Welcome to the first edition of our weekly Bold Take or Cold Take article. Each of our writers will be posting a take while the other writers will decide if that take is bold or cold. Let’s get ready for some controversy. Be sure to come back every Friday for new takes and reactions.
It is early on in the football season as we just wrapped up week two. Headlines are surrounding franchise quarterbacks like Drew Brees, Eli Maning, and Ben Roethlisberger. But there is one quarterback I would like to touch on and that is potential Rookie of the Year; Kyler Murray. Better yet, I’d like to focus on his favorite target so far, Larry FitzGerald. Through two games this year, FitzGerald has 13 catches for 217 yards and 1 touchdown. The 36-year-old has been impressive for his 0-1-1 Cardinals and my take is as follows:
Larry FitzGerald is the best wide receiver in the history of the NFL.
No it is not Jerry Rice. No it is not Randy Moss. And no it is not Terrell Owens. Let’s start with Fitz’s career rankings. He ranks 3rd all-time in receptions and he is going to be 2nd as early as this week if he can haul in 10 catches. This will result in him passing Tony Gonzalez. Will he catch Jerry Rice for first all time? If he plays as long as Rice did maybe. Is it likely? Not necessarily. Is it possible? Absolutely. Rice played 20 years while FitzGerald just began his 16th season. He needs 231 receptions to tie Jerry Rice for first all-time which is very possible if he plays another three or four seasons.
FitzGerald ranks 2nd all-time in receiving yards. He’s 6,400 yards behind Jerry Rice and he probably won’t catch up to first even if he plays a few more seasons but I will soon explain why he is better than Rice despite Rice being number one in all major receiving categories. He also ranks 6th all-time in receiving touchdowns. He could possibly finish his career 4th or 5th. The receivers ahead of him include Jerry Rice, Randy Moss, Terrell Owens, and Marvin Harrison. He is 10th among all players in career yards from scrimmage and 9 out of the 10 players in front of him are running backs.
Now you may be thinking, “Jerry Rice is first in all the categories you mentioned, how could FitzGerald possibly be better?” The simple answer is: Look at their quarterbacks. Jerry Rice played with two of the greatest quarterbacks to ever play the game in Steve Young and Joe Montana. He also caught passes from Jeff Garcia, a three time pro-bowler and Rich Gannon, a Super Bowl winning quarterback. Rice’s quarterbacks combined for 13 Pro Bowl appearances and 5 MVP awards. This man was blessed with talented quarterbacks for basically his entire career. You definitely cannot say the same for Larry FitzGerald.
FitzGerald played with 21 different quarterbacks in his entire career. I was going to just list a few but I want you to read all 21 of these names. Josh McCown, Shaun King, John Navarre, Kurt Warner, Matt Leinart, Tim Rattay, Brian St. Pierre, Derek Anderson, Max Hall, John Skelton, Rich Bartel, Kevin Kolb, Ryan Lindley, Brian Hoyer, Carson Palmer, Drew Stanton, Blaine Gabbert, Sam Bradford, Josh Rosen, Mike Glennon, and Kyler Murray. The best quarterback on that list is Hall of Famer Kurt Warner who had two MVPs (none with FitzGerald) and four Pro Bowl appearances (one with FitzGerald as his receiver). Carson Palmer appeared in three Pro Bowls (one with FitzGerald as his receiver). Outsdie of those two QBs, the other 19 have combined for one Pro Bowl and no MVPs.
FitzGerald is unarguably a top five receiver of all time even with his team’s quarterback struggles for over a decade. Just imagine if he were able to play with guys of the same caliber like Steve Young and Joe Montana. His stats would be identical to Rice’s if he ever had a great quarterback in his prime throwing him the ball. Therefore, Larry FitzGerald is the best wide receiver to ever play the game.
