The NFL QB Carousel: Breaking Down What Every Team Will Do At QB

Cam Newton of the New England Patriots

Round and round here we go, where it stops, nobody knows! The NFL QB Carousel is in full swing as free agency starts next week.

Teams need a good quarterback to compete for a Super Bowl. Correction, teams need the right quarterback to compete for a Super Bowl. For those saying “No shit, Sherlock,” you’d be surprised with how many teams don’t understand this concept!

It’s not hyperbole to say this has been a wild few months at the quarterback position. It almost resembless an NBA offseason with all of the trades. Matt Stafford is now a Ram, Jared Goff is a Lion, and Carson Wentz is a Colt.

Between free agency and the draft, more teams are going to address the quarterback position. Here are my QB projections for every team.

  • Kansas City Chiefs – Patrick Mahomes
  • Tampa Bay Bucs – Tom Brady
  • Buffalo Bills – Josh Allen
  • Green Bay Packers – Aaron Rodgers
  • Los Angeles Chargers – Justin Herbert
  • Cincinnati Bengals – Joe Burrow
  • Cleveland Browns – Baker Mayfield
  • Baltimore Ravens – Lamar Jackson
  • Tennessee Titans – Ryan Tannehill
  • Arizona Cardinals – Kyler Muray
  • Minnesota Vikings – Kirk Cousins
  • Jacksonville Jaguars – Trevor Lawrence*

*I’m putting the Jags on this list because there is a 99.9% chance they take Trevor Lawrence.

  • Pittsburgh Steelers – Benjamin Roethlisberger
  • New York Giants – Daniel Jones
  • Las Vegas Raiders – Derek Carr
  • Los Angeles Rams – Matthew Stafford
  • Detroit Lions – Jared Goff
  • New England Patriots – Cam Newton
  • Indianapolis Colts – Carson Wentz
  • Dallas Cowboys – Dak Prescott

That leaves us with 12 teams who must decide on QB for the upcoming season. Some of these teams will take care of their needs in the draft. Others will try to make a blockbuster trade in hopes of changing their franchise. The biggest wildcard is Deshaun Watson and the Texans. There is no chance he’s the starting QB for the Texans on opening day. If that’s the case, where will he end up?

Atlanta Falcons – Matt Ryan

Matt Ryan is still good enough to start in the NFL. He’s your classic fantasy QB who gets you 300 yards, 3 TDs, and 2 INTs. The Falcons are in salary hell because Ryan and Jones combine for over $63m of their cap. Will they try to move Ryan? I doubt it. As I said, he’s still capable of leading a team to the playoffs. However, they may draft Ryan’s successor with the fourth pick in the draft.

New Orleans Saints – Jameis Winston / Taysom Hill

My wish was finally granted. Jameis Winston upgraded his eyesight!

This all comes down to Drew Brees. After losing to the Bucs, it appeared as if Brees played his last game for the Saints. However, Brees is now working out like a guy who wants to play again. There’s a difference between doing some mobility stretches in the morning and pushing sleds up the street. Does he want to make a comeback? My gut tells me Brees retires, which means the Saints should sign Jameis and keep Taysom Hill as the backup.

Chicago Bears – Alex Smith

The Bears are screwed if they don’t acquire Watson, Russell Wilson, or one of the top QBs out of college. Seriously, what can they do if all else fails? I love Mitch Trubisky (the person) and I actually believe he’s a competent QB. However, he’s not a franchise-changing player. Nick Foles is an expensive backup QB, not a starter. If they can’t trade for Wilson or Watson, I would sign Alex Smith and Trubisky to one-year deals. Then, fire Ryan Pace and (possibly) Matt Nagy and draft a QB next year.

Washington Football Team – Ryan Fitzpatrick

Once again, we’ll see if the WFT can draft a top QB or trade for Watson. However, Riverboat Ron Rivera and Ryan Fitzpatrick were made for each other. Fitzy would love to sling it to Terry McLaurin and Logan Thomas. This seems like a perfect fit.

Philadelphia Eagles – Jalen Hurts

History tends to repeat itself. Will the Eagles draft another quarterback to compete with their starter? It didn’t work well for Wentz, let me tell ya that! The Eagles need to rebuild. Draft weapons, take care of the offensive line, and see if Jalen Hurts is “the guy.”

Seattle Seahawks – Russell Wilson

Hahahahahahahahahahahaahahahahahahahahahahahahaha

Imagine having a top-five QB and trading him away because you couldn’t take care of him? Couldn’t be my team! In all seriousness, the Hawks should jump in the Pacific Ocean and never come back if they trade Russell Wilson.

San Franciso 49ers – Sam Darnold

I’ve never wavered from this prediction. If the Jets trade Sam Darnold, it will be to the San Francisco 49ers. Sorry Jimmy G, but your health is an issue. If you can’t stay on the field, then you can’t be a franchise QB. Those are the rules. Kyle Shanahan is going to unlock Darnold and remind us all why we loved the SoCal QB out of USC.

Carolina Panthers – Teddy Bridgewater/Trey Lance

It’s no surprise that the Panthers want to make a splash with a new owner who is not afraid to spend money. Teddy B is a serviceable QB, but the Panthers will be looking to upgrade. If they don’t get Watson, the draft is where they’ll make their mark and take a guy like Trey Lance.

