Wednesday, July 13, 2011

2011 All ACLB Team Offensive Tackles

I am a strong believer in offensive lines being The Fucking Key to success. Were I in charge of any sort of organized football team, I would make the chemistry of my offensive line my top priority, before even worrying about a QB, and I would probably instigate my starting five plus the first two or three back-ups having multiple drunken excursions, ideally involving group misdemeanors that all must keep silent together. Nothing bonds men better than drunken crimes.
That being said, I also have a racial philosophy to my offensive line, which will come together as we work through this. You need a Samoan in the middle (which is true of both sides of the football to be honest), and you need some dirtbag white dudes who like nothing more than watching double penetration porns, and you need some crafty ass ginormous black dudes. Black dudes in our world tend to be the more athletic types, so finding big goofy ones like a Nate Newton is easy. You can't spit in the deep south without hitting a 350 pound negro who would kill anybody trying to get the guy standing behind him if you told him you'd give him millions of dollars, plenty of cocaine, and white pussy if he was halfway good at it. But to find the crafty, educated black man, a worldly dude blessed with superior genetics?
Now Ryan Clady of the Denver Broncos went to Boise State, so he's not cream of the crop academically, especially coming out of Long Beach, California, as a youth. But the fact he slipped through the normal SoCal recruiting cracks and landed in a place like Boise State means he's had to work harder than your average blue chip prospect. Plus, you put a giant ass black dude from the LBC into fucking Idaho, and that dude is gonna get smart, simply for self-preservation. In fact, thinking about this kid, going to college in Idaho, then playing professionally in Colorado, he has been immersed in two of the most white pride-ish states in America for all of his adult life. And he's considered one of the best at what he does. A man cannot navigate such a sociological obstacle course without being smart as fuck.
And then D'Brickashaw Ferguson. What can be said about the dude? He's a monster, and yet he's smart as fuck. I live near the University of Virginia where he went to school, in fact I work there in my day-to-day (as a landscaper, which means I get high in a basement most of the year, and then cut grass the rest, but I know how to fix weedeaters, so mostly even in the summertime they leave me in the basement to fix our broken shit), and that school is sort of forced by its own bullshit to only accept smart people. And if you listen to a D'Brickashaw Ferguson interview, he's no common dumbass OT. The dude seems way too smart to be clunking heads for a living. But there he is, in stupid fucking New York Jets gear (poor guy), protecting Mark Sanchez's little closeted ass all day long.
And the thing about having smart giant black dudes on the outside of your line, it sets the edges. If your o-line is properly bonded, they should be a fucking wall. And if you have to clear these well-read, crafty minority types on the edges, you can't use raw athleticism, nor veteran trickery. They've got the edges covered. And they understand the intricacies of moving this way or that like a chessboard to run the wacky zone blocking schemes that get shit done nowadays. I am not just picking an All-Pro team here, because we don't just tag something as great. We build monsters, both inside our heads and publicly to feast upon the weak ass football philosophies you tend to read. The internet is not as smart as it thinks it is, and we are painfully aware we are not either. But we know what the fuck we know. And I can build monsters. I can fucking build monsters.

