There were plenty of NFL teams that made playoff statements in Week 9 -- some good, some bad. No team made a bigger statement than Philadelphia, though.

The NFC road to the Super Bowl will go through Philadelphia

The Eagles (8-1) have been fantastic and should end up the top playoff seed in the NFC. The rest of Philadelphia’s schedule isn’t easy, with two games against Dallas, one at Seattle and one at the Rams. But with eight wins already and a home game against the Bears and the hapless Giants on the schedule, the Eagles should win more than 10 games. If the offensive line holds up and Carson Wentz stays healthy, the Eagles might win 14. As for their opponent in Week 9...

The Broncos will miss the playoffs

The Broncos are a mess when they have the ball, and their defense was picked apart for 51 points by Wentz. Worse yet, the Broncos will take their sixth loss of the season at home against the Patriots next week. The Denver defense can’t carry this team to the playoffs if the turnovers continue, unless Kansas City collapses.

The AFC road to the Super Bowl won’t go through Kansas City

MVP candidate Alex Smith was stymied by an overachieving Dallas secondary and pass rush, and Kareem Hunt was taken out of the game by his own coach. He had just nine carries. The Chiefs were sloppy pre-snap, wouldn’t establish a running game nor stop the run. The Chiefs will make the playoffs, but I like the Steelers’ and Patriots’ schedules (and quarterbacks) better the rest of the way.K

The Steelers (6-2) have the Andrew Luck-less Colts next, the Titans at home, and the Aaron Rodgers-less Packers followed by the reeling Bengals in Cincinnati. The Patriots are the only team remaining that should beat them, but we’ve already seen Pittsburgh fall to the Bears this season and struggle with the really good Jacksonville secondary.

Despite an ugly loss to Kansas City in Week 1, the Patriots could still end up the AFC’s top playoff seed. They play the Dolphins and Bills twice, and the Jets once. The Broncos and Raiders won’t likely pose problems for the Patriots, either.

The Carolina Panthers will win the NFC South

The Panthers’ Cam Newton was better than reigning MVP Matt Ryan on Sunday, and Christian McCaffrey displayed why the Panthers don’t need Kelvin Benjamin, who was traded to Buffalo for third- and seventh-round draft picks. If Newton and McCaffrey stay healthy, the Panthers are champions of the NFC South.

The Panthers (6-3) have just one blemish on their record, which is a home loss to New Orleans. They’ll get a chance to redeem themselves on Dec. 3 in New Orleans, after facing the hapless Dolphins and Jets with a bye week sandwiched in between. The Saints (6-2) have three tough games upcoming: at Buffalo, hosting Washington and at the white hot Rams prior to hosting Carolina. They also have two games against the Falcons, who were a Julio Jones drop away from making a positive playoff statement in Week 9. Instead…

The Atlanta Falcons will miss the playoffs

With losses to the Bills and Dolphins already this season, the Falcons have lost too many of the games they need to win to make the playoffs. Atlanta can still make a positive playoff statement either next week against the Cowboys or the week after in Seattle, but that’s looking less likely with every snap. If the offensive woes continue, the Falcons will lose either one of their two games against the high-octane Saints and/or another against the Panthers, which will make them miss the playoffs.

The Los Angeles Rams will make the playoffs

The Rams (6-2) put up 51 on the terrible Giants, but they also put up 35 on Dallas in a win that could break a tie for a Wild Card spot. The Rams are dangerous on both sides of the ball and on special teams, too. Jared Goff is starting to show why he was selected number one overall now that he has weapons in former Bills Sammy Watkins and Robert Woods. Speaking of the Bills…

The Bills will miss the playoffs

Buffalo’s loss to the Jets on Thursday to kick off Week 9 of the 2017 NFL season was certainly a Thursday Night Football anomaly, but it left the Bills 4-3 with two games left to play against the Patriots. The Saints visit next week before the Bills visit the Chargers and Chiefs. That’s seven losses right there, so the Bills will miss the playoffs.

The Jaguars will win the AFC South

The Bills’ misfortune on Thursday night will open the door for the Jaguars to make the playoffs. Despite a Week 1 loss at home to the Titans, the Jaguars can win their division. They will take their revenge at Tennessee in the final week of the season to win the AFC South -- if they haven’t won it by then already. The Jaguars get the Chargers, Browns, Cardinals and Colts over the next four weeks. Tennessee hosts Cincinnati and visits the Steelers and Colts before hosting the Texans.


This was originally published at GCNLive.com.

Published in News & Information
Wednesday, 25 October 2017 15:23

Just What is America's favorite pastime?

Look out sports fans! Maybe, just maybe, baseball is making a big comeback. Now I know we are in the middle of football season. Down my way in the Bayou State, both the Saints and the LSU Tigers are on a roll. And a hyped-up basketball season is just beginning. But baseball is drawing record crowds with the World Series ringing up the largest TV audiences in years.

 

The luster is off pro football. The “take-a-knee” controversy has turned off thousands of viewers. Just check out all the empty seats at any Sunday NFL game. Quite frankly, many of the pro games are, well, just boring. Then there is the “thug factor” and the statistic that some 50 NFL players have been arrested for domestic violence. To many former sports fans, politics has become their favorite entertaining diversion.

