Folks, if you've never been a person interested in politics, I can understand why. Personally, if I was given a choice, I'd rather have a sister in a whorehouse than a brother in the Minnesota legislature.
But I'm going to personally ask a favor of you, because I want you to know that you are making a difference. Your voice is being heard, and it's being heard loud and clear.
And the message the legislators are hearing is: "Pass the stadium bill and keep the Vikings in Minnesota."
How do I know that? Because Jeff Anderson, the Director of Corporate Communications for the Minnesota Vikings, called me earlier and told me as much.
"The intensity of this issue has risen significantly in the last two weeks and is at an all time high," Anderson said. It's now or never, this is your last chance to weigh in on the measure, and legislators are hearing from the pro-stadium voters at a pace that far outpaces the anti stadium voters."
The Vikings are asking for your support over the weekend to keep the full court press on, make your voice heard, and get this thing done.
The staff of Daily Norseman would like you drop what you're doing and call or email your representative and senator in the Minnesota legislature. Let them know that voting no on the Vikings stadium bill is unacceptable, and they will pay a heavy price politically in November if they do vote no. When you call or email--be polite and respectful, but also be firm and resolute that under no circumstances will they be getting your vote if they vote no.
Then, call your friends. Tell them to call or email. And if they're anti-stadium folks, hey, they're good people and they're still your friends. But unplug their phone and Internet until Tuesday morning.
"But Ted," you ask, "how do I know who my representative is? How do I know who my senator is?"
Why, fellow Vikings stadium supporter, let me hook you up. If you're not sure who your state rep and state senator are, click on this link:
Type in your address. Your state rep, state senator, and US reps and senators will be listed. Click on the STATE representative's name, and his/her contact information will come up, to include phone number and email address. Make a call. Send an email.
It also wouldn't hurt to call or email the leaders in the house. For the Republicans, the Speaker is Kurt Zellers. The House Majority Leader is Matt Dean. The Majority Whip, which is the person that is responsible for 'whipping' up votes to make sure you have enough to pass a bill, is Rod Hamilton. For the Democrats, the Minority Leader is Paul Thissen, the Deputy Minority Leader (well, one of them. The Democrats have literally a dozen deputy Minority Leaders) is Debra Hilstrom, and the House Minority Whip is Terry Morrow.
I can't stress enough that when you call or email--BE POLITE. You'll be talking to that rep's staff member, and they're fielding literally thousands of calls, and hopefully, that number will only increase over the weekend. Ripping their head off serves no purpose, so don't be a dickhead.
But let me assure you, Vikes fans, that YOUR MESSAGE IS BEING HEARD, LOUD AND CLEAR. Hopefully, your message will become so loud and so clear over the weekend, that the only politically viable answer for your representative will be to vote yes. The pro-stadium calls and emails are routing the anti-stadium ones, and if we can really turn up the heat, we're going to win.
Throughout the weekend, the Vikings may be holding some rallies for stadium support with prominent Vikings players. As those are announced, we'll post them here on DN, and we encourage you to attend and make your voice heard even more.
What I thought was damn near impossible a little over two weeks ago is tantalizingly close to happening, but this is not the time to put it on cruise control. Drink a Monster, push on the gas pedal, and help get this thing across the finish line.
We're almost there folks. Just a few more days, and a few hundred thousand more calls and emails.
Well, what are you waiting for? Get on the phone!
According to a CNN report published this morning, Jamal Anderson is party to a new lawsuit against the NFL. Apparently there are 1,500 former NFLers suing the NFL now. Yikes.
The latest lawsuit, filed Thursday in U.S. District Court in Atlanta by attorney Mike McGlamry, states that the NFL "repeatedly refuted the connection between concussions and brain injury."
It goes on to assert that the organization failed "to take reasonable steps necessary to protect players from devastating head injuries. Moreover, the NFL has downplayed and misrepresented the issues and misled players concerning the risks associated with concussions."
Anderson hasn't maintained the squeakiest image since his retirement. I'm not a doctor, but it wouldn't surprise me if some of his issues were concussion-related. 24 hours after Junior Seau's suicide, it's readily apparent that brain injuries have an effect. These guys make ridiculous amounts of money. They play voluntarily. But they sacrifice a lot.
