September 2, 2014

All Out Blitz: NFL News & Notes

Arizona Cardinals:  That was a pretty pathetic performance put forth by the Cardinals versus the Seahawks last Sunday.  58-0, really, are you kidding me.  This is a quarterback driven league and it’s clear as day the Cards don’t have one.  John Skelton has regressed to the point now where he may not even be a reliable backup and Ryan Lindley has certainly proven he is nowhere near close to being ready to start in the NFL.  Now you know why the Cardinals were so desperate to sign Peyton Manning last off-season.  Have to wonder if coach Ken Whisenhunt will survive the season.

Atlanta Falcons:  That was a pretty good spanking put on the Falcons by the Panthers on Sunday.  The Panthers also should’ve won the first game.  The Falcons have been crying about a lack of respect all season long, but it’s hard to believe this is the best team in the NFC with the way they have been playing.  They have struggled of late even with below average teams.  Perhaps they peaked to early…..It looks like the Falcons are moving on from RB Michael Turner as Jacquizz Rodgers is getting more playing time each and every week.

Baltimore Ravens:  Can’t say that I was shocked about the firing of offensive coordinator Cam Cameron, it seemed to be only a matter of time, but to do it at this point in the season is curious.  It’s Week 15, you’re in first place in your division, ninth in the league in points scored, and average 25.5 points a game.  Granted Cameron never seems to know how to use RB Ray Rice and certainly has his difference with QB Joe Flacco, but those numbers are pretty solid and a change at this point in the season smells like a panic move, and let’s face it, this may be the Ravens, but the offense really hasn’t been the problem, the defense has let this team down.

Buffalo Bills:  Running back Fred Jackson is hurt once again, injuring his knee during the game Sunday, he will miss the rest of the season.  This should be a boon for C.J. Spiller who for some reason wasn’t being used as much as Jackson over the past couple of games.  Now I know you need to watch Spiller’s touches and can’t overuse him, but he’s your best playmaker, get him the ball…..Keep hearing rumors that QB Michael Vick could be the next starting QB for Buffalo, they did make a play for him when he was released from prison, and Ryan Fitzpatrick is far from a franchise quarterback.

Carolina Panthers:  It took the Panthers long enough, but the offense finally seems to be humming, especially QB Cam Newton.  They still need to surround Newton with more talent especially at receiver, but this team is not that far behind the others in what is going to be a really tough division for year to come, the NFC South…..Running back DeAngelo Williams had a big game Sunday with over 110 total yards, but only 56 of which came on the ground, hard to believe with their stable of RBs, that Carolina doesn’t have much of a rushing attack.

Chicago Bears:  Are the Bears in the middle of another late season collapse.  A loss to the Packers this weekend and they can kiss their division title hopes goodbye, not to mention they could be in a flat footed tie with any one of a number of teams…..Quarterback Jay Cutler is taking a beating behind that offensive line.  Cutler has always thought of himself as a tough guy, but he needs to get rid of the ball quicker and stop taking so many hits…..Running back Michael Bush is battling bruised ribs and may not be the battering ram the Bears were hoping for over the next game or two…..Kicker Robbie Gould injured his calf during pre-game warm-ups Sunday.  Olindo Mare will kick for the remainder of the season.

Cincinnati Bengals:  The Bengals gave away that game to the Cowboys on Sunday.  Wide receiver A.J. Green had several dropped passes including one that would’ve gone for a touchdown.  Play calling also left something to be desired as they offense kept running pass plays even though they were gashing the Cowboys on the ground, not to mention running the ball takes time off the clock, time that would’ve prevented Dallas from being able to mount the game winning drive as time expired.

Cleveland Browns:  Don’t look now, but the Browns are on a roll, that’s three straight games they have won, when was the last time we could say that?  Really do like the direction this team is heading in, but I’ll keep on saying it, they need to decide if Brandon Weeden is the future at quarterback.  Still wouldn’t be a bad idea to sign a veteran in free agency in the off-season or even spend a draft pick on one.

Dallas Cowboys:  Wide receiver Dez Bryant is seeing a doctor Wednesday to determine if he can play the rest of the season with a broken finger.  He wants to play but the questions comes down to whether or not permanent damage will be done by waiting until after the season for surgery.  If he waits, there is a chance he could lose some mobility in the finger…..Defensive tackle Josh Brent was placed on the non-football injury list Wednesday.  Brent was arrested for being under the influence in the tragic accident that killed LB Jerry Brown.  An accident that could’ve easily been avoided had Brent called the car service available to each and every NFL player.

Denver Broncos:  Hard to believe, but Denver is one of the  top two or three teams in the AFC, and will be a tough out come playoff time…..Could LB Von Miller be the defensive player of the year?  He already has 16 sacks this season and could threaten the NFL record…..Speaking of awards, would be really amazing if QB Peyton Manning wins MVP this season.