New York Jets – Zach Wilson

The Mormon Manziel is coming to New York City if and only if Watson gets traded elsewhere. Zach Wilson’s stock is soaring as he continues to garner comparisons to Aaron Rodgers. Pair him with some WRs and another tackle and the Jets will be much improved in 2021.

Miami Dolphins – Deshaun Watson

Miami, this is the move to make. You have the ammo to make the move with the first-round picks. You have the QB to send back to Houston in Tua Tagovailoa. With Flores as the foreseeable coach in the future, Watson would be happy as a member of the Dolphins organization for the next decade.

Houston Texans – Tua Tagovailoa

See above. This is not personal, Tua. It’s just business. I like Tua, but Watson is the superior talent right now.

Denver Broncos – Drew Lock/Justin Fields

Drew Locks has shown flashes of potential, but he’s not the guy. It’s time to go back to the drawing board. Denver will most likely trade up in the draft to take a QB like Justin Fields. Let Fields compete with Lock and hopefully (for John Elway’s sake), Fields comes out on top.

What should your team do at QB? Let me know in the comments below or tweet us, @unafraidshow.

The Packers Are A Good Team That Refuses To Be Great

Aaron Rodgers Green Bay Packers

In last season’s NFC Championship Game, the San Francisco 49ers throttled the Green Bay Packers, 37-20, in a game that was never close. Aaron Rodgers didn’t have his game A-game, throwing 2 INTs and losing 1 fumble. The bigger story belonged to the Packers defense, who allowed 264 rushing yards and 4 touchdowns.

Despite a disappointing end to the season, the Packers won a total of 14 games, which is pretty damn good. With a healthy Rodgers, the Packers have the foundation for a great team. They’re only a few pieces away from being an elite team.

Picture this scenario. The Packers know what they need to improve as a team. Wide receiver and defensive linemen were the three positions of need heading into the offseason and the draft. Imagine knowing what positions you need to improve as a team and drafting none of those players. That is exactly what the Packers did in the draft.

https://sports.nbcsports.com/2020/04/26/green-bay-packers-trade-up-for-jordan-love-at-no-26-in-2020-nfl-draft/

If the shareholders of the Packers could make managerial decisions, all 361,311 people would fire the GM, Brian Gutekunst. If the Packers wanted to draft a backup QB for Rodgers in the later rounds, no one would bat an eye. Not only did the Packers take a quarterback in the first round, but they traded up to draft one.

Can someone remind Green Bay’s front office that Rodgers still plays quarterback for the Packers? Rodgers may be on the decline from his MVP seasons, but don’t mistake that for a true regression. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. This season, Rodgers has thrown for 1948 yards, 20 TDs, and 2 INTs. The yards may be down, but most of that can be attributed to the emergence of Aaron Jones, who’s tied for sixth in rushing TDs with 5 despite missing two games.

It’s hard to watch how Green Bay struggles to surround Rodgers with the necessary talent to compete and not compare it to what the Bucs have done with Tom Brady. The Bucs know their window to win is small and Brady might be there for two years. The future is now for the Bucs, and they’re putting all of their eggs in the Brady basket, and rightfully so. The Bucs brought in Leonard Fournette, Rob Gronkowski, and Antonio Brown to bolster an offense that already had Mike Evans and Chris Godwin. So far, it’s paid off as the 6-2 Bucs dismantled the Packers earlier this season, 38-10.

What did Rodgers get after leading his team to the NFC Championship? A quarterback that will never see a snap this season and a running back that hasn’t played yet.

What’s even crazier is the Packers had a chance to atone for their sins at the trade deadline. The offense needs a true number-two receiver to pair with Davante Adams. Will Fueller appeared to be the perfect fit. After Dalvin Cook destroyed the Packers defense with 4 total touchdowns, the Packers could use an interior lineman or linebacker to bolster their run defense.

What did the Packers do? Absolutely nothing. The Packers decided to play for the future and not surrender picks for Fueller, who would’ve provided a necessary deep threat to the offense. On the defensive side, the Packers appear to be quite alright with allowing 26.7 points per game. The Jets traded away Steve McLendon and Avery Williamson for late-round picks. Those two players would start right away for the Packers.

The Packers sit atop the NFC North with a 5-2 record and barring any catastrophic injuries, they should make the playoffs. Their inability to improve in positions of need is mind-boggling. Refusing to be great is the Packers’ weakness, and it will cost them come January.

Do you believe the Packers are a great team? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.

Adam Gase And The New York Jets: The Hero Gotham Deserves And Needs

Adam Gase

In the iconic final scene from The Dark Knight, Jim Gordon explains to his son why Batman would take the fall for the death of Harvey Dent. Gordon said, “Because he’s the hero Gotham deserves, but not the one it needs right now.” For the New York Jets, Adam Gase is not a watchful protector nor a silent guardian. Despite his incompetence, Gase is the hero Gotham deserves and needs right now.

https://youtu.be/f4BrAtOKO3M

Make no mistake about it, Gase is an awful coach. The greatest trick Gase ever pulled was convincing a front office of his offensive prowess. Gase had one great year as a coordinator back in 2013 when Peyton Manning set the record for most touchdowns in a season as a member of the Denver Broncos. One could argue that most coaches with a brain could succeed with a healthy Peyton Manning.

