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  2. Photo by Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images If Buffalo wants to upgrade their left guard position, here are the players they will be looking at. In early April, the Buffalo Bills signed guard Quinton Spain to a one-year contract in what essentially amounted to an afterthought. Spain had spent four uneventful seasons with the Tennessee Titans, where he started 48 games at left guard, and wasn’t re-signed. So he came over to Buffalo on a cheap one-year deal and played decently, if not spectacularly. The veteran could likely turn that into a decent contract, which general manager Brandon Beane might not be willing to shell out for such a middle-class player. In that case, the team could look to the draft, which is never really short on interior offensive-line prospects. Below are just a few of the players the Bills might consider. Tier I Tyler Biadasz (Wisconsin) John Simpson (Clemson) Ben Bredeson (Michigan) The Wisconsin center is exactly what you’d expect coming from that program—not the strongest or the most athletic, but he gets the job done consistently. Simpson hasn’t received much first-round hype, but I expect that to change after declaring for the draft. The big Clemson guard pass protected Trevor Lawrence really well all throughout the college football playoffs. A balanced, well-coached player, Bredeson will become a starter immediately for the team that drafts him. Tier II Nick Harris (Washington) Trey Smith (Tennessee) Creed Humphrey (Oklahoma) Matt Hennessy (Temple) Harris moves so well as a blocker that it would be hard to see him not end up in a Shanahan West-Coast style, zone-blocking scheme. Tennessee’s Smith is exactly the opposite. He has the power to move trucks, but injury questions hold him back. Oklahoma is becoming known for their athletic offensive lineman who can do well in space, and Humphrey is another one in that line. It’s a shame that Hennessy doesn’t have the size or athleticism to play for every franchise, because some team is getting a technician. Tier III Robert Hunt (Louisiana) Darryl Williams (Mississippi State) Logan Stenberg (Kentucky) A likely riser, Hunt toiled for the Raggin’ Cajuns but is starting to get noticed for his pro-ready traits. Darryl Williams has the look of an NFL starting guard or center but he doesn’t stand out in any one area. Stenberg is strong, but there’s worry that he doesn’t have the flexibility of a starting guard, so he may end up like former Bills guard John Miller. View the full article
  3. Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images The question is whether those guards are better than Spain or not The Buffalo Bills were fortunate enough in 2019 to start essentially the same offensive linemen for all 16 games the team played. (Cody Ford and Ty Nsekhe rotated at right tackle, with Ford starting 15 of 16 games.) The last time Buffalo had the same five linemen start in 15 of 16 games was in 2007, when the vaunted offensive line of Jason Peters, Derrick Dockery, Melvin Fowler, Brad Butler, and Langston Walker accomplished the feat, with only Peters missing a start. Veteran Quinton Spain, signed by the Bills in April, was one of the four men along the offensive line to make 16 starts this year. He actually ended up playing more snaps on offense than anyone on Buffalo’s roster this year, appearing on 1,063 of Buffalo’s 1,069 offensive snaps. That’s an awful lot of snaps to replace if the Bills choose to allow Spain to leave via free agency. If Buffalo does part ways with such a durable performer in Spain, they have the option of signing a free agent to replace him. While there are plenty of guards available (80 in all, according to Spotrac), it’s debatable how many of them would be a true upgrade to Spain. If the Bills want to go the free-agent route in replacing Quinton Spain, here are a few names they could consider. Brandon Scherff Let’s start with the big fish, shall we? Scherff was picked fifth overall by Washington in the 2015 NFL Draft, and he has established himself as one of the league’s best guards in that time. As an unrestricted free agent for the first time, it’s to his benefit that he doesn’t turn 29 until December. He will probably command a top-level salary, perhaps even a top-ten average annual value, which is at least $10 million for his position. One of the only things preventing Scherff from potentially resetting the guard market entirely is his injury struggles over the past two seasons. His 2018 season ended after Week 9 thanks to a torn pectoral muscle, and while he recovered well enough to earn a Pro Bowl nod this year, he finished the season on injured reserve again thanks to elbow and shoulder injuries. Buffalo has multiple holes to fill, and the argument could be made that their funds would be better allocated to those areas (edge rusher, wide receiver, re-signing their own young players, etc.). However, the team has shown a commitment to improving the offensive line, and they have not shied away from spending big money—look no further than the mega-deal given to Mitch Morse last offseason—in their commitment to protect young quarterback Josh Allen. It isn’t my first choice, but it’s not entirely out of the realm of possibility. Joe Thuney What’s better than signing one of the league’s best guards? Signing one of the league’s best guards who used to play for your biggest divisional rival! Thuney entered the league as a third-round draft choice of the New England Patriots in 2016, and the 27 year old has only improved with each season. This year, he did not commit a penalty—which, of course is shocking, since the Patriots never get away with holding calls...ever. He allowed only one sack, as well, and he would be an absolute upgrade over Spain if the Bills chose to go the free-agent route. While I don’t think he’ll quite hit Scherff’s valuation from Spotrac, which is a four-year, $49.8 million deal, he may come close—think four years and $40 million with around $15-$18 million guaranteed. That might sound steep, but think of how good the interior offensive line would look with Thuney joining Morse and Jon Feliciano. Graham