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60 Long Winded Thoughts On The 2017 NFL Football Season So Far - Part II

By Lord Castleton | Miscellaneous | December 2, 2017 |

By Lord Castleton | Miscellaneous | December 2, 2017 |


30) I think Doug Martin of the Bucs and Brian Cushing of the Texans are cheaters. Flat out. I think they’ve gotten to where they are by just being on performance enhancing drugs their whole lives. The DougerNOT hits the line with the authority of a grandmother on a Rascal 300 electric scooter. He has no juice at all. Why? Because he has no juice at all. And Cushing is just coming back from his second suspension for PEDs. Ten games. You want to tell me you accidentally drank the wrong power drink once? Fine. But twice? Fuck outta here.

31) Mike McCarthy has three years in Brett Hundley, huh? That’s a hell of a body of work for three years. Damn. Maybe Big Mike isn’t the hottest shit in the balneae.

32) The reason I find most fantasy football coaches don’t trade is because they don’t know how to value their own players. They kinda sorta know what they have, but the really good coaches know exactly what their guys are worth, comparable values ROS (rest-of-season), and where their team — is — as opposed to where it needs to be.

33) The best way to get people to trade with you is to make sure the other coach gets real value. Make that other team better. A good trade should sting a little. Don’t try to swindle someone. They won’t be back. The guys in my league actually made shirts that say “Don’t trade with LC” because the perception is that I always come out on top, but every year I trade with almost everyone and it’s for one simple reason: I make their team better.

34) Seth and Dustin are shaking their heads right now. Dan isn’t because Dan is awesome. Dustin is also awesome, but he still hates me. Seth is sort of an animatronic colostomy bag who can speak.

35) There are some damn good young new coaches in the league. Buffalo and the Jets looked to be just tanking in the preseason, shipping out all of their expensive talent in order to lose. But in both cases, the teams improved from last year. Coaching is the only answer for that. Bravo, Sean McDermott and Todd Bowles (not a new coach, but a good coach).

(Note: McDermott gets a demerit for rolling out J Peterman at QB over Tyrod Taylor.


That was some booooooolllllsheeeeeeeeiiiiit. Don’t try to pin that shit on Tyrod! All he does is show up and sling it. Is he ‘good’? No! Not particularly! But that’s not on him. That’s on you and the front office. He’s giving you everything he can. Even so, until about three weeks ago the Bills looked like a real team. The Patriots will likely use them like a rented sex toy this weekend though.)


Sean McVay is 30! Thirty! That’s the youngest head coach in NFL history and dude looks filthy legit. He took a train wreck under legendary farmhand /sneering cowpoke Jeff Fisher…


…and turned it into a thunderclap. I heard some podcast say that the Rams are like one of those degreaser commercials where you have a filthy frying pan and you dip it in the chemical degreaser and it comes out clean. The Rams are the pan, Fisher is the grime and McVay is the degreaser. It’s a pretty accurate description.

The Rams are firing on all cylinders and McVay is looking like a shoo-in for coach of the year. There’s nothing about this video I don’t love:

That’s fantastic. Young blood with new ideas is good for the league. Add Kyle Shanahan to that list and Anthony Lynn as well.


Love those powder blues.

Coaches the jury is still out on?
- Broncos’ Vance Joseph
- Dolphins’ Adam Gase
- Eagles’ Doug Pederson ( I know I know, but are they winning because of him or in spite of him?)
- Titans’ Mike Mularkey
- Texans’ Bill O’Brien
- Browns’ Hue Jackson
- Falcons’ Dan Quinn

Coaches that will and should get shitcanned at the end of the season:

- Bucs’ Dirk Koetter
- Bears’ John Fox
- Colts’ Chuck Pagano
- Giants’ Ben McAdoo

Ideally, after being fired, they’d also launch Ben McAdoo into space. He should have been fired on the spot the second he suggested benching Eli with five meaningless games to go in the season. Jerry Reese, the GM should have been like “Huh? What did you just say? Security? Walk this man out of the building. Like, tout suite.”

Those four coaches are truly awful. John Fox coaches like it’s pre WWI. How did Pagano last this long?

Mularkey currently has a playoff team, but the way he’s running his backs is criminal. DeMarco Murray is clearly hurt and has gained 2.45 yards per carry over his last six games (1.84 over his last four) while Derrick Henry is at 4.69. Yards per carry is kind of a bullshit stat, and I still say that when fully healthy, DeMarco Murray is a beast. But sit him and let him get healthy. Preferably during the fantasy playoffs. Kthanxbye.

36) I wonder what’s the biggest candy you could reasonably fit into Bill O’Brien’s chin dimple and expect it to stay put?


It’s a Reese’s Pieces, right? Is that the correct answer?

