Nationals Are Going To Win The NL Pennant, Rockies Need Fixing, and the Dodgers Are Down With Jon Tayler and the OC Register's Bill Plunkett

Chase Thomas is joined by MLB writer Jon Tayler to talk about the MLB Playoffs, the Nationals potentially sweeping the Cardinals, how the Braves wasted Mike Soroka in the NLDS, the awkward Bryce Harper conversation in Washington, if the balls have been de-juiced in the postseason, how to fix the Colorado Rockies and much more. Then, OC Register's Bill Plunkett returns to talk Dodgers' bad NLDS loss, the future of Clayton Kershaw and Kensley Jensen, how Los Angeles rebounds and much more.

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Cowboy Catastrophe In New York, Mahomes Is Limping, Watson For MVP and More NFL Week 6 Reactions With the Man of Steele

Chase Thomas is joined by longtime friend the Man of Steele to talk about Week 6 in the NFL, how the Cowboys fell in New York, why the Cowboys keep falling behind early, why the Jets aren't that bad with Darnold back, the Chiefs falling with a hurt Mahomes, why Deshaun Watson is the MVP, the Lamar vs. Baker conversation, the Saints leading the way in the NFC, Kyler Murray's Rookie of the Year case, Dunc's Dudes in Week 6, why Chase thinks Bill Calahan is keeping the Redskins' job and their Week 7 picks.


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RAW Really Stinks, Private Party's Huge Upset, and Kofi Kingston Deserved Better With RBR Wrestling's Maxwell Baumbach

Chase Thomas is joined by RBR Wrestling's Maxwell Baumbach to talk about this week's terrible episode of Monday Night Raw, the awkward debut of Cain Velazquez on Friday Night Smackdown, not pulling the trigger on The Fiend at Hell In A Cell, another great week of AEW Dynamite on TNT, the brilliance of Private Party, what makes Chris Jericho's Inner Circle stable great, and why what happened to Kofi Kingston was just wrong.

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CFB Week 7 Preview & Analysis With The Only Colors' Matt Sheehan

Chase Thomas is joined by The Only Colors' Matt Sheehan to talk about how Florida could beat Georgia, Wisconsin and Ohio State being a bloodbath, LSU being the best team in the SEC, 10-2 Minnesota, David Mills being The Guy at Stanford, Arizona and Arizona State righting the ship, why Tua shouldn't be the favorite for Heisman and preview college football's huge slate of Week 7 games.

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WWE Admits They Haven't Given A Sh*t In A Long Time

Pyro is coming back to WWE! Raw and Smackdown are getting updated sets! Brock Lesnar might be working a full-time schedule on Smackdown Live! Raw and Smackdown are even getting their opening credits and themes back! If we’re lucky, titantrons might be evolving for the better! Who knows? What we do know is something that I think we have always known: Vince McMahon and the WWE haven’t given a shit in a long time. When you have the kind of monopoly in professional wrestling the WWE has had over the years, it’s easy to get stagnant. It’s easy to say, “Sure, show intros, cool sets, and pyro make for a more enjoyable product for the WWE viewer, but they’re going to tune in every week anyway, so let’s cut all that out and save a couple of bucks.” The company’s revenue stream set record numbers in the fourth quarter of 2018 and you wouldn’t know it from their Word Art titantrons and Michael Cole awkwardly welcoming the viewer to Monday Night Raw. The company wasn’t wrong that people wouldn’t tune out for slashing these things, but this kind of arrogant behavior from the powers that be was, well, wrong, in a different sense.

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It was wrong to treat your loyal customers like addicts without an alternative supplier. Yes, we could easily give you something better, but we’re going to be withholding, because, well, we can. If you’re the WWE, how do you explain the sudden decision to make all of these changes? A move to a new network? Didn’t Smackdown Live move to a new network years ago? Sure, the FOX deal is huge, but it showed the company has always had the capability of creating a better product. They just didn’t care. While the company has never cared about your time, just look at the content calendar for the rest of 2019 that just includes the WWE -- it's preposterous. How NXT: UK and 205 Live haven’t been immediately dissolved and ushered into NXT at Full Sail is ludicrous. Instead of cutting production costs, why not cut entire shows that don’t matter and shouldn’t exist in the first place? This is beside the point, though, as even with all of these programs, the company could have empowered Paul Heyman and Eric Bischoff years ago, the company could have brought back tv themes years ago, the company could have brought back all of the things that make a professional wrestling show more enjoyable years ago. They didn’t because they didn’t have to. Now, with so much riding on Smackdown being a smashing hit on FOX, they showed a sense of urgency. 

It should not have taken this long. Honestly, how is that can afford to gobble up so much professional wrestling talent can’t simultaneously put on elite production values in 2019? How did titantrons go backward? How did they go from Jim Johnson to CFO$? How did the weekly shows get to the point where the company just decided that who would really care if Raw opened up without pyro, music and fun in favor of an awkward Michael Cole yelping about “The Big Dog” or “The Beast Slayer?” If you didn’t already watch the product, and you just happened to flip over to Raw and that is the first thing you saw and heard how could you not immediately tune out? 

However, none of it matters now. It doesn’t matter because people forget. More importantly, people don’t care. They will see the new production sets, new music and new commentary teams next week and forget the company spent years and years saving money and mailing in their production because they could. Once I hear some Papa Roach on Monday night, get startled by some pyro and *not* hear Michael Cole to induce an unavoidable cringe, all is forgiven. 

BECOME A PATRON

The company is trying again. They will try for maybe a year or so, things will settle down, ratings will stagnate, and the’ll start reeling it all back in because they can. Revenue is up, the networks are content, and the fans will watch anyway. 

Sigh.

Chase Thomas is an independent sportswriter based out of Atlanta, Georgia. You can email him at chasethomaspodcast@gmail.com and follow him on Twitter @chase__thomas. Thanks for reading and listening. I think you’re swell.

