Archive for the ‘Ponderings’ Category

Green stelers2

We have a gritty, gutty, snot-rocking divisional matchup tonight, which means we also have a lot of history to draw from. Recent history tells us that even with a key injury on their offensive line and even with a deficient run game, the Steelers have a chance.

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In the first non-kickoff extravaganza of the Thursday night schedule, we’re treated to a game between a team with no offensive stars, and another team that’s been stripped of nearly its entire roster through the cold hand of injuries and something about an alleged murder. Oh, happy day.

Never fear, friends, because there’s fantasy bargains to be had tonight on some potential booming from guys who don’t do much of that. A digging we will go…

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vick monday2

It’s a mad, mad NFL world we live in. Through 14 games in Week 1, the leading rusher is a quarterback (Terrelle Pryor) with 112 yards, even though Adrian Peterson had 78 yards on his first carry. He then did his best Chris Johnson impression with an average of 0.88 yards on his other 17 carries. Here’s to hoping the studs in tonight’s games (LeSean McCoy, Alfred Morris, and Arian Foster) can return some sanity to a position that’s been taking painful fake football gut shots today through Shane Vereen’s wrist injury that will keep him out for 2-3 weeks, and David Wilson’s habit of dipping his hands in butter that could lead to a swift demotion.

Here are three other pressing and compelling matters we’ll be watching tonight in each game.

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For me, it hasn’t really sunk in yet that football is back. Usually that takes until at least halftime of the first game, which is when I know definitively that there are no more lazy summer days to kill by discussing the hat choice of Colin Kaepernick, or each and every Robert Griffin III muscle twitch. Well, we’ll still do that second thing. A lot.

As a pumper/primer/get jacked exercise, I meandered my way through 10 compelling and rich questions to ponder as the 2013 NFL season begins in about six hours as of this writing. Six hours, guys.

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The fourth preseason game is pretty much a mirror of the first preseason game: fleeting, brief appearances by players of relevance, and then nothingness. Nearly 60 minutes of nothingness, with starters often not even on the field at all. As the month drags on and we get to only a week away from a time when football finally matters, the need to place any level of caring on the preseason sinks exceedingly low.

Basically, don’t watch any of the 16 preseason games tonight, with one exception: Raiders vs. Seahawks. Or as we’ll call it, the game when Terrelle Pryor will win a starting job while Russell Wilson-ing Matt Flynn, and then he could become fantasy relevant. So yeah, that game matters.

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I like Randall Cobb. I like him a lot, and we go way back. We have personalized handshakes, and when we were kids I once let him borrow my Ultimate Warrior lunchbox. Bring it back anytime, Randall.

So of course, I like him a whole lot this year in all my fake footballing leagues, from my just chillin’ for fun 10-teamer with family, to an unhealthy and obsessive 20-teamer here in the office. Like most of you, I expect great things from Cobb this upcoming season, and by that I mean a year that hovers around the 100-catch mark, and he’ll be especially appealing in PPR leagues.

But as we begin to approach the time in August when most drafts are held, we should ask and explore this question: has the Cobb hype gone too far?

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The preseason is an odd time, especially in the very early portion of August, and this past week when — with a few exceptions — starters played only a series or two. By the time we get to Week 3 of the preseason, first team offenses and defenses typically stay on for the first half at minimum, with the game treated as a sort of dress rehearsal.

That’s the game we can poke, prod, and examine thoroughly. We can still do that now, and we have been. But there’s more than just the limited sample size and skewed results with first teamers dicing up second teamers that we need to be aware of as the Week 1 preseason review continues. There’s also the matter of complexity. Often, only the most basic elements of a new offense or defense have been installed at this point, so what we’re seeing is only a hint of what’s to come.

Fine, and fair enough. But what Chip Kelly hinted at then did what hints do: make us even more curious, and a little confused.

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