Ray Ratto

The time has come to draw your own conclusion

The time has come to draw your own conclusion

For the record, and just so you can’t say you weren’t told, these are the 32 starting quarterbacks in the NFL and the 50 backups. Draw your own conclusions.

(Author’s note: We list these only because Joe Webb was just signed by the Buffalo Bills, whose starter and first backup, Tyrod Taylor and T.J. Yates, are still in the concussion protocol).

AFC WEST

DENVER: Trevor Siemian (Paxton Lynch, Brock Osweiler)

KANSAS CITY: Alex Smith (Patrick Mahomes, Tyler Bray)

LOS ANGELES: Philip Rivers (Cardale Jones)

OAKLAND: Derek Carr (E.J. Manuel, Connor Cook)

AFC NORTH

BALTIMORE: Joe Flacco (Ryan Mallett)

CINCINNATI: Andy Dalton (AJ McCarron)

CLEVELAND: DeShone Kizer (Cody Kessler, Kevin Hogan, Josh Woodrum)

PITTSBURGH: Ben Roethlisberger (Landry Jones, Joshua Dobbs)

AFC SOUTH

HOUSTON: Tom Savage (DeShaun Watson)

INDIANAPOLIS: Scott Tolzien (Andrew Luck, Jacoby Brissett)

JACKSONVILLE: Chad Henne (Blake Bortles)

TENNESSEE: Marcus Mariota (Matt Cassel)

AFC EAST

BUFFALO: Nathan Peterman (Taylor, Yates, Webb)

MIAMI: Jay Cutler (Matt Moore, David Fales)

NEW ENGLAND: Tom Brady (Jimmy Garoppolo)

NEW YORK: Josh McCown (Bryce Petty, Christian Hackenberg)

NFC WEST

ARIZONA: Carson Palmer (Drew Stanton, Blaine Gabbert)

LOS ANGELES: Jared Goff (Sean Mannion)

SAN FRANCISCO: Brian Hoyer (C.J. Beathard)

SEATTLE: Russell Wilson (Austin Davis)

NFC NORTH

CHICAGO: Mike Glennon (Mitchell Trubisky, Mark Sanchez)

DETROIT: Matthews Stafford (Jack Rudock)

GREEN BAY: Aaron Rodgers (Brett Hundley)

MINNESOTA: Sam Bradford (Case Keenum)

NFL SOUTH

ATLANTA: Matt Ryan (Matt Schaub)

CAROLINA: Cam Newton (Derek Anderson, Brad Kaaya)

NEW ORLEANS: Drew Brees (Chase Daniel, Taysom Hill)

TAMPA BAY: Jameis Winston (Ryan Fitzpatrick, Ryan Griffin)

NFC EAST

DALLAS: Dak Prescott (Cooper Rush)

NEW YORK: Eli Manning (Geno Smith, Davis Webb)

PHILADELPHIA: Carson Wentz (Nick Foles)

WASHINGTON: Kirk Cousins (Colt McCoy)

Again, draw your own conclusions. I know I’ve drawn mine.

Sorting through Pete Carroll's latest flirtation with Kaepernick and the Seahawks

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AP

Sorting through Pete Carroll's latest flirtation with Kaepernick and the Seahawks

There are any number of ways to sort out Seattle Seahawks coach Pete Carroll’s latest public flirtation with the concept (as opposed to the actual presence) of Colin Kaepernick on his roster, but they all end the same.

Not a chance in hell. Okay, not much of a chance in hell.

It is a measure of our industrial inability to let go of a seemingly dead storyline that the question was even raised in Carroll’s pre-draft press conference Monday, and even more bizarre that he dangled it as a possibility when all it did was remind people yet again that the National Football League is run by narrow-minded, inflexible and even socially thuggish billionaires.

What it did not to do is make anyone think that (a) this is a football decision upon which Carroll has final say, or that (b) this is an employment decision upon which owner Paul Allen has the only vote that matters.

Now we could end up dead wrong in public here – it has happened before, of course. But Kaepernick is the handy hot button the owners have used to show their fealty to the noisy symbols-above-rights crowd that are taking credit they don’t deserve for the decline in football’s television popularity. It seems unfathomable that they would give that up, or more specifically, to let any of their individual members give that up on their behalf.

At least not without running it through HR.

It could be that the depositions in Kaepernick’s complaint against the league are going badly for the league in a strictly legal sense, though there is no public indication of such. It could be that the dovish win of the owners find this a needless distraction that the league would be better off solving quietly and quickly (if 15 months can be described as quick). It could even be that at his advanced age Allen has decided to put a finger in the eyes of his colleagues just for the sake of seeing them tear up.

But these all seem unlikely. Moreover, Carroll may be trying to pressure his superiors through public discussion to get Kaepernick in for a workout that leads to a job, and that’s not normally a triumphant stratagem.

In short, the smart money is to bet that this is one more red herring in a lake full of them. Colin Kaepernick will be as ex- a football player as he has been, people will re-convince themselves that his future as a player still has value as a talking point of brain-free chat shows, and the hamster wheel will continue to spin.

And in the end, the only good thing to come out of any of it is the number of cranial collisions Kaepernick does not endure by still being that ex-player.

Odds are relatively strong that Belt actually doesn’t have the longest at-bat ever

Odds are relatively strong that Belt actually doesn’t have the longest at-bat ever

Brandon Belt’s 21-pitch at-bat in Sunday’s Giants’ 4-2 victory over the Los Angeles Angels is the stuff of nerdley legend. It must also have made Rob Manfred pull off his own head in exasperation.

Baseball games are quicker this year because of the new speed diktats, all of them part of the Manfredian compulsion that pace is the thing that is keeping baseball from becoming the cool kids’ sport.

But here is Belt, laying down a 12-minute batting opus that droned on so long that Belt admitted later that he hates that sort of thing when he is in the field. He, too, understands where Manfred’s bread is buttered.

But it was also described as “the longest at-bat ever” by people who should know better but clearly don’t. It might have been the longest at-bat ever, but people have only been counting this for 20 years, and there have been long at-bats before. The odds are that there have been longer at-bats in baseball history, and that Belt’s extended soliloquy doesn’t rank first, but maybe 12th, or 29th, or 214th. According to BaseballReference.com, there have been 14,689,043 at-bats, so the odds are relatively strong that Belt actually doesn’t have the record at all.

So what we have here, then, is a fascinating oddity but not necessarily an epochal one. Frankly, if Belt really cared about the record, he would have fouled off seven or eight more pitches and made a better claim for having a record that nobody actually can make.

But every day is a new set of at-bats, and while Belt can never truly have a totally true record, he could make Rob Manfred turn purple with rage. That’s better than any record right there.