Tua Tagovailoa's Tipping Point

Miami Dolphins QB Tua Tagovailoa
Miami Dolphins QB Tua Tagovailoa
Photo: USA Today Sports Images

NFL Week 17 - The Tua Tagovailoa Era in Miami ended at approximately 2:25 Eastern time on January 2, 2022.

At that moment, the Dolphins trailed the Titans 17-3 with just under two minutes before halftime. Tagovailoa, who had fumbled Garo Yepremian style to end the first quarter, had just engineered a typical RPO-heavy drive to get the Dolphins to the Titans' 46-yard line. This was his chance to prove he could lead his team back into an important game against a playoff-caliber opponent.

Instead, Tagovailoa:

  • Threw in the general direction of three defenders on first down; Amani Hooker dropped a would-be interception.
  • Threw a short pass to a double-covered DeVante Parker that glanced off defender Elijah Molden's hands on second down.
  • Threw behind a well-covered Parker on third down.

The Dolphins punted and were never really in what became a 34-3 loss to the Titans again. They were eliminated from the playoffs when the Chargers won later in the afternoon.

That was the tipping point in the two-year Tagovailoa saga. It's all over except the pointless arguments and Tua Truther movements. So send the lawyers, big negotiating guns, and money to Houston to fetch Deshaun Watson. Fly Ciara into town to show her how much fun it would be to host New Year's Rockin' Eve on South Beach, then take a brief limo ride home to her hubby. Send a text to Aaron Rodgers: "We hear u r happy in Green Bay. But r u 'happy' happy?"

The Dolphins should do any of those things or anything else they can think of to move on from Tagovailoa before they end up like the Cleveland Browns, trapped on an endless wishful-thinking development cycle that never involves any actual development.

Don't take Walkthrough's word for it. Watch the Dolphins themselves and see what they think. Their most successful play of the third quarter was a third-and-1 roughing-the-passer penalty on an incomplete bomb thrown by, you guessed it, short-yardage specialist Jacoby Brissett. That drive ended when Tagovailoa took a sack on third-and-long, setting up a 53-yard field goal attempt that Jason Sanders doinked off the crossbar.

Inserting Brissett as a short-yardage specialist made sense for the Colts when Philip Rivers was their starter. Doing so with the young, fairly mobile Tagovailoa starting is like keeping the ex's number in your contacts.

Still trailing 17-3 thanks to a fine defensive effort (and typical Titans offensive doldrums), the Dolphins called two gadget passes in the span of five plays. Tight end Mike Gesicki threw an incompletion on the first one. Tagovailoa fumbled after taking a Wildcat handoff from Myles Gaskin in the second one.

Nothing really changed during their seven-game winning streak against the Jets, Panthers, Texans, Giants and Ian Book and the Bookmarks except the caliber of the opponent. When the going gets tough, the Dolphins trust gimmicks more than they trust Tagovailoa.

Yes, Tagovailoa made a few "nice throws" on Sunday. Every quarterback except Nathan Peterman makes a few nice throws now and then. Evaluate a quarterback based on a play here and a play there while making excuses (The offensive line! The play callers!) for everything else and you end up with Mitch Trubisky or Daniel Jones. If the Dolphins hope to get past the Pesky Wild-Card Hopeful stage, it's time for them to start seeking creative alternatives at quarterback, not third-year miracles.

To their credit, the Dolphins themselves appear to have realized this weeks ago, when Brian Flores was still tinkering with Brissett and the front office descended into the Texansverse in search of Watson.

On Sunday afternoon by 2:30, it merely became obvious to everyone else.

The Chase is Over

Ja'Marr Chase deserves the Offensive Rookie of the Year award after his spectacular 11-catch, 266-yard, three-touchdown performance in the Bengals' 34-31 win over the Chiefs.

And no, Walkthrough will no longer be entertaining arguments in favor of that kid in the Tom Brady footie pajamas.

Chase delivered one of the greatest performances I have ever seen from a wide receiver in the most important Bengals game since the mid-2010s. The Bengals trailed 14-0 and looked ready to go belly-up when Chase took a short comeback from Joe Burrow and weaved 72 yards for a touchdown. They trailed 21-7 when he adjusted for a back-shoulder 18-yard touchdown while blanketed up the left sideline. His 69-yard touchdown on a Chiefs coverage lapse cut the score to 28-24. Most impressively, he hauled in yet another back-shoulder throw up the left sideline while well covered for 30 yards on third-and-27 to set up Evan McPherson's game-winning field goal. In between, he turned multiple screen passes into productive gains.

Yes, Mac Jones threw three touchdowns in a 50-10 win over the Jaguars. Brian Hoyer could have led the Patriots to a 47-10 win over that opponent. The Bengals just clinched the AFC North because of Chase. The Patriots are a playoff team because they are the Patriots, their schedule was squishy in the middle, and Jones is excitingly adequate.

But quarterbacks are inherently more valuable than anyone else, right? Right. So give Jones all the "Most Valuable Rookie" awards you want. There's nothing about "value" in the name of the award, so there's no reason to revert to analytics orthodoxy. Frankly, selecting Jones over Chase right now sounds less like analytics than QB WINZ in a Scooby-Doo disguise.

Some of you may remain unconvinced, and we know more than a few of you are diehard Patriots fans. So here is one final thought experiment. The Bengals and Patriots may well face off in the playoffs. Imagine for a moment the Bengals win. How, in your imagination, do they do so? Almost certainly due to outstanding play by Chase. Now imagine the Patriots win. What's the storyline after that game? If you are being honest, it would probably be "Bill Belichick found a way to stop Chase." Jones' handoffs and little shallow crosses will merely be a subplot, win or lose.

'Nuff said.

Now, can Walkthrough interest you in ignoring another big Cooper Kupp game and voting for Jonathan Taylor for Offensive Player of the Year instead?

The Right Kind of Controversy

Trey Lance proved that he's the 49ers quarterback for 2022 with a 16-of-23, 249-yard, two-touchdown, one-interception, 31-rushing yard performance in a 23-7 win over the Texans. The only question now is whether "2022" means the 2022 season or from this moment forward.

Lance was hardly perfect. He threw an ugly interception. Several early drives stalled. Two of his signature highlights were a ball that deflected off a defender's fingertips and into Brandon Aiyuk's hands and an amazing one-handed fourth-quarter catch by George Kittle. Had Jimmy Garoppolo thrown those passes, we would classify them as a near-interception and a Kittle miracle, not signs of a rookie's progress.

But Lance improved as a passer, rusher, and decision-maker as the game went on. And this dispatch from the folks at Next Gen Stats about his Air Yards says it all:

Lance's arm strength frees the 49ers from being forced to play dump-and-YAC ball, while his rushing ability opens up a zone-read game. Those two assets will far outweigh whatever Garoppolo offers as a ball-distributor or decision-maker in the long run.

As for the short run: the Texans aren't much of a test compared to the teams the 49ers will face in the playoffs. Walkthrough would still name Lance the starter from now on, but we may see Garoppolo again if his finger heals sufficiently and Kyle Shanahan craves his veteran security blanket. At the very least, Shanahan should assemble a real Lance package for when his offense needs a spark.

And if we see Garoppolo again next season, it will probably be in a Panthers or Broncos uniform.

Antonio Brown Must Go

Antonio Brown threw a tantrum worthy of a two-year-old and abandoned his team while they were trailing in what eventually became a 28-24 Buccaneers victory over the Jets on Sunday.

Brown refused Bruce Arians' repeated instructions to enter the game for some reason. Arians told Brown to leave, Mike Evans' effort to intervene failed, and Brown started throwing his clothes around like a spoiled toddler denied a candy bar in a supermarket checkout line. It was a stunningly pathetic demonstration of adult misbehavior, the kind that would go viral if it happened at a Burger King.

Assuming that no one is naive enough to believe that Brown has somehow changed his ways over the years since his Steelers/Raiders meltdowns or the weeks since his suspension for passing off a phony vaccination card, the logic for keeping him on the Bucs roster and in the NFL boiled down to:

  • He won't pull this stuff on Arians and Tom Brady;
  • his talent is worth the headaches; and
  • that most recent incident simply MUST be the bottom of the barrel, right?

Well, Brown pulled this stuff on Mike Tomlin and Ben Roethlisberger, so it was silly to think he was ever truly cowed by Brady. The Buccaneers got the most of his talent/headache ratio in 2020 but just discovered what the diminishing returns look like. And Brown keeps telling us over and over again through his actions (and words) that consequences don't matter to him.

Arians said after the game that Brown is "no longer a Buc"—coaches will tolerate just about any behavior on earth except direct, public insubordination. The NFL, meanwhile, keeps playing chicken with Brown's antisocial off-field behavior. The league might not be able to suspend him or place him on the commissioner's exempt list for behaving like a child on the field, but they should throw every book they have at Brown the next time he gets hauled into court for deciding not to pay his barber or something.

