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22.02.2019 04:14
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Week 9 of the NFL season saw several candidates vie to take Hue Jackson’s vacated spot at the top of the “which head coach will get fired next?” betting sheet. Vance Joseph and Sean McDermott rose to the top of the list last week Black Terrell McClain Jersey , but each earned some small mercies in Week 10. Sunday bore witness as McDermott rode Matt Barkley all the way to a blowout win. Joseph couldn’t screw up a bye week. That temporarily cooled their hot seats and allowed the world the opportunity to take solace in non-Bills, non-Broncos failures for the weekend.And we got plenty of chances to take pride in their shame Sunday. The weekend was loaded with blowouts, ranging from the Saints’ 37-point de-pantsing of the Bengals to the Buccaneers’ quieter, but somehow similarly embarrassing, 16-3 defeat in Washington. So which head coach did the worst job? Here are five candidates, including admitted felon Sean Payton.Jon Gruden’s franchise quarterback has openly given upGruden isn’t getting fired. He’s on the hook for nine more years and $90 million after this season, and his one true mission over the next two seasons is to build something resembling a talented young roster for the Raiders’ move to Las Vegas in 2020.But, eesh, 2018 started off embarrassing and has only gotten worse. The Raiders have hemorrhaged star players (Khalil Mack, Amari Cooper) in their quest to rebuild, leaving Derek Carr left to cosplay as Oakland’s 2016 playoff team by his lonesome. On Sunday, the shill echo of a season spent screaming into the void finally broke him.So, how does the typically optimistic Carr feel about all this?The Raiders locker room has become so toxic that Jordy Nelson, who has been nothing but a consummate professional over a long NFL career, was rumored to be so fed up with Oakland that he was going to outright quit football — and the rest of the world was like “yeah, alright, sounds legit.” That wasn’t true (at least not yet), but this week’s loss to the Chargers did give us this chestnut:Again, Gruden isn’t going anywhere anytime soon, but good lord.Todd Bowles is ... (tugs collar, sighs concernedly)Week 11 huddleDenny Medley-USA TODAY SportsOffense is all that matters. The power rankings prove it. Panic Index: Tom Brady doesn’t look like Tom BradyThe 5 most fireable NFL coaches after Week 10Week 11 picks: Experts are taking the Rams over the Chiefs this weekWhy did the NFL move the Chiefs vs. Rams game from Mexico City to L.A.?Worst call of the week: Where’s the consistency, refs?Did Le’Veon Bell change player holdouts forever?MVP watchlist: It’s Drew Brees’ award to losePatrick Mahomes returns to ‘Fortnite,’ only to get killed by someone in his jerseySecond-year safety Jamal Adams told reporters he was “sick of losing” last week, and we all thought “hey bud, good news, the Bills are coming to town in Week 10 and bringing Matt Barkley as their starting quarterback.” Playing Buffalo should have been a quick-fix cure to at least lift the club’s spirits for one week. Even with Sam Darnold out of the lineup due to injury, the presence of veteran backup Josh McCown made the Jets a seven-point favorite against their division rival.And then New York took the field Sunday, stared victory in the face, and whispered “not today.”The Jets painted the bowl against the Bills, giving up 41 points to a Buffalo team that had scored 46 total points its last six weeks. McCown regressed from “replacement-caliber starter” to “peak Ryan Mallett” in a 34-pass, 135-yard performance. The Jets defense got a solid performance from Adams (1.5 tackles for loss, two QB hits, one pass defensed) and approximately no one else while allowing Barkley, signed off the street as a free agent on Halloween, to throw for 232 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Any progress the team had made in its 3-3 start to the 2018 season was promptly wiped away, likely taking Bowles’ chances of a fifth year at the helm with it.At least Adams Black Brandon Fusco Jersey , presumably after a series of awkward talks with upper management, seems slightly less depressed this week.Dirk Koetter took over playcalling just to urinate all over the red zoneThe good news is Koetter guided Ryan Fitzpatrick and the Buccaneers offense to 501 total yards against NFC East leading Washington. The bad news is this somehow led to only three points in Tampa Bay’s sixth loss of the season.The Bucs pushed six different drives into the red zone and came away with only a field goal for their troubles, being undone at different steps by interceptions (two), fumbles (two) and missed field goals (two) in a truly display of offense. While the Tampa defense limited Alex Smith and his team to just 286 total yards, the outcome of this team was never really in doubt.It was a rough go for Koetter, who took over playcalling duties from Todd Monken and had his best laid plans derailed in a borderline impressive display of unified incompetency from his players. According to tackle