Carson Palmer is Wrong About Joe Burrow Being Better than Patrick Mahomes, But the Argument is Good for Football

We need to talk about Carson Palmer putting Joe Burrow above Patrick Mahomes.

Look, this is what happens. There’s room at the top of the mountain for one player. Anyone that wants to be at the top of the mountain is going to have to challenge that player. Anyone that wants someone else to be at the top of the mountain is going to have to challenge that player. 

Sometimes that challenge is a grift. Sometimes it’s genuine. 

I’m going to give the usually quiet Carson Palmer and his $172 million in career earnings the benefit of the doubt that he has no reason to start grifting.

I mean, he was on his brother Jordan’s podcast, and Jordan has trained Joe Burrow in the past, but we’ll let that slide.

So assuming Carson Palmer earnestly challenged the legitimacy of Patrick Mahomes as the NFL’s top dog, let’s address what he said on its merits. 

This is Carson Palmer talking about Joe Burrow:

I think Joe is the best quarterback in the league. I know Patrick [Mahomes] is phenomenal, but I just think Joe’s more consistent. He’s more consistent. He’s more accountable to run the system and the play that’s called and not feel like, “Well, he didn’t win last time and get open for me, so I’m gonna do it with my feet,” and then before you know it, you’re sacked for a four-yard loss because you tried to make two or three guys miss. Joe is just… talk about not having a weakness. Mentally strong, physically tough, accurate, can throw it far enough, fast enough, gets the ball out quick, and then he can actually do a lot with his legs.

So Carson Palmer’s point is that Joe Burrow doesn’t do what Patrick Mahomes does because Cincinnati’s system doesn’t call for it? What, Patrick Mahomes just stumbled his way to being the only QB in NFL history to average over 300 yards passing per game, and the only QB to ever average over 8 yards per Adjusted Net Completion because of a lack of accountability to the offense?

Are we saying that Patrick Mahomes’ weakness is that he’s a better freelancer than all-time great football mind Andy Reid is as a playcaller?

And what are we talking about as far as consistency? Or taking off running too much? Patrick Mahomes has averaged about one rush for every ten dropbacks for the entirety of his career. The only difference between last year, and his first full year as a starter is that he’s much better picking up yardage when he does decide to pull it and run. 

If Patrick Mahomes was a liability in the pocket how is it that he’s 6th all-time in sack percentage? 120 spots ahead of Joe Burrow. 

Joe Burrow literally led the NFL in sacks taken in 2021. He “improved” to sixth most this year. Patrick Mahomes wasn’t even in the top 20.

Look, I don’t want to disparage Joe Burrow at all. He’s everything Carson Palmer said he was, outside of one thing- better than Mahomes. But these are the type of battle scars you accrue when someone holds you up as the best and there just aren’t any metrics out there that agree.

At the same time, I love this. It was great for football when Peyton Manning was Tom Brady’s perpetual challenger for QB supremacy, but at least in that case there were a dozen metrics you could have made that case upon. 

I hope this is an argument we get to have for the next decade- but the next time we have it, there better be some merit to it. 

Let that sink in.

Mavs Tanking and Scrubs Stat Padding- Easter Was a Disaster for the NBA

We went into Easter with several playoff seedings still up for grabs, and what should have been one of the most exciting days of the NBA season turned into a slop-fest of tanking, scrubs having career games, and literal physical infighting. 

Bones Hyland tried to fight Mason Plumlee.

Rudy Gobert tried to fight Kyle Anderson. 

And Jaden McDaniels lost a fight to a wall

Not exactly great vibes for the Clippers and the Timberwolves heading into the Western Conference playoffs.

Let’s get into some of these hilarious stat lines from game 82:

• Six point-per-game scorer Payton Pritchard having a 30-point triple-double

• 20-9-9 for Mac McClung, who struggled to even stay on a roster this year

• 46 for Cam Thomas, and yes I know he’s been going off since the Nets shipped Kyrie out, but FORTY SIX?

• 24 for Udonis Haslem, who broke Kareem’s 30+ year old record for oldest player to score 20

• 21 and 19 for Dominick Barlow. Who is Dominick Barlow?

