FACT: There’s not a thing to be learned by watching a preseason NFL game. However, and this is something that is often ignored by the casual fan – the media doesn’t give a crap. And neither do I, so I figured we could talk about this past weekend’s games to pass this slow, boring Monday along. As always, I would like to point out that I do not profess to be an expert, merely a conversationalist with a love for potty humour. So please, offer your retorts and counterpoints in the comments and I’ll throw some more Earl Gray on the stove.
1) Alex Smith looked like, well, Alex Smith
To be fair, the San Francisco 49ers have never really given Alex Smith much to work with. But this isn’t about being fair, as much as it’s about winning. So far, Smith still doesn’t look like he wants to be the franchise QB that the 49ers thought he could be when they drafted him 6 years ago.
New coach Jim Harbaugh still hasn’t named a starter for Week 1, but neither of his guys – Smith or rookie Colin Kaepernick – were impressive against the New Orleans Saints. Smith was 2/7 for 10 yards while Kaepernick was 9/19 for 117 yards and 2 INTs. So how bad is it for the 49ers? They’re kicking the tires on Daunte Culpepper. At first glance, it’s incredible desperation. But deeper down, it’s probably to mentor Kaepernick, who is very similar to Culpepper.
Either way, don’t count San Fran out of the Suck for Luck sweepstakes.
UPDATE: And it looks like Culpepper is officially back in the NFL. The 9ers intend for him to play 3rd string and mentor Kaepernick, but as a fellow UCF product, I'd like to see Pepp roll one more time.
(Images via Getty and AP)
Cowboys coach Jason Garrett told reporters that he has banned any sort of rookie hazing, which is a response to last season’s controversy between Roy Williams and Dez Bryant, when the latter refused to carry the former’s pads. Now Roy Williams is in Chicago, and he claims he already found a Bears rookie to carry his pads, while Bryant just needs a belt.
Again, it’s the preseason, but a 47-12 thrashing always warrants a little extra attention, especially since all of the New England Patriots’ preseason chatter involves Chad Ochocinco and the 600 defensive linemen that they’ve acquired. And speaking of those two things, that’s all we should really want to talk about. Especially since the Pats are going to have to cut someone soon.
It sure sounds like they might cut either Ochocinco or Haynesworth. Or neither. Or both. They’ll eventually have to cut someone. Maybe it will be Tom Brady. I just blew your freaking mind.
When Tom Brady went down with that horrible knee injury in Week 1 of the 2008 season, we were introduced to Matt Cassel, who immediately sparked a ton of “Is this guy for real?” and “He’s good enough to start for any other team in the NFL including the Patriots” conversations. I get that feeling again from watching Brian Hoyer. I also get it from Matt Flynn, but Boyer will draw the most comparisons because of Cassel.
Now, I’m not suggesting that he’s good enough, but we all know there are GMs who are stupid enough to call the Pats and offer 3 draft picks for him, and we especially know that the Pats are going to try to get teams to bite on a deal like that in the near future.
GQ has a new interview/fashion spread with New York Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez, and while it's not Tom Brady hugging a baby goat, it has some very tender moments, in between comments that once again try to make us believe that he's better than he actually is. Most notable is this little nugget about his TV viewing habits:
Maybe the most striking thing about Sanchez's home is what's on the DVR. Holding a white towel around his waist, heading for the shower, he flips through his saved shows. A documentary about Justin Bieber? Episodes of Glee? The quarterback of the New York Jets is a Gleek and a Belieber?
Yes, he says, failing to notice the tone of incredulity.
Have fun with that, every defensive end in the NFL that plays the Jets this season.
(Image via GQ)
It’s difficult to judge the Detroit Lions’ preseason debut, because they played against the Cincinnati Bengals, who are most likely going to be completely terrible this season. Matt Stafford was 6/7 for 71 yards and 2 touchdowns, while Bengals rookie Andy Dalton didn’t look too shabby either, but “too shabby” ain’t gonna win fantasy championships.
As for Calvin Johnson, the guy who Cris Carter said was not a Top 5 receiver, he had two grabs for 37 yards and a TD. Gee, I wonder if Johnson is going to have a monster season now.
So far so good for new Arizona Cardinals QB Kevin Kolb and Larry Fitzgerald, as they hooked up twice for 60 yards. But how long does that last? Another preseason game or 2 before Fitzy is double-teamed all over the place? Granted, I have no idea who the Cards would get at this point in free agency, but it has to be better than Andre Roberts and Early Doucet. Do they check in on Mark Clayton's injury recovery or possibly try to coax Randy Moss out of retirement? All this and more on the next episode of “Who Still Watches the NFC West?”
The Bears offensive line allowed 6 sacks in the first quarter in their 10-3 victory against the Buffalo Bills. I’m going to assume that the complete meltdown in blocking is because of the new line not being led by Olin Kreutz, but a little part of me wants to hope that it was the line punishing Cutler for giving up when he hurt his knee in the NFC Championship game. And when I say a little part of me, I mean all of me.
Despite only completing 42% of his passes, Cam Newton is receiving a lot of praise from the media and his teammates. They’re saying that he’s a changed man, and he’s nothing like that cocky, smug punk that some people suggested the Carolina Panthers were getting when they drafted him first overall. Newton is sticking around after practices to meet fans, take pictures and sign autographs. He’s also being showered with affection because he’s balancing his urge to become a leader with his willingness to listen and learn. Now if only someone would shower the Panthers’ roster with receivers.
In perhaps the most heart-warming and artery-clogging story of this NFL preseason, Washington Redskins QB Rex Grossman is fighting for what he believes is his starting job, after he completed 19 of 26 passes for 207 yards in the Skins' win over the Pittsburgh Steelers. But he’s up against a most formidable opponent in John Beck, who hasn’t started since he was pushed into the role with the Miami Dolphins and he royally stunk it up. Regardless of who Mike Shanahan names the starter, it will be a story of triumph over adversity and we will talk about it all the way until the Redskins draft Andrew Luck.