Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Letters to a Signal Caller: Letter #40083 - Daunte Culpepper

Dear Pep:

How's retirement treating you? Good, I hope. I also hope you've stayed away from mysterious-looking "pleasure cruises" in your newly gained free time. But I can see through the politically correctness of you stepping away from the game. You're hurt that the teams in desperate need of an upgrade at quarterback haven't even sent you a text message requesting your services. You see the likes of Tyler Thigpen and Tavaris Jackson Gus Frerotte starting in the league, while you're watching them from home (undoubtedly in spectacular HD).

Your situation is sort of a complex one. From your perspective, you feel like your abilities have been disrespected by the NFL. From the way you see it, Carson Palmer and Tom Brady have had similarly devastating knee injuries you suffered in 2005. They were allowed to continue their careers, but you were rudely cut and had to attempt to revive your career in the East and West Coast Oblivions that are the Miami Dolphins and Oakland Raiders. That certainly isn't fair, especially considering the teams that would be greatly improved if they had a halfway decent quarterback. You're still only 31, which is the same age as fellow 1999 first-round pick Donovan F. McNabb. Of that infamous first-round class, you two are the only surviving quarterbacks; so it's obvious that you can still play. Your side of the argument is a valid one, Pep.

Let's examine the other side of this, Daunte. Yes, Brady and others have shredded their knee ligaments like you did three seasons ago. But let's be real: Carson Palmer, Donovan F., and Tom Brady are significantly better than you. They're potential Hall of Famers, while you'll end up as a good quarterback of legend like Jeff Hoestetler. Your talent seemed to drastically decline once your buddy Randy Moss left Minnesota. After Moss, you appeared to lose the ability to read defenses and was a marginal player at best. I'm not saying there's a direct correlation, but it sure seems that way. The NFL is a, "what have you done for me lately" league; and based on your recent performances, you couldn't help any team on the cusp make a deep run into the postseason. Maybe that isn't true, and maybe you can lead a team like Minnesota to the playoffs, but you didn't show that capability during your brief tenure with the Raiders. The other side of the argument has valid points as well; and believes that your time has come and gone.

Daunte, I don't fault you for only wanting to be a starter in the NFL, especially at only being 31 and having had previous success when fully healthy. However, listen to this hypothetical situation. Let's say you sign with the Vikings as the backup. Tavaris Jackson proves to be average, and is benched in your favor. You come in, play well, and lead the Vikings to the NFC Championship game while also helping Jackson develop as a quarterback from a small school. In the end, you're a hero and have secured a place in the league for the rest of your career. Does that sound familiar? Well, it's what Randall Cunningham did for you when you were a young quarterback in Minnesota. My, how life has a funny way of playing itself out sometimes. Think about it, Pep, because this is the lasting image of your days in the NFL...


Friday, September 12, 2008

Letters to a Signal Caller: #74511 - Alex Smith

Dear Alex,

I never believed in you. I definitely preferred Aaron Rodgers over you coming out of college. However, when it was inevitable that you would be the one that the 49ers front office slated as the next franchise quarterback, I had to rally behind you because of my fan allegiance to the team. As I'm sure you know, being the quarterback of the 49ers comes with a storied tradition. Joe Montana and Steve Young are Hall of Fame passers, and by golly, Jeff Garcia went to the Pro Bowl; so you did have a lot to follow. Granted, the team hasn't had quality talent around you to allow your progression to be smooth; but you haven't exactly shown bright flashes of promise in your two-plus years as the starter.

At the beginning of this season, you lost that privilege to J.T. O'Sullivan; who, while may also be a sixth round pick, isn't exactly Tom Brady. But, then again, you aren't exactly Drew Bledsoe, either. In fact, you're more Tim Couch and Ryan Leaf than Drew Bledsoe (end brief rant). Now with your latest injury, it's evident that your days by the Bay are numbered. But so you don't leave thinking that the organization is cutting you for a few reasons, let me tell you exactly why you won't be on the 49ers anymore:

*You suck.

It's not because Mike Nolan didn't want to give you a chance, or that the offensive scheme doesn't fit your strengths as a quarterback.

It's because you suck.

You're not good. You suck.

You see? I have evidence of your futility, so there's no hard feelings, Alex. Just make sure you warn Tim Tebow of the dangers of being a product of Urban Meyer's offense. Maybe the Ravens will pick you up so I won't have to mail you this letter; and I can deliver it to you personally...but you'll probably fumble that, too.


*If you're confused, go here for a reference

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Letters to a Signal Caller: Letter 40218-B - Matt Cassel

I've been longing to add a little more football to Fundamentally UnSound; and with my last post being so interesting, I'm going to (yet again) start a new open-ended series in which I write heart-filled letters to various quarterbacks of the NFL. After this weekend's past events, it's only proper that I start with Patriots starter Tom Brady Matt Cassel...

Dear Mr. Cassel:

First off, let me start by congratulating you on having a tremendously comfortable adult life. Ever since your high school graduation, you have been blessed to be placed in the most lavish of positions. At USC, you sat behind two Heisman winners, attempting only 33 passes during your stay in Southern Cal; yet you still managed to get drafted by the Patriots. Because you were drafted to New England, there was no chance you would ever see meaningful playing time. That, of course, is due to being waaaaaay behind the depth chart to one Tom Brady (*rose petals scatter forth as celestial music plays*). The Golden Boy ensured that you were relegated to permanent clipboard holder and allowed to continue your stress-free adulthood. Your life is even easier than Jim Sorgi's, because at least he had to start a few games at Wisconsin and wanted to sell Maytags on the side.