I picked Jake Long because he is awesome. There isn’t that much left to say beyond that. I could just make up a bunch of bullshit here but I have too much respect for you, the gentle reader, to do that. So, instead, I’m just going to stick to the facts and here they are: Jake Long is 7’8” and 625 pounds of titanium nails, razor teeth and murder. He lives in a specially built pit in Bill Parcells backyard, like some sort of mutant alligator and he is fed by Parcells up to ten times a day from a giant bucket which contains fish heads and dead prostitutes Parcells chopped up after Lawrence Taylor went nuts and beat them to death in a coke fueled frenzy. He is bathed with an industrial strength fire hose while he howls and tries to climb the walls of his pit, which are lined with giant steel pikes at the top which point inward to ensure that Big Jake can’t escape and devour Parcells. On Sundays he is chained and dragged out of the pit with the help of a crane. He is then put on a helicopter and airlifted to the stadium where he is given a heavy dose of sedatives to ensure that he doesn’t actually murder anyone and then he is dropped directly onto the field where he is guided by his long time handler, Chad Henne, who is equipped with a special device which allows him to shock Big Jake if he starts to get unruly. At halftime, Big Jake is ritually fed a small baby. It is Tony Sparano’s job to procure this baby. He has proven to be so skilled at the procurement of baby meat that he is considered invaluable and this is why he still has a job. For the remainder of the game, Big Jake is allowed to “play” and he laughs and hoots like a deranged ape as he severs limbs and disembowels his playmates. After the game, Henne caresses him and whispers in his ear, which calms Big Jake enough that he can be subdued by a team of commandos specially equipped with stun guns made by a mad scientist in anticipation of the coming dinosaur wars. He is then chained and loaded back onto the helicopter where he is guarded by that same commando team. After the helicopter lands, the commando team drags Big Jake back to his pit. Usually, one or two of them are lost in the ordeal, but Parcells pays them handsomely and so they rarely complain. They are professionals after all. Parcells then reads Big Jake a bedtime story and then says good night. It is then that the armed guards arrive, who position themselves in machine gun nests above the pit, where they stand vigilant all night, ensuring that Big Jake doesn’t escape and run amok. These are just the facts, mundane as they are, and while they show that Jake Long isn’t flashy, he is good at what he does, and hopefully that’s enough to convince you that he is deserving of our recognition.
Jeff Backus is my other pick and I can already hear half of you sharpening your axes. Another quarter of you are laughing and the final quarter of you are just spitting up terrible rage gibberish that makes you sound like a possessed orc. I get that. I really do. He is probably the most despised of all the Lions players, mostly because he isn’t Superman. He’s a fairly ordinary tackle and occasionally he gets blown up by Julius Peppers and then Rome burns and everyone starts speaking in tongues and demanding that Backus be burned as a heretic.
So why in the hell is he on this team? Because fuck all that, that’s why. He has become a martyr, a living symbol of the hatred and disappointment that lives inside of a lot of Lions fans. And not once has he crumbled and given in to Lions Disease. Instead, he has shown up every game and done what he could. Sure, sometimes that’s not as much as we hope for, but goddamn, Jeff Backus is not the problem, you know? The problem is that everyone wants him to be Superman even though he’s just Clark Kent and then he gets shit on when everyone screams at him to fly and he just can’t do it. But still, he shows up and he fights the good fight and sometimes he gets his ass kicked and sometimes he punches the bad guy out and isn’t there something at least a little noble about all that?
Jeff Backus is constantly treading water to avoiding drowning in all the piss that is rained down upon him by Lions fans and that has to be kinda exhausting, but he’s not pulling a Dominic Raiola and flipping off his own fans or talking about throwing hands with them. Instead he just keeps swimming and swimming and swimming through that piss in the hope that one day it will all be worth it, and that he will emerge and that there will be a few fans willing to clap him on the back and tell him thanks for trying and thanks for holding on as well as he could.
It’s strange, because in a lot of ways Backus – out of all the Lions - is the best representation of our fandom. His story is one of misery and despair, of constantly getting crapped on for what he isn’t. And yet, he’s still here. Just like you and just like me. No, I don’t think Jeff Backus is the best player in the world. But he’s not the worst either. He’s just a dude trying to make it the best way he knows how and all he has to hope for is that in the end it will be worth it. He isn’t assured of glory. He isn’t assured of anything. All he has is Hope and all he can do is keep going forward even though the rest of the world thinks he is an idiot for even trying, for even believing in anything other than the mountain of shit misery that has been dumped on him for years and years and years. You might not like to hear it, and I know your instinct is to argue and tell me that I am a damn fool because that’s what happens whenever anyone tries to defend Jeff Backus. But I am not “anyone”. I am me. I am the blood, sweat and tears of Lions fans everywhere. So, listen to me now. I know pain. I am pain. And I am telling you that I am embracing Jeff Backus as my brother in pain. He is not Roy Williams. He is not Joey Harrington. He’s not the avatar of our failure, but the living symbol of our perseverance. He stands beaten and bloody outside of the gates of hell but he is still standing. He is not dead yet and neither are we. And that is why he’s on this team.

TOMORROW: Offensive guards (OGs for real this time)

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