04.30.22

day 2 recap

Posted in Uncategorized at 5:23 am by Administrator

cam jurgens… whatever.

nakobe dean at pick 81. you’re goddam right howie roseman. GODDAM RIGHT.

NAKOBE DEAN AT PICK 81. Fuck me. FTW! FUCK THE FUCKIN WORLD GODDAM FUCKIN YES. NAKOBE FUCKING DEAN AT PICK 81. ARE YOU KIDDING ME? ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME????

that’s my day 2 recap.

GO EAGLES!!!

04.29.22

Eagles: Day 1 Do-Over

Posted in Uncategorized at 9:27 pm by Administrator

a B is not a bad grade, but it clearly implies that i wanted our first night to go a different way. about 90% of eagle fans would gladly fight me on my lack of ebullient optimism over our 1st round, and there just won’t be a sufficient defense of my position. but just in case i didn’t make it clear enough already, i think jordan davis is going to be a bust, and i think that we are overpaying aj brown for the value that he can give us. the former issue is a matter of skill; davis is a superbly athletic big man who will nevertheless struggle to run through or around NFL offensive linemen. my issue with aj brown has little to do with the receiver himself and more to do with the offense he is joining. jalen hurts never will be an effective volume passer, and brown will waste the prime of his career blocking on run plays and diving onto turf for errant throws.

but for now, howie roseman can bask in the sun because it looks good on paper: a 6′6″ 341 pound defensive tackle who can run a 4.78 second 40 yard dash, and a 24 year old receiver just one season removed from 1000 receiving yards. it’s a brilliant haul, until the eagles start playing (and losing) again.

with that, let’s do this over for the eagles:

Round 1:

1. Jacksonville: Travon Walker
2. Detroit: Aidan Hutchinson
3. Houston: Derek Stingley
4. NY Jets: Ahmad Gardner
5. NYG: Kayvon Thibodeaux
6. Carolina: Ikem Ekwonu
7. NYG: Evan Neal
8. Atlanta: Drake London
9. Seattle: Charles Cross
10. NY Jets: Garrett Wilson
11. New Orleans: Chris Olave
12. Detroit: Jameson Williams
13. Houston: Kyle Hamilton [assuming worst case scenario for the eagles here]
14. Baltimore: Jordan Davis [acknowledging there's a reason roseman jumped the ravens]
15. Philadelphia: Trent McDuffie [the only guy to take now that the top 4 receivers are off the board]
16. Washington: Jahan Dotson
17. LA Chargers: Zion Johnson [assuming they had zion ranked ahead of kenyon]
18. Kansas City: Kaiir Elam [assuming the chiefs were committed to a corner and had elam ranked close to mcduffie; a trade down with buffalo was probably feasible as well]
19. New Orleans: Trevor Penning
20. Pittsburgh: Kenny Pickett
21. New England: Kenyon Green [a much more sensible pick than cole strange]
22. Green Bay: Treylon Burks [already a much better 1st round for green bay now]
23. Baltimore: Tyler Linderbaum
24. Dallas: Tyler Smith
25. Buffalo: Andrew Booth, Jr.
26. NY Jets: Jermaine Johnson
27. Jacksonville: Devin Lloyd
28. Green Bay: Quay Walker [assuming they still would have prioritized walker over wyatt]
29. Philadelphia: Nakobe Dean [plus picks 94, 121, and a 2023 4th rounder from kansas city]
30. Kansas City: George Karlaftis
31. Cincinnati: Daxton Hill
32. Minnesota: Lewis Cine

as a result of the eagles sticking at 15 and trading down from 18, devonte wyatt and cole strange fall out of round 1, while nakobe dean and andrew booth move into the first round.

the eagles exit round 1 with trent mcduffie, nakobe dean, an extra 3rd, an extra 4th, and a future 4th. my rationale for this is pretty simple. in the best case scenario, the eagles would have exited round 1 with a top-4 defensive back (hamilton, gardner, mcduffie, and stingley) and a top-4 wide receiver (wilson, london, williams, and olave). assuming that without the trade down houston would have taken kyle hamilton, then only mcduffie of these eight players would have been left. i would have squeezed that trigger at pick 15 instantly. obviously andy reid’s scouting department felt just as strongly about mcduffie given the trade-up that they executed last night. at pick 18, all eight guys would have been taken, and i would have traded down for value. the best player available at pick 29 would have been george karlaftis, kyler gordon, or nakobe dean. i would have taken nakobe dean given that i’ve already got my cornerback (therefore passing on gordon) and given that quality defensive ends like ebiketie, mafe, and ojabo are clearly slipping into day 2 (therefore passing on karlaftis).

mcduffie and dean might not look as imposing of a haul as jordan davis and aj brown, but we now have elite talent at the 2nd and 3rd levels of our defense, and moreover we retain critical cap space to spend or roll over into next year.

if this is how day 1 had gone, then on day 2 i would be leveraging the newly acquired 3rd round pick from KC to move up in the 2nd round and get jalen pitre, the guy i’m totally fixated on this year. with the two 3rds, i would focus on defensive end and wide receiver. there’s sneaky upside at defensive end in the mid-3rd (i’m thinking josh paschal, alex wright, dominique robinson, deangelo malone), and while the elite wide receivers are long gone, i see some value in the late 3rd with guys like wan’dale robinson or khalil shakir, either of whom we could immediately stick in the slot.

we’d go into day 3 with two 4ths, three 5ths, and a 7th, which we could package for future picks or moves up in both the 4th and 5th rounds, for an interior offensive lineman, a running back, an additional safety, a punter, and a slipping receiver like justyn ross. as it stands, we’ve only got two picks on day 3, which is barely enough to wipe our ass with.

anyways, good luck roseman. god help you, because i can’t.

