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10 Paineful Questions: The GM gets on board to pick up the slack.


Jack couldn't make it for this round of 10 Paineful Questions, so the GM, of Arin it Out, has stepped in to plug the gap in the line. 

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1.       Big game this weekend with the Colts and Pats.  I sometimes gripe about these two playing every year in the regular season.  I feel like they should face off in the Playoffs for the shot at the Super Bowl.  Am I wrong on this?

Yeah, you are wrong.  It is not that the league is intentionally scheduling them against each other, it is that their continued success pits them against one another by the way NFL schedules are laid out.  Every three years, a team has to play every other team in their conferences' different divisions.  So, in 03, 06, and 09 the Colts play the AFC east of which the Pats are a part.  In the interim years (04, 05, 07, and 08), the Colts are scheduled to play the AFC East team that finishes in the same position.  Since we keep winning the AFC South, we have to keep playing the winner of the AFC East.  It means that the league would have had to predict, nearly a decade ago, the decade long string of success both teams have achieved.  The reality is that the league devises scheduling practices like that to create the parity that the NFL so often is praised for.  Teams with the most success have the toughest schedules, teams with less success have easier schedules.  This does two things the NFL loves.  First, it gives dark horse, on the fence teams like the Arizona Cardinals a chance to make playoff runs.  Second, it creates TV matchups that the league makes huge bank on.  Over the last 6 or 7 years the league has consistently been able to put prime time TV games like Colts-Patriots, Steelers-Baltimore, Baltimore-Colts, and whatnot in front of huge audiences.  It makes for some good watchin and puts millions of dollars into the hands of NFL owners.  It may seem Machiavellian, but it is just microeconomics.  Call it Byzantine if you must, I enjoy it.

2.       There has been a lot of talk about the Colts and their usual fast start to the season.  What is the key to the late season success for this team?

Adaptability.  Three weeks ago they were the best team in football no questions asked.  Now, I think they are exposed and fractured.  In the course of one week the injury situation went from tolerable to holy shit.  The secondary was one of the best in football but, over the last three weeks, we have consistently seen more and more receivers break free on deep routes.  We have seen better production from other teams on third down and better tight end play from opposing offenses.  Manning has not been sharp.  Pass blocking has been eroding from the middle out.  One good indication of this is the number of screens we have run in the last two weeks on first and second down.  We are, in a fashion very obvious to me, trying to get the defensive linemen to spread out.  Austin Collie has not caught the ball well, and that is a problem that will only get worse as things go on because defensive backs and linebackers see that in film and it is a blood in the water type deal.  The key is to figure something new out, nothing big, just little adjustments to keep this thing going.  I think more four wide would help.  At the beginning of the Houston game the Colts came out with a hurry up offense that they actually hurried up.  It was clearly scripted and Manning took no time at the line, they just formed up and snapped it.  They were moving the ball well.  The safeties spread out to take the deep routes and Collie dropped two passes and blew the drive.  I think that would work more but they are going to have to get Collie to catch the ball or work Reggie out of the slot.

3.       Injuries, injuries, injuries....will the lack of depth finally show this weekend against the Pats?

I addressed a lot of that above, but to get to the material point of the question, yes, the Pats will expose the depth.  Moss is coming on like a freight train and facing two rookie, short corners.  Let me stick my tongue out and do the math here...mm hmm...and that there...and carry the jump ball...and it looks like trouble with a remainder of oh shit.  Yeah, look for Moss in the slot or for the Pats to stack the receivers on one side and trick the Colts into a one deep safety scenario or a weak Cover 3.  I would almost guarantee the later.  Set Moss on the outside of a stack and run him underneath of a single deep safety on a big crossing route.  They did it at Marshall all the time from a three wide with Moss in the slot.  Switching it to a weakside stack gives Brady an underneath read on the tight end should the pressure be quick and a deep read on Moss if it gets picked up.

4.       Falcons' Head Coach, Mike Smith, was handed a $15,000 fine for his role in the DeAngelo Hall scuffle last Sunday....a fight that was caused because Hall is a too much of a punk.  Who is the bigger idiot, Hall or Larry Johnson?

