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The 5 O’Clock Club: Endings

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It’s 5 o’clock somewhere…

NFL: Pro Bowl-NFC vs AFC Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

The 5 o’clock club aims to provide a forum for reader-driven discussion at a time of day when there isn’t much NFL news being published. Feel free to introduce topics that interest you in the comments below.

One of the more unique endings I’ve seen in a while

Let’s talk Spoilers

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote in an article about the final episode of the series Dexter, that aired in September 2013, when Mike Shanahan was still the coach of the Redskins. I got a response in the comments from a reader who had just started watching the Dexter series (via Netflix, I suppose) and wan’t pleased to hear how the series ended. Apparently, I spoiled it for him.

Today I have my mind on endings, and I thought I’d share a few other endings with you, and see if I can spoil some other potentially enjoyable movies or TV series.

In The Lord of the Rings, Gollum/Smeagle bites Frodo’s finger (and the Ring of Power) off then falls to his death in the molten depths of Mount Doom, destroying the Ring and saving Middle Earth. Sam and Frodo are saved by the Eagles.

In Sixth Sense, Bruce Willis actually dies from the gunshot he received at the beginning of the film. He’s a ghost, but he doesn’t know it.

Ted, from How I met your mother was always in love with Robin, and is looking for approval from his kids to date her now that their mother (his wife) has died.

Seinfeld ended with everyone in jail.

Friends ends with all friends plus Monica and Chandler’s new babies leaving the apartment, heading to Central Perk for a final cup of coffee.

M*A*S*H ends with a cease-fire and everyone going home.

And of course, more recently, we’ve been treated to the wonderful series of books A Song of Ice and Fire, and the accompanying television series Game of Thrones. In case you haven’t been keeping up, Jon Snow isn’t dead, and has been revealed to be a Targaryen. When we last saw him, he was busy making passionate love to his aunt because... well... that’s what Targaryens do.

I’ve recently found out how the George R.R. Martin series ends:

Of course, some endings come more quickly than others. The GRRM book version has gone 5 volumes so far, while the TV series has lasted 7 seasons, and we’re still waiting for the Long Night to finally arrive.

In my case, the count is 275 days... 275 posts... however you want to count it.

What I’m saying is that my time as the host of the 5 o’clock club has come to an end (though not my involvement with the Hog’s Haven site).

Reading Hogs Haven is a hobby or pastime I picked up sometime in 2012. When I first found the site, it was via Google, and I had no idea what I was looking at. I bookmarked a Daily Slop article, and came to HH daily to read the Slop, blissfully unaware of the many other articles available. It took me weeks to figure it out. What can I say? I’m not too bright.

Once I did figure out that The Daily Slop wasn’t the name of the website, but merely a daily feature of Hogs Haven, I quickly came to enjoy what was on offer, and I joined in the commentary.

Nine months ago, while I was on my summer break from my job as a university teacher, Ken Meringolo, the managing editor of the site, contacted me via email and asked me to take on the responsibility for posting the 5 o’clock club daily. I agreed, and on the 29th of June I put up my first 5 o’clock club post.

But tomorrow will be my last. The responsibility of getting the post up daily has gotten to be a bit too much like a job, and, of late, has actually started to interfere with my paid work. I wrote to Ken on the 1st of March to give my one-month ‘notice’ that I would hand over the reigns as March turns to April.

I’m not sure if Ken has arranged for the 5 o’clock club to continue or not, but if it does, I think it will be good for the space to have a new voice. Change is good, and my Pollyanna, Sunshine, lollipops & rainbows view of the Redskins must get tiresome for at least some of the HH faithful.

If the 5 o’clock club doesn’t continue, then I know that there will still be tons of excellent content on the site, as there always has been.

As for me, I’m not dying or disappearing completely. I’ll still visit daily as a reader and active commenter, and when I feel like I have an idea that’s worthy of being read, I’ll type up an article and post it. I simply won’t have the 5 o’clock deadline looming every day.

In any event, I’ve enjoyed playing host for these 274 installments of the ‘club’, and appreciate having shared the space with you. Thanks for coming along on the, admittedly, short journey, and for being here as we reach the end of all things.

Well, maybe nothing so melodramatic as that.

Some random football related thoughts to end today’s post:

Saying ‘hello’ to Alex Smith means saying ‘goodbye’ and ending the relationship with Kirk Cousins. Of course, that requires a certain amount of ‘spin’ to be applied by the Redskin front office.

With Bruce Allen talking about judging Alex Smith by his wins & losses, and journalists (and others) then immediately jumping on the win-loss record for Dan, Bruce & Jay as a kind of, “aha! gotcha!”, the joke’s on them. Bruce & the publicity guys asked themselves how they were gonna spin the Alex Smith acquisition. The answer? Point to his winning record, which Kirk doesn’t have. Let the writers deride the front office for pointing to winning record as a measure of success... it stops them from asking deeper questions about the move at quarterback. Bruce “owned” last year’s 7-9 record, which was part of the public strategy, and now everyone is busy laughing at Bruce instead of continuing to ask why the Redskins think Alex Smith is a better QB than Kirk Cousins, which is the crucial question. This is why Scot McCloughan described Bruce as a “politician”... no normal person thinks this way.

