Everyone’s Lost Their Minds Over The Falcons Taking Michael Penix

It speaks volumes that there could be so many interesting storylines to come out of the NFL Draft, but all anyone wanted to talk about in the immediate aftermath of the first round was Michael Penix out of the University of Washington, going 8th overall to the Atlanta Falcons.

What started as “GASP! Penix went in the top 10!” soon devolved into “LOL the Falcons sure are dumb!”

I’ll give it this much: the pick is provocative. The Falcons did, after all, just sign Kirk Cousins to a 4-year, $180 million contract with $100 million of that guaranteed. There’s a Broncos/Russell Wilson-level amount of dead cap in the first two years, followed by a Seahawks/Russell Wilson-level amount of dead cap in the third year, before it gets easier to swallow after that. But, with the NFL in the throes of its Dead Cap Era – with teams being more and more willing to honk off a gigantic amount of cap space towards getting rid of players they no longer want – clearly this is not seen as a significant issue any longer, and we probably shouldn’t use it as an argument for or against anything anymore.

When something big like this happens for some other team’s fanbase, I try to put myself in their shoes and see how they’d feel. Granted, I don’t know a lot about the ins and outs of the Falcons’ franchise. I don’t know what their needs are. They have elite players at wide receiver, tight end, and running back; they have the aforementioned Cousins, the prize of this offseason’s free agent quarterback class. Could they have used, say, the third-best offensive tackle? Could they have used their pick of the best defensive players (all still available at 8)? Could they have traded down for a bounty of picks (after no one ahead of them did so) and really bolstered the rest of their roster? I don’t have the answers for you; any of those options seem like a preferable scenario, if the team truly believed in Kirk Cousins, and was in Win Now mode.

This feels like the Falcons had immediate Buyer’s Remorse with Cousins. He’s on the wrong side of 35, he’s coming off of a devastating injury, and even at his best, it’s not like he was ever considered among the elites. He’s a Very Good NFL Quarterback; you have to really hope there’s some Matthew Stafford in him, to get the kind of production you want. There’s no “value” with Cousins, because he’s leveraged his talents towards costing the absolute most money he could possibly cost; it’s only worth it if he brings you a championship. And, so far for 12 years, he’s failed to do so.

In that sense, I can understand why the Falcons did what they did. They’re trying to set themselves up for as much success as they can. They’re trying to initiate a succession plan. Cousins isn’t going to be there forever. The odds of him finishing out the life of this contract seemed slim-to-none, even before Penix was picked. What happens if he tears another ACL? What happens if he’s just cooked after two years? If the Falcons didn’t have Penix in their back pocket, they’d be in the same spot so many other teams are in: shit out of luck, scrambling to find their next guy. Or, if you will, the same spot they were in after 2021.

They didn’t have a plan for the post-Matt Ryan years. He slowly went downhill over his last few seasons in Atlanta, then he was gone, and in 2022 and 2023, the Falcons had nothing. They scrambled and took Desmond Ridder in the third round in 2022, who is not an NFL quarterback, and they surrounded him with never-was’s like Marcus Mariota and Taylor Heinicke. Granted, the teams around those quarterbacks weren’t very good either – other than the highly-drafted skill position guys they kept taking with every first round pick – but that was an unsustainable way to run a team. They needed to make a splash on the quarterback position, and they did it in spades in 2024.

If I was a Falcons fan, I’d be happy with the choice to take Penix, because I would know – either way – we’ve got a good chance of having success at the quarterback position. After what’s happened since they blew the Super Bowl, shit, give me ALL the quarterbacks!

In a perfect world, of course, the Falcons never would’ve signed Cousins in the first place. But, that would have required them to be in on Penix from the get-go. Clearly, the front office needed to take this time in the offseason to do their due diligence. Had they not signed Cousins, though, then they could’ve used those hundreds of millions of dollars to sign every other free agent out there. And, even if they were worried about Penix falling to them, that was silly. He was never going higher than 8th. If they were really concerned about that, they would’ve traded up.

