September 19, 2017

All Out Blitz

Arizona Cardinals: That’s back to back upsets for the Cardinals of division leaders. Good to see they still have some fight left in them…..Unfortunately, QB Kevin Kolb didn’t play long as he suffered a head injury early in the game and did not return. He has yet to practice in full this week and seems certain to be a game time decision this week…..Everyone thought WR Larry Fitzgerald would be the happiest guy in Arizona when the Cardinals signed Kolb, but he has had his best games this season with John Skelton under center.

Atlanta Falcons: Big comeback win by the Falcons over the Panthers last week. The Falcons are unlikely to catch the Saints in the NFC South, but are looking pretty solid to take one of the wildcard spots…..Although the Falcons keep stating it’s a minor injury, RB Michael Turner just hasn’t been the same since suffering a groin injury. He hasn’t missed any game action, but isn’t putting up his typical numbers either. If it is not the groin, maybe the long season is catching up with him.

Baltimore Ravens: It looks like LB Ray Lewis will be back in the lineup this week. The Ravens played it smart and kept Lewis out of the lineup until he and the team were sure he was ready to return…..WR Torrey Smith has been getting a bigger and bigger role in the Ravens offense each and every week. If he continues to develop, the Ravens may have an offense that can at least rival their defense, but more importantly it will take some of the opposing defense’s attention off of RB Ray Rice.

Buffalo Bills: The Bills came out and stated this week that they won’t take a QB in the first round of next year’s draft. Once again reinforcing their faith in Ryan Fitzpatrick. I have a feeling that’s a mistake. Fitzpatrick can look good at times, but still doesn’t have the look of a franchise quarterback…..The Bills will also have a big decision to make with WR Steve Johnson. Contract talks have broken off, so they may have to figure out if they want to use their franchise tag on him.

Carolina Panthers: QB Cam Newton finally played like a rookie last week, throwing two interceptions to open up the second half and with his team up 16 points in what eventually became a loss. Oh well, growing pains are a part of the job…..It looks like the only thing that may be keeping K Olindo Mare on the roster would be his four-year, $12 million contract. The Panthers brought in Adi Kunalic and promised he will kick Sunday if he outperforms Mare this week in practice.

Chicago Bears: If not for the injury to RB Matt Forte, Marion Barber may have been released before the plane hit the ground after failing to stay inbounds to keep the clock running on the Bears final drive of the 4th quarter; thus giving the Broncos the chance they needed to tie the game and send it to overtime. He than fumbled on the first drive of overtime when it looked like he was breaking into the clear, allowing Denver to win the game.

Cincinnati Bengals: The Bengals are quickly blowing what was a good start to the season. They have had trouble beating winning teams all season and it is quickly catching up to them. At this point they may have to win out to make the playoffs…..This all being said, the Bengals do get a layup this week in St. Louis, than Arizona, and even the last game versus Baltimore could be in their favor if the Ravens don’t have anything to play for with their playoff picture solidified.

Cleveland Browns: The Browns are catching plenty of heat for their handling of the concussion suffered by QB Colt McCoy versus Pittsburgh. Apparently no one on the Cleveland medical staff saw McCoy get hit by the oncoming truck that was LB James Harrison, and when they did check him out they were worried about his finger, not his head. Now apparently Browns players suffered multiple concussions during this game which may have spread the medical staff kind of thin, but still someone had to see that hit and say “Hey, you may want to check Colt out.”

Dallas Cowboys: The Cowboys once again snatched defeat from the jaws of victory Sunday night, blowing a 12-point lead with five plus minutes left in the game…..Everyone seems to want to blame QB Tony Romo for missing WR Miles Austin with a pass that would have gone for a touchdown late in the 4th quarter, but Austin admitted that he lost the ball in the lights and that’s why he didn’t catch it. Criticizing K Dan Bailey for the block seems to be off base also since the kick wasn’t low. It was much more of a blocking problem or maybe it was just a great play by Giants DE Jason Pierre-Paul.

