The Hit Job
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The Hit Job

Memorial Day weekend 2016 — So, football, right?

What we’re talking about now

Now there’s a good son

Newly drafted Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott quickly signed his first-round draft pick contract and promptly spent his new cheddar on … mom and dad.

If you have ever wondered how tightly NFL teams pucker their sphincters as they hand over untold millions to egotistical, inexperienced, just-turned-the-corner-on-adulthood, man-children with every NFL Draft, check out the audible sigh of relief issued by the Dallas Cowboys:

Yes, it’s a good thing when the newly rich don’t splurge all their cash on self-indulgent toys and dangerous habits. The ‘boys are quite glad their just-dispatched signing bonus money wasn’t frittered away. Good on ya, young Mr. Elliott. Hope you have some cash left over to buy some new shirts that fit.


The always-interesting Aaron Rodgers opined recently on the prevalence of mics on the football field. He makes some good points. Chiefly, those being there are too many of them and he adamantly believes that he lost his top receiver in their NFL Playoff Divisional Round loss to the Arizona Cardinals due to his leaping tumble on top of a microphone pack.

It’s hard to argue that the microphone pack that Green Bay Packers wide receiver Randall Cobb wore during the game wasn’t the cause of his lung injury, that caused him to cough up blood and exit the season in the first quarter of the Packers’ last playoff game.

As Rodgers stated: “… he fell on his mic pack and he had an injury to his insides that kept him out of the game and probably would have kept him out of the rest of the playoffs. The puncture spot, or the injury spot, was directly adjacent to his mic pack.”

If injury weren’t enough reason to vote thumbs-down on in-game microphones, the competitive advantage of it alters the game. Rodgers says it’s too much information:

“…now you have mics on both guards most of the time and you pick up everything that the quarterback says when we’re at home, and sometimes on the road as well, and I think that’s a competitive edge for the defense.”

No quarterback wants to cede any advantage to a batch of oversized maniacs aiming for his breakable parts. And no, Rodgers doesn’t feel bad at all for the supposedly “cheap” free plays he earns with regularity by getting NFL defenders to jump offsides on hard counts.

Alone, Rodgers can’t move the needle. But clearly, he’s angling toward a change in policy. Given Rodgers’ profile as a top NFL personality, this won’t be the last we hear on the topic.

Another item for the NFLPA and the NFL to bandy about in their next contract negotiations? Count on it.

Hipster beard: We love you / we don’t love you

The curious case of the New York Jets and the missing starting quarterback is sounding like a Nancy Drew mystery. What will the Jets do about the quarterback position? Where will they find one, now that the draft and the sexy part of NFL free agency is over? A mystery, indeed, because:

The Jets finally got a quarterback to deliver better-than-sub-mediocre performance:

  • 16 games started.
  • 10–6 record.
  • 3,905 passing yards, 31 TDs, 15 INTs.
  • QB rating (ESPN): 63.63.

… and their reaction to re-signing the (extremely) well-traveled quarterback is a decided “Meh.”

Yes, Fitzpatrick is 33 and a journeyman-level performer. We all get that. But the NFL requires teams to put a quarterback on the field in order to succeed, which is where the New York Jets’ approach defies thinking. They claim to be satisfied with their current crop of quarterbacks, Geno Smith, Bryce Petty and newly drafted Christian Hackenberg, but few are buying that. Smith’s history reveals he is the flimsiest of fallback options in the Jets’ minds (ESPN QB ratings of 38.56 and 44.28 in his two starting seasons). The rookie and the untested Petty are both unknowns.

Fitzpatrick delivered the best quarterback performance for the Jets since the last year of the Chad Pennington era in 2010. They’ve kept the starting quarterback door revolving with the likes of Brett Favre, Mark Sanchez and Smith since parting ways with Pennington, only to find their best performer in that span, Fitzpatrick just last season.

Despite the quarterback drought, the Jets are steadfast in their non-committal to their best solution. Fitzpatrick’s latest offer, recently “leaked” to the court of public opinion, stipulates a below-market wage for a winning-caliber veteran quarterback in the first year, and decidedly “back-up” money in the subsequent years.

Message: We want you back, Ryan. Kinda. But only for a little while or until such time as we can replace you with someone better and younger. But hey, thanks for those double-digit wins last season.

So, Nancy, why don’t the Jets want him to do it again? It’s a mystery.

© Julian Rogers

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