Cleat Geeks

Royally Yours: AA Northwest Arkansas Naturals Season Recap

The Northwest Arkansas Naturals are the AA affiliate of the Kansas City Royals. They play in the Texas League against the AA affiliates of the Houston Astros, Los Angeles Dodgers, Oakland Athletics, San Diego Padres, Seattle Mariners, St. Louis Cardinals and Texas Rangers. In 2018 the Naturals finished in third place in the Texas League North division with a record of 70-70. The Naturals had an average season but had some great performances by prospects.

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The Royals second rated prospect Khalil Lee finished the season in AA with the Arkansas Naturals. Lee is an outfielder that primarily plays in centerfield. He hit for a .245 average and two home runs in 29 games with the Naturals last season. Lee was a third round draft pick by the Royals in the 2016 MLB Draft. He is still raw and will likely need more time in the majors. They are deep in the outfield and there is no need to rush him to the Royals roster. If he keeps progressing well through the minors he could be an elite player for the Royals in a few seasons.

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Scott Blewett is the top ranked pitcher on the Northwest Arkansas roster. He played the entire 2018 season in AA with the Naturals. He had a record of 8-6 with a 4.79 ERA. Blewett’s numbers were not great but he has a good mix of pitches. He could make an impact with the Royals in the next couple of seasons. Blewett could be an option for the back end of the rotation or in the bullpen if the Royals lose pitching depth.

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Jecksson Flores is not considered one of the Royals top prospects but had a good year with the Naturals. He hit for a .314 batting average and seven home runs in 122 games. He also had 27 stolen bases. Flores is a utility player that played five different positions in 2018. He could see time in the majors because of his utility ability despite not being a top prospect. Flores likely will not see time in the majors with the Royals next season but he is still a valuable part of their minor league system.

Next season the Royals should see a lot of top prospects progress through the Naturals. Six of the Royals top 10 prospects finished the season with the single-A Lexington Legends and could start the season with Northwest Arkansas. AA will be a big step in the progression of the Royals top prospects.

One Hell Of A Week

A 35-point beatdown at the hands of the Denver Broncos (3-4). The subsequent firing of offensive coordinator Mike McCoy. A trade demand, then retraction, by 7-time Pro Bowler, Patrick Peterson. It’s safe to say it’s been one hell of a week for the desert Red Birds.

“We will kick their ass”, Von Miller said repeatedly during his media session leading up to last weeks Thursday night game against the Cardinals (1-6) and boy did they ever, as the Broncos pummeled the Red Birds early and often while taking a 35-3 halftime lead in Glendale. The Cardinals totaled a pathetic 82 yards in the first half, finishing with 223 in the 45-10 shellacking. It was far from good enough for Mike McCoy to keep his job as he was promptly relieved of his duties Friday morning.

To the delight of most Cardinal fans: Enter Byron Leftwich.

Will he have his own playbook? No.

Will he have new personnel blocking and catching passes for Josh Rosen? Unfortunately not.

What he will bring though is a breath of fresh air to an ailing offensive unit and a fanbase that has been desperately waiting for something to be positive about after the past week, month & season.

Byron knows exactly what Josh is going through, being a former seventh overall selection in the 2003 draft out of Marshall University by the Jacksonville Jaguars, Leftwich will try and spread the wisdom he gained over the course of his 10-year career onto the rookie franchise QB.

The second-year QB coach turned offensive coordinator is a disciple of Cardinals ex-head coach, Bruce Arians, who Rosen called a ‘ghostly legend in this building’ earlier in the week, has his hands full in trying to get David Johnson and Larry Fitzgerald right again.

After compiling 20 TDs on over 2,100 yards under Arians in 2016, while averaging 5.7 yards per touch, David has 501 total yards while averaging a putrid 4.0 yards per touch in seven games under McCoy. A few reasons for the monumental decline in production could in large part be due to the blocking, plays called and lack of touches in the receiving game.

McCoy was known to have 14 different zone blocking schemes. Word is that Leftwich will likely scale that back to about ten, similarly to what they had when Arians at the helm. Even the Cardinals are near the bottom in rush attempts, they are also first in rushes right up the middle between the guards – unheard of. That’s definitely one thing Byron can control directly through his play-calling. Expect us to move away from McCoy’s antiquated philosophy and back to trying to get Johnson in open space where he can flourish.

