Friday, 7/28 Quick Hitters: The Cardinals’ New Secret Weapon?

Which is worth more: the amount you’re paying for this column or Brandon Knight’s current trade value?

Answer: They’re both the same…ZERO!

-While that may have been a lousy joke, sadly the statement above is true. Knight is likely done for the 2017-18 season with a torn ACL suffered in a Miami Beach pick-up game last week. I would be very surprised if you ever see him in a Suns uniform again.

-But hey, at least the Suns have a shot at LeBron James next offseason (250-1 odds per BetOnline.ag)!

-An underrated signing to keep an eye on for Cardinals fans this season: Kicker Phil Dawson. Chandler Catanzaro was serviceable for Arizona the last three seasons but missed a staggering 10 field goals and 9 extra points combined in 2015-16. Dawson, despite being 42 years old and in his 19th NFL season, is about as reliable as they come. He’s only missed TEN extra points in his entire career and continues to make field goals at an 85%+ clip. Good move by Cardinals’ management here.

NFL: San Francisco 49ers at New York Giants

-Sorry Cards fans, I’m setting the over/under on Carson Palmer’s regular season starts at 10.5. And that might be a bit high. Good luck with Drew Stanton and / or Blaine Gabbert.

-Can we all please acknowledge how awesome it is to be talking about real-live football again with all teams / players reporting to training champ this week / weekend?!

-Poor Arizona coach Rich Rodriguez…he sounds like a dead coach walking. Here are some of his quips from Wednesday’s Pac-12 Media Day:
“It’s going to be tough if we don’t get all the right things in place.”
“We think we have the best walk-on program in the country.”
“That was a mistake (in not recruiting Texas until now).”
“It’s not easy to recruit to Arizona.”
“If you’re not at the brand name schools, you get a masters in learning how to deal with rejection.”

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-I like RichRod…I really do…but his lack of recruiting success / prowess and his inability to field a halfway decent defense is pathetic. Six or more wins this year or it’s time for him to take his talents elsewhere.

-But we’ll always have 2016’s 56-35 drubbing with the Wildcats scoring 28 points despite not attempting a pass in the 2nd half against ASU!

-Honestly I commend ASU Athletic Director Ray Anderson for allowing Todd Graham to board the team bus back to Tempe after that game. If I were in his position, I would’ve made Graham take an Uber and sign his walking papers at the same time.

-Who are you taking in the ASU QB derby? A former 5* prospect (Blake Barnett) who transferred from Alabama? Or a QB who threw for 12 TDs and 9 INTs in an injury-plagued 2016 season (Manny Wilkins)?

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Source: Sports360AZ.com

-If the answer isn’t Barnett, you’re either related-to or good friends with Wilkins. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Manny transfer when the highly-touted Barnett wins the job.

-Reminder: you can find my 2017 Pac-12 predictions (from Wednesday) HERE.

-How ’bout them Cubbies!? 11-2 since the All-Star break! It only took them two weeks to get a stranglehold on first place in the NL Central after I pronounced their season dead. I guess the reverse-EC jinx is alive and real.

-Zack Godley: the D-Backs 2017 unsung hero. What a performance in St. Louis last night!

-Come on D-Backs management, please don’t blow a chance to host the NL Wild Card game in October. The Rockies are 1.5 games back and just acquired a necessary bullpen arm in the Phillies’ Pat Neshek. J.D. Martinez was a fine acquisition for the outfield but it’s time to add to the pitching.

justin-wilson-mlb-cleveland-indians-detroit-tigers-850x560
Tigers lefty reliever Justin Wilson would be a crucial addition to the D-Backs late inning relievers.

-Fortunately first-year GM Mike Hazen can’t do worse than his predecessors, Kevin Towers and Dave Stewart, who traded prized young talent for…well, not much that is helping the big league club at this point.

Final Thought: A New York Times article this week announced that of the 111 deceased football players’ brains studied by renowned neuropathologist, Dr. Ann McKee, 110 tested positive for CTE. And this surprises just who? You? Definitely not me. We’ve always known that football was a violent and dangerous sport.

The risks of playing tackle football are many, so much so that I’m not sure that I’d want my future kid(s) participating in anything other than flag football. Those who are fortunate enough to play in the pros are well-compensated for the beatings they take week-in, week-out. Those who don’t make it to pro ball usually play football out of pure love for the game.

Hypothetically, if I told you that you would be a multi-millionaire starting in your early 20s but that you would have significant cognitive issues later in life, would you choose that lifestyle? I’m guessing the results would be around 50/50; money is king after all.

Regardless of these findings, I don’t love football any less. Fall is my favorite time of year and likely always will be the highlight of my annual sports calendar. While I hope that continued safety precautions, especially with helmets, evolve going forward, it’s apparent now that participants know the full extent of the risks. 

So let’s spend less time with examples of what happens to a football brain and more time trying to figure out how to prevent further damage on the field.

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To read previous entries of my blog, click here. Also make sure to follow me on Twitter @eacohen83.

2 thoughts on “Friday, 7/28 Quick Hitters: The Cardinals’ New Secret Weapon?

  1. Okay Eric, CTE is a life altering trauma not necessarily brought on by the player but by the circumstances. Does the kid put in pee wee football have a choice? No. He is inculcated into the life of football. Does the kid raised in poverty have a choice? Not really. He sees football (if that’s the sport he excels in) as the only way to get his family out of the hood, ghetto, barrio, etc. The pressure on these kids to excel is immense. They will pay for it with their lives leaving a wake of depression and destruction in their path. CTE is a huge deal. We, the American public love our gladiators so don’t take it as seriously and look at our athletes on the field as expendable. Don’t get me wrong, I love football and will watch it when it’s on. It’s the culture of the expendability of our athletes I take umbrage with.

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    1. Well said, Dario. You make excellent points. My point in this column is that the risks of playing the sport are well-known now and hopefully we can find solutions other than “don’t play football.”

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