You Got Served - Divisional Weekend

Hello, friends, and welcome to the new news.  I'm very pleased to be joining the outstanding team here at IAOFM, and I'm ready to do my part in making this the best football site on the internet.  With the group of writers we have in place, I feel that that is an attainable goal.  Thanks in advance for your support of my work.

Have you noticed how NFL Insider has become a job title in sports journalism?  Adam Schefter is the NFL Insider for ESPN.com.  Adam Schein is the Jets Insider for SNY.  With the popularity of reality TV, it seems like everybody wants to be inside the thought processes, and backstories of every event.  Even the normally mundane events, like a car ride from DIA to Dove Valley for a coaching interview, are getting shared with fans.  In that spirit of transparency, and reader-friendliness, I granted an interview to an intrepid journalist, who wanted to know about my Decision to join IAOFM.

The Decision from Ted Bartlett on Vimeo.

There you have it!  At this point, it's time for some come on with the come on, get down with the get down.  I feel like maybe I'm forgetting something.  What was that thing we all used to like?  Oh yeah, I remember.  Ready....BEGIN!

1.  I feel like I should start with some housekeeping items, so that we're all on the same page.  

a.  I spent a lot of time this weekend deciding what to call this series, and I decided to go with You Got Served.  I think it fits the whole Fat Man food theme, and as a bonus, it's the name of a spectacularly craptastic moviefilm about street dance crews doing battle for money and honor.  (Seriously, I think 2.7 might be the lowest rating I've ever seen on IMDB.  Even Casino Jack Abramoff's Red Scorpion and Red Scorpion 2 fared better.)  I was inspired by Eminem, who took a cheeseball 80s song by Martika called Toy Soldiers, and turned it into a much better song called Like Toy Soldiers.  So, on that note, prepare to get served once a week.

b.  I have a longstanding policy of not arguing with readers in the comments of my own work.  There will be lots of things that I say that people will disagree with, and they can feel free to air their grievances in the comments, but I won't be engaging with them in any kind of confrontational way.  Let's face it; there's no "winning" an argument with somebody on the internet.  Nobody ever has any reason to come off of their own position, so what's the point?

c.  Some of you who have only recently become aware of me will be surprised to learn this, but I am primarily focused on being an NFL-wide writer.  Most of my readers are Broncos fans, and when I was operating independently, I had to play to that, if I wanted anybody to read me, but now that I'm in a multi-contributor environment again, I can get back to doing what I do best.  Doug, TJ, and Doc have been serving us very well in the Broncos-centric space, and while I plan to augment that, I'll also be focused on the larger league-wide context, through which Broncos fans can understand their team.  

d.  This series may seem to begin and end every week, but it's actually meant to be understood as a continuous narrative.  My words count in perpetuity, and when I'm wrong, which happens, I freely admit it.  When I'm right at one point in time, and circumstances change, I amend my evaluation.  (For example, a rookie Left Tackle sucks for 10 games, but improves over the last six.)  I always keep track of what I've said in the past, and I'm accountable to all of you for those words and evaluations.

e.  Since leaving MHR a year ago, and starting and then folding a new site, and sort of BSing around with One Man Football this fall, I've gotten a number of emails from readers encouraging me to either seek to go back to MHR, or to come here as a contributor.  My being here is 99% a function of the relationships I have with the people here.  I want to work with these guys, and I think it's going to be very successful.  That's no slight against MHR, which is a good site that I still respect a lot.

f.  I'm not a journalist, I'm an analyst.  Some newfound reader strongly disagreed with a pro-McDaniels piece I did on One Man Football, and started a comment with "You call yourself a reporter?"  No, I damn sure don't, pal.  I mostly think reporters are losers.  (A study by CareerCast.com just named newspaper reporter as one of the worst jobs in America.)  A beat reporter who hangs out at the facility, and reports what's going on (think Lindsay Jones, who does a very good job) is undeniably value-adding in that role, but the best of them tend to eventually grow up to become Mike Klis or Dullard Kiszla, and flail around pathetically when asked to provide insightful commentary.  I can't really think of a single value-adding football opinion writer who comes from a journalism background.  (Some would say Rick Gosselin, from the Dallas Morning News is one, but I’ve never learned anything from him, so I don’t agree.)  I'm a professional financial analyst (my job title is Division Controller), and I apply those analytical skills to football, of which I actually have a much deeper knowledge than I do of finance.  Please don't ever confuse me for a journalist.

