Category Archives: NFL
NFL: Yahoo Sports Dan Wetzel on the troubling signs that led to the downfall and conviction of Patriots star Aaron Hernandez:
FALL RIVER, Mass. – Lesa Strachan stands a little over 5-feet tall, wears her hair short and works as an area operations manager here in the small towns of southeastern Massachusetts. She is everyone. She is no one.
She is not, for sure, rich or famous or celebrated, like Aaron Hernandez, the NFL star turned murder defendant who was standing across a Bristol County courtroom from her Wednesday morning.
Lesa Strachan was the forewoman in Hernandez’s murder case, personally selected by the judge because her intelligence and seriousness and leadership were easy to identify. As part of her job, Strachan had to rise up, look at Hernandez and read the verdict. She had to do something for perhaps the first time ever.
She had to hold Aaron Hernandez accountable for his actions.
“Guilty of murder in the first degree,” Strachan said to the court.
Moments later, Hernandez was forced by a court officer to sit down, no longer afforded the right to stand like the presumed innocent. He was just another convict now, just another prisoner, just another punk … life without parole at age 25. Read the rest of this entry
MMQB previews the key Super Bowl matchups and storylines between the defending champion Seahawks and NE Patriots:
SEAHAWKS’ OFFENSE VS. PATRIOTS’ DEFENSE
1) Seattle’s passing game
The Patriots have the best man coverage in football. The Seahawks’ passing attack is heavy on isolation routes, and we just saw their receivers get stifled for 55 minutes by the Packers’ man-centric defense. Expect Darrelle Revis to shadow Doug Baldwin, eliminating Russell Wilson’s top target. The Seahawks might be able to occasionally work Baldwin open from the slot with short-area pick routes, stack releases, and their staple wheel routes, but Revis is phenomenal at working through traffic to defend those (see his interception in the AFC Championship Game). Most likely, Wilson will have to look elsewhere. But with two safeties in help coverage—a tactic the Patriots use often and will certainly employ against the mobile Wilson—do we really foresee Jermaine Kearse consistently separating from Brandon Browner? Or Ricardo Lockette shaking free from Kyle Arrington and a safety?
Seattle Times on the Seahawks trading talented Percy Harvin to the Jets after bad chemistry and locker room incidents emerge:
RENTON – In a move that shocked the NFL, the Seahawks on Friday traded receiver Percy Harvin to the New York Jets for a conditional 2015 draft pick.
One source confirmed to The Seattle Times on Friday that the deal, first reported by Fox Sports, was agreed upon and an official announcement was made by the teams on Saturday morning. The trade does not become official until Harvin passes a physical.
One source told The Times the Seahawks had decided Harvin, 26, “just wasn’t a fit” with the rest of the team and the trade had as much to do with what was happening in the locker room as it did Harvin’s production on the field. The team, a source said, was “just ready to move on” from Harvin despite his obvious on-field gifts.
Sources also said a few incidents in recent months helped set the stage for Friday’s stunning trade.
NFL: Baltimore Ravens Cut Ray Rice After New 2nd Video Surfaces Showing Him Punching His Fiancee In Elevator
Ravens release Ray Rice after 2nd TMZ video is leaked showing his domestic assault on fiancee; Roger Goodell suspends him indefinitely but is accused of a coverup in receiving tape:
Via NY Times:
The Baltimore Ravens terminated running back Ray Rice’s contract Monday after a graphic video emerged of him punching his former fiancée, who is now his wife, in a hotel elevator in Atlantic City in February. The video raised fresh questions about N.F.L. Commissioner Roger Goodell’s handling of the situation; in July, the N.F.L. suspended Rice for two games.
The Ravens, who had not previously disciplined Rice in any public way, announced Rice’s release on their Twitter account Monday afternoon. The league, which had been widely criticized for not penalizing Rice more strongly, has now indefinitely suspended him.
“Commissioner Roger Goodell has announced that based on the new video evidence that became available today, he has imposed an indefinite suspension on Ray Rice,” the N.F.L. said in a statement. Rice will have to apply to be reinstated.
Browns rookie QB Johnny Manziel debuts at Cleveland Browns training camp with plenty of buzz, distractions and excitement:
Via The Associated Press:
BEREA, Ohio — There were No. 2 jerseys everywhere, ringing the practice fields in various shapes, sizes and colors.
On the first day of training camp, Browns fans came out by the thousands, many of them to get their first live look at the popular and polarizing quarterback who electrified college football and who may one day lead Cleveland back to pro football glory.
They all came to see Johnny Manziel.
Strutting around the field with his usual swagger, Manziel went through his first training camp practice on Saturday, a workout that finally allowed the focus to be on his playing ability after months of his social life making headlines. A day after acknowledging he “made some rookie mistakes” with his off-the-field exploits, Manziel zipped passes and showed some of the elusiveness that earned him his Johnny Football nickname while at Texas A&M. “I have fun playing this game,” Manziel said. “I have fun going out on this field playing football. It’s what I live for, it’s what I love to do.” Read the rest of this entry
Taking a closer look at some of the best draft picks and overall value by each team after a very busy 2014 NFL Draft:
Via ESPN Insider: After looking through each team’s draft board, these choices stood out as being the best based on what each player brings to the table, how he fits with his new team and where he was drafted in the order (and also who else was available at the time).
