Thursday, September 3, 2015

This Is Why We Can't Have Nice Teams

Concerto in Asch Hole
Tonight in New York, the guys who were not good enough to be Eagles played the guys who were not good enough to be Jets. QB Matt Barkley struggled in the first quarter with an underthrown pick on the first series, and overthrown balls later. While he made a fairly strong throw to convert a fourth down, the mistake mattered more, and while he was in there, the Eagles only scored three points, and fell behind.

In the second quarter, Not A QB At All Tim Tebow came in, squandered a first and goal from the 3 after a pick, then led a 2-minute drill before the half for a score. He showed his worst in class speed of decision making, tried to run when there was nothing there, took sacks, and put a couple of good plays on tape. Since people do not actually watch games, just highlights, Tebow wins in a landslide.

In the third quarter, the Jets held the ball for nine plus minutes, eating up the time allotted to Barkley. When he did get on the field, the drive more or less ended when the line failed to protect on a free blitz, and that was the end of his night, because the next Jets drive also took forever, and Kelly has clearly not wanted Barkley around for a very long time, so Being Fair really isn't part of the consideration set, and Life Is Not Fair.

Tebow then came on, completed a long punt of a post, had his RB bail him out on a terrible screen, then took a grounding flag that was marginal. A tolerable third down slant, then a super telegraphed pick on fourth down, and yeah, whatever. In his next drive, WR Rasheed Bailey, a Division III player who has been the feel-good meaningless story of camp, made a play on a screen to get it down deep. On a fourth and six scramble, soon to be unemployed WR Freddie Martino made the play of his life, and hey, Tebow Magic! The defense didn't get off the field for the rest of the game, so no further drama occurred.

Now, the paragraphs above? Have nearly nothing to do with who could actually be an NFL QB that does not make you want to turn off the game and save yourself some time watching an inevitable defeat. Independent of the tape with the molasses-slow decision making and release, Tebow is 27, on his fourth team. He's had roughly 1000 times more chances than players like Brad Smith, Tarvaris Jackson, Troy Smith, Dennis Dixon, Josh Johnson, Pat White and Terrelle Pryor. I do not care how much merchandise he sells, how many Jebusers love him, or how big QBs who run appeal to the meathead in all of us. If he's a QB, I'm an airplane.

Finally, this. It is not a tremendous tragedy that Barkley seems likely to be unemployed in a day or two. This will be his third year in the laundry, and for whatever reason, he's never been given the keys to the car by the coaching staff. His fate was sealed when the club decided to not play him in Week 17 last year. He may or may not get another gig somewhere in the NFL, and he may or may not ever get in a real game. It doesn't matter; QB3 rarely, if ever, matters. If you can't beat out Mark Sanchez, Canton will not be in your future, and neither will great regret from any team that lets you go.

But having said that... under what conditions does this actually merit a roster spot? There are, literally, dozens of players that I'd rather have as my QB3 than Tebow. If you just have to have a mobile dual threat guy for gadgetry, the Jets brought in Johnson off the street this week, and he ran the Jet scrubs up and down the field, and won the game. He'll be unemployed by Labor Day, too. Hell, Mike Vick could have been yours for a phone call two weeks ago. If it's my roster, I keep just two QBs, since either of these clowns are going to be freely available for your practice squad.

Do you want to know the things that actually mattered from this game? CB Eric Rowe, the 2nd round pick that is going to get meaningful snaps this year, looked awful. The "battle" for the last safety slot is between guys who are good on special teams, but not good anywhere else, and guys who aren't good anywhere yet. LB Kiko Alonso got in, didn't get hurt, and blew some rust off, and didn't look ready for games that count. K Cody Parkey didn't play yet again, making all of us wonder if that's going to bite the team in the ass, because Nero can't be bothered to bring in an actual K2, preferring instead to use some future mascot that goes by the name of Kip Smith. And since the team lost and didn't score a ton of points, the fan base might actually pump the brakes on Super Bowl talk, even though this game was contested with, as noted above, guys who aren't going to be here next week.

So why the continued Tebow coverage? I refer you to the Asch Conformity study, in which subjects suffer exceptional stress over having a group insist that something that is clearly and obviously not true, is.

Tim Tebow is not an NFL QB.

Tens of millions of people insist otherwise, and have the jerseys to prove it.

People like me, who just can not abide when you pee down their back and tell them it's rain... can't abide.

And now, the circus will continue for months more, and given the "depth" of the offensive line and fragility of QB1 and 2, we'll all get to, um, root for him.

Too, too, too soon.

Love that Nero. Just love him to chunks.

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