Glasgow Perhaps more in the mold of a Brandon Beane signing is the versatile Glasgow, who has started at both left guard and center during his four years with the Detroit Lions. Drafted just 17 spots after Thuney in 2016, Glasgow has been a reliable piece along Detroit’s front five. He has only missed two games in his NFL career, and last year he did not allow a sack while committing only three penalties. If Pro Football Focus grades are your thing, he graded out at a 74.1 last year, which is right in the same neighborhood as Thuney (77.4) and Scherff (75). His intriguing versatility, excellent durability, and solid pulling ability all make him a good option for the Bills if they move on from Spain. Ereck Flowers If you know a New York Giants fan, they’ll probably laugh out loud at the suggestion that someone should sign the former first-round pick who proved to be a tremendous bust at left tackle. However, Flowers moved on to Washington this year and was adequate as a guard. He actually graded out higher than Spain did via PFF, earning a 64.2 grade versus Spain’s 55.4 mark. As Flowers is only set to turn 26 this season, it’s possible that another change of scenery could unlock all the athletic potential he has. Forgive me for being a bit gun shy, but the last time the Bills went with an Erik Flowers, it didn’t go so well. Andrus Peat Looking to buy low on a former first-round pick? Well, it depends on your definition of low. Peat graded out at a truly awful 49.7 via PFF, yet he was named a Pro Bowl alternate, the second-straight year he was named to the Pro Bowl in some capacity. Neither the grade nor the title of “Pro Bowl-player” means the same thing to everyone, so it would be up to the Bills’ scouts to determine whether the 26-year-old would be a good fit in Buffalo. Peat also has some experience at left tackle, which could immediately make him a more attractive candidate for a team like Buffalo who values versatility in its offensive linemen. I’m not certain that the team would be upgrading the position over Spain, however, if they were to replace him with Peat. Quinton Spain Maybe you want to see the Bills move on from “Mr. Undrafted” this season, replacing him with one of the bigger-name guards on this list (or on Spotrac’s list, which is eighty names deep). Perhaps you think the Bills should move on, but it just wouldn’t be an intelligent use of resources to do so. Well, you might just follow the advice of Stephen Stills and keep Spain, because if you can’t be with Joe Thuney or Brandon Scherff, maybe you should just love the guard you have in Spain, who did not allow a sack while committing only four penalties on the year. Will Spain command a deal similar to that of Thuney or Glasgow? Absolutely not. Might he price himself out of Buffalo’s range? Certainly. Sometimes it’s just better to stick with who you know, and the Bills know exactly what they have in Spain—a reliable performer who could be better in run blocking but does a very good job in pass protection. View the full article
  4. Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports The Bills do have one option... Buffalo Bills left guard Quinton Spain is a pending free agent, and with that, the team will need to re-sign him or replace him. If they want to shift around their current offensive line a bit, they do have options for replacing him that are already under contract in 2020. The biggest question mark is where they see Cody Ford’s future. Ford, originally drafted by the Bills to be a right tackle, was projected by many as a guard at the NFL level due to some suspect lateral abilities. The team saw fit to platoon him at RT with veteran Ty Nsekhe until Nsekhe was injured. Ford performed admirably with the veteran on the sideline, but Nsekhe was back to platooning when he returned. If they moved Ford inside to guard, it could shore up the hole left by the departure of Spain. With Nsekhe under contract for one more season, it could allow Ford to continue to develop or they could draft another tackle option to develop. They could also consider plugging in Spencer Long, who has a long history of starting on the interior offensive line in the league. He was Buffalo’s primary interior backup in 2019 and has a hefty salary for that role, but could fit in well at one of the guard spots. Buffalo has had a year to evaluate him in the practice setting and during his spot duty. Ryan Bates is another name to consider. Bates played offense in two games for the Bills in 2019 in spot duty at tackle, not guard. Buffalo traded for him in August after he was an undrafted free agent signing of the Philadelphia Eagles. I’m not ready to hand him the keys to a starting job without some competition. Ike Boettger has some game experience, though all of his snaps in 2019 came in Week 17’s meaningless season finale. It would be a pretty big leap from inactive on game day to starting offensive lineman. If the Bills moved Ford to guard, they could just carry the exact same interior offensive linemen as last year as reserve options. View the full article
  5. Photo by Bryan M. Bennett/Getty Images We dive into the tape of Quinton Spain to see what kind of year he had Prior to the 2019 season the Buffalo Bills played Pokémon with offensive linemen and tried to catch ‘em all. This led to a line with 80% new starters including left guard Quinton Spain. Let’s check in on his 2019 season to see how he did. Play 1 This block is a good representation of Quinton Spain’s normal. Good initial contact slows his opponent down and the block is maintained pretty well. Against a lineman Spain might give a bit of ground, but overall holds well in that scenario too. Note that Spain isn’t getting a ton of push and that’s also typical. Spain’s strength was good but not spectacular. There’s not a whole lot to talk about with this block and many more like it for Quinton Spain. That’s not a bad thing. Play 2 On the move and pulling, Spain added a valuable element to the offense. In this play, Spain is fast enough to his block that it’s easy to take notice. Beating a defensive back in the power game isn’t a shock, but cutting one off that early into a play kind of