Let's hope this is the last we see of Brown in the NFL. Because if he surfaces on some other roster with a half-assed redemption tale, a crayon-scribbled vax card, and zero sense of accountability for his actions, it's just going to be more of the same melodrama until something far worse than a public tantrum takes place.

The Carson-Go-Round Keeps on Spinning

This week, Carson Wentz:

  • Popped an unvaccinated COVID positive.
  • Benefitted from relaxed CDC and NFL guidelines which allowed him to return for Sunday's game against the Raiders.
  • Started the game 2-of-8 passing as the Raiders mounted a 13-3 lead.
  • Led a touchdown drive before halftime.
  • Did this, which was like a football metaphor for his entire week/season/career:
  • Went back into "stand in the pocket until a sack or act of unlikely heroism occurs" hibernation mode until his defense could no longer continue producing sacks and turnovers.

The Colts ended up losing 23-20 to the Raiders in a game where a win could have clinched a playoff berth. They now need a win against the Jaguars next week to clinch.

During one play after that Three Stooges touchdown, Wentz enjoyed his normal cup of tea in the pocket, somehow Houdini'd out of a sack by escaping stage right, and appeared to have a few yards to scramble, but instead threw across his body into the middle of the field almost directly sideways to Mo Alie-Cox for an incomplete pass. It was one of many horrendous decisions that Wentz has gotten away with lately. Like, you know, not getting vaxxed and hoping that: A) you don't get sick; B) you don't get anyone else sick; and C) the rules suddenly change so you don't miss a crucial game.

Wentz remains a disaster waiting to happen if he reaches the playoffs. But at least it will be an entertaining, fascinating, and potentially hilarious disaster.

Global Warming Could Help the Bills

Speaking of disasters waiting to happen, Josh Allen threw three interceptions in a Bills victory over the Falcons which was much closer than the 29-14 final score would suggest. The Falcons held a 15-14 lead at halftime thanks to Allen's miscues and the usual sampler platter of Bills mistakes (fumbled punt return, goal-line failure, penalties). The first half was a blueprint for the typical Bills loss. Fortunately for them, the second half was a blueprint for the typical Falcons loss.

The temperature at kickoff was 25 degrees, and it snowed throughout the afternoon. The Bills, of course, also looked unprepared for the elements in their wind-blown Monday night loss to the Patriots a few weeks ago. Have they become a fair-weather team? If so: A) that's even more hilarious than a Wentz yolo ball; and B) it will doom them in the playoffs against the Patriots, Chiefs, Bengals, or, you know, at home.

Tune in tomorrow when Bills fans start a GoFundMe to build a dome.

Matthew Stafford Versus the Deep Zone

Matthew Stafford threw a pick-six from his own 16-yard line, his fourth interception from inside his own 20-yard line this season, early in what became a 20-19 Los Angeles Rams victory. Stafford threw interceptions from his own 12- and 13-yard lines against the Vikings last week and from his own 10-yard line in the Rams loss to the Titans. He has also thrown interceptions from his own 20-, 21-, 22-, 24- and 28-yard lines this season. Four of them have been returned for touchdowns.

Stafford entered the game with 21 career interceptions inside the 20 on 901 attempts across 13 seasons. The interceptions in the deep zone (the area behind an offense's 20-yard line) aren't a Stafford problem, but a Stafford-on-the-Rams problem. Sean McVay needs to examine both Stafford's decision-making and his own play calling in and around his own 20-yard line in the first halves of games. Maybe the Rams need to run more often in those situations. Maybe Stafford needs to take shots downfield instead of floating short passes with his back to his own end zone. No matter what they do, the Rams cannot expect to get away with spotting easy points to the Packers or Cowboys in the playoffs the way they did against the Ravens and Vikings over the last two weeks.

News and Notes

Some off-field nuggets from around the NFL:

Jaguars general manager Trent Baalke pushing to interview Bill O'Brien for head coach, per Jason La Canfora of CBSSports.com.
Flounder, recently escaped from the frying pan, is pushing to enter the oven.

Texans expected to retain David Culley, per Jeff Howe of The Athletic.
Disease expected to retain one of its less-debilitating symptoms.

Packers may franchise-tag Davante Adams in 2022, per Ian Rapoport of NFL Network.
The Packers are a projected $40 million over the cap for 2022 without Adams, so they will have to perform some creative accounting and/or make some brutal roster decisions. Luckily, quarterback/epidemiologist/cap guru extraordinaire Aaron Rodgers is on the case!

Panthers owner David Tepper is "unhappy and embarrassed" about the contract he gave head coach Matt Rhule, per Joseph Person of The Athletic.
Wait until Tepper figures out how much his money Rhule spent on Teddy Bridgewater, Sam Darnold, and Cam Newton.

Ole Miss quarterback Matt Corral suffers leg injury in the Sugar Bowl.
For Corral's sake, let's hope the injury is only severe enough to dissuade Matt Rhule from drafting him.

Aaron Rodgers to appear on Monday Night's Manningcast.
It may be Ben Roethlisberger's final home game and a final referendum on Baker Mayfield's status as a franchise quarterback, so it will be interesting to hear Rodgers' thoughts on Aaron Rodgers.

Week 17 Awards

The most prestigious awards in sports. Except for Offensive Player of the Year. Did we mention that Jonathan Taylor really deserves the award, and not just because of the +2000 wager Walkthrough placed on him in November?

Defender of the Week
Cameron Jordan recorded 3.5 sacks, 1.5 of them while his team clung to a one-score fourth-quarter lead, to keep the Saints' playoff hopes alive with an 18-10 win over the Panthers.

Offensive Line of the Week
Duane Brown, Phil Haynes, Ethan Pocic, Gabe Jackson, and undrafted rookie Jake Curhan helped the Seahawks rush for 264 yards and put up 51 points against a depleted Lions defense on a soggy afternoon.

Great effort, fellas! Let's hope it doesn't fool the Seahawks into thinking they are a play here and a play there away from returning to contention using the same offensive/defensive/drafting philosophies in 2022. (Narrator: of course it will.)

Special Teamer of the Week
Andre Roberts' 100-yard kickoff return touchdown not only sealed the Chargers' victory over the Broncos but signaled that the Chargers are no longer the most likely team in the NFL to lose a playoff game due to awful special teams play. Sorry, Packers! And we've got our eyes on you, Bills!

Burn This Play Part I!
Dion Dawkins has two "big-man touchdowns" in his career. But throwing him a back-of-the-end-zone fade in the snow seems to be taking things a little too far.

Burn This Play Part II!
The Rams ran a slick hook-and-lateral for a two-point conversion against the Packers in the playoffs last January:

Well, they tried the same darn play after taking a 20-19 lead over the Ravens on Sunday. And it would have worked! Except that Odell Beckham slipped before taking the initial pass, throwing off the timing. And he pitched to Sony Michel, who is as elusive in the open field as a box turtle. And about four Ravens defenders converged on the play, because despite all of their injuries, you better believe the Ravens still watch a ton of film and show up prepared for every game.

The moral of the story: NEVER try to outthink the Ravens when it comes to a two-point conversion, because they are too busy doing it to themselves.

Burn This Challenge!
Ron Rivera and his staff coached an outstanding game in Washington's loss to the Eagles. Washington committed just one penalty the entire afternoon, they were crisp on offense in the first half, and they shut the Eagles offense down early.

Rivera made one baffling first-half decision, however. Jonathan Williams fumbled in the first quarter, but Brandon Scherff pounced on it for a Washington loss of 2. Oh well, second-and-12, right? Nope: Rivera challenged the play, and Williams was ruled down for no gain. Oh goodie: second-and-10 instead! Way to make the most of that irreplaceable resource, coach!

Burn This Timeout!
Nick Sirianni called an Eagles timeout with Washington facing third-and-1 from their own 28-yard line with two timeouts and 34 seconds left before halftime. A third-and-10 timeout would have made sense, since Washington's chances of conversion would be low. But all Sirianni did on third-and-1 was give Washington a chance to run Jaret Patterson up the middle for a first down, then take one of their own timeouts.

Sure enough, Washington ended up driving into field goal range to take a 16-7 lead before the Eagles woke up on both sides of the ball.

Best Supporting Actor in Someone Else's Highlight
Check out what backup Chiefs guard Nick Allegretti (73) does to Markus Bailey on this Darrel Williams touchdown run:

Honorable mention goes to tight end Blake Bell, who saw that Williams was about to get stuffed and said "Imma just shove him in myself."

Best Actor in His Own Highlight
A special award goes to Aaron Donald for his own highlight during the Ravens' attempt to win on a Stanford Band play:

Donald was clearly frustrated that he didn't get the chance to break up a Ravens two-point conversion and spark another national debate about whether math is good.