• A triple-double for Theo Pinson, whose career averages are 2-1-1.

• 42 and 14 for Kenneth Lofton Jr, whose previous career high was 11.

• You had a Triple-double for Tre Mann, who has never had double figured in anything except points.

But none of those stats were as disgusting as the Dallas Mavericks being down to the Spurs  42-14 after one quarter, just two days after the order came down from on high for Jason Kidd to bench Luka and Kyrie and tank for a lottery pick when the team still had a shot at the Western Conference play-in. 

I don’t necessarily think the Mavs did the wrong thing by quitting. They were 10-18 after the Kyrie trade and clearly don’t have the defensive skill to compete. But I also don’t think quitters deserve a lottery pick, and the Mavs are putting all their eggs in the basket of their draft pick being in the top 10 so they don’t lose it to the Knicks

They aren’t guaranteed to get Kyrie back, and he skipped his exit interview with the team ahead of free agency. This draft pick is a Hail Mary at improving the team enough to keep Luka Doncic from forcing his way out.

But let’s talk about Luka, who has been marketed as the heir apparent to LeBron James when the King finally cedes his throne.

I know it wasn’t Luka’s choice to give up, but the Mavericks are only in a position to give up because two top-10 talents, Luka and Kyrie, weren’t enough to be mediocre, much less good.

If I’m Luka, and I care about my legacy and positioning as the man who will carry the NBA- why waste any time? If the Mavericks don’t luck into a top 3 pick, just force your way out now. You know next year’s Mavs are going to be fighting for a play-in spot all over again.

Especially when next year, all the NBA’s best players are going to put more emphasis on the regular season so they meet the 65-game minumum threshold to qualify for postseason awards. The unserious teams that floated around .500 this year are going to be next year’s trampolines- getting jumped allnover by everyone that’s actually any good.

And maybe that 65-game threshold is exaclty what’s needed to make sure that days like Aprile 9th, 2023 never happen again. When guys that typically struggle to get 40 minutes played in one month are getting 40 minutes in one game.

Let that sink in

Drafting a Running Back in the First Round Might Not Be Smart, But it’s Dumb to Pass on Bijan Robinson

bijan robinson

We need to talk about Texas running back Bijan Robinson and his place in the NFL.

Bijan Robinson might be the most talented prospect in the country. 

Yes, Jalen Carter and Anthony Richardson are athletic freaks. Yes, Bryce Young can spin the ball like a young Russell Wilson. And yes, there are likely several future pro bowl defensive backs available… but how many players in the 2023 NFL Draft are going to enter the league as a probable top-15 talent at their position on day 1? 

That’s what Bijan Robinson is. One of the top talents in the world at his position on day one. One of the fastest, strongest, quickest, most agile and durable running backs in the league is right there for the taking.

In end-of-February mock drafts Daniel Jeremiah had Bijan at 19th overall. Todd McShay had him at 22. Before he came out and said he believed the Lions would select Bijan at 18, Mel Kiper had him at 26. And believe it or not, those are the optimists. NBC Sports, CBS Sports and USA Today all had mock drafts showing Bijan Robinson to the Buffalo Bills at 27, and Pro Football Network had him at pick 30!

The role of an NFL General Manager should be to find the best fit for their team that makes them as competitive as possible right away, while respecting the trends and formulas of the league’s winningest franchises. 

The trend for some time now has been to avoid taking running backs in the top end of the first round. In fact, since 2010, only seven running backs have been taken in the top 16 picks, and despite six of those seven players having Pro Bowl seasons to their name, almost every single one of them is still viewed as not having lived up to the expectations of where they were selected. 

Trent Richardson and CJ Spiller really only had one decent season to their name, so I get the criticism there.

Ezekiel Elliot is 43rd in all-time rushing yards through just seven seasons, and he’s currently without a team.

Todd Gurley and Melvin Gordon combined for five Pro Bowls, but Gurley was out of the league by age 26, and while Melvin Gordon just got a Super Bowl ring as a Chiefs practice squad player, he’s likely done in the NFL by age 29.

