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  • Published: Aug 19th, 2013
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News, Notes & Rumors Week 2 of the preseason

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nflNews:

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.

Notes:

Kevin Kolb

Kevin Kolb (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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.

Rumors:

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 https://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 https://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/. 

Thoughts about Black Monday in the NFL

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English: LOVIE SMITH, of the Chicago Bears, in...

English: LOVIE SMITH, of the Chicago Bears, in action during the Bears game against the Cleveland Browns on November 1, 2009 in Chicago, IL. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Thoughts about Black Monday in the NFL

 

Browns:  The one gift I had to wait for was the firing of HC Pat Shurmur.  I am not a fan of former Bronco HC McDaniel but he would be better than Shurmur.  Of the coaches expected to be released my choice for the Browns would be Ken Whisenhunt.  He is a D guy but a good coach that made the best of the bad personnel decisions made by a poor GM.  My second choice would be Lovie Smith if he is let go.  Both have been to a Super Bowl and would run a tight ship without being a dictator.

 

I have mixed feelings about GM Tom Heckert being fired.  While he has by far done the best job of any GM the team has had since 1999 that is not a very high standard.

 

Cowboys:  They are out of the playoffs thanks to QB “Captain Collapse” (I want a copyright on that phrase) Tony Romo.  It will not cost his HC a job but this team has underperformed for years.  Maybe Jerry should think about firing his GM—himself.

 

Cardinals:  Ken Whisenhunt deserved better than he is going to get.  He deserved to have an NFL caliber QB.  But the blame for the collapse belongs on the shoulders of GM Rod Graves.  All indications are it was his choice to trade for QB Kevin Kolb.  Graves did not choose wisely.

 

Bears:  The Bear cubs are the first team to start a season 7-1 and not make the playoffs.  The total collapse of the O line and injuries on the D ended any chance of the playoffs.  HC Lovie Smith may be fired but deserves better.

 

Chiefs:  There is no hope for fans of the KC Chefs.  They will be cooking up another bad batch of BBQ because they fired HC Crennel but kept inept GM Pioli.  If the GM stays look for the Chefs to hire ex-Bronco HC McDaniel.  McDaniel will want to try to recover the career of QB Cassel.

 

Chargers:  The firing of both HC Norv Turner and GM Smith are 2 years too late to prevent the need to rebuild rather than tweak the roster.  Under less than brilliant leadership of these two the team got old and inept.

 

Jaguars:  Who cares?  GM Smith was fired but it looks like HC Mike Mularkey may be safe for now.  This team is dying as quickly as the town in which it plays.

 

Eagles:  HC Andy Reid is out.  He will not be unemployed for long unless he decides to take a year or two off.  He is a very good coach but 14 years is long enough for any coach to grow stale.

 

Jets:  The team fired GM Mike Tannenbaum but not HC Rex Ryan.  Frankly both should have gone.  The team needs to produce more and talk a lot less.

 

Panthers:  Some changes are not for the better.  This team fired HC Fox 2 years ago and now may fire Ron Rivera.  Rivera is doing the best he can with a less than stellar roster.  He has a hc (head case) at QB and a lot of holes on the team.

 

 

That’s what I think.  Tell me what you think.

 

Bill Smith is a former coach of several semi-pro teams, has officiated both football and basketball, done color on radio for college football and basketball and has scouted talent. He edits https://fryingpansports.com.  He has also published several novels on and a non-fiction work at http://www.merriam-press.com/.

He edits .  

News, Notes and Rumors

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By
Bill Smith

News:

The Eagles were one of my Golden 5 picks against the
Seahawks—to lose of course.  They did and
the team is in shambles.  With just 4
wins the entire organization is on the hot seat.  But right now it does not look like HC Reid
will lose his job.  However, he may opt
to quit to take one of the jobs that will be open.

The Bengals are not ready to challenge either the
Ravens or the Steelers yet.  But they are
much better and are the odds on favorite to take over when age finally takes
the other two down.

