Battle Red Bag, Vol. 2: Terms of En-bag-ment

Brbag_medium The Bag is back for a second run, which already places it ahead of the Titanic, the Challenger, and "Emily's Reasons Why Not." So I've got that going for me. Which is nice.

This week, the Bag is even larger.  Just a huge Bag, hanging there, full of your questions.  I'm not gonna lie: It's difficult to lug around a Bag this size.  But I do it, so that I may share it with you.

Below the jump, we tackle ugly nudes, Amobi Okoye's 2011 season, questions on the lockout, New Zealand's television offerings, food, the next Zima, and some self-referential stuff.  There's a little Texans-centric goodness in there, too.  It's pretty great.

No, seriously, a rainbow should shoot out every time you open this Bag.

Tim:

All hope and hyperbole aside, what do you realistically expect from Amobi Okoye this season?  Why?

I pondered this question for far longer than anyone probably should, and I came up with 40 solo tackles, 6 sacks, 2 forced fumbles.  (Granted, I base this assumption on Amobi getting regular snaps, or, perhaps more accurately, Wade Phillips not pretending like Shawn Cody is the answer to any question that doesn't start with, "Who is worse....")

Why, you ask?  Because (a) he'll be 24 at the start of the season, an age around which many defensive tackles start to figure things out and take a step forward in their development; (b) while not great by any stretch, Okoye was much better last year than people seem to give him credit for; (c) his best games last season came when he was asked to play a one-gap role similar to what he'll be playing in Phillips' defense; and (d) because he will finally have a defensive coordinator who would be eligible for the death penalty under Atkins v. Virginia, 536 U.S. 304 (2002).

Jared:

Over here in New Zealand, there really isn't much choice.  I subscribe to SKY TV.  I have paid extra for a Tivo box, but I only pay for the basic package.

The basic package gives me about a dozen standard TV channels, the news at 6 pm, House, Criminal Minds, South Park, Family Guy, documentaries, Kid TV, BBC, CNN, and ESPN.

I don't pay for the extra 5 sports channels.  Why would I?  I can't stand the rugby, soccer, and Spanish La Liga, whatever the hell that is.  I love ESPN, with Sportscenter, PTI, Around the Horn, Sunday and Monday Night Football, and the AFC side of the playoffs.

But lately, things have deteriorated.  Sportscenter is now Australian, except for the 2am show.  Around the Horn is gone, and Pardon The Interruption is British!!!  I hate it, and I hardly watch it anymore.  

Now I get a letter from SKY TV saying how awesome it will be now that ESPN is getting moved to the extra sports channels, so I won't get it anymore.  I'll have to pay an extra $12 a month for ESPN.  

Should I tell them to stick it, or hope that what I want to watch re-appears on the sports channels somewhere?

Full disclosure: I am a total anglophile.  So I like rugby and soccer, and the sound of British PTI (in place of Crusty Old Guy and Whitlock Lite) strikes me as awesome.

That said, your overall predicament is definitely not awesome.

My question is, can you get a different service?  I mean, if you can get DirecTV in New Zealand, then Sky TV can go eat a fat sack of turds.  If not, you're kind of stuck.  In that case, I'd go ahead and bite the bullet and pay the $12.  It sucks, but, without it, you're looking at TV that's barely worth watching.  So you can either pay whatever the basic monthly is, but hardly ever want to watch, or pay $12 more and have some enjoyment.

Also, just as some unsolicited advice, I say attend a couple All Blacks fixtures.  You're in NZ, they live and breathe that stuff, and rugby is strangely entertaining.  If you learn to like it, the $12 seems even less of a big deal.

Shane:

We hear a lot about how the defense needs to get better for the Texans, but can you highlight some areas that the offense can/needs to improve?

I'd like to see the offense grow a pair.  No more punting from inside the other team's 40 in overtime.  No more punting on fourth-and-one.  No more running out the clock at the end of the first half without taking a shot.  No more scripting the first X number of plays and refusing to adjust.  No more dump-off passes on third-and-long.  No more empty backfield sets that negate the threat of Arian Foster.  (That one's not really about testicles, but about common sense.)  That kind of stuff.

Look, the offense is good.  If it does everything the same as last year, a marked defensive improvement will be enough to make a difference in the record.  But let's not pretend like it doesn't have holes.  Fortunately (or unfortunately), all of those holes seem to stem from playcalling/philosophy, not from talent.  Let's fix that before I throw one of my kids through the television screen.

Barryfromtexas:

OK, this is a real question, and maybe you need the lawyers to pow wow over this one.  Since there is a lockout and no CBA, can players and coaches violate any rules by getting together?  Is there some legal notion that coaches are locked in?  OK 2 questions, but you get my drift by now. I am just saying, if I were a coach - I would challenge it.

I talked to DisplacedTexan about this.  The best we could figure out:  The answer is that the coaches are employees of the team, while the players are contracted laborers.  When there's a dispute between the team and the laborers, the coaches and their actions are governed by the teams (i.e., their employers). 

