- Pete Dougherty at packersnews.com thinks Jason Spriggs might be near the end of his tenure in Wisconsin.
At this point, Spriggs might have to move to guard to try to salvage his career. Regardless of where he plays, you have to think the Packers will bring him back for his third training camp just to be sure. But unless he improves a lot this off-season, he could get cut after only two years with the team.
If that’s how it turns out, Spriggs will have been one of the biggest swings and misses of the Thompson era. It’s not just the fanning on a second-rounder. That happens to the best of them. But Thompson traded two extra picks – a fourth and a seventh – to move up nine spots to get him.
The statement is significant because the Packers may well have traded up to get ahead of the Bears, who “settled” by trading back and drafting budding potential pro bowler Cody Whitehair.
For once the Bears may have come out ahead on that one.
- Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer was none to happy with the officiating in Minnesota’s Thanksgiving match up with the Lions:
“We almost lost our composure a couple times,” Zimmer said. “We study each crew going into the game. I told them it could be like this today. They’ve got to play clean, smart football and (long, awkward pause] . . . I shouldn’t say anything else.”
I was pretty bad. There was a non-call on what was obviously pass interference committed on wide receiver Stephon Diggs and there was a taunting call on quarterback Case Keenum where he was getting up after a sack and he flipped the ball in the direction of Lions defensive end Ziggy Ansah that wasn’t much better.
Mike Florio at profootballtalk.com danced on the line of accusing the NFL of intentional bias:
[W]hile I’m a firm believer that the fix is never in, moments like this make me wonder whether the ratings dip has resulted in an unspoken message to give calls to a team that is on the verge of getting blown out, in order to help avoid it. And if I’m wondering, other people are, too.
I don’t believe that. But I’m honest enough with myself to understand that is largely because I don’t want to believe it.
The NBA is known for giving the leagues stars the benefit of the doubt when making calls and, as a result, I haven’t watched a full professional basketball game in many years. If the NFL ever did even hint that biased officiating would be acceptable to keep a game close to boost ratings, it would be the end of the league, at least as far as I’m concerned. I’m pretty sure I’m not alone.
- Adam Jahns wonders if defensive coordinator Vic Fangio is getting a free pass for the poor performance of his defense over the last two games:
Fangio’s defense didn’t deliver the win it should have against Packers backup quarterback Brett Hundley at Soldier Field. Instead, Hundley completed 18 of 25 passes for 212 yards, a touchdown and a 110.7 passer rating — his best mark this season — in Green Bay’s 23-16 victory.
As quarterback Matthew Stafford was passing for 299 yards and two touchdowns against the Bears in the Lions’ 27-24 victory, the Ravens’ defense played like a top-10 defense should against Hundley in Green Bay. He was intercepted three times and sacked six times. The Ravens held him to a 43.6 passer rating.
The disparity in Hundley’s performance made the Bears’ most disappointing loss of the season look even worse.
In fairness, the defense only gave up 27 points in the loss to the Lions. I consider 24 points to be average.
Fangio’s game plan was to switch up in the coverages in order to confuse Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford. It didn’t work as Stafford either did a better job than anticipated or offensive coordinator Jim Bob Cooter did a very good job of anticipating the coverages. Either way, the Lions got themselves into the right play and took advantage of the Bears zone coverages way too often.
No one is perfect and Fangio is still one the best defensive coordinators around. It will be tragic if the Bears lose him in the off-season as he becomes a free agent when his contract is up. Fangio wanted to take the defensive coordinator job in San Francisco last season but the Bear blocked the move. They won’t be able to block it this year if the 49ers decide to make a switch. The Raiders also recently fired defensive coordinator Ken Norton Jr. and they may not stick with replacement John Pagano.
Bottom line, the odds of Fangio staying look pretty slim at this point.
- Rich Campbell at the Chicago Tribune reports that defensive end Leonard Floyd will go on IR:
Floyd played 90 percent of the Bears’ defensive snaps in the first nine games, to that point achieving his goal of improved availability. But Thursday’s transaction will bring his two-year career total of missed games to 10.
