You know, there are a lot of emotions you can feel when you’re watching Patrick Mahomes play football: joy, excitement, mild horniness, perhaps a touch of wistfulness that he’s not YOUR quarterback, and such and such. But the overriding sensation I’ve gotten while watching Mahomes and the Chiefs barnstorm through the first half of the league schedule has been bafflement, as in: How in the fuck did THIS man last until 10th in the draft? How did nine teams whiff this badly on what appears to be the most important new talent the NFL has seen in over a decade?
Because Mahomes’s strengths were already evident well before he was drafted. He’s 6-foot-3. He can throw the ball out of the stadium, and he can do it on the move. He ran a 4.8 40 at the combine. He has a photographic memory when it comes to learning an offense. He’s the progeny of a Major League pitcher and has none of those pesky “character issues” in college that NFL scouts abhor so fervently. It was all there. Even pudding-headed simpletons like Mel Kiper and Jon Gruden talked up Mahomes’s incredible potential prior to the Draft.
So why were the Chiefs able to trade up and snatch him away at the 10-spot? Well, I think it’s time to dig around and do a little bit of retroactive scout-shaming, shall we? Here’s what NFL.com said about Mahomes:
Needs to play inside the offense and show more discipline. Too eager to go big game hunting. Ravenous appetite for the explosive play can also bring unwanted trouble. Willingness to default to playground style appears to limit his ability to get into a consistent rhythm. Needs to improve anticipatory reads and learn to take what the defense gives him.
Here’s Walter Football:
In the NFL, Mahomes will probably need to be more patient and take more check downs to avoid risky throws into coverage. His college offense featured a lot of quick throws, screens, and designed runs that don’t translate to the NFL.
Here’s a positive grade from Pete Prisco that still manages to be suitably Prisco-esque:
I like the player, who I think is the best QB in this draft, but they gave up a bunch. He better be worth it.
Here’s Fox Sports, jotting down a “weakness” that has clearly turned out to be Mahomes’s defining strength:
There are times when Mahomes throws with good form and technique, and there are others where you simply wonder how he got the ball away accurately.
Maddening footwork consistency: perfect on one play, sloppy and flawed on the next. Runs out of clean pockets when his first option isn’t immediately open. Will throw off his back foot and against his body at least a handful of plays in almost every game. Plays hero ball and can leave passes up for grabs for defenders. He will need his bad habits coached out of him and should not be counted on as instant coffee in the NFL.
And here’s Sports Illustrated:
Mahomes does indeed face the steep learning curve that comes with a transition from Texas Tech’s system to the NFL. He will have to adjust to working under center, at least on occasion, while digesting reads and coverages.
You get the idea. A Google search for “Patrick Mahomes raw” turns up 106,000 results. Swap out “raw” for “project” and the tally goes up to 199,000. Even though Mahomes’s mythical draft “stock” was already on the upswing prior to the draft, that still wasn’t enough to catapult him to the top spot, even though that’s clearly where he’d be drafted if teams agreed to hold the 2017 draft all over again.
You can see a pattern to the grievances with Mahomes. It’s like some agent telling you your screenplay was brilliant but not quite the right fit for whatever some dumbfuck studio needs at the moment. Every single knock on Mahomes presumed that he would have to conform to the NFL’s notion of quarterback play, rather than the other way around. Scouts and analysts also presumed that the Air Raid system Mahomes played in at Texas Tech had no fundamental utility when it came to operating an NFL offense.
And so perhaps the greatest gift Mahomes has given football fans, even beyond his dazzling playmaking ability, has been proving those notions outdated and idiotic. You said that Mahomes needs to learn to work under center? The Chiefs play nearly 80 percent of their plays in shotgun, second highest in the league. They don’t seem to be suffering for it. You thought Mahomes needs to learn to set his feet before he throws? I understand the need to preach good mechanics, but how many NFL quarterbacks routinely operate out of a pristine pocket? It’s obvious now that letting Mahomes throw the way he needs to is what makes him virtually impossible to defend. You said that quick throws and screens don’t translate to the NFL? What the fuck kind of offense do you think the Patriots have used to dominate the league over the past two decades?