is. Play 3 Here Quinton Spain pulls to the other side and is face-to-face with T.J. Watt. He loses some ground at the end as Watt twists to get back into the play. Spain was initially effective against one of the better defenders he faced this season and bought the play some time. Play 4 If there’s a consistent weakness to Spain’s game it’s holding blocks with a direct one-on-one. In contrast, Spain does well when moving and bumping/slamming into opponents. Plays like this one are not rare. When Spain helps another player out, he’ll continue to look for the next block if necessary. Play 5 This play is similar to the last with Spain moving inside to help out Mitch Morse. When another defender looks to be coming in hot, Quinton Spain moves to negate this pass rusher as well. Play 6 Working on the interior of the line it doesn’t come up often, but Quinton Spain’s hand-fighting skills lack refinement. Defensive tackles aren’t often throwing a ton of finesse into the world so when they do it can be a bit surprising. A little speed or razzle-dazzle can get past Spain. Summary Quinton Spain isn’t a mauler by any means. Goal-to-go scenarios can be nailbiters (though this is admittedly a problem area for more than just Quinton Spain). On the other hand, Spain is good on the move and is pretty successful as a mosh-pit enthusiast who briefly slams into an opponent before moving on to the next. There’s zero reason not to try bringing Spain back to the Buffalo Bills based on his play. For linemen, solid but unspectacular can be harder to find than many fans might think. Quinton Spain fits that mold and could reasonably have a shot at getting better with experience in the same system. Culture fit and scheme fit need to be considered as well. Assuming those boxes are checked off, it’d be wise for One Bills Drive to try to work out a deal. View the full article
  6. Just force all 32 teams to hire black coaches. Then everyone can feel good about the world and themselves.
  7. The NFL’s annual hiring cycle nearly has ended, but the criticism and concern regarding lack of diversity in the various decisions made could extend long after the attention of the league and its teams turns to the next item on the calendar. Jason Reid of ESPN’s TheUndefeated.com reports that the Fritz Pollard Alliance held a [more] View the full article
  8. The president's misconduct cannot be decided at the ballot box, for we cannot be assured that the vote will be fairly won," Schiff remarked. He did not elaborate All they care about is the 2020 election
  9. Damn, where have I seen this before? Oh yeah Dems did the same thing to the Rep. in congress, now they want tell the Senate how to run things lol. during the proceedings, Trump retweeted a post from Kentucky GOP Sen. Rand Paul: "The more we hear from Adam Schiff, the more the GOP is getting unified against this partisan charade." Trump added, "True!"
  10. https://www.espn.com/nfl/story/_/id/...looming-issues 2021 NFL CBA negotiations: The nine biggest looming issuesDan GrazianoESPN Staff Writer Jul 3, 2019The important thing to know about the current state of collective bargaining talks between the NFL and its players union is that the sides are, in fact, talking. This is a big deal because if you go back 10 years to the tail end of the previous CBA, they weren't. The owners had decided to opt out of the deal and lock out the players after 2010 in an effort to swing the revenue split back in their favor. They did just that. This time around, with two full seasons left to play before the CBA ends, the two sides have already begun talking and are scheduled to ramp up talks this summer. There's even some motivation to get the new deal done before the 2019 season starts, which would head off any chance of an ugly work stoppage and allow the league to lean hard into its "NFL 100" marketing campaign and renegotiate its TV deals in peace. That all sounds great, but it's not likely to be that simple, right? This is a complex negotiation with pitfalls, impasses and points of agreement, the specifics of which no one can foresee from this side of it. Collective bargaining, for the vast majority of you who've had no direct experience with it, is not a cut-and-dried series of issue-for-issue concessions. To some extent, everything has a price. And if you're, say, the NFLPA, and a couple of months from now you find out that one of the owners' main priorities is a thing you didn't expect, that might change your mind about a thing on which you didn't expect to compromise. It would be a mistake to enter a negotiation such as this with a single make-or-break issue in mind, and the experienced negotiators involved here understand that. With all of that in mind and with full knowledge that there's a long way to go on this and we don't know on which issues the major compromises will eventually be made, let's look at some of the main issues around which these CBA talks could revolve. Think of it as a handy guide for following the talks to come. It would be our pleasure if you'd keep it bookmarked and refer to it as necessary over the coming months. The two macro categories into which these issues fall are pretty simple: economic and non-economic. They've been dealt with separately in talks so far -- both in talks between players and owners and in talks between staffers for both sides. The NFLPA has asserted publicly that it isn't interested in conceding on economic issues, so that's worth remembering as we begin with the economic ones. The revenue splitThe current CBA provides that the players' share of revenue average at least 47% of all league revenue over the 10-year life of the deal. It is here that the NFLPA takes some of its most significant criticism over the 2011 deal because the main top-line success of the owners' lockout strategy was to reduce the players' share from where it was in the 2006 deal. In that deal, players got 60% of league revenue, but the NFLPA would point out that this is not an apples-to-apples comparison because under the previous agreement, the players got a share of net revenue (meaning after the owners took money off the top), while the current one grants the players a share