Baku, Belichick and the NFL Draft

Okay, it has been a while since we had a real Trash Talk. So here we go. Not a particularly deep one, but between the NFL Draft, which has been pretty interesting, and the Azerbaijan Grand Prix in Baku, it seemed like a decent opportunity for one of our off season points to talk a little sports trash.

First up, Baku. Frankly, Azerbaijan has made significant and important strides since the breakup of the USSR. While I am not totally comfortable with the support that a continuing Grand Prix provides, it is nowhere near as troublesome as F1 bucking up truly oppressive and evil middle eastern nations like Bahrain and Abu Dhabi. At any rate, it is what it is, and the street course in Baku is truly beautiful. Extremely so. It does not, however, allow many opportunities for overtaking and passing.

Starting grid position is at a premium, and Vettel of Ferrari and Hamilton of Mercedes are on the front row. Kimi Raikkonen was on pace to be the pole sitter through early sectors in Q3, but had a blip. Was amazing driving to pull his butt out of it without shunting his car into a wall, but the time blip cost him dearly and he will start in P7. The race looks to be very promising, even if a tad processional, especially at the front. Alonso, seems slow, and could not even get his McLaren out of Q1.

Now the NFL draft. Rounds 1-3 are in the books. Many teams seem to have done quite well for themselves, including the Brownies and Jets. I figure I will totally jinx the local Cards by saying this, but I think their first round to move up and get Josh Rosen, the best pure, and pro style ready QB in the draft, was wonderful. They followed up by getting a fantastic long term answer at slot receiver, local Scottsdale prep product, later of Texas A+M, in Christian Kirk. Very much a Julian Edelman/Danny Amendola kind of talent, but maybe slightly faster and shiftier. Oh, and the Cards’ next pick will, seriously, be announced by a dude standing on a corner in Winslow Arizona.

You cannot really rate a draft class until it is over, but, so far, the Cards are having a very good year. And, for Scribe, I think it is extremely notable that the Steelers maneuvered to select Mason Rudolph. Groomed right, Rudolph is very much a Big Ben clone successor. Will need the grooming, but sure looks like a great value pick, and with incredible upside, to me. And Pittsburgh did not stretch to get him, at all, either.

As to the Belichick angle, the Pats have been all over the board moving around and trading up and down repetitively. The national sportswriters seem to be joking that it is so much that nobody will ever know the real value of the Jimmy G trade with San Francisco late last year, because it is all too confusing. That may be true! Belichick loves to obscure things. My question is whether Bill Bel will take Richmond QB Kyle Lauletta with the fifth pick in the fourth round if he is there, and he may well be. The Pats seem like they are going to take a QB somewhere, even if just for camp fodder. Lauletta seems like a real prospect though, and a perfect flyer for the Patriots. We shall see.

Alright Wheel nuts, let loose with your draft, F1 and general sports and other thoughts. Let’s let our hair down and have some fun. Music by Pink Floyd from Obscured By Clouds, one of the great under appreciated albums ever, for Floyd and in general. So, bring some chatter about your NFL team, what they have accomplished in the offseason and draft, and about F1.

26 replies
  1. bmaz says:

    Hahaha, Belichick not only did not take Lauletta, he traded the 105 pick down to 114, and then traded THAT pick to the Kittehs. Trader Bill is hilarious.

  2. Ed Walker says:

    Browns redraft Johnny Manziel. Cards do a lot better with Josh Rosen. Bears get a real offensive lineman to protect Trubitsky. He needs even more help but that’s a start.

  3. Bob Conyers says:

    The Josh Rosen saga is astounding to me. Somehow he is seen as having disqualifying character problems for multiple teams because….? And yet somehow Jameis Winston is a #1 pick? Teams freaked out because they’re scared he’ll say something Popovichian about Trump.

    Meanwhile, I feel bad for Lamar Jackson. Marty Mornhinweg is already being quoted as saying he is going to put Jackson through the meatgrinder to try to fit him into Mornhinweg’s system, which is the #1 example of an NFL OC’s insanely rigid, pointlessly complex system that fails to ever adjust to the strengths and weaknesses of its players.

    • Pete says:

      Fins were lookin’ hard at Rosen and probably would have take him if the Cards had not swooped in.  QB or safety/corner was not a top need either – but we have so many  – but Minkah Fitzpatrick of Bama might be interesting.  He’ll get play time – maybe a lot – whereas Rosen might not have gotten much.

      We have Danny Amendola now so we’ll see if Tannehill can find/use him.  And it looks like Cutler will retire – again.

      Still need a blindside offensive tackle.  Look out Ryan…sorry.




    • scribe says:

      Rosen was seen as having character problems because, as a rich kid whose parents went to Penn and Princteon (both of whom were frickin’ championship ice dancers, of all things => there’s gotta be gay in there somewhere)(and whose ancestor founded the frickin’ Wharton School at Penn => old money), he was deemed to have had no desire.  Unlike some black kid from a broken home in Deep Seepage, Mississippi for whom a hint of a chance at an average 2 year career in the League, followed by returning to working on the beer truck, is enough to make the kid do whatever.  The League hates people who can tell them to fuck off. See Exhibit A: Colin Kaepernick.