Here are my favorite picks of all 32 teams, plus plenty of thoughts on some of the other choices I did or didn’t like for each.
Round 3 (79): Terrence Brooks, S, Florida State
I could have gone with C.J. Mosley, who was the best player on the board when the Ravens took him at No. 17 overall, and is an NFL-ready player who will be a playmaker behind the Ravens’ big defensive front.
But I decided to go with Brooks here, as I think he was a steal in the third round and could develop into an every-down starter for Baltimore given his physicality near the line and range in coverage. He’s always around the football.
Timmy Jernigan, drafted at No. 48 in the second round, is a good player, but I don’t totally understand his fit as a 1-technique. He won’t provide much as a pass rusher, and he comes with some character baggage.
Rd. 1 (4): Sammy Watkins, WR, Clemson (from CLE)
It came at a high cost (a 2015 first-rounder in the trade with Cleveland to move up from No. 9 to No. 4), but the Bills got the most dynamic offensive playmaker in this draft — and the best wide receiver prospect since A.J. Green — in Watkins. They are going to need to surround second-year QB EJ Manuel with great players to give him a chance to succeed, and in Watkins he will have a true No. 1 target. Read the rest of this entry
NFL: Philadelphia Eagles and Coach Chip Kelly decide to release the team’s most explosive player over off-field concerns:
Via NFL.com: The Philadelphia Eagles announced Friday that DeSean Jackson was informed of his release.
Jackson will finish his six-year Eagles career with 356 receptions, 6,117 yards and 39 total touchdowns.
The end of the Jackson saga comes in the wake of a Friday morning NJ.com report claiming the Eagles have “serious concerns” about the wide receiver’s continued association with reputed Los Angeles street gang members tied to a pair of homicides.
The same report also questions Jackson’s attitude, work ethic, chemistry with coach Chip Kelly and penchant for missing team meetings to hang out with friends.
Jackson addressed the report through a statement obtained by NFL Media.
“First I would like to thank the Eagles organization, the Eagles fans and the city of Philadelphia for my time in Philly,” Jackson said. “I would also like to thank coach Andy Reid for bringing me in. Secondly, I would like to address the misleading and unfounded reports that my release has anything to do with any affiliation that has been speculated surrounding the company I keep off of the field.”
2014 NFL Free Agency officially underway: Revis, Talib, Ware, Decker and Sproles all heading to new teams:
Via SI: Declaring winners and losers in free agency is not unlike handing out draft grades in the immediate aftermath of that event in that, both sets of reactions usually turn out to be at least 50-percent wrong.
We can only base opinions off what we know (or what we think we know) for the time being, though. Thus, the early stars and stumblers from NFL free agency:
• Tampa Bay … to a point: The Buccaneers’ first offseason under Lovie Smith and GM Jason Licht has started with a bang. They have secured no fewer than four impact players in DE Michael Johnson, OT Anthony Collins, CB Alterraun Verner and underrated DT Clinton McDonald. TE Brandon Myers should help, too, assuming he can fend off Tom Crabtree and 2013 surprise Tim Wright.
Seattle’s defense shuts down Peyton Manning and Devner’s offense, bringing Super Bowl title to the Pacific Northwest:
The Seattle Seahawks’ mantra all season was to make each day a championship day.
They made Super Bowl Sunday the best day of all with one of the greatest performances in an NFL title game — sparked by a defense that ranks among the best ever.
The Seahawks won their first Super Bowl crown in overpowering fashion, punishing Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos 43-8. That masterful defense, the NFL’s stingiest, never let the five-time MVP get going, disarming the highest-scoring offense in league history.
Seattle (16-3) was too quick, too physical and just too good for Denver, and that was true in all areas. What was hyped as a classic matchup between an unstoppable offense and a miserly defense turned into a rout.
The New York Times investigates league TV partner ESPN’s’ sudden exit from Frontline’s NFL Concussion project, after intense pressure from league executives:
ESPN was involved with a hard-hitting television series that delivered an unsavory depiction of professional football players. The N.F.L.’s commissioner was so perturbed that he complained to the chief executive of the Walt Disney Company, ESPN’s parent company. Not long after, ESPN stopped promoting the show, then decided to end its run after one season.
The year was 2004, and the TV series was a fictional drama, “Playmakers,” which did not even include the words “National Football League.” Nearly a decade later, a strikingly similar set of circumstances — though this time with a more serious topic — has left ESPN, the multibillion dollar sports behemoth, again defending its dual existence as a sports platform and a news organization.
On Thursday, ESPN, which has spent heavily in recent years to build its investigative reporting team, abruptly ended its affiliation with “Frontline,” a public affairs television series that was weeks from showing a jointly produced two-part investigative project about the N.F.L.’s contentious handling of head injuries. The divorce came a week after the N.F.L. voiced its displeasure with the documentary at a lunch between league and ESPN executives, according to two people with direct knowledge of the situation.