Logan, Dave, and Brian are back together to recap the first week of NFL and the NBA offseason, Dave officially files divorce papers from the Lions, Logan speaks Garoppolo’s MVP bid into existence, Brian and Dave debate Johnny Manziel vs Nathan Peterman and the deepest depths by which the Lions will go to lose football games. 2nd half of the pod jumps into NBA discussion including the vibes around LA after LeBron signed with the Lakers, if Durant’s titles have an asterisk, and we give our Finals picks.
Dave and Logan break down all the best, worst, and most political commercials from Super Bowl 51. Was the backlash for the Budweiser commercial warranted? How sexy is too sexy for a cleaning ad? Will the fifth installment of a movie franchise based on a Disney ride be a high class art picture? Also, Tom Brady did a thing.
Logan and Brian give their thoughts on who’s going to win the Super Bowl, pick sides in the LeBron James vs Charles Barkley debate, question whether LeBron really knows the ins and outs of the CBA, and attempt to pick winners in the 3 Point and Dunk Contests at All Star Weekend. The pod closes with the everlasting PftK debate of whether we should Trust the Process or not.
The annual degenerate Super Bowl Gambling pod is back, this time with Ben and Al to break down what Lady Gaga’s first song will be, what type of pants Luke Bryan will be wearing for the National Anthem, how many times Trump and DeflateGate will be mentioned on air, oh, and there’s a football game, too. Al shows his partisan side when Chris Hogan’s name gets mentioned, while Ben brings his previous betting history into the mix and drops some actually knowledge on willing gamblers. The pod takes a turn for the political, and eventually the LeBron vs Charles Barkley beef is discussed.
Los Angeles Clippers (9-1)
Lets hear it Clippers fans. I’m ready for the “I told you so” and the “you were mistaken sir.” Lob City proved me wrong by going into Oklahoma City and beating the Thunder. However, I do get to say this… “BARELY!”
I mean, come on Clips. How do you almost lose with the Lawler Law at play? Timeout. What’s the Lawler Law? It’s a rule, or “law,” that states the first team to score 100 points will win the game, created by Clippers’ broadcaster Ralph Lawler.
Today I’d like to discuss a phenomenally talented and athletic WR, drafted in the first round by the worst GM in the history of professional sports, Matt Millen. Yes, sadly, today we reminisce and say goodbye to
Charles Rogers Roy Williams Mike Williams Calvin Johnson. Megatron has made multiple comments this offseason that kicked off rampant speculation from the sports media at large regarding his potential retirement – and if I’m being honest with myself I don’t blame him for at least mulling it over.
In 1999, arguably the greatest running back to ever step on a football field called it quits rather than continue to play football while wearing the Honolulu Blue of the Detroit Lions. The parallels between Barry Sander’s retirement and Calvin’s potential retirement are striking – both are tremendously physically gifted, both hold the all-time receiving/rushing records of the franchise respectively, and both were consummate professionals both on and off the field for the entirety of their careers. While Calvin’s departure (or rumors of, anyways) isn’t nearly as abrupt as Barry’s, the comparison is definitely noteworthy.
At the time of Barry’s retirement, my 11 year old brain couldn’t understand why the greatest of all time would walk away from the game. I just couldn’t fathom what could drive someone to give up their passion, their dream, and end their career at the point that Barry did. 15 seasons later, as a Detroit fan, exhausted from the dramatic losses and heartbreak, now watching Calvin walk the same path as Barry… I get it. The Lions (especially under Millen) are a franchise that consumes talent and outputs disappointment. The franchise has won a single playoff game in 60 years (and then lost the following NFC Championship by 31). Would you keep running deep routes across the middle? Sure the hundreds of millions are enticing, but can you really live that much better with $180 million than $160 million? Is that a big enough incentive to let safeties tee off on you for another 16 games? Speaking as someone with zero million, sure it might be, but give me 160 million and I would probably change my tune.
