May 20, 2013 in NFL Observations
By Staff Writer John Manuel:
News Bits of the Past Week:
Dwight Freeney finally has a team and it is the San Diego Chargers. For his age and recent drop off in numbers he still was able to get decent money from the Chargers. The Chargers may have pulled a Vinny Cerrato freak out signing after Melvin Ingram went down for the 2013 season. Feels like Jason Taylor after the Philip Daniels season ending injury. Freeney wasn't the same in the 3-4 as an outside backer, but maybe he can become a big veteran presence that new coach Mike McCoy has to be looking for since the team has seemed to lack that the past few seasons.
Bruce Irvin was suspended for the first four games in the upcoming season and no one seems shocked. Irvin was a solid part of Seattle's success last season as a rookie who many felt his past and size made him way too high of a first round selection. Pete Carroll seemed to be prepared for something like this to happen by signing both Cliff Avril and Michael Bennett in free agency so the Seahawks should be fine. The question shouldn't be about weeks 1-4, but more about Irvin's longer term situation.
Rob Gronkowski's immediate future now has major questions after we learned of now two injury concerns. Not only is his surgically repaired arm still an issue but even more concerning may be his sudden back issues. Gronk has been a game changer in his short career like Calvin Johnson, Adrian Peterson and Arian Foster but he did come into this league with major injury concerns. Could part or possibly all of Gronk's 2013 season be in question? RG3 injury watch may soon be replaced by Gronk injury watch.
Why the New York Jets are Going to be Horrible Again Update:
No team gets more coverage and is as bad as the Jets. Even with the release of Tim Tebow NFL informers like ESPN continue to slam us with Jets news. The Jets were bad last year and they will bad this year again. The past week they most likely lost journeyman running back Mike Goodson for awhile after his arrest. Problem is that the Jets were counting on Goodson to compete with Chris Ivory as their feature back in 2013. Now its most likely Ivory's job and he will probably be high on fantasy draft boards but is he any better than the 4th back he was on the Saints? Maybe not but he is a Jet now so we will hear plenty about him as Rex Ryan will most likely proclaim him a future 2000 yard runner.
Main problem for Ivory and Rex is still questions on their offensive line and of course the quarterback position. David Garrard has now left the Jets after deciding he couldn't physically do it anymore. Garrard had a good shot to start the season as the starter but now Ryan has to most likely choose to go back to Mark Sanchez or throw rookie Geno Smith to the wolves day 1. Either way, I don't like their chances.
Top 5 Teams of as Today:
1. San Francisco 49ers
NFC Champs are loaded for 2013 but will see a much tougher NFC West than past years. A potential superstar quarterback leads a team that has made additions like Boldin, Reid, and Nnamdi to make a return run to the Super Bowl. What may be missed is the addition of Phil Dawson as an upgrade over the struggling David Akers.
2. Denver Broncos
Hard to choose them over Baltimore but I think like the 49ers they are well stocked also. Manning in his second year in Denver figures to be Manning again. They lost Dumervil but I am not as concerned as most are about that. Denver is still looking to upgrade their roster. Welker could be huge in 2013, especially after seeing what Brandon Stokely was able to do in 2012.
3. Baltimore Ravens
The champs are almost even on my list to Denver. Denver will have a chance week one to prove it to try and topple the defending champions. Baltimore will have many areas to watch this season on the field with questions at receiver and on the sidelines without the leadership of Ray Ray. But remember that John Harbaugh is still on the sidelines and it’s his team so they should be in good shape.
4. Seattle Seahawks
The Seahawks loaded up this off season to make a run at the Niners not only the NFC West although they were close last season. Percy Harvin should step in and make a difference but watch out for what Antoine Winfield brings to Seattle and his impact to an already solid secondary.
5 New England Patriots
No shock here although I almost went with Green Bay or Houston. Gronk's health is as key as if Amendola can step in for Welker. But the Pats still have Belichick and Brady which will keep them near the top of any NFL rankings.
Out There Story of the Week:
Robert Griffin III has quickly skyrocketed in the past year to the top of NFL stardom. And this past week we saw how popular he is or how crazy some fans are. Griffin's wedding registry was found and many fans sent gifts to RG3 for his upcoming nuptials. This is crazy, but if fans want to do that so be it. I wouldn't personally, but it is their choice.
And it seems some have questioned Griffin on this and he has fired back via his twitter account to defend himself and his fans. Griffin is the most popular person in Washington DC and I don't mind this story as a break from the still constant discussion of who was at fault in the Seattle game. We did get this funny pic from RG3 as a gift to us.