g.  I may offend you at times, but I promise that I never mean to, if you aren’t a public figure who I’m directly criticizing.  It's just that I don't always realize how what I am saying will be received by every reader.  (That has historically gotten me in trouble with my ladyfriends, as you can imagine.)  I don't want to rehash any examples, but I can think of a few, and I'm sure others can too.  Just please understand, before you ever get too mad at me, my intent was probably not to offend you or anybody else.

h.  I believe in a numbering/lettering organizational approach to a variety-style column like this.  Unlike Peter King, my outlines typically follow a consecutive letters/numbers approach, though.

i.  Last point; I intentionally make this personal, and I put a lot of myself and my real life into my writing.  I try not to make it lame, like Peter King complaining about his travel experiences, and I hope nobody takes it that way.  I'm fundamentally a relationship-builder, though, and this is all in building a relationship with my readers.  It's the only way I know how to write, so it's what I stick with.  In any case, thanks for being part of this with me.

2.  Some news emerged about the Broncos' coaching staff Monday, and I have some thoughts about it.  Eight hires were announced, and six come from the Broncos' existing staff, which I consider to be an unusually large number of holdovers.  I'm definitely glad that Mike McCoy is returning, because it signals schematic continuity on the offensive side, which is going to be very, very important given the major near-term transition that is clearly ahead on defense.  Eric Studesville will be back as Running Backs coach, and I also consider that to be a positive thing.  He impressed me during his stint as Interim Head Coach, and I was pleased with the improvement of Knowshon Moreno in his second NFL season.

Defensive Line coach Wayne Nunnely actually comes from a predominantly one-gap background, (Phillips 3-4), so it was a bit odd to see him hired to work in the two-gap Fairbanks-Bullough scheme this past season.  Remember, the number of linemen with their hands on the ground is much less important than where they're aligned, and what you're asking them to do.  I think Nunnely may be a good fit for coaching guys up in a one-gap 4-3 scheme, even if it may be a little outside the box.  Techniques to penetrate a gap are fairly universal, when you’re asking guys to penetrate a gap.

I wasn't too impressed with Clancy Barone's work with the offensive line this season, but he's been a quality TE coach in the NFL for quite awhile, so I am fine with his hiring for that role.  (I didn’t like the technique I saw sometimes in pass protection, if you’re wondering.)  Rounding out the six are quality control coaches Brian Callahan and Jay Rodgers.  Callahan is the son of former Raiders Head Coach Bill Callahan, who currently does an excellent job with the Jets' running game.  Quality control guys are hard for outsiders to evaluate, because they're mostly engaged in behind-the-scenes activities like film study and trend analysis.

The new coaches, Offensive Line coach Dave Magazu and Receivers coach Tyke Tolbert both come from Carolina.  Max Denver's Andrew Mason has a unique perspective on them both in the above link, after coming from the Panthers' organization this year.  Magazu's hiring signals a return to the heavy use of zone blocking, which is simultaneously troubling and encouraging to me.  A lot of fans think zone blocking is the greatest thing ever, just because it worked well for the Broncos for a long time, but issues have emerged around it, largely in response to that success.  

For one thing, it has always struggled with 2-gap 30-front schemes, because the defensive linemen are primarily geared toward tying up offensive linemen, rather than making tackles themselves.  That is, if the Center and Right Guard are supposed to engage the Nose Tackle, and then the Right Guard is supposed to flow right and hit a Linebacker, the NT is going to try to keep the RG at the first level, usually by holding him.  (Defensive holding inside is illegal, but rarely called.)  The LB is then going to be able to fill and make the tackle.

The other big issue with zone blocking is that the teams which favor it often struggle mightily on short-yardage plays.  The linemen are generally smaller, and even more than that, they're not really used to firing straight out of their stances and pushing forward, with no read step.  I think it's a reasonable assumption that Tim Tebow's unique skill-set helps to mitigate some of that risk in short yardage, but nothing makes me crazier than getting overpowered up front on 3rd and 1 and thus failing to make a key play.  You can average 4.6 yards rushing in favorable down-and-distance situations all day, but if you can't get one yard when you need it, you're not really about much in the running game.

The big domino that hasn't fallen yet is Defensive Coordinator, and when it does, I'm sure that the other defensive assistants will fall into place behind the guy who is chosen.  I personally favored Sean McDermott, the silly "ZOMG not another McD" comments on Twitter notwithstanding, but he appears to be headed to Charlotte, to work with Ron Rivera.  Really, though, with the kind of defense that Fox has always favored, play-calling is a lot less important than being organized and getting players to execute their assignments consistently.  We'll see how this develops in the coming days, and, subsequently, what happens with the hiring of linebackers and secondary coaches.