After averaging 5.0 catches a game in 2016 (had 6 in less than a full game last year before injuring his wrist and missing the rest of the season), DJ has 20 catches in seven games (2.9) so far during this horrendously poor offensive Cardinal season. The new Cardinal OC knows how important it is to get DJ going for this offense to be successful, so it wouldn’t be the least bit surprising if he averages closer to the five receptions per game like he did in his MVP-caliber season than the three catches a game he’s currently averaging through nearly the first half of this season.

As for Larry Fitzgerald, was a top-10 pick in the Draft one year after his new offensive was, should also see an uptick in usage after see just 41 targets this season. The 5.9 targets puts him on a pace for 93, ten shy of his career-low. Even at that, Larry has caught 63.4% of those intended targets – 26 catches, 255 yards, 1 TD – which is the fourth-best percentage in his career. “I don’t think he’s dead yet. I think it’s a lot of plays there that this man can make”, Leftwich said of the franchise leader in receptions. He went on to say, “We just got to do a better job getting him the ball…The plays are still there in him.”

A vintage Larry game is definitely needed.

Not to bury the lead, but to put a declaratory stamp on what has been the worst season in history since the team moved to the Valley over 30 years ago, shutdown cornerback and one of the few players who wears the ‘C’ on his jersey in representation of being a captain, Patrick Peterson demanded a trade by the NFL trade deadline, which is Tuesday. NFL insider Adam Schefter reported on Monday that Peterson “desperately” wants out and said Peterson feels like the situation is ‘deteriorating’ in Arizona. As i’m sure a lot of fans would agree. Still, it’s never good when one of your captains comes out and throws shade at the organization that he’s been with for what is now his eighth season in the league.

CBS Sports analyst Bryant McFadden, Larry’s cousin, confirmed the demands on twitter on Arizona Sports 98.7 earlier in the week by saying that his ideal trade destination was New Orleans.

After hearing the news on Monday, Wilks said trading Peterson was ‘out of the question’.

Once faced with the Arizona media on Wednesday after meeting with team president Michael Bidwill, Peterson backtracked his demands by saying he’s “100 percent focused on being part of the solution and helping us turn this thing around.” But he also went on to say, “I think we definitely have a clear understanding and I have two years left under my contract, so I’m here.” Not exactly the kind of glowing endorsement everyone was wanting, but the situation is what it is at this point. Don’t forget about last season when Peterson’s buddy, Deion Sanders came out on the NFL Network and said Patrick was “frustrated” and that the Cardinals should trade him to the Saints. Typically, where there’s smoke, there’s fire.

Should make for an interesting off-season. An off-season where the Cardinals will have roughly $90M to spend in free agency.

It’s only been seven games into his coaching career, but head coach Steve Wilks’ short tenure is proving the old adage, ‘you don’t want to be the guy who immediately replaces a legendary coach (Bruce Arians; winningest coach in franchise history), you want to be the guy who replaces the guy’ to be accurate thus far.

The lowly 1-6 49ers – who the Cardinals only victory is against – are on the docket for today. They just may be the exact right team for the Cardinals to get right against before Arizona enters their bye week. After that, a trip to Kansas City to face MVP candidate Patrick Mahomes and the one-loss Chiefs is on the horizon.


Tomahawks and Touchdowns: Week #8 Preview

The Kansas City Chiefs picked up another victory last week against the Cincinnati Bengals. The Chiefs won the game 45-10 and moved their record to 6-1. The Chiefs remain at the top of the AFC. The Bengals have started the season strong and it was a big win for the Chiefs.

Patrick Mahomes had another outstanding game. He threw for 385 yards, four touchdowns and one interception. Mahomes has now thrown for 22 touchdowns this season, which leads the NFL. He could challenge Peyton Manning’s 2013 record of 55 touchdowns in a season. The improvement of Mahomes this season has been a big reason for the Chiefs great performance on offense.

