NFL Training Camps Are Open

Yesterday, I spent a bunch of time on NFL “matters” – particularly the LeSean McCoy situation in which the NFL looks destined to come out the end of the cycle with dirt on its face.  There are other NFL “stories” out there as teams head to training camp So let me focus on a few of those.  Let me start with ones that seemingly will take on a positive aura as we approach the regular season:

  1. The defending Super Bowl Champs – Eagles – have no idea yet if their prodigy QB, Carson Wentz, will be ready to play football in Week 1.  Given that their backup for now was named Super Bowl MVP in February, the Eagles would be stone-cold stupid to rush Wentz back to the field.  Wentz is their QB of the present and the future IF he is healthy.  The Eagles’ braintrust must resist the temptation to rush him back to the field.
  2. Andrew Luck returns to the Colts’ camp and reports say that he can “make all the throws”.  The Colts have to hope that report is 100% correct because none of the backups on the roster this morning is going to lead the Colts to a playoff slot.
  3. Kirk Cousins takes his very rich and 100% guaranteed contract in Minnesota seriously.  That is a good idea, because the Vikes came within a game of playing the Pats in the Super Bowl.  The Vikes need him to stay healthy and to continue his growth as a QB.
  4. Meanwhile in DC, the Skins project that Alex Smith continues his high-quality play over the season.  If the Skins falter badly again this year, Smith will be a pariah in Washington and Jay Gruden may be looking for work.
  5. The Rams shocked the NFL last year.  They have seemingly doubled down this year by signing free agents who have a history of “disruptive behaviors” on the field and off the field.  The Rams are going to be more than just a football team this year; they will be a study in how eccentric characters interact with one another.  [Oh yeah, they also signed their star RB, Todd Gurley, to a contract that has $40M in guaranteed money.]

Some of the storylines heading into training camp for NFL teams are not nearly as positive/upbeat as the five listed above:

  1. Jon Gruden takes over the helm for the Raiders.  If you look at résumés, Gruden is the best coaching hire for the Raiders since Mark Davis took over running the team for his now dead father.  At the same time, the seeds of dysfunction are strewn all around this team.  Kahlil Mack is their best DE/OLB; not only is he unsigned as of this morning, reports say that he and Gruden have not talked in the 5 months or so that Gruden has been the head coach.  This could suck…
  2. There may be trouble in New England this year – if not in paradise – if the media reports about friction between Tom Brady Bill Belichick and owner, Robert Kraft are real.  If things go south for the Pats, it will not show up until the playoffs because the other three teams in the AFC East have bigger problems to deal with than petty squabbles.
  3. I mentioned the LeSean McCoy situation yesterday.  There is more turmoil in Buffalo – a team that made the playoffs last year.  The Bills traded away their starting QB and will have a competition for the new starter among AJ McCarron, Nathan Peterman and rookie Josh Allen.

I am going to presume that the story about Jimmy Garoppolo having dinner with a porn star will have a shelf life as short as that of Anthony Scaramucci’s stay in Washington as White House Communications Director.  There is a “snicker factor” associated with the story:

  • Jason Whitlock called Garoppolo “Jimmy G-String” on Speak for Yourself.
  • Garoppolo said in a press conference that the “date” was a “learning experience”.  That can be taken more than one way.

Notwithstanding the above, consider that Garoppolo is a single, adult male.  He is free go to dinner with just about anyone – convicted game fixers would cross the line so he should not have Tim Donaghy in his Rolodex.  He did not come close to breaking any laws; the video after the dinner showed him getting into the back seat of a car meaning he did not drive after – possibly – consuming alcohol at dinner.  I hope this is the last we hear of this matter.

I mentioned above that the Rams are going for broke this year.  There could be several reasons for the organization deciding to do that and one could be to whip up interest in LA because the Rams have made it clear that it will not be cheap to see games in the new stadium under construction in Inglewood.  According to the LA Times here is the bottom line:

  • Premium seating – about 25% of the stadium – will require a Personal Seat License costing $100K.  This is actually a 50-year interest-free loan to the team because after 50 years, the $100K will be returned to the purchaser
  • Tickets for premium seats to Rams’ games will cost $375 each – for 10 games a season.  The Rams guarantee that this price will be frozen for 3 years.
  • Non-premium seats will require a PSL at a lower cost than the premium seats.  Some PSL’s will be less than $1K and ticket prices will not be as high.  However, the Rams are not guaranteeing that the prices of the “cheap seats” will be frozen for any period of time.

If you are interested in more detail about the Rams’ new stadium – – and the Chargers’ new stadium too – – here is a link to the LA Times report.

Finally, here is an observation by Brad Rock of the Deseret News from a while back:

“Several players and their coach have been suspended a combined 23 games after a fight during a women’s soccer match in Australia.

“The Age newspaper says charges included ‘violent conduct’ and ‘bringing the game into disrepute.’

“In other words, becoming the XFL.”

But don’t get me wrong, I love sports………