August 16, 2017

All Out Blitz: NFL News & Notes

Arizona Cardinals:  Well we all knew it was just a matter of time until QB Kevin Kolb got hurt.  That offensive line is truly putrid.  Remember John Skelton was also injured.  The Cardinals are lucky in some ways that he is healthy enough now to return to the starting lineup just as Kolb is leaving it.  Question is, how long until Kolb gets hurt again?  As for those fantasy owners who were hoping that Lard Stephens-Howling could help the running game, apparently not.

Atlanta Falcons:  I know the Falcons are the only undefeated team left in the NFL, but I’m still not ready to declare them the best team in the game.  They have been pretty lucky to win the past few weeks.  Probably should’ve lost to Carolina at home if not for a mid-field Hail Mary that set them up for a game winning field goal.  Then they defeat Washington on the road after knocking QB RBIII from what was a very close game.  Last but not least they defeat the Raiders at home on a last second field goal.  Not one of these teams are anywhere near the best of the best.  True ugly wins are better than pretty losses, but right now Atlanta is either not as good at their record indicates, or they are playing down to their competition.

Baltimore Ravens:  Have to wonder if the Ravens would’ve rather taken a loss to the Cowboys last week and have a healthy LB Ray Lewis and CB Lardarius Webb for the remainder of the season than vice versa.  Game day I don’t believe the Ravens lose much with Lewis out, he’s nowhere near the same player he used to be and the run defense was certainly showing it.  They will miss his leadership however and is ability to motivate the troops.  He could convince his teammates to run through fire…..Webb however is a huge loss as he was one of the better corners in football.  Now the Ravens may have equal problems with the pass as well as the run.

Buffalo Bills:  The Bills answer to their logjam at running back is to have Fred Jackson and C.J. Spiller alternate starting every two series.  Seems to me this was a better team with Spiller as the lead back…..Somehow despite all of the problems that the Bills have had they are still for the lead in the AFC East, along with every other team, at 3-3, perhaps this won’t be a lost season after all…..The wrist injury that DE Mario Williams has been complaining about seems to be a thing of the past as he finally has begun practicing in full.

Carolina Panthers:  Hopefully the week off will have allowed the Panthers time to fix their problems on offense.   We can harp on QB Cam Newton all we want, but of bigger concern should be the running game.  What has happened to DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart?  Those of you hoping that LB Jon Beason would get back in the starting lineup this week had better think again, he has yet to practice this week.

Chicago Bears:  One team the bye week had to help was Chicago as it allowed RBs Michael Bush and Matt Forte to heal from their assorted injuries…..WR Earl Bennett will get back in the lineup now that Alshon Jeffrey is out, he could be a sneaky add in fantasy leagues, so might Devin Hester.  Quarterback Jay Cutler can’t throw to Brandon Marshall on every pass play…..The bad news for the Bears is that even with a bye week LB Brian Uhrlacher is still nowhere near 100% with his knee injury.

Cincinnati Bengals:  Everyone loves WR A.J. Green, rightfully so as he is quickly becoming one of the top receivers in the NFL, but what may be benefitting him most is the addition of Andrew Hawkins and Armon Binns.  Neither of those two may be great WRs, but they do give defenses something else to think about besides Green.  Even though the Lions have Calvin Johnson, their offense is struggling because no one else has stepped up thus allowing teams to take Megatron out of the game.

Cleveland Browns:  Running back Trent Richardson’s status for the game Sunday is still a question mark due to the flank injury but he is expected to play, however if he were to miss the game Montario Hardesty’s value take a huge jump…..Not a shock to see GM Mike Holmgren leave the team.  Whether it was voluntary or not really doesn’t matter, once a new owner took over, it was only natural that he would want to bring in his own people…..Holmgren seems to have set the team in the right directions.  Richardson looks to be a franchise RB, Josh Gordon may be the real deal at WR, and Brandon Weeden looks pretty good at QB.

Dallas Cowboys:  Dallas did a pretty good job of snatching defeat from the jaws of victory in Sunday’s game at Baltimore.  They dominated the Ravens in every part of the game yet lost.  Why might you ask?  A  kickoff returned for a touchdown.  A dropped two-point conversion by Dez Bryant.  Lack of any turnovers on defense once again.  Terrible clock management at the end of the game (think Arizona from last year).  There are no moral victories in the NFL.  This was a game Dallas needed an had to have, especially with their upcoming schedule.  One thing for sure, this week’s game at Carolina is almost a must win as the Cowboys have the Giants at home, than are at Atlanta and Philadelphia, need to go 2-2 at worst during this stretch.