We've covered this topic before; no need to drove on about how courageous these guys are. But one has to think there's a tipping point. We're witnessing firsthand the end of kickoffs. Players are fined and/or suspended for "dirty" hits at a higher clip than ever before. Our pets' heads are falling off.
Look, hard hitting is what made me fall in love with football. But to an extent, that's like loving my iPad. Deep down, I know it was made by underpaid and mistreated workers in a foreign country I'm unlikely to see anytime soon. Notwithstanding that ethical dilemma, I still use it. And I can't live without it.
On KFAN radio earlier, Dan Barreiro had a conversation with the Minnesota Speaker of the House Kurt Zellers, tool extraordinaire.
About 4:30 seconds in to it, Barreiro essentially calls him a liar without calling him a liar, calls him out on the sham of the last minute 'roof ready' proposal, and pretty much calls him the primary obstacle in getting the original bill voted on in the House.
And that's all in the first six minutes.
Oh, but it gets better. Then he calls him out for trying to make Governor Dayton look bad, accuses him of playing petty politics, and literally mocks him on his "I want the bill to pass but I'm not voting for it' position.
Zellers was backpedaling so fast he could probably be a decent cornerback in the Vikes secondary. Lord knows they need the help. And he couldn't be a worse cornerback than politician, could he? COULD HE?
Dan Barreiro, a toast to you, good sir. Well done. Well done, indeed. Thank you for being the voice of us fans and articulating our frustration with the Speaker in such a devastatingly elegant manner.
I was going to take a look at which Vikings' players made the PFF Top 100 this year, but it looks like Arif has already taken the liberty for us. Enjoy! -Chris
Unsurprisingly, Jared Allen has proven himself a top 10 player in the country last year, with the proudly non-biased play grading company PFF ranking him at #10. I can't do better than their article on the subject, so I won't. I will quote some of it, however. One thing we noted this year above last year was that Jared Allen had expanded his moves from the dead 2010 campaign - he no longer rushed inside on every opportunity. PFF noticed, too:
While many sacks do come from unblocked pressure or in pursuit of the quarterback after the initial block has long since disintegrated, only three of Allen’s 24 sacks came in that fashion last season. He didn’t just record a huge sack total, but he did it displaying a comprehensive array of pass rush moves. He either led the league or was in the Top 3 in sacks from outside, inside, and bullrush moves. Not only is he relentless and impossible to gas out, but Allen isn’t just a one-trick pony; he is a smart pass rusher adept at multiple pass-rushing techniques.
Jared Allen came in behind one other (3-4) DE and one 3-4 OLB who they listed as a DE because of how they played him. The full top ten:
1. Aaron Rodgers, QB, Green Bay Packers
2. Justin Smith, DE, San Francisco 49ers
3. Drew Brees, QB, New Orleans Saints
4. Calvin Johnson, WR, Detroit Lions
5. Darrelle Revis, CB, New York Jets
6. Rob Gronkowski, TE, New England Patriots
7. Terrell Suggs, DE, Baltimore Ravens
8. Eli Manning, QB, New York Giants
9. Larry Fitzgerald, WR, Arizona Cardinals
10. Jared Allen, DE, Minnesota Vikings
To check out the full list, click here.
5 other Vikings made the top 101 list, my comments below the jump.
The Vikings tied for the most players on PFF's top 101 list (which was created with the idea of having "all positions equal" in mind) with 4 other teams. Having been the 3rd worst team in the league, this suggest a few things. First, it seems that having a few stars in their position means nothing without having adequate players in other positions. Second, our team really does have the talent to do well, but not in key positions (QB, LT, etc). Third, we can reasonably expect ourselves to do better next year.
#100: Erin Henderson: Pro Football Focus may have been higher on Erin Henderson than any other organization, and they continue their advocacy in this list, ranking him as the 100th best player of 2011. You can read about their reasoning, and I'm a little sympathetic to it.. As a two-down linebacker, he had the 7th most tackles per game of all 4-3 OLBs and in only 590 snaps was able to generate a high enough cumulative grade from Pro Football Focus to rank 4th of all 4-3 OLBs. In the top five, all other OLBs had over 750 snaps, with 3 over 900. He ranks highest in total tackles for players with under 600 snaps. He ranks 8th in tackles per snap. He ranks 10th in Missed Tackles per Tackle attempt, having only missed on 7% of his tackles. His pass coverage was above average for OLBs, ranking seventh in yards per attempt allowed and is 13th in QB Passer rating allowed. He was one of our only players to record a good game against Kansas City, and allowed 5 catches, none of which were over 7 yards. He never allowed more than 4 yards a catch in that game, and missed one tackle, while making 6. He flows to the ball well, and understands the direction of the play. Still, he needs to get on the field more.
