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How do the scammers do it?
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Austrian Grand Prix 2020 Race Debrief - /r/Formula1 Editorial Team
2020 Austrian GP - a Long Awaited Dish, Served Hot and Spicy
By Felix_670 and Death_Pig Race Result and fastest laps by drivers The most memorable recipes are the ones with unique and seemingly unrelated elements that come together create something truly special. A Formula 1 Grand Prix is no different. After what feels like an eternity, the first course of the 2020 F1 season was served. And boy was it a tasty one. Let us take a look at the recipe that made the 2020 Austrian GP.
The Pre Race Tension
The minutes leading up the start of a Formula One race are one of the best parts of the Grand Prix weekend. Race day in Austria was no exception, with the dramatic last minute news of Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton receiving a 3-place grid penalty. Before we could see how much the Briton’s grid penalty would shake up the start of the race, Formula 1 showed a thoughtful and classy display of allyship in the fight against racism, with the drivers and team personnel taking a knee during the anthem ceremony. After the drivers lined up on their grid spots, the heart beats of fans around the world beat faster and faster as the 2020 F1 season finally got underway.
The intense heat of the Austrian summer and the brutal unforgiving kerbs of the Red Bull Ring were both merciless, ending the races of a number of midfield drivers while simultaneously making Mercedes very anxious with heavy strain being put on their gear box sensors. Of the 20 drivers who started this Grand Prix, only 11 crossed the finish line on lap 71. Max Verstappen, Daniel Ricciardo, Lance Stroll, Kevin Magnussen, Romain Grosjean, George Russell, Kimi Räikkönen, Alexander Albon, and Daniil Kvyat, all of them failed to see the chequered flag. For a public used to the typical two or three race retirements, this was an unexpected twist for the first race of 2020. Local favorite Max Verstappen was the Styrian’s circuit’s first victim. He started from 2nd on the grid after Lewis Hamilton’s three-place penalty and looked set for a very straight forward podium, before the RBR Sunday nightmare started. On lap 12 his Red Bull began to lose power going into Turn 1. He trundled around, furiously trying to keep his machine from going into anti-stall until reaching the pits, where he eventually had to retire as a result of an electrical issue. Daniel Ricciardo was the next victim to the mechanical demons. On lap 19 the Australian, who had been hassling Sebastian Vettel for a few laps, came in to the pits and retired with an overheating car. Even before Ricciardo retired, the Racing Point of Lance Stroll had begun to experience mechanical issues, the Canadian’s pace disappearing suddenly. Vettel got by the struggling Racing Point before the issues forced Stroll to bring his Racing Point back to the pits to retire. Red Bull was not the only team to have a nightmarish Austrian Grand Prix. Haas suffered a double retirement, both drivers suffering brake failures, albeit thankfully neither crashing as a result of their issues. Kevin Magnussen was the first retirement for the squad, spinning going into Turn 3 during a battle with Esteban Ocon that lasted for several laps, spinning into the run-off area once he applied the brakes, the Haas’ race over right there. His perilous position caused the Safety Car to be deployed. Later in the race, Romain Grosjean could not stop his Haas going into Turn 4, ending what had been a rough race for the Frenchman. He had already spun coming out of Turn 4, after which he had an early pitstop, and was also shown the black and white flag for taking liberties with the track limits. Another unsatisfied driver was George Russel, who was having an excellent Grand Prix, running in P12, just outside the points, when his Williams came to a halt on lap 51. The day was not a total disaster for Williams, with rookie Latifi coming home P11. He was close to a points finish in his first race (a feat not seen since Stoffel Vandoorne’s debut in 2016)), but the Grove outfit will have to hope for better luck next week. It was nonetheless a good weekend for one of Formula 1’s most historic teams, which showed that their car can again start competing with the other teams. The next retirement was by far the most bizarre of the race. On lap 55, coming out of Turn 9, the right front tire of Kimi Räikkönen’s Alfa Romeo popped off and went flying into the tire barrier and eventually stopped in the gravel trap of Turn 10. Taking advantage of his vast experience, the Finn controlled his ruined Alfa and brought it to stop against the barrier on the main straight. Vettel who was closely following Räikkönen did well to take avoiding action. The second to last retirement of the day was the last nail in the coffin for Red Bull’s hopes. Alexander Albon was taking full advantage of his new tires to attack Lewis Hamilton for P2 going into Turn 4, making a gorgeous move on the outside of the world champion, when his rear right wheel was collected by Hamilton’s left front, sending the Thai driver into a spin. For the second time, Hamilton deemed to be at fault for a move that ultimately cost Albon a podium finish. Albon’s trip into the gravel dropped him to plum last, and he retired soon thereafter. Hamilton’s five second penalty for causing a collision likely to be no balm to the pain experienced by the Milton Keynes team. Finally, it was time for Daniil Kvyat to complete the roll of retirees. The Alpha Tauri driver suffered a strange tire/suspension failure on the way to Turn 1 similar to Sebastian Vettel’s race ending puncture in 2016. The weekend was not a total loss for AlphaTauri, though, as Pierre Gasly delivered a strong points finish, crossing the line in P7. This was a glass half empty/glass half full kind of day for the newly branded (and lovely livered) Tauris. This Grand Prix was nothing short of a slaughter of Formula 1 cars. Ultimately only 11 survived, but the 9 retirements were one of the key ingredients to this race’s utterly spicy recipe.
McLaren - Midfield leaders once again?
McLaren ended the 2019 season in great form, emerging as strong midfield contenders, a question lingering over the off-season whether they would be able to retain that status. With Norris and Sainz qualifying P4 and P6, it looked as if the team was doing everything right and would continue their race back towards the front of the pack. Their prospects got a boost before the race, with Norris being promoted to 3rd after Lewis’ penalty. The quick starting Briton was able to challenge a medium shod Max Verstappen when the lights went out, while his teammate sparred with Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc. However, the Mclaren MCL34 was unable to sustain pace, with Albon overtaking Norris, who had Sergio Perez hot on his gearbox. After the first of three safety cars, the entire grid switched to Hard tires, with Perez the only driver on Mediums. After a scrap to get out of the pits, Perez was able to attack Norris on softer rubber and easily overtake him on lap 33. As the gap between Norris and Perez increased and Sainz languished Leclerc, both McLarens got calls to speed up. Norris was asked to switch to “Plan A, Maximum Pace”, and Sainz was told to stay as close to Leclerc as possible. Sainz did try to get past Leclerc, but his attempt ended with the Spaniard clattering into the man he replaces at Ferrari next season and remaining behind the Monégasque. The McLaren-Ferrari-McLaren sandwich continued until lap 51, when the second safety car came out, courtesy of George Russel’s stricken Williams. Predictably, there was a flurry of unscheduled pit stops and while most of the grid got new tires, the Mercedes duo stayed out along with Perez, who moved up to third. They would, however, have cars on fresh rubber behind them, the first being Albon on fresh Softs, followed by Norris on new Mediums. Perez lost out to Albon with no recourse just as yet another safety car was triggered by Kimi’s flyaway front right tire. As the bunched up field got underway again, the down-but-not-out Ferrari of Leclerc got past Norris, leaving the two teammates to fight with each other. After some incredible wheel to wheel action between them, Norris came out on top, setting off to chase down and pass Perez in a fight for a possible podium due to Lewis’ penalty. Sainz also got past Perez, who at this point struggled with his worn tires. In the process of chasing down Hamilton, Norris put in the lap of his life, getting the fastest lap point for his time on the final lap with a time of 1:07.475, and crucially, pulling within the crucial 5 seconds to Lewis, clinching his first podium in the process to the absolute delight and ecstasy of the team. Social distancing be damned, it was hugs all around for the team, celebrating their double points finish, with Sainz finishing P5. Shockingly, this leaves McLaren in second place in the constructors’ standings, their best start to a season since 2012 with Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton at the wheel.
Ferrari - A weekend of despair, ending with a beacon of hope
Ferrari came into this weekend with growing suspicions about their form after a lacklustre winter test. Once qualifying began, worry turned into panic, as they were well off the pace, with Charles Leclerc qualifying 7th, and Sebastian Vettel not even making it to Q3, a dismal 11th. Leclerc spent much of the race in a McLaren sandwich, trailing Norris while in turn, being trailed by Sainz. Vettel, however, slowly made his way up the pack, but his Ferrari visibly struggled as he locked up again and again into Turn 3. With the late braking specialist Daniel Ricciardo hot on his tail, it was not a position Vettel wanted to be in. Vettel found a moment of relief when Ricciardo retired, citing cooling issues but it would not be the end of Vettel’s woes. The first safety car bunched up the grid, allowing Sainz to close in on Leclerc. After an ambitious attempt by Sainz on the inside of Turn 3, he had to back off, stepping off the gas and turning away from Leclerc. Vettel, unfortunately, chose this moment to put the front end of his SF1000 right in the path of the McLaren, causing him to spin and drop back right to the bottom of the leaderboard. Not the start the 4 time champion wanted. After the second set of pit stops, triggered by the second safety car, the Ferrari was rejuvenated on the Hards. Leclerc quickly passed Norris, then Perez, moving into third place after the collision between Albon and Hamilton. With the five-second penalty for Lewis, all Leclerc had to do was maintain the right distance to Lewis to come home P2, which he did with relative ease. It is a result even the most ardent tifoso would not have bet on after qualifying. The team played their cards well and Leclerc was able to deliver when it mattered. What his teammate can do with the new car will have to wait until next weekend, for one cannot write a four time world champion off after one difficult weekend, but it turned out to not be the debacle many predicted for the Scuderia.
Albon and Hamilton - To be or not to be
The Brazilian Grand Prix of 2019 could be remembered for many things. But for Albon, it was the race he almost scored a podium at. Almost. Running third while being chased by Hamilton, the world champion miscalculated a move, clanking into and spinning Albon in the process. The stars seemed to align again today, with both Mercedes cars facing gearbox issues, fresh tyres for Alex, and a well-timed safety car which allowed him to get past Perez and move in right behind Lewis, who was driving on worn Hards. After the Safety Car ended, he was able to move right into Hamilton’s slip stream into Turn 3, but he was unable to make it through. Another turn, another attempt, this time around the outside of Lewis down the hill to Turn 4, who was doing his best to keep Albon behind. The youngster positioned his car just right, getting alongside, then past Lewis around the outside of Turn 4. But the pass never happened, as Lewis spun Albon again by clipping his right rear. Off went Albon spinning into the gravel, and with it his dreams of a first podium. And if that was not enough, he ended up facing an engine stoppage pulling him to the side of the road with just two laps remaining. All in all, a weekend to forget for Albon (and Red Bull) after that stellar qualifying lap in Q2, and after doing so well in the race.
Safety Cars: Bernd Goes to Work
Bernd Mayländer, the man who earns his living by driving the wheels of his newly reliveried Mercedes AMG GTR in front of 20 impatient racing cars, certainly earned his pay check today. The formerly silver now jet black Mercedes (though being thoroughly warned to be careful and avoid kerbs by James Vowles) were looking like they were going to easily run away for a 1-2 finish before Bernd made the first of his three appearances during several points of the Grand Prix. However, due to the numerous retirements in the race, Bernd strapped in and did exactly what he was put on this Earth to do: back up a pack of Formula 1 cars. He did so with in perfect timing, just as the Mercedes were running away - SHAZAM - a retirement and the field was all bunched up ready to restart again and again. Bernd’s efforts provided treated us with to several pulse pounding restarts and this race would not have been the same without the safety cars, the most important ingredient of this race. Perhaps Mr. Mayländer should’ve been nominated for Driver of The Day.
Rating The Dish
There is no other way of saying it, the 2020 Austrian GP was the perfect start to the season. After a miserable off-season and the uncertainty of whether the season would even happen or not, the Red Bull Ring delivered a classic. What we feared to be a 2014-style Mercedes massacre turned out to be quite the opposite. Every key ingredient worked in perfect harmony to give us a Grand Prix cooked to spicy perfection. As Crofty said in the broadcast, good things come to those who wait, and boy did we wait before Formula 1 once again delivered the goods. Now we get to do it all over again next weekend. Do you have any predictions for next weekend? Who will be the winners and losers next weekend? Will we see the same problems or will the quick turnaround be enough time for teams to get their issues sorted out? Let us know below!
