Bad Vibes in Buffalo
1. I think if the Rex Ryan-Doug Whaley marriage ultimately fails to bring a Super Bowl to Buffalo, and Ryan and/or Whaley endure unceremonious exits under the Pegula ownership, we will look back on this week as the beginning of the end. And it’s only preseason of Year 1. Fred Jackson, 34-year-old fan favorite, is cut, and he slams the GM on his way out, saying Whaley behaved dishonestly. Tim Graham of the Buffalo News reports the GM “went rogue” on one of the first major personnel decisions of Ryan’s tenure. It’s hard to believe there exists this much tension, this early. Then again, neither Whaley nor former coach Doug Marrone have come clean about what specific conflicts led to his opting out last December. The saving grace for Whaley and Ryan? If there are issues between the third-year GM and the ex-Jets coach, they’ll be addressed away from the media microscope of the NYC market.
2. I think I’m always disheartened this time of year as preseason cuts happen, especially when I see familiar names on the list. Two early shockers: Jackson in Buffalo, and Cardinals special-teamer Lorenzo Alexander. Jackson, 34, was a Bill for his entire career, and had rushed for 5,646 yards since 2006. (He’s now expected to have an opportunity in Seattle.) Alexander, who signed a three-year, $9.5 million deal with the Cards in 2013, was considered one of the top special-teamers in football, earning a Pro Bowl nod in 2012. Both men were the go-to guys for local and national media in search of intelligent and candid quotes on their respective teams.
3. I think I was surprised to see Steelers GM Kevin Colbert move $2 million from Antonio Brown’s 2016 salary into bonus money for 2015, because Colbert has publicly referenced the team’s tradition of not renegotiating non-QB contracts with more than a year left on the deal. Brown’s agent, Drew Rosenhaus, kept pushing. His case for Brown (who caught 129 passes with 13 touchdowns last year) must have been bolstered by Rosenhaus’s representation of numerous Steelers, past and present, including longtime linebacker Lawrence Timmons.
4. I think that’s why you hire Drew Rosenhaus to represent you.
5. I think the only reason to keep Tim Tebow on the Eagles roster was the idea he was uniquely suited to score on two-point conversions in the first season of the new extra-point format. He got the opportunity to prove his worth in that realm twice against the Packers’ first-team defense and Tebow failed both times, rushing and throwing.
6. I think I wonder if there’s some untold vice menacing former LSU defensive end Sam Montgomery, who had a first-round grade until 2013 when scouts identified work-ethic concerns and Montgomery all but confirmed them in interviews that spring. The Texans took him in the third and cut him for marijuana use. And despite his enormous talents, Montgomery was released from his third team—the second-chance-happy Bengals—this week.
7. I think it’s too bad that James Harrison doesn’t often consort with media, because he’s kind of hilarious. “Today was a horrible performance,” he told the Washington Observer-Reporter. “It was like Burger King. They were having it their way and we were serving it to them.”
8. I think Super Bowl media day was all but useless two games ago for us writer folk, when reporters could at least avoid the press conferences and interview less popular players seated in the lower-level stadium seating. The league did away with that arrangement last season, and in a move that surprises no one, has announced that Media Day will become Media Night, a prime-time show with musical performances that will probably eclipse the TV ratings for the NBA, MLB and NHL playoffs.
9. I think you should read this story by Greg Bishop on the extraordinary lengths Russell Wilson went to in order to help his football team move on from one of the most stunning split-second meltdowns in Super Bowl history.
10. I think Derek Carr’s season just got more difficult, with the news of Menelik Watson’s Achilles tear and the decision that Austin Howard will replace Watson at right tackle. Howard, you’ll remember, went undrafted out of Northern Iowa, started for two seasons at right tackle with the Jets (where he struggled in pass pro), parlayed that into a five-year, $30 million deal in Oakland last year and was converted to right guard (where he struggled in pass pro). Watson, in his second season, earned good reviews on his three preseason performances.
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