While the Colts have not yet won, they are not
giving up.  They scored 24 against the
Pats.  That is a good sign for them but a
very bad sign for the Pats D.  The Pats
cannot win in the playoffs with a pass D that bad.

The Tebow effect is alive and well.  He brought the team back against the Vikes to
win 35-32.  The Broncos may even make the
playoffs but the run first O will not go far against the top teams in the AFC.

The Cowgirls are struggling.  The loss to the weak Cards showed flaws in
the team on both sides of the ball.  Too
much has been made of the timeout called by HC Garrett.  The problems go a lot deeper.  Garrett will probably be the HC in 2012 but
he better get the Girls playing better or else…

The Packers got by the Giants in what may have been
the biggest risk to a perfect season left on their schedule.  While the team would love to be perfect, they
are much more interested in winning back to back Super Bowls.

The Dolphins have now won 4 of their last 5 games
and the win over the Raiders was impressive.
The coaching staff has done a nice job in getting as much from a very
average roster as possible.  QB Moore has
played well competing 64% of his throws with 8 TDs and just 1 pick in that
period.  The D is playing better than
expected.  The team is winning enough to
take them out of the draft spot to get one of the top QBs.

Both the Lions and Bills started out the season
fast.  But the problem with newbies on
the big boy playground is they do not have the depth to win with the injuries
that always happen.  The Bengals won the
AFC North a couple of years ago because they suffered very few injuries.  Both the Lions and Bills are better but need
to get deeper to overcome injuries.

 

 

Notes:

The Pack has clinched the NFC North.  The Bears lost their last 2 games and are in
a tailspin.  The O generated just 3
points against the Chiefs who lost another QB (Orton) during the game.  The Bears O scheme has struggled even when QB
Cutler was healthy.  There are no
legitimate WRs on the roster.  Now that
RB Forte is hurt, things will get worse.

The Sports Economist is reporting that the Security and Exchange Commission is investigating the financing of the Marlins stadium.  The issue is that county
commissioners financed the project without ever seeing the team’s
financials.

Browns fans need to have a lot of antacids on hand
prior to their game against the Steelers on Thursday and for the rest of the
season.  The team is not playing well and
both the Steelers and the Ravens will take their games against the Brownies
very seriously.  Thursday night will not
be pretty.

 

 

Rumors:

There will be a lot of NFL jobs available on Black
Monday January 3, 2012.

The
Jaguars have already fired their HC Del Rio.
Don’t be surprised if the GM goes as well.  The new owner will want his own guys.

The Colts
will replace their staff because they have a real shot at a perfect 0-16
record.  The team has not drafted well
and was totally unprepared for the injury to QB Manning.

The Chargers
will not make the playoffs and both GM Smith and the coaching staff will be
gone.

The Vikes will
likely replace their staff unless they win 3 of the 4 games remaining.

The
Dolphins have already been looking to replace their head coach.  So far no name brand has jumped at the
position.

The
Texans are likely to replace their coach unless they not only make the playoffs
but win a game or 2.  While they might
stumble into the playoffs, the QB situation will prevent any chance of
advancing.

The Rams
are struggling with 2 broken QBs.  But
the problems run to the selection of players and the lack of depth on the
roster.  Changes will come to the Rams.

The Bucs
coaching staff is in serious trouble.
While QB Freeman has not played well, the D has broken down and the
running game has struggled as well.  HC
Morris was expected to take this team to challenge for the playoffs.  Instead, the Bucs are in the running for a
top draft pick.

Even HC
Shanahan in Washington is in trouble.
That makes a total of 9 potential openings.  The Skins O have been a disaster.  Shanahan has changed QBs faster than most
people change underwear.  The running
game has disappeared.  And the coach was
supposed to be an O genius.