I think Johnson but you can't hold me to it.  That guy had a chance to build a team around himself in a city that never forgets its heroes.  They still mug Lenny Dawson.  You see, Dawson was trying to choose between Ohio State and Purdue in the 50s when both were national powers.  Dawson went to Purdue because he had a good relationship with Hank Stram, an assistant there.  Hank "Just keep matriculatin' the ball down the field, boys."  Stram would go on to be a legendary NFL coach of the Kansas City Chiefs and would create an offense that allowed Dawson to become a Hall of Famer.  Dawson had been a bust in Pittsburgh and somewhere else, but he found a home in KC and they still love him. 

5.       Speaking of Larry Johnson, any chance he suits up the rest of this year?  I say no...

I would say Pittsburgh right now but there is always a chance the New England would make a play.  He would be an improvement in both locations and could be had for a short term deal.

6.       I saw this morning that Peyton has thrown 176 passes the last 4 games.  The most of any 4 game stretch in his whole career.  Yet, his rating is down and he is missing on a lot of long balls.  Is his arm tired?

No, I think there are a few things happening at once that are reducing his effectiveness.  The pocket is collapsing faster.  Other teams have our line figured out a bit now.  They are attacking the A gap on both sides of Saturday and really putting him in bad positions.  The right A gap, DeVan/Pollak's side is weak and Sammy Davis Jr. could see it with his glass eye.  We can't drive the seam like we used to because of the way teams are rolling their coverage.  We don't have the time to shake Garcon loose on the sideline, so the safety stays inside over the top of the seam, forcing Clark to run underneaths.  If Collie can catch a freakin ball, Clark can push deep into the seam in a clearout, and Collie can make hay underneath.  It wouldn't hurt if we ran a bit better but I don't think that is going to get any better soon.  Watch for shoot outs, look for the offense to fatigue.  Don't worry about Manning's conditioning, worry about the blocking. 

7.       Who should I pick for my celebrity girlfriend? arianny123sx.jpg I am torn between January Jones and Arianny Celeste.  My future celebrity lust is in your hands....GO

Alright, the GM (as he is want to do) throws me a grapefruit to talk about MMA.  Arianny Celeste is one of the ring girls for the UFC.  While she is, indeed, built like a brick shithouse, I am going to go with January Jones of Mad Men fame.  First of all, a man should always appreciate a woman with an exotic first name.  I certainly do, and it gives your women a certain...je ne c'est quoi...no wait, I do know what!  It is appealing because it has an element of James Bond in it.  It makes you feel like you are James Bond because you are banging a broad with a Bondian name, like Pussy Galore or Holly Goodhead or Plenty O'Toole or Wai Lin (get it?  She is "wailing").  Both names are interesting, but January wins out.  On top of that, she has some talent and I think Arianny Celeste probably spends a little too much time in footwear that can only logically be defined as "stripper boots".  I think you are going to get a better experience out of Miss Jones, longer legs, and somebody that will make you breakfast in the morning.  I realize Mad Men offers a certain anachronistic flare, and similarly themed discussions have ventured far enough to say that taking a shot at Miss Jones in the Betty Draper situation means that you encounter the much maligned wide bush of the day.  I say grow a pair, grab that garter belt and start pumpin.  It just means she's a grown up.   

8.       No winless teams left, so reverse the question.  Colts have Patriots and the Saints are at St. Louis.  Any chance the Rams stop the Saints?  Do the Colts rule at home and go to 9-0?

No and maybe.  The Colts are on tilt a bit right now.  To beat the Pats they need to be relaxed and smart.  If they press, they are going to be in for a rough one.  I think the pressure is squarely on the Colts right now.  I don't know where the money is right now but it has got to be even or -2.5 to the Colts as the home team.  I think that is pretty close.

9.       Back to the previous winless team, Tampa Bay, did Josh Freeman do anything to indicate that he will lead that franchise back to mediocrity?  Beyond that?  Is there any helping that franchise?

