Usually These Sorts Of Things Don’t Take Two Years

adamjonesThere are all kinds of unanswered questions regarding the release of Cowboys cornerback Adam Jones in the wake of a proposed Outside the Lines report by ESPN’s John Barr. The quick rundown, from the Four-Letter’s standpoint, is that Jerry Jones released the cornerback after Barr contacted the Cowboys’ organization about a response to allegations that Jones hired someone to shoot at men he had a dispute in while a member of the Titans (albeit suspended) in 2007. (This happeend in the ATL; a random reminder that all sorts of cool stuff goes down in that city late at night, but for an athlete, not much of it is good. I had a hell of a time the one time I set foot in there, at least while not cursing the traffic.)

While lamenting that Jones is again getting cut or disciplined for shit he was never convicted of in court (yes, I understand Lord Rog is gonna nail ass to the wall for even being arrested; that doesn’t mean I have to like it as policy), a bigger question arises: if the inquisition from the Four-Letter is behind the release and the NFL knew about the allegations, then it means a couple of things:

  1. This obviously was of no concern to the league because no one could put Jones there at the time. There wasn’t enough evidence.
  2. Jerry Jones had to have known about this when he signed Adam Jones. I find it hard to believe otherwise.

That said, why the uproar now over a confidential informant whom we don’t know a whole lot about (and with good reason)?  There’s obviously a lot of bluster behind the whole thing, and Jones appears to be very, very pissed, even threatening a lawsuit against ESPN. Be looking forward to Sunday; see if this OTL piece tells me anything or is a hack job on what seems to be the channel’s favorite subject: athlete misdeeds.

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Epic Degrees of FAIL: The NFC

We handled the AFC last night, and now assess the things that killed the hopes of the 10 teams that failed to make the playoffs in the NFC, ranked from least devastating to the most.

At Least The Building Blocks Are There

Chicago Bears – Buck up, Chi-town. Even though you missed the clear shot at a Wild Card slot (and a shot at your division-winning rivals in Minnesota this weekend), you gained this: a QB with the serious potential to be franchise in Kyle Orton and an RB who is definitely franchise in Matt Forte.  Now,  if you can get an actual receiver in there, because Devin Hester hasn’t quite developed hands yet and you can’t throw it to Greg Olsen and Des Clark all the time. Oh, right. Another safety and a corner to shore up when Mike Brown winds up on IR every year wouldn’t hurt, but still, you’re not grasping at straws or anything.

Washington Redskins – 6-2 followed by a 2-6 and a .500 finish. There was going to be lag with Jason Campbell trying to learn yet another offensive system and a first-year head coach who’d never been an OC trying to learn the ropes. O-line and some front-seven help are needed here; more important is that your megalomaniac of an owner relax for a four-year period and not panic. Fear not, Children of the Zorn.

Coming Out Of The Haze

San Francisco 49ers – Gee, if the Yorks had known that concentrating some authority in one person and hustling Mike Nolan out of town would have resulted in some hustle and heart, they’d have canned him earlier. Mike Singletary did all the things Mike Nolan wouldn’t: hold players accountable, reign in the OC who probably thought the interim title would be his, and gave the team some semblance of an identity with wins it probably wouldn’t have pulled out mere weeks ago.  Plus, he’s funny:

Touch Me, I’m Sick

Seattle Seahawks – Sometimes a team just accumulates so many injuries that it’s absolutely impossible to compete, even in the sport’s worst division. Losing somewhere in the range of five wideouts in the first few weeks of the season along with a chunk of secondary and watching the QB suffer through back problems (i.e., getting old) put a crimp in the O-Dub Mike Holmgren’s (OW = Original Walrus) last season. Looks more devastating than it actually was because of the cumulative craptacular year it turned out to be for Seattle sports fans, and at least Seahawks fans know Seneca Wallace can play QB well enough if Matt Hasselbeck is still down.

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In Which I Lob All Sorts Of Obscenities At Andy Reid

andyreidvscardinals

Eagles 48, Cardinals 20 – In a thorough defenestration of an Arizona team that holds up its bargain of the “No West Coast team shall win on the road on the East Coast” Law of the 2008 Football Season, we saw the classic form of Iggles offensive football, the way it was when they were getting to conference championships (without T.O.) That said, the following rant should apply whether you are a Philly fan absolutely frustrated with the inconsistent play calling of Andy Reid or a fantasy owner who has had to play the guessing game with Brian Westbrook all season with his health and whether Reid would actually, y’know, get him the ball again:

WHERE THE FUCK WAS THIS THE LAST THREE WEEKS, YOU USELESS COCKGOBBLING SACK OF PROTOPLASM?? WHAT SET OFF THE WHOLE “Oh, maybe I should make a point of emphasizing Donovan McNabb to Brian Westbrook” THING AGAIN, YOU TURDBURGLING FUCKNOZZLE? YOU FORGOT HE EXISTED FOR THE PAST FUCKING MONTH AND THEN YOU RECALL YOUR BEST OFFENSIVE PHILOSOPHY AFTER WE’VE GIVEN UP ON THIS HALF-HEARTED, UNDERACHIEVING SHITCAKE OF A TEAM? GET FUCKED RIGHT IN THE GODDAMN EAR, YOU STUPID TWATWAFFLE!!!