When Gase doesn’t have Manning, it’s been a train wreck. Despite making the playoffs as the head coach of Dolphins in 2016, Gase’s team was towards the bottom half in total offense. In five seasons as a head coach, Gase’s offense has never been higher than 25th in total yards per game. Players like Ryan Tannehill, Devante Parker, Kenyan Drake, and Mike Gesicki broke out and improved once they left Gase’s system. Yet somehow, Manning convinced the Jets to hire a guy who constantly fought with ownership in Miami.

To quote Joe Beningo, “Oh, the pain, bro!” Poor Jets fans. I always love to make fun of Jets fans because they’re delusional and seem to think their team will make the playoffs every year. However, I wouldn’t wish Gase upon my worst enemy. Take a wild guess as to which team is currently last in total yards, yards per game, passing yards per game, total points, and points per game?

At least the coaching staff likes each other… never mind.

Sam Darnold has been given the right weapons to succeed and progress as a quarterback, right? You’re telling me that Breshad Perriman, Braxton Berrios, Jeff Smith, and Vyncint Smith don’t strike fear into opposing defenses? Jamison Crowder and Denzel Mims continue to battle injuries, Le’Veon Bell found a new team, and Robby Anderson looks like a stud. But who needs them?

In all seriousness, the Jets should be locked up for how they’ve treated Darnold. They’re killing the kid’s confidence every week. No quarterback could thrive with the Jets’ weapons. It’s an utter embarassment.

Jets fans, there is light at the end of the tunnel. This is going to be hard to understand, but in order to rise again, the Jets will need Gase to finish the season. The Jets need to hit rock bottom in order to get better and a season with zero to two wins will be as low as it can get. If the Jets finish the season with the worst record in the NFL, they’ll have an opportunity at the best quarterback prospect since Andrew Luck. His name is Trevor Lawrence.

I don’t believe the “Trevor Lawrence is returning to school” takes just yet. The same thing happened with Sam Darnold. Lawrence is focused on winning a National Championship. He’s not going to talk about the draft right now. If he ends up winning the title, I guarantee he will enter the draft. He would have nothing left to prove. Is it possible that Lawrence could pull an Eli Manning? Sure, but it’s highly unlikely.

It probably makes sense to fire Gase after this week’s game against the Chiefs, where the Jets are 21 point underdogs, but the Jets should let Gase coach the rest of the year. The worst thing that could happen is for the team to rally around the interim coach and win a few meaningless games. Both the Texans and Falcons fired their head coaches after a combined 0-9 start. Since then, the two teams have combined for a 3-3 record. Don’t risk winning a few games to disrupt their draft position. Fire Gase the minute the season ends. Imagine a coach like Eric Bieniemy or Joe Brady paired with Lawrence next year. That sounds like a great rebuild to me.

Losing sucks, but it’s a necessary evil for the Jets. The only way to ensure losing continues is to let Gase coach the team. The next time Gase marks down his chart on the sideline instead of watching the game, just remember that he won’t be coaching the team next year. It will get better, eventually.

Not a good tweet by me, but at least I’ve learned my lesson.

Should the Jets fire Adam Gase before the season ends? Leave your thoughts in the comments below or tweet us, @danny_giro.

Am I Crazy Or Did The Patriots Blow The Rob Gronkowski Trade?

Do you remember the “Derelicte Fashion Show” towards the end of Zoolander? In the climactic scene, Mugatu accuses Derek of using the same face for his three signature looks. Out of frustration, Mugatu screams, “I feel like I’m taking crazy pills!” Right now, I’m Mugatu and I’m taking crazy pills because I’m in the minority when I say the Patriots blew the Rob Gronkowski trade.

Yesterday, the beast they call “Gronk” became a Buccaneer when the Patriots traded him and a 7th rounder in exchange for a 4th rounder.

Gronkowski will join his friend and fellow Patriot castaway, Tom Brady, in “Tompa Bay.” I’d venture to say TB12 is pretty happy that he can throw to one of the best tight ends to ever play the game.

After the trade happened, I can’t help but think that the Patriots blew this trade. Gronk and a 7th round pick for a 4th round pick? That’s it? That’s all they could get for a 30-year-old tight end who essentially “redshirted” last season? This is Rob Gronkowski we’re talking about. This is the same player who has the most career postseason receiving yards by a tight end and became the only tight end to ever lead the league in receiving touchdowns with 17 in 2011. Has Gronk struggled these past few seasons? Absolutely, but I point to his health as the reason for his decline. Gronk is not going to score 17 TDs, but it’s not our of the question he could catch 7 or 8. With that being said, all the Pats could get in return was a fourth-round pick? I’m dumbfounded.

The major argument for those who support the trade revolves around the Pats’ “lack of leverage.” It’s clear the Gronkowski only wanted to play with Brady. If Gronk came back to the Pats, they would be on the books for $12M cap hit for a team that has little space, to begin with. Instead, the Pats traded him directly off of the reserve/retired list so it has no impact on their cap. Essentially, the Pats turned nothing into something by receiving a fourth-round pick in exchange for a previously retired player.