#83: Kevin Williams: They correctly list him as a contributor in every phase of the game. While he did rank an abysmal 21st in Missed Tackles per attempt, he was still a force in the run game, ranking 5th in total tackles for loss. I think Pro Football Focus overrates his run game, however, as he was able to successfully prevent a good run (40% of needed yardage on first down, 50% on second down, 100% on 3rd down) 2.3 times a game. Compared to his peers, that puts him 33rd overall (this makes him about average, at best). Indeed, Pro Football Focus ranks him at 29th overall in "run stop percentage," where a "stop" constitutes an offensive loss. He does rank 6th in total QB pressures, however, and is 8th overall in Pass Rush Productivity. Average at one thing and pretty good at the other, I have a sense that Kevin Williams may belong on the list, but even 83 could possibly be too high.
#75: John Sullivan: PFF once again stands out as a bigger proponent of a player than most fans or player evaluation services would be, and I even recently got into an argument with kcskol over the matter (check it out here. Ignore the mistake I make in Zone Blocking vs. Zone Read running. We very obviously still zone block). We ended up mostly disagreeing over priorities at center. Regardless of his strength, Sullivan managed to carry out his assignments extremely well - runs off of John Sullivan averaged 5.5 yards a carry, highest of any center in the league. The average seemed to be around a 4.2, so this is particularly impressive. Obviously, this is contingent on how well guards block, but any argument that Anthony Herrerra is a good run-blocking guard will get no respect from me. So while he was helped with All-Pro Hutch on one side, he was actually able to manage a higher run average off of his right side. He was also pretty good at pass blocking overall, although his failures were big failures. Allowing the 2nd most sacks (4) of any center, but the 2nd least in total pressures (12). He ranks 6th overall in pressures allowed, which implies that he didn't give up a lot of interior pressure, but our QBs didn't know what to do with that pressure once it arrived. I've also mentioned on occasion how impressed I am with his blitz pick up and communication, but kcskol is right that this is not the easiest thing in the world to gauge. At any rate, I like Sullivan at center and think he's top-notch.
#61: Percy Harvin: Here I think PFF underrates him, but that might be a relic of his snap count (621 snaps). As I've said before, Percy Harvin is the most dynamic player in the game today. Obviously that doesn't make him the best, but it makes him extremely valuable. Purely as a receiver, Percy ranks 5th in Yards Per Route Run. He's above average in drop rate, and has caught more balls thrown his way in the slot than any other receiver (79%) and is the third-ranked slot receiver in YPRR. That alone, I think, puts him in the top 60. But as a rusher, he's also been successful. Running backs have averaged 2.6 yards after contact and Percy has averaged 2.3. Pretty good for a receiver. Overall, he's had 345 rushing yards, more than any other receiver (by almost 200 yards). He also has the 4th highest yards after catch for receivers with over 500 snaps. PFF ranked Antonio Brown, Marques Colston, Jordy Nelson, Hakeem Nicks, Steve Smith, Victor Cruz, Wes Welker, Larry Fitzgerald, and Calvin Johnson above him. Given Andre Johnson's injury, his absence makes sense, but I'm a bit troubled by Colston and Nelson's higher rankings (they also had fewer than 700 snaps, by the way) and simply disagree that Brown was a better receiver. Antonio Brown was great, don't get me wrong. But Harvin was better. I'm leaving Hakeem Nicks alone, simply because he got points for an absolutely stellar postseason (something Nelson doesn't get credit for).
#55: Adrian Peterson: Here's where the stipulation of 2011 performance is important for them. Adrian Peterson had a pretty good year, but could not benefit from postseason play. Above him are running backs that either had a great postseason (Darren Sproles and Arian Foster) to bolster their good regular season performance or running backs that legitimately had a better year (LeSean McCoy, Fred Jackson, Matt Forte). They also have one running back who statistically did not impress in the box scores (Maurice Jones-Drew, who I manage to end up picking in nearly every fantasy draft) but killed in their grading. Their argument for MJD seems to be that he had a terrible passing game to work with (he didn't even have the highest rushing grade in their system), and he was asked to carry more than any other running back except Ray Rice and LeSean McCoy. To their credit, he made very few mistakes and was fairly elusive, but wasn't the best running back at anything.