Keehn’s Reaction: I think a lot of people are quick to think this is a freezing cold take, but it’s not. Analytics are (obviously) on Rice’s side for the GOAT spot. These stats back him up in the playoffs as well. Except for one. Yes Rice dominates him in yards and touchdowns in the playoffs but he’s played a bunch more games. 2245 playoff yards in favor of Rice compared to Larry’s 942, 22 TD’s to Larry’s 10, and, most importantly, 29 games compared to 9. But here’s a stat that could put the playoff numbers up in Dula’s favor. The per game playoff total is 104.7 to 77.4 yards and 6.3 to 5.2 reception… in favor of Larry. His per game totals are higher than Rices. I would bet that if football had an up-to-date win shares stat… Larry’s would be higher. We can’t deny facts, but we can justify the subjective. Keehn’s Stance: Luke-warm.
Bryce’s Reaction: We can talk stats if you want, but I like to refer to the tape. Fitz, is no doubt, a top tier all-time great at wideout. However, I would never call him the best. Randy’s hands and speed are unbelievable, T.O may be one of the best route runners all time. We even have guys playing in their primes right now who I would take over Fitz in their prime. Most notably, JULIOOOOOOOOOO. In my books, Julio is the best receiver in the league by far.
If we want to throw QB comparisons, uhhhh didn’t Larry play with HOFer Kurt Werner? In a super bowl?? Larry’s great, but watch some of Julio’s games or Randy’s or T.O, and see how they dominated the game despite their QB. My stance: ICE COLD
The New York Giants seem to have been making a lot of football news over the past two seasons despite having losing records (so far this year). Giants fans went from one extreme to the other. They went from demanding Eli Manning be put back in after he was benched 2 seasons ago by Ben McAdoo, to now wishing he was benched. On Tuesday, these fans got their wish.
Starting Daniel Jones at this point makes no sense
Why are they putting this kid in when Golden Tate and Sterling Shepard aren’t even back yet? Are they trying to set him up to fail from the start? Not only that, why not wait until week 4 and start him during a home game instead of playing him away at Tampa? It doesn’t make sense when you watch the game why people are actually looking at Eli as the main problem. The problem stands with the young Giants defense. Although guys who have even played over 100 career games in the league look lost out their *cough cough Janoris Jenkins*.
In fact, the defense has been so bad that Mike Francesa, the WFAN radio guy who puts every player on absolute blast but talks so nicely to every guest that comes on, had to tell Pat Shurmur that the Giants were “terrible at everything”. I’ve seen Mike interview the Giants coach every single year… he’s never said the negatives like that before. So is it really Eli Manning’s fault this is all happening? Is he getting old, heck yeah. Is it pretty much time to hang it up? Heck yeah again. It just doesn’t make any sense as to why Daniel Jones needs to be thrown right into this. The problem wasn’t Eli, the problem was Michael Gallup in game one and John Brown in game two were WIDE OPEN on 80% of their receptions. So with all this in mind, maybe let the kid watch just a few games more? Even until the top receivers come back?
Bryce’s Reaction: I would have to agree with here when in comes to the defense. The linebacking and secondary plass is just flat out BAD. The D-Line is doing well creating pressure, but they couldn’t seem to wrap Josh Allen up Sunday and he would escape defenders and chuck it down to my fantasy stud John Brown. But yes, the Giants need to build their defense and help out the offense with some stops.
On the other hand, the Giants are not going to build that overnight. So, let’s see what the kid can do right? Eli is not a part of the long term success of the team unfortunately (RIP to a HOF career), so it would make sense to put in your 6th overall draft pick to give him some experience, find how he can get better at this level with some legit tape to review, and maybe ignite a spark in the young core. So if you ask me, I love the benching. Eli is done. His arm is not what it was, and he cannot move to save his life (literally). Its time to hand over the keys old man. My Stance: *BRRRRRRRR*
Dula’s Reaction: Well the good news is that Sterling Shepard has cleared the concussion protocol. The bad news is pretty much every other Giants receiver is dealing with an injury which is not helpful for first time starter Daniel Jones. I understand why the Giants benched Eli Manning but what I can’t wrap my head around is the timing. Week 3? Really? If the plan all along was to see what happened the first two weeks of the season then why not start Daniel Jones from the jump?