Bill Smith is a
former coach of several semi-pro teams, has officiated both football and
basketball, done color on radio for college football and basketball and has
scouted talent. He edits
https://fryingpansports.com and hosts the
Internet version of News, Notes and Rumors on
http://mooheadradio.com/2.0/  Monday
–Thursday 6-7:30 PM EST.  He has also published several novels on

and a non-fiction work at http://www.merriam-press.com/.

 

 

 

Will this week be full of upsets in football?

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football

College games:

Louisiana Tech 20 @ #3 Boise St 49 – Boise looked just OK against a very out manned LTk team. The play of LTk did not do Boise any good convincing the pollsters or the computers they deserve to be higher.

#1 Auburn @ Mississippi – The Tigers shouldn’t have any trouble with Ole Miss but they probably will struggle early. Auburn plays great against really good teams but tends to play down to the level of the lesser SEC opponents. Auburn wins.

#2 Oregon @ USC – The Ducks looked really good against an up and down UCLA team. But this is USC and it is the closest thing the Trojans will get to a bowl game this year. The key will be how does USC handle a fast and nasty Duck D? The Oregon D holds its own but the USC D is not nearly what it has been in previous years. Oregon passes the test and wins.

#5 Michigan State @ #18 Iowa – The Hawkeyes looked like Charlie Brown trying to kick the football after the 1 point loss home against Wisconsin. The loss took them to the back of the Big 10 1 loss teams because they have 2 now. This is their chance to knock off the only undefeated B10 team. Several B10 teams are suddenly fans of the Hawks. I think the MSU O line will struggle with the D line of the Hawks and Hawks win a close one.

#6 Missouri @ #14 Nebraska – In the Huskers only loss, it was turnovers that hurt them most. Missu has played very good D but has only faced 1 quality team, Oklahoma at home last week. Missu is good but not an elite team. Nebraska wins at home in a really good game.

#25 Baylor @ Texas – For the first time in this century, Baylor is bowl qualified. This has been a good season for a team that is most often the choice for a Homecoming opponent. Their stay in the top 25 will end Saturday and Texas wins.

NFL

Jaguars (3-4) @ Cowboys (1-5) -11 – Two coaches are desperately trying to hang on to their jobs. Cowboy HC Phillips just got a reprieve with the injury to QB Romo. Jag HC Del Rio has never had an NFL quality QB to lose. The Boys probably win but I don’t think it will be by 11.

Packers (4-3) @ Jets (5-1) -6 – The Pack WRs have publicly said that the failings of the passing O has been more on them than QB Rogers. That ignores the Pack’s real problem–the O line. The line has been unable to keep Rogers upright and can’t open holes for the running game. The Jet D is the real deal. Jets win and cover.

Vikings (2-4) @ Pats (5-1) -4 – The Pats tend to do just as much as they need to in order to get the W. The Vikes have an injured Farve and a D that has been leaking badly. The very young Pats D has come around faster than anyone thought it would. Pats win and cover (I think).

Steelers (5-1) @ Saints (4-2) E – Steeler QB Roethlisberger threw for 302 yards last week against a good Dolphin D. He has shaken the rust off. The Saints lost to a 1-5 Browns team that exposed weaknesses in the Saint D and special teams. The Steelers are great at taking advantage of those kinds of weaknesses and will win.

Colts (4-2) -5.5 @ Texans (4-2) – The Texans can move into 1st place (winning a tiebreaker) over the Titans with a win. The Colts are 0-2 in the division giving both teams above them with the tiebreaker advantage. The Texans won at Indy and could cover this time but I think the Colts win.

MLB

Just as I predicted, the Rangers and the Giants are in the World Series. Last night game 1 was critical. The Giants got past SP Lee and won game 1. They should have the pitching advantage from this point on and they will win in 6 games.

That’s what I think. Tell me what you think.

