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Going downhill fast

Bleacher Views

I’ve always been a fan of Sisyphus; I mean who couldn’t be? The dude gets condemned to a death time of useless labor, and he sticks with it.  Kinda like playing for the Orioles for all eternity but still batting .300 for the career. Heroic, even.

Were I Sisyphus though, the thing that would worry me would not be the part about pushing the rock up the hill; I mean that’s just good exercise. No, what would worry me would be what the rock was going to do going down the hill. Think about it; we’re not just talking a pebble here. This is a boulder suddenly showing that it has a mind of its own and that its mind is made up to do us as much evil as it can muster. Not the recipe for a rockin’ good time (sorry!).

That thought was on my mind as I was watching the opening edition of Monday Night Football, featuring the Baltimore Ravens against the newly minted, far from ocean blue Las Vegas Raiders. They may not be raiding any local shipping, but they had it in their minds to roll down on the Ravens endangered quarterback, Lamar Jackson.

Now one of things all football coaches try to teach is what is called “downhill tackling.” In other words, we want our D-line and backs to not just hit the ball carrier, but roll through him like Sisyphus’s rock looking to turn him into leftover jelly.  I know, not overly delicate, but you have to admit, it gets your attention.

Anyway, nobody on the Ravens’ staff seemed to think that Jackson’s health was worth giving him an O-line that could keep the Raiders’ downhill boulders off the QB long enough to ensure that he wasn’t going to be run over and jellified. 

They also didn’t tell him to stay in the pocket and pay attention to keeping his body parts intact. He ran, and the Raiders tackled downhill. Ouch!

The lesson here is that there are old quarterbacks (think Tom Brady) and there are running quarterbacks; but there are no old, running quarterbacks. Keep those fellas at the bottom of the hill and don’t give those NFL boulders a running start.


Millerton resident Theodore Kneeland is a former teacher and coach — and athlete.

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