…Pre-season NFL drama is beginning to unfold. Here are some stories from the week.
No one doubts that he is one of the greatest QBs to ever lead a team. He stuck with a team for 17 years, which is certainly rare in football anymore. After last season, he decided to retire. In March he said you had second thoughts, and now he wants to come back. But he doesn’t want to just come back, he wants to be the starter. However, the team moved forward with a new gameplan following Brett’s retirement and Aaron Rodgers took the helm. Now here comes Favre, telling the Packers organization to throw Rodgers back on the bench. They refuse and he asks to be released from his contract or traded so that he can play as a starter elsewhere. Messes like this are no good for team morale, especially a team with such drastic offseason changes to begin with. I can understand Favre wanting to be released, and personally I think the Packer’s excuse of “we’re just trying to protect his legacy” is a load of bull. It’s obvious that it’s in their best interest to keep Favre if he’s reinstated because then they have a solid seasoned veteran behind Rodgers. It’s Favre’s decision what his legacy will be. While the Packers front office has said that they will definitely not release Favre from his contract, the possibility of a trade has been left open. Where to then? The Bears and Vikings could certainly use a solid QB, but what a slap in the face to the fans who supported him for so long.
Today, Favre said it would be tempting to show up at Green Bay’s training camp and “call their bluff” just to see what would happen. To me, that seems rather juvenile for a 38 year old man. I understand Favre’s side of it and I understand the Packers organization (with the exception of the “legacy” remark). Where it goes from here depends on who is willing to budge first.
All I can say is, “Nooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!” For the past three years, Manning has been my go-to guy in fantasy football drafts. You bet your bottom dollar that if he’s on the board, I’ll snag him the first chance I get. Why? Consistency. I could rely on Peyton to get me those few extra passing yard/passing touchdown points during weeks when my other players were lagging. But now, I face a conundrum. My iron man had surgery on Monday to remove an infected bursa sac in his left knee. The verdict? He’s out 4-6 weeks, sure to miss the rest of training camp and possibly the pre-season. The hovering question in my mind is “Will he be sharp and ready for the regular season?” Here’s the problem as I see it. Missing camp, scrimmages, and preseason games utterly executes the chances of developing new plays and rhythm with receivers and running backs. Manning, the king of the audible, calls most of his plays at the line, which makes that rhythm even more important. As they say, “practice makes perfect” and without enough practice to make it subconscious, Manning and the Colts could be in some serious trouble.
Now my own offseason becomes a little more dramatic in terms of draft-planning. Do I take the risk that Manning could come back full-strength and draft him early? Or do I get a different QB and perhaps Manning in a later round as a back-up (should he still be available) and then evaluate performance as it happens? It’s all up in the air at this point. We never draft until mid-preseason. I personally think a July draft is foolish because you never know who might tweak something during training camp. Having time to see how players are meshing and producing during training camp affords me time to evaluate my own thoughts and biases. I’d love to post who I’m already keeping an eye on, but that would give my opponents insight that I don’t think they need. I’ve got a new method in mind this year, and will report throughout the season on whether or not it is succeeding.
My last item of drama comes from the “Really? They’re spending money on that?” department. The NFL has hired experts to study game footage to determine if players are flashing gang signs at the crowd as part of their on-field celebrations. Problem number one: What is a gang sign in one city is simply a sign for “ok” in another. Problem number two: players throw up hand signs that have meaning to them in several ways (i.e. college fraternaties, sign for their kids to see on TV) How on earth do you differentiate who is throwing up a gang sign and who simply used a hand sign to say hi to their kid? If the signs have different meaning in different places, it pretty much becomes a guessing game. Really, NFL? I’d be more focused on the ridiculous number of players who have committed serious crimes during the offseason and studying why this behavior is becoming more prevalent. It tarnishes your organization when someone representing it goes out and buys a bunch of drugs and then decides to use them while driving a car. I’m certainly not saying that the NFL is responsible for that behavior, but I think it would be of benefit to them to enforce a stricter code of conduct.
Of course there’s the usual slew of players refusing to report to camp until contract disputes are resolved, but in my opinion that’s less drama and more greed.
With the Olympics and pre-season football coming up next month, I’m sure there will be a lot more stories to report on, and this of course means more pictures of Michael Phelps. But just in case you can’t wait that long, here’s one for good measure:
Fun Fact: It takes 8,000-10,000 calories a day to fuel this man. Amazing.