Fat Man writer TJ “The Dude” Johnson posts The Dude’s Mail Revue on
Thursdays whenever the hell he gets around to it. He takes your questions and gets your opinion about the state of the Broncos and the NFL. You wanna tie the room together? Or say what you'd like about the tenets of national socialism? Drop TJ a question: firstname.lastname@example.org.
(NOTE: Marmots were harmed in the writing of this Revue)
Dude, we've been missing your Mail Revue out here in Sin City. Don't tell me you've stopped. It will bring me to tears. At least give us your thoughts on the end to the lockout, won't you?
-- Bambi, Las Vegas, Nevada
Bambi: First, let me say that I'm glad to see that some parents still have the decency to name their children after porn stars.
Like a Raiders fan without a job, I've been sitting in my parents' basement playing Call of Duty: Black Ops.
My feelings on the lockout? So that's what you've been calling it? I thought this whole time I was simply watching an extended viewing of this scene from Reservoir Dogs:
(If you've never watched this movie, do yourself a favor and rent it, just for the scene on tipping alone.)
In the end, there was a lot of barking, but little in the way of biting. Just in case, however, I did hear that DeMaurice Smith received his tentanus booster before negotiations broke down.
The only thing you really should take away from this lockout is that it was never about you and me, the fans. If the players or the owners try to spin the end of the lockout as a tribute to the fans, you should walk--nay, run--to the nearest receptacle and purge. It's a lie. It never was nor will it ever be about the fans. Not one day of the lockout had anything to do with the fans. Collectively, the fans matter, but only as a faceless and unwashed mass of beer-drinking simpletons to leverage against cable networks. They never matter in the way that Roger Goodell or the NFLPA wanted to spin it, however. In short, you may think the fans are the very foundation of the NFL. In reality, that foundation is just turf upon which the players and owners rarely fear to tread.
Am I crying? Not at all. That's because I never held in the first place a belief in a magical relationship between the NFL, fans, and apple pie.
Roger Goodell loves to mix patriotism and the NFL. So I thought I'd do the same, using some World War 2 propaganda:
(Everyone's invited, except the fans)
TJ, John Fox says he's serious about an open quarterback competition. You believe him?
--Johnny, Saint Louis, Missouri
Johnny: In a word, no. I think that all of us here at IAOFM might have more to say about this as a group down the road (another Chewing the Fat piece), but my basic premise is that it's impossible to have an objective open competition. John Fox has quarterback biases, along with all the other coaches on staff. They will bring these biases to the competition. If you don't think that Mike McCoy and Eric Studesville haven't already filled Fox (as Brian Xanders affectionately calls him) and John Elway with visions of sugar plums, you are smoking some grade-A weed. You might also be holding out hope for the discovery of unicorns.
(Unicorns and Brady Quinn as a starting QB? You can't disprove them.)
The coaches have two years of tape on Kyle Orton. Fox already knows what he's got. Does he need to see Orton throw another thousand throws? Not really. He simply needs to decide if he believes that Tebow or Quinn can give them more. A quarterback competition sounds downright egalitarian to the fans, and it will help John Fox sell the concept of the team being bigger than the player. One thing it won't do, however, is tell them something they don't already know or believe.
So who do I think will be the starter? Let's just put it this way--had the lockout been resolved before the draft, I believe Kyle Orton would be playing for another team right now.
TJ, I find it odd that Michael Irvin comes out now in support of his gay brother. His brother has passed away, his career in the NFL is done, and only now he finds the courage to support his own flesh and blood?
--Richard Rand, Salt Lake City, Utah.
Richard: I hear what you are saying, but it's hard to criticize Irvin in this case. The guy battled some serious demons during his career, and it sounds as if he's finally come to terms with his relationship with his brother. I don't think he had the maturity to confront his brother's sexuality while he was a player. Irvin admits as much in his interview.