In spite of Detroit’s storied history of mediocrity, Calvin managed to produce 6 Pro Bowl appearances, led the league in receiving yards and TDs in two consecutive seasons (one of which still holds the NFL record for most all time single season yards), and become the fastest WR to get to 10K yards in a career. Calvin deserved better than what Detroit gave him – in fact, I secretly was hoping that the 1-7 Lions would deal Calvin to someone like the Pats at the trade deadline. I (and I imagine many other Detroit fans) felt Calvin deserved to at least get a look at the Super Bowl, regardless of what uniform he was wearing.
So if he’s reading this — Thank You, CJ. Thank you for panning out, because we all know Millen would have kept drafting WR’s until one did. Thank you for representing Detroit as a hard-working professional since day one. Go enjoy your hundreds of millions you rightfully earned. Go be healthy and don’t worry about routes across the middle anymore. Go be with your family, and go find your next adventure after football.
Also, if this was just a move to get out of your Detroit contract to go play elsewhere… I love it even more. No one from Detroit will blame you, unless you sign with the Packers.
Calvin Johnson, narrated by South Park's Token https://t.co/QUB4VdZDeX
— The Cauldron (@TheCauldron) December 4, 2015
Logan and Brian recap the first week of NFL Free Agency and all the zaniness that ensued. The show is kicked off with the question of whether free agency even works in today’s NFL and they discuss and review the biggest moves from last year’s free agency. The discussion then turns to this year’s biggest moves including Suh signing the massive deal in Miami and the new offensive weapons for the Colts. Brian is unsatisfied with the effort the Lions made to keep their defensive stars and Logan is saddened by the Niners fall from grace. The question of how the Eagles signed a whole bevy of stars is asked, and the show closes with the the RB shuffle played between the Cowboys and Raiders.
What a weekend. Things seemed bad when Harbaugh and the 49ers ‘mutually parted ways,’ things seemed a little worse when it broke that Frank Gore was going to sign with the Eagles. Then the Justin Smith rumors started to swirl, and then we all woke up Monday morning to some of the worst news the Bay Area has ever gotten. Patrick Willis wants to cut his Hall of Fame career short at just 30 years old and walk away from the crown of best linebacker in the NFL. He’s retiring. That’s just too hard of a pill to swallow at this moment. He’s been essential in the Niners resurgence the last 5 years, and after a major regime change, Willis wants nothing more to do with professional football. This timing can’t be a coincidence. Let’s break down how nightmarish this offseason has gone for the San Francisco Forty Niners:
Jim Harbaugh Fiasco
It’s hard to really evaluate whether Harbaugh’s tenure in San Francisco ended sooner than it should have. He is notorious for fixing broken programs/teams and leaving after a decent level of sustained success. He did this in San Diego and Stanford before departing the Niners after 4 straight NFC championship appearances. 49ers GM Trent Baalke and Harbaugh had been rumored to be butting heads for years already, so a divorce seemed inevitable. It was how the Niners management went about moving on from their head coach that made the whole situation controversial. Owner Jed York kept insisting that the parting was ‘mutual’, implying both that the Niners weren’t going to extend him before his final lame-duck contract season, and that Harbaugh’s dream job became available. It became apparent as Michigans season was dwindling that Harbaugh was their target. York demanded that the Niners next coach be a ‘teacher’, someone to develop all the young talent the team has been harboring. The only problem? This team is still a title contender had they brought the whole squad, Harbaugh included, back together! They were decimated by injuries last year, and should have been more competitive in the NFC West in 2015. This break up happened one year too early.
Frank Gore Signing Elsewhere
Losing Gore also seemed inevitable, but again, it’s the story of too early a departure. When free agency opens, the Eagles expect to sign Gore to a three-year deal, thus ending his illustrious career in San Francisco. Although the Niners had already drafted the heir apparent to Gore as he has recently hit the dreaded 30 year mark, it still looked like there was a role for Gore on the 2015 team, if for nothing else other than his stellar leadership. Gore leaves the Niners after 10 productive years where he became their all time leading rusher. Chip Kelly and the Eagles seem to be getting anything and everything they desire in free agency and it comes at the cost of the 49ers losing one of their greatest assets, The Inconvenient Truth: Frank Gore.
