What’s up, Special Ed?!
First off we have to follow up on last month’s top story, and a mea culpa is in order:
We were dead wrong folks, spring was NOT right around the corner. Wintery weather persisted throughout March and early April and it suuuuucked. Even today it’s not really any warmer than it was in later February. Anyways, whether the Groundhog likes it or not - baseball has begun, the NBA playoffs are this weekend, next week is the NFL draft, and we got some new shoes - it IS spring now, you guys, let’s break it down.
For us real woke hoops watchers the NBA playoffs actually started about a week ago. Heading into last weekend, seeds 4 through 9 in the west were still up for grabs and every team “controlled their own destiny” so there were intense games played every night this past week. We didn’t watch any of them, of course, because the Mets are fucking awesome and we’re trying to catch up on the Star Wars: Clone Wars cartoons.
We had only seen a few episodes here and there of Clone Wars and Rebels, and we’ve always wanted to watch them all the way through. Lately with all the new Star Wars content on the scene, it was starting to feel like there was a gap in our Star Wars experience, so we’re dedicating ourselves to catching up before the 2018 Special Ed Season begins.
It seems like an important thing to do right now. Most of these new Star Wars stories coming out tend to be building upon and referencing the earlier characters more than introducing a lot of new stuff. But those cartoon series contained as much original Star Wars stuff as any of the books, comics or movies after episode 2. And they are not truly stand-alone episodic shows either; In the future it will be impossible to ignore the characters and settings from these shows because they are tied so intimately to Anakin and our core Star Wars story. The new Clone Wars characters who worked most closely with Anakin (Ahsoka and Rex) both appeared in Rebels, and other stars of Rebels appeared in Rogue One. This sort of cross pollination will certainly continue, and we want to be ready.
We’re through the Clone Wars movie and the first two season so far. It’s cool. The missions get a bit repetitive sometimes, but we’re big fans of Ahsoka Tano. She’s got an indomitable spirit and a funny back-hand lightsaber grip. When we’re done she might end up as our #2 overall favorite Jedi*, after the GOAT Qui-Gon Jinn.
For those that don’t know: Ahsoka Tano was Anakin’s padawan, introduced in the Clone Wars animated movie. She’s super cool, WhosHotStradamus predicts there will be an Ahsoka “Star Wars Story” film at some point. The best episodes of Clone Wars focus on her relationship with Anakin, showing the influence that a mentor has on a student. She learns Anakin's techniques and also his habits. She learns to be headstrong and indignant, but also caring, loving and protective - Ahsoka is molding herself in Anakin’s image, for better or worse. But she is also a continuation of Qui-Gon Jinn’s great Jedi lineage.
Qui-Gon is the Bill Parcells of Star Wars, just look at this coaching tree: Obi-Wan, Luke, Rey, Anakin, Ahsoka, Sabine - All future Hall of Famers.
Qui-Gon had a unique style that was not embraced my many other Jedi of his time, but this makes his influence on his protégé unmistakable. Unlike Obi-Wan, who depended upon his visions of the future to out-maneuver his enemies and avoid traps, Qui-Gon depended entirely on a connection with the “Living Force”. With only a modicum of planning or foresight, he patiently waits for opportunities to come to him. Qui-Gon’s aloof serenity in the face of unknown dangers often frustrated his compatriots, but it instilled in Anakin a brazen and unshakable confidence (which became equally frustrating for Obi-Wan). Ahsoka learned early in the Clone Wars that Anakin’s self-confidence may lead him into danger but that he also never failed to escape; he always succeeded through the will of the force, even if not the way they had planned. Ahsoka inherited Qui-Gon’s irrational bravery from Anakin and comes to live like they did, without any fear for her own safety and always without a Plan B.
NBA FINALS PREDICTION: As much as we loved the new-look Cavs after the trade deadline, Rodney Hood and the other new guys have not made as big an impact as we’d hoped. So we are predicting The Miracle Year for Philly sports to continue for a few more weeks as the Sixers unseat the Cavaliers as Eastern Conference Champs. But the injury-riddled Warriors will return to full strength in time to defeat the Rockets on the way to meeting Philly in the Finals.
WARRIORS over SIXERS in 5.