 

Just what is America’s favorite pastime? Is it politics or baseball? Politics has always been a major spectator sport, particularly here in my home state of Louisiana. But don’t sell baseball short. Not only has baseball been around longer than any of America’s professional team sports, the game’s highs and lows have been injected in national politics almost from the sport’s inception.

 

Now I’m a diehard baseball fan. I grew up in St. Louis and was in the stadium the Sunday afternoon back on May 2, 1954, when Stan the Man Musial hit five home runs on the same day in a doubleheader. I’m a regular at spring training down in Tampa, where I follow my perennial favorite, the New York Yankees.

 

Baseball has been well ahead of the NFL in confronting issues of race. The problems of major league baseball have often served as a mirror image of the problems facing America. Its history is both a reflection of this country’s fears and ignorance, and its hopes and promises. Like almost any other cultural phenomenon of such prominence, baseball has served as solace and as a poke to our conscience.

 

In 1948, the major leagues faced the problem of segregation earlier than the politicians in Washington, DC, did.  Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier playing for the Brooklyn Dodgers, and won the rookie of the year award in his first season. It took court cases and sit-ins to get the attention of our political representatives to follow suit.

 

A few years back, the Tampa Bay Rays were the Cinderella team that went from “worst to first,” winning the American League pennant. Maybe it has something to do with their name. They used to be called the “Devil Rays” and their record was terrible. As soon as they dropped the word “Devil,” they became victorious overnight. Is it baseball pure and simple, or is the Religious Right involved?



Maybe it’s impossible to get away from campaigns and politics by focusing on the current World Series, but I’m going to give it a shot.  The Fox network carried many major league games this season. In the National League, everyone, even the pitchers, get an equal chance to bat. Will Fox News say that the National Leaguers are socialists?  Will their commentators argue they should call some home runs out if they are too far to the left?  And I guess you can’t blame the Democrats from bemoaning that every time someone steals a base, they get reminded of the 2000 presidential election.

 

There is also a lesson to be learned from Babe Ruth as Congress is considering limiting executive pay and bonuses of corporations who received bailout money. When the Babe was asked how he could justify making more money than the President, he shrugged off the question by answering, “I had a better year.”

 

I suppose one of the biggest differences between these two spectator sports is the sense of optimism that baseball brings every spring. The crack of the bat, a pop fly against a blue sky, and the green grass seem to offer a sense of renewal. It harkens back to the essence of youth and heroes of the past, and you feel that almost anything is possible in the coming season.  But in today’s political climate, there is little thought of great statesmen and principled political figures.  Political courage today is too often defined by poll watching and sticking a wet finger to the wind.

 

So when the TV remote offers a choice of the NFL, politics or baseball in the coming week, I’ll choose the great American pastime.  It’s baseball hands down. Like a fellow once said: “The difference between politics and baseball is that in baseball, when you are caught stealing, you’re out.”

 

Peace and Justice

 

Jim Brown

 

----


Jim Brown is a guest contributor to GCN news. His views and opinions, if expressed, are his own. His column appears each week in numerous newspapers throughout the nation and on websites worldwide. You can read all his past columns and see continuing updates at http://www.jimbrownusa.com. You can also hear Jim’s nationally syndicated radio show, Common Sense, each Sunday morning from 9:00 am till 11:00 am Central Time on the Genesis Communication Network.

 

Published in News & Information

On Sunday, Green Bay Packers Quarterback Aaron Rodgers suffered a collarbone fracture and may be out for the season.  Here are your questions answered.

What exactly is a collarbone?

 

The collarbone is another name for the clavicle.  It’s the bone that connects the scapula (shoulder-blade) to the sternum (breastbone).  We have one on each side and it runs horizontally providing shoulder girdle support.  Not only does it provide upper skeletal strength and support but it also protects many major vessels that run underneath it.

 

 

clavicle

Image from AAOS

What’s a collarbone fracture?

 

The clavicle (collarbone) is one of the most common types of bones to fracture during sports injuries.  There are three major Groups or Types of clavicle fractures.

 

Type I – is the most common and occurs in the middle third of the clavicle

 

Type II – is the second most common and occurs distally, or closer to the shoulder.

 

Type III – is the most rare and occurs the most medially, or closer to the rib cage/sternum.

clavicle fractures

 

What are the signs/symptoms of a clavicle fracture?

 

Before bruising and swelling ensue, one will have sharp pain in the area of the collarbone and have difficulty moving his shoulder.

 

So signs of a clavicle fracture include:

 

  • Pain

  • Loss of range of motion of the shoulder

  • A bulge at the fracture site

  • Swelling

  • Bruising

  • Tenderness at the fracture area

  • In young children, not wanting to move the arm on the affected side

 

How are collarbone fractures treated?

 

If the bone has not shifted too significantly, clavicle fractures can be treated non- surgically. Arm slings will be given to decrease the movement of the shoulder girdle.  Pain medication and antiinflammatories may be prescribed, and physical therapy will be instituted immediately to improve range of motion and strength.