The two elite players in this category, Christian McCaffrey and Saquon Barkley, still have their own detractors despite all their success. Even though McCaffrey is the best pass catching back we’ve had in the league since Marshall Faulk, and Saquon has three 1,000 yard season and owns four different NFL records, people point to the injury history of both of these guys as the reason you wouldn’t want to invest a top pick in a running back.

Odds are, if you’re a top end running back, you’ll find yourself in the mix for a few Pro Bowls, and potentially be out of the league by age 30. We’ve decided there’s no value in that, but fans will happily watch their team reach for a quarterback, a position that has proved to be far more of a crapshoot over the same time period.

I’m not saying it’s right or wrong, but Bijan Robinson is definitely being set up to be a victim of the same mindset that saw zero running backs picked in last year’s first round, despite the top two running backs that were picked, Breece Hall and Kenneth Walker, both flashing Pro Bowl talent. 

Maybe it’s for the best. Maybe Bijan falling to Buffalo at 27 is the thing that finally puts Josh Allen and the Bills over the top. 

That’s great for the Bills if it happens, but the difference between going 27 to Buffalo, or 9th overall, where Buffalo took CJ Spiller back in 2010, is around 8 million dollars. 

That’s a lot of coin for a position that rarely reaches a second contract, much less a third. 

Whoever gets Bijan Robinson is going to get a special player. Someone who managed to become fourth on University of Texas’ all-time rushing list despite playing in just 31 games, and averaged more yards per carry than the three guys ahead of him on that list, including the great Ricky Williams. 

Any GM that has a need at running back, and passes on Bijan Robinson for the sake of modern roster building strategy, better hope they don’t come to regret it the same way that general managers do for the 43 times they passed on Heisman winner Derrick Henry.

Let that sink in.

Here Are The Three Things New NCAA President Charlie Baker Needs To Put All His Energy Into Fixing

There are three things that new NCAA president Charlie Baker needs to be laser focused on. Let’s talk about them. 

Charlie Baker replaces Mark Emmert, a University of Washington alum that spent 13 years setting money on fire and ineffectively fighting the cultural tide. I’m not saying that being a University of Washington alum is the reason Mark Emmert was such a horrible president. I’m just saying that he went there… and happened to be a horrible president.

We don’t need to re-litigate the sins of Mark Emmert. At this point, we need solutions. Is Charlie Baker ready to meet the moment, or will he be another empty suit whose presence you only notice when he’s standing in the way of common sense progress?

Only time will tell, but for right now, let’s get into the three things Baker needs to make a priority right out of the gate.

First, Charlie Baker needs to work with the major conference presidents to stabilize them. The Pac-12 is on the brink of collapse, the ACC is headed for major defections, and the Big 12 seems to be egging on the demise of everyone just to paint itself as comparatively stable, even though they just lost their two biggest draws in Texas and Oklahoma. In the mean time, you have an escalating arms race between the SEC and the Big Ten that is being egged on by television network partners.

Charlie Baker isn’t going to be able to reign in the cancerous grow-or-die mindset that is fueling these divisions, but he certainly should have the pull to bring the conference commissioners together to outline a Marvel-style multi-phased vision for the future of the NCAA. If the group has common goals to work toward together, or course they’ll always default to their own self interest, but at least they’ll be expending energy on common goals as well. 

Second, the transfer portal is a mess and Baker needs to institute some emergency measures to help figure it out. There are common sense solutions that have been floated ever since it was evident that the transfer portal was turning into a kitchen junk drawer, where things go in but never come out, and it’s time to explore putting those solutions into place. 

They had a good start with allowing teams to go above the 25-scholarship limit per class this year, but they can and should do more.

Just this week, Oklahoma State’s Mike Gundy floated the idea of high school athletes signing time-specific contracts. So a five star recruit has the ability to come in on a one-year deal for a scholarship, while a three-star project player can sign a four-year scholarship deal that empowers the athlete to be able to stay even if the coaching staff wants to push them into the portal. 