Travis Kelce is also putting up big numbers this season. Through seven weeks he has 563 receiving yards and three touchdowns. It is the second most receiving yards among tight ends and 13th most overall in the NFL. Kelce has established himself as one of the best tight ends in the league. If he continues to be one of Mahomes favorite targets he could have another huge season.

The Chiefs defense had a great performance against the Bengals. They held them to 10 points and 239 yards. The Bengals are averaging 26.3 points per game this season, 11th best in the NFL. Safety Ron Parker had another big game for the Chiefs. He had a pick six in the third quarter that put the Chiefs ahead 38-10. The Chiefs defense struggled to start the season but after the performance last week it appears that they can compete with good offenses.

The Denver Broncos will be the Chiefs week #8 opponent. The Chiefs already beat the Broncos 27-23 in Denver in week #4. The Broncos are in third place in the AFC West with a record of 3-4. Wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders has played well this season despite the team’s struggles. He has 603 receiving yards, eighth most in the NFL. In his matchup with the Chiefs earlier this season he had 45 yards on seven targets. The Chiefs defense appears to be better than they were to start the season and their matchup with Sanders will be interesting to watch. The Chiefs offense could have another big day. In week four they had 446 total yards against the Broncos. The game this week will be another important divisional matchup for the Chiefs against a talented Broncos roster.

Bucs Win in Overtime

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What a difference a week makes. After being embarrassed 2 weeks ago defensively by the Atlanta Falcons, the Tampa Bay defense breaks a three game losing streak and came up big in a 26-23 win in overtime against the Cleveland Browns. Tampa Bay’s defense behind new defensive coordinator Mark Duffner looked faster, more aggressive, and played with a spark that I have not seen all year. The defense had 5 sacks, including 2 by former Cleveland Browns player Carl Nassib, which was a season high and forced two key three-and-outs in the overtime win. The defense also allowed the Browns to only convert 3-14 on third downs throughout the game. Tampa did this defensively without a majority of their stars including Gerald McCoy, Vinny Curry, Vernon Hargreaves (IR), and linebacker Kwon Alexander who was injured in the game.

Surprisingly, the Tampa Bay defense bailed out the offense which had 4 turnovers in the game. Jameis Winston accounted for two of the turnovers with 2 interceptions including a costly interception in overtime giving Cleveland the ball in Buccaneer territory. However, Tampa was able to prevail in the end behind a game winning 59 yard field goal by kicker Chandler Catanzaro. Tampa now improves to 3-3 on the season and has momentum going into their week 8 match-up against the Cincinnati Bengals who were just embarrassed on Sunday Night Football against the Kansas City Chiefs in a 45-10 loss.

The Tampa Bay defense will be put to the test again against the Bengals. Cincinnati currently ranks 11th in points per game with 26.3. Tampa will go into the game without a major piece of the defense. Linebacker Kwon Alexander will miss the remainder of the 2018 season with a Torn ACL.  Adarius Taylor will replace Kwon Alexander at linebacker. Taylor is a 5 year player and has been with Tampa the last 4 years in a reserve role. Tampa may be without starting running back Peyton Barber who exited early due to an injury. Rookie running back Ronald Jones came into replace Barber and scored Tampa’s first rushing touchdown of the season by a running back.  If Barber is unable to play Sunday, look for an increased role for Ronald Jones with Jacquizz Rodgers also gaining extra snaps. Jones needs to show Buccaneer fans why Tampa believed he was worth a second round pick as he has been a healthy inactive for much of the 2018 season. Jones will have a great opportunity to show that as the Bengals rush defense currently ranks 28th allowing 128.7 yards per game on the ground. Overall, the Bengal defense ranks 31st in the league in yards allowed so Tampa’s offense should be able to move the ball effectively and efficiently. I expect an offensive showdown Sunday and hopefully another Tampa Bay victory. FIRE THEM CANNONS!


Meet The Bucs

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This week’s player in Meet the Bucs made a key play in the Tampa Bay win Sunday vs Cleveland. Anthony Auclair is the Tampa Bay Bucs third string tight end which also makes him a special team’s player. Auclair forced a fumble on Browns punt returner Jabrill Peppers which setup the game winning field goal kick by Tampa Bay.  Auclair was an undrafted free agent signing in 2017.  Auclair is a massive individual standing 6’6 and weighing 270 lbs.  He attended college at Laval University which is a Canadian College. Auclair hasn’t contributed too much offensively but as noted from earlier in the article he proves to be a valuable special team contributor for Tampa Bay.

