How’s the preseason going for the good ol’ Black and Blue division? Not too shabby actually. As we reach the halfway point to preseason games, let’s see how the teams are looking.
The Lions started to show some signs of life, the Bears kicker competition is getting real, the Vikings head coach mixed up his tobacco and his sunflower seeds, and the Packers sort of have some of the same questions as the Lions do. I’ll get into that more in a few! Continue reading “The NFC North round up, preseason week 2”→
Week two of the NFL Preseason has gone and plenty of questions have been left unanswered for the teams in the AFC North.
All four teams (Ravens, Bengals, Browns and Steelers) seem to have locked on to their starting quarterback. It’s going to be the position battles that most intrigue fans during training camp and the preseason. At last wide receiver Antonio Brown and his helmet issues are no longer a problem in this division! Good luck with that, Oakland!
But there were two really heartbreaking losses this week in the death’s of former Bengals running back Cedric Benson and Steelers wide receivers coach Darryl Drake.
After the Chicago Bears lost their first preseason game of 2019 to the Carolina Panthers, it was clear who worked for that roster spot. After a few practices, skirmishes and then some, it’s safe to say that for the most part, the depth chart has been set, but with a few surprises.
My dad used to always ask me if the Atlanta Braves had won when I was a teenager. Finally, I figured out who they were, and followed them. As I got older, I started paying attention more to sports. First baseball, then onto football.
Being born and raised in Ann Arbor, Michigan, Michigan Football was a way of life. Ohio State is the enemy, and that’s just how it was. My love for college football grew and eventually expanded to the NFL.
I enjoyed watching the Denver Broncos win the Super Bowl in ’98 and ’99. When I came back from college, I moved to downtown Detroit, right across from what would eventually be the Detroit Lions new home. I loved football, so I was all about the Detroit Lions.
Upon hiring General Manager Ryan Pace, the Chicago Bears were expected to be overhauled in a rebuild of epic proportions.
It was no surprise that the Bears would develop a young and hungry group of players under the leadership of a competitive and a just as hungry coach in Matt Nagy.
A lengthy endeavor that was supposed to take four years turned out to be a competitive playoff team.
But to the surprise of analysts and fans, the 2018 season was better than expected. With a 12-4 record and the hostile takeover of the NFC North throne, one can only hope the reign of terror once infused from the Monsters of the Midway has returned.
As the 2019 season rolls around most teams already have their potential face of the franchise ready to go for interviews and team representations. But is that one player, chosen by the front office, the true face of the franchise?
Many times teams get it wrong. They put a player in that role whom they feel fits “the mold”. They assume he is the one everyone wants to see.
But what constitutes earning the right to be the face of the franchise? Does it always have to be a quarterback? Or should the face of the franchise be of the one who truly represents the team?
I joke about it, but it’s a reality I live with every day. Oh, by no means is it severe or life-altering for me, so I don’t mean to belittle the condition. But it is something I’m open about even if I’ve learned to live with being uncomfortable at times.
For example, I want almost all numbers to be even. If I pump gas and it ends on an odd number – or one I think is just weird – I’ll pump a bit more until it hits a number I like. My family loves to put the TV volume on an odd number and wait to see how long I can leave it there before I grab the remote and pop it up or down one just to be even.
When I eat, I try to chew the same number of time on each side. When I walk, if I step on a yellow line in a parking lot with my right foot, I will do a little jig dance and try to hit the next one with my left foot before going back to dodging them altogether. (I think you’re getting the idea.)
If I can’t “even things up,” then so be it. But it will make me a bit uncomfortable for a while.
Raise your hand if you remember the “I’m retired now I’m not” phase of former Packers, Jets and Vikings quarterback Brett Favre. Did anyone else get the feeling that when he finally hung it up, that it wasn’t really going to be the last time? I know I did. But he finally settled into starring in Wrangler commercials and those copper wire commercials, fishing and whatever else it is retired NFL players do.
Then yesterday afternoon, an Instagram post changed all of that. Since Favre deleted it the post, I’ll have to stick with this tweet.
Not since the missed kick-doink heard round the world has there been such emphasis on a kicker. It’s not like this was the first time a kicker has missed a field goal in a crucial game. Ask any Buffalo Bills fan. The Lombardi Trophy was in their grasp ready to be hoisted and it rested on the leg of Scott Norwood. With just eight seconds on the clock, Norwood kicks it and it has the distance, going towards the center, only to veer right missing the post altogether. Absolute heartbreak.
Kickers that were known to be clutch in games came from the likes of Billy Cundiff, Morten Andersen, Chandler Catanzaro, Gary Anderson, Adam Vinatieri, and Robbie Gould. Granted they had their share of missed kicks, costing them crucial games. But the one that hurt the Bears came from the Voldemort of Chicago, Cody Parkey. After having an incredible season, winning the NFC North that has eluded them since 2010, the Wild Card game was left on the leg of Parkey. Nothing can erase the facial expressions of quarterback Mitchell Trubisky or defensive end Akiem Hicks after that missed kick. Yes, Parkey hung his head in disbelief but “playing with the wind” on a crucial kick is bound to fail you.