Josh Allen’s Return To His Cowboy Gunslinger Ways Shows Doubt In Himself And His Team

We need to talk about Josh Allen.

To survive in the NFL, or just to survive in this world in general, you have to adapt.

And not just once. You have to keep adapting. 

I didn’t think Josh Allen would be successful in the NFL when he came out of Wyoming. Not as a quarterback anyway- I thought he might have been a generational Tight End. 

Tim Tebow might not have been able to make that transition, but Matt Jones, Logan Thomas and Feleipe Franks figured it out. And I thought Josh Allen could have been the best of that group.

But he proved me wrong. He proved a lot of people wrong. And the way he did that? He put the pedal to the floor at all times. Ran hard. Threw hard. Didn’t care about being neat. Didn’t care about turnovers. Definitely didn’t care about his own physical welfare.

He just had the mindset to be the last man standing at the bar brawl. 

It was entertaining. And it gained him a lot of fans. After all, this is an entertainment business.
But in the course of that entertainment, the Bills started to win. And as they won, everything increased. The stakes. The expectations. The pay. The hype. 

And when Josh Allen figured out NFL defenses with the help of offensive coordinator Brian Daboll, he found himself as the 2020 NFL MVP runner up. That’s when the pendulum began to shift, as it always does. After the 2020 season, Josh Allen signed a massive extension- which every team with a franchise QB knows makes it harder to retain stars at other positions. The success led to later draft picks, which are harder to hit on. And it also led to Brian Daboll getting a job as the Head Coach of the New York Giants. 

I’ve often said the thing that gets you to the party isn’t always the thing that keeps you at the party.
Josh Allen has to feel like this team’s success is more and more on his shoulders. So in 2022, he started to revert back to his Wyoming Cowboy barfight ways. He finished 3rd in MVP voting, and the Bills won 13 games, and a playoff game.

But, his sack percentage jumped from 4 to 5.5, he turned the ball over 19 times in the regular season, and another four times in the 2022 playoffs. Plus he had another 10 fumbles last year that the Bills were lucky enough to fall on before they added to that turnover total.

To stay at this party, Josh Allen needs to chill. He needs to trust the defense that was first in points allowed in 2021, and second in 2022- and that was suffocating the Jets last night until Allen’s four turnovers gave them new life. 

After the game last night, Josh Allen had a blank stare. He knew he lost the Bills that game. “I was trying to force the ball,” Allen said. “Same shit, same place, different day. I hurt our team tonight. I cost our team tonight. This feels eerily similar to last year and I hate that it’s the same. I do.”

And all of the sudden, the thing that made Josh Allen fun- playing like he had everything in the world to prove, doesn’t seem so fun anymore. 

Josh Allen has already proven himself. To me, to his front office, to his fans, to everyone in the league whose opinion matters. 

He might have crashed this party, but he belongs here now. And the second he starts acting like it, and trusting the game plan, and his teammates, he’ll start having fun again. 

Let that sink in.

Brandon Staley Has 12 One-Score Losses And His Defenses Are Terrible- Can He Fix The Chargers?

The Los Angeles Chargers are 19-16 under Brandon Staley.

12 of those 16 losses are by one score or less. 

In five of their last six losses, the Chargers had a second half lead. 

This man is blowing it, literally and figuratively. 

He even had Darren Sproles calling for his job before the season started. When have you ever heard Darren Sproles say anything negative about anyone?

Brandon Staley has to do something to get people to stop thinking about how his team blew it by getting outscored 31-3 in the final 31 minutes of last year’s Wild Card round.

Or how about when Brandon Staley called a timeout to give the Raiders time to kick a game-winning overtime field goal to knock the chargers out of the playoff race at the end of the 2021 season?

Staley was hired after one season as the Rams defensive coordinator. Before that, he’d never been responsible for calling a defense at a major college or professional level. 

Sure, Brandon Staley had the number one defense, and the Rams won the 2020 Super Bowl, but anyone that had even accidentally brushed up against Sean McVay was getting interviews, and Staley certainly benefited from that. 

You’d figure at the very least, the defensive ingenuity that got him the job would translate, but it hasn’t. 

In 2021, the Chargers were 23rd in yards given up, and 29th in points allowed. Last year the Chargers’ secondary leveled up to be seventh in the league against the pass, but it didn’t matter because they were 28th against the run. 