Mychal Warno

Follow me on Twitter @dynastydadmike for all things Tampa Bay and fantasy football advice. Also please follow @cleatgeeks for all things football.

A Much Needed Change

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After another embarrassing performance on defense, allowing 416 total yards of offense in a 34-29 loss to the Atlanta Falcons, the Buccaneers have fired defensive coordinator Mike Smith. The team will replace Smith with linebackers coach Mark Duffner. This was a much needed change for a historically bad defense through the first six weeks of the season, Smith’s defense ranks last in points per game allowed (34.6), last in passing yards given up (355.6), and second to last in yards allowed per game (439.8). This is a production business and we have to play better on defense. We have to play better as a football team, but we have to play better on defense” advised Koetter during Monday’s press conference. This move needed to be made to give a change to the players on defense and also to possibly save Koetter’s job.

Duffner’s defense will be on display Sunday when Tampa hosts the 2018 first overall draft pick Baker Mayfield and the Cleveland Browns. Cleveland comes to Tampa after a 38-14 loss against the Los Angeles Chargers. Tampa looks to get back to .500 and snap a three game losing streak behind another strong performance by Jameis Winston. Jameis ended any quarterback controversy in the Atlanta loss by throwing for 395 yards and 4 touchdowns. Jameis will need reduce his turnover though as he threw 2 interceptions including a costly redzone interception in the loss Sunday.

The Tampa Bay running game did show some life as Peyton Barber rushed for 82 yards on 13 carries which was a season high and also caught 4 passes for 24 yards and a touchdown. The Cleveland Browns rush defense was just gashed by Chargers running back Melvin Gordon for 132 yards and three rushing touchdowns which could bode well for Tampa Sunday.  Tampa needs this win to re-energize the fan base. Let’s fire those cannons.

Meet The Bucs

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This week’s Meet the Bucs segment focuses on Tampa Bay guard Ali Marpet. Ali, who played his college ball at Hobart College, was drafted in the second round of the 2015 NFL Draft. If you aren’t familiar with Hobart College don’t be embarrassed.  Hobart College is a small liberal arts College which makes them a Division III school. Marpet was the highest-drafted player in the history of NCAA Division III football. Tampa believed in Ali enough to trade up for him in the second round of the draft to make sure they obtained him. Ali has been a reliable and versatile starter for Tampa Bay. Last year, Tampa moved Ali to play center due to lack of depth on the offensive line. Ali was moved back to his normal guard position this year where he has excelled at making sure the Bucs quarterbacks stay upright. Tampa recently rewarded Ali for his hard work with a brand new five-year, $55 million contract extension


Mychal Warno

Follow me on Twitter @dynastydadmike for all things Tampa Bay and fantasy football advice. Also please follow @cleatgeeks for all things football.

Is Panthers’ D-Line To Blame For Shoddy Run Defense?

It seems like every year, the Panthers have one of these games. Last year it was the game at Chicago, in similarly dreary weather, where the Panthers looked like the better team, but just found a way to lose.  Sunday’s game at Washington was frustrating from a fan’s standpoint, not just because it was a game that the Panthers should have won, but also because it will help drive false narratives about the team. As we get into this one, let’s take a critical eye to some of those narratives and debunk them if we can.

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Let’s start with the popular scapegoat so far, the Defensive Line, and poor, poor Dontari Poe. There are multiple jokes in there somewhere, but I don’t feel like pulling them out right now. The Panthers let Star Lotulelei walk in free agency and then committed about the same dollar figure per year to Poe. I thought it would be an upgrade and give the team cap flexibility sooner. Fans on Panthers Twitter have hurled spears at the defensive line in general, and Poe in particular all season. But Poe is not a pass rusher, and we knew that coming into the season. Neither was Star. Poe’s job is to keep guards and centers off of Luke Kuechly in the run game and push guard and centers back into their QBs face so he has nowhere to escape the outside rush. Any tackles-for-loss or sacks are just gravy.

