When Bad Teams Play

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The 5-6 Dallas Cowboys are hosting the 5-6 Washington Redskins in prime time. So why bother? 

The fans on each side are saying that this is a “must win” game for each team. Oh brother. Again I ask, “Why bother watching?”  It’s been called the best rivalry in sports. Normally, at least Yankees/Red Sox fans and Michigan/Ohio State fans would beg to differ, but the entire sports world is begging to differ tonight. Tonight when they play on Thursday Night Football, each team will be a shell of their old selves. Dak Prescott is not the Dak Prescott of last year; not by far. And Kirk Cousins and the Redskins, well, let’s just say that they always think they’re in contention.  Poor things.

You know what happens when bad teams play? You get poor play because of poor performers which leads to a poor performance. Essentially, it’s garbage in and garbage out. And who wants to waste precious time watching two lame ducks duke it out to the death?

Dallas has its share of problems: “Now in the middle of what will ultimately be a six-game suspension on their star RB, Ezekiel Elliot, the Cowboys’ offense is in shambles. After averaging a stout 28.25 points per game over the first eight contests, they’ve now failed to score 10 points in three consecutive games — the worse stretch in franchise history. That precipitous nose dive also includes a ‘frustrated’ Prescott admittedly playing some of his worst football, delivering only 500 total passing yards and no touchdowns, but five interceptions. He had only four all of last season.

It’s a long fall from the MVP-caliber numbers Dak Prescott was delivering only one month ago, and the correlation to the absence of Elliott can no longer be denied even if it’s not the sole reason for the downturn. Play calling certainly hasn’t helped his cause, as the Cowboys have also been attempting to overcompensate for the loss of Elliott versus riding impressive outings from Alfred Morris.” https://247sports.com/nfl/dallas-cowboys/Bolt/Dallas-Cowboys-coaches-weigh-in-on-if-absence-of-Ezekiel-Elliott-is-reason-for-poor-Dak-Prescott-play-111288651

And the Redskins have had their share of woes this season too.  So what’s one to do?  Can either team pull out a winning season and make the playoffs?  It’s doubtful, but then again that’s where it all starts. Doubt is the devil that destroys destiny. So since one team has to win (barring a tie, which would be laughable), one team has an outside chance at righting the ship and saving the season.

And therein lies the lesson: there’s always hope. You have to believe that there’s always a chance, a likelihood, a probability and a possibility that things can and will turn around. But first you have to believe that there’s hope, and that there’s hope for you, and that hope will help you too.  

Good, Better, Best

Eagles INT

 

Good, better best,

Never let it rest,

Till your good is better,

And your better best.

           Author unknown

I love this little rhyme, because this short, small chime is actually sublime. It preaches a poignant point that cannot be overemphasized but is largely understated. Good is ok, but it’s not the best you can do. There is an enemy out there called average. 

The Philly faithful are NOT satisfied with beating the Dallas Cowboys – in Dallas, mind you — even as bad as we beat them. In fact, for the Cowboys, it was their worst home loss since AT&T Stadium opened in 2009. But that was NOT our Super Bowl.

The Eagles are now 9-1, and the last two times we were this good and this much better than most other teams in the NFL we went on to try our best to win the Super Bowl. Both times we failed.

But all of Philly hopes and prays that this time is different. This time, we seem to have something special going on and it’s a love fest of epic proportions. So, this time, we are not that excited about beating a deflated, depleted Dallas team. We’re not overly excited (but we are giddy!) about being 9-1, owning the best record in football. Good is good, but it’s not great. We want to go from good to great. We want to be better, and to play our best.

And that is what we all should strive to do. For the Eagles, this year, winning the Division would be good, but winning the NFC Championship Game would be better. And a Super Bowl win with a parade down Broad Street to boot would be best.

So don’t stop at good. Go for broke; get better, and then be the best. Never let it rest. Your good can be better, and your better can be best. Because God wants us to do our best and be our best; anything less is settling.

