To NFL brass fans are simply wallets with feet

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To NFL brass fans are simply wallets with feet

The low-hanging fruit that is the NFL replacement official class is now its own meme, and as is usually the case, it obscures the actual story.

With each new failure, each new bungle, each new overturned, underturned or just plain missed call, they have become greater and greater figures of national fun.

Face it. At this, they stink.

But they should stink. Let me say that again. THEY. SHOULD. STINK. They have undergone minimal training for a skill that takes years to master, and even the best have a noticeable failure rate, because the game is too fast and the players too big and skilled in the arts of rule-bending.

It is plainly unreasonable to expect the replacements not to stink, which is why the argument needs to be turned on its head, namely so:

If the NFL and its 32 owners, including Jed York and Mark Davis, want to brag ceaselessly about having the best of everything for your ridiculously overpriced entertainment dollar, why are they so willing to replace the best of the best, players and officials alike, at the drop of a dollar bill? If its so hard to reach the NFL why is it so easy to be exchanged for day-workers, fan boys, railyard hobos and accordionists?

Why do the owners, including Jed York and Mark Davis, insist on replacing the irreplaceable and calling the new ones just as good?

Because they essentially hold you in contempt. To them, you are a wallet with feet, and nothing more.

They take your money, they give you garbage when they need to and try to pass it off as quality, and they get annoyed when you question their motives or training skills.

Any why are we going to keep mentioning Jed York and Mark Davis? Because they signed off on this, too. Roger Goodell can huff and puff all he likes that is, after all, the real reason he gets paid but 32 men gathered to use this strategy, defend it as business, and let the one thing they sell deteriorate.

While, of course, watching the ratings hold steady, or in some cases rise.

In which case, maybe theyre on to something. Maybe you ARE just wallets with feet sheepskin wallets, to match the level of slack-jawed tolerance it takes to accept such substandard work from the organization that claims it brings the best in entertainment each and every week.

And maybe all you really want here is a reason to bitch about something else in your week, and bitching about replacement officials doesnt get you called into HR for one of their little talks.

If that is so, and the ratings and turnstiles continue to bear this out, then maybe the NFL should be replacing the replacements with people who are even worse than the ones already employed. Maybe they should do what they did with the line judge from the Saints game give a fan a spot in every crew. Maybe use B-list celebrities like the ones the networks pass off as real stars . . . And now lets wait for the call from referee Kat Dennings, appearing this week on Broadway in a one-woman adaptation of Twelve Angry Men.

Maybe a classy slogan with ads plastered throughout the broadcast day on the NFL Network: Hey, You Dont Care, So Why Should We? Or, We Put As Much Time And Interest Into Our Product As You Want Us To, So Screw It. Go Buy A Car. Or, to dovetail into their youth program, Stink 60.

And maybe let the coaches and players and broadcasters let fly with all the criticisms they want, only couched as admiration: That was the single worst call I have ever seen on any playing field ever, and for having no clue at all about even the most rudimentary rules of the game, well done to you Milt DeVries, unemployed dock worker from Dundalk, Maryland, and todays umpire.

As for the men thrown into the cauldron for now, they are doing the best they can, which is awful. But it is not unlike taking a carpenter and asking him to figure out M-theory. With the right amount of non-training, he can fail just as monumentally.

And thank you for this, Jed and Mark, and your 30 playmates. You have shown us the darkness and called it light. You voted for this. You own it. And remember the old car slogan, Quality Is Job Six, Because Our Customers Deserve Only The Worst.

Healthy Edwards, NFL Draft could help Raiders improve interior pass rush

Healthy Edwards, NFL Draft could help Raiders improve interior pass rush

The Raiders had an NFL-worst 25 sacks last season, and that’s with Khalil Mack and Bruce Irvin in their employ. That duo had 18 sacks (and 11 forced fumbles) between them. That left only seven for everyone else. Stacy McGee and Denico Autry had 2.5 each, and McGee isn’t here anymore.

Mario Edwards Jr. was certainly missed last season, when he missed 14 games with a preseason hip injury. The versatile defensive lineman is a solid edge run defender and internal pass rusher in the sub package.

If he’s healthy, Edwards Jr. could pose a real threat rushing the passer next to Irvin or Mack.

“Having Mario healthy will make us a better defense, and that’s not just as a pass rusher,” general manager Reggie McKenzie said in March. “He’s a solid run player. We’ve just got to have him healthy.

“But we’ll continue to add there, too.”

McKenzie subtracted one Tuesday, releasing Dan Williams to free salary cap space. He hasn’t yet added a defensive tackle in free agency, but could certainly do so in next week’s NFL draft.