 

If the clavicle is displaced significantly from the injury then surgery will be needed to reunite the ends using plates, rods and screws.

 

How long does it take collarbone fractures to heal?

 

In adults, healing could take anywhere from 6-12 weeks.  For children, clavicle fractures may heal sooner.

How does one prevent a collarbone fracture?

 

During sports, protective equipment is key to avoiding injuries from falls and tackles.  As in Aaron Rodger’s and Tony Romo’s cases, being sacked by another large player barreling towards them must be avoided at all costs.

 

Just say NO to sugar.  This will be a hard one for me but if you do it, I will.

 

----

 Daliah Wachs is a guest contributor to GCN news. Doctor Wachs is an MD,  FAAFP and a Board Certified Family Physician.    The Dr. Daliah Show , is nationally syndicated M-F from 11:00 am - 2:00 pm and Saturday from Noon-1:00 pm (all central times) at GCN.

Published in News & Information
Friday, 06 October 2017 15:38

Too Busy for National Anthem!

I’ve always looked on honoring the flag and standing for the national anthem as a basic premise that connotes a commitment to protect our freedoms guaranteed to us under our constitution. It’s also a symbol of reverence for our soldiers who protect us throughout the world. It’s never occurred to me not to stand as the national anthem is being played. I guess I’m just an old fashioned coot that has allowed current trends to pass me by. It apparently is just not “cool” or “hip” to celebrate freedom and to honor those who protect us.

 

I guess I have never been all that “cool.” I was one of those young kids who didn’t dodge the draft, and even though I was married with a child on the way and past draft age, I still volunteered to serve in the military. Initially in the Army and then 12 years in the National Guard. I was a lawyer, but enlisted in the infantry. I still have and wear my dog tags given to me by the Army back in 1966. But I wasn’t all that special. Thousands of young men did the same. It just seemed like the right thing to do.

 

But I guess being patriotic is passé in this day and age. It’s not just many overpaid NFL football players who can’t seem to take a few moments to honor those who serve and protect our country. Have you been to a college or pro game recently? Just take a look around you while the Star-Spangled Banner is playing. As sports writer John Branch wrote in The New York Times this week, maybe we ought to turn the cameras around on the fans. “Those who have spent a lot of time in stadiums and arenas know that they are rarely sanctuaries of patriotic conformity and decorum.”

 

Go to LSU’s Tiger Stadium on a Saturday night or venture into the SuperDome for a Sunday afternoon Saints game. Many fans seem oblivious to the anthem as they wander towards their seats or walk about looking for bathrooms and concession stands. Tailgaters, almost without exception, carry on with their cooking and drinking as the music drifts outside the stadium gates. No time or interest in pausing for the anthem.

 

Actually, there is a federal act that requires allegiance to the American Flag. In United States Code, Title 4, Chapter 1, the law states that non-military persons “should face the flag and stand at attention with their right hand over the heart, or if applicable, remove their headdress with the right hand and holding to the left shoulder, hand being over the heart.”

 

I’m sure lawsuits would come raining down from the ACLU if such a law were enforced. I oppose players taking a knee, but those that do are at least staying quite and focusing on the anthem. Not like many fans who seem to be oblivious to a two-minute pause in honor of those who defend the freedoms that allows these same fans to attend a sporting event. As Jack Nicholson said in A Few Good Men: “We use words like honor, code, loyalty. We use these words as the backbone of a life spent defending something. You use them as a punchline.”

 

Sure, there are many problems involving fairness throughout our nation. I have written a book about discrimination in the federal judicial system called Justice Denied. But there are times when our country should speak as one voice, and that time to me is during the playing of our national anthem.

The American Flag is rarely flown anymore, outside of public buildings and some car dealerships. When I grew up, many homes throughout our neighborhood proudly hung the Flag. I still fly the nation’s flag in front of both my house and my office, 365 days a year.

 

But that’s just me. I guess, to many of us old guys, patriotism is something that too many Americans acknowledge in passing. Take for granted. No big deal. Now let’s get on with the game.

 

----

 

Jim Brown is a guest contributor to GCN news. His views and opinions, if expressed, are his own. His column appears each week in numerous newspapers throughout the nation and on websites worldwide. You can read all his past columns and see continuing updates at http://www.jimbrownusa.com. You can also hear Jim’s nationally syndicated radio show, Common Sense, each Sunday morning from 9:00 am till 11:00 am Central Time on the Genesis Communication Network.

 

Published in News & Information
Thursday, 28 September 2017 18:19

Opinion: Trump and Conservatives vs. The NFL

Conservatives are in an uproar. The NFL, you see, has gone too far.

 

I wish I could tell you the uproar was over the NFL’s concussion issues or the terrifying realities of CTE, or the NFL’s domestic violence scandals or the NFL’s sexual assault scandals. You Google NFL and the words “domestic violence” or “sexual assault” and you will get a scary number of legitimate hits.

 

These are all serious issues; each and every one, and all worthy of an uproar.

 

But no. Conservatives aren’t angry about any of those “silly” things.

 

They have focused their rage on something truly important -- the NFL player national anthem protest!

