I am wrong. A lot. My gambling account this season is a reminder of how wrong I can be. I occasionally get things right, as well. But, oh man, I’m wrong all the time when it comes to sports. When you drone about nothing as much as I do, i’ts bound to happen. With the football season ending a couple nights ago, I was left with the sadness that, not only did I no longer have a reason to get spectacularly drunk on Sundays, but that I had to come to terms with what was probably my worst season in terms of prognosticating and gambling.
Part of it was the fact that i’ve spent the better part of six months with a broken brain. Full stop, not looking for sympathy. I have been able to function as a human being, albeit with medication and therapy. It is hard to focus on football when you spend every waking moment of your life thinking that your entire world is crumbling around you.
The other part of it is that I just can’t throw myself into football like I used to. As Blink 182 opined two decades ago, “I guess this is growing up.”
Life just takes up too much time. Family, friends, a society imploding into itself like a neutron star. Oh, and the whole Covid thing. I got Covid pretty bad midway through the season. 2020 was a shitty year for damn near everyone. I was no exception. So it’s time for me to take some L’s and talk about the few things I got right, and all the stuff I got wrong about the 2020 NFL season.
I Was Right That Carson Wentz Sucks
Let’s get this one out of the way, first. Trade rumors are swirling that he is going to get moved in the next couple days. The teams in contention seem to be the Colts and….deep breath…the Bears. Reports are that the Colts aren’t willing to meet the asking price that the Eagles want for Wentz. The Bears haven’t met a bad trade they aren’t willing to sabotage themselves over.
The main problem with the trade is: Carson Wentz kinda sucks. Everyone remembers his 2017 season, and is choosing to overlook the fact that his stats have gone in the wrong direction every year since then. In an era when teams run offenses that minimize turnovers, Carson Wentz went full Dave Kreig on the season. He threw nearly as many interceptions as touchdowns (16 to 15), he also fumbled the ball 12 times this season. He had three separate games this season when he fumbled at least twice in the same game. He completed 57 percent of his passes this season. Bears fans can’t wait to run Mitch Trubisky out of town. Meanwhile, he threw just as many touchdown passes as Wentz, half as many interceptions, and completed passes at a 10% higher rate than the Eagles QB.
“But he had no receivers in Philadelphia and his offensive line sucked” is the general point of reason people who are wanting Wentz in a Bears uniform are saying. Spoiler alert: Trading for Wentz in the Bears current cap situation means that Allen Robinson is gone, even though he is probably gone anyway, because the Chicago braintrust doesn’t respect him.
And the Bears offensive line situation is no better. The best way to improve the offensive line? Through the draft. You can’t improve the line in the draft when you trade your first round draft pick for a quarterback who turns the ball over more than any quarterback not named Jameis Winston.
And not to beat a dead horse about why this is a bad idea, remember that Carson Wentz was benched this season for a second round rookie, and the offense came to life after that. It isn’t because Jalen Hurts is that much better of a quarterback. Going all the way back to their Super Bowl victory a couple years ago, reports were coming out of Philadelphia that the Eagles preferred having Nick Foles as their starter. Carson Wentz could be a Jay Cutler level clubhouse cancer. Trading for him will not lead the Bears to a Super Bowl. All it will do is set the Bears back even further.
I Was Very Wrong About Tom Brady in Tampa
So, for what it’s worth, Tampa Bay’s unrelenting defensive line is probably the single biggest reason that they won the Super Bowl, but I was pretty damn vocal about the fact that Tom Brady was toast and that there was no way this was going to work for the Bucs. Then, all Tom Brady did was complete 65% of his passes, throw 40 td’s, keep Antonio Brown out of trouble (or, less trouble than he normally gets into), and won his seventh ring.
I’m still of the belief that the clock is going to strike midnight on Brady and that human Labrador turned professional wrestler turned unretired tight end Rob Gronkowski. But hell if I know when it will happen. Tom Brady talks about the possibility of playing until 45, which means two more seasons. The Bucs really only to have make free agency decisions on two players: Lavonte David and Shaq Barrett. They could just roll it all back and make another run. At this point, i’m sick of trying to doubt Tom Brady.
I Was Very Wrong About the Miami Dolphins
I’m not totally sold on Tua Tagovailoa as the long term franchise quarterback. But Brian Flores might be the first quarterback off of the Bill Belichek coaching tree that isn’t a complete coaching black hole. Last year, players were begging to get off the team. They successfully translated that into a bunch of first round draft picks and were able to rebuild on the fly. They were in playoff contention until the very end of the season. They still need a wide receiver and a running back, but those are things that can be addressed when you have a bankroll of draft picks to use.
While the Jets are still ramming their dicks into a wall and hoping a hole forms to shine some light on what they think they are doing, and the Patriots are slowly fading away as they come to the realization their meal ticket just won without them, the Dolphins and Bills are poised to stand tall at the top of the division for years to come.
I Was Incredibly Wrong About the Cleveland Browns
In my first power rankings, I had the Dolphins at 31 and they nearly made the playoffs. I also had the Browns at 27, and they did make the playoffs! Baker Mayfield took major steps forward this season. He looks at times like he is still playing the game in fast forward in his head and gets way out over his skis, but when he slows down and lets his running game dictate the offense, everything comes together and you can see when he was the number one pick in the draft. Mayfield cut his interceptions by 60 percent over last season, while he stayed clean in the pocket, taking a dozen fewer sacks than the previous season.
A good offensive line and two good running backs do great things for the passing game. His stats actually improved after number one receiver Odell Beckham went out with an injury. If the Browns want to sustain this run, they might be best suited by trading Beckham, and using the extra draft picks they get to fortify their secondary. They are a safety and a cornerback away from being very dangerous.