While its disappointing that Floyd didn’t make it through the whole season there was a major piece of good news in all of this. Floyd didn’t suffer a single concussion.
Floyd suffered two concussions in the space of six weeks last year and the frequency of those things doesn’t go down. The Bears claimed that better tackling technique would solve the issue but I was frankly skeptical. Personally, I thought his career was in real jeopardy. But the Bears were evidently right and Floyd seems to have beaten the problem.
NFL Network reporter Tiffany Blackmon says that former Kansas City defensive tackle Dontari Poe will be visiting with the Jaguars along with former Raider Latavius Murray:
— Tiffany Blackmon (@tiffblackmon) March 12, 2017
Last year they out bid the world to sign the top defensive lineman on the market, Malik Jackson. They finished last in the AFC South at 3-13.
The report reminded me that the Bears haven’t yet addressed a very under rated need this offseason. Whenever nose tackle Eddie Goldman was lost to injury, the Bears were lost for a replacement. Will Sutton did his best to hold down the fort but he’s a weakness in the middle that could be, and was, exploited.
Poe, of course, was never going to sign with the Bears. He’ll be far too expensive to sign and put in as a rotational player. But there’s little doubt that the Bears could use some depth in the middle of their defensive line and a decent player should be available for the signing as the league enters the latter part of free agency.
Brad Biggs at the Chicago Tribune answers your questions:
“Kevin White, Alshon Jeffery and … in the slot?
“Bears first-round pick Kevin White
“That’s a good question and the Bears have a variety of options at this point after the draft. Right now, I’d be quite surprised if Eddie Royal wasn’t the slot receiver. For starters, his $4.5 million base salary for this season is fully guaranteed, so he’s not going anywhere. Royal dealt with some injuries last season and wasn’t the player the Bears were expecting but he’s got a track record for producing and a history of working well with quarterback Jay Cutler.”
I tend to agree with Biggs’ assessment here. Royal didn’t have a great season in part because of the injuries and in part because the Bears started him on the outside for the first month of the season.
One reason Royal came to Chicago is because he felt that he could be more than a slot receiver and the Bears gave him that chance. But it was obvious on October 4 when the Bears played the Raiders and they moved Royal back to the slot that’s where he belonged. Royal had 6 receptions for 80 yards that game after getting only 12 for 117 yards total for the first three games before that on the outside.
I think a lot of people are rooting for seventh round pick Daniel Braverman and at 5’10” he seems to have taken on the annual role of the little underdog, try-hard, white guy. He will compete, I’m sure, but let’s not lose sight of the fact that Braverman is probably special teams and depth. When he’s healthy, Royal should be, and probably will be, the guy in the slot.
Brad Biggs at the Chicago Tribune from his excellent “10 Thoughts” column after the Bears – Raiders game:
“The biggest difference on defense a week after the Bears showed improvement in a loss at Seattle was the play of Tracy Porter. He stepped into the starting lineup even though Alan Ball, who was questionable with a groin injury suffered during the week in practice, was active. Porter looks like someone who will stay in the starting lineup after successfully handling an assignment to follow Raiders rookie wide receiver Amari Cooper from side to side.”
“His comeback [from a hamstring injury] against the Raiders was strong and while the Bears ultimately would surely prefer to have Kyle Fuller in a place where he can be the matchup cornerback, he’s not there right now. The Bears have to hope he sees elements of Porter’s game in this scheme that can help him improve along the way.”
I like the way that the Bears handled Cooper, who is the Raiders biggest offensive threat by far. It’s true that the Bears chose to put Porter on him, a show of some confidence. But its also true that Porter got a lot of safety help – as well he should. You could argue that Fuller got the tougher assignment in that he was in man coverage on the other side most of the game without that kind of help. It was against much inferior receivers but still, its nothing to sneeze at.