of the gross revenue and gives the players more say in how much the owners take off the top, when and for what purpose. Regardless, you can expect the players' side to push for an increase in the players' share of gross revenue in the next deal. This is as simple a principle as you're likely to encounter in the coverage of the negotiations. The players would like to get more of the money the league generates, and the owners would like to keep it the way it is.The takeaway: Odds are there will be some (or several) financial concessions made on one side or the other that affect the final resolution here, and one of the biggest from the owners' side is the one we'll deal with in the next section. Stadium creditsHistorically, the CBA has provided NFL owners the ability to take money off the top of the revenue pile, before splitting it with players, to use for new stadium construction or stadium renovations. The owners effectively ran out of that money during the first half of the current deal; at this point, they would be unable to take out more stadium credits without pushing the players' share of gross revenue under 47%, which isn't allowed. This is seen by many connected with the talks as the main reason the owners are interested in doing a new deal as soon as possible -- they need money to help with stadium projects in places such as Buffalo, Cleveland, Jacksonville, Carolina, Washington and even Los Angeles, where Rams owner Stan Kroenke would likely enjoy a bit of league-sponsored help with his project. If stadium credits are, indeed, the owners' main motivation for doing a deal soon, then they are the fulcrum for most, if not all, of the economic issues in this eventual agreement. The NFLPA will be open to the idea of fresh stadium credits, but it will also want to establish a price for them. Just to throw out some random numbers: If, for example, the owners upped the players' revenue share to 53% but were allowed to use as much as 3% for stadium credits, that would get the players' minimum revenue share up to 50% and likely would be a palatable deal for them. Apart from the raw numbers, it'll be important to remember that the players probably won't want to give back on some of the controls the 2011 deal established on the owners' ability to take out money for stadium costs. The current stadium credit rules require the owners to earmark the money for specific uses and show a minimum return on the investment. Union executive director DeMaurice Smith suggested in an interview with ESPN last summer that the players could seek, if the owners want to take stadium costs out of the players' end, to have a say in where and how those stadiums are built. That might be far-fetched, but it goes to show how the players feel about the stadium credit issue: They know it's important to the owners and think it's ground on which they might be able to secure other financial concessions.The takeaway: The extent to which the owners are willing to concede on other issues will tell you how important the stadium credit issue is to them. The feeling is that it's paramount. The players likely will agree to a new round of stadium credits, but in return, they should be able to make gains on other issues such as those outlined below.The franchise tag, fifth-year option and fully funded ruleThe surprisingly commonly held notion that the players could somehow secure fully guaranteed contracts as a condition of the next CBA is rooted in fantasy. Nothing in the NFL's CBA prohibits fully guaranteed deals, just as nothing in the CBAs for the NBA or MLB requires them. Fully guaranteed deals became the accepted norm in those sports because, over time, players and agents insisted that they would not sign without them.To this point, the only veteran NFL player who has secured a fully guaranteed deal is Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins. Quarterbacks such as Aaron Rodgers and Russell Wilson, who have negotiated extensions since, have declined to push the issue far enough to secure full guarantees, and until such players do, it's hard to imagine NFL deals looking anything like those in the NBA or MLB anytime soon.That said, the NFLPA this offseason has sought and received feedback from players and agents on possible changes to the game's economic structure that could help them negotiate more favorable deals. The salary cap itself is the biggest restriction on player earning power, but the players don't believe the owners will consider a conversation about eliminating that, so the attention turns to other salary-restricting mechanisms such as the franchise tag, the fifth-year option on first-round rookie contracts and the league's antiquated "fully funded rule."Of those three, the fully funded rule is probably the one the players would have the best chance to completely eliminate because there's no modern reason for it to exist. The rule requires teams to hold in escrow any portion of a player's contract that is fully guaranteed. For instance, when Cousins signed a three-year, $84 million contract that paid him $25.5 million in the first year, the Vikings had to deposit the remaining $58.5 million into an account to ensure that they'd be able to pay the guarantees.This rule is used by teams as a common excuse when they tell agents that they can't guarantee more money, but it's ridiculous. It's a holdover from four or five decades ago, when the league wasn't as financially healthy as it is now and there was a legitimate chance that teams might not be able to make their payrolls. Obviously, with league revenues hovering in the $15 billion-per-year range and teams being sold for more than $2 billion, this is no longer a concern, and as a result, players and agents would like to see the rule (and, therefore, the excuse) abolished.The owners like the franchise tag, which allows each of them to hold one player per year off the free-agent market, and aren't interested in making it go away. But the union could seek alterations to the way the tag is applied, the cost of applying it and other means of discouraging teams from leaning on it.Same with the fifth-year option, which allows teams to keep their first-round picks