The Couch Slouch

Norman Chad joins SportsMap with his column on this year's NFL team of destiny

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Editor's note: Norman Chad is a longtime columnist and poker commentator. His Couch Slouch column will appear on Monday mornings. Follow him on Twitter @NormanChad

Exactly 23 years ago to this moment, I was in Jacksonville on an NFL-related business trip. On my first night there, my coworkers asked me to join them for dinner.

"Where we going?" I inquired.


"Hooters? Really?"

"Oh, yeah," one of the coworkers said. "Get the chicken sandwich. It's awesome."

I got the chicken sandwich; it was not awesome. I quickly ascertained we were not in Hooters for the chicken sandwich.

That was my first and last time at Hooters.

And that was my first and last time in Jacksonville.

But I did not leave the River City without telling myself:

Remember the Jaguars.

So here we are in 2019, and the perpetually disregarded, largely forgotten Jacksonville Jaguars have had a losing record seven of the past eight seasons, including last year's gloomy 5-11 mark good for last place in the AFC South.

But that was then and this is Nick Foles.

Somehow, the Philadelphia Eagles decided to let their franchise quarterback leave the franchise.

Why exactly did the Eagles push Foles out the door?

In two different stints with the team – 2012-14 and 2017-18 – he won 20 of his last 26 regular-season starts. Over the last two seasons, he was 4-1 in the playoffs, including a 41-33 win over the TB12 Patriots in Super Bowl 52 to give the Eagles their only Super Bowl championship.

See ya, Nick.

The Eagles chose to keep likable lughead Carson Wentz, who has a 23-17 record, has never won a playoff game and is likely to reinjure himself walking into a shopping cart at Target.

So long, Nick.

As an aside...

(Column Intermission: Frankly, Helmetgate pales next to Cryotherapygate; apparently, Antonio Brown has problems from head to toe. Does it get any better than the Oakland Raiders receiver's frostbitten feet caused by wearing improper footwear while using a cryotherapy machine in France? My goodness, you go to France for the croissants, for the Eiffel Tower, for the Tour de France, or, if it happens to be 1789, for the French Revolution; you do NOT go to France for cryotherapy. Plus, who enters a cryotherapy chamber with inappropriate footwear? Rookie mistake, man.)

Back to the Jags

The Eagles' loss is the Jaguars' gain, and the Jaguars, my friends, are your NFL Team of Destiny.

The Jaguars lost five games by six points or less last season. Losers lose and winners win – I believe Ralph Waldo Emerson first said this – and Foles is a winner.

He leads by example. Last month, in full pads on a day in which the heat index was 102 degrees, Foles ran 50-yard sprints after practice – 10 of 'em – with every teammate already in the locker room, according to Philadelphia Inquirer reporter Maurice Hayes.

Foles essentially said: To hell with the stifling Florida heat, to hell with the bugs out here the size of defensive linemen, to hell with soft millennial sensibility…I am committed!

Couch Slouch likes the cut of his committed jib.

He is a man of faith – he plans on becoming a pastor – and a man of well-chosen words. Foles even wrote his autobiography last year, "Believe It: My Journey of Success, Failure, and Overcoming the Odds," which critics have compared favorably to my 1993 book, "Hold On, Honey, I'll Take You to the Hospital at Halftime."

With Foles replacing Blake Bortles at quarterback, running back Leonard Fournette healthy again and a rugged defense, the Jaguars might go from worst to first in the AFC South. I'm figuring 9-6-1 and a wild card berth at a minimum, en route to a surprising postseason run.

And if the Jaguars make it to Super Bowl 54, I pledge here and now to return to Jacksonville.

I also pledge here and now to even return to Hooters – well, at least drive past it on my way to Popeyes.

Ask The Slouch

Q. How does the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration resist the urge to name every single hurricane after Stephen A. Smith? (Jeff Hazle; San Antonio)

A. Actually, there is a chance – due to changing White House scientific priorities – that NOAA's offices are no longer even wired for cable.

Q. Why does the NFL still play preseason games? (Terence Barnes; Chicago)

A. Without a sunrise, you cannot have a sunset; without a preseason, you cannot have a regular season.

Q. The R*dsk*ns are looking to replace Trent Williams. Do you think 77-year-old rookie Mitch McConnell is a good fit? He blocks everything! (Dave Bray; Winchester, Va.)

A. Not a good fit: The R*dsk*ns are looking for a left tackle.

Q. Your writing has been dramatically stronger recently. Are you taking performance-enhancing drugs? (Jack Leininger; Spokane, Wash.)

A. No – just Fresca.

Q. If the New York Mets win the World Series, will Bobby Bonilla get a ring? (Tim Reinhart;

Stevens Point, Wis.)

A. Pay the man, Shirley.

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

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Texans fall to Browns. Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images.

The Houston Texans kept it closer than the experts thought they would, but couldn't pull out a victory. Here are 11 observations from the loss in Cleveland to the Browns.

1. The game looks totally different if Texans quarterback Tyrod Taylor finishes the game. Taylor left at halftime with a hamstring injury. He was playing exceptionally well against his former team. Taylor is not expected to play Thursday according to NFL Network.

2. Davis Mills had a rocky NFL debut which was to be expected. Mills looked to have the wrong elements of a few plays. He also couldn't hit backup wideout Andre Roberts over the middle and threw an interception. It was a fine performance considering what Mills showed he could do in the preseason.

3. Mills didn't work with a full load of offensive weapons in the second half. Rookie wideout Nico Collins didn't return to the game after his lone catch and big run early in the game. Veteran slot receiver Danny Amendola left the game with an injury. Tight end Anthony Auclair left with an eye injury. The Texans entered the game without wide receiver Anthony Miller who was inactive.

4. Brandin Cooks is a monster through two games. He is the most dangerous skill position player on the team, and defenses still have trouble covering him and staying with him. Cooks turned in yet another impressive day for this team and hauled in a Davis Mills touchdown pass.

5. The Browns did a solid job against the ground game of the Texans. Mark Ingram averaged under three yards per carry and Tyrod Taylor was the only rusher to have a big play on the ground. This led to a fair number of third-and-long situations which the Texans usually had trouble converting.

6. Justin Reid was set to increase his payday on his next contract with his early play. Reid forced a fumble and had an interception in the first half. Unfortunately, Reid would leave the game multiple times with injuries. The knock on Reid has always been his health.

7. The Texans were worn down by the Browns rushing attack all day. Once Cleveland committed to the run they saw the success of their work culminating in a 26-yard scamper by Nick Chubb for a touchdown. The Browns didn't run as much as I excepted them to run early.

8. Tim Kelly had another nice day calling plays. Kelly remains creative in finding ways to get the ball out of Taylor's hands quickly as well as manufacturing matchups where the Texans can win and pick up yards. He even got creative to get Davis Mills a passing touchdown late in the game. Kelly has been very impressive through two games.

9. Andre Roberts was inexcusably bad today. The Texans defense held on the opening drive and his muffed punt eliminated the momentum from the defensive stand. He also had poor returns on kickoffs. His lone job is to be a solid returner, and he failed at that on Sunday.

10. David Culley had a head-scratching decision foregoing an offsides call on a third down. The head coach opted for the result of the third down, and a punt on fourth down, instead of another third down. He did not explain himself well postgame on the decision either.

11. The Texans hung tough and should feel solid about where they could have been without the injury to their quarterback. With no Taylor in the short week, it will not be easy to beat the Panthers who upset the Saints on Sunday.

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