Monday Night Sportsbook: Cleveland Browns (-1.5) at Pittsburgh Steelers

This line fell from Browns -3.5 to -1.5 when they were eliminated from the playoffs on Sunday afternoon. Apparently, the house doesn't love the Browns playing for pride against a Steelers team still mathematically alive for the playoffs, in Pittsburgh, in what may be Ben Roethlisberger's final home game. And yet, the house doesn't hate them enough to make them dogs either, and Walkthrough is guessing this line will settle in around Browns -2 just before kickoff.

Forced to make some wagers on Sunday morning for pre-writing purposes, Walkthrough teased the Browns down to -2.5 and the Over all the way down to 34.5 at +140 for what we anticipated would be something like a 20-17 Browns win. As of Sunday night, the same play was available +165, and we still like it: the Browns are the superior team, and they should remain plenty motivated to beat their rivals and salvage a little dignity.

The Steelers rank 29th in first-quarter offensive DVOA, the Browns ninth, so we also grabbed the Browns -1 for the first quarter at +120. They should at least manage a field goal while the Steelers are sorting through their wide receiver screens and outside runs by Najee Harris.

A first-quarter prop AND a same-game parlay with a tease? We're doing the last Monday Night Sportsbook of the regular season right!

And Finally...

Thank you, Kirk Cousins!

Thanks to you, the Eagles are a playoff team. And all you had to do to make that happen was nothing. Literally nothing. As in: less than the least you could do.

This isn't the old Eagles fan talking. It's the lover of football. Who would readers rather watch in the playoffs: the Eagles, with Jalen Hurts and a dynamic, option-heavy offense? Or the predictably dull Vikings, seat-fillers who would try to upset the Cowboys or Buccaneers by running draw plays on third-and-15? Thought so.

Cousins might have been able to keep the Vikings in the playoff race this weekend. He helped them upset the Packers earlier in the year, and the Packers got off to one of their typically sluggish starts on Sunday night. But Cousins was unavailable due to a positive COVID test. Sean Mannion—the cost-effective veteran clipboard jockey the Vikings are forced to settle for as a backup because they are overpaying Cousins—could not move the offense a lick.

Oh sure, there are lots of breakthrough cases with the Omicron variant, so maybe Cousins would have been unavailable no matter what. But have you noticed that nearly all of the big-name NFL non-vaxxers—Cousins, Wentz, Cole Beasley—popped a positive recently? Vaccination clearly makes a difference, even when it comes to low-symptom positives. Cousins could have improved his odds of not missing a late-season game but didn't. He could have done everything he could to try to ensure his availability to his team with the playoffs on the line, but he's just not that type of leader.

So thanks, Kirk, and get well soon. You will now be gracing us with your absence for the rest of January. The next time you make news will be when the Vikings do something ridiculous to try to manage the damage you are doing to their salary cap. That's appropriate: earning money is what you are best at, and your contract status is your most interesting feature. You may not be worth what the Vikings have paid you, but when it comes to pointing out the folly overvaluing the "reliable veteran leader and decision-maker," you are worth every single penny.

Comments

164 comments, Last at 06 Jan 2022, 5:52pm

1 The Tua Tagovailoa Era Ended in 2002!

NFL Week 17 - The Tua Tagovailoa Era in Miami ended at approximately 2:25 Eastern time on January 2, 2002.

Wow, I know some people are harsh on Tua, but at least give him more than -19 years!

2 Covid crap

I come here less and less due to the constant moralizing on which player is vaccinated or not and how someone "deserves" what happened to them over that choice. Your view is registered Mike, but I come here for the amazing sports insight and next level analysis, not an ethics lecture

5 The funny thing is that I…

The funny thing is that I didn't say whether I agree or disagree with his view, just that in a world saturated with this topic I like a little clean space. Some topics suck all the oxygen out of the room

9 Indeed.  I adore Mike and…

Indeed.  I adore Mike and his unique voice, have for years, but really really really don't need to read yet more self-satisfied vax moralizing, from anyone, even folks I like.  Especially folks I like.  

Further, the website's niche is insightful, often antithetical, stats-based, football analysis.  This ain't that, about as far from it as possible.  

 

29 oy

COVID numbers are still at record levels and people are weary of "self-satisfied moralizing."

There is really no fixing stubborn, is there?

Let's try this: if Cousins had been vaccinated, he very likely would not have missed the biggest game of the year for his team last night.  Instead, his team had to go on without him behind some guy nobody had ever heard of.  And instead of getting a rematch vs. the #1 seed, a team they had already beaten once this year behind Cousins, they had to play without him and had zero chance of winning.

If we cannot get you to care about public health, maybe we can get you to care about his responsibilities to his teammates.

47 😂

In reply to by RickD

“Let's try this: if Cousins had been vaccinated, he very likely would not have missed the biggest game of the year for his team last night.”

The dozens ( if not triple digits) of fully vaccinated players and coaches who have missed games due to testing positive have entered the chat, laughing at the idea.

52 Multiplying a smaller…

In reply to by Raiderfan

Multiplying a smaller percentage by a big number obviously can still produce a larger number than multiplying a larger percentage by a smaller number. Most players in the NFL are vaccinated.

62 argumentum ad populum

In reply to by Raiderfan

Irresponsibility by a large group of people excuses irresponsibility of the individual.

Is this advanced ethics?  

94 exactly

In reply to by Raiderfan

funny how ZERO of the vax-evangelists seem to be able to comprehend basic facts.  

100 I'm guessing you'd be pretty…

In reply to by Raiderfan

I'm guessing you'd be pretty surprised if I told you that the hospitalisation risk for the unvaccinated is 10X higher at every single age level, wouldn't you? Yes, I know, "but muh anecdotes".

93 apparently...

In reply to by RickD

apparently there's no fixing "oblivious to the world around you" or "being a moron" either.  somewhere along the line you might have noticed that 95% of the league is vaxxed & they're all getting infected too.  feel free to permanently attach the dunce cap saying "i'm stupid" on your head.  lol.  

101 I'm guessing you would be…

In reply to by AJ the Rastaman

I'm guessing you would be absolutely shocked if you looked up the hospitalisation rates for vaccinated people vs unvaccinated people. You certainly *shouldn't be*, given that it's common sense, but you probably are.

129 Simple math in a math…

Simple math in a math oriented site should get the point through, but it won't because anti-vaxing is not a rational choice, it's a lifestyle, like wearing certain clothes, smoking/vaping, or millions of other things. By the way, remember when smoking was "cool"? It took many years, but little by little most of the people I know who used to smoke quit. Unfortunately we don't have years this time around.

The human race is the dumbest an intelligent race could ever be. And it's all because of emotions, those quirky little things we keep locked in the darkest dungeons of the psyche, festering until they break out totally out of control and wreak havoc with our lives. Basically what we need as a race is a bit more emotional self-awareness and maturity.

131   The human race is the…

 

The human race is the dumbest an intelligent race could ever be. And it's all because of emotions

Ooh! Ooh! I totally disagree.

This is like, one of my favorite things, when people think that reactions like this are emotional. They're not. If they were, it'd be awesome, because emotions fade, and people would usually look back on a reaction they had and be like "yeah, OK, that's dumb." You can't be hysterical forever. Just not physiologically possible (I mean, at least I think it isn't). It'd also be way easier, because you'd see people who are calm on TV arguing with hysterical people. Not hard to discern those two. 

Instead, it's much, much harder, because the problem is fundamental to what humans are really exceptionally good at: seeing patterns.  We see patterns everywhere. In the sky, in the clouds, everything. That's the problem here. People are being fed information that reinforces what they see every day. Believing that isn't an emotional response. It's completely logical.

That whole "smoking is cool" thing? Doctors used to prescribe smoking. I mean, it's a drug. It affects the body. If the person needs those things, sure! And people weren't dying wholesale or anything from it, and everyone was doing it and had been doing it for years. And of course, humans are really really good at manipulating people, so combine a kernel of truth with advertising, and hey, look, you've got doctors advertising cigarettes.

It's why it's so hard to combat this stuff. Because it's not emotional, or hysterical. It's well-crafted advertising, reinforcing anecdotal evidence that's right in front of them. The exact same thing happens to machine learning algorithms. No emotions involved.

132 Not emotions in the sense…

Not emotions in the sense that you say, that's for sure. I agree there's no hysteria involved. What I mean is that people want to believe certain things, unconsciously. That's why advertising works. You see people on TV smiling all the time and that speaks to us in a deep emotional level. I call it emotional, anyway. It's certainly not rational. Maybe we could settle on irrational?

142 OK, that's part of it, sure,…

OK, that's part of it, sure, although I'm not sure that the argument of "advanced psychological techniques developed with scientific approaches over decades can manipulate people" demonstrates that we're a stupid species (evil, maybe, not really stupid). 

But again, that's not all of it. If you're presented with two facts, and one is backed up by your everyday experience and the other is not, it's not irrational to choose the one that you have additional evidence for. That's totally rational.