Miami Dolphins AFC East (4th place) 2019 record - 5-11 New coaches - Josh Boyer - DC Chan Gailey - OC Robby Brown - QB coach Steve Marshall - OL coach Austin Clark - OLB coach Curt Kuntz - assistant DB coach. Coaches gone - Chad O'Shea - OC Patrick Graham - DC Jerry Schuplinski - Assistant QB coach Dave DeGuglielmo - O-line coach Free Agency
Kyle Van Noy
Byron Jones is the big one here. He will start opposite Xavien Howard and will force teams to throw his way more often, which will lead to more picks. Howard is a ballhawk while Jones is more a lockdown guy. They should make a great duo. Kyle Van Noy brings a lot of versatility and much needed experience to the defense. He should be a do it all type of guy under Brian Flores and should fill the Kyle Van Noy role that dolphins fans have been talking about since 2019 started. Who better? Shaq Lawson brings much needed pass rush to Miami. They were downright pathetic in that area last season Emmanuel Ogbah, see Shaq Lawson. Jordan Howard, speaking of pathetic, Miami's running attack was beyond that last year. Ryan Fitzpatrick led the team in rushing. Yes, you actually read that correctly. 38 year old bearded non running QB Ryan Fitzpatrick led the dolphins in rushing for 2019. He had a very measly 243 yards. I still smh typing that out. Howard will fix that issue. Matt Brieda is the lightning to Howards' thunder. He will take a few to the house from mid field this season. Players cut/ lost in free agency
Reshad Jones was one of my favorite dolphins players of all-time so losing him hurts, but it seems it was just his time to move on. A ring of honor player and maybe the best safety to ever play in a Fins uniform. Hard hitter, makes big plays, lots of pick 6's and game sealing interceptions, great tackler, he will be missed. 2020 NFL draft selections Round 1, pick 5 - Tua Tagovailoa Grade - A+ After a year or more of speculation, drooling and hoping for Miami to be in position to grab him, they stayed at number 5, avoided trading up and still got the QB that 99% of Dolphins fans had been praying for. Tua Tagovailoa is a top flight quarterback coming out of college injuries or not. His accuracy and ability to hit receivers in stride in incredible. He doesn't have a huge arm but it's definitely adequate and he maintains that accuracy all over the field. He has touch and great instincts to find the open man. He avoids the sack well, which is something he's gonna have to utilize heavily due to the fact the Dolphins haven't been able to put together a respectable offensive line consistently for the past decade. It's unlikely he'll start right away due to the hip injury he suffered last November and since Ryan Fitzpatrick is in position to maintain his starting role. The covid pandemic did not help him in getting experience, but it did give him more time to rehab. Last I checked Tua had the number 1 and 2 selling jersey in the NFL. To say the least, Dolphins fans are very excited about his arrival. Round 1, pick 18 - Austin Jackson OT USC Grade - B+ This was a pick that sort of divided the fanbase a little bit. He has high upside but is also so young and raw that a lot of fans were justifiably worried he was a reach and wouldn't live up to being the 18th overall selection. He is very athletic and a very hard worker so that's a good sign for his future. He also gave bone marrow for his sister to save her life and somehow still came back and played college football that same year. Absolutely incredible. Personally just that makes me a huge fan of his, but watching his tape he does have some flaws. He played a bad game going against AJ Epenesa, a fellow first rounder in this year's draft. AJ is a very strong player though and even great players have certain guys that give them trouble. He should man the left tackle spot for at least 3 years. There's a good chance he will see a trial by fire season in 2020. Round 1, pick 30 - Noah Igbinoghene DB Auburn Grade - A- This was the first pick that surprised Dolphins fans. Many believe that the Dolphins were targeting a different player at number 26, their original pick, but that player was gone so they traded back. Igbinoghene is an exciting player though. He is figured to man the slot CB position and seems like he has star potential there. It won't hurt having other great CB's like Xavien Howard and Byron Jones to learn from and play next to. He's fast and plays tough. He loves to jam guys and has great play speed to make pass break ups, but he is still pretty raw since he's only been playing defense for a couple years. Should have all the opportunity to snag a "starter" spot as the nickle corner. Most think Bobby McCain will stay at safety so he only needs to beat out Nik Needham who was an undrafted rookie last year. Though Needham did show promise so it isn't a cakewalk. Round 2, pick 39 - Robert Hunt OL Louisiana- Lafeyette Grade - B Nobody was surprised that the dolphins would draft 2 offensive lineman out of their first four picks, but not many saw that guy being Hunt. He plays aggressively and should be a road grader in the run game, though his pass blocking needs refinement. His strength and playstyle will likely give him a leg up on his competition at either right guard or right tackle since head coach Brian Flores loves toughness on the field. He will be given a shot at beating out Jesse Davis for the right tackle spot but will likely land at right guard since he will probably need time to develop at tackle first. Fellow draftee Soloman Kindley, Danny Isidora and Michael Dieter will be competition for him to start. Round 2, pick 56 - Raekwon Davis DL Alabama Grade - B- Davis is strong and plays with a high motor, but lacks great athleticism so his future is a bit murkier than the first 4 players taken by the dolphins. He has versatility and will probably play both tackle and end, allowing for others to move around. Round 3, pick 70 - Brandon Jones S Texas Grade - C+ Jones is projected to be more of a SS than a FS, which makes sense because Reshad Jones is no longer with the dolphins. Brandon Jones has big shoes to fill there. The athleticism and physicality are there, though the ball skills and coverage ability are not. He's gonna have to be kept clean by the coaching staff and his fellow defensive backs if he's going to be able to play a ton of snaps and succeed. Round 4, pick 111 - Solomon Kindley OG Georgia Grade - B Kindley is a destroyer in the run game. He plays to not only win his rep but to shame his opponent. He should be able to find a spot on the line if his pass blocking can even be adequate. Definitely a decent pick at a position of need. Round 5, pick 154 - Jason Strowbridge DL North Carolina Grade - B- Another defensive lineman. I see a theme here this offseason. Round 5, pick 164 - Curtis Weaver DE Boise St. Grade - A Clearly the defensive line was an issue for the dolphins in 2019. Weaver brings some real potential but lacks explosiveness off the edge. Great pickup in the 5th. Round 6, pick 185 - Blake Ferguson LS (longsnapper) LSU Grade - D- I wrote out longsnapper because I'm not sure one has ever been drafted before so maybe some don't know. He will be the only one on the team and has already led to the release of LS Taybor Pepper who was building a gym for his Miami home and posting about it when the news broke. Ouch. Round 7, pick 246 - Malcolm Perry RB/WR Grade - A Perry is a very elusive player that brings a bit of excitement for being drafted so late. He caused an insane amount of missed tackles in 2019 but against bad competition. Obviously it is yet to be seen if he can keep that up against vastly better competition, either way, getting a player with actual potential this late is a steal. UDFA Matt Cole - WR Jonathan Hubbard - T Kylan Johnson - LB Benito Jones - DT Nick Kaltmeyer - OT Ray Lima - DT Kirk Merritt -WR Tyshun Render DE Donell Stanley - C Bryce Sterk - TE Offseason news This was a blissfully peaceful offseason for Dolphins fans (2020 BS excluded). There was one minor incident with Xavien Howard that looked like it could end with a four game suspension but it did not. All charges were dropped and NFL didn't see enough to give any punishment. Maybe the biggest story was Saints WR Michael Thomas losing his damn mind when DeVante Parker tweeted out "A". It was in response to the question "Which is tougher? A. Make a catch while guarded by Stephon Gilmore, or B. Break up a pass while guarding Michael Thomas." It was a far cry from pretty much every offseason Miami has had for nearly twenty years. Pretty much the rest of the story has been Tua, Tua, Tua. Projected starting lineup Offense QB - Ryan Fitzpatrick RB - Jordan Howard RB2 - Matt Brieda WR1 - DeVante Parker WR2 - Preston Williams WR3 - Albert Wilson TE - Mike Gesicki LT - Austin Jackson LG - Erick Flowers C - Ted Karras RG - Robert Hunt RT - Jesse Davis Defense CB - Xavien Howard CB - Byron Jones FS - Bobby McCain SS - Eric Rowe OLB - Jerome Baker MLB - Raekwon McMillan OLB/DE - Kyle Van Noy DE/OLB - Emmanuel Ogbah DE - Shaq Lawson DT - Davon Godchaux DT/NT - Christian Wilkins Nickle corner - Noah Igbinoghene Disclaimer - trying to pin down assignments and starters on a defense that tries to have players play multiple positions and schemes is an exercise in futility. Scheme Offense - Spread offense Chan Gailey has typically used the spread offense throughout his career so that's expected to be the case here in Miami. In the spread offense the basic idea is to force the defense to cover a lot of wideouts in order to open up the run game and pass option, or rpo. Here legendary coach Urban Meyer explains it a million times better than I can, which makes sense since he knows it a million times better. Defense The defense the dolphins will use is a tricky one. They will likely switch between 3-4 and 4-3 regularly and will use many different formations within each one. OLB's will also get after the QB like a DE, DE's will likely slide inside to the DT position, as well. The idea behind the defense is to always have good matchups on the field and to lockdown the receivers with great man to man coverage, allowing the defensive line to get pressure on the QB. It's quite the opposite of what Miami has done in the past, which was to try and get after the QB ASAP and pray that your DB's didn't allow a quick reception, which they usually did. In the past Miami had such great ideas as sending the DE's around the edge quickly but playing off coverage and not trying to take the wideouts off the mark, which almost always just ended up in the QB getting rid of the ball quickly to a wide open receiver running across the middle. Most Dolphins fans found it frustrating to say the least. This new scheme is the opposite of that. They want the DB to knock the wideouts off of his route, while the DE's will play a more contain style and keep the play in front of them rather than running upfield and out of the play. I'm far from an expert on this subject though. Hopefully some of the great Dolphin fans will come on here and clear it up better than I can. 2020 schedule Week 1 - @ New England Week 2 - Buffalo Week 3 - @ Jacksonville Week 4 - Seattle Week 5 - @ San Francisco Week 6 - @ Denver Week 7 - LA Chargers Week 8 - LA Rams Week 9[email protected] Arizona Week 10 - NYFTJets Week 11 - Bye week Week 12 - @ NYFTJets Week 13 - Cincinnati Week 14 - Kansas City Week 15 - New England Week 16 - @ Las Vegas (ew) Week 17 - @ Buffalo Tough schedule for 2020. Starts tough and ends tough. Not a lot of room for error if they want to remain relevant after the bye week. One good thing is there's 3 west coast teams coming to Miami this year and in the past west coast teams have not played well going east and especially going to Miami. It's gonna be tough to make a playoff push, their best bet is to win at home and try and go 4-2 in the division by splitting the Bills and Pats and trying to sweep the Jets. All four teams in the East are looking like they aren't separated by a lot so it's anyone's guess if New England does indeed slip after losing Brady. I'll believe that when I see it. Big shoutout to guys like Kyle Crabbs and Travis Wingfield for helping teach me a lot of this stuff, I leaned heavily on Crabbs' scouting profiles for the draft section, and Wingfield taught me quite a bit about formations. Hopefully I'm not making his teaching look bad 😂. Another shoutout to all the Dolphins fans in Miami dealing with a big covid breakout in Florida. Stay safe you guys and gals!
Day One Here Day Two Here JULY 3RD A FEW HOURS AFTER MIDNIGHT The night fighting on Culp’s Hill was slow and torturous. The Confederate assault from Johnson’s division had to cross rough terrain and a river before it even started going uphill, which at night was an incredibly miserable task even without Union troops firing at them. Union skirmishers played hell with their progress, and after brushing them aside, Johnson bumped into a defensive line that his Union counterpart Geary had spent all day perfecting. As mentioned yesterday, their only success was to grab tiny footholds on the Union side of Rock Creek, which ran between the two hills. As the fighting died away and the bone weary soldiers on both sides crashed asleep hard, Lee plotted. He smelled blood; on July 1st, they’d carved up the Union men good and drove them from the field. Yesterday, on the Union left, they’d wrecked a Union corps under Sickles, smashed into the Union center and almost broke it (damn those blue belly reinforcements showing up in the knick of time), and even gained a toehold on the Union right. The men’s morale was high. Lee decided to repeat yesterday’s plan, but better executed. Simultaneous attacks on both flanks should overwhelm them, and J.E.B. Stuart could make it up to all of them by chasing down the shattered Army of the Potomac to scoop up all the heavy guns and supplies and wounded that could not retreat rapidly. To which end, Lee sent Stuart on a super wide flanking attack around the Union right so as to be in position to strike at the right moment. Lee generated the orders in written form and sent them off by messenger to his corps commanders. Meanwhile, Meade had another war council face to face with his generals. They decided to stand pat, to neither attack the Confederate positions nor retreat back towards Washington. The terrain massively favored them and Lee would (more likely than not) walk into their gunsights again. A defensive stance, however, doesn’t mean pure passivity. A few hours after the Confederate assault petered out and Lee’s decision was made, the Union started a counterattack on a small scale. ———————————————————————— DAWN At dawn, the Union right flared up. Fresh troops had marched in overnight and Meade wanted his damn hill back. The extreme end of the Confederate left flank (which is of course opposite the Union right) found itself getting hammered in front of Culp’s Hill by artillery from the Baltimore Pike. Clearly, such a bombardment was meant to be followed up with an assault to retake the bridgehead. Johnson, having received his orders from Lee and being under the impression that Longstreet was attacking in tandem a mile and a half away on the other side of the hills, attacked Culp’s Hill again before the Union could attack him first. The plan was what the plan was; pressure here, successful or not, was needed for someone to break through somewhere. But Longstreet wasn’t attacking. Later on, Longstreet would claim to have never received the order to advance, but the sources I have assert this is untrue- he received the order, he just didn’t do anything about it. Instead of spending the night getting his troops on line to attack Little Round Top and the southern chunk of Cemetery Ridge, he just sat tight and did nothing. Oceans of ink have been spilled over the years speculating as to why. The Lost Cause narrative asserts that Longstreet was a Yankee-loving turncoat who deliberately sabotaged Lee’s plan and lost the battle on purpose. Others think that Longstreet's conviction that attacking here was insane and that they should fall back and look for battle somewhere else on more favorable terms had been strengthened by the results of July 2nd, and as such was dragging his heels trying to not attack again. Or maybe it was just the general haze of Civil War era incompetence taking its toll again. ———————————————————————— MORNING As Johnson’s men gamely attacked the untakeable Culp’s Hill and were cut down by accurate rifle fire and close range cannon fire, Lee hunted down Longstreet to demand an explanation for his borderline insubordinate refusal to attack. Longstreet pitched his idea again. He’d spent all night scouting the Union line. The enemy line was unbreakable. They shouldn’t try to attack them here. They should slip around the Union left, south of Big Round Top, to threaten the Union supply lines. Do that, they would make the Union respond to them, fight them on more equal terms. That’s the plan Longstreet had been preparing for all night, not a suicidal- Lee cut him off with a raised fist. There would be no tricky maneuver around the flank. They would assault the Union line under the present conditions. To the north, Johnson was still getting his teeth kicked in. Lee sent orders to call off the assault, but it would take a while for the messenger to get there and for Johnson to get word to his brigades to stand down and fall back. Meanwhile, across the way on Cemetery Ridge, Meade stalked his line, double checking all the positions for any confusions or errors to correct, emitting confidence and good cheer. Lee scoped out the Union center personally, being in the area anyway. His complex double flanking maneuver wasn't working. A new plan was needed. Lee figured that Meade had reinforced Little Round Top and the surrounding area yesterday, and that those troops hadn’t gone anywhere since. The Union defense at Culp’s Hill has been similarly fierce that morning, fierce enough to threaten Johnson with an offensive. If both flanks were strong... the center must be weak. Yesterday, a small Confederate brigade had crossed the Emmitsburg road under fire and smashed into the Union line on Cemetery Ridge, just south of Cemetery Hill. They had straight up routed the enemy- had there been more men available to back them up and follow through, that small brigade might have won the battle outright instead of being pushed back as they’d been. Lee was satisfied. The Union center was brittle, undermanned, and the best point to hit it was at that same place. Meanwhile, J.E.B. Stuart was stepping off on his flanking ride. ———————————————————————— LATE MORNING Johnson’s last big push up Culp’s Hill was heroic. By that time, all of them knew how strong the Union position was. They surely walked into this with their eyes open. A three brigade front set up for a shock attack, backed up by four more to exploit the hoped-for opening. Among them was the famous Stonewall Brigade, Jackson's old unit that he’d raised up and trained personally before being tapped for higher command. The Stonewall Brigade was, arguably, the elite of the Confederate army. The year before, they’d outmaneuvered and outfought a Union stab at Richmond coming through the Shenandoah valley. The charge was cut down and butchered like all the others, and Johnson fell back. Williams, whose batteries on the Baltimore Pike had kicked things off that morning, got a little overexcited and counterattacked without orders. His orders to attack the Confederate flank left his subordinates sickened with dread, but were obeyed nonetheless. Once the Union counterattack was butchered in retaliation by the entrenched Confederates, combat on the Union right ceased after six straight hours of gory, hopeless combat. Meanwhile, Confederate artillery under the command of Colonel Alexander set itself up on a mile wide front, all carefully sited and positioned both for protection and for good lines of sight on the Union center. A brief but fierce artillery duel kicked off as each side tried to knock out the other’s firing points before the big moment, but was soon cut off to preserve ammo. Lee mustered his available forces, bringing in troops that were only now straggling in and combining them with some units that had fought the day before. It was a haphazard and frankly half-assed piece of staff work- veteran units who hadn’t fought at all in the last two days were left in reserve, while exhausted troops who’d already suffered 50% casualties were included. Many of the brigades who were to charge Cemetery Ridge had green colonels in charge because their generals had been killed or wounded the day before. The gap between the northern half of the assaulting force and the southern half was four football fields long, and nobody seemed to notice or care. The division commander to lead the north side of the assault, General Pettigrew, was selected not for any rational consideration or advantage, but because he happened to be standing nearby when the decision was being made. Longstreet, who by this point wanted nothing to do with any of it, was placed in overall command. It took a few hours to organize this clusterfuck into something resembling a coherent unit- three divisions spread over a mile wide front, with Pickett on the left, Pettigrew on the right, and Trimble behind them to provide some depth to the big push. There is no particularly good reason why the upcoming Pickett’s Charge is known as “Pickett’s Charge”. Pickett was not actually in charge of it, or even in charge of most of it. He was a division commander who had never seen proper combat before- in every battle since 1861, his unit had been held in reserve or absent. This was to be his first chance to get in this war. I suspect it’s known as Pickett’s Charge because he and his men were Virginians, and it was fellow Virginians who would pour over the battle to find out why the wrong side won. Accordingly, they conceived of it as being a Virginian affair, overshadowing the Tennesseans, Alabamans, North Carolinians, and Mississippians who formed the other two-thirds of the attack. I was surprised to learn that we have a hard time figuring out how many men were actually involved in Pickett’s Charge (this being a basic narrative history, I am sticking with the common name for it despite the inaccuracy); I attribute this to the confusion involved in organizing it. I’ve heard as low as 12,500 men and as high as 15,000. I’m going with 14,000 men because it’s a nice even number that is approximately midway between the upper and lower limit, so don’t mistake my choice as being accurate or even evidence-based per se. Regardless, the agreed upon number of Union defenders is 6,500. The Confederates would outnumber the Union by about 2-1 or greater at the point of contact. These days, a lot of people show up at the battlefield and stare out from Cemetery Ridge at Spangler Woods where Pettigrew would have emerged from (or stand in Spangler’s Woods and stare out at Cemetery Ridge, same difference) and wonder what the hell was going through Lee’s head. The ground there is now flat and devoid of cover, the exact kind of terrain that time and time again had proven to be a death sentence for infantry assaults. The answer is that the ground changed between 1863 and today. Just before World War One ended in 1918, the field over which Pickett charged was artificially flattened for tank training. Before that, it was the kind of rolling terrain that Buford’s skirmishers had exploited on day one- an observer from a distance would see the troops disappear and reappear as they went over and down each gentle slope. The 14,000 attackers would have some cover as they advanced- not perfect terrain to keep immune from artillery and bullets, but not explicit suicide either. ———————————————————————— EARLY AFTERNOON By 1 PM, Alexander had his guns set up the way he liked them. What followed at his command was the single largest coordinated artillery mission that the Western Hemisphere had ever seen. In the south, cannons at the Peach Orchard suppressed the Union firing point on Little Round Top. All along Seminary Ridge from whence the charge would spring, cannons lined up practically wheel to wheel for a mile, aimed at wrecking Cemetery Ridge. Longstreet was in what you might call a high stress kind of mood. He was having second, third, fourth, and fifth thoughts about attacking, but orders were orders and he was in charge of this damned charge. As the guns began their bombardment, Longstreet did something that frankly goes beyond the pale of any command decision I’ve ever heard of. The film Gettysburg and the novel it’s based on cast Longstreet in a very sympathetic light, as a kind of deliberate pushback against the reductive myth that Longstreet was personally responsible for losing the battle and by extension the war, leaving Lee off the hook to stay firmly in the saintly canon of the Lost Cause. But here, Longstreet indisputably abdicates any pretense of the responsibility of command. He fired an order off to Colonel Alexander, telling him:
If the artillery fire does not have the effect to drive off the enemy, or greatly demoralize him, so as to make our effort pretty certain, I would prefer that you should not advise General Pickett to make the charge. I shall . . . expect you to let General Pickett know when the moment offers.
