Sisyphus Sign

Fixing the comments: A battle worth fighting

65 Comments

This post might not be for many of you. From the numbers that this website attracts daily, it’ll actually apply to less than five percent of you. But as this site has evolved and grown over the past few seasons, it’s finally time for me to address the comments section that lives and breathes below each story. After trying to patch up a small leak here and there, it’s finally time to deal with the ugly reality that the comments on most of the articles here have become unreadable. Because of that, I’m putting together some on-the-record ground rules for those that want to continue commenting on articles posted here.

First off, I’m thankful that so many of you take the time to share your thoughts and opinions under just about every one of my stories. (Believe me, even signing up isn’t easy.) Whether it’s after a heart-wrenching loss or landing a huge recruiting commitment, the communal aspect of sharing your thoughts with fellow Irish fans is a great thing, and one that I certainly don’t want to stop.

That said, over the past few months, the comments have gotten more and more toxic. Whether it’s personal attacks on other commenters, beating a dead horse while hammering home a personal agenda, spewing vulgarities that don’t belong on a football website, or other annoying habits that come along with people hiding behind monickers while typing anonymously on the internet, I’ve decided to be a little proactive and try and turn the comments section into something people actually want to read.

Call me an optimist, but I truly believe there’s a way to turn this around, but it’s going to take some getting used to and some effort by all of us. Believe me, this isn’t me trying to regulate opinions. I’m all for them, and they make this website far more interesting to read. As always, if you’ve got a bone to pick with me, voice it below. Better yet, if you have something unique to add to the conversation, I’m all for it. But after watching too many good readers and commenters get run out of town because of unpleasant comments, I’m going to challenge everybody to raise the bar.

Here are a few bullet-point ground rules for commenting:

  • Saying something or someone sucks is not a comment. Don’t waste our time.
  • To borrow from Jim Rome, avoid the Triple-U: Uninspired, Unreadable, Unfunny. We’re better than that.
  • Attacks of fellow commenters are going to get pulled. We’ve put up with it for too long.
  • Zero tolerance for racist, sexist, or vulgar posts. If you wouldn’t say it in front of your mom, don’t say it here.
  • Let’s keep religion and politics off this board, too. This is a football website.
  • Don’t promote your own agenda. If you’ve said it a half-dozen times before, it doesn’t bear repeating.

The very best websites have comment sections people love. Many times, they’re much better than the actual article. (Believe me, it shouldn’t be that hard here.) I’ve heard from too many people that the comments on the site were starting to actually drive people away from the blog, and that’s just not okay with me. So consider this a brave new world. After all but ignoring the comments, I’m going to do my best to pull a true 180, and hold everyone to a much higher standard. Let’s all rise to the challenge.

Sheldon Day drafted in 4th round by Jaguars

North Carolina v Notre Dame
Getty
2 Comments

Former Notre Dame captain Sheldon Day didn’t have to wait long on Saturday to hear his name called. The Indianapolis native, All-American, and the Irish’s two-time defensive lineman of the year was pick number 103, the fourth pick of the fourth round on Saturday afternoon.

Day was the seventh Irish player drafted, following first rounders Ronnie Stanley and Will Fuller, second round selections Jaylon Smith and Nick Martin, and third rounders KeiVarae Russell and C.J. Prosise.

Day has a chance to contribute as he joins the 24th-ranked defense in the league. Joining a draft class heavy on defensive players—Jalen Ramsey, Myles Jack and Yannick Ngakoue already picked ahead of him—the front seven will also include last year’s No. 3 overall pick Dante Fowler, who missed the entire season with a knee injury.

Scouted by the Jaguars at the Senior Bowl, Day doesn’t necessarily have the size to be a traditional defensive tackle. But under Gus Bradley’s attacking system (Bradley coordinated the Seahawks defense for four seasons), Day will find a niche and a role in a young defense that’s seen a heavy investment the past two years.

Smith, Martin, Russell and Prosise all drafted Friday night

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - SEPTEMBER 13: William Fuller #7 of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish and Nick Martin #72 of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish celebrate a touchdown during the game against the Purdue Boilermakers at Lucas Oil Stadium on September 13, 2014 in Indianapolis, Indiana.  (Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images)
5 Comments

Jaylon Smith, Nick Martin, KeiVarae Russell and C.J. Prosise were all selected on Friday, with four Irish teammates taken on the second night of the NFL Draft. As mentioned, Smith came off the board at pick 34, with the Cowboys gambling on the injured knee of the Butkus Award winner. Nick Martin was selected at pick 50, joining former teammate Will Fuller in Houston.

