THE COUCH SLOUCH

Calling a foul on the grammar police, replay apologists

Kevin C Cox/Getty Images

Note to readers: I had not planned to pen a second consecutive column on officiating, but a couple of readers got me really riled up.

So one reader emailed that I "misused" the term "slippery slope" and another told me I had "misappropriated" the term last week when I wrote that replay as an officiating tool is a slippery slope.

Balderdash.

Incidentally, whether I use or misuse, appropriate or misappropriate any term is up to me. It's my column, my time, my two cents' worth – well, at least until we ban the penny. So bug off and go read The New Yorker if you crave more precise and correct use of the language.

And, what, now we're going to have replay challenges on my column? No, no, no, no, no. I write it, you read it, and we move on. I'm not going to sit here beholden to every Tom, Dick and Harriet googling my every proclamation and preposition.

I stand by my work, week in and week out. Like Andy Reid just said, "Not all of Mozart's paintings were perfect."

But I digress.

For those of you who found my "slippery slope syndrome" explanation wanting, let me then switch replay gears and present my "small barking dog syndrome."

Sometimes there is a small, barking dog at your ankles that keeps nipping at your pants cuff. It's irritating, yet not enough to do more than shake your leg occasionally to free yourself of the dog's grip. But then you look down several minutes later and notice that this small barking yapping irritating creature has ripped your pants leg completely wide open.

And, there, my friends, you have the basic problem of replay as an officiating tool.

So I again plead to Sports Nation – let's return to kinder, simpler pre-replay days.

(People often fault me for "living in the past." Uh, I can't live in the future, can I? I am the product of two centuries; both have their merits and their flaws. Alas, replay as an officiating tool was mindlessly birthed in the 20th century and is reaching its devastating potential in the 21st century. Then again, since I have serious doubts if there will be a 22nd century, this problem might solve itself.)

Many people think officiating, particularly in the NFL and the NBA, is worse than ever; it's not. The officials are just scrutinized more than ever.

Do you think there was replay review when the games used to be only on radio?

Are games harder to officiate now because athletes are bigger, stronger and faster? Maybe. But it's definitely harder to officiate when millions are officiating alongside you. There are even websites, like footballzebras.com, that assess and review officials' calls 24-7.

Trust me, it would not be half as fun being an actuary if every line of your work were under replay review.

And when's the last time you saw, say, a ballet or an opera stopped because of a replay challenge? Man, those would be momentum killers – for instance, La Boheme would lose all of its steam if, just before Mimi's climactic coughing fit, Schaunard questions the receipt on the pink bonnet that Rodolpho has bought for her and throws the challenge flag.

The fact of the matter is, there are fouls and penalties committed on virtually every possession in basketball, football and life.

If you whistled every foul in the NBA by the book, every player would foul out.

If you called every holding by an offensive lineman or every pass interference, NFL games would take five hours.

If you held a U.S. president accountable for every high crime and misdemeanor committed while in the Oval Office, we wouldn't have a president.

Sometimes – particularly on the field of play – you just have to let stuff go.

(Best I can tell, the major professional sport least affected at this point by replay is hockey. So, maybe, just maybe – I know I'm going to regret this – NHL, here I come! When does the regular season start?)

Ask The Slouch

Q. When the Chicago Bears announced Mitch Trubisky injured his "non-throwing shoulder," did your finely honed journalism instincts lead you to ask if the team could be more specific? (Jeremy Sandler; Toronto)

A. Pay the man, Shirley.

Q. Even the slightest improvement in equipment can give an athlete a competitive advantage. Shouldn't some company start making underwear for left-handed men? (Jack Leininger; Spokane, Wash.)

A. Pay the man, Shirley.

Q. Do you have any insight as to whether NBA referee Scott Foster is the "whistleblower" that President Trump is looking for? (Elliott Jaffa; Arlington, Va.)

A. Pay the man, Shirley.

Q. Do you miss when the Washington R*dsk*ns used to win the offseason? I mean, it was a win. (Mike Garland; Washington, D.C.)

A. Pay the man, Shirley.

You, too, can enter the $1.25 Ask The Slouch Cash Giveaway. Just email asktheslouch@aol.com and, if your question is used, you win $1.25 in cash!

Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images

Alright, let's see which free agents are still available. Keep in mind the owner % mentioned is for 10-team standard ESPN leagues. Some of these players below are good for the short-term, while others have more long-term value. You have to make the call on what your team needs. Immediate help to start this week, or a player to stash on your bench and hope he breaks out. Let's get started.

QB

Matthew Stafford: He's coming off a huge game against the Vikings where he threw for over 300 yards and had 4 TDs. This week he gets the Giants, so he should have another big game. He's rostered in less than half of ESPN standard 10-team leagues.

Kirk Cousins: The Vikings are throwing the ball more, and he has back-to-back games with over 300 yards and 4TDs. He has a great matchup against the Redskins this week, so use him. He's rostered in less than 40% of standard leagues.

Jacoby Brissett: If you're digging a little deeper, Brissett is out there in 50% of leagues, and he plays the Broncos at home this week. He's coming off a 4TD game against Houston, so he could help you out this week if you need him.

Derek Carr: If you're playing in a deep league, Carr could perform for you in a pinch. He's widely available and has a good matchup against the Texans who are dealing with multiple injuries to their secondary.

RB

Jamaal Williams: The matchup couldn't be any better with him playing the Chiefs this week. He's still available in 45% of standard leagues.

Chase Edmonds: What a game for Edmonds. With David Johnson still trying to get healthy, you could do worse than Edmonds. His matchup against the Saints isn't ideal, but if you need a RB, he might come through again. He's still available in almost 70% of 10-team ESPN leagues. You might have to just start him and hope for the best. David Johnson's health is still a bit of a mystery.

Darrell Henderson: He's not a guy you can start with any confidence, but he could be a league winner later in the year if Gurley goes down. He's rostered in 25% of leagues.

Kareem Hunt: You won't be able to use him until week 10, but he's good insurance for Nick Chubb, and he might end up with a lot of work in the passing game.

WR

Kenny Stills: It looks like Will Fuller won't be back anytime soon, so Stills should be Watson's main deep threat for a while. He has a good matchup against Oakland this week, and he's widely available.

Corey Davis: Now that Ryan Tannehill is playing QB for the Titans, Davis might become a relevant fantasy option. He's only rostered in 44% of leagues.

Phillip Dorsett: He came back from injury and scored on Monday night, so he could be a nice flex option with Josh Gordon's injury issues. He's rostered in 33% of leagues, so pick him up.

Allen Lazard: He's a decent flex option until Devante Adams returns if you're desperate.

TE

Jared Cook: He missed Sunday's game against the Bears, so he might have been dropped. TE is ugly. That is all.

Chris Herndon: He's been hurt after finally coming off suspension. Pick him up if you need him, and hope he gets healthy soon. He's available in 80% of leagues.

Defense

If the Steelers are on your waiver wire, add them this week. They play the Dolphins.

If you have any questions, feel free to hit me up on Twitter. Be sure to check out my show MoneyLine with Jerry Bo on ESPN 97.5FM. We're on every Sunday morning from 10-noon, and we'll talk a lot of fantasy football and NFL gambling getting you ready for kickoff every Sunday.

@JoshJordan975

@Moneyline975

@JerryBoKnowz

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