Allow me to reiterate in case you were reading this on autopilot. Longstreet, the man in charge of the whole offensive, was telling a lowly artillery colonel that the decision when and if to attack was on him and no one else. Alexander was a subject matter expert on artillery and not infantry for a reason. This order hit him from out of left field. He wrote back for clarification, and the professional in him mentioned that since the plan is to use every single artillery shell they can spare, if there is any alternative plan to charging Cemetery Hill at the end of the bombardment then they’d better tell him before he runs out of ammo. And Longstreet reiterated his first order. He told Alexander to advise General Pickett whether or not to attack. And with that on his shoulders, Alexander gave the order to open fire. All told, somewhere between 150 and 170 guns opened up at the same moment. The 75 Union cannons they had on hand briefly engaged in counter-battery fire, before being ordered to go quiet and save ammunition for the infantry assault to come. For about an hour, the Union troops just had to sit still and take what the Rebel had to give them. What Lee was doing was classic Napoleonic tactics. Massing artillery against the weakest point on the enemy line was literally by the book soldiering. The problem, as was noted here before, was that technology had changed. Napoleonic could bring his cannon close to the frontline with the reasonable expectation that they wouldn’t be shot, since smoothbore muskets are basically harmless from 200 yards away. But that was no longer the case. The long stand off distance that the enemy rifles dictated meant that the cannonfire was proportionally less accurate and devastating. The smoke covering the field concealed the truth from the Confederates- their artillery fire was off. Most of the shells flew high overhead and exploded behind Cemetery Ridge. Some shells hit the target area- Union men did die screaming by the score. But the positions on Cemetery Hill were only lightly damaged, and the units manning them were intact and cohesive. Most of the damage done was to the rear echelon types- surgeons, supply wagoneers, staff officers, that kind of thing. Such men were massacred as the shells aimed at men a quarter mile away arced over and found marks elsewhere. Meade, of course, was on hand, showing a brave face and cracking some jokes about a similar moment in the Mexican-American War 15 years back. Throughout the hour, as his line endured the steel hailstorm, Meade’s engineer mind was working. He’d already suspected that Lee was about to hit his center- he’d predicted as much the night before- and now the shot placements confirmed it. He was already ordering troops into position, getting ready to reinforce the line on Cemetery Ridge if needed. He hedged his bets, putting them in a position to relieve Cemetery Hill as well, just in case. Little Round Top became somewhat less defended as men marched out, using the high ground to mask their redeployment. Irresponsible and insubordinate though Longstreet was at that moment, he was right. Lee’s improvised plan had already failed, though it hadn’t happened yet. Pickett’s Charge wasn’t going to slam into a fragmented and demoralized Union line. It was heading into a mile long, mile wide kill zone backed up by a defence in depth. ———————————————————————— Pickett’s Charge Confederates were getting mangled before the charge even started. Union artillery fire reached out and touched out them in Spangler’s Woods, rolling solid iron shot and explosive shells into their huddled ranks. Longstreet rode the line, exposing himself to the artillery fire to set an example of courage. The men didn’t need such an example- or rather, they’ve seen such examples in a dozen battles over the last two years and have already learned valor as a second language- but there’s something to be said for showing the groundpounders that their boss is in the wrong end of the shooting gallery the same way that they are. Just before 2 p.m., Alexander decided if it’s gonna happen, it’d have to be now. He needed at least a small reserve of shells to function after the battle and he’s running out fast. He dashed off a note to Pickett telling him to step off. In keeping with the standard of Confederate comms thus far, Pickett then took Alexander’s note to Longstreet in person for confirmation, because nobody had told him that Longstreet was trying to dodge the responsibility of command. Longstreet was desperate for an out, and in one crazed leap of illogic he thought he found one. Alexander was low on shells, with only a tiny reserve of ammunition left over for self-defense! Longstreet issued orders to halt in place and delay some more, so that they could replenish their ammo chests from their strategic reserves. I really feel for Alexander, man. I've had bosses like that too. Alexander had to break the news to Longstreet that there was no strategic reserve, he already told him, they were shooting every round they got. Longstreet was shocked- apparently nobody on Lee's staff had been paying attention to how fast they'd been burning through their artillery rounds. (Meade's staff paid attention to such banal details- that's why they now had tons of ammunition standing by their guns on Cemetery Ridge, patiently waiting for something valuable to shoot at). Even then, Longstreet couldn’t bring himself to actually say the words to order the attack. He just nodded, mute and numb. At 2 p.m., the attack started. 14,000 men rose up and walked forward, a giant line of infantry one mile across. In lieu of specific instructions about where they were going and how to get there, the order was to aim for a copse of trees on the objective- an easy visual marker that was easy to remember. As long as you kept the trees in sight and kept moving forward, you were right. (Miles and miles away, J.E.B. Stuart’s flanking maneuver was being countered by an equal force of Union cavalry. Their clash had one of the few cavalry-on-cavalry battles of the Civil War; fun fact, this was one of the fights that put Custer’s career on the map, until getting killed off by the Cheyenne at Little Big Horn 13 years later. The battle was intense, but a draw; Stuart couldn’t break through. Even if Pickett’s Charge worked, there’d have been no way to follow up and finish Meade off for good. Lee’s plan was well and truly fucked.) Things immediately stopped being clean and neat, as per the usual. The center of Pickett’s Charge sprang up and walked before the flanks did, but the brigades on the south and the north of them set off late, leading to a kind of droopy effect where the center bulged out unsupported. When the Union soldiers manning Cemetery Ridge saw the Confederate advance begin, they began to chant “Fredericksburg! Fredericksburg! Fredericksburg!” Just a little “fuck you” from one set of veterans to another; at Fredericksburg eight months before, Union General Burnside had ordered several such suicidal attacks on prepared defenses which the Confederates had gleefully blasted into chunky salsa. 70 odd guns opened up on them all. To give a sense of the skill involved, the artilleryman in charge of the Union guns, Colonel Hunt, had written the book on artillery- literally, because his work Instructions for Field Artillery was the go-to manual for the US Army- and at West Point had personally taught most of the Confederate artillery officers across the way everything they knew about the big guns. One must not mistake this as just plopping down the cannons and pointing them in the right direction. Hunt was an artist with his weapon systems, and the pattern of explosions that snaked into the advancing infantry had been painstakingly designed by a master craftsman. At the distance of a mile, it was iron shot and shell that carved bloody little holes into the line. The Confederates took the beating, closed ranks, and pushed on. On the south, the cannons on Little Round Top delivered particularly hideous effects from the flank, driving their line into disorder; some brigades cut in front of other brigades, and what should have been a line became a muddled column. On the north, a brigade under General Brockenbrough bumped into a small detachment of 160 Union men who were jutting out north of the road. The Union men fired a small but devastating volley that raked them from the side and broke their nerves. Brockenbrough’s men ran- the first to break, but not the last. Similar small detachments of skirmishers dotted No Man’s Land between the armies. Between their vicious little ambushes and the massive shock of massed artillery, Pickett’s Charge slowed down. Slowing down just left them in the kill zone for that much longer. When Pickett’s Charge reached the Emmitsburg Road, they were further delayed by the stiff fencing that lined it. As they clambered over it, Union infantry opened fire at long range. The casualties skyrocketed as the Confederate line absorbed the fire. If you want to know what it was like under fire, picture the start of a rainstorm. The water droplets go taptaptaptaptaptaptaptaptaptaptaptaptaptaptaptaptaptaptaptaptaptaptaptaptaptaptaptaptaptaptaptaptaptap... that's how the survivors described the musketry that pelted the fence they were trying to climb over. One small contingent of Davis’ brigade (you recall how roughly they were manhandled on July the 1st) accidentally got ahead of everybody else and found itself standing right in front of the Union line all alone. The guys closest to the Union defenses surrendered as one; the rest got shot up bad and ran for their lives. Pickett’s Charge was pure chaos by then- their mile wide front that had surged forth from Spangler’s Wood had shrunk down to about a half mile, partly from taking casualties, partly from brigades running away after the shock of massed fire, and partly from bridges shifting north away from flanking fire from their right side. From the fence line on the Emmitsburg to the stone wall that protected the Union defense was about two hundred yards. This is a long shot for a rifle, especially under pressure- that’s the whole point to volley fire, so that everybody shooting at once will create a sort of probability cloud of danger even at long range. Some Confederates, desperate to hit back after enduring hell, shot anyway. Their fire was ineffective. It is a very, very short shot for an artillery piece, even under pressure. A battery of cannons placed just behind the Union line switched to canister and blasted massive bloody holes in the bunched up Confederates. A lot of Confederates huddled up behind the fencing and stayed put. It is marginally safer than moving two feet forward past the wooden railings, and the spirit had been knocked out of them by the mile long charge and the mile long shooting gallery they’d been subjected to. The left side of the attack had been stopped dead and turned back; the right side pushed on, disregarding any thought but closing distance. 1,500 men blitzed those last 200 yards to the stone wall Scores of them died from rifle fire as the cannons reloaded. The surviving Confederates, running on pure adrenaline, reached the stone wall at a place called the Bloody Angle. The Union line was disjointed, with the Northern section slightly back from the southern section. The Angle was the little joint that connected the two walls; it was also right by the copse of trees that everybody was racing towards. A fierce firefight broke out once the Confederates reached the wall. Most of them stayed behind the wall; like their buddies to the west still behind the fence on the Emmitsburg pike, they’d finally found a few square feet that was sorta kinda safe, and every instinct they had in their brains screamed at them to stay there. The Union troops were outnumbered at the point of impact, and backed off in good order. Reserve regiments were already marching up to plug the gap that didn’t exist yet. Units north and south of the Bloody Angle shifted in place to fire at the beachhead. Behind the Confederates on the Angle, there was a small ocean of blood on the ground and a mile long procession of silent, mangled dead and writhing, screaming wounded... but no follow on reinforcements to help exploit the breakthrough. General Armistead, the only Confederate General there still on his feet, still believed in all that chivalrous Walter Scott romantic nonsense, still thought that raw valor and heart could somehow beat a superior enemy. He stuck his hat on his sword as a makeshift battle flag and rallied his men to leave the safety of the Bloody Angle and close distance. Just as the pitifully few Confederates got on the east side of the wall, the cannons shot canister again and puked metal death all over them. After shooting, the artillerymen ran back to safety before the rebels could stagger up to them. Hundreds of men surged forward by inertia; hundreds out of the 14,000 that they’d started with. They drove off the understrength Union regiments with the bayonet and capture those hated big guns, turning them around to use against the inevitable counterattack. This failed; there was no more ammo left for the guns. Colonel Hunt had measured out the number of rounds needed for the job at hand with the utmost precision. The counterattack was messy and bloody for everybody involved, for the brawl saw everything available used as a weapon- bullets, bayonets, rifle butts, pistols, knives, rocks, boot heels, bare hands. But the Confederates all just dissolved after a short while. Nobody ordered a retreat; nobody was alive and of sufficient rank to order a retreat. Thousands just plopped down where they stood and waited for Union men to come out and collect them. They were too numb and exhausted to walk anymore. Others streamed back to safety in ones and twos. For every Confederate who died, four more were maimed and crippled. For every wounded man, another was taken prisoner. It was an unmitigated disaster for the Confederate cause, and correspondingly it was a triumph of humanity as the stalwart defenders of the slave plantations died in droves. Remember, like I said, we’re rooting for the Union. The battle wasn’t over, not really. Not was the campaign. But it certainly was decided. ———————————————————————— RIGHT SO Interestingly, at first it was kind of ambiguous who won. Meade got fired from the job after Lee got the Army of Northern Virginia home intact. Lincoln was seething that Meade hadn’t shown some aggression and had failed to destroy Lee’s army as he had been ordered. Meade, however, didn’t have much of an army at that point, just a diverse collection of units that had suffered 50% casualties and were in no condition to do anything. Moreover, there had been no way to bring the retreating Lee to battle without taking a lot of risks that might see all the good done at Gettysburg undone. Still though. Meade was out, and Grant, riding high after his conquest of Vicksburg, was in. Lee initially claimed victory in the Richmond papers, and it was hard to gainsay him at first. He had indisputably invaded north and thrashed the living shit out of the Army of the Potomac so bad that they could not invade again in 1863, which was indeed partly the point of the strategy. But soon the facts of life made themselves clear. Lee had holes in his ranks that simply could not be filled anymore. Southerners didn’t want to die in a losing war, and coercing in them into the ranks through State violence only gave him shitty recruits who would desert the second they were put on guard duty. In contrast, tens of thousands of men poured into training depots across the nation, all armed and clothed and fed by the grandest industrial base in the world. Thousands of experienced veterans re-upped their contracts in Gettysberg’s wake to become these new recruits’ NCOs and commanding officers. Lee has gone north to break the will of the Union to continue the fight. Gettysburg had, if anything, demoralized the Confederacy and reinvigorated the Union instead. I do not believe that Gettysburg started this trend, but I do think it sped it up significantly. Patterns that might have taken a year to come to fruition instead took months. Gettysburg, in my opinion, is significant not because of any great gains or losses on the material level, but because of its effects on the minds of voters and soldiers and politicians in the North and the South. To crib C. S. Lewis really quick, what matters was not whether a given action would take a specific hill, or seize a certain road; what matters is whether a given action pushes people to either dig their heels in and seek victory at any personal cost, or whether it pushes them to back down and seek a safer compromise. Gettysburg pushed all of the American people in the directions they were already heading down, that’s all. Any conclusion beyond that is on shaky ground, I feel. Having said that, I shall now irrationally contradict myself; Gettysburg can also act as a Rorschach test with symbols and images and stories in lieu of the ink blots. Like I said, it’s a place of religious significance to me to an extent far beyond appreciation for its historic value. I just don’t think it’s possible for that many people to die in such a short period of time, in so compact an area, and with such blunt contempt for the foreseen probability of violent death, and not leave an indelible and ineffable mark on the land itself. Like, if humanity went extinct and Earth got colonized by Betelgeusians a hundred years after, I am certain that the aliens would somehow feel a chill in their exoskeletons when they walk over the soft leaves and through the bare trees of Herbst Wood, or tromp around the south side of Little Round Top, or poke about on the steep slope of Culp's Hill, or splash across the Plum River in the Valley of Death. I’m not saying I’m right, of course. But I am saying how I feel.