Denver Broncos: QB Tim Tebow is starting to make a believer out of me. This guy finds a way to win every game, even if he did have a tremendous amount of help from the Chicago offense in this one. Now if the Broncos and Tebow are able to beat the Patriots on Sunday, I might be a true believer…..With Tebow being 7-1 as a starter, now the Broncos have little choice but to anoint Tebow as their starting QB next season.

Detroit Lions: Not sure what to make of the Lions who almost blew that game to Minnesota last week and if not for a missed face mask penalty on the final play of the game, may have blown it indeed…..The Lions right now are in a playoff spot but have an interesting schedule over the remainder of the season. They play an Oakland team that is fighting for their playoff lives, a San Diego team that may be doing the same next week, than a Green Bay squad that could be playing for a perfect season. It should be fun times in Motor City.

Green Bay Packers: The Packers can clinch home field throughout the playoffs with either a win or a San Francisco loss. Than the big question would remain, do you play your starters and go for a perfect season, or rest them and make sure you are completely healthy for the playoffs? Now the injury to WR Greg Jennings last week, which will keep him out for the remainder of the regular season, could push the Packers towards playing it safe. But they know that an undefeated season would be immortality, plus they did win the Super Bowl last season which should make going for 19-0 even more of a must.

Houston Texans: You just can’t stop these Texans no matter who is at the wheel. QB Tyler Yates led an impressive comeback over the Bengals last week, a game that was in Cincinnati and much more important to the Bengals than the Texans, but still Yates led them to a game winning drive. Impressive indeed, still though, I’m having a tough time seeing the Texans winning more than one game in the playoffs…..Defensive coordinator Wade Phillips will be away from the team for the next 7-10 days as he will have a procedure to deal with a kidney ailment. Good luck Wade.

Indianapolis Colts: QB Peyton Manning has started throwing again. The question is, does he have the same zip on the ball that he did before the surgery? Next question still remains, what will the Colts do with Manning after the season and are they still planning on having Manning get in some game action before the end of the season?…..TE Dallas Clark did indeed return to action and didn’t suffer any setbacks with the leg, but did suffer a stinger that has kept him from practicing this week.

Jacksonville Jaguars: The NFL officially ratified Shahid Khan as the owner of the team, and Khan for his part stated once again that he is not planning on moving the team. Now moving the team would be hard anyway as they do have a lease through 2029, but there is an out clause if the Jags lose money for three straight seasons…..RB Maurice Jones-Drew is having an incredible season for a bad team. The numbers he is putting up for a team that has no other offensive weapons is unbelievable.

Kansas City Chiefs: So much for the Todd Haley era as he was fired this week. At least he won’t be around for the beating that the Chiefs are going to take from Green Bay this week. Look for the Chiefs to hire former Broncos head coach and current Rams offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels for the top job once the season concludes. He is the man they wanted instead of Haley in the first place, but Denver offered him the job first…..QB Kyle Orton has recovered from his dislocated finger and will start for KC this week.

Miami Dolphins: Head coach Tony Sparano was put out of his misery this week as well. The team certainly played hard for him even though we all knew he was a walking dead man. He won’t have any problems getting another job, either at the head coach or coordinator level…..QB Matt Moore left the game last week with a concussion and hasn’t practiced yet, but should be available to play this week against Buffalo.

Minnesota Vikings: Tough loss for the Vikings last week but some good did come out of it. QB/WR Joe Webb played pretty well after taking over for Christian Ponder and may be able to handle that role in the future. The problem is Minnesota also likes what he can do as a receiver. You really can’t have your backup QB playing receiver, too good a chance of an injury. Maybe you can have your third string QB play receiver though…..Ponder is expected to start this week even though Webb was more effective than he was last week.

New England Patriots: That was some pretty funny stuff watching QB Tom Brady and the Pats offensive coordinator yelling at each other on the sideline after Brady threw an interception last week. Seems though if any of the Pats coaches were going to yell at any of the players, it should be on the defensive side of the ball…..If that was the funny part of the game, than the ridiculous part was watching the Redskin defense trying to tackle TE Rob Gronkowski. It looked like a high school team trying to tackle a top college player–just a joke.