NBA Burning Questions With Kelly Dwyer of The Second Arrangement

Chase Thomas is joined by The Second Arrangement's Kelly Dwyer to bounce around the NBA, why the Pacers are winning the East, why Kemba Walker may not adjust in Boston, Porzingis being an All-Star in Dallas next season, potential Gordon Hayward trades, the Bucks' disastrous offseason, the Timberwolves trading Andrew Wiggins to the Hornets, the Raptors and Thunder tearing it down midseason and much more.

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NFL Week 3 Picks: Josh Rosen Should Decline The Promotion

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Josh Rosen is getting another chance. Kind of. The former Arizona Cardinal and UCLA Bruin got a promotion this week to starting quarterback of the Miami Dolphins. 

Josh Rosen should say no.

Rosen, who is already known to maybe be a bit too smart for his own good, should use that superior intellect to think about what there is to gain playing for the Dolphins on Sunday against the Dallas Cowboys. The Dolphins are bad. Historically bad. Rosen has seen this movie before last season in Arizona where he was thrust behind another terrible offensive line and another terrible chance at success. It forever changed the way we looked at the kid, and it wasn’t his fault. He played behind an offensive line that included a rookie center, Andre Smith and Justin Pugh. In 2019. It was unbelievable that Rosen’s shoulder remained in-tact to fight another day after the season concluded. 

He has seen this movie before.

If you’re Rosen, you’re already pissed at the fact that Ryan Fitzpatrick was named QB1 after the team traded multiple picks for you on the day of the NFL Draft. To trade for Rosen only to not start him in Week 1 was insane. You don’t play Fitzmagic unless you have to play Fitzmagic. It’s like going to Applebees -- you always know what you’re getting and you only go when you have no other options. (No disrespect to Applebees, I’m just a Chilis Guy myself. Speaking of, I need to hurry up and finish this piece and grab a Cajun Chicken Pasta before they close. Back to Rosen.) If I were Rosen, I’d have checked out right after I wasn’t named the starter Week 1. Fitzpatrick in a rebuilding year? What? Who does this?

Brian Flores and the Dolphins did that and now they face the Cowboys. You could make the case that the ‘Phins are facing the two best teams in the NFL in back-to-back weeks. Which, if you’re Chris Grier, general manager of the Dolphins, is great because it’s another game you don’t have to worry about winning. Tank For Tua is alive and well and poor Rosen is being thrown to the wolves once again. Would you like to guess who Pro Football Focus had as the worst offensive line in football before Laremy Tunsil was traded away? You guessed it -- the Dolphins. That said, the Cowboys’ defense hasn’t been great sitting at 20th against the pass and 22nd against the run through two weeks, per Football Outsiders. It’s the little things if you’re Rosen, right?

The problem? The Dolphins are going to play from behind. A lot. When you’re behind, you throw more. When you throw more and your offensive line is as bad as that “Dexter” series finale, you get hit a lot. If you’re Rosen, you are already went through that all last season and it got you traded and changed the way teams looked at you. It felt like a David Carr-like existence was unavoidable. Now, you’re experiencing deja vu in Miami, and who would blame you for telling Coach Play Jay-Z 9,0000 Times In A Row Flores that you’re, ugh, going to sit this one out. You know you’re set-up to fail. If you fail here, that’s it. You’re suddenly Chad Henne and never looked at as a franchise guy again. Perception matters and one 15-37 game for 137 yards and two picks in a 42-7 loss is bad for perception. 

Rosen, just say that magic, beautiful word: “No.” We’re all with you.

On to what I’m interested in for Week 3 in the NFL.

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Bengals OVER Bills (38-24)

OK. I’m a believer in the Bengals. Don’t freak out, have you seen Tyler Boyd lately? Are you checking on those skill-position guys in AJ Green, Joe Mixon, John Ross, Tyler Eifert, and Boyd for Andy Dalton to not fully utilize, well, ever? This offense is spicy, and, had Jonah Williams not been lost for the season are we looking at this team differently? This offense has all the ingredients to be a pain-in-the-ass in 11-personnel sets? Sure, the Bengals are going 5-11 this season, but the Bills’ offense isn’t outscoring Cincy tomorrow. 3-0 Buffalo? In this economy?

Cowboys OVER Dolphins (42-10)

What the hell, Miami? I don’t even like thinking about you at this point and it’s Week 3. You trade Tunsil, Minkah, and are looking to trade whoever else you can to ensure can nab Alabama’s QB next April. You are literal “bye” week for everyone and that sucks. It’s bad for the NFL and it’s bad for my Saturday night NFL column because who wants to read me bitch about the Dolphins every week but how can you not? What they’re doing is trash ethically, gross aesthetically and, man, I hope Dallas beats them by 90. 

Broncos OVER Green Bay (31-28)

What? Denver? The team that lost to Oakland and Chicago? Yes, sir. Why? Starting 0-3 in the NFL is essentially a death sentence. You start 0-3 the odds are heavily stacked against you making the playoffs and the Broncos are making the playoffs, damn it. Vic Fangio has to get better, right? The Kyle Shanahan disciple running the offense has to figure it out with this group, right? Fangio’s defense is sitting at 24th in Defensive DVOA through two weeks and, well, how? Sorry. I don’t love this Green Bay team right now and the Broncos are desperate. Give me Flacco, baby.

Falcons OVER Colts (28-21)

I don’t like this. Indy’s secondary with Malik Hooker and friends is legit and I’m suddenly concerned with Matt Ryan’s decision-making ability after a decade-plus of not being concerned with his decision-making. The Falcons’ offense came alive on Sunday Night Football, though, and with the injury issues in the NFC South’s two best teams, the Falcons have to take advantage. Scoring more than Jacoby Brissett is part of the deal.

(Sidebar: Would you like to guess what Devonta Freeman’s yard per carry number is this season? Would you guess 3.2? I would. I’m not looking it up, though, because it’s late and I’m tired.

Chiefs OVER Ravens (42-35)

Yes! Week 3 and we’re getting Lamar Jackson vs. Patrick Mahomes? You love to see it, folks. The Ravens’ secondary against Mahomes without Tyreek Hill? Yes, please. Jackson getting another fun-filled week against a bad defense? Yes, please. It’s incredible how little I have to think about picking a Mahomes-led team now? Is he playing the Patriots? No? Give me the Chiefs. They’re going 13-3 every season and I will enjoy every second of it. 