To Cooper’s credit, he still found some success on Sunday. But the Bears limited him in a way that hasn’t happened often in the young season. As Biggs points out, there can be little doubt that the Bears will try to handle Jeremy Maclin the same way when they play the Chefs next week.
- The Bears once again came out in a double tight end set, not hiding at all what they wanted to do. The difference this time? On second and seven they threw the ball with Jay Cutler back at quarterback against an Oakland defensive backfield that’s been a tire fire this year. And they kept doing it.
- Oakland was playing man under defense and for the most part the Bears attacked it with underneath passes to Martellus Bennett and Eddie Royal.
- Jay Cutler had forever to throw the ball as he got very good protection in the first half. This was partly a function of some nice effort along the offensive line, some nice movement in the pocket by Cutler, and the fact that the Raiders came out very flat. The last thing on that list didn’t last long as the Raiders got themselves in gear on the second Bears possession. Cutler’s mobility continued to be the difference for much of the game.
- Cutler was up and down. Sometimes he was reasonably accurate but he threw some duds that really had me shaking my head, especially in the second half. I certainly can’t complain about the two minute drill that won the game.
- The run blocking was adequate but its worth noting that the Bears had two shots near the goal line in the second quarter and couldn’t get the ball in. They’re obviously stil not a power team.
- The passing game was helped a great deal by the Bears putting Royal into the slot where he belongs. His quickness is his strength and he looked excellent this game.
- Marquess Wilson finally had a good game, as well. After a season and a quarter, its about time he showed up.
- Jacquizz Rogers was first off the bench in place of Matt Forte despite the fact that rookie Jeremy Langford was the one who didn’t get a snap last week. To my eye Langford is running better.
- Charles Leno held his own for the most part, as the Bears didn’t seem to go out of their way to give him tight end help. Patrick Omameh, who replaced Matt Slauson at left guard after Slauson took over at center for an injured Will Montgomery, is a different story as he struggled. Slauson tried to help him as much as he could.
- How Martellus Bennett ends up all alone in the end zone in the second quarter I have no idea. But that’s and inexcusable breakdown in coverage. Good job by Cutler finding him in coverage.
- Kudos to Bennett. the game for the Bears was mostly Forte left, Forte right, Bennett for the first down. He was a very dependable target on third down.
- The Bears really didn’t do anything fancy on defense in the first half. It was the standard 3-4 and standard nickel with very little blitzing. I thought the pressure was adequate but the coverage was occasionally poor as Amari Cooper had a big game.
- The Bears used Tracy Porter on Cooper rather than last year’s preference for such assignments, Kyle Fuller. Porter struggled.
- Latavius Murray is one impressive back. With his upright running style, I haven’t seen anyone who reminds me so much of Matt Forte – with more power. He was a total mismatch for the Bears linebackers.
- Pernell McPhee once again had a good game today as was Sam Acho taking over for the now departed Jared Allen on the other side.
- The defensive line was stout as well. Jarvis Jenkins got his third sack of the year. That’s a career high, folks. Mich Unrein spent some quality time out on the field.
- J’Marcus Webb had no pre-snap penalties, as was his habit when he was with the Bears. He had his share of problems but the move to guard was a good idea from the Jets.
- The Bears were tackling well today.
- I would say that Derek Carr had an average day at best. He was more inaccurate than he has been most of the season and, like Cutler, there were some passes in the second half that left me shaking my head. He did hit some big throws, though, and he’s got a quick release with some zip on the ball.
- I would say that Greg Gumbel andJamie Erdahl were competent. I wasn’t overly thrilled with Trent Green. No real great insight into the game but I felt like most of the obvious points were covered. I can’t say that I learned much.
- Major disadvantage of watching a game on CBS? The lame commercials for some very lame TV crime “dramas” that only my 70-something year old father and mother could bear to watch.