2020 just keeps coming, doesn’t it? I’m not sure how only two weeks of issue-free football lulled me into such a state of naivety regarding this NFL season, but for a minute there I really got fooled into thinking we were going to have a semi-normal year of football. Hell no. That all got blown to shit as the Titans had a massive outbreak immediately following Week 3’s victory in Minnesota. The last two weeks of waking up every morning to see new positive tests for the Titans locker room has been painful. There’s all sorts of talk about secret practice meetings ignoring the COVID protocols to toss some lighter fluid onto the national “FUCK TENNESSEE” fire that was already raging, and I have to say that I’m getting pretty upset at the organization’s management of this outbreak as well. Get it the fuck together guys! I do think we’re learning some new things about our testing and the spread of this virus. Namely how it can apparently take a long ass time for someone exposed to actually test positive. I think most of the team thought that if they isolated for a couple days and separated out the few positives, that they could just go back to business as usual. It makes me nervous for the Pats locker room, and the Chiefs that they played in Week 4… All right, enough COVID gloom and doom, we’ve got the football that is happening to celebrate! My sincere apologies for slipping on the note last week, and for how late it’s going to be this week. Jessica and I have been weirdly busy with house issues and a few investment opportunities that we’re looking at, so I haven’t had my preferred amount of time to sit around an obsess about football (nor have I really cared to with how the news has been). But first I want to give a big shout out to Tee! Tee’s team damn near broke our single week scoring record in Week 3, by breaking 200 points! It may have only been by .27, but hey a 200-point week deserves big ups. The only other time it has been done that I’m aware of was Week 2 of the 2018 season by Stephen, with a 202.69 which remains standing as our league record. Nothing else notable happened in Week 3. Certainly not my team choking in the second half of the MNF game to lose to Randy by a few points. Definitely not that. So onto Week 4! Lineup-decision-wise that probably the toughest week of fantasy football that has ever happened. We had the Titans game fully postponed to another week just a few days before kickoff, then no one knew if the Chiefs/Pats game was going to be played. Still kind of shocked they did with Cam testing positive Friday. So yeah, that could have sucked depending on your roster. My teams in other leagues were hammered like I know some folks were in this league. Randy’s team was down 3 starters all of a sudden… And yet he still managed to hang up 141 points with an injured Chris Godwin on the bench!!! The man shits fantasy football rainbows. Much more salt about that later. We had the biggest nail-biter matchup of the year so far in Clint vs. Tootie, so it’ll be fun to get into that one. Of all my fantasy teams, my team in this league was about the only one that performed, and HOLY SHIT did it perform! My lineup reads like a weekly high scorer list with Joe Mixon and Odell both racking up ~40 in Week 4. There’s my 2/3 picks! Through 4 weeks here Tee and Randy sit atop the two divisions as our only undefeated teams, and poor poor Travis remains our only winless team after a second straight sub-100 point week. Losing Cam for a couple weeks on top of the ever-questionable-then-last-minute-inactive WR1 Michael Thomas is not what the doctor ordered for TEAM CHAOS. Still way too early for a real playoff picture take, so let’s just hope this season continues to the point where I can start speculating about our top 4. Into the matchups we go! Quick musical side note, Connor’s damn team name has that song stuck in my head EVERY. TIME. I write this note. So I suggest reading this while listening to what I’m singing to myself the entire time: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uB1D9wWxd2w https://open.spotify.com/track/3jDdpx9PMlfMBS5tOBHFm9 you lied to me…
Alex (1-3) vs. Jess C. (2-1): Sorry, Jess. This was a bad week to go up against the sweetened taters. THERE MY BOYS ARE! I knew they had it in ‘em. I’m actually in the top scoring matchup this week because I scored the most points and not my opponent! Side note, I have the most points scored against in this league by SIXTY! Been pissin’ me off! Thankfully, Joe Mixon and OBJ decided to do something about it to the tune of 81.78 points between the two of them. It definitely wasn’t all roses though, as I lost Nick Chubb to an early injury, and he has now been put on IR. So that blows. But this is 2020, so it was never going to be easy this year. Jess’s team was solid in this matchup, and the final score isn’t reflective of how scared I was for a while last weekend. Obviously the fact that every team that plays me this year scores 170+ played a role, but Jess’s team was set up to give me a run Sunday night. Jerrick McKinnon and Miles Sanders could’ve both easily had bigger games than they did in that sloppy 49ers/Eagles affair, and then she still had Calvin Ridley and Sammy Watkins to play on Sunday! Yeahhhh, about that. Calvin Ridley was the weeks biggest overall surprise, and not in a good way. He SHOCKED the football community by going without a single catch in the MNF game against the Packers. Mind blowing stuff after being the WR #1 coming into Week 4. Is Calvin Ridley giving fantasy managers the full Mike Evans experience? Jess falls to 2-2 with a solid team that will regain its leader in CMC at here some point, and watch out then. I FINALLY get into the win column and hope to have things headed in the right direction to a miserably unlucky start to the fantasy season. Alex’s MVP: Joe Mixon (43.22) - There it is! The dude has been getting so much work, but doing so little with it. He was due to break through and get into the end zone for the first time of the season. I had no idea it would be THREE TIMES though! They were all impressive long run scores too, no goal-line gimmies. Can he spread this scoring out a bit into other weeks maybe though? 20 each week would be great instead of 8,10, 40! Alex’s LVP: D.J. Moore (9.02) - DJ Bore has been a dud since I traded Travis for him. I really should’ve hung onto Justin Jefferson after that trade… No one won that trade at all, lol. Jess’s MVP: Dak Prescott (39.53) - What a draft steal this team’s namesake has been so far this season. The Dallas defense is atrocious, so Dak is left to play hero ball all 2nd half each week these days. And holy shit, he is putting up stats like crazy! Half a point shy of his second 40 point game this season, and fantasy’s QB #1 at this point. Jess’s LVP: Calvin Ridley (0.1) - OUCH! What the hell happened here… I watched that game, and I don’t know. He was targeted, but he either slipped and fell or Ryan just missed him by a mile every target I saw. A whole bunch of totally nameless guys caught passes from Matt Ryan, who looked terrible in that game. I guess Ridley won’t exactly be a rock solid WR1 this fantasy season after all. Amanda (3-1) vs. Connor (1-3): Connor’s team is another one that just can’t seem to catch a break, but I think Amanda has herself a team this year! Connor’s team scored a respectable 124.5 but wasn’t even close to matching Amanda’s star power. As long as Dalvin Cook is active, she’s got a stud in the RB slot, and then her WRs are pretty incredible. Amari Cooper is balling out along with his QB (especially this week), while DK Metcalf and Robby Anderson have both been extremely pleasant surprises, and Devante Parker is only getting stronger as the season goes along. She has 3 of the top 12 WRs in fantasy scoring at the moment. Then oh yeah, her QB is Mahomes, and the TE is Ertz… So it wasn’t in the cards for Connor this week. He was hit by the Steelers having a surprise BYE and not being able to start JuJu, but the lack of depth on his team showed in having to FLEX Jimmy Graham. He’s lucky that turned into 7 points in my book. Fairly easy victory for Amanda with Connor’s Falcons stinking it up in MNF, and Kenyan Drake being one of the bigger bust candidates of the short season. Amanda’s MVP: Amari Cooper (34.72) - Boy this is just turning into “start anyone you have for Dallas” season, huh? Not that Cooper isn’t an every week lock, but wow this offense. Cooper saw SIXTEEN targets as the Cowboys frantically tried to come back against the lowly Browns in their own building. Yay for Amari, but yikes for the Cowboys! Amanda’s LVP: Mike Gesicki (2.56) - He’s got the team named after him and everything! C’mon Mike! Amanda threw in a sneaky FLEX of Gesicki against the Seahawks, who have been an opposition point machine until this week… I like the play, as I have been FLEXing Gesicki in another league where I’m struggling, but it backfired all over the place in Week 4. Connor’s MVP: Adam Thielen (27.4) - Thielen was seriously impressive in the Vikings win over the Texans (which got BOB fired, finally). Weeks 2 and 3 were a bit concerning, but the connection with Cousins looks like it still has huge upside this year. Connor’s LVP: Kenyan Drake (3.5) - Wow. I’m struggling to believe what a letdown Drake has been so far this year. They’ve completely gone away from throwing him the ball, and he’s doing shockingly little on the ground with his 15 carries every game. He’s the starting RB on an offense that’s been pretty good this year… Makes no sense. Chase Edmonds is creeping in on him and even looking like the more explosive player at this point. Tootie (2-2) vs. Clint (2-2): Wow, what a close one. This result could have been different if any one of a thousand plays had gone differently last weekend. And there’s one big one that Clint REALLY wishes had gone differently: the Austin Ekeler injury. Ekeler leaving extremely early in the Chargers game leaving Clint with a 2.42 in a FLEX spot killed him here. He probably wins this by 15 if Ekeler doesn’t go down there, but them’s the breaks. Tootie wasn’t even close to setting her optimal lineup, and it really almost cost her. Luckily, she has some Saints on her team, primarily Alvin Kamara. Kamara is destroying this season as fantasy’s RB #1, and he pulled together with unlikely teammate hero Tre’Quan Smith to really bail Tootie out of having guys like Crowder and Harry on her bench. This came THE FUCK DOWN TO IT THOUGH! Both of these teams finished early for the week in the afternoon Sunday games, and Clint had Jonathon Taylor Thomas active in the Colts/Bears game after everything else was over to win it for him… 0.7 short. Brutal. It really wasn’t a great game for JTT, and his usage on the Colts is getting a bit confusing. Every week they seem to be violently changing their strategy on how much they use Hines and Wilkins. How to feel about that first round pick sure is a roller coaster! When the dust settled, Tootie squeaked out a W and gets back to .500, where Clint also finds his team. Tootie’s MVP: Tre’Quan Smith (21.48) - I would give this to the old geezer at QB who scored the most points for Tootie’s team this week, but I think Tre’Quan Smith deserves it more. Gutsy 2nd-week-in-a-row start by Tootie here, and it paid off in unbelievable fashion. The gamble that Brees would actually give the guy a fantasy day with Thomas out was everything in a matchup she won by less than a point. Cheers to this one! Tootie’s LVP: Darrell Henderson (4.72) - Just when you thought you could make sense of the Rams backfield, the committee strikes! Henderson honestly didn’t even play much in Week 4 after back to back 20 point weeks. Go figure. Something something McVay something something block scheming. Clint’s MVP: DJ Chark Jr. (29.68) - I traded for the wrong DJ! Chark was banged up and missed a week there, but returned to action looking in full form as he hauled in 8 catches for 95 yards and 2 scores. Impressive stuff given the sluggish start. Clint’s LVP: Jonathan Taylor (8.92) - I have to pick on him. He had a PERFECT chance to do something and win Clint this matchup, but it didn’t happen. He saw plenty of carries over the course of the game, but didn’t do a whole lot with those, and the single catch is concerning for elite fantasy output. Tee (4-0) vs. Jessica H. (3-1): Our battle of undefeateds this week was a bit of a letdown in terms of total scoring, but it was pretty close. If all of Jessica’s team had shown up, it would have been really close… The Marvin Jones situation was a real puzzler (at least he outperformed Calvin Ridley!), but the Jeff Wilson start was a downright bad move. Jessica was out running some errands right about the time games were kicking, and when she came in saying she was starting Jeff Wilson, I thought she was joking. To start Wilson over all of John Brown, MVS, Tate, and Viska… Well that didn’t work out. Tee’s team was rock solid here, and did enough to get the job done, which is often what it comes down to. Allen Robinson was the stud of the week for him, but Kupp and Hunt each chipped in plenty as well. Hunt is particularly poised for success now with Nick Chubb out of the way for some period of time. So Tees team keeps rolling through the schedule so far! Let’s see how long he can keep it up! Tee’s MVP: Allen Robinson (24.3) - The stud receiver that Tee thought he drafted has come back in force since I last wrote this note! Three straight weeks of great scores now (counting TNF in Week 5) for the target machine in Chicago. It looks like the promotion of Foles might actually be pretty beneficial for Robinson. Tee’s LVP: DeAndre Hopkins (11.28) - Not much of any real duds for Tee’s team, so I’ll pick this off-week for the usually studly Hopkins. It was a bad week for the Cardinals offense, so I’m not expecting to see Hopkins much, or ever, in this slot for the rest of the season. Jessica’s MVP: Mike Davis (22.22) - Wow, what a waiver pickup stud this guy has turned out to be. Watching Davis turn in these great scores every week is salt in the wound to those of us who deprioritized him in waivers, or just messed them up lol. Surely this won’t last when CMC returns, but for now this dude is an every week must-play. He’s getting the CMC workload, and looks shockingly good doing it! The Panthers are 2-0 with Davis at RB… Jessica’s LVP: Marvin Jones Jr. (1.94) - Several good ones to choose from here, but I have to go with Marvin Jones. What the fuck has happened to this guy this season? I took him cheap in my school league this auction and luckily had already benched him for Week 4, but he was an obvious start for Jessica here. When he’s been healthy prior seasons, he’s been late round fantasy gold. A bit streaky, but the dude has always scored TDs in buckets. Nothing of the sort so far this year. Doyle (1-3) vs. Travis (0-4): I think Doyle’s team had enough of my shit! This was an emphatic “NOT THE WORST TEAM” statement from the Padre squad. In fact if not for Travis’s pitiful point total, this matchup would have been much higher up in the breakdown with Doyle’s 2nd highest score of the week. Mike Evans and CeeDee Lamb were both great, but HOLY GEORGE KITTLE, BATMAN! That sloppy Philly game that the 9ers found a way to lose turned into the get-the-ball-to-Kittle show for the 4th quarter. I saw some absolutely insane comebacks in other leagues from this Kittle performance, so maybe don’t feel too bad you were never in this thing, Travis? Kittle would’ve just broken your heart if you had a decent 120-140 score. This was all with Daniel Jones blowing chunks in the QB slot for 8 points on Doyle’s team. Over on Travis’s side, well it was pretty much all suck. Chris Carson was great again! That was pretty much it. Injuries have ravaged this team, and now with Cam out for COVID, there wasn’t much hope here. Still, Lockett was a huge disappointment, AJ Green is officially a massive bust again, and Darius Slayton isn’t stepping up with Shepard out. Seems like this should have been a lot closer, but it was an epic blowout instead. Doyle’s MVP: George Kittle (41.4) - Fifteen catches on fifteen targets for 183 yards and a score… Oh and he had an 8 yard carry, because the offense wasn’t revolving around him enough. There’s why I had him ranked as a top 20 overall pick this year! Doyle’s LVP: Daniel Jones (8.85) - Starting Jones against the Rams D-front and Aaron Donold was a bold choice. It was terrible, but it was bold too. At least it was only 1 turnover. Travis’s MVP: Chris Carson (25.08) - The lone bright spot in this lineup was at least pretty bright! Carson isn’t getting a huge workload, but it’s honestly super impressive he was on the field AT ALL. The dirty as shit tackle that was made on him the prior week was speculated to have him missing time, but fuck that said Chris Carson. This man has a contract to earn. He’s the RB #5 on the season so far. Travis’s LVP: A.J. Green (1.4) - It’s time to call it, right? I think the Bengals are. Green finally gave way to some other WRs getting playing time in Week 4 after being the most inefficient WR in the NFL through 3 weeks. Mind you, he still saw 5 targets in this game, so there’s hope, right?! WRONG. He turned those 5 targets into one catch for 3 yards. Fucking gross. Randy (2-0) vs. Stephen (0-2): What the fuck do I say about this debacle? A great week of fantasy football in our league was completely tainted by this putrid meeting between my dad, who in his third year of playing fantasy football apparently has zero clue how to do a single thing with his roster, and Stephen, who I’m comfortable saying has the most hopeless team in our league after four weeks. Sure, he’ll probably beat the shit out of me in Week 5 because I said this, but Stephen’s team is seriously awful, and there’s no hope for it. Travis has Michael Thomas coming back and some other hopefuls. Stephen has a bench comprised of so many turds that Adrian Peterson and Larry Fitzgerald are starters for him… I honestly don’t know whose bench upsets me more here. Stephen’s with zero upside but all cusp-roster guys, or Randy’s where Marlon fucking Mack is still sitting in a non-IR slot!!! Ughhhhhh. I guess since I don’t have anything nice to say, I’ll keep this short. Randy failed to make a single roster move, started an injured Chris Godwin over Darren Waller, and still won by 40 points. The points that Jamaal Williams, Hunter Renfrow, and Dalton Schultz combined for are so silly. He moves to 4-0 in a massive slap in the face to anyone putting actual thought into their lineup and roster. Stephen’s team is bad outside of the Chiefs and Stefon Diggs. Randy’s MVP: Melvin Gordon (26.86) - With Aaron Jones taking a break with only ~20 points, it was Gordon’s turn to work miracles for Randy. Near half his points came on a last minute garbage time run with the game in hand. It’s hard for me to believe Gordon is almost a RB1 in the point rankings. Randy’s LVP: Chris Godwin (0) - Hard to get any points when you aren’t playing. Stephen’s MVP: Stefon Diggs (18.64) - Diggs is just hanging out in this spot for Stephen. He’s clocking in above Tyreek Hill as this team’s WR1 at this point. This was his second 100 yard receiving game of the season, and the Bills passing attack continues to impress. Stephen’s LVP: Larry Fitzgerald (2.46) - I guess Larry Legend’s 1 point in Week 3 left Stephen with no choice but to fire him up in Week 4… There were 13 available free agent FLEX players that scored at least 10 points in Week 4. Just saying.
