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The HEL Jumper [Chapter 3.27]

Book 1 of The HEL Jumper
Book 2 of The HEL Jumper
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“Knock knock, anyone home?” Alice called, rapping politely against the door frame of Sentaura’s dwelling. Compared to anything on Earth it was modest, but it was easily one of the nicer homes in the village. She didn’t mind, however. Antoth had apologized profusely several times since placing Alice in her now cozy little blockhouse, and she’d waved him off each time for good measure.
It helped that new furnishings and technology from the Event Horizon showed up almost daily with Pilot Cromwell. She had a desk and lamp, a second sleeping pad and pillow, a laptop for recording her notes and working with photographic documentation of Cauthan life, and a digital picture frame that alternated between a photograph of her family and one of her and Russell with Veera, Lachlan, Xan, Asha, and Zolta. In short, the idea of Lachlan staying at a ‘nicer’ residence than hers was a moot point. Instead she saw it as a testament to Ratha’s influence and the kindness of the village at large. The man in question poked his head out of the bedroom as Sentaura and her son prepared breakfast.
“Good mornin’, lassie! What brings ya ta this neck o’ the woods?”
“The amazing cooking, of course. It smells wonderful in here,” Alice replied, earning an approving glance from the matron of the family. She waved her in, a cooking spoon in hand.
“Please, no need to wait outside in the streets. Do you have need of Lachlan today?”
“I sense she was lookin’ fer a bite,” the Marine jested, prompting Alice to reach into her satchel and withdraw two ration bars and wave them in his face.
“I am perfectly capable of feeding myself, Lachlan,” she declared proudly, earning a confused look from him.
“If that’s yer wish I ain’t gonna stop ya. So what’s going on, Alice?” he asked, wiping a bit of sleep from his eyes. Sentaura rose and began her labors at the crack of dawn every day, and apparently Alice was capable of such a thing as well. Her reply was interrupted as Ursol latched onto Lachlan’s leg and proceeded to hide from Alice behind him. “Now what’s gotten into you, fluffy lad? It’s just Alice! You were grabbin’ her hair the first time you two met. Now go say good mornin’ nice and polite, would ya?”
“Do as Uncle Lachlan says, Ursol,” his mother commanded, now busy peeling dato with a simple knife. Alice meanwhile was looking quite surprised and excited at how Sentaura had referred to her houseguest. As though suddenly struck by the memory that Alice was, indeed, a human he’d interacted with before, minus the different clothing and the fact her hair was done up in a bun that day, the little furball toddled over to her and waved.
“Morning!”
“Selah and good morning to you!” Alice replied, her pitch rising as she ribbed her friend after greeting the young Cauthan. “So Uncle Lachlan, huh? Super cute. I might start using it. How are you, Ursol?”
“I’m good! Are you going to play with me today?” he asked, prompting Alice to pick him up as Sentaura sighed and shook her head.
“You humans pamper him.” She didn’t seem upset about that fact.
“That could be arranged,” Alice considered, happy that she’d done her hair up that morning. Ursol didn’t explicitly go after it, but much like a human child he was very hands-on. There was no need to present him with extra targets. He settled down soon though, looking around curiously from his new vantage point. “There you go, I’m not going to drop you. So, what’s up Lachlan?”
The Marine cocked his brow at her with an exasperated smile. “I was asking ya the same question, lassie. What brings you over here today?”
“First day on our own,” Alice laughed. “Natori and the Event Horizon are gone, my brother and Veera are off at the other site. Just you and me for a couple days! Figured I’d come by and say hi. But yeah, there is something I need to talk to you about.”
“Oh I don’t like that phrase,” Lachlan replied cautiously. “When a lass says we need to talk, that ne’er ends well.”
“Oh stop it you! We aren’t even dating. And it’s got nothing to do with you and me, well not directly anyway,” she clarified.
“If it is not a secret for human ears only, perhaps you could discuss it over breakfast,” Sentaura suggested.
“Oh that’s so nice of you, but I wouldn’t want to impose. There’s only so much food and all,” Alice demurred. Sentaura waved her off.
“Nonsense. You can have some of Lachlan’s portion and then share your human food with him later if he’s still hungry. Ursol, go fetch some water for us. No complaints if you want to play today.”
Alice set the young boy down, allowing him to pick up an empty bucket and toddle off out the door. “Will he be alright?” she wondered.
“If he is not, he will be punished later,” Sentaura clarified easily. “Breakfast will be ready soon, but please do not let me keep you from your necessary conversation.”
Lachlan gestured to one of the chairs in the room but Alice waved him off, depositing her bag by the door instead and leaning against the wall. “I’m fine, Lachlan. Did Natori tell you before he left?”
“Tell me what? What’s the Admiral up to now?” MacGregor demanded uneasily as he and Alice both couldn’t help a bit of a smirk. Natori was just such a man.
“This time? Nothing, believe it or not, but I had assumed he would at least have told you before leaving. It’s actually about something Gentia said when we were explaining where Thantis would be going.”
“I think I’ve had quite enough of ya beatin’ around the bush, lassie. What did the head mum have to say?” he pressed. At the mention of Gentia’s name, Sentaura’s ears perked up as well, though she made a point of looking busy around the cooking fire. There was still plenty to do.
“Well, it’s kind of crazy,” Alice admitted, reaching for a strand of her hair to play with that proved elusive. “You know that little cub Ketra, the one who lost her parents last year?”
“Aye.”
“Yeah so, she said she wants Ketra to be raised or adopted by humans.” Alice fell silent as Lachlan stared quietly at her, letting the ambient sounds of the cooking fire fill the space again. Sentaura was shaking her feathers.
“Perhaps her age is finally getting to her,” she murmured, more perplexed than anything.
“Not to risk offendin’ a high priest, but that does sound a bit… off?” Lachlan tried. Alice furrowed her brows at him and squared her shoulders against the wooden wall behind her.
“She wants Ketra to have a better life. What’s wrong with that? We should be thrilled that her experience with humanity has been so positive!”
“Nothin’s wrong with it, of course,” Lachlan acknowledged. “But ya don’t think it would be a bit odd for Ketra ta grow up and eventually start askin’ why no one looks like her?”
“Of course I know it would be odd, but I think we should still do it if everyone agrees. No one says we need to hide Ketra from her heritage even if she’s raised like a human child. Xan proposed that a Cauthan be involved, probably a woman since Ketra is a girl too. I think it’s a splendid idea,” Alice reasoned. It was the Scotsman’s turn to frown.
“How about we take a few steps back, Alice. When you say ‘we’, I’m startin’ ta get the idea that-”
“I do think you and I should be candidates,” she confirmed. “That’s why I came to talk with you today. I think we should speak with Gentia without Natori looking over our shoulders. That’s assuming you’re amenable, of course. Please?”
“Hmm, how bold,” Sentaura chuckled lightly, finding some small enjoyment in Lachlan’s flustered demeanor as her son returned from his task, sloshing plenty of water onto the street as he did so. “Thank you, sweetie. Now come help me stir the pot while Uncle Lachlan and Alice have their talk.”
“No that’s quite alright, mum. This conversation is over, I’m thinkin’,” the Marine insisted firmly. “Alice, be reasonable here!”
“This isn’t even my idea! How am I being unreasonable?” she demanded, crossing her arms over her chest. Lachlan let out a bark of laughter.
“Where do ya want me to start, lassie? The bit about goin’ behind Admiral Kaczynski’s back or the bit where you think you or I should be helpin’ to raise an orphan?”
“Oh yes, heaven forbid people like us raise a child. I’m serious, Lachlan!” Alice protested.
“I know ye are, and that’s the problem!” he said firmly, though his tone remained moderate. “Think about it, Alice.”
“Oh really? That’s the line you want to go with? ‘Think about it, Alice’,” she mimicked sarcastically. “It’s literally my job to think about things like this! And you know what I think? I think Natori might do something foolish, like putting Ketra with Gerard and Yvonne Dupuis for starters. I would bet my entire year’s salary he accepts Gentia’s offer and then the question is who? If my brother and Veera turn the offer down, as they have once already, I can’t think of a better idea. Can you? Do you have any other humans in mind who have spent a day living around Cauthan, much less weeks?”
Lachlan paused a moment, rubbing his face as he silently acknowledged Alice’s point on the subject of a particular Admiral and the given circumstances. He glanced back to Sentraura and Ursol, finding them quite enraptured as they stirred a morning stew of vegetables and dato. He smiled at the little cub, whose curious face and eyes could melt even the sternest of hearts. “Alice, what’s wrong with the doctors? They’re experienced parents and Yvonne’s got a degree in infant care among other things, right?”
Alice’s mouth curled slightly as Lachlan moved from denial to bargaining. “Nothing is wrong with Gerard and Yvonne, Lachlan. I have no doubt they’d make exceptional surrogate parents or grandparents. The latter would be better, I think. I’m just saying though, how would you feel if you were raised by aliens and your alien parents were elderly and passed away shortly after you reached maturity? That’s a much different life than being raised by a young couple who, God willing, should be around to guide you until you have your own children and such.”
“I daresay she has been giving this a bit of thought, Lachlan,” Sentaura interrupted with an approving tone. “Please, everyone grab a bowl and eat while it’s hot. I don’t mean to be rude but I’ll not be serving my guests cold stew.”
The pause in conversation was most welcome for the young Marine, and Lachlan insisted that Sentaura take the first bowl herself, followed by Ursol. He then ladled out a portion for himself and Alice, which was more than he might eat on a given morning but certainly less than two humans might consume. Alice rested a hand on his arm and smiled at him, indicating her approval. “Awawa, hot! Mama, it’s hot!” Ursol declared, dropping a steaming piece of dato back into his bowl and splashing a bit on his tunic. Sentaura sighed and wiped him down quickly.
“Ursol, you’re a big boy now. Surely you can blow on your own food to cool it down? And not too hard. If you spill your soup you’ll be in trouble,” she warned. Lachlan pointed his spoon at the little Cauthan, pursed his lips, and demonstrated.
“Nice an’ easy, laddie. Yer mum didn’t work so hard this mornin’ just to have you splashin’ it about now!” Alice watched in fascination as Ursol did just that, blowing lightly on his food before observing it keenly, giving it a sniff, and then taking a nibble. Satisfied that it was of a reasonable temperature, he swiftly took the rest into his mouth only to scrunch up his face in discomfort.
“Still hot!”
Lachlan and Alice laughed lightly, sounds that seemed to make Ursol very pleased with his antics before he busied himself with breakfast again. Sentaura managed a wan smile, and the meal continued without major disturbance. When they concluded, Alice stood and ruffled MacGregor’s hair before handing him one of her ration bars. “Sorry, Mac. I’ll be at the temple if you want to stop by.”
“Momma, she touched his feathers!” Ursol immediately remarked, pointing and bouncing on the balls of his feet as Lachlan looked at the entryway with a mixture of confusion and annoyance on his face. Sentaura smiled genuinely and took her son’s empty bowl.
“Yes, but humans are different from Cauthan, Ursol. We do not touch feathers like that. If you wish to learn how to touch humans correctly, you must speak with Lachlan or Alice or Winters.”
“But the white one is scary,” Ursol murmured. MacGregor watched closely as Sentaura set aside the dirty dinnerware and took her son into her arms, soothing him with a gentle voice.
“Sometimes, my son, you need to be scary to protect the things you love. I am sure Lachlan would be happy to teach you instead.” He nodded an affirmative when she glanced his way.
“Course, mum,” the Marine replied quietly, wondering for the first time what Ursol might or might not have seen on the night of the raid, perhaps when fleeing his burning home. “I’m sorry about Alice. Sometimes she just has these ideas and-”
“It sounds like it was the Mother’s idea, Lachlan, not Alice’s. If she wishes to play a role in such a thing, that is for Gentia to decide. And it is clear she will look to you for support,” Sentaura pointed out, her tone indicating that such things were obvious. She cleaned the fur around Ursol’s muzzle with a few licks of her tongue before turning him over to Lachlan. “Could I trouble you to see him to the temple this morning?”
“Of course, Sentaura,” he agreed easily.
“Uncle Lachlan, hunter games?” Ursol suggested. The Marine laughed and picked him up, placing the young boy on his knee.
“Right after breakfast? You’ll be crampin’ up something awful, laddie,” he warned.
“Nuh-uh!” Ursol insisted pointedly as his mother gathered her effects for another day in the fields as harvest season approached.
“Alright, but don’t blame me if you find yerself losing that breakfast! Let’s go. One lap around the village before school then. Hunters gotta be fast, right?”
“Right!” Ursol cheered, hopping to the ground and running out the door. Sentaura handed him Ursol’s lunch for the day, swishing her tail behind her in contemplation.
“This… may not be my place Lachlan, but you have been a welcome addition to my home and I would ask this question of you.”
“Is that… is that Cauthan for we need ta talk? Because there’s only so much of that a man can take in a day,” he protested lightly. Her eyes narrowed slightly as her expression softened.
“We have not known each other for long, but I would hope that by now you would understand that if we needed to talk I would out and say it. I just wanted to know if there is something wrong with Alice. Is she not fertile? Are her features undesirable?”
The Marine was caught flatfooted. “I don’t get your meanin’, Sentaura.”
“Are you mated to another female then?”
“Oh that’s what this is-” Lachlan rubbed his face with his hands, pulling his moustache downward before running his fingers through his beard. “It’s complicated, Sentaura. An’ even if it weren’t complicated I couldn’t just hop to it without knowin’ I love her.”
The young but world-wise Cauthan blinked twice, cocking her head as she mulled over her question. “How could you know such a thing like love without bringing life into the world with her?”
“Uncle Lachlan, I wanna play!” Ursol popped his head back in the door, is face fraught with childish impatience.
“I should be going, Sentaura. I’ll see ya in the fields later,” Lachlan insisted softly, bowing in thanks for breakfast before grabbing his gear and heading out after Ursol.
“Ah well, Valta only knows no male is perfect,” Sentaura concluded.
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“Alice Winters, good morning to you. What brings you to my temple today? Feeling restless with your brother gone?” Gentia asked knowingly, leaving a small gaggle of young Cauthan under the care of several of her acolytes while she went to speak with the human.
“Selah to you, Gentia,” Alice replied formally before easing into the conversation. They sat on a bench nearby, so the acolytes and children alike would know that the head priestess was still watching them learn. “I daresay you must feel the same. Would it be rude to ask how long it was since you spent a night away from Thantis?”
“You remind me of myself when I was young,” the old Cauthan admitted. “Always asking the pointed questions, hmm? I will be frank; it was difficult. We have been constant companions for more years than I can number. All I can pray for is that when the time comes, the Mother and her father see fit to receive us at the same time. I’m sorry, you surely didn’t come here to listen to an old female like me ruminate on life and death.”
“No, but don’t let me stop you. I’m sure I could learn a lot from that sort of chat,” Alice responded politely. Gentia waved her off.
“Bah, how depressing. We will have words if he’s not returned to me soon instead, hmm! Now, what else is on your mind? Your forehead is wrinkled. When your brother does this it usually means he’s frustrated or thinking very hard about something. Is that painful?”
Alice placed her fingers to her lips and giggled. Gentia joined in quietly for just a moment. “No, thankfully it’s not painful. Our faces are like your feathers. We have a great deal of control over the muscles under the skin, and we’re very attuned to one another’s expressions.” To demonstrate, Alice waggled her eyebrows and showed off how much minute control she had over the movement of her lips and mouth.
