Busy night with yet another fantasy football draft (trying to limit the number of fantasy football leagues this year to single-digits) and then the Patriots-Giants preseason game to watch and note (and get all Twitter-chatting about the game as well) while flipping between the college football action. I do not know where the SEC Channel came from on my cable package, but I love it.
The NFL updated their domestic violence policy after their wrist-slap on Ravens running back Ray Rice. With a second offense leading to banishment, it is a harsh penalty. Hitting a woman is wrong, especially when it is a professional athlete who spends hours in the gym getting ready to deliver bone-rattling hits on other freaks of nature with extreme speed, strength, and athleticism. Nice to the see the NFL did something right.
Loved seeing that Patriots quarterback Tom Brady is “very upset” about the Logan Mankins trade. He needs a chip on his shoulder. Mankins is gone because he did not want to renegotiate his contract. That’s fine, it’s his right as a player. But the Patriots are not paying a 32-year-old guard a contract costing over $20 million combined in 2014 & 2015 as he has clearly declined since 2011. Getting a move tight end (Tim Wright) and a 4th round pick is a steal for clearing cap space. Second-year guard Josh Kline should be ready to step in unless the Patriots go with veterans Dan Connolly and/or Ryan Wendell at a guard spot. Better a year early with Mankins than a year late!
Cleveland All-World wide receiver Josh Gordon is out for the year with his suspension. I really expected that he would be able get his sentence reduced, but he apparently went for all or nothing and paid the price. He indicated interest in playing in the CFL this year, but the Browns nixed that opportunity. Gordon did not hit a woman. He did not drink and drive (well, he wasn’t suspended for that!) and put innocent lives in danger, nor did he take drugs designed to give him an unfair advantage over his opponents. Nope, just smoked some weed (or, as he contested, inhaled second-hand smoke) and got busted on a drug test.
Denver wide receiver Wes Welker has yet to be cleared to play, but with 3 concussions in his last 10 games for Denver he has to be careful. Yes, he has the right to earn a living, but his health is too important to put in jeopardy. Concussions are not a joke. Welker is in the last year of his contract and is likely wanting to look good for potential suitors, but rushing back from a concussion is a bad idea.
Finally, ESPN reached a new low as “reporter” Josina Anderson wrote an article on openly gay St Louis Rams player Michael Sam and his showering habits in the locker room and if other teammates are uncomfortable. I refuse to click on the article or anything talking about it. The man is a football player. His sexual orientation should not be the story, but rather his play on the field. Leave the kid alone and see if he makes the team before getting into any other crap that floats around the league.
The NFL season is getting geared up as there are just two weeks left in the preseason and much to talk about. Time to get right to the notes (before I import any tables and crash the site again--whoops!).
In Philly, the big news last night was running back LeSean McCoy’s thumb on Thursday night. Initially what could have been a break was released as a sprain and should shut him down until opening day. Huge positive news for Philadelphia and fantasy football owners. McCoy is one of the best running backs in the NFL but the fear of injury is always a concern.
Their opponents Friday night was Pittsburgh and their pair of “Dopes” in the backfield. Former Bucs and Patriots running back LeGarrette Blount and last year’s top back Le’Veon Bell were arrested on Wednesday after a police officer on a motorcycle noticed the smell of marijuana and both were arrested after a traffic stop. The duo may now face discipline from the league and Pittsburgh may be shorthanded come opening day against Cleveland. Some nice preparation for the game, for sure.
Number one overall pick defensive end Jadeveon Clowney left practice Wednesday as he suffered an undisclosed injury but rumors were bouncing around it was a neck injury but not serious. That said, the kid has been fantastic to date. Moving from end in college to outside linebacker in the 3-4 under defensive coordinator Romeo Crennel’s three time Super Bowl ring defense, Clowney has been explosive and disruptive to date. For Houston, they need to protect their investment and not rush him back. Clowney and J.J. Watt look like a dynamic pass rushing duo this season and beyond.