Other athlete-friendly possible solutions include ditching signing day, so that an athlete can sign with a school whenever they are ready, instead of feeling pressured to fill in a spot at a school that might not be the best fit for them based on an arbitrary deadline. This would end the ridiculous practice of uncommittable offers. 

The NCAA also has the ability to institute and allow a longevity stipend that would monetarily reward players for spending 3-4 years in one place and earning a degree. 

The third thing that Charlie Baker needs to get figured out is a national plan to institute Name, Image and Likeness guidelines that allow players to capitalize on themselves the same way that their schools capitalize on them. It’s not Baker’s fault that the NCAA spent millions and millions of dollars trying to block NIL instead of shape it, but this is his problem now. And yes, I get that Baker is beholden to the institutions themselves, and not necessarily the athletes, but those things don’t have to be in opposition. They both need each other. 

If schools are worried about losing corporate sponsorship dollars directly to the athletes, get the schools on board with directing 10% of any program sponsorship dollar directly to an NIL fund that pays out evenly to all members of that sport. If schools are worried about different states having different laws, work with a coalition of people that represent the interest of all parties involved to hand over completed legislation to the representative of your choice to sponsor. 

Don’t let an 82-year-old senator that longs for the days of leather helmets or underhand free throws write a bill. 

Charlie Baker has a lot on his plate, but as long as he stays sharp on protecting the welfare of student athletes so that we never have another Larry Nassar or Jerry Sandusky harming people over a prolonged period of time, the actual things he needs to accomplish to be considered a success are fairly simple. 

Stabilize the major conferences. Address the issues that have caused the transfer portal traffic jam. Guide the country’s NIL strategy in a way that is mutually beneficial for the athletes and schools alike. 

If Charlie Baker can do those three things, he’ll be as good as Mark Emmert was bad. 

Let that sink in.

Don’t Listen to the Noise- Angel Reese and Caitlin Clark’s Beef is Good for Women’s Basketball

We need to talk about whether or not you all collectively have the balls to enjoy women’s basketball. Instead of enjoying a moment that was great for sports and Womens basketball we end up talking about race and bad takes about Caitlin Clark and Angel Reese.

In case you weren’t one of the ten million people watching LSU beat Iowa for the 2023 women’s national championship, or one of the 20 million people with a hot take on Angel Reese taunting Caitlin Clark in the game’s closing moments, here’s the background:

LSU and their controversial and wild dressing coach, Kim Mulkey, overcame a weak non-conference schedule and an early SEC tournament exit to power through the NCAA tournament as a 3-seed on their way to the championship game.

On the other side, you have one of the best young female shooters of all time in Caitlin Clark, who led Iowa to a 2-seed and a stunning upset of South Carolina in the Final Four. 

Caitlin Clark is as good of a trash talker as she is a player. She was praised for waving off South Carolina’s Raven Johnson, who was wide open at the three point line, during Iowa’s Final Four win. And cameras caught her telling Kobe Bryant  protégé and Louisville star Hailey Van Lith to “shut up” during Iowa’s elite 8 win. Plus, there’s the whole John Cena “You can’t see me” celebration she does to show up opponents.

That brings us to LSU sophomore forward Angel Reese, who did Clark’s signature celebration repeatedly at the end of the national championship game, as well as pointed to her ring finger.

People were mad as hell

But about what? These are elite level players, and like it or not, trash talk is part of the game. 

How did we get to the point where the people that used to say “kitchen” to anyone who praised the entertainment value of women’s basketball, decided that not only do they like women’s basketball, but that they needed to adopt the game’s best long range assassin as their personal damsel in distress?

Caitlin Clark addressed the situation on Outside The Lines and said she respects Angel Reese and doesn’t think she should be criticized at all. So if she isn’t upset why should you be?

How are black folks supposed to feel about the disproportionate response to Angel Reese’s behavior? Or how should anybody with common sense feel for that matter?

It feels eerily similar to the reactions that call Tom Brady a fiery competitor when he breaks a tablet or cusses out a teammate, but Odell Beckham Jr. punches a kicking net, and he’s a cancer.