“You have made your point quite splendidly,” Gentia told her as multiple young Cauthan began trying to imitate her with various degrees of success. “Oh just go on and play, all of you. We will have lessons this afternoon instead.”
“Oh, I’m sorry,” Alice suddenly adopted a reserved expression as the gathering of cubs immediately scattered laughing and shouting to the far corners of the temple to play. Thankfully, none bolted for the door.
“Oh, them? Think nothing of it, Alice. They’ve been looking for an excuse all morning. Sometimes it is best to give a little and then take. Though I will say Ursol has been instigating disruptions far less than usual over the past cycle. Please give your companion my thanks. I assume it’s on account of him running the boy ragged every day. Meylith bless him.”
“That’s… actually what I wanted to discuss today,” Alice continued, taken aback as Gentia’s eyes began to sparkle in a manner reminiscent of her husband.
“O-ho! You’ve decided to be his mate then? We would be happy to allow you use of this space for your ceremony!” Gentia nodded, quite pleased with herself indeed as Alice spluttered and waved her hands quickly in front of her.
“No no no! That’s not what I meant at all! I was referring to your suggestion to Natori the other day, about Ketra.”
“My condition, you mean?” the Cauthan clarified sharply, looking around her temple and quickly locating the ball of light brown fur. “Of course, let us talk then. Centille, you can leave Ketra with us.”
“Thank you, Gentia,” the younger priestess replied with relief audible in her voice. The little cub was discontented for one reason or another that morning, and was quite indisposed to remaining in Centille’s arms. “I’ll go look after the others.”
“Please bring us a bit of grain and water first, she may be hungry. Then you may go,” Gentia requested. Centille bowed before hurrying off to the granary to comply with her orders while the older female addressed the cub on her lap. “Now what’s gotten your feathers all bent out of shape, little one? Oh, it is your feathers! Well look at you, you’ll be a fine young female with a grand crest one day. All the rowdy little males will be clamoring to be yours.”
Alice watched with great interest as Gentia unsheathed her claws ever so slightly and began running them in one direction from the top of Ketra’s forehead, over top, and all the way down to the base of her neck. The tiny Cauthan let out something of a squeak but settled down shortly as her elder scratched the itch of new feather growth. Gentia rested her cane against the bench and adjusted her hold on the little one before speaking quietly to Alice again. “I will have to teach Centille about this, I suppose. She is wonderful with the older cubs. I am sure that will change when she has her own. Ah, thank you Centille. Just place the bowl here, would you?”
The acolyte left the small amount of food on the bench next to Gentia before bowing and returning to her duties. “She’s so cute,” Alice couldn’t help but whisper, waving her fingers at Ketra who, being pampered, looked ready to doze off for a little snooze instead of continuing to be difficult.
“She’s a handful and a half is what she is,” Gentia said. Alice tittered.
“So that was your plan then? Have the humans raise the difficult child?” she joked, hoping the translation would prove adequate.
“How could you suggest something so very like me?” The priestess feigned shock before pivoting to a quite serious demeanor. “Do you think it is a wise decision?”
“I… a- what?” Alice stammered. “You’re asking me?”
Gentia gazed at her for several seconds as she ordered her thoughts. “If I understand correctly you have spent almost all of your life studying and learning, no? Surely that counts for something. Even I am still subject to fits of passion or flights of fancy. I serve the Mother, but no one says I must always act like her, hmm? Sometimes calling on a bit of Valta or the Twins might be prudent. But it strikes me now that humans wouldn’t know to do what I’m doing. I wonder how many other moments in her life would be subject to the same problem.”
“Well, you could always teach us? I liked Xan’s idea,” Alice admitted, hands in her lap.
“And what happens when you return to your home?” Gentia pointed out.
“Yeah, I know. Part of me wants to say that all mothers have to go through that though, even human ones. We have to learn how to take care of our children on our own, maybe with our own mother’s help. You can know about teething all you like but I’m sure that it’s different when you have your own baby in your arms. That’s when our infants get their first set of teeth, by the way,” she explained.
“Your young are not born with teeth? How do they eat?” Gentia asked.
“They consume food in liquid form exclusively for quite some time and then slowly transition to a solid diet,” Alice explained.
“I can never decide if your people are more similar or different to mine than at first glance,” the priestess mused, humming gently to the cub that was now snoozing in her arms, one stubby paw hanging limp at her side. “But it would appear that question will need to wait for another time, Alice. I have a great duty to fulfill this morning it would seem.”
That duty took the form of none other than the village Huntress, as Ratha stood silently just inside the doorway to the temple. Alice found herself feeling quite nervous under the Cauthan’s scrutiny, as no amount of height disadvantage or pregnant belly seemed capable of dulling Ratha’s sharp, predatory gaze. “Want to have a little fun?” Gentia asked.
“With Ratha? No, I think I’m good,” Alice decided immediately.
“Be that as it may, unless you intend to examine her yourself I would ask you to take this bundle of joy from me, just for now. Should she wake, simply repeat what I was doing to calm her, or soak some grain in water and offer it to her. Gods willing this will not take long, despite the fact that her first visit should have been a season ago,” the priestess said, raising her voice enough so that Ratha would be able to hear her.
“Well I’m here now, Gentia. I can come back later. Human,” came the Huntress’ greeting. Alice’s capacity to respond was replaced by the need to accept a snoozing Ketra from Gentia. She was very careful to ensure the cub’s head remained supported as she cradled the little fuzzball, but the developmental differences between humans and Cauthan seemed to render that consideration a bit less important. If young Cauthan were born with teeth, Alice supposed it wasn’t too much to assume they would be capable of supporting the weight of their own heads much earlier in life.
“No no, far be it from me to impose upon you, Ratha. I just pray you didn’t finally come to us because something is amiss. Thank you, Alice. Call upon any of the acolytes if you have need of them. And no snide comments, my dear,” Gentia insisted of Ratha. “As you can see her feathers are coming in and we just got her to sleep.”
A shiver ran up Alice’s spine from the way Ratha sized her up, but if the Huntress had any thoughts about a human holding one of her village’s orphans, she kept it to herself. So far as Alice knew, Ketra was not the daughter of any of ‘Ratha’s people’. Instead the auburn furred Cauthan strode onward, accompanied by Gentia who immediately launched into what Alice supposed was a standard set of questions for expecting Cauthan mothers. Ratha did not speak a word until they disappeared into the next room over. “Well, that was terrifying,” Alice whispered, looking down at Ketra. “To think she used to look like you one day, long ago. Okay I’m sorry, please don’t wake up! I’ll talk inside my own head.”
To Alice’s relief, Ketra’s sudden movement was nothing more than a sleepy adjustment as the little one snuggled up to her, presumably for warmth. Alice had to bring her free hand to her mouth in an attempt to contain a squeal of delight before whipping her head around as a low voice spoke to her from behind. “Practicin’?”
“Lachlan!” she hissed, gesturing for him to sit next to here. Ursol had just run off to join his fellows, having arrived after his jog around the village. “She just fell asleep and Gentia had to leave.”
The Marine yielded and held his hands up in front of his chest, content to take a moment and join Alice in silent watch over the little one. Though he’d made something of a habit out of it, there was nothing stipulating he had to assist Sentaura in the fields each day. Instead he watched Alice as she rocked her torso gently back and forth, once or twice reaching for her hair before remembering again it was tied tightly behind her head. It was a side of her that he’d not seen before, and Sentaura’s words came back to haunt him. He didn’t know about love, but there was something undeniably compelling about a woman caring for an infant. Given how fluffy the infant in question was, the species barrier was a non-issue in terms of the adorable factor. If anything, it was a plus.
“What was the last time you showered?” Alice suddenly asked. Lachlan groaned and scooched away from her on the bench.
“Look, it’s not like I can get back up ta the ship right now.”
“I know, I’m just teasing,” she assured him quietly. “That’s the real reason we’re not supposed to interact with pre-industrial civilizations. No indoor plumbing. Oh no no no no no! I’m sorry! Please go back to sleep!”
Ketra’s surprise at finding herself in the arms of an alien was more than apparent as her little eyes fluttered open and she evaluated the situation rather than return to slumber. Alice began to panic as Ketra grew restless, squirming around and making adorable but disgruntled noises.
“Ok then, how about some food?” she suggested, taking a piece of Maran grain and dipping it in the water before offering it to the cub. She was not impressed. “No? Oh geez, alright. Is it your feathers? Are they annoying you?”
Lachlan watched in nervous silence as Alice began running her nails, which had last been painted pink so long ago than more than half of the enamel had chipped off, along Ketra’s scalp. More than one of the priestesses of Meylith was watching out of the corner of their eye, but Alice was intent on salvaging the situation and they seemed amenable to allowing her the chance.
“Rock a bye baby, on the tree tops,” Alice began singing. “When the wind blows, the cradle will rock. When the bough breaks, the cradle will fall and… oh my God, why is that even a nursery rhyme?” she whispered as Ketra began to protest her current condition more loudly. “Lachlan, help!”
“What am I supposed ta do?” he demanded.
“You’re so good with Ursol!”
“He’s four! He ain’t an infant. There’s nothin’ alike about-” his protests died as Alice gave him the most overblown puppy eyes he’d ever seen. “Oh by me grandpa’s kilt! Alright, wee one. What’s got ye so bent outta shape? Ketra, stop makin’ life difficult for Alice here.”
When Ketra realized that the alien with the facial fur and deep voice was addressing her, she gave him a moment of her attention. Afraid that it wouldn’t last, he swallowed his embarrassment and tried his hand at singing, though his song was not a nursery rhyme by any means. “Red is the rose, that in yonder garden grows. Fair is the lily of the valley. Clear is the water that flows from the Boyne, but my love is fairer than any.”
Not knowing the rest of the lyrics, he hummed the tune instead, his voice and Alice’s gentle scratching finally working as Ketra ceased attempting to escape from Alice’s grasp. By the time Lachlan made it around to the chorus again, Ketra was accepting individual pieces of grain from Alice’s fingers and chewing them slowly. Her eyes never moved from Lachlan. “Isn’t that an Irish ballad?” Alice whispered as Ketra took her breakfast, finally, in some amount of peace.
“An’ what? I can’t like it cause I’m Scottish?” Lachlan asked. “We both hate the English after all.”
“No no, of course not. I was just surprised,” Alice remarked, tilting her head as she looked at him. “Thank you. You’re really good with them.”
“Perhaps you can teach that song to me sometime,” a low voice suggested from nearby. Alice almost screamed but managed to hold it in, providing Ketra with a bit of amusement. Antoth clearly possessed a bit of Ratha’s stealth. That or the two of them had been far too concerned with the immediate problem to notice him walking up behind them. “Her feathers?”
“Oh, yes Antoth. Good morning to you,” Alice stammered, shifting Ketra so she could activate her translation program. She suddenly felt every bit as self-conscious as she had been around Ratha. “Gentia said to scratch her like that if she woke up, and your wife is over in the other room.”
“Mmm, I’ll have to make note of that as well,” the high priest said, blinking at Ketra who had become quite still in the presence of so many adults. “I hope my cubs are as polite as her when I’m around. So, am I to take this to mean that the two of you were chosen by Natori?”
“Wha- what? No, it’s nothing like that. Natori left on the resupply mission before saying anything about Gentia’s proposal. I just- yes yes sweetie, here’s another piece. Gentle now. There you go,” Alice cooed as Ketra used both of her stubby little paws to move the morsel of food to her mouth. “Sorry Antoth, I just thought it would be a nice thing to do today to come see her. With everyone else gone there isn’t much to do. Is everything fine with Ratha?”
“I hope Gentia will say so,” the black-furred Cauthan replied, crossing his arms over his chest. “You saw her today, I presume? She didn’t say anything untoward?”
“No, she didn’t say anything to me at all, really,” Alice confirmed.
Antoth breathed out a relieved sigh. “That is good. I would not say a bad word about her, but pregnancy is… an interesting challenge.”
“No need ta explain to us, Antoth. We understand,” Lachlan assured him. The Cauthan’s eyes grew a bit wider.
“Oh? I didn’t know you had cubs of your own. Are they aboard your ship?” he asked politely.
“I’m not even married, Antoth. Just saying ya have my sympathies. Pregnancy’s pretty bad on human women too.”
“You’re welcome,” Alice chipped in proudly.
“Fer what? You don’t have any either,” he ribbed her.
“Well on behalf of womankind, you’re welcome anyway. Right, Ketra? We’re the real tough ones. They don’t know what it’s like,” Alice cooed in a high pitched voice. Ketra seemed far more accepting now that the alien had established itself as a source of nourishment and comfort.
“Neither do you,” Lachlan pressed, earning Alice’s finger jabbing into his bicep.
“Well one day I will, mister. And if you’re the daddy you best believe I’ll be reminding you of this regularly!”
Antoth laughed loudly as Lachlan leaned away from Alice as far as he could. She joined in, sticking her tongue out at him. “I continue to insist that once she gets over humans in general, my mate will find you quite agreeable,” Antoth stated as Gentia and Ratha emerged from the ‘maternity ward’ of the temple. “Ratha.”
“Don’t you have something better to be doing than waiting around to see what’s wrong with me?” she demanded.
“No,” he replied firmly. Ratha’s face softened several degrees and she rested her head against his chest where his left arm met his shoulder.
“Good answer, Scarface. Our spawn is just fine,” she informed him. The humans couldn’t help but smile as Antoth’s shoulders sagged with relief.
“The tenderness on the underside of her belly is normal, as is the nausea. There is a possibility the cub may come into the world feet first, but that’s nothing we cannot handle,” Gentia reported before hardening her tone. “Do not wait next time, Huntress. Listen to your body.”
“I know my body better than anyone,” Ratha insisted hotly.
Gentia did not give an inch. “And I know pregnancy better than you ever will.”
“When you never had a cub yourself? Spare me.”
“Ratha, that’s enough!” Antoth stepped in, his voice not quite a shout. She leered at him before stalking proudly from the temple, her hand supporting the bottom of her belly. “You have my apologies, Gentia. I will ensure she returns to do the same.”
“You and I both know such a thing is pointless,” Gentia said tiredly, standing beside him. “She is afraid. Her body is betraying her. It is natural for her to behave this way. Support her as best you can.”
He growled quietly in acceptance. “I do not know what we will do when you go to the Mother’s side, Gentia.”
“One of my very capable assistants will take my place. And unlike me, she will have had cubs of her own. I was not the first, and I will not be the last, Antoth.”
“You have my apologies as well, humans. That was not something for you to see or hear.” He bowed to them all before leaving after his mate. Even Ketra was looking around silently in his wake.
“Way to read the room, wee lassie,” Lachlan congratulated her. Gentia refocused on them with a brightening expression.
“Thank you both. She seems to have taken a liking to this arrangement. Maybe the two of you can make things official at the harvest festival, hmm?” she tittered.
“Why does every Cauthan we know insist we should be gettin’ hitched?!” Lachlan lamented. Gentia poked his stomach with her cane as she explained. A small group of male cubs, including Ursol, ran past them playing what seemed to be tag.
“Because if our youth were like you, still unmated in the prime of their lives, we would die out as surely as Seil rises in the west. Ratha and Antoth are an exception, not the rule.”
Lachlan and Alice stared at one another quietly.
-----
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[Game Preview] Week 5 - Philadelphia Eagles(1-2-1) at Pittsburgh Steelers (3-0)

