What We Learned This Week in the NFL Preseason:
- Replacement Referees making friends all across the league
- The NFL goes nuts over Andrew Luck’s first game
- Chad Johnson catches a domestic violence case; his first catch in 2 years
- Injuries/Fights dominate Steelers camp
With the first full weekend of the NFL preseason in the rearview mirror the biggest observation by far has to do with the quality, or lack thereof, of the replacement officials being used in the preseason games while the official officials continue to be locked out by the NFL. Now no official is perfect and there are missed calls all over the place by the for realz officials on a regular basis but these replacement guys are just ridiculous. Maybe it was the jitters of the opening weekend of preseason; maybe it’s the fact that most of them had only ref’ed games that were featured on local cable access TV and not featured on the NFL network or live streamed across the country. Some of the most hilarious calls include a downed punt on the 4 yard line that was put at the 20 and a holding penalty on a punt return that was called on the actual punt returner. Somewhere Ed Hochuli is flexing in the mirror laughing his ass off.
If you haven’t caught any of the excitement buzzing around the NFL yesterday from Andrew Luck’s first preseason game as a Colt you must have been watching the Olympics or something. Twitter damned near exploded yesterday at the news of Luck’s first NFL pass (that doesn’t officially count as his first NFL pass being that its preseason) was a 63 yard touchdown. No, actually it was a 2 yard shovel pass that RB Donald Brown ran the rest of the way for a touchdown. Gotta love the overreacting though, means the season is almost here. Everything this kid is going to do is going to be grotesquely compared to Peyton Manning probably down to his pre and post game routines. Luck will have an extra special test of his abilities when he will meet the Steelers first team defense for a couple of series this Sunday in their preseason meeting.
The Chad Johnson Experiment is already over in Miami thanks to an exciting weekend that included dropping the only pass thrown to him in the Dolphins preseason loss to the Bucs and a night in jail thanks to a domestic violence charge brought on by his new bride. To get all TMZ on you guys for a moment the story goes that Mrs. Johnson was bringing home groceries (why do I find that hard to believe?) and found a receipt for a box of condoms in the trunk of the car. The two “discussed” the receipt in the back seat of the car for a period of time until the little Mrs. was allegedly head butted by Chad causing a 3 inch laceration on her head and she ran to a neighbor’s house to call the police. Since then Chad has been released from jail and the Dolphins and has a no-contact order from his wife.
First and foremost domestic violence is nothing to joke about, the NFL has actually partnered with the White House on a new campaign against domestic violence called “1 is 2 many”. If I’m cracking jokes it’s only at Chad’s expense because I’ve been doing it for years. I’ve felt for quite some time that he’s one of the most overrated WR’s in the league and last season’s complete and total failure only proved my point even more. Now he’s got no job and probably no wife considering the “lady” he married is a reality TV show start from the VH1 show, Basketball Wives, which shows women who make their living hunting professional athletes so they don’t ever have to actually work. Chad’s wife, Evelyn Lozada is actually no stranger to violence against women. She can be seen on her show throwing wine bottles, platters, and other blunt objects towards her cast mates as well as launching herself across tables and couches to hit other women. I’m not trying to take sides here, just making sure everyone has all the evidence. She also was shown on the show calling another woman a “b****” for pressing charges after being assaulted on the show. Such a shock these two ended up in a rocky relationship huh?
When it comes to Chad’s career in the NFL, I think it’s ridiculous to think that he’d be picked up by another team. Those that continue to spout his talents haven’t been paying attention lately. Chad was always a mildly talented WR, whose only highlights include some Pro Bowls and holding receiving records for the Bungles. That’s about as useful as being named the prettiest girl in Cleveland. Once you leave the state of Ohio, it’s rather useless, case in point his performance in New England last season. If he couldn’t learn the playbook the entire season last year for the Patriots, what team in their right mind would pick him up now and think he’d learn their system in time to contribute? I’m sure Dr. Phil has a couch waiting for Chad.
Meanwhile in Latrobe there were some acts of violence between Ike Taylor and Antonio Brown. Apparently the two were involved in their second fight of camp during Sunday’s practice. Mike Tomlin dismissed the fight and afterwards Kevin Colbert met with Brown, Taylor, Ryan Clark and Jerricho Cotchery. Spirited fights are no big thing in training camp, and if anything it shows the passion and intensity these players have already before the real action has even started. There are a whole lot of drills that have to be run and formations that have to be practiced before anyone gets to hit players on opposing teams and some of that energy just overflows. Injuries are also an unfortunate common occurrence in camp and preseason. During the first preseason game we saw the last of David Johnson for the 2012 season and Sunday the RB pool got a whole lot thinner with John Clay being carted off the field with a hip/groin injury. Three weeks into camp and a week into preseason and the injury report seems to be growing instead of shrinking. A good sign for Sunday’s practice was the return of LaMarr Woodley, who has been pretty limited in practice since the start of camp. With the ILB positions up in the air after the departure of James Farrior, the Steelers defense is going to need a healthy Woodley and Harrison for this season to be a success. Also returning to camp this week following the birth of his son is Brett Keisel, who reported via twitter that his son does not yet have a beard but he and Mom are doing fine.
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Topics: Andrew Luck, Antonio Brown, Brett Keisel, Chad Johnson, Ed Hochuli, Evelyn Lozada, Ike Taylor, Jerricho Cotchery, Kevin Colbert, Lamarr Woodley, Miami Dolphins, Mike Tomlin, NFL, Pittsburgh Steelers, Ryan Clark