Ill have my prediction for the final 53 up in a little while but let me throw out something that Mike Shanahan said regarding one of the more controversial roster decision he will have to make. After the Bucs game, when he was asked if Brandon Banks ability as a kick returner would make it hard for the team to cut him, Shanahan said the following:Well, I think with the ball on the 35 instead of the 30, its going the other way. A lot of people are having specialists because there are so many more touchbacks than there were in the past. When you punt, you always punt away from the returner. The value is there. From a couple years ago, I think the value has diminished a little bit not to say you dont want a great returner. When they do get their opportunity, just like we saw today, it can change the game.In context going the other way meant that most NFL teams are going away from have a specialized return man. And it appears that that is what Banks is. Yes, he did catch a 47-yard pass from Kirk Cousins and race for 43 on and end around. But if he was called on to do the things that wide receivers need to do if they are in a regular lineup against front-line defendersrun dig routes, go over the middle, block for the run game, and so onits hard to see him doing that.Just when you think Shanahan is saying that there is little hope for Banks he finishes his answer with the part about how a player like Banks can change a game. If he can be a game changer, how can a team that lacks players with those skills let a Brandon Banks go?Well find out over the next 36 hours or so.
Is it crazy to give a quarterback who threw for more than 4,000 yards and 29 touchdowns last season the same MVP odds as a guy who went 0-3 in three starts and tossed just four scores in 2015?
According to the sportsbook Bovada.lv, no, it's not crazy at all. So that's why, when looking at their opening odds for the 2016/17 NFL MVP, you'll find Kirk Cousins right next to Mark Sanchez, with both signal callers listed at a long 150/1.
Tyrod Taylor, Ryan Tannehill, David Johnson, Alshon Jeffrey, Le'Veon Bell and Sam Bradford also check in at 150/1. Some of those names, like Jeffrey and Bell, should makes Redskins fans feel good, since they're both premier players at their position. But others, such as Sanchez and Bradford? Yeah, not so much.
The top five guys most likely to win the award are Aaron Rodgers (4/1), Ben Roethlisberger (7/1), Cam Newton (15/2), Russell Wilson (8/1) and Tom Brady (9/1). Meanwhile, if you squint hard enough, you can see Robert Griffin III near the bottom of the list at 250/1.
Not that this reminder is necessary, but here's a reminder anyway: Anything can happen in this league, so these rankings are not the be-all and end-all. Last year, for instance, Newton had 50/1 odds of being named MVP, and then he went out and did it anyway.
So, with that in mind, while Cousins is no favorite, perhaps his loaded arsenal of targets can help him claim the valuable piece of hardware. The NFL is a wild place, after all — but still probably not wild enough for Sanchez to rise to the top of the sport, which is why him landing next to Cousins hurts more than a little bit.
Longtime Minnesota Vikings and Arizona Cardinals head coach Dennis Green died on Friday morning from complications stemming from a cardiac arrest.
He was 67.
Green spent ten seasons as the Vikings head coach, amassing a 97-62 record which included four NFC North titles, eight playoff appearances and one NFC Champuionship game appearance.
After taking a break from coaching, he returned in 2003 to coach the Cardinals, spending three years at the helm, finishing with a 16-32 record.
Former Redskins linebacker LaVar Arrington was lined up across from Smith-coached offenses throughout much of his career.
As a former Penn State Nittany Lion, Arrington had much respect for Green, a Harrisburg, Penn. native and former coach at Northwestern, a fellow Big Ten school.
Green was one of the NFL's great people and great characters.
While he will always be remembered for his most-game meltdown after the Cardinals blew a 20-point lead to the Bears in a Monday Night Football game in 2006, Green's lasting memory will be his commitment to respecting the game and teaching it the right way.
For a franchise that's known for assembling some incredibly stout defenses throughout its history, the Steelers have recently constructed an offense with a surplus of talent all over the depth chart.
But that offense was dealt a major blow Friday morning.
Le'Veon Bell, the team's star running back who in just three seasons has become one of the league's most feared players, is facing a four-game suspension for violating the league's drug policy, according to ESPN. The reason for the penalty, though, isn't because he failed a test, it's because he missed one.
The appeal process is reportedly still going on, but if Bell doesn't win that process, he'll miss the first quarter of the 2016 schedule.
While the news obviously hurts the Steelers, it benefits the Redskins.
Washington is hosting Pittsburgh in the season opener on Sept. 12, and its run defense wouldn't mind seeing No. 26 on the sidelines in a sweatshirt during the matchup. The Black and Gold do still have the very capable DeAngelo Williams — who rushed for 907 yards and 11 touchdowns in 2015 while filling in for an injured Bell — plus the always dangerous Antonio Brown, but their unit will of course be less threatening without its top tailback.
ESPN reports that Bell's appeal date hasn't been determined yet, but it should be heard before any meaningful football starts. He was also suspended for the first two contests last year following an arrest for a DUI and marijuana possession that occurred in August 2014.