Philadelphia Eagles (1-2-1) at Pittsburgh Steelers (3-0)
It’s that time again for the battle of the Keystone state. The Eagles are looking to build on their first win of the season when they upset the 49ers last week on Sunday Night football, while the Steelers are looking to get back on the field as their game with the Titans was postponed due to the Titans being morons. The game will be a match up between two of the best defensive lines in the NFL this season. Eagles lead the league with 17 sacks, while the Steelers are right on their tail with 15 sacks despite playing one less game. The Eagles patch work offensive line held up last week against the 49ers but they were without their best pass rusher in Nick Bosa. This week, Jordan Mailata and the rest of the line will be tested early and often and will need to hold up to give Carson Wentz time to find his band of rag tag WRs. However, he may get some help this week with the return of Alshon Jeffrey who could be playing his first time since suffering a Lisfranc injury last season. Jeffrey will give Carson something he has been severely missing this season in a big WR who can make contested catches along the sidelines. The Eagles may also see the return of JJAW and Desean Jackson as both have practiced in a limited capacity this week after missing last week’s game due to hamstring injuries. Carson and the Eagles offense will need all the help they can get facing one of the league’s top defenses in a year where they have struggled to get much going in the first four games. On the other side of the ball the Eagles will face one of its toughest tests this season especially Darius Slay who will be following JuJu Smith Schuster. If Slay can shutdown the JuJu the Eagles offense will have a good chance of holding the Steelers in check and give a chance to their offense to win the game. We will see if the Eagles can hold on to the belt of PA this Sunday in their toughest test this season. Go Birds!
General Information
Posting Rules and Guidelines
Remember to join us on Discord during the game!
New to the Eagles? Take a look at our New Fan Page!
Score Prediction Contest
Date
Sunday, October 11th, 2020
Game Time Game Location
1:00 PM - Eastern Heinz Field
12:00 PM - Central 100 Art Rooney Avenue
11:00 AM - Mountain Pittsburgh, PA 15212
10:00 AM - Pacific Wikipedia - Map
Weather Forecast
Stadium Type: Open Air
Surface: Grass
Temperature: 68°F
Feels Like: 69°F
Forecast: Overcast. Rain overnight.
Chance of Precipitation: 8%
Cloud Coverage: 99%
Wind: South-Southeast 4 MPH
Betting Odds
Oddsshark Information
Favorite/Opening Line: Steelers -7
OveUnder: 44.5
Record VS. Spread: Philadelphia 1-3, Pittsburgh 2-1
Where to Watch on TV
FOX will broadcast Sunday’s game to a regional audience. Kenny Albert will handle the play-by-play duties and Jonathan Vilma will provide analysis and Shannon Spake will report from the sidelines.
TV Map - Week 5 TV Coverage Map
Radio Streams
List of Eagles Radio network member stations with internet broadcast availability
Radio.com 94.1 Desktop Streaming
Listen to Merrill Reese and Mike Quick
Calling the game on 94WIP and the Eagles Radio Network will be Merrill Reese, the NFL’s longest-tenured play-by-play announcer (44th season). Joining Reese in the radio booth will be former Eagles All-Pro wide receiver Mike Quick, while Howard Eskin will report from the sidelines.
Location Station Frequency
Philadelphia, PA WIP-FM 94.1 FM and 610 AM
Allentown, PA WCTO-FM 96.1 FM
Atlantic City/South Jersey WENJ-FM 97.3 FM
Levittown, PA WBCB-AM 1490 AM
Northumberland, PA WEGH-FM 107.3 FM
Pottsville, PA WPPA-AM 1360 AM
Reading, PA WEEU-AM 830 AM
Salisbury/Ocean City, MD WAFL-FM 97.7 FM
Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, PA WEJL-FM 96.1 FM
Salisbury/Ocean City, MD WAFL-FM 97.7 FM
Salisbury/Ocean City, MD WEJL-AM 630 AM
Salisbury/Ocean City, MD WBAX-AM 1240 AM
Williamsport, PA WBZD-FM 93.3 FM
Wilmington, DE WDEL-FM/AM 101.7 FM
York/LancasteHarrisburg, PA WSOX-FM 96.1 FM
Philadelphia Spanish Radio
Rickie Ricardo and Bill Kulik will handle the broadcast in Spanish on Mega 105.7 FM in Philadelphia and the Eagles Spanish Radio Network.
Location Station Frequency
Philadelphia, PA LA MEGA 105.7 FM
Allentown, PA WSAN 1470 AM
Atlantic City, NJ WIBG 1020 AM; 101.3 FM
Steelers Radio
Steelers Radio Since 1995, Bill Hillgrove has served as the Voice of the Steelers and has handled play-by-play duties for the broadcast. Former Steelers All-Pro offensive tackle Tunch Ilkin joined the broadcast team in 2001 as an expert analyst. His former teammate, Craig Wolfley, has served as a sideline reporter since 2005. In 2019, Missi Matthews joined Craig Wolfley as an additional sideline reporter.
National Radio
ESPN Radio will broadcast the game nationally with Sean Kelley handling the play by play and Ben Hartstock will provide analysis.
Satellite Radio
Station Eagles Channel Steelers Channel
Sirius Radio SIRI 134 (Streaming 825) SIRI 83 (Streaming 826)
XM Radio Streaming 825 XM 225 (Streaming 826)
Sirius XM Radio SXM 384 (Streaming 825) SXM 225 (Streaming 826)
Eagles Social Media Steelers Social Media
Website Website
Facebook Facebook
Twitter Twitter
Instagram Instagram
Snapchat: Eagles Snapchat: steelers
NFC East Standings
NFC EAST Record PCT Home Road Div Conf PF PA Net Pts Streak
Eagles 1-2-1 .375 0-1-1 1-1 0-1 1-2 84 107 -23 1W
Football Team 1-3 .250 1-1 0-2 1-0 1-1 79 112 -33 3L
Cowboys 1-3 .250 1-1 0-2 0-0 1-2 88 126 -20 2L
Giants 0-4 .000 0-2 0-2 0-0 0-3 38 47 -49 4L
Series Information
The Philadelphia Eagles vs Pittsburgh Steelers. Eagles lead series, 48-28-3
Series History
Head to Head Box Scores
First Game Played
November 19th 1933 at Baker Bowl, Philadelphia, PA . Philadelphia Eagles 25 - Pittsburgh Pirates 6
Points Leader
Philadelphia Eagles lead Pittsburgh Steelers (1498-1116)
Coaches Record
Doug Pederson: 1-0 against the Steelers
Mike Tomlin: 1-2 against Eagles
Coaches Head to Head
Doug Pederson vs Mike Tomlin: Pederson leads 1-0
Quarterback Record
Carson Wentz: Against Steelers: 1-0
Ben Roethlisberger : Against Eagles: 2-2
Quarterbacks Head to Head
Carson Wentz v Ben Roethlisberger: Wentz leads 1-0
Records per Stadium
Record @ Lincoln Financial Field: Eagles lead Steelers: 2-0
Record @ Heinz Field: Steelers lead Eagles 2-0
Rankings and Last Meeting Information
AP Pro 32 Ranking
Eagles No. 20 - Steelers No. 6
Record
Eagles: 1-2-1
Steelers: 3-0
Last Meeting
Sunday, September 25th, 2016
Eagles 34 - Steelers 3
The Eagles blocked a Chris Boswell field goal on the opening drive to deny the Steelers three points. The Eagles drew first blood with a Caleb Strugis field goal to make the score 3–0. Early in the 2nd quarter, Rookie Quarterback Carson Wentz threw a 12-yard touchdown to Jordan Matthews to extend their lead to 10-0. The Steelers answered with a Chris Boswell field goal to make it 10-3 which ended up being their only scoring play of the day. Strugis notched another field goal to bring the score to 13–3 at the half. Early in the 2nd Half, Wentz threw his second TD of the day, a 73-yard touchdown to running back Darren Sproles. Following a 3 and out by the Steelers, rookie running back Wendell Smallwood found the endzone for his first career rushing touchdown and it extended the Eagles lead to 27–3. On the Steelers next drive, veteran quarterback Ben Roethlisberger fumbled the football which the Eagles recovered. The Eagles would add another score on a Kenjon Barner rushing touchdown. The Eagles defense which had shutdown and frustrated the Steelers offense most of the day forced one more turnover to seal the game when Roethlisberger threw an interception to Rodney McLeod. The Eagles added another field goal for a final score of 34-3.
Click here to view the Video Recap
Click here to view the Stats Recap
Last Meeting at Site
Sunday, October 7th, 2012
Steelers 16 - Eagles 14
The Eagles traveled to western Pennsylvania to take on longtime in-state rival Steelers at Heinz Field. After a scoreless first quarter, the Steelers were able to get on the board first with Rashard Mendenhall's 13-yard touchdown run for a 7–0 lead followed by Shaun Suisham's 20-yard field goal for a 10–0 lead at halftime. The Eagles went to work in the 3rd quarter as Michael Vick found LeSean McCoy on a 15-yard touchdown pass to shorten the lead to 10–7. The Steelers increased their lead with Suisham kicking a 37-yard field goal to make the score 13–7. The Eaglesl took the lead with Vick hooking up with Brent Celek on a 2-yard touchdown pass for a 14–13 score. However, the Steelers were able to drive down the field and Suisham wrapped up the game with a game-winning 34-yard field goal for a final score of 16–14.
Click here to view the Video Recap
Click here to view the Stats Recap
Last 10 Meetings
Date Winner Loser Score
9/25/16 Eagles Steelers 34-3
10/7/12 Steelers Eagles 16-14
9/21/08 Eagles Steelers 15-6
11/7/04 Steelers Eagles 27-3
11/12/00 Eagles Steelers 26-23
11/23/97 Eagles Steelers 23-20
12/11/94 Steelers Eagles 14-3
9/22/91 Eagles Steelers 23-14
11/13/88 Eagles Steelers 27-26
9/30/79 Eagles Steelers 17-14
Injury Reports Depth Charts
Eagles Eagles
Steelers Steelers
2020 “Expert” Picks
Week 5 - "Expert" Picks
2020 Team Stats
Eagles Season Stats
Steelers Season Stats
2020 Stats (Starters/Leaders)
Passing
Name CMP ATT PCT YDS TD INT RAT
Wentz 97 160 60.62% 930 4 7 66.9
Roethlisberger 73 109 67.0% 777 7 1 105.2
Rushing
Name ATT YDS YDS/G AVG TD
Sanders 51 236 78.7 4.6 1
Connor 40 224 74.7 5.6 2
Receiving
Name REC YDS YDS/G AVG TD
Ward 18 146 36.5 8.1 1
Smith-Schuster 17 160 53.5 9.4 3
Sacks
Name Sacks Team Total
Graham/Sweat 3.0 17
Watt 3.5 15
Tackles
Name Total Solo Assist Sacks
Gerry 33 17 16 0.0
Hilton 21 19 2 2.0
Interceptions
Name Ints Team Total
Singleton/McLeod 1 2
Haden/Hilton/Watt/Heyward 1 4
Punting
Name ATT YDS LONG AVG NET IN 20 TB BP
Johnston 19 980 62 51.6 45.9 10 2 0
Colquitt 13 569 59 43.8 36.8 4 1 0
Kicking
Name ATT MADE % LONG PAT
Elliot 8 7 87.5% 54 7/7
Boswell 5 5 100.0% 41 7/8
Kick Returns
Name ATT YDS AVG LONG TD
Scott 4 76 19.0 25 0
McCloud 5 144 28.8 49 0
Punt Returns
Name RET YDS AVG LONG TD FC
Ward 4 18 4.5 8 0 5
Johnson 5 38 7.6 18 0 2
League Rankings 2020
Offense Rankings
Category Eagles Stat Eagles Rank Steelers Stat Steelers Rank
Total Offense 319.0 28th 382.0 14th
Rush Offense 111.5 18th 139.7 8th
Pass Offense 207.5 27th 242.3 19th
Points Per Game 21.0 26th 26.7 T-12th
3rd-Down Offense 43.3% 25th 40.0% T-20th
4th-Down Offense 40.0% T-24th 80.0% T-6th
Red Zone Offense (TD%) 55.6% T-22nd 50.0% T-25th
Defense Rankings
Category Eagles Stat Eagles Rank Steelers Stat Steelers Rank
Total Defense 352.3 10th 290.0 2nd
Rush Defense 108.8 12th 54.0 1st
Pass Defense 243.5 17th 236.0 12th
Points Per Game 26.8 20th 19.3 5th
3rd-Down Defense 37.0% 6th 42.9% 19th
4th-Down Defense 50.0% T-15th 33.3% T-7th
Red Zone Defense (TD%) 68.8% 23rd 44.4% T-4th
Team
Category Eagles Stat Eagles Rank Steelers Stat Steelers Rank
Turnover Diff. -5 T-29th +2 T-8th
Total Penalties 22 T-15th 15 T-4th
Total Penalty Yards 168 14th 124 6th
Recap from Last Week’s Games.
Eagles - The Eagles traveled across the country following an embarrassing tie to the Bengals in week 3. Doug and Carson looked to redeem themselves against a team that was suffering from almost as many injuries as the Eagles. The Eagles struck first with Carson running the ball in on an 11 yard scramble. Doug felt that he needed to dust off his balls and show everyone that he did in fact still have them after pussying out last week, deciding to inexplicably go for 2, but it paid off to put the Eagles up 8-0. The 49ers answered with a score of their own when rookie WR Brandon Aiyuk hurdled Eagles safety Marcus Epps and found the endzone. After halftime the 49ers came out firing and took their first lead of the game with a George Kittle TD. The Eagles answered with a field goal to bring the score to 14-11. After the Nick Mullens fumble the Eagles took advantage as Carson Wentz dropped a dime to Tyler Fulgham for a 42 yard TD pass to give the EAgles a 18-14 lead. On the very next drive Mullens threw his second interception of the game right to Alex Singleton who took it to the house for a pick 6 and put the Eagles up 25-14. On the next possession, Jim Schwartz switched to his shitty sticks defense despite the 49ers putting in their 3rd string QB Beathard. Schwartz gifted Beathard easy throws as he quickly moved the ball down the field for an easy TD. The Eagles recovered an outside kick, but went three and out. Schwartz continued to see the error in his sticks defense as Beathard again moved the ball with ease, but thankfully the Eagles players made some plays breaking up some key passes and bailing out their coach’s poor decisions.
Steelers - Steelers game week 4 was postponed because the Titans are morons.
Connections
Eagles DT Javon Hargrave was drafted by the Steelers in the 3rd round of the 2016 NFL Draft and played 4 seasons with the Steelers before signing with the Eagles this past offseason.
Eagles senior director of player personnel was the General Manager for the Steelers from 1991-1999 and is from the Pittsburgh suburb of Mt. Lebanon.
Eagles RB Coach Duce Staley played 3 seasons for the Steelers from 2004-2006 winning Super Bowl XL with them in 2006.
Eagles TE Coach Justin Peele signed with the Steelers in 2012, but was released with the final cuts following training camp.
Eagles RB Miles Sanders is from Pittsburgh and attended Woodland Hills HS.
Steelers G/C Stefan Wisniewski played three seasons for the Eagles from 2016-2018 winning Super Bowl LII with them in 2017.
Steelers OT Alejandro Villanueva was signed by the Eagles in 2014 and placed on their Practice Squad before being signed off their PS by the Steelers later that season.
Steelers Practice Squad RB Wendell Smallwood was drafted by the Eagles in the 5th round of the 2016 draft and played 3 seasons with them from 2016-2018.
Steelers Special Teams Coordinator Danny Smith was the Special Teams and DB coach for the Eagles from 1995-1998.
2020 Pro Bowlers
Eagles Steelers
DT Fletcher Cox (Starter) C Maurkice Pouncey (Starter)
OG Brandon Brooks (Starter) G David DeCastro
C Jason Kelce (Starter) DT Cameron Heyward (Starter)
LS Rick Lovato (Starter) OLB T. J. Watt (Starter)
TE Zach Ertz FS Minkah Fitzpatrick (Starter)
SS Malcom Jenkings (1st Alt) CB Joe Haden (1st Alt)
OT Lane Johnson (1st Alt
General
Referee: Ron Torbert
Philadelphia owns a 48-28-3 all-time record vs. Pittsburgh in a series that dates back to 1933. The Eagles have won 4 of the last 6 games against the Steelers, as well as 7 of the last 10.
The last time these two teams met was on 9/25/16 at Lincoln Financial Field, when Philadelphia defeated Pittsburgh, 34-3, in the second game of Carson Wentz’s NFL career and the second game of Doug Pederson’s tenure as the Eagles’ head coach.
Philadelphia is aiming for its first road victory at Pittsburgh since a 26-23 overtime win at Three Rivers Stadium on 11/12/00.
The Eagles (17.0) and Steelers (15.0) enter this week’s matchup ranked 1st and 2nd in the NFL in sacks, respectively. This is the first time Philadelphia has led the league in sacks during Weeks 1-4 since 2011 (15.0, tied with Washington). It is also the Eagles’ most sacks through 4 games since 2008 (also 17.0).
Pittsburgh native Miles Sanders ranks 5th in the NFL with 236 rushing yards since his season debut in Week 2, trailing only Dal-vin Cook, Aaron Jones, Nick Chubb and Joe Mixon.
Draft Picks
Eagles Steelers
WR Jalen Raegor WR Chase Claypool
QB Jalen Hurts OLB Alex Highsmith
LB Davion Taylor RB Anthony McFarland Jr.
S K’Von Wallace G Kevin Dotson
OT Jack Driscoll S Antoine Brooks
WR John Hightower ST Carlos Davis
LB Shaun Bradley
WR Quez Watkins
OT Prince Tega Wanogho
LB/DE Casey Toohill
Notable Off-season Additions
Eagles Steelers
S Will Parks FB Derek Watt
DT Javon Hargrave G/C Stefan Wisniewski
CB Nickell Robey-Coleman TE Eric Ebron
CB Darius Slay Dt Chris Wormley
Notable Off-season Departures
Eagles Steelers
S Malcom Jenkins DT Javon Hargrave
CB Ronald Darby G Ramon Foster
RB Jordan Howard TE Nick Vannett
WR Nelson Agholor OL B.J. Finney
OL Halapoulivaati Vaitai LB Tyler Matakevich
LB Kamu Grugler-Hill CB Artie Burns
RB Darren Sproles S Sean Davis
DT Timmy Jernigan FB Roosevelt Nix
LB Nigel Bradham
Milestones
Eagles WR Desean Jackson (6397) needs 68 yards to move up to 3rd on the Eagles all-time receiving yards list all-time passing WR Mike Quick
Eagles WR Desean Jackson (34) needs 2 TDs to move into a tie for 7th on the Eagles all-time receiving TD list tying WR Jeremy Maclin
Eagles DE Brandon Graham (54) needs 1 sack to move to 4th on the Eagles all-time sack list passing DE Hugh Douglas
Eagles DT Fletcher Cox (49) needs 1.5 sacks to move up to 6th on the Eagles all-time sack list tying DE Greg Brown
Eagles DE Vinny Curry (27.5) needs 2 sacks to move up to 18th on the Eagles all-time sack list tying DT Jerome Brown
Steelers DT Cameron Heyward (54.5) needs 3 sacks to move up to 5th on the Steelers all-time sack list passing OLB LaMarr Woodley
Steelers DT Bud Dupree (34) needs 2 sacks to move up to 10th on the Steelers all-time sack list passing LB Lawrence Timmons and LB **Kevin Greene)
Stats to Know
Battle of the Defensive Lines
This game will feature two of the top Pressure-generating Defensive Lines. Watt, Dupree, and Tuitt are all in the top 10 DLmen in pressures, with 18, 17, and 17. Meanwhile, the Eagles feature 3 in the top 20. Graham, Jackson, and Cox have netted 15, 14, and 13. Considering Philadelphia's makeshift OL and that QB Wentz has a remarkable 20.0 passer rating under pressure, this could get ugly.
Matchups to Watch
Steelers Offensive Line vs Eagles Defensive Line
As the Eagles defensive line goes so goes the defense. That statement has always been true for the Eagles under Jim Schwartz, but that has never been more emphasized this year given the lack of talent elsewhere on the defense especially at LB. This defensive line has been firing on all cylinders with a league leading 17 sacks through 4 games. This has been especially the last two weeks, helping to limit any potential damages they may take during games. Two weeks ago, Burrow was sacked 8 times; they followed that up with 5 more sacks this past Sunday night. Additionally, Philly pressured Niners starting QB Nick Mullen on 50% of his drop backs, a massive figure. They'll need that juice to carry over this week again and like it did the last time these two teams faced each other 4 years ago. It also must be said the Eagles need their talented defensive line to control the LOS to prohibit any Steelers rushing attack. Fletcher Cox, Brandon Graham, and Malik Jackson are all off to hot starts on the season. Newbie Javon Hargrave, making his first return trip to Pittsburgh this Sunday, had a slow start missing the first game of the season due to a training camp injury, but he has started to heat up the last two weeks. Derek Barnett had probably his best game one week ago and is looking to build off that as the season continues. If it does, then it'll look like Barnett has taken a long-awaited jump in play. Josh Sweat is starting to prove his own hot start isn't a fluke either. Genard Avery decided to throw his name into the ring last week getting multiple pressures and notching a sack and 5 QB hits against the 49ers Control the LOS and you can control the game. That has to happen again on Sunday if the Eagles want a chance to win.
Steelers bevy of Offensive Skill Position Players vs the Eagles Depleted Secondary
Last week, the Eagles did a great job containing the Niners outside receivers and predictably got obliterated by George Kittle. That last part isn't surprising since Kittle does that to everyone but the Eagles have already shown a total inability to defend TEs and the middle of the field on defense due to being completely devoid at talent at the LB position. Additionally, the Eagles struggle to really cover anyone since they don't have a member of the secondary that can consistently cover like Darius Slay. Granted, Jalen Mills had a decent game last week, but the Steelers offensive weapons are much deeper than the Niners. Dionte Johnson, Juju Smith-Schuster, Chase Claypool, and Eric Ebron will all be very difficult for the Eagles to defend as the game goes along. They each have different skill sets but what they all possess is an ability to consistently get open for Big Ben. We've also seen Juju, Dionte, and Claypool all create big plays after they catch the ball. The Eagles will have to come out with a gameplan to account for this and play disciplined enough to prohibit the big play. There is still a lot of room for error on the back half of this Eagles denese; if they can execute like they did this past Saturday night, that would help limit the potential damage.
Steelers Pass Rush vs The Eagles Revolving Door of Offensive Linemen
If there is one thing the Eagles prioritize more than anything in the draft and in free agency it's building a great offensive line with a lot of depth. This has been a pillar of the organization for over two decades and it has paid off for the Eagles the entire time. Few times in recent history has that philosophy been put to the test and stressed the team like it has so far in 2020. As it stands, the Eagles have, at best, a league-average offensive line and that's largely due to injury as they are currently missing their starting LT, RG, and LG. Sunday has a chance to be the 5th time in 5 weeks the Eagles will have a different starting offensive line combination if Lane Johnson can't go this week. Poor offensive line can cripple an offense. It can derail a passing attack if the offensive line can't keep the offense in a rhythm and keep the QB from being under duress. It forces coaches to give extra attention to the area which takes away from their ability to be creative when they need to leave an extra guy in to block. Additionally, constant OL shuffling and a degradation in talent can hinder a rushing attack since the players on the bottom end of the roster just can't execute at a high level the pillars of the offense. That's a situation the Eagles find themselves in on Sunday against one of the best defensive fronts in the NFL. The Eagles offensive line had their hands full against a Niners line that is still good despite its own major injury issues. At EDGE, the Steelers have a perennial DPOY candidate in TJ Watt to go along with a solid and athletic pass rusher in Bud Dupree. They also have stalwarts in the interior with Cameron Hayward and Stephon Tuitt. Long time NFL veteran Tyson Alualu, former 1st round pick of the Jaguars, has suddenly elevated his game and is off to the best start in his career as well. The defensive front is very disruptive when paired with their LBs who excel in both run support and on blitz in Devin Bush and Vince Williams. Steelers DC Keith Butler is creative with his looks and pressure packages while being blessed without the need to blitz constantly. Even if Lane Johnson starts he won't be 100% and that's a problem for the Eagles. A Lane Johnson at less than 100% is still better than most NFL tackles but it'll likely be taxing to the Eagles since the depth of talent the Steelers have across their defensive line. The Eagles are down to mostly nobodies on offense and really need to get creative to string together some plays to have a modestly effective offense. Even when Wentz is on his A-game, offensive execution will still require near 100% effectiveness just to have a chance. This is perhaps one of the biggest OL/DL mismatches in the NFL in week 5 and one the Eagles don't figure to have a ton of success. If they are able to control the line of scrimmage on offense more successfully than previous Steelers opponents, that would go a long way in pulling out a win.
Special thanks to MikeTysonChicken and abenyishay for their help in creating this Game Preview.
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My Proposal for Detroit's Future

