The Couch Slouch

When it comes to old NFL quarterbacks, one of these things is not like the other

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It is the golden age of golden oldies among NFL quarterbacks.

Week 1 saw seven starting quarterbacks aged 35 or older:

Tom Brady, 42, Patriots; Drew Brees, 40, Saints; Eli Manning, 38, Giants; Philip Rivers, 37, Chargers; Ben Roethsliberger, 37, Steelers; Aaron Rodgers, 35, Packers, and, somehow, Ryan Fitzpatrick, 36, Dolphins.

That is a lot of Super Bowl champions and future Hall of Famers, plus, somehow, Ryan Fitzpatrick.

Of the seven, five of them remarkably have played for only one team, Brees has played for two teams and, then, somehow, there is Ryan Fitzpatrick, who started for his record eighth NFL team on Sunday.

Fitzgerald's rap sheet: Two seasons in St. Louis, two in Cincinnati, four in Buffalo, one in Tennessee, one in Houston, two with the New York Jets, two in Tampa Bay and, now, his first season in Miami.

He has a U-Haul Premier Rewards Card.

As a starter, Fitzgerald is 50-75-1, with a career passer rating of 81.1.

Which came first?

He's the classic chicken-and-egg signal-caller: Did he just happen to play on a lot of bad teams, or did they become bad teams because he was their quarterback?

Okay, let's not dwell on the paranormal, let's deal with the wonder of Brady and Brees.

Brady came into the NFL in 2000, Brees in 2001; both sat on the bench their first year.

Going into this season, their individual stats are history-shattering and eerily similar.

Brady: 97.6 passer rating, 517 touchdowns, 171 interceptions, 70,514 yards, 7.5 yards per attempt, 64.0 percent completion rate, 44 game-winning drives in 267 starts.

Brees: 97.7 passer rating, 520 touchdowns, 233 interceptions, 74,437 yards, 7.6 yards per attempt, 67.3 percent completion rate, 48 game-winning drives in 263 starts.

The biggest divide – one is an all-timer, the other a mere Hall of Famer – is win-loss record. Brady, playing with better teams, is 207-60 as a starter; Brees is 155-108. In the postseason, Brady is 30-10, with six Super Bowl championships; Brees is 8-7, with one title.

Maybe those numbers will flip over the next 20 years, as both are intent on playing forever.

No stopping us now

(My sources – and, yes, I play racquetball with Gisele Bundchen every Tuesday – tell me Brady is never going to retire. He's talked about playing until he's 45, and when he reaches 45, he'll talk about playing to 50 and so on. I saw his Franklin Planner: He has a series of TB12 diets penciled in until 2044, and, in the autumn, it always lists Sunday as "game day.")

Heck, if you're the lead singer in the band, who wants to give that up? There's a reason that Jon Bon Jovi, Roger Daltrey, Mick Jagger, Axl Rose, David Lee Roth, Steven Tyler and Bruce Springsteen keep strutting across stages into their 50s, 60s and 70s. Why wouldn't 40-something phenoms like Brady and Brees keep suiting up?

Dream job

Then there's Josh McCown.

The career journeyman – 23-53 record, 79.7 passer rating – spent his first four seasons, 2002-05, with the Cardinals. Then he bounced around to nine other teams – he seldom overstayed his welcome – and even was out of the league in 2010. One of the teams he played for, the 49ers, signed him on Aug. 17, 2011 and released him on Sept 3, 2011; that's not even one laundry cycle.

McCown retired after the 2018 season and joined ESPN. But then the Eagles called him and, at age 40, McCown has un-retired to back up Carson Wentz.

And it gets better.

He has Fridays off!

The Eagles agreed to let McCown fly back to Charlotte, N.C., every weekend to help coach his two sons' high school football team.

(Two ways to look at this – 1. That's how badly the Eagles wanted McCown. 2. That's how much they don't need McCown; for all we know, they might've agreed to a contract clause that lets him take a 10-day Carnival Cruise once a month.)

Here's my dream: Later this season, with different teams than they currently play for, Josh McCown replaces Ryan Fitzpatrick.