Denver Broncos:  Any doubt about Peyton Manning’s ability to play this game has been pretty much put to rest these past few weeks.  He’s putting up fantastic numbers, and his comeback from a 24-point deficit Monday night to beat the Chargers was a thing of beauty.  His passes may not have the zip they once did, but he gets the job done…..Are the Broncos back to being the favorite to win the AFC West.

Detroit Lions:  Pretty sad news for the Lions and RB Javhid Best this week as it was announced that he won’t be able to play this season as he can’t pass his concussion test.  Hopefully the additional time off will allow him to play next season, better safe than sorry…..Is it me or does QB Matthew Stafford just not look like the same guy.  I know teams are taking away WR Johnson, but his accuracy has been terrible no matter who he is throwing to.

Green Bay Packers:  Aaron Rodgers certainly looked like the Rodgers of old last week as he ripped apart the Texans defense with six touchdown passes.  Those fantasy owners who gave up on him and traded low a week or two ago may certainly be regretting that decision now…..The Pack has announced that RB Alex Green will be the starter.  How quickly James Starks has fallen.  First he loses his job to Cedric Benson, and then can’t get it back once injury happens…..WR James Jones has played pretty good in the absence of Greg Jennings, but once Jennings does return he won’t see anywhere near the targets he is now.

Houston Texans:  Wouldn’t really panic if I was the Texans over the blowout loss to the Packers on Sunday.  Sure it was ugly watching Aaron Rodgers destroy your pass defense, but that happens, not like they had dreams of an undefeated season anyway.  The bright side is that now they get to play the Ravens, a team that has been gouged by the running game of the Chiefs and Cowboys.  Imagine what the Texans think they can do to them…..The Texans have also been making excuses as to why WR Andre Johnson is not having a better year.  Perhaps all of those injuries over the years have caught up to him, and he just isn’t the same player anymore.

Indianapolis Colts:  Don’t give up on RB Vick Ballard just yet.  Sure his numbers didn’t look all that pretty last week but the Colts were down in the game pretty quickly and had to abandon the running game…..The return of LB Robert Mathis to the lineup would be a big help as well, but that will have to wait at least another week as he is out until at least Week 8…..LB Pat Angerer could return this week, but Week 8 seems to be a safer bet there as well.

Jacksonville Jaguars:  Laurent Robinson, the big free agent addition at WR, still hasn’t passed his concussion test and is once again unlikely to play this week…..The Jags need to face the music here, they are a bad team, going nowhere, the remainder of this season should be about finding out what you have.  Specifically, is Blaine Gabbert the quarterback of the future.  Here is another idea, might want to trade RB Maurice Jones-Drew if you can get a good package for him.

Kansas  City Chiefs:  Should be fun times in KC.  Somehow they got destroyed last week in Tampa, not exactly a powerhouse team.  Now they have a QB controversy brewing between Brady Quinn and Matt Cassel, neither of which is a true starting QB, season is sinking real fast for the Chiefs…..Trade rumors are swirling around WR Dwayne Bowe.  Should come down to this if you’re the Chiefs.  Bowe is a good, not great receiver.  If you have no plans on re-signing him next season, than get what you can for him now.

Miami Dolphins:  Dolphins have to be ecstatic about how well QB Ryan Tannehill has played with virtually no weapons to throw to and a running game that has been stymied since Reggie Bush went off in Week 1.  This is a quarterback driven league, and finding a true number one is the most important thing in developing your organization into a contender…..The Dolphins are the team rumored to be interested in Bowe, but one has to wonder if they want to give up draft picks once again for a WR from the AFC West, didn’t work out so well last time.  Not to mention you would have to sign Bowe to the type of contract he wants.  You’re not giving up draft picks without signing the player to a long term deal.

Minnesota Vikings:   The Vikings come down to Earth a little bit after a beating at the hands of the Redskins last week.  This Sunday they have the offensively challenged Cardinals who are down to their third string running back and John Skelton at QB…..Will this be the week that RB Adrian Petersen scores a touchdown?  He doesn’t have one since Week 1, and admits that his ankle is feeling worse, not better.

New England Patriots:  How did the Patriots lose to the Seahawks last week?  Well, QB Tom Brady threw some ill timed interceptions and also intentionally grounded the ball at the end of the first half which automatically ran 10 seconds off the clock which cost the team a field goal attempt, and the defense, mainly the secondary gave up big play after big play.  One has to think coach Belichick will have fixed that problem this week.  Have a feeling the Pats put a big hurt on the Jets this week.

New Orleans Saints:  Linebacker Jonathan Vilma is trying his best to get on the field this week.  The Saints have until Saturday to take him off the PUP list.  This may be Vilma’s only game this season if commissioner Roger Goodell rules that the suspension will be upheld, suspension he handed down in the first place.  This is certainly headed back to court…..It is starting to look like TE Jimmy Graham may be forced to miss the game due to that ankle sprain, Dave Thomas could be a sneaky pickup in fantasy leagues.