Too many football knowers still cling to outdated ideas of what a quarterback is and what he needs in order to flourish. They also believe NFL offenses are monolithic, which is insane because coaches abandon their families for months at a time to make sure that their offenses are NOT homogeneous. And too many football people are spooked by the ghosts of draft busts past, projecting the failures of past “projects” onto future “raw” talents even though the two players have nothing to do with one another. Drafting a QB is always a gamble; and yet some NFL teams were too chickenshit to gamble on a man this freakishly talented, all because they were overly worried about the idea of him needing seasoning. Calling a player “raw” connotes that coaches will have to put extra work into that player to make them fit; work that perhaps isn’t required at all.
It is utterly terrifying to think about what Mahomes would be right now if he hadn’t landed with Andy Reid in Kansas City. What if he had been drafted by Jacksonville, a team that still believes it’s 1988 when it comes to offense? What if he had been drafted by the Browns, who don’t seem to have any sort of offensive playbook whatsoever? WHAT IF JEFF FISHER?! I shudder at the fact that Mahomes needed a good amount of luck just to land with a team that knew what the fuck to do with him.
There is such obvious joy in watching Mahomes play, but it’s a delicate kind of elation, worrying about him getting hurt and knowing that he might have ended up with some fucking pud for a coach, in which case we wouldn’t have had ANY of this. Because the NFL is not exactly a model of outstanding player development. There are too many bad coaches, and there’s too little patience with the few good ones. In the end, players suffer for that churn, getting kicked to the curb and then getting blamed for failing to adapt to some unimaginative coordinator’s scheme. Look at Derek Carr, man. Derek Carr was good once. Now he’s ruined, all for the sake of some asshole coach’s ego. It’s not uncommon for players to suffer such fates. And when the players suffer, I suffer, because it usually means I end up having to watch Derek Anderson take snaps.
The good news is that NFL coaches are nothing if not shameless copycats. I’m sure plenty of front offices are already working to unearth the next Mahomes, and coaching staffs have been charged with stealing the pseudo-college schemes that have helped accelerate his development. That’s “good,” in theory, but it doesn’t necessarily solve the problem, which is that gifted players can get ruined by coaches who don’t realize that they are there to serve those players, and not the other way around. That’s important, because the next Pat Mahomes is probably gonna be a completely different sort of player, and I’m gonna have to sit there and hope the shithead running things knows that, appreciates it, and is willing to adjust to that skill set. I shouldn’t have had to wait this long for someone like Patrick Mahomes to change the game.
All games in the Jamboroo are evaluated for sheer watchability on a scale of 1 to 5 Throwgasms.
Packers at Rams: Hasn’t it been refreshing to NOT suffer through a bunch of “survive the ground” replays this year? I feel like I just got over the flu. I forgot football could be this pleasant, really. I can’t believe the NFL let that rule hang around for as long as they did. It’s almost like a catch is actually a catch now! FANCY THAT.
Saints at Vikings: I believe that the top of the bagel is better than the bottom of the bagel, and so here is what I propose as a business plan: A bagel that is the top of the bagel on BOTH sides. Now, this would require baking the bagel as it hovers in mid-air. So what we would have to do is install a kitchen inside a reduced-gravity aircraft, fly it that plane straight up in the air, and then fire up those bagels right when zero gravity takes hold. The bagels will retail for $40,000 each. Please don’t ask for blueberry. WHO SAYS NO TO THIS PLAN?
Ravens at Panthers: You’re not gonna believe it, but John Harbaugh is now campaigning to change a rule a week after that same rule failed to work in his favor.
Shocking, I know. Here’s my proposal: We grant one extra free challenge per half to any coach who isn’t a complete weenie. That means you’re out of luck once again, Johnny Boy.
By the way, the Ravens lost last week because they missed the PAT at the end. Here’s a take that’s not even that hot: You should always go for two to win the game at the end. I don’t care if you’re the favorite or the underdog. I don’t care if you’re on the road or at home. I don’t care if you have a reliable kicker or not. GO FOR FUCKING TWO. I know it backfired on Mike Vrabel last week because the Titans dialed up a truly horrendous play call for it, but he was right to go for it, and any analyst who questions that decision (that’s you, Michael Strahan) should be fucking fired. If you have a chance to win, you take it. Plus we all get to go home a little earlier. They should just get rid of the PAT altogether and force coaches to go for two every time. Too many of them still can’t be trusted to make the right decision, and the Strahans of the world clearly won’t encourage them to do so.