The third round saw Russell and Prosise come off the board, with Kansas City jumping on the confident cornerback and the Seahawks taking Notre Dame’s breakout running back. It capped off a huge night for the Irish with Sheldon Day, one of the more productive football players in college football, still on the board for teams to pick.

Here’s a smattering of instant reactions from the immediate aftermath.

 

 

Jaylon Smith goes to Dallas with 34th pick

PITTSBURGH, PA - NOVEMBER 07:  Jaylon Smith #9 of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish celebrates by wearing the hat of team mascot, Lucky The Leprechaun, following their 42-30 win against the Pittsburgh Panthers at Heinz Field on November 7, 2015 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)
Getty
9 Comments

Jaylon Smith’s nightmare is over.

After watching his football life thrown into chaos with a career-altering knee injury, Smith came off the board after just two picks in the second round, selected by the Dallas Cowboys with the 34th pick. His selection ended the most challenging months of Smith’s young life, and come after cashing in a significant tax-free, loss-of-value insurance policy that’ll end up being just shy of a million dollars.

No, it’s not top-five money like Smith could’ve expected if he didn’t get hurt. But Smith isn’t expected to play in 2016.

And while there was a pre-draft fascination that focused on the doom and gloom more than the time-consuming recovery, it’s worth pointing out that Dallas’ medical evaluation comes from the source—literally. After all, it was the Cowboys team doctor, Dr. Dan Cooper, who performed the surgery to repair Smith’s knee.

Smith joins Ezekiel Elliott with the Cowboys, arguably the two best position players in the draft. While he might not be available in 2016, Smith will be under the supervision of the Cowboys’ medical staff, paid a seven-figure salary to get healthy with the hopes that he’ll be back to his All-American self sooner than later, especially as the nerve in his knee returns to full functionality.

Will Fuller brings his game-changing skills to the Texans offense

PITTSBURGH, PA - NOVEMBER 07: Will Fuller #7 of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish catches a pass before running into the endzone for a touchdown in the second quarter in front of Avonte Maddox #14 of the Pittsburgh Panthers during the game at Heinz Field on November 7, 2015 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)
Getty
2 Comments

In all the weeks and months leading up to the NFL Draft, one key tidbit linking Will Fuller to the Houston Texans never seemed to come up. The relationship between Brian Kelly and Bill O’Brien.

The two coaches share a high school alma mater, a friendship that made the due diligence on Notre Dame’s prolific playmaker easy. And it was clear that after all their research, Houston was aggressive in their pursuit of Fuller, trading up to make Notre Dame’s All-American the second receiver off the board, triggered a run at the position.

“He was a guy that we felt strongly about,” Texans general manager Rick Smith told the team’s official website. “We didn’t want to take a chance on not getting him. We were aggressive. We went and made the move.”

That move made Fuller’s decision to leave Notre Dame after three seasons a good one. While it’ll require the Irish to rebuild at a position where Fuller served as one of college football’s best home run hitters, it gives Houston a vertical threat that can extend the top of a defense for a Texans offense that was serious about finding some solutions for a team already in the playoff mix.

Yes, Fuller has work to do. Completing the easy catch is one big area. But for all the pre-draft talk about his limitations, Brian Kelly took on some of the criticism head-on when talking with the Texans’ media reporter.

“Some people have compared him to Teddy Ginn, that’s not fair. He can catch the ball vertically like nobody I’ve coached in 25 years,” Kelly said (a sentiment some hack also laid out). Teddy Ginn is a very good player, but this is a different kind of player. If you throw the ball deep, he’s going to catch the football.”

Fuller is never going to be the biggest receiver on the field. But while most of the banter on his game focused on the negative or his deep ball skills, expect Fuller to find a role not just running deep but unleashed in the screen game as well. After the Texans spent huge on quarterback Brock Osweiler and have invested in fellow Philadelphia native and 2015 third-round pick Jaelen Strong, Fuller wasn’t selected for the future but rather expected to be a day-one piece of the puzzle.

“This will change the speed on offense immediately,” Kelly said. “It was not ‘Hey, let’s wait a couple of years’. It was ‘Let’s go get this right now’ and I think Will will do that for them.”