As our men rested their eyes weary from our travels, a pack of jaguars invaded our camp and massacred our battalion. I was unable to give warning of the impending danger as I am still hobbled from my battle wounds. The jaguars were quick and calculated, and able to drag away some of our officers. Among the missing is young Captain Brissett, Lieutenant Hilton, and Major Gore. Now as the remaining men tend to the injured and search for the missing, we must plan our approach into Ohio where it is said a pride of tigers awaits.
Maybe Monday night’s primetime NFC East matchup between rivals Philadelphia and Washington will be easier on the eyes than what took place around the National Football League on Sunday.
Don’t look for any offensive short-outs between the Eagles, who are the only team in the league with only one loss at the moment, and the Redskins, who are trying to prevent being swept by the Birds this season after losing the season-opener on their home field back in early September.
At least hope for some offense. That was very much a missing ingredient in Sunday’s full slate of games.
There were six teams who failed to score an offensive touchdown. That’s just simply offensive.
There were another five teams who scored only one touchdown. That’s just mystifying in a day and age where the rules are tailored to encourage points.
The Titans and Browns slogged through 60 minutes of football where neither team was capable of finding the end zone. Tennessee won an all-field-goal game, 12-9. And it took overtime to decide. Fans should demand their money back for having to watch that slop. Of course, Cleveland fans are used to watching such anemic offensive play after failing to draft an NFL-caliber quarterback in forever.
Sunday was no different, with head coach Hue Jackson deciding to start DeShone Kizer again after benching him last week, only to change course during the game, yanking out Kizer for Cody Kessler. The Browns are now 1-22 since trading away the No. 2 pick of the draft last year to the Eagles, who selected quarterback Carson Wentz. There aren’t enough thank-you notes in the world for Philly fans to send Cleveland for that deal.
The Chicago Bears won their second straight game to get to 3-4 and did so with their starting quarterback, rookie Mitchell Trubisky, completing just four passes in seven attempts. The Bears held the ball for just 21 minutes, 25 seconds, gained a paltry total of 153 yards and yet still found a way to beat the Carolina Panthers 17-3.
Three teams had big fat zeroes next to their name – the Colts, Broncos, and Cardinals.
The last time three teams laid goose-eggs on the same day was back in December 2012.
OK, Arizona lost it starting quarterback, Carson Palmer, to a broken arm, and he will miss the next eight weeks at minimum, so maybe they get a pass – no pun intended.
The Broncos need to think about making a quarterback change, before it’s too late. The Broncs are swimming in a sea of mediocrity at 3-3 and Trevor Siemian is at the helm of an offense going nowhere. They have scored 108 points in six games. Only three teams have scored fewer, and, yes, the Browns are one. Denver’s defense is too good to let this season slip through its fingers.
Then there are the Colts, whose offensive line allowed 10 sacks to Jacksonville – or should we say, Sacksonville.
It’s a wonder that Indy QB Jacoby Brissett managed to escape injury. And isn’t that why Brissett is playing quarterback in the first place, because Andrew Luck could not stay healthy behind an offensive line that has more leaks than Donald Trump’s White House?
So cross your fingers and hope the Monday nighter at least delivers some touchdowns, and some drama.
Our march to Tennessee was a triumphant one as we tasted victory against the invading gold miners in our last battle. Only if we would’ve known what these men they call Titans had planned for us. Our young officer, Capt. Brissett, lead our battalion with great leadership. But neither he nor I could have known that these men, these Titans, were nothing short of immortal. Like me, their General also has nagging battle wounds, but he led his Titans to victory. Their swords and shields are as much a part of them as their own beating hearts. I look forward to one day soon, rejoining my men in the trenches, and reclaiming our days of victory…
On a day where we honored our battalion’s retired Commander, Gen. Manning, our Vice President seemed to concede an early defeat by leaving the battle arena as he faced the crouching enemy. Today was bittersweet as I, once again, was not able to join my men in the trenches. But we were able to come away victorious against the invading gold miners of San Francisco. Now we depart these blood soaked fields to battle Titans from Tennessee. The journey will be short, but the fight will be long.
PHILADELPHIA — Usually they need time to marinate, slowly simmering in the weight room and meeting room.