Draft time is cool, cause we get to take some time off of thinking about Fantasy and really just be a regular football guy and focus on our beloved Buffalo Bills. It’s always best to just step away from the fantasy analysis until the draft is over and free agency winds-down. It’s not until training camps open when we really get an idea of how each team’s depth charts are gonna shake out anyway so we’re not gonna jump the gun. So instead of a fantasy-focused breakdown we’re just gonna take a look at all of Special Ed’s favorite IRL NFL teams and what they might do in Round Number 1.
GIANTS: Saquon Barkley – RB - PSU
The Giants are hoping the Browns take their QB first so they can snag Saquon Barkley. Saquon is going to be incredible. There aren’t that many college players that you know are going to be great in the NFL, but Saquon is one of those. There have been a few other slam-dunk RBs drafted in recent years - Gurley was one, Zeke too – but Saquon was way better than those guys in college. It’s a great position for the G-Men to be in too since the most glaring hole on the NYG offense is at RB. Paul Perkins and Shane Vereen were both in the bottom 20th percentile in rushing efficiency, but were lightly used. The guy they did use was the astoundingly average Orleans Darkwa. OD was 28th in rushing attempts and 23rd in rushing yards in 2017. This earned him the honor of being named Football Outsiders’ 24th ranked rushing RB of the season. WOOOO BABY THAT’S AVERAGE!!!
FALCONS: Taven Bryan – DL – UF
What we’d really like to see is for either DJ Moore or Calvin Ridley to fall to 26 for Atlanta. Julio took a beating last year getting double and triple teamed every week. They need a complimentary WR to really get that offense going. Sanu has been better than a lot of people expected (not us, we knew), but ATL never really replaced Roddy White. If those guys don’t fall, Taven Bryan is a white guy with enormous arms. Atlanta will love him. Probly gonna call him Big Country.
STEELERS: Derrius Guice - RB – LSU
The idea that the Steelers don’t want to pay Le’Veon Bell is one of our very favorite asinine off-season narratives. There’s no way this actually happens but we’re more than happy to do our part to keep the storyline going.
EAGLES: EQUANIMEOUS ST. BROWN - WR – Notre Dame
The Eagles are another team that needs WRs but is probably too late in round 1 to get the top guys. They will happily settle for the #1 overall Name in this year's draft: EQUANIMEOUS!!!!! Can we let him put his first name on the jersey, please? We're already falling in love with the Defending Champs. Michael Bennett also was a great signing, the Bennett brothers are two of our favorite non-Bills. We’re reading Michael’s book right now. It’s a good read, we recommend it. The chapter about the mis-education of college athletes is pretty heart wrenching. Here's a couple excerpts:
PATRIOTS: Connor Williams - OT - Texas
The most obvious pick for the Patriots would be to use their first rounder to replace the stalwart Nick Solder. But Williams is one of the highest regarded linemen in this draft and he might not fall all the way to #23. Perhaps they need to trade up … Maybe up to 12 or so … The Patriots are well known for their draft-day machinations … Which brings us to our other favorite asinine off-season pipedream: That the Patriots are trying to trade Gronk. We LOVE the idea of blowing up the Patriots, but come on now, Gronk is hurt a lot, but when he’s out there he’s still the best TE of all time, and it’s not close. But if they really do want to get rid of Gronk… well, it looks as if his own hometown team just happens to have a ton of extra draft picks and a dearth of Tight Ends… Just sayin.
BILLS: Lamar Jackson – QB - Louisville
After a flurry of trades, the reigning AFC Wildcard Game Participants have 6 picks in the first 3 rounds including the 12th and 22nd picks in the first round. We wouldn’t mind trading a couple of those later picks for Gronk, but really The Bills could use all those picks. Clearly they have a ton of holes to fill - this time last year The Bills were believed to be tanking and have only gotten worse on paper since then. The one thing we DON’T want them to do is trade up again. The Jets way overpaid for the #3 pick. We don’t want to see the Bills give up 5 of their 6 picks to get in the top 2. Not worth it. The Jets might get their QB, but nobody else. Congrats, you’re the Lions now. Regardless, to us Lamar Jackson is the best QB in this draft. The kid threw over 3,500 yards AND ran for 1,500. TWICE! Most draftnicks have him as the 4th or 5th QB off the board and that would be just fine with us.
*DYM JEDI POWER RANKING:
1) Qui-Gon Jinn
2) Luke Skywalker
3) Ahsoka Tano
4) Anakin Skywalker
7) Obi-Wan Kenobi
8) Mace Windu 9) Jak'zin
10) Kit Fisto
HAVE A GREAT SPRING EVERYBODY!!!!