Black Quarterback: The New Year Who Dis Episode
By Brandon Simmons
Should Steelers have Bit their Tongue on Harrison?
New England Patriot linebacker James Harrison is a crazy phrase to start off with for 2018 but here we are. Last week, the Pittsburgh Steelers released their all-time sacks leader after some feathers seemed to be ruffled in the organization. According to Harrison, the ruffling was due to him not seeing as much playing time. So the team granted his request to go elsewhere and now he is on the Patriots, the Steelers direct threat to going to representing the AFC in the Super Bowl.
Will this really be such a good idea in the long run? Of course, the Steelers have to stay on their brand, which is supported hard work and earning your spot, blah, blah… but the all fair is in love and war; and the Patriots love to use advantages in any given war. Harrison might not have had a season to warrant a substantial amount of playing time, but his experience in the postseason and knowledge of the Steelers playbook got him a spot on the big dog in the postseason. The Steelers probably could’ve used him against the Cleveland Browns, who almost came back to beat them on Sunday.
Will Harrison Regret Leaving?
On the flip side of this controversy, is it guaranteed that Harrison will prosper on his new team. When he was with the Steelers this year, he only had 3 tackles, 1 sack and saw action in only 5 games. His first game New England, and he ends up with 5 tackles and 2 sacks. It was a great statline compared to the rest of his year but one game isn’t the final verdict. Patriots head coach Bill Belichick is somebody known to have some unconventional gameplan strategies, depending on which opponent he uses. He once cut a player the night before the Super Bowl. Will Belichick use Harrison to get the Steelers out of the way, then cut him once him if he draws a Super Bowl opponent that warrants a faster linebacker to cover running backs in the flats? It sounds like a reach but the Patriots will reach for anything and everything to get their hands on a title.
Raiders Want that Old Thing Back
After firing coach Jack Del Rio on Monday, it appears that the Oakland Raiders’ next head coach will be an old head coach. The team is reportedly expecting to sign Monday Night Football analyst Jon Gruden, who coached the Raiders from 1988-2001. The team traded him in 2002 to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in exchange for a 2002 and 2003 first round pick, 2002 and 2004 2nd round pick as well as $8 million cash. According to Gruden’s Wikipedia, Raiders owner Al Davis made the move because of Gruden’s contract expiring within the next year and he was unsure of the coach’s worth for his new contract. Gruden proved his worth his first year with the Bucs when he lead them to a Super Bowl win over the – wait for it – Oakland Raiders. But after that win, he only took the team to the playoffs twice and was fired in 2008.
Gruden has a certain type of personality that can energize a football team, sort of like what these teams look for in these young coaches. That is ironic, because he was one of the first “young” coaches of his day and is now coming back 20 years after he first took over as Oakland’s head coach. He has 10 years’ experience in the position but also 10 years out of it. As an analyst, surely he had an opportunity to study the game and its changes throughout the years whether from the booth in primetime or up close in a production meeting; so there should be no real hangups of him catching on to what’s going in today’s league.
Bringing Gruden in would be full circle move for the Raiders as they leave for Las Vegas. Since his exit in 2002, Oakland has not had a head coach last more than 3 full seasons. Del Rio was the last to do this but injuries to quarterback Derek Carr and a failed defense cost hurt him in the last year of his tenure. Gruden represents the remnants of that nasty Raiders attitude that has slowly been lost over the years. That will happen when you are unsuccessful for as long as the they were. Oakland has a franchise QB in place as well as some stellar pieces on defense that can get this team to do damage with right red-headed direction.
Buffalo is back – The Buffalo Bills made their first return to the postseason since 1999 after defeating the Miami Dolphins 22-16. It was possible due to the Baltimore Ravens losing to the Cincinatti Benglas on a wild play
Baltimore loses playoff spot – It wasn’t bad enough that the Ravens lost their playoff chances to the already eliminated Cincinatti Bengals but it was how it happened. Trailing 27-24, with 1:59 left in the game, Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton threw a 49 yard pass to Tyler Boyd, in which he caught and ran into the end zone. It put Cincinnati up 31-27 and put the Ravens out of the postseason.
Playoffs are finally set for this weekend but no playoff matchup is made alike; except for the NFC because that whole bracket looks fire and unpredictable as opposed to the AFC where everyone is waiting for the Steelers and Patriots. However, until that happens, you can enjoy the Kansas City Chiefs hosting the Tennessee Titans as the opening playoff matchup. This isn’t the same Chiefs team that was on fire at the start of the year; at one point they were looking burnt out. Still, both teams can run the ball and will present an exciting battle of who gets the edge in that matchup. The Los Angeles Rams will host the Atlanta Falcon, which will put two teams against each other who can get up and down the field with no problem. The Rams might have a more consistent defense but if the Falcons get a couple of big plays in the run game, then Los Angeles will have a problem on their hands. But until then…I’ll holla!
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