New Orleans Saints: If you’re not a fan of any team in the NFC, you have to be rooting for a Green Bay-New Orleans rematch in the championship game, hopefully in good weather. Now that would be entertainment….TE Jimmy Graham is dealing with a bad back that almost kept him out of the game against Tennessee. He was able to play and has also been able to practice this week so this may not be as serious as it once looked…..RB Mark Ingram has yet to practice this week and may yet miss another game due to turf toe.

New York Giants: What a win for the Giants over the Cowboys on Sunday. They are now in control of their own destiny in the NFC East, but things could get testy. They have what should be a gimme versus Washington this week, although the Skins played the Pats tough. They than have to play the Jets and then Dallas once again. Here’s hoping that last game is a winner take all…..The most impressive thing to me about the Giants’ win wasn’t the 37 points they scored but that they didn’t give up a sack.

New York Jets: The Jets have come alive once again and look like a team that could be dangerous come playoff time. They have a strong running game with Shonne Green and LaDainian Tomlinson, and QB Mark Sanchez has been more careful with the football in the past couple of games. The loss of S Jim Leonard is a blow to the defense, but he missed the playoff run last season as well due to injury.

Oakland Raiders: Not that the Raiders had much of a chance of beating Green Bay anyway, but that is back to back weeks that they virtually didn’t get off the plane. The team certainly has dealt with its share of injuries. Their receiving corps has been decimated and losing their biggest playmaker in RB Darren MacFadden has been huge, but that’s still no excuse for their play of late.

Philadelphia Eagles: QB Michael Vick had a successful return to action last week, but WR Jeremy Maclin did not as he had to leave the game early when his hamstring tightened up on him. He might give it a go once again this week but there is no way of knowing if he will be able to finish the game…..WR DeSean Jackson actually showed up last week and had a big game. The question is, can he do it again, especially with the games becoming more and more meaningless?

Pittsburgh Steelers: It seems unlikely that QB Ben Roethlisberger will play Monday night after suffering a high ankle sprain, an injury that looked pretty ugly when it happened. The Steelers need to think about the future. Sure they would like to win the division, but they have a wildcard spot all but locked up and need to make sure Ben is as close to 100% as possible for the playoffs…..C Maurkice Pouncey also suffered a high ankle sprain. He wants to play, but once again the Steelers may play it safe and hold him out.

San Diego Chargers: Can the Chargers make another miracle comeback in the division? Probably not, but they are once again giving it a go. If only Tim Tebow would stop pulling out these miracles…..With the rash of coaching changes that have been going on, it’s fair to wonder if Norv Turner could be let go when the Chargers next lose a game and are officially eliminated from playoff contention.

San Francisco 49ers: That’s two losses in a row for the 49ers and now they have the Steelers coming to town. Now they have a firm grip on the NFC West but that first round bye might be slipping away…..I still can’t see how this team can win a playoff game. They need to score points. Their defense is good, but not great…..RB Frank Gore is certainly beat up and the 49ers admit that he’s not 100%. But what running back is at this point in the season? The real question is, how far from full health is he?

Seattle Seahawks: RB Marshawn Lynch has set himself up to make a ton of money next season, assuming the Seahawks don’t franchise him. He’s as tough a runner as there is to bring down. Inconsistent, sure, but once he’s in the secondary he’s a runaway train. The Hawks must retain his services next season.

St. Louis Rams: It’s hard to believe that OC Josh McDaniels will be in high demand next season with the way the Rams offense has been this season. Of even more importance is that QB Sam Bradford has certainly regressed this season. Still look for McDaniels to be the Chiefs first choice…..If McDaniels were to leave, would free agent WR Brandon Lloyd leave with him?….Speaking of Bradford, his ankle seems to have taken a turn for the worse and as of now he is unlikely to play Sunday.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers: The Bucs look to be out of control and it seems unlikely that coach Raheem Morris keeps his job…..QB Josh Freeman stated that he still doesn’t have the same zip on his fastball due to injury. That could explain the problem he has had with interceptions this season. Freeman has to be one of the more disappointing players this season…..Freeman should be licking his chops at facing the Dallas secondary Saturday–Lord knows everyone else has this season.