That feels better. Yep, I benched Westbrook after four weeks of nada and look at what I got. He had 4 TDs, as did Donny Mac, and DeSean Jackson and Jason Avant sniffed end zone too. At least I got one from Jackson, and I picked up quite a few TDs in the other two games.

Cowboys 34, Seahawks 9 – The Seahags have descended to the level of a JV team. Tony Romo threw three TDs, hitting Martellus Bennett, Jason Witten, and Terrell Owens (three TDs for me!) Cowboys fans, do not confuse this with any sort of a return to form yet — it’s only Seattle, it might as well not count. Hell, if they didn’t blow them out, we’d be asking what the hell was still wrong with this team. Mike Holmgren, the Original Walrus, has looked like someone stole his bucket all season long.

Titans 47, Lions 10 – Tennessee came angry, ready to run some motherfuckers over. Detroit was more than eager to be those motherfuckers. 252 rushing yards total in the game, two TDs a piece for Chris Johnson and LenDale White (four more for me!), and a Vince Young sighting after the game got out of reach, and a comedic reminder of just how horrid the Lions are on the way to 0-16. Everyone keeps telling me the Saints are the only team the Lions have a chance of beating. I don’t think they could even bother to defend Drew Brees at this point. Telling sign: post-game, when they gave Johnson, White, Kevin Mawae, and one other Titan awards after the game, there wasn’t a Lion fan left at Ford Field. They couldn’t get out of there fast enough.

A final note on the Thanksgiving entertainment end of things: NFL, do us a favor and get halftime acts for these games that people who watch football could actually give a shit about. Jesse McCartney and the Jonas Brothers do not count under this rubric; neither does that tiny pixie brunette whose name I can’t recall that butchered the anthem before ‘Boys-Hags. Just sayin’, Lord Rog. If you can ratchet up the player discipline, you can certainly contract out the entertainment to someone who has half a clue about what football fans want to watch.

The Red Zone: Getting The Point Across

(Video tip to Black Sports Online.)

Seahawks 34, 49ers 13 – Normally I would not lead with this because there were a litany of better games on, and I was saved from having to watch this travesty by the grace of my local Fox affiliate who rationally decided that no one in our little part of California wanted to watch the Niners get beat. However, it produced the most coherent yet quotable of coach rants from Mike Singletary, who is visibly and understandably frustrated with a quarterback who is responsible for 11 fumbles and 17 interceptions, a tight end that dogged it a bit and cost them 15 yards on a dumb penalty, and a defense that allowed a fullback, a fullback, to gather up 116 yards and two TDs on only four receptions.

Saints 37, Chargers 32 – Essentially, the Chargers stalled themselves early in London, which allowed Drew Brees and whatever mishmash of talent he has catching footballs to get up early and get a lead. 14 penalties for more than 100 penalty yards don’t help, especially when the defense has completely quit or doesn’t have enough to stop any sort of potent offense. The AFC West is slowly morphing into the NFC West, if you can believe it.

Panthers 27, Cardinals 23 – Kurt Warner got the Cards out to a 17-3 lead, but then Jake Delhomme and Steve Smith powered a Carolina comeback in Charlotte, prodded on by an amazing play where Smith looked like he had gone out of bounds on his way to the end zone, but his heel had not touched the sideline while his foot came down near it.

Cowboys 13, Buccaneers 9 – An ugly game in which Tampa Bay essentially got stopped in the red zone when they were able to mount drives, including the last failed drive with less than a minute to go. Brad Johnson threw one TD pass to Roy L. Williams, and if you have any Dallas players on your fantasy teams, I’d advise benching them until Tony Romo comes back.

Jets 28, Chiefs 24 – New York won in spite of Brett Favre as much as they did because of him. The Gunslinger threw three picks, making Tyler Thigpen look like a competent quarterback until Herm Edwards’ late conservative playcalling got int the way. Thigpen finished with two TD passes.

Giants 21, Steelers 14 – Something I’ll never understand about defensive coordinators: you go to all this trouble, if you’re Dick LeBeau, to develop good coverage and blitz schemes to use on Sunday, yet, after your team’s offense gives up and awful safety on a botched punt snap, you play prevent. Of course, when you play prevent, you give up a score, and Eli Manning hitting Kevin Boss to go ahead for good seemed utterly predictable. It would help if Ben Roethlisberger wasn’t spending half the game on his back.

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Jerry Jones Has Lost His Goddamned Mind

Never has KSK’s depiction of Jerry Jones as a free-wheeling, insane megalomaniac ever rung more true than today. Look, I understand that the whole Adam Jones getting suspended indefinitely, Felix Jones being out a couple weeks, and Tony Romo’s pinkie injury has the Cowboys, already in bad straits after the last couple of games, desperate for something to keep the team from hitting a really bad losing lull.

