Congrats to the state of Florida for taking out two evil empires; they can hit the trifecta on November 3rd. (I particularly admire the Rays for giving the Astros hope for a historic comeback and then crushing them in Game 7, so much more satisfying than a mere sweep.)
Mike Tanier now has a weekly preview at FO and a Thank You For Not Coaching column at Fansided plus a weekly NYT single-topic column, and the combination is the best football writing since the Grantland days when ESPN let Barnwell cook. The FO one is particularly good, for example on Tom Brady and Chicago’s older bad QB:
Buccaneers offensive linemen must clean up the penalties. They must also give Brady a surgically clean pocket, because he hits the deck whenever a defender gets within a stride of him these days.
Brady has become the quarterback Nick Foles is supposed to be: effective within structure, obviously big-game qualified, but immobile and streaky when consistently pressured. (Foles, meanwhile, has become Brock Osweiler). Brady also behaved like the barista got his latte order wrong for most of Thursday night. Nick Foles’ passing chops mixed with Aaron Rodgers interpersonal skills? The Buccaneers had better hope more Chargers and Broncos appear on the schedule.
Or taking out three hilariously bad coaches/front offices simultaneously:
ARTHUR BLANK: (speaking over 1960s-style desk intercom) What’s that, Ethel? You say the hot new coaching candidate that the J.P. Squanderings Headhunting Agency identified for us has arrived? Send him right in!
BILL O’BRIEN WEARING A HALLOWEEN-SHOP MOUSTACHE: Good afternoon, Mister Blank. My name is … Bob! Bob … (does the hackneyed sitcom bit where he looks around the room for inspiration) Bob O’Falconshelmet.
BLANK: Pleasure to meet you, Bob O’Falconshelmet. Now let’s talk about your vision for this franchise, starting at the quarterback position.
“BOB”: The first thing I would do is trade Matt Ryan.
BLANK: Woah, let’s not be hasty, Bob. While I do believe that Ryan’s fate should be left up to the next head coach, he’s still the face of our franchise. Furthermore, we’re on the hook for almost $50 million in cap space if we do not proceed carefully.
“BOB:” Yeah, that fat salary will make him hard to trade, but I’m certain I can get a third-round pick and at least two backup linebackers for him.
BLANK: (coffee spit-take) A third-round pick and two backup linebackers? Let’s put a pin in that for now. Tell me how you would fix the defense.
“BOB:” We start by trading two first-round picks for an elite defender in the final year of his contract. Then, we can hire one of my “connections” as defensive coordinator. Matt Patricia should be available soon.
BLANK: Son, the way you trade away resources, nobody will be left from the current roster except Julio Jones.
“BOB:” Speaking of Jones, I have a hot tip that I would be able to trade him for Super Bowl champion Sony Michel, plus maybe another third-round pick.
BLANK: It’s a good thing you are interviewing for head coach, not general manager.
“BOB:” I’m sorry, but I am only interested in this job if my duties include coaching, personnel, play calling, contract negotiation, and co-worker alienation.
BLANK: Son, I am afraid that you might not be the best fit for the Atlanta Falcons family.
“BOB:” What? HOW DARE YOU. I’LL TRADE YOU, M**********R. DO YOU HEAR ME? (Security dragging him from the office) I CUSSED OUT TOM BRADY. I CUSSED OUT J.J. WATT, AND I’LL CUSS YOU OUT TOO, HARDWARE BOY!
BLANK: Phew. Why are head coaching applicants so nutty these days. (Buzzes intercom) Ethel, send in that other headhunter we commissioned.
PEYTON MANNING: Howdy, Arthur. I have an old buddy who will be looking for work soon that you just gotta hear about.
It’s actually a tough call what the Jets should do with Peyton’s star chicken parm delivery boy at this point: on the one hand keeping Gase all year almost guarantees you Trevor Lawrence, on the other hand he’s liable to let whatever handful of NFL-caliber players he hasn’t already run out of town get killed.