1. RG3 Hasn't Changed
Robert Griffin III was limping in the second preseason game. Read that sentence again.
The second preseason game.
We weren't supposed to see RG3 make stupid decisions on the field any longer. That's what we heard all preseason, right? This was a new day. A new RG3. It was all Mike and Kyle Shanahan's fault.
Yet there he is again, refusing to slide or still sliding awkwardly.
His accuracy was up and down (which was also supposed to change), but Griffin's inability to comprehend his own football mortality remains his greatest failing.
Redskins coach Jay Gruden told the media after the game, via The Associated Press' Howard Fendrich:
It's something we have to continue to talk to him about—how important he is to this team and this franchise. When he gets out of the pocket, he needs to protect himself. He's had a habit in his career of being able to get himself out of those predicaments with his speed and his athleticism. But here it's a 16-game season, with the great talent across the league in the NFL, (and) he's got to pick his shots and learn how to get down a little bit better.
In other words, this isn't Baylor. There are faster dudes in the NFL, as fast as Griffin, and they want to do him harm, because it's football.
But he is refusing to see that, and that's why there is almost no way he goes an entire season without missing games. No way in hell.
Griffin won't change. He'll pay lip service to changing, but deep down this is how he wants to play.
Which basically means the chances of Griffin making it through the year are almost nonexistent, especially if he's already limping because of a thigh bruise in the preseason.
2. Open Season on Defenses
This is going to be a very bad year for defensive coaches. There will be a lot of hair pulling and temper tantrums. And I won't blame them because the sport will take another turn toward favoring offense.
The NFL wants less hand-sparring beyond five yards, so the league has instructed game officials to monitor the jostling more closely. That's already resulting in a higher number of pass-interference penalties.
The average number of penalties per game in 2013 was 12.2. This preseason, through this past Sunday night, that number was 20.8.
The NFL won't be backing down on this. At all. So what you will see in the 2014 season are offensive records. Lots and lots and lots of offensive records.
Not only will more penalties be called on defenses, leading to the continuation of drives, but something even worse will happen: Defenses like Seattle's, New England's and a few others that rely heavily on man-to-man coverage will be deeply affected.
Defensive backs are going to be scared to play receivers tight. Cushions will be large. Passing lanes will increase.
It will be one big passing fiesta.
3. End of Goal-Post Dunks
I know that a Jimmy Graham dunk led to the tipping of a goal post—and the subsequent rule that you can't dunk over one any longer—but doesn't such a rule seem a bit, I don't know, excessive?
So what if a goal post gets bent? Can't a couple of dudes straighten out the damn thing? Does the NFL really need rules for something like this?
4. RG3 Alienating Teammates
Top Landing Spots for Tony Romo If Released or Traded by Dallas Cowboys
Top Landing Spots for Former New York Giants WR Victor Cruz
Insider Buzz: Redskins Interested in Tony Romo; Could Trade Kirk Cousins
Insider Buzz: Jets Can Get Out of Revis Contract Due to Incident in Pittsburgh
Insider Buzz: Jets Can Get Out of Revis Contract Due to Incident in Pittsburgh
Insider Buzz: QB Mitch Trubisky Is a 'Lock for the Top 5' in 2017 NFL Draft
Insider Buzz: Salary Cap Increase Could Lead to Uptick in Franchise Tag Use
Tim Tebow Gave 75,000 Kids with Special Needs a Night They'll Never Forget
Insider Buzz: Tony Romo Could Retire from NFL to Pursue TV Career
Insider Buzz: Aldon Smith Reinstatement in Jeopardy with Latest Controversy
Insider Buzz: 49ers Open to Keeping Kaepernick but Not at Current Salary
History Will Never Forget New England Patriots 5th Championship in Super Bowl LI
Simms: Blame Falcons' Conservative D, Not Aggressive Offense, for SB LI Collapse
A7FL No-Pads, Full-Contact Football League Claims It's Safer Than the NFL
Gridiron Heights: Patriots Win Super Bowl LI
NFL Comeback Player of the Year Jordy Nelson
Top 5 NFL Interception Leaders of 2016
Insider Buzz: Rams Could Let Trumaine Johnson Walk in Free Agency
Insider Buzz: NFL Being Urged to Decrease TNF Games; Goodell Not Budging
Insider Buzz: Las Vegas Deal Dead, but Raiders Haven't Contacted City of Oakland
Insider Buzz: Belichick Could Pull Out Old Trick to Slow Down Julio Jones in SB
Tale of the Tape: Do Patriots or Falcons Have Advantage in Super Bowl LI?
NFL Award Predictions: Who Will Take Home Hardware at 'Honors' Ceremony?
Why Dion Lewis Will Be Patriots Good Luck Charm in Super Bowl LI
Which Group of Road Graders Will Win Offensive Line of the Year at NFL Honors?
Deflategate to Lady Gaga: Prop Bets That Will Keep You Hooked on Super Bowl LI
Insider Buzz: Patriots Will Move Fast on Garoppolo Trade This Offseason
Insider Buzz: Romo Wants to Face Cowboys in 2017 Season
Can Super Bowl LI Patriots Cement Legacy as Top Team of New England Dynasty Era?