The natural reaction to this is "How the hell can an employer tell a coach that he cannot hang out with a player in a social situation?"  The answer, however, is the same as the answer for why any private employer can fire you for writing stupid crap on Twitter or getting caught plowing a hooker's back forty:  In the realm of private-sector employment, you have no right to free speech or freedom of association that would prevent a private employer from firing you.  The coaches are not (to my knowledge) represented by a union, so, if they want to take a chance and challenge the prohibition against fraternizing/coaching/dating players during the lockout, there is nothing to prevent their respective teams from firing them for it (in addition to any fines that the NFL might impose on the team/coach).

Kinda jacked up?  You bet.  But would you expect anything else from this labor situation?

Jon Banks:

What is your favorite inside joke on BRB?

I am old school, so my favorite jokes tend to recall the halcyon days when DGDB&D existed and Scott was not just a figment of Tim's Zima-addled imagination as portrayed by an actor in terrible shoes.  My all-time favorites are any Darcy Maeda references.  Who is she? This chick:

Maeda_and_some_chick_medium

I once tracked her down (read: stalked the crap out of her), told her she'd become a minor cult hero, and asked her for a quote about Mr. Mittens.  She declined my offer.  So then I offered to let BFD give her some sweet, moist lovin' in exchange.  She filed for a restraining order.  [Author's note: at least 50% of the previous paragraph is true.]

As for more modern, MDC-on-BRB-era references?  Gots to go with good ol' weightspeed (and its cousin, assmass).

Jordann:

I re-watched the Bourne Trilogy this past weekend, and I noticed that Jason Bourne uses Eskrima (Arnis de Mano, to be specific) to kick random people's asses through out the three movies.  But I've noticed a lot of Krav Maga as well.  IMO, those two are the deadliest types of martial arts in the world.  My question is, which fictional movie character can kick Jason Bourne's ass?  Superheros are excluded, of course. And Bruce Lee as well. (We all know that nobody can kick Bruce Lee's ass.  /stares at Chuck Norris).

First, your comment about the fighting styles reminds me of this:

Cyril Figgis: Hey will I get to learn karate?
Sterling Archer: Karate? The Dane Cook of martial arts? No, ISIS agents use Krav Maga.
Cyril Figgis: Krav?
Sterling Archer: We've got an ex-MOSSAD guy. Comes in on Thursdays.
Cyril Figgis: Neato.
Sterling Archer: Yeah, Tuesdays he does a really rigorous spin class.

To answer your question, though, I assume we're talking only hand-to-hand combat, right?  And I assume that, despite the fact that he's not really a superhero, you would consider Batman to be excluded?  So the only people I can come up with who have a chance in this fight are The Bride from "Kill Bill," Bryan Mills from "Taken," and Wah Sing Ku from "Lethal Weapon 4."

Speaking of Bryan Mills, my best guess for how the movie "Taken" was pitched to the studio:  "So, here's what we're gonna do.  You know how James Bond is awesome?  Well, we're thinking James Bond, but more bad-ass, and without wasting time on doing anything other than just jacking people up.  No martinis, no broads, no witty quips.  Just fights, car chases, explosions, and a leading man that is tougher than anyone he ever meets.  Sound good?"

WhiskeyR:

Apparently moving Glover Quinn to safety is a foregone conclusion. Being that he is our best CB (Well... him and Nnamdi... we're getting Nnamdi, right??), is this a good idea? Will his impact at safety be enough to offset not having him at corner, or is Wade just having fun like that time he moved Mario to OLB and Trindon Holliday to NT?

Also, can you please tell me Tim's wine cooler of choice now that he's depleted Europe's supply of Zima? I want to bring him something at the next BRB get together and I'm afraid he may not be able to handle Four Loko.

To quote an expert from some point early last season, "Glover Quin would be an elite free safety.  Not just good.  ELITE."

Ok, sure, that expert was BFD, but I don't think he's wrong.  Quin seems to have excellent ball skills, his alley-oop to the Jags notwithstanding.  More importantly, free safety is such a giant void of suck that putting Quin there should more than offset the loss from his not being a corner.  Also, Wade's system functions best when you have a free safety who is capable in both man and zone coverage, which Quin seems to be (at least moreso than any other options we have).  So, yeah, I'm cool with that move.

Trindon Holliday at NT?  Frank Bush is intrigued by your ideas and would like to subscribe to your newsletter.

As for Tim, the idea of him chugging Four Loko just made me laugh way too hard.  Rumor has it that, when not drinking Coors Light or other domestically canned urine, he likes to kick back with a Smirnoff Juicy Lime Bite.

Rivers:

1) Say you were starting a website with unlimited funds, you have your choice of all the internet columnists on the web. It doesn't have to be purely a sports website. Who are you going after?
2) Recommend the BRB readership one specific food, from any location, that they must try before they pass on to the great beyond.