Bill Smith is a former coach of several semi-pro teams, has officiated both football and basketball, done color on radio for college football and basketball and has scouted talent. He is a senior writer for and edits https://fryingpansports.com. His first non-fiction work is at the publisher now and he has also published several novels on

and edits .

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Notes and thoughts on week 2 of the NFL preseason.

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nfl

AZ @ TN

This game was a “Tale of 2 QBs.” Titan QB Young and Card QB Leinart both must have good seasons to stay on their respective teams.

Young looked better in replacing QB Collins last year than ever before. However, he has to take another major step forward to become an NFL quality starter. He has reportedly worked hard to learn the O. His footwork seems better than in previous years. But still when is pressured, his improved mechanics break down. But he is still a remarkable athlete. If he ever gets “it” he can become an outstanding QB. He did make better reads than he did even last year.

RB Johnson is the best back in the game. The O line is capable of opening small holes and Johnson squeezes through them. He has outstanding speed and can break any catch or run for 6 points.

The Titan D was blitz crazy despite being in the preseason. The LBs were getting to the QB and the coverage for the most part was good. Anderson hit on one long play vs the blitz.

Leinart’s problem has been accuracy. He is not a blitz killer like Warner was and as a result, will get blitzed a lot. He also does not process information as quickly as is necessary. He tends to throw a lot to his safety valve receiver short of the line to gain even on 3rd down. That tends to generate 3 and outs.

Ex-Brown QB Anderson looked much better this week than last. He drove the ball down the field after Leinart went 3 and out on every possession he had in the 1st quarter. But Anderson showed why he is not still in Cleveland. He fired a pass to a wide open WR in the end-zone on 2nd down too high and too hot. On 3rd down he threw behind the slanting WR and the team had to kick a field goal.

Neither Cards QB got much protection. They were under a blitz or heavy pressure almost every pass. The team’s best WR Fitzgerald was out of the game with an injury.

The Cards D lost a lot in the off season but will likely be called on to do more with less. The Cards had a lot of WRs running wide open in the D Backfield. They lost a S and CB in the off season.

MN @ SF

It was the debut of QB Farve. He threw 1 swing pass and 4 snaps and took a 1 sack. That’s all folks!

QB Jackson has a great arm but the touch of a cruise missile. The Vike running game died in the middle of last year despite having one of the best backs in the league. RB Peterson has great speed but not much ball security. He cost the team a Super Bowl spot with his fumbles in the playoffs. He also struggled due to below average play from the O line. The line has name brands but did not create much running room for AP. 3rd down RB Taylor is gone and that is hole to be filled. They will try rookie RB Gerhart in that role. The team is also missing 2 of their top 3 WRs. Rice is out with a hip and Harvin with migraines. They signed Javaun Walker to fill in for Rice who could be out half the year.

The Viking D will have the Williams’ boys despite the NFL’s desire to suspend them. The courts have enjoined the league from imposing the suspensions until the case is heard. The D will also have MLB Henderson. He has recovered from a broken leg last year and is a critical part of the zone coverage. He has the speed to cover the deep middle in the 2 deep zone.

The 49er O has some issues in the O line but former #1 pick overall in 05 QB Smith looks like he may make it. He has to have a good season or he will be gone next year. He has always had “potential” but it is time for him to show it. He has had a lot of changes in O systems because the team has fired several O Coordinators after just a year. The 9ers were in 3rd and 8+ more than any other O last year. They need Smith and RB Gore to be more effective on 1st and 2nd down. Against the Vikes, the O looked OK. Gore did not play. Replacement RB Dixon has looked good.

The 9ers took 2 O linemen with their 2 first round picks in the 2010 draft. Both will get a chance to start.

The 49er D got a lot of practice last year because they were on the field a lot. They were in the top 5 in most categories and held up as well as could be expected. The D has some stars and it is capable of taking a step up in 10.

