Sunday, March 25, 2012

I Wasn’t Going to Blog in the Offseason, But I Really Miss Football

  • Don’t worry, Peyton Manning, I won’t let Tim Tebow or the New Orleans Saints overshadow your rightful place as the biggest news in the offseason.
"Who'd we get?" "Who cares? Tebow's gone!!"

  • Is Denver a Super Bowl team now? Does Peyton have anyone to throw to? Will his head fall off?

  • Can’t say the Saints got any more than they deserved for their head-hunting ways. People (i.e. Saints’ fans) have been painting Roger Goodell as an evil dictator with a vendetta who went after the sweet lil’ Saints because his ego was enraged by being lied to. Hmm, well maybe he is an evil dictator, who knows? But, yes, in most cases, the punishment for a violation is increased when you lie repeatedly at every level and continue to commit the same violation for three years, so I don’t think it’s personal, New Orleans. They really can’t complain - you do stupid stuff like that, you have to accept the consequences.
See ya next year.

  • I’ve seen some New Orleans sportswriters try to say that it was a pay-for-performance program and not a bounty program (to me, that is a key distinction) or that it's been exaggerated, but keep in mind, the Saints have admitted to this stuff, so this defense seems kind of moot.  

  • Warren Sapp, after toeing the company line and saying he didn’t have a problem with the league’s punishment, went on to call the person who alerted the league to the team violations a “snitch.”  Surprise, surprise, coming from the guy who laid out one of the dirtiest hits ever against Packers’ left tackle Chad Clifton. [NB: tangential rant ahead:] For those of you who don’t remember, Favre threw an interception (what?!? I know!) and Clifton, 20 yards from the play, began jogging in the direction of the play with no chance of coming near it. Sapp blindsided Clifton with a legal, though completely unnecessary, cheap, and dirty hit that left Clifton lying on the ground without feeling in his fingers and toes. Sapp and Packers’ coach Mike Sherman got into a fight after the game over the hit. Clifton spent several days in the hospital after the game and wasn’t able to walk for weeks, while Sapp continued and has continued to be a huge ###### about the whole thing. [End rant.]
That's right Warren, keep that 300 lb. lineman from chasing down a cornerback.

  • The interesting question is how the players that were a part of the bounty program will be punished. Jonathan Vilma has been accused of contributing money to the “bounty pool,” but, as far as I know, he was the only player named in the league report. If the league can prove a player put money into the pool, that’s one thing, but how can it prove that a Saints defender hit an opponent any harder because of the bounty system? And if a player knew about the program, but never received any money from it, should he still be punished? This will be a harder issue to be fair on, I think.

  • How does this affect the Drew Brees’ contract situation? Brees and the Saints were unable to come to an agreement - the team reportedly offered somewhere around $18.5 million a year and Brees wanted closer to $23 million a year - and the Saints had to use their franchise tag on Brees. Drew did not appreciate this, has still not signed the tender, and there has been some talk of a hold out. Will the Saints change their tune now that their coach is gone for the year, their assistant coach is gone for six games, they’ve lost two second-round draft picks in the next two drafts, and they might have player suspensions coming down shortly? Will Brees try to leverage the Saints’ new situation into higher demands?
"Let's make it $100 million -- A YEAR!"

  • Just a note on the Brees’ contract sitch before the bounty scandal emerged: now, I like Drew Brees - who doesn’t? - but when your team offers to make you the highest paid player in the league (again, this was before Manning signed with Denver), I think you kind of lose your right to complain that they are screwing you over in some way.  I’ve read a bunch of articles like this one this one criticizing the Saints for not giving Brees whatever he wanted. I understand that this guy is pretty much the end-all, be-all of your team, but, again, the Saints offered to make him the Highest. Paid. Player. In. The. League! And he still wanted almost $5 million a year more! The Saints had to draw a line of common sense somewhere, right?  Well, I don’t know if that line exists for the Saints anymore, given their current predicament.

  • Now, for the real news - TIM TEBOW! A JET! AHHHHHH! But Rex Ryan swears! And Mark Sanchez knows that the legal age of consent in New York is 17! And Antonio Cromartie has impregnated two more women since I started typing this sentence! Will Tim Tebow be corrupted?!? Will he suddenly become an alcoholic womanizer?!? Because, certainly, the New York Jets’ locker room is the only one in the league in which profanity is heard! And I’m sure every single one of his past teammates were saints! And none of the other cities Tebow has ever lived in had bars and clubs! And I’m sure Tebow’s never encountered groupies in his journey as most popular man in America among women ever!!

  • Aside from these pressing, Pulitzer prize-winning topics, what were the Jets thinking? Perhaps bringing in the circus of Tebow-as-a-backup could work with a team that is more stable, but Ryan doesn’t seem to have a lot of control over the locker room, if the end of last season was any indication. On top of it, you have a not-very-good starting quarterback that people - fans and teammates - don’t seem to like that much. Sanchez’s work ethic has been questioned, as well as the team’s “pampering” of him and his fragile ego. Now throw in the wildly popular Tebow who has zealous fans who will stop at nothing to ensure he’s a starting quarterback. Tebow, himself, certainly wants to be a starter and will be gunning for that spot. Sanchez won’t even make it through training camp before people will be calling for Tebow and - no matter how many times the Jets say otherwise - there will be a quarterback controversy.  This is just after signing Sanchez to a way-beyond-his-talent-level three-year extension. I’m just confused as to how this is not going to be a disaster.
He sure smiles a lot for someone who ruins everything he touches.