Seahawks at Lions: I made a roast chicken for dinner the other night and let me tell you a dirty little secret about roast chicken: it’s a COLOSSAL pain the in ass. All you gotta do is stick a whole chicken in the oven, right? It sounds so easy. But that’s wrong, because first you gotta take the bird out of its shrinkwrap package (always disgusting), then you gotta season it inside and out (chicken juice on the salt shaker OH GOD), and then you gotta roast it, and then you have to carve it and salvage the pan juices for gravy. The whole thing makes a goddamn MESS. One roast chicken equals 800 dirty dishes, by my rough count. Never again. I’m just gonna buy a rotisserie bird next time.
Broncos at Chiefs: Shockingly, the best football game I’ve seen so far this season did NOT feature Patrick Mahomes. No, the game of the year for me so far was watching Ohio State go into Purdue and get absolutely fucking throttled. Look at this play:
I love a close upset, but there’s something to be said for a heavy underdog just beating the living shit out of a team like Ohio State, ripping off enormous chunks of yardage seemingly at will. I could have watched this game go on for another 72 hours, and I’m not even that big of a Michigan fan anymore. I just like it when the seas part and suddenly one college team is able to run anywhere it pleases against a supposedly superior foe. I’m sure Urban Meyer will tell you he knows nothing about this loss.
Eagles at Jags (London): Every London game this season has had better weather than outside my home. You know global warming is truly fucking us when the English have more sunny days than us. It ain’t right.
By the way, NFL Network is using a four-man booth for this telecast, and really it’s a five-man booth because Mooch yammers on enough for two people. Avoid.
Bucs at Bengals
Dolphins at Texans
Jets at Bears
Browns at Steelers
Patriots at Bills: You’ve probably heard of Boston Dynamics, the robotics firm that periodically releases videos of one of their robots doing cool, uncannily human tricks, like this one:
Inevitably, these videos are always greeted on Twitter with people going OMG SKYNET and other performative gripes about Artificial Intelligence coming to kill us all. People need to calm the fuck down. The parkour robot is good. The robot dog? Also good. I have been waiting my whole life for BIG SCIENCE to develop working robots that can run and jump and deliver pizza and satisfy all my private, demented sexual urges. Now they’re here and I’m supposed to be worried? Fuck that. I say give me MORE ROBOTS. So what if they kill us all? That’s exactly what the Earth needs at the moment. Let Boston Dynamics unleash their robot army upon us, so that all the little robots might one day find the Blue Fairy at the bottom of the sea.
Colts at Raiders: The Chargers are off this week after beating the Titans in London but I’d be remiss if I didn’t zero in on this highlight for a second:
This was the play where Philip Rivers missed a wide open Keenan Allen in the end zone, and Allen was fucking ripshit about it. So Rivers went over to Allen on the sideline to calm him down and ended up kind of, well, spooning him. That’s probably too strong a term, but he’s standing behind Allen, holding his shoulders, trying to reassure him. I swear I’m not making fun of this highlight. I thought it was a genuinely nice moment between these two.
I’ve goofed on Marmalard for being a hot-blooded jackass ever since he came into the league, but secretly I find him endearing. He has 9,000 kids and one good knee ligament, but he’s still hobbling out there floating balls into the clouds and trying to make things right with his wideouts when he leaves them stranded. That Chargers team is extremely likable, which makes it that much sadder that they’re currently waging a 5-2 season in an empty theater.
Niners at Cardinals
Skins at Giants
Pregame Song That Makes Me Want To Run Through A Goddamn Brick Wall
“Sweet Mountain River,” by Monster Truck! I don’t even need to hear the goddamn song to know I like it! (But I DID listen to it and I do!!!). Here’s Mike:
Let your ears turn to goo from the sweet sounds of Monster Truck from Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. Please note the song is called Sweet Mountain River of which I promise you there are none near Hamilton, which is Pittsburgh without the gentrification. The fact that the US has adopted Bieber and Shawn Mendes and not Monster Truck is a larger indictment on America than the current administration.
