Going Over a Kliff in Arizona This Friday

If ever there was a portrait of a coach who lied on his resume and is now being found out, its Kliff Kingsbury.

Never has an NFL coach stepped to the podium with more excuses as to why his team can’t get off to fast starts in ball games. Wasn’t this the anointed offensive guru as he was touted when he was brought to the desert? Yet for all his “brilliant” play calling, the Cardinals couldnt muster a touchdown against the NFL’s 31st ranked defense that had given up the most points in the NFL last Sunday in Seattle.

Before the season I predicted he would be the first coach fired early in the season after going 0-6. Well the Cardinals won 2 games and Matt Rhule beat him to the punch being let go last week by Carolina. However the anemic showing in Seattle has stoked the flames under his seat. In fact Arizona 98.7 FM, which is the Cardinals flag ship radio station, openly asked if he was now “coaching for his job”? To which he had all the standard cliche answers which do not engender confidence he knows what he’ll need to do to turn it around.

The Cardinals offense has been flat on its back for more than a year.

We are 6 games into the season and the Cardinals have only scored 2 1st half TDs by the offense. If you go back to the last 10 the offense has only generated 4.

Lets take a look at a few things:

  • Kingsbury’s Cardinals are 8-18 in the 2nd half of seasons including playoffs
  • Arizona couldnt score more than 20 points in both losses to top 10 defenses in Philadelphia and Los Angeles.

Keep in mind they have 2 games late against San Francisco with the #1 defense in all of football. At what point will this get better?

On top of the embarrassing situation with Kyler Murray not getting into his play book or film study, the team has no identity and this “Air Raid” offense has been ineffective. Constant bubble screens and gimmick plays that keep blowing up and placing the Cardinals behind the down marker.

It looks like they are waiting for DeAndre Hopkins to be the band aid when he comes back. He and Kyler can “make a few plays” to mask how deficient this offense has been. These first 6 games have illustrated how over his head Kingsbury has been in the NFL.

With a Thursday night matchup with New Orleans, here is a national stage where hopefully Hopkins can make some big plays to turn the tide. Yet will he be in game shape?

If not… and the Cardinals who currently are on an 8 game home losing streak make it 9, Kingsbury will be fired tomorrow. The media and the conversation in front of a national audience will be his death knell. Is Kingsbury coaching for his job?? You better believe it

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Huge Quarterback Salaries: Feast or Famine?? Part II

The most interesting offseason since the 1993 advent of free agency culminated with Green Bay resigning Aaron Rodgers to a whopping $50 million per season. Some might argue it’s the return of Tom Brady but its not having the immediate ripple affect like this signing. Now Rodger’s favorite target Davante Adams is unnerved with the franchise tag draped over his wishes to get a new deal. Last we heard he said he wouldn’t play under that designation.

It could be a ploy to get brass to offer a long term contract however ramifications have hit with the release of Za’Darius Smith. He missed almost all of last year but flashed for 26 sacks 5 forced fumbles and earned Pro Bowl berths in his previous 2 years with the club.

These are the first two dominoes to fall in an offseason that still has the Packers nearly $7 million over the cap and the draft is still a month away.

What will happen with Davante Adams and will it affect chemistry when he comes back??

This is the second installment where I’m asking the question on large quarterback deals crippling the rest of the roster. Is it feast or famine??

The ultimate goal is to win the Super Bowl and the huge QB deals have not proven to win you the big game. Before we go any further lets point a few things out:

NFL salary rankings of QBs who won Super Bowl in the last 10 years.
2021. Matthew Stafford 13th highest
2020. Tom Brady 15th highest
2018. Tom Brady 12th highest
2017. Carson Wentz 18th /Nick Foles not available
2016. Tom Brady 18th highest
2015. Peyton Manning 6th highest
2013. Russell Wilson 51st highest
2012. Joe Flacco 16th highest
Take a wild guess when the last time an NFL team with the highest paid quarterback won the Super Bowl?? Try Steve Young in Super Bowl XXIX to conclude the 1994 season. Super Bowl 29?? We’re headed to Super Bowl 57 next February.
Tom Brady reworked his contract on 8 different occassions and its no coincidence he has played on squads with top level talent around the roster. He has made the Super Bowl a bi-annual habit.
Get this.. the Rams won LVI with Stafford as the 13th highest paid while trading away the 6th highest in Jared Goff. So before they nabbed Von Miller from Denver they locked up CB Jalen Ramsey with a contract extension in September.
Its at this point you can see where Devante Adams is coming from. The Rams saved $7 million going from Goff to Stafford and every bit of it was needed to make the roster moves they did. Including Odell Beckham signing for a minimum deal and a chance at immortality.
So a part of the equation when The Chancellor doesn’t pick a mistake prone Dak Prescott $40 million, bypass a polarizing Aaron Rodgers $50 million and looks favorably on the LA Chargers and Justin Herbert on a rookie deal, don’t act surprised.
The ink is just drying on several moves, including the trade they just made for 2 time Taylor Blitz Times Defensive Player of the Year in Khalil Mack. Which looks a lot like the Von Miller deal the Rams used to vault to NFL champion status. Hmmmmmm??
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The Media’s Role Selectively Omitting Genius of Black Coordinators