The Giants need a lot of defensive help and Daniel Jones won’t solve those issues. I do expect him to play better than Eli but not by much. He is being set up for failure by putting him into a situation where his receiving corps is depleted. I also believe that the Giants would’ve beaten Tampa Bay had Eli started but now we will hear the narrative about how Daniel Jones brought them their first win when it is a game they should’ve won anyway. My opinion of this move is that it was the right move at the wrong time. My Stance: Bold
Bryce’s HOT Take
Nobody was more distraught over the retiring of Andrew Luck than I was- well maybe Jim Irsay, Chris Ballard, and Frank Reich, but you get my point. But I never understood why the Colts were all of the sudden eliminated from contention.
Colts Built & Ready for Title Run
Has nobody watched this team play? After a 1-5 start to the season in 2018, Indy finished with a 10-6 record and sneaking into the playoffs after a prime time “win and in” duel with the Titans.
Over that stretch, Andrew Luck was the least sacked QB in the League, RB Marlon Mack was white hot with 900 rushing yards in just 12 games played, and the team ranked within the top 10 in total offense. Then on defense, Star LB Darius Leonard racked up 163 total tackles, 7 sacks, and 2 picks as a rookie. We also had young stars like Anthony Walker, Kenny Moore, and Malik Hooker all have fantastic seasons. Other vets like Margus Hunt, Denico Autry, and Jabal Sheard also had big contributions to a defense that finished 10th overall in total defense (Pro-Football Reference). Now let’s consider the fact that the Colts lost ZERO starters besides Luck. Granted, Luck is a generational talent and he will be sorely missed. However Jacoby Brissett is very talented and has a top-tier offensive line, an underrated RB in Mack, and a group of pass catchers that feature TY Hilton, Eric Ebron, Jack Doyle, and young studs Deon Cain and Paris Cambell, with a top defense that only got better with additions of Justin Houston and 7 new defenisve rookies.
So far, Indy put together a huge comeback (OT loss) against one of the absolute best defenses in the league in the LA Chargers, and just came off of a huge divisional win against the Titans (who blew out Cleveland week 1). Be ready and don’t sleep on a deep Colts run at a title.
Keehn’s Reaction: Look, I like the colts just as much as the next guy. But after seeing Mahomes and Brady play the way they have thus far, this team has NO CHANCE against them. Not to crush dreams here but let’s be realistic. The Brady AB connection looks like they’ve been together for a decade. Mahomes doesn’t even have Tyreek Hill and he’s lighting up the scoreboard. The colts would have to go through them both to even get a shot at playing in the super bowl, and through two games it doesn’t seem highly likely. Keehn’s Stance: Cold
Dula’s Reaction: Define title. Divisional title? Possibly. Conference title? Unlikely. Super Bowl title? Not a chance. The AFC is just too difficult for the Colts to win with teams like the Patriots, Chiefs, Chargers, and Ravens. I like Jacoby Brissett as a game manager and with the talent around him I think he will definitely help the Colts achieve a winning record but they will easily get bounced in the playoffs. However, if we’re talking about divisional titles then I agree the Colts have a good chance at winning that. The AFC South has had three different winners each of the last three years. I’d say the division is up for grabs.
Jacoby Brissett is a good quarterback, not great. Now, you don’t necessarily need a great quarterback to win a Super Bowl. Look at Trent Dilfer, Brad Johnson, even Peyton Manning wasn’t exactly great when he won Super Bowl 50. But more often than not, a great quarterback is what can lead a team to a Super Bowl and I just don’t think Brissett has it in him. Although, had Andrew Luck been healthy then I do believe this team would’ve had Super Bowl potential. My Stance: Divisional = Bold, Conference = Cold, Super Bowl = Even Colder.