While we’re on the topic of the Redskin front office ‘spinning’ the Alex Smith acquisition, I want to go back to the middle of the month and the introductory press conference for Smith as a Redskin. Doug Williams delightedly stood in front of the audience and announced, that Alex Smith “chose us”. It was an unambiguous message, strongly indicating that Smith had a lot of control over his destination in the trade, and that he saw Washington as the most desirable destination (incidentally, contrasting with the greedy and ungrateful guy that the Redskins had tried to keep as the franchise guy, but who left in search of greener pastures).

[I]t wasn’t easy because there was a few teams in it that wanted Alex Smith. He chose us and he chose us for a reason. It’s because who we are, the legacy of the Washington Redskins, the history of the Washington Redskins. He knows what Jay’s offense is all about. He knew about the guys that he had to throw to, especially adding Paul to this offense, giving him something to work with. He knew about the offensive line even though they were banged up a little bit, they’ll be raring to go when the season starts. If you’re a quarterback, you look at those things, the offensive line and the weapons that he has to work with. And, promise you, we’ll get the running back situation straight. So Alex is going to have everything he needs to work with and that’s why he chose the Washington Redskins and we’re glad that he chose us the next five years and then if we’ll have to add a couple more years to it, we’ll do that too. We’ll take seven. He’ll be 40. He can play until 40.

It was hard not to get the message from Doug Williams, who used the phrase, “he chose us” 4 times in 187 words.

The reporters were quick to pick up on it when Alex Smith stepped up to the microphone.

One of the reporters asked if he’d really had control control over where he played. Alex was... hesitant.. in his reply.

“There was some, obviously, yeah. With the extension involved, there was a little bit. Certainly it was something I think that everybody involved had to be on board with it. I was obviously fortunate enough and happy enough that everybody was, because this is where I wanted to be, and that it did work out. I don’t know if that answers your question. Obviously there was a little bit that went into that, yeah.”

Reading the transcript, the exchange seems innocuous enough. Alex did say that this is where he wanted to be, but his body language was uncomfortable. He appeared to be on the spot because of what Doug Williams had said; Alex didn’t want to contradict the boss in his first appearance in front of the local press, but you got the feeling that Alex wouldn’t have exactly agreed that he ‘chose’ the Redskins.

The Redskin front office had decided, I believe, to create a legend around Alex Smith. The legend has a few talking points, and we’ve seen at least two of them so far:

  • Talking point 1: Alex Smith chose the Redskins. He wanted to be here, unlike the team’s previous quarterback.
  • Talking point 2: Alex Smith is a winner. He has won on multiple teams, under a variety of coaches and offensive schemes, and he is highly flexible, mature, developed as a quarterback and will thrive with Jay Gruden’s offense. Compare this to that loser Cousins, who has an overall losing record, a losing record as a starter, has never won a playoff game, and couldn’t be trusted to audible at the line of scrimmage.

I’m sure the narrative will be given more shape by Bruce & Doug in the coming months; the spin doctoring should continue right up until the regular season, at least.

Kirk wants to talk about choosing the Vikings because of their leadership? Bruce’ll show him how to deliver a message through the press.

Stay tuned.

Saying hello to Pernell McPhee (every time I type that, it sounds like a made-up name from a Charles Dickens novel), meant saying goodbye to Junior Galette, who (as far as I know) continues to be without a contract for 2018. Purnell should play more like Murphy, leaving the Redskins in need of speed off the edge, but at least his services come pretty cheap.

OverTheCap has updated the Redskins cap space with Pernell McPhee added, but they haven’t accounted for the Su’a Cravens trade yet, which will add around $296,000 to the 2018 cap, and another $2.2m or so in subsequent years.

The revised catch rule will hopefully bring an end to a lot of confusion and bad results in NFL games in 2018. Meanwhile, a lot of people, especially players and former players, believe that the new rule on leading with the helmet will spell the end of a style of play that used to define the NFL.

I think one of the stories of 2018 as we get into the preseason and regular season is going to be the new rule with regard to using the helmet as a weapon. I’m personally fascinated by this out-of-the-blue rule change that the owners seem to have adopted in a half-cocked fashion. Mike Pereira, who is often good for a headline, weighed in with his opinion yesterday:

I think it’s going to be impossible to officiate,” Pereira said. “You’ll see the same things happen with this as we’ve seen with the crown-of-the-helmet rule: very few calls. I think most of it will be taken care of after the fact with potential fines.

“I have to say that everybody erupted when they had the crown-of-the-helmet rule, which came in about four years ago with the runner and the tackler,” Pereira said. “Two were called the very first year and they were both wrong, and there were none called in the two years after that. I see these things happen, I see these rule changes, and I don’t want to call it hysteria, but there is to me a bit of overreaction.”

As we move forward into the 2018 league year, we leave the previous year, and its accomplishments behind. The crowning of the Eagles as super bowl champs and the subsequent celebration in Philly fades into memory as the new roster takes shape, and we realize that the defending champs from 2017 may look the same on the surface, but they’ve had to say goodbye to so many players that it will be a very different team on the field in 2018.