Detroit Lions:  Starting to look like Joique Bell has taken over the role of running back in Detroit.  Mikel Leshoure just seems to be a guy who can plow into the line, while Bell has a little juke to him and may be more of a big play threat…..Even though he is the only true threat in the Lions passing game, Calvin Johnson still had 10 receptions versus the Packers Sunday.  Mike Thomas is overmatched as the second option in the passing game.

Green Bay Packers:  A win by the Packers on Sunday over Chicago all but wraps up the NFC North, only Minnesota could catch them and that assumes the Vikings win their last three and the Packers lose their last two…..Green Bay is also getting healthier.  Wide receiver Greg Jennings returned two weeks ago and is slowly getting back in the flow of things.  Linebacker Clay Matthews looks like he will return this week (not what Bears QB Jay Cutler wants to hear).  WR Jordy Nelson and CB Charles Woodson won’t play this week but should return before the end of the season.   A win by the Pack this week and a loss by the 49ers (they play at the Pats) would also put Green Bay in the driver’s seat for a first round bye.

Houston Texans:  Did Houston peak to soon?  They are having massive problems in their secondary, even with the return of cornerback Jonathan Joseph.  This has to be fixed as there is a pretty good chance they will have to get through the Patriots Tom Brady and the Broncos Peyton Manning to reach the Super Bowl.  Right now it’s safe to wonder if they can beat the Colts and Andrew Luck this week just to secure the division title…..Ben Tate has once again proved himself healthy and taken over the backup role to Adrian Foster once again.

Indianapolis Colts:  Here is a little tidbit that not to many people realize.  If the Colts win out, they win the AFC South.  They still have to play the Texans twice.  Now it’s unlikely they can win both games, but the Colts do excel at throwing the ball, and throwing it deep, something the Texans have been unable to defend of late…..It’s amazing what a franchise QB can do for an organization.  Still not sure who I would vote for, Rookie of the Year, Andrew Luck or Robert Griffin.

Jacksonville Jaguars:  Anyone want to tell me why the Jags haven’t put RB Maurice Jones-Drew on IR already?  There are only three games left in the season, you’re not in playoff contention, what’s the point?  The team is being careful however with WR Cecil Shorts.  He is practicing this week but is still questionable this week to play.  No reason to mess around with a concussion at this point in the season…..Running back Rashard Jennings (concussion) has not been cleared to practice.

Kansas  City Chiefs:  This has been nothing short of a disaster of a season for the Chiefs.  Hard to believe some thought they may actually be the best team in this division during the off-season…..The Chiefs are likely to have a top three pick in the 2013 draft, but there is no RGIII or Andrew Luck to save their bacon…..The season is likely over for WR Dwayne Bowe who has broken ribs.  Bowe doesn’t look like he is interested in playing for KC anymore anyway.  He is more than likely gone after the season.

Miami Dolphins:  The Dolphins finally figured out last week that RB Reggie Bush is a pretty good pass catcher out of the backfield.  They had been pulling Bush out of the game more often than not on third downs because they didn’t believe he is all that great at picking up the blitz.  That may be true, but this team needs their only true playmaker on the field at the most important time of the game.  Bush is more than likely heading elsewhere after the season.  Daniel Thomas and Lamar Miller will handle the rushing duties next year.

Minnesota Vikings:   Running back Adrian Peterson is just having an amazing year.  Think about it.  He’s on pace to gain over 2000 yards rushing despite undergoing reconstructive knee surgery less than a year ago.  Despite not being used full-time for the first couple of games.  Despite the teams only true WR, Percy Harvin, missing most of the second half of the season.  Despite having a quarterback, Christian Ponder, that is no one’s definition of a franchise signal caller.  AP is just simply the best running back in the NFL.

New England Patriots:  Well any doubts about the Patriots being the best team in the NFL may have been eliminated with their destruction of the Texans on Monday.  The trade for CB Aqib Talib seems to have solidified the defense.  Not only do they have a solid cover corner in Talib, but it allowed Devin McCourty to move back to safety, a position he is much more suited for than corner…..TE Rob Gronkowski could practice this week, he didn’t Wednesday, but don’t look for him to play Sunday.

New Orleans Saints:  Well the Saints season pretty much came to an end with a thunderous loss to the Giants in Week 14…..The good news for the Saints was that the suspensions in the bounty scandal were rescinded.  The bad news is that although the players will not miss any games, they weren’t declared innocent by former NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue.  Tagliabue decided that the organization deserved much of the blame for tainting the evidence and allowing the culture of bounties to continue.  I never believed LB Jonathan Vilma should’ve been suspended for a year.   Just didn’t think any player should get as much time as the head coach, but did think they deserved some kind of punishment, maybe 4-8 games.