- The Bears special teams woes continued. Robbie Gould was off today with a new holder in Spencer Lanning, a blocked extra point that didn’t look like it was on course anyway, and a short kickoff that bounced out of bounds. And that was just the first quarter. Gould kept kicking short pop ups, a strategy I don’t agree with. Gould had a great 54 yard field goal in the fourth quarter.
- The Bears just commit too many penalties for their style of play. And seven is too many. The return team found a new way to screw things up with a holding call in the first quarter. And in the second quarter. Leno had a holding call. Zack Miller had on near the goal line as well. Vlad Ducasse had his usual pre-snap false start as well. He also had a holding call that was declined.Having said that, there were some very questionable calls on the Bears this game. A hands to the face call in the third quarter didn’t even look like there was anything even close to the Raiders receiver’s head and there was a delay of game for “spiking the ball” in the fourth quarter looked very questionable.
- A lot of drops in this game. Josh Bellamy dropped a touchdown pass in the first quarter. Eddie Royal had a drop. Wilson had a critical drop in the fourth quarter on the final drive.
- Like the penalties, needless to say this Bears team can afford no turnovers. Cutler fumbled a snap with a new center in Slauson giving the ball ot Oakland at the Bears 25. That resulted in a touchdown. Pernell McPhee got a gift interception near the end of the first half. That resulted in a field goal. Matt Forte fumbled the ball near the beginning of the second half, killing what looked to me like some building Bears momentum. Acho had a huge recovery of a Murray fumble in the fourth quarter as the Raiders were driving for a go ahead field goal. Cutler, of course, threw his usual pick to old friend Charles Woodson in the fourth quarter. The ball was behind Bennett.
- This was an awful game for banged up Raiders. There were bodies with white jerseys littering the ground for all four quarters. Some of them like Michael Crabtree and Latavius Murray came back but even they were nicked up pretty good. The Bears lost Montgomery and Antrel Rolle.
- Lots and lots of very loud Raiders fans filling in the empty seats at this game. This is what happens when you price out the faithful and sell the seats to faint-heart upper-middle class yuppies.
- There was a lot to like about this game and I tried to list as many as I could above. Honestly, I’m really happy with the win.But I can’t help it I have to point out that the Bears have to play with more discipline if they are going to continue with this type of game plan. Ball control offense with plenty of runs and a short passing game is fine, especially against a team like the Raiders that has allowed tight ends to run rough shod over them for four games now. But the Bears can’t have these penalties and they can’t turn the ball over. They won’t beat good teams this way.
Brad Biggs at the Chicago Tribune gives 10 thoughts on Seattle’s win over the Bears. He addresses the fact that linebacker Willie Young was a healthy scratch for the game:
“Young was on the field for 19 of the defense’s 57 snaps in Week 2 against the Cardinals and got 21 of 60 in the opener vs. Green Bay, so he had been on the field for 34.2 percent of the snaps. Given the success of the pass rush against the Seahawks, it will be interesting to see how the Bears play the numbers game building the 46-man game-day roster for the Raiders. Clearly some decisions need to be based on special teams.”
This article was written before the Bears sold Jared Allen to the Carolina Panthers. The pass rush was, indeed, improved but Allen didn’t have much of a part in that.
The Bears hope that Young will continue to get better as he recovers from a torn Achilles tendon injury from last season. Getting him and Lamarr Houston, who is gradually coming back from his own injury, playing time was an issue that they obviously wanted to solve. Like Young, Allen didn’t play special teams and its now evident that one reason the Bears made this trade was to get him onto the active roster.
Allen’s trade was obviously the beginning of a fire sale for the Bears and there is a lot of speculation that Young, who also doesn’t appear to fit the base 3-4 scheme that the team runs, will be next on the trading block. But for now at least one alternative is that the Allen trade was an effort to get Young more involved. Assuming Young is still here to see the Raiders come to town, the odds are good that we will at least see him in place of Allen as a defensive end in the 4-3 nickel defense that the Bears run. Whether he stays or not might largely depend upon his performance.