Fake Brady Makes Appearance at Super Bowl 51 Media Day
Insider Buzz: John Elway, Rich McKay Endorsed John Lynch for 49ers GM Job
Insider Buzz: Raiders to Vegas Hits a Snag, Lease Proposal Seen as 'Insulting'
Why One of College Football's Worst Teams Will Be a Winner in Super Bowl LI
Atlanta Falcons X-Factors to Disrupt Patriots Offense in Super Bowl LI
Insider Buzz: 'Unconventional' John Lynch Hire Won't Impact Shanahan to 49ers
Insider Buzz: Teams Take 'Precautions' Before Facing Patriots, Shred Game Plans
NCAA Lacrosse to Super Bowl LI: Patriots WR Chris Hogan's Rise to the Top
Simms in 60: Falcons and Patriots Have Most Creative Offenses, Take Notice NFL
Alabama QB Tua Tagovailoa Is Much More Than "The Next Marcus Mariota"
Who Had the Best Attendance in the NFL in 2016?
Insider Buzz: Former Bills Coaches Angry at 'Lazy' Dareus' Criticism of Rex Ryan
Insider Buzz: Spanos Denies Wanting to Move Chargers Back to SD, Won't Sell Team
Insider Buzz: Outgoing Rams Coaching Staff Blames Todd Gurley's Struggles on Him
From College Lacrosse to Super Bowl 51: Chris Hogan's Journey
Insider Buzz: Stanford's Solomon Thomas Looking Like Top-10 Talent
Jackson vs. Garcon: Redskins Are Facing Difficult 2017 Free Agent Decision
Simms' Hidden Truth: Falcons Use of Julio Jones Too Dynamic for NE to Shut Down
Insider Buzz: Chiefs' Chris Ballard Emerging as Favorite for Colts' GM Job
Insider Buzz: 3 Teams Eyeing Free Agent DeSean Jackson If Let Go by Washington
Simms' Hidden Truth: X-Factors for Patriots to Slow Down Explosive Falcons in SB
Insider Buzz: Collins Deal Will Be Baseline for Patriots to Ink Dont'a Hightower
Insider Buzz: Raiders Hope Carr Contract Won't Reset QB Market, No Rush on Deal
Gridiron Heights Episode 20: Roger Goodell Hosts the Griddies
How Tom Brady, Bill Belichick and the Patriots Rewrote the History Books
Chris Hogan Lived Up to His "7/11" Nickname in Patriots AFC Title Victory
Insider Buzz: CLE & SF Both Landing Spots for Kirk Cousins in Offseason
Simms in 60: Brady's Brilliance Has Made NE Unstoppable Force Heading into SB51
AFC CHAMPIONSHIP PREVIEW: TOM BRADY POISED TO MAKE HISTORY WITH PATRIOTS WIN
The Key Player in the AFC Championship Game
Tom Brady Poised to Make History with Victory Over Pittsburgh Steelers
Insider Buzz: Shanahan May Cede Control of Roster to GM; 2 Lead Candidates Emerge
Insider Buzz: Raiders Face Hurdles in Vegas Move; Owners Want Them in Oakland
New England Patriots Have NFL's Ultimate Postseason Home-Field Advantage
Can Home-Field Advantage Help Falcons Close Georgia Dome with NFC Championship?
Simms' Hidden Truth: NE Can Slow Creative PIT Defense with Only 2 WRs on Field
Simms' Hidden Truth: PIT Must Unleash Top Pass-Rushers on NE's Interior Linemen
Insider Buzz: 49ers Expected to Target Kirk Cousins If Shanahan Named Head Coach
Insider Buzz: Packers in Danger of Missing 3 WRs in NFC Championship Game
Simms' Hidden Truth: Seahawks' Simple, Predictable Defense Must Evolve in 2017
Simms' Hidden Truth: Meet Falcons' Secret Stars Crucial to Slowing Aaron Rodgers
Insider Buzz: Kaepernick Era Will End with 49ers; Does Not Fit Shanahan's Offense
Insider Buzz: Kyle Shanahan Expected to Be 49ers' Next HC; Will Pick GM
Expect High-Scoring Showdown in Packers vs. Falcons NFC Title Game
Insider Buzz: McDaniels Could Wait on DET or TEN Jobs to Open Next Offseason
'Fame Can Change Things’: The Story Behind Aaron Rodgers' Family Feud
How Bell, Brown Have Shattered Records on Steelers Historic Playoff Run
Week 19 Episode of Gridiron Heights
Insider Buzz: Colts' Future Unclear After Irsay Meeting with Gruden and Manning
Miller in 60: Shanahan's Brilliant Game Plan Makes ATL Super Bowl Contender
Redemption or Repeat? Breaking Down the 4 Rematches of NFL Divisional Round
Gary Kubiak's Abrupt Departure Suddenly Makes Sense
NFL Draft Live Insider Buzz: Jon Allen and Dalvin Cook Could Slide in NFL Draft
Simms' Hidden Truth: Seahawks Must Dominate in Trenches for Shot at Beating ATL
Insider Buzz: Chargers Will Play at StubHub Center, Moving to Inglewood in 2019
Insider Buzz: Chargers Value Mike Smith's Experience, Impressed in Interview
Insider Buzz: McVay Front-Runner for Rams but Age, Experience Concerns Remain
Expect a Blowout in Houston Texans vs. New England Patriots Playoff Game
Simms' Hidden Truth: Packers Must Go Big to Stop Zeke Elliott, Cowboys Run Game
Can Cowboys' Defense Slow Down Aaron Rodgers and Packers' Offense?