New York Giants:  You have to hand it to the Giants, they are consistent.  Seems like every season they get off to a hot start, look like they are going to run away with the division, only to go into a slump, let the other teams catch up, then play lights out again as the season winds down and go into the playoffs on a hot streak.  Could they be on another one of those streaks?  Sure looks like it after beating both the Packers and Saints pretty convincingly the past two weeks…..Running back Ahmad Bradshaw could miss time with a sprained knee, good thing David Wilson looks ready for primetime.

New York Jets:  It’s hard to believe that the Jets are actually only one game out of the wildcard hunt.  Now they are still well behind the eight ball when it comes to gaining a playoff spot, Pittsburgh holds a tiebreaker edge and the Colts would have to lose out and the Jets win out to catch them, still though, after what seems to have been a terrible season, they actually have something to play for…..So let me get this straight, WR Braylon Edwards, lights up the Jets hierarchy, gets released by Seattle because of injury, then the Jets claim him off of waivers.  Desperate teams do desperate things.

Oakland Raiders:  Shocking, RB Darren McFadden left the game early with injury last week, very hard to trust DMC in fantasy leagues the rest of this season…..Defensive players S Tyvon Branch and DT Richard Seymour are both on track to play Sunday versus KC…..Linebacker Rolando McClain who has finished serving his suspension also practiced Wednesday and could actually be in the lineup this week.

Philadelphia Eagles:  The Eagles have announced that Nick Foles will remain at quarterback for the remainder of the season.  Not a shock, big question now is where does Michael Vick end up next season…..RB LeSean McCoy looks like he is on his way to recovery, but won’t play Thursday versus the Bengals, Bryce Brown is still the man this week but keep in mind that Bengals defensive front is pretty good.

Pittsburgh Steelers:  Steelers laid an egg against the Chargers last week.  Ben Roethlisberger certainly looked rusty until the fourth quarter and Chargers QB Phillip Rivers picked apart the Steelers secondary.  The Steelers play Dallas this week in what is a very important game, but not a must win for Pittsburgh, next week against Cincinnati is a must win…..Running back Rashard Mendenhall was suspended for this game after he didn’t show up for last week’s game.  Jonathan Dwyer will start the game with Isaac Redman getting a handful of carries as well.

San Diego Chargers:  If only the Chargers would’ve played as well all season as they did last week, might’ve been a different kind of season…..Danario Alexander has been a quite a find at receiver, he has brought the team the big play kind ability they thought they were getting when they signed Robert Meacham, remember him…..Running back Ryan Matthews and tight end Antonio Gates have also been big disappointments this season.   The injuries Gates has suffered over the years may finally be catching up with him and perhaps Matthews will just never be the player we thought he would be.

San Francisco 49ers:  This should be an interesting game Sunday night between the 49ers and Patriots.  Not because it’s a battle of two division leading teams but because this kind of game has to be why head coach Jim Harbaugh chose Colin Kaepernick over Alex Smith as his starting quarterback.  He needs a QB capable of winning a game that could turn into a shootout…..Speaking of Kap, it looks like Michael Crabtree has turned into his favorite receiver, it’s certainly not TE Vernon Davis who no longer seems to be a part of the offensive game plan.

Seattle Seahawks:  In a normal year we would talking about how good QB Russell Wilson has been and how he might be a Rookie of the Year candidate, but this is not a normal year and Wilson is nothing more than an afterthought…..Wide receiver Sidney Rice’s foot is currently in a boot and his status for the game Sunday is questionable at best…..Not that we should look into this all that deeply, but RB Robert Turbin looked great last week coming in for Marshawn Lynch.

St. Louis Rams:  What few offensive playmakers the Rams have are a bit banged up.  Wide receiver Danny Amendola is limited in practice and RB Steven Jackson had the day off, they are both dealing with foot injuries…..By the way, Rams aren’t out of the playoff hunt either, pretty good job done their by head coach Jeff Fisher.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers:  You know your season has come to an end when you lose to the Eagles.  Tampa’s run defense was superb in stopping Bryce Brown, but they allowed a rookie QB in Nick Foles to throw the ball all over the field against them, cornerback will be a position of need next off-season.

Tennessee Titans:  Welcome to the 2012 NFL season WR Kenny Britt.  Britt finally had a big game last week with 143 yards receiving, although he didn’t score…..Tight end Jared Cook made a highlight reel touchdown reception last week but he also tore his rotator cuff during the game and is now done for the season…..WR Damian Williams is also done due to a hamstring injury.

Washington Redskins:  This is always going to be the scary part about QB Robert Griffin III.  He is an exceptional talent but is not built like a Ben Roethlisberger.  Now he’s not built like Michael Vick either, but somewhere in between, but every time he takes a hit, the chance for injury is there, and the Skins should be coaching him to either get out of bounds or slide as soon as possible.  That hit he took on Sunday looked much worse than it actually turned out to be, could’ve easily been a broken leg or a torn ligament, instead of just a sprained knee (although a sprain is actually a tear, just to a lesser degree).

 

Feel free to follow me on Twitter, @georgekurtz

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