Brad Biggs at the Chicago Tribune answers another question:
“Why didn’t the Bears claim James Jones off waivers before the Packers grabbed him?… Seem[s] Jones was much better than what the Bears had on their roster. — Greg M., Hayward, Wis.
“Jones was a vested veteran when the New York Giants terminated his contract and that made him a free agent, eligible to sign with any team he wanted. I am guessing GM Jerry Reese and coach Tom Coughlin regret that decision right now. New York released wide receiver Preston Parker earlier this week after five drops in two games. But this was not a situation where the Bears could have placed a claim for Jones. Even if the Bears were interested in Jones, why would he sign with them when he could return to a team and offense he knows to play with arguably the best quarterback in the NFL in Aaron Rodgers?”
Exactly. And it worth asking one further question – “How good would Jones (left) be without Rogers?”
Two teams couldn’t find room for Rogers on their roster – the Oakland Raiders and the New York Giants. Two quarterbacks, one an up and comer in Derek Carr and the other a veteran Super Bowl quarterback in Eli Manning, couldn’t find a way to get Jones the ball. What hope would he have had with Bears quarterback Jay Cutler?
The guess here is that only Rogers could have possibly made Jones as good as he’s been early in the season and its a graphic demonstration of how important he is to that team. How many of their receivers could succeed elsewhere? My guess is that the answer might be “not many”. I haven’t seen one yet who left in the Rogers era and made it anywhere else.
Baltimore – Oakland
- Oakland surprised me this game by taking Baltimore head on at the line of scrimmage and they competed very well.
- Quarterback Derek Carr once again had a good game this week (30/46 for 351 yes). Significantly, he got good protection.
- In contrast, Joe Flacco (32/45, 384 yds) did not have a good game. He saw a lot of pressure and missed a lot of throws he ordinarily makes.
Dallas – Philadelphia
- The story of this game was how ugly it was for the Eagle offense. Demarco Murray had a terrible game as the Cowboys keyed on him every time he entered the game. The Eagle offensive line was awful, allowing the Cowboys defensive line to penetrate at will. Eventually the Eagles had some success attacking the edges and getting away from the interior defensive penetration.
- I saw some pretty poor tackling from the Eagles in this game. Tough to stop the run that way.
- Surprisingly, I also was less than impressed with some of the blocking from the vaunted Cowboys offensive line. The Eagles were getting plenty of penetration against them at times. The Cowboys did better after wearing the Eagles down late in the game, a bi-product of an Eagle offense that gets the defense back on the field quickly when things aren’t clicking.
- Tony Romo went down hard on a sack and a fumble. Before any report was made you could tell that it had broken collar bone written all over it. Its Brandon Weeden time. For a while.
- Tweet of the day:
Chip Kelly is blinking “I would coach Texas” in Morse Code
— Bobby Big Wheel (@BobbyBigWheel) September 20, 2015
Miami – Jacksonville
- Jacksonville took advantage of some poor defensive backfield play from Miami. Brice McCain looked particularly bad. This is something that the Dolphins are going to want to take a close look at in the coming week.
- Blake Bortles’ (18/33 273 yds) accuracy and ball placement leaves a lot to be desired. For a highly touted up and coming quarterback, I was unimpressed this game. Sometimes he flashes some of that potential but its time for him to fish or cut bait this year with some consistency.
- Right now Ndamukong Suh looks very over paid. He’s not making the plays we saw him make in the NFC North despite often being double teamed.
- On the other hand, Jacksonville got all kinds of pressure on Ryan Tannehill (30/44 359 yds). This was the first sign of problems for the season on a much – maligned Miami offensive line. Brandon Albert left the game in the first half and ws replaced by Jason Fox, which obviously didn’t help.
- Olivier Vernon should be ashamed of himself for a late personal foul call that badly damaged Miami’s chances of getting the ball back with time to score.
- Rich Campbell at the Chicago Tribune states categorically that the Bears defensive linemen will play one-gap. But I’m reasonably certain that it will depend upon who the player is (e.g. Eddie Goldman Vs. Will Sutton) and what defensive alignment they are in. It will be interesting to see how they handle it.
