News and Notes : 8.15.12

League News Limerick:

Chad Johnson is a Dophin no more.

Cedric Benson is a Packer for sure.

Andrew Luck lives up to all the folklore.

Replacement Refs make jaws drop to the floor.

In other news, last week I visited all of the New York training camps.


camp, training camp, football, bills


football, news, giants


football, news, jets, training camp

I could have stayed at these camps for days just sitting and watching. The Bills were the best in overall ambience – St. John Fisher is a great location and the new stadium looks amazing. The Giants win for having the longest walk to the practice field and for having the most enthusiastic fans. (They are the defending champs, after all.) The Jets might win the all-around: great location (SUNY Cortland), convenient parking, close on-field proximity to the players, fast-paced practice, and lots of enthusiastic onlookers.

All in all: my favorite type of camping. Loved it.

(And for the most entertaining article you’ll read about training camp this season, click here.)

News and Notes : 8.8.12

Here’s a recap of the past week’s notable NFL news:

  1. Jimmy Haslam, CEO of the Pilot Flying J travel centers, bought the Browns. Reportedly for over $1 billion dollars. That’s a lot of cups of coffee.
  2. Brandon Weeden will start at QB for the Browns. Staying in Cleveland, let’s return to a story we discussed last week, the QB battle between Colt McCoy and Brandon Weeden. The fact that Weeden won the spot isn’t an overwhelming surprise, but the timing is a bit abrupt since they haven’t even played their first preseason game yet.
  3. T.O. is back in action. Terrell Owens has had his fair share of media time. (Notable moments include the “Get your popcorn ready,” statement and the “That’s my quarterback,” press conference/therapy session.) Whatever you may think about T.O. the person, you have to respect the work he’s put into getting back on the field. He tore his ACL in the 2011 offseason after a lackluster season with the Cincinnati Bengals. He rehabbing and being cleared to play he held a televised workout so that teams could evaluate and sign him…and no one showed up. Not one NFL team. So he played for the Indoor Football League (which is as inauspicious as it sounds) for a season…and was cut from that team as well. Undeterred, he continued to work and was rewarded yesterday with a one-year contract with the Seattle Seahawks. I sincerely hope he has a great season!
  4. The Jets continue to struggle with the “team” concept. All of the drama last season apparently wasn’t enough to deter the Jets from being…the Jets. A 20-player brawl erupted on the sidelines on Monday, and you’d think that’d be plenty for one training camp. But reportedly multiple additional fights broke out in camp on Tuesday, which led to punishment sprints for the entire team…the type of thing that happens in high school camps, not professional camps. Even those outside of the organization aren’t helping matters, with former Jets Joe Namath and Boomer Esiason ripping Tim Tebow. Someone needs to pipe in a little “All You Need is Love,” to Jets Headquarters. For the full recap on recent events, read this. (Money quote: “And to think, the Jets relished the trip to Cortland because they felt it would foster team unity.”)
  5. The NFL might be backtracking with the Saints case. Remember all of the bounty drama? All of the suspensions? Some of the players fought the punishments, vehemently, and the NFL is starting to crack. Most notably: rumor has it that Jonathan Vilma, who was originally suspended for the entire season, has reportedly been offered an 8 game plea bargain. Rumor also has it that he won’t take it; he wants his name cleared more than he wants to play half a season. Have to respect a man of conviction.
  6. Tragedy at Eagles camp. If you are a praying person, please pray for the Reid family as they mourn the unexpected loss of their son, Garrett. Andy Reid has been the Eagles head coach since 1999 and is very well-respected in the league.

Gone Campin’ : NFL Training Camp

I woke up this morning with butterflies in my stomach and giggles escaping with uncontrollable glee. And not because I greet each morning with a smile and a song, ala Snow White. I greet most mornings with decidedly un-Disney-esque sentiments. But this morning was different. Because this morning…Packers training camp begins.


Training camp is the pre-pre-season. It’s basically a really long audition for teams to figure out who makes the 53 man roster. It’s also the ultimate boot camp to get players back into football shape.

Because training camp marks the beginning of the football season and comes at the end of a 6 month football drought, it probably gets more hype than necessary. But really, enthusiasm is warranted after 6 months of racing, X games, and golf on Sunday afternoons. (My apologies to all of those sports and their fans…I just can’t handle it.)