In Indianapolis, the Colts have to be wondering when running back Trent Richardson is going to break out. After trading a first round pick to Cleveland for the former #3 overall pick, Richardson did nothing but lose his job last season. With Vick Ballard injured and just a washed-up Ahmad Bradshaw behind Richardson, the Colts have a gaping hole on offense. They traded for Eagles back David Fluellen this week, but the undrafted free agent is likely just a depth option for the practice squad. The Colts are running out players like Zurlon Tipton, Deji Karim, and Daniel Herron at running back. Expect Indy to scour the waiver wire for some backs at cutdowns. Whoever thought Donald Brown would look so good and be missed?
The New York Jets lost their third and fourth round draft picks this week as cornerback Dexter McDougle and receiver Shaq Evans landed on injured reserve. The Jets were expected to lean on their rookies this season and losing two already does not bode well. Oft-injured former Dolphins cornerback Dimitri Patterson has been out and the cornerback position has been so thin that safety Antonio Allen was moved to slot cornerback. For a team that had one of the best duos in football at cornerback in Darrelle Revis and Antonio Cromartie, they now have flotsam and jetsam at the position. Wide receiver is not much better. Offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg (sorry Detroit fans to bring up that bad memory!) now has Eric Decker and...well, no one any good at receiver. David Nelson, Jeremy Kerley, Jacoby Ford, Greg Salas, and Stephen Hill look like a cutdown list, not a depth list.
In Arizona, the Cardinals lost a key cog in their strong defense when veteran nose tackle Darnell Dockett went down with an ACL injury during a non-contact drill. He is out for the season and backup Frostee Rucker is just not comparable to Dockett in the middle of the defense. The Cards also signed veteran Isaac Sopoaga last seen being beat out by undrafted free agents for playing time in New England. Big loss for Arizona.
A 2012 second-round draft pick was released this week as the St. Louis Rams dumped oft-injured running back Isaiah Pead after he tore his ACL last week. Pead has had injuries, suspensions, crappy play, and sixth-round pick Zac Stacy making him obsolete in St. Louis. The question becomes whether anyone wants to take a chance on him and stash him for a year and see if he can bounce back next year. Quite the long-shot, though.
Of course, the biggest news (as far as ESPN was concerned) was Johnny Football was told he will ride the pine week one. Of course, a quarterback who played in the shotgun, had no playbook, and was late for practices and looked terrible all preseason really should have had no shot to play at all. Great news for career backup Brian Hoyer as he gets a shot to play at last. For Johnny Manziel, hopefully he gets his head on straight and buckles down and gets himself ready to play in the NFL. Of course, I said all along this guy is just another Tim Tebow...he has time to prove me wrong, but I am not counting on it.
Finally, in Cincinnati the Bengals signed linebacker Vontaze Burfict to a four-year $20 million extension paying him $7.6 million this year. Burfict was an undrafted free agent who signed for a $5,000 signing bonus as no other team wanted any part of the troubled and slow linebacker coming out of college. The Bengals got two fantastic seasons from the big run-stuffer at NFL minimum contract level before re-upping him wisely now. If Burfict played again at the minimum contract this year he would likely have been looking for a new address as a free agent this offseason.
Yours truly is back to Pawtucket to check out the Boston Red Sox prospects tonight. Hope to have some pics up next week. Gonna be hard to top seeing Joey Votto in a rehab stint, though.
So I was reading about free agent outside linebacker/defensive end Larry English finally catching on with a new team as he signed on with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The article mentioned him as part of the 2009 NFL Draft and how it was a mixed bag of a draft. It got me thinking about the first round of the 2009 NFL Draft and how now that it has been five years it is a great time to check back and see just how it really turned out.
2009 NFL DRAFT - ROUND ONE REVIEW
Stafford is tough to figure out here. He puts up some great numbers, but is he a top quarterback? He seems like he is knocking on the door each season and puts up some great numbers with Megatron for fantasy football, but the wins and playoff appearances do not follow. Whether fair or not, quarterbacks get measured by wins--especially in the postseason--and are not considered elite when they post guady numbers and double-digit losses.
From cornerstone left tackle with $33 million guaranteed in St. Louis to all but out of the league. As big a bust as any in the draft, Smith is right up there. Aaron Curry, Aaron Maybin, or Larry English may have been busts, but Smith was the most highly paid!
Jackson was allowed to leave Kansas City without much resistance. #3 overall picks usually are not shown the door. Jackson is borderline bust, but he has slowly improved.
