I must begin this morning with a correction. Yesterday whilst in the process of commenting on the NFL games on tap for the weekend, I wrote this:
Browns at Bengals – 8: The Bengals are a bad 4-6 team; the fact that they are 8-point favorites here speaks volumes about the Browns. This is undoubtedly the Dog-Breath Game of the Week.
The correction that needs to be made is the use of the word “undoubtedly”. For anyone who was able to stay awake long enough to watch the Skins/Giants game last night, you realize this morning that you watched a brutally ugly football game that may indeed be the Dog-Breath Game of the Week. The Browns and Bengals have a high hurdle to overcome if they are going to provide a less entertaining game than the Skins and Giants did.
I am not alone in my assessment of how bad that game was. The Washington Post is the hometown paper of the winning team from last night. Let me give you a sampling of the comments in the gamer written about that contest last night:
“It was about as ugly as it gets, but the Washington Redskins escaped with a victory over the New York Giants in their first Thanksgiving home game Thursday night … It was a scoreless and dreadful first quarter that was anything but watchable. There were more punts, five, than first downs, four. Both teams combined to go 1 for 7 on third down.”
Since the Giants were half of the miserable game last night, I am reminded that there were reports a few weeks ago that “ownership” for the Giants supposedly passed the word to the “football folks” to start looking carefully at the quarterbacks who would be available in the 2018 NFL Draft. Eli Manning will be 37 years old a couple of days after the Giants play their final regular season game this year; despite the Giants’ horrible record this year, it would be far from correct to pin the blame on Manning; the Giants misery has two fundamental sources:
- Lack of depth on the roster
The problem here is that Item #1 from above plays directly into Item #2 from above. The injuries to Odell Beckham, Jr. and Brandon Marshall would have left a hole at WR on any team. However, the subs the Giants have put out there are jaw-droppingly bland. The same goes for depth along the offensive line. The reason the Giants cannot score is simple:
- The OL cannot provide a productive running game.
- The OL cannot protect Eli Manning on pass plays.
- Eli Manning is not now – and never was – a “mobile QB”.
- Eli Manning does not have many open receivers to throw the ball to.
Why look for a QB in the 2018 draft? Let me refresh your memory about the Giants’ depth chart at QB. Behind Eli Manning are:
- Geno Smith
- Davis Webb
The prosecution rests, Your Honor…
ESPN Radio’s Mike and Mike faded to black recently. The show had an almost 2 decade run in the “morning drive time slot” here on the East Coast; there are not a lot of programs that have achieved that sort of longevity. The show was obviously highly scripted and at least some of the recurring themes were nothing more than shtick, but Mike and Mike was generally entertaining and informative at the same time. That is a rich exacta for a program to hit.
Both hosts brought “knowledge” to the microphone; Mike Golic was a defensive lineman at Notre Dame and then in the NFL who preached “athlete’s perspective; Mike Greenberg was a long-time sports journalist who brought the fan’s perspective and a more intellectual basis for commentary to the microphone. They treated one another as professionals and as colleagues; when they tossed barbs at one another, it was clearly done in good humor and without rancor.
Because Mike and Mike was an ESPN production, the guys had access to lots of “guests” for the purpose of interviews. Those interviews were an important part of the show and part of the reason I tuned in regularly. The interview guest was not “cross-examined” and was never interrupted. The guest was there to add to whatever topic was up for discussion and both hosts asked a question and then shut up while the “expert in the room” tried to provide an answer. I don’t know how sports radio works in your city, but that is not how guests are handled on the sports radio programs here in the DC area.
The program came to its end because ESPN decided to put Mike Greenberg in charge of a new “morning program” starting in the Spring of 2018. I have not read anything about what this new program will be like other than reports that Greenberg’s cohorts on the new program will be Michelle Beadle and Jalen Rose. Since we are still talking about ESPN as the source of the program, I would assume that the same stable of “expert guests” will be available, but I have no idea what sort of vector heading the new program will take.
Mike Golic’s new assignment on ESPN Radio is well known. Next Monday, he will be back on the air in the same time slot with Trey Wingo as his new “partner in crime”. I will of course give the new program a try; what I hope is that Golic and Wingo – or whatever ESPN decides to call the new show – does not try to be Mike and Mike with a different voice over the air.
In addition, thanks to Mike Greenberg and to Mike Golic for lots of good morning entertainment over the past 20 years or so…
Finally, here is an interesting comment from Dwight Perry in the Seattle Times:
“UPS will deliver an estimated 750 million packages between Thanksgiving and Christmas.
“So it’s a good thing the Phoenix Suns are mailing it in early this year.”
But don’t get me wrong, I love sports………