 

You know the one I’m talking about. The one Colin Kaepernick started last year? Kaepernick, that outspoken, black, male, Muslim who rocks a huge afro (a veritable list of things that make white folks really uncomfortable). Well, as the story goes -- Kap kneels during the anthem, to raise awareness to social injustice and police brutality against people of color.

 

That’s why Colin Kaepernick knelt. That was last year. Conservatives were in an uproar last year too. But this time, it’s much worse.  

 

Last week a few players knelt during the anthem in support of what Kaepernick began a year ago, which led President Donald Trump to say at an Alabama rally:

 

"Wouldn't you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say, 'Get that son of a bitch off the field right now. Out. He's fired! He's fired!'”

 

Okay. Whatever. Trump yells weird things that have nothing to do with government or his job is nothing new.

 

But man, did Trump’s comments get under the skin of NFL owners, coaches and players. All but two team owners issued statements denouncing Trump’s words and supporting players right to peaceful protest. The following weekend, hundreds of NFL players knelt during the anthem, while some players stood and linked arms in solidarity and one team did not even take the field until after the anthem ended.

 

The NFL didn’t line up in support of Kap but when Donald Trump calls NFL players, “SOB’s”  suddenly, the shit hits the fan. Or, as former NFL great, Shannon Sharpe said on Fox Sports’ Undisputed:

 

“I’m disappointed. And I’m unimpressed. Because this is the tipping point. Of the 7,537 things that President Trump has said in the last 50 years, him (Trump) calling an NFL player an SOB is what brought the NFL, the owners and its players, together. And while some might be moved by the conscience of these NFL owners, it wasn’t their conscience that moved them. It was the cash.”

 

Sharpe points out that several NFL owners gave “...a million dollars for the inauguration of President Trump” even after they ignored all of The Donald’s racist and sexist comments throughout the Presidential campaign.

 

Sharpe continues, “And now they (NFL owners) seem to be shocked (at what Trump says about the NFL). Every author that’s written a book about President Trump, and they started writing books about him in the 1980s, they say he is exactly today as he was then.”

 

Perhaps Sharpe is right. Perhaps the majority of the League’s owners don’t give a rat’s ass about social equality and instead see free publicity for their team and therefore -- extra cash. Last year, when conservatives were in an uproar over Kaepernick’s kneeling protest, do you recall seeing and / or reading about any such wide spread NFL solidarity for him?

 

I don’t either.

 

But the solidarity is there now. And I’m happy to see it. It’s the right thing to do. Obviously.

 

But some folks are going crazy. As always.

 

How bout them super vocal, rage fueled Cowboy’s fans who screamed into the Texas winds they were “one hundred percent positive!” that “Boys” owner, Jerry Jones will fire any “ungrateful, disrespectful” player who knelt during the anthem?



 

Cowboys owner, Jerry Jones, kneels during the national anthem.

 

Is Mr. Jones doing it for cash, as Mr. Sharpe suggests, or in solidarity? Or both?

 

I don’t know. And I don’t really care. But I do know, despite world wide / US issues blowing up all week long -- hurricanes, war threats with North Korea, healthcare reforms -- President Trump had to weigh in on the NFL.

 

Again, and again, and again.

 

Watch John Oliver’s three minute recap of the insanity.

 

As President Trump leads the way, emboldened racist Americans step up across the country and voice their concern over these “ungrateful, disrespectful” -- NFL players. (And we all know that what they really mean is, “ungrateful, disrespectful -- n****rs!).

 

Like Paul Smith, a fire chief in Pennsylvania. He took to Facebook and called out head coach Mike Tomlin of the Pittsburgh Steelers. Tomlin’s Steelers waited in the locker room until after the national anthem ended and then took the field. Tomlin is one of the few black head coaches in the NFL. Smith writes on Facebook:

 

"Tomlin just added himself to the list of no good N****rs! Yes I said it."

 

How about John Valko, WI restaurant co-owner. Valko, again on Facebook, in a now deleted post, writes:

 

 

“Kill the idiot players. Execute them. They are nothing but garbage. The league is screwed up if they think it is their right. It is their duty to respect our country and our flag. They should go kneel in front of a freight train. Shame on these stupid misfits of society. They need to die.”

 

Even semi famous people are getting in it. Taya Kyle, the widow of “American Sniper” Chris Kyle told the NFL off, in a ridiculous condescending and naïve open letter. She writes:  

 

“(NFL…) You were doing your part to bring people together and heal the world … You were doing your part celebrating each other based on skills, talent and a joint vision without regard to color and religion ... You were doing your part and we were doing ours. We showed up cheering and groaning together to as one. We talked in the concession lines and commiserated and celebrated our team together. Did it ever occur to you that you and we were already a mix of backgrounds, races and religions? We were already living the dream you want, right in front of you … Your desire to focus on division and anger has shattered what many people loved most about the sport. Football was really a metaphor for our ideal world – different backgrounds, talents, political beliefs and histories as one big team with one big goal - to do well, to win, TOGETHER … You dear NFL, have taken that. You have lost me here.”

 

Damn you, NFL players! You were just about to solve racism with your next Play Action Pass and you went and ruined it all with your fucking kneeling!