37) I remember when Andy Dalton came into the league and there were all these stats about how a redhead had never been an effective NFL starter. Carson Wentz is thankful that the Red Rifle broke through that glass ceiling for him.

38) I hate when a players’ socks and shoes are the exact same color so they look like one thing. Dak Prescott is the worst offender of the painted boot phenomenon. I want to see a sock and a cleat and a very distinct line between them.


I’ve never been one of those guys that geeks out on their players’ appearance in Madden, but this one thing irritates me. Dak also kind of walks like a duck. I could have predicted the lapse in his development by his anatine mechanics. Still, he’s jacked.


39) Alex Smith’s beginning of the season was so far off the mean it was ridiculous. And his recent descent is equally ridiculous. The Chiefs are a goddamn mystery.

40) Unpopular opinion: The best back on the Eagles roster is Cory Clement. Blount is a good closer, but actually a sucky short yardage back. Ajayi has all the bells and whistles but one of his knees is basically bone on bone. Clement moves well, catches the ball like a receiver, follows his blocks, and reads the field well. His skill set is much broader than the other two, even if he’s not as naturally gifted as Ajayi or able to finish all-you-can-eat food challenges at local restaurants like Blount.

41) Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford and Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan are great friends. That makes sense to me. That’s basically putting two cucumbers in a basket. Of course they get along.


They also play on a church league coed basketball team together.


I don’t have a single bad word to say about either one of these guys, but not really an interesting thing either. They’re basically ‘The Italian Job’ of friendships. Here’s Matt Ryan tripping over a painted 10.

42) Aaron Rodgers shattered his throwing shoulder like three weeks ago, had 42 screws inserted and prior to the Packers game on Sunday he was throwing the ball 50 yards in the air. All signs point to him being able to get back when he’s eligible to come off IR in week 15. That’s fantastic news for him, for the Pack and for the league. And for Jordy Nelson’s fantasy owners.

Yeahhhhhh. That’s a stranger kissing him on the head. Celebrity has it’s drawbacks, folks.

43) Beast Mode dancing makes me so happy for some reason.

44) You work your whole life to be the point of the spear for your professional cheerleading squad and then you get FUCKING CLEANED OUT by a steadicam operator.

45) There are very few things more amazing in football than a rookie kicker named Jake Elliot making an unprecedented 61 yard field goal to give the Eagles a last second victory. It was staggeringly awesome. The NFL record is 63. This is a kid who wasn’t even in the league to start the season, but was picked up by the Eagles when their kicker was injured. It was only his second game with the team when they asked this 170 pound kicker to do the near impossible.

And he nailed it.

There are only two things that make this better. One is seeing his parents in the stands when it happens. Mom is excited. Dad looks like he aged 14 years on that kick. I half expected him to vomit. Dear god that’s a lot of stress.

But the thing that really does this moment justice is the call from the Spanish radio playcaller. It’s amaaaaaaazing.

46) Here’s Browns starting quarterback Deshone Kizer’s mom in the stands. And check out the absolute genius rocking out on air guitar in front of her.

47) Football fans everywhere are going to be in love with Juju Smith-Schuster for a long, long time.

48) Cam Newton made a dismissive comment to a sports journalist asking about routes because she was a woman. I loved seeing this little spitfire give it back to him tenfold. (Also, the only Eagles fan I’ve ever been able to stomach.)

49) This is hysterical.

NFL EXPOSED !!!!!!!!!!!!

A post shared by I ❤ FOOTBALL (@do_you_even_football_bruh) on

50) I like to make fun of taxidermic billy goat John Fox from time to time, but this is the best two point conversion I’ve ever seen. Ever.


51) I love having wide receivers on my fantasy team with a “my ball” mentality. Here’s the living, breathing personification of that attitude. Julio Jones. My god.


Julio Jones has more 250+ yard receiving games than every wide receiver in the Hall of Fame COMBINED.

52) Rob Gronkowski is 6’6”, 270 pounds, and Falcons safety Keanu Neal is 6’1” 212. This must be what it’s like having a berserker charging you. Watch as Neal gets the FUCK out of the way.

53) If your son or daughter ever wants to marry a football player. Make sure it’s an offensive lineman. Preferably a Center or a Tackle. Guards are sweet but dumb. Here’s a free ranking of potential football spouses from best to worst.

Offensive Lineman (Center, Tackle, Guard)
Tight End
Nose Tackle
Outside Linebacker
Inside/Middle Linebacker
Defensive End
Wide Receiver

If your child brings home a cornerback, just close the door on his face. Anything south of Safety is reaaaaaaallllll iffy.

54) I love love love offensive linemen. Big uglies, they call them. They’re the best. Example: Raiders tackle Marshall Newhouse scoops up a fumble, and instead of just falling on it, he decides to make a run for it.