      Or maybe feeling he was the product of Todd Marinovich-level grooming, a synthetic QB  grown in a rich family’s QB camp.

      Or something.

      When I first saw that the F1 circus was going to Azerbiajan, I thought it was one of those joke posts – true fake news – that pop up at the bottom of web pages as clickbait.  Then again, if corruption is the lifeblood of F1, in Baku they went to one of the right places.  It bubbles up there almost as freely as the oil flows from the wells.

      The Browns got their annual 15 minutes of relevance while everyone waited to see how they would spend their #1 overall pick – which name would be the newest on the starting QB slot.  Tell me they didn’t know in advance who they were going to pick.  Maybe ownership had to go out front in Berea to the gutter and get a blessing from the same homeless guy who was so hot for Manziel.  From what I can tell, they chose Mayfield because the owner felt simpatico with him, as opposed to all the other QBs in the draft.  In other words, like attracts  like.  More plainly, one asshole picked another.   But he kept his head coach out of the discussion.  Real good.  Real smart.

      My only regret on this is that James Harrison retired the other week and won’t be around to turn Mayfield into a smoking crater at 1:05 pm of Week 1.  Since he continues to work out, it’s conceivable he might come back just to take care of business there.  Not likely, but conceivable.

      I like that the Stillers chose a QB.  Recall, Ben was a backup rookie when he had to step in after Tommy Maddox got hurt in Game 2 of the 2004 season.  He’d started the season as #3, behind Maddox and Charlie Batch.  Batch got hurt in the preseason and they brought back some guy named “St. Pierre”, but Ben was the backup.  While I liked Landry Jones as a backup to Ben – and he can complete the touch and corner passes – I don’t see him as The Future.  Only time will tell whether this year’s pick will pan out.

      I also like that the Steelers got rid of Martavis Bryant.  Like Santonio Holmes, he was turning into a cancer.  Being more trouble than you are worth is a quick ride to a ticket out of Pittsburgh.  LeVeon Bell ought to perk up and pay attention to that.  The League seems to have caught on to his stutterstep and hesitation moves.  They were not nearly as effective late this year as in the past.

      I like that the Bills chose Josh Allen out of Wyoming for QB.  For all the “problems” (i.e., inaccuracy/interceptions) I think he’ll be a good fit for that team.

      If Gronkowski the horse was on the TB12 method, he’d still be in the Kentucky Derby.  It turned Gronk the tight end into Gronk the Durable instead of Gronk the Fragile.

      I’m glad Saquon Barkley went to the Giants and not the Jets.  He has a chance at a career now.

      Keep Matt Millen in your prayers.  News yesterday is that the former NFL great (he has 4 Super Bowl rings with 3 teams) suffers from a debilitating heart ailment and likely will need a heart transplant.  While Lions fans may argue for a brain transplant, too, I think the Browns’ record of ineptitude – both short- and long-term – far outweighs Millen managing the Kittehs to a single 0-16 season.  It certainly moves them past Millen for “worst management ever”.  The Browns are 1-31, and I’m afraid to look and see just how futile they are.

      Interesting fact:  Saquon Barkley and Millen both graduated the same Pennsylvania high school, and the same Pennsylvania university.

      • bmaz says:

        Man, I had not heard about Millen. That is depressing. Millen may have been a shitty GM, and he was, but he was one hell of a player, a pretty fine commenter, and seemed like a decent chap. Hope he gets better.

        I really like the Stillers choice of Mason Rudolph. I think he has far more upside than Landry Jones. Hope Big Ben gives him a little time and mentoring the next year or two. Kid seems not only physically gifted, but to really have a smart head screwed on the right way. Saw a Russell Wilson interview with him early this morning on ESPN. Rudolph came off extremely well.

        • Bob Conyers says:

          In Detroit, at least, Millen was a rotten human being. He had all of the worst Dunning-Kruger attributes – he was arrogant, quick to shift blame onto others, and antagonistic toward truth tellers.

          A big part of his problem as GM was that he had a strong bias toward a certain type of fake pious Christians in his coaches and players. He was also involved in at least one ugly homophobic incident. I don’t wish his health problems on him, but I don’t see much value in the guy – he’s been a big apologist for Joe Paterno and Penn State for crying out loud.

          • bmaz says:

            Yeah, maybe that is fair. I only saw him really as a player (a good one) and as a TV analyst (a decent one, but maybe with some of the arrogance you describe).

          • scribe says:

            The next time someone is kicking you when you are down, do remember to have the good grace to not scream about the injustice of it all but rather to bear it in silence.