Justin Smith’s predictable retirement
Losing Smith, although devastating to their pass rush, was predictable. It seems like the Niners were already making good on borrowed time with him last year, as Smith was already on the back half of his career when they signed him away from the Bengals in 2008. His retirement will have ramifications all along the defensive line, but mostly it will hinder Aldon Smiths’ effectiveness. ‘The Cowboy’ was one of the best defensive players on one of the best defenses for the last 5 years, I wish him nothing but the best in his well deserved retirement.
Patrick Willis, one of the greatest Niners of all time, is walking away from nearly 18 million and will announce his retirement on Tuesday. But this is about so much more than the money. It is no coincidence that Willis is contemplating retirement after all the changes that have gone on with the organization since the 2014 season ended on such a bitter note. With Harbaugh gone, and Scot McCloughan (Former Niners GM) long gone, the team no longer had any ties to the drafting or development of Willis. Although he has dealt with a few long-term injuries of late, calling it quits at age 30 seems premature. This must have something to do with the 49ers front office. Willis wouldn’t walk away from the game without good reason.[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XvZqyoWcGrc&w=560&h=315]
GM and Owner Overestimating Themselves
Trent Baalke and Jed York must believe that their system and infrastructure is greater than their individual players, or they have decided that Seattle is dominating the NFC and they shouldn’t even try to compete in the near future. These two are not Belichick and Kraft (Patriots GM and Owner) and they stop acting like the Niners don’t need stars to win. York is no football genius. The best owners know what they don’t know and put the right people in charge of player personnel decisions. York wants too much control. No hands on owner (outside of Jerry Buss) has ever won in any sport.
The fans can’t help but feel duped into buying into the whole Levi’s Stadium hype. San Francisco will host the Super Bowl this upcoming season and it looks like they’re not even going to try to make it. 2015-16 will likely be a massive disappointment, with a probable regress in the defense, and a potential playoff-less season. The Cardinals continue to get better, the Seahawks maintain their status quo and the Niners do nothing but regress. Helluva offseason.
Michael Crabtree and Mike Iupati likely gone
Crabtree is not likely to be re-signed, despite Yorks insistence that they will be aggressive in trying to keep him. The newest rumors state that he wants to reunite with his old O-Coordinator Greg Roman and his new team the Buffalo Bills. I’m not sure who is getting the worse end of that deal. Crabtree should know that Roman is a stubborn coordinator, and although the Niners would be losing their best receiver, he is a diva who has always been ego-driven. There are no winners in this scenario.
Iupati is currently being heavily pursued by the New York Jets. This is also just another rumor, but would be very detrimental to the Niners run game, which now has to rely on second year stud, Carlos Hyde.
Kap is now in trade rumors too, with the Bear and Eagles interested. Baalke says there’s 0% Truth to it. It simply doesn’t matter what Baalke says at this point. The cat’s out of the bag, you can’t put Pandora back in the box:[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gK4FXyNcPIs&w=560&h=315]
Good things to look forward to in 2015:
-When Tuesday’s free agency finally opens, the Niners expect to announce the signing of Torrey Smith, making him the first real down field threat for Kap.
-We will finally get to see a full season of NaVorro Bowman and Chris Borland at linebacker (Michael Wilhoite was in trade rumors last week but they will likely keep him now that they need more depth at LB). Borland was one of the lone bright spots in 2014 and now he gets 16 games to prove his worth.
-Carlos Hyde becomes the man on offense with Gore heading East. Hyde is a bruising type back, just like Gore, and showed great promise throughout last season.
-The 49ers had to name a new offensive coordinator when Greg Roman left for Buffalo, and decided upon Geep Chryst, the former quarterback coach for the Niners. Kaepernick will finally have a new coordinator, which could be a blessing, or a disaster depending on how Chryst decides to use Kap.
