We’re in the deadest of dead days in the NFL calendar. Barring a suspension, arrest, or maybe spreading of good will? We won’t be hearing much from the league.
Alas, a few notable notes that are noteworthy took place this week.
After all, the NFL never sleeps…
10- NFL Sneaks Suspensions in Pre-Holiday. Did you catch all four of the suspensions handed out on Tuesday evening this week, right before 4th of July, but also likely after you already mentally checked out from your job, and likely were two Orange Crushes deep?
The NFL made announced suspensions for Rams OG Jamon Brown (two games, substance abuse policy), Packers RB Aaron Jones (two games, substance abuse policy), and 49ers LB Reuben Foster (two games, personal conduct policy). The informal announcement that Patriots WR Julian Edelman had his four-game suspension upheld also found its way to the headlines.
Honestly? This policy of bad news dumping right before holidays hoping nobody notices is outdated as hell. That may have been effective back in the days when print was king and sports news wasn’t running rampant, but it’s 2018 folks. I don’t care what day of the week it is, or whether a holiday is around the corner or not. As long as somebody is sitting on the toilet, phone inevitably in hand, somebody is reading about these stories on social media.
That’s right. It’s a true ‘news dump.’
I won’t apologize for that joke either.
9- JPP’s Mangled Hand. I want you to suffer, if only because I had to suffer by seeing the grotesque pictures of current Bucs defensive monster Jason Pierre-Paul, who went to Instagram to show graphic photos of his former-hand. Instead, I’ve PG’d up the image for y’all.
8- Lamar Jackson is FAST (on Madden). With the Madden ratings released this week, we get a look at Lamar Jackson’s projections as a QB, and it’s pretty solid. Here’s a clip from EA Sports:
I think this is a fair assessment of his current talent. There’s no doubt he’s fast, no doubt he needs to work on his accuracy, and no questioning his ability to be a game changer. And I’m willing to bet he’ll get a helluva lot more reps than Joe Flacco in 2018 (on the video game, that is).
7- Officiating turnover overhyped. Oh no! The NFL officiating lost Ed Hochuli, Terry McAulay, Jeff Triplette, Gene Steratore, and some other random guys! This is awful news! Clearly, this means officiating is going to be awful, and there’s going to be a mass exodus of officials coming and the NFL IS DYING YOU GUYS!
Except… it’s all stirring crap and nothing to get your jock strap in a bunch about, really. McAulay left officiating for NFL on NBC, while Steratore is joining CBS. Triplette was one of the most controversial officials in the NFL, and fans (and some players) have been praying he’d hang up the whistle for years now. As for Hochuli… we’ll miss that flexing, but with Shaun Hochuli now running his own crew in the footsteps of his father, we can only hope the flexing will follow his legacy as well.
Guess what though? Ultimately, of the 121 officials in the NFL this season? There’s only SEVEN new officials. So why is everybody freaking out that they lost 5% of the NFL officials from last season? I’ll tell ya why… #NFLDeadSZN
6- Snow Removal Rule. Sticking with the officiating theme here, this is idiotic: apparently the NFL has long had a guideline for clearing snow during the game by non-player personnel that simply states “don’t do it.” That note only existed in the Operations Manual because… I mean… snow removal is kind of an Ops thing right?
Unfortunately, the guideline became an issue last year when Brad Allen had to clear team officials off the field during a Colt-Bills snow game and like a worn down parent, basically said “I’m warning you! Don’t do it!” but really had no intention of doing anything about it… because he couldn’t.
So of course, the NFL is now adding a 15-yard penalty for Unsportsmanlike Conduct if a non-player team official clears snow because why the hell not. I just imagine the Ravens in this situation, and Justin Tucker, Sam Koch and Morgan Cox doing synchronized snow angels to clear the alley for the field goal attempt…
5- Happy last birthday with the O’s Manny… on a more somber note, the O’s celebrated our beloved Manny Machado’s last birthday in fitting fashion: losing a game they had no chance at winning, with an inept offense, lackluster D, and piss poor pitching. He deserves better, and he’ll soon have it! That is, unless Uncle Pete deems it’s King’s-Ransom-or-Bust and rejects all offers, sticking Manny at the losers’ table for the remaining few months of the season.
Ya just know that’s coming, don’t you?
4- LeVeon Bell only has eight days left to work out a long-term deal. Why am I adding a Steelers note? Why, because it’s absolutely hilarious that the best running back in the NFL (arguably top-3 are interchangeable) isn’t going to get a long-term deal for the second straight season, and the Steelers will pay through the nose for one more season for him, watch him skate in free agency next year, while claiming James Conner can fill his void seamlessly, but really struggle to replace his skillset.
I enjoy their pain.
3- Big Ben’s Baaahday (say it like John Mayer). I can’t help take a second shot at the Yinzers, with this gem from Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com in a conversation with Ben Roethlisberger.
“It’s a fine line I walk at this age of resting and getting my body enough rest for the season and working out to prepare.”
Maybe it’s the arrogant Caps fan in me right now, but all I can picture is Big Ben and Penguins poster child for diabetes, Phil Kessel, prepping for the Nathan’s Hotdog Eating Contest, grotesquely crushing sammiches at Primanti Brothers at an exhausting rate.
But it’s all good, it won’t be long before Ben hints at retirement again for the umpteenth season. Truly our modern day Brett Favre.
2- BRAWLTIMORE Fantasy Football is L.I.V.E! I’ve long made a point on the Twitterverse (@AdamBMore shameless plug) that the Ravens local media – the bloggers, the podcasters, the paper print, and the radio – all need to get along more like the offense and defense of the same time, and less like cliquey high school girls. After all, we’re all in it for a common goal here, which is to spread the love for our boys in purple! And what better way to show cohesion than a fantasy football league with representatives from all of your local friendly football friends?
Teams are in place – including a handful of representatives from RSR – but stay tuned for more info in the coming weeks leading up to the draft, and into the season, as yours truly mauls an entire league to prove Russell Street Report dominance in the wonderful world of fantasy football!!
1- HOT TAKE: MORE RECEIVING YARDS WILL COME ON THE HANDS OF RAVENS ROOKIES THAN VETS.
That’s right. The combo of Mark Andrews, Hayden Hurst, Jordan Lasley, and Jaleel Scott will account for more receiving yards than the group of Willie Snead, Michael Crabtree, John Brown, and whatever garbage heap of Tight Ends we keep on board.