The only person who deserves to be upset is Penix. He’s a 24 year old rookie, and now he has to sit behind Cousins for a minimum of two years (unless, of course, Cousins gets hurt). That’ll put him at 26 years old, conservatively, before he’s projected to ascend to the starting job. You can point to Aaron Rodgers’ career arc all you want, but he had to sit three years, and he was still only 25 when he took over for Favre.

What happens if Cousins does really well in the next two years? What happens if he sticks for a third season? Then, you’re talking about a 27 year old Penix taking over, and having one year (plus a 5th year option) to try to prove himself. He’s extremely hamstrung in his ability to maximize his second contract, if Cousins ends up panning out. Plus, his development is sure to be stunted, if he has to sit for 2-3 years.

As a Penix lifer, it’s going to suck to watch him have to sit for so long. I’m not one to promote rooting for injuries, so here’s to Kirk Cousins either getting traded or calling it an early career!

And The Seahawks Looked Like Dogshit Against The Rams

The Seahawks aren’t the only team to lose an embarrassing game in Week 1. Dare I forget the Bengals losing 24-3 to the Browns? The Steelers losing 30-7 to the 49ers? And look no further than Sunday Night Football, where the Giants got demolished 40-0 by the Cowboys.

Here’s where we put into context the 30-13 loss to the Rams: all of those other losers I just listed were defeated by teams that actually project to be pretty good! The Browns have a lot of talent on defense, and a great running game, and they played that to perfection on Sunday. The 49ers are the 49ers: one of the most talented top-to-bottom rosters in the NFL. The Cowboys are absolutely riddled with superstars on both sides of the ball, and have filled in around them marvelously.

The Rams are a fucking joke, period. The Rams are going to lose double-digit games and oftentimes look bad doing it. They have no good receivers. Their running game is subpar. They have exactly one guy on defense, and smart, competent teams are going to know how to neutralize him.

And the Seahawks Got. They. Ass. Whooped by this terrible fucking Rams team, so what does that say about us?

Well, for starters, you can forget all that shit about winning the division, or 11-12 games for that matter. And don’t even think about this team winning in the playoffs! Because THAT shit ain’t happening! I must’ve been drunk when I wrote that. Blackout drunk. Overcome with dementia; a raving fucking lunatic.

I don’t know how we keep falling for this defense like the same fucking broken record, skipping over and over and over and over and over and over again. Clint Hurtt doesn’t know how to run a defense. Or, at least, he doesn’t know how to run THIS defense. Meanwhile, Sean Desai is over in Philly running something exceedingly dynamic. But, this is REALLY on Pete Carroll, and John Schneider. We’ve seen now – since Dan Quinn left – that NO ONE has been able to run this defense. So, it’s some combination of players and scheme, and that’s on the two men at the top.

The defense steps out onto that field for the first time in the season, and it gives up a methodical 16-play, 75-yard touchdown drive that takes up most of the first quarter. Every fucking year. Which is only a microcosm of the season, because the defense might settle down for a quarter or two, but then it falls apart at the end. We’ll see this shitty fucking defense play out over the next month or two, and fans will be calling for the chopped-off heads of everyone involved with this team. Then, they’ll play some lousy offense, and for some reason get credit for the turnaround. The soft spot of the schedule will make it look like the Seahawks know what the FUCK they’re doing, until they have to play the 49ers or Eagles or whatever, and then it’s back to major fucking blowouts.

I guess credit is due for improved run defense? 2.3 yards per carry IS an improvement. Except, they had no trouble ramming it into our asshole when they got down around the goalline; the two backs combined for 3 very easy touchdowns. Goalline defense doesn’t figure to be our specialty.

But, 2.3 yards per carry is of cold comfort when you compare it to the passing game. Matthew Stafford had all day to throw. Not that he ever needed all day, because his guys were wide fucking open all game long. Not even a whiff of press coverage. No knocking guys off of their route. Just running and chasing, and giving up both easy passes in gaping zones, or tough passes in one-on-one situations. Regardless, this game was EASY for Matthew Stafford. It also would’ve been EASY for Desmond Ridder or Baker Mayfield or even Justin Fields.