  4. Peterr says:

    Trump goes Godfather on FIFA:

    The U.S. has put together a STRONG bid w/ Canada & Mexico for the 2026 World Cup. It would be a shame if countries that we always support were to lobby against the U.S. bid. Why should we be supporting these countries when they don’t support us (including at the United Nations)?

    To be scrupulously fair, Trump did leave out the “Nice country you’ve got here . . . ” part.

    FIFA was not amused:

    Fifa will choose the hosts at a meeting in Moscow on 13 June. “As a general rule, we cannot comment on specific statements in connection with the bidding process,” said Fifa in a statement. “We can only refer to the Fifa regulations for the selection of the venue for the final competition of the 2026 Fifa World Cup, and in particular to the bid rules of conduct incorporated therein.”

    The bid rules contain an explicit warning against activities by bidding country governments which “may adversely affect the integrity of the Bidding Process and create an undue influence on the Bidding Process.”

    It takes a lot — a whole lot — to make FIFA look like a paragon of ethical behavior, but by God Trump has done it.

    • Bob Conyers says:

      I have to wonder if Putin will activate the same graft network to get the World Cup for Trump that he used for the upcoming Cup. Putin would probably appreciate Trump leaning on the FBI and DOJ in the FIFA investigation, and Putin would get the chance to bind Trump even more tightly to him.

  5. jo6pac says:

    9ers needed so many players to become winners and did pretty good in the draft.
    The Raiders I think did better and did a trade with the steelers for their big receiver who wasn’t happy there.

    f-1 well it’s no longer on the local Spanish channel and this race become boring fast in that it just a line of cars. The country is as awful as the ones you mentioned.

  6. Chetnolian says:

    Back after a very long gap. Don’t like that wall Kimi just missed. Lots of others had a look during quali.I hope by the end of tomorrow we don’t find ourselves agreeing it was the obvious site of a very bad accident

    • bmaz says:

      Chetnolian!! So good to see you. Isn’t it getting time for a jaunt out here to the desert for some food and beer?

  7. quebecois says:

    That Baku circuit is truly awful.  Hope Ricciardo does it again and upsets Hamilton and Vettel.  Should be a boring race again.


    • bmaz says:

      I think the street views and surroundings are gorgeous. The actual course, absolutely atrocious.

  8. posaune says:

    OT.  This is about the outrageously cute Puppy Q.   One and only son is begging for a Puppy Q, which increases in intensity with each photo.

    Counselor bmaz,   how do you advise a “no answer” be delivered, despite the cuteness evidence?

  9. scribe says:

    Another point worth noting.

    I took my usual pleasure in seeing the crowd Thursday night booing the snot out of King Roger the Clown every time his ugly mug wandered within range. I thought he took it up a notch with a bit of meta-whatever. As you may recall King Roger, who continues to look to take the “foot” out of “football”, turned Staubach, Aikman and Jason Whitten into his personal blocking wedge to get between his royal personage and the masses howling for his head. Come out from stage left or right following 3 ex-Owboys, read the pick sheepishly into the mike, and withdraw.

    All I could see – armchair semiotician that I am – was a coward cowering. All these years later what Jack Lambert said remains true: “quarterbacks wear skirts”. And King Roger hid behind them.
    There’s the Wise Moral Center of the League, hiding behind a couple quarterbacks.

    In other news, it seems the Concussion Settlement is not going well for the players and is simultaneously unfolding in the way the owners planned – injuries found to not exist, claims denied, allegations of fraud (not by the owners, fer sher) and little to no payout.

    • scribe says:

      Cardinals went the UDFA route with the quarterback from Princeton, who got some very nice coverage as the kind of QB Cheatin’ Bill and his Cheating Cheaters would have been interested in.  Sort of a Prototypical Patsie.  The kid made a deep study of TB12 and incorporated that into his play.  One of the results of his study was the recognition that for passes of less than 5 yards downfield or behind the line, Biebs Does. Not. Miss.  Ever.

      After working him out a couple times, Cheatin’ Bill took a pass, leaving him for the Cards to pick up.  I am betting the tipping point for the Pats was that the kid has the same agent as TB12 and Garop, and the Pats have had enough of him repping their QBs.  At least for a while.

      • bmaz says:

        I actually had not seen that. Seems like a decent flyer for the practice squad and potential backup to Rosen for the future. Interesting.

  10. scribe says:

    Iggles, smug, happy and working on an epic SB hangover, also chose an Aussie rugger as a development project.  It would appear they learned from their mistake of letting Alejandro Villanueva, now an All-Pro LT guarding Big Ben’s blind side, slip off their practice squad a few years back.  The old story:  “you’re an athlete and while we can’t teach you 6’8″ and 340+the breakfast buffet, we can teach you football.”

    The videos show he was “an impact player”.  He claims to have been 310 and 10% body fat.  Wise use of a 7th round pick.  Surprised he lasted that long.

    EW can’t help but like this.  Might turn her into an Iggles fan  yet.

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