Demar Dotson, the veteran coach understands the problem but also has no idea how to fix it, which probably isn’t the kind of inspirational example he was hoping to set midway through the season.Even worse, Washington took the opportunity to turn this delightful video of Koetter throwing old man candy to reporters:Into a bit where Koetter throws “L”s into the crowd. On the plus side, the weird outrage that stemmed from Washington’s since-deleted tweet seems to taken some of the pressure from his awful 3-6 team.On the negative side, Koetter brought the element of “what the hell is going on over there?” right back Monday when he reportedly cut kicker Chandler Catanzaro, then told reporters he hadn’t cut Catanzaro, and then, 30 minutes later, sat back as the team confirmed the kicker’s release. Marvin Lewis is the Bengals’ ouroboros of shameThe Bengals are having an entirely Bengals year. Cincinnati is firmly in the playoff picture at 5-4, and that leaves the club in great position to make a run to the postseason and deliver the good people of southwestern Ohio the Wild Card playoff loss they’ve come to expect.Lewis’s team had its “contender” status revoked, burned, and the ashes fed to alligators who were then skinned and turned into tacky, Bengals-themed luggage and sold at a northern Kentucky airport in a home game against the Saints. New Orleans thrashed Cincinnati at Paul Brown Stadium, scoring 35 first half points in a game cosplaying as ritual sacrifice. The defeat wiped away any fond memories of early season wins against the Ravens and Falcons, but a soft back half of the schedule can still afford this team enough of a runway to get to nine wins and fulfill its destiny of a 20-point loss to the Chargers in Week 18. Lewis fired defensive coordinator Teryl Austin and appointed himself the defensive signal caller, and another four wills will probably be just enough to earn another inexplicable two-year contract extension. And if he needs another fall guy once the Brown family comes calling in January? Guess what — HUE JACKSON’S BACK, BABY.This is all delightfully terrible, but Lewis’s greatest sin may be creating a world in which we all agree with Stephen A. Smith.Sean Payton, fire alarm tamperer, raises questionsPayton’s philosophy of breaking things when he needs them to be quiet is probably not a great indicator of his parenting abilities.But who among us hasn’t broken something in a fit of distress in the great state of Ohio? Payton’s not getting fired unless he neglectfully allows his entire locker room to be consumed by fire, so he makes the list this week. (but not really) Baseball history is usually useful when it comes to the MLB offseason and free agency because it’s very good at reminding us that free agents are usually a double-edged sword. Thinking of signing a good player for five years? If you can accept the idea that they’ll be bad for the last two, you’ll be fine. Most small-market teams aren’t worried about paying All-Stars a lot of money; they’re more concerned about paying former All-Stars just as much money. But baseball history is also useful in the case of Bryce Harper and other hyper-young free agent superstars. It reminds us that, yes, please, give players like this a lot of money. They’re rare freaks, and the odds are great that they will help your team for years and years and years. The last comparable case was Alex Rodriguez, and for all of his, uh, delightful quirks, he was absolutely worth the money on the field. He built on what will (eventually) be a Hall-of-Fame career Youth Vic Beasley Jr Jersey , just like he was expected to. When a super-duper star becomes available in free agency, and all he wants is money? Give it to him. It’s usually the smart bet. Don’t make me pull out the Baseball-Reference tables again and ah okay ha ha you got me, here’s a Baseball Reference table of players who were this good for this long at this age: Under 26, more than 3,500 PA, OPS+ of 125 or higherRankPlayerOPS+PAFromToAgeRankPlayerOPS+PAFromToAgeOPS+ is adjusted OPS, which includes league, park, and era adjustments. It’s a fine shorthand that allows us to compare hitters from different times, and it’s telling us that Harper is in some incredible company.Let’s say that you’re worried about Harper’s sketchy defensive metrics from 2018, and that your primary concern is that he won’t hold his value for long. That would, in a worst-case scenario, make him comparable to Rusty Staub on that list. The same Staub who hit .280/.365/.444 with a 125 OPS+ throughout the entire 1970s, who averaged two-and-a-half wins every year despite fielding like a two guys in the same horse costume. Then you remember that Harper has been a much better hitter before his 26th birthday, and he’s also more athletic and capable in the field. But the point is that on that list, Staub is something of a bogeyman. He would have been fine, just fine, under a long-term deal. Orlando Cepeda is your comp, then. A Hall of Famer who did most of his damage before turning 26 and shouldn’t have been in the outfield in the first place. He was often injured