Who’s gone? Vinny Curry, Torry Smith, Darren Sproles, Brent Celek, Trey Burton, Corey Graham, LeGarrette Blount, Caleb Sturgis, Will Beatty, Danell Ellerbe, Najee Goode, Patrick Robinson, Kenjon Barner, Jaylen Watkins, Beau Allen, and Marcus Johnson.

That’s sixteen players from the super bowl squad. The front line players for the Eagles will be largely unchanged, but get past that first line of players, and you’re looking at a completely different squad.

The 2018 team that seems to be going ‘all in’ for a trophy this year is the LA Rams, who are committing all the resources they have to putting a power team on the field in 2018. Like the 2017 Eagles, the Rams may find it pretty hard to keep the band together a season later.

I found these comments in an article featured on (but perhaps not written by) BleedingGreenNation. I don’t have any particular point other than the fact that I thought the writer did a good job of writing about his subject and supporting it well with some key quotes. I thought you might find it intriguing, too:

The Eagles lead a wave of bolder, riskier franchise decision-making in leadership and in roster development. There is a “lets-go-for-it” feel in the league that is burying old-school blueprints of patience, deliberation, hesitation and cautiousness.

“I’m not sure of all of the reasons for it, but I see it and it’s refreshing in a way,” John Mara, the Giants owner, said. “You’ve got to give the Eagles credit for their part in it. They’ve got a smart owner. They’re a smart organization. They have a smart head coach. They have two terrific quarterbacks. They’re formidable.”

Mara, whose Giants reside in the NFC East with the Eagles, both smiled and winced.

“I think I’ll stop right there,” he said.

Thomas Dimitroff, the Atlanta Falcons general manager, sees an unmistakable shift.

“I was in the hotel lobby restaurant/bar last night and I’m seeing a lot of younger guys as head coaches and general managers, too,” Dimitroff said. “The cast is changing and the views and the cultures are, too. A lot of old perceptions are gone. It’s a win-now drive. There is nagging pull across this league to be good and get there fast.”

Worst-to-first stories like the Los Angele Rams of last season help to fuel it.

“The years of 8-8 is pretty good and enough to get you by are gone,” San Francisco 49ers owner Jed York said. “As a franchise, you have to be realistic about where you are but the competitive level around the league is so great that you’ve just got to go for it.”

Ownership is dictating that, too.

Several owners have told me that being in their 70s and 80s, they know that time is not on their side. They want Super Bowls before they die. They have seen in recent years their peers die, the latest Tom Benson from New Orleans, and last year Dan Rooney from Pittsburgh, and mortality is driving a hunger and sprint for rapid turnarounds and more valiant championship-thinking and movement.

“It’s super competitive and everybody is looking to get to the next level and everybody is looking for an edge,” said Jacksonville Jaguars owner Shad Khan, whose teams toiled in mediocrity before reaching the AFC Championship Game last season. “The reality is you have to do it again and again, get better, take more chances, think big to win in this league. You have to know where the baby is and things work out. It’s rinse and repeat.”

Oddly enough, I think the Redskins seem to be abandoning the “riskier ‘lets-go-for-it’” approach and embracing the “old-school blueprints of patience, deliberation, hesitation and cautiousness” in contrast to what I’m reading in this article. I think that roster-building and sustainability take a certain mix of patience and deliberation sprinkled with the willingness to take a risk. To me, the reliance on the draft and careful management of the salary cap are essential to lasting success in the NFL, but grabbing opportunities like DJax and Josh Norman are an essential part of getting to the championship roster.

Howie Roseman wheeled & dealed himself to a super bowl trophy last season — something his franchise had never before accomplished. But this season, with 5 draft picks, no cap space, and 16 player departures (including cap-driven roster cuts like Brent Celek) the Eagles are going to struggle to have the depth of roster needed to survive a grueling regular season, much less be successful in the playoffs. Guys like Trey Burton talked about feeling ‘hurt’ that the team didn’t even tender him an offer.

The Rams look like the darlings of the NFC in 2018, but they seem to be following the Eagles path toward a potential championship team in one season that won’t be sustainable a year later due to lack of cap space and limited drat picks.

It’s going to be interesting to look back in 4 years and see the fates of teams like the Eagles and Rams on the one hand, and Redskins on the other.

We’ve seen lots of teams sparkle for a season, then fizzle: the Colts, the Seahawks, the Panthers, the Falcons, the 49ers have all had a really great season or two in recent years, followed by fast falls from the peak. Meanwhile, teams like the Patriots, Packers and Steelers manage to put a successful team on the field year after year for long stretches. I think the Redskins are trending toward the sustainable model, while the Rams & Eagles are looking to me like one or two season flashes that will be unable to sustain success. I hope I’m right about that.

Poll

Which one is the best?

This poll is closed

  • 33%
    Game of Thrones (A Song of Ice and Fire)
    (68 votes)
  • 35%
    Lord of the Rings
    (71 votes)
  • 25%
    Breaking Bad
    (51 votes)
  • 5%
    Dexter
    (12 votes)
202 votes total Vote Now