It’s so true. You hear it. Also, the video features a FOXY LADY drivin’ a car real fucking fast. Now tell me that don’t rev your engine.
Gregg Easterbrook Memorial Haughty Dipshit Of The Week
[Trump’s] goals are to do the task before him, not be pushed around, and otherwise to enjoy life. In short, he is a typical American—except exaggerated, because he has no constraints to cramp his style except the ones he himself invents.
Ah. Okay. Yes, that’s certainly one way to frame the President’s agenda. Another way to frame it is to say that he’s a demented sack of used banana peels who only exists to see himself on the teevee, and he yells at people because they own pets.
Mr. Trump reminds us who the average American really is… He might be realigning the political map: plain average Americans of every type vs. fancy ones.
Okay, so this guy’s brain is clearly made of old mashed potatoes. But I haven’t even gotten to the chaser yet, because Isaac Chotiner of Slate called up this fair Yalie on the phone and was blessed with even more batshit insane takes:
I know you’ve heard his comments about Mexican rapists and all that. I assume you don’t think those are racially charged?
I think the idea that he’s a racist is absurd.
What did you think about—
I don’t think you understand that men—hard-line, wealthy, privileged WASPs—with Jewish sons-in-law are not racists. You take these things for granted. I’m a little older and I don’t.
Come again? I’m confused.
If he has accepted and embraced Jews in his family, it is absurd to call him a prejudiced or biased or bigoted man.
This man teaches computer science at Yale. I wonder if he knows that computers are made of chips and circuit boards and what not. Or does he think there’s a magic goblin inside with a calculator that makes the machine go BLEEP BLORP BLOOP? Who’s to say? It really is stunning how many prominent deranged people exist out there. It’s not very comforting. When it’s time for my kids to go to college, I’m gonna send them to, like, fucking Scotland or something.
Cryptkeeper Al Davis Lock Of The Week: Giants +1
“EEEEEE HEE HEE HEE HEE HEE! I hate to see the Giants BURIED so early in the season. They’ve such a great CORPSE of young talent, don’t you think? Although I heard OHELL Beckham tends to go CANNIBAListic in the locker room! EEEEEEEEE HEE HEE HEE HEE HEE! Maybe a visit from VERMIN Davis and Jordan BLEED and the DEADskins is just what they need to CREEP back up the standings!”
2018 Cryptkeeper record: 4-2-1
Fantasy Player Who Deserves To Die A Slow, Painful Death
When’s the last time Gronk was fully healthy? 2010? I’ve had enough of Gronk’s bullshit. He’s never gonna be all the way operational again. He’s basically made up of nothing but arm padding and uncalled OPI penalties at this point. I hate him. RETIRE YOU BIG CLUMP OF MEATLOAF.
Bad Local Commercial Of The Week!
Bob’s Auto Center of Wilmington! An anonymous reader sent this in and I defy you to try to parse the way this dude pronounces the name “Silverado.” He might be from Pluto. And is that a Jarrett Boykin jersey? In North Carolina? And what’s with the circle pun? The whole thing is baffling to me. I need to go lie down.
Fire This Asshole!
Is there anything more exciting than a coach losing his job? All year long, we’ll keep track of which coaches will almost certainly get fired at year’s end or sooner. And now, your potential 2018 chopping block:
(*potential midseason firing)
God, the Skins are gonna win that asshole division, aren’t they? They’re gonna go 9-7 against the spiritual equivalent of Alabama’s non-conference schedule, and then they’re gonna lose 20-3 in the Wild Card round. I’m angry already. Jason Garrett is a big ginger moron.
Great Moments In Grandpa History
Here’s Chris with a story I call THE NATURE MAN:
My grandpa was from Denmark and for some reason was really into professional wrestling, especially “The Nature Boy” Ric Flair. My grandmother was into Church. Every year my parents would drive my three sisters and me 24 hours from Chicago to western Florida to visit my grandparents during Easter break. Also, every year, we would all get dressed up for Easter Sunday morning mass and pile into my grandpa’s massive ‘78 Oldsmobile and drive to Church.