NFL Propaganda shows… quit mentioning Andy Reid when bringing up Patrick Mahomes. Bring up OC Eric Bienemy. When you bring up Josh Allen in Buffalo you dont bring up HC Sean McDermott… you bring up former OC Brian Daboll which shapes the narrative omitting the genius work of black coordinators.
Ill give you an example. Take the Giants when they beat the Patriots twice in Super Bowl play. We ALL heard about Giants DC Spagnuolo as though he was there for both XLII and XLVI. He wasnt…. it was Perry Fewell (yes he is black) who took the 27th ranked defense into XLVI and devised a defense that offered a Cover 2 look but both safeties sat on all of Tom Brady’s short routes in the Super Bowl because they couldnt get deep.
How would you remember this? One of the indelible moments was Brady scrambling and threw a bomb to Rob Gronkowski that was intercepted by Linebacker Chase Blackburn over 40 yards downfield. There were no safeties back there.
Yet listen to the media “Spags..Spags..Spags” hell he was busy struggling in St Louis as a head coach by then. XLVI was great because it forced the sports media to cover what happened and not propaganda. Eli Manning, the NFL’s 27th ranked defense and a black defensive coordinator they didnt give credit to or try to glorify in Perry Fewell.
Eric Bienemy is the OC in his 4th straight AFC Championship Game and possibly 3rd straight Super Bowl but you covered Bills OC Brian Daboll more who has only been to a single conference championship game.

Feb 2, 2020; Miami Gardens, Florida, USA; Kansas City Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy​ reacts after beating the San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl LIV at Hard Rock Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Whats the media’s role in the lack of black head coaches?? One is painting pictures… if it isnt accurate or misleading, I call it propaganda.
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Why Mike Singletary Should Be the Next Coach of the Chicago Bears

Last night as we watched the Bears struggle on offense you knew the sand was out of the hourglass when it comes to Coach Mike Nagy. His offense has been beyond anemic. Right now Colin Cowherd is waxing philosophical about analytics and how an offensive minded coach is what the Bears need. To move away from the defensive identity Chicago has long been recognized for. I hate to be the bearer of bad news but there are multiple ways to win in the NFL.

Nevermind these armchair types that didn’t play positions that are the soul of football. Spouting b.s. about analytics, QBR and were the type that took their ball and went home when you hit them too hard as kids.

Cant stand sportswriters like that

Wasn’t Mike Nagy brought in with his huge play sheet with 748 plays where only 6 have proved to work?? I thought Mike Martz who was the offensive minded coach who was the architect of The Greatest Show on Turf was going to bring the Bears into the modern age?? Even going back to 1999 Dick Jauron was hired and brought in BYU offensive guru Gary Crowton and the Bears struggled.

Jauron saved his job when he moved away from Crowton’s mistake prone offense and the 3 headed QB of Cade McNown, Shawn Matthews and Jim Miller and moved to a balanced run first offense and made it deep into the playoffs in 2001. So all the calling for the latest sleek passing offense hasn’t proved fruitful in the winds whipping off Lake Michigan into Solider Field. For decades… 

There is still a fire and brimstone defense in Chicago and a balanced approach would best serve this team. Enter Mike Singletary. 

Singletary has already cut his teeth when he was the head coach of the San Francisco 49ers. People forget it was Singletary that built the 9ers into the team Harbaugh took to Super Bowl XLVII after 2012. He didnt get the chance to complete his mission as the team was building and he was growing as a coach.  

As a leader he would be able to reach young players as he was able to reach Patrick Willis, Novorro Bowman and Ray Lewis.

How?? He’s been there as a player and as a coach. He also would be entering his 2nd tenure where many coaches like Dick Vermeil, Pete Carroll and Bruce Arians achieved their greatest successes.

Since his tenure as head coach in San Francisco he has stayed in the craft coaching collegians at the Hula Bowl and within the LA Ram and Viking organizations as well. Continually working toward this 2nd opportunity. 

