBs will be making more money than Mahomes, but I highly doubt those players will be better QBs than Mahomes.
So if early in the deal the cap hit isn’t terrible, and late in the deal other contracts will surpass it and the cap will rise, when exactly does the contract prohibit the Chiefs from building around Mahomes…it doesn’t.
When I wrote yesterday’s free agency blog I briefly touched on the Bears. I didn’t give my take on Jimmy Graham because I had no clue how much they were paying him. Turns out it was SO MUCH MORE than I anticipated. They gave him two years 16 million and 9 million guaranteed.
What the fuck?
The Bears just cut Leonard Floyd because they didn’t want to pay him and he signed with the Rams on a 1 year deal for 10 million. So let me get this right, you’re willing to pay a beyond washed-up tight end 8 million a year but not 10 million for a guy who probably still has his best football in front of him. I would much rather have Floyd with Quinn and Mack, and have a deep defense than pay Jimmy fucking Graham who hasn’t been good since he was in New Orleans. He was bad in Seattle with Russell Wilson, he was bad in Green Bay with Aaron Rogers…Guess what he will be in Chicago?
It cool though the Bears traded a 4th round pick for Nick Foles and the contract that is overpaying him. Quarterback problems solved.
You know what troubles me about former super bowl MVP Nick Foles? His offensive coordinator in Philly was Frank Reich. Frank Reich is now the head coach in Indy. Did Frank Reich, who needs a QB, try and work a deal for Foles? No. Instead, the Colts signed the deteriorating Phil Rivers. This is a concern dude.
Since coming to the Bears GM Ryan Pace has drafted some serious busts with very high draft picks.
Kevin White – Often Injured Bust who is in danger of being out of the league #7 overall.
Mitch Trubisky – #2 overall picked ahead of Mahomes and Watson. They traded up from 3 to 2 to pick this guy because Pace was scared someone else would take him….I wish dude.
Leonard Floyd – #9 overall, not a bust but they also traded up for this pick with Tampa Bay and they cut him before his rookie deal was done.
If Foles wins the starting QB job the Bears will have no starters from picks 2,7,9 overall.
The Bears have a real tendency to trade up for guys who aren’t good. That’s not the mark of a competent GM.
Luckily Pace traded his last two first-round picks (this upcoming draft included) for Khalil Mack employing the strategy of not failing on your first-round pick by virtue of not having one.
If you went into a coma from drinking too much eggnog in late December just to wake up to the reality of March 17th, 2020 the shock of the world you now live in just might be too much to mentally grasp. This much change could cripple even the strongest of minds. Especially for sports fans. Imagine finding out that Kobe Bryant is dead in a tragic accident, all sports have been canceled until further notice, there will be no March Madness, Tom Brady is on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, all at the same time! Oh yeah, it’s because of a virus shut down the country and crippled the economy, good luck finding hand sanitizer.
The only relevant “sports” that are happening is NFL free agency which has turned the league upside down with an unprecedented quarterback carousel.
Tom Brady is a Buccaneer.
Phil Rivers is a Colt.
Teddy “TwoGloves” Bridgewater is a Panther.
Ryan Tannehill is the guy in Tennessee.
Cam Newton is looking for a home.
Jameis Winston is looking for a home.
New England has no QB as of right now unless you count Jarrett Stidham which I do not. His name may be Jarrett but he has about as much potential as a Jared.
I think that New England will definitely draft a QB the question is how early and who? I saw a mock draft on CBS that had them taking Jacob Eason. Normally I’d say there is no way they would draft Eason…The Pats drafted his father over Dan Marino a long time ago. But then again they did draft Jarrett Stidham.
The guy I would like to see them take a chance on is Jalen Hurts. Hurts is first and foremost a guy who carries himself in a very professional manner. He is a natural leader and a guy that is athletic, smart, and showed improvement as a passer at OU. I have a feeling Bill Belichick is itching to run a different style offense with a more athletic QB. In Hurts you have a guy that is already a Patriot type player with athleticism that will work his ass off to get better each year.
If they took Eason over Hurts then the Patriots just want to try and do the same stuff that they did with Brady except with an ass clown at QB. (I watched way too much of Eason in College to think he’s good.) He would make a great NFL type throw here and there, but there is no consistency to his game and he has problems handling a pass rush that leads to bad decisions.