As I prepare to submit this at almost 1 AM ET on Monday night, the Denver Post is reporting that Jim Mora, Jr. is close to being named Defensive Coordinator, which wouldn’t be a huge surprise.  While I am certain that this will underwhelm a lot of fans, I’m personally fine with it.  I think that Mora is a solid coach, who has historically liked to blitz a bit more than Fox’s defenses have.  That could lend a bit of unpredictability to the scheme, which can be good or bad.

More than anything, though, I think Mora is unlikely to ever be a Head Coach in the NFL again, and that he may be in Denver for awhile, assuming he’s hired.  That would promote the kind of continuity that has been missing for quite awhile, and that I think is sorely needed.  There’s a risk he may elect to leave for a college Head Coaching job, but that risk isn’t any greater than it is with anybody else.  His alma mater, the University of Washington, could have already hired him once if they'd wanted to, and they didn’t, so it’s hard to see them choosing to do so the next time, either, if they can Steve Sarkisian.

Special teams also remains unfilled, after early speculation that Danny Smith may come from Washington.  Other speculation called for Adam Gase to move to Quarterbacks coach, but that seems to have hit a snag of some sort, as it wasn't announced with the other holdovers today.  (You'd think that if a guy is under contract already, all the team has to do if they want to keep him is to say, "You're staying.  Stand by for the announcement.")  

Arguably, the QB coach decision looms larger than that of the Defensive Coordinator, and it will definitely bear watching in the next couple of days.

3.  I was sick over the weekend, as I mentioned honestly in the video, so that was kind of lame.  I got dinner on Saturday night with my friend Craig at this upscale bowling alley/restaurant/bar in downtown Cleveland called The Corner Alley, and afterward we were going to another downtown bar for a guest bartending thing one of his friends was doing.  Trouble was, I started feeling sick, after eating, and I eventually begged out of the bar event, after drinking half a beer in 45 minutes.  As soon as I got outside to walk home, I started throwing up in the snow on Prospect Avenue, as about six twenty-something guys with popped collars who were leaving Toy Story on Ice (yes, really) started laughing and pointing at me for being sick at 9 PM, like I did something to cause it.  I'd have said something if my mouth was available, but since it was busy, I just flipped the douchebags off instead.  If you ever see somebody getting sick in public, and it makes you want to ridicule them, I'm here to tell you, you're an immature clown, whatever the cause of their sickness may be.

After all of this, I didn't watch Sunday's games as actively as I would have if I were healthy, but in both games I did see something really stupid, and really common.  In both games, the Seahawks and Jets punted on 4th and 1 from plus territory.  Seattle punted from the 40 and downed the ball on the 9, for a 31-yard net.  New York punted from the 41 and got a touchback, for a 21-yard net.

This is always a mistake, and the studies have been numerous and definitive, when you want to include intellectually highfalutin things like numbers and probabilities.  I said this on Twitter on Sunday, and a follower said that I was wrong that coaches should "always" go for it in that situation, but I told him I was actually right, and the math was with me, like the force was with Luke Skywalker.  He says, well, if it’s 4th and 1 in a tie game, and there’s 5 seconds left, you should kick a Field Goal.  Damn it!  I really got pwned there!  How could I have missed that possibility when I said “always"?  I haven’t been reading enough Legwold, evidently, so my “mentioning the obvious” skills are deficient.  That’s what I get for counting on Doug to read Captain Obvious for me and translate it, I guess.  You admittedly don’t get the full experience that way.

I know a lot of coaches play up the “I’m just a dumb football coach” angle, but I’d hope that none of them actually are too stupid to understand that a 70% chance of picking up a first down at the edge of the scoring area is a lot more beneficial than 30 yards of net field position.

I’m personally waiting for a coach to declare that, as a policy, he’ll always go for it on 4th and 1 from plus territory.  He’ll be ridiculed wildly, Kiszla-style by some, and criticized in a more reserved Legwold-like manner by others, but almost nobody who is an “insider” to the NFL will be willing to step up and say that finally, hallelujah, somebody has this right.

Of course, doing something like this would be akin to having your owner publically order the trading of an intransigent, highly-drafted “franchise” quarterback, and then having the media universally blame it on you personally.  In other words, if you plan on losing any significant amount of games, for any reason at all, in the near-term, announcing an intelligent 4th-down policy may be hazardous to your continual job prospects.  Some traditions are just too stupid for words. 