Angel Reese’s actions are no different than Baker Mayfield planting the Oklahoma flag, Dikembe Mutumbo wagging his finger after a block, or Reggie Miller doing the choke symbol vs the Knicks. Are those the most gentle and “sportsmanship-filled” moments in the world? Nope. But sports involve emotion and trash talk. When you talk trash you don’t get to determine how it comes back.

This tournament generated so much buzz that there are no losers! Well, except for the folks like Dave Portnoy who decided to defend the setback of his great white hope by calling Angel Reese a piece of shit, and admitted basketball ignoramus Keith Olbermann, who called Reese a moron. It’s fair to call them losers.

These women don’t need you, or anyone, to defend them. They need you to remember how much fun this tournament was, and they need to schedule a non-conference tournament with Louisville, LSU, Iowa, Miami, and South Carolina.

I’m hyped right now thinking about how mad Caitlin Clark is going to be all offseason. I can’t wait to see what Angel Reese does with the attention she garnered. And you know Dawn Staley and South Carolina are sitting at home thinking bad thoughts about what they’re going to do to everyone else next year because their perfect record and chance to repeat got ruined. 

Women’s basketball is having a moment. And maybe part of that moment is the sport being subjected to the same hot take idiocy that surrounds all of America’s other favorite pastimes, but it would be great if we didn’t ruin a good thing before it has a chance to become great. 

Let that sink in.

No, Michael Jordan Selling the Hornets Not A Strike Against His Legacy

Jordan hornets

We need to talk about how selling his majority stake in the Charlotte Hornets affects Michael Jordan’s legacy. 

Long story short, it doesn’t affect a damn thing.

If you don’t have time for this, I get it. I’m taking time out of my day for both of us to add cement to a legacy that’s already made of a hundred million tons of stone.

But last week, Colin Cowherd responded to the news that Michael Jordan is offloading his majority stake in the Charlotte Hornets to Gamestop short-squeeze victim Gabe Plotkin and Atlanta Hawks minority owner Rick Schnall.

And you might want to buckle up for this scorching hot take. 

Cowherd said that Michael Jordan’s mythology as the most unassailably great basketball player of all time crumbles without Scottie Pippen and Phil Jackson, because he failed as a baseball player, failed with the Washington Wizards, and has now failed to turn the Charlotte Hornets into a winning franchise before cashing out. 


First of all, the “if a thing didn’t happen, it never would have happened” argument is both always true and never true. Of course if things were different they would be different. But they’re not. 

Second, on what planet does Michael Jordan having a relatively respectable run as a double-A right fielder at 31-years old after 13 years away from the game constitute a mark against his legacy of greatness on the basketball court? Baseball is an insanely hard sport. There were six other players on the 1994 Birmingham Barons that hit under .240 on the season, and half of them were major leaguers at some point. 

Third, no the Wizards didn’t win a championship with Michael Jordan as a 37-year old first year general manager. But do you know what they did do when a 38-year old Michael Jordan that had been retired for three years stepped onto the court and replaced hall of fame shooting guard Mitch Richmond? 

The Wizards almost doubled their win total. That’s a wild accomplishment that doesn’t get talked about enough. And it’s only a failure if your only measurement for success is perfection. 

Last, the idea that someone could quintuple a quarter of a billion dollar investment in less than 15 years is insane. The only thing more insane would be to call that return on investment a failure.

The Charlotte Hornets not being a good basketball team has nothing to do with Michael Jordan, and everything to do with the fact that the Hornets have been stuck in mid-lottery hell while being a medium market team. 

The only way to get good in the NBA is to either exist in a major market as a major free agent or trade destination, or hit the lottery jackpot with a can’t miss player. The third way- the rarest of all the ways, is to be a mid-market team that takes a risk on a guy from overseas and has it pay off, like Denver with Nikola Jokic or Milwaukee with Giannis Antetokounmpo.

Charlotte has had one pick inside the top 9 in the last nine years. And that was LaMelo Ball. Are we really calling Michael Jordan a failure because he earned a cool billion dollars while spending the majority of the last decade on the wrong end of lottery ball bounces?

