Up The Gut Week 12: Tanking For Any Player A Fool's Errand

NFL teams shouldn't tank for any player, Shaun Morash says, and Tua Tagovailoa's dislocated hip will always be a reminder as to why

The DA Show
November 21, 2019 - 11:20 am

By Shaun Morash

Cold Open
“Tanking for Tua” is officially over, and I don't believe it is hyperbole to say the entire top of the draft come April has changed. You can't help but feel horrible for Tua Tagovailoa, a dislocated hip and posterior wall fracture sounds like something that, had I suffered it, I think I would take off of radio for a year. I am, as we say, "soft," and not a professional athlete, though. Tua may make a full recovery, and he should not have long term effects for his daily life with the treatment and surgery he has received. That doesn't mean team's should be trusting him to be their next franchise quarterback, though.
Taking a franchise quarterback isn't about the next three years; it is about the next 10-plus. When you use top-10 draft capital, the expectation, at a minimum, is that you will sign that player to a mega-contract after their first four or five years in the league. Tua has had now each of his ankles surgically repaired, and a hip surgically repaired, all within 24 months of one another. As a player gets older, it isn't usually a recipe for success assuming their health problems of the past won't hinder their duration of their careers. 

For teams like the Bengals, who sit at the top spot in the draft, Joe Burrow should be their target. For other quarterback-needy teams in free-fall mode, such as the Dolphins, their plans since August may be ripped to shreds. Justin Herbert will be a viable solution, but maybe they should have taken Josh Rosen playing more serious over going with Ryan Fitzpatrick? 

At worst I hope teams and fans learned a valuable lesson. Going all in on losing in August, assuming you will get the best player in August come April is ridiculous. Nobody was talking about Burrow then, and now you would look foolish for taking Tua if you do. Tanking is something no fan base or franchise should consider until Thanksgiving, the 2019 Draft class and Tua should always be the reminder as to why.

Ten Yard Gain

1-Tom Brady was as "disheartened after a win" as some reporters had ever seen him on Sunday. He acknowledged that on WEEI on Monday morning by saying he is frustrated with the offenses lack of production. Maybe the Patriots bit off more than they could chew when trading away Demaryius Thomas and dumping Josh Gordon. This team lacks weapons, and Brady is no longer elite enough to overcompensate for a lack of talent around them. Yes, the Patriots can and should get to the Super Bowl with seemingly the Ravens as the only dangerous threat to them in the AFC right now, but the alarm bells should be humming in New England. 

2-Stop calling those who suggested Myles Garrett face criminal charges "Hot Take Machines." The idea of charges is 100 percent valid, and Myles Garrett simply missing the rest of this lost season isn't enough. This goes beyond player safety; this was an incident that could have altered Rudolph's life. However, we live in a world where we are reactionary and not pro active. Since Rudolph wasn't badly injured, many scoffed at the idea that Garrett shouldn't have been punished more harshly, but this was a dangerous act and we should be thankful it wasn't a worse result. That doesn't change how frankly deadly this could have been. 

3-It's okay if you were pro-Kaepernick's protest and right to do so while also being able to acknowledge he acted terribly with how he handled his try out on Saturday. Whatever the NFL's motive was, and whatever language Kaepernick didn't like in the waiver is, frankly, irrelevant. If Kaepernick really wanted to play football, he wouldn't be worried about issuing future lawsuits, and wouldn't worry about no cameras being allowed. He could have worked out for 25 teams, said the right things afterward, and if not getting a look, then done his own workout with cameras for the world to see. His "look at me" defiant act was poorly handled and should have showed everyone playing football still is not a high priority for him despite many of his fans and followers proclaiming it is. 

4-Another unimpressive Cowboys win is in the books, and it ended with Jason Garrett treating Jeff Driskel postgame as if he was Joe Montana. The Cowboys continue to be the most frustrating team in the NFL. They are every bit, on paper, as talented as the Packers (yes, I am aware Aaron Rodgers is better than Dak Prescott), yet they always leave you biting your nails. Playing the Lions without Matt Stafford should have been a layup, and much like the Dolphins matchup, or the second Giants matchup, the final score made you think the game was always in the Cowboys control – only it wasn't. I still struggle with wondering how when the playoffs come, if they come for the Cowboys, they will be ready to win a big game. 

5- Why the need to play any more games in Mexico City? The field was horrendous after an embarrassing PR Campaign by the NFL and the Monday Night crew to sell fans how much they took care of the new grass after last year's debacle. What is Patrick Mahomes had slipped wrong in a divot and his season ended? I am not necessarily against spreading the NFL globally, and it seems more may be yet to come with a 17-game schedule. However, forcing the issue and falsely selling everyone that playing conditions are great is a terrible way to do business and further shows the greed of the NFL knows no bounds. 

6-Philip Rivers’ four-interception performance, which really should have been a five-interception performance, wasn't just a blip on the radar. Rivers is cooked and so is the Chargers season. Rumors have even begun that Rivers, who is without a contract at the end of the season, wants to head to Tennessee for a year. The problem is the Chargers record will be just mediocre enough that they will likely have to move big pieces to trade up and get a potential guy like Justin Herbert, especially if Tua drops like a stone. Sticking with Rivers one year too long and thinking they could be a Super Bowl team may haunt this franchise. 

7-Teams trailing by 20 points or more at halftime were 0 for their last 99 tries in coming back to win before the Vikings snapped that streak versus the Broncos Sunday. Kirk Cousins deserves credit for this Minnesota turnaround after a September that looked like the franchise may be losing its way, and Stefon Diggs at the same time. Kirk has won back the locker room, and Sunday has everyone in the Twin Cities smiling. I will take this time to be Mr. Negative, though. There is no excuse at home versus a mediocre at best, at best, Broncos team to be shutout and down three touchdowns at the half. It is those kinds of performances that should be sounding alarm bells as the schedule gets more difficult in the weeks to come. 