That’s what rookies, for the most part, have done in the first two drafts with Eagles coach Chip Kelly in charge. There are some exceptions. Right tackle Lane Johnson comes to mind, but he was the fourth overall pick in 2013. Jordan Matthews was on the receiving end of nearly 900 yards last year after entering the league in the second round.
This year could be completely different.
There were rookies making plays all over the field during the Eagles’ 36-10 win over the Indianapolis Colts at Lincoln Financial Field on Sunday.
The team’s first three picks — receiver Nelson Agholor, cornerback Eric Rowe,and linebacker Jordan Hicks — flashed, their sixth-round pick, cornerback Randall Evans, recovered a fumble, and their seventh-round selection, 6-foot-9 defensive end Brian Mihalik, recorded the Eagles’ first sack. And don’t forget another sixth-round selection, JaCorey Shepherd, who was on track to be the starting slot cornerback until an ACL tear ended his season last week.
“The one thing you don’t know about a lot of those guys is what are they going to be like when you get them into a game,” said Kelly. “That’s the encouraging thing … Without seeing film, I felt a lot of guys stepped up and made plays. Eric Rowe with a fumble caused, did a great job stripping him. Nelson made big catch on our bench and on their bench turned it into a touchdown, then another catch, so we’re excited about those guys. It’s just one step for us, but we feel like we have a lot of good film to teach off of.”
Agholor turned a high, short throw from Mark Sanchez into a 34-yard touchdown that put the Eagles ahead to stay 7-3 with 3:27 left in the opening quarter. The first-round pick finished with three catches for 57 yards. Asked about the touchdown, all Agholor wanted to talk about was the two catches he didn’t make, including one that zipped right through his hands.
“First time I touched the ball was a dropped incompletion,” he said. “I had two hands on the ball, guy comes in and rakes it out, so at end of day, that’s on my mind more than the (touchdown).”
The team’s second-round pick, Rowe forced a fumble from Phillip Dorsett, the Colts’ first-round draft pick this year. Of course, there was some bad there, too. Rowe was beaten on deep over route by Dorsett.
“All I could do was run and catch up,” said Rowe. “When I saw him catch it — at practice we preach strip and get the ball out. I saw he was carrying the ball loose, I punched at it, but wrapped up and tried to get the tackle, too. Once I saw it come out, I was pretty pumped.”
As for Hicks, he made mistakes, too.
That’s what being a rookie is about.
Hicks missed a tackle on the Colts’ only TD of the day, a 9-yard run from Josh Robinson that made the score 26-10 with 7:08 to play in the third quarter. But there was the key block he made on what became a 92-yard punt return by Kenjon Barner with just four seconds left in the first half that sent the Birds into the locker room with a 23-3 lead.
With a crowded field of inside linebackers, it will be special teams where Hicks will learn to grow his game.
“We take a lot of pride coming in here,” said Hicks of the rookies. “This organization, coach Kelly’s done a great job getting guys here who care, who want to get better, who want to compete, who take practice seriously, who take getting better seriously. It’s the culture of this team. You come in here, you’re around his team for five minutes, you understand you’re around a group of guys who want to get better, who want to compete, who want to play for each other.”
Then there were the guys who weren’t even drafted this May but scooped up shortly afterward as free agents. Guys like tight end Eric Tomlinson and receiver Rasheed Bailey.
Tomlinson led the team in receiving, catching five passes for 61 yards and Bailey caught both passes thrown his way, one of which was a one-handed spear from Tim Tebow that went for 18 yards and bailed the team out of bad field position. Bailey’s two receptions covered 23 yards.
“The ultimate goal here is to win and win every week,” said veteran tight end Brent Celek, who added that he has been energized by this influx of youth. “When you have young guys that can contribute like that, it’s big. We still have a long way to go, but I love the attitude of not only these young kids but the whole team. It’s just a different attitude around here. I really hope it translates. At end of day we have to win games and I think we have the guys to do that. I’m excited. I know I’m getting older now, I’ve never been happier to be on a team than I am now.”