 

Look -- NFL players kneeling or standing during the anthem is not a federal issue. So President Trump can STFU about it. The NFL is a business and is not beholden to the Tweet Whims of President “Tiny Hands.”

 

If NFL commissioner Roger Goodell tells NFL coaches & players what they can and can not do during the national anthem, well, that’s one thing, because he’s their boss. And the boss usually gets a say in how his employees behave.

 

Well - Roger Goodell, the man in charge of the NFL, has come out in full support of players protesting during the national anthem. Sorry, Mr. President -- the boss has spoken. End of discussion.

 

But it’s not just Trump and mostly white private citizens that are in a tizzy, it’s also, mostly white conservatives politicians and pundits that are freaking out too. And all of them love to use the words, “ungrateful” and, “disrespectful” about mostly black, NFL players.

 

All of this is what led Trevor Noah of the Daily to Show to ask, “ungrateful to whom” in this delightful six minute Daily Show clip that you should totally watch -- “When is the Right Time for Black People to Protest.

 

Conservatives -- enough with the “ungrateful” -- “disrespectful” BS! As Trevor Noah points out, “That’s some sneaky ass racism.”

 

Though it’s really Noah’s Dr. Seuss inspired closing lines in the above linked video that sum it all up rather nicely.

 

(Since most folks don’t click on links. I’ll recreate it for you here)

 

When is the Right Time for Black People to Protest?

By Trevor Noah (and probably Daily Show staff writers too)

 

“It’s wrong to do it in the streets.

It’s wrong to do it in the Tweets.

You CANNOT do it on the field.

You CANNOT do it if you kneeled.

And don’t do it -- if you’re rich.

You ungrateful -- son of a bitch.

Because there’s one thing that’s a fact.

You CANNOT protest if you’re black.”

 

----

If you enjoy this article, you might like the following Genesis Communications Network talk shows: Free Talk Live, Flow of Wisdom, Bill Martinez Live.

Published in News & Information

Ex-Patriot’s tight end, and convicted murder, Aaron Hernandez, was found post mortem to have had severe CTE.

 

Athletes who sustain multiple concussions are at high risk of developing CTE, Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy. This progressive, degenerative disease of the brain is also found in veterans and those who sustained repeated head trauma. Symptoms include mood disorders, paranoia, impulse control issues, aggression, and memory loss to name a few.

 

A lawsuit (reportedly $20 million) has been filed by the family against the NFL and New England Patriots. Hernandez was only 27 years old when he hung himself in his prison cell April 19th of this year.

Researchers from Boston University concluded the 27 year-old football star had stage 3 of 4 CTE. This severity is rarely seen in someone this young.

 

The lawsuit claims that by the time Hernandez joined the NFL, the league knew of the dangers of concussions and led players to believe they were safe. Attorney Jose Baez stated the Patriots and NFL were “fully aware of the damage that could be inflicted from repetitive impact injuries and failed to disclose, treat or protect him from the dangers of such damage.”

 

Neuropathologists found loss of brain volume (atrophy), and tau protein deposits throughout his frontal lobes. The frontal lobe of the brain regulates impulse control, memory, judgement, social behavior and problem solving.

 

What are the stages of CTE?

 

The CTE Stages are as follows:

 

Stage 1: Loss of concentration, attention, dizziness and headaches

 

Stage 2: Additionally short term memory loss,  mood disorder such as depression, and at times explosive outbursts

 

Stage 3: Worsening loss of memory, judgement, ability to do daily tasks, movement disorders, tremors and suicidality

 

Stage 4: Amnesia, severe cognitive impairment, evidence of dementia.



CTE.jpg

Image from Sites at Penn State

 

--

 

LearnHealthSpanish.com / Medical Spanish made easy.

 

 

Daliah Wachs is a guest contributor to GCN news. Doctor Wachs is an MD,  FAAFP and a Board Certified Family Physician.    The Dr. Daliah Show , is nationally syndicated M-F from 11:00 am - 2:00 pm and Saturday from Noon-1:00 pm (all central times) at GCN.

Published in News & Information
Tuesday, 12 September 2017 19:31

What we learned about each NFL team in Week 1

Week 1 of the National Football League provided a little bit of everything -- surprises, upsets, injuries, and, of course, questionable officiating. Here’s what we learned about each NFL team in Week 1. All grades are provided by Pro Football Focus.

New England Patriots

Bill Belichick might have underestimated Kansas City rookie running back Kareem Hunt (89.5 PFF grade), but he might not have the tools in the toolbox to contain him regardless. Trading for Seattle’s Cassius Marsh isn’t the answer (38.4 PFF grade), and it seems the Patriots’ linebacker corps will miss Jamie Collins a bunch this season.

Kansas City Chiefs

Andy Reid’s Chiefs still know how to win with that dink-and-dunk offense. The Chiefs amassed 212 of their 368 passing yards after the catch, mostly thanks to Tyreek Hill and Hunt, who are matchup problems for just about anyone. The Kansas City defense can still get into the backfield, too, sacking Tom Brady thrice and hitting him six more times. They also collected 6.5 tackles for loss.