On Sunday, the Chargers gave up 466 passing yards to Tua Tagovailoa, and 121 yards of offense in the fourth quarter alone. 

And despite having a defense with Khalil Mack, Joey Bosa, and Derwin James going against a Miami offensive line that almost got Tua killed last year, the Chargers didn’t have a single sack. 

Brandon Staley has one of the best arms in the NFL in Justin Herbert, two $20-million receivers in Keenan Allen and Mike Williams, plus not one, but two insanely productive running backs in Austin Ekeler and Joshua Kelley, and this supposed defensive mastermind is out here wasting all of his offensive resources with a defense that surrenders more than the French army.

One of the worst parts about Brandon Staley is that he came into the Chargers gig with the mindset of being the most aggressive coach in history when it comes to fourth downs, only to start second guessing himself in the middle of last season.

In 2021 the Chargers went for it on fourth down one third of the time, and converted nearly two-thirds of those. Then last November, out of nowhere, Staley decides to punt on 4th and inches with a third quarter lead against the Chiefs, putting the ball into Patrick Mahomes’ hands. 

You can guess what happened next.

People are starting to talk about whether Staley can make it through the season, but I’m not worried about the season, I’m worried about the next five games- Titans, Vikings, Raiders, Cowboys, and Chiefs- if they aren’t at least .500 after that slate, Chargers OC Kellen Moore might be getting a pay bump and some expanded responsibilities. 

Let that sink in.

NFL Keeps Suspending Players This Year for Gambling On The Apps The League Promotes

Gambling in Sports

We need to talk about college and pro athletes betting on sports.

Right now, Denver Broncos defensive tackle Eyioma Uwazurike is suspended for allegedly betting on games he participated in at the NFL level, and is under criminal investigation for attempting to manipulate data to make it look like he wasn’t betting on games he played in while at Iowa State. 

His college teammate, Iowa State starting QB Hunter Dekkers, is also under criminal investigation for betting on games using his mom’s account before turning 21. 

This is on the heels of several NFL players being suspended for using legal gambling apps like FanDuel to bet while at the team facility. Players that placed bets full well knowing that star wide receiver Calvin Ridley was sitting out the entire 2022 season for betting on games while injured.

There are more players suspended from last year’s Detroit Lions team alone than the NFL suspended for gambling in its first 98 years of existence. 

College and NFL players didn’t start gambling on sports when legal mobile sports betting came on the scene. But there was no digital footprint when my teammates and I had a friendly wager on a big boxing match. Now, apps like DraftKings and Fan Duel are pumping enormous sponsorship dollars into teams and leagues directly, and as part of those agreements, they’re required to report data on betting from players, their family members, and the geofenced locations that those bets take place at. 

On one hand, the players know the rules. On the other, the league had to know that relentlessly promoting mobile gaming apps and wagering promotions was going to appeal to its members. 

Gambling, the responsible kind anyway, is done for the most part by men with disposable income. 

The one thing professional sports is full of is men with disposable income. 

I’m not saying the penalties are unfair when suspensions are issued, but leagues have to admit there’s an element of cause and effect here, and acknowledge the fact that prior to 2019, there were only three total gambling suspensions. 

I’m curious to know what you all think about this. I know my audience wagers. I keep an eye on the lines every week. Has the legalization of mobile gaming lessened the idea that athletes betting on their own sport is ‘evil?’ My generation, and the one before it, came up in the shadow of Pete Rose, Major League Baseball’s all-time hit leader, being permanently banned by Cooperstown for wagers he placed as a manager. 

That was considered sports’ most unforgivable sin. Prior to Pete Rose, the worst scandal in sports history was the 1919 Chicago White Sox conspiring with professional gamblers to rig the world series. You still know them today as the “Black Sox.” 

The appeal of sports is that there isn’t a script in place. It’s what makes gambling gambling. No predetermined outcomes. But the nature of sports are also what make sports fans the most logical group to market gambling apps to. 

Think about it. Everything about being a sports fan is a gamble. When you buy tickets to a game, you’re gambling on the idea that the money you spent is going to be made worthwhile by a win. When you buy an athlete’s jersey at the Team Shop, you’re gambling that your team won’t trade that player two weeks later. Almost every dollar invested in sports is based in the hope of positive outcomes, full well knowing that in order for those outcomes to take place, you’re gonna need a few lucky bounces. 