in his 30s, and his last great season came when he was 32. He still averaged 473 plate appearances with a 129 OPS+ in the decade after his 26th birthday, though. He still averaged two-and-a-half wins every year for 10 seasons, including an MVP season. That isn’t to say that Staub or Cepeda would have been worth the equivalent of $35 million a year after turning 26. It’s that they would have been modest disappointments, not abject disasters. Then you get to the other players on the list. Al Kaline! Frank Robinson! Miguel Cabrera!Alex Rodriguez! These are Harper’s peers as a 25-year-old hitter in baseball history. Even if you stretch to include Ken Griffey, Jr., just to include another player who didn’t age well, you’re still getting six incredible seasons before the breakdown. Every team should at least consider Harper. Every single danged team, from the Marlins to the A’s, should explore the idea. The Miguel Cabrera Theorem tells us that when you have a chance to acquire a freakishly young and talented player like Miguel Cabrera, you do it. Here is that chance, just without a lot of prospects involved. Now it’s our job to figure which teams will believe in this strategy. The LikelyBob Nightengale wrote that the Phillies are the overwhelming favorites for Harper. I’m sorry if you’re a Phillies fan who was hoping to get Harper. This doesn’t look good. But the Phillies almost certainly make a lot of sense. Not only do they have plenty of room in their budget, but they’ve been putting money under their mattress for a couple of years now. Their attendance has been hovering near the bottom of the league for five seasons, and they would love a big ol’ neon sign to erect outside of Citizens Bank Park that reads, “TRYING AGAIN. PARDON OUR DUST.” Last year’s run at the NL East title was a great start, but beating out 29 teams to get one of the most coveted young superstars over the last couple decades would really hammer the point home. The Dodgers are supposedly trying to get under the luxury tax now, and both the Yankees and Cubs are saying that they want to stay under. I’m assuming that they’re a bunch of liars for now, using their public statements as a negotiating tactic , but there’s a chance that they’re serious, the big dummies. The White Sox are reportedly very interested, and they’ve becoming the pundit-perferred dark horse. It’s an idea that makes sense, for sure. The Giants have been long rumored to be in, but just Wednesday, their CEO said this at the introductory press conference for Farhan Zaidi: So it’s the Phillies that are still the most likely. But which team is the ideal home for Harper?The IdealThe Rockies. For science. But if that doesn’t happen, allow me to get a little weird. The last time there was a chance to get a young player with a sweet left-handed stroke, the Brewers elbowed their way to the front of the line because that’s exactly what works at Miller Park. That player was Christian Yelich, and he’s going to win the MVP. The Brewers should sign Harper and create an outfield bookend of the gods. Ranking the 50 best MLB free agents for the 2018-2019 offseasonThe Yankees are pretending they won’t make big free agency moves and it’s hilarious3 possible motivations behind the Nationals’ 10-year, $300 million offer to Bryce HarperYes, bad teams should sign Bryce Harper and Manny MachadoWhat would happen to Ryan Braun in this scenario? No idea. Not my concern. Second base, maybe. For science. Or, more realistically, something of a rover who can fill in at both outfield corners, with Yelich moving to center if Lorenzo Cain needing a day, or starting at first when Jesus Agu铆lar needs a day, and picking up the bulk of the high-leverage pinch-hitting opportunities ... there are always injuries, after all. Braun would still get 400 at-bats if he’s healthy, I’m sure, and he hasn’t done much over the last two seasons to justify more than that. Is this likely? Oh, heck no. I’m just looking at teams with a lefty-friendly ballpark that could really thrive with a young superstar over the next 10 years, and the Brewers look like a pretty sweet fit. PredictionNationals, 10 years, $340 million with an opt-out within the first four seasons.Ah, right, the incumbents. We haven’t mentioned them, and they happen to be the only team that’s actually offered Harper a huge contract. Their ownership is one of the few in baseball that doesn’t shy away from Scott Boras, regularly signing his clients to huge deals. And for all the dreams about a Yelich-Harper super-outfield to rule the seas for 10 years, the Nationals can do even better with Juan Soto (and Victor Robles). They have designs on contending. They have designs on becoming a Washington institution for the first time in the city’s baseball history. The contract offer suggests that they’re serious about keeping Harper, and for his part, it’s not like his time with the Nationals has been unsuccessful. There has to be at least some appeal in staying. All I’m saying about it, though, is think about it, Brewers. Just think about it.

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