December 15, 2017

All Out Blitz: NFL News & Notes

Arizona Cardinals:  Are the Cardinals for real?  Well their defense certainly is.  After shutting down the Seahawks in Week One, no one really gave them much credit as the Hawks don’t possess much of an offense, but shutting down the Patriots, now that is quite an accomplishment…..Things aren’t all rosy in Arizona though, WR Larry Fitzgerald only caught one pass for four yards, combine that with a lack of a running game and you don’t have an offense that is running on all cylinders.

Atlanta Falcons:  The Falcons had to temper their enthusiasm over a 2-0 start when RB Michael Turner was arrested for speeding and DWI after the game.  This is Turner’s first offense so he will more than likely only receive a fine and not a suspension…..Staying on Turner, he certainly looks like his best days are far behind him.  He has not only slowed down, but looks like he has aged about a decade in one off-season.  Sooner or later the Falcons are going to need a running game and they may just not have one.

Baltimore Ravens:  As good as QB Joe Flacco was last week, he couldn’t keep up the momentum versus the Eagles.  The Eagles turned the ball over quite a few times to the Ravens but the offense was unable to take advantage and the defense let up the game winning score late in the 4th quarter…..Have to wonder why when Baltimore had a 4th and 2 with under two minutes to play, that RB Ray Rice was not on the field.  Don’t they know that he is one of the best players in the game?

Buffalo Bills:  Running back Fred Jackson may be the new Wally Pipp.  He’s not getting his job back when he returns to action.  C.J. Spiller is just to good and gives the Bills a dynamic playmaker each and every time he touches the ball…..As for Jackson, he has lateral movement in his knee and won’t require surgery, could be back in action in early October.

Carolina Panthers:  Running back Jonathan Stewart could miss the game Thursday as he is dealing with a toe injury, DeAngelo Williams would certainly get a bump in fantasy leagues if Stewart is inactive…..WR Steve Smith is probably licking his lips at going up against the Giants secondary, a secondary that has been roasted in back to back weeks.

Chicago Bears:  Quarterback Jay Cutler has been raked over the coals for pushing one of his offensive lineman during the Green Bay game.  While Cutler was right to be upset and even to chew out the OL, to physically put your hands on someone can’t be tolerated.  That lineman could put Cutler over his knee and break him in two had he so chosen…..Running back Matt Forte apparently doesn’t have a high ankle sprain but is still highly unlikely to play Sunday, Michael Bush should fill in nicely though.

Cincinnati Bengals:  Running Back Bernard Scott has practiced in full all week and should be ready to backup BenJarvus Green-Ellis this week…..If you’re wondering who the second receiver is in Cincinnati behind A.J. Green, it seems to be Armon Binns.  Sure Andrew Hawkins had the highlight reel touchdown last week, but Binns was targeted quite a few more times.

Cleveland Browns:  Whereas RB Trent Richardson and QB Brandon Weeden didn’t look good in Week 1, they picked up their play dramatically in Week 2, perhaps easing fears about whether or not they can play at this level…..LB Scott Fujita has practiced all week and should be ready to make his season debut Sunday.  Fujita also angered the NFL by not showing up for his meeting with commissioner Roger Goodell concerning the bounty scandal, he may play this week, but odds are there is another suspension coming.

Dallas Cowboys:  What happened to the Cowboys against Seattle on Sunday.  They had 11 days to prepare for the game after an impressive victory over the Giants and played like they would beat the Seahawks just by getting off the plane.  Felix Jones fumbled the opening kickoff (why Jones still has a roster spot still remains to be explained) leading to a field goal, than Chris Jones had a punt blocked.  Just a terrible performance.  Throw in the fact that Seattle ran the ball down their throats and it should be interesting to see how Dallas responds this week in their home opener.

Denver Broncos:  One has to be a little bit worried about quarterback Peyton Manning after his performance on Monday Night Football versus Atlanta.  It’s not so much the three interceptions that should be a concern as the fact that his deep balls tended to float and lacked zip.  Peyton may not be all the way back yet, or perhaps his fastball has lost a few MPHs.  Problem is if opposing teams don’t respect the deep pass than they can play closer to the line of scrimmage to stop the running and short passing game.

Detroit Lions:  The Lions offense hasn’t been running on all cylinders at the start of the season.  What could be the problem?  Well for one, defenses seem to be doing all they can to take WR Calvin Johnson out of the game, forcing QB Matthew Stafford to hit one of his other receivers (Titus Young, Nate Burleson).  Neither one of them have stepped up to date.  The lack for a running game hasn’t helped any either, but perhaps that is one problem that can be solved to some degree with the return of RB Mike Leshoure from suspension this week.