Tennessee Titans: Tough loss by the Titans versus the Saints. They had a chance to beat them at the end. They might have had an extra play had rookie QB Jake Locker thrown the ball on the final play. He had time. Even if he throws the ball away, he still would have had another play. Then he could have run around forever and tried to make a play. You can’t take a sack, even if you just heave it up for grabs. Give your team a chance.

Washington Redskins: On that great run by TE Rob Gronkowski last week, did anyone notice CB DeAngelo Hall observing the play while two of his teammates were being dragged by Gronk? Way to get involved…..Coach Mike Shanahan stated this week that QB Rex Grossman is auditioning for the starting job next season. While that may be true, the Skins are sure to use their first-round pick on a rookie quarterback.

All Out Blitz

Arizona Cardinals: Adrian Wilson has a partial tear in his right bicep muscle that will limit what he can do this pre-season, and may even eliminate how many games he will play in during the regular season. Matt Ware is likely to take his place at SS…..As of now, it looks like Beanie Wells will be the primary ball carrier at the beginning of the season, but Ryan Williams is catching up fast.

Atlanta Falcons: The re-signing of Jason Snelling might have caught some off guard but you can never have too many backs. Jacquizz Rodgers still may touch the ball more than Snelling though. Rodgers will be the 3rd down back and the player who catches the ball out of the backfield; whereas Snelling would only play when Michael Turner needs a breather or if he were to get injured.

Baltimore Ravens: The Ravens let it be known this week that even with the signing of RB Ricky Williams, Ray Rice will still be the short yardage and goal-line back. That’s all fine and good, but I still have my doubts…..Losing WR Derrick Mason to the Jets has to hurt, as once again, the Ravens look a bit short in the receiver department.

Buffalo Bills: Looks like the Bills would trade WR Lee Evans if they could find the right deal. Problem is the receiver market has dried up and it may be too late to get the kind of value they are looking for (apparently the right price is a 4th round pick)…..Living on Long Island in Jets territory, the fans down here are not happy about the team not re-signing QB/KR/RB/WR Brad Smith and letting him go to a division rival. Smith sometimes gets a bad rap as just a return guy, but he can fill quite a few roles whether it be on special teams or on offense.

Carolina Panthers: Word is the Panthers are doing everything they can to get QB Cam Newton ready to start the 1st game of the season…..The Panthers did a great job in free agency this season, apparently signing everyone they wanted to, but still these are players that finished last season with one win.

Chicago Bears: Does it seem as strange to you as it does to me that WR Johnny Knox is not listed as a starter right now? He had a pretty good season last year and seems to have a good rapport with QB Jay Cutler. Seems even stranger that Devin Hester would be listed above him…..RB Matt Forte had initially stated that he wouldn’t play in any exhibition games as he wasn’t pleased with his contract, but he has softened on that stance.

Cincinnati Bengals: I know the Bengals just drafted QB Andy Dalton, but with the way this team is structured, would it surprise anyone if they ended up in the hunt for the first overall draft pick and QB Andrew Luck…..The Bengals are still receiving calls about the availability of QB Carson Palmer, but they are still being told that he won’t be traded.

Cleveland Browns: The Browns had hoped that RB Montario Hardesty would be 100% recovered from ACL surgery and could take some carries away from Peyton Hillis; thus allowing Hillis to be fresher as the year goes on. However, Hardesty has yet to practice and may not be able to take that much of a load off of Hillis, at least in the early part of the season…..With Hardesty having trouble with his knee once again, Brandon Jackson could be the backup to Hillis to begin the season.

Dallas Cowboys: Lots of rumors coming out of camp that Tashard Choice could find himself released. I fine that highly unlikely, but head coach Jason Garrett has never seemed to taken a shine to Choice…..One player to keep an eye on in camp is TE John Phillips. He was extremely impressive in camp last season before tearing his ACL. He has picked up right where he left off in camp this season and already seems to be ahead of Martellus Bennett.

Denver Broncos: Anyone listening to head coach John Fox after the Broncos pre-season game Thursday on how he thought QB Tim Tebow played? Knowing where Tebow is on the depth chart, he used the phrase “work in progress.” Kyle Orton will definitely start the season under center for the Broncos. That’s no guarantee he will finish there, but Tebow still needs a ton of work…..The bigger question is will Tebow be the 2nd or 3rd QB, as Brady Quinn could be the backup behind Orton.