Vikings OVER Raiders (31-10)

The Raiders were fun for a week. Watching Josh Jacobs run all over Denver in Week 1 was fun. Seeing fans in Oakland happy before their team leaves for Vegas was, well, nice. Watching Kirk Cousins play a team without a pass rush is nice, too. When Cousins has time, he finds Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen often. He should have time and the Vikings should win big. If Kirk Cousins played behind the Cowboys’ offensive line every year would he ever miss a Pro Bowl? I can’t rule it out.

Patriots OVER Jets (35-7)

How is Colin Kaepernick not a New York Jet yet? Who is starting for them this week? The San Jose State kid? Chris Simms? Not Kaepernick? How? Does he not fit Adam Gase’s scheme? Does David freaking Fales? The Jets were a wildcard team before the season and now they might beat out the Dolphins for Tua. Do we see Tom Brady in the second half tomorrow? No, right? 

Eagles OVER Lions (34-17)

I hate this Detroit team. They’re not bad. They’re probably OK. They could 11-5 and it would not surprise me. The offensive line is sorted out, they have a competent running back for the first time in forever, you like their receivers and the secondary and defensive line has talent. I just don’t like Matt Patricia and Darrell Bevell. How could you? Who is all-in in those guys? Everything is Not Sunny In Philadelphia right now, but Carson Wentz is not losing to Atlanta and Detroit on the road in back-to-back weeks.

Cardinals OVER Panthers (24-6)

I am not the president of the Kyle Allen Is Good club. It’s concerning that Will Grier is just, like, not even in the discussion, right? They used a third-round pick on a guy who was in college for 34 years and he was so bad in the preseason it feels like he is two years away from being two years away. Did I mention Ron River is the first-coach fired this season, yet? No? Well, losing to the Cardinals at home will do that. Kyler Fever, catch it!

Bucs OVER Giants (38-17)

Daniel Jones! He’s not Eli Manning in 2019, so he should be better, right? He can’t not be better than Eli, right? Right? The problem? The Giants secondary sucks and they don’t have a pass rush. This has all the makings of a big Jameis game where he throws for 300 yards, a couple TDs and we’re all back on the Winston Experience in Tampa. Do you have Chris Godwin in fantasy? Congrats! You’re winning this week.

Chargers OVER Texans (20-17)

I don’t feel great about this. Like Mahomes, I don’t like betting against Deshaun Watson. It feels gross. Outside of Tom Brady, my Give Me This Guy If I Need To Win Just One Game dude is Watson. He could have a bad offensive line forever and this guy will go 10-6 and make the playoffs. It’s what he does. I’m out on the Chargers as a playoff team this year, but I like them at home here. I don’t know why, but 2-1 feels right for LAC.

Seahawks OVER Saints (24-21)

Damn it. We really get this game the week RIGHT after Drew Brees goes down? I hate it. The Saints in Seattle is always fun. The Seahawks play like Alabama now, right? They’re physical, have an elite quarterback they only use when they have to and a defense that will never not be in the elite category. It’s wild and it works. Poor Teddy Bridgewater who has to travel to Seattle out of the gate. Still, I think Teddy does some stuff here and the conservative Seahawks keep the Saints in this game.

49ers OVER Steelers (35-28)

Rest In Peace, 2019 Steelers. It was over before it began. The Niners are 2-0 and Jimmy G isn’t playing well. Matt Breida is an elite back in Shanny’s scheme and the Niners’ defense is forcing turnovers now with a new, exciting pass rush. Mason Rudolph isn’t going to have time and Pittsburgh won’t be able to outscore Shanny in San Fran. Breida by 1,000.

Browns OVER Rams (38-31)

Oh yeah, baby. The Browns at home on primetime against an undefeated contender in the NFC? This has all the makings of a statement game for Cleveland. 1-2 and it feels like the Ravens are running away from the AFC North. A win against Sean McVay’s crew on primetime and it feels like they’ve arrived. Beating the Jets is cool. Getting beaten by the Titans is less cool. Taking care of the Rams on primetime is well, dope. It's now or never, Preseason Champs.

Redskins OVER Bears (31-17)

Why do people think Jay Gruden is getting fired? Dwayne Haskins hasn’t played a down yet. Trent Williams is just gone. Terry McLaurin looks like a star. Jim Haslett put out a terrible defense in DC for years and never got canned. The Redskins are not trigger-happy with this sort of thing and you don’t just fire an Arena Football legend without seeing how his first-round QB looks in his offense. Did I mention Case Keenum is better than Mitch Trubisky? If we gave truth serum to Matt Nagy would he say he’d rather have Keenum this week? I’d bet yes. If Trubisky doesn’t throw a TD against this secondary when is Rosen a Bear? Week 7? Asking for a friend.

Chase Thomas is an independent sports writer based out of Atlanta, Georgia. You can follow him on Twitter at @Chase__Thomas. You can email him at chasethomaspodcast@gmail.com.

I'm Not Going To Enjoy This Auburn Season, Am I?

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I can already feel it. Like whenever I walk into my living room and “Hitch” is on TV, I’ve seen this movie before. Last year, Auburn survived against Washington, had a stud at quarterback, and made you think they could compete for a playoff spot months down the road. Obviously, that didn’t happen. Auburn’s streak of 1,000-yard rushers ended. Stidham did his best not die every Saturday. The offense sputtered. The defense was frustratingly competent enough to make you think they were in every game. They went 8-5 and it felt like they went 4-8

You know which fanbase is never frustrated? Vanderbilt. It must be nice. You go into every season just hoping not to finish last in the SEC East. You would like to have a run like Kentucky had a season ago every once in a while, but you know that’s not realistic every season. You can’t be disappointed no matter how badly Alabama beats you on national television because it’s Alabama and you’re Vanderbilt. You don’t have the horses, you don’t have the coaching staff and you don’t have the expectations of a contender every year. Vanderbilt is never winning a national title and every Commodore-loving human knows that. They’re cool just beating Tennessee.