The Panthers now have 12 sacks on the season, and their adjusted sack rate is just over 6%. Those numbers put them in the bottom half of the league. While the Panthers’ sack numbers are not great, they again applied pressure to Alex Smith quite often on Sunday. Smith is a slippery veteran and gets away from pressure well. With that said, the Panthers rush got home three times, and forced at least three bad throws with pressure. Yes, they do need more sacks, but sometimes that is out of your control. As long as they continue to pressure QBs, the sacks will come.

The run defense has been shoddy at times–ok quite often, and that seems like it would fall squarely on the D Line’s shoulders. But entering Week 6, the Panthers were third in adjusted line yards, tenth in power run success against, and third in run stuff percentage per Football Outsiders. They were 27th in second-level yards allowed and 31st in open-field yards allowed. What that means is that the defensive line is doing its job–which is to keep the backers and DBs clean to make stops–but those guys aren’t making them.  Again on Sunday, the back seven let the Panthers down at least twice. Shaq Thompson was in beautiful position in his gap on an 8-yard run by Kapri Bibbs, but just whiffed the tackle, and then on the Skins’ final drive, Mike Adams had both hands on Peterson, only to see him get free and run for a first down in field goal range.  We remember some other brutal missed tackles from Rashaun Gaulden against the Giants and Donte Jackson against the Falcons that sprung big plays as well. The D Line definitely has work to do, but it is far from the lone scapegoat out there.

Speaking of Donte Jackson, let’s talk for a minute about the rookie corner. He is turning into a fan favorite, and with good reason. His three interceptions have provided a spark to the Panthers’ secondary, and his fearless demeanor is reminiscent of Richard Sherman, Jalen Ramsey, and some other top DBs. He is the top graded rookie CB in the league right now per Pro Football Focus, and top 10 overall. He looks like a guy with future All-Pro potential. Here’s why that is so important.

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Drafting guys who can start and contribute while on their rookie deal is a necessity in the NFL. The salary cap just won’t allow teams to sign a roster full of studs the way the Dodgers or Yankees can in Major League Baseball.  If a team can get 3-4 guys out of every draft that contribute, they’re doing ok.  But when a team gets a guy who can come in and immediately upgrade some position of need, and eventually be among the best at his position, while still getting paid rookie contract money, it’s like the NFL cheat code.  It allows a team to keep its other free agents, or compete for the best free agents on the open market to strengthen its weak points, and it is really the basis for building elite units.  The Jaguars did this with their defense, except it took them multiple years of Top 5 picks before it all panned out.  The Panthers have Luke and KK Short locked in through 2020, Bradberry is still on his rookie deal through next season, and so is Shaq Thompson. The foundation is already laid for a very good defense for the next 3-4 years, and by landing Jackson, the Panthers will have the money to pursue an elite edge lineman in free agency or with a first round pick, and really take the defense to the next level.  Of course, there are misses in the first round and even with the big-money free agent deals, so nothing is guaranteed, but the Panthers checked a prerequisite with Jackson.

Up next for the Panthers is a tough, tough road game at the Linc against the Super Bowl Champion Eagles. Their top running back Jay Ajayi is out for the year with an ACL–continuing a season-long trend of dodging many top RBs–and All-Pro LT Jason Peters is out with a biceps injury. It should be a good time for a get-well game for the run defense. This is not only a huge test for Carolina, but it may have playoff implications down the road when head-to-head tie breaker rules start coming into play.  The Eagles are mean up front on defense, but have struggled in coverage a bit this year, so this may be the week for old Riverboat and Norv to start slinging the pigskin around the yard all willy-nilly.

Til next week, cheers!