Green Bay Packers:  The Packers are another high octane offense that hasn’t hit its stride yet.  As good a tight end as Jermichael Finley may be, he drops an awful lot of passes as has to be losing the confidence of QB Aaron Rodgers.  Rodgers also can’t be to thrilled with WR James Jones.  Jones cost Rodgers an interception last week by not running his route in front of the cornerback, instead he cut behind him, a cardinal scene for a receiver.  The return of WR Greg Jennings this week should help.

Houston Texans:  Are the Texans the best team in the AFC?  Quite possibly.  Their running game is second to none.  Arian Foster and Ben Tate make up the best running back duo in the NFL.  Tate could easily be a starter on most team but instead plays second fiddle to Foster.  The key to the Texans will more than likely be the continued health of QB Matt Schaub and WR Andre Johnson, and if the Texans ever find a competent receiver to play opposite Johnson, look out.

Indianapolis Colts:  Congratulation to QB Andrew Luck on his first career victory, the first of what should be many more to come…..LB Dwight Freeney still hasn’t practiced since suffering a high ankle sprain and isn’t going to play this week…..WR Austin Collie is once again practicing in full, but that was also the case last week before he suffered a setback and missed the game.

Jacksonville Jaguars:  First the good news, if you can call QB Blaine Gabbert being healthy and practicing good news.  He had to leave the game last week with a glute injury but seems healthy and should start Sunday versus Indianapolis.  Now the bad news, RB Rashard Jennings has not practiced this week and is unlikely to play Sunday, this should mean a healthy dose of Maurice Jones-Drew in the ground game, but remember fantasy owners, the Colts defense did shut down the Vikings Adrian Peterson  last week.

Kansas  City Chiefs:  Speaking of fantasy owners, they can’t be all that happy that RB Jamaal Charles hasn’t seen the field much in the first two games.  Seems like his knee is acting up a bit and the Chiefs are going to be very careful with their franchise player…..S Eric Berry also doesn’t seem to be 100% healthy as he only had five tackles through the first two games.

Miami Dolphins:  Perhaps RB Reggie Bush wasn’t just blowing smoke when he stated that his goal for the 2012 season was to lead the league in rushing.  Still doubt this is going to be possible as sooner or later defenses are going to stack the line of scrimmage to stop him, thus forcing rookie QB Ryan Tannehill to find someone to pass the ball to…..RB Daniel Thomas has been cleared to play this week after recovering from a concussion suffered in Week 1.

Minnesota Vikings:  Running back Adrian Peterson may not have had big numbers last week but at least he has proven himself to be completely recovered from the knee injury that ended his 2011 season prematurely…..DE Jared Allen has yet to record a sack this season….WR Percy Harvin has certainly developed into one of the better receivers in the NFL, a true threat to go all the way every time he touches the ball.

New England Patriots:  What is going on between coach Bill Belichick and WR Wes Welker.  Welker seems to be paying the price for not signing his franchise tender on time and complaining about the lack of a long-term contract.  Doesn’t make much sense that he is behind Julian Edelman on the wide receiver pecking order…..Like the Lions and Packers, the Patriots offense has also had its problems, this mainly seems to stem from the problem the offensive line is having in protecting QB Tom Brady.

New Orleans Saints:  Most thought that the suspension of coach Sean Peyton for the season would hurt, but not kill the Saints.  Well it’s starting to look like his loss is taking a bigger toll on the offense than first thought.  The play calling has been off and the offense has been far from consistent.  What may really be hurting the Saints is the lack of a speed receiver that can force safeties to respect the deep ball.  Devery Henderson used to be that player, but he is incredibly inconsistent and also has a knack of getting hurt.

New York Giants:  The Giants are dealing with quite a few injuries to some key offensive players.  RB Ahmad Bradshaw is dealing with a neck sprain that will force him to miss at least the game Thursday versus Carolina.  Andre Brown is likely to handle the bulk of the rushing duties as coach Tom Coughlin still seems hesitant in trusting rookie David Wilson.  WR Hakeem Nicks will also miss the game as he is dealing with soreness in his surgically repaired foot after being stepped on last week.  Before to much panic sets in, let’s remember the Giants defeated the Patriots last season during the regular season without these two.

New York Jets:  I’m not a big fan of QB Tim Tebow or the wildcat offense, but I was still asking myself last week during the Steeler game (a game the Jets lost 27-10) why Tebow didn’t play more.  He came in for three play which netted close to 30 yds, but then the Jets went back to Mark Sanchez.  If you’re not going to use Tebow in this situation, than why exactly did you trade for him?…..Cornerback Darrelle Revis (concussion)  has been cleared for contact and will play this weekend, tight end Dustin Keller (hamstring) probably won’t.