off the market (and delay the use of the franchise tag on them) for a year after their four-year rookie deals expire. Rookie compensation was a major priority for the owners 10 years ago, and as a result, the CBA includes a rookie wage scale that limits salaries at the top of the draft and the fifth-year option system that further delays the major payday for first-round picks. If you're looking for places where the players might seek financial concessions from the owners in exchange for something such as stadium credits, this is where they might find some solutions.The takeaway: The best way to combat the tyranny of the franchise tag would be to get the owners to agree to shorten the length of rookie contracts and allow players to hit free agency sooner. (Patrick Mahomes wouldn't mind being franchised this year or next, for example, but in Year 6?) I don't think that will happen, but it wouldn't surprise me to see the fully funded rule abolished, the franchise tag position designations altered and the price of using it -- especially more than once -- to increase.An 18-game regular seasonThis seems like it was legislated (and discarded) years ago, but sources say it has indeed come up in some of the early discussions this time around. Some owners remain in favor of expanding the season from 16 games to 18, eliminating two preseason games in the process. At this point, the issue remains a nonstarter for the players, whose research tells them that an 18-game season would reduce the average career length from 3.4 years to 2.8 (no small drop-off, given that three years is the point at which players become vested in post-career pension and benefits plans) and would add only about $10 million in revenue per team per season. But we add this here as an example of a fringe issue that could, conceivably, come into play if something unforeseen were to change. There's a price for everything, right? If the owners wanted an 18-game season badly enough to offer players, say, 70% of the revenue pot, the players would have to listen. But it's extremely unlikely that the sides find common ground on this issue.The takeaway: No chance this happens.Lifetime health care for players and their familiesThis is a perfect example of an issue that seems easier than it is. The concept of lifetime health care is one that every player would support in theory, and some have already been vocal about their support. But there are a couple of issues that make it an unlikely goal. First of all, a lifetime health care policy would not cover workplace injuries, which would be the primary reason a former NFL player would need health care. If you need a knee replacement at age 45 for an injury you suffered playing football when you were 30, that's going to require a successful workers' compensation claim. The NFLPA routinely encourages players to file workers' comp claims on any injury they suffer, minor or major. But many players don't file, in part because of fear that the team (as many employers do, across many industries) would contest it. Every NFL team gets a salary-cap credit out of the overall revenue pool to cover its workers' comp insurance, but the problem is every team gets the same amount, despite the fact that the laws governing workers' comp claims differ from state to state. While the credits the teams get ostensibly make it easier for players to collect on these claims, in practice it doesn't work that way. Let's simplify and say, for example, that the Browns and Bengals pay $1 million a year in workers' comp insurance because the workers' comp laws in Ohio are more favorable to employers, but the 49ers, Raiders, Chargers and Rams pay $4 million a year in workers' comp insurance because the laws in California are more favorable to workers. This means the credit, which is a flat number, doesn't help the California teams as much as it helps the Ohio teams, making the California teams more likely to contest a claim. During the 2011 CBA negotiations, the NFLPA proposed a new system that would allocate the workers' comp credits proportionally, instead of as a flat rate, which means the teams with higher insurance costs would get more than the teams with lower insurance costs. But the measure failed because (surprise!) the teams in states with lower insurance costs wouldn't approve it. Then things got really ugly, as teams in California, Louisiana and other places lobbied legislatures to pass laws that would make it difficult for pro athletes to qualify for workers' comp. You might remember Drew Brees lending his name to the opposition to such a law in Louisiana. Even if players could secure "lifetime health care" for themselves and their dependents, that wouldn't solve their biggest problem, which is care for health issues resulting from workplace injuries. What the union tells its members at this point is that the Affordable Care Act has made it far easier for people with preexisting conditions to obtain health care, so it pushes former players toward the ACA as a solution to this problem. As for non-injury lifetime health care, the NFLPA says it did the research into the potential cost and found it prohibitive. One NFLPA source said the union went to "four or five" different major health care providers, and only one of them was willing to do the actuarial work and offer an estimate. The estimated cost of lifetime health care for players and their families was between $1.5 billion and $2 billion per year. Carving that amount out of the players' share of revenue under the current CBA, the union estimates that the players' share would effectively drop from its level of about 47% to about 43%. That's a heavy cost at a time when the players are interesting in increasing their proportional share of league revenues. Would it be worth it? Probably not. If the union's research into former players is accurate, the majority of former NFL players will end up finding another job and getting health care through that. The current CBA offers players and their families five years of post-career health care designed as a bridge to that theoretical next job, and the NFLPA says it encourages those who don't find post-career employment to sign up