At any rate, AP should also be getting points for putting the team on his shoulders (and occasionally his knee). And I think he was disrespected a bit here. Yes, he missed 4 games, but he was 5th in the league in average yards after contact, and accumulated nearly 1000 yards in a 12 game season (actually 11 and some change). He had their second highest rushing grade, too. And that's not discounting the fact that he ran against more 8 man boxes than anyone else in the league. Still, I understand why he's not in the top 30 overall and we can expect more from him next year if he comes back as strong as he was before, especially if we have an O Line of Kalil, Johnson, Sullivan, Berger, and Loadholt. That is a good line to run behind if Johnson's transition to guard works out.
What do you all think?
Since 1990, the Bengals have had three winning seasons and in those three seasons, they went to the playoffs each time. 2011 was one of those three seasons which means that in 2012, the Bengals will have a chance to do something that haven't done in a very, very long time: have back-to-back winning seasons.
If you take a look back at the history of the team, the last time this technically happened was in the 1981 and 1982 seasons. However, while they went 12-4 in '81, they only went 7-2 in '82 due to a player strike that shortened the season. So, if you really want to get technical, the Bengals haven't have back-to-back full winning seasons since the '75 and '76 seasons.
For the first time in a long time I'm actually beginning to hold the Bengals to a winning standard and if they meet my expectations, they will have done something they couldn't do since the '80s (or '70s if you want to get technical). Are you allowing yourselves to hope or even expect good things?
Talk about it.
It's always good to hear positive words from the team captain and leader of your favorite sports team. 49ers linebacker Patrick Willis sat down for a few words with Niners media guru Scott Kegley. Willis went on to talk a bit about workouts, as well as the team mentality and goals.
"I told the guys the first day out, that we've got something special and that I'm very honored and fortunate to be a part of what we have here. But what we did last year don't matter, you know, its all about doing it over again and doing it better," Willis commented. The All-Pro went on to add, "And we have the guys here that understand that and that's what makes it good. And that's what makes it fun. From the weight room to on the field, you see them going -- no ones relaxing, taking it easy or feeling like we got it made. Everyone is doing something to get better everyday."
The 49ers are still building as a team, but thankfully and remarkably, they are building on the defense from last year. San Francisco is now fielding the league's fiercest defense, and they are trying to make it better. Because of a lot of the variables such as all 11 starters returning and expanding the playbook, it's feasible the defense does get better as a whole.
"I feel like right now and these next two months is what builds going into the season. And to have the nucleus of guys we have here, participating and just bonding and getting to know one another, and the comradarie between us is really going to pay dividends," Willis added.
Willis suggests that he is working on his pass coverage skills, as are the other linebackers:
"In our defense, we don't want to have any weaknesses. I'm not saying we're a perfect defense because were not; there's a lot of things we've got to work on and get better at. But for the most part, when you have linebackers that can go and are able to line up in the slot an have to drop in coverage, and have to cover man to man, and you can better move and do what DB's (defensive backs) do. So you know, that's just some of the things we're just working on and trying to get better on at this time," said Willis.
For video of the conversation, go to 49ers.com
Follow me on Twitter: @DeSimone80
(Editor's Note: I've decided to break up my mailbag posts into a couple per week because of the length and variety of topics. I'll continue to answer your questions and will address the current happenings of the club. Keep an eye out for the other mailbag this weekend and continue to tweet me questions @CUIBengalsFan or email them to me at email@example.com.)
The draft is over and the Cincinnati Bengals absolutely killed it. They nabbed value with every pick and could come out of this draft having four or five immediate starters. With national pundits lauding the team's weekend, they're not crediting Bengals owner Mike Brown for the team's acumen. The praise has been heaped on Marvin Lewis and it's becoming more and more apparent that the ten-year coach got quite a bit of sway in his last contract.