On to Day 2

Posted in Uncategorized at 4:13 am by Administrator

in my last entry, i graded the eagles a B for day 1 of the draft. that’s not bad when you consider that the new england patriots and the green bay packers both got a solid D minus for their draft nights. in what universe does quay walker possibly go ahead of devin lloyd, nakobe dean, chad muma, and leo chenal? and to top that off, the packers took a repeat domestic offender in devonte wyatt. what possessed the patriots to go with an inside offensive lineman in round 1, and moreover how did cole strange come out on their draft board higher than cam jurgens, darian kinnard, or zach tom?

in any case, the best 50 non-QB guys left on the board are the following, and i’ll asterisk all the defensive backs (12) on this list. it seems unlikely that pitre or brisker will fall to the eagles, but either of them would be a great get at 51. gordon is a top-flight corner, and booth and mccreary are not far behind. if we can get one of pitre, brisker, gordon, booth, or mccreary tomorrow, it will be no mean feat.

1. Jalen Pitre *
2. Nakobe Dean
3. Kyler Gordon *
4. Arnold Ebiketie
5. Skyy Moore
6. Andrew Booth, Jr. *
7. George Pickens
8. Travis Jones
9. Alec Pierce
10. Boye Mafe
11. Christian Watson
12. Perrion Winfrey
13. Roger McCreary *
14. David Ojabo
15. Dylan Parham
16. Jalen Tolbert
17. Wan’Dale Robinson
18. Tariq Woolen *
19. Leo Chenal
20. Nik Bonitto
21. Darian Kinnard
22. Drake Jackson
23. DeMarvin Leal
24. Kingsley Enagbare
25. Coby Bryant *
26. Troy Andersen
27. Logan Hall
28. Zach Tom
29. Jaquan Brisker *
30. Trey McBride
31. Chad Muma
32. Kenneth Walker III
33. Marcus Jones *
34. Sam Williams
35. Cam Taylor-Britt *
36. Jalyn Armour-Davis *
37. Jamaree Salyer
38. Martin Emerson *
39. Brian Asamoah
40. Dohnovan West
41. Josh Paschal
42. Nicholas Petit-Frere
43. Greg Dulcich
44. Breece Hall
45. Christian Harris
46. Channing Tindall
47. Kellen Diesch
48. Daniel Faalele
49. Sean Rhyan
50. Zyon McCollum *

My Take on Round 1

Posted in Uncategorized at 2:58 am by Administrator

i’m not a big fan of jordan davis, and like i’ve written previously, i don’t think the eagles had any business even looking at him in the 1st round this year. i will grant that jordan davis is the most athletic 300+ pounder that the nfl combine has seen. he’s a guy that will push the pocket—but he won’t penetrate it. the difference between fletcher cox and jordan davis over the course of their careers will be fairly significant; davis doesn’t have much pass rush upside, and he just won’t have the disruptive impact that cox has had over his stellar career. i am hopeful that jordan davis will be a run-stopping space-eating force in the middle, but to me that will still not justify his draft position or the trade-up to get him.

kyle hamilton was there for the taking at pick 13, and that’s a guy i would not have hesitated to trade up to pick 10 or 11 in order to get. the selection of jordan davis at pick 13 was a mistake for the eagles, and i’m profoundly disappointed with the selection.

that being said, i imagine that the rumors of the ravens’ interest in davis were credible, so howie roseman did what he had to do to get his guy. roseman would like to believe this was his fletcher cox moment redux. i have my serious doubts. kudos to the eagles for acting on their convictions.

the deal of 18 and 101 for aj brown was very exciting, without a doubt, and it delivers to philadelphia a legitimate #1 receiver who is a YAC monster that will not fail to inflate jalen hurts’ passing stats this season. he’s going to cost us $25 million a year, which is reasonable for a receiver of his caliber. i will not complain about this deal, but i will with some chagrin reiterate something i’ve said repeatedly in the past: philadelphia is where wide receivers go to ruin their careers. there is zero chance that aj brown can replicate a 1000 yard receiving season in 2022, trapped as he will be in a run-oriented offense with a quarterback as bad as jalen hurts. the silver lining here is that hurts will not have an excuse not to end the season as a division champ and a top-15 passer. if he fails to do one or both, then next year we will find someone else who will make better use of devonta smith and aj brown.

i know that many die-hard philly fans will rate this first round as an A+. i give it a B. the jordan davis selection was uninspired and reflective of poor scouting and a gross overemphasis on measurables. the aj brown deal looks great on paper but will fail to yield much for the eagles until jalen hurts is replaced.

at least we didn’t sell off either of our 1st round picks in 2023. we’re going to need them!

wish list for day 2: a safety (please) and a cornerback (pretty please). prior to tonight, our defensive backs were our weakest position group outside of quarterback, and the rotation remains a total eyesore. unfortunately, we did absolutely nothing to help that situation tonight.

Go Eagles??