The Bears signed Robert Quinn (cool) but released Leonard Floyd (not cool) I love Quinn but Floyd is a good player that the Bears just didn’t want to pay, he’s going to find a home somewhere and be awesome.
Bill O’Brien…this guy. WOW.
He trades Nuk Hopkins for David Johnson and a 2nd rd draft pick to Arizona. I don’t know what to say. You could have just kept Hopkins and drafted a running back. You could’ve probably traded Will Fuller for another RB very comparable in ability to David Johnson. This is awesome for Kyler Murray and Arizona Cardinals fans. The NFC West looks to be very competitive next year. It’s very possible that the Rams who were just in the Super Bowl could finish in last place. The Texans are a ship with a buffoon for a captain, I feel bad for DeSean Watson.
Stefon Diggs is now a Buffalo Bill after getting traded for draft picks. I don’t think this will sit well with Vikings fans even if it makes sense. When the Vikings were in Seattle I saw the traveling fan base and there were a ton of Diggs Jerseys. Way more Diggs jerseys than Cousins or Adam Thielen. Diggs was the playoff hero vs New Orleans, those fans love him. Bills Mafia will love him too. I see what the Vikings are doing, they want to free up money to make sure the defense is still solid, and this draft which they now have a ton of picks in is loaded at the WR position. They will probably spend an early pick on a guy who can replace what Diggs gave them. Henry Ruggs would be an ideal fit.
I don’t think the Bears are done making moves they must sign a QB, Chase Daniel is a Detriot Lion now. I’m sure I’ll be back to blog my reaction to the fiasco that is the Bears QB situation.
Here at A-Train Sports, we do not recognize the failure of the XFL 20 years ago. As far as we are concerned the league never existed, and today February 8th, 2020 the REAL XFL begins.
I have already locked myself in as a DIE-HARD Dragons fan. I live in Seattle, as a boy the only thing I could draw with any confidence was a dragon. I read all the Game of Thrones Books. The Dragons are the squad, it’s a match made in heaven. Beyond that, I’m excited about the dragons merch.
Unfortunately, everything is either sold out or only the small sizes are left. The XFL shop needs to restock so I can get my dragon drip on.
My Blog Partner: Freddy Van Sheet aka PBM is located in St. Louis and is obligated to be a fan of the St. Louis Battlehawks. Look, there is NO LOVE LOST between the Battlehawks and the Dragons hopefully our friendship can survive this rivalry the way it has survived Cubs-Cardinals and Blackhawks-Blues.
Setting the Fan Culture:
Part of the reason for getting in early on the XFL is the chance to set the fan culture. Buffalo Bills fans break tables, Green Bay Packers fans embrace morbid obesity, Philly Fans throw batteries. If YOU get in on the ground floor YOU can set this culture. I’m not saying that Dragon fans will be spitting fire AT the game. But maybe at the tailgates?
This game is about to start and my arch enemy Greg McElroy is calling it. That does not bode well. I will pop back in to finish this Blog after the game.
XFL on ONE ready BREAK!
WOW. The XFL might actually work out this time.
My beloved Dragons lost 31-19 in a hard-fought game that had a little bit of everything.
Here’s the Good Bad and the Ugly.
I don’t know if it’s better than the NFL method but it doesn’t suck. I could see the NFL one day adopting this kickoff for safety reasons. I just wonder if we will see more or less return touchdowns using this system.
I never thought I’d ever hear Greg McElroy talking spreads and totals during a football game. But with the Spread… DC (-9.5) and total (51.5) openly displayed they have to talk about it, It definitely adds color to broadcast and gives the booth rats something to talk about, they don’t have to yak about bullshit to fill time the way Romo does.
I actually thought the football was good, it was like watching two decent big 10 teams play. That’s about the level of football we see. But there were a lot of BIG PLAYS, only time will tell if this is the norm, or if it was just this game.
Mic’d up coaches. I don’t love it. I don’t need to hear Jim Zorn’s dumbass this much. I reserve the right to move this to the good section if more XFL viewing changes my mind.
(I did enjoy the Zorn sideline interview where Zorn said he lied to his QB when he told him the INT “wasn’t his fault” because “he’s gotta go back out there”)
The replay process is open to the public and while I appreciate transparency, their process is terrible. It appears to be somebody’s grandfather decides replay before seeing every angle and just wings it. “Indisputable visual evidence” does not seem to come into play but neither does common sense.
