Sunday’s Den: Early thoughts on a blockbuster trade

Was all set to write a fascinating summary of Saturday’s college basketball action, then around 10pm, news broke of a blockbuster trade in the NFL, and it involved the Rams, so I opened up a cold bottle of Sierra Mist as my head spun around like Linda Blair in The Exorcist. 

I could write about this for the next two days, but you’d probably get bored reading it, so I’ll try and keep it to the essential points. I won’t succeed, but I’ll try.

— November 1, 2008 I was at a Tennessee-South Carolina game in Columbia; we tailgated in a field and watched college games all afternoon on big-screen TV tucked in luggage compartment of a Winnebago- it was a very excellent day, an hour of which was spent debating the merits of Matthew Stafford as a quarterback— he was in his last year at Georgia.

My friend didn’t (probably still doesn’t) like Stafford as a QB; I was in his corner, and now, 12 years later, he is the Rams’ QB, my team’s quarterback. Hope I was right back then.

— By the way, we had Church’s Fried Chicken that day, the absolute best fried chicken I’ve ever had. They have a couple Church’s stores in Las Vegas; it is worth a cab ride to get some.

— Stafford-for-Goff is the first player-for-player trade this century involving players who were both taken first overall in an NFL Draft, Stafford in 2009, Goff seven years later.

— Detroit’s new GM is Brad Holmes, who had been the Rams’ director of scouting. Because Holmes is a minority, the Rams got two 3rd-round picks when he was named Detroit’s GM— one of those now goes back to the Lions, as part of this deal.

— Six other teams were trying to acquire Stafford; the Rams didn’t have a first round pick this year, so they kicked in two 1st-round picks (2022, 2023), plus that 3rd-round pick.

— Remember this phrase: salary cap relief. Goff’s contract is way heavier than Stafford’s, and the Rams have several other (good) players they’d like to keep— this deal will let them do that.

— A summation of the QB’s records:
— Stafford is 74-93-1 as an NFL starter, 0-3 in playoff games.
— Goff is 44-30 as an NFL starter, 2-3 in playoff games, but he also won the Seattle playoff game a few weeks ago, in relief.

— Only 14 QB’s have started a Super Bowl in their first three years in the NFL; Goff was #13.

— Lions visit SoFi Stadium next fall; I’m guessing that’ll be a Monday night game.

— Last time the Rams had a first round pick was 2016, when they took Goff. Now, the next first round pick they have is 2024; they traded for Goff, Brandin Cooks, Jalen Ramsey and now Stafford. GM Les Snead likes to trade picks for known quantities— seeing how the Rams are 46-27 the last four years, I’d say Les Snead is doing a damn fine job, and so is coach McVay.

— Speaking of which, think about this: the quarterback has a radio in his helmet, and that voice is in his ear every play, until the play clock hits 0:15, For the last four years, the voice in Goff’s ear was McVay, who is known as a quarterback guru.

The last time McVay wasn’t in Goff’s ear, things didn’t go so well, but he was a rookie back then, and now he has a good body of work behind him. Former Chargers’ coach Anthony Lynn is Detroit’s new offensive coordinator.

— Goff doesn’t like cold weather, and Chicago/Green Bay (Lions’ NFC North rivals) have outdoor stadiums, where it gets cold late in the season. Really cold.

— Stafford’s 0-3 career playoff record raises eyebrows: here are the games:
2011— L45-28 @ New Orleans. Was 28-43/380 passing, with 3 TD’s, 2 INT’s.
2014— L24-20 @ Dallas. Was 28-42/323 passing, with one TD, one INT in his hometown.
2016— L26-6 @ Seattle. Was 18-32/205 passing. Game was 10-6 after three quarters.

— Hopefully next December, I’ll be worrying about his playoff record, because that’ll mean the Rams made the playoffs.

— An obscure and hopefully irrelevant detail: Goff’s father played major league baseball, and Jared Goff is a big SF Giants fan, which means he dislikes the Dodgers, which isn’t a really great thing for LA’s quarterback. Now he isn’t LA’s quarterback anymore.

When Matthew Stafford was a high school QB in Texas, the center he took snaps from was a kid named Clayton Kershaw, who is now a great pitcher for the Dodgers. So at least now the Rams’ quarterback will throw out the first pitch at a Dodger game. 

Saturday’s List of 13: NFL teams with big QB questions for next season

13) Dallas— Dak Prescott and the Cowboys couldn’t come to an agreement on a deal last year, and had to resort to a franchise tag for 2020; if Prescott plays in 2021 under a franchise tag, he is likely to play somewhere else in 2022- would they trade him now, to avoid that scenario? If he leaves as a free agent, Dallas gets nothing in return.