So what of a new contract for Lewis? He's in the last year of a two-year deal and there doesn't appear to be any urgency in getting Lewis a new contract. With the team coming off of an improbable playoff appearance and back-to-back-to-back solid draft classes, some are beginning to wonder if Lewis will be getting another new contract sometime soon. I was asked this on Twitter recently:
Becky Eblin@CUIBengalsFan @CincyJungle Is ML avoiding contract talks til after the season in hopes we win our first playoff game(or more) since '91 ?? 2 days ago via web · Reply · Retweet · Favorite · powered by @socialditto
The short answer to this would be that, yes, it's very likely that Marvin is playing the waiting game to possibly gain more leverage in another contract. I don't want to infer that I think that Marvin is jerking the team around, but it's wise for him to get the most he can in his next contract. His last contract, though only for two years, brought him a bunch of new power within the organization and it's likely that he's holding out for more. If he does achieve a playoff victory this year, I'm sure that we'll see Brown concede even more to Lewis in a new contract.
The main point of contention between Brown and Lewis that will need to likely be addressed in a new contract is the want/need for an indoor practice facility. Lewis was given Brown's blessing in trading two big names in Bengals culture in Carson Palmer and Chad Ochocinco, as well as with hiring two new scouts. Lewis subtly hinted at a "change in draft philosophy" and the desire for an indoor facility while negotiating his last contract. Since Brown budged on some other things, it's possible that he could be persuaded on this as well. Last we heard, there were rumblings of some movement on the project.
It's likely that if Lewis were to get the Bengals into a playoff run this year, he could receive this concession. I think most Bengal fans are on board with this desire, as the harsh weather in the Ohio winter months could play an effect on team morale and overall fatigue. More than anything, it just seems to be a necessity for cold-weather teams nowadays, and having a facility like this would help with free agency recruitment.
I think it's pretty obvious that the Brown family wants Lewis in Cincinnati, and I also believe that that sentiment is reciprocated by the coach. I liken Lewis' desire to remain in Cincinnati to a program director of a new major at a University, and/or an entrepreneur who took over a dying business and made it his/her own. He's made the team actually competitive and they've been in the playoffs three times in the past seven years. The team wasn't in the playoffs for the thirteen years before Lewis' arrival. He's proud of what he's built here and seems genuinely happy about the current direction of the franchise. I think the marriage works well for both parties.
The interesting dynamic will be if the Bengals suffer through a mediocre or worse season this year. There is a faction of Bengals fans that like Lewis, but wonder if he's ever able of getting them over the hump, a la Marty Schottenheimer. If the Bengals fail to make the playoffs and/or don't win a playoff game yet again this year, it will be very interesting to watch fans' reactions if Lewis is retained once again. My guess is that it wouldn't be pretty, given the somewhat high expectations surrounding the club for 2012.
Now that the draft is wrapped up, we get to spend the rest of the summer, and really much of the coming season, learning more about the 49ers various rookies. Part of that learning process comes from chatting with a given SB Nation college blog. They have followed the players for two to four years and seen a lot of what they have to offer.
For today, I've spoken with the folks at our Oregon blog, Addicted to Quack (one of the best blog names out there). They have enjoyed the explosive play-making skills of running back LaMichael James and had plenty to share. The 49ers drafted James in the second round and he could very well make as big a contribution as any of the 49ers 2012 draft picks. Thanks to jtlight and ATQ for providing a rundown on James.
LaMichael James left Oregon the unquestion best back in school history. He set nearly every every major rushing and scoring record at Oregon, and as the only back in conference history with 3 straight years over 1,500 yards, he became the second most productive rusher in Pac-8/10/12 history. While I don't believe he'll have the same level of production in the NFL, I think Niner fans are very lucky to have picked up LaMichael James in the 2012 draft.
LaMichael James achieved his success at Oregon by possessing a great combination of speed, agility, and acceleration. Watching his highlights, it's easy to see this over and over again. When a hole opens up, he has the speed and acceleration to hit it quickly and with power. This gave him not only the ability to get outside the tackles, but a surprising ability to run in between the tackles, despite his small frame. On top of that, he has surprising physical strength. At Oregon during winter conditioning, he led the running backs in squatting 465 pounds. This lower body strength allowed him to gain yards and after contact inside better than many would expect. Obviously, he's no Trent Richardson, but in college he wasn't often brought down by the first man.