04.27.22

Final 3 Round Mock

Posted in Uncategorized at 8:54 pm by Administrator

here’s my last mock (a 3 rounder) before tomorrow night’s 1st round, followed by overall observations about these players.

Round 1:

1. Jacksonville: Travon Walker
2. Detroit: Aidan Hutchinson
3. Houston: Ahmad Gardner
4. NY Jets: Kayvon Thibodeaux
5. NY Giants: Evan Neal
6. Carolina: Kenny Pickett
7. NY Giants: Kyle Hamilton
8. Atlanta: Garrett Wilson
9. Seattle: Malik Willis
10. NY Jets: Ikem Ekwonu
11. Washington: Drake London
12. Minnesota: Derek Stingley, Jr.
13. Houston: Charles Cross
14. Baltimore: Jordan Davis
15. Philadelphia: Jameson Williams
16. New Orleans: Bernhard Raimann
17. LA Chargers: Chris Olave
18. Philadelphia: Trent McDuffie
19. New Orleans: George Pickens
20. Pittsburgh: Desmond Ridder
21. New England: Kyler Gordon
22. Green Bay: Trevor Penning
23. Arizona: Treylon Burks
24. Dallas: Zion Johnson
25. Buffalo: Devonte Wyatt
26. Tennessee: Kenyon Green
27. Tampa Bay: Travis Jones
28. Green Bay: Skyy Moore
29. Kansas City: Jahan Dotson
30. Kansas City: George Karlaftis
31. Cincinnati: Andrew Booth, Jr.
32. Detroit: Devin Lloyd

Round 2

33. Jacksonville: Tyler Linderbaum
34. Detroit: Matt Corral
35. NY Jets: Nakobe Dean
36. NY Giants: Jermaine Johnson
37. Houston: Arnold Ebiketie
38. NY Jets: Alec Pierce
39. Chicago: Tyler Smith
40. Seattle: Abraham Lucas
41. Seattle: Boye Mafe
42. Indianapolis: Christian Watson
43. Atlanta: Kaiir Elam
44. Cleveland: Perrion Winfrey
45. Baltimore: Roger McCreary
46. Minnesota: David Ojabo
47. Washington: Dylan Parham
48. Chicago: Jalen Tolbert
49. New Orleans: Sam Howell
50. Kansas City: Tariq Woolen
51. Philadelphia: Jalen Pitre
52. Pittsburgh: Lewis Cine
53. Green Bay: Leo Chenal
54. New England: Nik Bonitto
55. Arizona: Darian Kinnard
56. Dallas: Drake Jackson
57. Buffalo: Daxton Hill
58. Atlanta: DeMarvin Leal
59. Green Bay: Kingsley Enagbare
60. Tampa Bay: Carson Strong
61. San Francisco: Coby Bryant
62. Kansas City: Troy Andersen
63. Cincinnati: Logan Hall
64. Denver: Zach Tom

Round 3

65. Jacksonville: Jaquan Brisker
66. Detroit: Trey McBride
67. NY Giants: Luke Goedeke
68. Houston: Kenneth Walker III
69. NY Jets: Marcus Jones
70. Jacksonville: Quay Walker
71. Chicago: Sam Williams
72. Seattle: Cam Taylor-Britt
73. Indianapolis: Jalyn Armour-Davis
74. Atlanta: Jamaree Salyer
75. Denver: Martin Emerson
76. Baltimore: Brian Asamoah
77. Minnesota: Dohnovan West
78. Cleveland: John Metchie III
79. LA Chargers: Nicholas Petit-Frere
80. Houston: Greg Dulcich
81. NY Giants: Breece Hall
82. Atlanta: Bailey Zappe
83. Philadelphia: Christian Harris
84. Pittsburgh: Kellen Diesch
85. New England: Chad Muma
86. Las Vegas: Sean Rhyan
87. Arizona: Zyon McCollum
88. Dallas: Channing Tindall
89. Buffalo: Wan’Dale Robinson
90. Tennessee: Josh Paschal
91. Tampa Bay: Cole Strange
92. Green Bay: Brian Cook
93. San Francisco: Calvin Austin III
94. Kansas City: Phidarian Mathis
95. Cincinnati: Cameron Thomas
96. Denver: Nick Cross
97. Detroit: Cam Jurgens
98. New Orleans: Jelani Woods
99. Cleveland: Dominique Robinson
100. Baltimore: David Bell
101. Philadelphia: Alex Wright
102. Miami: Thayer Munford
103. Kansas City: Max Mitchell
104. Los Angeles Rams: Daniel Faalele
105. San Francisco: Khalil Shakir

overall observations:

i’m still really impressed with the quality of this draft class. guys who would ordinarily be first-round talents in any other year, such as ty linderbaum, nakobe dean, jermaine johnson, arnold ebiketie, kaiir elam, david ojabo, jalen pitre, and demarvin leal, are sliding deep into the 2nd round. real difference-makers on offense like trey mcbride, kenneth walker, cam jurgens, david bell, and daniel faalele are getting squeezed out of the first two rounds because of how much defensive talent is crowding into the top 64 spots. this is a great year to have plenty of picks in the top 3 rounds; green bay and kansas city picked the right year to sell high on star receivers for draft capital.

as strong as this class looks from top to bottom, NFL GMs care less about value and more about getting a potentially elite guy, and that means that they’re more likely to make aggressive moves up on draft night. i feel that this is where colossal mistakes are made. that being said, i have my list of potential pro bowlers that i’d undoubtedly reach for (or trade back to get), and they are:

Edge: Kayvon Thibodeaux and George Karlaftis. people don’t like Thib’s attitude and Karlaftis’s bend, but i like both of these guys to exceed expectations.

