One of the nice things about covering both the AFC and NFC West teams is in the preseason is they usually play each other. It makes it easy to do a weekly preseason round up, but it also makes for a very long article. Stick with me, people.
Week 2 of the preseason gave most fans a good look at their backups. And yes there were lots of mistakes, but…its preseason. Let’s take a look at the games played so far.
Patriots wide receiver Josh Gordon has been reinstated to the NFL on a conditional basis. Many thought his last suspension would be permanent, but Commisioner Roger Goodell released the following statement today, stating they were giving him another chance to turn his troubled career around.
“Commissioner ROGER GOODELL notified JOSH GORDON of the New England Patriots that he will be reinstated to the NFL on a conditional basis.
Effective Sunday, Gordon may rejoin the Patriots to attend meetings and engage in conditioning work and individual workouts.
Subject to appropriate progress on clinical care and other arrangements, he will be permitted to participate in team activities including practice. Because he will not have had sufficient conditioning and practice time, however, he may attend but may not play in the Patriots’ Thursday, August 22 game.
“We are all rooting for Josh to succeed, both personally and professionally,” said Goodell. “Everyone shares in that hope and will continue to support him to every extent possible. But as Josh acknowledged, ultimately his success is up to him.”
Gordon had been suspended indefinitely since December of 2018 for violations of the NFL-NFLPA Policy and Program for Substances of Abuse. “
We all understand that preseason games are rarely an indicator for a season’s success or failure. For half of the AFC West, they really hope that statement holds true. While Kansas City looked as dominant as many expected, no one expected the Raiders to roll over the Rams.
Of course, most teams were without their starters, and it was obvious that coaches were holding back as they should, but let’s not let that stop us from going over a few talking points about those first games.
While we all look forward to the Pro Football Hall of Fame game as the official start to the preseason, in the back of our minds, we all know that it is those first preseason games the week after that really kick things off. Let’s take a peek at the NFC West and what we should be looking for during week one.
The 2018 season for the NFC West had some fantastic matchups, a Super Bowl contender, and a team in turmoil. The Los Angeles Rams won the division at 13-3, with the Seattle Seahawks (10-6), San Francisco 49’ers (4-2), and the Arizona Cardinals (3-13) rounding it out. The Rams ran through the playoffs but were defeated in the Super Bowl by the New England Patriots.
This season is expected to be more competitive between the teams in the division. Seattle has signed their two most important players, quarterback Russell Wilson and linebacker Bobby Wagner, to long term contracts, stabilizing the team. San Francisco is hoping to avoid the dreaded injury bug that plagued their team last year so they can finally be able to see what they have in their QB Jimmy Garoppolo.
“If you don’t have good scouts, you’re not going to make much use of the computer.” – Gil Brandt
The Godfather. No, not the movie, the man. Gil Brandt is one of the most revered men in football history, and this week, the Godfather finally is inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Brandt was the Vice President of Personnel for the Dallas Cowboys (1960-1988), turning the Cowboys into the most dominant and famous team in the NFL. During his career, Brandt was an innovator in scouting processes for football.
He developed ways to evaluate players that hadn’t been seen before, including the use computers. He also began using psychological testing for players to see how they could perform under pressure.
When we were dividing up the articles for the 2019 Pro Football Hall of Fame class, I jumped on the chance to write about Champ Bailey. Most of you know I am a lover of defense, and Champ was in a class by himself.
Cornerback Champ Bailey was drafted in the first round of the 1999 NFL Draft. It almost seems impossible that it was that long ago simply because it feels like he just left the game yesterday. Champ spent his first five seasons with Washington, then moving on to Denver in 2004.
His stats are staggering. Impressive from the start, Champ had five interceptions in his rookie year, including three against the Arizona Cardinals on Oct 17, 1999. In Denver, he had three division titles, started in two AFC Championship games, and one Super Bowl. 52 career interceptions, returned for 464 yards and 4 touchdowns. First Team All-Pro 4 times, Second Team All-Pro 4 times, voted to 12 Pro Bowls and named in the All-Decade Team for the 2000s. He holds the NFL record for most consecutive games with an interception (5).
The 2018 season was an odd one for the Buffalo Bills, to say the least. Finishing the season 6 -10, they failed to return to the playoffs, and the first round draft pick, quarterback Josh Allen, had a rough season.
However, analysts and fans are quite optimistic about the upcoming season. I sat down (virturally) to chat with Bills Mafia editor, Robyn Mundy, to see how she felt about the off season and the upcoming year.
Dayna O’Gorman: “Lets start with your Quarterback, Josh Allen. Many believe he will make a huge jump this season, maybe even being the most improved player from the 2018 draft class. What are your thoughts on Josh? What makes him special? And do you believe he can be a leader in 2019?”
Its almost time. You can almost smell the compeition start to bubble up from within. Stats, lists, scheme breakdowns. Its all just around the corner. No, I’m not talking about NFL training camp. I’m talking about FANTASY FOOTBALL.
There are thousands of websites dedicated to fantasy football. How to build a team, how players are ranked, how to draft in the best way possible, everything you could possibly need. But lets be honest, we all know what the most important part of Fantasy Football is. Its all about your team name.
Every year I am amazed by the creativity some people use when creating a team name. A great spin on current events or pop culture. A snarky twist on a players name. So many ways that people find the perfect name.
New Carolina Panthers defensive tackle Gerald McCoy isn’t happy with his old team. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers gave his number, 93, away. And to not just some random rookie, but to Ndamukong Suh, his replacement. McCoy didn’t take it well.
“As far as signing him, organizations have to do what they have to do when you let a player of my caliber go, so I understand that,” McCoy said. “But as far as giving away my number, in the history of the Bucs, they have a ring of honor, and all of the greatest players in the organization usually get their numbers retired.”
“Them giving the number away, that’s their prerogative, but the respect they showed. It would be different if it was a guy who signed four or five years. This is a one-year deal … I mean, it may seem like it’s just a number, but it’s bigger than that. It’s respect, and that was a big part of the separation between me and Tampa, period, was the respect they showed to me all offseason, it just wasn’t there.”
The discussion behind pass interference and the “The Call That Wasn’t” this offseason was pretty intense. It didn’t take much time after the end of the season for the subject of making pass interference a challengable call was brought up. The NFL Competition Committee added a few caveats to the new rule, taking the challenge out of the coaches hands.
They’ve added some stipulations to the challenge after the 2-minute warning of each half. Challenges can only be initiated by Replay Official, and only “under stricter guidelines”. They are hoping this will lower the number of challenges in that time frame, and in turn not have too much added time to a game.