4.  Speaking of intransigent quarterbacks, did any of y’all catch this article from Rick Reilly?  I have a longtime position that Reilly is both a jerk and a fool, but he's a Denver guy, and I was a little bit intrigued by how incongruous this hatchet job was with the ones that Reilly did on Josh McDaniels.  Does he really hate both of them?  That’s got to be really hard for some people to get their heads around.  Wasn't the whole thing Jay vs. Josh = Good vs. Evil?

As for Cutler the player, he played pretty well on Sunday, as he should have.  He did get lucky on a couple of bad decisions, though, and he did still make a lot of those this season, even beyond his 16 interceptions.  I’ve said this many times, but to repeat it, I still think Cutler is the most talented all-around QB in the NFL.  I also remain convinced that he’s not currently a great player, and I’m pretty sure that he never will be.

His lower half is still way too lazy when he throws the ball, and he gets inaccurate with his throws for that reason.  That gives him two reasons that he throws interceptions; bad decisions and bad throws.  Great QBs dramatically limit their bad decisions, but they really keep their bad throws to a minimum.

Against the excellent Packers defense, I expect Cutler to have a hard time, despite seeing them for the third time.  The Packers do some really unique and interesting things with their defense that take advantage of the skills of their best players.  The key guy to the whole defense is Charles Woodson, and knowing this and handling it effectively over the course of 50 snaps are two dramatically different things. 

The Packers spend a ton of time in nickel defense, most probably more than they do in their base 3-4 package (I've never charted it, so I can't/won't make a certain pronouncement).  The reason the Packers can do this is because Woodson can and does effectively play OLB, and their nickel is functionally a smaller version of their base grouping.

What does this mean?  Well, you usually have to think about defensive personnel groupings in terms of offensive personnel groupings.  There’s different nomenclature out there for offensive groupings, but I’m an east coast football guy, and I learned that you designate them with two digits, the first one reflecting the number of running backs, and the second representing the number of tight ends.  The number of receivers is therefore implied by the following formula:

5 Eligible Receivers minus RB minus TE equals WR

So, to cut to the chase, a defense will almost always match the number of WRs with the same number of CBs.  That means that they’ll play Base (2 CBs) against 12, 13, 21, and 22 personnel.  They’ll play Nickel (3 CBs) against 02, 20, or 11 personnel.  They’ll play Dime (4 CBs) against 01 or 10 personnel, and Quarter (5 CBs) against 00 personnel.

Because Woodson can hold up inside physically in the run game, he can replace OLB Erik Walden (or ILB Desmond Bishop, depending on the down) a lot of the time, and the Packers can play nickel against 02, 11, 12, 13, 20, 21, and 22 personnel.  Since the defense has to substitute less, it’s easier to make sure everybody lines up correctly, which is a common and underrated reason for defensive breakdowns.

Even more than that, though, a really good reason for offenses to use sub packages is that it forces defenses to use extra CBs, and that’s one of the very hardest positions in which to find quantity of quality.  So, in effect, you’re theoretically forcing defenses to substitute better players (LBs) for lesser ones.  With the Packers, not so much.  Their group of 11 best defensive players includes three CBs.

On that note, I should mention the other two. Tramon Williams should have made the Pro Bowl, but Mr. Cutler decided to single-handedly send DeAngelo Hall instead.  (Hilariously, Cutler shrugged off throwing the ball to Hall 4 times, by telling reporters about that one time that Eddie Royal had dogged Hall in Royal's NFL debut.  You know, back when Cutler was making Royal a good player.)  In any case, Williams really came into his own this season, and he has three game-changing interceptions in the first two playoff games this year.

The even more interesting guy, if you ask me, is #37 Sam Shields - he was a WR for three years at Miami before he converted to CB for his senior season.  He went undrafted, but he has excellent size and speed for the CB position, and he’s playing terrific football.  I think he has a really excellent future ahead of him, but his present is also looking very good.

So, back to Woodson.  If the Packers are in a 3-3 nickel against a 2-WR set, Woodson will usually line up over a TE as a de facto LB.  They especially do this a lot when playing against receiving-oriented TEs, like Greg Olsen is.  (If there’s a 3-WR set, Woodson will mostly take the slot, and pass the TE to one of the Safeties, Nick Collins or Charlie Peprah.)  In either case, on any play pre-snap, the QB has to determine where Woodson is, and whether he’s more likely covering or blitzing.