Hey, where the hell was Dre’Mont Jones? Even if I knew what stupid fucking number he chose to wear, I couldn’t fucking tell you where he was in this one, because he was a GHOST! A $17 million per year fucking ghost.

Hey, where the hell was this awesome secondary we’ve heard so much about? Because, spoiler alert, Tutu Fucking Atwell and Puka Fucking Nacua torched us all damn day, and it would’ve been worse if not for some drops early on. Each had 119 yards receiving, on 6 catches for Atwell and 10 for Nacua. Umm, those guys are trash. And they dominated. Let’s revisit in 6 weeks and see where they are.

Hey, where the hell was the pass rush? Or, as Cris Collinsworth says, “Pash Rsh”. Not even CLOSE to a sack. A whopping 2 QB hits. I’m tired of the fucking excuse that the quarterback affects that stat by getting rid of the ball quickly. You know what you can do? You can blitz, like ever. Or, you can press the fucking line of scrimmage and force him to think for more than a fucking micro-second! What did the Seahawks do? The same thing, all fucking game. React, instead of dictate. This fucking namby-pamby way of playing defense that they’ve played since Dan Quinn left.

Don’t think I’ve forgotten about the offense. Geno Smith sure was a mess out there! 16/26 for 112 yards and a TD isn’t going to earn him that raise next year! I thought Kenneth Walker looked like he picked up right where he left off last season, except you can’t really take advantage of his 5.3 yards per carry when you can’t ever convert a fucking third down (2 for 9 on the day, including 0 for their last 7). There were some drops, there were some poorly-thrown balls, and Geno flat-out missed a wide open Jake Bobo running down the seam on the trick play they called (Bobo would’ve been the primary receiver on that play, so how you miss him is FUCKING baffling to me).

This team scored 13 points on their first three drives. Then, they missed an easy field goal before halftime, then that was it. Nothing but punts in the second half. Punts and Rams points.

I thought Charbonnet looked ineffectual in his 3 carries; I guess that’s good news for people who have Walker in Fantasy. I thought JSN looked tentative and VERY coverable (maybe a byproduct of his hand/wrist injury). It’s funny how the Rams don’t have NEARLY as talented of a defense, and yet they managed to cover us tight near the line of scrimmage.

Bobby Wagner had 19 tackles, but what impact did he have? I saw Matthew Stafford juke right around him on a scramble; how does THAT happen?! Jordyn Brooks had 12 tackles, so that’s neat. They looked exactly like they did 2 years ago when they were teammates: zero big plays whatsoever.

Everyone but the punter stunk up the joint. Even on Special Teams, we let two balls squib into the endzone, and Myers missed a very easy field goal.

And if you were worried about injuries, this was the game for you, because we had them in spades! Both offensive tackles left the game, not to return. Their replacements – as we’ve seen before – were God awful. This team won’t win a game if it has Stone Forsythe and Jake Curhan starting. That’s just it. Put us down for 0-17 if that’s the case, because those useless fucking turds couldn’t block a cold.

Let’s see, Tyler Lockett had a head injury, and was sucking on oxygen all game. Cardio not up to snuff? What’s going on? And, of course, we didn’t even get to see our #5 overall pick, Devon Witherspoon, or Jamal Adams – two of our most dynamic defensive playmakers – because they weren’t even healthy enough to suit up. Not that it would’ve mattered tremendously, since they’re sure to flounder in this scheme that does nothing to showcase actual talent, or put players in a position to succeed.

Every year, we start slow. Every year, we lose games early that we shouldn’t lose. Every year, it looks like this is the worst fucking team we’ve ever seen. And then every year they get incrementally better. They string together wins against bad teams, and an occasional okay team. They sneak into the playoffs as a wild card team, only to lose in the first round. How is it we’re being sucked into the same fucking script year after year?

I’m fucking BORED of this Seahawks team! It’s the same one we’ve watched since 2016! Just fast-forward to fucking January already and get it over with!