 

As Good As It Gets: Jay Ajayi’s Flying High As An Eagle In Philly

 Jay Ajayi

Jay Ajayi’s debut in Philly was as good as it gets.  He’s off and running, or flying, in Philly and opening day couldn’t have been better for the Eagles and Ajayi, as they steamrolled the Denver Broncos in front of a racous, rockin’ and rolling Lincoln Financial Field crowd. Ajayi was traded to the Eagles for next to nothing (a 4th round draft pick?) and was seemingly dumped and his impact was downplayed because he’s “a problem child” that’s a distraction. But the Eagles said “come to Philly.” And come to Philly he did.

So all of Philly is singing in the rain and dancing in the streets. The Iggles are now 8-1, are in first place in the NFC East with the best record in football and their best start since the Super Bowl Year of ’04.  So go Birds, and atta’ boy Ajayi.  Next Stop: Arlington Texas and the Dallas Cowboys.  And they don’t scare me.

Here’s what ESPN had to say about my Eagles:

“The Philadelphia Eagles went from very good to downright scary with the addition of running back Jay Ajayi. Just ask the Denver Broncos.

Acquired from the Miami Dolphins on Tuesday, Ajayi made an instant impact in his Philly debut, breaking off a 46-yard touchdown run as part of an eight-carry, 77-yard performance that helped the Eagles cruise past Denver, 51-23.

‘It was special,’ Ajayi said afterwards. ‘First off, it’s my first touchdown of the season, and it’s exciting for it to have been in Philly in my first game as an Eagle. I don’t think it could have been written any better than that.’

The Eagles, now 8-1, entered the game as the third-ranked offense in the NFL. Still, executive vice president of football operations Howie Roseman stayed aggressive at the trade deadline and worked up a deal with old friend Mike Tannenbaum, who holds the same title with the Dolphins, sending a 2018 fourth-round pick to Miami for the 24-year-old Ajayi.

While there were reported concerns about the long-term health of Ajayi’s knee and his effect on Miami’s locker room, the Eagles believed Ajayi could be a system and identity fit based on joint practices with the Dolphins this summer. They were willing to take a risk in hopes he would regain his 2016 Pro Bowl form when he rushed for close to 1,300 yards and eight touchdowns.  Ajayi’s longest run this season with the Dolphins was 21 yards, but he found his home run swing in his first game> with his new team.http://www.espn.com/blog/philadelphia-eagles/post/_/id/22824/with-jay-ajayi-added-to-mix-eagles-look-unstoppable-against-broncos

Stop Dancing With Your Demons: Aaron Rodgers Shows Us The Way

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Aaron Rodgers doesn’t think he can win, he knows he can win. And I dare say he knows he WILL WIN, especially late in the fourth quarter, with the game on the line against the Dallas Cowboys in Dallas.

Aaron Rodgers is 6-2 lifetime against the Dallas Cowboys.  But more importantly, he’s undefeated in late game heroics against the Boys in Big “D”. For the second time in nine months, the Cowboys scored 31 points against the Packers … and lost. And for the second time in less than a year, Aaron led a last-minute, last gasp, last chance, game winning drive, and led the Green Bay Packers to victory in fantastic fashion.

Rodgers ruined what could have been one of Dak Prescott’s best moments — a 17-play drive that covered 79 yards and lasted 8:43. Dallas led 31-28 with 1:13 left in the game after the last Dallas score. And Dallas was in complete control of the game at the start when Prescott threw three touchdown passes on the Cowboys’ first three drives.

But once again, Aaron Rodgers has buoyed us and begged us to turn our bogeys into birdies (How’s that for a mixed sports metaphor?) Once again, Aaron Rodgers has shown us that we can bounce back from our blunders and come back and perform wonders.

Yes Rodgers did it again.  And the lesson is clear: you can win with little or next to no time left on the clock. You can beat back the bastions you’re battling and the strongholds you’re struggling to defeat. You can.

