Before we close the book on 2015 and ring in the new year, it’s time to check off some items on my “TIDU List” – Things I Don’t Understand:
*HOW JAY GRUDEN COULD TREAT THE DALLAS GAME LIKE THE FOURTH EXHIBITION.
“Rest the starters” sounds good when you’re playoff-bound with only an inconsequential regular-season finale ahead. But Gruden doesn’t have the ability to sit Washington’s first-stringers as if Sunday was the preseason finale. “There are only seven guys we can keep inactive,” he told reporters Wednesday. Besides, he’s wants to keep the momentum going.
Playing the Cowboys offers enough incentive to win, no matter who sits out.
*WHY ANYONE IS SURPRISED THAT ANOTHER SUITOR WENT AFTER AROLDIS CHAPMAN.
The NYC Council Speaker said she’s “very disturbed” by the Yankees’ acquisition of the All-Star closer under investigation for domestic violence. Melissa Mark-Viverito accused the team of “condoning this kind of violence,” allegations that Chapman assaulted his girlfriend and fired eight gunshots in his garage. The Nationals ended their pursuit in response.
The Yankees are just gracious, willing to build character in a 27-year-old with a 100 mph fastball.
*HOW CHIP KELLY WORE OUT HIS WELCOME IN PHILADELPHIA SO QUICKLY.
The future seemed bright when the former Oregon coach began his NFL career with a pair of 10-6 records and a playoff berth. He was innovative in every way, from his hurry-up offense to his emphasis on science and sleep patterns. But after wresting personnel control, Kelly oversaw a number of questionable moves, clashed with players and the team stunk. He was fired Tuesday.
From genius to goner in 47 games.
*WHY WE CAN’T BELIEVE IN THESE CAPITALS MORE THAN THEIR RECENT HISTORY.
Through Tuesday, no NHL team had more wins or fewer losses. The Capitals had a 10-point lead in the Eastern Conference and an 11-point lead in the Metropolitan division. They were third in the league in goals and first in goals allowed. Barry Trotz is a leading contender for coach of the year.
The Caps have made seven fruitless playoff trips in the last eight seasons, but this feels different.
*HOW JOHNNY MANZIEL KEEPS SHOWING UP IN QUESTIONABLE VIDEOS.
The Browns’ QB might not be ready for prime time, but he’s always prepared when a cellphone camera rolls. Manziel lost the starting job last month after a video appeared of him partying and rapping. Another video surfaced Sunday night, featuring more rapping and drinking from a player who spent 73 days in rehab, reportedly for alcohol abuse.
Even if Manziel doesn’t have a drinking problem, his judgement is horrific.
*WHY THE NATIONALS KEPT STRIKING OUT UNTIL SIGNING DANIEL MURPHY.
Business is business, but free agency was getting ridiculous. The Nats lost out on reliever Darren O’Day. Outfielder Jason Heyward chose to play elsewhere. Utilityman Ben Zobrist respectfully declined. Money wasn’t an issue. It took Murphy, the Mets’ postseason star, to finally accept an offer (reportedly $37.5 million for three years). The rejections were almost enough to create an inferiority complex.
Thank goodness GM Mike Rizzo won’t let that happen.
*HOW KIRK COUSINS COULD’VE ANSWERED HIS DETRACTORS MORE EMPHATICALLY.
Most observers expressed uncertainty – if not outright doubt – when Cousins became Washington’s starting QB. I wrote that it was clearly the right move and I liked his potential, but his propensity to throw picks was worrisome. He has settled in nicely with 20 TDs and just three interceptions in his last nine games; the team is 6-1 when he passes for 300-plus yards.
You know how you feel about that.
*WHY EVERY BOWL SEASON SEEMS TO PRODUCE A KNUCKLEHEAD OR THREE.
Clemson is in the Orange Bowl but three players – including a standout freshman receiver – were sent home for violating team rules. “When you don’t do the right things, there’s consequences,” coach Dabo Swinney told reporters Wednesday. Alabama has sent a DB home. Virginia Tech sent two players home; Notre Dame and Miami each sent one back. When will guys learn?
If you must act a fool, don’t do it on bowl trips.
*HOW A BROKEN-DOWN TIGER WOODS CAN REGAIN HIS HUNGER FOR GREATNESS.
Eldrick celebrated his 40th birthday on Wednesday but his body and game seem twice that old. “Everybody remembers Willie Mays stumbling around center field at the end of his career,” an instructor told the New York Daily News. “It’s gotten to where Tiger is shanking the ball around the greens. How long can he stand to be this bad?”
Enjoying his fortune and relaxing with his kids never looked more appealing.
*WHY MANY POWER FIVE SCHOOLS ARE EASING ATHLETES’ PENALTIES FOR POT.
According to The Associated Press, at least one-third of the big-time schools are punishing athletes less harshly for marijuana and other recreational drugs. Also, the NCAA has reduced the penalty for positive tests, while the organization’s medical chief wants to quit such testing altogether. “We have to make a clear distinction between recreational drug use and cheating (via PEDs),” Dr. Brian Hainline said.
Well, that’s one way to keep more players suited up.