The 2nd Mae Young Classic Quarterfinals Preview

The 2nd annual Mae Young Classic has reached the Elite Eight, as Evolution draws near! A look at the four quarterfinal matches coming up:

  1. Meiko Satomura vs Lacey Lane – This will be a good one; we have seen Meiko Satomura deliver her hard hitting style in her previous two matches, while Lacey Lane uses an even mixture of physical prowess and mind games towards her opponents. As to how they got there, Meiko defeated Killer Kelly in Episode 1’s main event, and ousted Mercedes Martinez in Episode 5’s main event. Lacey defeated Vanessa Kraven in the opening round (Episode 1) and defeated Taynara Conti in Round 2 (Episode 5).
  2. Toni Storm vs Mia Yim – Both MYCs have been known for dream matches, and this is definitely one of them. Both Toni and Mia are known internationally; they have made waves all over various promotions for a number of years, and have even drawn attention from mainstream fans as well. Toni Storm, a semifinalist in last year’s tournament, eliminated rival Jinny in Round 1 (Episode 3) and defeated the evil Hiroyo Matsumoto in the tournament’s first second round match (Episode 5). Mia Yim, a former Impact Knockouts Champion, defeated fellow former Knockouts Champion and longtime rival Allysin Kay in Episode 3’s main event, and ousted former WWE Divas Champion Kaitlyn in the last match of Round 2 (Episode 6).
  3. Tegan Nox vs Rhea Ripley – For Tegan Nox, this was a long time in the making. She was set to be in the first tournament, but an injury kept her from competing. She spent the last year rehabbing, and she finally achieved her goal and competed in this year’s tournament. For Rhea Ripley, it was all about a change to her game. Rhea participated in last year’s MYC and was ousted by Dakota Kai in the second round. In the time that passed, Rhea became more villainous and ruthless entering this year’s tournament, and it has led her to this point–further than last year. Tegan kicked off the tournament by defeating Zatara (Episode 1) and later defeated Nicole Matthews (Episode 6) in Round 2. Rhea defeated MJ Jenkins in Round 1 (Episode 1) and Kacy Catanzaro in Round 2 (Episode 5).
  4. Io Shirai vs Deonna Purrazzo – Yet another dream match happening in the MYC, another match between women who are internationally known. Io Shirai’s participation in the MYC has drawn much attention from many women’s wrestling fans, as has Deonna Purrazzo, who not only participated, but signed with WWE, as she has made a pair of appearances on the NXT program. Io Shirai ended Round 1 with a quick victory over Xia Brookside (Episode 4), and later defeated the evil Zeuxis in Round 2 (Episode 6). Deonna Purrazzo defeated Priscilla Kelly in Round 1 (Episode 2) and the equally phenomenal Xia Li in Round 2 (Episode 6).

The Mae Young Classic continues until the two finalists are decided, with the finals taking place at Evolution on October 28.

Sean McDermott’s Head Coaching Tenure Is Becoming Worrisome

Having coaches and personnel in charge of the Buffalo Bills that make troublesome decisions is nothing new for Bills fans. As a matter of fact, since the days of Jim Kelly, Thurman Thomas and Marv Levy have ended, there has been nothing but a clown car filled with inept coaches and management types who have driven the Bills from perennial AFC contenders to perennial AFC laughing stocks.

So it felt a little bit refreshing when Sean McDermott was hired as the head coach prior to the 2017-18 season. He seemed like a no-crap kind of coach. He stressed trusting the process, a phrase that Bills fans would recite both ironically and un-ironically throughout the course of the season. But ultimately, we felt like he repaid our loyalty when he helped lead the Bills to a 9-7 record, second place in the AFC East (forever behind the New England Patriots) and their first playoff berth in nearly 20 years. Sure, they lost to the Jacksonville Jaguars is a largely ugly AFC Wild Card Game, but this was the playoffs! It just felt good to be involved again.

Credit: SB Nation

And then things started tumbling downhill.

The decision to draft Josh Allen — as polarizing as it was — doesn’t fall on McDermott, but the rest of the quarterback controversy certainly does. A.J. McCarron, brought in via trade, flamed out so spectacularly that he was shipped out before the regular season even started. And Nathan Peterman. Good lord, Almighty, Nathan Peterman. It was something close to stunning that Peterman was brought back after the debacle against the Chargers last season — four interceptions in the first half — but could at least be somewhat understood because Peterman is still young and sometimes young quarterbacks struggle.

