Archive for the ‘Chain Links’ Category

Surely Tim Tebow has been angry before. I know I’ll be cast as a devil worshiper for even thinking this, but he is human, after all. He is not a God, as he merely likes the man upstairs, and considers him to be a very close homeboy. In that sense he’s the same as the many people who do a very different religious activity on Sunday. Like, you know, go to church, and stuff.

But the only emotion we see from Tebow with any regularity that isn’t unbridled joy are the flashes of frustration when another punt wobbles from his arm. We won’t even see that too much anymore either, because now with the Jets he’s truly embodied the running back who’s sort of a quarterback role that’s been his destiny ever since he was drafted, and therefore he’s rarely asked to complete a forward pass.

Yet for many members of the New York media who would like to find the source of angst buried deep in the soul of a man who told us he was excited 44 times during his first Jets press conference, a problem needs to be fabricated, and quickly. So the next item on the storyboard is Tebow’s apparent disgust with being a crappy quarterback, and being relegated to a backup role.

That’s the latest recipe for Tebow talk that’s being brewed by Gary Myers of the New York Daily News. Myers cites an unnamed source who said that a permanent backup role will lead to Tebow requesting a trade. And sure, I suppose that could happen, just like any player who’s ever been unhappy with his current situation could seek pastures that appear to be a brighter shade of green.

But we’re talking about Tebow here, the guy who says rosy things about people who hate him, and has told anyone who would like to listen that he’s ready, prepared, and willing to function in any capacity that the Jets desire. So what’s Myers’ reasoning for Tebow’s eventual motivation to be elsewhere? He’s a really intense dude, man.

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Like sands through the hourglass, so are the days of our lives.

For those of you out there questioning my use of a soap opera title sequence from 1965 – and not the one referenced in the title – give me a second, there is a method to the madness.

Week 1 ended with a bit of a thud on Monday night. Thankfully Chris Berman has been put in a box and shipped to Bristol to do what he does best – call baseball games? The biggest takeaway came from M&T Bank Stadium.

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Greg Jennings might not be able to put his team on his back this week, bro.

When Jennings left Green Bay’s loss to San Francisco late in the game, the severity of his groin injury was unclear. But what was clear to every Jennings owner is this: short weeks suck.

If his injury was anything more than a mild aggravation, Jennings’ status would automatically be in serious doubt with the short turnaround for the Packers’ Thursday night game against the Bears this week, and therefore he’d have three fewer days to rest and receive treatment. And indeed last night we learned that’s the case, as his status remains uncertain today after head coach Mike McCarthy said that following the game Jennings “didn’t feel very good,” but his condition improved somewhat on Monday.

We’ll update this situation later today with our daily journey around the NFL’s training tables, but you should already start preparing to dig into your bench depth if you own Jennings, or to scour the waiver wire if you’re in a deep league. Of course, if you’re the proud owner of Jordy Nelson, this news is reason for great glee.

Jennings missed the final three games of last season, which included one of the Packers’ showdowns against the division rival Bears. So with Jennings out and all of Aaron Rodgers’ attention focused on him when the offense was looking to stretch the field, Nelson had six receptions for 115 yards (including a 55-yard catch) and two touchdowns. That’s a cool 17 fantasy points, but Nelson wasn’t the only receiver to benefit from Jennings’ absence.

When the dominoes fell and someone needed to fill the No. 2 hole because Nelson was busy filling the No. 1 hole, James Jones received the increase in receptions and targets. That resulted in 50 receiving yards and two touchdowns of his own during that Week 16 game against the Bears, and even this past Sunday with Jennings healthy for most of the game Jones still finished with 81 yards and a score.

Jones is then the immediate pickup for Jennings owners fearing bad news later today, with Randall Cobb another option, although he’ll likely remain the slot receiver. If he doesn’t practice in at least a limited capacity today, the chances that No. 85 will play just two days from now are slim. Settle down, though, my instinctively cliff seeking fantasy friends, because Jones is available in 77 percent of Yahoo leagues, a number that jumps to 87 percent in ESPN leagues.

Make the precautionary move now, and consider it a one-week handcuff.

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Robert Griffin III was alright yesterday. He threw balls, ran around, set records, and had a historical day.

How historical? Welp, his first touchdown pass was an 88-yarder to Pierre Garcon, and that was the longest ever first career TD pass by a QB in modern NFL history. He also became the first player to throw for over 300 yards, and have two touchdown passes without an interception in his debut, and he did it all while maintaining a 139.9 passer rating.