Plus, Drew Rosenhasus threw this trade in the spin zone by saying Gronk did the Pats favor. Huh?

Am I taking crazy pills? This is a bad trade. Why am I in the minority on this trade? Bill Belichick and the Patriots owned the rights to Rob Gronkowski. They have total control over where Gronk could end up. Once Gronk said he only wanted to play in Tampa, the same team that signed your franchise’s best player, the Pats had all the leverage in the world.

Think about it. If Tampa is the only option, why not force their hand if you’re the Patriots? If you want Gronk, you’re going to have to overpay for him. Why should the Pats give in to Gronk’s demands when he retired with a year left on his contract? The Bucs, who will do everything in their power to keep Brady happy, are not going to pull out of trade discussions for Gronk because the Pats wanted a little more in return. I’m not saying Mike Evans needed to come back in the trade. However, the Pats couldn’t get a 3rd rounder instead of a 4th?

What about adding in another 4th round pick in a later draft in addition to this year’s 4th round pick? Hell, the Pats couldn’t get OJ Howard and a 6th rounder in exchange for Gronk? I find it hard to believe that if the Pats asked for a little more compensation, the Bucs would say no. I get the “wanting to do right by a player,” but this is the same organization that cut a player 24 hours before they played in the Super Bowl. Since when does Bill B care about your feelings? He could have just held onto Gronk’s rights and wait for a better offer.

Maybe hardball doesn’t work with Gronk and he’s adamant on playing. If Gronk files for reinstatement, which puts the Pats on the books for over $10m, that’s even better. Screw the cap, the Pats have a great tight end again! In order for Gronk to earn his full payday, he has to play so the Pats offense would welcome the WWE 24/7 Champion with open arms. back with open arms.

Gronk may have lost a step, but he’s worth a lot more than a 4th round pick. If you think that’s his value, then I’ll continue to take my crazy pills.

Do you agree or disagree with the Gronk trade from the Patriots’ perspective? Leave your thoughts in the comments below or tweet me, @danny_giro.

Aaron Hernandez Documentary: Has Weaknesses, But Spotlights Concerns

Aaron Hernandez

Criticisms of Killer Inside: The Mind of Aaron Hernandez

Not Enough Focus

At times, the docu-series felt extremely sporadic. Yes, it was still compelling as they “uncovered” the secrets in Hernandez’ life. Nonetheless, each episode lacked focus. It bounced around too often and didn’t allocate time well. If “Killer Inside: The Mind of Aaron Hernandez” stuck to its focal points better in each installment, the documentary would improve.

Too Much Speculation and Not Enough Facts

Even though the documentary spanned 200 minutes, many aspects of “Killer Inside: The Mind of Aaron Hernandez” were shallow. It left viewers wanting more. Again, this was most likely due to the editing and story-line choices. With a better episode-by-episode focus, his story would unfold.

Additionally, Netflix’ access to speakers on the subject were likely very limited. This story involved high school, collegiate and professional football suspicions. Those are accusations against the giants of sports. Because of football’s power, it’s probable that many remained silent. With an underrepresented sources, the story can’t be completely told. For that reason, the docu-series hurt.

Dennis Sansoucie “Star Quarterback”

Speaking of sources, Dennis Sansoucie earned heavy criticism. He’s been called a liar, fake, greedy or just another looking for the spotlight. Coming from Dennis Sansoucie himself, Aaron Hernandez and him were both friends and young lovers. At one point, Sansoucie delcared that he and Hernandez were the two best players on the field. Quarterback and tight end. That point received the most condemnation.

Dennis Sansoucie’s Actual Stats

In his four years of high school, Sansoucie only managed four starts at quarterback. But, each of those starts came at the start of the 2005 season. He was their starting quarterback for four games. In those, he threw 11 touchdowns, nine of which went to Aaron Hernandez. On his short resume, Sansoucie also posted one start with nearly 300 yards (297) and five touchdowns.

Sep. 16, 2005New Britain Golden HurricanesL 23-53   
Sansoucie CompletionsPassing YardsTD-INTHernandez ReceptionsReceiving YardsTouchdowns
8-221702-031052
Sep. 23, 2005Bloomfield WarhawksW 28-7   
Sansoucie CompletionsPassing YardsTD-INTHernandez ReceptionsReceiving YardsTouchdowns
7-171012-14892
Sep. 30, 2005South Windor BobcatsW 9-12   
Sansoucie CompletionsPassing YardsTD-INTHernandez ReceptionsReceiving YardsTouchdowns
13-182975-171643
Oct. 7th, 2005Hartford Public OwlsL 13-39   
Sansoucie CompletionsPassing YardsTD-INTHernandez ReceptionsReceiving YardsTouchdowns
10-252052-061662
Oct. 16th, 2005Maloney SpartansW 40-13   
Sansoucie CompletionsPassing YardsTD-INTHernandez ReceptionsReceiving YardsTouchdowns
N/AN/AN/A92583
Matt Coyne CompletionsPassing YardsTD-INT   
14-243755-0  

Moreover, additional speculation came out surrounding Sansoucie’s junior season.