Whoa. Great questions.  Umm ... if I was building a site that was going to be primarily sports, I'd go after either Joe Posnanski or Spencer Hall.  I find Spencer hilarious, but I prefer Joe's writing overall.  I couldn't go wrong with either.  If my website was going to be non-sports, I'd take either Roger Cohen or Rivers McCown.

No, that's not just kissing up because Rivers is my boss at SBN Houston; I honestly think he's a helluva writer.  And, no, I don't think it's weird for me to say that I'd pick him if I was doing a non-sports website; he's obviously a good sportswriter, but I've got a feeling he'd be even better if he were given free reign to choose his topics.

As for food, I have two -- the ribeye at The Majestic in Kansas City and the chorizo/asada taco at La Sonrisa in Manzanillo, Mexico.  I know everyone reading this probably thinks he or she has had the best steak in the world at some point.  Unless you were in Kansas City, eating in the basement of a jazz bar, you are wrong.  Just trust me on this.  Likewise, the taco is so good that it defies description, but I'll try: I hyped the taco to my best friend for weeks before we went to Manzanillo last year.  He was prepared to be disappointed because I'd oversold the quality.  After he had it, not only did he admit that it was the greatest taco ever, but he's since said more than once that he would return to Manzanillo specifically for another one of those tacos.

Texanslady:

Why not name the mascot Ballsy?

Too confusing -- that's our nickname for BFD.  (It's ironically funny, like when you call a bald guy "curly."  Which we also use for BFD.)

Southpaw70:

I have just a few questions to ask. If Jordan did not retire, would the Rockets have won back to back? I think I would get a better response from NFL guys 'cause, well, we kick ass.

Next question has something to do with football a little, and that is, do you think a Super Bowl will ever be played in RELAINT STADIUM again?

Lastly when Texans was announced as the name of the team, did you like the other names at all? Apollos and Stallions where the name in case people forgot.

Would the Rockets have won back-to-back?  I say yes.  Hakeem Olajuwon was The Man for that two-year stretch, and the Bulls had nobody who would have held him under 40/game.  Throw in Robert Horry and some quality role players, and I like Houston's chances in those two years against anyone, Jordan included.

Eh ... maybe?  I know that's a weak answer, but the reaction to the last Super Bowl in Houston wasn't universally positive.  Best I recall, it was along the lines of "Reliant is gorgeous, but Houston was a nightmare to get around and the area around the stadium offered little-to-nothing to do."  That's not the best recipe for getting a Super Bowl.

On the other hand, Houston's a warm-weather city with a lot of money in the hands of people who can get your city a Super Bowl, so I can't say it will never happen.  After the debacle in Southern Oklahoma, however, it'll probably be a while.

Finally, I would have been shocked had the team wound up being named anything other than the Texans.  I know that there were allegedly other names considered, but c'mon, there was no chance the team was going to be anything other than Texans, with red/white/blue uniforms and a bull and a star involved in the logo in some way.  Which is not a knock against anything --- I have no problem with the pride Texans feel in their state, even when that pride spills over into naming a sports franchise.

Besides, the other names sucked.

CCBach sent a list of 15 questions.  Here are two, and I'll use the others in subsequent mailbags:

6. Who would you rather have playing the #2 WR, Kevin, JJ, or Dorin?
13. What player would you want to spend a day with?

Dorin, but only based on my fascination with mutants, not because I have any evidence that he would be better than Walter.  I fear Jacoby Jones as a WR2 because that means he might be asked to make routine catches, which always seems to be an issue.

Amobi Okoye.  We'd go to Chuck E. Cheese and see a PG-13 movie.

Jeremy:

Who's hotter naked, Rosanne or Mimi from the Drew Carey Show?

I think I heard that Kathy Kinney (Mimi) lost a ton of weight (possibly literally).  That's actually not a positive in this situation; she'd have to be laden with loose skin.  Rosanne ain't sexy by any means, but I've seen pictures where she was not horridly repulsive.  (Do a Google Image search for her if you don't believe me.)  So, I'll pick Rosanne, with the caveat that I'd rather light myself on fire than judge this contest in real life.

Kurt:

What's the deal with the lockout?  Don't the owners decide how much a player gets?  I mean, they sign the damn contracts.  If they don't want to pay the player that much, they don't have to sign him.  Right?  So what's the deal?  The owners need some arbitrary rules to prevent themselves from spending too much on a player?  If they don't want the players to make more money, don't sign them to stupid ass contracts.

Ya know ... there's some logic to this.  I suppose the counter argument is that the rules prevent any claims of collusion and give everyone a sense of what a player is "worth."  Plus, at least with draft picks, without putting in some rules, teams could just lowball the crap out of draft picks, knowing that the new players didn't have any leverage other than willingly being unemployed.

I'm curious what others have to say on this, actually.

***

If I didn't get your question in this week, it will be in next week's bag for sure.  For those who want to submit questions, the address, as always, is mattycamp@gmail.com

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