Happy Friday! I'm very pleased to report that my dentist appointment went relatively well yesterday, though I think the tooth doctor may have known I was lying about flossing every day as I was spitting out mouthfuls of blood. No cavities, so we'll call it a win.
Hope you're not too bummed about our first post-NFL weekend coming up but, in case you are, we're gonna talk about how much fun this offseason could be in terms of QB movement so buckle up for that. We've also got to touch on a controversial hire by Urban Meyer, a check-in with the NHL and rumors swirling around a possible big Mets splash.
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I'll be back here with you on Monday, but if you want to stay in touch over the weekend, you'll be able to find me streaming some intense marble races on Twitch tonight and probably listening to the new version of Taylor Swift's "Love Story" on repeat. Just your typical wild weekend, no big deal.
Let's get to the party before the party, shall we?
📰 What you need to know
1.The best offseason options for QB-needy teams 🏈
Is it just me or does it feel like we're on the precipice of an absolutely bonkers NFL offseason filled with quarterback shuffling? We've already had a massive blockbuster QB trade (Stafford-for-Goff) and there are rumors surrounding Aaron Rodgers, Deshaun Watson, Russell Wilson, Carson Wentz and more -- and that's not even mentioning the incoming crop of QBs expected to be taken in the first few days of the NFL Draft, including Trevor Lawrence.
Because of the potentially high amount of activity on the quarterback market this offseason, it seems like almost every team could be in the market to make a play for an upgrade under center.
- The Panthers, Colts, Patriots and Washington were all rumored to have made an aggressive play for Stafford so it stands to reason they'll be active in pursuing other options
- The Bears are likely to move on from Mitch Trubisky and/or Nick Foles and they've been closely linked to Wentz
- The Jaguars will likely trade Gardner Minshew as they prepare for the Trevor Lawrence era
- The Patriots are in the market for a new QB after the Cam Newton experiment failed, but Stafford outright rejecting the idea of going to New England could be a bad sign regarding the Pats' mystique
- Washington may not be able to make a strong QB play in the draft at No. 19, but they could swoop in on post-draft scraps like Sam Darnold
I thought it might be a while before we saw an offseason quarterback carousel as crazy as the one we had last year, but here we are 12 months later talking about the possibility of an even more wild ride. At this point I just hope that all the hype and speculation doesn't completely fall flat and lead to minimal excitement. We could use the thrill, so let's get this baby cookin' already.
2. Urban Meyer defends controversial hire in Chris Doyle 🏈
Well, Urban Meyer has been employed as head coach of the Jacksonville Jaguars for less than a month and he's already causing a stir -- and not necessarily in the way Jags fans would prefer. Yesterday, Meyer finalized his coaching staff and made a controversial hire when he named Chris Doyle as the Jags' new director of sports performance.
- Doyle left the Iowa Hawkeyes football program in 2020 after multiple former Iowa players said he made racist comments and belittled/bullied players based on race
- Doyle spent 20 years at Iowa and was the highest-paid strength and conditioning coach in the sport prior to his exit
- This is Doyle's first job since leaving Iowa
- Meyer released a statement defending the hire: "I've known Chris for close to 20 years. Our relationship goes back to when I was at Utah, and he was the No. 1 strength coach. He was doing sports performance before sports performance became a high priority in college sports. I've known him. I've studied him. We've had a relationship. I vetted him thoroughly, along with our general manager [Trent Baalke] and owner [Shad Khan]. Feel great about the hire, about his expertise at that position. So we vetted him thoroughly."
On the surface, it's a questionable decision by Meyer to bring in someone with those allegations attached to him, especially when the Jaguars are trying to shed a toxic culture that has plagued the organization in recent years. It's also interesting because you'd think that Meyer would be extremely careful with who he puts around him following the controversy involving assistant coach Zach Smith, who was accused of domestic violence, that led to Meyer being suspended at Ohio State.
Jags fans better hope this one doesn't backfire.
3. Latest NHL Power Rankings 🏒
We're now about a month into a bizarre NHL season that isn't quite going as smoothly as anyone would have hoped, but we're at least starting to get an idea of which teams might be for real and which ones could just be pulling some early season trickery on us.
I've been doing weekly NHL Power Rankings this season and my latest installment came out yesterday. In the spirit of Valentine's Day, which is Sunday (DON'T FORGET OR YOU'LL BE IN THE DOGHOUSE!!), this week's set of NHL Power Rankings will explore and celebrate the things that are easy to love about the league's 31 teams.
I picked the most lovable quality from each team and had some fun with it ... here's the top 10:
- Lightning - The depth
- Golden Knights - Their 200-foot game
- Maple Leafs - The finishing power
- Canadiens - They're living up to the hype
- Bruins - That top line
- Avalanche - Their top-end talent
- Hurricanes - The five-on-five numbers
- Panthers - The defensive play
- Stars - Joe Pavelski's contributions
- Capitals - Their ability to weather the storm
As you might imagine, some teams have made it very easy to love them. Others? Well, you might notice we had a tougher time finding where to direct the heart-eyes toward. But everyone deserves some love in 2021, even the Ottawa Senators. Maybe.
4. Mets still not done making moves? ⚾
We're crazy close to the start of Spring Training, but there still might be some craziness left in this wacky offseason. Things have picked up steam on the player acquisition market in recent weeks and it sounds like the New York Mets might still have a big move or two up their sleeves.
The Mets narrowly missed out on the Trevor Bauer sweepstakes, so it's very possible that they now are looking elsewhere to make a splash. Could the Mets make a play for Kris Bryant? It seems like there's interest there.
- The Mets and Cubs reportedly stopped discussing a Bryant trade in early January, but have since resumed those discussions
- There's nothing imminent, but given the Mets' previous interest in George Springer and DJ LeMahieu (and Bryant) it makes a lot of sense
- Bryant is coming off a disappointing 2020 season but has averaged 31 home runs per 162 games across six major league seasons. He has three All-Star appearances and won the 2016 NL MVP award
- Bryant is third-year arbitration eligible for 2021, which means he's due for a substantial raise over his non-prorated 2020 salary of $18.6 million and is set to become a free agent after this season
Personally? I'm willing to bet the Mets do something significant before the start of the season. Steve Cohen wants to start his tenure off with a major bang and he'd probably love to deflect attention from that whole GameStop bailout thing.
📝 Odds & Ends
- The Australian Open won't have fans in attendance over the next five days as Melbourne enters a COVID-19 lockdown
- The Vegas Golden Knights debuted some ridiculous chrome gold helmets last night and sent NHL Twitter into a frenzy
- The Raiders are reportedly planning on releasing leading WR Tyrell Williams at the start of the new league year
📺 What to watch this weekend
🏀 Pelicans vs. Mavericks, 7:30 p.m. | DAL -2.5 | TV: ESPN
🏒 Canadiens vs. Maple Leafs, 7 p.m. | TOR -124 | TV: NHL Network
🏀 Lakers vs. Nuggets, 10 p.m. | TV: ESPN
🥇 The best thing I saw yesterday
Warriors forward Juan Toscano-Anderson had one of the best (and cockiest) pre-shot celebrations I've ever seen after delivering a great pass to Steph Curry. Luckily, Curry drilled the shot and his bet paid off.