So I want to know, is the idea of athletes betting on sports all that bad? Even their own sport, in the event that it’s not a game they have the ability to directly influence? Or should players be allowed to bet their own overs, or on their own team so long as it is to win?

Where do you draw the line on what you are and are not comfortable with?

Texas Might Have Beat Alabama, But Don’t Count Nick Saban Out Just Yet

We need to talk about the Crimson Tide. 

Because for the first time since Nick Saban arrived in Tuscaloosa, it feels like that’s not just Alabama’s mascot, but a description of the fact there’s blood in the water. 

And those SEC sharks can smell it.

The 34-24 Texas win marked the first time Alabama had lost a regular season non-conference game in 16 years. 

And Alabama, which hasn’t lost more than two games in a season since 2010, is 6-3 in their last 9 games. 

Nick Saban says Alabama might have failed the test against Texas, but that it was a Midterm, and not the Final. 

To be fair to Saban this was his first big game with both a new offensive coordinator, and a new QB in Jalen Milroe. 

And I might be fair, but life in college football is about as fair as a November SEC matchup against Ding Dong Tech. 

You already have people out here whispering that Saban is going to retire, and that if Deion Sanders is bigtime enough to stand next to Saban in an AFLAC commercial, why not just take his place on the sidelines in Tuscaloosa?

Insanity is a byproduct of success. Nick Saban has raised the standard at Alabama to such impossible heights that perfection is the only option. 

And like hyenas waiting on the king of the jungle to leave the carcass after he’s had his fill, the college football world is waiting to pounce. 

But I’d be careful.

There are ten former five star recruits on this Alabama defense. 59% of Alabama’s roster are former top-100 players in the nation coming out of high school. 

There’s poking the bear, and there’s poking Bear-zilla. 

You have to figure this loss is going to give Alabama all the motivation they need to get focused up for SEC play without anyone out here adding billboard material to the mix. 

I’m talking to you, Mr. Twitter Fingers Lane Kiffin. You might want to stay off social media for the next two weeks and let your players try and do the talking on September 23rd. 

Let that sink in.

Five NFL Players That Might Be Household Names By The End Of 2023

Let’s talk about five players that might be household names by the end of the 2023 season

Sam Howell

The Washington Commanders are coming into 2023 with more hope for the future that they’ve had in two decades thanks to a change in ownership, but let’s focus on what they’re putting on the field.

From 2019 to 2022, Washington has started ten different quarterbacks, and has had a different player lead them in pass attempts for four consecutive seasons. They haven’t had a quarterback start and finish the season since Kirk Cousins in 2017.

Sam Howell might be ready to break that streak. 

I’ve heard people call Sam Howell a great value Baker Mayfield. I’ve heard people say that even though he threw for 10,000 yards in the ACC, he fell off in his junior year. 

What people don’t point out is that his offensive line didn’t hold up as a junior, and he so he took it upon himself to go from a pure pocket passer with 181 rushing yards in 25 combined games as a freshman and sophomore, to rushing for almost 850 yards and 11 touchdowns as a junior. And he STILL threw for over 3,000 yards. This man is what uncreative sports analysts might call a “sneaky” athlete.

Sneaky means white.

Howell has an extremely solid young group of receivers led by Terry McLaurin, who has three consecutive 1,000 yard seasons, and if Jahan Dotson progresses, you better watch out. 

With the NFC East up for grabs, you might be hearing Sam Howell’s name quite a bit come December.

Desmond Ridder

Has there ever been a young QB more set up for success than Desmond Ridder is in Atlanta? 

Three former first round picks on the offensive line, including Jake Matthews. Kyle Pitts, the #4 overall pick in 2021 at TE. Drake London, the #8 overall pick at WR. A returning 1,000 yard rusher in Tyson Allgeier. One of the best college running backs we’ve ever seen in Bijan Robinson. And they STILL have Cordarrelle Patterson.

For anyone saying that I’m overhyping a 24-year-old quarterback with only four career starts, you have to remember that Ridder started 50 games in college, and took Cincinnati to the College Football Playoff. 

Atlanta has as much of an opportunity to win the NFC South as New Orleans, Carolina, and Tampa Bay- and if they pull that off, this young roster in the playoffs is going to energize the Falcons fanbase for years to come. 

Brian Burns

Do you know the name Brian Burns? If not, you’re about to. 

The Carolina Panthers defensive end and former 16th overall pick out of Florida State seems to have just ended his brief holdout, and is about to become one of the highest paid defensive ends in NFL history.