That’s not how it works with Auburn. You have the talent every year to contend. You are expected to contend every year. You have a coach who has taken you the National Championship. You have a defensive coordinator who is more consistent than Chick-Fil-A’s customer service. You usually have a quarterback who isn’t Kyle Shurmur-like. You open the season with another should-be contender and you beat them. Then you have a couple of cream puffs, which are somehow more frustrating to watch than an episode of Season 67 of “The Walking Dead”. I’ve seen this movie before and it doesn’t get better.

As it stands right now, the Tigers are No. 8 in the country. They ended the Oregon Ducks’ playoff chances, they struggled with Kent State and struggled even more with Tulane. They’re 3-0. This should feel good. They did what they were supposed to. Kind of. The difference between Malzahn’s 3-0 and Kirby Smart’s 3-0 is clear and obvious -- Georgia is leaving no room for questions. Auburn is adding more. Georgia, Alabama, Ohio State, Oklahoma and Clemson are stepping on inferior team’s necks and Auburn is losing in the second quarter to the Green Wave. Nothing comes easy for this group. Again.

It’s all too familiar. This weekend, Auburn takes on the Texas A&M Aggies. A team this season that mirrors LSU last season -- a veteran quarterback who has struggled early, an elite defense and talent everywhere. A season ago, Auburn survived the Aggies 28-24. At home. The Aggies aren’t as good of a football team as the Ducks, who the Tigers beat on a neutral field, but the Tigers beat a Washington team that was better than LSU and still lost to Ed Orgeron’s bunch. I could see a similar situation playing out this weekend -- Bo Nix is wildly inaccurate, the team can’t run the football, and the defense keeps them in the game for far too long. 31-27 in favor of the Aggies feels right and I hate it.

I shouldn’t be dreading Auburn’s first conference game with a true freshman quarterback with a little Baker Mayfield in him. This team should be fun and exciting because having a young and exciting quarterback should make every Saturday a joyous occasion regardless of the result. Unfortunately, that is not the Gus Malzahn Experience. Even with Malzahn calling plays again, it’s hard to see a whole lot of difference between last year’s team and this year’s team -- good defense, so-so offensive line, a hit-or-miss rushing attack and quarterback on the run. The difference is Nix can actually move around while Stidham chose brain damage over green pastures. 

Have you looked at Auburn’s remaining schedule? If I’m feeling a little too good after my morning coffee, I’ll take a peak and remind myself that we can’t have nice things. A Mississippi State team pissed off after dropping a game at home to Kansas State. Great. A Florida team on the road with Matt Saracen under center. Phenomenal. An Arkansas team that is chomping at the bit to win just one SEC West game in 2019. Cool. Oh? Then to LSU? Perfect. What’s that? A closing slate of Georgia and Alabama. Splendid. 

I’ve seen this movie before. Just replace 2018 Liberty with 2019 Samford and we’re in business. 8-4 is not only on the table it’s the safest bet. A true freshman quarterback not losing to all of Georgia, LSU, Alabama along with not dropping a stupid one to an inferior West team at home? That doesn’t feel right. 8-4 feels right. Kellen Mond remembering to play like Colin Kaepernick and get back on track after a rough game against Clemson feels right. This Saturday, it starts. The painful reminder that Kenny Dillingham didn’t fix Auburn and Gus Bus is out of gas. The painful reminder that Nix may not complete over 50 percent of his passes this season. The painful reminder that Boobie Whitlow is averaging over 5 yards per carry and it feeling like 3. I’m sorry, but I’ve seen this damn movie before.

Braves Winning NL East, Yankees Or Astros In The AL, and the Athletics Are Insane With 680 The Fan's Chris Dimino

Chase Thomas is joined by 680 The Fan's Chris Dimino to talk about the Braves winning the NL East, if the Braves are real contenders in MLB, the case against the Dodgers, if they should re-sign Donaldson, Dansby Swanson being an ordinary player, if the Astros and Yankees can be beaten, and Dimino's World Series pick.


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State of the Knicks, The Porzingis Trade Revisited, And RJ Barrett Might Be Bad With The Daily Beast's Robert Silverman

Chase Thomas is joined by The Daily Beast's Bob Silverman to talk about the state of the Knicks, missing out on Kyrie and Durant, the Kirstaps Porzingis trade, RJ Barrett's rough Summer League, how the Knicks can regroup in 2021, how good Mitchell Robinson and Dennis Smith Jr. can be and much more.

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Steph Curry 2020 MVP Dark Horse? Plus, The Bulls Winning 40 Games and the Hornets Going Young With NBA Canada's Scott Rafferty

Chase Thomas is joined by DAZN's Scott Rafferty to talk about the Hawks having too much cap space in 2020, the Celtics keeping Gordon Hayward on the bench, the Bulls winning 40 games, Steph Curry as an MVP dark horse for the Warriors, the Nuggets regressing in the West, why the new Rockets owner keeps talking, interesting Hornets lineups, the Mavericks' weak wing depth and much more.

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Steve Young's NFL Concerns Are Valid

One of the lessons my dad instilled in me at a young age was that it wasn’t always about what you said but how you said it. You can be right, but you can be wrong in how you frame it. When Steve Young was on the Monday Night Football pregame show this week talking about the situation with Jalen Ramsey in Jacksonville, the 49er legend was right, but he was wrong in how he framed it. Words matter. Tone matters more. The way Young spoke about Ramsey came across like he was co-commish with Roger Goodell. As a former player, an elite one at that, you would assume Young would come across as more empathetic towards Ramsey than he did. He was lecturing the viewers at home -- “This is why you’re wrong if you don’t feel the same about players exerting more force in getting their way in professional sports.” Nobody likes a lecture. Nobody likes a lecture after a long day of work even more. 

But his concerns are valid.

