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The MMQB: Issue 2
By PeterKing_ZL
Special to rzl-football.com

The MMQB:: Issue 2
by Peter King

DON'T THROW STONES, IF YOUR QB IS MADE OF GLASS
J_Downey :
I'll be first to admit we had a really bad offseason but that was really harsh. Pretty much outright calling me a bad GM? Thanks I suppose.

The debut article caught the eye of one GM who has a few pieces of RZL jewelry, Mr. Jeffery Downey. I was admiringly very critical of Jeff over social media and in the piece, leading many to believe that I was Anthony Fernandez (who has a long-standing rivalry with the Rams). Much to the chagrin of Mr. Downey, I am not Mr. Fernandez, nor do I think he is the only person allowed to be very critical of the franchise missteps simply because they are "enemies". I don't have any problem with Downey personally, and perhaps his biggest crime in the matter might be that he's the GM of the team I root for IRL. I bleed St. Louis Rams, and I enjoy that they have a strong place in RZL's history and lore. That said, I'm not impressed in how they've been run since, and I stand by my comments that the team would have 3 or 4 Super Bowls if Nic St. Marie or John Stanley were the GM. That out of the way, one of the defenses Jeff had (prior to deleting it) was that he HAD in fact tried different offenses, rather than the typical Rams plug-in that coasted him to two titles. And while it's true that he used the West Coast book against Tampa (in which Joe Flacco got hurt), he reverted back to Rams a mere two weeks later (and hasn't stopped with that book since). In fact, dating back to 2017 (the year the Rams won their first Super Bowl), they've only NOT used the Rams PB a handful of times. In 2017, they used CAR and JAX once each at the start of the season (splitting the two games). They would not venture away from the Rams book until Week 16 and 17 of 2020, when they'd go to the West Coast (splitting the two games). 2021 would be solid Rams, minus two weeks of SD playbook in the middle of the season (both losses). In 2022, it was solid Rams again minus one use of the Broncos playbook (a loss), and then now in 2023 they started with the two West Coasts (both losses) before eventually reverting back to the Rams.

So... with this information, can you actually claim that, like Downey said prior to deleting, that he was in fact "trying new things" with Flacco? Does randomly changing your plan to something else for the sake of it without gameplanning constitute "trying something else"? The Rams PB has been used, quite literally over 100 times in a sample size of about 110. That is over 91% use! If you were eating a sandwich that was 9% ham and 91% dog shit, would you be comfortable calling that a ham sandwich? Can we agree at this point that the "success" of the St. Louis Rams can be credited with drafting Joe Flacco (87OVR), developing him, and using the Rams playbook to ride him harder than the horse at the end of True Grit? Granted, Jeff has had a handful of nice draft picks along the way to help Flacco out, but I think it's important to remove the facade that there was some calculated madden brain working behind the scenes while the Rams maneuvered towards multiple Super Bowls. Flacco was a Top 12 pick, it's not like he was mined out of the middle rounds. MLB Battle #5 overall. DE Cummings #25 overall. CB Macy #7 overall. CB Cabe #7 overall. HB Phillips #28 overall. LT Green #7 overall. LB Gibson #14 overall. We've established the legacy of Jeffery Downey is not that of an elite Coach, but is this even the GM record of an elite GM? Or a GM that is just competent enough to not screw up elite picks reaped from years of awful records? And in recent times, he hasn't even been as competent as he once was, missing deadlines, missing draft slots, and quite frankly... making pretty bad draft picks. FS Boone at #29 overall? DE Parker at #28 overall? DE Sanders at #47 overall? OLB Borque at #24 overall?