The problem is that the world itself is biased, in a thousand different ways. Which is why science is hard! But the whole "one amazing insight" leap in science is extremely overblown - the majority of science/technology/engineering is just tedious steady improvements based on that single insight. So all those "I'm just going to keep doing and believing and improving what's right in front of me" mindsets are extremely important. 

That's why to me, I don't say that the problem are the people who are fooled by misleading information. That information is crafted to fool them. Yeah, sure, if those people didn't have nice base responses to prey on, it'd be harder, but it certainly wouldn't be impossible to fool them. The problem are the people crafting the information. Or, I guess, the TL;DR version: it's not that many people are dumb. It's that some people are evil. 

145 It's always interesting to…

It's always interesting to hear a different well-argued point of view. It seems we have a fundamental disagreement (and it's fine). I don't believe people are evil -not even the ones who think they are evil themselves. I actually don't believe in evil. I think there are only erroneous behaviors (which I would define as behaviors that hurt the doers themselves), which come down to incorrect and unconscious assumptions about life, the world, and ourselves. Even the manipulators themselves, they might think they are gaining something, but manipulation doesn't lead to well-being. It might lead to money and power, maybe, but not to actual well-being. It's the deceiver deceiving himself, like in those old Native American coyote tales. In my opinion well-being is only possible to the degree we participate in something greater than ourselves, whereas manipulation isolates us from the others, and I don't mean in a physical sense.

As to the people being manipulated, that can't happen unless a person is unaware of his/her unconscious triggers. It's like hypnosis in that regard. Manipulation doesn't mean the person is intellectually dumb, just unaware of certain key, important facts about his/her psyche.

158  I don't believe people are…

 I don't believe people are evil -not even the ones who think they are evil themselves. I actually don't believe in evil.

"Good" and "evil" are concepts, like postulates in mathematics. They don't "exist" outside of a definition we choose - what you're defining as "erroneous behavior" could just as easily be labelled as "evil." I totally get people avoiding the term "evil" because it's gained connotations over the years and some people treat it as an objective thing, but that has more to do with other people than the term itself. Half the difficulty in society nowadays is that we try to dance around disagreements by creating new terminology, which just complicates the heck out of things.

Even in this paragraph alone, I've used way too complicated language. When I speak I don't sound anything like this. Some people really like complicated language, but in my opinion, they have no idea the damage that they're doing. It's incredibly isolating to large numbers of people.

It might lead to money and power, maybe, but not to actual well-being. It's the deceiver deceiving himself, like in those old Native American coyote tales. In my opinion well-being is only possible to the degree we participate in something greater than ourselves

Really, though, this is a viewpoint coming from privilege - because of the way our society is set up, you can't even consider participating in something greater until you have some degree of money and power. So in some sense, you've got two competing needs: the need to survive, which requires selfish behavior, and the need to build a real legacy, which requires unselfish behavior.

 

As to the people being manipulated, that can't happen unless a person is unaware of his/her unconscious triggers.

I'm not sure I'd agree with that: optical illusions work even when you're aware of the effect, for instance. I'd say that it's better said as "manipulation can't happen if you're unaware that you're being manipulated." That's what I stress to my kids all the time. Assume everyone is lying to you or trying to steal from you or trying to trick you. Try to prove them wrong.

To me, that's the only way to avoid this stuff. It also leads to an incredibly cynical view of the world, which means you have to make that dispassionate. It's really, really not easy, which is why I don't blame people for being fooled. The effort it takes to do it all by yourself is huge.

11 No choice.

Tanier had no choice.  The Patriots won by 40.  Brady led a two minute GWD drive with no time outs throwing to third and fourth string receivers.  The only outlet left for his hate in unvaccinated players.

41 He'll just make fun of the…

In reply to by Raiderfan

He'll just make fun of the Jets more.  Or would, if he had bothered to mention one of the more entertaining games from yesterday.

73 There's still Wentz

In reply to by Raiderfan

And Tanier is sadly looking more and more right on that matter, but I'll hold out hope.

ME:  Who throws a Hail Mary early in the 3rd quarter in a one-score game?

WENTZ:  That wasn't a Hail Mary.

ME:  Oh... okay, yeah, sure. Your other choice was a crappy bomb to two receivers within three yards of each other, underthrown, tipped by two defenders, and caught by your cagey vet WR who was standing five yards behind the action for the score. Just like coach drew it up.

WENTZ:  Okay, Hail Mary it was.

8 Football players getting…

In reply to by Displaced Bill…

Football players getting vaccinated isn't ethics. It's about availability. It's like criticizing a QB for participating in, I dunno, Fight Club in his off time (if we talked about Fight Club). Totally his choice, but dear God it's dumb. Especially considering all of the medically iffy treatments NFL players take all the time.

Or, maybe a better analogy, it'd be like a QB playing without a helmet, saying he doesn't believe concussions are serious. Doesn't matter what he thinks. There are collectively bargained rules, and he's making a personal choice that hurts his chances of playing.

Do they "deserve" it? They certainly don't deserve getting sick. They totally deserve blame for the effects on the team.

13 I can appreciate that…

I can appreciate that analysis and if the commentary went along the lines of, "this player violated covid policy and was not available" that is totally fair. Similarly if a player violated the substance abuse policy or the PEDs testing, I'm not interested in hearing about how this reveals something about their character, just report what happened and how the team had to adjust. 

39 But isn't that what Tanier…

But isn't that what Tanier did here? Wasn't the whole thrust of the Cousins commentary that his choice not to vaccinate was directly related to his lack of availability, and that this caused the Vikings to have to play a poor quality qb, which led to a loss? I mean, there was some discussion of Cousins being overvalued because of his "veteran presence", and that the Vikings' loss allowed a "more exciting" Eagles offense to qualify for the playoffs, but that's not vaccine moralizing, either.

42 Taking four paragraphs to…

Taking four paragraphs to monolog feels to me like lecturing. As I noted before, if an athlete pops a positive for marijuana and misses time I don't want to hear about how selfish/irresponsible he was just like if someone pops a positive for COVID-19 and is not vaccinated I don't want to hear about how selfish/irresponsible he is. I love much of the content here and am giving Mike what I feel to be fair constructive criticism that he is free to acknowledge or ignore.

53 The entire essay is a…

The entire essay is a monologue. That's what opinion writing is. But no matter, it's certainly your right not to want to read a writer's opinion of the personal choices and behavior of football players. I do wonder, though, you say the issue is not COVID specifically, but is more generally that you don't like the commentary on the personal choices of athletes; if that is so, why would you focus your complaint on the discussion of Cousins' choices and the Vikings valuation of him, when in the same essay Tanier devoted nearly twice as many words to an ethical discussion of Antonio Brown's behavior?

54  As I noted before, if an…

 As I noted before, if an athlete pops a positive for marijuana and misses time I don't want to hear about how selfish/irresponsible he was

That's fine for you. But it absolutely changes your opinion of a player. Josh Gordon might be a fantastic talent, but I don't in any way consider him an NFL-level receiver because of his inability to stay clean and stay on a team. Similarly, Kirk Cousins might be a solid QB, but I consider him a huge liability to the Vikings this year because of his ridiculous behavior.

An even better example might be a defensive end who just keeps racking up personal fouls and comes out and says "I'm just playing my game, the NFL can flag me and fine me if they want." (Of course that can't happen, because the NFL escalates those violations to suspensions, whereas COVID policy violations are just shrugged).  Calling that player selfish/irresponsible for not adapting makes total sense. They're just not as valuable a player.

109 with soviet union in your name

at least you aren't a closet socialist with zero regard for the fundamental right of body autonomy. you're out in the open! bravo!!  but nah,.. the reason america's in the state it's in right now is cause so many have forgotten or never realized the ultra importance of something called, you know, FREEDOM. something soviets and chinese wouldn't know their face from their @$$ about.  that combined with how easily manipulated by sensationalized if not full on overblown things to be fearful of....  and there you have it.  america in 2022.  

115 Freedom

I think there’s a fundamental disagreement about what freedom is and means. I used to live in India for a while and was having a discussion with one of my engineers about what the US is like. I mentioned about how important people consider freedom and he had a reply that you should really ponder: 

Americans think you have freedom, but you have no where near as much freedom as we have in India. As long as you have money, you can do anything here. You can even kill someone, you just have to pay off the police. It happens all the time. 

Think about that for a minute. Is the goal to maximize individual freedom or is it to maximize total freedom of everyone in the country (which requires limitations on individuals)? 

134 I find it helpful to make…

In reply to by Wifan6562

I find it helpful to make the distinction between the freedom TO do something and the freedom FROM something being done to you. Often these are in direct competition (e.g. the freedom to kill someone vs. the freedom from being able to be killed legally). I think if we discussed arguments around freedom using this framework, people would see that things are more nuanced than they originally believed.

156 It’s definitely nuanced. I…

It’s definitely nuanced. I can take your point here, and I think it applies to this situation quite well. I think that a person should have the freedom from being infected by a potentially deadly virus by another person who refuses to mitigate Covid risks. Historically, this is a mainstream thought process and is the reason why we have mandatory vaccinations for children and it’s the method that was implemented to eliminate a variety of diseases. 