The Ringer’s Ryen Russillo and Bill Simmons have been beating this drum for months now, that it’s gotten ridiculous how much of a pass we give players in 2019. You are expected to always take the players’ side, even if there is a strong case to be made that you shouldn’t. The hottest take you can have in today’s world is that “Player X Is Wrong, Team Y Is Right” because the worker is always right. Obviously, this is not always the case. Sometimes, a player is wrong and deserves to be criticized for being wrong. Sometimes, a team is wrong and deserves to be criticized for being wrong. Why the pendulum swung so far to the left, that I do not know. I have my theories, just watch that interview with the Houston Rockets’ new owner Tilman Fertitta on ESPN this week, and you can see why it has become a natural reflex to think, “Yeah, billionaires are insane.” 

Young is not insane for suggesting NFL teams who set the precedent that if you act like Antonio Brown, you will be rewarded by ultimately winding up on the team you desired. Put yourself in Tom Coughlin and Dave Caldwell’s shoes in Jacksonville. You have allowed Ramsey to train with his dad in Nashville in the offseason away from the team, you drafted him in the top-5 because you believed in him as a special corner out of the gate, and you came this close to making the Super Bowl with Blake Freaking Bortles in 2018. That 2017-18 team was special, and Ramsey was a big part of why with his 90.6 grade per PFF that season. When Ramsey is quoted saying after the recent loss to the Houston Texans saying, “I just want to fucking win,” you scratch your head a little bit. Last season was a disaster, but this was still a team a year removed from being a quarterback away from being the best team in the AFC. Caldwell and Coughlin haven’t been perfect, they trusted Bortles too long, they have spent their money in questionable fashions, but this is not the Gene Smith-era Jags we’re talking about here. They just picked the wrong quarterback. Then, they tried to right those wrongs by signing Nick Foles, a Super Bowl winner, to get this team back where they belong -- atop the AFC South and contending with the Patriots in the AFC. Foles got hurt and the team is 0-2 and Ramsey wants out. I feel for Coughlin and Caldwell here. It should be noted as well that 2017-18 Ramsey hasn’t returned, as he posted a 72.8 grade in 2018 and is currently rocking a 48.9 grade in 2019.

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But you still paid Bortles. You still drafted Leonard Fournette over Jamal Adams, Patrick Mahomes, Lamar Jackson, Deshaun Watson, Malik Hooker, Jonathan Allen, etc. I can understand how frustrating it must have been for Ramsey and the rest of that 2017-18 defensive juggernaut to get that close to the Super Bowl without a competent quarterback -- this team had to take the keys away from their quarterback to win football games in the modern era. The front office believed in Bortles being good enough to win with that defense and they were wrong. If Andy Dalton is quarterbacking that 2017-18 Jaguar team, they’re in the Super Bowl that year, right? If you’re Ramsey and the rest of that unit you lose sleep over that season. You were so damn dominant, but you had the wrong quarterback and, two years later, Gardner Minshew is under center. All Ramsey has to say is, “Look, you could have fixed all of this by just drafting any quarterback in the top-5, but you chose a running back.” If you’re Ramsey and that collection of talent, doesn’t it only become harder to give a crap when you know you don’t have the quarterback on the roster to make having an elite defense worthwhile. I get it.

But Young also brought up the NBA as an example of another league bending over for unhappy players. Anthony Davis the poster boy for this -- he was under contract for more than one season, he quit on his team, and did everything in his power to screw over the Pelicans by forcing his way to the Lakers. It was a terrible look for Davis, and it was a terrible look for the league had Davis ended up getting moved before the NBA Trade Deadline. Player movement has become a staple of the NBA, and most rational human beings are fine with players moving on when they’re a free agent. Normal people understand that once a contract is up, you should be free to go wherever you want to go. When you’re still under contract, though, it gets more complicated. When you go the scorched-Earth method, like Davis and Brown did, normal people aren’t into it. Nobody likes to see a professional intentionally burn bridges to get their way. With Ramsey, unlike Brown and Davis, he’s not even at the top of his game. It’s one thing when you’re a top-5 player, like Brown and Davis, it’s another when you haven’t played like a top-5 player in over a year. 

We also don’t know if player movement is good for the sport. Part of the reason the NFL is as popular as it is is that once you found your franchise quarterback, barring injury, you have him for years and years. When your team gets a superstar, you want to believe you get to keep watching that superstar play for your team for years. It’s the reason the NCAA Transfer Portal is so interesting for college football -- will this hurt the sport’s popularity? On a basic human level, you want everyone to find happiness. On a team level, you can understand why opening up more opportunities for player movement make things almost impossible for coaches and teams and universities. How do you plan years down the line if player movement continues to grow. Is it really good for the sport for its stars to play on 6 different teams throughout their career than 1 or 2? It’s a fair question to ask and it was fair for Young to wonder if giving Ramsey and other disgruntled stars what they want could have a ripple effect that ultimately hurts the league and rewards guys for being unprofessional and screwing over their team. I get it.

Ultimately, nobody knows if increased player movement is bad for sports. Kawhi Leonard hasn’t played for nine different teams in his prime yet. It is going to take time to see if fans turn their backs on sports that has more player movement than other sports. With the NBA, I have my doubts because so many people watch games for the player and not the team. With the NFL, I am not so sure. If more and more stars push their way out in their prime, in increasingly unprofessional fashion, couldn’t you see a sport built on unselfishness losing viewers because its players are becoming increasingly selfish? That’s all Young was getting at -- football is different from basketball. Nine guys matter in the NBA. It makes sense for the NBA to be the league built around player movement and player empowerment because its players matter more there than they do in the NFL. It doesn’t make sense for the NFL to be a league built around player movement. Steve Young was right, he was just wrong in the way he said it.

Tell Me I'm Wrong NFL Week 2 With Big Dunc

Chase Thomas is joined by his buddy Big Dunc to talk about what happened in Week 2 of the NFL, why the Falcons vs. Eagles game was so good, Jalen Ramsey requesting a trade from Jacksonville, why Ron River might be the first coach fired, Dak Prescott becoming the highest-paid quarterback in NFL, the Steelers losing Big Ben, the Falcons being the favorites in the NFC South, pumping the breaks on the Ravens, and a Cowboys vs. Patriots Super Bowl.