But the second the first half in Baltimore ended in week 1, with Peterman looking totally inept on his way to a pair of interceptions, that should have been his last day in the NFL. It was painfully clear that he just doesn’t have the ability to play in this league. But he was kept around. As Allen’s backup, it was fine. Hopefully, we’d never have a need to see him again. That lasted all of five weeks, thanks to a late hit that left Allen with an elbow injury during last week’s tilt in Houston.

Enter Peterman.


In perhaps the most expected moment in the history of everything, Peterman demolished a sterling effort by the Bills defense with the most comically ugly pick-six of all-time. We all knew it was coming. Hell, Peterman probably knew it was coming. And the interception on the final drive was just the poop icing on the turd cake.

So you would think that, in the wake of that soul-crushing defeat thanks to Peterman’s ineptitude, surely that would be the last time we’d see Peterman, right? But McDermott announced that he wasn’t certain who would start in week 7 against Indianapolis, saying that he “had to review the film”. Maybe he’s just protecting Peterman and not throwing him directly under the bus, but the fact that Peterman is even on the roster after that is amazing.

The move to newcomer Derek Anderson for the Colts game isn’t great — he’s thrown eight passes since the beginning of last season — but as long as it’s not Peterman, it pacifies the Bills faithful. But the fact that McDermott even came out and defended the embattled quarterback felt telling enough.

Going forward, McDermott will have the scrutiny ratcheted up with every decision. That comes with the territory when you handle the Peterman situation as it has been handled. Hopefully, going forward, he can get something north of atrocious until Allen comes back and won’t waste outstanding efforts from his defense.

But the heat might already be on Sean McDermott.

Tomahawks and Touchdowns: Week #7 Preview

The Kansas City Chiefs lost their first game of the season last week. The New England Patriots beat the Chiefs 43-40 on a last second field goal. The loss moved their record to 5-1. The Chiefs remain at the top of the conference because they are the only team with fewer than two losses. It was a tough loss for the Chiefs but there were some good takeaways in the game.

The Chiefs offense struggled to start but had a good second half that put them back in the game. Patrick Mahomes threw four touchdowns in the second half after starting the game with two interceptions. He finished the game with 352 yards, four touchdowns and two interceptions. Mahomes performance in the second half helped rally the Chiefs back from a 15-point deficit at halftime. Mahomes was tested by the Patriots defense but adjusted in the second half and put the Chiefs in position to potentially win the game.

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Last week the Chiefs defense struggled against the Patriots offense. They gave up 500 total yards to New England. The Patriots won the game on 65-yard drive in the final three minutes. Part of the reason for the poor performance were injuries to starters. Rookie safety Armani Watts was a big loss for the Chiefs. Watts was placed on injury reserve after undergoing core muscle surgery. He only had five tackles and one sack this season but he was starting to see more playing time because of the injuries at safety. Eric Berry and Eric Murray also missed the game because of injuries. The injuries on the defense played a big role in the loss last week.

The Chiefs week #7 game will be against the Cincinnati Bengals at home on Sunday night. It will be their third primetime game this season and their second straight on Sunday night. The Chiefs last played the Bengals in 2015. The Bengals won the game 36-21. The Chiefs have not beaten the Bengals since 2007. The Bengals are 4-2 this season and in first place in the AFC North. Both defenses have struggled this season and it should be a high scoring game. The Bengals and Chiefs are in the bottom five in the NFL in total yards per game and passing yards per game. The key for a Chiefs win will be putting up big numbers in the passing game. It should be a good match-up between two teams competing for a playoff spot.

The Buffalo Bills Quarterback Situation Continues to Devolve

There’s really no point in recapping the Bills’ 20-13 loss on Sunday to the Houston Texans. It was unbelievably frustrating and I don’t need to waste 500+ words to tell you what we all know: the defense is really good and the offense is really bad.

Instead, there’s much more to cover with the developing (or devolving, however you choose to look at it) quarterback situation that’s going on in Western New York. Let’s rewind a bit, shall we? Entering this season, the situation looked to have direction to it. The Bills had acquired AJ McCarron to be the starting quarterback. Nathan Peterman, and all the ugliness of his four-interception debut against the Chargers last season, would be the backup. And 2018 seventh overall pick Josh Allen would ride the pine and learn until such a time when he would be ready to step into the role of starter.


