Monday Morning Coffee

Kenneth Murray Jr. intercepts a pass in the end zone in the waning seconds to save the Chargers' win over the Vikings.

September 25, 2023

Let’s be honest, the Chargers did not deserve to win that game yesterday. If it had not been for a lucky interception by Kenneth Murray Jr, combined with some ineptitude from the Vikings offense, Branon Staley would be getting cooked right now. This guy is repeatedly making completely moronic decisions, and the latest was going for it on 4th down late in the 4th quarter deep in his own territory. This guy is like a 7 year old just learning to play Madden on Play Station. Somebody needs to take the controller from him. Of course he made the ridiculous excuse that it shows he believes in his defense. Unfortunately for the Bolts, not only is Staley still their coach this morning, but receiver Mike Williams could be lost for the season with a knee injury. That was one win they desperately needed and got, but it proved to be extremely costly in a multitude of ways.

The Rams are getting ready to take on the Bengals tonight in a Monday Night Football showdown. This isn’t quite the same two teams that met in the Super Bowl 17 months ago, but still a compelling matchup. The Rams look much better than everyone thought, while the Bengals look much worse than everyone thought. This would certainly be a nice win for the Rams to get in the early going, and take advantage of a struggling Bengals team, but I would expect them to come out with desperation. The Rams also finally traded Cam Akers to the Vikings. Apparently Akers has not been paying attention to what’s been happening to running backs around the league. He must think he should be valued or something, but not a single running back is. All he needs to do is ask Jonathan Taylor, Saquon Barkley, or Josh Jacobs.

Elsewhere around the NFL, the Denver Broncos should be relegated to the CFL after the Dolphins dropped 70 points on them. The fact that Patrick Mahomes has to answer questions about Taylor Swift in a post game interview is both hilarious and embarrassing. On the other hand, Donna Kelce has two sons playing in the NFL, and one of them could make Taylor Swift her daughter-in-law. That’s the ultimate American white woman hat trick. How about ‘dem Cowboys? Or not? Dallas got stunned by Arizona, who I’m not even sure is trying to win football games this year. The Jets are calling all their season ticket holders this morning to see if they have an interest in replacing Zach Wilson at quarterback, after losing to the Patriots. The Steelers took down the Raiders on Sunday Night Football, but George Pickens probably needs to work on his blocking.

In College Football, USC struggled, but eventually took care of Arizona State on Saturday in Tempe. This was one of those games where Caleb Williams improvisation skills, along with the talent of his receivers bailed the Trojans out of trouble. USC had trouble with both penalties and turnovers in this one, and the defense had their own issues as well. The Trojans should have no issue with Colorado next week, despite all their hype, but if they plan on getting through the conference schedule unscathed, they will have to clean up every other aspect of their game around Williams. The more he has to use his improvisation skills, as we saw last year, the more susceptible he is to injury. Once that happens, SC can kiss their playoff chances goodbye.

Meanwhile, the Bruins lost a defensive slug fest at Utah. The game was basically decided when Dante Moore threw that pick-6 on the first play from scrimmage. UCLA can’t be that unhappy though. They were right there with a Top 10 team in the country, their defense looked tough, and Moore showed some grit, coming back and throwing a touchdown late in the game. This is just part of the development curve for him, and there will be growing pains along the way. UCLA fell out of the Top 25, but something tells me they will get back in there very soon.

Elsewhere around College Football, what a horrible way for Notre Dame to lose to Ohio State, in an otherwise fantastic game. Do you know how many mistakes have to be made for there to be 10 guys on the field for not one but two plays? I mean it probably would have helped to have one more guy on the field, on a play where the running back barely makes it in the end zone. Meanwhile the Deion Sanders haters are probably out in full force on Twitter again after Colorado got dismantled by Oregon. Then there was Alabama taking care of Ole Miss. Tide fans haven’t been this excited since they found out it was legal to marry your cousin in their state.

I don’t know how much longer he can keep this up, but what Clayton Kershaw is doing right now is simply remarkable, and a reminder of just how great he is. The guy has a very cranky shoulder, yet the Dodgers desperately need him to pitch, even every 6 days. Every time he pitches, it’s brilliant. His velocity is under 90 mph, yet he finds a way to work the edges and figure out how to be effective. Since he seems to be requiring about 6 days of rest, he may only be good for one playoff start a series, so they’ll have to use him very strategically.

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The Lakers extended Jared Vanderbilt last week. His new contract is 4 years and $48 million. Some of you naysayers will question the contract because he’s not a big offensive threat, but if so, you’re not paying attention. The salary cap is going up, and that means players are getting paid more. $12 million a year for a versatile defender like Vando, who can play multiple positions and rebound well is still a reasonable deal. Plus at some point, the Lakers could need some tradeable salary, and Vando gives them that, even with the 4 year term. It’s really another sensible move by Rob Pelinka.

Finally, speaking of the Lakers, I’m extremely disappointed that HBO cancelled “Winning Time”. You cannot end a series like this with the Lakers losing to the Celtics in the 1984 NBA Finals. Then again from HBO’s standpoint, content and ratings are very fickle, and tastes can change quickly. They want to make cheap content that appeals to the masses, and not interesting, expensive content that appeals to niche audience. Then again, something tells me that this may not be the end of the series, and that somebody else may pick it up. Well, at least that’s what I’m hoping.

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