Irvin says here that the Cowboys of the 1990s would have supported an openly-gay player at the time. I don't buy it. In fact, I doubt that an openly-gay player would be supported fully by his teammates in 2011. There are several reasons why. First, the NFL (as we've seen with concussions) will always be a league of "tough guys." Supporting a gay teammate will continue to be viewed as a weakness by a majority of players. Second, there are many players in the NFL whose religious views run in direct contrast to supporting homosexuality. The examples are numerous, but one of the more recent ones is David Tyree. Third, gay slurs are almost mainstream among today's athletes, from Kobe Bryant on down to DeSean Jackson. It will take more than a few years to change this type of behavior.
Whatever your own stance on the issue, expect more drama in the future. At some point, an NFL player will force the issue for some team. I could easily see a standoff someday between players of the Kurt Warner variety (conservative and religious) and players like Irvin and Michael Strahan (who have come out in support of gay marriage). The fireworks will fly. In the end, however, NFL teams will force players like Warner to stand down because of the potential for workplace discrimination lawsuits (while not a federal law, many states have laws against workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation).
You don't suppose the media will flood Tim Tebow to get his views on gay marriage, do you? Right now, Tebow is not answering such questions. His publicist says the question is off limits.
It would be presumptous for me to automatically jump to the conclusion that Tebow is against gay marriage. Irvin said he believes religion gives him the strength to support the idea. Tyree says religion gives him the strength to oppose it.
One thing is for sure. Everyone will want to know Tebow's view on the subject (not that he's required to give it). The question isn't going away.
I personally believe that Tebow's business sense will get the better of him. After all, gay men wear Jockey Underwear, too.
(This man may or may not be gay. Tim Tebow still wants to sell him underwear)
Dude, the Broncos turned down HBO for Hard Knocks. I wish they had accepted. It would have given us real access into the development of Tebow. What team would you have gone for?
--Sampson Villa-Lobos, Trinidad, Colorado
Sampson: I'm glad the Broncos turned it down. The last thing I'd like to see is the team taking sides on camera if there is indeed a QB battle between Orton and Tebow. It would be total high school drama. Further, I'd hate to get a terrible impression from one of the Broncos as Jets fans did here with Antonio Cromartie:
(3 years and 9 Months before this video, Antonio Cromartie was a very busy man).
I confess to wanting to see the Raiders. Hard Knocks isn't just a slogan with the Raiders. It's their new pro-bullying slogan.
Imagine more Al Davis moments like this:
(Who is Tom Cable? Who the hell knows? I heard he throws a mean sucker punch.)
TJ, free agency is upon us. What's the plan?
--Brian Sanderson, Englewood, Colorado
Brian: Our own Doc Bear and Ted Bartlett have outlined sound strategies already, so I won't be long . For me, it's simple. I recommend signing Brandon Mebane, as I did months ago before it was fashionable, even if the Broncos need to overspend to do it. This would immediately fill the biggest position of need, and because Mebane is 26 it would reduce the need to draft a DT immediately next year. Mebane is a run stopper. The Broncos need to put themselves in a position to release their real weapons, Von Miller and Elvis Dumervil. This means stopping the run on early downs. Mebane does just that.
If the Broncos don't make a very serious run at Mebane (or the obvious Barry Cofield), it will be shocking. If they simply re-sign Justin Bannan without Marcus Thomas, it will be disgusting. Thomas and Mebane would play in this 4-3 well together.
Unlike most, I don't care if the Broncos sign DeAngelo Williams or not, despite the fact that I think he's an immediate upgrade at the position. They will overspend to get a player at a position that is notorious for breakdowns at the age of 30. Williams just turned 28. I wouldn't roll the dice unless the price was reasonable.
If Woody Paige is correct (and I have no reason to believe otherwise, given his access), Knowshon Moreno's days as a feature back are numbered. This leads me to believe that the Broncos will indeed focus on Williams. Perhaps Williams can receive cryogenics therapy, as the Dallas Mavericks did during their playoff run. Do you think Mark Cuban would pay the tab?
(Freezing your ass off for the Denver Broncos!)
TJ Johnson can be reached through telegraph, ESP, Spanish interpretor, or via email: email@example.com. Follow him on Facebook and Twitter if you want to see him mock "the man." He assumes you are following It’s All Over Fat Man on Facebook and Twitter, but if you are not, that’s nihilistic, man.