Analyzing the Latest Updates from OTAs Around the NFL
This weekend, many American families will kick off the summer by spending the long Memorial Day weekend camping.
Well, NFL players have gotten a head start, with organized team activities kicking off across the league.
Think camping, but with much fewer s'mores and a lot more sweating.
As you try to scrub that delightful mental image from your mind, here's a look at the latest news from OTAs around the league.
Josh Gordon Getting the Hammer?
Hope is a dangerous emotion in Cleveland.
Browns fans found that out the hard way (again) recently, when less than a day after Johnny Manziel was drafted, it was announced star wide receiver Josh Gordon faced a potential year-long suspension after yet another failed drug test.
It now turns out that fans hoping (there's that word again) for any sort of reprieve really ought to know better by now.
At least, that's the latest from Rotoworld's Evan Silva:
On NFL Insiders, Schefter on #Browns WR Josh Gordon: "The full expectation still is that Josh Gordon is facing a year-long suspension."
— Evan Silva (@evansilva) May 20, 2014
The 23-year-old Gordon, who led the NFL with 1,646 receiving yards in 2013, is participating in OTAs while he appeals his suspension, according to Mary Kay Cabot of the Northeast Ohio Media Group.
Retooled O-Line Taking Shape in the Desert
As the Arizona Cardinals try to build on last year's surprising 10-6 finish, the team will do so with a retooled offensive front that includes free-agent acquisition Jared Veldheer.
That line is taking shape in OTAs. As Darren Urban of the team's website reports, Bradley Sowell, who had his struggles protecting Carson Palmer's blind side in 2013, has flipped to the right side with Veldheer's arrival, while Paul Fanaika remains the starter at right guard.
The best news of all for the Cardinals may well be at the guard spot across from Fanaika:
Jonathan Cooper took all snaps at 1st team LG. Not quite 100 percent, Arians said, but close
— Kent Somers (@kentsomers) May 20, 2014
Cooper, the Cardinals' first-round pick in 2013, broke his leg in the preseason a year ago.
If the Cardinals are going to challenge the San Francisco 49ers and Seattle Seahawks in 2014, they have to do a better job of protecting Palmer.
So far, so good.
A QB Battle Brewing in Tampa?
When the Tampa Bay Buccaneers signed free-agent quarterback Josh McCown earlier this offseason, the prevailing wisdom was that McCown would start, while second-year pro Mike Glennon would return to the bench.
Head coach Lovie Smith said as much at the draft, telling Josh Alper of ProFootballTalk that, "Mike Glennon is our quarterback of the future here," but that, "You know how much I like Josh McCown as our starter here."
It appears that Glennon's performance in OTAs may have thrown a wrench into the works:
On NFL Insiders, Schefter on Mike Glennon: "Has truly impressed" & "opened up some eyes." Will "certainly" compete for #Bucs starting job.
— Evan Silva (@evansilva) May 20, 2014
Of course, it makes sense. As good as McCown was in relief of Jay Cutler last year with the Chicago Bears, he remains a 34-year-old career backup coming off of one good year.
Glennon, on the other hand, had his share of struggles, but he also posted a higher passer rating in 2013 than two of the past three Super Bowl winners (Joe Flacco and Eli Manning).
One out of Two Ain't Bad
The foundation of the defensive line in Detroit is the talented pair of tackles, and while it's been Ndamukong Suh who has been making all of the headlines after skipping the last round of workouts, the shoe is on the other foot now.
As Dave Birkett of The Detroit Free Press reports, Suh arrived at OTAs on Tuesday, and former Lions great Al "Bubba" Baker thinks Suh looked none the worse for wear for having skipped minicamp. "So the word is ‘intensity,’” Baker said. “That’s what I saw today. I saw a guy, I looked at him, he looked me right in my eyes. I just nodded my head, and he nodded his head, I know he’s ready.”
Battery mate Nick Fairley, on the other hand, wasn't on the field, although head coach Jim Caldwell said Fairley has a good reason according to Birkett:
#Lions coach Jim Caldwell said Nick Fairley is dealing with "a medical issue" and "had a procedure," is not taking part in OTAs.
— Dave Birkett (@davebirkett) May 20, 2014
Better Bring a Sweater
We'll wrap up Tuesday's recap with a look at some news from the NFL's owners meetings in Atlanta.
The league may have tabled expanding the playoffs for now (it's coming, all but certainly next season), but the owners did decide on the host city for Super Bowl LII.
(That's No. 52, the game in 2018).
The winner was something of a surprise. Despite 2018 marking the 300th anniversary of the founding of New Orleans, the Big Easy lost the right to host a Super Bowl.
As Brian Hall of Fox Sports North reports, Minneapolis (and the shiny new retractable-roof stadium opening there in 2016) also beat out Indianapolis to host the game.
Richard Davis, co-chair of the city's bid committee, released a statement:
We are thrilled to bring the Super Bowl back to Minnesota. We succeeded in making the best case to the NFL owners by pointing out the many strengths our region offers a tremendous entertainment and hospitality industry, strong connectivity with both our light rail and skyway systems, and perhaps most important, a new, iconic stadium that will be among the best in the country.
The Twin Cities have hosted the game once before, back in 1992.