What we watched: I shed a tear for Jason Campbell last night. Of course I relished chapter 43 of the Norv Turner failure story, but Campbell just can't catch a fair shake. First he starts off in Washington, with Dan Snyder poisoning all things football (oh, and trees, too!) and Joe Gibbs's physical, run-oriented offense. Then Synder opts for Jim Zorn in an attempt to imitate clever owners who went with greenhorn enthusiasm over veteran seasoning and thus saved their franchise. Except Zorn was no Tomlin because he was 56, and, you know, a quarterbacks coach. Not even a coordinator. (Alright fine, he was the coordinator for a few days.) It's the Double-A-to-MLB jump, translated terribly to football. Meanwhile, Jason Campbell's developmental years are completely wasted.
And then: Mike Shanahan, the savior! Except Campbell is given the boot. Maybe it's for the best, as Shanahan goes all Shanahan on the Redskins and somehow manages to turn "John Beck or Rex Grossman?" into an actual, real-people conversation instead of the third-string Madden quarterback debate it is at heart. Oakland's perfect, right? A team with a running game that could make use of his cannon arm. But Campbell breaks his collarbone, Oakland hits the panic button and now Carson Palmer is in town being competent all over the place. Therefore, we have to ask: What are the chances Campbell returns next season? One percent? You don't blow up your draft for a part-time replacement QB. So every Palmer success this season is a signal of the end. Let's shed a tear for a man screwed by bad luck and Dan Snyder. He deserved better.
Or maybe he really does just suck.
The Marlins? THE MARLINS? "The wooing of Albert Pujols is about to get under way in earnest. An industry source told MLB.com on Thursday that Pujols' camp is scheduled to meet in Miami with the Marlins within the next few days, possibly as early as Saturday. Pujols is a free agent for the first time after he and the Cardinals were unable to reach an agreement last winter. Pujols, 31, is the biggest-name free agent on the market this offseason, but one of several that Florida (soon to be Miami on Friday) is considering. The Marlins move into a new ballpark next season, and their payroll is expected to increase dramatically." [MLB.com]
Oh, right. The NBA lockout: "In what was widely presumed to be the league's last and best proposal in a labor standoff now into its fifth month, NBA commissioner David Stern on Thursday offered his locked-out players a 72-game season that would start Dec. 15. Yet the league's latest pitch, according to sources briefed on its contents after adjustments were made Thursday night, contained what the union regards as minuscule financial inducements for the players after nearly 24 hours of negotiations this week. And that clearly disappointed union leaders who were expecting more after they made a commitment earlier in the week, for the first time since the lockout began, to accept a 50/50 split of annual Basketball Related Income. NBPA executive director Billy Hunter struggled to mask how underwhelmed he was by the new proposal even as he was telling reporters that he would present it to the player representatives from all 30 teams as early as Monday as a possible prelude to a full vote from the union's estimated 450 members." [ESPN]
Your Poor Shoplifting Technique Interlude:
Never going to a Raiders game again: "A 25-year-old man was stabbed during a fight in the Qualcomm Stadium parking lot after the Oakland Raiders' victory over the San Diego Chargers on Thursday night, police said. Two men started fighting after the game and it doesn't appear the fight had anything to do with a sports rivalry, San Diego police Officer David Stafford said. The injury doesn't appear to be life-threatening, Stafford said. The victim was treated at a hospital for a stab wound to the abdomen. Stafford said there is no suspect description at this time. He said the victim was uncooperative with police." [AP]
NFL players don't like old, generally disgruntled white coaches: From the Sporting News:
With half the season finished, Sporting News' network of correspondents asked 111 players from 31 teams everything you want to know about what has happened-and will happen-in the 2011 season. As always in our midseason poll, players were not allowed to name their team, teammates or head coach for any of their answers.
Which coach would you least like to play for?
Tom Coughlin, New York Giants—22
Tony Sparano, Miami Dolphins—21
Bill Belichick, New England Patriots—15
Pete Carroll, Seattle Seahawks—6
Todd Haley, Kansas City Chiefs—5
Jim Harbaugh, San Francisco 49ers—5
Rex Ryan, New York Jets—5
Jim Schwartz, Detroit Lions—4
John Harbaugh, Baltimore Ravens—2
Marvin Lewis, Cincinnati Bengals—2
Mike Shanahan, Washington Redskins—2
12 coaches received one vote. [Sporting News]
Merch: Managing editor Tom Scocca and contributing editor Drew Magary have both written books. You can buy Scocca's Beijing Welcomes You: Unveiling the Capital City of the Future here, and Magary's The Postmortal here. Now do it.
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