NFL Week 11: Osweiler’s Agent Edition
It is 11:08 p.m. on Sunday night. I am soberer than I would prefer, having outdone myself on a steak-and-potato nacho bake that starched up my stomach. This created a temporary but legitimate real estate scarcity, and beer now finds itself the victim of gentrification. At this point the Patriots lead the Broncos 41-16 so I am sort of pleased with myself, as this will cap off a 2-1 weekend in terms of column picks and also serve to make us OFFICIALLY PROFITABLE, at 53.5% with an overall record of 15-13-3 *high five*.
The outcome of the game isn’t really in question at this point, so I have the volume at 8, a low murmur, and am only passively paying attention while I read Grappler: Memoirs of a Masked Madman by Lynn Denton. Sometimes when the Sunday night games get into garbage time, Al Michaels and Cris Collinsworth broach the subject of the point spread, but the line was only 7.5 so there was virtually no chance of an ATS lead change, and they were 12 points past the over/under of 45. They do some passive commentary on some of the earlier games, tiptoe toward saying that Jared Goff is for real, and deservedly tsk-tsk the Giants for being the first team other than the Rams to have lost to the San Francisco 49ers since December 6, 2015. Then Michaels and Collinsworth do something I would never have expected: they start praising Brock Osweiler.
Out of nowhere, Michaels notes that despite the score, Osweiler’s done nothing to work his way back out of the lineup. Collinsworth agrees, adding that he has had a nice night tonight, from the very beginning. Then he starts to really pile on the compliments, noting how much the Denver players and coaches like him, and tells an almost certainly apocryphal anecdote wherein Osweiler told John Elway that he would serve the Gatorade around here and play for free if he could return to Denver.
The whole thing was really baffling. I suppose that if the score was some sort of gross misrepresentation of the game, and Osweiler had led marched them down the field all night only to be thwarted by a bizarre series of goal line fumbles or a barrage of horrible calls, that might make sense. Then they are sticking up for a guy who is going to be criticized by the people who didn’t see the game and only know the final score. In this instance, however, they were speeding past FELLATE-CON 4 (Kerry Collins sobriety) and nearing FELLATE-CON 3 (Brett Favre circa Jets) for a guy who had at that point gone 15 of 25 for 197 yards and one touchdown.
So Collinsworth is literally saying he looks better, he looks sharp out here tonight as Osweiler rifles a pick directly to Patrick Chung on third and five. He and Michaels make a couple of jokes about jinxing him and they move on to hyping the next game. The thing is, the out-of-nowhere endorsements were so out of place that I cant help but wonder if his personality – and the accolades it begets – will further complicate an already dubious legacy, or if even that can’t save him at this point. If that sounds weird just consider that there is a reasonable chance that Brock Osweiler, who undeniably earned every carat of the Super Bowl 50 Championship ring given to him on February 7, 2016, might be out of football next year.
I’ve watched a ludicrous amount of football over the past 40 odd years, perhaps you have too. Everyone can remember when legends hung on for too long (Stabler as a Saint, Namath as a Ram), or experienced a late-stage career renaissance (Montana as a Chief, Favre as a Viking). Everyone knows that Marino deserved the championship that always eluded him, but Dan Fouts never even got to play in one.
Also, based upon his public appearances I assume Bernie Kosar is just as dumbfounded as the rest of us as to why he has a Super Bowl ring, let alone why it says Dallas Cowboys on it. There are also fair to average quarterbacks who became franchise legends just due to their longevity on bad teams, guys like Dave Krieg, Warren Moon, Jim Hart, and John Brodie. But Broncos fans are already booing Osweiler halfway through a middling effort, just like we said they would.
So how do you solve a problem like Brock Osweiler? Who else is a deserving albeit has-been champion in one city and a pariah everywhere else he was expected to play? Remember, he is reviled as a free agent bust in Houston, despite going 8-6 (he was briefly benched in favor of Tom Savage) and making the playoffs. Worse yet, the comical makeup of his $16 million salary for this year has the Browns paying $15,2250,000 and Denver kicking in the veteran minimum of $775,000.
So presumably he cant become an adequate vagabond veteran like Mark Brunell. He holds value, albeit minimal, for exactly one franchise in the league; the same franchise that gave him a one-year deal at league minimum. If nothing else, they will likely always remember that he carried them to 3-2 when Peyton Manning was diagnosed with plantar fascia in his left foot. The fact that there were Denver fans who genuinely wanted Osweiler to start over Manning during the 2015 playoffs will eventually be lost to time, but it happened. Now announcers cant even pay him a professional courtesy without fear that he will make them look bad for doing so. What a trip its been since those halcyon days. HEY LOOK – MORE FOOTBALL!