Detroit Lions: Rookie RB Mikel Leshoure tore his Achilles on Monday and will miss the season. This would seem to be good news for Javhid Best fantasy owners as he looks to get the lion’s share of the carries. But the Lions don’t want to put to much on the second year player, especially after dealing with turf toe last year, so they have signed RBs Jerome Harrison and Mike Bell. Plus they still have Maurice Morris…..Leshoure’s injury is the second to hit the Detroit rookie class as DT Nick Fairley is also out after having surgery on his foot.

Green Bay Packers: LB Clay Matthews apparently played the last half of the 2010 season with a stress fracture in his lower leg. Imagine what he can do with two healthy wheels…..I know the Eagles made a bunch of high profile moves, but the Packers are still the best team in the NFC in my opinion…..RB James Starks has looked good in camp and put on some weight, he could be a serious threat to Ryan Grant’s playing time.

Houston Texans: WR Andre Roberts has recovered from his finger injury and looks to be completely healthy. If TE Owen Daniels plays as well this season as he did the end of last season, than the Texans offense could be tough to stop…..RB Arian Foster would like a new contract but owner Bob McNair has stated that he won’t get one off a single good season…..The Texans would like to trade RB Steve Slaton but Ben Tate continues to miss practice with a hamstring injury; thus the Texans have to hold onto Slaton.

Indianapolis Colts: TE Dallas Clark let it be known Thursday that he will have to wear a brace all season on his surgically repaired wrist. You have to wonder if this might affect him as the season goes on…..One of the new rules this season regarding game day rosters is that they have been expanded to 46 on game days. But there is no such thing as an emergency 3rd QB anymore. If you think you might need an emergency QB, than you have to activate him as part of your 46. Why do I bring this up? With the surgery to Peyton Manning’s neck this off-season, the Colts have already made it known that they will carry three QBs on game day.

Jacksonville Jaguars: LB Matt Roth stated earlier this week that he would sign with any team that offered him a $3 million deal. Well the Jags stepped up and gave him that contact. Roth has his issues, but he’s a solid LB in a 4-3 defense…..The Jags might need LB help after Clint Session suffered what is a probable concussion in the pre-season opener Thursday.

Kansas City Chiefs: TE Tony Moeaki is back practicing with the team. I still think he’s a sneaky play in fantasy leagues with defenses paying most of their attention to RB Jamaal Charles and WR Dwayne Bowe…..Speaking of Charles, you have to love coach Todd Haley who continues to play games with Charles’ head and fantasy owners draft picks by listing him 2nd on the depth chart…..For those of you wondering if Le’Ron McClain would take away any carries from Charles or Thomas Jones, hmmm, no.

Miami Dolphins: With all of the things that have gone on around WR Brandon Marshall, you have to wonder if the Dolphins are suffering from buyer’s remorse…..The Dolphins stated this week that RB Reggie Bush will not return punts this season. Why not? Shouldn’t your best playmakers be put in a position to do the most damage?…..LB Kevin Burnett will start with the 1st team defense Friday despite only having six practices with the Fish; shows you what the Dolphins think of him.

Minnesota Vikings:  Not sure how the Vikings could have let WR Sidney Rice leave via free agency when their starting wideout opposite Percy Harvin is Bernard Berrian…..Perhaps the lack of receiving talent is why the Vikings plan on getting RB Adrian Peterson more involved in the passing game…..Apparently one of the reasons the Vikings waived OT Bryant McKinnie was that his cholesterol was so high they were worried he wouldn’t be able to make it through practice.

New England Patriots: G Logan Mankins, one of the plaintiffs in the lawsuit against the NFL during the lockout, signed a new long term deal with the club…..TE Rob Gronkowski has looked unstoppable during camp and could be a highly sought after TE in fantasy drafts, but remember, Aaron Hernandez is still there, and he’s not so bad himself.

