Archive for the ‘Around the league’ Category

Earlier this week, the NFL allegedly offered a settlement, or at least offered to discuss a settlement with New Orleans Saints Linebacker Jonathan Vilma in regards to his defamation lawsuit against commissioner Roger Goodell. Based on what transpired on Friday, maybe the league should have started discussing a settlement sooner.

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The preseason is largely a time when we get to make sweeping judgements on rookies and backups as they torch opposing second-team units.

Hey, remember when Cam Newton really sucked last August and completed only 42.1 percent of his passes? Yeah, me neither. Teams are often trying new offensive or defensive schemes, and experimenting while taking advantage of the irrelevant scoreboard. That kink-massaging process can lead to some of the interceptions, drops, fumbles, and blown coverages as players are thrust into positions and scenarios that are unfamiliar.

But the games aren’t entirely meaningless, just mostly. For rookie quarterbacks, we get to see if they can simply lead an NFL offense with some degree of competency, even if the defense they’re opposing may not be of the first team variety. And of course there are positional battles, where every throw, catch, or batted ball is really, really meaningful. Then there are the veterans who struggled last year, and fans of their respective teams are desperately watching for change.

Let’s start there as we look back on the first full night of preseason play with a few observations beyond the injuries to Michael Vick and Ryan Mathews, because the yearning for change has taken up a permanent residency in Buffalo, and specifically in Ryan Fitzpatrick’s arm. If he keeps throwing ducks, the obesity rate in upstate New York could soar due to the abundance of free chewy treats.

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Chris Johnson has the kind of high hopes and big dreams that make the imaginations of small children seem like depressing, dreary places. He thinks he can beat Usain Bolt in a hypothetical 40-yard dash.

He also called up Evel Knievel’s family and said he can jump the grand canyon.

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If the Cleveland Browns have a monetary figure attached to their name that starts with a “b”, and ends in “illion”, we can say with reasonable confidence that NFL teams and their owners aren’t struggling for cash. If anything, they need to be saved from their greenback death.

But something funny happens when you start to get rich, or at least I assume it does, because today I’m wearing a sock with a sizable hole in the heel. Rich guys start to really, thoroughly, immensely enjoy money, which leads to a powerful sense of gluttony, and the need to always have avenues to acquire more money. And that, at least in part, is why it’s surprising that Roger Goodell and his posse of old rich dudes aren’t even entertaining the idea of putting ads on uniforms sometime soon.

I know, you just became very angry. I will be too if I ever have to look at a Tostitos ad on, say, the sacred Cowboys uniform while I’m also being told that a late-game fourth down conversion attempt is indeed for all the Tostitos. But since we learned not so long ago that one — yes, one — logo on an NFL uniform could be worth up to $14 million, and since the NBA is now allowing small ads on uniforms, the NFL following a few steps behind wouldn’t be surprising at all.

Not gonna happen, says the commish.

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When training camps started last week, the offseason officially ended, and it was an offseason in which the degree of violence and malicious intent involved in the average NFL game were hotly debated whenever we weren’t being concerned for our safety while sharing the road with NFL players.

Gregg Williams was largely responsible for the discussion regarding brutality in football thanks to the gentle suggestion he gave to his Saints defense last January. You know, the one where he told them to bend Frank Gore’s head in a direction the human body was not designed to withstand while doing his best John Kreese impression.

Yeah, that.

While there’s no debating the fact that bounties are wrong, awful, and against the teachings of the Bible, there was one dominant theme that we were all reminded of throughout the bounty discussions and the very public debate. Football is inherently a violent, brutal game, and to be successful a certain degree of ruthlessness is required, especially on defense.

And even more specifically, especially at certain defensive positions. Maybe there’s a cornerback out there who gets along just fine with a more passive approach, because his job is primarily to deflect and intercept passes, while the really heavy slugging is left to others. But try being a pass rusher, and not wanting to hurt someone as the adrenaline flows freely prior to every snap. It doesn’t work.

There is and always will be a mentality of violence that when harnessed properly translates into controlled chaos. Packers defensive lineman B.J. Raji summarized that mindset perfectly in a comment he gave after a training camp workout today that was relayed by Sports Illustrated’s Don Banks.

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It's been a slice, Randy.

You will forever remember this day, and this time. At about noon on Aug. 2, 2012, Randy Lerner’s tyranny in Cleveland officially crumbled.

Following up on an item from late last week which initially brought apprehension to Cleveland that was followed by joy, it seems the sale of the Browns to Jimmy Haslem is now finalized. The bagillionaire who’s the CEO of Pilot Flying J–which made $17.8 billion last year–has now purchased controlling interest in the team, according to NFL.com.

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Yep, nothing to see here, Steelers fans. Just a little boo boo involving a group of muscles that stabilize the shoulder, and in Ben Roethlisberger’s case, his throwing shoulder.

Carry on.

This is an injury that when fully torn keeps major league pitchers out for entire seasons, and could alter a career. But Roethlisberger is talking about it like it’s a minor bout with influenza. He spoke to Ed Bouchette of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette earlier today, and although it’s been known for some time that Big Ben had a sore shoulder last year in addition to his bum ankle, he’s never discussed exactly what was bothering his shoulder.

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