Detroit -3 at Chicago
Man, week eleven and the jury is still out on Mitchell Trubisky, huh? That is not a criticism, by the way. I am in the same boat. Except for the nickname Mr. Biscuit, of course. That’s a keeper. In terms of his game play, however, his QB rating numbers probably do the best job of telling the story, because they vacillate from week to week to a degree that makes it hard to come to any conclusions. Since he was put in in week five his QBR’s have been 60.1, 94, 101.8, 46.9, and 97. He doesn’t get picked off much, because he doesn’t throw the ball much, so his TD/INT split is only 3:2 after five weeks.
If I were in charge I would probably throw the dice and get behind him. Chicago have probably already played their way out of a top draft pick, so the Giants, Browns, and (Garoppolo situation pending) 49ers will probably seize on the Lamar Jackson’s, Sam Darnold’s, and Josh Rosen’s, leaving the Bears with, at worst, the opportunity to take a flyer on a Baker Mayfield type. Last I knew Landry Jones was still being groomed to take over for Ben Roethlisberger once he outgrows the last pair of QB pants not constructed out of a ceremonial quilt specifically for Jared Lorenzens use, so Chicago has a decision to make.
For now, however, this remains a rebuilding year and Detroit is still well in the NFC North hunt. I suppose you could claim a divisional rivalry here but if the Bears couldn’t be motivated to beat a Green Bay team led by Brett Hundley, they’re not going to fare any better against Matthew Stafford, Ameer Abdullah, and Golden Tate. Lay the Lions with confidence.
Washington -8 at New Orleans
Drew Brees is not one of those insufferable quarterback types for whom everything always works out. San Diego chose Philip Rivers over him, based in part on their concerns about his shoulder. His mother was an attorney who ran an ill-conceived trademark-squatting scam until she intentionally overdosed on pills after receiving an AG’s subpoena. His agent let him endorse a motorized tricycle. And of course there is the matter of his hairline.
That’s why it is nice to see him put this run together. The Saints have won seven in a row, including last weeks thumping of the Bills that got us paid. If you like hardcore nerd stats, consider that based on sims the most likely scenario sees them going 3-1 in their next four, as they have a 35% chance of doing so. However, after Sundays game against Washington at home, they play the also-surging Rams in L.A., then come back home to play Carolina, then head up to Atlanta for a huge divisional game. As per 247 Sports, they are set to play five games and traveling 4196 miles across six time zones in the next month, landing them at 17th on their Fatigue Index.
Washington is a MASH unit right now, with staring RB Rob Kelley on IR and Jonathan Allen and Mason Foster out for the year. If you watched another game once we got a comfortable lead last week, you may have seen Case Keenum do a Randall Cunningham impression, throwing 21 of 29 for 304 yards and four scores, including completions of 38, 49, and 51 yards. Simply put, this is among the worst times that they could be scheduled to go to the Superdome, as Brees is leading the NFL with a 72% completion rate and carrying a 13:4 split. Eight points is a lot, but I still see the Saints covering.
Philadelphia -4 at Dallas
Speaking of QB’s on a roll, Carson Wentz has Philadelphia at 8-1. Here again, we find a game with divisional implications where one team is totally outgunning the other due in part to injuries. Of course, in this game, we are also set to see the full effect of the Zeke Elliott suspension, which is as of press time applicable once again. We told the story up to where it stood at that point in the column for Week 1, but according to a press release sent out on Wednesday, Elliott has accepted the Second Circuit ruling and no longer intends to appeal.
Of course, with Tyron Smith and Sean Lee out, I’m not certain that Dallas could stay within four even with Elliott on the field. Granted, Rayne Dakota Prescott is supposed to have the full use of Dez Bryant, but when Dallas tried to fill the holes on the offensive line, including the use of a practice squad guy, Prescott was so rushed he couldn’t throw deep enough downfield to make Bryant into a credible threat anyway. Momentum is a real thing, and right now it surrounds the Eagles. Take the money.
In a nice respite from the now-standard weekly death threats I get from editorial, I got a few compliments on the Leonard Cohen recommendation last week, along with two upstanding citizens who reached out to tell me that Everybody Knows isn’t necessarily about gambling. As if any Leonard Cohen song is about anything, but hey, keep it coming. After all, if you do have love it’s a kind of wound, and if you don’t have it it’s worse. Go ahead and add this to our Now That’s What I Call Gambling Music folder, have your personal chef make you a quarter pounder, and bask in the mirth of demonstrable albeit slight profitability.