Why? Well, he has 38 sacks in four seasons, has improved every single year, is coming off back-to-back Pro Bowls, and has only missed two games over that span. Only three players over the last three seasons have more total QB pressures than Burns.

Burns isn’t the best at getting off blocks, and he’s also not considered a top tier edge rusher against the run, but if he improves in either of those areas this season, we’re no longer talking about a top-10 pass rusher. We’re talking about a top-10 defensive player, regardless of position.

And if you’re getting Myles Garrett or Maxx Crosby money, you deserve Myles Garrett and Maxx Crosby’s name recognition. 

Jahmyr Gibbs

The Detroit Lions have had three 1,000 yard rushers in the last 20 seasons. They haven’t had an 1,100 yard rusher in 18 years.

That streak might end. 

Jahmyr Gibbs started his college career at Georgia Tech, and finished at Alabama, and despite splitting reps in a crowded backfield, Gibbs displayed a skillset that might be the closest thing we have to Christian McCaffrey. 

He’s an elite runner, and an elite receiver. There’s never a reason to take this man off the field. 

Anyone in a points-per-reception fantasy football league probably already has a Jahmyr Gibbs jersey, but the casual NFL fan might be learning this young man’s name for giving Detroit a backfield threat they’ve been missing since the 1990’s.

Travis Etienne

I get that it’s a QB league. I get that Trevor Lawrence deserves all the hype he’s getting heading into the 2023 season. I get that the return of Calvin Ridley is a big storyline as well. 

But the man y’all need to be talking about is Travis Etienne. 

The one place Etienne needs to improve, and it has to be a team effort, is against the NFL’s best run defense- the Tennessee Titans. Etienne’s awesome 2022 campaign included two absolute stinker games against their division foe, where he had 24 carries for 49 yards.

Without those games, his per carry average goes from 5.1 to 5.5.

5+ yards a carry over a full season is insane. Fred Taylor did it in his final two seasons, but there was a 14-year gap before Etienne pulled it off last year. And he duplicated that effort in the playoffs as well.

The only reason Etienne isn’t getting more hype is that he wasn’t their primary short yardage option in the red zone.

Brian Kelly, Billy Napier, Dabo Swinney- Just A Bad Start, Or Are They On Shaky Ground?

We need to talk about the way some of these prominent college football coaches flopped in week 1, and determine whether it was just a bad start, or if the coach is on shaky ground.

Brian Kelly

LSU came into the season ranked #5 despite finishing last year’s SEC slate getting blown out by Texas A&M and Georgia, and losing six players to the NFL Draft. The ranking was all based on hype… and there’s nothing wrong with hype if you can back it up. 

But last Sunday, with no NFL games and the entire football-loving world watching, Florida State outscored LSU 31-7 in the second half, and Seminole QB Jordan Travis personally murdered Jayden Daniels’ preseason Heisman hype.

Is this just a bad start, or is Brian Kelly on shaky ground?

That all depends. Outside of Georgia, LSU has one of the friendliest schedules for a supposed championship contender in the country. It’s completely reasonable to expect the Tigers to turn the page on this L and steamroll through the next seven games before they roll into Tuscaloosa on November 4th. 

This loss might be the humbling the entire Tigers team needs, head coach included. 

Billy Napier

Billy Napier and the Florida Gators could not have picked a worse time to get physically dominated by a shorthanded Utah roster. 

The Swamp Kings documentary that whitewashed Urban Meyer’s image and waxed poetic about the mid-2000’s championship teams just dropped. You can’t be out here giving people a reason to think about their ex.

Billy Napier is a good man, and a good coach- but these Florida fans want a bad man that gets the job done. 

Florida State’s last two games had them getting manhandled by the supposedly soft Pac-12, and the Gators went 0-4 against ranked SEC opponents last year. 

They’ve got issues at quarterback, on and off the field, and quarterbacks are supposed to be part of Napier’s specialty. 

I think this ground is shaky, and if the Gators lose back-to-back games to Vanderbilt, who they play on October 7th, that ground in Gainesville might just open up and swallow Napier whole.

Dabo Swinney

Clemson just got smashed by Duke- meanwhile former Clemson QB DJ Uiagalalei put up five touchdowns in his Oregon State debut. 

If you pay attention to the national media, you would think the sky is falling in on Dabo. You would never guess that this loss just snapped a 12-game winning streak in the ACC.