This would explain why Dennis Sansoucie felt that he was a star of the team, yet lacked a full season as quarterback. Whether or not this story is true, it gives light into Sansoucie’s reasoning. There are certainly many adults that look back into their high school days with glory. If Sansoucie lost his starting job because of an off-field issue, he would still think of himself as the star.

Strengths of Killer Inside: The Mind of Aaron Hernandez

After its January 15th release, “Killer Inside: The Mind of Aaron Hernandez” immediately gained popularity and intrigue. The three-part Netflix true crime documentary explores court cases and circumstances that could lead to those.

Overall, it was well received. “Killer Inside: The Mind of Aaron Hernandez” boasts:

You Can’t Turn it Off

On first watch, “Killer Inside: The Mind of Aaron Hernandez” is highly entertaining. It’s certainly binge-worthy and captures your attention immediately. We all want to know the whole story. Aaron Hernandez’ psyche is a an enthralling reason. There’s no watching just one episode. Instead, it compels every viewer to watch all three episodes in a row. For that, the Netflix documentary succeeds.

Access to Prison Phone Calls

Without a doubt, the highlight of “Killer Inside: The Mind of Aaron Hernandez” is hearing the phone calls from prison. Those phone calls give us a greater insight into Hernandez’ character. They’re personal, private, unfiltered. Viewers hear him talk to his fiance, daughter, mother, agent. It added a layer of realism to the story.

Most Importantly, Aaron Hernandez’ Story Raises Questions and Concerns

Homophobia in Football Culture

In the series, Dennis Sansoucie and Ryan O’Callaghan both discussed the plight of growing up as closeted gay men. Sansoucie talked about his and Hernandez’ fathers as men that would beat the gay out of a kid. And although the documentary speculated that Aaron Hernandez was “gay” instead of acknowledging other sexual orientations like bi-sexuality, it was still an important subject. Mental health is a massive issue in our society. Denying your own identity out of fear would derail anyone.

CTE

It’s the NFL’s biggest Boogie Man: CTE. Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy. The disease continues to appear in professional football. In a 2017 study published in the medical journal JAMA, the results were shocking. Of the 111 post-mortem brains of former NFL players, 110 had CTE. CTE plagues the well beings of current and former players. It’s symptoms include:

  • Memory Loss
  • Confusion
  • Impaired Judgment
  • Impulse Control Problems
  • Aggression
  • Depression
  • Parkisonism
  • Progressive Dementia
  • Suicidality

Do any of those symptoms sound like Aaron Hernandez? Completely. Does CTE excuse his actions? Of course not. However, would he be a murder if he didn’t have CTE? That is the million-dollar question. And that’s important not only for the lives of football players, but to the victims of criminal acts by those players.

Yes, the NFL says it’s doing its best to get ahead of this issue. But, as pointed out in this documentary, it starts long before the NFL. Additionally, how often has the league ignored player health and safety?

College and NFL Teams Make Injured Players Play

“My body is so fucked up… They banned that shit from the league saying you can only get that if you have a serious injury,” he said. “Guess who they gave that shit to every fucking game? Me.”

Aaron Hernandez, prison call with his fiance

Fill them up with pills or injections and put them out on the field. It’s a part of the game. Organizations want wins. Players want money. No player wants to be labeled as injury prone or soft. Adding to that, the next man up could always be the replacement. Injured players need to heal. Instead, due to a lack of integrity by teams, they are pushed onto the field to play sports most brutal game.

Football wrecks bodies. It’s a gladiator’s sport. Understanding it’s brutality, coaches and team medical staff need to support players. Player health and safety should be a top concern. But, wins secure jobs for coaches and staff. As a result, players need to play. Irregardless of injury. Why else would teams constantly refer to injuries as a “pain-tolerance” issue?

It becomes an especially-jarring concern when Aaron Hernandez stated that the Patriots gave him Toradol every single game. Again, the case of Aaron Hernandez showed why NFL players deserve better advocates. Whether it is mentoring mental, emotional or physical health, these athletes need help. They shouldn’t have to ask. And they certainly should have to commit suicide before football anwers.

Giants Hire Joe Judge As Next Head Coach. Now What?

Joe Judge

Actions speak louder than words, but saying the right things matter. That’s exactly how I feel after watching Joe Judge’s press conference. To the surprise of many including myself, the New York Giants hired Joe Judge as their next head coach.

To quote Snoop Dogg on The Breakfast Club, “Who?”

Judge is a 38-year-old coach who happened to work for two of the greatest coaches in football history: Nick Saban and Bill Belichick. If you ask me, that’s two of the best minds to learn something about football and how to be a head coach. Judge worked with the special teams in New England since 2012 and even worked with wide receivers this past season. (We’re not going to talk about that part.)

Did Judge become the Giants head coach via the process of elimination? Maybe. It’s clear the team was heavily interested in Matt Rhule, but the former Baylor coach went to Carolina after being offered a contract worth 7 years, $60 million, which the Giants declined to match.

However, when watching the Judge press conference, you can tell why the Giants were blown away with one of Belichick’s disciples. Discipline, work ethic, and accountability are three things the Giants lacked during the Ben McAdoo and Pat Shurmur eras. McAdoo and Shurmur didn’t exactly inspire confidence in fans and they would be two of the last coaches I would want to be stuck in a foxhole with at battle.