Offensive line: Ikem Ekwonu and Zion Johnson. i’m praying the cowboys don’t get a chance to draft the latter tomorrow night.

Wide receiver: Drake London. i’m with thor nystrom on this one; i think London stands alone as the standout receiver of this class. if the commanders pass on him at pick 11, then he could be an eagle.

Cornerback: Sauce Gardner, Trent McDuffie, Kyler Gordon, and Derek Stingley. this is the rare year when all the first-round corners will be hits. the eagles shouldn’t sell the farm for gardner, but if mcduffie falls to them then this should be a no-brainer.

Safety: Kyle Hamilton and Jalen Pitre. Daxton Hill and Jaquan Brisker could be effective NFL starters, but Hamilton and Pitre will be generational talents. the eagles should trade up into the early 2nd round to get Pitre if they can.

04.25.22

NFL Draft: Countdown to Thursday

Posted in Uncategorized at 10:10 pm by Administrator

i’ve stopped doing mocks on WTM, PFN, and PFF. there’s nothing left to learn. the table is set. it’s time for final thoughts and a desperate final appeal to reason.

since my “bottom line” entry on 3.29, the eagles have traded away a 1st round pick for future draft capital, and they’ve failed to make any impact signings for a receiver or a defensive back. in my mind, the trade with new orleans almost definitely means that the eagles will pass on a QB in this draft. with that in mind, here is the best 7-round draft scenario that i can foresee for the eagles this week:

15: Drake London

i’ll say that i would be fine with garrett wilson (if he falls), jameson williams, or chris olave at pick 15, but drake london is the guy that i want. i feel quite strongly that if the eagles want to give jalen hurts the best possible opportunity to succeed this season, then it’s drake london that we need to give him. nick sirianni failed to develop a passing offense that allowed jalen hurts to consistently work the short-intermediate field easily and efficiently, resulting in an inordinate amount of freelancing outside of structure. for hurts to get the ball out in under three seconds, he needs a guy like london who will consistently beat his man, cut with precision, and win all the contested catches in his radius. the eagle offense doesn’t need another blazing-fast downfield threat; we have that in spades with smith, watkins, and perhaps even reagor. what we need is a guy who can pile up those 6-7 yard slants and out routes on 10-15 targets a game. too many philadelphia fans are fixated on london’s lack of straight-line speed, when the fact is that he’s already shown the world that he’s NFL material.

18: Trent McDuffie

if gardner, stingley, and mcduffie are all off the board by pick 18, then trade down into the mid-20s and get kyler gordon. these four cornerbacks are the cream of this year’s cornerback crop, and i’d give each of them 50/50 odds at making a pro bowl. that’s high quality at a premium position, and the eagles simply can’t afford to pass on a lock-down corner in this year’s 1st round. that being said, i really like trent mcduffie’s game, and i prefer him to derek stingley.

i think it’s an absolute joke that the eagles are strongly considering an interior defensive tackle in the first round this year. it’s rare that an interior tackle merits high first round consideration, and generally those prospects (i.e. aaron donald and fletcher cox) have clearly established their pass-rush potential at the collegiate level. jordan davis may be supremely athletic for his size, but he doesn’t check all the boxes, and in my opinion he projects as a 2-down player at a non-premium position. i think that the eagles would be much better off extending javon hargrave and giving milt williams a starting opportunity in 2023.

51: Jalen Pitre (after trading picks 51 and 101 to move up to 37)

i’m increasingly convinced that pitre will not fall to 51. he’s one of my favorite players in this draft class, with his electric instincts, nose for the ball, and unflinching physicality. i think it’s worth it to give up a 3rd in this trade up to get him. lewis cine would also be a good target for a trade up into the early-mid 2nd round. if all else fails, maybe jaquan brisker will fall to 51.

the eagles don’t even have a functional rotation at safety right now, and i think they’ll need to take two safeties from this draft class.

83: Channing Tindall

it’s not often that i recommend taking a linebacker on the basis of athleticism and potential alone, but this is the 3rd round, and all we’re looking for here is upside. tindall in this respect might be a lot like what we got in davion taylor a few years ago. it’s a low-risk, high-reward situation here, and regardless the linebacker that we draft this year will only need to be a rotational player, behind the likes of reddick, white, edwards, taylor, and bradley.

124: Rachaad White

as with the defensive ends and defensive backs, this is a solid and deep running back group, and i like the idea of taking a running back in round 4. i don’t think miles sanders has shown us enough to warrant an extension, and unless he proves that he can stay healthy, protect the ball, and improve his per-game production in 2022, we should look to replace him in the rotation.

if dominique robinson or josh paschal are available here in round 4, going with one of those defensive ends would also be justifiable.

154: Alec Lindstrom

i absolutely do not like the idea of taking tyler lindstrom in round 1 or cam jurgens in round 2, but if a decent center falls to round 5, then there’s fair value here. i’m of the opinion that we can legitimately exit this draft without an interior o-lineman.