Well, we lost, which means we are back to being bad. Jokes aside, the win last weekend was fun, but as I think today showed, it was merely a mirage. The evidence leans toward Matt Patricia not being a good coach, and I think it will be best that he and Detroit go in separate ways at the seasons end.
And to be clear, Patricia still has a chance to turn the season around and get Detroit into contention. I think people forget that the Titans were 2-4 last year before winding up in the AFC Championship Game. I absolutely do not believe this will happen for Detroit, but rather, just being realistic that Detroit's schedule will ease up here soon enough, and maybe that gives them the confidence they need to make some things happen. But unless Patricia makes the playoffs, I am prepared, even eager I dare say, to move on.
Now, I am obviously not Sheila Ford. But if I were, this is how I would approach this offseason.

General Manager

The biggest question, should Detroit falter is what happens to Bob Quinn. While most would probably assume that Quinn and Patricia's fates are tied together, I think it could be a little bit more complicated than that. Allow me to elaborate on this.
First and foremost, my view of the role of the GM is to work in conjunction with your head coach to create a vision for what the team will look like. The coach then goes about implementing that vision on the practice field and in games, developing and coaching the team to wins in whatever fashion they think they can. The GM goes about implementing that vision in the free agent markets, on the trade blocs, and in the draft room.
In this sense, I think you could actually argue that Bob Quinn has been effective. He has built the Detroit Lions in the image of the New England Patriots, largely by bringing in former Patriots and players with a similar skill set. In terms of swiftly restyling the team, Quinn has arguably done exactly this. He's given Patricia personnel that match the scheme both in the draft and in free agency. As the executioner of this flawed vision, Quinn has managed to reshape them. He is effective in building a wannabe Patriots. Most will focus on the wannabe Patriots, as the issue, and to a large degree, they aren't wrong. But what they miss is that Quinn has done it effectively.
Now, there are surely some poor decisions mixed in there. Quinn missed on some draft evaluations like Jarrad Davis and Teez Tabor. He did ship out Quandre Diggs for pennies and missed the window to extend Kenny Golladay before it could get more expensive. This isn't to say that Quinn is perfect, in fact, I'm not even arguing Quinn is a relatively good GM, just that he effectively executed a vision. Personally, I wish he had embraced a better vision, and for that, I'd have no issue firing him. But rather, just making the case that Quinn could stick around for another coaching hire. After all, it was Quinn who fired Jim Caldwell for his utter inability to beat good teams, only to turn around and hire buddy buddy Matty P who struggles to even beat bad teams.
If Quinn is gone, let's look at some of the names to replace him....

General Manager Candidates

The first name that usually comes to everyone's mind is Colts assistant GM Ed Dodds. A widely regarded scout during his time in Seattle, Colts current GM Chris Ballard swiped Dodds away by making him his number two in Indy. He's played a big part in rebuilding the Colts roster, whether bringing in guys like Denico Autry or Kenny Moore, or drafting players like Braden Smith and Darius Leonard. While he's clearly a top option for just about anyone, there are some questions about whether or not he even wants the spotlight of a GM position. From Bleacher Report's Matt Miller: "he doesn't particularly like the attention that comes with being a decision-maker and might not even have the desire to be a general manager." Personally, I don't think someone who is hesitant to take on a general manager role in the first place would be eager to go to the Lions, given our horrid history.
Dodds was from the line of Seahawks GM John Schneider, and he has a few other deputies who could be interesting candidates, notably Seahawks co-director of player personnel Scott Fitterer. Originally a scout himself, he's been in Seattle for awhile now, and was huge piece of the 2010-2012 draft classes that produced Russell Wilson, Richard Sherman, Earl Thomas, and Bobby Wagner. Additionally, he serves alongside fellow co-director of player personnel, Trent Kirchner, who also figures to be an intriguing candidate.
Detroit may want to consider getting someone with experience running their own show, and if that's the case, Saints assistant GM Jeff Ireland could be an interesting name. Ireland was the Dolphins GM from 2008 until 2013, a time when they weren't as bad as they have been the past few seasons. Over his stretch, they peaked in year one with a playoff berth, and proceeded to go 7-9 just about every year following. So why would Detroit be interested in Ireland? Well, he has had time to reflect on the mistakes made during his time, and spent the past few years working in a better organization (the Saints) where you get an idea of new ways to approach things.
I live in Denver, and happen to be connected to a few Broncos employees out here, one of whom would actually have respectable insight, so I texted him and asked "who should Detroit consider for a new GM?". His response was 49ers VP of player personnel Adam Peters who was with Denver for a few years during their Super Bowl run. He ran college scouting in Denver, and now works alongside John Lynch in building the monstrosity that is the 49ers roster. He even made one the "GM candidates to know" lists that people put out, so it seems some others would share the hype.
Looking at other successfully run organizations, the Baltimore Ravens and director of player personnel Joe Hortiz come to mind. Horitz has been in Baltimore under both Ozzie Newsome and DeCosta, so he's clearly seen what a well-run organization looks like, one that isn't exclusively tied to a legendary head coach. He's played a large role in scouting (1998-2016), a time in which Baltimore added stars like Ronnie Stanley, Za'Darius Smith, C.J Mosley, Brandon Williams, Kelechi Osemele, and Jimmy Smith amongst plenty of others.
If Detroit wants to take a wild swing at the television personalities, like the Raiders did with Mike Mayock, the top candidate there would probably be ESPN analyst Louis Riddick, who was a pro scout with the Redskins for a few years, and worked as director of player personnel for both the Redskins and Eagles.
One person I just want to clearly rule out is Patriots director of player personnel Nick Caserio. First and foremost, if Bill O'Brien survives the 2020 season as head coach of the Texans, Caserio will be named their new GM. Second, Detroit absolutely needs to avoid another born and raised Patriots executive. So no Caserio. If so, we riot.
I think, ultimately for me, Ireland has too much baggage, Riddick is too much of a wild card, and Dodds isn't likely to leave for Detroit. Therefore, my top target is probably going to be Scott Fitterer, but I'd be thoroughly pleased with Kirchner, Peters, or Hortiz.