Nobody Wants To Hear About My Fantasy Team 2023: Anthony Richardson vs. Bryce Young vs. ???

Our draft in my dynasty league is this Friday, September 1st, and so much is hinging on what happens in these five rounds. Rookies, players left over from last year; playing for this year while keeping an eye towards the future. It’s a lot to grapple with!

For those unaware of how this league operates, I ask you, why are you reading this? You don’t want to hear about my fantasy team! Nobody wants to hear about anyone’s fantasy team! But, if you’re interested in continuing, here’s the jist: this is a 2-QB PPR league with adjusted scoring to make quarterbacks more important (6-point TDs, 1 point per 20 yards passing, -4 points for INTs). Every team keeps 10 players, one per position, with one regular flex. Here’s the roster I kept:

  • Justin Fields (QB)
  • Jordan Love (QB)
  • CeeDee Lamb (WR)
  • Christian Watson (WR)
  • Tony Pollard (RB)
  • Kenneth Walker (RB)
  • T.J. Hockenson (TE)
  • Alexander Mattison (RB)
  • Evan McPherson (K)
  • N.Y. Jets (DEF)

I had one decision to agonize over, and that was leaving D.K. Metcalf off of my team. For starters, he was a prior trade acquisition of mine, so part of me feels like I gave up a lot to get him, and then threw him away for nothing. Granted, I don’t remember what it cost to bring him to my team, but I remember it being somewhat significant. It more or less came down to Metcalf vs. Watson. I was committed to keeping three running backs, especially when Dalvin Cook was released by the Vikings and Mattison was there to pick up all those extra snaps. Now, Mattison might be mediocre, and he might get hurt or eventually lose his starting job. But, I couldn’t resist keeping a bona fide lead running back in a high-powered offense.

The Watson vs. Metcalf debate might haunt me all season long, though. My rationale for only keeping two receivers is simple: you can always find a quality receiver late in the draft or in free agency during the season. It’s how I got Watson in the first place. I like Watson’s upside as the #1 receiver with relatively little competition from any other Packer; whereas Metcalf has to contend with Lockett and Smith-Njigba and a quarterback who likes to spread the ball around. The obvious downside is the fact that Metcalf is a proven 1,000-yard receiver, who’s going to get the lion’s share of attention in red zone situations (and, not for nothing, but he’s also got big play abilities to score from anywhere on the field). Watson is a second year player, catching balls from a quarterback in his first year as the starter. He could be a total bust! But, the big plays he was making, and his pedigree out of the draft last year, made him intriguing. You don’t win fantasy football leagues on intriguing players, I get that. But, ultimately, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to have both Love and Watson on my team. Double touchdowns!

In lesser decision-making news, I decided to keep Love over both Stafford (old, injured last year, on a terrible team) and Mac Jones (might be good for a bounce-back under better offensive coaching, but I’ll have to see it to believe it), going for upside.

As has been the case for the last half-decade, if not longer, Quarterback is my weakest position. In a league where quarterbacks are – again – the most important position. The difference here is that I feel like I finally have someone viable in Justin Fields. If he stays healthy, he’s a strong bet to turn into a Jalen Hurts type. If that’s the case, with the rest of my team looking pretty strong, that means I need to focus on the second quarterback spot.

I’m drafting fourth this year. I also have extra picks in the first two rounds (in a deal made last season), while having given up my picks in the final two rounds. So, every team drafts their bench, essentially. Five rounds for five spots (or, in my case, three rounds for five spots).

I have it on reasonably-good authority that both Bijan Robinson and Jahmyr Gibbs will be selected ahead of me. These could be lies, of course. Competitors gaining an edge by throwing me off the scent. But, I know for a fact that one of the teams has two loaded quarterbacks and has no need to take another rookie. So, even if the other guy goes rogue and both Anthony Richardson and Bryce Young are gone by the time I select, then I have no problem whatsoever grabbing Gibbs and further bolstering my running back stable.

Based on the information I have, and knowing who the #3 pick has at quarterback heading into the draft (Aaron Rodgers and Derek Carr), I am reasonably sure he’s 1,000% taking a quarterback.