On one play they took away the first down from Seattle at this guy’s first glance reaction. After he makes the decision they show a better angle he never bothered to wait for or look at.
Sideline Reporting MY GOD we don’t need this. They need to dial it back more.
This is one of the more awkward and intrusive things I've seen in a professional sports broadcast. I get the whole enhanced fan experience thing, but come on @xfl2020 & @espn, some moderation with the sideline reporting pic.twitter.com/bydNnx0gaL
I was sitting outside the pool waiting for my sister at a Hotel whose name I forget in Las Vegas. While I’m waiting I strike up a conversation with a young dude of impressive stature. He tells me he played WR at Ohio State which immediately piqued my interest and we start talking ball. I said something along the lines of JT Barrett held Ohio State back because he wasn’t a very good passer and they had a plethora of WR talent that was going underutilized. To show this guy I knew the QB room at Ohio State I threw out some names I think I mentioned Haskins and even Tate Marell as possible replacements. My new friend seemed to agree with the idea but he pointedly at me and said “Joe Burrow.”
At that point I immediately took note of Joe Burrow, he wasn’t just a name anymore, a guy who practiced with him every day is saying he’s better than Dwayne Haskins, JT Barrett and the rest of the QB room. I kinda followed the QB battle that spring at Ohio State and when Burrow didn’t seem likely to beat out Haskins he transferred to LSU and the rest is history.
Burrow just finished the greatest season of all time by a college QB in terms of BOTH statistics and winning. I mean if you like stats how about 60 TD passes on the season a new record. How about 14 total TDs in the two-game playoff? But stats don’t mean a whole lot without winning.
LSU at the end of the season beat the #2 team, the #4 team, the #6 team, the #7 team, the #8 team and the #15 team in the country. And for the most part, they beat the crap out of these teams. This is the greatest team of this century and maybe ever.
The game looked in doubt early on but after 17-7 the LSU Tigers went on a 35-8 run to end the game and frankly coulda scored a lot more points if they kept passing at the end. The LSU defense deserves a lot of credit for making Trevor Lawrence uncomfortable for a lot of the game but when Burrow is having a game like he did it almost doesn’t matter.
I’m so happy for Coach Ed Orgeron. No guy deserves to be a Champion more than him. The energy and enthusiasm he brings to his team and to the game warms my heart and makes me smile. Coach O represents LSU so perfectly, it’s a match made in heaven.
The next big question for Coach O is who will he get to replace the Legend of Joe Burrow? Is a suitable replacement at QB on the roster? (I doubt it) Will he look to the transfer portal like Georgia did with Wake Forest’s Jamie Newman? Or is there a recruit out there who can win the job as a true freshman? My guess is they look to the portal first.
Congrats to LSU and thanks for an amazing season that was a lot of fun to watch.
Salutations! It’s good to be back blogging. Why did I take such a long break? The answer is simple.
Every blog would have been an iteration of:
“Freddy Can’t Coach a Soup Kitchen”
“Freddy K and the Nightmare on Lerner Way”
“Watching the Browns makes me want to claw my fucking eyes out”
The list of scrapped anti-Freddy Kitchens blogs goes on and on. There were so many that anyone reading would think that I am a die-hard Browns fan living in Cleveland. I am not. I was however heavily invested in Nick Chubb and Odell Beckham in fantasy football, this led to me watching more of the Cleveland Browns than anyone should.
What I saw was simple. The Browns were a ship without a rudder. Week in and week out they were woefully unprepared. They didn’t play to their strengths. They didn’t have an identity outside of being sloppy and undisciplined. They had talent that went unused and unrealized. They constantly got stupid penalties. The once-promising young Baker Mayfield looked like a man in his middle forties broken down by hard-living ready to give up on life itself.
Oh yeah, and your best defensive player ripped the helmet off Mason Rudolph and proceeded to hit him in the head with it at the end of a game that you WON! Ever notice how well-coached teams don’t have crazy shit like that happen to them? Unhinged tomfoolery was bread and salt to this Cleveland Browns squad and it all starts with the head coach.