New York Giants:  Big win by the Giants in San Francisco last week and even though their record stands at 4-2, they may be the best team in the NFC at this point in time…..WR Hakeem Nicks is still dealing with a knee problem and RB Ahmad Bradshaw may have the same foot injury that has plagued him in past seasons depending on who you listen to, so not everything is rosy, but if that front four on defense gets it going, it may not matter who is healthy with the exception of QB Eli Manning.

New York Jets:  Somehow the Jets won a game 35-9 against the Colts last week despite QB Mark Sanchez throwing for less than 100 yards, welcome to the 2012 season RB Shonn Greene…..Rumors abound this week that the Jets may use QB Tim Tebow at running back this week.  Probably not, but I have to wonder if Tebow’s best position might end up being tight end…..Cornerback Antonio Cromartie has been playing great and backing up his boast as the best CB in the league.

Oakland Raiders:  The Raiders put up a strong effort in a loss to the Falcons last week, but moral victories will only get you so far…..WR Denarius Moore could be a future star in the making…..Fantasy owners are banging their head about RB Darren McFadden.  Not much you can do, if you try and trade him you’re certainly selling low, might be a better buy high candidate.

Philadelphia Eagles:  Well the Eagles fired their defensive coordinator, Juan Castillo, this week.  Granted the defense hasn’t played up to expectations, but it would seem the offense has been the main culprit, not the defense, although the fact that the defense hasn’t been able to get to the QB has to be of utmost concern…..Good news is that WR Jeremy Maclin looks to be recovered from his hip injury and even if he isn’t, the bye week will make sure he is.

Pittsburgh Steelers:  The Steelers are running into problems at the running back position again.  Rashard Mendenhall and Isaac Redman didn’t practice Thursday and will both be questionable at best to play Sunday.  Fantasy owners had better take note and make sure they have adequate replacements…..The lack of a running game could be good news for the passing game as they will be forced to throw the ball to score points, something they are very well suited for.

San Diego Chargers:  What happened to QB Phillip Rivers during the second half Monday night.  You can excuse the fumble, that happens, but four picks has to be of major concern especially when it looked like his ball floated a few times.  We pretty much excused all of the turnovers from Rivers last season as just a bad year and the possibility that he was dealing with an injury, but perhaps his arm strength just isn’t what it used to be.

San Francisco 49ers:  The 49ers put up a stinker against the Giants last week and probably aren’t wishing for a return engagement…..WR Randy Moss seems to be getting a little more involved in the offense, wonder if he is sort of being used as a Trojan Horse, doesn’t look all that threatening, but sooner or later breaks out to steal a victory.

Seattle Seahawks:  You have to hand it to QB Russell Wilson, just when it looks like he could lose his starting job to Matt Flynn he comes up with a big game versus New England, perhaps he will keep the job all year…..Does head coach Pete Carroll’s manner on the sideline bother anyone else, or is it just me?

St. Louis Rams:  I think we’re starting to see the reason why the Rams are letting RB Steven Jackson hit free agency next season.  Daryl Richardson looks pretty good and can also hit the big play now and then which is something Jackson may no longer be able to do…..Wonder if the Rams are starting to regret not taking QB Robert Griffin III with the second overall pick in the 2012 draft.  Sam Bradford is just not doing it for me.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers:  Running back Doug Martin owners can’t be happy that LeGarrette Blount could be his touchdown vulture…..It’s amazing what having a true number one receiver opposite him has done for Mike Williams, he actually looks like a good fantasy play again…..Da’Quan Bowers who tore his Achilles in May is back practicing with the team.  He’s unlikely to play this week, but his return may not be that far off.

Tennessee Titans:  It took WR Kenny Britt a few times but he finally caught that touchdown pass from Matt Hasselbeck last week.  Hopefully this is the breakout that all Britt owners have been waiting for…..Speaking of fantasy owners, what are they to do with running back Chris Johnson?  He’s only had two acceptable fantasy weeks this season, but you know the week you don’t start him, he’s just going to go off…..Hasselbeck, by the way, only needs two more TD passes for 200 in his career.  Quite an accomplishment.

Washington Redskins:  Guess RGIII didn’t have any post concussion problems, pretty much ran and threw all over the Vikings…..Is WR Pierre Garcon ever coming back?  He has an inflamed capsule underneath his toe and can’t seem to overcome it, certainly driving not only his fantasy owners crazy, but the Redskins as well…..Has to be surprising to those same two groups that TE Fred Davis hasn’t been a bigger part of the Skins offense.

 

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