PlayBook: The Children Are Our Future

By Fraser Lockerbie

Can the Colts front five do enough to protect the franchises future under center plus your Week Two NFL picks.

News out of Indianapolis this week has Jim Irsay tinkering with the legalities and mechanics of a complicated system of levers and pulleys that will buzz around at high speeds above Lucas Oil Stadium and be connected at all times to Andrew Luck in what the latest reports are calling an effort to “keep him upright.”

…That is indeed a weird problem for a supposedly full-fledged human adult to have, especially one largely considered to be the next prized possession of the NFL. Having to worry about keeping your quarterback upright is not something owners of previously 2-14 teams want to think about at the start of a new season; it makes it seem as though they drafted and signed to an ungodly contract a stupid if not totally dumb little boy who simply can’t manage to remain on his feet for more than four or five seconds at a time or a convalescent with some kind of crippling disorder that makes him flop around like a rag doll for no good reason at all. It makes people in the professional football business look stupid, and it’s particularly troublesome on days when Jared Allen, the NFL’s reigning sacks leader, comes to town smelling of sweat and hungry for the flesh and bones of a young quarterback, a new plaything if you will, still ripe and not yet broken in.

Indeed, monsters like Allen love the smell of new blood in the air. They get off on being brutal and completely unkind, twisted if not terminally ill individuals who foam at the mouth on their best days and are downright cruel motherfuckers when things go awry. Tearing a head clean from the body might seem weird to you, but it comes almost naturally to the screwballs governed by the mentality that drives professional defensive linemen, and it’s an awfully ugly thing to consider when we factor in the enormous sums of money we pay these people to think and act the way they do.

Whoops! My editor tells me that might be laying it on a little heavy, that Allen is already on the phone using ugly words like “sue” and “slander” and Irsay’s on hold babbling uncontrollably about patents for an elaborate rope harness with super-menacing spikes. “Andrew Luck, Uber Alles!”

The truth is that Luck learned the hard way about living life in the NFL behind a bad offensive line that got shredded by the Bears for three sacks, 63 rush yards and a flurry of otherwise criminal hits on their young star QB. And they will continue to do so, but we don’t like to say those kinds of things out loud and never in front of the boy. We don’t want to unnerve the poor little bastard by saying too bluntly that he got beaten like a fine leather drum and that it’s likely to happen over and over again for the better part of a long 16-game season.

But it will happen. Indy’s front five have a combined 145 career NFL starts, 75 of which belong to Samson Satele, leaving just 70 to share among the other four. Left guard Joe Reitz is still out with an undisclosed knee injury, and Winston Justice, out with what might be a concussion sustained after Sunday’s opener, was once referred to by the great Hugh Douglas as, in his opinion, “not even a football player.”

Ah, Selah. Douglas went on to say that “if they don’t bite when they’re a puppy, they won’t bite when they’re a grown dog,” which is bad; puppies guarding puppies makes for poor football, and you wouldn’t want five French poodles blocking for your multimillion-dollar, decade-long investment. Quarterbacks who routinely suffer from what we’re now calling a “vertical deficiency” don’t make it very far in the NFL. 

This Week’s Lines:

Minnesota (-1.5) over Indianapolis

See above.

Oakland (-2.5) over Miami

If Oakland can somehow find it in themselves not to give up a couple field lengths in face masks and false starts, off sides and offensive pass interference (seriously, who even gets called for that?), they might actually win a couple games. This should be one of them. 

New York (+6) over Pittsburgh

This is the New York team that hung 41 on the Bills, not the one that hemmed and hawed and ultimately sputtered against the Cowboys. 

Tampa Bay (+8.5) over New York

That’s this one.

Dallas (-3) over Seattle

Seattle looked a little lost last week after letting Kevin Kolb (not a typo) cram a textbook two minute drill down their throats. Without Lynch and lacking the type of reactionary receivers required for a rookie quarterback to adjust, Seattle’s starting this season 0-2.

Baltimore (+2.5) over Philadelphia

Also not a typo.

Detroit (+8.5) over San Francisco

Here we go: the ’Niners will give Detroit just enough hope to make this game competitive and interesting in the Oriental sense of the word, but the outcome is probably something like San Fran 27, Detroit 24, and it will never really be that close. 

New England (-14) over Arizona

The only question here is whether Belichick and Brady take their foot off the gas when the score is 34-3 at the end of the half and Arizona creeps within 14 sometime in the fourth quarter.

New Orleans (-2.5) over Carolina

It’s rare that professional books miss three lines in a single week, but with the Jets laying six against Pittsburgh and the Ravens a 2.5 point underdog against Philly we’re ready to cry foul; something’s rotten in Vegas.

Houston (-7.5) over Jacksonville

How lucky is Houston to be starting their season in sunny, sunny Florida?

Quick Slants:

Buffalo (-3) over Kansas City, Atlanta (-3) over Denver, Tennessee (+6) over San Diego, St. Louis (+3) over Washington, Cincinnati (-6) over Cleveland

Last Week: 10-5

Overall: 10-5

Catch up on past PlayBooks here.


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