Mostly agree with your rankings; with the optimism bias from being a cardinals fan personally, I'd argue you could make a 1 star increase at each position, but their current rankings are also fair. I very much disagree with the 1 star ranking at special teams however, as we have a pro bowl gunner in Justin Bethel being joined by some high upside athletes in the kick coverage team and kick return game. Probably the best coverage unit in the game, which coupled with a punter who is below average (don't think he's as bad as stats show- his hangtime is rediculous, and it seems the staff went with him for this reason. I'd choose a distance leg with our coverage team, butI digress). In short, I'd say 3 stars is fair. A perfectly average special teams unit, whose only limitation really seems to be Drew Butler's distance and the uncertainty of a new long snapper (but both seem pretty reliable this far)
The premise: Coming off a Super Bowl victory, the Patriots open the 2013 season with a blowout win. Unfortunately, they get into trouble for Spygate II. As punishment, Roger Goodell orders the Patriots to fire Bill Belichick and replace him with Emmitt Smith. Three years later, the Patriots beat the Bears in the Super Bowl, 2-0. After the game, Emmitt announced his retirement.
This is a weekly feature that will take a newspaper reporter's perspective and follow Emmitt through his post-retirement days.
By Alex Rodriguez, Special to the NFL Bible Network Tuesday, Dec. 12, 2017
Evil Emmitt, mastermind of Bountygate II, must have some incredible technological capabilities because shortly after we published last week's story about the real Emmitt being introduced to his goateed counterpart, all communication was cut off from his headquarters. This means that the bug we placed on Emmitt was rendered useless.
So, we have no idea what may have happened during the past week. Our hero may have been forced into partaking in some kielbasa man sex with Viceroy Matt Millen. We can only hope that something this horrifying didn't happen.
Meanwhile, the Skittle Warriors received word that Emmitt was being held captive by the Bountygate II perpetrators. They considered avoiding the situation for a while, but Anthony Morelli, the Yellow Skittle, spoke up.
"Eh yo, guy who got kidnap was guy who tolded me where throw ball," Morelli articulated as best as he could. "Eh, he guy who boss on team. He gave me job, eh yo, now time for me give thanks by saving haha yo... huh?"
JaMarcus Russell, the Purple Skittle and another former co-worker of Emmitt's, chimed in.
"Guy... I already forgetted his name... gived me chance when nobody elses didn'ted ha," Russell said. "Now guy I still forgetted names in troubles and we need savinged him, do ya tink so?"
The Skittle Warriors discussed this and decided it was best to consult their boss, the Tropical Skittle.
"Hem, hem... uhh... injuries... uhh... Emmitt... maybe kielbasa man sex... hem, hem..." said the enigmatic Tropical Skittle. "Uhh... hem, hem... I take full responsibility... umm... uhh... changes need to be made... hem, hem... uhh... time's yours."
With the Tropical Skittle's permission, the Skittle Warriors made their way to the University of Florida's football locker room. The button Norv Turner's turkey neck pushed last week to open up the secret entrance didn't work properly, but that didn't deter the Skittle Warriors from completing their goal.
"YEAAAAHHHH BEAST MODE! BEAST MODE!!! YEAAAHHHHHHHH!!!" shouted Marshawn Lynch, the Green Skittle, ramming his body into the back wall of the locker room. Lynch's beast-mode blast was successful - the wall crumbled, revealing the spiral staircase heading down into the Bountygate II headquarters.
The Skittle Warriors sprinted down the steps, but were met at the bottom by Millen.
"So, what do we have here?" Millen asked. "Some young stallions trying to break into our headquarters, eh? If so, you're out of luck. My boss told me that no one is allowed to enter. And no, I will not take kielbasas for bribes."
That's when Jeff Garcia, the Orange Skittle, took one for the team.
"Jeeezzth Chriiitthhh like ohhhh my gaawwd, I'll like sthleep with you and ride you all night long Mither Millen, Jeezztth Chriitthh."
This piqued Millen's interest.
"All night long, you say?" Millen asked, raising his brow. "Well, you sir are not 100-percent USDA Man. In fact, I wouldn't even call you 10-percent USDA Man. But I'll make you a deal - I'll let you pass in a week if you and all three of your 100-percent USDA Man friends have wild kielbasa man sex with me for the next six days."
Garcia, Lynch, Russell and Morelli all begrudgingly walked away with Millen. However, Eric Berry, the Red Skittle, smartly hid out of sight during the entire exchange. Once everyone was gone, Berry bolted toward the door.
Berry was well on his way to Evil Emmitt's office when Turner stepped into his path.
"You'll need to turn back now," Turner's turkey neck said, staring Berry down menacingly.
"Step aside Norv," Berry said, firmly standing his ground. "You may have beaten my team soundly when you were head coach of the Chargers, but those days are over!"
"I'd think twice about that, nyegh," Turner's turkey neck sneered. Turner then revealed an object he was holding behind his back the entire time. He opened his palm, revealing it to Berry, who stood there in complete horror. Absolute fear occupied every bone of Berry's body as he fully comprehended the magnitude of the object he was looking at - a My Little Pony doll.