- Campbell quotes defensive coordinator Vic Fangio on the defense’s lack of talent.
“We’re going to have to make our own building blocks. We need to make the guys that we have here better.”
I think that’s the way its done no matter how much talent you have. But it’s going to take some time.
- Patrick Finley at the Chicago Sun-Times unleashes this zinger:
“The early leader for Bears Quote of the Year came when outside linebacker Pernell McPhee was asked this week to describe Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers.
“‘Hall of Fame,’ he said. ‘Two words.'”
- I suggested on Friday that head coach John Fox was laying in the weeds by characterizing his top three wide receivers as “questionable” despite the fact that they practiced all week. But consider this via Finley. Broncos with a questionable tag appeared in games only 35 percent of the time last year under Fox. It does make you think.
- Bears running back Matt Forte on the fact that his jersey, not Rogers’ is the best selling jersy in Wisconsin since the end of last season:
“There must be a lot of Bears fans in Wisconsin. Either that, or they’re buying it to burn it or something. I don’t know.”
- RG3 has officially cleared the concussion protocol after much emotional (and dysfunctional) upheaval. He’ll be the #2 QB behind Kirk Cousins on Sunday. To my eye he shouldn’t even be that as Colt McCoy has pretty clearly outplayed him. Mike Florio at profootballtalk.com makes a pretty good case that RG3 should be released instead.
EDIT: NFL Media’s Jeff Darlington reports that McCoy will be listed as the Redskins’ No. 2 quarterback tomorrow behind Cousins.
- The Bengals are taking on the Raiders on Sunday and Bengals offensive coordinator Hue Jackson is apparently not looking forward to watching them face defensive lineman Khalil Mack. This is the first time I’ve ever heard a player referred to as “a rolling ball of butcher knives”.
- Brandon Boykin, who suggested that he was traded away from the Eagles because of racial motivations, disputes Eagles head coach Chip Kelly‘s claim that they hugged goodbye. I’m thinking Boykin should be more concerned by the fact that he didn’t play a snap in Thursday’s game.
One Final Thought
I don’t usually shill for anything but I’m going to make an exception and recommend that readers support Hub Arkush at chicagofootball.com by becoming a Pro Member at the site. Hub is the former publisher of Pro Football Weekly, a magazine that went down with the dawn of the Internet age. He’s not always right and I often don’t agree with him but he’s usually willing to say things that other people aren’t willing to. We need more like him.
This is an informative site largely focused on the Bears. It also doesn’t hurt that its easy to navigate (though I could wish that as a paying customer I wouldn’t have to sell myself to Google to read some of the articles). It’s a good, reliable source for fans who want to go above and beyond in their understanding of what’s going on with the team.
- Blair Sheade at the Chicago Sun-Times relays Kevin White potential rookie of the year talk. Nothing like managing expectations.
- Jeff Dickerson at ESPN asks new special teams coordinator Jeff Rogers if he likes any of the players you inherited from last year’s team. It’s notable that he doesn’t come up with a single name.
- Brad Biggs at the Chicago Tribune answers my question about whether Bears draft pick Adrian Amos is more of a threat to Ryan Mundy or Antrel Rolle. My assumption when I asked this question was that Rolle would play free safety, as he did last year with the Giants, and that Mundy would play strong safety where the Bears would take advantage of his good tackling efficiency. Amos would fit better at free. But to my surprise, Biggs indicates that there is some question about whether Rolle will be at strong safety. Rolle might fit better as a strong safety as to my eye his range is decreasing. But this wouldn’t play to Mundy’s strengths. Who plays what will be an interesting question to keep an eye on when training camp starts.
- Biggs also answers a question about whether the Bears will keep four nose tackles with the signing of undrafted free agent Terry Williams. The question assumes that Jeremiah Ratliff will play nose tackle, something I’m not too sure he’ll be doing. He could also play end. Another thing to keep an eye on in camp.