162: Leon O’Neal

verone mckinley or bubba bolden would also be great finds here. we do need to come out of this draft with at least two safeties, and all three of these guys could probably contribute on special teams or in a back-up capacity.

166: Matt Araiza

not much needs to be said about this one. araiza is almost too obvious of a pick for the eagles in the 5th.

237: Chris Hinton

here’s where i might take a flier on an interior defensive tackle.

04.22.22

Responsibility, self-help assumptions, and happiness

Posted in Uncategorized at 10:18 pm by Administrator

i recently met up with a pastor from my youth group days, who continues to be a very prominent christian leader and a powerful voice for racial reconciliation in the church. we had a fascinating conversation—fascinating in part because he had once been such an important part of my life, and fascinating as well because the conversation provoked a memory of myself that i have not entertained for some time.

the main question i had for him was this: for all his work in advancing the conversation on white privilege in the american evangelical church, what change has he seen? the answer that he gave me should not have been shocking to me, and yet it was. what he told me was that there had appeared to be so much progress in this regard over the four decades leading up to the 2016 election; but once donald trump was elected, there was a sudden shift in sensibilities, and the receptiveness of evangelical congregations to even basic conversations about racism and social justice steeply declined. he went as far as to describe for me a prominent black american church leader who for years had been gracious and forgiving in her treatment of her white colleagues and brethren in the church. this woman, once the picture of longsuffering patience, gave up on her effort to promote justice in the church when she saw what it became in the aftermath of trump’s election.

i have had friends in the church patently deny to me that there was any compelling evidence for the american church’s disproportionate support of donald trump in 2016. these same people were the ones who have questioned me as to my motives and my source of truth when i sought to bring matters of racial inequality and systematic injustice into my practice of the christian religion. and they were also the ones who adamantly maintained that the social conversation on race, having originated outside of the directly inspired word of God, represented a perspective that could not be regarded with the same seriousness accorded to scriptural doctrine. to hear what my former youth pastor endured in the years since 2016 positively provoked many of my latent and even forgotten sentiments about the people i once experienced in the church. it validated something that i have not been permitted to embrace as true: that christians in america, on account of their theologies and sensibilities, have on the whole rejected the cause of social equality and racial justice, simply by dismissing its central importance to the spiritual healing of this nation.

now, i don’t want to rekindle the rage of those years, when i was called out by people whom i once called my brothers and sisters in the church. but i want to hold onto this one truth: that though i felt that i was alone in suffering marginalization and alienation in the church, i was not alone. i experienced that exclusion and disdain along with many other people who, like me, were unwilling to dismiss basic human conscience as a fundamentally reliable moral point of reference. my youth pastor, a man who has in some ways been broken by the times, shared in that struggle with me. he continues to believe in the church and in particular in a space within which conservative theology and social liberalism can coexist. i on the other hand have reacted to the cruelty and condescension of the church with an equal and opposite disdain. those who relegate the responsibility of conscience to anyone other than themselves are unworthy of a better world; the hell that they dismiss in this life will certainly follow them into the next.

the trouble that i have with so many self-help books written by successful american businessmen is that they routinely assume that their readers are as privileged as they are. when they advocate for taking a break from the beaten path, exploring one’s passions, and taking risks, they are in fact assuming the possibility of a career path that is only available to those who do not work to survive. the latest book that was recommended to me presents one case study after another of unhappy and searching individuals that i can only describe as white, wealthy, and wonderstruck by first world problems. these books will never fail to have readership because very few people in america are actually consummately satisfied by their jobs. there will always be a place for a man of success who encourages others to pull themselves up by their bootstraps and embrace a more self-empowering, optimistic view of their lives. but there is a dark backdrop to these motivational ideas; there is a lurking shadow behind the stage upon which they are presented. and that shadow is the reality of the indomitable, unceasing, and profoundly emptying struggle of those who lack privilege. telling people who cannot climb the social ladder that they must reach for the stars is as futile as urging black american slaves of the 1800s to make the most of their work in the fields. following one’s dreams is an inescapably corrupt proposition, when those dreams are layered upon a foundation of ruination, oppression, and systematic racism.

it’s happiness that is the problem—and the inexhaustible source of inspiration for these quacks and frauds. as indoctrinated as we are by the promises of capitalism and its attendant views of self-potential, we invariably define happiness as a freedom from our incessant pressures and anxieties. we fail to recognize that the pressures are not merely self-inflicted; they are the engine of our society, and they are precepts built deep into society’s theologies and processes. as such, they are inescapable. when we think that we are escaping these compulsions, by vacationing in tahiti or climbing mount everest, we are simply replacing one inexhaustible compulsion for performance with another compulsion for self-indulgence. in truth, real liberation from the soul-killing pressures to survive and to perform is captured not in happiness—the ephemeral relief from one form of self-flagellation—but rather in emptiness.

there is no intersection between what we understand as happiness and what we experience as emptiness. emptiness is terrifying. emptiness undermines consumption. emptiness collapses identity and eliminates differences between people, tribes, and nations. emptiness gradually corrodes concepts that enable us to differentiate our roles and objectify others; emptiness undercuts war and precludes even the anticipation of progress. most importantly, emptiness prevents happiness—the temporary relief from self-inflicted suffering—by unwinding the suffering that makes happiness possible. you see, the real problem with american self-help philosophies is the very idea that it is not sufficient simply to survive. it absolutely is. there is no more to life than the experience of consciousness in the moment—survival, no less.