My kids are athletes, and I always make sure to tell them that as Teddy Roosevelt said, as the man or woman in the arena, “It is not the critic who counts.”

And as Rudyard Kipling wrote, If you can be lied about, without dealing in lies, or be hated, without giving way to hating…  yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it.”

When we attempt to define success and failure in multiple arenas in which we’ve never possessed the talent nor opportunity to even begin to compete, especially when what we call failures aren’t failures at all- that’s what creates what Teddy Roosevelt called a “cold and timid soul”

Let that sink in.

Like It Or Not, Bronny James Is A First Round NBA Talent

Bronny James

We need to talk about Bronny James. 

I tried to tell you. I’ve had a front row seat to the evolution of LeBron James’ oldest son as a basketball prospect. And when I say front row seat I mean literally. Our kids were classmates.

He’s good. And while I don’t always agree with what a recruiting service deems an elite prospect, 247, Rivals, On3- they’re all in the right for having Bronny shoot up the rankings. 

You might be saying to yourself- “George, you played in the NFL, what do you know about hoops?”

Listen, before there was football George, there was basketball George.

I know what a good player looks like. I played with and against plenty of them. 

You might want to believe that Bronny is just getting the juice because his dad is LeBron, and his name drives clicks, but this kid is a 6-2, naturally gifted shooter with an enormous, effortless vertical. Are those not the exact things people love about Ja Morant?

Bronny has always played against the toughest competition available, has always had a target on his back, and still manages to shake off pressure and let the game come to him. 

In the McDonald’s All-American game, if someone wanted to make their name shutting down “the prince,” that would have been the time to do it. But instead, Bronny went 5/8 from deep, and hit a clutch corner three with a minute left that gave the West a late lead.

Bronny can play point. He can play off the ball. He can drive. He can slash. He can spot up. Like it or not, Bronny is completely worthy of the grade he’s getting.

I’m not saying he’ll be a lottery pick. He still needs to prove himself at the college level, hopefully at Oregon, and there’s always an international name or two that bumps talented college players down a spot or two come NBA Draft time, but you’d have to be a hater to deny that Bronny James is an NBA talent.

They say don’t hate the player, hate the game, but if you hate Bronny James as a prospect, you must hate the game. 

And if you like Bronny, wait until you see Bryce

LeBron might be 38, but King James’ Monarchy is in good hands. 

Let that sink in.

People Like Me Are Watching the Women’s Tournament in Record Numbers. You Should Be Watching, Too.

We need to talk about the ratings the NCAA women’s tournament is getting. 

That’s right, I said we need to talk about women’s basketball. 

If you’re one of those cornballs that tweets “kitchen” in the mentions of any WNBA highlight, you might want to close this internet window and go spend some time staring directly into the sun, or doing whatever else caused you to act so damaged.

For the rest of you, let’s get into the numbers. So far, the women’s tournament has an average viewership of 660,000 per game– a 42-percent viewership increase from 2022.

ESPN says the Sweet 16 round’s 1.2 million viewers per-game is a 73 percent jump over last season, and the women’s Elite Eight viewership averaged 2.2 million- up 43 percent over 2022

And get this- ESPN says the Iowa/Louisville Elite 8 game drew more viewers than any NBA game they’ve broadcasted this season. Most importantly for ESPN, before all these ratings went gangbusters, Disney Advertising sold out of in-game sponsorship opportunities. Capital One, Nissan and others are getting crazy bang for their buck right now, and you can guarantee there will be a priority for next year’s ad slots thanks to these ratings.

Other people watching something isn’t necessarily a reason you should watch. The reason you should be watching is that the athletes are as good as they’ve ever been, and the storylines are as entertaining as they’ve ever been. The top teams are fun, flashy, talk trash, star in commercials, and play the game the right way. 

I’ll never understand people that say they’ll never watch a women’s game because it’s an inferior product- Keeping up with the Kardashians isn’t the same quality as Breaking Bad, but they both do numbers because they’re both entertaining. 

Iowa’s Caitlin Clark dropped a 40-point triple double. Are you not entertained?

