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Snarking Around the NFL: Week 8

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I promise this week there shall be no photos of former defensive coordinator Rob Ryan dressed as a bottle of Pepto-Bismol. I can’t promise, however, that anything contained herein is actually an upgrade. Such is the way of the Snark. At least we had the NFL trade deadline to keep us warm.

NFL: Pittsburgh Steelers at Detroit Lions
JuJu Smith-Schuster is taking this DragonBall-Z thing a little too far.
Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

Either the NFL schedule actually had some decent matchups in it during Week 8, or else we’ve just reached a level of parity in the NFL that’s borderline absurd. Since it has long been my contention that reality abhors extremes, I’d say it has to be somewhere between those two. Let’s hope it doesn’t swing too far towards the simple parity side of the equation, though — or I’ll run out of material for snark.

Countdown List of the Week: Three Trades We Should Have Seen Made Before the Deadline

3) The Tampa Bay Buccaneers for the Houston Astros

Both teams have a big arm, and guys who can catch a ball, but the Astros know how to score at least 10 in a game.

2) Steelers offensive coordinator Todd Haley for actor Omar Epps

Now, I’m not saying Epps would improve the Steelers’ red-zone offense (not saying he wouldn’t, either). I just think it could be used strategically to have a Mike Tomlin stunt double. For instance, instead of Tolmin accidentally wandering into the path of a kick returner along the sideline, Epps could just tackle the guy outright, without actual risk to Tomlin’s well-being. And imagine the fun you could have with guys in concussion protocol.

1) Every Browns quarterback since 1999 for a Snickers, half a bag of Reese’s Pieces and a box of decade-old Chicklets

Of course, the NFL would never allow this lopsided a deal: Cleveland would have to sweeten the pot considerably.

Meme Tweets of the Week

The ‘H’ and the ‘I’ were running late for the Official Ohio State Pep Rally, so they started without them.

Two officials enter the frame late but fail to join in. It might be they were embarrassed about being tardy, but I’d bet good money they just didn’t know what they were doing. When it comes to NFL officials, that’s pretty much the norm.

PSA: We MUST do more to protect our children from dangerous tricksters next Halloween.

Razor blades in a 3-Musketeers bar are bad enough. But Browns tickets? Think of the trauma this poor child might have suffered at the hands of this madman. Thank goodness for the keen eyes of these loving, vigilant parents.

That age-old question has been answered.

Now Richard Sherman has the definitive answer the next time someone asks him, “who’s your daddy?”

Winless Teams Watch

The Browns and 49ers remain winless, attempting to match the futility of one another in great fashion. The 49ers lost to the Eagles, 33-10, while the Browns lost to the Vikings, 33-16. That’s a combined score of 66-26.

The 49ers, interestingly, traded a draft pick for New England backup Jimmy Garoppolo, in a move that really makes little sense for either team. As for San Francisco, they just got better, meaning they’ll likely be no better than the second pick in the 2018 NFL Draft. The Patriots acquired yet another draft pick, while parting ways with the only quarterback not named Tom Brady on their roster.

Rumor has it that the Patriots want to make a play at Brian Hoyer, who the 49ers released to make room for Garoppolo. Should the deal be made, then the Patriots come out looking like geniuses. But if, say, the Jets or Bills swooped in and claimed Hoyer on waivers first, that would be downright hilarious and karmatastic. I’d be willing to chip in $20 for the cause.

UPDATE: This article was originally written October 31st, 2017. As of Wednesday, November 1st, Hoyer was officially a New England Patriot.

Random Thoughts

  • San Diego Chargers running back Melvin Gordon sprints like he’s trying to hold a cue ball between his...um...cheeks.
  • Indianapolis is probably the worst team in the NFL right now. Yes, despite the Browns and 49ers chasing down 0-16 at a full sprint, the Colts appear to have simply given up hope. So, what does that say about the Bengals, who barely squeaked by the Colts by a single point -- at home?
  • If you want to know why the Browns are terrible, year after year, it’s because their front office is full of nincompoops. Never has that been more apparent than at the 2017 NFL trade deadline (Tuesday, October 31, 2017 at 4:00 p.m.): Cleveland head coach Hue Jackson desperately wanted to get Jimmy Garoppolo at the helm for the Mistake by the Lake, but the front office evidently didn’t so much as pick up the phone to inquire. Fast-forward one day, and they have a verbal agreement with their cross-state and divisional rivals, the Cincinnati Bengals, to take quarterback A.J. McCarron off their hands for a second- and a third-round pick. Naturally, the Browns celebrated their coup...aaaaaand missed the 4:00 p.m. filing deadline, thus nullifying the deal. That’s so Cleveland.

Strange Stat

The Baltimore defense scored 20 points in the fourth quarter against the Dolphins last Thursday night. Miami as a team has scored more than 20 points just once all season, when they beat the Jets 31-28 last week.

And, Finally...

I love the NFL trade deadline.

That’s the first time I’ve ever said that, because this is the first time it was remotely exciting. In a sport where big-name trades have typically happened less often than four blood-moons in the same year, to see so much activity in the final days before the deadline is refreshing. It was like watching the hockey trade deadline: teams with real chances to do something making big plays, while teams that are either close but not good enough for 2017, or a long way off and beginning to blow it all up, are making moves to set themselves up for 2018. It was beautiful.

My favorite move of all had to be the Bills sending a third- and a seventh-round pick to Carolina for Kelvin Benjamin, who has had a history of injuries, but who can truly take over games. He’s what Sammy Watkins could have been for Buffalo: a big guy who can go fight for Tyrod Taylor’s deep ball. Benjamin is a massive, physical specimen who just seems to fit right in with a scrappy team like the Bills. Meanwhile, the Panthers are good enough to win regular-season games, but they have some holes to fill if they want to contend. Two more draft picks give them the tools to possibly do just that.

The NFL has finally achieved a solid level of parity, and that’s due in large part to the league moving the trade deadline five years ago. Until 2012, it was after week six. Being that it’s not even halfway into the season, it was still hard to know who was contending and who wasn’t. Now, with the deadline falling at a point when many teams have played half their schedule, it’s much easier to know if a team has a shot or not. So, the teams that are well out of it (say, 3-5 or 2-6) are much more willing to be sellers in the trade market. It means the teams looking to buy have a much better chance of finding someone looking to unload inventory. The NFL is much better for it.