124 body autonomy

Your body autonomy doesn't extend to the right to bring viruses into the public sphere to contaminate other people.

You'd be free to be a living petri dish of infection, if you could credibly promise to never infect other people.  Problem is that not only can you not make this promise, but the "body autonomy" people seem fundamentally incapable of even seeing the issue of public health.

The public need for quarantine has been well-recognized for thousands of years.  Evolution among city-states made this inevitable.  Cities that took infections seriously survived.  Those that didn't got wiped out.

It's baffling that today's USA is stuck with a significant portion of the population in a pre-historic, self-absorbed mindset.

Uh oh, I'm "moralizing".  

43 We just had a former All-Pro…

We just had a former All-Pro melt down, strip half-naked and get the opposing crowd to cheer while he walked off the field, while his offense was on the field (thereby possibly giving 'his' team a penalty).  Do you really think character doesn't matter in these games?

57 I didn't mean to imply that…

I didn't mean to imply that character didn't matter (I don't believe I said that).  To the GM and teammates character certainly matters and teams should use their own calculus to determine if the risk reward is a good gamble for their team.  Character also matters to fans, although everyone's analysis of character is fairly subjective.  My comment was meant to convey that I come here for the nerdy statistical analysis not the armchair psychologist/health expert that some imagine themselves to be.

68 Or an even better analogy!

Remember when Ben Roethlisberger got into a motorcycle accident back in 2006? He had been warned by the team not to do it and had been told it might jeopardize his contract, yet he not only went riding without a helmet, but also did so without a license.

That was idiotic, but it's somewhat understandable. Many athletes don't think they're vulnerable, and the news isn't filled with stories of athletes who have ended their playing careers as a result of a motorcycle accident. But we've got a situation here in which players, most of whom are unvaccinated, are missing critical games, so this is much more difficult to understand, and yes, it's much dumber. Beasley, Rodgers, and others like them can blather on and on about the unknowns, but the medical community knows a lot about vaccines, and all those players have been vaccinated against polio, mumps, measles, and other diseases that are historical footnotes because this sort of stupidity was not tolerated once upon a time.

So, yeah, it's like doing something without a helmet. Roethlisberger was an idiot who jeopardized his team's chances when he pulled that stunt, and Cousins was an idiot this week. So was Wentz, who simply had better timing.

98 most of whom are vaccinated?

of all the dumb pro-vax comments on here, yours might be the dumbest. congrats!  most players are vaxxed and news flash, MOST INFECTIONS ARE VAXXED PEOPLE TOO, nimrod.  

the only stupidity around here is people thinking it's ok to tell people what they have to do with their body, even if we we're talking about something, you know, REAL deadly not some fake ass SCAMdemic where less than 1% of people die.  even if we were talking about a vaccine that was sterilizing (look it up moron) like smallpox.  and even then?  the basic common sense of a 7 year old would wonder... daddy why do the vaccinated need protection from the unvaccinated if those vaccines actually worked?  

God it's so fun clowning you freedom hating, scientifically clueless particles of afterbirth.  LMAO. 

107 So true. In fact, the…

So true.

In fact, the example of road safety goes to show some other things. Most people who die in collisions were wearing a seatbelt. Thus, seatbelts don't work. And most people in car crashes are not drunk. Showing that sobriety doesn't work.

108 and another nimrod

congrats on a completely irrelevant analogy.  lol. feel special now? i would waste more time with you but i wouldn't want you feeling anymore special than you already do.  

121 And most accidents happen…

And most accidents happen near your home. Showing that everyone lives in a death zone. Plus pushing down on the gas pedal makes the car go slower. Seriously! Just look at the speedometer next time you push down on the gas pedal. Guarantee you more often than not you'll be going slower.

I swear, at this point in my life, I think it might be easier to look at retrodictive (looking at what happened, rather than a controlled experiment) studies and just conclude the exact opposite.

125 "Scientifically clueless"

I have a PhD in math, did my post-docs at the German Cancer Research Center, National Insitutes of Health, and University College London.  Though I no longer work in biology, I have many contacts at the NIH, including people who work directly with Dr. Fauci.

You, OTOH, show a level of biological understanding commensurate with watching FoxNews and a serious case of Dunning-Kruger.  Your attempts at statistical arguments are embarrassingly sophomoric.  That you think a disease that has killed over 820,000 Americans is a "scam" requires a serious level of dedicated stupidity.  

Sorry, but I have no tolerance for this anti-scientific nonsense.  You  have no (expletive deleted) idea what you're talking about, and you need to realize that, before you and people like you cause more deaths.  

This is your idea of a serious argument:

why do the vaccinated need protection from the unvaccinated if those vaccines actually worked?  

Every vaccine is designed for a specific strain. But when the virus mutates, it develops new interface proteins that allow it to get past the older anti-bodies (this is an oversimplification based on older vaccines - the mRNA vaccines work differently).  Because literally millions of people embrace their role as a breeding ground for the virus, it's had plenty of opportunity to mutate.  So we've had several variants, including the delta variant and now the omicron variant.  

The vaccines do not provide 100% level of protection from infection, but they do lower the risk, and also reduce the severity of the symptoms for most people who take them.  (People who are immunocompromised do not produce the necessary antibodies.) People like you think of everything in terms of 0% vs 100%, but the reality of epidemiology is that dropping an infection rate from 95% to 10% is what makes a given virus change from a raging pandemic to something that eventually dies out.  This is fairly simple math that an undergraduate could understand, but first he'd have to understand that there's an entire range of probabilities between 0% and 100% - a subtlety that appears nowhere in your understanding of this issue.

It's distressing to see this level of innumeracy and contempt for science on a site dedicated to statistical analysis. 

 

140 Yeah, I appreciate reading…

In reply to by mansteel

Yeah, I appreciate reading from different posters' areas of expertise, and particularly from those in the medical field, in these trying times.

147 Go away, troll

Math is probably wasted on a "FREE-DUMB!" braying donkey like you, but I'll put it here on the off chance you wake up, or someone with more common sense than you comes along and can understand it.

Let's say the vaxxed population is 70% of all people, and 10% of the them get infected. Next, let's say the unvaxxed population is 30% of all people, but their rate of infection is doubled, so it's 20%. What's the percentage of newly infected people who are vaxxed versus the unvaxxed?

Well, 10% of 70% is 7% of the total population. That's the infected vaxxed. And 20% of 30% is 6% of the total population; that's the infected unvaxxed. If one were bad at understanding math--like you, for example--one might conclude that this somehow proves vaccination doesn't work, or the infection rate is higher among the unvaccinated, or any number of other stupid things, many of which you probably believe. But people with a functioning brain can figure it out, and they probably don't even need this post to explain it.

But that ain't you, skippy. One of us is getting clowned here, and the other one is me.

74 To Paraphrase Bill Munny from "Unforgiven"

I think that's where Eastwood delivered this line:  "Deserve's got nothing to do with it."

A person takes an action, or fails to take action, and the repercussions belong to them. The more evidence/likelihood of A or B happening means they own more of the repercussions. A Hail Mary is a bit of a 50/50 coin toss, and DVOA doesn't punish a pick on that play.  But a QB sneak from your own 10 yard line on 1st down with 30 seconds to go in a winnable game?  Well, that's a dumb-ass choice and the fallout belongs to whoever made it. Those are the two extremes, and most of what we're talking about above is in the slightly murky middle.  If somebody who was highly paid didn't show up for a very crucial presentation at work one day because their 40 year old car broke down, their boss would likely chide them for not foreseeing such a catastrophe, which any 10 year-old could have predicted. It's his right to like vintage Chevy Novas, but not to force his company to rely on the reliability of a car that is a POS. Of course in this situation, the employee can always borrow a car, Uber in, call a cab, carpool, bus/subway, or even walk.  But when you are 100% out due to a possibly preventable illness, well, that's that, you put yourself over the team and there's no plan B.

95 dear Pat

people getting vaccinated isn't ethics or availability... it's called personal choice, air for brains.  apparently you haven't noticed all those double boosted, triple vaxxed, 7 mask wearing PROFESSIONAL ATHLETES getting infected that you seem to think not getting vaxxed makes you anymore likely to get infected or spread it.  just how brain dead are you?  lol.  

97 This would be ok if you were…

In reply to by AJ the Rastaman

This would be ok if you were the only person in the world being affected by your choice, but that's not the case is it? Who do you think "all those double boosted, triple vaxxed, 7 mask wearing PROFESSIONAL ATHLETES" are catching it from? God, l absolutely despise libertarians.