Louisville’s Hailey Van Lith, a former Kobe Bryant protégé, bounced Texas out of the sweet 16 and talked trash in the handshake line after the game. Are you not entertained?

The Cavinder Twins, formerly of Fresno State, propelled Miami to an Elite 8 while leading the charge on all that is possible for capitalizing on your own Name, Image and Likeness- plus Haley Cavinder shushing 1-seed Indiana after a game-sealing free throw is as cold blooded as it gets. Are you not entertained?

Kim Mulkey’s insane outfits every time LSU takes the court. Angel Reese with six different 20-point, 20-rebound performances this season. Dawn Staley turning South Carolina into the new UConn with 42-straight wins. Virginia Tech making their first ever Final Four behind 6-6 Liz Kitley, the most consistent player in the country over the last three years. How can you not be entertained?

You can stay sleeping on the women’s tournament if you want to, but why would you want to? 

This Friday night you can catch me watching LSU/Va Tech and Iowa/South Carolina. Tune in with me. You just might enjoy yourself. 

Let that sink in.

The Panthers’ Choice at #1 is Clear- Bryce Young No Matter What.

bryce young

We need to talk about what the Carolina Panthers should do with the #1 pick.

Last week the Carolina Panthers made sure that absolutely zero fans of their team own a current player’s jersey by sending wide receiver DJ Moore and several draft picks to Chicago for the #1 pick in the upcoming NFL Draft.

The Panthers need help. Owner David Tepper pulled the plug on Head Coach Matt Rhule last year just 38 games into a seven year contract. They traded Christian McCaffrey last year. They gave up on trying to make both Sam Darnold and Baker Mayfield their quarterback of the future. 

Things are so bad for the Panthers that they even bailed out of plans to build an $800 million practice facility in nearby Rock Hill, South Carolina, with Tepper’s real estate company declaring bankruptcy in the middle of construction.

Now, after deciding to hire Frank Reich to lead the team moving forward, both Reich and the Panthers are in desperate need of the one thing that has kept them from having consistent success in this league over the last few years- a franchise quarterback.

But which one?

Look guys, don’t overthink this. Yeah, you had lightning in a bottle with Cam Newton, but you’re not going to recreate it with Anthony Richardson out of Florida.

You could have gotten that Cam Newton feeling back by pursuing Lamar Jackson, but you wanted a fresh start. It’s not what I would have done, but I respect it. 

And I know that there are some people that believe Panthers QB coach Josh McCown is the next Bill Belichick, but even old Bill is looking mighty human without a Hall of Fame quarterback under center. 

Rumor has it that Frank Reich believes Ohio State’s CJ Stroud should be the Panthers QB of the future, while owner David Tepper is trending more toward selecting Alabama’s Bryce Young.

I haven’t said this often, but this time I’m going to say it loudly and say it with my chest. 

David Tepper is right. 

The Panthers need someone low maintenance. Someone that won’t run into danger. Someone that makes all the right reads, and gets the ball out quickly. 

This is simple, Carolina.

All Bryce Young needs to be an NFL star is time and patience. I know Josh McCown is in the building, but he’s not going to suit up if Young isn’t ready to compete on day 1. 

So I want to applaud the Panthers for going out and getting Andy Dalton– Someone that can give you 8-10 solid starts while showing Bryce the ropes of what it takes on a day-to-day basis to be a successful quarterback in this league. 

And when Dalton has given you everything they have left in the tank, let Bryce loose, and give your fan base some things to look forward to as you head into the next offseason. 

I don’t begrudge the Panthers if they kick the tires on CJ Stroud. He’s an elite prospect, and he has the one thing Bryce Young doesn’t- size.

But on Draft Day, you better pull that post-it out of your pocket like Kevin Costner and take the one player that can give your franchise and its fans hope for the next decade plus.

Bryce Young no matter what. 

Let that sink in.

Eric Bienemy Bet On Himself With Move to Commanders. I’m Betting On Him Too.


We need to talk about Eric Bienemy betting on himself and moving to a play calling role with the Washington Commanders

Year after year, the goalposts were moved for Eric Bienemy. 