However, Judge makes you want to run through the nearest brick wall.

From an introductory standpoint, (Joe) Judge hit a home run. It’s clear he wants to turn things around by focusing on the fundamentals, finding well-disciplined players, and playing hard on both sides of the ball.

This all sounds great. It’s every fans’ wet dream. However, at the end of the day, it’s just words and what the Giants need are actions.

Daniel Jones, Saquon Barkley, Sterling Shephard, Evan Engram, and Darius Slayton is a nice, emerging offensive core. That’s a good start. Now, protecting Daniel Jones with competent offensive tackles is a priority.

However, the bad is bad and most of it is on defense. The Giants have zero pash rushers. (If anyone says Leonard Williams, then you can count, on me, waiting for you in the parking lot.) Big Blue needs linebackers desperately and the secondary has more questions than a game of “Clue.”

Plus, there’s another problem and that problem is named Dave Gettleman.

I’m not going to waste time on Gettleman and his deficiencies because I don’t want to beat a dead horse.

All I want from the Judge and the Giants is to put together a plan. That’s it. It sounds so simple, but the last couple of seasons have been so off-the-rails that a unified plan is exactly what this team needs. Protect Jones, build a defense, and honestly, just play hard. If the Giants struggle this year, but play like the Dolphins did for Brian Flores this past season, I’ll be ecstatic for the future.

The ball is your court, Joe Judge.

Follow me on Twitter, @danny_giro.

2019 Apple Cup Full Breakdown: WSU Fizzles and UW Dominates

WSU Started Out Hot

Even though the Apple Cup was in Seattle, the Washington State Cougars began with a bang. They took the ball 81 yards down the field on a patient, 13-play drive. Capping the drive off with a Max Borghi one-yard touchdown, WSU looked great.

Then, the Cougars defense sacked Jacob Eason on his first offensive play. They held strong and forced the Huskies to a three-and-out on their first possession. Ball goes back to the Cougs and they’re already leading 7-0.

The stage was set for a WSU upset in the Apple Cup. Anthony Gordon looked comfortable, patient and was willing to take what the defense gave him. Mike Leach schemed up open looks and it was perfect weather for the Air Raid offense. 41 degrees, sunny and no wind.

But, everything changed after that.

Anthony Gordon’s Dreadful Apple Cup Performance

Although Gordon’s 103.0 Passing Efficiency Rating against Utah in Week 5 was poor, that was at least against an elite defense and the Pac-12’s best team. But, even though the Washington Huskies played exceptionally well, they are no Utah. Somehow, the Huskies held Gordon to 308 yards and zero touchdowns on 62 attempts, while intercepting two of his passes. So why did Gordon struggle so much in this Apple Cup?

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Offensive Line Issues

Up until the Apple Cup, Washington State ranked first in the FBS in Sack Rate, per footballoutsiders. Their 2.1-percent Sack Rate was phenomenal. Keeping Anthony Gordon upright was standard procedure. Just 13 sacks on 585 attempts. Their line was top-notch.

However, against the Huskies, they fell apart. Washington consistently pressured Gordon and sacked him five times. In just one game, they accounted for 28-percent of all sacks against WSU this season. Joe Tryon, Edeguan Ulofoshio and Ryan Bowman took Gordon down for negative-45 yards and a forced fumble on their five sacks.

Even more impressive, they delivered back-to-back sacks on the Cougars fourth drive. After starting out leading 7-0 and playing with a lead, Gordon’s fourth drive was a nightmare. Down 10-14, sacked twice in a row and throwing from his own end zone on 3rd-and-27. The Huskies manhandled WSU’s line time and time again.

UW’s Secondary

Even after a poor Apple Cup showing, Anthony Gordon still leads the FBS in passing yards (5,228) and touchdowns (45). In fact, his 5,228 passing yards is almost 1,000 yards better than Joe Burrow’s second-ranked 4,366 yards. Yet, against UW, he couldn’t get anything going after their opening drive.

Check-Down King

Call it preparation, home-field advantage or the Chris Petersen edge. Whatever it is, the Cougars consistently fail in the Apple Cup. In Peterson’s own words. the Cougars “run the same offense every week.” Because of this, preparation was simple and all the Huskies needed to do was execute their game-plan.

In their game plan, they often dropped eight into coverage and only rushed three. UW’s secondary gave up nothing deep and forced Gordon to check passes down. It was a rare occasion to see even an attempt, let alone a reception downfield. Instead, Max Borghi led the team with 12 receptions. Then, when Gordon actually tried to make something happen, he threw into a sea of defenders.

Offensively, the Cougars came into the Apple Cup with all the counting stats. But, UW matched up in perfection. They covered downfield, gave their defensive line time to get to Gordon, forced everything short and kept Gordon fearful of taking shots.

Jacob Eason Let’s it Fly in the Apple Cup

Unlike Anthony Gordon, Jacob Eason and the Huskies were willing to take chances downfield. And it paid off in spectacular fashion.

Though Jacob Eason started off the game with a sack, a deep incompletion and a three-and-out, he kept his gunslinger attitude. He took advantage of Terrell Bynum’s speed and hit him for 57-yards on their first touchdown drive.