Out of the league. 5.5 career sacks. Super bust. Historic bust. He could not even catch on in Oakland!
Butt-Fumble. 'Nuff said. Some solid moments early in his career riding a strong defense, but Sanchez was never the Sanchise he was supposed to be.
Smith was intended to be a cornerstone. Instead he is a solid right tackle. Not the best, not the worst. Drafted a bit high, but he has been solid.
Oog. This pick is often used to sum up what was wrong with Oakland at the end of the Al Davis era: Just suck, Baby!
Monroe is a solid left tackle in the NFL. Jacksonville traded him to Baltimore for draft picks where he was a shot in the arm for Baltimore filling the role Michael "the Blind Side" Oher was meant to fill after he was picked in the 2009 draft. Maybe it is bias for hms being stuck on a bad team so long, but Monroe is borderline star at the position.
Raji looked like a star but he has fell off in a hurry. From penetrating nose tackle to big waste of space. He is teetering on bust.
Crabtree is a tough player to figure. He started slow in San Francisco but by the second-half of 2011 and into 2012 was the number one receiver on a Super Bowl team. Last year he had an Achilles tendon tear that slowed him most of the season. He is ont he borderline of a star/solid player. Since he gets under Richard Sherman's skin, he gets the benefit of the doubt.
Maybin was a major flop in Buffalo. He landed in New York and had six sacks in 2011 and seemed on the comeback road. Nope. A down year led to a release, a year in the CFL, and now retirement.
Moreno rescued himself from bust status last year as he bounced back from two years of almost no production and topped 1,000 yards for the first time. Of course, Denver let him walk and the Georgia back is now in Miami. He is still a bit of a question mark, but he can change that positively or negatively in the next few years.
Orakpo is a sacking machine. Other than an injury taking out almost all of 2012 he would be in the conversation for the best first-round pick in the 2009 draft. A three-time Pro Bowl player, Orakpo is a solid pick at #14 overall.
Jenkins is a solid starting free safety. He is far from a star. He is above bust, but not by much. He left New Orleans for Philadelphia this offseason, so maybe a change of scenery is what he needs .
Cushing is a borderline star, but he played only 12 of 32 games for Houston the past two years. When on the field, he is a playmaking tackling machine. A bounce-back couple of seasons and Cushing is back in the star category.
English is the inspiration for this article. He was supposed to be what Clay Matthews has been. Instead, he flamed out in San Diego after multiple chances.
Josh Freeman is still unsigned and not in a training camp. That means he ranks outside the top 3000 players in football right now. That is insane. A huge 2010 season led to optimism but he self-destructed and played his way out of Tampa Bay last year. Now he is on the outside looking in.
Ayers is borderline solid/bust. He is a run-stuffer, but a top twenty first round pick? He can look like a solid pass rusher than disappear for a month. He is inconsistent and really seems to be teetering on slipping to bust in a hurry.
Maclin is the definition of solid. A number two receiver. 55 to 70 catches for 700-900 yards. Maclin missed all of last year so that is an issue, but he should bounce back. Definitely a solid pick.
How the heck do you rank Pettigrew? He is not in the Gronk-Graham group of tight ends but has topped 70 receptions and 700 yards twice. Is he elite? No. Solid? Sure, he was. But his star is showing tarnish the last two years.
Mack probably challenges Clay Matthews as the best player in the draft. Centers do not always go in the first round but Mack has been superb since coming into the league and earned a big money contract this offseason. A great all-around blocker and great pick.
Injuries, sure. But when he plays? WOW! He is a playmaker. The injuries and inconsistencies are all that keep the star label off him.
Sure, he had a movie made about him, but his play has dropped off big time the past few years. He was up-and-down but looked like a future cornerstone left tackle by the end of 2010, but since then he has been steadily getting worse.
Without Googling him, does anyone remember Peria Jerry? That's what I thought and why he's a bust.
Vontae Davis was a washout in Miami but seemingly turned his career around in Indianapolis. He may not be elite, but he has embraced the top role in the secondary in Indy and 4-years $39 million shows he has the respect of his team and could turn the corner to even better things.