He reportedly interviewed for 17 of the 23 NFL head coaching job openings since 2019. And unless he was walking into the room with drool on his chin and his fly unzipped, the collective decision to hire anyone but him has become one of the more frustrating and fascinating aspects of the yearly coaching carousel. 

And if he was out here tanking interviews, you can absolutely guarantee that the NFL’s premier newsbreakers like Ian Rapoport and Adam Schefter would assist any owner or general manager in anonymously slandering Bienemy- and that just hasn’t happened.

I’ve talked at length before that it’s not as simple as racism. People hire who they’re comfortable with, whether through word of mouth, prior work experience, or a cookie cutter idea of what a good leader looks like. You’re far more likely to get an owner to sign off on a hire because of the way an interviewee makes them feel than because of that candidate’s offensive or defensive schematics. 

Think about the way we elect politicians. The best person to enact positive policy change is rarely the person we’d be most comfortable having a beer with, but that’s an enormous factor in the way that we vote. 

The “likeability” factor influencing our decisions is probably a good reason why so many things in this country are broken. And it’s definitely a reason why there’s an average of a 20% turnover year over year in the NFL’s head coaching ranks.

These rich old men would rather pay multi year buyouts to men that remind them of their grandsons than give a shot to someone that has been a part of 10 consecutive winning seasons, eight consecutive playoff appearances, five consecutive AFC Championships, and three different Super Bowl runs. 

Around now is when I’ll have people start bursting through the wall to tell me that “Eric Bienemy doesn’t call plays!” First of all, it’s a collaborative effort in Kansas City. Just ask Doug Pederson, who got hired by the Eagles after sharing play calling duties with Reid. Or ask Matt Nagy. Or ask Brad Childress. 

It’s extremely common to hire a head coach that isn’t the primary play caller, and it’s certainly more common to hire someone that didn’t call the offense in their previous job than it is to be a successful head coach that does call your team’s offense! Andy Reid, Sean McVay and Kyle Shanahan are the exception, not the rule. 

Maybe the Colts and Cardinals hires will work out. The Colts are in need of someone that can get the most out of a young quarterback, and so maybe it makes sense for them to go with Shane Steichen, who helped Jalen Hurts become a Super Bowl caliber player over the last two years. 

But Arizona? They went from giving offensive “genius” Kliff Kingsbury a five year extension last year, to hiring a defensive minded head coach whose defense gave up about a billion second half points on the Cardinals home field earlier in the week. Maybe they figured that Kyler Murray already showed enough contempt for one of Patrick Mahomes former coaches, but the difference between Bienemy and Kingsbury is that one of them spends every January on a beach and one spends every January on a sideline. 

And one of them won more games at State Farm Stadium this season than the other did in eight tries this season. Yikes.

At the end of the day, Eric Bienemy was forced to leave a great job, working for a great man, and coaching one of the greatest talents we’ve ever seen, just to prove to his doubters that he checks more boxes than many of his peers. 

It’s hard to feel sorry for someone whose fallback plan of staying with the Chiefs would be most coaches’ fantasy, but he’s walking into a Washington Commanders situation where the offense was actually good last year. Seriously, look it up. Despite all the issues at QB, and the inability to finish drives, and the turnover problems, this was a team that moved the ball well despite being in a division with three playoff defenses. 

Bienemy is walking a tightrope for a traditionally snakebitten franchise, with no guarantee that success is going to earn him the opportunity he’s looking for. 

You have to respect his decision, and the risk involved. There’s gonna be a whole lot of NFL GM’s and fan bases rooting for his failure simply to justify past decisions. And even if he does succeed in Washington D.C., the only thing he’ll be earning is an opportunity to have those same people root for him to fail as a head coach, all to say that they’ve been right all along. 

But for every hater, like his former RB Shady McCoy, Bienemy has legions of people like me, and Patrick Mahomes, that are much more interested in seeing him prove the doubters wrong and carve out a place for himself as a head coach in this league.

And if that day ever comes, the “I told you so’s” are going to rain from the sky like Super Bowl confetti. And I’ll be here for it.

Let that sink in.