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The Jets Effect And Pedestrian Mindset, With Dom Cosentino

Jets quarterback Zach Wilson holding up his jersey on draft night, quite possibly the last time he will experience joy near such a jersey.
Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

Some bad football teams are denser than others. Not in terms of the decisions they make, but in the gravitational force that they exert upon everyone and everything in their orbit. An organization that is suitably self-thwarting or backwards or culturally vile or otherwise borked can be not just suppressive but actively distorting; if a situation is bad enough, in enough ways, it can become next to impossible to figure out how a given player might perform in another one. Yes this is about the New York Jets.

More to the point, it's about one of the most challenging football-related questions that we put to our beloved former co-worker and NFL feature-writing ace Dom Cosentino. Because this podcast and its two idiot hosts are the way they are, this was all phrased in the language of fraudulence vis-a-vis the NFL's current class of rookie quarterbacks and rookie quarterbacks in general. More broadly, though, it was a vibeological question—less "Could Zach Wilson possibly be as bad as he looked last Sunday?" and more "How could any light escape this particular vortex?"

Dom, prince that he is, was tolerant of our questions and comments when and where they were coherent, and respectfully silent when and where they were not. There was a decent amount of both, as this is Week 2 and also because questions grounded in the ambient vibe situation of a 2-15 team are difficult to answer precisely. Also I kept trying to steer the conversation back to Daniel Jones because it's all I ever want to talk about. But the important thing is that some football was talked, and that the stuff that Dom said about it was characteristically very informed.

In the back half of the show, though, Drew and I were on our home turf. There's kind of a lot of football in this bit, too, as we discussed the rising role of artificial intelligence and (sorry) big data in contemporary sports and also how the NFL's steakbrained discourse will respond to it, and also addressed the behavioral and aesthetic fine points of Mike McCarthy's broader peevish thing. I made a point about how "Jones" has not traditionally been a promising name for running backs that is probably the dumbest thing I've said on this or any other podcast. I am biased, but this episode's high point, for me, was when Dom confessed to approaching pedestrian situations like "an early-career Le'Veon Bell" and looking for holes to open up on crowded sidewalks; for too long, I have assumed that I was the only one damaged enough to think of a four-block walk to the subway as an unusually slow-moving punt return scenario. It was good to know that I was not alone.

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