Week 5 Preview
Ok, so you thought Week 4 was a shitshow in terms of COVID delays and lineup unknowns? Welcome to Week 5, bitches! The 2020 NFL season is officially an exploration into MNF double headers and TUESDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL?!?!?!?! Oh man, let’s see how this goes… The Titans and Bills are currently set to play Tuesday night after the Titans haven’t seen positives for… a couple days. Right. I guess we’ll have another week of retro-active subs being an option? Ugh, this is getting messy. Hopefully we can cut out the locker room outbreaks from here out! In the Josi league, we’ve got some good ones. Randy’s team is devastated by the Packers BYE and the Titans being only questionable to play, SO C’MON TOOTIE! He’s already started injured Chris Godwin in the TNF game, so please deal him a loss here. Travis takes on the mighty task of trying to get his first win while also handing Tee his first loss. It’s a long shot, but I’m not counting Travis out! The clear matchup of the week is a 3-1 battle between Amanda and Jessica H. Amanda’s team could assert some dominance over her closest competitor in the standings, or vice versa. I take on Stephen to try and get things rolling, but instead I’ll probably just be eating my words from this note about how terrible Stephen’s team is. Connor and Doyle will face off, and I honestly have no clue who I would bet on there. Doyle’s team is looking much more formidable with Kittle and Mostert potentially back in the lineup, but he’ll be missing Golladay again, this time on BYE. It will most definitely be a good one, because any weekend of football that we get at this point is amazing! We’re into BYE season y’all. Packers and Lions are out this week. Good luck in Week 5 everyone!
Going to take a deep look at what the Lions have done previously in the draft, and then try and use that as a predictive look at what Detroit may do this year. So, let’s look back at some key trends and then use those to try and project what a Detroit Lions 2020 Draft will look like. One thing to note...LionsWire reporter Eric Schlitt will likely be releasing his Quinn Influenced Benchmark qualifiers (QIB) soon, and I'd really trust those, as Quinn has a pretty measurable trend for athletic traits. Not to say that he hasn't picked players who aren't there, but rather that it's a good tool to use. But here's my look in a similar manner.
First Round Pick:
Previous: OT Taylor Decker, LB Jarrad Davis, C/G Frank Ragnow, TE T.J. Hockenson · Major Power 5 program (Ohio State, Florida, Arkansas, Iowa)* · No major character concerns · No major injury concerns · Year One Rookie Starter (Decker, Davis, Ragnow, Hockenson) · Position of Need · Take Later Risers into 1st (Davis, Ragnow) · “Box” Focus (not outside skill players) *- Arkansas specifically may not be a major program relatively speaking, but they have a good history for offensive line play, especially at the time. For the most part, Detroit plays thing pretty safe in the 1st round. Decker and Hockenson were both heavily projected to Detroit at various points in the draft process. In 2016 and 2017, the clear top needs were the positions that Detroit took. In 2018 and 2019, a bit less so, but they definitely took positions of need (though most would say TE wasn’t as big of a need as a pass rusher). But on average, Detroit looks for high floor players with minimal risk. Jarrad Davis was considered a pretty high ceiling player due to his athleticism, and Ragnow probably fits that mold due to being a center (taking a center in the 1st round is usually a statement that they’ll be a top 5 player at the position). Decker was OT4 in his draft class, but the clear top player at the spot they had. To a certain extent, I do prioritize the trends that Quinn and Patricia also employed in New England so to speak, but at 4 years of Quinn, and 2 years of Patricia, there’s enough to go more so on what they have in mind. The part that’s both hard and easy to process is that this is the earliest they’ve picked under Quinn. At this point, the draft board is usually clearest, and this season it seems to be pretty clear, pending a surprise pick from the Giants and Gettleman. However, based on everything the Lions have shown, the most likely player to be selected based on these criteria is Ohio State CB Jeffrey Okudah. While some others could make sense, Okudah checks every box here. Contrast to lacking a clear positional need (Isaiah Simmons) or a major injury concern (Tua), and Okudah seems to be highest here. Derrick Brown probably fits the bill next most after this, though believe it or not, Quinn has really only “reached” on Ragnow in the 1st round, as the others were projected roughly in the range Detroit took him, and Brown’s trending closer to 8-15, rather than top 8. So, whether they trade down or not, Okudah is the predictive pick for Detroit in the 1st round. Now, if they’re able to pick up a late 1st round pick from the Dolphins (1.26 perhaps?), then looking at the mold of Davis and Ragnow fits a bit better than top-half picks like Decker and Hockenson. With those two, the big thing I’d narrow in on is that they were both rising up the boards the closer to the draft things got. With that in mind, I think the most likely choices are iOL Cesar Ruiz (Michigan) or WR Denzel Mims (Baylor). Both have been trending towards 1st round status, and both are high character dues from major CFB programs at relative positions of need. I’d lean towards Ruiz if he’s on the board. Thus, the selection, Ohio State CB Jeffrey Okudah
Second Round Pick:
Previous Selections: DT A’Shawn Robinson, CB Teez Tabor, RB Kerryon Johnson, LB Jahlani Tavai · Media First-Round Player who dropped (A’Shawn, Tabor post-Combine) · Major Power 5 program (Alabama, Florida, Auburn) · No major character concerns (Tavai had a legal incident, but it wasn’t a bad thing so to speak) · Not consistently a starter (Tabor didn’t, Tavai and A’Shawn were rotational) · Position of Need still relatively high · “Box” Focus as Kerryon was brought in to improve the run game. In the second round, Detroit is not as clear in a pattern as the first round is, as Detroit’s grabbed a variety of different players. A’Shawn Robinson was a player many thought Detroit could consider in the 1st round, but instead took him in the 2nd when he dropped to them. Tabor was similar, though his decline in stock started earlier when he had a poor 40-yard dash at the Combine. Kerryon Johnson was a pretty appropriately valued player at the spot. But the big one that throws this off a bit is Tavai. While it sounds like his scout was a bit higher behind the scenes, but he was an out of the blue pick for many Detroit fans. Regardless, we’ll stick to the earlier indicators, of Detroit going with someone who was a bit of a slider. One player I think would fit this mantra pretty well is Iowa DE A.J. Epenesa. He was pegged as a potential top-10 pick awhile back, but then a mediocre combine may have dropped him from the first round entirely, as he was already not much of a traits player. The bigger question is would a team overlook that before Detroit would be able to snatch Epenesa at 35? Personally, I think so, though if he’s available, I’d be shocked not to hear his name called. There’s a handful of players I think could be considered here, and ultimately, I think this one goes back to the “box” focus, as I’d personally be shocked if Quinn went 2 rounds with premium picks and not adding a physical player to stuff the front seven, or help the run game. I echo the first-round feelings on Ruiz and Epenesa, but ultimately, I think they go in a bit different direction, picking Neville Gallimore out of Oklahoma, as he fits a lot of what Detroit looks for in defensive linemen as an active player with some pop in his hands. Thus, the selection, Oklahoma DT Neville Gallimore
Third Round Picks:
Previous Selections: G/C Graham Glasgow, WR Kenny Golladay, S Tracy Walker, S Will Harris · Lesser known player taken a round or two before most projected them (Will Harris, Tracy Walker, Kenny Golladay) · Smaller schools (Northern Illinois, UL-Lafayette, Boston College to an extent for a S) · Traditionally has been a position where they can replace the current starter after a season or so of getting their feet wet. · Willing to take on a bit more off-field concerns (Glasgow DUI) · Skill position focus (other than Glasgow) This spot is actually a bit clearer for Detroit, as this has traditionally been the “reach” pick for Detroit, where they take someone who was graded out as a round 4/5 player, but instead Detroit snaps them up in this round, ensuring they get their guy. And without a doubt, Bob Quinn has done well at that, specifically in this round, with his first 3 picks looking like high caliber NFL starters. Now, Detroit has two first round picks, and could realistically pick up a third in a trade with the Dolphins or Chargers, but the additional pick here will be a bit interesting, as I’m guessing Detroit will also add a player here that is a bit more in-line with the value, not so much a potential gem in the mold of a Golladay or Walker. I think that, despite the school, EDGE Jonathan Greenard could be in play here. He’s a heavy-handed power rusher that fits what Detroit wants, and the Patriots have traditionally waited until the 3rd or 4th round to begin adding edge rushers. Quinn’s earliest pickup was in the fourth last year, but with the extra pick, I think it’s easy enough to land Greenard as one of my picks. Him being on Detroit’s Senior Bowl roster also ensures they’ve gotten a good look at him, which will be a bit more important now with the limited scouting available due to coronavirus. So we’ll take Greenard as one. For the other one, I think the options are quite expansive here. Detroit certainly needs some OL help, and a few guys on their Senior Bowl rosters would be in range here (Ben Bredeson and Jonah Jackson), though adding a bit more traditional Quinn flavor would suggest someone out of a Group of 5 school. And while personally, I’d love to add Temple iOL Matt Hennessy, he also doesn’t fit the gem mold, as he’s a pretty consensus Day 2 player, and I think the idea here would be to find someone who is an earlier Day 3 guy. So, we’ll go with an offensive lineman projected to land at the end of the fourth in Matt Miller’s latest mock, SDSU iOL Keith Ismael. Ismael’s best fit is in a zone scheme like Detroit’s and his experience at center gives Detroit the backup experience there that Graham Glasgow brought. Thus, the selections, Florida EDGE Jonathan Greenard and SDSU Keith Ismael
Fourth & Fifth Round Picks:
Previous Selections: S Killebrew, G/T Dahl, LB Williams, LB Reeves-Maybin, TE Roberts, CB Agnew, DT Hand, OT Crosby, DE Bryant, CB Oruwariye · Players who have dropped a few rounds and DET stops the slide (Crosby, Oruwariye) · Players highly linked with team previously (Roberts) · All over the place with programs, some big-time (Clemson, PSU last year), others not (San Diego, Utah St, Georgia St, Toledo represent) · Positions tend more towards box. Once Day 3 hits, I think people make too heavy a distinction of the rounds. At this point, everyone is no longer a great bet to be a good player. So simply identify who you think will be and go get them. Detroit has three picks in here, with an extra fifth from the Slay trade with Philly. Thus, I’ll try and find a lesser known guy (G5) as a developmental prospect, a lesser player from a P5 school, and a player who slides down a bit. We’ll start with a Day 2 player who could slip, as Austin Bryant, Amani Oruwariye, and Tyrell Crosby were all guys getting hype as Day 2 prospects who ultimately slide to Detroit. One guy I think that’s being projected as a Day 2 guy who I think could slide a bit is Boston College RB A.J. Dillon, who has a lot of mileage for a big back. Given the devaluation of the running back position, and the deep classes at OT and WR, I think that could push some decent RB’s to the 4th round. For Detroit, however, that’s totally fine, as Dillon fits their athletic benchmarks, and can be a bit more of a bruiser inside, to mesh with Kerryon Johnson’s all-around style, and Ty Johnson’s home-run hitting ability. A quality trio. For the small school guy, I think St. John’s T/G Ben Bartch could be an intriguing choice for the Lions, as they covet lateral athleticism and explosiveness at guard, and he does well in both those categories. It sounds like the Lions are rumored to have interest in the Rhode Island WR’s, especially Aaron Parker who wins with size, hands, and body control with a decent athletic profile. Very Detroit-esque player, and we’ll have them double dipping here at WR. If App State RB Darrynton Evans is available here, he definitely fits Detroit’s mold. Ultimately though, I’m going with Boise State WR John Hightower, whose combine showed great speed (4.43 40) and decent enough explosiveness (38.5 vert / 122.0 broad) to fit the Lions athletic preferences at the position. For a mid-tier power five level player, I think there’s a handful of guys who intrigue with what Detroit has traditionally targeted. Looking at the guys like Jalen Reeves-Maybin and others taken here, they like guys with the ability to be a special team’s impact, but also have the upside to develop into a starter. However, we’re going to go with a trench player, to avoid keeping things too skilled for Quinn’s trends. Thus, a picture-perfect match for a Matt Patricia DL. North Carolina DL Jason Stowbridge is the pick here. Detroit likes to be deep on the DL, and so even with Da’Shawn Hand and Neville Gallimore on the inside, along with free agent signings Danny Shelton and Johnathan Williams. Stowbridge has the ability to play nearly everywhere on the line, with the exception of NT, so finding a place for him won’t be too difficult. If they go with someone else, I could see Utah S Julian Blackmon and Texas A&M WR Quartney Davis as potential picks here. Thus, the selections, Boston College RB A.J. Dillon, Boise State WR John Hightower and UNC DT Jason Stowbridge.
Sixth and Seventh Round Picks:
Previous Selections: DE Zettel, LS Landes, RB Washington, DL Ledbetter, QB Kaaya, DE O’Connor, FB Bawden, WR Fulgham, RB Johnson, TE Nauta, DT Johnson For these rounds, there really is no common denominator, though P5 players and DL are a bit heavier than every other spot. Detroit simply has one pick each round here. One thing I think is a very good chance of is Detroit taking a punter to replace Sam Martin, who signed with the Denver Broncos. If they do so, most of the rumors and sources seem to indicate that Texas A&M P Braden Mann will be the pick, though really there’s a handful of “draftable” punters with Turk from Arizona State and Townsend from Stanford also are a plausibility. And as Quinn showed in his first year as GM, he’s more than willing to select specialists, as he took Baylor LS Jimmy Landes in the 2016 draft. I mentioned DL being a heavier spot in the late rounds for Detroit, so another NT like Nebraska DT Bravion Ray is very much someone I could see Detroit taking, but we won’t be doing so in this one, as we’ve already added 3 DL already. Additionally, running backs have made multiple appearances here, so if Detroit doesn’t land someone like A.J. Dillon or Darrynton Evans earlier, a back like UCLA RB Joshua Kelley or TCU RB Darius Anderson fit a lot of what Detroit looks for. My actual pick here will be an extreme attempt at bargain bin hunting for guard. One thing Detroit looks for quite a bit is explosiveness, and Michigan T/G Jon Runyan Jr. brings plenty of that to the table. While he played LT in college, his NFL future is at guard. He has the lateral agility and demeanor to fit Detroit’s scheme really well. Others who I could see being a factor are Tennessee LB Daniel Bituli, who has the downhill throwback style of play that Patricia covets. Missouri LB Cale Garrett fills some of that as well. Additionally, Utah NT John Penisini could give them some depth and competition at NT. If Detroit wants to bring in a QB whose perhaps a better scheme fit than David Blough, then Oregon State QB Jake Luton would make plenty of sense. Miami EDGE Trevon Hill also fits the Lions mold, and Michigan T/G Jon Runyan Jr. would be an interesting option for some G depth, given his quality athleticism. However, we’ll stick with the competition at TE3, since Detroit uses more 2-TE sets than most teams, so depth there is important. Thus, the selections, Texas A&M P Braden Mann and Michigan T/G Jon Runayn Jr. Overall, this brings Detroit to the following class: 1.3 – CB Jeffrey Okudah (Ohio State) 2.35 – DT Neville Gallimore (Oklahoma) 3.67 – EDGE Jonathan Greenard (Florida) 3.85 – G/C Keith Ismael (San Diego St.) 4.109 – RB A.J. Dillon (Boston College) 5.149 – WR John Hightower (Boise State) 5.166 – DL Jason Stowbridge (North Carolina) 6.182 – P Braden Mann (Texas A&M) 7.235 – T/G Jon Runyan Jr. (Michigan) Overall, I think this very much has the feel of a standard Bob Quinn draft. Probably a bit too heavy on recognizable names, but perhaps the scouting disruption means we see fewer “sleepers” getting taken, as evaluations are cut a bit short or are less-than-desired in completion. Anyways, to be clear, this is not at all a suggestion of what I'd personally do, but rather trying to predict what Quinn will likely do in this year's draft. Let me know what you think, or if there's anything you notice that I missed.
