If you thought the wrath of Queen Daenerys was a sight to behold on Game Of Thrones last night, you guys should have been reading my mentions all last week in the wake of me poking fun at the New York Giants' hype video of Daniel Jones at rookie minicamp. If you don't watch Game Of Thrones -- I'm sure you've already made some public declaration so we know who you are -- rest easy. We'll only talk about Daenerys at the end of this week's column. I might sprinkle in a few side comments along the way but I'm not making any promises.
This week's edition of Studs & Duds is dedicated to the angry. The irrational. The mad. The crazy. Whether you're a Giant, a queen or a contract -- we'll get to you. Enjoy!
STUD - Now retired Seahawks receiver Doug Baldwin
Doug Baldwin will ride off into the sunset at the age of 30-years old, having caught 493 balls for 6563 yards and 49 touchdowns. And although Baldwin went over 1,000 yards just twice in his eight year career, Baldwin helped define this generation of Seattle Seahawks.
Baldwin, though he was tiny, played the game the right way -- mad. Tough, fearless, tenacious. It's tragic to see him have to walk away from the game at 30 on account of his body betraying him. Baldwin had surgeries this offseason on his shoulder, knee and to repair a sports hernia as well.
A tip of the hat to Baldwin, who is now on to bigger and better things than the game of football. He's got his whole life ahead of him.
DUDS - The Giants' hive mentality
This isn't going to apply to all of you, Giants fans. But to the select population that chooses to be mad and offended at the first sign of criticism? I'm sorry. I'm sorry you're so sensitive about your team's decision that you feel you need to defend the honor of the New York Giants by attacking the credibility of anyone who didn't have something nice to say. Even if something not nice isn't even directed to the player as a player.
The Giants are facing a firestorm of skeptics regarding their selection of Daniel Jones at #6 overall -- so much so that when they put out a hype video from rookie camp that features a whole lot of swing passes into the flats and Jones scrambling at one point in a drill vs. no defense, I found it amusing. So I did what I always do -- I made a joke.
The Giants hive didn't like it very much. I got questions asking me why I didn't work in the league if I was so much smarter than Dave Gettleman. I got called a mom's basement scout. My favorite was being asked why I had any credibility since my #9 overall prospect and The Draft Network's consensus #6 prospect -- WR DK Metcalf -- fell to #64 overall.
Does the NFL still have credibility for drafting Jamarcus Russell or Johnny Manziel in the first round? Does the NFL still have credibility after letting Eddie Jackson fall to the fourth round or George Kittle fall to the fifth?
The Draft is an unpredictable, beautiful mess. Giants fans, your quarterback may very well do just fine. But put your swords away and let's talk rationally.
STUD - CB Xavien Howard's contract extension
Howard signed his mega-extension this morning before the team's first OTA session -- a 5-year extension that will pay Howard $76M over the next six years total. With 11 interceptions in his last two seasons (28 games), Howard has blossomed into one of the best ball hawking corners in all of football.
This money? It's mad money. And Howard has earned it. He'll earn $46M in guarantees, but Miami's potential dead cap is as low as $4.2M after the first two years of the deal -- meaning Miami protected themselves in the event that Howard's knee issues creep up on him again and limit his long-term ability.
Paying your young, drafted talent is part of any recipe for sustained success. It's something Miami hasn't done a lot of in the past. But Howard is a great place to start.
DUD - The NCAA's last April transfer waiver decisions
Just to be clear -- the NCAA denied waiver exemptions for both offensive lineman Brock Hoffman and tight end Luke Ford late last month. They had hoped to transfer to new schools and avoid having to sit out a year of playing time while doing so.
Why, you ask? Because both have sick family members at home that they'd like to be closer too. Hoffman transferred from Coastal Carolina to Virginia Tech so he could be some 70 miles closer to home to help his mom -- who has recently had a brain tumor removed.
Ford has a sick grandfather at home, prompting him to transfer from Georgia to Illinois.
While both of these young men face potentially being forced to sit out a season of football, star prospects like Justin Fields (formerly of Georgia, now at Ohio State) and Tate Martell (formerly of Ohio State, now of Miami) were granted immediate transfers without having to redshirt -- both citing "mitigating circumstances". Martell's excuse? Urban Meyer's retirement. Fields' excuse? Who knows.
What we do know? This kind of standard is bullshit and the NCAA ought to be ashamed of this thinly veiled excuse to cater to money-making prospects like Fields and Martell.
STUD - The life lessons in Game Of Thrones' penultimate episode
I get it. You've watched this show for eight seasons now and you've fallen in love with the characters. You're emotionally involved. I am, too.
And if I had to craft an ending for the series, it sure as hell wouldn't look like the one that we've got playing out ahead of us. Does the series feel rushed? Yes. Do I wish we had more time to give the plot twists the depth necessary to fully feel their emotion? Yes.
Spoiler alert: If you haven't watched last night's episode, it's time to bounce. See ya next week.
BUT. I appreciate the unfolding events in Westeros. Because it's exactly like life -- REAL life. It doesn't matter that you're emotionally invested. It doesn't matter what you want. People are who they are. We've seen teases of Daenerys being impulsive and quick triggered in the past. And she caves to her rage to perform terrible, unspeakable, easily avoidable acts in the taking of King's Landing. She's gone from the Breaker of Chains to the Mad Queen.
That, my friends, is life. Not the whole riding on the back of a fire-breathing dragon thing. But that things don't always happen the way they deserve to or how we want them to. That, at its core, has been one of the defining components of Game Of Thrones.
Life isn't fair -- and for all the deviations the producers have made off of the source material -- I can't justify those -- they've stayed true to that one, single idea.