Now this dude is 6’4”, 319 lbs. He is not a waterbug. And it goes about as well as you may imagine…

Dude gets HELICOPTERED and immediately coughs up the ball. It’s almost astronomy watching an object of that size rotate on it’s axis like that. The internet is fascinated by it. People are sharing the video like crazy. You can’t look away it’s so epic. And so how does Marshall Newhouse respond? With the greatest tweet ever.


55) It’s official. Carson Wentz does, in fact, resemble Prince Harry.


56) I expected so so so much more from Corey Davis this season. Are the Titans the new Bengals? The place where talent goes to die? Look at Marcus Mariota! He’s awful with a capital A this year. I want to blame Davis, but so much of it is Mariota.

57) I’m not a huge fan of DangeRuss, but this Pete Carroll impersonation is solid.

58)Here’s a list of the NFL-related analysts I find myself missing this season.

- Adam Rank
- Matt ‘Money’ Smith
- Akbar Gbaja-Biamila
- James Koh
- Kay Adams
- Aditi Kinkhabwala
- Maurice Jones-Drew
- Melissa Stark
- Kurt Warner
- Andrew Siciliano
- Lindsay Rhodes

I absolutely am thrilled to not have to accidentally see:

- Deion Sanders
- Michael Silver
- Michael Irvin
- Michael Fabiano
- Heath Evans
- Marshall Faulk
- David Carr

As I made this list, I was shocked by how polarized I am about ‘my’ NFL analysts. I really enjoy the top list. They’re all great. I really really really (professionally) dislike the bottom list. Listening to Deion Sanders is like nails in my ears. Irvin is grating…though not as much as he used to be. Michael Silver’s ‘I’m an insider in every room’ affect has rubbed me the wrong way for years and years. Fabiano is clearly the butt of every joke on NFL Fantasy Live. Evans comes at every question like he’s the final authority. Marshall Faulk is a sniveling, buck-toothed beaver who whines. And David Carr has a Joel Osteen religion-and-gel thing that grosses me out. Though of that list I like him much more than the others. But it’s interesting how visceral my reactions to them were as I perused the list of NFL on-air talent here.

59) In a story of redemption, which are my favorite kind, Michael Vick has fully paid back his investors. I’m a dog lover and to see what Vick did was stomach-turning. Some people will never forgive him and I certainly understand that. In my case, I see — over and over again — a man who has realized his mistakes and keeps making strides to change them. According to the story of his debt repayment, he paid 99 cents on the dollar, which happens with one out of a hundred cases. He paid his debt to society and since then seems to have taken every single opportunity to do the right thing and make amends. This is why we give people a second chance. So that they can grow and learn and help educate others who are headed down the same precarious road.

60) Speaking of redemption, there is no better story this season, and I mean NONE, than the story of Josh Gordon.

I could write 50,000 words on Josh Gordon. I’m a Josh Gordon Truther. There are thousands of us. Thousands. Maybe hundreds of thousands. We believe in Josh Gordon like a football messiah. We believe that, at his best, he’s nearly unstoppable.

He’s a fascinating character. He was a college player who came into the league sort of back door in the NFL supplemental draft, which is basically an ancillary draft that happens after the real draft to catch the various technicalities of eligibility who want to enter the NFL after the draft has passed. In many cases, it’s where you take a shot on a complete fuck-up to see if he can help your team.

The Cleveland Browns took a shot on Josh Gordon and in short order, he became one of the best receivers in the league. Like, overnight.

Here’s a great video talking about his addictions and the many mistakes he made that got him expelled from the NFL.

Since then, he’s tried to get himself right. People like me are holding on to his story of redemption with both hands. We are hope addicts. We want to believe that in this crazy world, a man really can just put his foot down and say ‘no more.’

But do you believe Josh Gordon? Does this seem real? I was talking with a friend the other day and he was like “I thought Josh Gordon was just some knucklehead.”

Noooooooo. No No No.

He’s smart. He’s focused. He reads people like a con artist. He’s type A. This is not a victim in the typical sense. This is a highly intelligent manipulator who has played everyone since the dawn of time. He knows the game. The question is: Is he for real this time? Did he find salvation or is this a money grab from a consummate tactician?

Sports Illustrated’s Ben Baskin seems to have real concerns about Gordon’s sincerity, or at least his judgement. Gordon’s closest advisor, his manager Michael Johnson, comes across as a complete douchenozzle in the SI piece. Gordon seems like his heart is in the right place. But you worry about how much they’re controlling the narrative. It’s smart, for sure. Since Gordon was conditionally reinstated by the NFL he’s been a model citizen. The practice film of him looks…impressive. They can’t seem to outthrow him. Browns beat reporter Mary Kay Cabot reported that upon his return to Browns camp, he ran a clocked 4.3 40 yard dash. He says he’s in the best shape of his life, and that number suggests he’s telling the truth. That’s rocket fast.

