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Another week in the sports soap opera that is the National Football League.  So much to talk about, so let’s get to it!

1. Zach Miller Injury

Tight end Zach Miller of the Chicago Bears suffered a gruesome leg injury during Sunday’s game against the New Orleans Saints.  The injury was so horrific, that not only was surgery performed in hopes of beginning the healing process, steps had to be taken to SAVE Miller’s leg!

As surreal as it is to write, unfortunately, that is the severity of the injury Miller sustained.  At last report, Miller’s leg seems to be responding favorably to the surgery, showing the doctor’s efforts to have been successful.  While hopeful that his career can be salvaged, football takes a backseat as our thoughts and prayers are for a full recovery, and that Miller is able to walk and enjoy his quality of life with two good legs.  Hang in there big guy.

2. The Denver Broncos

Didn’t they go into their Week 5 Bye at 3-1, with a defense that was the toast of the league?  That being the case, how is it that they are now sitting at 3-4 and wondering as Vince Lombardi famously said: “What the hell is going on”?  Where do I begin?

Trevor Siemian is not getting the job done at quarterback. Word out of Denver now is that Siemian has been benched for Brock OsweilerEmmanuel Sanders has been hurt. The running game is not producing and neither are their wide receivers. Were it not for their defense, one cringes at the thought of what their record would be.  Rookie head coach Vance Joseph will definitely earn his paycheck in the coming days/weeks, as he tries to come up with solutions to fix the myriad issues facing his team.

3. Russell/Deshaun Duel

Seattle 41, Houston 38.  Wow, what a game!  Two quarterbacks each passing for over 400 yards and four touchdowns.  On a side note, watching Will Fuller’s production so far reminds me of the soundbite provided by the late great Buddy Ryan when speaking about Hall of Famer Cris Carter “All he does is catch touchdowns.”

After missing the first four games of the season, Fuller has recorded 7 touchdown receptions on 13 catches.  Pretty impressive.  Now, back to the quarterbacks.  Russell Wilson has a Superbowl victory to his credit, with a second appearance on his resume as well.  With the start that Deshaun Watson is off to, one might conclude that he will lead the Texans to a Super Bowl or two before it’s all said and done.  While that remains to be seen, this past Sunday’s game was quite the show and both participants deserve kudos for their respective starring roles.  Unfortunately, we learned the terrible news of Watson tearing his ACL in practice on Wednesday, bringing his rookie season to an abrupt end.

4. Philly Is For Real

The Philadelphia Eagles have a 7-1 record, best in all of the NFLCarson Wentz is playing at an MVP level, and they just added Jay Ajayi, formerly of the Miami Dolphins, to be an integral part of their running back rotation, along with LeGarrette Blount, Wendell Smallwood, and Corey Clement.

While the loss of left tackle Jason Peters to injury cannot be diminished, Doug Pederson’s bunch is playing at a high level. The New York Giants are seemingly done, the Washington Redskins are fighting through injuries and inconsistency, and the on again/off again Ezekiel Elliott suspension in Dallas seemingly has the Eagles in the driver’s seat in the NFC East. We have another half of the football season to be played, but preliminary indicators show that the Eagles are indeed for real and in line to make some real noise come playoff time.

5. Garoppolo To The 49ers

Patriots Head Coach Bill Belichick held on to Jimmy Garoppolo like a child with a new toy in its grasps – for keeps. While having been coveted by other teams for quite some time, Belichick had resisted the urge to move Garoppolo . . . until this past Monday. Maybe Tom Brady will defy logic/time/age and play until he’s 55, but he eventually will no longer be able to go. Won’t he? That being said, the heir apparent is no longer in place as Garoppolo is off to San Francisco. He gets the chance to run a team as the unquestioned number one quarterback. This opportunity should either confirm or deny if he is the real deal. Only time will tell.

6. The Browns Get Quarterback A.J. McCarron from The Cincinnati Bengals

Or, so it would have been. The Browns and Bengals agreed in principle on a trade that would have sent McCarron to Cleveland, with the Bengals receiving draft picks in return.  Alas, as only the Browns would be guilty of, they submitted their portion of the trade paperwork to the league offices AFTER the trade deadline had passed, thus rendering the trade null and void.  While not quite on par with “Dewey Defeats Truman”, once again the Browns ineptitude reaches new depths, further cementing their place as league laughingstock.

7. What’s Wrong With Tampa Bay

In his third year, Jameis Winston has established himself as a quarterback on the rise. The defense is young, hungry and talented.  They appeared on Hard Knocks this summer! What went wrong?  Jameis Winston is fighting through an injured shoulder. Linebackers Kwon Alexander and Lavonte David have combined to miss six games. Running back Doug Martin missed the first three games of the season due to suspension, not to mention their season opener was delayed a week due to Hurricane Irma. Definitely not the start one would want. Dirk Koetter has quite a job ahead of him as the Buccaneers presently sit at 2-5, and stare at the prospect of Winston missing time (duration unknown) for his shoulder to heal and allow him to return to form.

8. Another Week, Another New York Giants DB Suspended

A couple of weeks ago, Head Coach Ben McAdoo had to put his foot down and suspend cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie “indefinitely” for violating team rules. While “indefinitely” turned out to be one week, the message was loud and clear. 0-5 (at that time) or not, lawlessness would not be tolerated. Now comes word that cornerback Janoris “Jackrabbit” Jenkins has received an “indefinite” suspension of his own. Rules are in place for a reason, and if you choose not to abide by said rules, then be prepared to accept the consequences of your choice(s). Let’s hope for their sake, that no one else has to be disciplined in this way, and a dismal Giants season can reach its conclusion without any further drama.