I think we have to look pretty hard to see that team getting better.  They were playing a young, 4-3 Packers team that had just had an emotional game that resulted in a devastating belt buckle punch amidst a division race.  They were drained.  Freeman completed less than %50 of his passes for less than 7 yards an attempt.  In addition, he was going against a QB that had been sacked like 30 times in the previous game.  I think he a step in the right direction if they stick with him and commit to developing him within a single offense.

10.   How does Bruce Paine feel about properly celebrating Veterans Day?  I picture you drinking a High Life, eating a Hot Dog, listening to "Free Bird", and wearing a robe with the American flag on it...all while readying to polish your rifle....

You would probably be surprised.  He mourns for a lot of things.  He tries not to think of it as Veterans Day.  Historically, we tell soldiers we are going to treat them as heroes when they return from glorious combat but when they do, they often get treated rather poorly in my humble opinion.  The measure of courage they have displayed, the measure of honor they deserve, is poorly regarded by the subpar treatment they often receive.  Let us not forget, this day used to be called Armistice Day, and it celebrated the end of war.  It is here that we should actually remember something.  Soldiers should be glorified in their victories and their deaths for the things they try to prevent.  Without this particular kind of death, it is difficult to re-affirm their sacrifice, to understand why some conflict is necessary.  I think it is important to honor veterans, like yourself, for the destruction they try to stop.  I struggle, mightily, with how to view the situations and contexts that we place our soldiers in.  As an historian, I have literally spent years on this very topic.  I have good friends who have gone to the deserts and mountains of old, distant, Godforsaken places where children are offered up like cattle to take potshots at well armed men.  I think a lot of things on Veterans Day.  You know, we insert our men into conflicts now that they aren't allowed to win.  The USS Cole bombing cost lives simply because the rules of engagement prevented Marines from shooting a rubber boat even though the damned thing had a giant bomb strapped to it.  Back in the day, when you beat somebody, you beat em all the way.  After the Punic Wars, the Romans took Carthage.  They killed all the males and women too old to breed, gave the women to the soldiers as slaves, and poured salt in the fields of Carthage.  They bred them out of existence, took everything they had, and laid waste to their fields so nothing would grow.  That is winning.  Our guys now can't even drink beer or fool around with the women.

The weight of my exasperation is crushing sometimes.  I don't want to use Veterans Day as a Good Job America Day, I just want to give my nod of approval to good men who did something I did not.  I think a lot about one of my uncles, who did not want to fight in World War II and was drafted as a conscientious objector into the medic corps.  Fat lot of luck that did him on D-Day as he was looking out the top of a landing craft on the way in to Omaha Beach.  Half the guys in the boat got chopped to pieces by MG 42s and mortars before they ever got to the beach.  The Germans had taken big, fist sized chunks of rock and covered the exposed parts of the beach with it, preventing guys from digging in.  It took uncle Jim three minutes to run out of morphine and bandages and he was less than 15 feet from the water's edge.  He spent the next two hours holding the hands as soldiers died, the boys crying for their mothers and the men crying for their wives as lead and fire rained down on them.  Today, we can at least say that they died fighting the Germans, who would have run us to the ground and put us in chains in a thirst for global domination.  I want our current soldiers to be able to say the same, but I don't think they honestly can.  Instead, on Veterans Day, I weep that I cannot give you that.  Indeed, it is not the soldiers who have not met with success, it is the citizenry.  We failed you, I failed you.  It isn't because some people voted for George Bush and some didn't, it isn't because some support socialized medicine and some don't.  It is much older than that.  The whys and wherefores are deep and complex, I admit, but they aren't beyond the comprehension of any good American.  On Veterans Day, I hope people consider cost.  Cost.  Our lifestyles, our willingness to consider the trivial matters of our lives as necessity has steered us down a path of great cost.  Now, more than ever in our modern history, the way Americans are living is costing us in blood.  The blood and treasure we spend is real, it is the lives of our friends and family, and I pray for a swift end to it, an armistice. 

The rifle is well polished and oiled after every use.  That way, it is always ready to be grasped into the warm defense of freedom.  It is always in proper working order so that, when they take me, another patriot may pick it up, place the pumpkin on the post, and squeeze in to the comforting embrace of liberty. 