New York Jets

Quarterback Josh McCown wasn’t as bad as his 29.4 quarterback rating when he wasn’t pressured, but the Jets couldn’t run the ball, either, amassing just 38 rushing yards. The defense is good (7.5 TFL, two sacks and six QB hits), but Jets fans are in for another year of low-scoring losses.

Buffalo Bills

The Bills’ defensive backs are fantastic, with safety Jordan Poyer, and cornerbacks E.J. Gaines and Tre’Davious White all receiving PFF grades above 82. Safety Micah Hyde also secured an interception. They’re going to give even Tom Brady fits, and Tyrod Taylor is going to give defenses fits. He rushed for 38 yards and passed for 224, throwing two touchdowns and just one interception. Oh, and LeSean McCoy still has it.

Chicago Bears

The Bears are much improved, and replacing Mike Glennon with Mitchell Trubisky could make them even better. Glennon didn’t throw one ball over 20 yards, and Bears fans would like to think Trubisky’s arm talent is superior to Glennon’s already. Regardless, the Bears have quite the security blanket for Trubisky in rookie running back Tarik Coen (66 yards rushing, 47 yards receiving).

Atlanta Falcons

The Falcons have reason to worry about the guard position. Wes Schweitzer was an open door, and Devonta Freeman never got the run game going (12 carries for 37 yards). A pair of second- year players have really progressed for Atlanta, though. Linebacker De’Vondre Campbell made a game-saving tackle and earned an 86.6 PFF grade, and tight end Austin Hooper’s two catches for 128 yards is nearly half the total receiving yards he had last season. If he provides MVP Matt Ryan yet another option on offense, the Falcons are going to continue piling on the points.

Cincinnati Bengals

The Bengals are a mess on offense. They have a quarterback in Andy Dalton who doesn’t respond well to pressure, and their offensive line enters the season ranked second to last in the league. The defense will keep the Bengals from being humiliated, but they’ll have to score points if the Bengals are going to win.

Baltimore Ravens

The two-headed backfield of Terrance West and Javorious Allen should make Joe Flacco’s transition back from injury a comfortable one. The two combined for 151 yards on 40 carries, so Flacco only had to throw the ball 17 times -- completing just once beyond 10 yards downfield.

Cleveland Browns

The Browns might finally have something in rookie quarterback DeShone Kizer. Kizer made just one big mistake on the day -- an interception that could have been the difference in the game. The Cleveland defense will give the Dog Pound reason to cheer this season, as will Kizer.

Pittsburgh Steelers

The Steelers couldn’t get the run game going against the Browns (35 yards on 17 carries), but Antonio Brown came to Pittsburgh’s rescue (182 yards on 11 receptions and 11 targets). With so many weapons, a veteran quarterback, and one of football’s top offensive lines, the Steelers need just worry about injuries.

Arizona Cardinals

The Cardinals were dealt the biggest blow, losing running back David Johnson for two to three months. So the three drops by Arizona wide receivers will play an even bigger role than they did in their loss to Detroit in Week 1. John Wetzel doesn’t seem to be able to protect Carson Palmer, either (35.4 PFF grade). The Cardinals’ season is not over by any means, though. They can still hang in the NFC West with wins against the Rams and 49ers, and have the luxury of likely seeing the Andrew Luck-less Colts in Week 2.

Detroit Lions

There’s a reason Matthew Stafford is the highest paid player in the game. His downfield passing accuracy would make almost any team better. The Lions also have a formidable defensive secondary. The only question left to be answered is on the offensive line. If the Lions struggle, it’s likely due to the offensive line not giving Stafford enough time to throw downfield.

Houston Texans

The Texans still don’t have a quarterback, as both Tom Savage and Deshaun Watson struggled. The defense wasn’t particularly impressive, either, as J.J. Watt’s return was overshadowed by his brother, T.J.'s, debut with Pittsburgh.

Jacksonville Jaguars

Quarterback Blake Bortles playing like a game manager can win football games for the Jaguars. His wide receivers need to do a better job of catching the ball (three drops), but with rookie running back Leonard Fournette in the fold, the Jaguars’ defense will give the offense a chance to win games. The Jaguars’ top five PFF grades went to defensive players.

Oakland Raiders

The Raiders lived up to Vegas’s lofty expectations in their first game after being approved by NFL owners for an eventual move to Las Vegas. With the stadium still years away from completion, the Raiders could leave Oakland amidst a dynasty if Derek Carr remains healthy. He should, given the Raiders’ seventh-ranked offensive line.

Tennessee Titans

Fellow quarterback Marcus Mariota joined Carr in a return from injury. He looked good in the first half, but fell apart in the second. His performance shouldn’t discourage Titans’ fans, nor should that of Jurrell Casey, who took a shot to his pride from Marshawn Lynch and just about everyone else who blocked him on Sunday.

Carolina Panthers

Cam Newton’s performance wasn’t pretty, but it was enough to beat the hapless 49ers. Rookie running back Christian McCaffrey showed what makes him unique while also looking like a rookie, losing a fumble. The Panthers still have a reliable back in Jonathan Stewart (18 carries for 65 yards) and an offensive line just outside the top third in football. The defense is still elite, ranked as the fourth best defensive front in football.

