The NFL Competition Committee will host it’s annual meetings March 25-28 in Orlando, FL. There are two really “hot” topics on this year’s agenda: Pass Interference Penalties and Catch/No-Catch.
Troy Vincent, NFL Executive Vice President of Football Operations, and Rich McKay, Competition Committee Chairman and President/CEO of the Atlanta Falcons, hosted a conference call today with some insights into what they saw happen during the 2017-18 season and to preview some of the items up for discussion at this year’s meeting.
To recap 2017, parity seems to be alive and well in the NFL. Eight of the twelve playoff teams this year were not in the playoffs in 2016. Two of this year’s playoff teams were last in their division last year and moved to first, one actually won the Super Bowl. In fact, eight of the past fifteen seasons have seen at least one team move from “worst to first.”
The long-anticipated trades and free agency frenzy has finally arrived. It began with a surge of trades throughout the league ignited by the Seattle Seahawks. A shock to the Seattle fans, defensive end Michael Bennett is traded to the Super Bowl champions, the Philadelphia Eagles and a seventh round pick in exchange for a fifth round pick. But what seemed like a simple trade was the beginning of players released which included cornerback Richard Sherman and Jeremy Lane, tight end Jimmy Graham and wide receiver Paul Richardson. Seahawks did re-sign DB Bradley McDougald.
But the Bennett trade also ignited a trading bonanza by the Cleveland Browns as they gave up a 2018 4th rounder and a 2019 seventh-rounder for Miami Dolphins wide receiver Jarvis Landry, This was followed up by a trade of their top third-round pick for Buffalo Bills quarterback Tyrod Taylor. But before anyone could take a breath, the Browns swapped fourth and fifth round picks for Green Bay Packers cornerback Damarious Randall in exchange for QB DeShone Kizer.
Today is Women’s Day and here at Our Turf Football – a site run and staffed by women – I thought it was appropriate to celebrate some of the women that I think are making contributions in the NFL and paving the way for the next generation of women. Some of the names you should already know, but I’m willing to bet a few will surprise you.
Martha Firestone Ford – Detroit Lions After her husband’s death in 2014, Ford became sole owner of the Detroit Lions. Currently, she is the majority owner with small shares being held by her four children. She’s 93 years old, but don’t let the age fool you. She is very involved in the operation of the team as well as the hiring of coaches and player retention. She even worked directly with players during the protests last season and was able to work with them by financially supporting efforts in their communities for social change.
There are some that would say every day is International Women’s Day and in some way, they are right, but not based on the usual reasons. The struggle of gender equality has been going on for centuries but not surprising is the list of women who have overcome that. Eleanor Roosevelt once said: “A woman is like a tea bag – you can’t tell how strong she is until you put her in hot water.”
How true a statement that is! I come from a long line of strong women who persevered and overcame many obstacles. But today is a day to celebrate and honor just a few women who paved the way in the National Football League, which has always been a boys club.
As the free agent period approaches, one of the hottest names and biggest difference makers for a franchise is Kirk Cousins. I think it’s safe to say that, with the signing of Alex Smith, Washington will not be putting a Franchise Tag on Cousins which means he can start looking for his next team on March 14th.
There are quite a few teams desperately searching for a franchise quarterback, but are they all viable options at this point? Do they have the money to pay Cousins the huge contract he wants? Do they have the cap space? Are they the type of organization that he would want to play for? Let’s look at the front runners…
The Pro Football Hall of Fame, Class of 2018, was announced this past weekend. As always, my favorite selection is the one from the Senior Committee. These gentlemen have been over-looked and under-appreciated when compared to the modern-era players. And, most importantly, they are the heart, soul, beginnings of this game I love.
They wore leather helmets and pads that were a puny excuse for protection. They got paid so little that most had second jobs during the offseason. They played because they loved the game.
While it was before my time, my dad would tell me stories about these great men and they’ve always stayed with me. This year I was very excited to see that Jerry Kramer from the Green Bay Packers would finally be admitted into this great hall.
New England fans know what it’s like to lose again. The Tom Bradyled Patriots came up short in their 41-33 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles in Super Bowl LII on Sunday. Favored by almost everyone in the media and everyone polled, the underdog Philadelphia Eagles, with backup quarterback Nick Foles, outcoached and outplayed the defending Super Bowl champions.
Was I surprised? No. The Eagles had a Cinderella feel to this season. When Carson Wentz got hurt and Foles came in, a lot of people counted them out. They never counted themselves out. It reminded me of another backup who ended up coming in after a season ending injury to the starting quarterback and took his team all the way to the Super Bowl – and won.
As I mentioned in the North piece, the two teams practice differently, with the Texans leaning heavier on Special Teams play. This is a good thing because of the 100 guys here, maybe 40 go top three rounds, the rest will need an extra reason to be drafted over the younger guys who left school early because their talents was seen as better.
This mean for guys on the fringe, special teams is their bread and butter, a way in. Even if it’s only the practice squad, it’s a way to get into the NFL and be noticed by coaches.
What stood out today is how much better the wide receivers for the South were over the North. You would think the better group of QBs from the North would help them, but that wasn’t the case today.
The players spent less time on the field giving interviews that on Tuesday, so it was tougher to grab them.
DE Andrew Brown showed off his quickness; he’s a shade under 6’4” so his height could be a concern, however, he has an 82” wingspan. Brown would like to play 3 technique in a 4-3 Defense. He started off playing LT before moving over to defense because he thought that position was boring, he wanted more action. Julius Peppers was his athletic hero.