Head Coaching Candidates

Not even debating it. Matt Patricia is out. Between an archaic scheme, contentious relations with star players, and poor awareness with the media, Patricia hasn't shown he's worth it. We will be parting ways with him, and I'm sure he'll end up with the Patriots, Giants, or Dolphins in some assistant capacity.
The first name to mention is Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy. Everyone knows the deal here, I'm not getting too much into it. Same with Michigan-native, 49ers defensive coordinator Robert Saleh. We'll be discussing less talked about candidates here.
One name that does not get a lot of hype is Ravens offensive coordinator Greg Roman. He remains one of the absolute best at tailoring offenses to create dynamic rushing attacks with dual-threat quarterbacks. While Matthew Stafford isn't exactly a dual-threat QB, perhaps a pairing of Roman and OSU QB Justin Fields could be a lot of fun to watch. Roman has called offenses for both Harbaugh brothers, in San Francisco with Jim where he created an offense for Colin Kaepernick, and now in Baltimore with John and Lamar Jackson.
One Kansas City coach who doesn't get as much hype as he probably should is Chiefs special teams coordinator Dave Toub. He's a trusted assistant for Andy Reid, and historically speaking, special teams coordinators actually have a fairly high success rate. He's been highly regarded for his leadership within the Chiefs franchise these past few years.
If Detroit wants to keep a defensive focus at the head coaching spot, then Colts defensive coordinator Matt Eberflus is one of the best in the business. Quoting CBS here, "Energetic and disciplined, he's Frank Reich's most well-rounded companion". Eberflus runs a fairly creative defensive scheme that has allowed guys like Darius Leonard to thrive, focusing on getting elite athletes across the board. His defense is so fun, that in Week 3 they actually caught more touchdowns passes from Jets QB Sam Darnold than Darnold was able to throw to members of his own team.
Another defensive mind who should be under consideration is Ravens defensive coordinator Don "Wink" Martindale. He's been there LB coach since 2012, and their coordinator since 2018 as the Ravens have continued to roll out good defensive units no matter who they have at hand. Martindale's defense is quite the opposite of Patricia's, they blitz like crazy and they mix up their coverage often.
If Detroit is willing to give a head coach a second chance (the results on this trend are pretty mixed btw), then Bills defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier would probably be the most intriguing second chance candidate. Quoting SBN here, "His three-year stint as the Vikings' head coach saw him lead the team to the playoffs in 2012 followed by a sharp fall in 2013. But it's hard to blame him too much when he was choosing between Christian Ponder, Josh Freeman, and Matt Cassel at quarterback". While Sean McDermott is a defensive-minded head coach in Buffalo already, he's credited Frazier with a major role in turning the Bills into one of the top defenses in the NFL.
Turning to offense, we have another Bills coordinator, Brian Daboll calling the shots on offense. Daboll was with the Patriots for a few years as their tight ends coach, before departing and finding success away from Belichick, winning a national title during his time as Alabama's offensive coordinator in 2017, before coming to Buffalo and molded the raw potential of Josh Allen into the dominant player he has been this year.
Former Lions backup QB Kellen Moore, now the offensive coordinator of the Dallas Cowboys at only 32 years old figures to be a hot name soon. He's helped Dak Prescott continue to build his game, going from a steady game manager to a playmaker himself. Moore's a little young, but is one of the most prolific offensive minds in CFB.
Also in the rising star mold is Buccaneers offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich, a former star QB himself. Leftwich has worked under Bruce Arians for a few years now, and helped create an offense that put up prolific numbers with Jameis Winston (and a lot of interceptions as well).
Colts offensive coordinator Nick Sirianni has also gotten some hype from people in coaching circles, as he's helped the Colts manage the unexpected fallout of Andrew Luck's surprise retirement. If he can milk the remaining production out of Phillip Rivers, he'll be an intriguing candidate who has worked under a few quality head coaches already.
Another offensive coordinator that merits some consideration is Titans offensive coordinator Arthur Smith. He played a major role in transitioning the Titans from Marcus Mariota to Ryan Tannehill, a move that helped propel them all the way to the AFC Championship game behind the effective duo of Derrick Henry's rushing ability and Tannehill's effectiveness off the play action pass,
Usually teams don't hire position coaches, but it's not entirely out of the blue, especially if that position coach does have interim head coaching experience like Saints tight ends coach Dan Campbell. Campbell was Miami's interim head coach in 2015, going 5-7 after Joe Philbin was fired. Campbell also played TE for the Lions back in the second half of the 2000's, posting one of the better seasons a Lions tight end had at that point in 2006. He's considered an exceptional leader in the Saints organization.
The Panthers brought in college head coach Matt Rhule this past year, and if Detroit is looking to do something similar, the three names to watch would probably be OSU head coach Ryan Day, a former Chip Kelly protege who has somehow made the Buckeyes even more deadly and efficient than they were under Urban Meyer, Oklahoma heisman producehead coach Lincoln Riley, who is responsible for getting Baker Mayfield and Kyler Murray drafted #1 overall, and lastly Florida head coach Dan Mullen, a former Urban Meyer protege who has had immense success at Mississippi State and now at Florida so far.
There's probably some other candidates I did not dive into. Though similar to Caserio and the GM tree, absolute pass on Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels. No need to try that one a second time.
Personally, I like a lot of these candidates. There's plenty of diversity in schemes, backgrounds, leadership styles, etc. My favorite, however, is Bills offensive coordinator Brian Daboll. The work he's done with Josh Allen is fantastic, as he's crafted an offense that fits Allen's style, and whether he'd want to keep Stafford or draft his replacement, I'd have the utmost faith that he'd mold that QB in similar fashion.

Current Personnel

For the current personnel, it'll be important to identify which players have a future in Detroit. Whether that's based on scheme fit, age, health, cap implication, etc. Taking a look at the roster, here's my best guess, outside of one position, which is detailed in a separate section below.
Running back is a good spot for Detroit, regardless of what happens to current starting RB Adrian Peterson. I like RB Kerryon Johnson, but I am absolutely against a sizeable contract extension. Personally, I don't think paying running backs anything more than like $5 mil per year is a good investment, regardless of what back it is. So, he's fine for another season under contract, but may end up parting ways after that. Drafting his replacement in RB D'Andre Swift was a wise move. I actually like the idea of taking good running backs (2nd-3rd round) every other season. That way you never have to pay them and always have fresh legs.
Wide receiver will require some effort this offseason. Quinn massively screwed us by not extending WR Kenny Golladay prior to the season. Only leaves more time for larger contracts to be signed. For example, his spotract market value went up from $16 mil per season to almost $19 mil per season because of additional deals being signed. And with a lowered cap, that's gonna be problematic. The Lions should have at least a WR3/4 in WR Quintez Cephus, and WR Geronimo Allison opted out, meaning Detroit retains his contract for 2021. They'll likely need to draft someone early and sign another veteran, maybe even bringing back Jones or Amendola for a 1-year deal.
Tight end is pretty straight forward. TE T.J. Hockenson was a top-10 selection, and is starting to look like a very good weapon for the offense going forward. His backup, TE Jesse James is also simple: his contract is too large to retain him if he continues his mediocre play. If he can more consistently play like he did against the Cardinals, they may keep him. If not, cut for cap space. Bryant and Nauta are sort of unknowns at this point.
The offensive line may be Detroit's best spot going forward. LT Taylor Decker has been earning that contract extension so far, looking very good at this point. C Frank Ragnow will need his own contract extension soon, but he's been performing as one of the best centers in the NFL, and should remain an integral part of the unit. G Jonah Jackson looks promising as well in his rookie campaign. Detroit will have LG Joe Dahl under contract for one more year, and has G Logan Stenberg developing behind him. The bigger question comes with RT Hal Vaitai and RT Tyrell Crosby. If Vaitai continues to play poorly, he'll be cut after 2021. Crosby could easily be replaced with a better player by that time as well, but for now serves a valuable role as a decent enough spot starter.
Defense is almost entirely dependent on who a new head coach would bring in to call the shots. Many of the players on Detroit's roster are scheme-specific to the old Patriot 3-4 scheme that Patricia loves to run. Let's just assume that, regardless of the new coach, it'll be a bit more diverse, modern scheme.
On the defensive line, DE Trey Flowers is pretty scheme versatile funny enough. He can play SDE in a 4-man front or iDE in a 3-man. His contract will also pretty much require the new coach to make it work with him. And who knows, Flowers has had the intentional misfortune of playing under no-blitz Patricia, so chances are a more aggressive scheme could give him some help in pass rushing. DE Julian Okwara is also pretty versatile. He could be a 4-3 WDE or a 3-4 OLB and was a good pass rusher at Notre Dame. His brother, DE Romeo Okwara is frankly just not very good. If Detroit goes to a 4-man front in a new coach, they'll definitely want a replacement for Romeo, who is serviceable depth, but not much more. DE Austin Bryant hasn't shown enough to warrant an opinion one way or the other.
Interior, DT Danny Shelton is probably not gonna fit in a new scheme. He's an inconsistent run defender who offers little in the pass rush department. DT Nick Williams is a bit more versatile, but the issue is that he's just not very good. His career is as a pretty bland back-end rotational piece. One good season in Chicago would appear to be an anomaly. Cutting either of these two (each set to make around $5 mil cap hits in 2021) would save a net $4 mil in much needed cap space. Behind them, DT Kevin Strong is relatively versatile, but not that good. He's still young and cheap, however, so could still find a role as depth. The big question will be DT Da'Shawn Hand, who has had an inconsistent, but promising career thus far. He can fill a pretty similar role to Flowers, perhaps even being able to play as a 3-tech DT in some schemes (cough, Dan Quinn defensive coordinator). He's a piece that could at least find a useful role under a new regime, but expect Shelton and Williams to be purged within 2 years.
Linebacker is where you can pretty much just get rid of everyone. LB Jamie Collins is clearly the best player in the group, but I still wouldn't bet he'd be a for sure keep for a new regime. He struggled outside the Patriots system, during his exile to Cleveland. I think he could find a role as a 3-4 OLB, rather than the 4-3 ILB/OLB hybrid, but it's still hard to peg him in other schemes. He'll be with Detroit regardless in 2021 because of his contract however. LB Jarrad Davis should just walk at this point. Detroit is better when he's not on the field. LB Christian Jones is similar to Collins, in that he's a poor fit for most schemes, but the difference is he's not nearly as good as Collins. Could probably just trade him to whatever team Matt Patricia ends up on.
The hardest part about a transition to a new scheme would be giving up on younger guys like LB Jahlani Tavai. He's shown some flashes, but really isn't much of a pass rusher and is too old school for modern schemes. Trading Tavai this offseason to a Patriots-style team (Giants, Miami, Patriots, etc.) would be best for both groups.
Now, two guys who could be interesting to bring back are LB Jalen Reeves-Maybin and LB Elijah Lee. Both are currently fish out of water, as they're not great scheme fits for Patricia's defense. They both are on expiring deals however. I'd probably like to see Reeves-Maybin brought back in a new regime, simply because the chance for him to actually find success would go up in a scheme that fits his strengths a bit better.
At cornerback, you have a pretty good foundation. CB Jeffrey Okudah and CB Amani Oruwariye are both pretty fluid athletes with the ability to thrive in multiple schemes. In fact, Oruwariye could potentially be even better in a Cover 3 scheme, should Detroit find someone who deploys that philosophy. Similarly, CB Justin Coleman is pretty versatile, especially out of the slot. He's excelled in the Seahawks Cover 3 scheme (which is honestly my recommendation for what kind of defense to run), but is still good in man coverage. Those three give Detroit a great start. CB Darryl Roberts is built more for Patricia's scheme, so probably won't be back, but I'd expect Detroit to find another veteran like him to fill out the two deep. CB Desmond Trufant is definitely a man coverage corner, and is also old and with a checkered injury history recently. We always knew Trufant was more of a veteran bridge to Okudah and Oruwariye taking over.
Safety is interesting. S Tracy Walker is a rising star and honestly can play any scheme. He's a baller. S Will Harris is not. Maybe a new scheme gets him sorted out, but at the same time, his biggest issue is that he can't cover in man and he can't tackle. Kind of hard to be a slot safety when you struggle with that. S Duron Harmon is a quality Cover 1 free safety, but he's on an expiring contract. Detroit will likely need to find a new starter there, as Harris isn't ideally suited to free safety, and S C.J. Moore is more of a special teams piece than a starting caliber player. We still need to see more from S Jayron Kearse looks like before making decisions there.
Special Teams will require some investment this offseason. Detroit's punting god, Jack Fox, is an ERFA, meaning Detroit can bring him back for pretty cheap. They may just want to reward him and sign him to a deal for a few seasons (though COVID cap implications may prevent that). Both K Matt Prater and LS Don Muhlbach are on expiring deals, so either new deals for them, or replacements. Lions backup LS Steven Wirtel has gotten some praise as a future NFL LS, so perhaps they hand the reins over to him, given that he'd cost half what Muhlbach would, and the Lions will need every penny this offseason.