The reason for that is that Dabo has been in direct opposition to the national narrative that has been supported by a media entity that is increasingly made up of former athletes, and to be honest, we’re all sick of his bullshit. 

He’s not a bad man. On the contrary, he’s an extraordinarily good man that has confused his personal morality with an immoral structure of profiting off of uncompensated labor. It’s what made him say he may quit if players ever got paid, without a hint of irony that he’s cashing biweekly checks somewhere in the six digits. It’s also what has made him reject the transfer portal in an age when his school’s brand recognition is at an all-time high, while demonstrating the pinnacle of hypocrisy by not speaking against his school for flirting with jumping conferences for a bigger payday.

So yeah, if it feels like people are rooting for Dabo to lose, it’s because they might be. Some of that ground shaking in Clemson might be manufactured. 

But it could turn real if the Tigers start 0-2 in ACC play for the first time since 2010. Clemson has Florida State on September 23rd.

2023 Is A MAKE OR BREAK Year For THESE 5 NFL Players

Let’s talk about five NFL players that are in a “Make or Break” year.

Kyler Murray

Kyler has already been paid, so this isn’t about his finances. He’s set for life in that area.

This is about Kyler Murray needing to play superhuman football in 2023 to keep the Cardinals from being in a position to use one of the two top-10 draft picks they’ll probably have in 2024 to replace him. 

And the problem for Kyler is that he won’t be ready to go until week 5, as he’s coming off a torn ACL. 

Murray has been at war with the organization that drafted him for years, whether it’s disagreeing with Steve Keim’s draft picks, dealing with the front office leaking things to Christ Mortensen about him, having the owner embarrass him with a film study clause in his contract, or the extremely contentious contract negotiations themselves- it’s always been something. 

Now he has a new coach, a new GM, and rumors are swirling, courtesy of Michael Lombardi, that the Cardinals would be fine to give him the year off to set themselves up to recoup some money via injury insurance and set themselves up for the Caleb Williams sweepstakes. 

The one person that can stop this from happening is Kyler Murray, but are fellow short kings Hollywood Brown and Rondale Moore enough on the outside to help Murray flip his organization’s plans? We will see. 

Chase Young

Let’s get this out of the way- Chase Young is not a bust. He was the NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year and a Pro Bowler at 21 years old. 

He’s been injured. And unfortunately for Commanders fans, he’s still dealing with recovering from a stinger he got in the preseason. 

The Commanders already gave up the rights to his fifth year, so he’s literally in a Make of Break situation. 

People see running backs tear an ACL and come back fully healthy within 9-10 months, and expect it’s going to be the same for defensive linemen, but that’s not the case. A knee injury can end a defensive lineman’s career. Keith Millard went from NFL Defensive Player of the Year in 1989 at age 27, to only appearing in 22 games for the rest of his career. Steve Emtman , the first overall pick in the 1992 NFL Draft, never started more than 9 games in a season and was out of the league by 27- mostly because of his knees. Remember Andre Wadsworth? If you don’t, it’s because the third overall pick in the 1998 NFL Draft had a bad knee that had him out of the league for good by the end of his third year. 

I’m rooting for Chase Young, but you can’t prove your worth on the field if you can’t get on the field. 

Justin Fields

There’s no excuses for Fields this year. The Bears went out and got him DJ Moore, and I’ve said this a bunch, but if Moore was anywhere other than Charlotte the last couple years, we’d be talking about him the way we talk about Justin Jefferson or Tee Higgins. He’s that good. 

You have to be careful with Bears fans because they’ve been without a franchise QB for so long that their instinct is to be aggressively protective of Fields. I wish the offensive line in Chicago had that same instinct. 

Let’s just be objective for a second- his completion percentage is low. If Kyler Murray had Justin Fields’ completion percentage, there would have been no controversy about the study clause in his extension because there would have been no extension. 

Justin Fields’ sack percentage is off the charts, and it contributes to a high turnover rate. And one thing I like to say is sometimes a man’s strengths flow from the same place as his weaknesses. That being said, it’s incredible that an NFL QB rushed for almost 1,200 yards last year, but it also never should have happened, and it should never happen again!

But it might, because Fields’ offensive line outside of the center position is an average of around 24 years old, and came from schools like Southern Utah and University of Charlotte. Darnell Wright was picked last year at 10th overall and is starting right tackle for a man who is trying to get a $250+ million dollar extension. 

