A Good Neighbor

January 13, 2021 at 2:47am

I don’t catch much shut-eye these days. Normally there’s no time to sleep. Now there’s even less. It’s not because I’m upset. Well, I guess I’m not not upset. On coach’s behalf, at least. He’s like a brother to me. I’ll always respect a man committed to Jesus and limiting yards after the catch. Three years, and we set plenty of franchise records, one after another, each more impressive than the last. Like trees being systematically chopped down and torn from their soil. I like trees. Except redwoods. Lord Almighty, do I hate the Bay Area.

I guess I’m more wired than distressed. The void left by coach brings forth opportunity. Opportunity for greatness. I wouldn’t be this jacked if I wasn’t confident in my ability to turn things around. I’ve seen the tweets. I know how this thing works. I wasn’t good enough when it mattered most. I vow to be better. To play free and with God in my corner. To smite Darious Williams on sight.

A little over a year ago, I shared an exchange with coach that I like to revisit in moments such as this. We had just lost convincingly to the Cardinals at home. Not going to lie, it was pretty embarrassing. Most of my teammates had already left the stadium and I was sitting at my locker, contemplating my very existence after getting yammed on by Brett Hundley. Coach appeared, sat down next to me and told me a great tale of his past, one that was sure to include adversity, fiery battle, comprehensive secondary plot points, and a valuable lesson to take away. I had just been sacked five times and wasn’t entirely coherent so I’m only like 35 percent sure this conversation actually happened, but the sentiment remains.

I’ve made it clear to Pete and John both that I’d like to be involved in the search for a new OC. After all, I’m the one that’s going to spend the most time with him. I cannot and will not work with somebody who expects me to command the line of scrimmage on my own. For all of Brian’s contributions, slashing comms mid-game in an attempt to make me “self-sufficient” and “more capable than Jared Goff” was a fatal flaw. As a certified yes man, I’m more than ready to execute whatever offense we run next season. (Is it next season? Or would it be this season, since this past season is technically finished?)

It’s getting late. About time I head to the VMAC.

Go Hawks.

January 18, 2021 at 11:24am

A new coordinator rises! All glory to God! I just got the call from John that an agreement has been made in principle, so the news should go public within an hour or two. Based on the couple of conversations that I’ve had with coach, I’m thrilled about the hire. He has minimal football experience, but his track record speaks for itself. Think about it. The two quarterbacks he worked with in 2020? Patrick Mahomes and Aaron Rodgers. It’s not official yet, but there’s little doubt in my mind that they’re the front-runners for MVP. If this pans out, which I expect it to, who knows, maybe I’ll finally get a vote next year!

Pat and Aaron aside, I love coach’s vision for what this offense can become. He used an analogy that I’m a big fan of. In his eyes, our offense can be a well-oiled machine. I believe he described it in terms of automobiles. I guess he’s worked with cars in the past or something. This past season, he says, we were a poorly-serviced Lamborghini. We’d catch fire every once in a while but then would do so in the way that is more akin to drenching yourself in gasoline and setting yourself ablaze. Overall, it was an unreliable, chaotic approach. Under coach’s direction, he says we’ll be more like a Honda Civic. Flashy? Nope. Fast? Not really. Reliable? Absolutely.

The Let Russ Cook movement was fun while it lasted. DVOA is temporary while trademarks are forever. In hindsight, the narrative and all that it gave rise to were merely reinforcement of the “it’s all about the ball” mantra. Coach told me that every time I cough up a turnover, a puppy dies. Scary stuff. I need to perform better in that regard for us to get these dubs. There’s a reason I didn’t name my son Lose.

Luckily, coach’s offensive philosophy augurs improvement and it is my duty to ensure this is the case. If there’s one thing that coach knows how to do, it’s reinvent himself. In February, he underwent his own dramatic shift, expanding his role from that of a gimmick to that which represents a multi-billion dollar corporation. Though I’ve already occupied that last bit for years, I’m more than happy to take a page out of coach’s playbook and change things up for the benefit of the organization. As always, I’m willing to do what it takes to get back to the Super Bowl. Aside from my weekly podcasts, owning a major league soccer team, hosting the Kids Choice Awards, releasing a tandem perfume line backed by a hypersexual advertisement, heading up a clothing brand, vouching for nanobubbles, promoting a major US airline, selling noise-cancelling headphones, and managing a media company, that’s all that matters.

With coach in the fold, it’s time to get to work. Go Hawks.

January 24, 2021 at 6:56am

When I got the news merely a week ago that coach had been hired, I was pumped. It felt like the start of something beautiful; a symbiotic relationship that breeds touchdown after touchdown; a torturous, chain-moving, ground-and-pound nightmare that keeps defensive coaches scrambling all week in preparation. I consider myself a generally patient person, but this isn’t what I signed up for. I was promised MVP consideration and instead I’m stuck beside Adam Gase with a J. Crew obsession.

I get calls in the middle of the night. Often. Three in the morning, like clockwork, the phone rings. I can’t take it anymore. As you know, I barely catch a wink as it is. Coach seldom mentions football and, when he does, I’m convinced he has no idea what he’s talking about. The one thing he’s actually well versed in? His pants. He won’t shut the hell up about his pants. It’s khakis this, khakis that. If he doesn’t tone it down, I’ll be forced to choke him out with a pair of jeans.

On top of everything, Ciara refuses to believe me. Coach calls so often — sometimes multiple times in the same night — that she suspects that I’m cheating. It’s ludicrous. Have you seen how publicly lustful I am for my wife? Everybody knows I’d never turn to adultery. But she’s convinced it’s nothing but a front for sin.

Ci even confronted me last night while I was listening to coach ramble on and on about the benefits of defending oneself through both pass protection and auto insurance. When I tried to explain, she grabbed the phone out of my hand and, assuming I was talking to my fictional paramour, asked what they were wearing. I heard a pause on the line and could almost see coach’s face contort in the most sickening way imaginable, a smile fueled by long-awaited free reign to talk khakis.

The pained look on Ciara’s face as she listened to endless rambling about the benefits of buttons rather than zippers was almost too much to handle. Yet she persevered and was able to eventually pass the phone back to me. I made it off the line a little over an hour later. What has become a frightening trend has to stop. I’m looking for play calls, not phone calls.

I pray that what is now an awkward, unpleasant situation can be resolved. Until then, go Hawks.

February 7, 2022 at 2:19am

God has a funny way of writing these stories. If the beginning of my partnership with coach was any indication, this moment was not to be. But would it feel as good without hardship along the way? I doubt it. And for that, I am thankful.

My only regret from this saga seems trivial in the grand scheme of things, but to be honest I’m still a little peeved: dude never gave me the Wilson rate. Coach denied it a while back, but I know there was definitely a Rodgers rate. I know it. It feels fitting that I can’t sleep because of what I KNOW to be a fib when he used to be the one waking me up repeatedly.

I actually just got off the phone with coach. It was a relatively short conversation. After all, the whole team has been up all night partying. Can you blame us? It was a courtesy call more than anything. Coach and the front office have mutually decided to part ways. He told me it has nothing to do with going out on top or anything like that. There was no organizational beef. Khakis aside, he’s no Harbaugh. He’s apparently just ready to move on to the next challenge, whatever that may be. There’s no reason to fault him for doing so. Everything he set out to do has been accomplished. I even got that lone, elusive MVP vote along the way.

My last question before hanging up was a simple one, a question I’ve asked myself and my teammates countless times, a question that was reciprocated with an audible shrug with tinge of knowing so slight that I just about missed it:

What’s next?