One place where teams really get hurt in protection is when they don’t recognize a Woodson blitz and fail to account for him off the edge.  Another is when they have their QB take deep drops, and Clay Matthews has time to beat a Tackle and get to the launch point.  Still another is when teams can’t block BJ Raji (6.5 sacks) and Cullen Jenkins (7 sacks), who both had excellent seasons.

In short, between the pressure and coverage challenges that the Packers present, the only way I can see the Bears beating them is if there’s a huge discrepancy in the kicking game that favors Chicago.  (That’s admittedly possible.)  More likely, though, the Packers lock down the Bears’ receivers, they hit Cutler repeatedly, and they catch a few of his passes.

When the Packers are on offense, their talent at WR will allow them to use sub packages to get the Bears out of their strongly favored base personnel grouping.  Since they really only have one good CB in Charles Tillman, I expect the Packers to be able to throw effectively, as they did in both regular season games.  I expect Green Bay to win by 10 to 14 points.

(While I normally don’t bother predicting outcomes, the fact that there are only 2 games allowed me to make this more about football, and less about one game, so it’s worth being in my archive, unlike some detail-free, valueless-after-the-fact prediction list.)

5.  On the AFC side, I have the question of which team that I despise do I root for?  I think the answer is neither.  If you put a gun to my head…well, if I saw it coming, I’d have tackled you before you could get it near my head, and the drama would have been what it would have been.  Let’s say if I was forced to choose, I’d grudgingly choose the Jets.

I think the Steelers have the most insufferable fans of any professional sports franchise, even worse than fans of the Red Sox and Yankees.  Very few of them know anything about football, and more than that, they don’t want to know anything about it.  All they want to do is talk about how the Steelers are the greatest ever, because they have six championships - and unfortunately, they have a point there.

The Steelers are a team that has evolved a lot this season.  They got kind of pass-heavy last season, and they’ve fared kind of poorly when that’s happened over the years.  This year, they threw 471 times, and ran 479, which is more in keeping with their history.  As good as Ben Roethlisberger is, he does his best work when he can take the deep drops off of play action.  The Steelers’ offensive line is deficient in pass protection, but it’s gotten to be pretty good again in the running game.

I don’t think that Rashard Mendenhall is much better than average at RB, but he does an adequate job.  Because the Steelers usually get their plays blocked, he gets you 4 yards per carry.  Where the Steelers can be really dangerous is on the deep ball with Mike Wallace.  Not too many CBs can flip their hips and run with him on a 9-route, believe me.  The rest of the Steelers' WRs are pretty average, though, so if you can handle Wallace somehow, the Steelers are a lot less threatening on offense.

Interestingly, I’m pretty sure that the Jets can handle Wallace adequately.  When the two teams played on December 19, Wallace caught 7 passes for 102 yards, with a long of 23.  He didn’t score in the game.  While that’s a pretty robust game against Darrelle Revis and Antonio Cromartie, it’s not the kind of game-changing damage that Wallace can do against lesser CBs.

I expect the Jets to keep doing what they’ve been doing lately, which is playing coverage more than blitzing.  Trying to blitz Roethlisberger a lot is never the greatest idea, because he’s hard to bring down and he escapes really well, especially when he knows it’s coming.  Counterintuitively, the way to sack Roethlisberger is to cover his guys downfield and make him hold the ball too long (he always has, and always will).  Pittsburgh’s line is pretty weak in protection, so a 4- or 5-man disciplined rush is the way to attack them.

Briefly, let me explain what I mean by a disciplined rush, so that I can add some lasting, archivable value to this section.  Against a generally stationary QB, a chaotic or unpredictable pass rush scheme can be a good thing.  That’s because you know generally where a QB is going to be, and the objective is getting by the protection to that point, before he’s ready to make a throw.  That might mean running three guys through the offense’s left A & B gaps, for example, and leaving the Right Tackle on the other side with nobody to block.

Against a Roethlisberger (or Tim Tebow, or Aaron Rodgers, or other mobile QB), you mostly want to limit yourself to rush schemes that call for a man to whip a man, and to stay in defined lanes.  You’re almost treating the pass rush like a kickoff coverage play, because the most important thing is to contain the QB in the pocket.  The mobile guys will kill you outside the pocket, because your coverage players will be tempted to come up and support against his run threat, and that will open up receivers downfield.  Forever, you’ve heard talking heads say that only pocket QBs can be successful in the NFL, but that’s nonsense (It’s always seemed pretty race-driven to me).  Yes, you want your QB to be able to throw the ball from the top of a straight dropback, but more skills are always better than less skills.  There is no overqualification in football.  Only fools think otherwise.  A mobile QB largely dictates how defenses rush him, and that’s generally an advantage for the offense.