Ask the Slouch

Q. Andrew Luck walked away from $50 million, but his body was hurting. Antonio Brown's mind must've been hurting if he walked away from $30 million, no? (Scott Parker; Houston)

A. Actually, I think Brown is smarter than he looks here, or did you never listen to Mike Mayock's NFL telecasts?

Q. My son — born and raised in Silver Spring — has just moved to Los Angeles. Is there any hope for the lad? (Ken Giglio; Silver Spring, Md.)

A. Tell him to look me up when he gets out here. Of course, I won't get back to him; this will be his first L.A. lesson.

Q. Just Fresca? What happened to Yuengling? (Levi Goldfarb; Temple Hills, Md.)

A. Just because I drink Fresca doesn't mean I no longer drink Yuengling. Similarly, just because I dislike the Patriots doesn't mean I no longer dislike the Raiders.

Q. Since so many viewers have already turned off the volume on "Sunday Night Baseball," does ESPN keep showing the announcers on camera to justify the expense? (Mike Soper; 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!

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5 questions on the John Wall trade

The Rockets made a big move. Photo by Elsa/Getty Images.

The Houston Rockets point guard carousel continued to spin Wednesday night, as the Woj bomb-iest of Houston-related Woj bombs erupted in the Space City:

For the third year in a row, the Rockets will begin the season with a new point guard, in an attempt to finally find someone that can play alongside James Harden. Let's take a look at how the Rockets got to this point, and what it means moving forward.

What led to the trade?

Russell Westbrook simply wanted out. Westbrook is the type of player that needs to be the number one ball handler and that simply wasn't ever going to happen on a James Harden led team. Other reports cited Westbrook's frustration with the lack of accountability and casual atmosphere within the locker room. Ultimately if anyone was going to be moved between Harden and Westbrook, it was always going to be Westbrook.

Why John Wall?

This one is another fairly straightforward answer: they both have relatively similar contracts. Each is making an absurdly overpriced $40 million this season, and both were disgruntled with their current team. Rockets General Manager Rafael Stone and Wizards GM Tommy Sheppard tossed the idea around a few weeks ago, but couldn't find a deal they liked. It was reported that discussions resumed Wednesday afternoon and within a few hours the deal was done in an almost one-for-one swap.

How does Wall fit?

This is a little more complicated because it's not exactly known what head coach Stephen Silas' game plan is. It's also difficult to predict whether or not Harden will still be on the roster when the season starts. But let's assume that Harden takes the court for the Rockets and that Silas' system resembles something similar to what we've seen in Houston for the past few years. In that case, Wall would be a slight upgrade to Westbrook. Westbrook is more athletic than Wall, but when healthy Wall was no slouch. In addition he's a much better defensive player and has much better court vision than Westbrook. Westbrook's assists were usually a bailout after attacking the lane with his head down, while Wall is more likely to set up a teammate.

This isn't to say that Wall doesn't need the ball though. He's fairly ball dominant, but not nearly as much as Westbrook. Harden proved last season that he's capable of effectively playing off the ball if necessary, so it seems like a better fit from a distribution rate alone. If they can find that sweet spot like they did with Chris Paul and stagger the lineups so that each star gets their own time to create, there's potential for an improved Rockets team more reminiscent of their 2018 run than the past two years.

What are the best and worst case scenarios?

The worst case is that the Rockets were sold a lemon. Wall has potential to be an upgrade, but comes with huge risk. He last took the court in 2018, where he was sidelined with a knee injury. He subsequently ruptured his Achilles in an accident at his home while recovering from the knee injury, forcing Wall off the court for almost two years. It's possible an extremely unfortunate Wall reinjures something and completely derails the machinations of the trade. Even if he's recovered fully, it will take time to get him up to game speed which could frustrate Harden on a team that can't afford a slow start in their stacked conference. Harden has managed to cultivate drama with just about every co-star he's played with, so there's no reason to assume this attempt would go any better. If things turn sour, Harden could be out the door even quicker than expected.

The best case scenario is that Wall arrives ready to play team basketball and resembles the better part of his pre-injury form. Wall and Harden buy into Silas' new system, space the floor, and take turns carving up the lane with dribble drives and kick outs to players who can actually hit from distance. This version of the Rockets could potentially be a 3-seed in this year's Western Conference.

Who won the trade?

At the moment the Rockets. Not only did they remove at least one of their locker room distractions, but they also gain a first round pick. If Wall can stay healthy and Silas can keep both stars happy, this team should be a lot more fun to watch than last season's clunker.

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