Justin Fields is out here running around on a tight rope, but at least the defenses in the division are as collectively bad as any in the entire NFL.

Mac Jones

Say what you want about Mac Jones, but you can’t ever call him a coward. The man went from following Jalen Hurts and Tua Tagovailoa at Alabama, to stepping in for the greatest QB of all time in New England. He’s out there in the bright lights, with a world of pressure on his shoulders, screaming at his assistant coaches to let him throw the damn ball.

Mac Jones hasn’t been bad. He hasn’t been good, but he hasn’t been bad. There’s going to be a place for him in the NFL for a very long time. But is that place in New England, under Bill Belichick? The standard out there is winning- and the Patriots didn’t do that last year.

New England lost four one-score games, and Mac Jones only has one fourth quarter comeback in 31 career starts. He also only had one game last year where he threw three or more touchdowns, and it came in a game where he also turned the ball over three times.

Now we’re going to be measuring him against his old Alabama teammate, Aaron Rodgers, and Josh Allen in six division games this season, and if he clearly looks like the worst of the four in all six games, what motivation is there for New England to keep this going?

Baker Mayfield

Baker probably made enough money off of commercials alone to not need a big second contract, but I get the feeling this man is fueled by something other than money anyway. 

He wants to stick it to Cleveland. And Carolina. And Colin Cowherd. And Odell Beckham Jr’s dad. And the guy in the stands calling him a bum. And if he could go back to Oklahoma and plant the flag again, I’m sure he could do that too. 

But is Tampa Bay the right place for Baker’s revenge tour?

After Bruce Arians retired, the Bucs went from three-straight top-3 finishes in points scored, to 25th last year under Todd Bowles. And now Tampa brings in a QB that is 8-16 in his last 24 starts, with a 4:3 TD to INT ratio, who barely completes 60% of his passes and takes as many sacks as anyone not named Justin Fields.

Deion Sanders May Have Made Believers Of Some, But Colorado Has A Lot To Improve On

We need to talk about Deion Sanders.

After the Buffs shocked the world on Saturday, knocking off a TCU team that is fresh off an appearance in the national championship, and came into the game a three-touchdown favorite, the narrative became about Deion Sanders’ receipts. 

To be fair to coach Prime, he did announce that he’s been keeping receipts all along, but that man started waving them around the moment he had his first opportunity. 

In the postgame press conference, Deion Sanders called out long-time ESPN reporter Ed Werder, who grew up in Colorado, and has been based out of Dallas since Deion was a Cowboy. Prime repeatedly asked Werder “do you believe now?” When Werder said “who said I didn’t believe” and “in what?,” Deion cut him off and said “next question.”

What was Deion referring to? It’s likely that Coach Prime was upset that Ed Werder referred to him as a “celebrity coach” in a tweet.

Worse things have certainly been said, but Deion needed to make someone an example in the moment, and Ed Werder was in the wrong place at the right time. 

Look, if you’re a coach, and you want to take reasonable suspicion and portray it to your own team as hate in order to motivate them-  do what you gotta do. Kirby Smart does it, and he knows damn well that nobody with two functioning brain cells to rub together doubts Georgia. 

There has to be a difference between people thinking that Colorado might not IMMEDIATELY revert back to the incredible run they had from 1989-1996, and the people that think Deion Sanders is incapable of winning AT ALL on the highest level. 

But how Deion Sanders chooses to motivate his players doesn’t change the fact that this 2023 Colorado team still has a long way to go to get to the mountaintop. 

They went 1-0 last week. But guess what? So did the other 11 teams they share a conference with. 

You didn’t see Chip Kelly out here reminding people that LA Times reporter Ben Bolch said he should be fired

There’s nothing wrong with Deion’s energy- it was a big moment and the eyes on the nation were on his players- he’d have been insane not to take advantage of that… but that’s not the energy that’s going to get them through a Pac-12 season with Bo Nix, Caleb Williams, and Utah’s running game all waiting for their shot at a defense that gave up over 500 yards when fully healthy.

So let’s be reasonable. Let’s take stock of what Colorado has, and what they don’t have. 

First, Shedeur Sanders destroyed Colorado’s single game passing record in his first start. If you didn’t believe in that young man, and to be honest I saw more doubt thrown his way than Deion’s, then you definitely need to repent and believe. 510 yards on 38 completions, with no picks? Four touchdowns?  When the team needed Shedeur the most, on a third-and-16 with CU down four, he made a play. He’s legit.