Quarterback 2021 and Beyond

If there is a new regime change, then it's not out of the realm of possibility that they look into the prospect of finding Matthew Stafford's successor. Stafford will be 33-years old in 2021, and while QB's are still able to continue playing at a high level into their late 30's, for example, Roethlisberger and Matt Ryan and Brady and Brees have all put together quality seasons lately, despite their older age. However, 35 is traditionally the drop-off age, and for a QB who relies on arm talent, it is most definitely something to watch and consider.
I'll say this first and foremost, if Detroit ends up in a position to select QB Trevor Lawrence out of Clemson, you pull the trigger on that and sort things out later. The two options behind him are QB Justin Fields, a dual-threat option out of Ohio State, and QB Trey Lance, an athletic, efficient QB out of North Dakota State. Now, personally, I'm a bit skeptical of Trey Lance. I think NDSU sets everything up for him on a platter, and the more film you watch on Lance, the more I find he struggles on full-field reads. If you can isolate his playbook to a half-field read, then I think he crushes it, but the troubles outside of that, added into the large talent gap between NDSU and literally anyone else in the FCS, makes me hesitant. To me, Lance is a slightly higher upside version of Titans QB Ryan Tannehill. In that sense, I don't really think he'd be worth the investment if Detroit is selecting in the top-15.
Now, Justin Fields is growing on me, admittedly. Rewatched a handful of his OSU games and continue to find his ability to dissect coverage to be a lot more advanced than I recalled during the season. He has a big arm, and has one of the most coveted traits nowadays: the ability to make plays when the original structure breaks down. I think, at this point, I'd probably be sold on Fields, but not on Lance, though honestly, if they did hire a competent offensive mind like Bieniemy or Daboll, I wouldn't object to it, as I think anyone who can get such massive leaps out of Josh Allen could probably get the most out of Trey Lance as well.
The bigger issue I do have is whether or not Detroit should move on from Stafford at this point. A few things can all be true at the same time, and four things I'm going to mention all are true.
  1. Matthew Stafford is not playing as well as he was in the first half of 2020, and the issues don't exactly seem to be tied to any injury.
  2. Despite not playing as well as 2020, Stafford is still one of the better QB's in the league, ranking 11th in passing yards (1,017) and 7th in touchdown passes (8). That kind of production wins games with a better defense.
  3. Detroit would be marginally restricted in the ability to build a roster around a large QB cap hit like Stafford's.
  4. The issues holding Detroit back most (its defense) would not be solved with a new quarterback. There are plenty examples of promising young quarterbacks being broken because they were put in less than ideal situations....Sam Darnold in New York being just the latest example. Unless Detroit can build a competent defense, it will not actually matter who the quarterback is.
All that just to say, let's all chill out a bit when dealing with each other's takes on what to do at QB. We don't have to draft a new QB, that denies so many of the bigger issues. We also do not have to keep Matthew Stafford, that denies the reality that plenty of teams have found a new QB can elevate the play of the team, helping them go from good to great (see Chiefs moving Alex Smith for Mahomes), and that even with Stafford, Detroit remains mediocre.
Personally, I think it's better to build a good roster and then make the change at quarterback. Right now, I think Detroit is set-up well for its OL going forward, and probably will be decent at WRB with Golladay and Hockenson and Swift and Kerryon, but the defense will continue to lose us games, and I'd hate to waste the early years of a cheap rookie QB still trying to build the roster around him. And personally, I think every bit as good as Fields and Lance is USC QB Kedon Slovis as a potential QB to target in the 2022 draft class.

2021 Free Agency Complications

Now, truly, I have no clue what's going to happen with this, but Detroit, along with the rest of the league, is not going to be overflowing with cap space. Minimal fans in the stadium means no ticket revenue. Some doomsday predictions have the cap going down as far as $175 million. Realistically speaking, I wouldn't anticipate Detroit entering the offseason with anything more than $15-20 million in cap space. If you're trying to overhaul a new scheme with new personnel, that'll be kind of tough.
Detroit has a few pieces it can cut, however. Some have been mentioned....Jesse James, Danny Shelton, Nick Williams. All could open up a little bit of change (over $10 mil if all 3) which would be majorly beneficial. Another one who could go is CB Desmond Trufant, which would free up $6 million. QB Chase Daniel could easily have a restructured contract to open up in between $1-2 million. G Joe Dahl would save $3 million if he was cut, but I don't see that really happening, as Dahl's a good bargain for a quality enough starting G. Maybe if Logan Stenberg develops into a quality piece Dahl could be traded, but that seems unlikely.

2021 Free Agency Targets

To remake the team, I'm first going to identify a few veterans who could help accelerate a quick turnaround defensively. Assuming I've gotten my wish of Detroit Lions head coach Brian Daboll, then the offense wouldn't need much reconfiguration.
There would honestly be two players I'd want Daboll to bring with him from Buffalo. They are...
Bills G Jon Feliciano - a powerful run blocker, Feliciano could either compete with Dahl outright, or simply serve as the first back-up at guard...the new and improved Kenny Wiggins so to speak.
Bills LB Matt Milano - Detroit will need modern linebackers, and Milano would be an excellent one to start with. He can cover, get sideline to sideline, and make plays in the box. I think Buffalo ends up re-signing him however.
Now, I don't want to simply switch from the Patriots West to the Bills West. But I do generally believe that any new coach should try and bring 2 or 3 players who are familiar, if for nothing more than putting pieces in place that can help introduce the new system to the current roster.
Some others however.
Detroit will probably need another starting wide receiver in free agency, and while I would absolutely love to get Chiefs WR Sammy Watkins to Detroit, he'll probably be a bit out of the price range, given how many pieces Detroit could need on defense. Some of the more financially plausible options would likely be Jags WR Chris Conley, 49ers WR Kendrick Bourne, Rams WR Josh Reynolds, or maybe Bengals WR John Ross.
Similarly, I'd love to go after Bills TE Tyler Kroft as another piece to work with Hockenson, but he'd probably be too pricey, and I imagine Buffalo will retain him rather than let him hit the market. Jags TE Tyler Eifert, Titans TE MyCole Pruitt, or perhaps Seahawks TE Jacob Hollister would all make a bit more sense. This would be dependent on cutting Jesse James in search of an upgrade.
Detroit is set on starting OL, but could use a depth piece with Wiggins and Aboushi both on expiring deals. Chargers G Dan Feeney has starting experience, though most of the options here are pretty mediocre. Could actually argue that retaining Wiggins would be the wisest course of action.
Defensive Tackle will be a MAJOR spot to address, as Detroit currently doesn't have a quality group there, and scheme change could make it worse. There are some big names like Saints DT Sheldon Rankins or Michigan-native Raiders DT Johnathan Hankins, whom Detroit should've brought in awhile ago. Broncos DT Shelby Harris is a good interior pass rusher who can play multiple roles. I'm guessing Detroit doesn't pony up the money for Giants DT Dalvin Tomlinson but I wouldn't hate that.
Defensive end would be a need if Detroit went to a 4-man front, as you'd want an upgrade over Romeo Okwara. Assuming Detroit isn't going for the big names like Vikings DE Yannick Ngakoue or Titans DE Jadeveon Clowney, a more sensible option would a stopgap option like Washington EDGE Ryan Kerrigan, who can play really any edge spot well. Colts DE Denico Autry would be plenty of fun, and if the Lions hired someone like Matt Eberflus, I'd want them to for sure make that move. One of the more under-the-radar pieces that could be more fiscally responsible would be Saints DE Trey Hendrickson.
If they go more of a traditional 3-4, then adding an upgrade over Christian Jones would be the move there. Kerrigan would still fit that one well, but other options could be Chargers OLB Melvin Ingram. Perhaps a head coach Martindale would want to bring GVSU grade OLB Matt Judon to Detroit? Though both those options would be pricy. A cheaper option would Jets OLB Jordan Jenkins or maybe Rams OLB Samson Ebukam.
Off ball linebackers, we already mentioned Milano. Bucs LB Kendall Beckwith would make some sense, as would Saints LB Alex Anzalone or Chiefs LB Damien Wilson. None of these guys would be stars, but most teams hang onto good LB's who can play off ball and cover backs, so you're probably looking for a veteran stopgap to hold over until you can draft a guy.

2021 NFL Draft

We're getting deep into this. Depending on where Detroit is drafting and who they pulled in with free agency, these would be the guys I'd be most interested in acquiring.
DT Marvin Wilson, Florida State - Like I said, Detroit needs to be a lot better at DT, and Wilson is a monster.
DE Aidan Hutchinson/Kwity Paye, Michigan - If one of these two could slip to you in the second round, that'd be great. Both very good edge rushers. Would love to grab Carlos Basham out of Wake Forest if Detroit is mid first. I also like Quincy Roche as an OLB in a 3-4.
A starting caliber WR. If they miss out on Ja'Marr Chase, then one of the Alabama wide outs (Jaylen Waddle or Devonta Smith) would suffice just fine. I mentioned the other day that Waddle is my current preferred choice for the draft at this point. Gophers WR Rashod Bateman could also be a fun addition. If they need to hunt for a starting wide out in the 3rd or 4th, Michigan's Nico Collins is an excellent deep threat, not too far from the mold of Golladay and Jones. OSU WR Chris Olave would be a clean replacement for Amendola in the slot.
I think Detroit could use a free safety like Trevon Moehrig or Andre Cisco to either immediately start, or develop behind a veteran. Moehrig may end up as a late first round option, but Cisco could be a day 2 pick that pays off immediately.
G Wyatt Davis may not stick out as a clear need, but y'all know I am an OL coach, and I think this kid is the best G prospect since Quentin Nelson, so I wouldn't hesitate to pull the trigger, trade Joe Dahl for a pick, and call it a day. If C/G Josh Myers dropped to the second, I'd also be a very big fan of that move as well. I'm guessing most wouldn't like that, as OL is a relative strength to other spots on the roster, and that's understandable, but if we're truly talking best player available mentality, then Davis has to be considered right after guys like Micah Parsons, Ja'Marr Chase, and Lawrence.
As far as linebackers go, either LSU's Jabrill Cox or LB Chazz Surratt out of North Carolina could be guys who can slide into starting roles quickly. Same goes for Micah Parsons but unless Detroit's drafting top-5, they don't get him.
Few others who have appeal right now as later round prospects...TE Matt Bushman (BYU), WR Dazz Newsome (UNC), LB Dmitri Moore (Vanderbilt), CB Camryn Bynum (Cal), WR Tutu Atwell (Louisville), LB Ventrell Miller (Florida), S Reed Blankenship (MTSU), and LB Rayshard Ashby (VaTech).

Overall, a lot of different ways to go, but this would be my proposal at least. Bring in Brian Daboll, get him a veteran defensive coordinator, and then go about building a modern defense. See what you can get out of Matt Stafford, and prepare for a transition down the road if needed at that point.
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I wanted to share some insight from a social media manager on how much influencers are actually making

Like I mentioned in the title, this was posted in a blogger group on Facebook that I came across. It wasn’t an ad and the guy posting this didn’t solicit his services. After he posted this, a ton of bloggers chimed in and thanked him for the helpful insight around what people like them are charging for posts, collaborations and such. I thought this was interesting to say the least.
Copied and pasted verbatim:
Just wanted to share something I saw on Facebook from a social media manager sharing what influencers charge per post..... WOW WOW WOW 😳
“[HOW MUCH TO CHARGE AS AN INSTAGRAM INFLUENCER]
Yes, it’s finally time for this post. Usually, influencers don’t share how much they charge per post so let me tell you in advance that, when it comes to doing research beforehand, this post was the one that by far took me the longest to put together.
After hours of article reading and researching about the topic, I can safely say that this post will be very insightful to you all.
For you to be able to understand how much you can/should charge per post, firstly you must understand which factors matter for price-per-post definition. Those factors are:
Page Size and engagement levels: These ones are pretty self-explanatory. The higher they are together (individually they don’t matter that much), the more you can charge, as it means you have a higher reach and impact/influence in your audience.
The niche you are currently in: Although there isn’t really a rule of thumb for this one, usually there are niches with higher monetization potential than others. In a broad sense, we can affirm that an influencer in the luxury niche can, admittedly, charge more for a sponsored post than an influencer on the food niche. However, this generalization is dangerous because it will really depend on the type of partnership and quality of the influencer.
Your past experience/portfolio with brand promotions: This element is very important. Every single brand prefers to make a safe bet than to risk throwing money to the wind. Influencers that can show previous similar partnerships with proven results are much more likely to secure the deal than someone with no experience. The better your portfolio, the more you can charge. That is why some influencers that are starting their first partnerships accept much cheaper brand deals simply to build rapport and case studies.
PS: this is actually how I started to build my client base. I have worked for free for my first clients so that I could build results to present to future ones 🤫
The type of promotion: Depending on the type of promotion, your price will be different as well. You will not charge the same for a swipe up story than you will for a post on the feed. Sometimes you can even have a monthly contract with a brand, in which you will make a post per week with exclusivity (meaning that you cannot post any other brand posts until the contract of exclusivity is over). I could spend a lot of time on this topic but this will be a long post, so let’s move on.
Your promotions regularity: This is an element that a lot of influencers overlook and it is something soooo valuable for the brands. Your exclusivity will be one of the determining factors for how appealing you look for a brand. That is why it is so important to turn down brand deals that are not interesting/amazing. If you accept every single brand deal, not only your audience will dislike that (no one likes to follow someone who looks like an advertising channel) and brands will avoid you.
With these considerations in mind, and using Vogue as a source, here’s how much some of the most well-known travel-influencers charge per post: (notice that this is an article published 2 years ago, which means that their audience sizes might have changed):
Since all those accounts are travel-related, let me present you with something broader: @mattcrump once shared his “generalized fee guide” with Later, including his rates per post:
5-10k followers: 100$-500$
10-25k followers: 500$-800$
25k-50k followers: 800$-1500$
50k-100k followers: 1500$-2000$
100k-250k followers: 2000$-6000$
250k-1M followers: 6000$-10 000$
1M+: 10 000$+
Personally, I believe the rates above are a bit overpriced (but of course, many elements would matter as well). Nonetheless, surely it serves as a base for your calculations.
As you know by now, determining the price of an influencer rate per post is not something simple and Misty Gant (Senior V.P of IMA Agency) shared that they calculate the rates based on the reach, impressions, engagement, and industry (niche) of the influencer”.
As an agency owner, I find this way of measuring to be pretty accurate and this is how I personally calculate the rates whenever we hire influencers for influencer marketing campaigns.
It is also important to put things into perspective, as probably many of you are now thinking that it’s ridiculous for people to charge so much simply for making one post. If that is how you think, let’s deconstruct that reasoning:
Advertisers spend up to 5 million dollars (excluding production costs) for a 30-seconds Super Bowl commercial, in order to reach more than 100 million viewers. In those 100 million viewers, surely millions will not even be the ideal targeted audience, which means that only a % of those 100 million will actually be a potential customer.
So investing a much smaller amount of money to promote your brand to thousands of people who are niche targeted makes a lot of sense to me. The difference is that the money is going to someone else (in this case, to the Instagram influencer).
Does it sound so unfair if we put it like this? Because both the Superbowl and the Influencer are doing exactly the same thing: providing exposure to your brand.
Posts from 500k+ fashion bloggers have already sold entire product lines in less than a day. Influencer Marketing works and @christinagalbato shared that she charged 2200$ for a post and 700$ for a story.
I know I have been speaking a lot about macro-influencers but let’s talk about micro-influencers now (i.e, users with a page size from 10k-100k followers):
In 2018, micro-influencers were responsible for 84% of ALL THE SPONSORED POSTS WORLDWIDE. So yes, they surely deserve a special mention in this post.
According to NeoReach, influencers with audience sizes from 50k-250k followers deliver a 30% better ROI (Return on Investment) per dollar spent than macro-influencers, and 20% better than influencers with more than 1 millions followers!
Finally, many brands are also paying for influencer getaways, sending influencers on vacations across the globe so that they can produce content in amazing places worldwide. And when those places are luxurious, they are VERY expensive and brands don’t usually hold costs to provide these experiences to the influencer.
Ravelist studied one beauty brand and made an estimate regarding the cost of the trip. Considering the private jets, food, drinks, accommodations, activities and some extra costs, the trip cost was around 338,640$ (and honestly it was probably more, as Ravelist also mentioned this was a modest estimate and the trip most probably surpassed half a million dollars).
SO WHY DO BRANDS PAY FOR ALL OF THIS?
Because it and brings a return.
Are you shocked by that amount? If you are, it means that you are not seeing the bigger picture yet so let me throw in some more statistics for you:
According to Statista, a regular 30 seconds TV AD on the US costs approximately 360 000$ (in the year of 2018 the price averaged 433 000$). And here we are speaking about 30 seconds of exposure.
------------------------------ // -------------------------------
To conclude and as this post is already half of a book, I would like to use this opportunity to mark my position as an absolute defender of influencers’ work.
What you see in social media whenever they do a partnership is simply the final result of dozens of hours invested. I could do a whole new post regarding the backstage work that no one sees made by influencers but trust me when I say that being an influencer is a full-time job and it is much more exhausting and work-intensive than what meets the eye.
If you have the same perspective on influencer work as I do and you believe that the society still undermines a lot the work done by Instagram influencers, I would like to invite you to leave a comment below so that more people can see this post.
It’s easy to have opinions but when opinions are backed up with facts they are harder to debate. That was the reason I went to all in to bring you a solid and informative post about the topic.
I will finish this post by leaving a link below that you can use in order to calculate (just an estimate of course) how much you can charge per post with your Instagram account.
I sincerely hope you enjoyed this and I would love to have your feedback below, so that I know whether you want me to continue to provide value this way or if you would like me to focus on different themes.
Wish you a fantastic day!”
submitted by throwabaytay2234 to blogsnark [link] [comments]