We’re one year removed from the insanity of Cam Newton during the opening week, and it was difficult to even envision anyone coming close to that again. I’m not sure why, though, because as I write almost daily, we’re only beginning to ascend the mountain of what should be a long and wondrous passing era, which will make those running back contracts decline even further (sorry, Maurice).

But here’s what I fear. This isn’t meant to take anything away from RG3, who’s blessed with tremendous talent and athletic ability. However, he’s in the most ideal situation to thrive out of all the five rookie quarterbacks, and we can almost make that six since Jake Locker also made his first NFL start yesterday. Griffin’s early success combined with the absurdity of Newton and to a lesser extent Andy Dalton last year will make tolerating the mistakes of rookie quarterbacks a thing of the past.

Let’s be blunt: the rest of the rookies mostly sucked yesterday, with the exception of Russell Wilson, who had a weak start but redeemed himself during a second half when he almost led a game-winning drive that was aided by an extra timeout (still love you too, replacement refs). Wilson completed 52 percent of his passes, a clip that resides somewhere between the lowly levels of Tim Tebow and Mark Sanchez circa 2011.

While Wilson was a little bit better than average and Griffin was historically good, Brandon Weeden was historically pathetic. He threw four interceptions, and finished with a passer rating of 5.1. As noted everywhere on the Internet, that sounds eerily similar to the 5.02 career minor league ERA that prompted him to give up his dream of becoming an MLB pitcher.

Then there’s Ryan Tannehill, whom we all expected to fail immediately due to his utter lack of any supporting cast whatsoever, and he kindly met those expectations, throwing three picks of his own. That equaled the number of INTs thrown by the king of all rookie QBs, Andrew Luck, who had brief flashes of effectiveness against the Bears, but he often looked uncomfortable in the pocket. Add his fumble and he had four turnovers, and his pick to Tim Jennings came on a drastically underthrown ball.

Tally it up, and rookie quarterbacks were responsible for 11 interceptions yesterday. In fantasy, only RG3 is now worthy of starting consistently. That’s not an overreaction to his Week 1 results, but is again a reflection of the situation he’s in, and the weapons he has to work with. Luck will recover quickly, and you can feel free to slide him in if you have bye or injury issues, or poor matchups elsewhere. And Wilson is an intriguing sleeper due to his ability to add rushing yards to his passing totals, but there’s little reason for Tannehill to be on any roster in any capacity unless you’re in a deep or dynasty league.

In reality, though, the growth of the passing game shouldn’t change the fact that this league simply isn’t easy, and the adjustment for rookies is never immediate, no matter how much slobber we dripped on them back in April.

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We play a game based on more than just sacrificing all contact with your loved ones for several months. Yes, fantasy football cuts much deeper than that, but at its core the obsession is driven by two key factors: the need to balance risk and safety in player evaluation — which we discussed at length during the peak of draft season — and irrational reaction.

Oh c’mon now, we’re all guilty of having a jerky knee. I am, you are, and your wife who plays fantasy football just so she’s able to have some kind of interaction with you definitely is. When Victor Cruz dropped three passes Wednesday night, it was widely proclaimed that he wasn’t, in fact, the next Victor Cruz, and instead he’s a bust. That reaction was motivated by angst, which was understandable when those who spent a high draft pick on Cruz had to watch those balls hit terra firma. Once that anger dies down, though, rational thought should take over, and we realize that one bad game is…one bad game.

However, the reaction surrounding another player in that game is a little confusing. Fantasy owners made a steep investment in Cruz, which is why they were so bitter immediately. But those souls that are filled with the devil’s anger also watched as the Kevin Ogletree of life grew that game, and he had eight catches for 114 yards and two touchdowns.

As I wrote earlier this week, expecting Ogletree to instantly become the next Laurent Robinson is premature, and is another example of a leaping reaction. But really, who cares? The price you would pay for Ogletree off the waiver wire is what, dumping your other fifth wide receiver who might blow up too but probably won’t and maybe will but you never really know?

We play a weekly game based on weekly production. So treat it as such, and if you have even the slightest need for WR depth, make a move in which there’s zero risk due to the minimal investment you’re making in Ogletree. I’m writing this rallying cry because we’re well over 24 hours removed from the game, and yet Ogletree is still somehow available in 89 percent of ESPN leagues.

He’s the third wideout on Dallas’ depth chart, which means his production will be inconsistent, and his ability to explode again largely depends on the health of Miles Austin and Dez Bryant. Or at least that’s one common view, and it’s not an incorrect one. Rotoworld’s Patrick Daugherty is a little more optimistic, and thinks that while the opportunities may be a little scarce if Austin and Bryant are healthy, they may actually open up space for Ogletree.