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WWE Smackdown Live: Stumbling To The Finish Line

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There is another WWE PPV on Sunday night. That means Tuesday night’s episode of Smackdown Live was indeed another go-home show. Outside of a last-minute Shane McMahon infestation, everything about last night’s show was written and produced in a way to get you, the viewer, hyped for the blue-brand’s matches on the card at Clash Of Champions.

They failed.

This show started with a familiar sound, the Undertaker’s gong, not to be confused with The Undertaker’s [redacted], and while I audibly sighed at home the fans in attendance were both surprised and overjoyed that we were mere minutes away from another rambling, incoherent monologue from the Deadman. Madison Square Garden is a legendary venue, and the Undertaker is a legendary figure. Booking him for this show is fine, I suppose, but unlike Stone Cold Steve Austin, who appeared to further the storyline between Seth Rollins, Braun Strowman and AJ Styles, the Undertaker appeared to lay out Sami Zayn? We never saw the Undertaker again after that opening segment, Zayn didn’t appear with Intercontinental Champion Shinsuke Nakamura later on in the show, and none of this needed to happen.

It sucked.

After this segment, Shane McMahon appeared after weeks away in a backstage segment with Chad Gable. Unlike the Undertaker, this would not be the last we saw of McMahon for the remainder of the show. McMahon slithered his way into a match with Gable for a chance to compete in the King of the Ring final on Monday Night Raw next week. Granted, with Elias out at the last-minute, placing McMahon in this spot makes sense. It fits his character, it garnered him more heat, but unlike the Baron Corbin push on Raw, there is nothing to be gained with the Shane McMahon push on Smackdown. McMahon overpowering Gable for significant stretches in the main event was a poor decision for the same reasons it was stupid to have McMahon overpower The Miz and Roman Reigns and Kevin Owens -- this guy is 49-years-old and does not look like someone who should be able to keep up with any of the company’s top talent. With Corbin, he’s in his prime, he’s capable of putting on good matches, and fans genuinely enjoy hating him -- the man got John Cena-type dueling chants in the triple threat match on Raw this week. Fans just want Shane to go away and he was splattered all over Smackdown this week.

Perhaps the most frustrating part about this show was how glaringly obvious it was that, outside of the Kofi Kingston and Randy Orton blood feud over the WWE World title, the build to all of the blue brand’s matches heading into Clash Of Champions have bombed. This show wanted you to be excited about Bayley vs. Charlotte Flair, but you’re not. This show wanted you to be excited about Rowan vs. Roman, but you’re not. (It’s the John Cena thing where, unless you’re CM Punk or Randy Orton or Daniel Bryan or The Rock, it’s hard to get emotionally invested in their PPV matches because you know who is going over.) this show wanted you to be excited about The Miz vs. Nakamura, but you’re not. This show even wanted you to be excited about Alexa Bliss & Nikki Cross vs. Mandy Rose & Sonya Deville, but you’re not. (More on that disastrous Rose promo in a bit.)

Smackdown is in a holding pattern right now, and you can understand why, a writer’s room that is undergoing personnel changes,  a move to a new network on the horizon, and a roster without very many lovable babyfaces. This show needs a makeover, needs a reset, and, after Clash of Champions, hopefully we get that. 

Here are two other major thoughts I had about this week’s episode:

  1. Erick Rowan is good. Erick Rowan can be something. The former Daniel Bryan bodyguard cut a promo on this show, and while it was cut short by Reigns, it was another example of Rowan offering a lot more than one might assume just by taking a gander at him. That’s what his character was talking about here, that people have assumed, incorrectly, that he is not capable of being a machavaleion-type figure, but his actions against Reigns and Bryan prove otherwise. Sure, this storyline went off the rails during the Reagan administration, but without it, we don’t get to hear these promos from Rowan. His charisma, delivery and overall body of work here has been a delight. No, I don’t think his ceiling is high with his look and theme song, but, like Bray Wyatt, you could have something here if you repackage him, give him a microphone, a mask and better music. Even if it’s a demented Doink The Clown, you would still get a lot out of a guy nobody thought you could get a lot out of. Kudos, Rowan.

  2. Turning Bayley heel was the right decision. In a backstage segment with Ember Moon, where Moon struggled to speak like a normal human with more difficulty than Natalya usually does, Bayley was more relaxed and came across more normal. Like an adult who finally realized that the only way to get where you want in life is to stop being the punching bag and start punching back. She punched back at Lynch. She punched back at Flair. She is a serious human again, and it’s the same formula the company used with Lynched that propelled to her to the WrestleMania main event. Lynch lost all the time, her Becky Balboa persona was cringey, and she snapped. Fans like wrestlers who kick ass, take themselves seriously and win a lot of matches. The way Lynch speaks now works; the way Bayley speaks now works. Bayley beat Moon clean, stared at Flair, and came across as a legitimate champion who could have a good, serious wrestling match against Flair keep her from her tenth title win. I dig it.

Lifted from the Legal Pad:

  • Still dumbfounded how many fans love The Undertaker. Did you catch the grown-ass man with the perplexed stare once it was clear ‘Taker was there? Yikes.

  • Sami Zayn is Heath Slater now. This will come across as very smark-y, but he needs to put the mask back on and re-debut on NXT. the Zayn character is toast.

  • “Very interesting, Shinsuke.” - Corey Graves

  • Did you enjoy the 45 minutes of commercials during Miz vs. Andrade?

  • Matt Hardy & Apollo Crews would be a fun-ass team and I need it to happen.

  • Serious Chad Gable is so damn good as a likable babyface. He better beat Corbin.

  • “She’s ugly.” Whoever wrote that promo for Rose should be fired on the spot. Atrocious.

  • “Byron will remain romantically dehydrated for the rest of his life.” - Corey Graves

  • Randy should win. I think Randy will win.

  • Could Otis be Rikishi? MY COLUMN:

  • Owens and Gable are the audience when Shane appears.