Of course there are two elephants in the room when it comes to the plight of black coaches and the ageism that has afflicted Head Coach hirings in the last few years. National media has beat this drum of teams looking for the next Sean McVay but let the Chancellor of Football remind you…

I mentioned Mike Singletary to coach the Bears and some think he is too old or the game passed him by. I do rememeber a 63 year old Dick Vermeil having that said about him. The game had changed blah…blah….zzzzzz…. Well 3 years later 12 NFL records fell as his Greatest Show on Turf Rams stormed to Super Bowl XXXIV. They also said that about Pete Carroll (wasn’t he in his 60’s) leaving USC and that was after being fired by the Patriots and Jets. Three years later he had an insurmountable lead over Denver in Super Bowl XLVIII.
 
Experience mixed with youth in the coaching ranks and veteran players is one of the mixes that works. Otherwise a very old (nearly 70) Bill Belichick and his experience wouldn’t have embarrassed young Sean McVay in Super Bowl LIII just 3 years ago. 
 
Experience? Belichick knew to go to the I and power it down the throat of a defense not conditioned to take on the run.
 
The same type of experience, leadership, and player credibility Singletary would bring to a franchise that has been lacking in each of these areas. As a black former player and coach there is so much to be gained by this organization in bringing in one of their own. Just as they had Mike Ditka back in 1982. Singletary is a Chicago Bear and one who can restore stability to an organization that desperately needs it. 
 
Bring Mike Singletary in as head coach. The Bears and the NFL need this. 
 
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2021 Preview – Time to Trade Aaron Rodgers

This has been a bizarre offseason for not only the Green Bay Packers but most of the NFL. Never before in NFL annals have we seen this much player movement and news with marquee quarterbacks. The saga surrounding the Texans and former 1st round draft pick DeShaun Watson. The Jets and Bears moved on from failed former 1st rounders Sam Darnold & Mitch Trubisky. Drafting their replacements Zach Wilson and Justin Fields to assume the reins in their rookie seasons.

Will Rodgers don a Packers practice jersey again?

Then you have Matthew Stafford. The Detroit Lions all time passing leader requesting a trade that landed him in LA in exchange for Jarred Goff. Although in the latter stages of his career Stafford is still in his prime while Goff had quarterbacked the Rams to the Super Bowl just 3 seasons before.

Now we have the standoff between Aaron Rodgers and Packers President Mark Murphy over the culture in Green Bay. Lets keep in mind this team has played in the last 2 NFC Championship Games, has a young and improving roster, just removed Coach Mike McCarthy who Rodgers was no longer in step with…. what is the problem?

Is it Coach Matt Lafleur? All along the body english between these two suggests an uneasy coexistence.

The Packers ranked 5th on offense, 9th in defense and just re-signed RB Aaron Jones who has accounted for 30TDs in the last two seasons. Budding star wideout Devante Adams (115 rec. 1374yds 18TDs) is another Pro Bowl performer who developed with Rodgers help. The cupboard isn’t bare in Green Bay and the front office has done its job. At what point does this emotional grind between Rodgers and Murphy negatively impact the rest of the team?

The time has come to trade Aaron Rodgers.

History repeats itself more than we care to admit & this is 2008 all over again but with a twist. Jordan Love doesn’t appear to be ready to take the helm and that is where Rodgers can help. Not by playing this season trading him for 2 number one draft picks in case Love isn’t the guy. Who knows you may be able to swing a 3 team trade and acquire DeShaun Watson who is in need of a fresh start.

The parallels between the Favre/Rodgers saga and the Rodgers/(who knows) go beyond the draft situation. Back in 2007 the Packers rode a solid running game and a renaissance season from Favre to finish 13-3. They had homefield advantage hosting the NFC Championship Game and were upset by the eventual Super Bowl champion New York Giants. What was Green Bay’s record last year? Didnt they lose to the eventual champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers??

Keep in mind…teams with tumultuous offseasons don’t make it to the Super Bowl. Its not the norm. Now on the precipice of having fans in the stands at Lambeau fully for the 1st time in 2 years… do you really want to hear the hometown fans boo him?? Sentiment has turned during this offseason standoff and could happen if you bring him back.

Yes he is the reigning league MVP however he is 1-4 in championship games.

After this graphic Rodgers went on to lose the 2019 NFC Title to San Francisco 37-20. Then in 2020 he lost a week 6 matchup to Tom Brady’s Buccaneers 38-10 and we saw what happened last January. That is 7 times in a row!! Its one of the reasons Rodgers will not match Brett Favre’s legacy…when the Packers were against a superior opponent Rodgers never led Green Bay to that signature win.

My sentiment in response to the NFC Championship that evening was this:

Of course Rodgers could opt out or retire. There hasn’t been an NFL MVP who won the award then walked away from the game since….. *drum roll* Jim Brown in 1965. He retired due to Art Modell fining him for being late to training camp filming “The Dirty Dozen” If Rodgers does walk away ….both he and Jim Brown’s last NFL game were played at Lambeau Field in championship games.