I said I might do another one of these, time permitting. Little did I know that I’d leave my house only four times in the past month to go to the grocery store. I’ve found quite a bit of time hunkered down in my apartment. I think my dog is getting sick of me. I know my wife is getting sick of me. The Dolphins were active early in free agency. They made a lot of expected moves (at least in terms of what positional needs we prioritized) and some more surprising ones. This leaves the team in an interesting place headed into the draft . In various discussions we’ve had over the past few weeks, I’ve tackled a couple cap questions, particularly in regards to the effective cap cost of rookie contracts as well as cap flexibility in 2021. In this offseason entry, I plan to address those topics and others to contextualize the way I see the draft shaking out. If you missed any of my previous posts, find the links below. A lot of it is out of date at this point, but if you’d like a good laugh you can see how often I was wrong (although, compared to previous years, I think I did pretty well this year), take a look.
Earlier this year, I projected a much more aggressive roster culling ahead of free agency than we ended up actually receiving. Aside from getting the departure of Reshad Jones right (admittedly, that one was a bit of a gimme), I also thought that by now we would have moved on from Albert Wilson, Taco Charlton, and Jakeem Grant to free up additional cap space. Instead, we dropped Kilgore (a move I considered unlikely), and--so far at least--have kept the others. There’s still plenty of time for things to change ahead of the 55-man roster cutdown. As currently constructed, our roster has a logjam of players at both the wide receiver and defensive end positions (never thought I’d be saying that second bit already). The Dolphins have 11 wide receivers under contract and eight defensive ends. Several of these players are minimum salary types filling out the offseason roster for camp, but there are plenty of locks at both to make the roster as well relative to the number of expected roster spots available at each position. Wide Receiver
It’s a reasonable bet that the Dolphins will carry five wide receivers on the final 53-man roster. That’s how many we’ve kept every year for the past three seasons. That likely means half of the names above will be cut. DeVante Parker and Jakeem Grant (now that his base salary for the 2020 season has been guaranteed) are locks for the roste. Their contracts make them more expensive to cut than to keep. Preston Williams should also be expected to return for obvious reasons. That leaves two spots for the remaining eight guys, and I have to imagine that Allen Hurns--who signed an extension in the middle of last season--has an edge to keep his spot despite the potential cap savings. Isaiah Ford also came along when injuries pushed him to the top of the depth chart at the end of the season last year, convincing the team to pick him up as an exclusive rights free agent. Obviously Albert Wilson fills a niche on the roster that most of the other guys don’t--unless we expect to see Jakeem Grant take a larger role as the team’s slot receiver. There’s been discussion that the team plans to use Mike Gesicki in a big slot role, but that doesn’t rule out keeping Wilson. It’s not unthinkable that we carry six wide receivers in 2020, especially with Chan Gailey as our offensive coordinator and the extra two roster spots granted by the new CBA. His spread concepts figure to see more multiple-receiver sets, after all. This especially makes sense given that we should expect Grant and Ford (or whoever earns a roster spot over Ford) to see more use on special teams than offense. With the extra roster spots available, maybe this is one of the places we use one. Even should we keep him, I would prefer to see Wilson’s cap figure altered. There’s almost no way that he can live up to his $10.8 million cap charge in such a crowded field. If we do decide to keep him, I hope it involves a restructure and extension similar to the deal that Parker took in place of his fifth year option last year. He’s performed well in limited snaps, but his injury history and slow return last season may hurt his value moving forward, giving the team leverage to flex his remaining cap figure into a two-year contract. I suspect, though, that if that was going to happen, it already would have given the other extensions we’ve offered the plenty of our other receivers. I also expected him to be cut by no, though. Defensive Ends
Lawson and Ogbah are our starting defensive ends in 2020. Headed into free agency, I expected defensive end to be a big target in the draft as well. Now I’m less certain. As a first round selection, Harris’s 2020 salary is mostly guaranteed, so we save almost nothing other than a roster spot by moving on from him. Teams rarely cut players that don’t offer cap savings, so barring someone outperforming him in camp, I expect him to be on the roster. That still leaves a five or six way battle for what remains of only three or four defensive end spots. Consider also how many linebackers the Dolphins are likely to carry into the 2020 season: Kyle Van Noy, Kamu Grugier-Hill, Vince Biegel, Elandon Roberts, Raekwon McMillan, and Jerome Baker are virtual locks to make the roster--and that’s already six linebackers before we get to guys like Andrew Van Ginkel and Sam Eguavoen who are cheap and look to earn a spot based on their performance last season and their special teams value. Our 2019 roster structure looked a lot more like that of the Patriots last year: fewer defensive linemen and more linebackers. We used 3-4 looks more often than we have in years past, and that means that we’re getting edge rushers from the linebackers as well. Signing Kyle Van Noy likely signals that we’ll continue to see plenty of this. Realistically, of the bottom five guys on the list above, the one most likely to make the roster is probably the one who can be moved around the most successfully. If one of those guys can find productivity flexing between 4-3 DE and 3-4 DE or 4-3 DE and 3-4 OLB and be productive at both positions, then they’ll have a leg up making the roster. Remaining Free Agency Although it’s already April and less than two weeks from the NFL Draft, there are still a handful of free agents remaining at what might be considered positions of need. Two of the biggest names are Jadeveon Clowney and Yannick Ngakoue, both of whom are finding their markets to be lower than they initially anticipated (although Ngakoue’s situation is complicated by his tag designation). As detailed above, though, I think it unlikely that we bring in another defensive end--much less one that we can barely afford. Clowney’s asking price has reportedly fallen to the $17-18 million per year range, but that’s still out of our price range at this point. Trading with the Vikings for Anthony Harris would make more sense than trying to acquire either Clowney and Ngakoue, but even that’s unlikely. Trading for Harris would be cheaper than trading for Ngakoue in terms of both draft assets required and the cost of his new contract, but it’s unlikely we would spend top money on safety after paying Byron Jones. While free safety is arguably the position we stand most to benefit from upgrading on defense, I can’t imagine a scenario where we become suitors for Harris with our current cap commitments at the position. Such a move would likely signal an impending trade of Xavien Howard. As always, the elephant in the room is the quarterback situation. It remains our biggest position of need headed into the draft, and both Cam Newton and Jameis Winston are available. We don’t need to rehash my thoughts on free agent quarterbacks from my first post in this series, but you can guess where I stand on signing either of them. Hint: don’t. It should be abundantly clear by now that the Dolphins made their moves early in free agency and we’re unlikely to do much more ahead of the draft. We’re in a comfortable place with our cap space and already carry 78 players on our roster. With fourteen draft picks in our back pocket for later this month, we’re already going to have to drop two players to meet the maximum offseason roster size of 90 players, unless of course we draft fewer than fourteen players because we’re losing some picks to move up. There’s also undrafted free agents who will get signed. We can safely ignore any discussion about the Dolphins bringing any free agents in other than minimum contract players for the rest of the offseason.
So where does that leave us? Over The Cap calculates the Dolphins as having $23,886,772 in salary cap space remaining. With the roster filled out well past the top 51 contracts that actually count, it’s time to recalculate the effective cap cost of our rookie contracts. OTC lists our total rookie pool cost at $18,096,615. They’re wrong. For whatever reason, they’re missing one of our fourteen picks--number 154--received from Jacksonville via Pittsburgh. Good news? It doesn’t actually change our calculation since it’s value ($690,227) is lower than our cheapest contract in the top 51 on our roster ($750,000), so it costs us effectively nothing for now. In fact, the bottom eight of our fourteen picks (rounds four and later) are all below the lowest contract on our top 51, so they’re all effectively free in terms of cap commitment. That leaves our top six draft picks displacing six $750,000 contracts at the bottom of our roster, bringing our effective salary cap cost total to $8,946,548. That leaves us with $14,940,224 in salary cap space for 2020. Barring any extensions, expect nearly all of that to roll over into 2021. Importantly, where does this leave us for 2021? Based on the bump in the new Collective Bargaining Agreement, Over the Cap projects a base salary cap of $215,000,000 in 2021. With our current cap commitments and anticipated rollover, we’re likely to enter the 2021 season with $48,480,196 in available cap space. That number is much lower than you might be seeing listed elsewhere, because I’ve included the cost of our this year’s draft class not only against this year’s cap (which reduces our amount for rollover as detailed above) but next year’s as well (which comes out to a whopping $23,458,157). Sites like Spotrac and OTC typically won’t price that in until after the draft and the players actually sign, and not without reason. Any trades in the draft can shift this amount pretty substantially, especially if we package one of our firsts to move up. It’s a good working figure at this point, though. How about the way-too-early look ahead? Aside from the obvious move to cut Albert Wilson this season and save $9.5 million (yes, I’m going to keep banging this drum) or moving on from Julie’n Davenport after drafting tackles ($2,133,000 in savings), there are several players who can become cap casualties in 2021.
Kyle Van Noy
Unless something has gone terribly wrong, many of these names are safe for 2021 (Van Noy and Ogbah top that list). Others might find themselves on the wrong end of a team looking to shift its roster around. If Howard is injured yet again, his contract becomes easy to move on from, especially as we’d still have Byron Jones. I’d bet that one of either McCain or Rowe isn’t with the Dolphins for the 2021 season. Others might find themselves on the right end of a team looking to lock a player down long term. If Ogbah is healthy and shows out all season, he could be in line for an extension that increases his APY moving forward while decreasing his 2021 APY. In brief, players like McCain, Rowe, Howard, and Davis could all find themselves as cap casualties because they play positions that we are likely to target in this draft to find long-term replacements. Similarly, the logjam at wide receiver could see departures for Grant or Hurns in 2021, freeing up additional cap space. That cap flexibility--having nearly $50 million in available cap space already and the ability to free up even more--is impressive considering our spending spree in the past few weeks. It’s also doubly important because 2021’s free agent includes several players likely to play starting or key depth roles in 2020 who will be free agents in 2021 including Kamu Grugier-Hill, Ted Karras, Vince Biegel, Matt Haack, Elandon Roberts, Raekwon McMillan, and Davon Godchaux. Players set to hit free agency in 2022 who might be up for extensions at the same time include Emmanuel Ogbah, Mike Gesicki, and Jerome Baker. We’re unlikely to be active in 2021 free agency the way we were this year, but we have the cap health to re-sign who we wish from our own players without mortgaging our future. We entered the 2020 free agency season with an enormous amount of cap space and managed to spend aggressively (more money in new contracts than any other NFL team) without putting ourselves into a cap crunch for the future.
I didn’t expect to sign Byron Jones mostly because I never thought that we would be paying two of the three highest-paid cornerbacks in the league on the same team. It’s obviously a move we can afford (as detailed above), but I’m not used to the secondary being a position in which we’ve aggressively invested resources. I wanted to take a closer look at how we’re spending our cap space by position groups by active cap spending (a total of $173,655,544 at time of writing). Let’s break it down. Offense
Defense and Special Teams
These numbers will fluctuate significantly by the time we wittle the roster down to the final 55, but even now it’s apparent how this front office plans to build this team. A total of 58.2% of our active cap spending is going to defense. Consider also that the Dolphins are carrying an additional $18,177,506 in dead cap for defensive players while only carrying a tenth of that ($1,862,740) in dead cap for offensive players. Expect quarterback, running back, offensive line to see the largest increases to this figure after the draft. Barring something unexpected, we’ll be drafting a quarterback at fifth overall (or higher), and with multiple openings on the offensive line, it’s possible (likely?) that we draft two offensive linemen in our first five selections. There’s a gaping hole at running back as well. Those high draft selections will be enough to move the needle in a significant way. The number that jumps to the most immediate attention, of course, is our spending on defensive backs at nearly $50 million in total cap commitments for a total of $27.31% of active cap spending. This may be our new normal for a while. In the past three seasons, the Patriots have allocated 23.61%, 21.63%, and 23.62% of their total cap spending to the secondary. They’ve also done that while spending much more heavily on quarterback even with Brady on “bargain” deals. I wouldn’t be surprised to see this number go up in the short term either, as I think it’s likely we target a safety in the first or second rounds this year. We’ve allocated more of our resources to the defensive line and linebacker positions than the Patriots have the past few years, but not by much. Our spending in both groups is boosted dramatically by our new free agents at the positions (Ogbah, Van Noy, and Lawson) and has been fueled by our absolutely dire pass rush situation. Due to Fizpatrick’s contract, 2020 is likely to be our most expensive year at the quarterback position until 2024 when whatever rookie we draft could be retained on the fifth year option. The defensive secondary cost will likely come down in the near future as I think it’s unlikely Bobby McCain and Eric Rowe play out their current contracts, but in general we’re probably looking at splits roughly along these lines over the next few seasons.