But none of that went according to plan. McCarron was bad in the preseason, got hurt and then was traded before the regular season ever started. The Bills went with Peterman for the opener in Baltimore against the Ravens. He would complete 27.7% of his passes and throw two more interceptions before being yanked for the definitely-not-ready Allen. The job has been Allen’s ever since. Allen has looked like a rookie: he shows incredible potential, fitting the ball into tight windows while avoiding the constant rush he faces, even hurdling defenders while showing a surprising ability to scramble. But he’s had his missed reads, overthrows and interceptions, too.

Things got muddied even further on Sunday against the Texans. Allen got hit on his throwing elbow Sunday, forcing him to leave the game. Peterman stepped in and looked like he might be ready to prove all the haters and losers wrong, throwing a pretty touchdown pass to Zay Jones to give the Bills the lead. But following a game-tying field goal by the Texans late, Peterman managed to Peterman himself so hard, throwing a hideous pick-six that cost the Bills a hard-fought victory. To make matters even worse, he managed to throw a second interception to close out the crushing defeat.


Word is that Allen’s injury is now worse than first expected. He’s suffered an injury to his ulnar collateral ligament, better known as the ligament that baseball pitchers usually need repaired via Tommy John surgery.  Undergoing treatment on the sideline, Allen looked to be in a huge amount of pain and his return is hugely in question, though it seems very likely that he will not be in the lineup against the Colts on Sunday.

With the recent addition of veteran Derek Anderson to the mix, coupled with Peterman’s wretched performance, it seems pretty cut and dry that head coach Sean McDermott would go with literally anyone but Peterman, right? HOLY GOD, I CAN’T BELIEVE HOW WRONG THAT LAST STATEMENT IS. McDermott actually made the statement that he’d have to review the tape before deciding who would start week 7 against Indianapolis.

McDermott has to look at the tape to decide if he should start a guy known for crippling interceptions. McDermott has to look at the tape to decide if he should start a guy with 10 interceptions in 82 career attempts (that’s an absolutely staggering 11.4 percent interception rate for you numbers guys). Understandably, rumors have started to make the rounds that McDermott might lose the locker room and that his job could be in danger if he sticks with Peterman. Gee, I wonder why that narrative would exist?

I get things from McDermott’s perspective. He doesn’t want a losing record on his resume after leading the team to its first playoff appearance in two decades. It’s especially hard to call this season a wash in the face of the performance the defense has been putting out of late. But this offense is an abomination. Allen never stood a chance of having an outstanding season because there is no talent at wide receiver, LeSean McCoy’s production has fallen off a cliff into the Mariana Trench, and the offensive line couldn’t stop a pass rush consisting of angry grandmothers. They are not going to make the playoffs. Hell, they probably won’t win five games. Sometimes you have to call a spade a spade.

What’s even more infuriating is what Peterman had to say after picking his team up like friggin’ Bane and snapping their collective spirit over his knee. Here’s what he had to say after the loss Sunday:

At the end of the day I know where my true identity lies: in Christ. …Being a child of God, basically. Not finding my identity in football. Just trying to find it in who I really am. I love this game and put everything I have into this game, but can’t let it define me”

Let me start by saying that it’s great for him that he has such conviction in his faith. What I take umbrage with is the fact that he just kind of blows this off with something that is one thousand percent not related to the fact that he is a garbage football player. Just come out and say something to the effect of “it sucks, I hate letting my team down, I need to be better” yada, yada, yada. Don’t drop a quote like that because it literally does not matter.

So that’s what we’re facing heading into the match up with the Colts on Sunday. We have arguably the worst quarterback in the history of the Bills (if not the league) or a 35-year-old who has only thrown eight regular-season passes since the beginning of last year. And somehow, one of these is an absolute slam dunk compared to the other. Glad to see the life of a Bills fan goes right back into the toilet after only a year reprieve.

Whoever starts week 7 (and god help us all if it’s Peterman), I just want to preemptively say that I feel bad for the defense. They’ve come to play the last four weeks and have been met with interceptions and ineptitude for support more often than not.

But hey, at least the Sabres are fun to watch sometimes, right?


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