Oh, but how life has a funny way of working sometimes. Thanks to Bernard Pollard, you are at the helm of a team that's coming off the most devastating Super Bowl loss in history; and while they're not counting on you to throw 50 touchdowns, you will have to make some throws and do more than just "manage the game." In your substitution duty, you were pretty good. But now, teams will have film on you. Defensive coordinators will be able to break down your strengths and weaknesses. You'll have to process information and make the play yourself. No more standing on the sideline with a headset for you, buddy.

While your task is daunting, it isn't impossible. In fact, you have several examples on which to lean for support. In 1999, Trent Green went down with an injury, thus giving former grocery bagger Kurt Warner a career that includes two MVPs and a Super Bowl ring. Even the Golden Boy himself has Mo Lewis to thank for paving the way to allow his magnificence to be unleashed. You know those 1972 Dolphins, the team that loathed your team's very existence last year? Hall of Fame quarterback Bob Griese broke his leg midway through their undefeated season. Earl Morrell stepped in and we're left with this intense level of senior citizen douchebaggery for the foreseeable future. You are also subbing for a first-ballot Hall of Famer, and have the hoodied mastermind as your coach, so you have some things that are in your favor.

Mr. Cassel, life has just gotten a little tougher for you. My advice to you is to make good decisions, with your most important being that you make sure #81 is happy. After all, you can't be worse that Alex Smith, so there's that. Congrats on the opportunity.


Tuesday, September 9, 2008

NFL Final Destination

It was a pretty interesting first week of the 2008-09 NFL season. LaRon Landry learned to never tackle Brandon Jacobs high again. Vince Young is beginning to lose passengers from his own bandwagon. Matt Forte and Michael Turner appear to be worth their respective lofty pick and signing. And the 49ers still can't score two touchdowns (so everything isn't interesting). However, what everyone's talking about is Brodie Croyle's Tom Brady's season-ending injury at the hands of some guy. Regardless how you feel about the Patriots, this season will lose a little intrigue without the Golden Boy under center.

Now, I wouldn't be the conspiracy theorist I am if I didn't have a unique, beyond coincidental reason as to why #12 got hurt, and it has nothing to do with him not being on the injury list for the first time in 56 games...

For those of you that don't know, there exists an increasingly credible entity in the football realm known as the "Madden Curse." Ever since the popular video game has switched to using NFL players on the cover, each of them have had something bad happen to them. From Eddie George and Marshall Faulk's drastic dips in production, to Michael Vick and Shaun Alexander's injuries, the Curse has claimed each player in some way. For Madden 2009, [then-Packers QB #4] was chosen to be on the cover as a final tribute on what was supposed to be the end of his career. We all know and are sick of the story, and now he's a member of the New York Jets. So what is the Madden Curse supposed to do now?

In search of the answer, I'm reminded of the "Final Destination" three-movie series in which Death constructed a plan to have certain people die in various big accidents. When those involved avoided those accidents, Death came back and attempted to kill them in order (the deaths look like this) The twist is that if and when the victims somehow avoided Death's second attempt at terminating them, Death skipped to the next person in its order. But what does this have to do with [now Jets QB #4] and Tom Brady? *rose petals scatter forth as celestial music plays*

Since [Jets QB #4] switched teams after being on the cover of Madden, the Curse became confused. It was [Jets QB #4]'s way of "cheating Death." So, as in "Final Destination," the Madden Curse went to the next person in order. I believe that Tom Brady was slated to be on the cover of Madden 2010, therefore making him the Curse's next target. How else can some unknown safety injure the other Mr. Perfect twenty minutes into the season? Don't blame Bernard Pollard, Patriots fans. He was merely a pawn in the Madden Curse's diabolical scheme to eliminate the Golden Boy. There were some powerful forces at work last Sunday...

So who's next on the Madden Curse's list? Did Shawne Merriman's decision to have season-ending surgery spell doom on the likes of potential cover guys Willie Parker and Maurice Jones-Drew? Every one of those players that can potentially be on the cover of Madden better keep an eye out for signs that something sinister is between the sidelines. All except for Adrian Peterson, of course; for he is divine, holy and running back eternal.

And yes, I blame [Jets QB #4] for this, too.


Saturday, September 6, 2008

More Things to Do to Avoid [Jets QB #4]

The National Football League returned for real Thursday night; and tomorrow, Jesus [Jets QB #4] makes his anticipated debut against former Jets QB Chad Pennington and the Dolphins. As I've previously stated, [Jets QB #4] fever is rapidly spreading. It's gotten to the point where one list of ways to immunize yourself, and one list of questions to ponder, may not be enough to keep you safe. Fear not, for Purple Jesus has again granted me the wisdom to see you through what will be an incredibly annoying season.

Take heed to my advice, or you will contract a disease so evil that it causes one to use terms like "gunslinger." Symptoms may also include being comfortable in Wranglers, constant waffling on decisions, and excessive phone calls from John Madden. Be ye warned.