"AHHHHH HORSES ARE SOOOO SCARRRRYYY AHHHHHH!!!" Berry shrieked, quickly turning and sprinting back toward the entrance. "PPPLLEEEAASSEEE DON'T HURT MEEE WITH THATTT HOORSSSIIEEEEE AHHHHH!!!"
And just like that, it was over. The Skittle Warriors failed. We still don't know if Emmitt is even OK, and it's beginning to look like we never will.
EMMITT'S FRIENDS TO THE RESCUE!
By Alex Rodriguez, Special to the NFL Bible Network Tuesday, Dec. 19, 2017
Just when we thought all hope was lost, Emmitt's friends arrived in Gainesville. Apparently, the bond between them was just so unbreakable that they couldn't stay away.
"You guys were right; this was definitely the right move," Eric Mangini said. "There are tons of hot girls here. I don't even know where to begin!"
"G8ohg quewo gwug re photo la owb grb jebjwh bsduh r sdp rl en frame bsdkb idbvkjrebg erjbourbvuo dskjbr ebv sd picture brk basbi dbierbgk erbnletn painting blnkdsjv oeu gir gblfdnbvkjs," Shannon Sharpe replied.
"What!?" Mangini squealed. "You told me we were coming to Gainesville to check out all of hot girls; not rescue Emmitt! Who cares about Emmitt with all of these hot girls walking around!?"
Despite Mangini's pleas to stick around the heart of campus so he could take pictures of all of the hot girls, the group, comprised of Mangini, Sharpe, Brandon Marshall and Eric Winston, made their way to the Florida football locker room, where we were expecting the hole that Marshawn Lynch created to still be there. To our complete dismay, the wall was untouched, almost as if the former Seahawk never broke through it.
Our heroes stood around, perplexed for nearly an hour. Finally, Mangini was so frustrated that he lashed out at Sharpe.
"That's it; I'm done with you, Shannon!" Mangini shouted. "This is the last time I ever hang out with you! I don't care if my mom doesn't make me anymore macaroni and cheese - it's delicious, but it's not worth it if she forces me to spend time with you!"
"RPjiw wwe iwrhgo r lrk glasses gnoweiurbg etn lerg o oergb 4baib ug tlhtn ldbvkj birgb eye tkbhlkns kjbasu vudbrb ktbos rabbit d bg jhtbnsld oidoebkhtbh ld foi blfn,yn pineapple lrynksdb vodfnlh toh siodh db ekthn," Sharpe replied.
Amazingly, as soon as Sharpe stopped speaking, the back wall of the locker room flipped around and revealed the spiral staircase.
"Great work, Shannon!" Winston said encouragingly to Sharpe, who beamed upon hearing a rare compliment.
The four raced down the stairs. They spied Norv Turner standing in front of the Mark Sanchez Butt Fumble statue, so they darted inside one of the rooms in the corridor.
What they saw inside was unfathomable. It was a massacre. The four Skittle Warriors who agreed to have kielbasa man sex with Viceroy Matt Millen were sprawled out on the floor, looking completely defeated.
"Eh yo... eh..." Anthony Morelli gasped.
"I tink... I tink... every boned brokened, do ya... do ya tink do ya tink..." JaMarcus Russell added.
Mangini, Sharpe, Marshall and Winston peered back out of the doorway, and they saw that Turner was gone. They took their opportunity and abandoned the fallen Skittle Warriors. They climbed the stairs and ran toward the corridor leading toward Evil Emmitt's office. But that's when they bumped into Marshall's wife, who was killed about two months ago.
"No, she's back!" Marshall yelped. "How is this possible!?"
"I'll tell you how," Marshall's wife quickly replied, taking steps toward the four heroes. "With Bountygate II technology, we're able to bring back the dead! Now, Brandon, honey, hand over Shannon, and leave, and no harm will come of you. Fail to comply, and you'll surely trip over another McDonald's bag!"
Marshall broke down and cried, which angered Winston.
"When you threaten, when you threaten somebody with a McDonald's bag, a regular old paper bag or a plastic bag, , I don't care who it is - and it just so happened to be Brandon Marshall - it's sickening. It's 100-percent sickening," Winston said. "I've been in some rough times on some rough situations, I've never been more embarrassed in my life to stand before an undead woman than in that moment right now."
Marshall's wife was taken completely aback by this. She then instantly burst into flames, allowing our four heroes to proceed into Evil Emmitt's office. They opened the door and found the real Emmitt gagged and tied to a chair.
Turner and Millen, each with a kielbasa in hand, stood beside Evil Emmitt, who boasted a menacing smile.
"Everything goin' accordion to plans now that Emmitt real friend have arrival," Emmitt said, laughing gleefully.
Will they rescue real Emmitt? Will they destroy Evil Emmitt? Will they finally put an end to Bountygate II? Find out in the Season 5 finale of Emmitt on the Brink next week!