for health care under the ACA. The upshot on lifetime health care as a CBA issue is that it sounds great, but when push comes to shove, it might not end up being worth the cost. The takeaway: It doesn't sound like the NFLPA thinks this is a place it needs to push. Don't expect this to happen.The drug policyThis is one of the non-economic issues on which there should be some optimism for significant change. The recent joint announcement by the NFL and NFLPA about new mental health programs indicate that the two sides are working together on issues regarding players' long-term health and well-being, and potential changes to the drug policy could continue to demonstrate that. Take, for example, marijuana. There seems to be strong feeling on both sides that the current punishments on the CBA books for marijuana violations are extreme and outdated, and some on the owners' side have even suggested eliminating marijuana testing altogether. The two sides are exploring the best way to address this issue, including adopting something like the NHL model, which tests players for marijuana but does not punish them for using it. The idea there would be to use the marijuana testing as a diagnostic tool to identify players who might be using the drug to mask an injury or deal with some off-field issue with which they could use more help (perhaps under the new mental health initiatives). Again, it's important to remember that it's unlikely that the players would accept an owner concession on a non-economic issue such as marijuana in exchange for a financial concession. But part of these talks will involve improvements to the league's drug policy, and it appears that both sides are willing to discuss ways to make it better.The takeaway: Expect the penalty for marijuana use to be significantly smaller, if not completely eliminated, under the new deal.Commissioner's discipline power There have been complaints from players for years over the fact that commissioner Roger Goodell has complete control over player discipline, and those complaints have grown more intense since the league established the personal conduct policy in 2014 without a collective-bargaining negotiation with the union. It's unlikely that the players can get the league to scrap that personal conduct policy and replace it with a collectively bargained one as part of this agreement, but some people close to the talks believe that Goodell is at least willing to engage in a discussion with the union about neutral arbitration for discipline matters. Again, everything has a price, and if the NFLPA is willing to concede something on an issue of importance to the owners, it's possible that this agreement could see a change to the way discipline is administered.The takeaway: Historically, the union hasn't made this a high-priority item because a very small percentage of players run into discipline issues at some point in their careers, and the union would rather fight on issues that affect all players. But because of the high profile of some of these cases -- and the belief among players that if Tom Brady could get burned by this system, anyone can -- it's an issue on which I expect the NFLPA to seek a change. I also think they can get one -- again, depending on the cost in terms of concessions. I never understood why Goodell wanted to do that part of the job anyway, and I wouldn't blame him if he were tired of it.Player health and safety The players' big victory in the most recent CBA was securing a reduction in offseason work requirements, significantly reducing the amount of time they are required to be at the team facility. This has become a bone of contention with coaches and fans who complain about players exercising their rights to stay away when they don't have to be there, and owners have heard those complaints from their coaches. It's certainly possible that owners could seek, on behalf of their coaches, to roll back some of the gains the players made on this issue the last time. But considering the financial significance of some of the other issues, it's hard to imagine them fighting that hard for it. It's even harder to imagine the players giving back on the gains they made in this area. Some have floated the idea of relaxing rules that limit contact between coaches and first-year players, and it's possible you could see some tweaks such as that, but there aren't likely to be major rollbacks of offseason rules. Otherwise, the NFLPA will continue to press on issues that it has been pressing on during the agreement, such as the concussion protocol, holding teams accountable for violating the aforementioned offseason work rules and upholding standards on issues such as field conditions, which came into play this past season when the planned Mexico City game between the Chiefs and the Rams had to be moved to Los Angeles.The takeaway: Don't be surprised if the NFLPA pushes for -- and gets -- specific punishments established for teams that violate the concussion protocol and offseason workout rules. These issues have been amended via joint agreement during the life of the current deal, and they could end up being legislated officially in this one.Former player benefitsThis is another area in which the NFLPA claims some degree of victory in the 2011 negotiations, as the CBA established a "Legacy Fund" to which team owners make contributions. The fund benefits more than 4,700 former players who were vested in the league's pension program prior to 1993. Sources on the NFLPA end of the talks say they expect to try to build on that and push for further improvements to former player benefits in the next deal.The takeaway: If the owners were willing to contribute here last time, there's no reason they won't be again. This is an issue on which both sides can come out looking good.
  11. Today
  12. Wish I could find more info/scouting notes on Pittman at the Senior Bowl. He is not flashing as much as the other WRs? Same for Chase Claypool.
