Category Archives: Editorials

Shannon Eastin – Replacement Ref

Shannon Eastin is scheduled to officiate Thursday nights game between the San Diego Chargers, and the Green Bay Packers in San Diego.  There had been rumors that Eastin would call the opening preseason game for the NFL season, Arizona Cardinals vs. New Orleans Saints in the Hall of Fame Game.  However these rumors appear to have been only speculation.  The NFL announced on Monday that Eastin would referee an NFL preseason game and it would be in Week 1 of the preseason.

According to the NFL commisioner Roger Goodell, Eastin will not be the last female to officiate in the National Football League.   Although no time table has been set for when the next female offical will be welcomed, many are speculating that if the NFL and the NFLRA (National Football League Referee’s Association) do not come to terms in the near future, more female refs could come really soon.

Eastin has spent the last 10 years officiating in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference, and will be the first female to officiate an NFL game either regular season or preseason.

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Ben Roethlisberger Injury Update

Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback, Ben Roethlisberger, has a slightly torn rotator cuff in his throwing shoulder.  The injury, according to Big Ben, happened last November in a game against Steelers rivals the Baltimore Ravens.   Roethlisberger was quoted by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazzette as saying

I have a little torn rotator cuff. That doesn’t heal. We just have to hope it doesn’t tear the rest of the way, according to Doc

Shannon Eastin to Ref NFL Game

The NFL front office announced today that the possibility of a woman officiating an NFL game is no longer a possibility, its a fact.

Shannon Eastin will be the first woman to work as an NFL official during league game play.  Eastin has refereed over the last decade with the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference.  NFL head of Officials had said last year that women officials were coming sooner rather than later, but no one expected it to be this season.  Johnson stated, “Our goal is to get the best people working this game.”

Felix Jones Fails Conditioning Test

Dallas Cowboy running back, Felix Jones, failed the teams mandatory conditioning test on Monday.  Running Backs in the Cowboys system need to be able to run 50 yards in 7 seconds (nearly 2.5 seconds slower than Jones ran his 40 at the combine).

Jones along with Safety Brodney Pool and receiver Andre Holmes failed their conditioning tests and are being held out of training camp.  Jones, who has had fantasy value in the past, is the clear cut backup in Dallas.  DeMarco Murray has set himself miles ahead of Jones in not only ability but desire as well.  Jones, who is in the last year of his contract, had been expected to come in and be a third down / change of pace back for the Cowboys this season.

Felix Jones has little to no fantasy relevance going forward.  He may be worth a late round pick up as a handcuff to Murray but holds no value on his own.

Andre Johnson, Hurt again

Over the past half decade Houston Texans Wide Receiver, Andre Johnson, has been considered the top Fantasy Wide Receiver in football.   His stats and ability were truly second to none.  However over the past 2 seasons Johnsons productivity has fallen and he has spent the second half of the season including the fantasy post season.  This year Andre starts the season off with yet another hamstring injury.

This season, Johnson will be lucky to be in the top 5 of Wide Receivers in terms of production.  Calvin Johnson, Larry Fitzgerald, Wes Welker and Roddy White should easily surpass his production.   There is no denying that Andre Johnson is still a top tier talent, but the question is the risk.  I feel more comfortable taking Larry Fitzgerald who rarely misses time over Andre falling to pieces one more time.

The QB Carousel

With Peyton Manning deciding to head to then Mile High City and now Matt Flynn going to the Great Northwest how does each teams QB rank on a fantasy level.  Check out the early rankings for NFL Quarterbacks this Fantasy Season.

Team Quarter Back Fantasy Value QBRK
Green Bay Packers Aaron Rodgers So, last year we said that Aaron Rodgers was worth the number one pick in all fantasy formats. We were right. This year we feel very similar. We can understand the debate between Brees, Rodgers and Brady and if you really want to get into it feel free, either way you have an elite Quarterback on your squad and much like the real NFL you maybe able to squeak through a championship once a decade without a top tier QB but its much easier with one. No longer are running backs the predominate necessity in Fantasy Football, its Quarterbacks and if you can draft your way into getting said QB’s number one threat you are two steps ahead of the game. 1
New England Patriots Tom Brady We battled back and forth here last year whether Aaron Rodgers or Tom Brady were the best QB in Fantasy, Turned out it was Rodgers. That’s not to say that Brady wasn’t right there. The New England offense did what it does, throw the ball and they look to do it again this year. They have already secured Wes Welker for the season with the Franchise Tag and brought in deep threats Brandon Lloyd and Donte Stallworth. The additions allow for the dynamic Tight End duo to have more open field to work with and Welker to be able to roam free over the middle of the field and working the sidelines. The Patriots currently do not have a running back that can carry the load which means more passing from the best passing team in the league. Expect another fantastic Fantasy performance from Brady, again its either him, Rodgers or Brees. 2
New Orleans Saints Drew Brees Drew Brees was the player last year we were not sure was going to be able to reproduce the numbers we expect from the former Superbowl MVP. We knew he was a top 3 talent at the position but was he also worth a first round pick like we believed Brady and Rodgers were, he was. This year we have the same questions, but none of them revolve around if Brees can do it. Are questions this year all surround “Bounty Gate” and how will the penalty be handed down over the origination, if Sean Payton has to sit out a few games, will that effect the way the play calling on offense. The Saints did bring back Marques Colston but lost Robert Meachem, and they do still have Jimmy Graham but may loose several contributors on defense as well as already loosing Defensive Coordinator Gregg Williams. Brees is still a top Fantasy producer at the QB spot but may fall to number 4 depending on how Cam Newton, Matthew Stafford or even Philip Rivers shows up. 3
Detroit Lions Matthew Stafford If you were not convinced by Matthew Stafford’s performance at the end of 2010, then please tell me you apologized by mid season of 2011. Stafford showed great arm strength and accuracy on the deep ball and a utter lack of anything resembling fear as he regularly chucked the ball high and hard into double and triple teams to receiving god Calvin Johnson. Stafford is one of the few talents at Quarterback that does not need an overly talented receiving corp. Like Tom Brady, Stafford reads coverages well and has faith in knowing which one of his guys can beat their match up. He throws the ball with great touch and has an offense that is designed to let him break passing records. The running game in Detroit is going to fall apart, its what it does since Barry Sanders left, luckily Stafford has the arm strength of a young Drew Bledsoe and will have no problems throwing the ball 45 times a week. 4