i don’t mean to say that there is no hope of improving one’s condition. i mean to say that greater productivity is not the solution to one’s sense of meaninglessness. going deeper into one’s lack of value is how we escape identity and land upon the truth: the intrinsic meaninglessness of our lives. this does not have to eliminate hope or courage. it is, as implied by the masterwork everything everywhere all at once the beginning of gratitude. because it is only when we realize the random and futile trajectories of our lives that we cherish the inevitable moments of beauty caught up in this flight from reason. moments of love. moments of forgiveness. moments when we discover that in fact we have changed. moments when we can look back and realize that even when we lost the one thing that we thought we could not live without—jesus, for example—we survived, and we built a life around that survival, and it was enough for us, despite all

04.18.22

norton simon, figure 8, and everything everywhere

Posted in Uncategorized at 11:28 pm by Administrator

as these are my last months in L.A., i’ve started to develop intense nostalgia, which is to be expected of someone like me. nostalgia, and perhaps a penchant for a quiet walk somewhere where no one will accost me or ask questions, is what drove me to the norton simon museum one afternoon last week.

i spent a lot of time with one painting in particular: gustave courbet’s cliff at etretat, the porte d’aval. it is a painting of a sunlit stretch of beach backgrounded by dark seas and a tall cliff of gray rock. the incredible detail of the painting was clearly the product of many sittings; the placard describing the painting implied that courbet had spent the better part of five months studying the spot, among other locales. it is a painting that i found starkly non-contemplative, which is an impression that is hard to unpack. perhaps i will say it this way: courbet presents the beach, the water, and the rock each as significant and essential, but as a whole, the canvas is almost entirely taken up by their massive scale and complexity, leaving little space for the implied observer to walk, to dally, or to ruminate. it is the picture of a world crowded with relics and mysteries and yet with no place for respite or for imagination.

in fact, that has been a picture of my life for the past several months: endless, frantic unearthing of the self that has left me a house full of dusty boxes and piles of things to be sorted through. my last moments in the house i just sold were moments of hard labor, and in fact on my way out of the house i was sure i’d return to sweep it out yet again. i wonder if this is the way i will leave this city—as one consumed with justifying the fourteen years i had here, which in actuality cannot be discerned or folded into a story that would make sense to anyone.

i also spent time with a sculpture, a favorite of mine from simon’s chola bronze collection. it is a sculpture of shiva, frozen in the midst of a whirling dance of far-flung limbs and disparate passions. he holds in one hand a drum and in the other hand a flame, and while the rounded metal frame would seem to hold everything in rigid balance, the energy caught up in its orbit very clearly implies something that resists cyclical, predictable, and harmonic ends. i have spent years with this sculpture, it seems, and coming back to it again after much time i found myself provoked by its stillness in motion. it is intensely paradoxical, our need for stability and sameness even as we are constantly frothing and falling apart.

i was very much reminded of my time with shiva a few days later when my ex-neighbors and i shared beers in their back yard in a perfect late afternoon. she was telling me about her experience watching everything everywhere all at once, a movie we can only describe as impudently beautiful. “isn’t it true,” she said, “that we are never just one thing but rather two beings. like shiva, there is the thing in us that wants to be left alone and to be nothing, and there is the thing in us that cannot help but be consumed by passion. and this is how we go through life, never just one or the other.” her husband then read me a quote that the film had reminded me of, and he recited it to me as he held his 8 month-old baby in his arms, and as the wind made the trees alive with song. it is a quote from jeff foster: “impermanence has already rendered everything and everyone around you so deeply holy and significant and worthy of your heartbreaking gratitude. loss has already transfigured your life into an altar.”

ever since i was elbowed in my left eye by a friend while we were playing basketball, i have seen a large shadow in the shape of a figure 8 in the middle of my vision. i was told that i’d had a posterior vitreous detachment and that the “floater” was the shadow cast by a disturbance in the vitreous. i was also told that it would settle out and eventually migrate away from the center of my vision; but this has not been the case. for three years now, i have contended with this odd visual distortion, which makes it hard for me to look at screens or discern shapes backgrounded by light. when i move my eyes, it flies around my visual field like ink dripped upon water, and i daresay it has driven me to inexorable frustration and even to moments of passive suicidality. i see through it even now, and it is as foreign and distressing as it was when i first saw it, and i am no less hostile to its constant deceits. when my own eyes deceive me, i am a blind man indeed.

but i consider this bare fact. the loss of my vision is what reminds me that i once had it. just like the loss of my religion reminds me that i am still very much afraid of death. just like the absence of rest reminds me of how deep my longing is for enduring peace and self-satisfaction. i saw a photo of myself the other day and was suddenly struck by how deeply my face has aged over these years, how much i have changed since my younger days. all of these thoughts and anxieties and reflections and no time to spend with them, no place to rest and to regard them and to put them where they belong. they will never go away or dissipate to nothing. profound then this ability that we have, to put a frame on these countless floating preoccupations, to step back and to say this is another man’s life, and that i am content simply to observe

04.13.22

NFL Draft: 3 Round Mock and Other Thoughts

Posted in Uncategorized at 10:05 pm by Administrator

here’s my first 3-round mock, as we are two weeks away from the NFL draft. afterwards, i’ll add some observations.