San Francisco 49ers

No real surprises here. The 49ers are bad. Brian Hoyer completed just two of 10 passes beyond 10 yards, Niners’ running backs managed just 51 yards rushing behind the league’s worst offensive line, and the defense got into the backfield for just three tackles for loss and no sacks.

Seattle Seahawks

Russell Wilson looked best in the hurry-up offense and using his legs (led the team with 40 rushing yards) -- as usual -- and his offensive line struggled to give him time to throw downfield (three sacks, seven QB hits and three pressures allowed) -- as usual. The Seahawks are better than the score indicates, though. On one play, Seattle lost six points and starting cornerback Jeremy Lane to penalties. His replacement, Shaquill Griffin, managed just a 44.9 PFF grade.

Green Bay Packers

Green Bay’s defense is better than it was in 2016, with edge rusher Nick Perry making Rees Odhiambo’s day one to forget (one sack, two QB hits and three hurries allowed). Mike Daniels was almost equally disruptive against the run. Jordy Nelson is back to his old self, and Aaron Rodgers found him open underneath all day and took advantage.

Los Angeles Rams

The Rams offense did what it should against the 31st-ranked defensive front in football. Jared Goff didn’t make mistakes and even completed passes downfield. Rookie wide receiver Cooper Kupp of the FCS’s Eastern Washington Eagles showed why he’s the most statistically prolific receiver in Division I football history (four catches for 76 yards and a touchdown). And the Rams’ defense is still really good, ranked fifth overall by PFF. They could upset a lot of teams.

Washington Racial Slurs

Quarterback Kirk Cousins was under pressure for much of the game despite Washington’s 11th-ranked offensive line. The right side of the line was a disaster, as were Washington’s safeties. The Racial Slurs were unable to run the ball to boot (64 total rushing yards, with Cousins accounting for 30), so there are a lot of big issues to be resolved in the nation’s capitol -- on the football field and off.

Philadelphia Eagles

Pass rusher Brandon Graham is a beast, and Carson Wentz did just enough for the Eagles to win a big conference opener on the road. The only concern is the run game, as guard Isaac Seumalo seemed unable to run block, resulting in just 58 rushing yards on 24 Eagles’ carries.

New York Giants

They can’t win without Odell Beckham, Jr. Eli Manning completed just four passes beyond 10 yards downfield, and had it not been for his receivers running after the catch, Manning would have passed for almost half as many yards. Worst of all, there was no relief from the run game. The Giants managed just 35 rushing yards on just 12 carries.

Dallas Cowboys

They can win without Ezekiel Elliot. The Cowboys’ defense was the biggest surprise on Sunday, with linebacker Sean Lee giving an unsurprisingly good performance, and backup corner Anthony Brown being surprisingly good.

Denver Broncos

Trevor Siemian can throw a football. He made some fantastic throws downfield and outgained Philip Rivers by two yards per pass completion. The Broncos were also 8-of-15 on third down, but allowed four sacks and five tackles for loss. Run blocking wasn’t a problem, though, and the Bronco offense will be happy to have C.J. Anderson back and Jamaal Charles in the backfield (121 combined rushing yards). The Denver defense is still pretty good, too.

Los Angeles Chargers

Same story, different season. Philip Rivers drove his team down the field in crunch time and gave them a chance to tie it with a field goal. Predictably, Rivers never got a chance to win it. Rivers had to create the run game with short passes, as Melvin Gordon managed just 54 yards on 18 carries behind the 21st-ranked offensive line that struggled to run block the Broncos.

Minnesota Vikings

Unlike last season, Vikings quarterback Sam Bradford had time to throw the ball downfield. He completed eight passes of 20 yards or more. Releasing run-blocker Alex Boone looks to have been the right move given what we saw from the time Bradford had to throw and the performance of rookie running back Dalvin Cook (127 yards, 5.8 yards per carry). And the Vikings offensive line, which entered the game not having played one snap together, held up, albeit against a bad defense.

New Orleans Saints

The Saints’ defense is better, but it’s still bad. New Orleans running backs managed just 60 yards on 21 carries, so Drew Brees and his impressive wide receiver corps will be forced to shoulder the majority of the offensive load, which will be ample. 

Published in News & Information

Following the Minnesota Vikings at DraftFest at U.S. Bank Stadium was a whole lot harder than it was to do so on Twitter thanks to general manager Rick Spielman, who has made 24 draft day trades over four drafts and made seven trades over the three days of the 2017 NFL Draft. Spielman was the biggest reason why the 2017 NFL Draft had the most trades ever. He didn’t change his approach from years past, and it paid off again.

Spielman had to know this year’s draft would be deep when it came to the Vikings’ needs (OL, RB, LB, S) when he moved a 2017 first-round pick (No. 14 overall) for quarterback Sam Bradford. That didn’t stop him from getting first-round talent, though.