Arguably the best draft pick in 2009, the Packers got a steal trading up to snag New England's top pick for a bunch of picks that turned into…nothing spectacular. Matthews is a legitimate star and a steal at #26 overall.
A first-round running back has significant expectations. Brown would be a value pick if he had been taken in the fourth or fifth round, but he has never been a regular starter and topped out at 645 yards in a season.
Wood was a solid guard for two seasons for Buffalo and then switched to center in 2011. Injuries have slowed him a bit, but he is solid in pass protection and a nasty run blocker.
Nicks left New York this offseason without much of a battle. Four seasons over 750 yardsr eceiving including two over 1,000 yards makes Nicks a solid pick. At the end of the first round the Giants got good value on his rookie contract. Definitely a solid pick.
On field talent was never an issue for Britt. It was the off field problems. Just a waste of talent.
2011. That was when Beanie topped 1,000 yards. He has not played in a year and a half now and his career is in jeopardy. That is a bust.
The Ziggy man is not the dominant defensive tackle many thought he could be in Pittsburgh. Hood was solid as a rookie but quickly dipped to mediocre and has stayed at that level. Picks like Hood are why the Steel Curtain defense that was a title contender most of this decade has fallen off.
A lot of NFL action at last this week with the Hall of Fame game on Sunday and Thursday night full of action. I know I spent Thursday night glued to the tube watching the Patriots back-ups (No Tom Brady, Darrelle Revis, etc) face-off against the Redskins second squad.
The Curious Case of Jon Baldwin:
24 year-old wide receiver Jon Baldwin was a 2011 first-round draft pick in Kansas City and dealt to the 49ers last year during training camp for fellow high-draft pick washout wide receiver A.J. Jenkins. The 49ers cut Baldwin this week and he was claimed on waivers by the Lions. He lasted two days and was waived as he failed a physical (knee issue presumably). Here is a kid out of football three years after being a first-round pick after a fantastic college career at Pitt where he ripped up the Big East with his size (six-foot-five and 228 pounds) and sub 4.50 speed. He suffered a wrist injury in his first training camp as a rookie in a fight with a teammate and never got on track. Another disappointing year had him traded and now he is on the outside looking in.
Baldwin is down to his final chance. When he gets healthy, he may have one chance left. Hard to believe a first-round pick could fall so far so soon. You just do not see teams miss on a pick like this these days.
A Couple of Losers:
Former NFL quarterback Scott Mitchell who was once supposed to carry the Detroit Lions to glory, is on the Biggest Loser this fall. No, not just because he lost football games, but rather he has ballooned to 366 pounds and is looking for help to get back to a more suitable weight. He is joined by former Jets, Lions and Patriots offensive lineman and current ESPN analyst Damien Woody who is tipping the scales at a shade under 400 pounds.
Two former Lions on the “Biggest Loser”--that’s cruel, NBC.
Another First-Round Pick out of the League:
New York Giants running back and 2012 first-round draft pick was forced to retire due to a recurring neck injury. Just 23 years-old, Wilson was an All-American in two sports out of high school, All-American, honor roll and ACC Offensive Player of the Year in college. Doctors advised him to retire from football due to his neck injury and the risk of further damage. Two years, just 21 games and he is now looking at a career change.
It is a tough break for the Giants, but so much better to see he was smart enough to retire rather than end up with a horrible debilitating injury.
A Real Pisser:
Ending the Notes on an funny note here. Franklin, OH citizen Paul Serbu was arrested by Baltimore police. Posting on YouTube a video of himself urinating on former Browns owner Art Modell who had moved the team to Baltimore (and fired Bill Belichick--that was his biggest crime!) tipped off the police. Modell broke the heart of many Cleveland fans by moving the Browns to Baltimore. Posting as “BrownsFan4Life” Serbu had a little rant, ripped off a Ravens jersey to reveal a Browns jersey, and using a tube and catheter he proceeds to urinate on Modell’s grave. Could he have got away with it? Sure, just do not post it in a public location where thousands can see it and identify you
OK, time to overdose on football. Have a great weekend, all!
Football is back! Training camps are open! It’s a Fantastic Friday!!!