102 That is okay

a.  That is okay.  Lots of people having been hating us for a long time (lifetime member here).
 

b. Why are they catching it if they are “vaccinated “?  Oh, because the CDC changed the definition so you could be vaccinated from something and still catch it

104 Again, I will say that the…

In reply to by Raiderfan

Again, I will say that the rate of people catching covid is about 10:1 in "favour" of unvaccinated to vaccinated, regardless of how many anecdotes you have. And I'm pretty sure the ratio of those *spreading* it is much higher than that. 

111 Raiderfan...

In reply to by Raiderfan

i'm sure duff the soviet thought he was cured when he stuck his ass up in the air for the needle.  matter of fact, i'm sure he believed that 15 days to slow the curve / stop the spread zz, zzzzz, zzzzzzzzzzzzz would work too.  lol.  

116 Be better

In reply to by AJ the Rastaman

You sure do love personal attacks. I’m sure they make you feel big for a fleeting moment. 

133 Are you actually here for…

In reply to by AJ the Rastaman

Are you actually here for football discussion, or just trolling?

I mean, the answer is apparent to anyone that can count posts, but I feel the human need to state the obvious.

110 GOD I DESPISE

STUPIDITY!  which is exactly what toolios who haven't read EVERY SINGLE ACCOUNT OF HUMAN HISTORY OF WHAT IS THE ENDGAME OF GOVERNMENT GETTING BIGGER & MORE AUTHORITARIAN ARE.

 

and NOW, add delusional when it comes to medical and scientific reality as well as social and political reality.   hey duff, you realize because of being more likely to be asymptomatic that you vaxxed sheep are even MORE likely to spread corona?  i know... way too logical for simple minds like your single celled brain to comprehend. but seriously... is there ANYTHING you aren't COMPLETELY. STUPID. about??  LMAO

113 lol

In reply to by AJ the Rastaman

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119 A Picture

In reply to by wrbrooks

Worth a thousand words.

120 Irony?

In reply to by AJ the Rastaman

Their is something wonderful about being lectured on intelligence, in all caps, by the screen name 'Rastaman'.

Anyone ever notice how potheads gravitate toward conspiracy theories?

135 If we're going with…

In reply to by RobotBoy

If we're going with anecdotes, I know plenty of potheads that are perfectly rational people. I suspect this dude's issues are more of the "I want to feel special, and look at all you sheep" variety and have nothing to do with drugs.

155 Fear is not a virtue.

In reply to by AJ the Rastaman

I had a different comment based on rational argument, but realized that would be a waste of time in the face of conspiracy-driven thinking. 

Go back to school, dude, and try studying this time.

16 I guess he's...

In reply to by Displaced Bill…

... completely oblivious to the high number of heart attacks/ cardiac arrests that are affecting soccer players right now. 

19 You come here less and less…

In reply to by Displaced Bill…

You come here less and less.  Which is why you're here, first thing on a Monday morning, leaving multiple comments on a post which had one small end section talking about this very relevant subject which absolutely impacted a key game yesterday in a major way.  

(It's also not an "ethics lecture" in any sense.  He never said Cousins was unethical for being anti-vax.)  

56 I, for one, love laughing at…

In reply to by Displaced Bill…

I, for one, love laughing at the Vikings in general, and Kirk Cousins in particular. He's a dork and an idiot and he finds entertaining ways to lose football games. I think it's great that he missed this game because he declined a free life saving medicine - as it was hilarious and good when Aaron Rodgers missed a game for COVID. I think it's hilarious when people make a big deal about how much smarter they are than everyone else and do the "contrarian" thing, only to have it fail them for the very obvious reason that everyone else was telling them about. Cousins missing this game with COVID is like Kliff Kingsbury kicking on third down. It's delicious.

3 Antonio Brown and CTE

Much as I agree that Antonio Brown should not remain in the NFL, we have to consider how much the devastating head trauma inflicted on him by Vontaze Burfict in 2016 has contributed to his emotional instability, and the failure of the League to provide him with appropriate support and assistance.

I expect him to be dead within 5 years of his last catch - another casualty of the NFL's failed "Player Safety" program.

 

7 I respect the theory that…

I respect the theory that Brown may need psychological and emotional help. No one, not even Brown, has made a serious effort to pursue that course of action. And the need for help does not preclude the expectation of personal accountability. And diagnosing him from my couch would be a little unethical and insincere. I hope you are wrong about his future, but I also think he needs to face professional consequences for his actions. 

10 "No one, not even Brown, has…

"No one, not even Brown, has made a serious effort to pursue that course of action."

That's a little unfair: we have no idea what's been pushed behind closed doors. It could be that Brown's been adamantly against it even if it's been suggested or pushed. Even if it's mandated, he doesn't have to take it seriously.

That's the hardest thing in these situations. You can't force someone to recognize they have to get help. You can step away, hoping that hitting "rock bottom" will do it, but that has other consequences.

Honestly, the best thing the NFL could do would probably be mandating mental health screening for every player and frequent evaluations (to help get normalize it) but there's absolutely no way that'd fly with the union.

70 I'm not convinced the union would object

But it's something the league would have to work on in tandem with the union, assuming the union wouldn't want to just mandate testing for its own members. If there's a problem with the relationship between the NFL and the NFLPA, it's that every issue is seen as one side asking for something, which means the other side wants something in exchange. And what would the NFL give up in exchange for something the union should want if it's serious about protecting the players it represents? 

12 Lol

“And diagnosing him from my couch would be a little unethical and insincere. ”

also, “So I will just diagnose him as having the emotional stability of a two year old.”

21 He acted like a two year old…

In reply to by Raiderfan

He acted like a two year old having a tantrum.  That's not an armchair diagnosis, that's a fact the whole world saw yesterday.  

24 He took off his shirt

And left. Weird but hardly a tantrum. Personal attacks are more helpful than saying he might have CTE after all the hits we've seen him take, and the subsequent behavior, is taking it a step too far? Lol

99 I take it you've never been…

He acted like a two year old having a tantrum. 

Ha!  You haven't known many two year olds, have you?  I'd be delighted if my two year old, on the verge of a tantrum, took her shirt off and walked away.  That would be her best tantrum ever. 

Even just your average two year old, tantruming, makes AB looks like an utter sissy.  For one thing, any tantrum by a two year old requires massive, concentrated amounts of effort.  AB?  He wasn't even trying. 

What's a tantrum?  Dude, you just...you have no idea.

122  I'd be delighted if my two…

 I'd be delighted if my two year old, on the verge of a tantrum, took her shirt off and walked away.  That would be her best tantrum ever. 

I hate to tell you, but yeah, that's more like a 5-10 year old tantrum. Early school age. And man, don't think that just because they're quieter and less demonstrative that they're easier. Now throwing things in anger (even clothing) can damage stuff (RIP, family room TV) and the stuff they have tantrums over are now also more complicated (no, goddamnit, you do, in fact, have to go to school). Plus you still get the stupid tantrums, too!

Of course, even that doesn't remotely compare to a teenager tantrum, which is when $#!+ gets real.

Ah, parenthood.

50 Brown and CTE

I don’t know what efforts Brown has made or has not made or what efforts have been made on his behalf, and I certainly agree that he “needs to face professional consequences for his actions.” But I think one issue with saying “diagnosing him from my couch would be a little unethical and insincere,” while reasonable on its face, is that diagnosing CTE is, as far as I understand, possible only post-mortem. In other words, that response sidesteps and simplifies a very challenging as well as tragic problem. I just would have liked some acknowledgment of the CTE perspective tempering the wholly justified emphasis on professional responsibility. 

60 I just think it is a…

In reply to by Slobis

I just think it is a slightly slippery slope assuming that link. Of course it could be a factor. But plenty of NFL players have suffered from CTE (likely many, many more than we know about), and very few have exhibited Brown's erratic behavior. The likelihood remains he is just a jerk.

The part that remains fascinating to me is his relationship with Brady. It is de riguer for iffy characters to be tolerated in the pursuit of winning. But Brady has really gone above and beyond for Brown, even (I am led to believe) having him live in his family home. Is Brady just that much of a ruthless MFer that he will happily go to such lengths to improve his own legacy?

118 You’re half right. Yes, CTE…

In reply to by Slobis

You’re half right. Yes, CTE is diagnosed post-Morten via an autopsy. However, it’s also associated with a very specific set of identifiable patterns of behavior that a professional is able to use to identify and treat the condition. He might have CTE, he also might have a different condition, and he might just be a terrible human. No one can differentiate this from news reports and short video clips, especially us non-professionals. 

72 Tua has already failed

Unless the test was designed to produce a left-handed incarnation of 2015 Tyrod Taylor or 2019 Teddy Bridgewater, in which case I'd give him somewhere between a C+ and a B-. Tua is the answer only if the question is "Which quarterback would be a good month-long backup if my contending team needed one?" He has a limited arm and very limited mobility, and a better offensive line isn't going to help him become more than the two aforementioned players.

86 Lol

That clumping is transparent.

You just like arguing with me with nonsense.