Spielman traded up to get Dalvin Cook, who fell to No. 41 overall mostly due to off-field issues despite being the top running back on multiple analysts’ big boards. No general manager should avoid drafting a player because he has incidents of growing up. These are kids after all, and kids make mistakes. The greatest rookie of all time, Randy Moss, spent time in jail before falling to the Vikings at No. 21 overall, and 20 teams now regret passing on him. The NFL is a business, so these decisions should be purely economical. Unless you think the “red flags” would adversely affect revenue, you draft the player. That’s why Spielman moved up seven spots to draft Cook, and every team in the league will learn to regret passing on him.

The addition of Cook makes the Vikings’ backfield a triple threat, with Latavius Murray wearing down defenses with power up the middle, and Cook stretching the edge and catching passes either as a running back or wide receiver. He’s the steal of the draft in my opinion and will have a chance to prove it immediately.

The Vikings weren’t done improving the running game, though, and Spielman wasn’t done drafting talent that fell into his lap. Ohio State center Pat Elflein was widely considered a second-round talent, and Spielman moved up nine spots in the draft to get him. After signing top free agent tackles Riley Reiff and Mike Remmers to large, long contracts, Spielman added Elflein as additional depth on the interior. Elflein can also play guard, and likely will, given Joe Berger’s veteran presence at center. That’s two starters who will have an immediate impact despite not being first-round picks, which will save the Vikings money over the course of their rookie deals.

My favorite deals Spielman made went mostly unnoticed, but he flipped the Vikings’ No. 86 pick to the Chiefs for No. 104, No. 132 and No. 245. Then he traded No. 104 to the 49ers for No. 109 and No. 219. Pick No. 109 became defensive tackle Jaleel Johnson out of Iowa. He’ll serve as insurance if Shariff Floyd decides to retire due to surgery complications with his knee. Johnson is a perfect fit for the Vikings’ defense because he’s a pass-rushing tackle and lacks run-stopping ability, which the Vikings don’t need with Linval Joseph at nose tackle. That’s another potential starter drafted in the fourth round.

It was no secret the Vikings would be looking for linebacker depth, and Spielman got it in Ben Gedeon. Gedeon, out of Michigan, was the strongest and most agile linebacker at the NFL combine, and went to the Vikings at No. 120. He’s a “tackling machine,” according to Darren Wolfson, and will immediately contribute on special teams. The special teams help kept coming from Spielman, with wide receiver/kick returner Rodney Adams expected to fill the big shoes left by Cordarrelle Patterson. Adams was picked 170th overall and shed tears of joy when he received Spielman’s call.

At pick No. 180, Spielman got even more offensive line depth with Danny Isidora, who will provide competition in camp. A red zone threat followed at pick No. 201, after Spielman traded No. 199 and No. 230 to the Washington franchise for No. 201 and No. 220. Bucky Hodges, Captain America’s best friend and tight end out of Virginia tech, should contribute as a wide receiver in red zone situations because he’s six-foot-six and was the best jumping tight end at the NFL combine.

Miami wide receiver Stacy Coley could stretch the field for the Vikings and was taken at No. 219 overall. His biggest question mark is his passion for the game, though. With the very next pick, Spielman added depth to the defensive line with Ifeadi Odenigbo, who had a higher passer pressure rate than some first-rounders.

Spielman provided more training camp competition at linebacker with the addition of Elijah Lee at No. 232, who could be a starter in the NFL eventually. At No. 245, the Vikings finally got some depth at defensive back. Jack Tocho is expected to move from cornerback to safety.

Once again, Spielman moved back in the draft to acquire more picks, and once again, it paid off. Drafting three potential starters without a single first-round pick is impressive and fun. It makes me wish Major League Baseball would allow the trading of draft picks so we could see what the young Derek Falvey could do with the first overall pick.

(Spoiler alert: RHP/SS Hunter Greene will likely be the pick. Can you imagine drafting a starting pitcher who can hit for power and play shortstop? You could even bring in a reliever to face tough right-handed hitters late in the game, move Greene to shortstop, and put him back on the mound after replacing him with your utility infielder. It would also give you an extra pinch-hitter on the bench since Greene would hit for himself. Then you could move Greene back to shortstop for the rest of the game so you don’t lose his bat in the lineup. That would be so fun to watch.)

--

If you like this, you might like these Genesis Communications Network talk shows: View From The Couch

Published in News & Information

Warning: mysqli_close(): Couldn't fetch mysqli in /home/gcnlive/httpdocs/JW1D/libraries/joomla/database/driver/mysqli.php on line 209

Warning: mysqli_close(): Couldn't fetch mysqli in /home/gcnlive/httpdocs/JW1D/libraries/joomla/database/driver/mysqli.php on line 209

Warning: mysqli_close(): Couldn't fetch mysqli in /home/gcnlive/httpdocs/JW1D/libraries/joomla/database/driver/mysqli.php on line 209

Warning: mysqli_close(): Couldn't fetch mysqli in /home/gcnlive/httpdocs/JW1D/libraries/joomla/database/driver/mysqli.php on line 209

Warning: mysqli_close(): Couldn't fetch mysqli in /home/gcnlive/httpdocs/JW1D/libraries/joomla/database/driver/mysqli.php on line 209