Had a busy football week as I’m getting into “all football all the time” and chomping at the bit for all the news coming out of the training camps. Hard Knocks on HBO features the Atlanta Falcons debuts on August 5th. The NFL Network is on all day long in the background to catch news on injuries, suspensions, etc.
Dall-ass strikes again: Curious situation going on in Dallas with the release of backup quarterback Kyle Orton. It seems that there was some friction between him and the team leading to his release. Most (like I did as well) just assumed he was retiring. Now the Cowboys bombastic owner Jerry Jones has indicated that the team had fined Orton for not attending mini-camps and save about $3 million on the cap by releasing the former starter. Of course, that leaves Dallas with (gulp!) Brandon Weeden at quarterback. With that porous offensive line in Dallas, a strong backup to Tony Romo is a must. Not sure I would want Weeden warming up on the sidelines if it was my team.
Running to glory:
Jamaal Charles worked a nifty extension out of the Chiefs this week. He is basically getting two-years and $18 million on his old deal. Whether he was going to hold out or not is up in the air, but there is no doubt he is one of the few running backs in the league with the power to hold out. Kansas City is a running team and they NEED Charles healthy and happy. Charles is not breaking the bank as he is getting a $4 million raise this year and his total deal goes to four-years for $28 million which is not a bad deal for the best offensive player on the team.
Just who is “elite” these days?
The next question is what to do with Alex Smith at quarterback. He wants “elite QB” money ($20 million per season) and the team is unlikely to negotiate near those numbers. Is he elite? Is he worth it? Was Joe Flacco worth it? How about Tony Romo? It will be interesting to see how that situation plays out over the next year. (FYI, in my opinion he is decidedly not elite and the Chiefs need to look for a young quarterback to replace Smith if he wants crazy money)
Beast-less mode in Seattle?
Marshawn Lynch is apparently holding out of training camp in Seattle. Two years ago he signed a four-year $30 million contract. Last I checked, the Seahawks front office did not have a gun placed to his head. Upset that Jamaal Charles gets more money now? Fire your agent, Marshawn. The Seahawks gave Lynch money up front and long-term security. I really hope they do not give in and let him rack up the fines for not showing up.
The Good Rice:
Former Seahawks and Vikings wide receiver Sidney Rice retired at age 27 this week. He was cut from the ‘Hawks to clear cap space and came back. He missed games due to knee and concussion issues. Rice had a few good years but had many injury issues. It was a surprise since he was expected to provide depth in Seattle this year. Expect that he will be talked back into the league in the next year due to the thinness of the position in large around the league.
The Bad Rice:
Seriously? Two games and one check? That’s the price of beating the shit out of a woman in today’s NFL? This was a brutal assault caught on hotel security tapes with Rice dragging his then fiance (now wife so she does not have to testify against him?) around unconscious...unconscious because he knocked her out. Two games. Will Smith took a banned diuretic in 2011 and got two games. Wow. Terrible call...Rice deserved a season to start with at minimum.
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Big happy birthday to our Thursday blogging superstar, Old Harry. He wrote about sharing a birthday with Mick Jagger. Reminded me of a funny story with my kids a few years back. There was a popular song “Moves Like Jagger” and of course my kids (both pre-teens at that time) are asking “Who is Jagger?” as there was another song (I don’t remember) that some teeny-bopper referenced Mick as well (I just remember explaining to my 8-year old daughter what it meant to “rinse with Jack (Daniels)” or some ridiculous partying song lyric…). So the old man decides to show them just how cool Jagger was with “Dancing in the Streets” with David Bowie and then “Start me Up” with the 1981 video and all its “fantastic” fashion choices. Suffice to say the kids’ jaws were hanging open staring at the screen.
Now I love the Stones and can pull anything out of their catalog for a listen--even enjoy a lot of the newer albums but Mick had some scary fashion choices back in the day. Of course, just a few weeks ago my wife and I were talking about a Poison concert we had gone to and I fired up Poison’s “Nothin but a good time” and got that wonderful look I am sure I gave my parents when I was forced to sit and listen to “good music” be it old Hank Williams Sr. singles with my Dad pulling out the 45s or show tunes and classical with my mother playing DJ in my youth.
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OK, that’s all for now. Have a great weekend, all!