So stop it; just stop it.

Stop dancing with your demons. Stop saying what you can’t do. Stop whining and start worshiping. Stop pouting and start praising. Stop complaining and start clapping your hands and leaping for joy.  Stop the mindless madness of missing miserably and start the anticipatory gladness that leads to triumphing gloriously. Just say it and believe and achieve it. Just do it. 

You can make, if you just believe.

Von Miller Leaves Dallas in The Dust and The Rest of Us Scratching Our Heads

Von Miller

Who’s going to win the Super Bowl? It’s anybody’s guess.

It’s too early and it’s too close to call, but this early NFL season has everybody scratching their heads and shaking their heads.  First, Brady and Company got shellacked by the Kansas City Chiefs in week one. Then Philly went toe to toe with those same KC Chiefs in a 20-27 game that was close most of the way.

The Dallas Cowboys looked good in week one against the New York “Football” Giants, then laid an absolute egg today against the Denver Broncos, who look as good as gets. The Oakland Raiders, Pittsburg Steelers, Baltimore Ravens and the Carolina Panthers are all undefeated, and it’s anybody’s guess who is the early season favorite to win it all.

So who ya got? Oakland? KC? Is Brady back to form after a bad start, and is Dallas overhyped? After watching them today, the real question is Denver. Are the Broncos  and No. 58, Von Miller, going back to the big dance with their big “D” after proving to Dallas and everyone else that they are still for real?

And what about the boys from Philly, you ask?  Yes, what about ‘dem Eagles?  Thanks for asking.  My answer is what I hated hearing my mom say when my sisters and I asked her stop at a fast food place for dinner.  She would say “we’ll see.”  And that meant no.

 So, are the Eagles in the hunt? We’ll see. That means stay tuned . . .

Note To Ezekiel Elliott: Don’t Dig Your Own Grave  

 

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The Dallas Cowboys in general, and Ezekiel Elliott in specific, are digging their own grave. Elliot was just suspended for six – count ‘em – SIX games. That’s over a third of the season. Sheesh. That’s like a 60-year-old missing twenty years of life. It’s like not living for the first four months of the year.  It’s like not showing up for work on a 9-5 job until well after 11 every day.  That’s a formula for losing, and losing at the game of life is not something that any of us should want to do.

So is this suspension a big deal?  I’ll say.

What’s a Super Bowl favorite to do without the heart and soul of their team?  Lose.  And lose they will.  The Cowboys are implicated as much as Elliott in this me because they defended him and covered for him and basically acted like the investigation was no big deal.  Wrong answer.

When you dig your own grave you’re way behind before you even start and you’re just about out before you even get to the plate. You don’t want to give your enemies and adversaries and opponents and rivals a head start in a short race, and that’s exactly what Ezekiel Elliott did to his team and his teammates by making bad decisions.  Now, the Eagles, Giants, and yes, even the lowly Redskins have more of a chance at winning the NFC East without Elliott in the lineup for a third of the season. 

Oh well. People make their own choices, and sometimes people in general, and athletes in specific, dig their own grave through addictions to drugs or drinking or sexual activities or senseless behavior.   “Addiction is a condition that results when a person ingests a substance (e.g., alcohol, cocaine, nicotine) or engages in an activity (e.g., gambling, sex, shopping) that can be pleasurable but the continuation of which becomes compulsive and interferes with ordinary responsibilities and concerns, such as work, relationships, or health. People who have developed an addiction may not be aware that their behavior is out of control and causing problems for themselves and others.” https://www.psychologytoday.com/basics/addiction

And that’s the bottom line. Does Ezekiel Elliot realize how he has affected his life, much less his team?  The problem, or problems, Ezekiel Elliot has caused for himself are bad enough, but the injuries to his former girlfriend and the suspension from the team hurts people way beyond his personal space.  Maybe the suspension, if it is upheld, will give Zeke time to think and reflect and get help and mend his ways.