Look, NFL teams have bad years, it happens. Sometimes the starting QB is hurt or you play a very difficult schedule. The team is in a rebuilding year, or lacks talent. Sometimes it’s not the coach’s fault. This Browns year was the opposite of that. Kitchens WAS the reason this team STINKS. I’ve seen bad coaches, Kitchens was beyond bad, he was horrific. Sometimes a guy gets fired and you now someday he’s gonna get a second chance. Eric Mangini got a second gig. Rex Ryan got another look. Adam Gase found a team to take him on.
(I just realized as I type this all three of those coaches were connected to the Jets)
If you think about it things actually broke the Browns way. They didn’t have major injuries. The schedule they had was almost laughable how easy it was. Big Ben missed the whole year and the Steelers were playing with bad backups and still had more wins. The other team in the division, the Bengals were almost actively tanking for the #1 pick which they got. Enjoy playing against Joe Burrow from now on Cleveland. The Browns went 6-10 with GOOD fortune. That’s unreal.
Freddy ain’t coaching in the NFL ever again. Not as the head guy. He should be the offensive coordinator for a school in the Sun Belt. That’s where his level is. No disrespect to Sun Belt coaches…I shouldn’t lump you in with this idiot I’m just trying to make a point.
The 2019 NFL experience for me personally was one of the worst so far in my lifetime. Freddy was a large contributor both literally and figuratively. The play of Russ Wilson and Lamar Jackson (The Ravens in general) were the lone bright spots in an otherwise dismal NFL year. Thank God for College Football.
As for the next Browns coach, you cannot do any worse so almost anyone you hire is addition by subtraction. I have a feeling we could see Mike McCarthy in Cleveland. (cringe) Lincoln Riley is probably a pipe dream. If you ask me this is the best of the available jobs in the NFL, even better than the Cowboys in terms of potential to win right away. Spruce up that O-Line, get Baker his confidence back, run Chubb and win.
The NFL has 8 new head coaches this year, that’s 25% of the NFL and an average of one new coach per division.
Let’s check in on these guys after 4 weeks…
Vic “Generic Grey Sweatshirt” Fangio: Broncos
Wherever Vic Goes a Generic Grey Sweatshirt Follows
I was worried that the Bears lost a great defensive coordinator in Fangio. Four games into the season I’m not so worried. It turns out the Bears D is just as dominant because they have really good players. The Bears built that D with great drafts and trades, things Fangion had no part of.
What he does have a part of is an 0-4 start and Joe Flacco is his QB. This is not good for Vic. I can see the writing on the wall, the Broncos are going to suck. They will need to draft a QB and when they do they will get an offensively minded coach to groom him. Grey Sweatshirt Guy has this year and next year, then he’s fired.
Grade thus far: D+
He doesn’t have a ton to work with or this would be an F.
Zac “Frowny-Face” Taylor: Bengals
I’d be frowning too if my team was 0-4 and just got our ass kicked by another winless team playing a backup QB. Jesus, does anything make this guy happy? Give us a smile Zac! You’ve got the most average QB of all time in Andy Dalton, how does that make you feel?
I watched the Bengals look OK week one on the road in Seattle, each week they have looked worse, Andy Dalton is still the QB, the defense isn’t great, the offense isn’t great. They are 0-4 just like Old Grey sweatshirt.
Grade thus far: D-
This could be an F as well but I’m not failing him just yet because like Vic his roster stinks.
Adam “Coke-Face” Gase: Jets
He wasn’t such a coke-face in Chicago but you get the head job in Miami and things fucking change man. Then all of a sudden you’re in New York and of course, you can still get good cocaine but it costs a lot more now and you gotta deal with your Russian drug dealer all the time. And even though you’re the head coach of the Jets….Dmitri still calls you bro all the time and tries to sell you pills and guns when all you want is a bump before your big press conference. On top of all that, the QB you drafted got Mono and you can’t win a game to save your life. I give Gase some credit for squeezing 7 wins out of Miami last year but this Jets team with Luke Falk at the helm isn’t squeezing even a glass of OJ. This team is 0-3 but somehow not in last place in the AFC East because the hapless Dolphins are 0-4.
Grade thus far: D
I want to see him coach up a healthy Darnold before I fully fail him. Nobody is gonna win with Luke Falk.
Brian “I’m not a white guy” Flores: The Hapless Miami Dolphins
So full disclosure I thought the name “Brian Flores” belonged to a white guy for the longest time. Even when I saw him on the sidelines I didn’t think the guy I was looking at was Brian Flores. I thought he was the defensive coordinator who wears a cool looking hat.