In five years, Prescott is 42-27 in regular season games, 1-2 in playoff games.

— Jerry Jones is 78; he probably doesn’t want a rookie QB playing, who will take years to develop.
— Matthew Stafford went to Highland Park HS in Dallas

12) Miami— Dolphins have two QBs now; will either one be their QB in 2021?
— Player A was 4-3 as a starter LY, threw for 2,091 yards, with 13 TD’s, 8 INTs
— Player B was 6-3 as a skater LY, threw for 1,814 yards, with 11 TD’s, 5 TD’s.

Player A is Ryan Fitzpatrick, who is 38, the only player EVER to throw a pass for eight different NFL teams. Player B is Tua Tagovailoa, who was a rookie last year, but has shown an inability to stay healthy, in both college and the NFL.

Will either guy be the starter for Miami next fall?

11) Carolina— Panthers have the wealthiest owner in the NFL; he is worth $13B, that’s billion, with a B. Really rich people aren’t patient; Carolina is 17-31 the last three years; their QB right now is Teddy Bridgewater, who at age 28 has already started for three NFL teams (26-24).

As far as the really rich owner being impatient, Carolina is rumored to be aggressively trying to trade for Deshaun Watson, who played college ball in the ACC, at Clemson.

10) New Orleans— Saints go into the offseason expecting to be $100M over the salary cap, so they ain’t trading for any of the big name QB’s. Will they go into 2021 with Taysom Hill/Jameis Winston as their QB’s? Will they draft a QB and depend on Sean Payton to develop his skills?

Would New Orleans trade for Sam Darnold, if the Jets trade for Watson? 

9) New England— Patriots went 7-9 this season, their first losing season in 20 years, and with Tom Brady playing in the Super Bowl, you figure New England will be aggressive in trying to move back up the standings in an improving AFC East.

Cam Newton ain’t the answer; he looked look his arm was shot this past season, and if he was playing ahead of Jarrett Stidham, what does that say about Stidham? Brian Hoyer figures to hang around as a backup, but who will he be backing up?

There are rumors about a trade for Marcus Mariota, who is 30-33 as an NFL starter. 

8) San Francisco— Last four years, 49ers are 24-9 with Jimmy Garoppolo under center, 7-27 with anyone else. As a wise man once said, the greatest ability is “avail-ability”; if you don’t play, what good are you? Will the 49ers move on from Garoppolo? 

7) Philadelphia— With the hiring of QB guru Nick Sirianni as head coach, it appears that Carson Wentz will be staying in Philly; Wentz signed a 4-year, $128M contract, which would be really cumbersome to unload. Cumbersome, but not impossible.

Problem is, they drafted Jaylen Hurts in the 2nd round last year; Hurts threw for 1,061 yards in losing three of four starts as a rookie. Coach Sirianni has his work cut out for him. 

6) NJ Jets— When a team goes 2-14, there are a lot of problems, not just the QB; Sam Darnold had mono at the start of last season, and things got worse from there. Darnold is 13-25 as an NFL starter, but was 7-6 in 2019. If the Jets want to add draft picks and draft a rookie QB, trading Darnold would net them several draft picks.

Or they could keep Darnold, use the #2 pick on other positions, and keep building. Their new coach is a defensive guru; the owner is back from his stint as ambassador to Ireland, so 2021 figures to be an interesting year for the Jets.

5) Washington— They went 5-1 with Alex Smith at QB this past year, but Smith’s leg is held together with nuts/bolts, and he will be 37 in May. Highly unlikely he is ever playing 16 games in a season again, and remember, the regular season will likely increase to 17 games sometime soon. Washington needs to develop a young quarterback.

Where does Washington look for a QB? Deshaun Watson is the first domino in all of this. If Carolina gets Watson, Teddy Bridgewater could wind up playing for Washington.

Taylor Heinicke/Kyle Allen will battle for the backup job, but who will they be backing up? 

4) Jacksonville— Jaguars hired Urban Meyer as their new coach, which will be interesting, seeing how he has zero NFL experience. How will he deal with losing? If the Jaguars go 9-7 next year, fans will want to throw Meyer a parade, but Meyer might have a nervous breakdown if he loses seven games in a season— he went 187-32 as a college coach.

Jaguars will likely draft Trevor Lawrence in April, then the question becomes how long before he becomes the starting QB? Teams aren’t as patient with QB’s as they used to be. 

3) Indianapolis— Philip Rivers has retired to become a high school coach, where he will coach his two sons eventually (he also has 7 daughters!!!). Jacoby Brissett is the Colts’ QB right now, but Jim Irsay spoke out this week about the Colts needing a veteran presence at QB.