There’s some quality interior pass rushers in this class. Let’s take a look at some options the Raiders could select and when:

Good fits: The Raiders select 24th overall in this draft, far lower than years past. Some quality defensive tackles might be a proper fit there, especially with depth at positions of need.

They could use some versatility, players like Edwards Jr. who can play multiple techniques. Michigan State’s Malik McDowell is an strong, athletic freak who analysts believe needs to improve his effort and technique. McDowell could develop into a top talent and be viewed as a steal at No. 24, or not realize full potential.

Michigan’s Chris Wormley is a versatile player in the Edwards Jr. mold, a player who seems to fit Raiders needs. Analysts says inconsistency is troubling but has the leadership quality and character the Raiders love. He can be a base end and move inside when required. He also has the size at 6-foot-5, 298 pounds and could develop well at the NFL level while making an immediate impact.

Florida’s Caleb Brantley is also an intriguing prospect adept at reaching the offensive backfield. Analysts say he’s a powerful player with quickness and an ability to work through blocks despite being slightly undersized. Brantley is potential to be a quality NFL pass rusher, and is confident in his ability. He didn’t play a high snap count at Florida, but the Raiders might use him in sub packages as a rookie and fill an important role right away. He’s viewed as a second round pick, and the Silver and Black might cross fingers he’s available at No. 56.

Auburn’s Montravius Adams could help if the Raiders are looking for more of a run stuffer. Clemson’s Carlos Watkins could also play multiple spots and could be available later in the middle rounds. Old Dominion’s Rashaad Coward also fits that mold and would be available in later rounds, though he hasn’t had much pass-rush production.

Controversial RB Joe Mixon impressed Raiders during pre-draft visit

Controversial RB Joe Mixon impressed Raiders during pre-draft visit

ALAMEDA – The Raiders visited with former Oklahoma running back Joe Mixon at the team’s Alameda facility on March 21.

General manager Reggie McKenzie came away impressed by the controversial figure notorious for punching a female in 2014 while at Oklahoma, who has spent significant portions of the pre-NFL draft process trying to show that violent incident caught on video doesn't define him.

“We thought he was a really good kid. He came off very well and explained each and everything, the questions that we had,” McKenzie said Friday in a pre-draft press conference. “He had an explanation and he was up front about everything. The kid really came across as a good kid.”

Mixon is also a premiere talent going pro, but there’s no telling how far his off-field issues will drop him in next week’s NFL draft. There’s debate where he’ll be taken, though many expect Mixon to go in the first two rounds.

He was not invited to the NFL scouting combine due to an incident where he punched victim Amelia Molitor and fractured several bones in her face. Mixon has made several pre-draft visits and meet with dozens at Oklahoma’s pro day trying to explain his actions and why he’s a safe pick in this year’s NFL draft.

Mixon and Molitor released a joint statement on Friday announcing the settlement of a civil suit, with both parties hoping to move on from an ugly incident after which the victim spoke out about being harassed.

“I am happy we were able to bring the lawsuit to an end,” Molitor said in a statement. “Joe and I were able to meet privately, without any attorneys, and talk about our experiences since that night. I am encouraged that we will both be able to move forward from here with our lives. From our private discussions I am satisfied that we are going to put this behind us and work towards helping others who may have found themselves in similar circumstances. I greatly appreciate his apology and I think the feelings he expressed were sincere. We both could have handled things differently. I believe if we had a chance to go back to that moment in time, the situation would not have ended the way it did.”

The running back is obviously a polarizing public figure, and the team that drafts him could take flak for selecting him.

“When stuff like this happens, whether it’s domestic violence or drunken driving, whatever issue that comes up, we’ll be prepared to answer questions,” McKenzie said. “We’ll do our research and if we make a decision, we’re going to prepare to have answers for each and every decision that we make.”

Raiders owner Mark Davis has taken a hardline stance against players involved in domestic violence incidents – this was technically assault of a man on a woman, as Mixon and Molitor were not in a relationship -- and he would have to okay a Mixon selection. The Raiders put considerable thought and research into select players with character concerns.

“What we do, we research everything. We get all of the information. We will not make a decision until all the information is in front of us,” McKenzie said. “With certain issues, like domestic violence, we consider that and we really look into everything that is surrounding that. Every decision will be well-researched so if it’s one way or the other, we are going to make it where that decision is based on all the facts, all the research and on the kid moving forward. But yes, we hold that very dear to what we do, as far as who we bring in, absolutely. We will not tolerate that at all.”