This thought was only reinforced by the fact he came from the Patriots and played linebacker at Boston College. In my mind’s eye the man named Brian Flores looked something like this:
I don’t think ANY COACH save maybe Bill Belichick could even have this team at 1-3. They are full-on tanking this NFL season. They are sacrificing Josh Rosen to the football gods in hopes of catching a Tua-Fish. It’s hard to grade any coach with this roster.
Grade thus far: Incomplete, no course credit, reenroll next semester. For now, you’re on academic probation.
Ok, we are halfway through the new coaches and…we have yet to encounter a coach who has won a game. Yikes. I’m sure the next coach will at least have won one game, right?
Kliff “American Psycho” Kingsbury
Seriously how much time do you think he put into his business card?
A tie is not a win Kliff unless were talking about the tie on that suit. The Arizona Cardinals at 0-3-1 managed to pull out a tie in week one vs the Lions, that’s more than I can say the losers already highlighted. Still 5 coaches in and we don’t have a win. This team is going to pick up some wins at some point. Kyler looks like he belongs in the NFL and Kliff has some pieces to work with. Still, this team has a trash O-line and a D that you can pass all over especially to the tight end.
Grade thus far: D
It’s amazing that we are 5 coaches in, nobody has a win, and honestly, I don’t think we’ve gotten to the worst coaches yet.
Matt “Even Steven” LaFleur: Packers
As a Bears fan, I could not be happier with the Matt LaFleur hire. Last year LaFleur was coaching the Titans offense and for some inexplicable reason, LaFleur saw fit to give Deon Lewis as much if not more playing time than Derrick Henry. It did not matter that Henry was way better. LaFleur is going to use both backs equally no matter if one is far better than the other. He took this philosophy to Green Bay where he stifled Aaron Jones by giving an almost equal share to Jamaal Williams. Then once Williams got hurt he didn’t give the ball to Jones more, he just decided to stop running it. He had first and goal at the 1 vs Philly and threw it 4 consecutive times, got down there again and threw it two more times until it got intercepted. That’s just shit coaching. I don’t care if Aaron Rogers is your QB. Peyton Manning loved to hand it off to Edge James at the goal line. Just because you have a good QB doesn’t mean you give up running near the endzone.
Grade thus far: C-
This grade is only passing because he has Aaron Rogers and a 3-1 record. I’m happy this guy got hired, he stinks.
Bruce “Mobster Santa” Arians: Tampa Bay
This guy is the best of the bunch. The only guy on this list that as a fan I would be happy with. The Shitty Bucs with Shitty Jameis Winston are 2-2 and just put 55 on a team that was in the Superbowl last year. He is getting what he can from Jameis and winning games he’s not supposed too. That is the mark of an up and coming team. Sure the QB puts a ceiling on this team but going forward the Bucs have a much brighter future with Arians in charge.
Grade thus far: B+
If he somehow gets this team into the playoffs in a stacked NFC this grade can move up to an A.
LAST BUT NOT LEAST
Freddy “MessHall” Kitchens: The Browns:
This doofus is a real piece of work. I’ve watched quite a bit of the Cleveland Browns and this dude needs to get his shit together. It took three games for him to figure out Chubb should be getting the ball more. He still doesn’t know how to coach Baker, he sucks at scheming ways to get Odell Beckham Jr. the ball. What do you expect from a guy who was a Running Backs coach at this time last year? Freddy Kitchens? No. Freddy Mess Hall where the cook just scoops slop onto a cafeteria tray and you’re forced to eat it. The Browns need to move on from this mouthbreather and fast. They are an undisciplined team that gets way too many penalties, that’s on the coach. One play, in particular, comes to mind. The Browns have first and goal at the 1-yard line. He calls a run play with motion and the WR in motion doesn’t have time to get set. The TD is wiped off the board and now it’s first and goal at the 6. You no longer can just punch it in. At the one-yard line there is no reason to run motion when you have Chubb, snap it, hand it off and score. Don’t get a procedure penalty. That is just one example there are too many to count.
Grade thus far: D+
A quarter of the way into the NFL season and the new coaches are off to a rocky start. We can check back in later to see if they improve. At least we know there is plenty of room to improve…A-TRAIN OUT.