Jay Cutler Signed With The Dolphins

Here we go.

I think Jay Cutler could be a dangerous quarterback for the Dolphins. He thrived under Adam Gase in Chicago, and given a good team around him he might actually want to compete. But I’m not worried about losing the division title to Miami. The Patriots are too good to let that happen. 

It is interesting that a lot of people thought Colin Kaepernick would be given a shot in Miami, despite his praise of Fidel Castro and Miami’s large Cuban population. To be honest, Cutler is better than Kaepernick as a passer, and the warmth of Miami is a great place to let that skill develop (as opposed to windy and cold Chicago). But it says a lot about how the league reacts to a player’s involvement in polarizing political debates, especially given that Cutler had retired before signing with Miami and Kaepernick hasn’t appeared to get a chance with anyone since leaving San Francisco.

Don’t You Dare Trade Brady

Tom Brady is the greatest quarterback of all time. Possibly the greatst football player of all time. He turned one of the worst franchises in the NFL into a perennial winner that’s always at least in the AFC championship game. 

But a lot of people think Brady should be traded while he’s still performing at a high level, since his time in a uniform is nearing its end. Send him the way of Joe Montana, Peyton Manning, etc. Those guys got traded or released, so why shouldn’t we?

Because Brady is better than both, and his dominance is only getting stronger with age. At 39 he had perhaps the best super bowl performance ever. He’s had one severe injury that lasted one season, and came back just as strong if not stronger. He’s still The best quarterback in the league at 40 years old, poised to attack for his sixth super bowl. 

More importantly, he’s far and away the best player this franchise has ever had. Nobody comes close. Other franchises that traded their star players had other stars that were either just as big or better, even at other positions. But most importantly, no other franchise had a player who brought them 5 super bowls. He is the only 4 time super bowl MVP. He holds just about every passing record in tthe postseason and super bowl. He has 2 more appearances in super bowls than the next quarterback, and has the potential to expand everything I just mentioned.

Tom Brady is a once in a lifetime player for whom Patriots fans should be immensely grateful. It would look so wrong to see him wearing another team’s uniform. Brady is a Patriot, and to have him play every game for this team (especially if he doesn’t have a dramatic decline) would be an honor.

Rob Ninkovic Retired

I heard the news yesterday that Rib Ninkovic retired, and I’m sad to see him go.

He was an excellent pass rusher and edge defender. Though he had trouble starting for the Dolphins and Saints, Bill Belichick knows how to maximize a player’s impact, and Ninkovic ended up being a major piece of two super bowl runs.

I think his best feature as a player was that he had a “nose for the ball”. He knew how to get to the quarterback, and seemed to be in the right place to cause or pick up fumbles. In the last decade, he’s the only player in the NFL to have 45+ sacks AND 14+ fumble recoveries. He was also noted for being able to guide opposing linemen in ways that gave him and teammates access to ball carriers and quarterbacks.

Ninkovic was a great Patriot: quiet, humble, and diligent. He embodied the “do your job” mentality well. Someday he may be in the Patriots Hall of Fame, along with his numerical predecessor Mike Vrabel. The Patriots will have a hard time making up for the impact he had on their defensive success. 

GOAT QB Arguments Suck

It’s a staple of NFL seasons to discuss which quarterback is the greatest of all time, almost always inserting current players into the discussion way too early (I.e. Aaron Rodgers) for the sake of argument. And in almost every case, the list is fairly short: Brady, Manning, Montana, Elway, Unitas (if you want to go back wicked far), Brees, Marino, and now Rodgers are always at the top of the list, unless you ask Tony Dungy. 

The arguments are different for everyone. Statistical nerds favor guys like Manning and Brees and Marino. Brady and Montana are selected for their postseason legend. Elway and Unitas are less common arguments, but typically thrown in by old timers. Rodgers is unique, since he’s relatively new to the scene compared with the above mentioned players, and is usually considered the most “purely talented” and athletic of the bunch. 

But for each one, there are arguments against them. Rodgers is said to he too new, or lacking in the postseason success outside of his 2010 performance. Manning is a classic choker, a nine-time one and done playoff performer. Marino never won the Big Game, Brees throws too many picks and misses the playoffs too much, Elway only won super bowls because of Terrell Davis. Montana was statistically not that great, but knew how to dial it up for yhe postseason. 

The argument with Brady, in my experience, is always related to his coach. He has great numbers, even for today, with often mediocre receivers. He doesn’t have a history of choking or blowing big games. He even won his fifth super bowl and fourth super bowl MVP. But for some reason, he is the only one who has his hall of fame coach held against him.

Yes, Bill Belichick is spectacular. Even without Brady he’s gone 19-19, though he hadn’t made the playoffs in the two Brady-free seasons with New England. (People conveniently forget the 5-11 2000 season, Bledsoe’s last as a starter in NE) But without Brady it’s likely that he wouldn’t ever have won. super bowl with The Patriots. I love Drew Bledsoe, but he had injury issues and didn’t play great in big games: Brady, on the other hand, has had two of the greatest super bowl performances ever, at the ages of 37 and 39. Remember Manning at 39? He sucked.

Belichick has transformed the Patriots into a machine. But he’s not the sole reason for Brady’s success. His offensive roster moves have actually probably hindered New England, especially in the mid 2000s. If Deion Branch was on the team in 2006, Brady would have had 4 super bowl wins in 6 years. 

Beyond that, nobody ever says anything about Montana’s hall of fame coach and star-packed defense and offense. Nobody mentions Don Shula leading Marino, or Manning having a spectacular receiving core and a solid defense, along with a hall of fame coach in Tony Dungy. Nobody else in the discussion has their coach considered when their stats and talents are stacked up. Only Brady is punished for having a good coach, something that every single player in that list had. If people want to hold that against Brady, do it consistently. Hold it against Montana and Manning. Either that or don’t bother using what little ammo you have left to criticize Brady and pretend that he hasn’t warnwd four super bowl MVPs, with the potential for more at the age of 40.

19 and 0

The Patriots are, unsurprisingly, the early favorites to win the 52nd Super Bowl. Brady is playing just as well as ever, their offense got just a bit more dangerous, Gronk will hopefully be healthy, the defense added talent, and the coaching staff is somehow the same after rumors of both coordinators possibly being poached. Not to mention, they won the last one after steamrolling the AFC. The only real competition this year will be if Kansas City and Oakland manage to stay healthy and one of them wins more games than New England. 

They’re so good that people have already been talking about them going 19-0. Of course, they already almost did that once (a memory that I still repress), and players obligatorily deny that they’re thinking about it. Most of the players don’t want the added pressure hanging over their heads, and why should they? 

Here’s my take on 19-0: I want the Patriots to win every game. Every fan of every team wants that. I go into every individual game  wanting them to kick the other team’s ass. And fortunately for me, they usually do. But I don’t want them distracted by the record of going 19-0. It invariably does become another source of pressure and distraction. Of course I want it to happen. If it does, I will celebrate like every other Pats fan. I won’t be disappointed if they lose a game or two (I will that night, and maybe a day or two after, but I won’t care at the end of the season). Just win the Super Bowl, and just about every reasonable Patriots fan will be happy.