Andre Johnson, Arian Foster, Ben Tate, Brady Quinn, Brandon Lloyd, Chris Johnson, Cincinnati Bengals, Denver Broncos, houston texans, Hue Jackson, Indianapolis Colts, Jim Irsay, John Elway, kyle orton, Mario Williams, Matt Schuab, Mike Shanahan, Mike Zimmer, Oakland Raiders, Peyton Manning, Roy Helu, Taylor Mays, Tennessee Titans, Terrelle Pryor, Tim Hightower, Tim Tebow, washington redskins
Let’s start with the most recent news. Terrelle Pryor has been drafted by the Oakland Raiders. It’s a decent marriage and Pryor shows some willingness to play WR, TE, QB or whatever else they ask of him. The only concern is that the Raiders gave up a 3rd round pick in 2012, leaving them without a 2nd, 3rd, and 4th round draft picks coming up. This is a similar strategy employed by the Washington Redskins, and it tends to yield very mediocre teams without adequate depth. Still, if the Raiders can get a starting WR or QB out of the deal, than this won’t be a bad pickup.
I’ll put this down without confidence in it. I would expect that Pryor doesn’t play quarterback at an NFL level. His mechanics are shoddy at best. Hue Jackson is a quarterback guy, but if this team can set him up at WR with some special packages in the mix to employ his solid arm then it’ll be worth it. He ran a 4.38 at his pro day, so it’s not like he’ll be a slow guy in the field.
The Redskins rushing attack looks good. Very good. Shanahan is known for taking little known running backs and a zone blocking scheme to furnish 1000 yard rushers. Tim Hightower looks like he was born to run in this offense, and Roy Helu looks like a very solid backup. This team is still dependent on good quarterback play, and is in the toughest division in football this year (see our NFC East write-up coming soon), but with an improving line and understanding of a complicated system the Redskins look like they might be turning the ship around.
That deafening silence you hear from the Midwest is coming from Indianapolis. Peyton Manning’s neck continues to look more and more dire. So much so that Jim Irsay was joking searching through Hattiesburg for a certain quarterback that has a hard time staying tired. Given their preseason performances, this is a team that cannot survive without Manning. If he’s gone for 4 weeks or more, the Colts lose their division title.
Much hyped safety prospect Taylor Mays has finally ended up where I believed he would be drafted originally – Cincinnati. May’s style of play looks like a good fit for Coach Zimmer’s defensive scheme in Cincinnati – strong safety play near the line of scrimmage – so if someone can turn his career around it should be Mike Zimmer.
The Broncos finally did the obvious, named Kyle Orton the starter. The Bronco fan base seems obsessed with Tim Tebow, just like the entire state of Florida and SEC were. Brandon Lloyd called the situation the Broncos were in “this Tebow thing” which won’t be resolved by naming Orton the starter. The first sign of distress, you can bet there will be calls for Elway’s head if he can’t put Tebow on the field. Confession: I am not a Tebow, the football player, fan. So when I say that it won’t matter how good Brady Quinn plays as the backup, or Kyle Orton plays, if the Broncos cannot win games they will be unable to keep their fans from calling for Tebow to take the reins. It’s rare to see a team held hostage like this. In general, teams are the ones hyping players before they arrive in order to get their fans to support them – like Cam Newton or Jake Locker. In this case, the team seems to be doing it’s best to push Tebow out of sight (he saw very limited snaps before the 4th string QB came in) and still cannot bury him enough to quiet the calls. Look for the calls as soon as the Broncos start to dip, and a similar problem next year if Tebow remains on the roster.
The Texans look good. Playoff bound good. Superbowl contenders good. And their defense doesn’t. That’s how good this offense looks. Arian Foster and Ben Tate look explosive, decisive, electric and ready to roll. Matt Schuab and Andre Johnson have picked up right where they left off. This is a team that’s poised to put up ridiculous numbers scoring (I was sad to learn that there will not be an Arena football style match of the Lions vs Texans this year). The defense is coming along nicely, but still is a work in progress. Mario Williams can rush the passer, but hasn’t looked fluid coming from a standing position. Their secondary is improved, but not quite enough to silence the demons of last years horrific showing. Still, the offense should be able to keep them in the win column significantly.
Chris Johnson vs the Titans could be going a bit longer than we thought. Reports are that CJ is far apart from the Titans, and CJ doesn’t appear to be budging on this one (he and Carson Palmer must be keeping each other strong). Frankly, I’m with Chris Johnson on this. Unlike other positions, running backs are easily replaceable and wear out sooner than other positions. Frequently teams hold off on big deals for running backs until they’ve worn down. Johnson knows this and is going to sign his deal ahead of that and it’s a smart move. Neither side is in the wrong because both want what benefits them. At some point, hopefully, they’ll find a middle ground that’s acceptable to both sides (figuring a deal that expires when he’s 28 or 29 instead of a longer term deal).