I Was Right That Adam Gase and Matt Patricia Were The Worst Coaches in the NFL
I mean, i’m not exactly in the minority here, so we don’t have to dive too deeply, but normally, after a coach gets fired, an assistant spot opens up for them in the NFL to get their name back out there. Matt Patricia had to go back to New England because nobody wanted him, and he apparently was such a bag of dildos in Detroit that, when Matt Stafford met with the Lions about trading him, he told them he would refuse to go to New England because Patricia was there.
As for Gase, any professional team in the United States should be relegated to the Sun Belt conference if they are actively dumb enough to let this guy continue to be a raging horses ass on their coaching staff. Maybe Marc Trestman will hire him to be offensive coordinator of the Tampa Bay Vipers whenever the XFL comes back.
I Was Psychotically Wrong About Justin Herbert
On draft night, I actively dragged the Chargers up and down by posts over drafting Justin Herbert instead of trying to rebuild their offensive line with Tristan Wirfs or Mekhi Becton. I seem to remember referring to him a bunch of times as a system quarterback at a college that gave us quarterbacking legends Marcus Mariota and Joey Harrington. Oh, and Akili Smith.
Herbert proceeded to complete two thirds of his passes, get 31 touchdowns, and 4300 yards. He is a cornerstone piece to a team that all of a sudden has their quarterback situation figured out for the next decade.
I Was, And Still Am, Right That the Bears Shouldn’t Have Drafted Cole Kmet
“Cole Kmet really came on at the end of the season.” I’ve heard that so many times I want to set fire to every sports talk radio station. Let’s look at some facts: Cole Kmet had 28 receptions on the season. That’s good for 36th in the NFL at the position. Let’s go over all of the other arguments for Kmet this season:
*He got Better as the season went on: He caught seven passes in a garbage time blowout loss to the Packers to end the season. He averaged six yards per reception on the play. The two games before that? 2 receptions in each game.
*The more they used him, the better he was in the passing game. In the aforementioned two games, he played in 100 percent and 90 percent of the snaps. Four total receptions.
*The team was good with him on the field. Cole Kmet had eight receptions this season in Bears wins. 20 receptions, including the garbage time seven against the Packers, came in Bears losses.
*He was a good blocker. Neat….
*Tight Ends take more time to develop. Yea, no shit. That’s why they shouldn’t have drafted him. The Bears weren’t portraying themselves as a team trying to rebuild. They weren’t constructed as a team that could have patience to develop their top draft pick. They needed a day one starter. I was begging up and down for them to draft Antoine Winfield Jr. Putting him next to Eddie Jackson in the secondary would have been a devastating duo for years to come.
In the Bears lone playoff game, Cole Kmet had three receptions for 16 yards. Antoine Winfield Jr. was the starting safety for the defense that just shut down the defending champions in the Super Bowl.
I Had Too Much Faith and Was Very Wrong About the Patriots
On the other end of the “I thought Tom Brady was toast” spectrum, I thought this was going to be the year that the Patriots and Bill Belichek prove once and for all that they could win with any quarterback. Well, that “any” quarterback was Cam Newton, and after he came back from Covid-19, he looked more like Moses Moreno than someone who would lead the Patriots out of the desert.
I Was Wrong About the Steelers, Up Until I was Right
The Steelers were the last undefeated team in the NFL. This in spite of the fact that their quarterback is closer in body shape to me than an actual NFL quarterback. I didn’t think their defense could do enough to overcome the shortcomings of their offense. And then their defense did exactly that. In spite of having no running game, and Ben Roethlisberger being about as effective as a condom with pin holes all over it, they got out to a huge division lead. Or, they would have gotten out to a huge division lead if they weren’t playing in the best division in football. The Browns and Ravens also kept winning, which made what the Steelers were doing even more important.
Then their defensive stars started getting hurt. And then they kept getting hurt. They lost four of their last five games. After giving up 23 points or more only three times in their first 11 games, then gave up at least that many in each of their last five. That culminated in them giving up 48 points to the Cleveland Browns in a first round playoff loss.
The upside for the Steelers is that their defense should return healthy next year. The bad news is that Big Ben want to return for another season and there might not be anything that the Steelers can do about it.
Okay, let’s finish this up with some quick hit right and wrongs.
I was right that Nick Foles was just an old, less mobile version of Mitch Trubisky. In fact, Foles went above and beyond by being truly worse than Mitch.
I was wrong for thinking Robert Quinn was a good free agent signing. He might have been the worst signing in the entire NFL.
I was wrong in thinking that Henry Ruggs would be the best rookie receiver in the NFL. Jason Pierre-Paul has better hands.
I was right when I said that Josh Allen would make the leap this year. He might be the fifth best QB in the NFL right now.
I was wrong about Odell Beckham. He might be the Carson Wentz of wide receivers at this point.
I was right about Aaron Rodgers. I knew better than to think he was done.
I was right about Mike McCarthy being a horrible coaching signing for the Cowboys. Even before Dak Prescott’s leg exploded, the team wasn’t any good, and the defense was “Taylor Swift in the mind of Jordan Holmes” levels of bad.
I thought Josh Kelley and Isaiah Simmons were going to win offensive and defensive rookie of the year. Neither player registered as a key contributor on their teams.
I was right about Patrick Queen being the sleeper of the first round. Before injuries slowed him down over the final few games of the season, he was turning into the leader of the Baltimore Ravens defense. Being the leader of that defense historically means you are going to be one of the best players at your position for a long time.
I was wrong about the Chiefs repeating. They got damn close, though.
One thought on “The Few Things I Got Right, and The Ton of Stuff I Got Wrong in the NFL in 2020”
I passed this post on to my fiancé and he enjoyed it very much.