148 Dude

In reply to by ImNewAroundThe…

The only "nonsense" here is your too-often-repeated assertion that teams should run a play from their own 25 with 7 seconds to go before halftime and no timeouts. Why? No one can tell! You just keep insisting that "nothing happens," which (1) isn't true and (2) doesn't actually support your contention, since it would be pointless. But we know that there are positive-EV outcomes and negative-EV outcomes. However, since your own goal line is three times closer than your opponent's, we know without even looking very closely that this decision would be negative EV. And if you're constantly opting for negative-EV plays on the basis that "nothing happens" most of the time, you are welcome to play poker with me any day of the week.

Also, if that's somehow not your argument, try explaining it better. Grabthar knows you've had ample opportunities to do so.

Anyway! Tua hasn't shown a goddamn thing in two years, and no one has ever suggested that he's hurt, and I haven't read a single report suggesting that his college injury somehow robbed him of something that was supposed to help him at this level. He's been roughly average; for all its flaws, quarterback rating isn't trying to hide some great truth about him. He hasn't flashed at all, and his team has won multiple games despite him and none that I can recall because of him. Does his OL suck? Sure! Can he do anything to compensate for that? No, he can't. Burrow's OL sucks. Note the difference in the results. As a Bills fan, I will be ecstatic if they stick with him, because his ceiling seems pretty damn obvious right now.

152 Got it wrong again pal

In reply to by Tutenkharnage

What an oddly specific made up "assertion"

But what can I expect when I detail it completely and you come away with that and "just keep insisting that 'nothing happens,'" but alas you keep defending teams just to argue. 

But yes such negative EV as a run (I remember your og complaint was about putting it in the hands of a QB having a bad day)!  Amazing! How horrible of team! They should just quit! I say run i all the time! Yes constantly go for the negative EV plays like running "a play from their own 25 with 7 seconds to go before halftime and no timeouts" SUCH NEGATIVE EV! More of that, teams will LOSE for sure!

Also, if that's somehow not your argument, try explaining it better. Grabthar knows you've had ample opportunities to do so.

LOL I've explained it plenty. You just continue to strawman like above. Believing negative EV is the LIKELY outcome such scenarios when it reality it's more more often NEUTRAL (have you looked that up yet?) with a non zero chance of something positive. But hey I'm sure THAT isn't clear either.

But whatever. You're just here to argue with me with such exaggerated statements and strawmans. Just like thinking Burrows OL is similar. Miamis is worlds apart (with and ATL and Carolina smashed in between perhaps) and...the skill players are worlds apart too lol (like serious, look at them)

Bitter Bills fan...oh the irony. Have a good one weirdo.

159 It's not "neutral" overall

That's what you're failing to understand. If the Browns had run a play in the scenario that started all of this, the median value would be 0. The mode would be 0. Overwhelmingly, the play wouldn't have mattered. However, the plays that did end up altering the win probability would be tilted against Cleveland, simply by virtue of being so much closer to their own end zone, and that's what makes running such a play negative EV. It's that simple. You can argue that the smaller chance of a positive play favors the call, and if we were talking about David strategies, I'd agree with you in certain circumstances (e.g., David is already down a lot of points and will need to gamble and win those bets to get back in the game). But that game wasn't such a scenario, and arguing in favor of running a play just because so many plays don't matter? Well, that doesn't support your contention.

161 That doesn't make sense

However, the plays that did end up altering the win probability would be tilted against Cleveland, simply by virtue of being so much closer to their own end zone, and that's what makes running such a play negative EV. 

That doesn't make the likelihood of something bad happening likely. Or even 50%. Handing off to Nick Chubb (not a bad player either) doesnt likely hurt. There's a >0% he scores too! The chances something bad happens is small! It doesn't matter if does because they have an entire half to make up for it. Or if they were ahead and scored more they'd increase their WP!

It's nearing the end of the half! Plays and their outcomes are a lot clearer! Just like in the 2nd half! If Chubb only gets half way to the endzone It's neutral and doesn't matter because theyre headed to the locker room either way! They would've given it a shot for him to bust loose and help them get back into it! 

14 Tune in tomorrow when Bills…

Tune in tomorrow when Bills fans start a GoFundMe to build a dome

You're way behind in this joke. Mafia members have been adding a roof to the artist renderings of the new stadium since they came out in December.

 

15 Behind the worst OL almost…

Behind the worst OL almost as much as he wanted Hurts to fail.

I've watched Tua three times this year. He's not the answer, and the team knows it. Their line does suck, but Tua doesn't even look good doing what he's supposedly good at.

22 Dude, Mills looks better…

In reply to by ImNewAroundThe…

Dude, Mills looks better than Tua does at this point. Horrible Josh Allen looked considerably better in the second half of his first season.

Don't get me wrong, I'd love to see Miami (F**k the Phins) stay with him, but he looks totally lost out there. The game hasn't slowed down for him, IMO.

He'll now look like vintage Manning The Greater against the Pats next week. (I can hope, can't I?)

26 Yet you won't see that trade

Unless you just started watching.

All this from one game lol nothing on the 7 game win streak though.

The game hasn't slowed down because the OL hasn't sped up. Maybe all that wasted time with Fitz was pointless. Maybe winning those 3 meaningless games in 2019 was also pointless 😳 

Good luck finding one in the draft too.

37 Good luck finding one period…

Good luck finding one period. It's not like Miami has a lot of other options, but I personally would love to see them burn draft capital on Watson. ;)

Edit: That said, perhaps I should say he's not the answer for this coaching staff. They've got a quicker clock than he does, is my feeling.

138 Hush your mouth! Clearly you…

Hush your mouth!

Clearly you've never read any of my other posts, as I'm a Bills fan.

To the point, however, Tua is not the answer right now. Will he be next year? Maybe - Allen was terrible, then he wasn't (though he still is occasionally). Are there strong signs the coaching staff doesn't think so? Yes, and I don't think Flores gets more than one more losing season before he's gone, which is a mistake on the organization's part, since he seems like a solid coach. For, you know, Carolina, or someone else outside of our division.

141 I know you're a Bills fan,…

I know you're a Bills fan, but I still like you :smileyface: Anyway, I recommend Baldy's breakdowns on Tweeter. He does a lot of them, short but sweet. Check this one out about the Titans defense on Sunday: https://twitter.com/BaldyNFL/status/1478176697715462147?s=20

The play where four Dolphins o-linemen are down on the ground surrounded by Titans is hilarious.

144 You gonna compare their second years then?

I don't remember everyones fandom. Especially people from VA.

Indication that Flores is good based on...having 3 OCs in 1.5 years? Allen wasn't near the prospect Tua was but after coming off the bench his first game...the Bills stuck with him and built around him accordingly. They don't get praised enough for that. Being wishy washy with it probably isn't the right course of action but here we are in Miami. 

Forget coaching staff. Spend as much as needed. Fire who needs to be fired like Rhule, etc. also messing up the QB situation. Wasting money on vets, etc.

146 He guided a team that was…

He guided a team that was almost bereft of NFL talent to a winning record in the second half of 2019.  Then that group took a major lead ahead (with the help of some big FAs) the next year and were a whisper away from making the playoffs.  This year hasn't gone as hoped, but it's well within the scope of normal expectations if you overlook the strange streakiness of it.  

The cycling of OCs and the clear lack of buy in with Tua aside, it's been a successful rebuild from the depths Miami had fallen.  Not sure why Flores would be the target of much criticism.  

160 Not sure what "second half…

Not sure what "second half of second season" means, 2019 was Flores' first season.  Given how little talent Miami had, and the fact that they depleted the talent further with some intelligent trades, actually winning a few games down the stretch was a damn near Herculean accomplishment.  And 2020 was seen by virtually everyone as a substantial fast forwarding of the rebuild.  2021 hasn't gone as planned, but at this point there is no reason to give it more weight than the first two years when it looked like Flores was a rising star in the coaching ranks.  

162 We're talking about Allen

The 2nd half of 2019 for Flores was winning 3 meaningless games to kick them out of #1. But hey Herculean? So much for that lasting. Congrats on picking 5 instead 

Allens 2nd season was similar to Tuas. Defense isn't stable but at least the Bills committed to Allen which paid dividends. But here Miami is flipping and flopping. They should be able to tell Tuas a clear upgrade over vet Jacoby and overall has improved from last year, even if not to their liking. 

157 To be fair, that 7 game win…

To be fair, that 7 game win streak was against DVOA #14 New Orleans, an injury riddled #18 Baltimore, and then 5 games against the bottom 7. It’s cool for them to get it, but it’s hard to compare that with a truly good team beating good competition. They look pretty consistently awful against the playoff bound teams, they just went a while without playing any of them. 

163 That's how it works a lot of the time

But OL still bad and didn't want to give props. Like someone else said, it felt like it was pre written and Mike was just waiting for an L to type in the blanks. As if losing to the #1 seeded Titans is THAT bad. Could only imagine the thrashing if they had lost on the win streak. 