8-Playing in a game in November with just one loss, you would think the 49ers would be safely in a playoff spot by now, but it may not be crazy to think the 49ers saved their season with a fourth-quarter rally vs the Cardinals. Now at 9-1, the playoffs should feel like a lock, when considering the Rams are the first team out at the moment and have four losses. However, the 49ers play the Packers this week, still travel to New Orleans, Baltimore, and Seattle, play the Rams at home and play the Falcons who may have figured it out at home as well. Is it that crazy to see the 49ers as a 10-6 ice cold Wild Card, or dare I say lose out and go 9-7? 

9- How great a scene would it be in Oakland should the Raiders do the improbable and win the AFC West?  It may seem like a bit pf a pipe dream with the Chiefs still a game up, but it is on the table. It would be extraordinary theater, perhaps on a Saturday Night in primetime, to see Oakland Raiders fans say goodbye to their team one last time with literally a win-or-go-home game. It is the thing I am rooting for the most over the final six weeks of the NFL season to unfold. 

10-This week marks the fourth time in the Super Bowl era that will feature three prime-time games with games featuring both teams having winning records. In other words, get your nachos, get your beers, we are in for the best football weekend of the season. Time to digest where these games rank this weekend. 

Five Games To Chew On

5 Panthers @ Saints:  Carolina's season has quickly crumbled over the last two weeks and has owner David Tepper sounding like a man who may make some drastic changes after the season should these final five weeks not go as he hopes. New Orleans two weeks ago at home was stunned by the Falcons. Now for a third straight week they play a divisional game. Can Carolina, led by Kyle Allen, give us one last valiant effort to gain some steam to what has been a roller coaster, but fun, season for the Cats?

4 Ravens @ Rams: Monday Night Football has some juice yet again. The MVP front runner Lamar Jackson will take his shots in LA versus the defending NFC Champs who still don't look right despite a win over the Bears a week ago. The Rams are still in the mix for a Wild Card in the NFC as long as Kirk Cousins remains the quarterback in Minnesota for big games. At some point, Lamar has to come back to earth, right? Either way Monday Night presents excellent theater to end the weekend. 

3 Seahawks @ Eagles: This was the original Sunday Night game that was flexed to the early window with the Eagles struggles paramount. Philadelphia is still very much alive in the NFC East thanks to the inconsistencies of Dallas, and have a chance to gain ground on the Cowboys since Dallas is dealing with who Philadelphia fell to a week ago, the Pats. This schedule change may help the Eagles, as it will force the Seahawks to play a 10 am game on their body clocks rather than a more comfortable later time on Sunday Night for a West Coast team. Can the Eagles stop some Russell Wilson magic?

2 Cowboys @ Patriots: Tom Brady has in good fun said he was born to hate the Cowboys. Now he likely plays them for the final time in his career. This is a rare late-Sunday game that will be shown to every single city, town, market in America since the 49ers and Packers were flexed out of that window to Sunday Night. The storyline Monday morning may end up being how disastrous the Pats offense continues to look, or it may be that Jason Garrett's Cowboys continue to prove they cannot hang with the big boys. 

1 Packers @ 49ers: A game so juicy it was flexed to Sunday Night Football. Deservedly so as well. This feels old school for these two historic franchises playing in a big game. The 49ers haven't made anyone believe they are true championship contenders with back-to-back clunky performances, and in comes a Packers team that can suddenly tie, and take the tie-breaker, for home field advantage in the NFC. The 49ers have had major injuries on the offensive side of the ball, if they don't have all of their horses, they will rely on a defense that creates turnovers to get some against Aaron Rodgers, who rarely turns it over. 

My Picks

A 2-1 week last week brings me to 19-14 on the season. For this week:

Giants +6 @ Bears: Last year with Chase Daniel at quarterback, the better Bears lost to a bad Giants team in November. This year the Giants come off a bye week and the Bears come in with serious questions around Mitchell Trubisky's health and production. Both teams have had rough kicking situations this year, which could make for an adventure on a windy Chicago day. Ultimately these are too many points to lay as this game may come down to a missed field goal late. Grab the points and run.

Packers +3 @ 49ers:  The 49ers’ 10-point win versus the Cardinals wasn't comfortable unless you only read the box score. This is a ridiculously tough stretch on the San Francisco schedule, and I am not convinced they are more talented than the Packers to begin with. I'm getting points with Aaron Rodgers for a game that could determine home field advantage in the NFC in prime time with the entire world watching. How can I not take them? I expect Sam Francisco to once again struggle running the ball and therefor controlling the clock.

Cowboys +6.5 @ Patriots:  This is the "check me for my pulse" bet of the week. I am taking Jason Freaking Garrett on the road versus Bill Belichick. The Patriots’ problems are for real, the Cowboys are frauds, but something has to give. I believe the Dallas pass rush will give Tom Terrific fits in this spot and Zeke will soften New England just enough. Dak Prescott could give the Patriots at least semi-similar problems to the ones Lamar Jackson presented a couple of weeks ago. This is a big number for a struggling Patriots team to lay versus what looks on paper to be a difficult x’s-and-o’s matchup for them.

Football Food Of The Week 

Brunswick Stew. The weather has turned brisk and cold throughout the North, and with Thanksgiving looming, what better time than to slow cook the heck out of a good stew. Pulled pork? Fire-roasted tomatoes? Corn? Spices? If this doesn't warm you up during the best NFL Sunday of the season to date, nothing will. For full recipe thanks to the Food Network check this out.  

Thanks for reading as always. You can follow me on Twitter and Instagram @MrazCBS.