Insider Buzz: Marcel Dareus Got DL Coach Fired; Future with Bills Up in Air
Insider Buzz: Bills Set to Hire Panthers' DC Sean McDermott as Next Head Coach
Former NFL Star Warrick Dunn Built Deshaun Watson's Childhood Home
How Rodgers and Cobb Connected for the Biggest Play of NFL Wild Card Weekend
Insider Buzz: Packers' Eliot Wolf Could Replace GM Ted Thompson This Offseason
Insider Buzz: Broncos and 49ers Top Landing Spots for Kyle Shanahan
Gridiron Heights, Ep. 18: Giants and Justin Beiber Are on a Boat
Historic Offensive Performance Led Steelers to Victory
Insider Buzz: Chargers Focus HC Search on Defense, Plan to Keep Whisenhunt
Insider Buzz: Vance Joseph Has 'Leg Up' on Denver Coaching Search
Odell Beckham and Giants' Boat Crew Didn't Show Up to the Party vs. Packers
This from Bleacher Report's Matt Miller is dead-on. I hear the same—that Griffin continues to alienate some of the players on the team.
Some in that locker room believe RG3 is frustrated with his slower pace in learning the offense. What's certain is that there's a lot of pressure on Griffin. Mike Shanahan—who was indeed terrible—isn't around to blame any longer.
It's all on Griffin now.
5. Packers and Analytics
The Packers are a little late to the analytics train but better late than never. One thing I've always liked about Ted Thompson, the team's general manager, is he isn't just extremely intelligent—he's also adaptive.
It can't be stressed enough that a significant number of men who are Thompson's age in the NFL (he's 61) despise analytics. They think it's too baseball-y and practically worthless. That sentiment is beginning to change across the NFL.
Every team is bear-hugging analytics now.
6. "It's Insufficient"
The NFL is considering a system in which players involved in domestic violence incidents would receive some pretty stiff penalties. It would be a smart move by the league. It would also not be enough.
"My hope is the NFL doesn't believe such a move would be the answer," said Ruth Glenn, the interim executive director of the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence. "We're happy there could be an increase in penalties, but that's insufficient.
"My hope is that's just a small part of what they're doing. The NFL also needs to focus on prevention. My hope is they get to a point where you don't have to punish players for domestic violence, because the entire culture of the NFL is being educated. The NFL is working to prevent problems while also making the penalties more substantive. That would be the ideal solution."
7. Cris Carter's Son…Wow
Hall of Famer Cris Carter wasn't known for his speed, but he was one of the most technically skilled wide receivers I've ever seen. He ran routes with almost maniacal precision.
His son, Duron, playing in the Canadian Football League, might have inherited some of that skill. Plus, he has some speed his old man didn't have.
This return is unreal. Remember: It's 122 yards.
8. Change the Name
When Pocahontas wants the name changed, you know it's bad.
Also, Phil Simms, always a longtime class act, and Tony Dungy likely won't use the nickname when broadcasting games. Good move.
Also on that subject, this story could be a game-changer, per Jeremy Stahl of Slate.com: "Native American Groups Ask Twitter, Facebook, and Google to Remove Washington NFL Accounts."
9. 49ers Concerns
The team lost its last two games by a combined score of 57-3. No, the preseason doesn't matter. And yes, the 49ers are so talented that they can turn on a dime. The team is also extremely battle-tested. It eats adversity for lunch.
All true. Still, something isn't quite right. It's not time to panic, but it is time to take a close look, and the prevailing theory from people around football is that coach Jim Harbaugh is wearing out his welcome in that locker room.
Harbaugh does grind on the players and has for years—going all the way to his coaching days at Stanford. His act wears thin quickly. He wins and is excellent, but he also engenders a large number of people wanting to punch him in the face.
So that's the theory around the league: Harbaugh's act is wearing down the locker room, and it's starting to show this preseason. Who knows if that's true, but I can tell you that's being said by a lot of team executives in football.
10. Manziel Was This Close to Being a Cowboy
I reported in the days leading up to the draft that Dallas owner Jerry Jones desperately wanted to select Manziel. Some in the Dallas media completely shot down the story.
But a book—Manziel Mania, by Jim Dent—claims that Jones came even closer to picking Manziel than even I knew. Despite the Cowboys' denials, I believe the book's claims.
So I want you to imagine a world where Manziel is now a Cowboy. Go ahead. Right now. Imagine it.
Awesome, isn't it?
Mike Freeman covers the NFL for Bleacher Report.
Like the new article format? Send us feedback!