New York Giants superstar wide receiver Odell Beckham had already developed a less-than-stellar reputation around the league. After Beckham burst onto the scene last season as a rookie, the target was placed squarely on his back. In Week 16 of last season, Beckham and the St. Louis Rams escalated minor infractions into a full-blown melee. This season began with minor skirmishes like those while playing Buffalo, where he was fined for throwing punches at his opponent. Things came to a head this past week with Beckham recklessly head hunting Carolina cornerback Josh Norman with a 20-yard head start. There have been plenty of excuses offered for Beckham’s actions, from a Josh Norman early game take down, to the feeling of being threatened in the pre-game by a Carolina player carrying a bat on the field, to finally a very broad and unspecific claim of opposing players using a derogatory term toward Beckham. While his team attempts to find some way to explain away and defend Beckham’s actions, the only thing we have not heard is Odell taking ownership of his obvious mistake.
After all of the hoopla and fanfare surrounding the arrival of coach Rex Ryan to Buffalo, the Bills are unfortunately worse off than they were when they had Doug Marrone. The “players coach” has failed to get his players on the same page. After this week’s loss, star receiver Sammy Watkins demanded that the players be held accountable for their play and lack of accountability. When asked about these remarks, Ryan declared that drastic changes were going to be made before laying the blame on the players for not knowing their responsibilities or technique. A group of players that Ryan has had an entire offseason and 15 weeks of game action to get prepared. The Bills once opposing defense has fallen to a dismal 21st in the league. Young and upcoming middle linebacker Preston Brown has lamented that the coaching staff has been slow to get plays in from the sideline which is leading to mass confusion on defense. While Ryan’s resume boasts of championship level defenses, the recent struggles on the field in New York and now Buffalo call Rex’s legitimacy into question.
Laying the Wood(son)
With two games left in the 2016 season, Charles Woodson has decided to announce his retirement. After 18 seasons, 11 of which came while wearing the silver and black, Woodson wanted to make his decision public so the fans in Oakland can say goodbye one last time this Christmas Eve in Oakland’s last home game. The eight-time Pro-Bowler has had a Hall of Fame career, peaking with the Green Bay Super Bowl winning squad in 2010. After Green Bay elected to move on from Woodson, he returned to his original team where he helped turn the franchise around and he leaves it heading in the right direction. Woodson displayed a fierce competitiveness and a penchant for coming up with big plays in big moments. You won’t want to miss the farewell scene in Oakland this Thursday night. The fans in Oakland will hope that Woodson will be the only thing they say goodbye too that night.
While Oakland prepares to say goodbye to Charles Woodson and perhaps the entire franchise, the swan song is already under way in San Diego. San Diego has had a difficult season and has suffered more impactful injuries than any other team than perhaps Baltimore. So while the season hasn’t gone according to plan, the fans continue to come out in full force in hopes that their beloved franchise finds a way to remain. In case a solution to the San Diego stadium woes cannot be figured out, and it’s looking less likely by the week, the team and its fans treated this past weekend’s final home game as an impromptu farewell. With Oakland’s final game in Oakland this week and St. Louis’ final home game in St. Louis in Week 17, three fan bases in three weeks will nervously await the owner’s meetings in January to hear their team’s fate.
It’s been a wild and bumpy ride for the Cleveland Browns and Johnny Manziel and there have been no shortage of stories to help fill ‘Outkicking the Coverage’ on a weekly basis. Coach Mike Pettine has taken every chance he could to distance himself from the man who would be king in Cleveland. While Manziel has done little to sway his reluctant coach, after the loss of starter Josh McCown and the incredibly poor play of Austin Davis, he and his head coach are stuck with each other for at least the last two weeks of the season. When asked about the future in Cleveland, one that neither he nor his quarterback are assured to be a part of, Pettine very clearly suggested that Manziel may not be on the roster. Despite the lack of support from his coach, Johnny Manziel told the media that he hopes the coaching staff and players return citing the benefit of continuity. If Manziel and Pettine return for 2016 together, the only continuity in Cleveland will be chaos.
Stat of the Week – Sam Monson @PFF_Sam – Peyton Manning still leads the league in interceptions by two picks. He hasn’t started for five games.
1. Carolina Panthers (14-0), last week 1: Lost a little bit in the brouhaha was Cam Newton’s MVP performance.
2. New England Patriots (12-2), last week 2: The Patriots look to lock up the top seed this week against the Jets.
3. Arizona Cardinals (12-2), last week 3: Arizona breathes a sigh of relief over Carson Palmer’s finger.
4. Cincinnati Bengals (11-3), last week 4: AJ McCarron helps the Bengals keep pace ahead of the Steelers.
5. Pittsburgh Steelers (9-5), last week 8: Pittsburgh is all but assured a playoff spot at this point.
6. Seattle Seahawks (9-5), last week 7: Seattle is making do without Marshawn Lynch.
7. Denver Broncos (10-4), last week 5: After back-to-back losses, the grip on the division lead is loosening
8. Kansas City Chiefs (9-5), last week 9: The Chiefs are gaining ground quickly on Denver.
9. Green Bay Packers (10-4), last week 6: The offense still isn’t right but it’s good enough.
10. New York Jets (9-5), last week 10: It’s been a nice season but they might wind up just short of the playoffs.
11. Minnesota Vikings (9-5), last week 11: The Vikings aren’t giving up their division crown hopes.
12. Houston Texans (7-7), last week 16: Houston has taken control of the division but can they keep it?
13. New York Giants (6-8), last week 17: The Giants fought back literally but still ended up losing.
14. Washington (7-7), last week 18: This week’s game against Philadelphia is for all of the NFC East marbles.
15. Philadelphia Eagles (6-8), last week 13: Philadelphia, miraculously, is in control of its own destiny.
16. Buffalo Bills (6-8), last week 14: The backstabbing in Buffalo is under way.
17. Atlanta Falcons (7-7), last week 15: We’ll always have that first month to remember.
18. Indianapolis Colts (6-8), last week 12: Indianapolis is running out of time.
19. Chicago Bears (5-9), last week 19: This isn’t a very good team.
20. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (6-8), last week 20: Jameis Winston is hitting the rookie wall hard.
21. Oakland Raiders (6-8), last week 21: The Raiders aren’t quite there but they are heading in the right direction.
22. Jacksonville Jaguars (5-9), last week 22: This loss ended the Jaguars’ slim playoff hopes.
23. St. Louis Rams (6-8), last week 28: The Rams sent the home fans home with a win possibly for the last time.
24. Miami Dolphins (5-9), last week 23: This team lacks an identity.
25. Dallas Cowboys (4-10), last week 24: Now they can finally put Tony Romo on Injured Reserve.
25. New Orleans Saints (5-9), last week 25: The only way this season can end for the Saints is with Drew Brees in a walking boot.
27. San Diego Chargers (4-10), last week 26: The Chargers send the home fans home possibly forever with a win.
28. Detroit Lions (5-9), last week 29: In the battle of who cares less this week, the Lions beat the Saints
29. Baltimore Ravens (4-10), last week 27: The Ravens aren’t crowing any longer.
30. Tennessee Titans (3-11), last week 30: With a few big time highlights, Marcus Mariota’s rookie season comes to an end.
31. San Francisco 49ers (4-10), last week 31: The best hope for 49ers fans is if the team is sold.
32. Cleveland Browns (4-10), last week 32: The Browns are petitioning the league for a 14-game season.