  • No more Kevin and Shane drama. STOP!

  • SONJAY DUTT ALERT!

  • Get Gable some new music.

Twins Lose Buxton, Mets Being Weird With Thor, and the Red Sox Fire Dombrowski With Locked On Yankees' Stacey Gotsulias and Boston Sports Journal's Sean McAdam

Chase Thomas is joined by Locked On Yankees' Stacey Gotsulias to talk about the Twins losing Byron Buxton for the season, the Michael Pineda suspension, the interesting situation in Arizona with Mike Hazen, if the Diamondbacks can get back into real contention without a teardown and the Mets' feud with Noah Syndergaard and Wilson Ramos. Then, Boston Sports Journal's Sean McAdam comes on to talk Dave Dombrowski's firing, who gets the job next, Mookie Betts changing teams after next season, and much more.

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10 Burning Questions After NFL Week 1 With CLNS Media's Evan Lazar

Chase Thomas is joined by CLNS Media's Evan Lazar to talk about the Patriots' big win over the Steelers, the Josh Allen Experience in Buffalo, the lack of skill talent on defense for the Giants, the Falcons' o-line woes versus the Vikings, issues with the Chiefs' defense, the Dolphins really trying to tank, and much more.

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I Don't Know What To Think About Antonio Brown

Everybody has a take on Antonio Brown. I do not have a take on Antonio Brown. There is so much AB content out there right now, how could you, really? How could anyone be certain of anything when it pertains to the former Central Michigan superstar? For some, he’s brilliant. For others, he’s stupid. I wish I had a take for you on one of the more bizarre stories we’ve seen in sports, but I don’t. Will we ever know just how calculated and cerebral Brown was in his efforts to get out of Oakland? I have my doubts. Something else will pop up, something else will grab our attention, and we’ll forget all about the many twists and turns in the Antonio Brown Actually Called His Boss A Crack storyline a few weeks from now. 

But can I hope Brown knew what he was doing? That’s the less-sad, more-interesting option, right? If he didn’t, and he’s just operating on a whim, it’s concerning and sad because there is probably something more serious going on there. If he did, he’s basically the Joker in THE DARK KNIGHT and I am enthralled. He just wanted to watch Oakland burn. He always wanted to get to New England. He always knew he’d get that money back. He is playing chess, while we’re all playing checkers. If the latter is true, can you respect the hustle while also acknowledging this is a terrible way to go about your business? Absolutely. Is it my team or my money or my league? Absolutely not.

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Still, for any team to sign AB after all of this is kind of insane, right? Even if you’re a real contender who has the cash to sign him -- why? Football coaches, perhaps even more so than basketball coaches, bet on their culture to a fault. We like to believe the New England Patriots nail these kinds of moves all the time, but that isn’t true -- Josh Gordon, Reggie Wayne, Joey Galloway, Adalius Thomas, Shawn Springs, etc. Not even Bill Belichick can fix everyone, which is fine, because that’s how it should be. In your personal life, do you connect with everyone? No. You connect with some, and you don’t with others. Chances are a veteran like Brown is not going to fit into your culture. Changing the personality of 31-year-old superstar coming who just days ago reportedly threatened to beat up his boss seems unlikely. 

Perhaps this is why I’m not the biggest fan of AB landing in New England. It’s so easy to see how it doesn’t work and he’s gone in a few weeks or less. If he were to have wound up in Seattle, where the ultimate player coach roams the sidelines, I’d be a bit more optimistic. If Brown wanted to do crazy shit in Seattle, I find it hard to believe that Pete Carroll would put his foot down. Similar to Jon Gruden, he’d love Brown’s fire and work ethic and production to a point where he could overlook the “other” stuff. Some coaches like that, others don’t. Something tells me Brown calling Josh McDaniels a Basic White Bitch after calling a play for Julian Edelman on 2nd & 7 early in the first quarter of a random game against the Miami Dolphins later this year won’t go over well. 

Once Brown was signed by New England, the football universe was gutted. How could the Patriots of all teams have ended up with him? How can any team compete against New England now? Why are we not looking at this like this might be AB’s last chance to play in the NFL? Are we all that cynical that we believe NFL teams will keep signing him to prove-it contracts for the next 5 seasons until his body breaks down? I look at his decision to go to New England as a Yikes, I Need To Win A Ring ASAP So Everyone Forgets What I Did This Summer So I Can Secure That Last Bag move. Unlike the NFC where there are more contenders than there are Jonas Brothers, the AFC is the Patriots until the Chiefs prove otherwise. Brown will get all the exposure and attention he craves in New England. If last night’s drubbing of the Steelers was any indication, are we sure adding Brown into that receiver room won’t make this the scariest Patriot team since the 18-1 squad? Brown has put himself in the perfect position to screw over the Miami Dolphins next summer, and for that, we...stan?

AFC Season Preview, The Luke Voit Trade Revisisted, and Billy Eppler Gets Extended With Pats Pulpit's Brian Phillips and SI's Jon Tayler

Chase Thomas is joined by Pats Pulpit's Brian Phillips to talk preview the AFC, why the Pats will win the Super Bowl again, issues with the Chiefs defense, the Broncos in the playoffs, down on the Chargers, the Bengals being boring, the Dolphins being helpless and much more. Then, Sports Illustrated's Jon Tayler returns to talk about the Luke Voit trade between the Cardinals and Yankees looking better, Tyler Naquin's brutal injury for the Indians, and Billy Eppler getting an extension with the Angels.

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NFC Season Preview and the Texans Traded Clowney and Traded for Tunsil With Battle Red Blog's Jeremy Brener and 49ersHub's Evan Sowards

Chase Thomas is joined by Battle Red Blog's Jeremy Brener to talk about the Texans trading Clowney and trading for Tunsil, the importance of protecting Deshaun Watson, the emergence of Justin Reid in the secondary, and Bill O'Brien's weird moves as coach/GM in Houston. Then, 49ershub's Evan Sowards returns to preview the NFC, why the Saints should contend again, why the Eagles are the favorites, trading Ezekiel Elliott if you're Dallas, the 49ers' new scary pass rush, Cam Newton positivity, and much more.


