NOTE: Next week I will discuss in some detail all the preseason game performances by the starters.
Injuries continued this week. TE Dustin Keller MI tore all the ligaments in his knee and has a dislocated knee cap. He is out for the season. The Fish may trade for a starting quality TE. But this injury will really hurt the development of QB Tannahill.
The Broncos lost 3 players Saturday against the Seahawks. CB Champ Bailey left with a serious foot sprain, WR Wes Welker had an regular (not a high) ankle sprain and G Louis Vasquez had a knee injury.
The Browns lost 4 players to injury including OG Pinkston (high ankle sprain), RB Dion Lewis (broken leg), and TE Barnidge (knee sprain). In addition first round pick Barkevious Mingo suffered a bruised lung and spent 2 nights in the hospital. He should be ready for the opener against the Dolphins. The Jets lost LB Quinton Coples (ankle) and the Giants lost WR Victor Cruz (heal).
Bills QB E.J. Manuel has a knee issue and will not play the rest of the preseason. He had a minor knee procedure on Sunday. The bad news for QB Kevin Kolb is that HC Doug Marrone said the injury will not affect the QB competition. In my opinion Kolb is not a starting quality QB.
Many of the scores of the preseason games were very low again this week. While I wish I could tell you it was due to great play of the defenses, I cannot. In most cases the offenses look pathetic. Turnovers, penalties, missed passes to open receivers, and poor execution have been the hallmark of this preseason.
Mark Sanchez NJ was himself on Saturday. He went 5 for 5 driving the ball down the field against the Jags then threw a pick in the endzone. With 24 seconds left in the first half the Jags muffed a punt. The Jets got possession on the Jags’ 3. And in typical Sanchez fashion he ran out the clock on 3rd at the 6. The Jets came away with nothing. This team is going nowhere until they replace Sanchez. He is a disaster waiting to break the hearts of Jets fans.
We saw RB Eddie Lacy GB for the first time this preseason. He looked very good. He broke tackles and looks like the winner of the back of the future for the Pack.
The Jags are horrendous and the issue is not all QB Gabbert. He left the game with an injury. The D is playing a little better than last year but the O is abysmal.
The Colt O line is very poor at both run blocking and pass protection. QB Andrew Luck took way too many hits last year. The team has been unable to find quality O linemen in recent drafts.
The NFLPA is planning to file a grievance against the Pats on behalf of TE Aaron Hernandez because the team did not pay him for a workout bonus. The union is walking on VERY thin ice here. It should leave the issue alone. There is no good PR that will come out of representing Hernandez.
Having seen two Jags games we know a couple of things. First, the team needs better quarterbacking to be successful. Second, the helmet looks like the new team owner could not afford the extra money to paint the entire hat gold. Instead, the front looks like it is flat black primer. Maybe if they win more they can have the front of the helmet painted gold as well.
Fantasy Football hints:
Look for RB Adrian Foster (HO) to have a great season. The injury is a concern but for the first time in a while Foster will have an outstanding FB leading the way. FB Greg Jones comes over from Jacksonville to become the lead blocker for Foster. He is a solid blocker that can catch out of the backfield as well.
As much as I like QB Russell Wilson SE, I am concerned about the O line. Be careful about taking him too early. He has lost a real weapon in WR Percy Harvin and the O line is not protecting him as well as it should.
Unless RB Monte Ball comes through the Broncos are going to depend on QB Payton Manning more than last year. RB Ronnie Hillman is not effective enough to provide a balanced pass/run ratio.
RB Steven Jackson AT looks very good behind a line that can block the run. While his carries and yards will be significantly higher than last year’s group (ranking 29th in rushing), the gross numbers for QB Matt Ryan may go down. It should however make the Falcons more successful in the playoffs.
The Giants were 9-7 last season. But they lost 3 games by 4 points or less in part because they were not able to execute at critical times in those close games. This season the first string has exhibited the same lack of execution at key moments in games. If they want to contend, they will have to clean up those details.
That’s what I think. Tell us what you think.
You can listen to the NNR podcasts at http://fryingpansports.com/radio-show/.
Bill Smith is a former coach of several semi-pro football teams, has officiated both football and basketball, done color on radio for college football and basketball and has scouted talent. He edits http://fryingpansports.com. He has also published several novels on and a non-fiction work at http://www.merriam-press.com/.
He also edits http://fryingpanpolitics.org/.