More importantly, Eason and the Huskies maintained their confidence, even with more issues. Remember that Eason started off the game with a three-and-out, missing on a deep shot. Then, in the second quarter, he overthrew a wide-open Hunter Bryant and was then bailed out on a deep overthrow because of a penalty. Aside from his earlier 57-yard connection with Bynum, it appeared that Eason’s inaccuracy was hurting the Huskies. But, they continued to put faith in Eason and their receivers.

Again and again, it paid dividends. While the Cougars lacked downfield threats or ability, the Huskies took advantage of their Apple Cup matchup. Not only that, but UW finally utilized their talent properly. Hunter Bryant led the team in receptions and yards, which completely makes sense given his talent.

But, unlike prior games where Aaron Fuller and Chico McClatcher took up targets and space, sophomores Terrell Bynum and Cade Otton got involved. Their combined 6 receptions for 123 yards and one touchdown were huge. They made play after play, getting first downs, yards after the catch, or making difficult catches.

The Huskies Won the Apple Cup by Sticking with Their Gunslinger

It took Anthony Gordon 62 attempts to reach 308 passing yards. On the opposite sideline, Eason threw just 22 times, but compiled 244 yards and led his team to four touchdowns. The Huskies leaned into Eason’s gunslinging style and schemed up ways to get his receivers one-on-one matchups downfield. Even though Eason missed some throws and Bryant and Bynum dropped passes, they stuck with it.

Unlike this, the Cougars collapsed and failed to adjust. Gordon was afraid to throw it deep and continued to dump it off to his safety valves. His passes routinely traveled to the short-middle or the flats.

If Mike Leach ever wants to win an Apple Cup, he needs to make adjustments and have a backup plan. It was clear that he didn’t have that on Friday.

Recap of the Pac-12 Referee Debacle during WSU vs Cal

Pac-12 Referees at it Again

Wow. That was the worst call of the season. Every Washington State fan should be infuriated. It is despicable what the Pac-12 referees and officials did to their team. While mistakes happen every game, this was without a doubt a horrible penalty. But, even worse, this poor call and what ensued after uncovered pure incompetency by the Pac-12 conference.

For those that missed it, here’s what happened:

Saturday (An Egregious Mistake)

  • Down 20-11 in the third quarter, WSU’s Travell Harris returns kickoff to the 50-yard line.
  • WSU penalized for illegal hands to the face. Football placed at WSU 8-yard line.
  • Referee realizes he made an error. Because the penalty was against WSU, it should have been placed at Cal’s 35-yard line. The drive results in a field goal.
  • WSU loses to Cal 20-33

Sunday (Incorrect Apology)

Pac-12 Statement
  • First, the Pac-12 releases the above statement acknowledging “mechanics error”.
  • In that statement, they claim that WSU was informed of the mistake “After the next play was run”.
  • In punishment, the Pac-12 suspends referee for one game and crew is “downgraded”.

Tuesday (Where is No. 15???)

Wednesday (6:38 of Game Clock)

  • In review, the Pac-12 corrects its statement that they informed Washington State “after the next play was run.”
  • After realizing his mistake, Matt Richards (referee) decided to wait until the next media break to inform Washington State. Their drive took up 6 minutes and 38 seconds of the game clock…

What this all means for Pac-12 refereeing

Among college football, the Pac-12 is not respected. It’s the ugly duckling of the Power Five. Because of mistakes like this, and other failures of Larry Scott, Pac-12 football is taunted.

For Pac-12 fans, it’s clear that Pac-12 referees are inconsistent and consistently make poor judgment calls. But, it’s one thing to make a mistake as an official. It’s an entirely other issue to have no measures to correct it.

Is this not 2019? Don’t we have booths, staff and video replay? The Pac-12 should utilize on-site and off-site video assistants to make sure that errors like this don’t happen. Honestly, it’s pathetic. Absolutely depressing. Football programs shouldn’t endure Pac-12 referee mistakes that ruin a game. We are better than this.

It’s about time that the Pac-12 owns up to its faults, corrects its mistakes and takes action for the future. Apologies aren’t enough.

What are the Worst Pac-12 Referee Mistakes?

If you remember an official error that is bigger than this one, comment below or Tweet at us!

Best Pac-12 NFL Players: Week 8 Offensive Standouts

Best Pac-12 NFL Players: Week 7 Offensive Standouts

It’s a Good Day to Be a Pac-12 NFL Fan

This weekend, Pac-12 football fans got it all. Oregon and Washington State certainly lit up the field offensively. The Ducks are currently ranked 6th in Unafraidshow’s College Football Rankings. Likewise, many Pac-12 NFL players gave us memorable performances in week 8. Here they are!

Best Quarterback Performance

Gardner Minshew II – Washington State – Jacksonville Jaguars

Minshew magic is back! Let’s go!

Unlike the rest of football fans, Pac-12 NFL fans knew that Minshew was for real. We knew a long time ago. It’s just great to see everyone else accept it.

Against a competent New York Jets defense, Minshew didn’t flinch. He compiled 279 passing yards and 3 touchdowns. He also let the Jets sack him twice. But, for those who watched the game, his pocket-presence is next level. Minshew’s movement in the pocket and ability to extend plays is incredible.