Speculation has centered on Matthew Stafford or Carson Wentz. Brissett is 12-20 as a starter in the NFL, for Patriots/Colts. Doesn’t sound like he’ll be starting in Indianapolis next season. 

2) Detroit— Matthew Stafford will turn 33 on Super Bowl Sunday; he is 74-90-1 as a starter, has played 16 games in nine of last ten seasons. Problem is, Stafford has played 12 years in the NFL, but is 0-3 in playoff games. Detroit’s last playoff win was in 1991.

Stafford has thrown for 45,109 yards and 282 TDs, with 144 INTs; he and the Lions mutually agreed to a separation last week. 

1) Houston— Wonder what it is like to turn on the TV every day and hear all the sports channels speculating about where you’ll be living next year?

If Deshaun Watson really wants to be traded, he needs to lay low for a while, so the Texans will have a little more leverage in making a deal- they’re not just going to give him away. Watson is the first domino in whaat could be a wild winter of quarterback movement in the NFL.

Watson is 28-25 in 3+ years as a starter; his job in Houston would’ve bit a lot easier last year if they hadn’t traded their best receiver, DeAndre Hopkins. He has a 4-year, $140M contract that he signed last September. 

Two lists today: re-running my favorite Batman villains

My 13 favorite Batman (TV) villains

13) Chandell (Liberace)— The gifted piano player was both Chandell (the piano player) and his twin brother Harry who it turns out, was the real villain. 

Trivia: Two Batman villains also had roles in Magnum PI; Howard Duff (Cabala) played Magnum’s grandfather. Barbara Rush (Nora Clavicle) played Magnum’s Aunt Phoebe, a playwright who had Alzheimer’s, and was also in another earlier episode. 

12) Bookworm (Roddy McDowell)— Appeared in two episodes; Bookworm’s crimes were inspired by literary works, well, because he likes books.

McDowell also appeared in the Batman animated series in the early 90’s.

11) Colonel Gumm (Roger C Carmel)— He loved the color pink and was obsessed with stamps; Colonel Gumm appeared in the two-episode crossover with The Green Hornet, with Bruce Lee as Kato and Van Williams as the Green Hornet. 

Trivia: There were three different Mr Freeze’s; Eli Wallach, Otto Preminger, George Sanders. 

10) Siren (Joan Collins)— Played a sidekick to The Riddler’s devious plan to take over Gotham City’s boxing industry, but she also wanted to uncover Batman’s true identity. 

9) The Archer (Art Carney)— Ed Norton from The Honeymooners was also a Batman villain!!! 

Archer’s character was based (loosely) on Robin Hood; his henchmen were Maid Marilyn, Big John, and Crier Tuck.

8) King Tut (Victor Buono)— Appeared in eight episodes; Buono supposedly loved playing the character because it allowed him the chance to overact, one of the aspects of the character that made King Tut so beloved by fans. 

7) Marsha, Queen of Diamonds (Carolyn Jones)— Better known for playing Morticia Addams on The Addams Family, Ms Jones was in five episodes of Batman, joining Addams Family cast members John Astin, Ted Cassidy in making Batman appearances.

6) Egghead (Vincent Price)— When I was a kid, would often substitute (eggs-ellent) for excellent when talking to my family. For a little kid, that was eggs-citing. Vincent Price was awesome in this role, an egg-centric guy with a very strangely-shaped head. 

5) Mad Hatter (David Wayne)— This villain was obsessed with getting his hands on Batman’s cowl, which of course didn’t happen. 

Wayne also appeared in four movies with Marilyn Monroe. 

4) Penguin (Burgess Meredith)—Is more famous for playing Rocky Balboa’s trainer Mickey, but Meredith appeared in 20 Batman episodes, most of any villain. 

3) Catwoman (Julie Newmar)— Lee Meriwether, Eartha Kitt also played Catwoman, but Julie Newman was the best of the three; she was 5-11, a prima ballerina for the Los Angeles Opera who graduated high school when she was 15. 

in 2004, her next-door neighbor Jim Belushi sued her for $4M alleging harassment and defamation of character, as a result of a dispute over leaf-blowing. 

2) Joker (Cesar Romero)— Appeared in 19 episodes, 2nd-most of any villain. Romero refused to shave his mustache and you can see it under his white face paint. 

Romero had a long, excellent career; he appeared in the first Oceans Eleven (1960). 

1) Riddler (Frank Gorshin)— No one wore the green body suit with the big ???’s on it better than Gorshin, who had a long career as a TV guest star, appearing in CSI, Wonder Woman and the original Hawaii Five-O, among many other shows. 

John Astin played The Riddler for two episodes, but of course he was way more famous as Gomez Addams in The Addams Family.