As far as the Jets scoring against the Steelers, it’s a challenge.  When they won 22-17 a month ago, they were greatly helped by Brad Smith returning the opening kickoff for a Touchdown.  One thing that the Jets have going for themselves is that they can protect their QB well.  (Qualifier: They may need to help Wayne Hunter at RT against LaMarr Woodley, with Damien Woody going on IR recently.)

Mark Sanchez has always tended to struggle in bad weather, especially high wind.  It looks like he’s going to luck out again, because forecasts are predicting a fairly cold evening, but with negligible winds.  I like the matchups the Jets have with both of their WRs against Pittsburgh’s CBs, too.

I think the game is going to be a slugfest, but I’m going to go with the Jets by a Field Goal.  I just like their ability to slow down Pittsburgh in the passing game, better than I do the Steeler’s ability to do the same to the Jets.

6.  While finishing this on Monday night, I listened to the Baylor-Kansas college basketball game, and as always, I was tremendously impressed with Bob Knight as a game analyst.  As a guy who works really hard to know a lot about a sport, I love to hear from people who know much, much more than I do about their sport.  It reminds me that there's always a lot more to learn.

Knight broke the game down technically in real time, and he was completely on point about everything.  He showed how Kansas was repeatedly attacking Baylor’s zone defense, and how the weak-side help was consistently lazy and slow in rotating to help out.  At one point, he said “Baylor’s really good from the line, which is one reason you don’t want to foul them.”  I think he thought about it, quickly, and he laughed, and he apologetically noted that that’s a really obvious point.  (I know!  An analyst who realizes that obviousness is a waste of time.  Amazing!)

He had another interesting note too, when Brent Musburger mentioned that Texas high school and college basketball has only gotten good in recent decades.  Knight quickly pointed out that until the late 80s, no Texas kids were allowed to participate in summer basketball camps, because football coaches held sway over the state's high school athletic governing bodies.  Once the Texas high school kids were given the same opportunity to improve and develop as kids in other states, the quality predictably trickled up.  You only get something like that from a commentator who really knows their stuff.

Knight was one of the greatest coaches ever, in any sport, and he’s just as good as a game analyst, to me.  As a guy who always thinks my audience is smart enough to understand complex concepts if they’re explained and diagrammed well enough, it’s great to see a TV guy thinking the same way.  I wish more of our appointed thought leaders in sports thought exactly the same way.

7.  Retired for John Elway.

8.  The thinning man:  I’m doing this for my own benefit, and you can feel free to ignore it, but I’m working on cutting some annoying weight that I picked up over the last six years or so.  I got married in 2005, quit smoking in 2006, and got divorced in 2007, and those three events, combined with a generally insufficient level of focus on my own health, caused me to go from about 215 pounds when I got married to 256 on New Year’s Day, which was a dubious career high.  (I’m six feet tall, if you were wondering.)

Starting at the first of the year, I’ve been sticking to an average diet of 2,000 calories per day and exercising at least 5 days per week, including running/walking for 30 minutes every other day.  I’m also going to a dietician every month.  As I write this on Monday night, I weigh 245.  I feel pretty good about dropping 11 pounds in 16 days.  My natural weight is about 200 pounds, as I’m a fairly broad-shouldered, and muscular-legged man, and my goal is to be there by next football season.  (Wii Fit can go jump in a lake, saying I should be 162.  I’d look sickly at that weight.  My calves, when flexed, are 18 inches around, for goodness sake.)

My dietician told me that having people to be accountable to is key to success, and I was thinking that I’d really rather not have to come on here and finish off a 5,000-word column by copping to eating some unhealthy crap like Five Guys, skipping my workouts, and gaining a few pounds.  So, you, the several thousand people who read this now, and hopefully the many thousands more who start to soon, are who I’m holding myself accountable to.  Thanks in advance for your help.

That’s all I have for this week, friends.  This is just the beginning of a good ongoing relationship, and I hope you look forward to it as much as I do.

1.  I’m not in the arguing business, I’m in the saying what I think business.
2.  I get my information from my eyes.

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