But he just traded first, third, and sixth round picks for Lions wide receiver Roy Williams.

Yup, three picks in next year’s draft for a pretty good, if mercurial WR who’s suffered from having to play for an awful franchise, although sometimes he has not helped himself a whole lot. The Cowboys do need some helpa t wide reciever, but Williams doesn’t address the gaping hole in this team with Jones suspended and Terence Newman still banged up: their secondary. Kurt Wanter torched the corners on Sunday. Larry Fitzgerald and Steve Breaston were getting open with regularity to make some really good (and it Fitz’s case, spectacular) grabs.

The cornerback market isn’t great at the trade deadline because most of the teams who would be dealing have awful defensive units. You’re not gonna pluck a gem from there.  But three picks in the 2009 draft for a wideout? Jones simply overpaid; he’s desperate to make something out of this season — Super Bowl or bust — and he showed his hand to the Lions, who just fleeced him. If Detroit gets anyone competent as a GM prior to the draft (and that’s a major stretch to consider), then they just gave themselves a serious opportunity to build the franchise with 2 first-rounders and extra picks.

The only entertainment Dallas fans should get out of this trade is how the equipment manager will put Williams’ name on the jersey with another Roy Williams playing safety. Will there be middle initials, or will they just both be “R. Williams”?

The Red Zone: Insane Finishes

Falcons 22, Bears 20 – Qualifying for the bizarre in the end.  Kyle Orton is officially a good QB to me now, having led the Bears on an incredible drive for the go-ahead score, and finishing it with a perfect fade throw to Rashied Davis, putting it where only his guy could get it. But then, the Chicago coaching staff decided to squib kick, and those ten extra yards wound up mattering: Matt Ryan, finishing off a 300+ yard day (first of his career), hit Michael Jenkins at the 34 of Chicago with one second left. Jason Elam then redeemed himself from 48 out after missing one that might have iced the game for the Falcons earlier.

Cardinals 30, Cowboys 24 – We all saw the punt block in OT that won the game (nice play.)  But there are concerns now to addressa bout Dallas’ D, which not only couldn’t get any pressure on Kurt Warner (who hit Larry Fitzgerald and Steve Breaston all day), but looked like a colleciton of talent more than a squad. The same went on offense, where Tony Romo fumbled as much as he threw for touchdowns.

Rams 19, Redskins 17 – So, after beating Dallas and Philly on the road and getting a good jump start on the season, Washington gives up five turnovers en route to allowing St. Louis its first iwn on the season. What  a letdown.

Eagles 40, 49ers 26 – Thankfully, Donovan McNabb led a comeback, because this didn’t look good Philly at the end of hte first half, after San Francisco returned a blocked FG for a score and took a 26-17 lead in the third. The Eagles’ defense got into turnover mode, though, creating short fields and reminding the NIners that they are, well, the Niners.

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A Tale of Two Joneses

Matt Jones is a lucky man.

You get busted with six grams of cocaine bheind a bar with your friends, and you usually run into intent to sell — doesn’t matter who you are. But, the Jacksonville wide receiver is going to be heading to drug court, as a first time offender, because prosecutors and investigators couldn’t find any intent to sell.

“Matt made a mistake and he knows it, but he’s learned from it and he is doing all the right things in his life, both on and off the football field,” Bassett said. “He has handled this and reacted to all of this in the right way and I commend him for that.” Washington County prosecutor John Threet has no problem with Jones being transferred to drug court.

Threet said that after the arrest there has been no evidence uncovered indicating Jones had any intent to sell the cocaine. Drug court is an option for anyone convicted of possession for the first time.

If a person doesn’t have a criminal history, Threet said, possession typically results in probation or drug court. He said the transfer has nothing to do with Jones. “Without any intention of selling, it’ll be straight possession, because that’s the law,” Threet said.

Again, a lucky man. Compare that with Adam Jones. Through his own fault and an overzealous commissioner looking to establish his own brand of law and order, his every move is now tracked like a target of the paparazzi — and now, if you look at the copy surrounding every story of an alleged fight with one of his team-issued bodyguards, you can see this coming: all of the talk on ESPN or any sports talk radio show later today will be about, “What will Roger Goodell do; when will he suspend this bum again?”

But no complaint was filed against Adam Jones for the fight by the bodyguard. Reports say Jones may have been drinking at the Joule Hotel, but the bodyguard has not filed a complaint. So, right now, this is nothing. It is probably a regrettable personal action, and may be worth a couple games of suspension down the line. But right now, we just don’t know. There’s not enough, but it’s not going to stop anyone tomorrow when the arguments that Jones has blown his second chance are promptly rolled out.

Meanwhile, everyone will forget how Matt Jones was doing coke behind the back of a bar, especially if he completes that program and that felony never shows up on his record. (Again, I know; he’s a first time offender — but I thought that we were supposedly to be collectively outraged at everyone who goes of fthe rails in Lord Rog’s regime equally.)