But like Laurent Robinson before him, there’s no reason to believe Ogletree can’t consistently benefit from opposing defenses’ preoccupation with Dallas’ top two wideouts. That is not to say Ogletree has the title of “Next Laurent Robinson” all cinched up. One game is one game, after all.

It is one game. But the Cowboys have a recent history of utilizing multiple wide receivers, meaning although it’s far from guaranteed, it’s possible that Ogletree could give you decent WR3 value down the road.

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Hours after the euphoria of the opening of the 2012 NFL season died down, the opposite emotion took over. Art Modell, the former Browns and Ravens owner and a key figure in the success of the league, died at about 4 a.m. of natural causes. He was 87.

An NFL owner for four decades, Modell was central in the negotiating process that helped to land the league its lucrative television contracts, and also bring football into more homes to further establish a growing brand. In Cleveland, though, there’s a lingering bitterness towards him after he took the town’s original and beloved Browns, and moved them to Baltimore in 1996. The Ravens then won the Super Bowl in 2001.

But while there may be hostile feelings towards Modell in Cleveland, his significant role as a league pioneer can’t be overstated. Specifically regarding those television contracts, Modell was the driving force behind the 1970 contract that put the NFL under the Monday night primetime lights on ABC.

With word spreading about his passing this morning, those around the league who knew and worked with Modell expressed their condolences. Here’s the rest of quote from Ray Lewis that was already deemed headline worthy:

“When you think about Art Modell, you think about a great man, a leader, a father and a servant. Every minute of his life, he cared more about everyone around him than himself. Anytime I saw him, he would always make me smile. He always had a joke to lighten your mood or some sort of wisdom to impart to make you a better man. I genuinely loved Art as a man, and he showed me what to strive for in life.”

Shannon Sharpe told the story of the first time he met Modell, which was when the Ravens owner was recruiting him during a free agent visit.

“Mr. Modell was one of the main reasons I came to Baltimore. I remember when I met him. He flew down to see me, and we flew back up to Baltimore together, and he learned so much about me and my family, and I learned about him as a man. I remember his words so vividly: He said, ‘Ozzie, get this deal done,’ and that was the start of something beautiful.”

Lastly, Roger Goodell emphasized the importance of Modell’s role as chairman of the league’s broadcast committee.

“Art Modell’s leadership was an important part of the NFL’s success during the league’s explosive growth during the 1960s and beyond. As the longtime chairman of the league’s Broadcast Committee, Art was a visionary who understood the critical role that mass viewing of NFL games on broadcast television could play in growing the league.”

After the passing of Al Davis last year and with Ralph Wilson’s health fading, we’re slowly reaching the point where the league’s founding fathers are passing on.

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It’s finally here. Gone are the monotonous pre-season games that featured the bottom rung of team depth charts. Five months of competitive NFL football is a great back to school present, especially for those not heading back to the halls of academia.

Tonight the New York Giants open their title defense against the hated Cowboys. If you’re a betting person – and who isn’t these days (quick money!) – take the Giants. Tony Romo has lost seven consecutive games on Sunday night football. Yes, today is Wednesday, but aside from a few graphic tweaks it’s the same jazz. Al Michaels and Cris Collinsworth will fawn over Eli Manning and his ability to win games while simultaneously saying the same about Romo.

The Cowboys QB will likely be without the services of safety blanket Jason Witten for at least one week. Via PFT, Jerry Jones told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram’s Clarence Hill that Witten has been cleared to play in Week 2. We’re still not sure if the tight end joined his teammates on the flight to New York, but all signs indicate fantasy owners should resort to plan B. Oh how I loathe game-time decisions.

Meanwhile, Giants DE Mathias Kiwanuka says Jason Pierre-Paul can get 30 sacks this year. While it’s certainly hyperbole to suggest JPP will double his totals from last year – his 16.5 sacks was good for fourth in the league – doubt the beast from South Florida at your own peril. Playing on a line that features the likes of Kiwanuka, Justin Tuck and Osi Umenyiora, Pierre-Paul will have his opportunities. If you’re a Romo owner, get in a quick prayer for the Cowboys offensive line before kickoff tonight. It can’t hurt.

The New York media continues to do what they do best, as they’ve arbitrarily ranked the city’s footballers in a top 25 that is probably the least important thing you’ll see today. In case you’re curious, Eli came out on top, with Darrelle Revis a close second. Thankfully we can disregard the glut of predictions and rankings at around 8:30 tonight. FOOTBALL.
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