Water Cooler Shorts – 8/24/2015

What you need to know from the weekend (and last week) in the NFL:

Injury News

The big news from this weekend is coming out of Green Bay, where the Packers lost star wide receiver Jordy Nelson. Initial reports are a torn ACL and he’s lost for the season. He’ll have an MRI today to confirm the prognosis, but it’s a tough pill to swallow. If any team is equipped to handle this kind of injury though, it’s the Packers. They seem to constantly churn out productive receivers from every draft and Davante Adams will slide right in to fill Nelson’ s role on the outside. Plus, they still have that guy named Rodgers at QB, so they’ll be okay. The other big injury happened earlier in the week when the Panthers lost their young stud receiver – Kelvin Benjamin. He went down in practice, also with a torn ACL and is officially done for the year. Any time a guy goes down without contact, you know it’s not good and in both of these situations it appears to be worst case scenarios.

One other injury nugget – not as flashy, but still worth noting, is that the Steeler’s Pro Bowl center Maurkice Pouncey injured his ankle yesterday and was carted off. He will require surgery and the timetable for his return is still unknown at this point. Either way, it’s a big loss for a team that wants to establish the run and needs to protect Big Ben.

Jimmy G Update

For all those Pats fans who were on the ledge after week 1 of the preseason, you can step down and relax. Yes, I understand that Garoppolo was facing 2nd and 3rd stringers on the Saints. But he was also playing with 2nd and 3rd stringers on his side of the ball and did what you would expect from a capable quarterback…he led the offense on 5 scoring drives and was efficient doing so: 28/33 for 269 yards and 1 TD (also 1 INT), which I consider impressive considering his top receiving threat was undrafted rookie Chris Harper. Assuming that Brady is out for the first 4 weeks, as I said last week…I think the Pats will be just fine.

No other major news. Week 3 of the preseason will be the ‘dress rehearsal’ for most teams, so expect the starters to get lots of action in preparation for week 1. Knock on wood if you’ve already had your fantasy football draft and pray that your guys make it through in one piece.

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Water Cooler Shorts – 8/14/15 Edition

First post in a new segment here, as all football season I’ll be sharing my quick-hit thoughts on the NFL. I’m calling it Water Cooler Shorts, because it’ll be dedicated to giving you all the key news you need to know to carry a conversation when you run into Bob from Accounting at the water cooler in the morning. So with the first major preseason action last night, let’s get to it.

Tell Patriots fans to CHILL OUT

Jimmy Garoppolo got extended action in last night’s preseason game (as expected) and to be fair, he looked pretty terrible. But tell Patriots fans to turn off ESPN and relax. Remember that those are the same guys that overreacted and said Tom Brady was “done” after the Chiefs game last season (how’d that turn out by the way dipshits?); so don’t fall into their trap. I know it feels like the sky is falling down…the Pats are going to be 0-4 if Brady’s suspension is upheld, AND all of our favorite comedians are going to sucked into a giant hole in the ground.

But try to keep it in perspective…Jimmy G was playing with a second-string offensive line and his best receiver option was Josh Boyce – a guy who has maybe a 2% chance of making the final roster. No Edelman, no Gronk, no LaFell, no Amendola. If, and it’s a huge IF at this point, Brady is suspended at all, Belichick will come up with a game plan to maximize the skills that Garoppolo does have and they’ll be just fine. Remember that they went 11-5 with Matt Cassell at the helm, and I firmly believe that Jimmy G has more talent.

Jets fans should be doing cartwheels

We all got a good laugh when news came out earlier this week that Geno Smith was missing 6-10 weeks with a broken jaw, courtesy of getting popped in the face by his own teammate. Only the J-E-T-S, Jets, Jets, Jets. The truth is, Jets fans should be thrilled right now. Geno might have been their “starter” and maybe you can argue that he has untapped potential. But he’s not the best quarterback on their roster and definitely doesn’t give the team it’s best chance to win right now. Plus, he’s a giant tool, as evidenced by him getting popped in the face by a teammate and witnesses saying that he totally deserved it. I haven’t heard a single person defend Geno in all this…not a good sign.

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The simple fact is that Ryan Fitzpatrick has been a more than serviceable quarterback in his time with Buffalo, Tennessee and Houston, and is good enough to keep this team in games. They’ll need to rely on their defense, which should be one of the best in the NFL with the addition of Revis, Cromartie and Skrine to their secondary, but Fitzy won’t lose them games.  Which cannot be said for Geno. So don’t shed any tears Gang Green, you’ll be better off with the Harvard grad.

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Plus look at that beard…that’s instant credibility
Ameer Abdullah was impressive

Last night we saw the debut of Melvin Gordon, but it was another rookie running back that caught my attention: Ameer Abdullah was the most impressive player on the field in the Lions-Jets game. The cuts he made would make Shady McCoy proud – 7 carries for 67 yards. He’s getting rave reviews so far in camp, especially for his receiving skills. So if he can be productive in the run game too, then he could be a major weapon for the Lions to go with Golden Tate, Joique Bell and of course Megatron.

Health was the most important objective

The common theme throughout all of the preseason, but especially week 1, is just to keep your key guys healthy. That’s why you saw the Patriots resting Edelman, Gronk and Jerod Mayo. That’s why Tony Romo, Dez Bryant and Joseph Randle didn’t play at all for the Cowboys, and why Drew Brees was standing on the sideline all night for the Saints. The simple truth is that 4 preseason games are way too many – these key veterans don’t need that much time to get up to speed, especially with the reps they get in practice. So there’s nothing they can gain from 4 preseason games, but a lot they can lose. Not worth the risk, so the theme over the next few weeks will be: KEEP THE STUDS HEALTHY.