Round 1:

1. Jacksonville: Aidan Hutchinson
2. Detroit: Kayvon Thibodeaux
3. Houston: Travon Walker
4. NY Jets: Kyle Hamilton
5. NY Giants: Evan Neal
6. Carolina: Kenny Pickett
7. NY Giants: Ahmad Gardner
8. Atlanta: Garrett Wilson
9. Seattle: Malik Willis
10. NY Jets: Ikem Ekwonu
11. Washington: Chris Olave
12. Minnesota: Derek Stingley, Jr.
13. Houston: Charles Cross
14. Baltimore: Devin Lloyd
15. Philadelphia: Jordan Davis
16. New Orleans: Trevor Penning
17. LA Chargers: Jameson Williams
18. Philadelphia: Drake London
19. New Orleans: Treylon Burks
20. Pittsburgh: Matt Corral
21. New England: Trent McDuffie
22. Green Bay: Zion Johnson
23. Arizona: Christian Watson
24. Dallas: Kenyon Green
25. Buffalo: Andrew Booth, Jr.
26. Tennessee: Bernhard Raimann
27. Tampa Bay: Devonte Wyatt
28. Green Bay: George Pickens
29. Kansas City: Jahan Dotson
30. Kansas City: Jermaine Johnson
31. Cincinnati: Perrion Winfrey
32. Detroit: Nakobe Dean

Round 2

33. Jacksonville: Tyler Linderbaum
34. Detroit: Desmond Ridder
35. NY Jets: George Karlaftis
36. NY Giants: Sam Howell
37. Houston: Daxton Hill
38. NY Jets: Alec Pierce
39. Chicago: Tyler Smith
40. Seattle: Abraham Lucas
41. Seattle: Kaiir Elam
42. Indianapolis: David Ojabo
43. Atlanta: Arnold Ebiketie
44. Cleveland: Drake Jackson
45. Baltimore: Roger McCreary
46. Minnesota: Boye Mafe
47. Washington: Sean Rhyan
48. Chicago: John Metchie III
49. New Orleans: Jaquan Brisker
50. Kansas City: Travis Jones
51. Philadelphia: Lewis Cine
52. Pittsburgh: Skyy Moore
53. Green Bay: Nik Bonitto
54. New England: Jalen Pitre
55. Arizona: DeMarvin Leal
56. Dallas: Cameron Thomas
57. Buffalo: Phidarian Mathis
58. Atlanta: Kyler Gordon
59. Green Bay: Christian Harris
60. Tampa Bay: Breece Hall
61. San Francisco: Martin Emerson
62. Kansas City: Trey McBride
63. Cincinnati: Coby Bryant
64. Denver: Nicholas Petit-Frere

Round 3

65. Jacksonville: Jalen Tolbert
66. Detroit: David Bell
67. NY Giants: Sam Williams
68. Houston: Justyn Ross
69. NY Jets: Brandon Smith
70. Jacksonville: Darian Kinnard
71. Chicago: Kingsley Enagbare
72. Seattle: Quay Walker
73. Indianapolis: Daniel Faalele
74. Atlanta: Leo Chenal
75. Denver: Myjai Sanders
76. Baltimore: Cameron Jurgens
77. Minnesota: Troy Andersen
78. Cleveland: Dominique Robinson
79. LA Chargers: Zach Tom
80. Houston: Carson Strong
81. NY Giants: Tariq Woolen
82. Atlanta: Kenneth Walker III
83. Philadelphia: Channing Tindall
84. Pittsburgh: Jalyn Armour-Davis
85. New England: Isaiah Spiller
86. Las Vegas: Logan Hall
87. Arizona: Zyon McCollum
88. Dallas: Isaiah Likely
89. Buffalo: Ed Ingram
90. Tennessee: Calvin Austin III
91. Tampa Bay: Bailey Zappe
92. Green Bay: Kerby Joseph
93. San Francisco: Cole Strange
94. Kansas City: Verone McKinley
95. Cincinnati: Kellen Diesch
96. Denver: Chad Muma
97. Detroit: Jamaree Salyer
98. New Orleans: Cam Taylor-Britt
99. Cleveland: Marcus Jones
100. Baltimore: DeAngelo Malone
101. Philadelphia: Josh Paschal
102. Miami: Greg Dulcich
103. Kansas City: Brian Asamoah II
104. Los Angeles Rams: Rasheed Walker
105. San Francisco: Alec Lindstrom

some observations:

best team draft through 3 rounds: Green Bay, with Zion Johnson (OG), George Pickens (WR), Nik Bonitto (Edge), Christian Harris (LB), and Kerby Joseph (S). Kansas City takes honorable mention.

while losing davante adams cannot be considered by any means a positive development for the team, the extra 1st and 2nd round picks really do pay off in this scenario. obviously, the true quality of this haul hinges on whether george pickens proves to be the star that he so confidently thinks that he is.

worst team draft: Atlanta Falcons, with Garrett Wilson (WR), Arnold Ebiketie (Edge), Kyler Gordon (CB), Leo Chenal (LB), and Kenneth Walker III (RB).