Continue on to see the entire NFL Quarterback Rankings breakdown.

Perhaps a little to Bearish on a good thing…

Working the Wire Opinion:

The Chicago Bears signed former Oakland Raiders running back Michael Bush on Thursday to a four year deal, but they have yet to give pro-bowl running back Matt Forte a long term contract.  Forte saw this as yet another sign of disrespect, going as far as to tweet:

There’s only so many times a man that has done everything he’s been asked to do can be disrespected! Guess the GOOD GUYS do finish last….

Matt Forte would later back down slightly from his comments by tweeting:

for the record I’m not mad at the signing of another running back. This is 4th time that’s happened. I embrace competition as well as help

Now I am not the General Manager or Director of Player Personnel or anywhere near the Owner of a NFL franchise, but…  I understand the importance of appealing to your fan base, which Forte does.  I understand the importance of having a player in a key position that is willing to do what is necessary to make the play successful, which Forte is.  Those two points alone should be enough to sell you on the idea that Matt Forte deserves a long term contract, 4 years worth $42 million with 23 mil guaranteed seems more than reasonable for a  player who contributed a larger percentage of positive yardage while on the field than any other player in the NFL last year.

At the same time I understand the importance of manipulating the salary cap and acquiring the best possible talent at a fair market price.  My problem hear is the Bears, who I must admit are my “home town team”, are failing to realize the full value of Forte as a commodity.  I’m taking a short break to state that I do not believe people can be categorized as commodities in any what, but the word is appropriate to establishing value based on ones performance.  To that point, Matt Forte’s production has been on par with the top performers in the NFL, the fact that he is producing the amount of yardage he has, while playing in an antiquated offensive system, behind a sub-par offensive line is more valuable than the idea of a second round draft pick that has good hands coming in and replacing him.

The Chicago Bears ownership and football operations guys seem to always miss the one obvious solution they need to become the NFC leading title contender.  In the past they were reluctant to bring in a stud Quarterback, finally they did so with Jay Cutler.  They have refused to give Cutler the kind of receiving threat that a legitimate QB needs to be successful, they finally did that with Brandon Marshall, and now all they need to do is lock in a legit pro bowl caliber running back to keep the offense balanced, the Bears have their guy, sitting on the Franchise Tag, but again seem unwilling to pull the trigger to solidify would may be considered the best offense in the NFC.  Chicago Bears I love you, and I always will, however, its time to recognize what you have and what you need.  Do not let Forte get away, there is not enough value in the draft to trade him and keeping the tag on him this year can only lead to a hold-out, which will cause you to lose him next year.

I understand the mind-state that running backs are a replaceable commodity, the injury concerns at the position are huge, granted.  Here is the thing though; average running backs can be easily replaced the league is crammed with average backs.  Matt Forte, not an average back.  Forte is one of the best receiving backs in the NFL, one of the best outside the tackle runners in the NFL, and showed when the O-line could open a hole that he has the patience and vision to be a prototypical downhill runner between the tackles.  The man has done it all in Chicago and has handled his contract issues professionally (for the most part), its time Da Bears need to bite Da Bullet, lock up Forte, he’s a Chicago style superstar in the same mold as Derrick Rose of the Bulls, Ryne Sandberg of the Cubs, Frank Thomas of the White Sox or Chris Chelios of the Blackhawks.  He is one of us, he needs to stay.

And the levee breaks

So maybe its too soon to make a flooding reference to the city of New Orleans but the backlash from the Saints Bounty system has begun to be realized.

The NFL commissioner, Roger Goodell, started handing out fines and suspensions to those involved in paying players “bounties” for game ending hits on the elite players in the NFL.  The hardest hit so far has been former New Orleans Saints defensive coordinator Gregg Williams.  Williams has been hit with an indefinite suspension, meaning he’s gone basically as long as Goodell feels like keeping him out of the league.

Also taking a huge hit with a suspension is Saints head coach, Sean Payton.  Payton has been suspended for the entire 2012 season without pay.  The Saints will also lose their GM Mickey Loomis for 8 weeks, this won’t start till the season begins so he’s available for GM duties during the draft and free agency, making his suspension fairly un-impactful for the origination.

The big news is yet to come, as there may be as many as 27 players to take fines and or suspension as a result of New Orleans foolish attempt at motivation.  It will be interesting to see how the Saints players respond to a temporary head coach and the possibility of losing as many as 6 defensive starters.

Some players mentioned as “Targets” by the Saints:

Brett Favre
Cam Newton
Aaron Rodgers
Kurt Warner