[ Leopard Geckos: A Beginner's Guide ]

Reposting due to the beloved u/skinkerdoodle taking a moderation break and a shuffle of the staff team :)
If you have ANY questions after finishing this guide, feel free to ask below and I, or someone else experienced, will try and answer the question for you. We also have two discord server discord server where you can ask questions and chat! If you're too embarrassed to post, feel free to PM me. I want this to post to be a safe space for beginners to ask questions and learn! The FAQ section may also answer some more "advanced" topics even if you're not a complete beginner.
Thinking about getting a leopard gecko? Awesome! They make great pets and owning them is a very rewarding experience. You may be scouring the web and start to think "where the heck do I start"! In this guide I'll be giving detailed advice to prepare you for your first gecko.
What to buy before you get a gecko:
This is a checklist of everything you need to buy BEFORE purchasing your gecko. It's important to set up before you get your new friend just in case some items, like the heating pad, end up not working.
THE ESSENTIALS
20G long is the accepted standard tank for an adult. You can go bigger but you'll have to provide adequate cover and heat sources. Also that whole "baby geckos can't be in a big tank" thing is completely untrue! You are perfectly fine buying an "end game" tank for your gecko. Babies can still be kept in a 10 gallon tank (if you are currently short on space, etc), but should be moved once they're starting to grow older and larger so that they can be more comfortable. I always recommend to buy your adult tank right off the bat. You'll save more money in the long run. If you're okay waiting for awhile Petco has a 1$ per gallon sale a few times a year. It's a pretty good deal.
Contrary to popular belief, leos can see most colors of light (even red). Albinos are especially sensitive to bright lights. Natural room lighting is acceptable and will not mess up their day/night cycles. Your heating pad should cover 1/3rd of your tank. You want a temperature gradient. I personally use the Zoo Med brand 30-40g size for my 20 gallon long tanks. This goes under the tank. Make sure your tank is slightly raised to provide air flow.
You can also use deep heat projects, radiant heat panels, etc to heat your tank. Just keep in mind these will also need to be temp controlled to keep your leopard gecko safe. IF YOU CHOOSE TO USE LOOSE SUBSTRATE (depending on how thick/deep it is) YOU WILL MOST LIKELY HAVE TO USE OVERHEAD HEATING. This will ensure accurate surface and air temps.
YOU CAN USE LOW OUTPUT (5% or less) UVB LIGHTS. Just provide plenty of cover if your leo is albino and watch to make sure they aren't too stressed. They are optional if you are supplementing properly.
Heating sources get HOT. I mean up to 120F unregulated just for heating pads. You need to control the temperature! I personally use this thermostat. You want the floor of the tank to be 90F. Keeping it this temperature will make sure you have a happy, healthy gecko. Lower temps can cause your gecko to not eat and digest properly. This is also a good thermostat.
NO CALCI-SAND/COLORED SAND. I cannot stress this enough. These can cause impaction which can lead to death. Good beginner substrate include: Paper towels, mixed naturalistic substrate (play sand + top soil is a good starting base, you can also add in eco earth, clay) mixed with tile (on the hot side works the best) or just plain tile (no linoleum tile and it must be textured). Eco earth by itself is not a good substrate and can get too dusty/dry. Reptile carpet is just a pain to clean and your leopard gecko can get claws and teeth stuck in it.
* Three hides (Hot, moist, and cool)
You want three hides in your tank. One for the hot side of the tank (positioned over the heating pad). This will be the place your gecko spends most of it's time. Geckos tend to like very secure hides, so you want to have a hide that provides as little visibility as possible. I have found my geckos really like this hide as their hot hide. You can pick out whatever you like though! For the moist hide you want a container that can hold in humidity. This hide is to help aid shedding, so it's of the utmost importance! Many people use tupperware containers with holes cut into it. The smaller the entrance the better, as to keep the humidity in. This hide should be at least partially on the heat mat and have moist paper towel, moss, or eco earth. The cool hide should be on the complete opposite side of the hot hide. Your gecko needs somewhere to escape to if it gets too hot.
* Infrared Temp Gun
You want to double check your temperatures and make sure they're accurate and an infrared temp gun is the best way to do it! I use this one.
* Bowl for calcium/food/water
Your leopard gecko needs a source of calcium (without d3) in the tank. They'll lick it up as they need it. This is a key component of warding off MBD (Metabolic Bone Disease). Just place it in the tank and leave it be. Refresh it every once in awhile. Food bowl is self explanatory. Water bowl should be near the middle of the tank or the cool side. I recommend buying something similar to this if you want tap water to be reptile safe.
* Multivitamin & Calcium (with and without d3)
These are essential to a healthy, happy leopard gecko. These are used for dusting food. There are plenty of brands to choose from. Repashy and Zoo Med make both. Either are good!
ADDITIONAL
* Decor
Most up to you! You want the tank to have enough decor that your gecko doesn't feel exposed. Plastic plants are great for this. If you're using craft store plants make sure they do not bleed/rub off dye. File down sharp edges. Places like Petco will match their online prices, sometimes saving you a lot of money. Amazon also had good prices sometimes, so keep an eye out. If you're crafty you can always make your own decor. Just make sure you use reptile safe products.
* Leopard Gecko Emergency Kit
It should contain: betadine (for sterilizing wounds), neosporin without pain relief, q-tips, olive oil (to aid pooping if your gecko is impacted), coconut oil (to aid shedding), flour or a clotter (to stop bleeding), and tweezers. All of this should cover basic medical emergencies like minor scratches, etc.
> [This critter keeper (size depends on how many geckos). Repashy grub pie, extra supplements, uni heat (or reptile) heat packs, a fleece blanket, digital thermometer, heat tape (or maybe a mini size heating pad by zoo med as they can be used with plastic), two bowls. In some cases where you have multiple geckos, create separated areas in a larger fauna box.
Credit Sybilestial !
* Plastic container with lid
Great for saunas if your gecko is having trouble shedding and for holding your gecko while cleaning the tank!
* Tongs
If you're iffy about touching insects, this may be the way to go. Plus your gecko may be scared for your hands at first.
* Scale
This is a good way to track your gecko's weight, especially if they're young. Even for adults getting a base line weight is beneficial. I just use a food scale. Most people measure geckos in grams! I usually weigh everyone once every two weeks.
* A Journal/Calendar
Might sound a little nuts but keeping track of gecko feedings, last time they shed, etc. will make your life so much easier. I personally record the last time my geckos shed, ate, weights, pooped, etc. I also jot down any notes about their behaviors or any changes to their health. It's good to keep track of these things in case your gecko becomes ill and needs to go to the vet.
PICKING OUT YOUR GECKO
My personal recommendation is to buy from a reputable breeder or from a breeder at an expo. This generally ensures you are getting a healthy, happy gecko. Buying from a pet store is risky business as many geckos from chain stores carry parasites or have health issues. You could end up paying a hefty vet bill or with a short lived gecko. Unfortunately there are still some shady breeders too. I'll list a few warning signs:
* can't answer questions about their geckos (parents, genetics, hatch date, weight, etc)
* can't tell you the morph
* won't show you pictures of the gecko
* improper husbandry
* skinny, sickly looking geckos (metabolic bone disease, stick tail, lethargic, etc)
There are plenty of places where you can get honest reviews of breeders like the Board of Inquiry on Faunaclassified as well as a few groups on Facebook. Don't always trust facebook reviews as they can be censored! Get an opinion from actual customers. Do research. [Here's another guide I wrote on this subject.
I generally do not recommend enigma morph geckos to beginners. This is my personal opinion. There is always a chance your gecko will end up with enigma syndrome somewhere down the line. Enigma syndrome is a neurological disorder tied to the enigma gene. This leads to: balance issues, circling, stargazing, seizures, death rolling, coordination issues, and more. Feeding can become extremely difficult and I consider enigma syndrome geckos a little more advanced care. White and Yellow morphs can also exhibit a similar syndrome but it's much rarer, *as it can be bred out*. It's not tied to the W&Y gene. Lemon frosts, a rather expensive morph, has been known to grow tumors. Their health issues are so severe that many breeders have stopped producing them entirely. I don't think many beginners have 2.5k to drop on a gecko but just in case you were thinking about it, don't!
Babies can be much more skittish than adults and a little bit more delicate. If you want something more hearty go for a slightly older gecko! Babies also eat a lot of food so if you're looking to spend a little bit less money an adult is also the way to go. Babies change in color A LOT so if you are looking for a gecko of a certain color an adult is your best bet to get exactly what you want.
Leos are able to be temperature sexed and many breeders will label them TSF (temp sex female) or TSM (temp sex male). Keep in mind this is not a 100% guarantee you will get that sex. There is still a chance they will turn out to be the opposite sex. Snows are notorious for having a lower accuracy rate when temp sexed. If you want a guaranteed male or female you will have to buy older.
DO NOT PLACE ANY GECKOS TOGETHER! DO NOT COHAB. Geckos are solitary creatures and thrive when housed alone. Keeping geckos together can lead to fighting and serious injuries, and usually ends up stressing the animals out. Behavior that may look cute, like cuddling, are actually signs of aggression and dominance. Here is an example of what happened to a leo that was housed together with another gecko. Don't risk your animals. Here's a great read from one of our sub members 410cs:
It's common knowledge that Leos are territorial, regardless of Gender, they're tolerant to a point until they snap. It can be 3 minutes together, it can be 10 years. Eventually they will snap and something like this will happen. It's quite clear that, even if the cause of the break wasn't due to a fight, you need to separate them. Let's go through some of the most basic and obvious reasons why:
* Competition for the, poor quality, of food.
* It seems like you're feeding those vacuum-packed locusts, or at least some sort of dead variant. These hold next to no nutritional value.
* The food there, although dusted, is going to be fought-over and dominated, regardless of if you've ever seen this happen. The girl in the picture is awfully thin, I have no doubts that this is a major factor of this.
* 100x Easier for parasites and disease to spread.
* They eat, sleep, poop and live in the same area. This is a huge no-no when it comes to a lot of reptiles. Considering some breeders have been wiped out over using the same equipment, (tongs), I'd seriously not be surprised if every Geck in that tank has some sort of parasitical load; either a worryingly large load of Pinworm or ever worse, (Geckos can be crypto-positive even if they're not rapidly losing weight).
* The male is going to, eventually, breed with the females.
* Sometimes males just don't breed successfully when they're in-season, which might be why you haven't experienced any (Fertile) eggs yet. When they are they act like a dog in heat. The breeding stress is going to be awfully harsh on your females, it's not uncommon for females to die as a result of over breeding.
* General dominance over heat, hides, etc.
* Are your Geckos sleeping together? Are they "cuddling"? I wouldn't be surprised. You can have them in a 75 Gal with a hundred hides and there still is a chance of them doing this.
* It's not a case of if they fight, it's when they fight.
* They don't always show warning signs. They can be fine one minute and, before you know it, one won't have a limb.
Please, for the sake of the Geckos, house them individually. If they go off of food it's due to change of environment, they don't have the emotional capabilities to miss each other. I don't care if they're in 10Gals for now, just do it. For the sake of your pets. It's borderline animal cruelty.
SETTING UP YOUR NEW FRIEND & THE FIRST WEEKS
Once you have acquired your gecko and placed it in the tank LEAVE IT ALONE! You should wait at least 5-7 days before handling or messing around with your gecko. Your new friend is scared and adjusting to a big change. It can be tempting, especially as a beginner, but hold off. If you can I would wait until your gecko is eating as well before handling. You want to keep your interaction to a minimum like cleaning up poop, giving your gecko food, etc. Covering the tank with a blanket is also a good way to make your gecko feel safer. Choose a quiet place for the tank.
Observe your gecko and make sure it's not exhibiting signs of illness. If your gecko seems lethargic, isn't pooping after eating, bloated, walking irregularly, losing weight rapidly, etc go to the vet! Don't wait! Taking action as soon as possible is the best thing you can do for your gecko. Also watch for your gecko's first shed to make sure they are shedding properly in their new environment.
TAMING AND HANDLING
Patience is key to taming your new gecko! It can take awhile for them to trust you, especially if they are younger. Adolescent geckos tend to be more skittish. You want to start off by putting your hand in the tank, within sight of your gecko, for at least ten minutes a day. This is to get your gecko used to your hand and scent. Once they seem a bit more receptive (walking around, licking your hand, looking curious) you can start to try picking them up. Always scoop up your gecko from below, working your hand underneath their stomach and supporting their legs. Grabbing from above triggers their prey instinct and will scare them. Hold them over the tank at first, in case they leap or skitter off your hand, to prevent injury! Once they seem calm in your hands, then you can start taking them away from the tank. Hand feeding is also a good way to bond with your gecko and make sure they associate your hand with positive things (aka food).
Congrats! You tamed your gecko!
FEEDING
Feeding is a subject I see a ton of topics about in the subreddit so let's go over the basics!
Acceptable feeders include:
* Mealworms (can be kept in oats/bran meal in the fridge)
* Superworms (can be kept in oats/bran meal DO NOT REFRIGERATE)
* Crickets (kept in normal container, DO NOT LEAVE THEM IN THE TANK THEY WILL BITE YOUR LEO)
* Dubia Roaches (kept in normal containetank/whatever)
* Hornworms (Treat, optional, fed once a week, 1 worm)
* Waxworms (Treat, optional, fed **rarely**, only 1-2)
* Butterworms (Treat, optional, fed once a week or less, 1-2)
* Here's a nutritional feeder insect chart
