OK, gang, some house-cleaning announcements.
We are in New York City the rest of the week. Took the Mrs. 5-at-10 and the 5-at-10 tots to see the sites and take in a show or two. We're pretty stoked.
With that, play nice because I will not be regularly monitoring our morning conversations.
So here we go — and yes, as we speak I am likely waiting in line somewhere at Hartsfield International Airport.
NFL Power Poll
Well, the first shoe has dropped. The Washington Redskins have fired the football coaching version of Ozzie Canseco.
There's a real chance that the Gruden brothers may end up with the most NFL wins for a duo, and Jay Gruden's 35-49-1 record with the Redskins certainly is a lower total than Jon Gruden's 99 (and counting) career wins.
But the intrigue of the NFL season's first fired head coach has less to do with Jay Gruden and more to do with the spin cycle it sets in motion.
First, who does Washington target? Byron Leftwich, the former Marshall star and current Tampa Bay OC, and Mike McCarthy are the betting favorites, according to SportsBettingDime.com. Leftwich is 11-to-2 and McCarthy is 13-to-2. Also much further down on that list are Jim Harbaugh (40-to-1), Rex Ryan (50-to-1), Lincoln Riley (60-to-1) and Urban Meyer (66-to-1).
Second, did you realize that Jay Gruden's coaching tree is better than Bill Belichick's, which is a testament to my belief that you can learn every bit as much from watching someone do a job the wrong way as you can from watching an expert. Gruden's former assistants include Sean McVay, Kyle Shanahan and first-year Packers coach David LaFleur. Quick, name Belichick's most accomplished former assistant as an NFL head coach. We'll wait.
Third, the Redskins now become firmly entrenched in the tank model. And they are not alone.
We know the Dolphins are in that tank, but they are used to it.
Which brings us to this interesting point: If you are among the powerless, what is your approach moving forward?
The Redskins must push Dwayne Haskins into the deep end and get an idea of what they think he could be. If it's a disaster — the Redskins over/under win total right now is 2.5, and that's with a game against the Dolphins remaining — then you have to be thinking about another QB.
But what do the Bengals do? Or the Jets, who have been derailed because Sam Darnold got the mumps between study hall and Mr. Mathis' social studies class? And they are not alone. What about the Broncos or even the Falcons?
Yep, those are questions that must be asked — and Dan Quinn needs to keep his head on a swivel considering that he's under-.500 as a head coach since Shanahan left for San Fran with a ton of talent.
To the poll.
1. New England (5-0). We told you cats from the beginning that this could be as good a defense as Belichick has had in 15 years. How good? Glad you asked. The Pats have allowed 34 points this year. The vaunted Monsters of the Midway part III Bears have allowed more than twice that many (69).
2. Green Bay (4-1). Yes, the power poll is a fluid, ever-changing event, but the Packers leap from unranked to No. 2 is more about their schedule than the Chiefs' struggles Sunday night. The Packers are right there with a lot of folks for the second-best record in the league but can claim wins over the Bears, the Vikings and the Cowboys. Not to mention the Pack would be unbeaten if not for an inexplicable series of events at the 1 against the Eagles last month.
3. Chiefs (4-1). Sunday night's sluggish effort in a loss to the Colts has changed more than my perception of the race in the AFC. According to Caesar's, the Pats are 1-to-1 picks to reach the Super Bowl; the Chiefs are second in the AFC at 9-to-4.
4. New Orleans (4-1). Is there another team in the league that could cruise to this kind of start after losing your starting QB for multiple weeks? It's a testament to the entire organization. It's also a testament to Teddy Bridgewater, who is perpetually undervalued and under appreciated. How's this for a great stat: Did you know that Bridgewater is now 26-7 against the spread as a starter with the Saints (minus-3) beating the Bucs 31-24 Sunday? Bridgewater's ATS stats are the best percentage of any quarterback with more than 15 starts in the Super Bowl era. Teddy Bridgewater, gambling Hall of Fame?
5. Seattle (4-1). If we were required to vote right now, and assuming you know, I actually had an NFL MVP vote, I'd vote for Russell Wilson. (Or Will Fuller, who was a fantasy football God Sunday.)
(Yes, that leaves an unbeaten San Francisco off, and you can call me a doubter all you want. The 49ers have not faced a team with a winning record yet — their four wins are against a quartet that is a combined 5-15.)