Oakland Raiders:  Who saw the Raiders being demolished by the Dolphins last week?  I didn’t.  This is going to be another long season for the silver and black…..LB Rolando McClain who suffered a concussion during the game Sunday, yet still finished the game, has been cleared to play this week.  HIs IDP owners can rejoice.

Philadelphia Eagles:  The Eagles may have become the first team in history to win their first two games by a point, but if they keep turning the ball over that’s going to change in a hurry.  Quarterback Michael Vick has thrown six interceptions and RB LeSean McCoy has fumbled twice leading the turnover parade.  What has to concern the Eagles most is Vick’s terrible decision making when under pressure.  He just seems to put the ball up for grabs.  Perhaps all of the hits he has taken over the years are adding up…..WR Jeremy Maclin had a hip pointer coming into the game then suffered a hip contusion during the game.  He didn’t kill fantasy owners as his one catch went for a touchdown however.  Maclin is unlikely to play Sunday but will more than likely be a game-time decision.

Pittsburgh Steelers:  The Steelers have a bye in Week 4 and while most teams may complain about an early bye it could be a good thing for Pittsburgh as it will give their offensive line some time to gel, plus get injured players like LB James Harrison, S Troy Polamalu, and RB Rashard Mendenhall back in the lineup at full speed, just in time to face the Ravens.

San Diego Chargers:  Something that can’t be a surprise to Saints observers is that QB Phillip Rivers doesn’t seem to have all that much faith in free agent addition WR Robert Meacham.  Meacham is the definition of a boom or bust player and right now most fantasy owners seem to be leaning towards the latter.  Perhaps these two will get on the same page as the season rolls along…..RB Ryan Matthews has been cleared for full contact and should play this week versus Atlanta.  This should certainly help the Chargers offense as now teams will have to respect the run game.

San Francisco 49ers:  Are the 49ers the best team in the NFL?  Hard to see where they’re not.  We all know their defense is lights out but it’s their offense that seems to have taken a big step up.  Now that offense led by QB Alex Smith isn’t going to light up the scoreboard, but it can also do more than just manage the game.  They can score points when they have to…..How long will it take before WR Randy Moss starts to complain about his playing time?  He was only on the field for 16 snaps last week, catching one pass, ticking time bomb if you ask me.

Seattle Seahawks:  The Seahawks had a great game plan against the Cowboys last week as they outcoached the boys on offense and defense.  They are an old school defense that believes in punching you in the mouth and seeing if you will respond.  Same with the offense as they will try and run the ball down your throat, even when you know what they are trying to do.  Sooner or later though they will have to score points and it remains to be seen if they can do so with Russell Wilson behind center.

St. Louis Rams:  For those who watched the Rams game last week it certainly looked like coach Jeff Fisher had benched RB Steven Jackson after he took a 15 yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalty after disagreeing with an official’s call, but the Rams are saying that Jackson was dealing with a tight groin.  This seems to be the truth as Jackson has yet to practice this week and his availability for the game Sunday is certainly in doubt…..QB Sam Bradford looks a 100 times better so far this season than last.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers:  The addition of Vincent Jackson at wide receiver has certainly paid off early this season.  Not only has Jackson given QB Josh Freeman a true number one option to throw to but it has also put Mike Williams in a complementary role, a role he is excelling at right now…..As good as the offense played last week versus the Giants, that was over 500 yards passing the defense let up to Eli Manning.  Wow, the Giants have a good passing offense, but we’re not talking about the greatest passing team of all time.  Things don’t get much easier this week going into Dallas to play Tony Romo and his toys in the Cowboys home opener.

Tennessee Titans:  Things are a complete mess in Nashville.  RB Chris Johnson is blaming everyone but himself for his slow start, but he certainly looks like a completely different back since he signed the big contract and QB Jake Locker has gotten off to a really slow start to the season…..The good news is that WR Kenny Britt will return to a full slate of this week, perhaps his deep speed will open up some running lanes for Johnson.

Washington Redskins:  Anyone who saw the ending of the Skins/Rams game last week has to be a little surprised that WR Josh Morgan still has a roster spot at this point in time.  Morgan was the player who took a 15 yard penalty on the final drive by throwing a football at CB Cortland Finnegan after a play.  This penalty took the Skins out of field goal range (the Skins did try a 60+ yd fg that missed badly).


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