- Conor Orr at nfl.com predicts the Bears starters for 2015. I thought it was interesting that he has Hroniss Grasu moving immediately in as the starter at center. Many think Grasu will need a year of seasoning at guard and/or on the bench before being asked to handle the duties at center. Orr also says that the Bears have “sneaky depth” along the defensive line. I fail to see that.
- Orr predicts the 2015 starters for the Lions. I’ve been predicting a fall for the Lions this year for a while. The long standing problem of a poor defensive backfield and the new problem along the defensive line with the departure of Ndamukong Suh could be a very problematic combination for them.
- Orr thinks that there’s a lot to like about the Vikings starters. Unlike the Lions, they seem to have finally solved their chronic problem at cornerback with Xavier Rhodes and Trae Waynes. Combined with a strong front seven they’re going to be tough on defense. They finally have a quarterback to go with Adrian Peterson on offense. ’nuff said.
- Orr points out that the Packers didn’t entirely solve their two greatest problems this offseason – weaknesses at cornerback and inside linebacker. He doesn’t think first round draft pick, cornerback Damarious Randall, will be ready to start as a rookie. The Packers coaching staff will once again have to earn their money this year.
- Orr also pens an article in which analysts Brian Baldinger and former cornerback Solomon Wilcots discuss what the New York Jets are going to do with what is suddenly an excess of good defensive linemen. Leonard Williams unexpectedly fell to them in the draft and he was too good to pass up. The conclusion? Go to the 4-6 defense. This is a fascinating read as both analysts speculate that the combination of the right personnel, the right coach and the right defense to stop the suddenly resurgent power running game in the NFL all combine to make this an interesting possibility. I’m looking forward to seeing what happens with this Jets defense. It has the potential to be the best in the NFL.
- Hub Arkush at chicagofootball.com says that the owners meetings are mostly hot air insisting that there aren’t many real stories to be had there. One thing I’ll take issue with is his statement on the race that the Rams, Chargers and Raiders are in to get to LA. He insists that “the reality is none of those teams is any closer to L.A. today than is has been at any time in the past”. On the contrary. The reality is that Stan Kroenke is well on his way to building a real stadium which is going to have to be filled by a real team. Someone’s going to do that. We’re a lot closer to seeing at least one team leave than in times past.
One Final Thought
One other thing in Hub’s article that I’m going to choose to take issue with is his continued, emotional defense of the Patriots in the “deflate-gate” scandal. Particularly his statement that Tom Brady and the NFLPA will “take their case to court as they did with Ray Rice and Adrian Peterson, and a truly unbiased judge will throw out the suspension completely after exposing it and the Wells report for the farces they are”.
I’ve stayed away from this as far as the blog is concerned because, after an initial gut reaction on the topic, I’ve decided that I’m not too worried about it. It’s not about football. It’s about the business that surrounds football and I’m not too interested in promoting that.
Nevertheless, I must say that I’d be very surprised if this went to court because in that case Brady would be forced to turn over his electronic communications under subpoena. That’s something I doubt very much he’d be willing to do given that he wouldn’t do it when he and his agent had control over what got turned over during the Wells investigation and wouldn’t do it. The Rice and Peterson cases were different – no one was withholding evidence. And let’s be honest, that’s what this case is all about now. When you are the NFL and you are charged with the investigation of a rules violations (or anything else) and you don’t have subpoena power, you are entirely dependent on the cooperation of everyone involved. That means you have to throw the book at teams that lawyer up in an effort to affect the outcome of the investigation and/or withhold evidence. It’s the only card the league can play in order to allow them to keep order in the league. As was the case with the Saints’ “bounty-gate” scandal, that’s what’s behind the severity of the punishment here.
In any case, I think we may be looking at a situation where Brady would prefer that the doubt about his guilt persists, even if the fact that he didn’t completely cooperate with the investigation does, as well.