2020 Free Agency Signings
Having looked at the money, let’s examine what that money bought us. Obviously this section is very subjective. As I’m sure many of you have noticed in plenty of other discussions on this subreddit, I’m positive on our signings as a whole. I try to be optimistic about the moves we make because grousing about them isn’t much fun. Clayton Fejedelem: Three Years, $8,550,000, $3,000,000 Guaranteed It always makes me uncomfortable when a new coach tries too hard to be the head coach he learned under. This has especially proved a concern for Belichick disciples who often try to jump right into being a hard ass without having earned the respect. Fortunately, that does not appear to be too much of a concern with Flores so far. I bring up coaches mimicking their mentors here because even though Fejedelem wasn’t a Patriot, this signing reeks of the type of player that Belichick covets. Fejedelem checks so many boxes. He provides much-needed depth at a positional weakness from last season, he’s been a core special teams guy for the Bengals, and he’s a former team captain. He costs under three million per year to bring depth at a position our front office clearly values, provides good special teams value, and he should fit with the type of team culture Flores is building. All of his guaranteed money is in 2020, and his contract is front-loaded as well. It’s a rock solid deal for someone who figures to be a solid player for us both on the field and in the locker room. Ereck Flowers: Three Years, $30,000,000, $19,950,000 Guaranteed I wish I had as much optimism about Flowers as I did about Fejedelem, but I’m less comfortable with this contract. It clearly fills a position of need, as we badly needed to improve our offensive line. In my Building the Offense entry in this series, I referred to Flowers as a competent guy who wouldn’t break the bank. I stand by the assertion he’s an improvement over any of the guards currently on our roster, but the $10 million per year number is a little higher than I expected. While I understand that offensive line talent is increasingly at a premium, making Ereck Flowers the 14th-highest paid guard in the NFL after only one good season at the position in Washington is not without risk, especially with nearly two thirds of his contract fully guaranteed. What hurts more is that for $14 million per year, the Browns landed Jack Conklin--probably my top offensive line target in free agency--and the Chargers signed Bryan Bulaga--the Conklin consolation prize--for only $6.75 million per year. I would have preferred either of those to Flowers. That said, it’s only fair to acknowledge that Flowers quickly became one of the top guards in a thinning market when both Brandon Scherff and Joe Thuney were tagged. Graham Glasgow, a similar prospect converted from center to guard, went for $11 million APY and Andrus Peat coming off of two poor seasons signed at $11.5 million APY. There’s an argument to be made that the guard market has just really closed the gap on tackles and Flowers got market rate. This move, and the lack of a tackle signed in free agency, signals that our front office is confident that we can either successfully address both left and right tackle in the draft this year or that Jesse Davis can be a long-term solution at right guard. This shouldn’t be too surprising given Davis’s contract extension, but I’m not 100% on board with it. If we’ve overpaid for Flowers’s services as I suspect, at least it’s only a three-year deal and we can move on with only $1 million in dead cap ahead of the 2022 season. Optimistically, Flowers continues to play up to his 2019 standard at guard and proves himself worthy of the contract as he comes home to Miami. Kamu Grugier-Hill: One Year, $3,000,000, $2,000,000 Guaranteed Although this signing is likely to draw comparisons to Fejedelem for very transparent reasons (they’re both defensive depth who figure as core special teams contributors who were team captains for their previous team), Grugier-Hill carries greater risk. Fortunately, this is reflected in his short-term deal. His 2019 season ended early due to a lower lumbar disc herniation and also missed time for other injuries. If healthy, though, he brings a lot of the same mojo to the team as Fejedelem, with the added benefit of being one of several new Dolphins to bring championship experience to the team. As with Fejedelem, Grugier-Hill is the kind of guy who checks a lot of boxes: he’s cheap, he provides key depth and special teams value, he’s familiar with our defensive system, and he figures to be an immediate leader in a very young locker room. Jordan Howard: Two Years, $9,750,000, $4,750,000 Guaranteed Shocking nobody, I’m not high on signing Jordan Howard. Mostly because I’m not high on spending money on running backs in general, and paying a running back coming off an injury-shortened season makes me more nervous than at most positions. The Dolphins had the worst rushing attack in the NFL in 2019, though, and before his injury this year, Howard was on track again for a solid season in line for previous years. He’s a big bodied back who figures to split the load with the rookie we inevitably draft. As a personal consolation, I can remind myself that none of his 2021 salary is guaranteed., so it’s essentially a one-year, prove-it deal. Byron Jones: Five Years, $82,500,000, $46,000,000 Guaranteed In my offseason entry on Building the Defense I wrote, “Frankly, Jones and Howard likely immediately becomes the best corner tandem in the NFL for the next couple seasons, and we’ve all seen how you can build a defense from the secondary with a rookie quarterback and find a lot of success. That said, I don’t know that our front office could swallow objections to paying what would likely be $30 million APY between two corners.” I badly misjudged our front office’s priorities. While I said that if we did decide to address cornerback in free agency, it would be Byron Jones or bust, I didn’t take the possibility seriously. Some will have concerns that Jones doesn’t get enough interceptions to be made a top-paid defensive back in the NFL, but I take the same opinion towards interceptions as I do to sacks--they’re the gaudy number that get the attention and they’re obviously impactful, but they’re the rare high points that don’t speak to a player’s actual impact on a per-snap basis. Byron Jones finished fourth in coverage snaps per reception last year (17.9), tied for second in coverage snaps per target (10.1), and fourth in yards per coverage snap (0.62). Opposite a ball hawk like Xavien Howard, it figures that Jones might see more targets and more opportunities for interceptions himself. As discussed above, building a defense from the back forward is a clear priority of this team. It might not have been the strategy I’d have embraced, but I get it, and it’s hard not to be excited about the potential of our new cornerback tandem. Most importantly, we’re not committed beyond the 2020 season to huge spending at cornerback. Byron Jones’s contract makes him a lock for the roster through the 2022 season (age 30), but Xavien Howard has an out next year. If Howard proves once again to be unable to remain healthy, we can move on from him and still have one of the top corners in the league in 2021 on the roster. Ted Karras: One Year, $4,000,000, $4,000,000 Guaranteed This is not-so-low-key one of my favorite signings. I didn’t give Karras much of a look in my previous entry evaluating offensive free agent targets, and I’m honestly not sure how he slipped through the cracks. Karras acquitted himself well as a back-up at both center and guard and stepped up as New England’s starting center in 2019. He had a rough stretch in the middle of the season, but from week 12 onward through the wildcard round, Karras didn’t allow a single pressure. Karras’s contract is a one-year, prove-it deal that gives us flexibility to play him at guard or center depending on who we pick up in the draft. A starting offensive lineman at $4,000,000 is good value no matter how you slice it, and Karras has upside to be a long-term solution whereas Kilgore was clearly a stopgap. It’s a lateral move in terms of cap cost, but an upgrade on the offensive line. While it doesn’t solve our biggest problem on the line (tackle), it helps. Shaq Lawson, Three Years, $30,000,000, $21,000,000 Guaranteed
Lawson’s a decent candidate for the kind of player we might offer a more modest, short-term contract and see if he can improve with a change of scenery. If we strike out on bigger names in free agency, picking up Lawson and maybe another cheaper guy on the list to round out or defensive end depth alongside another edge rusher with one of our first five picks in the draft isn’t the worst strategy.
At least I’m not always wrong. In my assessment of the options to improve our edge rush, I expected that many impending free agents would not actually make it to free agency. Shaquil Barrett, Bud Dupree, and Matt Judon never hit the market. Yannick Ngakoue and Leonard Williams were franchise-tagged. Even the 49ers made moves to keep Arik Armstead. Instead of paying bigger money to try and sign Jadeveon Clowney or Dante Fowler Jr., we went the cheaper route to bring on both Lawson and Ogbah. The combined cost of both of them is only marginally more than the tag amount for Ngakoue and Williams and less than Clowney was initially seeking. Lawson’s deal comes in at 18th among 4-3 Defensive Ends. It’s very high on guarantees as a percentage of the contract, but it’s essentially a two-year deal with only $1,333,334 in dead money in 2022 if we decide to move on. Lawson’s deal also includes additional incentives for sacks and team achievements, and I can’t be mad about incentives on a deal. If the player meets them, we obviously can’t say they didn’t earn it. A staple of Belichick defenses has been to rely on the scheme to generate pressure. Our strategy is looking similar. Our defense is prioritizing lockdown coverage rather than relying on individual pass rushing performance to get to the quarterback. Hopefully Lawson is able to take advantage. If not, it’s a two-year investment at a relatively modest amount for the position that we can move on from without major consequence. If nothing else, he’s almost certainly an upgrade over anything we already had. Kyle Van Noy, Four Years, $51,000,000, $15,000,000 Guaranteed Despite the gaudy numbers on the contract, Van Noy’s deal is structured extremely favorably to the Dolphins. His full guarantees include only $5.5 million in signing bonus, $6.5 million in 2020 roster bonus, and $3 million in 2020 base salary. Because his 2021 and 2022 base salaries become fully guaranteed on the fifth day of each league year, that means that if he flames out we can move on with minimal dead money. Any time you can walk away from a four-year deal in year two with only $4,125,000 in dead cap and $9,775,000 in cap savings should be considered a major coup. With how often I’ve mentioned the Patriots defensive scheme, the fit for Van Noy in Miami is braindead obvious. He brings flexibility that few of our current linebackers and none of our defensive ends have. He’s solid in run defense, as a pass rusher, and even dropping back into coverage. We have guys who can do one or two of those things very well, but none right now who are above average (and consistent) across the board. Van Noy is expensive for his position and he’s on the older side of the free agents we’ve signed (having just turned 29 shortly after signing), but he should be expected to be a key piece for our defensive scheme with the flexibility he brings to the table. Last year, I thought that Trey Flowers would be a good fit for us given the Patriots. Instead, he rejoined Matt Patricia up north and had a really solid year (seven sacks, fourteen hits, and 41 hurries alongside 33 defensive stops). I’m optimistic that Van Noy can have a similarly smooth transition to working under Flores in Miami. Emmanuel Ogbah, Two Years, $15,000,000, $7,500,000 Guaranteed There’s not a lot to be said about Ogbah’s deal that hasn’t already been said about Lawson, except that it’s even less of a financial commitment. Coming off of a career-best, but injury-shortened season, we’re betting on Ogbah to take the next step. The contract is very favorable to the Dolphins: it’s 26th among 4-3 Defensive Ends in terms of APY and has no guaranteed money in year two. As a result, it’s essentially a one year prove-it deal. If Ogbah plays to his potential and is able to pick up where he left off before injury with the Chiefs, he’s likely to see an extension next year that will keep him with the team long term. If not, we move on no worse for the wear. If he’s a middle-of-the-road kind of guy as he has been for much of his career? Well, $7.5 million isn’t a whole lot for a defensive end who we can still use in rotation. Signing both Ogbah and Lawson takes immense pressure off of the front office to draft a defensive end high. Considering that we signed Van Noy at linebacker, who figures to have a significant role on passing downs as well, I’d argue that we may not draft a defensive end in the first few rounds at all. Again, more on that later. Elandon Roberts, One Year, $2,000,000, $1,000,000 Guaranteed The Patriots were hard up against the cap this year after tagging Thuney, and Roberts was a free agency casualty as a result. This isn’t a big contract, but it’s a good one. Tell me if you’ve heard this one before: he’s a defensive depth player who was a team captain who sees most of his impact on special teams and brings championship experience to our young roster. Roberts saw a decreased workload at linebacker (where he saw a majority of his snaps as a run defender and in coverage) in 2019 because of his increased role on special teams, but he also saw work as a fullback (and even caught a touchdown against us in the final game of the regular season). It’s pretty clear that Flores has a type.
Our most dire needs are obvious. We don’t have a long-term answer at quarterback. Aside from a gaping hole at left tackle, we could also stand to upgrade at right guard, right tackle, or even center depending on where we play Karras and Davis. After signing Jordan Howard, running back remains a priority as our depth at the position among the worst in the league. We only have two tight ends in the top 51 contracts on this team, and fans and the team alike really only have expectations for Gesicki. It stands to reason based on positional spending alone that our biggest holes are on offense, but that doesn’t mean we can’t stand to improve on defense as well. If I had to rank needs? Quarterback Offensive Tackle Guard or Center Free Safety Running Back Nose Tackle Tight End Linebacker I expect that the most controversial part of this list will be the lack of defensive end. As I’ve suggested above, I don’t think we should be targeting the position as a priority following the signing of Ogbah and Lawson unless someone falls. Both Ogbah and Lawson have excelled primarily as ends in 4-3 fronts, so expect that’s how we’ll use them most of the time. Ogbah has (at least to my knowledge) not seen much use as an outside linebacker in 4-3 looks and Lawson struggled with it early in his career in Buffalo. So while a pure 4-3 defensive end isn’t high on our list of needs, that doesn’t mean we won’t ignore pass rush entirely. Van Noy figures to take snaps at one of our outside linebacker spots, exactly where he saw almost all of his snaps with the Patriots. Baker saw time both at the weak side and middle linebacker positions in 2019, and depending on our defensive front will likely continue that trend. These two are the only guys I see on our roster right now who figure as three-down backers unless McMillan makes a big step forward in coverage. We also have a lot of depth at linebacker: Biegel saw a lot of snaps at outside linebacker last year and he’s returning; in the last two games Van Ginkel saw the majority of the games’ snaps at outside linebacker as well; McMillan and Eguavoen made up the majority of the rest of our snaps at middle linebacker. Except maybe Eguavoen, whose roster spot is the most tenuous of the group, these players all should expect to see continued rotational use. There’s definitely a scenario where we look to improve our linebackers, and if there’s a guy who can be a three-down type of guy at middle linebacker or someone who flexes really outside in 4-3 and 3-4 looks, I could see us pulling the trigger in the right circumstances. Ultimately, though, I have both nose tackle and free safety listed higher on our list of needs because those are the positions where a major upgrade will bring us the biggest improvement. For example, John Jenkins played the majority of our snaps at nose tackle in 2019 with Godchaux contributing some snaps there as well. We haven’t brought Jenkins back, and Godchaux’s probably better used at DE in 3-4 looks. Someone who can play rotationally at nose tackle would be a big boon for this defense, and fills a position where we really have no go-to guy. More importantly, that type of rotational player can be had outside of the first round entirely. I don’t think many people would disagree about listed free safety as one of our top defensive needs. Bobby McCain is coming off of an injury shortened season. Before he was injured, he was having a rough transition to free safety. He got abused in coverage in five of his nine games played in 2019, allowing passer ratings of 139.6, 144.6, 104.2, 118.8, and 158.3. At the time he signed his current contract, McCain was made the highest-paid slot corner in the NFL and he’s barely played the position since then. Not only would drafting a free safety likely improve upon McCain’s mediocre performance at the position last year, it would allow McCain to return to the position that earned him his contract. Given that the nickel defense is essentially the base defense these days, improving both free safety and nickel corner with one draft pick could improve our defense significantly. The other needs listed above barely require commenting. Quarterback and offensive line lead our needs by a country mile, and both will almost certainly be addressed early. We need better running back talent to improve on our league-worst rushing in 2019. It’s not a question of if we will draft a running back, but rather when. Many pundits and fans expect we’ll address the position in the first or second round. Much like my position on drafting a quarterback, I’ve talked to death (even by my standards) about how I feel about drafting running backs in the first round. Some will note the value of using the 26th pick to secure a fifth year option, but I’m not convinced. That fifth year option is just as valuable or more valuable at another position. Moreover, when was the last time the Dolphins re-signed a running back? Not just a rookie--any running back? Frank Gore, Kenyan Drake, Jay Ajayi, Damien Williams, Lamar Miller, and Reggie Bush were all productive backs in the past decade who we let walk or actively traded away. You have to go all the way back to Ronnie Brown and Ricky Wiliams to find backs who received offers after their initial contracts with the Dolphins, and in both their cases we only gave them another year. Sure, this is a different front office, but that’s a trend that’s been true of this team through multiple front offices, and I’ve seen no indication that it’s likely to change. Like with linebacker, I see tight end as a position where our depth could improve and wouldn’t be surprised to see us take a flyer late or jump on somebody we like in the middle rounds, but I don’t expect it to be a priority.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopediaJump to navigationJump to searchFor the African country, seeNiger. For other uses, seeNigger (disambiguation)) andN-word (disambiguation)). In the English language, the word nigger is an ethnic slur typically directed at black people, especially African Americans. The word originated in the 18th century as an adaptation of the Spanish negro, a descendant of the Latin adjective niger, which means black. It was used derogatorily, and by the mid-20th century, particularly in the United States, its usage by anyone other than a black person became unambiguously pejorative, a racist insult. Accordingly, it began to disappear from general popular culture. Its inclusion in classic works of literature has sparked modern controversy. Because the term is considered extremely offensive, it is often referred to by the euphemismthe N-word. However, it remains in use, particularly as the variant nigga, by African Americans among themselves. In dialects of English that have non-rhotic speech, "nigger" and "nigga" are pronounced the same.