  13. Photo by John Crouch/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images Neglection of the team is felt by fans, not organization “Pathei-mathos”, once said the Greek father of tragedy, Aeschylus. πάθει μάθος, as it reads in the ancient Greek, is translated loosely to “through suffering comes learning”. Suffering. There it is. The word muttered by Darcy Regier back in 2013 that has turned the former Buffalo Sabres general manager into somewhat of a prophet. There certainly has been plenty of suffering, so when comes the learning? Allow me to illustrate what is contributing to the agony. The team’s play, to initiate, has been lackluster. The already-condensed front office and hockey operations departments have lacked continuity. The team’s arena is outdated, and the game-day atmosphere is a yawn. Fan giveaways seem cheap and thoughtless and, in the latest edition of anguish, the team’s 50th year seems to have become more of a folly than a celebration. The whole thing seems as though it is an afterthought, and, quite honestly, it is. When your NHL franchise’s owners also own the big-ticket, an NFL team, it is an inevitable foregone conclusion to become second-rate in their minds. However, that does not excuse the Pegulas for letting the franchise become second-rate in its own league. So where does the learning come in? Listen to local radio callers, open twitter, or strike up a conversation about the Buffalo hockey team at your nearest Western New York watering hole. The true sufferers have learned. It’s time for the organization to catch up. Have the players suffered? A bit, surely, as poor team performance isn’t easy to swallow. Yet it is their job. They get paid to show up each day. Same goes for the coaching staff, the general manager, and the rest of the organization. They aren’t the real sufferers. The true pain has been constantly jolted into fans, day after day, for nearly seven years since Darcy became clairvoyant. Will the team’s play ever pick up? Perhaps, but they are currently 10 points out of a playoff spot. Playoff races, let alone a spot in the dance, have been absent since the last lockout. Jason Botterill has made some good decisions, but has displayed plenty of flaws. Ralph Krueger’s done well in some areas, and has been a punching-bag in others. Feel free to substitute those names also with Phil Housley, Tim Murray, Dan Bylsma, and Ted Nolan. It’s a revolving door. With the wheels spinning on ice, you’d think the team would look to the rest of the league in order to steer the ship on the right track. However, in a time where teams are bulking-up their brain-trust around their general manager, the Pegulas have left theirs on an island. There hasn’t been an experienced “President of Hockey Operations” to guide first-time GMs Botterill and Murray, even if you count Pat Lafontaine’s infamous wash up on shore. Not even at least a special advisor to serve as a mentor and provide input and, on top of that, the analytics department consists of a whopping total of one person. Most importantly, not one person to recognize what the fans have learned, which is these league trends. Even putting hockey operations aside, the Sabres’ last two people named President of the team, Russ Brandon and current President Kim Pegula, have held the same title at the same time with the Buffalo Bills. So not only did they lack extensive NHL experience and knowledge, but also had a bigger focus in another league. Deny all you want about the Sabres being postscript, but it is clearly obvious that the team does not get the full attention it deserves. How is that fair to the fans? What happened to “Hockey Heaven”? Well, its not at KeyBank Center. For a guy vowing to exploit every resource, one can sure wish Terry Pegula will go drill another oil well for some arena renovations. Some new seats in the lower bowl doesn’t seem like much to ask, considering. Places like Nashville and Vegas provide a unique and attractive game-day experience, and in Buffalo you can hear a guy whistling for a penalty while DJ Milk is encouraging the same kid to floss on the videoboard for the fifth consecutive commercial break. Every game is the same, and the team on the ice certainly isn’t providing the desired entertainment value. Again, the fans have learned this. Even what has potential to be a cool, unique moment for fans has fell very flat. Fan appreciation giveaways consisting of tuxedo koozies and cheap sunglasses are unlikely to sit on display at home. A year that seemed promising to be a ride of nostalgia, instead has become more like bumper cars. Not only was 90s night cast an immediate shadow by their big brother’s playoff game, but the day faltered in fulfilling fans’ desires. Black and red jerseys were not donned by the players for reasons unexplicable, and the ones worn by alumni were knockoffs I could’ve purchased for $20 from an overseas distributor. Even alumni handed the classic blue and gold jerseys had their names spelled wrong on them. This list included Mike Robitaille, a former Sabres employee, and Dave Andreychuk, the NHL’s all-time leader in power-play goals. If fans noticed, surely the alumni took note as well. So how didn’t the organization see what we all did? And yet, the fans crave a turnaround. The gates are flush at home games for a lukewarm team, and visiting venues host plenty of blue and gold apparel wearers. Cheers and standing applause arise during “Let Me Clear My Throat”, even though the song represents some of the worst records in team history. Daily arguments occur amongst the faithful on how to improve a team that should’ve lost significantly more engagement than it has, and monetary investment in the team continues despite rising prices. There’s support despite the dwindling hope, and because of that, the Pegulas may never truly experience the suffering that the fans have. Pathei-mathos. Through suffering comes learning. The fans have suffered, and in doing so have learned what is desired. So how can the Sabres organization get on the same page as its fanbase? As 21st century forecaster Darcy Regier once said, “it may require some suffering”. View the full article
  14. Nope. Talking about you, bucko. Hope that clears up any confusion on your part.
  15. Mitch > Pelosi. Enough said. Washington Fucking Post. What a joke. Worst, most slanted and partisan editorial EVER. Embarrassing for dumbass Joe.