New Orleans Saints: WR Marques Colston still isn’t practicing much and it’s time to start wondering how healthy he will remain this season…..I like rookie RB Mark Ingram, but there are so many offensive players on this team that need to get their hands on the ball. It’s difficult to see Ingram having a huge season.

New York Giants: You have to wonder if the Giants would’ve made a stronger effort to sign WR Plaxico Burress had they known that Steve Smith would sign elsewhere. It has to hurt even more that he went to the division rival Eagles…..Mario Manningham however could be a sleeper in fantasy leagues as he is now the clear cut #2 option for QB Eli Manning.

New York Jets: Speaking of Burress, his ankle is still bothering him and is unlikely to play in the Jets first pre-season game. Missing the game is no big deal, but after not playing football for two seasons, he needs to get on the field and get in a rhythm with QB Mark Sanchez…..I know Jet fans are upset with the loss of WR Jericho Cotchery, but Derrick Mason would seem to be a nice solid upgrade.

Oakland Raiders: Memo to general manager Al Davis, signing TE Kevin Boss does not make up for losing Zach Miller…..Boss may not be the talent that Miller is, but he’s likely to have the best season of his career this year as QB Jason Campbell still doesn’t have a true number one receiver to throw to and may look for his big TE quite often.

Philadelphia Eagles: What is wrong with WR Jeremy Maclin? It doesn’t seem like the Eagles or Maclin have any idea. They both keep insisting that the illness won’t cause him to miss any regular season playing time, but I’m starting to have my doubts and you have to wonder if the signing of WR Steve Smith is an insurance policy against Maclin not being ready to go…..Word out of Eagles camp is that QB Vince Young is being outplayed for the backup job by Mike Kafka.

Pittsburgh Steelers: Jericho Cotchery, who signed with the Steelers this week, is slated to be their 5th receiver…..The Steelers biggest weakness could be along their offensive line which could force TE to stay in and block more often than he usually does…..WR Emmanuel Sanders has already recovered from foot surgery and should be back this week. He will once again be the teams #3 wideout.

San Diego Chargers: The Chargers are trying to send a message to RB Ryan Mathews by sitting him out of the pre-season opener. Apparently he’s not doing all that well in practice…..It’s looking more and more like Mike Tolbert will get his fair share of carries this season, and if Mathews doesn’t pick up his play, maybe even more than his fair share…..LT Marcus McNeil had foot surgery this week, but is expected back in the lineup before the regular season begins.

San Francisco 49ers: Anyone who saw the 49ers first pre-season game witnessed QB Alex Smith take a beating as the offensive line couldn’t block anyone…..WR Michael Crabtree is expected to be back on the practice field before the last pre-season game…..So far there are no takers for SS Taylor Mays and the 49ers are still trying to figure out how to use him.

Seattle Seahawks: If there is a true quarterback competition in Seattle, than after the first pre-season game, Charlie Whitehurst is well ahead of Tarvares Jackson…..OT Russell Okung had to be helped off the field with an ankle injury. This is the same injury that cost him six games last season. Not what the Hawks needed.

St. Louis Rams: WR Donnie Avery is still not practicing due to a hamstring injury and could be in danger of not making the team if he doesn’t get on the field…..Danny Amendola and Mike Sims-Walker would seem to be the Rams starters at WR.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers: WR Arrelious Benn seems unlikely to play this pre-season as he is still recovering from knee surgery. The best case scenario looks like a return for the regular season opener…..If you’re looking for a rookie to take in your IDP league, you may need to look no further than LB Mason Foster who should start the season for the recently departed Barrett Rudd…..RB Earnest Graham looks to be the favorite for the third down back.

Tennessee Titans: Due to the depth of the Tennessee secondary, Cortland Finnegan has spent the majority of his time at nickelback…..The Titans would like RB Chris Johnson to report to camp before they start talks on a new contract…..TE Jared Cook could be the teams 2nd receiving option outside of WR Kenny Britt.

Washington Redskins: TE Chris Cooley is likely to miss at least the next two weeks with a knee injury…..Tim Hightower had an impressive first preseason game for the Skins and could be the lead running back come Week One…..The injury to QB John Beck may give Rex Grossman a leg up on the QB competition, not that it really matters.