In closing, let's take a look at the injury history of the horse at the end of True Grit Joe Flacco. This may be the answer to the mystery that is Jeff's Coach of the Year (2017) and GM of the Year (2018) trophies. Below is a list of all of his documented injuries just since 2019:

  • Broken Collarbone (Out for Season) | 2023 WK5
  • Broken Collarbone (Out for Season) | 2022 WK4
  • Broken Jaw (11 Weeks) | 2021 WK15
  • Torn Shoulder (9 weeks) | 2021 WK4
  • Torn Pectoral (1 week) | 2020 WK8
  • Torn Pectoral (1 week) | 2020 WK6
  • Foot Stress Fracture (9 weeks) | 2019 WK7

    This is not counting the countless # of games he left for the finish, like the WK1 tilt with Tampa that generated his defense of his playbook selection. It's too bad a server transfer lost the documented injury threads prior to 2019, because we know there was a wealth of injuries PRIOR to that, right? I mean, one of those Super Bowl years didn't he have Brodie Croyle carry him to the playoffs and get nominated for RZL MVP, the same way Matt Ryan does for them nowadays? So no Jeff, you haven't done anything to try to protect Glass Joe, and if he misses the HOF it will be because you robbed him of the back 9 of his career. Anything you say at this point to counter that argument will have the same stench of Republican Climate Change deniers. But hey, um, thanks for winning a couple Super Bowls for my Rams, I guess? To be fair, does anybody have a better claim to the Rams playbook that, say, St. Louis?

    FACTOID OF THE WEEK THAT MAY ONLY INTEREST ME
    In typical journalistic fashion, I may have cursed the teams included in my "Who's Next" favorites list from Issue 1. In that piece I cited Ravens, Eagles, Jets, Bills, Saints, Chiefs, and Vikings. They had a combined record of (18-3) at the time. Now, just a few weeks since the article was released, those same teams have a combined record of (29-16). I stick to my guns that one of those 7 teams will win RZL Super Bowl XVIII, but it's looking less and less like I selected 7 playoff teams. On paper the biggest snub since that piece was the defending AFC Champion Jacksonville Jaguars. After starting with an ugly loss in Indy (by one point, however), they have since strung off five straight wins including a SWEEP of the once-feared NFC South. They will get a real chance to impress then next two weeks, as they host the Raiders and Ravens for a chance to establish themselves as THE favorite to win Super Bowl XVIII. That WK9 tilt with Baltimore could very well be for the right to host the AFC Championship. What heartbreaking way with the Ravens find to lose this time?

    TWEETS OF THE WEEK


    So it only took two weeks for the Dolphins to change their minds about Bishop being "off the block". They apparently were upset with the offers, only getting 2nd round bites (in some circles known as "about what you paid for him"), so instead they traded him straight up for a YP8 6' CB with 92SPD/94AGI/91ACC/75CTH/59TAK and a ~$6M cap charge. If only there was a place they could have had all that stuff, and still had their potential Franchise QB...


    Oh wait, that's right. A couple days before the Dolphins "took Bishop off the block" they traded a YP8 6'1" CB with 93SPD/91AGI/93ACC/60CTH/77TAK to a division rival for a late 2nd round pick (what they apparently were mad they were getting offered for Bishop). Well, let's at least hope Peterson isn't helping the division rival, it's not like he had any 3INT games in his two appearances or anything, right?


    Ah, and who could forget Shefty, who had Peterson a Jet before anyone else, and also had Bishop likely going to Pittsburgh on 5/27 - nearly 3 weeks before it was announced, including a period in between where Bishop was "off the block". That guy knows his shit.

