What We Learned This Week in the NFL Preseason:
- Fox Sports 1 Debuts as an alternative to ESPN for fans
- Miami Dolphins TE Dustin Keller out for season with busted knee
- Injury bug bites Denver Broncos
- Pittsburgh Steelers the pick to win the AFC North
- Steelers take on the Redskins in MNF-Preseason
Welcome to Game Night Steeler Nation! The Steelers have officially left the dorms of Saint Vincent College and have invaded our nation’s capital to take on the Washington Redskins for their second preseason game of the season. Before we look ahead to tonight’s matchup, let’s take some cheap shots around the league, shall we?
America has a brand new 24-hour sports network with the debut of Fox Sports 1 as of Saturday morning. The network promises to “put fans first” and will offer coverage of live sports including NASCAR, college football (Pac-12, Big 12, Conference USA), college basketball (Pac-12, Big 12, Big East, Conference USA), UFC and UEFA Champions League with MLB joining in 2014. The network’s answer to ESPN’s Sports Center is Fox Sports Live and will air nightly at 11:00 pm ET with Jay Ornait and Dan O’Toole as anchors. Commentary will come from former Sideline-Barbie Charissa Thompson, tennis player Andy Roddick, former NBA player Gary Payton, and the NFL contributors are Donovan McNabb and Ephraim Salaam. I’m sure ESPN started with the idea of putting fans first as well, we’ll see how well this turns out. It is nice to have an option because no matter how frustrating it is to deal with the insanity of the personalities of ESPN, their biases, and their ridiculousness, they were the only game in town. You had to turn to them for the nonstop sports coverage junkies like us look for. Now there are other options.
It’s been a rough summer for tight ends in the NFL. The Miami Dolphins have lost TE Dustin Keller to a serious knee injury following Saturday’s preseason game against the Houston Texans. Keller was attempting to catch a pass when he was tackled by rookie safety D.J. Swearinger and his knee bent in a way that knees are not supposed to bend. Kelly spent the first four seasons of his NFL career with the New York Jets, and left after not reaching a contract extension in the spring. This means now that QB Ryan Tannehill has Mike Wallace and some tackling dummies to throw to this season. Good luck.
The injury bug has been making its way around NFL training camps this year with a vengeance and the Denver Broncos appear to be its next victim. After their Saturday night preseason game against the Seahawks, the Broncos are dealing with injuries to CB Champ Bailey and WR Wes Welker. Bailey suffered a foot sprain that could put him in question for the season opener against the Ravens. Welker’s injury appears to be less severe and he’s expected to be fine for the opener. As everyone recalls, Bailey and the rest of the Broncos secondary got burned repeatedly in their playoff loss to the Ravens. Now that Flacco doesn’t have the same options to throw to, maybe it might be best to let the Pro Bowl cornerback rest for that first game.
The Pittsburgh Steelers are expected to win the AFC North. Really? Yes, according to NFL.com’s Gregg Rosenthal. He cites that while the majority of publications are going with the Bengals to win the division this year, the Steelers are the team to beat simply because they have the best quarterback in the division. He also points out that Cincinnati’s Andy Dalton can be described as “not even league average” and has been up till now, supported by a good defense and effective play-calling. Naturally, it’s hard to predict this early how all will turn out. The rosters haven’t been completed yet and the preseason is only about halfway done by now. Whether the Steelers are really going to bounce back from the 8-8 stinker season to reclaim the division remains to be seen. I honestly can’t tell if Rosenthal is really bought on the Steelers or just not on the other teams in their division, or just trying to win views by being a contrarian if so many other publications are going the opposite way. Sometimes it’s hard to tell. He does make a very valid point about Dalton, and obviously pointing out that the Ravens have no choice but to be rebuilding after the mass exodus that occurred and the Browns are just, well, the Browns.
If you weren’t pumped to see the Steelers in action again, even if it’s only to see how well they’ve improved from the eh-showing in their preseason debut against New York, the Steelers have released a video to get you psyched and ready for Monday Night Football. While it is still preseason, it is the Steelers so come on, everyone, Here We Go Steelers, Here We Go!
— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) August 19, 2013