i tried to get every team its best draft, and there’s nothing wrong with the players i mocked to Atlanta. that being said, i felt that every pick felt forced, because Atlanta has such a bad roster, and not one of these players can effect the kind of transformation the Falcons need. in truth, the Falcons really ought to draft a QB at pick 8, but i’ve gotten no indication that they’re going to pull the trigger this year. i do not think Atlanta is a good fit for Garrett Wilson, even as bad as the WR group is, and it will be a wasted season for him trying to track down balls from Marcus Mariota.

hardest player to mock: DeMarvin Leal.

i really struggled to find a fit for Leal. he’s not only a tweener but also a bit less athletic than his peers proved to be at the combine. that being said, i believe his tape, and i think he is the mid-2nd rounder most likely to outperform his draft position.

best value pick: DeAngelo Malone.

the edge class is by far the deepest position group in this draft, and i like the value provided by both Malone and Josh Paschal in the 3rd round. i particularly like the idea of baltimore reaching for Malone in the late 3rd, as the fit is good and very conducive to Malone’s long-term potential.

best players left on the board after round 3: Tyler Allgeier (RB), Lecitus Smith (OG), Darrian Beavers (LB), Alex Wright (Edge), Tariq Castro-Fields (CB), Derion Kendrick (CB). overall, there are good interior offensive linemen, defensive ends, and cornerbacks late in this draft, and that’s where the value-hunting should be focused on day 3.

philadelphia’s outlook after this draft class still looks middling. i think jordan davis and drake london are high probability picks for the eagles in the 1st round, and i can definitely see the eagles picking up solid defensive prospects in cine, tindall, and paschal on day two. however, as i’ve written previously, the most direct path to a positive breakout for the 2022 eagles is an immediate upgrade at the QB position, and i remain in the minority camp that believes that this year’s crop of QBs is good enough to bet on in the 1st round. even with the eagles deferring a 1st round pick until next year, i remain unconvinced that new orleans or philadelphia will face plant badly enough in 2022 to yield picks high enough to grab a premiere QB in the 2023 draft. on the other hand, we have the opportunity this year to actually draft a strong QB prospect in the mid-1st on the basis of value alone. whether it’s matt corral, sam howell, or desmond ridder (all of whom are available in this mock at pick 15), i’m convinced that QB is the right pick for the eagles at pick 15 this year.

04.04.22

Eagles: revisited after a blockbuster deal

Posted in Uncategorized at 11:41 pm by Administrator

in my last entry, did i actually say that the eagles had “no realistic way to punt a 1st round pick into next year’s draft”?

kudos to roseman for doing the thing that only a GM with long-term job security can do. fully understanding jalen hurts’ limitations and facing the need to spread bets into future years, roseman swung the deal that any mock draft aficionado has to love. by essentially trading one of our 1st round picks to the saints for a 2022 3rd, a 2023 1st, and a 2024 2nd, roseman has built an escape hatch for the eagles, if indeed the hurts experiment does not work this season. and it won’t work. not unless you consider another 9-8 season with a wild card loss a great success.

for all the bad draft moments that howie has had, you have to love these moments when he learns from all the bad trade-ups and wildly overcompensates by trading down and out in all the imaginable ways. on paper, it’s a value deal and the right move, but it still makes me laugh because it’s such an about-face for a guy that’s been all about winning now for most of the past decade.

i have a much different vision for the first round now, and after posting this mock i’ll endeavor to explain.

1st Round

1. Jacksonville: Aidan Hutchinson
2. Detroit: Kayvon Thibodeaux
3. Houston: Travon Walker
4. NY Jets: Kyle Hamilton
5. NY Giants: Evan Neal
6. Carolina: Kenny Pickett
7. NY Giants: Ahmad Gardner
8. Atlanta: Garrett Wilson
9. Seattle: Ikem Ekwonu
10. NY Jets: Jermaine Johnson
11. Washington: Drake London
12. Minnesota: Derek Stingley, Jr.
13. Houston: Charles Cross
14. Baltimore: George Karlaftis
15. Philadelphia: Jameson Williams
16. New Orleans: Malik Willis
17. LA Chargers: Jordan Davis
18. Philadelphia: David Ojabo
19. New Orleans: Chris Olave
20. Pittsburgh: Matt Corral
21. New England: Andrew Booth, Jr.
22. Green Bay: Trevor Penning
23. Arizona: Trent McDuffie
24. Dallas: Zion Johnson
25. Buffalo: Kaiir Elam
26. Tennessee: Kenyon Green
27. Tampa Bay: Devonte Wyatt
28. Green Bay: Treylon Burks
29. Kansas City: Boye Mafe
30. Kansas City: Jahan Dotson
31. Cincinnati: Roger McCreary
32. Detroit: Devin Lloyd

yes, i can totally see the eagles taking two high-upside players at key positions of need who are unlikely to see the field during the 2022 season. why should the eagles settle for less talented but healthier players when their primary goal for 2022, in actuality, is to tank continue their rebuild?

the saints, as i see it, did this deal because they believe that they’re one talented QB and one solid receiver away from winning the division in 2023, and this is the setup that makes them the clear leader of the NFC south after brady’s expected re-retirement next year. i’ve mocked malik willis to them, but i’m not sure which QB will go at pick 16. they’ve got their eyes on someone—either willis, corral, or howell—and someone in that front office is convinced that everyone is sleeping on the guy. as i’ve written previously, i’m in agreement, and i think that guy is sam howell.

GO EAGLES