NFL Players Creating the Most Buzz This Offseason
What is the NFL offseason without a little buzz from players? After all, until Roger Goodell turns the league into a year-round spectacle, we have to fill the dead space with something.
Here are a few guys who have been the talk of the water cooler. Of course, buzz can be good or bad; some of these are creating buzz for the wrong reasons.
Montee Ball is a player whose buzz has been a product of circumstance more than anything he has done on the practice field.
There was plenty of speculation that he would inherit the starting gig as a rookie, but Willis McGahee lurked in the shadows. That is no longer the case.
That Montee Ball Kickstarter must've tipped! RT @adamschefter: Broncos released RB Willis McGahee.
— Bill Barnwell (@billbarnwell) June 13, 2013
Ball signed his contract shortly after McGahee's release. Now just second-year back Ronnie Hillman stands in his way.
Naturally, this led to a tizzy in the fantasy football community.
Now that McGahee was released,Montee Ballinherits all the rush TDs and likely even more yardage— DAVID DOREY (@DMDorey) June 13, 2013
Montee Ball going to be a huge risk/reward fantasy pick pretty early in drafts now— RosterWatch (@RosterWatch) June 13, 2013
Willis McGahee released by Broncos, per @rapsheet. The value of Montee Ball now on the rise!
— Michael Fabiano (@Michael_Fabiano) June 13, 2013
It will be interesting to see if the hype is worthwhile for a rookie whose college career was defined by volume.
Players on the Police Blotter
This is the time of year when players get into the most trouble.
Chad Johnson made headlines this week after landing in jail for 30 days, losing out on a plea deal after slapping his attorney's behind for a job well done.
Granted, Johnson can hardly be considered a current NFL player. He might not be retired, but he may as well be at this point.
Adam Jones, however, donned his Pacman moniker once more last week when he allegedly slapped a woman after getting into an altercation, all captured on camera, of course.
Then there is the rash of DUIs that happen this time of year.
These arrests are no laughing matter, however; the NFL has tried to stamp out the epidemic, but it must do more before someone gets hurt or worse.
The legend survives to fight another day.
It seemed like Tim Tebow was destined to wash out of the NFL. He was getting zero interest from teams around the league, and only half-hearted offers from teams like the Omaha Beef of the Indoor Football League.
Leave it to Bill Belichick to outwit the rest of the league. That must be the case, after all.
The circus has arrived in Foxborough, though no team is better equipped to shut it down than the Patriots. Which will give in first, the Patriot Way or Tebowmania?
Nice game Danny Green.. But I bet ESPN talks about Tim Tebow more tomorrow.— TJ Lang (@TJLang70) June 12, 2013
How often does a player get a trading card minutes after signing with a new team?
If he sticks on the roster, it could be an interesting fall in New England.
Dez Bryant has been the talk of the Cowboys this offseason, and for all the right reasons for once.
Jerry Jones famously gave the talented receiver a chaperone last offseason. My how far he has come.
Dez Bryant's flawless offseason continues. No signs of trouble, star of Cowboys' practices. Absurd season coming: http://t.co/e6vfhqIHDD— Adam Levitan (@adamlevitan) June 13, 2013
Bryant has been excellent in practice this preseason as well, wowing observers and showing off that maturity.
“I feel like I push myself to the max and I love it,” Bryant said. “Not only for me, but I want a lot of these younger guys to see how hard you’re supposed to work to play in this league, and also that’s how you win.”
A little positive momentum can go a long way for the Cowboys.
Things are looking up in Arizona this offseason. Gone is Ken Whisenhunt and the old regime, replaced by Bruce Arians, who guided the Colts to the playoffs while Chuck Pagano took an extended leave of absence last season.
Kevin Kolb and his bloated contract are gone, too, with Carson Palmer taking his place at the helm.
But nobody is being talked about more than third-year tight end Rob Housler this offseason. Well, at least depending on who you're listening to.
Rob Housler has yet to score his first NFL touchdown. That will change in 2013. #Cardinals— Mike Clay (@MikeClayNFL) June 5, 2013
I've loved Rob Housler's game coming out of college. The vet QB & improved line play will definitely elevate his game in 2013.— Jayson Braddock (@JaysonBraddock) May 15, 2013
Perhaps Housler will become the next great fantasy tight end. Or perhaps this is just meaningless offseason buzz.
Players on the Suspension Bridge
Ryan Tannheill had a decent rookie year, but it paled in comparison to his positional peers. Andrew Luck, Robert Griffin III and Russell Wilson were simply lights out.
But this is Year 2, and big things are in store for the sophomore. At least that's what a lot of people think.
He has reportedly looked pretty good in camp. Could the Dolphins be in for that long-awaited turnaround?
After spending his entire career mired in mediocrity or worse with the St. Louis Rams, Steven Jackson has finally landed with a contender.
You might think all that mileage would be cause for pause, but Jackson has looked great so far in red and black (via Jarrett Bell of USA Today):
Conventional wisdom, NFL style, suggests Jackson will become a walking fossil after his 30th birthday because he is a running back — and at that age, men who make a living pounding the rock are merely running on borrowed time in a younger man's game.
"That's laughable to me," he said Tuesday following an OTA session. "This is not the '70s or the '80s, when it was just hard-nosed football. The game has changed. As long as I can evolve with it, I'll be just fine."
As coach Mike Smith put it, "He's almost 30, but in a 22-year-old's body."
This bodes well for Atlanta.
Oakland Raiders Quarterbacks
Raiders quarterbacks have been creating a buzz throughout minicamp thus far. But for the wrong reasons.
Josh Dubow of the Associated Press was not impressed as he observed recent practice:
The Oakland Raiders opened their three-day mandatory minicamp on Tuesday with a passing offense that looks far from a finished product.
From presumed starter Matt Flynn to the only returning quarterback Terrelle Pryor to rookie Tyler Wilson, none of the quarterbacks fighting to replace Carson Palmer as the starter in Oakland are standing apart from the competition.
Vic Tarfur of the SF Chronicle wasn't any kinder:
It was the opening of duck season, er, the Raiders three-day minicamp, on Tuesday as the team's top three quarterbacks picked up where they left off in the team's organized workouts the last month.
When passes weren't being batted down, they were wobbled up, thrown into the turf or picked off by Oakland's defensive players.
On two straight throws, starter Matt Flynn lobbed two wounded ducks downfield - and they were the plays of the day. Fullback Marcel Reece leapt high over safeties Tyvon Branch and Charles Woodson on the first, and then receiver Denarius Moore went up and posterized cornerback Tracy Porter on the second.
If this is a harbinger for the 2013 season, the Black Hole might be downright gloomy.