Last, and definitely important, Minshew threw zero interceptions. Again. Overall, he has just 2 interceptions and 13 touchdowns this season. The sixth-round rookie is playing far above any expectation.

Gardner Minshew for Rookie of the Year!

Best Running Back Performance

Christian McCaffrey – Stanford – Carolina Panthers

Against the league’s second-best defense (New England Patriots are clear first), the Carolina Panthers flopped. They only scored 13 points, while the 49ers rolled through 51 points. However, that didn’t stop all-star, Pac-12 NFL running back Christian McCaffrey from creating highlights.

This season, McCaffrey’s durability and production is incredible. His 2019 stats include:

Keep rolling RUN-CMC.

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Best Wide Receiver Performance

Juju Smith-Schuster – USC – Pittsburgh Steelers

To say that this season has been rough for the Pittsburgh Steelers is to say the least. After a promising 2017 season and a breakout 2018 season, everyone was ready for Juju Smith-Schuster to keep the hype train going. With the departure of Antonio Brown (to mental illness?), Smith-Schuster was primed for an elite 2019 campaign.

But, all hope went down with Ben Roethlisberger. However, Smith-Schuster still has the ability to pop on the field. In week 8, he cleared the 100-yard mark for the first time this season. Granted, this week he played the Miami Dolphins (#tankfortua), but he’s a good wide receiver.

https://twitter.com/JimmyClarke/status/1189005033653882882

His plus-16.5 (No. 20) Production Premium and plus-39.2-percent Target Premium (No. 10) show that he still has talent, but he’s just trapped on an anemic offense.

Best Tight End Performance

Austin Hooper – Stanford – Atlanta Falcons

Even with Matt Schaub under center, Austin Hooper was a baller. He reeled in 6 of 7 targets for 65 yards and a touchdown. He was one reason why the Pac-12 NFL fans didn’t switch channels. Hooper’s late score helped the Falcons attempt a last-minute comeback (or at least cover the a plus-7.5 spread).

Honestly, look at those stats. Among tight ends, Hooper is:

Miss Last Week’s Pac-12 NFL Best Performances?

https://unafraidshow.com/best-pac-12-nfl-players-week-7-offensive-standouts/

Best Pac-12 NFL Players: Week 7 Offensive Standouts

Best Pac-12 NFL Players: Week 7

Huge Performances from Pac-12 NFL Players in Week 7

Marvin jones California Golden bears Best Pac-12 NFL Players: Week 7
Marvin Jones has come a long way since Cal

While the Oregon-Washington game was the most exciting game of the weekend, our Pac-12 alumni showed up in Week 7 of the NFL. The best Pac-12 NFL players were clearly Aaron Rodgers and Marvin Jones. They unleashed their abilities in full strength. No one could stop them and we couldn’t get enough. Who else joined them this week?

Best Quarterback Performances

Aaron Rodgers – Cal – Green Bay Packers

Against the Oakland Raiders, Aaron Rodgers went full God-mode. He dismantled them in every way possible for a quarterback. Rodgers finished with this stat line:

  • 25 of 31 (80.65-percent completion percentage)
  • 429 Passing Yards
  • 5 Passing Touchdowns
  • 1 Rushing Touchdown

With a game like that, it’s no wonder that Rodgers notched his first perfect-Passer Rating of the season. It was a vintage performance from the Cal product and it’s why he is one of the best Pac-12 NFL players of all time.

Matt Moore – Oregon State – Kansas City Chiefs

Wow. Talk about composure and stepping up. Somehow, even though Matt Moore hasn’t played since 2017, he sealed the win for the Kansas City Chiefs. With the loss of Patrick Mahomes to a dislocated knee, fans were panicking. But, calm and collected, Moore displayed exactly what teams need from a backup quarterback. He threw for a modest 117 yards, no interceptions and dropped a dime to Tyreek Hill for a touchdown.

Without Moore on the team, they’d be tempted to trade for a potential quarterback bridge until Mahomes gets healthy. But, like New Orleans and Teddy Bridgewater, the Chiefs have it covered.

Best Wide Receiver Performances

Marvin Jones – Cal – Detroit Lions

Even though he was up against the Minnesota Vikings defense, Marvin Jones erupted for four touchdowns. Four! It’s rare for an NFL receiver to get three touchdowns in a game, let alone four.

He was unstoppable. Uncoverable. On 13 targets, he caught 10 for 93 yards and 4 scores. To the delight of fans’ eyes, Jones had himself a game.

Best Tight End Performance

Rhett Ellison – USC – New York Giants

Now, this isn’t one of those Pac-12 NFL tight end games for the record books. But, Rhett Ellison had one of his better performances. He caught both targets for 33 yards and a touchdown. In a tight loss to the Arizona Cardinals, those were needed receptions.

Especially considering how inconsistent and poor Daniel Jones was playing. Hopefully, Ellison can find the end zone again this season. But, at least he joined the ranks of other Pac-12 NFL greats this week.

Disagree with our Pac-12 NFL List?

If you disagree with this list or want to add anyone else in, comment or Tweet at us.