There’s one interesting wrinkle to this debate, and that’s the fact that Kirk Cousins is available as well. Of the quarterbacks not kept by teams from last year, the top holdovers are Cousins, Stafford, Daniel Jones, Sam Howell, and then the likes of Jimmy G, Ryan Tannehill, Baker Mayfield, Mac Jones, and Desmond Ridder. So, the quality is falling FAST. If #3 is looking to play for this year, and wants a safe, pro-ready option to gobble a lot of points, he could very well roll with Cousins and take his chances. If you believe Aaron Rodgers is destined for a bounce-back, on a new team, with a familiar coordinator, and a stable of studs at the skill positions around him, then you could do a lot worse choosing between Carr and Cousins every week based on matchups. I like the rest of #3’s team, so he could definitely make that work and ride it into the playoffs.

My take on this year’s rookies is pretty well set in my mind. For fantasy purposes, I think Anthony Richardson is the clear top dog. I think Bryce Young is the safest bet, even though he’s too short and doesn’t run and has no weapons and a suspect O-Line (for what it’s worth, I think they all have suspect O-Lines). And I think C.J. Stroud is the worst of the three, in the worst situation (even worse weapons, with a first time head coach who might be bad at the job, in an organization that has no idea what it’s doing). I was never taking C.J. Stroud, even if the other two guys were taken ahead of me; he’s off all my draft boards (so, knowing me, maybe bet the farm on Stroud being a Hall of Famer when it’s all said and done).

They all have drawbacks, of course. I think the hype train is a little too inflated for Richardson. He’s getting A LOT of Josh Allen comparisons. But, Josh Allens don’t grow on trees! He’s kind of a unicorn. Most quarterbacks don’t improve their completion percentages that significantly from the college to the pros. With Richardson, obviously he’s projected to be a points hog because he runs so well. And now it appears the Colts won’t have any competition for him, if they ultimately trade Jonathan Taylor (or he holds out). But, the downside is, his value is mitigated if he can’t also throw for touchdowns, or worse, if he throws a lot of interceptions (the -4 for INTs is the great equalizer in our league, and should be standard for all fantasy football leagues). Also, on a personal level, do I really want both Fields and Richardson? Two guys who run a lot, can’t throw, and are one big hit away from sinking my season?

If I were to talk myself into Bryce Young, I’d talk about his leadership, his poise, his intangibles. He’s also very accurate and he’s a winner. There’s a reason why he was the #1 pick in the NFL. Young really bridges the gap for me when it comes to being ready THIS season. Richardson might have more upside, and a higher longterm outlook for fantasy purposes. But, if I want to win THIS year? Young might be the better way to go.

My second pick in the first round isn’t until the very end, at number 10. I highly doubt Cousins will be there for me in this scenario. But, I don’t want to throw all my eggs in the Cousins basket for this year at pick 4, because he’s 35 years old, he’s on the final year of his deal, and I have no idea where he’ll be going forward. Also, it’s never fun to have to rely on Cousins; he takes a dump at the most inopportune times!

Once I have my quarterback locked in at 4, I need to scramble and get a receiver at 10. Because if I wait until the second round, it might be too late. My secret hope is that D.K. Metcalf is still there at 10, but that might be a longshot. How confident am I in Calvin Ridley? Yeesh. That’s either going to work out spectacularly or blow up in my face. I’ve always wanted Scary Terry McLaurin, and he’s out there again for me!

Of the rookie receivers, I dunno. JSN is probably the most talented, but not in a situation to showcase his talents. Do I want to trust a receiver for the Ravens? Or the third receiver on the Chargers? Or the #2 to Justin Jefferson’s #1? I wouldn’t mind terribly seeing who’s left over of those four, and taking that guy in the second round.

Then, it’s just Best Player Available. Don’t have to worry about kickers. I could always look into keeping a second defense, though I like the Jets a lot and they don’t have a BYE until Week 7. We’ll see. A lot riding on this one! I’ve been in rebuild mode for the last 3-4 years; now it’s time to see if I can take that next step.