Remember, variety is good for your gecko. Do not over feed treat foods! They should be a rare occurrence and you should only feed 1-2 per week or less, especially for waxworms (which can be addictive). Do not feed treat foods to sick geckos, very young geckos, or picky eaters. Only feed treat foods to healthy geckos who are eating regularly. Feel free to mix and match feeders! GUT LOAD YOUR FEEDERS. Gut loading is feeding your insects prior to feeding them to your gecko. Carrots, lettuce, etc should be fed 12 hours ahead of time. You want to give them time to eat the veggies or fruit. I usually feed them once a week besides gut loading to make sure they get the moisture they need from the food. Dusting is also another key part of feeding. Make sure the insects are lightly dusted with calcium or multivitamin.
Babies should eat every day, as much as they can eat in 15 minutes. "Teen" geckos (6-9 months) should be eating every other day. Usually teen geckos will decide this for themselves and start refusing food every day. Adults (1 year and over) should eat every 2-3 (or longer) days depending on weight.
FAQ
MY GECKO HAS STUCK SHED/IS HAVING PROBLEMS SHEDDING AHHHH
First of all, DON'T PANIC! Stuck shed happens. The easiest way to loosen up stuck shed is a gecko sauna! Take your plastic container and fill it with paper towels, soaked in warm water. Place your gecko in the container for 10-15 minutes. Then you can attempt to rub the stuck shed off with the q-tip from the gecko first aid kit. Be gentle but persistent. Your gecko may get a bit upset but this is okay. Stuck shed can lead to lost toes, tail tips, and other various problems. A little bit of stress is better than losing a toe! If this still doesn't work you can use a bit of coconut oil on the tip of a q-tip and gently rub the shed skin with it.
MY NEW GECKO ISN'T EATING AHH
New geckos are stressed out and this can lead to them not eating, so be patient and wait. Sometimes it can take over a week and even then they may still eat a bit irregularly for awhile. If your gecko seems lethargic, sickly, or is rapidly losing weight while also not eating, a vet visit is in order. Try to find a reptile vet. *ALWAYS DOUBLE CHECK YOUR TEMPERATURES!* Low or irregular temperatures can cause a gecko to not eat.
Geckos may also delay eating if they are about to shed or have just shed. Female leopard geckos can also go off food if they are ovulating (producing eggs). Look for white oval shapes in your gecko's lower stomach. Here is an image. All you can do is wait it out until the female eats again. Males may also go off food during breeding season.
If you change around your gecko's tank or move their tank to a new location this can also cause them to get stressed and stop eating. Consider any small (or large) changes you've made to your gecko's environment when trying to figure out why your gecko won't eat.
My gecko just threw up its food! What's wrong with it?
Sometimes geckos regurgitate food when they've eaten too much too fast. Low temperatures can also lead to regurgitation. Check your temperatures and make sure your heating pad is working properly. Parasites can also cause geckos to throw up their food. If you suspect parasites, call a vet.
Do albino leopard geckos have any special care?
Their eyes are very sensitive. They may not like bright light at all or require more cover in their tank to protect their eyes. Other than that they are normal geckos.
It's cold where I live and I can't maintain the necessary temperature. What can I do?
You can buy a ceramic heat emitter. This is a bulb you put into a lamp that gives off no light but produces heat. You can hook this up to a dimmer to control the temperature or another thermostat. I've found a 45w or a 60w does the job pretty well. It should boost your temps up to an acceptable level.
What should my tank look like? What are some examples?
Here are some examples: [1](https://i.imgur.com/JDpedEy.jpg), [2](https://i.imgur.com/1NUjJ1z.jpg), [3](https://i.imgur.com/WUxiXaD.jpg), [4](https://i.imgur.com/UL7C9i7.jpg)
I have other reptiles blah blah
QUARANTINE YOUR GECKO!
Quarantining for 60-90 days is the preferable option, especially if your gecko is showing any signs of sickness. Use separate tools, etc. If you purchase another gecko don't switch around decor between the tanks, etc. Be safe and save yourself a possible heartache and cash.
My female is ovulating. What do I do?
Look for white oval shapes in your gecko's lower stomach. If your female has eggs you can make a lay box. A closed container with eco earth will do. If she lays them, they will most likely be infertile and can be thrown away. Leopard geckos can lay many eggs during breeding season. Make sure you're supplementing a bit extra, as egg laying is quite taxing. Leopard geckos can also reabsorb their eggs. Females can ovulate pretty early (think 8 months or so) depending how large they are.
My leopard gecko is waving/shaking it's tail!
Tail waving means your gecko is scared and you should leave them alone. Tail shaking is pretty common when hunting and just means they're excited. Loud tail rattling is a sign a male wants to breed.
Is my leopard gecko a boy or a girl?
See this [image]. Males will have visible pores and two hemipenes at the base of their tail in comparison to females. Leopard geckos can usually be sexed around 4 months of age, though males may take longer to mature. At 5-6 months you should be able to tell for yourself. Place the gecko in a clear, plastic container and take a look!
My leopard gecko won't eat from a bowl!
Some geckos don't like bowls. They like the hunt! You may have to tong/hand feed. You can try starving them out until they eat from the bowl, if you're really adamant about it. Or as sybilestial suggests:
>If the geckos aren't eating from bowls, try clear ones. You can find a set of clear candle holders (that do not come with a candle) at dollar stores.
How long can my gecko be left alone?
Most adults can be left a few days since their feeding schedules are spread out. Babies will need someone to watch them if you need to go somewhere, as they need to eat every day. If you can get your baby to eat out of a bowl, you can probably leave them as well. If your gecko is about to shed or looks dull, make sure you thoroughly dampen the moist hide.
I never seen my gecko! Why?
Leopard geckos nocturnal/crepuscular. They come out at night. You may not see your gecko out during the day at all. Don't worry, this is normal.
My power went out what do I do?!
There are reptile specific warmers, usually used for shipping, that you can buy and use as well. They come in different hour intervals like 40, 72, etc. Make sure you follow the instructions! If you live in an area that is hit by storms and loses power often, be PREPARED AHEAD OF TIME! If you live somewhere relatively warm year round, your gecko will be okay without heat for a day or two. Just make sure you don't feed them during this time.
What should my tank's humidity be?
40%! If your humidity gets too high I suggest a dehumidifier for the room your leo is in. If your water bowl is large, switch it for a smaller one. Don't put the water bowl on the hot side. Putting a sock filled with rice into the tank can help a little bit too.
My gecko looks pale. IS IT DYING??
No, it's just about to shed! Leopard geckos usually shed once every 2-3 weeks. In the days beforehand they'll get very dull looking. The day of they usually turn white. Shedding usually takes a day or so. Make sure you keep your moist hide damp! Leopard geckos eat their shed as they're peeling it off themselves so don't be alarmed if you don't find anything afterwards
What is MBD? You mention that a lot.
MBD is Metabolic Bone Disease. This happens in geckos who are not supplemented properly with calcium and multivitamins. Here is a good article about it. Proper supplementation is important!
My gecko is sick what do I do?
Find a reptile vet (there's a vet link in the sidebar)! In order to ensure your reptile gets the best care possible you should always use a vet experienced in reptiles. I recommend you find one ahead of time near your area. And, as always, have a decent amount of cash tucked away somewhere in case your reptile gets sick. Exotic vet care is expensive and you never know when an emergency will pop up.
Where can I find pictures that illustrate the conditions and sicknesses you talk about?
Lizardbeans on tumblr has a great guide as well, with a bunch of pictures of different leopard gecko conditions.
How do I use Betadine? If my gecko gets a minor injury what should I do?
Let's say your gecko manages to hurt it's toe. It's bleeding a little bit but otherwise it looks pretty minor.
  1. Soak the reptile in warmish chest deep water to which Betadine (povidone-iodine) has been added to color the water to a deep medium tea color. Leave in the tub for 15-20 minutes, refreshing the warm water and Betadine as necessary. If the wound is swollen and crusty, carefully pick off the scab/crusty exudates. Note that if the reptile defecates in the tub, it must be washed out, disinfected and another Betadine soak set up. Flush the wound area with fresh water before being placed back in the new bath.
  2. Remove the reptile from the tub and flush the wound with fresh dilute Betadine.
  3. At night, top the wound with triple antibiotic ointment (original ointment, pain relief free). Repeat for a week or until the wound is healing over.
  4. If there is any sign of swelling which occurs after the bathing and treatment or such swelling does not abate after a week, the animal must be seen by an experienced reptile vet.
I have found antibiotic ointment works wonders for small wounds. Nose bumps/scrapes, etc!
My gecko can't seem to shed properly. There's always stuck shed. What's the deal?
First off, make sure they're using their moist hide right. Make sure you spray it consistently, especially when they start to get dull in color preparing to shed. Keep the moist hide half on, half on the heating pad at the very least. Hot and humid is far better than cold and humid when it comes to shedding!
Also make sure you are supplementing your leopard gecko properly with multivitamins. As stated by BovieVei her gecko had problems shedding due to a Vitamin A deficiency!
>Repeated bad sheds can also be attributed to vitamin a deficiency. My Leo recently had to go to the vet for it and got a vitamin a booster shot and it was so weird last time he shed because the skin came right off where he got the injection before anywhere else. (the rest of the shed was much better than usual too). Either way you need to get this poor baby to a vet.
>Vitamin a deficiency can include lethargy and reduced appetite, bad sheds, lizard smegma (ew), and eye ulcers.
So keep up those vitamins, folks!
My gecko is big... is it a giant/super giant?
Most likely? No, it is not. If it is not labeled as a giant/super giant or is from a pet store those chances are even lower. Giants are only giants if they hold the giant gene (which is specifically bred for and highly desired). Otherwise you just have yourself a large, impressive gecko which is pretty awesome anyway! Here's a good article written by member Professional_Gecko.
What morph is my pet store/whatever gecko?
Without genetics we can only give you a guess, especially with albinos. Albino strains are impossible to 100% positively identify through just looking at them.
My gecko's eyes are different from a normal gecko's eyes?
Leopard geckos have many different eye types other than the standard grey on normals. There's [full eclipse eyes](https://i.imgur.com/VBnqmv8.jpg), which are pure black, commonly seen on [super snows](https://i.imgur.com/rNI3fdJ.jpg), galaxies, and other eclipse morphs. Pure red eyes, commonly seen on morphs like [Raptors](https://i.imgur.com/0uxvGOH.jpg), [Radars](https://i.imgur.com/6sII6ur.jpg), and other albinos. There's [snake eyes](https://i.imgur.com/SeFd6JF.jpg) which are a variant of the eclipse eyes but they are eyes which have some solid pigment but are not completely solid. There's also [brown-reddish eyes](https://i.imgur.com/I0WAREx.jpg) that are common with enigmas. The albino strains (Tremper, Bell, Rainwater) have a wide variety of eye colors.
What kinds of albinos are there?
Tremper is the most popular albino strain. It is abundant compared to Bell and Rainwater (also sometimes called Las Vegas). Bells and Rainwaters tend to be more pricey because of this. Many have albino strain specific morphs. Raptors are Tremper specific while Radars are Bell specific. Firewaters are a Rainwater specific morph.
Can I breed my two pet store geckos?
I wouldn't recommend it. Mixing unknown genetics can be a risky business as there's so many genes you shouldn't cross. Gem, tug, and mack snows should never be crossed. Certain eye types should not be crossed. Albino genes cannot be crossed. Plus you don't know what other hets (genes) the gecko is carrying as they don't exhibit this outwardly. Not to mention selling the babies will be much harder (and you're going to have a ton of them. If you are going to breed, do it right by buying to geckos with known genetics!
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Super Bowl Odds Report  Super Bowl 2020 Spread and Total - February 2, 2020 Super Bowl 52 Odds and Predictions from Vegas 2020 Super Bowl Prop Bets Handicapping Tips and Strategy Super Bowl Predictions, Props and Betting Update from Las Vegas Superbook Super Bowl LIV Odds and Predictions  Sunday, February 2, 2020

Get the latest NFL odds, point spreads, money lines and over/unders for popular sportsbooks and view SportsLine's expert analysis of each upcoming game. Currently, the Patriots are listed with a -137 moneyline to win Super Bowl 53 and the Rams are a +117 underdog. Super Bowl Betting Trends to Consider. With all of the line movement in the first 24 hours, it can be a bit daunting to determine which Super Bowl wager to put your money on. One aspect to examine is Super Bowl betting trends. Super Bowl Odds Tracker Oct. 7 Update. The league’s elite only increased the gap on the Super Bowl odds board this week, as the Chiefs (+400 to +350), Ravens (+650 to +600), Seahawks (+1000 to +800) and Packers (+1400 to +1000) all won in Week 4. Of that group, the Packers implied-probability increase was the greatest (6.67% to 9.09%). Super Bowl LIV, featuring the Kansas City Chiefs vs. San Francisco 49ers, is now just hours away from kickoff.Sports bettors around the country will remain busy getting action in the last game of the season, placing wagers on all aspects of the game from the coin toss to player statistics to the outright winner and score of the game.. For the most part, the 2020 Super Bowl lines have remained ... 2020 Super Bowl point spread, betting line, total, odds: 49ers vs. Chiefs expected to go down to the wire Looking to place your Super Bowl bet?

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Super Bowl Odds Report Super Bowl 2020 Spread and Total - February 2, 2020

Super Bowl Predictions, Prop Bets and Betting Update from Vegas: Direct from Las Vegas, WagerTalk.com, TV host Kelly Stewart checks in with Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook Sportsbook Director and ... Super Bowl Prop Bets 2019 and Betting Tips (Super Bowl Vegas Odds - Sunday, February 3, 2019) - Duration: 7:41. WagerTalk TV: Sports Picks and Betting Tips 1,948 views 7:41 Prop Bets for Super Bowl 2020 Super Bowl Start Time: 6:30 p.m. EST on Sunday, February 2, 2020 - Duration: 36:19. WagerTalk TV: Sports Picks and Betting Tips 5,461 views 36:19 NFL Betting experts Donnie Rightside and Teddy Covers talk about the released Super Bowl 2020 Future Odds and which are looking like strong candidates to tak... Opening Super Bowl lines had the Chiefs PK with a total of 51, and the current spread and total have the Chiefs -1 and 55. 🏈 Printable 2020 Super Bowl Props Party Game https://wt.buzz/pp2020

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