Before we turn our focus to tonight’s Bears-Broncos preseason battle, let’s check out what’s happening around the league.
- Another week of preseason contests, another week to figure out what the league’s new helmet rule is all about. Here’s the latest from Al Riveron, the NFL’s Senior Vice President of Officiating:
The Use of Helmet rule is designed to protect players from unnecessary risk. It's illegal to lower your head to initiate contact against an opponent. This rule applies to all players & the entire field. The 1st 3 plays are examples of the #NFLWaytoPlay and the last 3 are fouls. pic.twitter.com/HzfR196UIg
— Al Riveron (@alriveron) August 15, 2018
- The cynic in me believes you’re due to get it right if you call a penalty enough times. And in the interest of fairness with regards to the league’s new helmet rule, Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio writes that a recent application of the rule was actually correct. Hooray! They got one!
- If you’re looking for a feel-good story for 2018, it might be Josh Gordon’s return to the NFL. Gordon, who hasn’t been with the team since it opened training camp as he was working on getting physically and mentally healthy, has made his return to the team. The talented, but troubled receiver has had past issues with substance abuse and had said before that he used alcohol or marijuana to cope when he had anxiety issues – which he can’t do now because it would violate the league’s substance abuse policy. Gordon’s return to football will be a gradual one, so here’s hoping he gets all the help he can get to ensure it’s a healthy return.
- This is a view I hope to see more often during the season:
This is how the good lord intended football to be watched…. with HD all-22 view.
Plz NFL use this angle forever pic.twitter.com/QV2kyNN67w
— Ted Nguyen (@FB_FilmAnalysis) August 18, 2018
- Bummer! Jay Skurski of the Buffalo News notes that Bills linebacker Tremaine Edmunds is struggling early in his pro career. Not all rookies hit the floor running, but Skurski’s observations had Edmunds as “largely invisible” during a recent preseason game. Edmunds is probably going through some growing pains (remember, he was 19 when he was drafted) and still has some physical and mental maturation left ahead of him. The third preseason game could be huge for him, as well as the rest of the Bills defense.
- Was Denver’s Von Miller a little over the top with the kind words he had for Mitch Trubisky? Maybe. But you’re probably feeling better as a Bears fan listening to Miller than a Bills fan after hearing what Jaguars cornerback Jalen Ramsey had to say about rookie quarterback Josh Allen. “I think Allen is trash,” Ramsey told GQ. “I don’t care what nobody say. He’s trash. And it’s gonna show too. That’s a stupid draft pick to me. We play them this year, and I’m excited as hell. I hope he’s their starting quarterback.”
- Ramsey’s candid conversation is actually a lot of fun to read, especially if you’re someone like me who enjoys some old-fashioned trash talk.
- One quarterback who I don’t think sucks is Carson Wentz, and his return could come sooner than some have expected:
Eagles’ QB Carson Wentz will resume 11-on-11 team work at practice Sunday, but there is no plan for him to play in preseason games, per @mortreport. Not playing in the preseason would not preclude him from opening the season as the starter. But Wentz’s return continues Sunday.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) August 18, 2018
- I’m hesitant to say that a two-time Super Bowl winning quarterback sucks, but Eli Manning’s arrow isn’t pointing up any more:
Even from a clean pocket Eli Manning has seen his NFL passer rating drop over the past two seasons. pic.twitter.com/Qgn9sG3ZKY
— Pro Football Focus (@PFF) August 17, 2018
- Don’t look now, but Calvin Ridley is starting to blossom for the Atlanta Falcons. D. Orlando Ledebtter of the Atlanta Journal Constitution has the scoop, noting that Ridley caught a 7-yard touchdown pass from Matt Schaub, hauled in a 36-yard deep play, and appeared to be getting a hang of things as a kick returner. The Bears were connected with Ridley throughout the pre-draft process and were even rumored to be maneuvering to trade back into the first round with the idea of drafting him.
- Christian McCaffrey is a guy I’m targeting for my fantasy football teams this year. And you should have him on your radar, too … unless we’re in the same league:
- You had me at free beer:
JUST IN: Starting today, @budlight is installing “Victory Fridges” that will be full of beer in 10 Cleveland bars. When the Browns win first regular season game, fridges unlock and beer inside is free to fans. pic.twitter.com/DkRWkVkLkx
— Darren Rovell (@darrenrovell) August 14, 2018
- If this isn’t damning with faint praise, I don’t know what is:
The Raiders have assembled a group of aging players. Which gives Jon Gruden the league's smartest de facto coaching staff. https://t.co/MqN1Qljgbl
— WSJ Sports (@WSJSports) August 17, 2018
- ESPN has taken a stance with regards to showing the playing of the National Anthem before Monday Night Football games this season. They simply won’t:
2/2 " … again that could change. It's unpredictable what could happen in the world but as of now, we're not. We have communicated that back to the NF. They have not asked but as courtesy and good partners we have let them know what our plans are." – ESPN Pres. Jimmy Pitaro
— Sara Fischer (@sarafischer) August 17, 2018