One really hot and humid Easter Morning, as we are pulling out of my grandpa’s driveway, he takes his pipe out and says, “Hold on, I forgot something.” Then he pulls backs in the driveway and goes inside. Well, the seven of us are sitting in this hot car waiting, and waiting, and waiting as my grandma gets angrier and angrier and angrier. Finally after 15 minutes, she storms into the house to find my grandpa, reclining in his chair watching “his” wrestling and drinking a martini.
Gametime Snack Of The Week
Rap Snacks! These come from reader Alex, who asks, “Did you know this is a thing?” My friend, I did not. But I’m glad I know now! I’ve always loved jalapeno potato chips. The idea of Fetty Wap’s visage gracing my bag can only improve them, as far as I’m concerned.
By the way, if you want to die, head over to Eater and read about all the snake oil salesmen trying to reinvent the modern convenience store for fancy assholes:
Open since late September on Manhattan’s Bleecker Street, Bonberi self-identifies as a “plant-based bodega” but has also been referred to as a “wellness concept store.” The airy, light-filled West Village space sells everything from aluminum-free deodorant to all-natural sprinkles; refrigerators are stocked with fresh juices bearing names like “Drink the Sun” and prepared foods like quinoa bibimbap bowls.
Please hurt me. I don’t wanna go on.
Gametime Cheap Beer Of The Week
Kloud Original Gravity! From Korea! The gravity lets you know you’re falling! Here’s Jay Busbee of Yahoo:
South Korea does chicken better than anywhere. ANYWHERE. They roast it to perfect tenderness and marinate it in this gochujang sauce that I literally would trade at least one of my kids to get more of. We were there for three weeks, and we hit the same chicken joint at least a dozen times during the Olympics to unwind from covering figure skating drama or Lindsey Vonn vs. Trump fans or whatever. And when the chicken’s this good, you don’t need some fancy-ass beer coming in and going all diva on the meal. KLOUD had exactly two things going for it: it was beer, and it was cold. It was like the Michael Anthony of the meal, showing up on time, throwing in some background vocals, but never upstaging the main act. It was perfect.
Goddamn right. I MUST HAVE IT. Let me also second Jay’s endorsement of Korean Fried Chicken. They fry that shit TWICE, because they love you. Best chicken in the universe.
Jim Tomsula’s Lifehack Of The Week!
“Always keep an egg in your pocket. Okay? Outside of diamonds, eggs are the hardest things in nature. Look at this…
[squeezes the top and bottom of his egg]
“Nothin’. That egg is stout. I tell my linemen to be an egg every chance I get. Anyway, you keep an egg in your pocket, you’re never gonna go hungry. You can boil it, scramble it, bake it, roast it, drink it, suck it, even eat it raw. You can even eat the shell, all right? El Paso Jane still holds the unofficial Burlington Northern record for eating 60 eggshells in a day. She had the shits so bad that night, she left half her colon in Albany. Tough lady. You keep that egg on you. That’s protein. It’s also a weapon. BOOM! Egg to the eye. What do you about that? Nothin’. An egg to the eye’ll freeze any potential railroad cops up real nice.”
Sunday Afternoon Movie Of The Week For Raiders Fans
The Phantom of the Opera. The original one, from 1925. You can watch the whole thing up above, and I heartily recommend it. The music is fantastic. The film stock abruptly changes from B&W to sepia to grainy to color at a moment’s notice. The acting is delightfully hammy. And the part where the Christine pulls off his mask is still creepy as shit. See for yourself!
My son covered his eyes. Anyway, my unofficial policy when it comes to horror movies is to only watch the old-timey ones, because they’re good, and because I don’t like gore, and because the black-and-white photography always makes the shadows look enormous. Those shadows will fuck with your dreams. BEWARE!!!!
Gratuitous Simpsons Quote
“You know, ever since I won the lottery, everybody wants a piece of Kent Brockman. Homeless this and hungry that…”
Enjoy the games, everyone.