Every single interview with him, he’s on message like a politician. He never wavers. He’s a machine fending off the drama greedy press and redirecting it to a series of Crash Davis-like cliches.

Gotta help the team.
Do my best.
Control what I can control.

He’s Grateful. Thankful. Blessed.

And in almost every case, he’s conveniently wearing his signature line of Flash Gordon Adidas apparel.

So. We don’t know.

But I for one, am cautiously optimistic. I didn’t have much hope for him as an athlete until he came back during last year’s preseason, and absolutely dominated pro-bowl corner Brent Grimes.

I told all the guys in my league about this moment. I saw a video of Grimes in the locker room after the game and he was shook. He was trying to figure out how Gordon had gotten the best of him. His coverage was textbook. Perfect. He was at a loss.

And since that moment, I’ve been on a Josh Gordon vigil. That’s when I made him my fantasy football obsession. Drafting him the last two years in my fantasy draft on the off — and unlikely — chance that he finally comes correct. That he finally gets it right. And I’ve joined my fellow Gordon acolytes in waiting with baited breath for tomorrow. When he comes back. When he returns to the NFL after like a thousand days off.

Everywhere you look, ‘experts’ the ones who get it right like half the time, are urging caution. ‘Whoa whoa whoa! This guys hasn’t played in years! This guy is a burnout! He’s never even played a game sober!’

That’s like, everywhere. Virtually every NFL analyst. Wait and see. They surely won’t play him much. They’ll definitely ease him back in. He’ll be on a ‘snap count’ to limit his reps. That’s what EVERYONE says.

But I prefer a more direct evaluation. And who better to give it to us than his own head coach?

I clipped these from Hue Jackson’s press conference this week. First, a question to indicate just where he is on the team roster. Because no one knows. They have a very talented second year receiver named Corey Coleman on the team. So where does Josh Gordon, 26-year-old relic from a bygone age, fit in. Is he even good enough to be on the roster? Will he, in fact, even start?

Hahahaha! I laugh every time I watch this and I’ve been watching it for days.


That’s Hue Jackson’s internal monologue coming out. Right away. He better hurry up and SAVE MY JOB.

Okay, so that establishes something. That what Hue Jackson is seeing in practice, things we’re not privy to, is astounding. So much so that the mere suggestion that he wouldn’t start is laughable.

That’s good news.

But is this a ceremonial thing? Welcome him back into the fold with a formal ‘starting’ tag and then yank him after a series or two?

Will he be on a pitch count? Which is a baseball term they use to keep a pitcher’s arm from tiring. Will he play the whole game or will they ease him in?

Pitch count! With this guy? Noooo.

So should we believe the narrative that Josh Gordon is a possibly-rusty has-been, or should we believe the very natural reactions of the man in charge of him? This athlete is different. Hue Jackson’s reactions are those of a man witnessing his own salvation. Josh Gordon is an otherworldly talent. Still. When he’s on the field, other players look like little boys. He’s bigger, stronger, faster and meaner. He is a game changing, franchise changing, and for Hue Jackson — a possibly career changing athlete.


Because beginning tomorrow, they’re going to have Corey Coleman, back only one week from season long Injured Reserve, on one side, and a 4.3-running neutron bomb with the number 12 on his back on the other. How will the Chargers cheat their safeties? The Browns have two B+ running backs. One an unloved but talented road grader and one a much-hyped scat phenom. So San Diego likely can’t just sit back in coverage. And as I mentioned before: that Cleveland defense is better than they get credit for.

And if you squint, you could see a possible change on the horizon. You could see the lowly Clevland Browns begin to compete a bit. You could see a scenario where the whole team seems to get better and management might say:

“Hue knows how to control Flash. Let’s keep him around.”

And then, come April 26th, 2018, Hue Jackson will have his greedy hands on the #1 and #7 overall picks. And he’ll draft his franchise quarterback and probably a shut-down corner. And with all of those pieces in place, no one will think of the Cleveland Browns as an easy W anymore.

So we wait. One more day.

With the hopes of a city and a franchise and half a million redemption junkies like me waiting to see if Flash Gordon can turn it all around. This cheater. This addict. This former rule breaker and law breaker and drug dealer. This unlikely vessel for so much hope.

Because if he can really turn his life around, even if it’s just for the money, then can’t we all? Can’t we fix our own mistakes and re-seize our own destiny and maybe even right the capsizing ship that is our country?

That burden, that weight, rests on the Herculean shoulders of one athlete. Everything is in place. The road has brought him home. Now he has to do it.

I think he’s up for the challenge.


Gives me chills.

Do us proud, Josh Gordon. Do us proud.

Thanks to all of you who made it this far. Have a great weekend!

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Lord Castleton is a staff contributor. You can follow him on Twitter.