-We get to see the real Aldon Smith, not one in the shadow of Justin Smith, better allowing the Niners to evaluate his talent and decide if he’s a part of the future.
-Vernon Davis in a contract year: it seems like every offseason he’s asking for a contract extension and now he’s finally quiet after a dismal 2014. Will the Niners get the Davis that showed he deserved to be one of the highest paid TE’s in the league? 2015 will dictate a lot about where Davis’ career goes.[polldaddy poll=8712086]
The Miami Dolphins have emerged as a team that must not been overlooked but after Sunday’s 20-16 loss in Detroit against the Lions, a change at the helm needs to be made.
The Dolphins dropped to 5-4 but should be 7-2. The talent is certainly there, on both sides of the ball. Defensively, the Fins are fourth in total yards but allow the second fewest yards per game, tied for seventh in interceptions (10), and are tied for third in sacks (28). The most impressive part about these numbers are the quarterbacks the Fins did this against.
In week one, Miami held Tom Brady and the New England Patriots scoreless in the second half. Forget the fact that everyone was jumping off the Patriots bandwagon and calling for Brady’s retirement three weeks into the season, the Dolphins recovered two fumbles, had an interception and sacked Brady four times.
Then Miami have faced four top-10 quarterbacks in five weeks. Aaron Rodgers, Jay Cutler, Philip Rivers, and Matt Stafford.
They held the Chicago Bears to 224 total yards, 14 points, forced one interception and three sacks. They then trounced Rivers and the San Diego Chargers sending them home with a bagel beating them 37-0. Picking off Rivers three times and sacking him four.
In the two losses to Green Bay and Detroit, Rodgers threw no interceptions while Stafford threw one, but each quarterback was sacked three times and hurried throughout the day. No quarterback has looked comfortable in the pocket against this quick physical defense lead by an elite pass push.
With the Dolphins parading a top-10 defense in the NFL, you would think the problem must be the offense, but that is not the case.
Third year quarterback Ryan Tannehill has improved immensely since his rookie season and throughout the year, he is making all the right plays and putting his team in a position to win. The key to his success is the improvement to the offensive line. He was sacked 58 times last year, the most in the NFL, but only 20 times this season through nine games, on pace for a much more upright season.
So, if it is not the offense and it is not the defense, where is the problem? The problem is on the sideline in head coach Joe Philbin.
Sunday’s loss in Detroit looked like Miami fans were watching a replay against the Green Bay Packers. In both games the Dolphins had a late fourth quarter lead. Both times the Dolphins defense stopped their opponents, giving the ball back to the offense with a chance to close out the game, needing only one or two first downs. Both times the Dolphins offense went three and out.
Though there are factors during the game that cost the Dolphins, like Tannehill missing receiver Mike Wallace deep, or Charles Clay dropping a pass in the endzone in the fourth quarter on third down, both losses must be blamed on the coach.The Dolphins did not go three and out for lack of play making or playmakers, they were forced three and out because of a lack of creative/aggressive calls that win games in this league. Late in games when your offense has a chance to run out the clock, your best plays need to be run, instead Philbin calls simple predictable plays of two straight handoffs and a pass. This past
Sunday, Miami took 34 seconds off the clock before punting the ball back to the Lions with over three minutes remaining, putting the ball back into the hands of a quarterback who has proven time and time again that he can and will lead his team downfield for a game winning drive.
The reason why Miami needs a new head coach is not because this was the first time Philbin has given away a game late in the fourth, it’s because it has happened too many times before. He has not learned nor seems equipped to know how to close out games.
The talent in Miami is there. It has been long awaited for but the Fins are a team that should be fighting the Patriots for the top spot in the AFC East and a definite playoff spot. Until they find a coach who understands how to win games and is not afraid to ask his players to make a few plays, Dolphins players will continue to watch January games like their fans, from the comfort of their homes.
Written by Brian Bernstein Find him on Twitter: @