9. JuJu On That Beat

Pittsburgh rookie wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster had quite an interesting week. First, his bike was stolen. Next, he was insulted on social media by teammate/fellow wideout Martavis Bryant. On top of all of that, he was briefly in the concussion protocol! How did he respond? Well, this past Sunday night, JuJu beat up on the Lions secondary, tallying 7 catches, for 193 yards and a touchdown, with said touchdown coming on a 97-yard catch and run.  Not a bad end to a tumultuous week for the USC product. Here’s hoping his driving test was a success, as he was scheduled to take it on of all days, Halloween.

10. Falcons Fly In The Rain

Aren’t bird feathers heavier when wet, thus rendering them either less able or unable to fly? Fortunately for them, this didn’t apply to the Atlanta Falcons when they played in the rainy Big Apple this past Sunday. The conditions were so bad, quarterback Matt Ryan resorted to keeping a towel UNDER his jersey in attempts to keep both the towel and his hands dry, so he could handle the football. Desperately needing a win while sitting at 3-3 after a 3-0 start, the Falcons were able to fly south as winners. With local news reports indicating the roof at their new billion plus dollar home was leaking, perhaps they won’t hurry to get it repaired as to give it another go at winning in the rain.

11. Can The Dolphins Score

When your own head coach declares you have “the worst offense in football”, you trade one your best skill players (running back Jay Ajayi to the Philadelphia Eagles), your starting quarterback is down due to injury (after not having done very much of note), and his replacement steps in, and the offense puts up a goose egg on the wrong end of a 40-0 score, perhaps that’s not too strong a statement. Given the state of affairs in Miami, the prospects of them scoring with regularity don’t look too promising. They are last in the NFL in scoring. Their season is on life support, with the proverbial plug about to be pulled in the not too distant future. Yikes!

12. Ezekiel Elliott – Is He or Ain’t He

Suspended that is. During the preseason, Elliott was slapped with a six-game suspension for his role in a domestic violence case – one in which he wasn’t charged. Nevertheless, the NFL determined Zeke should be penalized, as such, the suspension was levied.  Elliott’s attorneys immediately filed an injunction, in which said suspension was overturned.  Now, the courts have ruled against him, and the suspension is back in play, only to see their latest ruling overturned, thus Elliott has now been reinstated and eligible to play.  Again.  This back and forth is akin to the “Deflategate” saga that Tom Brady fought, before ultimately yielding to the four-game suspension levied against him last season. Hopefully a conclusion is in sight so this can finally be resolved.

13. Bob McNair

“We can’t have the inmates running the prison.”  That’s the statement that was attributed to Houston Texans owner Bob McNair coming out of the recent owner’s meetings. No matter the setting and/or whom was present, such an inflammatory statement can only go to further strain relations between owners/players/league officials even more than they already are. With the disagreement regarding the manner of protest during the national anthem already in play, this comment certainly won’t go towards helping to make things better. Houston Texan players were torn on how to respond and what to do, similar to the dilemma faced by the Los Angeles Clippers when remarks made by then-owner Donald Sterling came to light a few years ago.  While McNair has apologized, it doesn’t seem to have gone over very well, if at all with those to whom it matters most – his team.  Let’s hope that there is an amicable resolution that can be reached sooner rather than later.

14. No Beast Mode, Big Problems

Marshawn Lynch was suspended for this past Sunday’s game between the Oakland Raiders and Buffalo Bills (one of his former teams) for making contact with an official during their win against the Kansas City Chiefs. Based on the final score, Buffalo 34, Oakland 14, Lynch’s presence probably wouldn’t have made that big a difference. Beast Mode’s absence notwithstanding, the Oakland Raiders’ problems go much deeper than his lack of production.

Derek Carr isn’t playing like, well, Derek Carr.  Even before his back injury Carr’s numbers were not on par with what he had previously provided – or is being paid (quite handsomely I might add) to supply now.  Their defense has the unfortunate distinction of being the first in NFL history NOT to record an interception in the first eight games of the season.  While Marshawn Lynch has not provided the production hoped for when signing with his hometown team, the Raiders have a number of problems that need to be fixed.  Soon.  If not, a season filled with great hope and promise, will be over with them playing out the string.

15. Andrew Luck – Suit Up or Shut Down

Former number one overall pick, quarterback Andrew Luck has yet to play a down this season for the Indianapolis Colts due to offseason shoulder surgery. He was signed in 2016 to a six-year extension worth $140 million dollars. The Colts 2017 record is 2-5, with Luck experiencing setbacks from his surgery. There have been talks regarding whether or not Luck should focus on getting healthy this season to come back, suit up and play. Again, the Colts are 2-5. Rushing him back to perhaps finish 4-12 as opposed to 2-14, would be futile.  Word out of Indianapolis at the end of week is that Luck was placed on injured reserve, bringing this saga to an end. Hopefully, Luck can recover fully, rehab, and begin to prepare with an eye towards the 2018 season.

Lloyd Dotson

Author Lloyd Dotson

I am a self-published author from Atlanta, GA. Love to write, love sports. Enough said.

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Sports Al Dente 2019

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