  • At least with Timmy in the media capital of the world, we’ll finally get to learn more about him in the press.

  • How ‘bout them Chicago Bears actually spending some money on offense? Of course, being the Bears their acquisitions, while good in themselves, might cause some problems.
Thought provoking.

  • 1. Brandon Marshall. Excellent receiver. Beloved by Jay Cutler, with whom he had a prolific working relationship in Denver.  A big receiver was one of Chicago’s most pressing needs. Marshall, however, cannot stop getting arrested. He’s been suspended by the league three times and arrested numerous times, including 8 - EIGHT! - domestic violence incidents. And his wife stabbed him last year. Now he’s been accused of punching a woman at a New York nightclub. If Marshall is found to be at all culpable in this latest incident, he can expect a heavy suspension from Mr. Roger Goodell.

  • 2. Eric Weems. Good punt/kick returner from Atlanta. Not a bad signing, but it is a bit curious when the Bears already have the best returner in the (history of the) league. Some have suggested it could be to avoid paying Devin Hester a $10 million roster bonus. Or maybe they just wanted to have an even fiercer special teams unit. It will be interesting to see how the returns are divided up between Weems and Hester.

  • 3. Jason Campbell. This one doesn’t really have any caveats. It’s a good pick up for the Bears. If Cutler were to get injured again this season, the Bears would be able to avoid the absolute shipwreck that was Caleb Hanie as a starting quarterback.  

  • 4. Michael Bush. The Bears signed former the Raider running back to a four year deal, which would have been a good move if it didn’t royally tick off franchise-tagged and probably-going-to-hold-out incumbent Matt Forte, who was pretty much the sum total of Chicago’s offense for much of last season. Forte doesn’t seem to be upset with having a quality back-up, but more with the fact that the Bears have now signed four running backs in the last four seasons without reaching a deal with Forte. Without the specifics of the contract negotiations, however, it’s hard to tell if Forte is overvaluing himself or if the Bears are being their usual, tight-fisted selves.

  • Bears’ fans, though, should be happy with the team’s sudden willingness to spend money on offense, as well as showing some interest in keeping their quarterback happy. 
This is the stuff that makes Jay unhappy.

  • Poor Miami. How embarrassing has this offseason been for them? They’re, like, 0-for-67 on attempted free agent acquisitions. Petyon Manning, Matt Flynn, Alex Smith, and Ryan Clark all took a pass took a pass on the team, with Clark having some harsh comments on the Dolphins’ organization.
They even screwed up at being bad!

  • Speaking of Matt Flynn - Seattle’s new starting quarterback!! Woo hoo! Go Matty! I really hopes he does well and doesn’t turn out to be Kevin Kolb Part Two. But I have faith in Matt. I hope he ushers in a new era of success for the Seahawks - starting with getting some new uniforms as quickly as possible.
These are their alternate jerseys and they're the best ones. By a lot.

  • The 49ers made some noise by signing receivers Randy Moss and Mario Manningham. They also courted Peyton Manning pretty heavily, which didn’t make Alex Smith too happy, prompting his visit to Miami. I have to wonder, though, what would have happened if Smith had signed with the Dolphins? Who would have quarterbacked the Niners? Backup Colin Kaepernick? Who’s really left on the market? I’m curious as to what their plan was.

  • So much has been happening this offseason, it’s hard to keep track of it all! The Buffalo Bills scored big in free agency, signing pass-rushing machine and all-around stud Mario Williams, as well as DE Mark Anderson, seriously beefing up their defense. Their key offseason move on offense was resigning receiver Stevie Johnson.
Didn't want to do some pro bono work for the Pack???

  • The Tampa Bay Bucs picked up guard Carl Nicks from New Orleans, as well as WR Vincent Jackson to try to help QB Josh Freeman and the fans forget about last year.

  •  The San Diego Chargers have already signed nine free agents, the most notable being receivers Robert Meachum and Eddie Royal. Maybe they can help QB Philip Rivers and the fans forget about last year.

  • The Colts are not going to go into rebuilding mode lying down, either. They signed safety Tom Zbikowski and defensive end Cory Redding from the Ravens, as well as a couple of offensive linemen in Mike McGlynn and Winston Justice.

  • The Packers finally dipped into free agency, as well, signing former Peyton Manning sidekick center Jeff Saturday to a two-year deal. Saturday is no spring chicken, but he’s had a remarkably healthy career and provides a nice bridge at center while the Packers try to find a long-term replacement for Scott Wells.
In a pinch, Aaron could snap the ball to himself. Because he's Aaron Rodgers.

  • The Packers also signed another ex-Colt in defensive tackle Daniel Muir, who spent his rookie year with Green Bay. Muir was likely signed to replace Howard Green.

  • The Packers have also been talking with a few other free agents  to try to find some solution for their dismal defensive line.
"Pleeeeaase! Somebody help me!"

  • Aside from the defensive line issues, the Packers don’t have any desperate needs, except saving up money for the next couple of seasons, when they’ll need to resign Aaron Rodgers, Clay Matthews, and Greg Jennings to big bucks contracts.
Together in Green Bay forever and ever. And ever.

  • A bunch of other stuff happened with some other teams, too, I’m sure, but nothing important enough for me to care about. Is it September yet??