So Mark Murphy the Packers would take a step back this year but 2022 and beyond the Packers will be serious contenders. The roster is stocked with young talent and you have the quarterback in Love or will be able to trade for the picks to acquire the next quarterback or get Watson in a swap. Your mission….should you choose to accept it…

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2020 NFL Draft: Wither Jalen Hurts – Shameful Impatience with Black QBs Take Two

As we approach the 2020 NFL Draft one of the interesting questions is “Why isn’t Jalen Hurts thought of as a 1st round draft pick?” At first glance this is a throw back to the plight of the disrespected black quarterback.

Another take is how Hurts and Oklahoma were overwhelmed in a 63-28 Peach Bowl loss to eventual champion LSU with Heisman Trophy winner Joe Burrow. Was the moment too big for Hurts??

Of course not..

Didn’t Jalen Hurts quarterback Alabama to the National Championship Game as a freshman 4 years ago?? How did he become the most forgotten signal caller in this year’s draft class??

One of the attributes Hurts has been able to forge was his strength of character after his controversial benching during the 2018 National Championship Game. Hurts had struggled all season in maturing with hitting the open receiver downfield. Speculation loomed that Coach Saban would turn to the new flavor of the month in Tua Tagovailoa. When he did at halftime of the championship game, Hurts took it admirably. He didn’t sulk, make any tense moments on the sideline and displayed a team first mentality throughout. This was a benching with 50 million viewers watching.

Isn’t this an attribute NFL teams profess they want to know all the time? How will a franchise QB respond when things go against him??

Hurts didn’t say a word backing up Tua the next season and then became a graduate transfer to become an Oklahoma Sooner. Under the watchful eye of Coach Lincoln Riley, Hurts developed into a QB no one saw when he left Alabama. The ability to read coverage and deliver the medium to deep throw was now a sharply refined part of his game. Hurts became the 1st QB to lead two different teams into the College Football Playoff and was a Heisman Trophy Finalist.

His passing improvement in Norman vs. his last full season at Alabama?

  • Alabama 2017 – 154 of 255 (60.4%) for 2,081 yds 17 TDs 1 int. (150.2 rating)
  • Oklahoma 2019 – 237 of 340 (69.7%) for 3,821 yds 32 TDs 8 ints (191.6 rating)

He learned a completely new offense and improved on his skill under a new coach to this degree in 4 months while being voted a captain!

Isn’t this the number one issue with quarterbacks making the jump to the NFL?? Quarterbacks ability to learn in the classroom then translate it to the practice field then into the game. Talk to me about Marcus Mariota, Mitch Trubisky, Josh Allen, Baker Mayfield, Jameis Winston, Dwayne Haskins over the last two years.

Now add his rushing statistics from Oklahoma: 233 att for 1,298 yards and 20 TDs and now you’re in Lamar Jackson territory. Upon further review Hurts had 52 combined TDs to Jackson’s 51in his last season at Louisville. Wasn’t Jackson last year’s Taylor Blitz Player of the Year along with a unanimous NFL MVP??

If Hurts is perceived a better passer than Jackson how is he thought of as a 3rd round selection?? This is the next in line of dual threat QBs behind Super Bowl MVP and former NFL MVP Patrick Mahomes and last year’s MVP Lamar Jackson and is given the cold shoulder by a media that keeps devaluing black quarterbacks at draft time.

So here we are again with the sequel to The NFL’s Shameful Impatience With Black Quarterbacks.

Heisman winner Joe Burrow had a season for the ages and deserves to be the number one pick but no one else should be up with Hurts. Google the top QBs in the 2020 draft class and Hurts isn’t even in the top 5 according to Athlon Sports. They have him 8th behind Tua Tagovailoa, Justin Herbert, Jordan Love, Jake Fromm, Jacob Eason, and Nate Stanley of Iowa. These guys can’t be serious…

Nate Stanley of Iowa??

Justin Herbert of Oregon??

Jacob Eason of Washington??

Jordan Love of Utah State??

Hurts starred facing SEC defenses and faced ‘Bama’s 2nd string in practice which is better than any Pac 12 defense. These guys are going to try to match up to NFL speed on defense based on what? Thanks to the Corona Virus… no OTAs either so when are they going to be up to speed?

No wonder I stopped reading Athlon and started writing. These teams that keep drafting by the book and have been losing for 30 years need to do something different and look at the trend at QB. Hurts’ entire college career has been a trial by fire to match what he will have to go through entering the pro ranks. No one, including Joe Burrow has proven they have the mettle to do it more than Hurts.

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