They say that where there’s smoke, there’s fire.  And in Zeke’s life, there’s a smoldering bonfire ready to explode if he doesn’t put it out.

Dubious Dudes: Ezekiel Elliott

Ezekiel Elliot Under Investigation

Here is yet another edition of “guys gone wild.”  Ezekiel Elliott, the 2016 Rushing Champion and the Dallas Cowboys rookie sensation, is under investigation by the NFL for “conduct unbecoming.”  Really? I mean, really? Don’t these rich, raucous, unrestricted and unconstrained athletes get it?  Apparently not.

The following is From Jason Keidel, CBS DFW

In perhaps the least surprising news of the summer, there are reports that Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott got into an altercation at a Dallas nightclub Sunday night.

This, along with other incidents, both at Ohio State and during his brief career with the Cowboys, keep with Elliott’s Wild West persona. At best, Elliott has an affinity for nightlife and the trappings of fame. At worst, he’s a headache to borderline-felon who can’t keep his hands where they belong.

We already know Elliott was facing discipline from the NFL over domestic violence accusations back in Ohio. Then we have the repugnant video of Elliott lifting a woman’s shirt during St. Patrick’s Day festivities. Now this.

Is Elliott a victim of his own talent and stardom? Or is he inexorably drawn to danger?

Surely Elliott did not need to see his name in bold ink this morning, especially days — if not hours — before the NFL was to rule on his status entering the 2017 season. And while it’s self-evident that the Cowboys don’t want their star RB perilously close to missing games, doesn’t a part of you wonder if Dallas enjoys the attention to a point?

 If Dallas did any due diligence on Elliott before drafting him, they surely knew he was not the strong, silent type. Even if the domestic violence charges didn’t make it to a courtroom, there’s enough behavioral smoke around Elliott to suggest he loves to live on the edge.

 And the Cowboys are renowned for investing in great talents who are also questionable characters. Going back to Hollywood Henderson, the Cowboys have always been equal parts football club and traveling circus. And while it’s silly to assert they condone Henderson stuffing narcotics in his thigh pads, or Elliott perpetrating violence upon a woman, there’s enough history of them rolling the dice on dubious dudes to suggest they at least like the aroma of trouble.

There’s no such thing as bad publicity, as the axiom goes. And clearly the Cowboys agree. But what happens if or when Elliott starts to miss games because of his malfeasance? Though we can’t say with certainty, there’s enough of a pattern here to suggest that Elliott will keep pushing the legal envelope until something, or someone, stops him.

At what point is it up to owner Jerry Jones and head coach Jason Garrett to pull the young man aside and jar some sense into him? By the time a player’s fate hits Roger Goodell’s desk, it’s too late. Football teams love to profess the family ethic, live in the bunker of the locker room, with each man having the other’s back.

To use a military metaphor, where’s the commanding officer? Who’s the captain or major who reels in his wayward troops? Perhaps part of the problem is that the team’s two best players — Elliott and QB Dak Prescott — were rookies last year. If you’re looking for Dez Bryant to lecture the young man on poor aesthetics, well…

The Dallas Cowboys have often lost the line between fun and foible. Part of Jerry Jones’s business genius is seeing his franchise as a hybrid brand of athletics and entertainment. And he also understands our lust for the front and back pages, and thus if he can accommodate both, he will. But it seems his keen handle on human nature doesn’t extend to his own backyard. This is hardly the first time Jones has seen one of his players color outside the lines.

Ezekiel Elliott has the chance to join the orbit of Tony Dorsett and Emmitt Smith as the preeminent player on perhaps the NFL’s preeminent — or at least most popular — franchise. If his rookie year is any indication, he could even fit himself for one of those mustard-colored jackets they hand out five years after a transcendent career.

But long before he can even think about Canton, Zeke Elliott has to keep himself on the Cowboys, and spend more time on the back page then Page Six.”

 http://dfw.cbslocal.com/2017/07/17/ezekiel-elliott-cowboys-nightclub-fight/