  16. Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports Sean Murphy joins the show to chat free-agent RB options for Buffalo In this week’s episode of Breaking Buffalo Rumblings, the conversation is focused on some free-agent running backs the Buffalo Bills could consider this offseason. Sean Murphy joined the show to discuss his recent article, and some of the popular names in free agency. Give the most recent podcast a listen to hear what we have to say about Matt Breida, Melvin Gordon, Adrian Peterson and others who will likely hit the open market in March. Be sure to share your comments below on the free agents you want Brandon Beane to pursue, and any that you prefer the team stay away from. Thank you for listening to Breaking Buffalo Rumblings and go Bills! Editor’s note: If you’re viewing this article on Apple News, the embedded audio will be removed. Click through to the site in your browser or listen on iTunes. Subscribe to the Buffalo Rumblings podcast channel featuring Billieve, Blitzed Bills, Buffalo Rumblings Q&A, Breaking Buffalo Rumblings, Mafia Mavens, Circling the Wagons, and the Nick and Nolan Show: Apple Podcasts | Stitcher | Google Play | Spotify | Podbean | iHeartRadio | TuneIn | Megaphone View the full article
  17. Mitch McConnell, before the trial: "I'm not an impartial juror" and "Everything I do during this, I'm coordinating with the White House counsel. There will be no difference between the president's position and our position as to how to handle this. I'm going to take my cues from the president's lawyers." Mitch McConnell, at the start of the trial: "I solemnly swear that in all things appertaining to the trial of the impeachment of Donald John Trump, now pending, I will do impartial justice according to the Constitution and laws, so help me God." The above is clear evidence that McConnell was lying when he recited his oath to do impartial justice. In light of this, why hasn't he recused himself? It seems to me that this is something that everybody, no matter what their political persuasion is, should find disgusting and deeply disturbing. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Mitch McConnell Has Failed the Republican Party World War II began with the Nazi invasion of Poland on Sept. 1, 1939. Two days later, the governments of Britain and France honored their diplomatic vows to Warsaw by declaring war on Adolf Hitler’s invading armies. As historian Jean Edward Smith noted in “The Liberation of Paris,” the French people were less than impressed by their government’s gallant response. The political right in that country admired Hitler while the left remained unwavering pacifists throughout the war’s early stages. Smith observed that Parisians so willingly “opened the gates of Paris to the German army” that the occupation proved to be “embarrassingly simple.” Over the next four years, cultural life in the French capital flourished, with classical music, art exhibits and filmmaking thriving to such a degree that philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre would later say of that time, “We put up with it very well.” By 1943, more than 80,000 French women who bore children to German soldiers had claimed benefits from the Third Reich; fashion icon Coco Chanel was a shameless collaborator throughout the war; and the leading French film actress of the day brazenly declared, “My heart is French but my [body] is international.” It was not until Allied forces invaded Sicily and Soviet troops began surging westward that many Parisians began to grow weary of the occupation. While such cynicism in the face of evil seems unthinkable eight decades later, it is worth remembering that France suffered more than 5 million killed and wounded during World War I. Over half of all Frenchmen mobilized for battle became casualties, and almost 4 of 10 soldiers between 19 and 22 were killed in action. The “war to end all wars” laid waste to an entire generation and fueled the cynicism that Ernest Hemingway described a decade later in “A Farewell to Arms.” “Abstract words such as glory, honour, courage” were now considered “obscene,” wrote Hemingway. For Parisians exhausted by such epic loss, a speedy surrender to Hitler’s war machine seemed the only viable option. Thankfully, fate and two oceans have protected Americans from such existential threats that could have left our own nation’s survival teetering in the balance. Today, a wealthy and increasingly isolated United States is enjoying a decade-long economic recovery, a booming stock market and low unemployment rates managed by both Democratic and Republican administrations. Crime has been declining for years, abortion rates continue to fall and capitalism has driven global poverty to record lows. Despite all this, elected leaders in Washington cower in corners, not in fear of invading armies, but of nasty tweets and negative commentary. It brings to mind Henry Kissinger’s dry observation that university politics are so vicious because the stakes are so small. Observing the behavior of Republican senators during President Trump’s impeachment has shown just how craven the Party of Lincoln has become. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) declared that “I’m not an impartial juror” before solemnly swearing to do “impartial justice.” Senate Judiciary Chairman Lindsey O. Graham (S.C.) once declared Trump unfit for office, called for his exclusion from the Republican Party and tweeted that the best way to make America great again was to “Tell Donald Trump to go to hell.” But after Trump’s election, Graham quickly fell in line and has likewise stated that “I’m not trying to pretend to be a fair juror here.” He also bragged that he would do everything in his power to make the impeachment proceedings “die quickly” and compared them to a “lynching.” While Senate leaders bring shame to themselves daily, most GOP senators are desperate to avoid votes that might require the smallest bit of political courage. But what do they have to fear? Far from facing an existential crisis, these politicians are fretting over votes that would be supported by an overwhelming number of citizens. Almost 7 in 10 Americans want the Senate to call more witnesses. Fifty-eight percent believe Trump abused the power of the presidency, and almost as many say he obstructed the investigation into his impeachment trial. A majority also believe the 45th president should be removed from office. The fecklessness of these Trump apparatchiks lies in stark contrast to the courage of past Republicans who brought down Sen. Joseph McCarthy (R-Wis.)and then President Richard Nixon. Even the fledging French Resistance eventually rose up to save Paris from Hitler’s wrath. In his book, Smith recounts the incredible story of a Nazi general who risked his family’s life by conspiring with Gen. Dwight Eisenhower and the French underground to save the City of Lights. Such heroism is neither expected nor required of Republican senators sitting through Trump’s impeachment proceedings. All America demands is a fair trial, an impartial jury and the calling of relevant witnesses. If McConnell can’t deliver on those aspirational values, then his heart may be American but his political soul belongs to a bombastic, intemperate buffoon. Who shall we now look to for the liberation of the Republican Party? https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2020/01/22/mitch-mcconnell-has-failed-republican-party/
  18. Fascist or Democratic Socialist? It’s an easy choice: Bernie
  19. To me, and I've said this for years, this song is the soundtrack of the 60's. Every great movie based in that decade has this song in it. Forrest Gump. Watchmen (Best Superhero move ever). A Bronx Tale. Probably a few more I can't think of off-hand
  20. Idiot, the point is that EVERY SINGLE THREAD, except ONE, you had the last post on. EVERY.SINGLE.THREAD
  21. I'm gonna change my user named to ADMIN to see if he starts to love me with all of heart and soul
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