Etymology and history
Main article:Negro The variants neger and negar derive from various European languages' words for 'black', including the Spanish and Portuguese word negro (black) and the now-pejorative French nègre. Etymologically, negro, noir, nègre, and nigger ultimately derive from nigrum, the stem of the Latinniger ('black'), pronounced [ˈniɡer], with a trilledr. In every grammatical case, grammatical gender, and grammatical number besides nominative masculine singular, is nigr- followed by a case ending. In its original English-language usage, nigger (then spelled niger) was a word for a dark-skinned individual. The earliest known published use of the term dates from 1574, in a work alluding to "the Nigers of Aethiop, bearing witnes." According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the first derogatory usage of the term nigger was recorded two centuries later, in 1775. In the colonial America of 1619, John Rolfe used negars in describing the African slaves shipped to the Virginia colony. Later American English spellings, neger and neggar, prevailed in a northern colony, New York under the Dutch, and in metropolitan Philadelphia's Moravian and Pennsylvania Dutch communities; the African Burial Ground in New York City originally was known by the Dutch name Begraafplaats van de Neger (Cemetery of the Negro); an early occurrence of neger in Rhode Island dates from 1625.LexicographerNoah Webster, whose eponymous dictionary did much to solidify the distinctive spelling of American English, suggested the neger spelling in place of negro in 1806. During the fur trade of the early 1800s to the late 1840s in the Western United States, the word was spelled "niggur," and is often recorded in the literature of the time. George Fredrick Ruxton used it in his "mountain man" lexicon, without pejorative connotation. "Niggur" was evidently similar to the modern use of "dude" or "guy." This passage from Ruxton's Life in the Far West illustrates the word in spoken form—the speaker here referring to himself: "Travler, marm, this niggur's no travler; I ar' a trapper, marm, a mountain-man, wagh!" It was not used as a term exclusively for blacks among mountain men during this period, as Indians, Mexicans, and Frenchmen and Anglos alike could be a "niggur." "The noun slipped back and forth from derogatory to endearing." The term "colored" or "negro" became a respectful alternative. In 1851 the Boston Vigilance Committee, an abolitionist organization, posted warnings to the Colored People of Boston and vicinity. Writing in 1904, journalist Clifton Johnson) documented the "opprobrious" character of the word nigger, emphasizing that it was chosen in the South precisely because it was more offensive than "colored" or "negro." By the turn of the century, "colored" had become sufficiently mainstream that it was chosen as the racial self-identifier for the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. In 2008 Carla Sims, its communications director, said "the term 'colored' is not derogatory, [the NAACP] chose the word 'colored' because it was the most positive description commonly used [in 1909, when the association was founded]. It's outdated and antiquated but not offensive." Canadian writer Lawrence Hill changed the title of his 2007 novel The Book of Negroes). The name refers to a real historical document, but he felt compelled to find another name for the American market, retitling the US edition Someone Knows My Name. 📷First US edition, with the title changed from Nigger of the Narcissus Nineteenth-century literature features usages of "nigger" without racist connotation. Mark Twain, in the autobiographic book Life on the Mississippi (1883), used the term within quotes, indicating reported speech, but used the term "negro" when writing in his own narrative persona.Joseph Conrad published a novella in Britain with the title The Nigger of the 'Narcissus' (1897), but was advised to release it in the United States as The Children of the Sea, see below. A style guide to British English usage, H. W. Fowler's A Dictionary of Modern English Usage states in the first edition (1926) that applying the word nigger to "others than full or partial negroes" is "felt as an insult by the person described, & betrays in the speaker, if not deliberate insolence, at least a very arrogant inhumanity;" but the second edition (1965) states "N. has been described as 'the term that carries with it all the obloquy and contempt and rejection which whites have inflicted on blacks'." By the late 1960s, the social change brought about by the civil rights movement had legitimized the racial identity word black as mainstream American English usage to denote black-skinned Americans of African ancestry. President Thomas Jefferson had used this word of his slaves in his Notes on the State of Virginia (1785), but "black" had not been widely used until the later 20th century. (See Black Pride, and, in the context of worldwide anti-colonialism initiatives, Negritude.) In the 1980s, the term "African American" was advanced analogously to the terms "German American" and "Irish American," and was adopted by major media outlets. Moreover, as a compound word, African American resembles the vogue wordAfro-American, an early-1970s popular usage. Some black Americans continue to use the word nigger, often spelled as nigga and niggah, without irony, either to neutralize the word's impact or as a sign of solidarity.
Surveys from 2006 showed that the American public widely perceived usage of the term to be wrong or unacceptable, but that nearly half of whites and two-thirds of blacks knew someone personally who referred to blacks by the term. Nearly one-third of whites and two-thirds of blacks said they had personally used the term within the last five years.
📷Historical American cartoon titled "Why the nigger is not fit to vote," by Thomas Nast, arguing the reason Democrats objected to African-Americans having the vote was that, in the 1868 US presidential election, African-Americans voted for the Republican candidates Ulysses S. Grant and Schuyler Colfax. "Seymour friends meet here" in the background is a reference to the Democratic Party candidate: Horatio Seymour. In explaining his refusal to be conscripted to fight the Vietnam War (1965–75), professional boxer Muhammad Ali said, "No Vietcong [Communist Vietnamese] ever called me nigger;" later, his modified answer was the title No Vietnamese Ever Called Me Nigger (1968) of a documentary about the front-line lot of the U.S. Army Black soldier in combat in Vietnam. An Ali biographer reports that, when interviewed by Robert Lipsyte in 1966, the boxer actually said, "I ain't got no quarrel with them Viet Cong." On February 28, 2007, the New York City Council symbolically banned the use of the word nigger; however, there is no penalty for using it. This formal resolution also requests excluding from Grammy Award consideration every song whose lyrics contain the word; however, Ron Roecker, vice president of communication for the Recording Academy, doubted it will have any effect on actual nominations. The word can be invoked politically for effect. When Detroit mayor Kwame Kilpatrick came under intense scrutiny for his conduct in 2008, he deviated from an address to the city council, saying, "In the past 30 days, I've been called a nigger more than any time in my entire life." Opponents accused him of "playing the race card" to save his political life.
Main article:Use of nigger in the arts The implied racism of the word nigger has rendered its use taboo. Magazines and newspapers generally do not use the word but instead print censored versions such as "n*gg*r," "n**ger," "n——" or "the N-word;" see below. 📷1885 illustration from Mark Twain's Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, captioned "Misto Bradish's nigger" The use of nigger in older literature has become controversial because of the word's modern meaning as a racist insult. One of the most enduring controversies has been the word's use in Mark Twain's novel Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1885). Huckleberry Finn was the fifth most challenged book during the 1990s, according to the American Library Association. The novel is written from the point of view, and largely in the language, of an uneducated white boy, who is drifting down the Mississippi River on a raft with an adult escaped slave, Jim. The word "nigger" is used (mostly about Jim) over 200 times. Twain's advocates[who?] note that the novel is composed in then-contemporary vernacular usage, not racist stereotype, because Jim, the black man, is a sympathetic character. In 2011, a new edition published by NewSouth Books replaced the word "nigger" with "slave" and also removed the word "injun." The change was spearheaded by Twain scholar Alan Gribben in the hope of "countering the 'pre-emptive censorship'" that results from the book's being removed from school curricula over language concerns. The changes sparked outrage from critics Elon James, Alexandra Petrie and Chris Meadows. In his 1999 memoir, All Souls, Irish-American Michael Patrick MacDonald describes how many white residents of the Old Colony Housing Project in South Boston used this meaning to degrade the people considered to be of lower status, whether white or black.
Of course, no one considered himself a nigger. It was always something you called someone who could be considered anything less than you. I soon found out there were a few black families living in Old Colony. They'd lived there for years and everyone said that they were okay, that they weren't niggers but just black. It felt good to all of us to not be as bad as the hopeless people in D Street or, God forbid, the ones in Columbia Point, who were both black and niggers. But now I was jealous of the kids in Old Harbor Project down the road, which seemed like a step up from Old Colony ...
In an academic setting
The word's usage in literature has led to it being a point of discussion in university lectures as well. In 2008, Arizona State University English professor Neal A. Lester created what has been called "the first ever college-level class designed to explore the word 'nigger.'" Starting in the following decade, colleges struggled with attempts to teach material about the slur in a sensitive manner. In 2012, a sixth grade Chicago teacher filed a wrongful dismissal lawsuit resulting from an incident in which he repeated the contents of a racially charged note being passed in class. A New Orleans high school also experienced controversy in 2017. Such increased attention prompted Elizabeth Stordeur Pryor, the daughter of Richard Pryor and a professor at Smith College, to give a talk opining that the word was leading to a "social crisis" in higher education. In addition to Smith College, Emory University, Augsburg University, Southern Connecticut State University and Simpson College all suspended professors in 2019 over referring to the word "nigger" by name in an educational context. In two other cases, a professor at Princeton decided to stop teaching a course on hate speech after students protested his utterance of "nigger" and a professor at DePaul had his law course cancelled after 80% of the enrolled students transferred out. Instead of pursuing disciplinary action, a student at the College of the Desert challenged his professor in a viral class presentation which argued that her use of the word in a lecture was not justified.
In the workplace
In 2018, the head of the media company Netflix, Reed Hastings, fired his chief communications officer for using the word twice during internal discussions about sensitive words. In explaining why, Hastings wrote: "[The word's use] in popular media like music and film have created some confusion as to whether or not there is ever a time when the use of the N-word is acceptable. For non-Black people, the word should not be spoken as there is almost no context in which it is appropriate or constructive (even when singing a song or reading a script). There is not a way to neutralize the emotion and history behind the word in any context. The use of the phrase 'N-word' was created as a euphemism, and the norm, with the intention of providing an acceptable replacement and moving people away from using the specific word. When a person violates this norm, it creates resentment, intense frustration, and great offense for many." The following year, screenwriter Walter Mosley turned down a job after his human resources department took issue with him using the word to describe racism that he experienced as a black man. While defending Laurie Sheck, a professor who was cleared of ethical violations for quoting I Am Not Your Negro by James Baldwin, John McWhorter wrote that efforts to condemn racist language by white Americans had undergone mission creep. Similar controversies outside the United States have occurred at The University of Western Ontario in Canada and the Madrid campus of the University of Syracuse.
Intra-group versus intergroup usage
Main article:NiggaSee also:Ingroups and outgroups Black listeners often react to the term differently, depending on whether it is used by white speakers or by black speakers. In the former case, it is regularly understood as insensitive or insulting; in the latter, it may carry notes of in-group disparagement, and is often understood as neutral or affectionate, a possible instance of reappropriation. In the black community, nigger is often rendered as nigga, representing the arhotic pronunciation of the word in African-American English. This usage has been popularized by the rap and hip-hop music cultures and is used as part of an in-group lexicon and speech. It is not necessarily derogatory and is often used to mean homie or friend. Acceptance of intra-group usage of the word nigga is still debated, although it has established a foothold amongst younger generations. The NAACP denounces the use of both "nigga" and "nigger." Mixed-race usage of "nigga" is still considered taboo, particularly if the speaker is white. However, trends indicate that usage of the term in intragroup settings is increasing even amongst white youth, due to the popularity of rap and hip hop culture. According to Arthur K. Spears in Diverse Issues in Higher Education, 2006:
In many African-American neighborhoods, nigga is simply the most common term used to refer to any male, of any race or ethnicity. Increasingly, the term has been applied to any person, male or female. "Where y'all niggas goin?" is said with no self-consciousness or animosity to a group of women, for the routine purpose of obtaining information. The point: Nigga is evaluatively neutral in terms of its inherent meaning; it may express positive, neutral, or negative attitudes;
Kevin Cato, meanwhile, observes:
For instance, a show on Black Entertainment Television, a cable network aimed at a black audience, described the word nigger as a "term of endearment". "In the African American community, the word nigga (not nigger) brings out feelings of pride." (Davis 1). Here the word evokes a sense of community and oneness among black people. Many teens I interviewed felt that the word had no power when used amongst friends, but when used among white people the word took on a completely different meaning. In fact, comedian Alex Thomas on BET stated, "I still better not hear no white boy say that to me ... I hear a white boy say that to me, it means 'White boy, you gonna get your ass beat.'"
There's a certain rhythmic seduction to the word. If you speak in a sentence, and you have to say cat, companion, or friend, as opposed to nigger, then the rhythmic presentation is off. That rhythmic language is a form of historical memory for black people ... When Richard Pryor came back from Africa, and decided to stop using the word onstage, he would sometimes start to slip up, because he was so used to speaking that way. It was the right word at the moment to keep the rhythm together in his sentence making.
2010s: increase in use and controversy
In the 2010s, "nigger" in its various forms saw use with increasing frequency by African Americans amongst themselves or in self-expression, the most common swear word in hip hop music lyrics. Coates suggested that it continues to be unacceptable for non-blacks to utter while singing or rapping along to hip-hop, and that by being so restrained it gives white Americans (specifically) a taste of what it is like to not be entitled to "do anything they please, anywhere." A concern often raised is whether frequent exposure will inevitably lead to a dilution of the extremely negative perception of the word among the majority of non-black Americans who currently consider its use unacceptable and shocking.
Notable usageThe prosecutor [Christopher Darden], his voice trembling, added that the "N-word" was so vile that he would not utter it. "It's the filthiest, dirtiest, nastiest word in the English language." — Kenneth B. Noble, January 14, 1995 The New York Times The euphemismtheN-word became mainstream American English usage during the racially contentious O. J. Simpson murder case in 1995. Key prosecution witness Detective Mark Fuhrman, of the Los Angeles Police Department – who denied using racist language on duty – impeached himself with his prolific use of nigger in tape recordings about his police work. The recordings, by screenplay writer Laura McKinney, were from a 1985 research session wherein the detective assisted her with a screenplay about LAPD policewomen. Fuhrman excused his use of the word saying he used nigger in the context of his "bad cop" persona. Media personnel who reported on Fuhrman's testimony substituted the N-word for nigger.
Niger (Latin for "black") occurs in Latinate scientific nomenclature and is the root word for some homophones of nigger; sellers of niger seed (used as bird feed), sometimes use the spelling Nyjer seed. The classical Latin pronunciation /ˈniɡeɾ/ sounds like the English /ˈnɪɡə, occurring in biologic and anatomic names, such as Hyoscyamus niger (black henbane), and even for animals that are in fact not black, such as Sciurus niger (fox squirrel). Nigra is the Latin feminine form of niger (black), used in biologic and anatomic names such as substantia nigra (black substance). The word niggardly (miserly) is etymologically unrelated to nigger, derived from the Old Norse word nig (stingy) and the Middle English word nigon. In the US, this word has been misinterpreted as related to nigger and taken as offensive. In January 1999, David Howard, a white Washington, D.C., city employee, was compelled to resign after using niggardly—in a financial context—while speaking with black colleagues, who took umbrage. After reviewing the misunderstanding, Mayor Anthony Williams offered to reinstate Howard to his former position. Howard refused reinstatement but took a job elsewhere in the mayor's government.
📷Graffiti in Palestine referring to Arabs as "sand-niggers" The denotations of nigger also comprehend non-black/non-white and other disadvantaged people. Some of these terms are self-chosen, to identify with the oppression and resistance of black Americans; others are ethnic slurs used by outsiders. Jerry Farber's 1967 essay, The Student as Nigger, used the word as a metaphor for what he saw as the role forced on students. Farber had been, at the time, frequently arrested as a civil rights activist while beginning his career as a literature professor. In his 1968 autobiography White Niggers of America: The Precocious Autobiography of a Quebec "Terrorist,"Pierre Vallières, a Front de libération du Québec leader, refers to the oppression of the Québécois people) in North America. In 1969, in the course of being interviewed by the British magazine Nova), artist Yoko Ono said "woman is the nigger of the world;" three years later, her husband, John Lennon, published the song of the same name—about the worldwide phenomenon of discrimination against women—which was socially and politically controversial to US sensibilities. Sand nigger, an ethnic slur against Arabs, and timber nigger and prairie nigger, ethnic slurs against Native Americans, are examples of the racist extension of nigger upon other non-white peoples. In 1978 singer Patti Smith used the word in "Rock N Roll Nigger." In 1979 English singer Elvis Costello used the phrase white nigger in "Oliver's Army," a song describing the experiences of working-class soldiers in the British military forces on the "murder mile" (Belfast during The Troubles), where white nigger was a common British pejorative for Irish Catholics. Later, the producers of the British talent show Stars in Their Eyes forced a contestant to censor one of its lines, changing "all it takes is one itchy trigger – One more widow, one less white nigger" to "one less white figure." Historian Eugene Genovese, noted for bringing a Marxist perspective to the study of power, class, and relations between planters and slaves in the South, uses the word pointedly in The World the Slaveholders Made (1988).
For reasons common to the slave condition all slave classes displayed a lack of industrial initiative and produced the famous Lazy Nigger, who under Russian serfdom and elsewhere was white. Just as not all blacks, even under the most degrading forms of slavery, consented to become niggers, so by no means all or even most of the niggers in history have been black.
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