MI @ JK

The Fish looked good on O, but they were in water so they should have. As in their first game, the rain was a factor in the first half. QB Henne has enough arm strength to stick the ball into tight coverage. He has shown better accuracy and has better receivers now that 2nd year Bess had developed into a reliable 3rd down back and with the addition of WR Marshall. TE Fasano is Henne’s favorite target in the red zone. QB Pennington is an outstanding backup.

The Dolphin D is a work in progress. It ranked in the 20’s in most ratings last year. If the Dolphins are going to challenge for the AFC East title, it will have to play better than that. The team focused on D in the draft and have a couple of rookies that can help but need to develop.

The Dolphins special teams are bad. They have allowed 2 punt blocks so far and have given up return yardage like Congress hands out cash–in bunches.

The Jags are a mess and things didn’t get any better when starting QB Garrard went down with an injury. The pressure is on both him and his HC Del Rio. Both will be gone in 2011 unless the Jags can turn the team around. Back up McCown is capable. WR Thomas is developing well and should have a good year. The O line has talent but other than LT Monroe and LG Manuwai have yet to develop. RT Britton has potential.

The Jag D looks soft as well. DEs Kampman and Harvey are solid but the DTs need to help with a pass rush. Thus far in the preseason that has not happened. The rest of the D are nothing special.

KC @ TB

TB QB Freeman continues to stare down his target. That is why he threw 10 TDs last year and 18 picks. He got hurt in the game. Freeman has broken the tip of his thumb on the passing hand. He was replaced by QB Johnson who played well but it was against the TB D.

TB needs RB Williams to stay healthy. He has had knee injuries in 07 and 08. There is very little behind him. FB Graham is a high effort guy with very little athleticism or speed.

TB WR Mike Williams looks really good so far. He has above-average hands and FBI (Football Intelligence).

The pressure in on KC QB Cassel and the O line in front of him. Cassel has developed some bad habits like the classic stare down of the WR. That happens in part because he doesn’t have enough confidence in his protection.

KC ex-Jet RB Jones will help the O but fumbled on his first carry in this game. Jones is still a RB Charles is exciting but is not a 300 carry back. One rookie to watch is RB/WR/KR McCluster from Mississippi St. He is very quick and very tough to tackle because of his size. Despite that, he was a starting RB in the Southeast Conference.

For other games check out my article on NFL News, notes and rumors on

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The NFL turns it back on Ohio fans!

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nflshieldX

Ohio in general and Central Ohio in particular are being cheated by the NFL schedulers. Only 4 states have 2 teams in the same conference. But the other 3 are separated by customs, distance and interests.

Oakland area NFL fans only see the Chargers as that team way down south that is a division rival.

And nobody really cares about scheduling conflicts of Buffalo (vs. the Jets) or Jacksonville (vs. the Dolphins). Both of those teams are likely to be moving soon due to lack of attendance.

But the Browns and the Bengals share a history that is unique in the league. The Browns and the Bengals were both started by Paul Brown. That has caused mixed loyalties all over the state. But the NFL does very little to use the schedule to allow fans of each team to see their clubs games.

This year for example 8 weeks of the 15 (17 weeks less the two games against each other) have direct conflicts. The league could easily have avoided 5 of the 8 by scheduling Fox games (those played at home against NFC teams) on separate weeks. Instead the league scheduled both teams to play on Fox at the same start time in week 5 and missed a chance to get one fewer conflict by scheduling the Browns to play on CBS in week 12 rather than wasting the Bengals appearance on the NFL Channel!

While the rest of the fan base may be fine with the pinheads in the scheduling department, there are a lot of people in Ohio that are ticked. Those that are with Direct TV can order the NFL game plan but frankly, I don’t want any more holes in my new roof. One dish up there is enough.

That’s what I think. Tell me what you think.

Bill Smith is a former coach of several semi-pro teams, has officiated both football and basketball, done color on radio for college football and basketball and has scouted talent. He is a senior writer for and edits https://fryingpansports.com. He has also published several novels on

and edits .

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