Here’s what you need to know about the big training camp stories this season:


Peyton Manning beginning his reign with the Denver Broncos is the biggest focus point of training camp this year. You may have seen Peyton Manning on any number of commercials for automobiles and/or sneakers and/or Oreos. He was the franchise quarterback* for the Indianapolis Colts for the past 14 years and is one the best quarterbacks to ever play the game. However, after sitting last year out to due injury, the Colts decided to move on with a spring chicken: Stanford’s stand-out prospect and first overall draft pick Andrew Luck. Because transitional quarterback moves can create controversies (like the 49ers Montana to Young transition and the Packers Favre to Rodgers transition), Peyton decided to leave the Colts and pursue greener pastures. He found them in Denver. All eyes will be on how he plays post-injury (he had a year-long rehab from neck surgery) and how he fits with a new organization. (Additional trivia: You may also know Peyton’s brother, Eli Manning, who is the quarterback for the Super Bowl Champion New York Giants.)


Peyton’s arrival in Denver displaced their starting quarterback, Tim Tebow. You may know Tim Tebow because you don’t live under a rock. Homeboy is everywhere, and he’ll be a huge story of training camp because, well, he’s a huge story no matter where he goes, on the field or off.

After Peyton decided to come to Denver Tim was traded to the New York Jets, a media-happy team on their quiet days. The Jets are known for being big talkers and attracting lots of media attention for their unconventional antics, so adding Tebow, who already draws plenty of media attention for completely opposite reasons (parents: if your kids need a role model, look no further!), might cause both the New York and national media outlets to explode. From a football standpoint, it will be interesting to see how the Jets use Tebow, who is currently slated to be the teams back-up quarterback. The Jets are talking about using him in a variety of quarterback and non-quarterback ways, but again, it’s the Jets. And the Jets talk. A lot.


New Orleans. Oh, New Orleans. You’ve probably heard something about the Saints this off-season, whether it’s regarding the bounty program or the Drew Brees contract negotiations. The drama that unfolded over the past 6 months is what multi-million dollar movies are made of, but in short: the NFL uncovered a substantial “bounty” program run by the organization in which players were paid extra to take out other players on the field. The Saints deny the existence of this system and say they had a “pay for performance” program like many teams do. But in the end their head coach, Sean Payton, was suspended for a year as a result, along with numerous other player and coach suspensions.

The good news is that after months of negotiations the Saints finally reached a deal with franchise quarterback* Drew Brees so he will be back in New Orleans for the foreseeable future. Their training camp story is interesting because they’ve basically been decimated during the off-season with suspensions and bad news. They will also be without their interim head coach for the first 6 weeks of the regular season due to the bounty suspensions, so everyone will be waiting to see how they pull it all together in spite of their circumstances.


Training camp wouldn’t be training camp without a good holdout story. This season it’s Maurice Jones-Drew, who is “holding out” (not attending any team activities, including training camp) to try and get a better contract. The tricky part is that the Jaguars owner has already said that they expect Jones-Drew, the league’s premiere running back, to honor the last two years of his contract, and will not give him a long term deal. What happens next is a long, expensive stand-still to see who blinks first.


Namely: Andrew Luck in Indianapolis and Robert Griffin III in Washington. Both will garner lots of debate. They are two of the most highly esteemed quarterbacks to enter the league in the past several years (or…ever), which is why they were picked first and second in this year’s NFL draft, respectively. Too much will be made of their training camp experience because, after all, it’s just camp. But it will be a big story nonetheless, especially for Andrew Luck, who is replacing aforementioned legend Peyton Manning.


Here’s a little hometown love for Buffalo! They did WORK over the off-season, bringing in much-needed big name free agents. The biggest of which is Mario Williams, who chose to sign with Buffalo after leaving the Houston Texans. He plays defensive end, a key position on any team, but his addition to the Bills makes them about 1,000,000 times better. If they can pull it together on offense they could be legit this season.

To get the full effect of training camp, take a look at this video. And lest you think training camp is all work and no play, see Brett Keisel.

*a “franchise quarterback” is a team’s star player, the quarterback who they believe will lead their team for the foreseeable future