LISTEN: iTunes / SoundCloud / Stitcher / RSS/ Google Play / Spotify / TuneIn / iHeartRadio / Podbean

I'm Sorry, I Was Wrong About Josh Donaldson

Sometimes you’re wrong about things. If you’re like me, you’re wrong about many things. I could sit here and tell you that it doesn’t irk me when something I felt to be correct turned out to be very incorrect. I am my father’s son, which means accepting you’re wrong about something is often more difficult than Sweet Dee in Always Sunny not looking like a bird. Being wrong about something is a miserable feeling, I mean, how could I not be right about literally everything? I did my homework, I came to opinion fairly and honestly, and yet, the universe still betrayed me. I like admitting being wrong about something less than I like loud house guests who stumble into our abode in the middle of the night when I definitely have to wake up early the very next day. (A story for another time on another blog, I presume.) Fuck being proven wrong. Have you ever been proven night? That is the good stuff. Like Season 2 of Sons Of Anarchy, give me more of that.

But I was wrong about Josh Donaldson.

I was.

When the news broke that the Atlanta Braves had signed the former AL MVP to a one-year, $23 million contract, I scoffed at the decision by the Braves’ brass. The Braves were tenth in runs scored in 2018, had Austin Riley biding his time in Gwinnett, and had Actually Good Utility Swiss Army Knife John Camargo still on the roster. From a roster-construction position, I didn’t agree with Alex Anthopoulos’ play that paying a lot of money for one year of Donaldson made sense with so many questions in the rotation and bullpen. The offense with Freddie Freeman, Ronald Acuna Jr., Ozzie Albies and friends would be good enough to pseudo-contend in 2019. (Granted, the Braves are still pseudo-contenders in 2019, and if you are talking yourself into Atlanta’s rotation and bullpen surviving a double date of Los Angeles and the winner of the Houston vs. New York bloodbath, you might have a gutting case of Stage Four Homerism.) I would have re-signed Anibal Sanchez, I would have re-signed paid Patrick Corbin, and, hell, I would have paid Bryce Harper. No, the Braves didn’t need Harper to contend, but Harper will make $26 million next season and will continue to make around that number until 2031. Donaldson signed for $23 million when he was 33-years-old and had major injury concerns heading into 2019. Donaldson could have gone the way of Troy Tulowitzski this spring, but he went the way of D.J. LeMahiaeu. Baseball can be weird and nice sometimes, I guess. Ultimately, spending a lot of money for one year on Donaldson when the team didn’t have a great shot at both winning a World Series and re-signing him in the offseason if he were to hit like has was simply bad management. 

But Donaldson is tied with Freeman in WAR at 4.1 and it’s September. Had the Braves done what I suggested, used that money on Corbin and Craig Kimbrell, and, I dunno, Dallas Keuchel, Atlanta may not be 30 games over .500 like they are now. Maybe signing Donaldson so the team could go from tenth to sixth in runs scored is the difference between this team keeping the Washington Nationals from winning the division. (I should also note, and Braves fans, please don’t throw a metaphorical shoe at me, ala former President George Bush in that insane press conference from years ago, for saying this, but, Brian Snitker said another dumb thing over the weekend that Freeman is the MVP and the MVP is tied with Donaldson and trails Acuna in WAR. If Freeman is MVP, is Donaldson also the best one-year signing in recent baseball memory?  

RELATED: Nobody Asked Mailbag: Melo on the Nets and not the Knicks?

I scoffed at my old friend 680 The Fan’s Matt Chernoff predicting Donaldson for NL MVP before the season got underway. Sure, he is not in the conversation for MVP, nor would he ever have been, but the Braves’ optimists who hailed the signing of the former Auburn kid as a signal this team was going for it this season were right. The front office deserves credit in believing in Donaldson. The front office deserves credit for choosing to add more firepower to the offense when that wasn’t the clear play. The Braves’ offense would have been scary with or without Donaldson -- largely due to the seasons of Albies and Dansby Swanson -- but he hasn’t just been good, he only trails Freeman in WRC+ at 131. Donaldson has played in 131 games. Donaldson is the wildcard the Braves needed to win back-to-back division titles. Without Donaldson assisting Freeman and Acuna at the top of the order, this team isn’t the same and we’re not talking about a real shot at the World Series this fall.

But what happens after the season? Now that Donaldson has had this insane season at 33-years-old, do the Braves pay him? Do you really believe Donaldson will return on another one-year, prove-it deal? If you believe MLB front offices will act in a more ethical fashion this winter, there is no chances Donaldson signs for another one-year deal. If you believe MLB front offices will continue to act in a more unethical fashion this winter, there is no chance a team signs Donaldson for more than a season or two. Donaldson doesn’t make sense on a rebuilding team, which includes close to half of the league, so his options are already limited. Do the Yankees say screw it and bank on LeMahieu 2.0? Do the Phillies do it to spite Atlanta and keep spending stupid money? We don’t know, but what happens with Donaldson this winter matters. If the Braves don’t make it to the World Series and they lose Donaldson for nothing, was it worth it? I imagine most fans would say yes, but this is the flaw in signing veterans like Donaldson to one-year deals -- if they blossom, you can’t keep them, and if they bomb you wasted a bunch of money on a guy past his prime when you had more pressing needs. It’s fascinating.

But you can’t take away all of these Donaldson dingers. You can’t take away how much this team ostensibly enjoys having him in the clubhouse. You can’t take away how easy it would have been for this Atlanta team to fall out of the playoffs had they gone with Camargo and Riley for 2019 at third base. So I was wrong about Donaldson, but I was right about Corbin and Harper -- both are good and both are under team-control for years. If the Braves really want to build a sustainable winner in Atlanta again they have to jump into the top-5 in MLB payrolls, and that means less flyers like Donaldson, and more investments like Gerrit Cole this winter. Money matters and Donaldson has been so good for Atlanta this season that this winter may be a brutal one down south.