Monday, August 30, 2010

Preseason Thoughts, and the GrooGrux Football Jesus

Just like the preseason itself, these little mind-bullets aren't significant, and won't really matter in a few weeks, but hey, it's still football.

I watched a few preseason games over the last few days. Week 3 of the preseason is supposed to be the one where we get the best idea of how teams will actually shake out during the regular season. With that in mind, a few thoughts about what coaches should do before the bullshit kickoff festivities.*

Like Rochester and Buddy, I also live in the Carolinas. Since the NFL has determined that no great American city television market shall be unblessed with a mediocre team, that means we get a lot of Panthers games. Although they wear minty AFC colors, the Panthers have come to embody what I like to think of as a typical NFC mentality, namely, run the ball and play solid defense. Their preseason game against the Titans showed that they need to get their offensive shit together. Speaking of minty, it wasn't until Jimmy Clausen entered the game in the 4th quarter that things started to pick up. While the Panthers still plan to start Matt Moore on opening day, they're still carrying Clausen, and college standouts Hunter Cantwell (Louisville) and Tony Pike (Cincinnatti) on the roster, which suggests they're at least contemplating adapting to the NFL's emerging pass-first-offense consensus. Also, I want to point out that John Fox is a criminally underrated coach. This is not a team to overlook.

Pittsburgh has been handed a $5 footlong crap sandwich, served up piping hot by the crap sandwich artist Ben Roethlisberger. His suspension puts Byron Leftwich at the helm, an idea that inspires confidence in exactly no one. I could go about how the Steelers are consequently pretty much out of the picture barring an incredible mid- and late-season run, but really all I wanted to say about them is that I saw Bill Cowher at a restaurant in Raleigh on Friday night after my fantasy draft, and that he gave me the up-nod when I shouted "Hey, Coach!" as he was walking past my table. It was pretty cool. And then I had a great Cuban sandwich; hold the crap.

Denver is a team that does not inspire a whole lot of confidence, as they seem to have been plagued with injuries this preseason, including to pretty much their entire backfield. Is this a plague that can be lifted ONLY BY FOOTBALL JESUS?!?!?! Denver certainly seems to think/hope so, and for that reason alone, they can all go get smote. A few weeks ago at our weekly trivia game (where our team, Queefer Sutherland, routinely dominates), Rochester and his buddy thought it great sport to run off a list of great Florida players after I went on a rant about FJ and how he can get fucked for all I care. Pssh. As if that was even the issue. The issue is that FJ is a douche, and I hate that he's in the NFL and positioned to make an impact this year. I hope Knowshon, being a Georgia boy, does the right thing and rolls up on FJ's ankle during a handoff.

Finally, I can't (and won't) go an entire post without mentioning the Bears. This seems to be a slow-motion train wreck, one that's all the uglier given the huge sums of money and draft picks that have been spent putting the cars in order. That's a metaphor, I believe. Urlacher, Briggs, and Roach are all hurt, and those are (were) the likely opening-day linebackers. Cutler seems to have not improved his decision-making ability, and to the surprise of nobody who ACTUALLY PAYS ATTENTION, Devin Hester continues not to be able to actually catch a football, which is kind of a core-competency for a starting WR in the NFL. Still, I predict the Bears will win the NFC North handily this year.

*Incidentally, the tagline for kickoff weekend is "Back to football," which to me at least implies a dismissal of irritating peripheral foofery, and a return to what makes the games and the sport so awesome, not unlike a coach refocusing his team after some locker-room towel-snapping jackassery. Ironic, then, that "Back to football" weekend is accompanied by some thrilling musical performances! Yes, there is quite obviously no better way to embody all of football's qualities than by hiring a girl, and the soccer of American music to perform for opening weekend.

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