The thing that makes contributing as a rookie so difficult, at least in the opinion of nose tackle Beau Allen, who was one himself last year, is that there is very little break form the time the college season ends until the NFL season ramps up. Allen was one of only two drafted rookies from last year who made an impact on the field, with Matthews being the other.
“It’s a whirlwind for those guys because a lot of them have bowl games then all star games, the (scouting) combine, the pre-draft process, then OTAs and they get a couple weeks off before they’re in camp,” said Allen. “It’s just wild. They don’t get a lot of time off and that’s hard on the body.”
This year’s rookie crop seems to get it, and, right now, looks like several can come out sizzling from the start rather than slowly marinating.
Ed Kracz: 215-345-3069; email: firstname.lastname@example.org; Twitter: @kracze
Pat McAfee to Drive Pace Car for Angie’s List Grand Prix of Indianapolis
May 08, 2015 | By IMS
This morning, Indianapolis Colts punter Pat McAfee was announced on the Bob & Tom Show as the Pace Car driver of Saturday’s Angie’s List Grand Prix of Indianapolis at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. To prepare for his role as driver of the Chevrolet Corvette Stingray Z51 on the IMS road course, he will get a tutorial Friday evening from two-time Indianapolis 500 winner Arie Luyendyk.
McAfee, Luyendyk and IMS president Doug Boles will be available for interviews at 7 p.m. Friday at the Yard of Bricks on the front straightaway.
“I’ve done some cool things around Indianapolis over the years but the opportunity to drive a Pace Car at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway has to be among the coolest,” Indianapolis Colts punter Pat McAfee said. “But it’s a serious job too, and I’m lucky to have a two-time Indianapolis 500 winner as my coach. I can’t wait to hit the track and learn all those left and right turns.”
“The Angie’s List Grand Prix is an event that’s all about getting up close and personal with racing at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Pat McAfee has long been an accessible fan favorite with the Colts, so I think we have a perfect match for Saturday afternoon’s race and look forward to seeing Pat lead the field to the green,” Indianapolis Motor Speedway president Doug Boles said.
Our office has been conducting an investigation as to whether the footballs used in last Sunday’s
AFC Championship Game complied with the specifications that are set forth in the playing rules. The
investigation began based on information that suggested that the game balls used by the New
England Patriots were not properly inflated to levels required by the playing rules, specifically Playing
Rule 2, Section 1, which requires that the ball be inflated to between 12.5 and 13.5 pounds per
square inch. Prior to the game, the game officials inspect the footballs to be used by each team and
confirm that this standard is satisfied, which was done before last Sunday’s game.
The investigation is being led jointly by NFL Executive Vice President Jeff Pash and Ted Wells of the
law firm of Paul Weiss. Mr. Wells and his firm bring additional expertise and a valuable independent
perspective. The investigation began promptly on Sunday night. Over the past several days, nearly
40 interviews have been conducted, including of Patriots personnel, game officials, and third parties
with relevant information and expertise. We have obtained and are continuing to obtain additional
information, including video and other electronic information and physical evidence. We have retained
Renaissance Associates, an investigatory firm with sophisticated forensic expertise to assist in
reviewing electronic and video information.
The playing rules are intended to protect the fairness and integrity of our games. We take seriously
claims that those rules have been violated and will fully investigate this matter without compromise or
delay. The investigation is ongoing, will be thorough and objective, and is being pursued
expeditiously. In the coming days, we expect to conduct numerous additional interviews, examine
video and other forensic evidence, as well as relevant physical evidence. While the evidence thus far
supports the conclusion that footballs that were under-inflated were used by the Patriots in the first
half, the footballs were properly inflated for the second half and confirmed at the conclusion of the
game to have remained properly inflated. The goals of the investigation will be to determine the
explanation for why footballs used in the game were not in compliance with the playing rules and
specifically whether any noncompliance was the result of deliberate action. We have not made any
judgments on these points and will not do so until we have concluded our investigation and
considered all of the relevant evidence.
Upon being advised of the investigation, the Patriots promptly pledged their full cooperation and have
made their personnel and other information available to us upon request. Our investigation will seek
information from any and all relevant sources and we expect full cooperation from other clubs as well.
As we develop more information and are in a position to reach conclusions, we will share them