Second, Travis Hunter is a unicorn. 120+ snaps. Over 100 yards receiving. I was told this kid has a first round grade as a defensive back AND a receiver. There have only ever been a handful of players like him. He should be mentioned in the same breath as Chris Gamble, Charles Woodson, and even Deion himself. 

Third, did Deion set the tone for belief, situational awareness, and composure in a big moment? Absolutely, you either have the ability to prepare a team to succeed, or you don’t, and Deion not only showed the ability to do that, he also showed his brilliance in luring Sean Lewis away from being Kent State’s head coach to run his offense. And getting a team with 87 players that were somewhere else last season to be able to play together? That’s special. 

HOWEVER, it’s a long season. The defense is suspect. They gave up over 7 yards a carry against TCU. The run game is suspect. They had 28 carries for 90 yards. They forced two turnovers, but didn’t have a single tackle or sack in the backfield.

If seeing is believing, what we saw was a doubly one-dimensional team Both as an offense, AND ON OFFENSE. The Pac-12 has had plenty of those. It’s the reason Sonny Dykes is at TCU and not Cal. It’s the reason Mike Leach never won a Pac-12 title. It’s the reason people are suspicious of Lincoln Riley and Kalen DeBoer both last year and this year.

Colorado is thin up front on both sides of the line, and the depth everywhere else isn’t exactly where Deion wants it to be. 

But what Colorado lacks in power and depth, they’re currently making up for in the one thing more priceless and precious than almost anything else in the world of college football- Colorado has hope. 

If Deion Sanders can keep that hope afloat with a positive showing against Nebraska, who isn’t going to want to play for him? Because it’s not the belief of the media that Deion Sanders needs… Ed Werder joining the Colorado church choir does nothing for the program. 

The people Deion Sanders needs to believe are the ones that throw, catch, run, block and tackle. Once he has their belief, that’s when you’ll see the Buffaloes back in the promised land. 

Let that sink in.

Will The Indianapolis Colts Give Anthony Richardson The Same Freedom They Gave Manning and Luck?

We need to talk about Anthony Richardson and the Indianapolis Colts. 

Everyone is talking about the San Antonio Spurs when it comes to lottery luck and the opportunity to draft franchise changing generational players, but what about the Colts? 

Peyton Manning was the first overall pick in 1998, won more MVP’s than anyone in NFL history, and brought Indy a Super Bowl. 

Andrew Luck was the first overall pick in 2012, set the NFL rookie record for passing yards, and made four pro bowl and an AFC championship game before his body ultimately broke down. 

And now they’ve got fourth overall pick Anthony Richardson, who many believe has all the same tools as Andrew Luck, despite not statistically proving that at the collegiate level. 

In 1998, the Colts tossed Peyton Manning the keys and never looked back. In 2012 they did the same with Andrew Luck. 

They have no reason not to do the same with Anthony Richardson.

But will they?

Peyton Manning threw the ball 35 times per game as a rookie, leading to 28 interceptions, a rookie record that stands to this day. 

Andrew Luck threw the ball 39 times per game as a rookie, and while the Colts won 11 games as opposed to the 3 games Peyton Manning won as a rookie, Luck still produced an AFC-leading 18-interceptions.

That’s the freedom I want for Anthony Richardson. The ability to match or exceed the 36 pass attempts per game that the 4-win Colts had last year so that a player that desperately needs the reps can figure things out for himself without having to worry about whether he’s going to get replaced.

And since this is the organization that has done this twice before, there’s no reason not to grant him that freedom and confidence. 

I’m just not sure they will. 

Whether it’s that the NFL has become such a win-now league, or that Jim Irsay flirted, jokingly or not, with the idea of drafting Will Levis in addition to Anthony Richardson, or even the other, very obvious difference between Richardson and the two other quarterback on this list- it seems as if the odds are stacked against Richardson being given that same level of freedom.

But what could it hurt?

Even Josh Allen, who paved the way for Richardson to be such a high pick with his physical gifts far outweighing his college production, took the occasional brea from trucking linebackers to toss the pigskin 30 times a game as a rookie. And it was rarely pretty- but look at him now.

For the Colts, and the rest of the country, to know if Anthony Richardson has what it takes to justify his draft slot, we’re going to need to see him cook. 

Let’s hope the Colts let him have complete control of the kitchen.