Writing for TheFanDC.com, I have receive many emails. Most of them are an extension of the comment section — insults, threats, baseless defenses of RG3, grammatical atrocities, etc.
But every now and then a message comes through with a great question or comment and those folks deserve recognition. Accordingly, this is your Cannon Fodder Mailbag. And if you have a question for a future mailbag, please submit it to Cannon1067@gmail.com
Which NFL rule change for the 2016 season is the dumbest? – Brett, MoCo
NFL ownership approved of nine rules changes for the league this Wednesday. A few of them were passed under the guise of protecting player safety, but nearly all of the changes are shortsighted and self-serving. Moving touchbacks to the 25-yard line is moronic and will actually lead to more kick returns (the one thing the rule intends to discourage). Eliminating all chop blocks sounds reasonably, but it will be enforced unevenly and give the refs another call to botch. The Chris Webber penalty for a delay of game for calling a timeout when you don’t have a timeout penalty is cute, but it should have been a rule two decades ago.
As stupid as any of the other eight new rules may be, none compare to new “ejection for two personal fouls” rule. The FIFA-fication of the NFL continues with the addition of what amounts to a red card for football. Rather than focusing on figuring out what a catch is, the league decided that it was more important to uphold the game’s prestigious reputation by ejecting players if they commit two personal fouls, regardless of circumstance. The NFL was so embarrassed by the in-game battle between Odell Beckham and Josh Norman this past season that they vowed to never let it happen again — if they went after CTE research or domestic abusers with this tenacity, the league might actually have a bright future.
Not all personal fouls count toward the ejection rule, but many of the fouls that do are subjective and non-reviewable. If a player roughs the passer or hits a defenseless receiver early in a game, they must play the rest of the game with the fear that the next hit they make could be their last of the day. Combine that with an opponent who will be motivated to instigate a penalized player for the rest of the game and you can expect all the soap opera drama of a soccer match.
D.C. is getting an Arena Football League team, what should they be named? – Chip, Severna Park
The current list of teams in the AFL are as follows: Arizona Cage Rattlers, Cleveland Gladiators, LA KISS, Portland Stripperpole Steel, Jacksonville Loan Sharks, Orlando Sensual Predators, Philadelphia Soul Patches, and Tampa Bay $&%# Storm — the bar couldn’t be lower and the league couldn’t be creepier. The Washington Post recently proposed some viable team names, but I say the more provocative the team name the better. Here are a few options for Mr. Leonsis and his Monumental Sports group:
Washington Walls – As presidential candidate, and freakish mouth-like eye man, Donald Trump would say, “The Wall is gonna be yuuuggge.” The Great Walls of Chinatown, these headlines write themselves. What, you don’t like Walls? Well, the team just got ten feet higher (made possible by D.C. marijuana laws).
Washington Dragons – they play in Chinatown, embrace the surrounding culture. Instead of introducing the team individually, they could cut the lights and then appear on the field at once like the Terracotta Army. I want this thing to go full WWE — hijinks and hoopla at every turn. Games can be scripted for all I care; the NFL is halfway there already. I want to see more pyrotechnics at my AFL games than a Metallica concert, and naming the team Dragons is the perfect excuse to blow half our budget on flamethrowers.
Washington Pandas – Perhaps too adorable, but Bradley Beal supports this one and who doesn’t love pandas?
Washington Mumbo Sauce – Cue the Chuck Brown soundtrack, pour mumbo sauce on all concessions, and make the AFL experience feel like a backyard BBQ in D.C. I want to hear Overnight Scenario after every touchdown.
Washington Memes – We could go with the Washington Crying Jordans to honor Michael’s dismal years in town, but we’d probably get sued by Nike. Let’s just go with the Memes (pronounced the Bryce Harper meh-may way) and leave the door open for countless options in the future.
Washington GOAT – I’d settle for Goats, because they are a vastly underrated animal, but then we lose use of the greatest-of-all-time acronym.
In reality, the team will probably be named something sterile and boring that fits Monumental Sports corporate profile like the Washington Colonels and the league will go bankrupt and disband by 2020.
The Caps are going to win the Presidents’ Trophy and are likely Stanley Cup favorites. In what round will they collapse this year? Or, is an Eastern Conference Finals a success since they haven’t been there since 1998? – Kevin, Rockville
The Caps have the most resilient fan base in the D.C. area, but I don’t think they can survive another early exit, not after the historic regular season the team has given us this year. This Capitals team must reach the Eastern Conference Finals or better.
Despite Stanley Cup expectations, advancing beyond the second round is something that the 2016-17 squad could build upon and the future would still seem hopeful. Losing in the first or second round again would be Groundhog Day for Caps fans, and not the good days where Bill Murray falls in love, I’m talking the punching Ned Ryerson and driving off a cliff days.
What will it take for Ovechkin to surpass Crosby on hockey’s totem pole?
One Cup — it’s that simple.
How many games will RG3 start for the Browns? – Doug, NC
I would have said zero before I saw the terms of Bob’s new contract. With that kind of coin riding on his resurrection, they have to give him an extended look. I’ll say that he plays in five games for the Browns this season, gets cut, signs with another team in 2017, never takes the field for them, walks away from football and gets into politics. Has anyone introduced him to Heath Shuler?
What’s the best move the Skins have made during this boring offseason?
It’s easy to say the Cousins franchise tag, as it was the most important in the short-term, but my favorite “move” of the offseason isn’t a move at all, it’s McCloughan’s steady hand and the team’s lack of moves. The old Skins would have been bloodthirsty for more talent after reaching the playoffs. Instead of looking outside the organization, this team made some quiet re-signings, and inked a few show-me deals with hungry guys like Junior Galette. Considering those moves combined with the guys coming back from injury (Niles Paul, Duke Ihenacho, Shawn Lauvao, etc.), plus a new draft class, and your boy is downright giddy about this boring offseason.