James has also matured as a runner considerably during his time at Oregon. In 2009 and 2010 James got by in large part on physical talent alone. Often, he tried to make too much happen, and while this worked out very well at times, there were just as many instances where he would get tackled for a loss. In 2010, he lost over 100 yards being tackled for loss. But in 2011, he got that down to 65. I think a big part of this was maturing and understanding the game of football better. He became more patient, followed his blockers, and this maturity displayed itself in his statistical gains from 2010 to 2011. While many talked about James' loss of speed when he gained weight from the 2010 to 2011 season, I didn't buy this. He still had the same top end speed and acceleration, but he was using these skills more wisely, and with much greater gain for the team. He went from 5.9 ypc to 7.3 from 2010 to 2011, and I credit that to his maturity as a runner.
In other intangibles, James was the leader of the offense in the best two year stretch in school history. He was incredibly hard-working and competed in everything he did. His toughness should not be questioned, as he played through injuries in 2010 to lead Oregon to the BCS title game, and in 2011, re-set his dislocated elbow on the field after being injured. This is a player that will give everything to be the best. He worked hard off the field as well, gaining Academic All Conference honors in 2010. The only strike against the "intangibles" is his 2010 arrest in a domestic dispute with an ex-girlfriend. The confrontation escalated and James and while the initial charges sounded very bad, he eventually plead guilty to physical harassment, a fair result in my mind after reading the police report.
As for how James will fare in the NFL, I think he's landed in a pretty great situation. The Niners have an established running back ahead of him that is a known workhorse, which should allow James to play a more Darren Sproles type role. While this has been mentioned over and over again, I think it's a fair comparison. I do not think that James will be successful in the NFL if he's needed to carry the ball over 20 times a game. He did that for Oregon for 3 years, and even in college, that took a toll. In 2010, he battled through injuries and carried the team (a requirement after Kenjon Barner missed a large chunk of the season due to injury). In 2011, he had more help, but missed time due to a dislocated elbow.
James is tough, skilled, and will play hard, but it would not be in the best interest of the Niners to use him in that manner. James has a ton of physical skills, and will excel in the open field, and even between the tackles if that is not required every play. He will do whatever the coaching staff asks, and I'm sure a smart coach like Jim Harbaugh will be able to get a lot of production out of a skilled back like James.
I and other Oregon fans have been lucky to cheer on LaMichael for 3 years at Oregon. I'm looking forward to him succeeding in San Francisco and the NFL.
After hooking us with knowledge on Marvin Jones, we spent time with the guys at California Golden Blogs on Jones' future with the team and other things.
It's generally the accepted practice to wait three to five years before rendering final judgment from a particular draft class. We'll obviously grade a draft that completed (like last week), but that's something that can't be helped. We (as in any air-breathing carbon-based unit that loves football) will grade virtually everything, including an NFL draft less than 24 hours after its conclusion.
But then sometimes we stroll down memory lane, regrading previous drafts and how it affects the team. John Harris with The Sideline View reexamines the 2008 NFL draft, giving the Cincinnati Bengals a "C-" after an original grade of "C+".
Very little to get excited about in the ‘Nati in this 2008 draft. First rounder Keith Rivers just got moved for a fifth rounder. Jerome Simpson (2nd) is known for one heck of a broad jump at the combine and a flip over an Arizona Cardinals defender. At least Simpson was a contributor, as was Andre Caldwell who caught 124 balls in 4 years. The rest? (Blowing raspberries, loudly). Stunk.
True. The Cincinnati Bengals draft that year wasn't great, if not incredibly yawn-inducing. However it wasn't that bad, was it? Despite not being the game-changing play-maker we had hoped, Keith Rivers (when he played more than 15 games in a season), made his fair share of tackles. Not much of it memorable, but they're there. Yet, due to the over-flow of talented players at the position, he was dumped for a fifth-round selection that turned into safety George Iloka.
Jerome Simpson was virtually nonexistent until the final three games in 2010, Andre Caldwell kept disappearing in the passing game. Jason Shirley was given every chance to make the team (including a shift to offensive guard) while Matt Sherry, Angelo Craig and Mario Urrutia are out of the NFL or unsigned free agents. On the other hand that was the year the team selected defensive tackle Pat Sims, as well as backup offensive tackle Anthony Collins, both of whom are key role players.
In retrospect, a C-to-C-minus is fair. Maybe a "D+"? But what's to differentiate the grades, when the model we've used for most of our lives goes "Most Awesomest Ever", "Pretty Badass", "Solid", "Whateva'", "My Life Sucks". Maybe it wasn't entirely the players fault (aka, the Bengals always signing veteran receivers over Simpson and Caldwell receiving more playing time to develop), but it was what it was. Whateva.