The combined practices are the gift that keep on giving. Just when you thought the pre-season couldn’t give you any more, the rollercoaster continues by pitting fully padded opposing teams against each other in drills. More injuries, more dramas, and more contracts!
Gronk at risk? –
The New England Patriots target of choice walked out of practice yesterday, apparently not badly injured, but enough to stop practice. He was participating in a 7 on 7 drill with the Chicago Bears when he pulled up, and walked off of the field. No news on any official injuries yet, and it may just have been precautionary, but the Patriots may leave Gronk out of practice from now until September.
Rankins breaks leg –
Sheldon Rankins, the great new hope for the New Orleans pass rush has a suspected broken Fibula. The 305lb first round Defensive Tackle was showing incredible pace and pressure on a previously lacking Saints defensive line, and was shaping up to be a smart investment on their part. Unfortunately, during a goal line drill, it appears that Rankins suffered a Broken Fibula (shin bone), which will see him spend the entire season rehabbing.
Rex Ryan sets the tone –
Rex Ryan obviously wants to start this season by letting the team know where they stand. WR Leonard Hankerson had a really bad start to his pre-season, with three drops in one game, and so Ryan released him. No warning shots, no second chances, this is Ryan City, and you’d better shape up, or you’re gone. This move could set a real tone for the rest of the season for the Bills.
McDaniel returns to Seattle –
31 year old veteran DE Tony McDaniel has signed over to the Seahawks for the season, rescuing him from a year of free agency boredom. Coming back after a two year gap, hopefully McDaniel can turn it back on, and slot straight back into the Seattle defence.
Bengals Rookie tears Meniscus –
Andrew Billings is out with a confirmed torn meniscus, after undergoing surgery to repair the damage. The DT draft was wheeled out last Wednesday, and the surgery means that he will most likely sit out this first season with the Bengals. Could the Bengals be on the market for an interior lineman out of free agency?
Thad Lewis out with ACL tear –
The 49ers are looking weak enough in the QB department, but now they’ve lost their QB2 Thad Lewis to a torn ACL, after a rough quarter in their game against Houston. This makes the already anaemic looking passing game dead in the water under coach Kelly, with Gabbert looking poor at best, and Kaepernick off with a bad shoulder. Even their rookie signing looks pretty nervous behind the ball. Looks like Kelly is going to have to rely on a run-heavy offense this year.
Lions sign ex-Packers TE –
Detroit have rolled the dice on the free agent TE Andrew Quarless, and signed him up, even though he is under a two game ban for violating the personal conduct policy last year. The Lions are more than happy for him to serve the first couple of games on the sidelines, if it means that he can recreate his earlier career numbers that he showed at Green Bay.
Taylor gets paid –
Rex Ryan may be firing shots at his players for underperforming, but he’s not afraid to reward them for performing well. QB Tyrod Taylor and the Bills have finally come to an arrangement on his new contract. With only one year left on his deal, and looking to earn just over $1M this year, the new contract extends the deal for six years, and throws $92M at the passer. If he ticks all of the boxes, he could stand to rake in over $112M over the six years of the contract. The Bill have even managed to roll it over to next year, so they get to keep their salary cap for this year nice and intact.
Broncos down 1 DE –
Vance Walker is out of the season with a torn ACL after Monday practice. This puts a dent in the undisputed no1 defence from 2015. Unfortunately, the veteran DE was lined up for a starting role this season, and was reportedly balling out in practice. This hardly leaves the squad high and dry, as the Broncos live by their depth chart, and can easily fill in the gaps from their star studded squad. The Question is, can Walker come back from this injury at a level that will retain his place one the squad. That’s down to him.
Patriots and Bears in Brawl –
Joint practice fight! It finally happened, the first brawl of the season happened between the Bears and the Patriots. CB Malcolm Butler got a little too close to WR Alshon Jeffery, and tempers started to flare during an 11 v 11 practice. The Bears receiver caught a pass in the end zone, and Butler blew up. Post whistle, the two started trading more than words, and the escalation quickly cleared the benches as both squads filled the field. Belichick sent Butler straight home, no excuses. Jeffery was sent to the naughty bench for the rest of the practice. With an upcoming pre-season friendly on Thursday, this could be a match up to keep an eye on.
Adele isn’t showy –
Adele may or may not have been offered the Super Bowl LI job, but either way, she made it clear that it was a non-starter for her. She claims that she’s not about the spectacle of the Super Bowl half time show, and that it detracts from the music. On the face of it, she’s sticking to her guns as a respected recording artist, and turning down something she feels doesn’t match her musical style. On the other hand, she’s kind of throwing shade on people that have played the show, including U2, Prince, Coldplay, and Beyonce. If she claims that as a musician, she isn’t interested in shows that detract from the focus on the music, she’s effectively putting herself in a higher league than those listed. It’s not like the show won’t go on without her, but she may find that her answer could go on to spark a row with other musicians.