God Save the Republic.


Bruce Paine

November 2009           

Arin said

* The bush doesn't bother me any!

* That was the kind of answer I was expecting about Veteran's Day!

Cobra said

Thank God the week is over....thanks to Arin for helping out. A few questions:

1. Do your feelings for those servicemen who were drafted into duty differ than those who chose to enlist?

2. Do you feel that at times a certain magazine purposely puts a player/team on its cover in the hope that the player/team falters so that people can blame it on a 'jinx'?

3. There is a really nice article on ESPN.com about Dallas Clark this week. Tugs at the heart strings.

Bruce Paine said

I feel for people that get drafted, but not necessarily on this particular issue. it might be splitting hairs, though. People that are pressed into duty are going to have conflicted feelings about their actions, no doubt. They may be compelled by a command structure they did not voluntarily accept to do things they may not want to do. People that enlist must understand that they have willingly accepted to participate in a command and control structure they don't fully approve of and have little or no say in. It is a finite difference, but in 1997 it (and the inability of the Army Rangers to discuss more openly the kind of unit cohesion they find to be ideal) was enough to prevent Bruce Paine from taking an appointment to a certain service academy. That would have included two immediate paygrade advances because of prior achievements and one promotion grade upon active duty. Regardless, I do make a slight distinction. We no longer have a conscripted armed force, and so I get pretty aggravated when I hear voluntary vets gripe about being sent overseas or weekend warriors gripe about deployments. Look, they bartered for their services. They signed up, got 40 grand not including education bonuses, and room and board with three squares. You took the job, the work sucks sometimes. Cry me a river.

Yes. I don't think it is an accident. I also think that they overplay things to get people to watch the game. In all reality, the Colts have not played well in the last two weeks, but ESPN and SI will act like they are torching people to create drama. Objectively, the Colts look exposed and tired and only two or three of their wins are what one might consider "quality" wins. I will admit that teams like Miami and San Fran probably played their best games of the year in losing efforts to the Colts, but that doesn't necessarily mean the Colts are world beaters.

Haven't gotten there yet.

Bruce Paine said

i have received a couple text messages saying the above comment was a little acidic. Let me hammer something out.

It isn't, it is just a reality of a volunteer army that works for a civilian government. People making 4 year commitments as enlisted personnel receive a 40K bonus, a paycheck, and three squares. In exchange, they have to act like professional soldiers and do what the civilian government tells them to. I am not degrading all soldiers. Indeed, of my closest associates who have served in Korea, Afghanistan, and Iraq, i have heard remarkably little bellyaching despite horrible situations and Byzantine politics. I will, however, tell any soldier to eat shit that says, "This is not what I signed up for." Why? Because it is exactly what you signed up for. When you accept the responsibility (and that is EXACTLY what it IS) of becoming a soldier, you forfeit the getting to decide part. Sorry, its the nature of the game. if you let soldiers decide if they should fight or not, you run the risk of having soldiers decide not to fight. If that is the case, you have big F------ problem. These kinds of considerations are why I could not be a soldier. Kudos to you that are, it is a tough job. As long as you are wearing the digitals, though, you gotta be in it to win it.

Arin said

I hear the "this isn't what I signed up for" statement a lot, and it is something that I can see from both sides.

I personally signed up for the schooling benefits and to also learn a trade that I could use in the civilian world if I chose to go that route. Going in, I also knew that if they said 'go', then I was going, so I wasn't troubled/pissed when I was asked to go voluntarily the first time. It is up to each individual to realize they are now owned by someone else and that someone else is the government. I've been in some wonderful places in this world, places I wouldn't have seen if I hadn't been in the Air Force. If I was to go to all of those places and then say "I didn't sign up for this" when the shit hit the fan, then what kind of person did I become? Not one that I could be happy with today.

Some guys sign up for different reasons, but in the end, they have to understand that they are signing up to go train for the possibility for war. No, it might not have been what they signed up for, but they did sign up for a job and right now, this is their job.

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