Again, the alternatives aren't likely going to be appealing but if they think so...call GB to trade him for Love straight up. 

27 Tua

Even when the Dolphins have beaten the Pats recently, it hasn't been thanks to Tua.  It's been the Flores defense stopping the Pats' offense that he knows very well.  

Like you, I hope the Dolphins continue to give Tua more chances.  And I don't think there are many options at QB out there.  There are worse teams who need QB help even more who will draft ahead of them, in a draft class that is reportedly light at the QB position.  

126 Tua had one very bad game. I…

Tua had one very bad game. I don't know about you, but Mike's been setting up this column for weeks. Of course he has to say the rest of the year doesn't matter, this is the only data point which supports his narrative! And by god, I bet he won't let anyone forget it the rest of the offseason. I never suspected he would come down this hard on him, though. It's a true irrational hate.

I'll repeat what I posted last week, when Tua still had a higher DVOA and a greater improvement by DVOA from last year than Burrow, and that PFF was calling the Miami OL historically bad, with three starters in the top 10 in blown blocks. I'll only add this: the last season Brisset saw substantial playing time, in 2019, he posted a DVOA of 2.6%. This year he has -21.3%, substantially worse than Tua.

Make of all that what you will, Tua has improved from last year and he's still very young. I'll also note that while DVOA is adjusted for opponent, it's not adjusted for crappy teammates. So I'll add my vote to yours, I hope the Dolphins do stick with him.

36 I remember

I remember when Tannehill's career was over too. Tua isn't going to be Marino, but Miami had the kind of schedule a strong offensive line, running game, and defense should have netted them 10 or 11 wins.  The problem with Miami's offense is that Tua isn't the worst guy on it by a long shot. 

 

Watson is their only hope to upgrade the position. His asking price is too high and a suspension limiting his ability to see the field is high.

66 Watson's not exactly a…

In reply to by johonny

Watson's not exactly a guarantee, regardless. Even ignoring the legal issue possibility, he's still a QB who basically demanded his way out of an organization. That's got to raise some red flags.

123 Rodgers and Wilson make…

In reply to by Raiderfan

Rodgers and Wilson make pretty good counterexamples. Both of them had issues with their current team, and yet neither of them reached a point where the team said "eff it" and just sat the guy.

128 There are a lot of dumpster…

There are a lot of dumpster fire NFL teams out there. A whole, whole lot. But there aren't many NFL QBs who force their way out of town.

Plus, to be clear, Watson agreed to stay at that dumpster fire. So his opinion of wanting to be there went from "willing to be here for many years" to "get me the heck out of here" in practically no time at all. Again, that does have to raise some concern.

81 True

Their line sucks, their "running game" sucks too, totally true. Perhaps if he was surrounded with Alabama-type talent, but he isn't. Nonetheless, I've watched every one of his NFL starts and not one of them jumped out as being particularly impressive. I don't think he's a lost cause but I just don't see him evolving into "the guy" down there.

127 Alabama! I don't follow…

In reply to by lenny65

Alabama! I don't follow college ball, so I'd forgotten about that. I wonder if much of the irrational Tua hate comes from the fact he played for a recruiting powerhouse that people are sick of.

25 Chase vs. Mac

Going into yesterday, I felt that, in spite of Chase's spectacular ability, that Mac had been more consistent on the whole, played the more important position, and generally deserved OROY over him.  Consider that, after his 201-yard output vs. the Ravens, he went 7 games without getting 100 yards receiving, and the Bengals lost four of those games.  Then he got to face the depleted Ravens again, and got 125 yards in a big win.

And then yesterday happened.  

A dispassionate consideration of the entire seasons might still put Mac ahead of Chase.  But the game Chase had yesterday, against the presumptive #1 seed, which clinched the AFC North title, was really, really impressive.  So now Ja'Marr Chase has had the best rookie WR season, ever.  (The Moss vs. Chase debate is open.)  I don't see how Chase doesn't win the award at this point.

89 Wow!

You're growing on Zach! Good on ya for not getting up in the Mac hype and looking at the long term results as well! Congrats on covering but also improving your picks yesterday too!

Don't talk to Packers fans about Humphrey over Josh Myers. Didn't make much sense at the the time either.

112 Oh, I was never really out…

In reply to by ImNewAroundThe…

Oh, I was never really out on Zach, just worrying.  A lot.  Now I'm happy he's seems to be getting it.  By the way, the Seattle pick went the wrong way because the Lions.

40 Wrong title

In reply to by RickD

How did you miss the opportunity to use the title "Mac and Chase?"

67 The big difference between…

The big difference between Chase and Mac is that while Mac's having a fantastic year, it's pretty obvious that he's being managed heavily - and a lot of his "bad days" (including both Buffalo games) were situations where they couldn't manage around it (other than removing him from the equation).

Whereas (at least to me) Cincy's not managing Chase at all, and his bad games are more just typical receiver variability. 

31 OROY

This Pats fan agrees that Mac Jones should place 2nd (at best) for the award.  The only way Chase could lose it would be an AB tantrum in week 18.

32 Translation

Tua will be back as starter in 2022. We all know it. We must embrace it now!

 

The thing that scares me about Tua is that he is right handed. For whatever reason his dad taught him to throw a football left handed. Everything else in life he does right handed. It is my firm belief using your non-dominant arm to throw in the NFL is not a good thing. 

83 Too funny.  Maybe he'll…

Too funny.  Maybe he'll spring the surprise on Belichick this Sunday?

Tua "I admit it - you are better than I am."

Belichick "Then why are you smiling?  Do you want out of Miami so badly?  You'll just end up in Carolina if you're not careful.  Or worse - Cleveland."  (Belichick shudders.)

Tua "Because I know something you don't know."

Belichick "Unlikely, but try me."

Tua "I am not left-handed."  (Switches football to his right hand and throws improbable game-tying TD.)

Flores "I knew it!  I knew you couldn't be trusted!  That's why you'll never be a captain on my team."

Tua "Coach Belichick, I don't suppose you have Cleveland's number?"

49 Wentz and Mahomes left handed

In reply to by johonny

Wentz is 1-2 with a pick 6 while throwing left handed this year.

It appears that Mahomes is 2-2 in his career throwing left handed, both for 6 yards, one short of a first down, one getting a first down.  This is simply the small sample size of Tua's career.

33 Not my favorite walkthrough piece

Young QB is irredeemable, AB is irredeemable, and some more sanctimonious Covid stuff when this latest outbreak seems pretty non-discriminating. Pretty bad 2022 vibes to start the year. 

45 He isn't saying they are…

He isn't saying they are irredeemable, he's saying Tua isn't a starting quarterback, or one that you would want, and that AB shouldn't be playing in the NFL.  Not sure on the first, but there is no reasonable argument against the second assertion.

34 "Evaluate a quarterback…

"Evaluate a quarterback based on a play here and a play there while making excuses (The offensive line! The play callers!) for everything else and you end up with Mitch Trubisky or Daniel Jones."

...who are significantly better than their successors in their respective terrible offenses.

2020 Trubisky ANY/A per PFR: 6.00

2021 Fields 4.24

2021 Dalton 4.68

2021 Foles 6.38 in one start

 

2021 Jones 5.62

2021 Glennon 1.98

2021 Fromm 1.53

 

Sometimes excuses are reasons. Not saying that either Trubisky or Jones are HOFers waiting to happen, but circumstances matter. A lot. (Which you acknowledge yourself when "making excuses" for Carson Wentz' good play: "...his normal cup of tea in the pocket").

 

38 Antonio Brown probably has CTE

Tanier, you're generally one of the smartest people writing about football today (I say "one of" because I know Schatz is watching), but Antonio Brown is not "behaving like a child."  He's behaving like someone with a deteriorating case of Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy.  And while you could argue that it's irresponsible to offer armchair diagnoses, you also know that it's a real enough probability (we love probabilities) that moralistically chalking it off to childishness is the wrong move

48 The AB thing (possible CTE…

The AB thing (possible CTE/mental health vs just being an antisocial moron) brings up a really interesting (much) larger question: how much does possible CTE/mental health/addiction/childhood trauma/etc. matter when evaluating someone's behavior?

Clearly, the answer is dependent on what angle you're looking at it from. If the question is "How do we try to improve someone's behavior/help them?", which of course is the apposite question for those close to the afflicted person, the answer is that it matters a lot.

However, at some point everyone is responsible for their own behavior, legally, in the workplace, and in their personal life and it's not incumbent upon anyone who runs across them to account for their circumstances. I mean, if I work with a guy who is a complete ass, it doesn't matter to me if he had a few concussions playing HS football, or if his parents treated him like crap, or whatever--he's still an ass and I just want to avoid dealing with him as much as possible. And if he's a professional athlete who I've never met, someone whose life I cannot possibly have an impact on, I don't see the issue with looking at his antics and shaking my head in wonder/horror and either criticizing him or getting a bit of laugh out of it.