On the Value of Player Introductions and Other Points of View


  • I’m sure that Jared Allen was due for a veteran’s day off. But they had to give it to the new defensive end that everyone wants to see on Family Night at Soldier Field? Jeremiah Ratliff also got the night off.

    I understand that by giving these guys Saturday off, the Bears are effectively giving them two days in a row. But I still think it’s odd. They’re usually more fan-friendly. Via Rich Campbell at the Chicago Tribune.

  • On a related note, cornerback Tim Jennings‘s continued absence is becoming troublesome. Remember that he’s effectively trying to reconnect with the nickelback position. This is almost certainly stunting his growth.
  • Patrick Finley at the Chicago Sun-Times notes that Outkast was reunited during Lollapalooza across the street Saturday. That’s probably why Ratliff and Allen needed the night off.
  • Hub Arkush at chicagofootball.com on the continued absence of Chris Conte and Craig Steltz due to offseason surgery:

    “It’s hard to guess how significant their injuries are to the team’s future at safety as both players could be long shots to make the club this year after Adrian Wilson, Ryan Mundy, M.D. Jennings and Danny McCray were all brought in via veteran free agency and Brock Vereen was drafted in the fourth round.”

    “Wilson got his first reps with the starters at Friday’s practice and quite a few more Saturday night. While both starting safety spots will almost certainly be up for grabs for at least a few more weeks, the five-time Pro Bowler will be extremely difficult to unseat if he proves to be 100 percent healthy.”

    “Wilson and Mundy are the most experienced and accomplished of the safeties in camp and while both have played mostly strong safety, it’s hard to ignore they ran together with the first unit at Saturday night’s practice.”

    I would have to agree with Hub. We’ll see how the preseason goes but I think Bears fans might have seen what will eventually turn out to be the starters last night.

  • Also from Campbell:

    “There was another shotgun snap on the ground, this time by Roberto Garza. It’s happening too frequently.”

  • Most writers (including me) have trashed the idea of signing Kyle Orton to back up quarterback Jay Cutler. Most of us are convinced that Orton left the Cowboys because he wants to retire. Nevertheless statements made by general manager Phil Emery to ESPN radio make it apparent that he hasn’t ruled it out. Via Michael C. Wright at ESPN.com:

    “‘There’s an interest on our end on looking at any player that can help this team, and we continue to do that,’ Emery said. ‘We want to keep looking at players that can really have a legitimate chance to make our team. If there’s a quarterback, a wideout, a defensive person — a DB that could help us — we’re certainly gonna look at him.’ “

  • John Mullin at CSNChicago.com points out that the Bears third preseason game will be more significant than usual because its against Seattle:
  • Brad Biggs at the Chicago Tribune and Dave Birkett at the Detroit Free Press get together in this video and echo many of my own thoughts on the NFC North race:


  • Former NFL general manager Charlie Casserly doesn’t seem to be thrilled with the Dallas Cowboy’s linebackers. To say the least. From The Dallas Morning News:

    “[Rolando] McClain … let me say this. I would never have taken this guy with the eighth pick in the draft. I think this guy is not good enough. I don’t think he’s physical enough. I don’t think his instincts are good. I don’t think he can cover; I don’t think he can play. To me, it was a trade that is a waste of time. They were hoping, I guess, to get a big guy in the middle because [Justin] Durant and [DeVonte] Holloman aren’t that kind of a guy. Hey, I’m going to go see them in 10 days. I hope he’s not there to waste my time with him.”


  • Brandon George a The Dallas Morning News says that Caleb Hanie is making the same impression on the Cowboys that he did with Bears fans:

    “The veteran quarterback from Forney [High School] hasn’t been sharp throughout the first week of camp. He’s struggled with his accuracy and seems far behind backup quarterback Brandon Weeden at this point.”

  • Steve Van Over at the Cowboys Nation has a request:

    “Tell me I did not read that Jerry Jones sent out playoff ticket options? No, really. I want you to tell me.”

    Sorry, Steve. Can’t help you, buddy.

  • Frank Buffington, also at Cowboys Nation, has an interesting take on the ability of Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett as a game manager:

    “Last season, Jerry Jones talked about Garrett learning and improving as a head coach. Jones appears to be banking on Garrett being able to either learn to be better in game management situations or simply hoping that he improves with experience. But what if assessing multiple variables in mere seconds while under tremendous pressure and while performing several other tasks just isn’t a particular talent or ability that Garrett has? Garrett appears to be a very analytical thinker, which is an asset for the development of a long term strategy. However, studies of personality types indicate that analytical people typically struggle when forced to make quick decisions. This is likely because they like to analyze and process a large amount of information when making decisions, which typically isn’t possible when a quick decision is required.”

    Buffington goes on to suggest that the Cowboys hire a “game management specialist”. Not too sure about that one…

  • Nick Fairley might still face a suspension from the NFL for his DWI in 2012. From Kyle Meinke at MLive.com.
  • Packer’s first round pick Ha Ha Clinton-Dix remains a back up behind Micah Hyde. It’s still early but considering how miserable the Packers were at the position last year, I’d say its not a good sign that Clinton-Dix hasn’t broken the lineup over one of the incumbents. From Tyler Dunne of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
  • To my eye the Packers were one of the worst tackling teams in the NFL last year. So I guess its no surprise that there’s some distress in Packer land about the lack of tackling in camp. Also from the Journal Sentinel.
  • The Packers are an anomaly in that, though they seem to draft reasonably well, Tom Silverstein at the Journal Sentinel points out that they’ve continued to miss in the first round. And its killing their defense.
  • Officials visited the Packers during their Family Night on Saturday and the defense got a little shock. From Rob Demovsky at ESPN.com

    “Even though they know the officials are placing an emphasis on contact in the passing game, they did not expect what they saw. There were about 20 reps in the [receiver-defensive back one-on-one drill] and by unofficial count, the officials threw flags on 10 of them. Only one was on a receiver.”

  • Ben Goessling at ESPN.com quotes Vikings special-teams coach Mike Priefer, on the NFL experimenting with a rule to move extra points back to the 15-yard line:

    “Eventually, it’s probably going to change. I’ve kind of accepted that fact. It’s going to be tougher for the northern cities that have the wind and the weather because a 33-yard field goal, to me, is still not a chip shot. Even the extra point, I know it’s 99 percent, but it’s something they want to change and if they want to do it, we have to embrace it like any other change on special teams. You’ve got to embrace it and change what we do a little bit and move on.”

One Final Thought

Wright on the player introductions last night:

“During Family Fest, the players are introduced by the public address announcer by position before the workout, and they run out of a smoke-filled tunnel as fireworks go off as they enter the field. As the offensive players were announced, they ran out of the tunnel individually. When the defensive players were announced, each position group came out of the tunnel simultaneously, as somewhat of a display of solidarity.”

I’ve never been a big fan of these player introductions. The NFL isn’t the NBA (thank goodness). Each player at least to some extent suppresses his individuality for the good of the team. The introductions of single players or even of position groups counter a lot of what the game is about.

I know they’re traditional and the Bears work hard to make them look nice with all of the smoke and the inflatable tunnel and all. But, really, would fans miss them all that much?

Honestly, they’re a waste of time and money.

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