- - Wednesday, September 21, 2016

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

Once again, it’s time to check off some items on my “TIDU List” — Things I Don’t Understand:

Why controversy always surrounds Washington’s NFL team.

It didn’t take long for GM Scot McCloughan to stamp his identity on the Skins, but old habits die hard. McCloughan has overhauled the roster in two years on the job; culture change isn’t quite as easy. That’s why after only two games we’re already hearing of complaints, whispers and innuendos in the locker room again, just like seasons past.

This town’s political dramas have nothing on the football team’s state of affairs.

How New England built such an assembly line.

The Patriots are 2-0 without Tom Brady, beating a popular Super Bowl-pick (Arizona) and a pesky division foe (Miami). Quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo has excelled, completing 70 percent of his passes for 498 yards, four touchdowns and no interceptions. When he was injured in the first half on Sunday, New England didn’t miss a beat with rookie Jacoby Brissett.

The team might like deflated footballs, but it seems to own blow-up QBs.

Why Bryce Harper’s shoulder is such a mystery.

Something is wrong with the 2015 NL Most Valuable Player. Sports Illustrated’s Tom Verducci reported in August, and again this week, that Harper has a bum right shoulder. Nationals GM Mike Rizzo says, no, it’s “a stiff neck.” Harper neither confirms nor denies a shoulder injury, using the next-question approach when queried. It could be a case of semantics.

Sing with me: “The neck bone’s connected to the shoulder bone!”

How two rookie QBs can look so good so soon.

Quarterback in the NFL is sports’ hardest position. First-year players such as Philadelphia’s Carson Wentz and Dallas’ Dak Prescott aren’t supposed to start from Week 1 and perform with the aplomb of 10-year veterans. They’ve led their teams with ease and neither has thrown an interception.

Perhaps No. 1 pick Jared Goff would play like a rookie if he could get on the field for the anemic Rams.

What else Larry Brown would do with his spare time.

The Hall of Fame basketball coach is looking at a high school job in Long Island, New York. “I’m interested in helping kids,” he told Newsday. “But I don’t want to do anything unless I’m 100 percent in.” It’s difficult to envision the only coach with an NCAA and NBA title on his resume leading a prep team at 76 years old.

But Brown gives new meaning to the term “lifer.”

How Lamar Jackson could have a better coming-out party.

Not that anyone could’ve led Louisville to 1,500 yards of offense in its first two games, against Charlotte and Syracuse. But only a special player like the Cardinals’ sophomore QB could account for 362 yards and five touchdowns against then-No.2 Florida State. Jackson vaulted into the Heisman Trophy conversation and landed on the cover of Sports Illustrated.

Coach Rick Pitino’s thank-you card (for averting attention from hoops) is in the mail.

Why John Wall’s favorite NFL franchise matters.

The Wizards guard wore a Dallas jersey to FedEx Field and was roasted by fans and some media types. Playing for the city’s basketball team means you automatically must side with the city’s football team? Spare me. That’s as ridiculous as Wall’s complaints about fans cheering for the visitors at Verizon Center. You like who you like.

Besides, he could moonlight as a Cowboys halfback if he leads DC to an NBA title.

How you can’t pull for the Cubs just a little.

Nationals fans excluded, it’s hard to root against a franchise that’s gone 107 years since winning the World Series and 70 years since winning a pennant. Now Chicago boasts baseball’s best team. President Theo Epstein has history on his side: He built the 2004 Boston Red Sox squad that snapped an 85-year-old drought.

His Cooperstown enshrinement should be instantaneous if the Cubs break their dry spell, too.

Why the Mets weren’t honest about landing Tim Tebow.

GM Sandy Alderson was totally unconvincing when the Mets signed Tebow, who began work Monday in the instructional league. “While I and organization are mindful of the novel nature of this situation, this decision was strictly driven by baseball,” he told reporters earlier this month. “It is not driven by marketing considerations or anything sort.”

OK. And all the Tebow apparel on sale, from $29.99 to $119.99, is purely coincidental.

What Colin Kaepernick did to deserve death threats.

I guess it’s unsurprising that yahoos have threatened the 49ers quarterback for his peaceful protests. “To me, if something like that were to happen, you’ve proved my point,” Kaepernick told reporters Tuesday. “And it will be loud and clear for everyone why it happened.” This was the day after video surfaced of another unarmed black man shot dead by a police officer.

But kneeling during the national anthem, yeah, that’s the problem.


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