Our long national nightmare is over. That’s right folks, Deflate-gate is in our rear view mirror and now we can kick off the season Thursday night in Foxboro with Tom Brady back on the field. Sure, we won’t get to watch one of the best running backs in the league play in Le’Veon Bell. Oh, and we won’t get to see an up-and-coming receiver like Martavis Bryant. Forget about seeing LeGarrette Blount. Or Maurkice Pouncey. Or any kind of defense. So yes, football is back and it should be a high scoring affair.
We can finally move on from the debacle of deflate-gate and enjoy the real games again. Until the next debacle, which let’s face it, is just around the corner. The spotlight is now on Tom Brady and the Patriots as they’ve defeated Roger Goodell and will now look to defend their championship. Patriots fans are hoping for a record setting performance and a ‘no mercy’ attitude the team took on after Spygate, but unfortunately for them, Randy Moss is not walking through the doors. Heck, Santana Moss isn’t even walking through those doors. Still, with as bad as the defense is going to be, the Patriots are going to have to keep the pedal to the metal on offense to win games this year.
My only goal this offseason was to have all of my drafts wrapped up before Labor Day so I can spend that all important last weekend of summer with my family before I head into my football coma for the next four months. Last Friday before I left work, I was giving my rosters, in the way too many leagues I play in, one last look just to make sure there wasn’t some diamond sitting in the free agent rough. Confident in a job well done after a long offseason of preparation, I breathed a sigh of relief that there were no more draft picks to be made.
Sure, cut down day was Saturday but that would only affect a couple of deep dynasty leagues I’m in. I could easily check in on Twitter for 10 minutes tops to get the information I needed there. The weekend was all about family. As I got up from my desk and headed for the exit, I was approached by a co-worker inquiring if I would like to jump in a last minute league as he needed one more owner. He could sense my hesitation, so before I could answer, he launched into the league settings, the scoring system, the starting lineup positions and before I knew it, I handed over my e-mail address and a draft order was generated before I reached my home. The lure of that one more league was too great to pass up. I still enjoyed the weekend with my family, if not for the hour I periodically checked my phone to make my draft selections. For the last time this year. I think.
And with that, let’s Outkick the Coverage and take a quick tour around the league to find the biggest stories…..
Washington DC – Is anyone surprised the Redskins are where they are with Robert Griffin III? Everything was sort of hidden away during the offseason but as soon as the preseason games started, the drama and the divide between ownership and the coaching staff reared it’s ugly head. Jay Gruden does not want RGIII as his quarterback. The moment Dan Snyder opted to pick up RGIII’s fifth-year option we all knew this is how the story would end.
Now they have to hope they can get through the entire year with Griffin in bubble wrap so they don’t have to cut him a massive paycheck in 2016. You would think a new general manager would have seen this coming from a mile away. But obviously, after Scott McLoughan’s wife had a Twitter meltdown accusing a reporter of allegedly getting inside information in exchange for favors, it’s no wonder why the Skins find themselves in the same mess as they were in last year. Don’t plan on seeing RGIII any time soon, in a game or even on the practice field.
New York – Geno Smith has returned to the practice field, albeit not fully participating quite yet, but after a rather embarrassing offseason the Jets appear to be all systems go without their young quarterback. The supposed leader of a team getting his jaw broken by a teammate was no doubt a big story but I can’t help but to think the story would have been even bigger and still going on if it wasn’t for the calming presence of new head coach Todd Bowles. The Jets did their best to downplay the incident and the team moved on much quicker than they would have had Rex Ryan been still been calling the shots.
Buffalo – Speaking of Rex Ryan, it’s usually quiet in Buffalo this time of the year but those days are long gone. Between picking up IK Enemkpali off waivers after the Jets released him, turning the quarterback competition into a bit of a circus, then having a war of words with a former player in Jace Amaro, Rex Ryan is doing all he can to turn the spotlight on the Bills. The bravado is in full affect and Rex has the Bills right where he wants them- on the brink of impossible expectations and playing with a chip on their shoulders.
Philadelphia – Chip Kelly continues to look for ways to completely tear down and rebuild not only his team but his fans emotions. The latest entry into Chip’s string pulling was none other than Tim Tebow. After some uneven performances from Timmy during the offseason things were perhaps looking a little grim for Tebow’s future in Philly. However, a day before cut day, Chip traded off Matt Barkley, presumably Tebow’s direct competition for a roster spot, to Arizona and Tebow-fever began to take hold in the city of Brotherly Love. Alas, it was not meant to be as Tebow was sent packing the next day as Kelly elected to keep two quarterbacks that could actually throw the football.
Indianapolis – The problem in Indy is not the man throwing the football but the men in charge of running the team around that man. GM Ryan Grigson and head coach Chuck Pagano hit the lottery as they won the honor to select Andrew Luck with the first pick for the Colts, but while the Colts have enjoyed successful regular seasons, a trip to the Super Bowl continues to elude them. The Colts deficiencies appear obvious *ahem* run defense, yet the team has continued to fail to address this and other issues holding the team back. With tensions mounting and expectations failed to date, 2015 is shaping up to be a make or break season for the head coach and general manager. A Super Bowl appearance may be the only thing to save their jobs.
Cincinnati – The Bengals would just like to win one playoff game at this point but they do continue to win off the field. Cincinnati released defensive end Devon Still, the inspirational father who brought awareness to childhood cancer with his daughter Leah courageously fighting the deadly disease. While the Bengals have decided to move on from Stills on the football field, they admirably offered to pay for Still’s daughters medical insurance for the next five years. The owner of the Bengals has gotten a bad wrap over the years for being too cheap but Mike Brown deserves recognition for continuing to do the right thing on behalf of the Stills. Bravo.