    FINE FIFTEEN
    1. (6-1) - Eagles have dominated just about everyone, but resume fading as we learn teams like Tampa and St. Louis aren't as good as we thought.
    2. (5-1) - One point away from being undefeated, but a sweep of the struggling NFC South still leaves cloud of mystery around HOW good they are.
    3. (5-2) - Would be undefeated had the Bengals not swept them. Dangerous to lose tiebreakers inside the division, even against annual doormats.
    4. (5-2) - Still trucking along despite no Colt McCoy. Big four week road trip coming up (@SD, @MIA, @NYG, @DAL). McCoy should be back for it.
    5. (4-2) - Like the Bills, next 4 weeks are critical (vTEN, @OAK, vWAS, vBUF).
    6. (4-2) - Still searching for first credible win, but they don't make the schedule. Nic will keep them competitive.
    7. (4-3) - Saved season with 4 straight wins, but ugly loss in Atlanta leaves question marks.
    8. (4-3) - Down year for the South, but big OT win over Tampa has them in 1st. Travel to Tampa in two weeks for critical rematch.
    9. (4-2) - Only losses were to Panthers and Eagles, but wins haven't been over anyone special. Will struggle to keep up with Philly.
    10. (3-2) - Undefeated against teams outside of New York (Jets and Giants). Unfortunately they still have Giants once more and the Bills, and Philly won't lose 4 games this year.
    11. (4-3) - Haven't won back-to-back games since Weeks 1 and 2. Relatively easy schedule coming up that could launch them to 1st in North.
    12. (3-3) - Leading the AFC West but (@JAX, vNYJ, @SD) next three weeks will expose them.
    13. (4-2) - Defending AFC West champs not getting much love here after beating Bills and Eagles, but they are very likely to be (6-2) when they host Buffalo again.
    14. (3-3) - Sweep of the Ravens gets them on the list, but need good showing against beatable "old guard" of Pittsburgh and St. Louis the next two weeks to be taken serious.
    15. (3-3) - Must be painful to lose that way to Packers coming off of a BYE. Expect them to take it out on the Colts next week.

    TEN THINGS I THINK I THINK
    1. I think the portion of this attacking Jeff Downey will NOT be well received by the RZL community. Nobody likes to see a guy tormented in a hobby he participate in for free (myself included), but sometimes the truth hurts. I was prepared to let it go after the last issue, but he decided to attack my credibility. Once again, I've said my part and am prepared to walk off it.
    2. I think, all negative things I said about the Rams aside, them being (1-6) is part of their plan. They aren't great, but they are better than that. Jeff has drafted well in the Top 10, and he's almost a lock to be there again. Maybe he can find his next Flacco.
    3. I think RZL needs more broadcasters. Seems harder than usual to watch my game.
    4. I think the Buccaneers will miss Trent Richardson and Rampage Taylor. Owning three 1sts, they are probably wishing they had kept their own when trading for CB Daniel Larsson. It's not a lock the Buccaneers will finish with a better record than Detroit and Kansas City.
    5. I think the sack count across RZL seems very high this year. Over a handful of players are averaging a sack a GAME. Will there really be multiple players with 16+?
    6. I think there's no stopping Eddie Burns. Guys that big should not be that fast.
    7. I think if the voting was today, Neal Wintermute would win GMOTY and Matt Spencer would win COTY.
    8. I think it's no longer beyond belief that the Dolphins could make it to Super Bowl XVIII in Miami.
    9. I think the Packers, Texans, Rams, Steelers, and Giants will have the Top 5 picks.
    10. I think these are my non-football thoughts of the week:
    a. I think the World Cup is... yawn.
    b. I think we should stop voting people into office who put the interests of corporations over us. STILL denying climate change? Seriously?
    c. I think Hilary Clinton is in over her head. Not to be confused with Bill Clinton, who was in it for the... oh, well you get it.
    d. I think Fargo was an outstanding FX show, and I'm excited for their new shows The Strain and Tyrant.
    e. I think LeBron James should tell tell Pat Riley he'll only opt in if Wade is traded. At this point, LBJ, Melo and Bosh would be the "real" Big 3. It won't happen though, which is why LBJ is not considered a lock to return.
    f. I think I want to jump into a tank of coke dressed in a Mentos suit before I die.

    THE ADIEU HAIKU
    Beaten and broken Glass Joe,
    collarbone, jaw, and feet,
    34 in the body of a grandpa.
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