28. Atlanta (1-4). Am I a little bitter? Yeah, you could say that. There are several one-win teams in the league, so why is Atlanta last? Glad you asked. With the exception of the Dolphins' atrocious defense that has allowed 163 points in four games — yes, that's dreadful — the Falcons have allowed the second-most points in the league at 152. And the Falcons' minus-50 points differential is the worst among all teams that have at least one win. Did I mention that I believe Dan Quinn should be walked to the parking lot? But if this truly unravels — like 2-14 bad — will the Falcons explore drafting Matt Ryan's successor and use that E-normous cap hit in their multitude of areas of need?
29. Cincinnati (0-5). We discussed Monday that the Bengals have a slew of traceable pieces. And they could certainly get first-round picks in exchange for A.J. Green or Gene Atkins.
30. New York Jets (0-4). The Jets may be the most unlucky team in the bottom five, but they are a bottom-five team nonetheless. Sam Darnold is an interesting case study for the next couple of seasons, no?
31. Washington (0-5). The rest of the season has to be about seeing whether Haskins has anything resembling the skill set to be a starting QB. Now would be a pretty good time to sell high any Washington fantasy players on your roster.
32. Miami (0-4). Good news? Well, the Dolphins didn't lose last week. So there's that.
How much do I love the draft?
We are going to get a chance to see later this month.
The XFL has announced that it will have a 71-round draft for its franchises on Oct. 15-16.
Yes, 71 rounds. Who's going to grade round 49, Kiper? Huh? Whatcha' got?
The league is going to assign QBs to the eight teams and then have a traditional snake draft after that with one caveat: The first 40 picks per team will be divided into four position groups with 10 picks per. There's more here.
Here are a few other ideas from someone who has a mild crush on the draft (you know this):
> Give each team the chance to draft and negotiate with Justin Fields, Trevor Lawrence and any other second-year QB in college football. Offer them a one-year, $5 million (or more) contract fully guaranteed with the knowledge that everyone expects them to be headed to the NFL in 2021. And, since those guys would have a year of professional experience under their belt, here's betting that their agents would try to figure out a way for them to be exempt from the draft and negotiate with the highest bidder.
> Encourage regionalization in terms of XFL city and area colleges.
> Have an old-timer pick in round 41. Pick Brett Favre. Or Tebow. Or even T.O.
Beyond the draft, make every team keep one local "walk-on" for the season.
It all comes down to one game
The Cards bested the Braves with a walk-off Game 4 win.
Now it comes down to Game 5 Wednesday in Atlanta.
This has been a fun series. And a painful one. And an enlightening one.
The Braves have had a very good year, and one that could be better than that with a few more big wins this month.
But there is not enough at SunTrust to expect this bunch to win it all this year.
Looking around at the teams that can actually win the whole thing, there are three teams with bona fide aces and the Yankees.
I would love to see the Braves and the Dodgers in the NLCS. That would be a ton of fun.
But whether the Braves go all the way or go home Wednesday, they need to open up the bankroll for a legit No. 1 starting pitcher in the months ahead.
The Braves need to make Gerrit Cole a priority.
This and that
— I thought this was eye-opening. Tyler Cyr is a minor leaguer in the Giants system. He posted his pay stubs and revealed that he loses money playing baseball.
— No "Horns Down" from the Sooners in this week's OU-Texas rivalry. I like that decision, Lincoln Riley.
— OK, here's your baseball update: Yankees swept the Twins, who simply have no answers for NYC; Astros lead Rays 2-1 with Game 4 today; each series in the NL will go to a Game 5 on Wednesdays as the Dodgers-Nats are tied 2-2 just like Braves-Cards.
— On the other side of good decisions is this TSSAA decision to suspend Red Bank coach Chad Brown for this week's game. Brown was ejected last week after losing it when an opposing player took a terribly dirty shot at a Red Bank player's knee.
— The Titans cut their kicker after he missed four field goals Sunday.
— Sadly, as of this wiring, Dan Quinn is still the coach of the Atlanta Falcons.
True or false on a Tuesday. Let's do this.
True or false, this is the best Patriots team of the dynasty.
True or false, the Braves will win Game 5 Wednesday.
True or false, if you were Trevor Lawrence and the XFL offered you $10 million for one year you'd do it.
As for today, Oct. 8, let's review.
On this day in 1956, Don Larsen pitched a perfect game against the Dodgers in the World Series.
On this day in 1957, the Dodgers announced they were headed to L.A.
On this day in 1971, John Lennon released "Imagine."
Matt Damon is 49 today.
Chevy Chase is 76 today.
Does Chevy make the Rushmore of comedy movie actors of our lifetime (based on best collection of all-time comedy movies)?