An unusually cool summer week here in NYC is almost fitting for the start of the first week of NFL training camp. Flannel shirts, seasonal beers, eating wings until you hate yourself and bringing your marriage to the brink of divorce over Fantasy Football have now become staples of every NFL season.
With the start of the regular NFL season right around the corner and many of you getting the binders and trash talk ready for this years Fantasy Draft it is important to highlight all of the teams that have made major moves this off season. This is a little segment we like to call
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The first stop we make on this hate it or love it road trip across the continental United States is sunny Tampa Florida. The Buccaneers are getting ready to show the NFL that they once again are a force to be reckoned with. Cue DeSean Jackson. DeSean Jackson comes as a much needed deep threat for an offense last year that did not have A SINGLE PASS PLAY that went for over 50 yards. In this day and age, not having a pass play over 50 yards is the equivalent of Joey Chestnut stopping half way through the Hot Dog eating contest because he’s full, IT JUST DOESN’T HAPPEN. Putting a speedy veteran Wide Out next to a monster like Mike Evans this offense should be able to blow the lid off of most defenses. This coupled with STEALING O.J. Howard in the draft and some much needed moves on defense, the Buccaneers could be looking at a play off year.
New England Patriots
The second stop we make is headed straight up the east coast to chilly New England. Where Tom Brady is no doubtably making a couple rookies and cry and trying to keep his leash on Gronk. Love ‘em or hate ‘em, The New England Patriots front office are football geniuses. They have come up with a winning formula and will stick with it until you come up with a way to stop them. Put the ball in Brady’s hands, surround him with quick, smart and dynamic wide receivers add in a beast at tight end and a bruiser back for the goal line, sprinkle in a top ranked defense and you have yourself another championship. Aside from being a brilliant football mind, I bet you didn’t know that Bill Bellichek also moonlighted as one of the greatest thieves to ever live. Next to Danny Ocean and the rest of the crew knocking over Bendict’s Casino, trading THE 32ND PICK IN THE DRAFT for Brandin Cooks was straight up robbery. We saw what Brandin Cooks was capable of when he had Drew Brews throwing him the pigskin. Now insert Tom Brady and the rest of that prolific New England offense and it is going to be a long season for defenses in the AFC. I expect Kraft to send Sean Payton a nice edible arrangement.
New York Giants
After over inflating the Patriots already GIGANTIC EGO on the last stop, I think that it is only fitting to move on over to Brady’s kryptonite and the New York Football Giants. Last season showed a lot of promise for the Giants and also left fans with a lot of question marks. In true Giant’s fashion there were serious flashes of ‘This could be our year” mixed in with a lot of “Holy crap this really could be in our year” add a couple dropped passes and an Aaron Rodgers later, “Holy crap this could be our year” turned into just crap.
Alas there is a silver lining. After the no brainer release of Victor Cruz the Giants needed to fill a clear void at receiver. If they are going to make it deep into the playoffs and to the Super Bowl the Giants cannot rely on no name receivers, buried on the depth chart, to come up in big situations.
Insert, 33 year old, Brandon Marshall. Brandon Marshall is no young buck anymore and has had his fair share of drops, but he still has a lot to offer on the grid iron and in this West Coast style offense, complimenting Sterling Shepard and OBJ, Marshall will not command coverage from the defenses number one and could give the Giants the push they need (if he can catch the ball).
Now let’s hop over to another team that made a surprising 30+ year old acquisition. Coaxing Beast Mode out of retirement, in the shadow of a looming move to Las Vegas, the Oakland (for now) Raiders add what could be a serious power player in Marshawn Lynch (cue playoff run against the New Orleans Saints highlight) to their offense.
A season, which looked like it was headed straight for Houston last year, ended in heartbreak when their star QB went down with a leg injury. Now, looking for a bounce back year and a trip to the promise land, the Raiders release Latavious Murray and add in some attitude at running back. This one is a big question mark. A healthy Lynch, in an offense with a great young QB and promising Wide Receiver core, could spell championship for Oakland. But will the Raiders get a well rested monster at the tail back position or will Beast Mode look more like I do midway through the 4 o’clock games; lethargic, fat and useless.
New Orleans Saints
Who is angrier in New Orleans right now then Mark Ingram? Throwing noticeable tantrums on the sidelines last year and backing them up with great on the field play I would be pissed to. However, you can’t have an NFL blog without talking about, what still is, one of the biggest names in the sport, Adrian Peterson. Adrian Peterson is a name that commands respect at the running back position. Peterson was once a real freak of nature, a former teammate once said he saw him eat an entire gallon of Ben and Jerry’s ice cream before a workout..impressive, but how much are we putting on the name versus the output. Three time rushing leader, two time touchdown leader, 2012 MVP, seven time pro-bowler. The accolades and reputation are there but this is not the same player. A flashy and risky acquisition for the Saints. A headline grabber for New Orleans but, in my opinion, not the off season move to make.
“Who ordered 17 extra cheese pizzas?!”, Pete Carroll screamed during a meeting with the offense, as a Papa John’s delivery man wheels in 17 pizzas using a hand truck. Eddie Lacy shamefully raises his hand, “I did coach”. That’s what i pictured when the announcement came that the Seattle Seahawks acquired Eddie Lacy. Listen I understand why they did it. A disappointing season last year (by Seattle standards) and looking for answers to the departure of Marshawn Lynch (a season too late), Pete Carroll made a decision, which on paper was the right one. Add back in a serious powerhouse back, retain as much talent as you can on both sides of the ball, be a players coach and hopefully hoist up another trophy. However, instead of adding a serious powerhouse back you added an eating machine. Look, Lacy has shown us in the past that when he is in shape and motivated he is a force. But the challenge will be can he keep his weight in check enough to be allowed on the team plane. Seriously though, if he stays on the treadmill he could be a great addition in Seattle. So aside from buying stock in every fast food joint north of Portland, I remain skeptical.
That concludes our “HE’S WHERE?!” segment. Tune in weekly to get more insight (my extremely biased opinion) about NFL players (the one’s that made me the angriest that week), stats (when I feel like looking them up), and highlights (really cool clips of plays that left me in awe). Now here’s another picture of confused Lebron for your viewing pleasure.
Other notable additions (that i didn’t feel like blogging about, so sue me).
NYJ – CB Morris Claiborne
OAK – TE Jared Cook
GB – TE Martellus Bennet
PHI – WR Alshon Jeffery
SF – WR Pierre Garcon
WAS – WR Terrell Pryor
MIA – LB Lawrence Timmons
CHI – QB Mike Glennon