by Ryan Meehan
First things first, I think we all know that’s a bad title. We all realize that in preseason you rarely learn anything. So maybe it should be “What I noticed from Thursday night in the NFL preseason”. You’re not going to get A plus stuff every night, anywhere. So with that being said, here are a few things I noticed:
1) The Bears are really going to miss Brian Urlacher’s mental presence on some plays where the opposing quarterback has plenty of time in the pocket
Although the Bears did play relatively well on defense (or at least look like it…see point two) there was one play where the Chargers scored a touchdown where the lack of Urlacher being able to know where a play was headed was very noticeably absent. And that’s more than just a “rookie mistake” by Jon Bostic, who otherwise had a decent game. It takes several years or some serious natural talent (or let’s be honest, most of the time both) in order to be able to sniff out things like that, and although Bostic shows promise there is going to be a lot of big plays this year that the Bears are going to get burnt on.
2) It’s going to be a long year for The San Diego Chargers
This is something that has kind of been slowly coming for some time now, but I’ve been burned by the San Diego Chargers one too many times to thing that all of a sudden now is the time where they are going to turn it all around. That’s still an awful team with no running game and a quarterback that spends more of his time complaining about who got held than finding someone who’s open. The defense is even worse, with Manti Te’O sure to be more of a non-factor than a distraction. I have this theory that in a way Peyton Manning being traded to the AFC West was the greatest thing to ever hapen to Philip Rivers, because now nobody expects anything out of him. The Chargers are no longer guaranteed to be a serious threat to the rest of that division, and Rivers no longer has to bend over backwards to worry about winning ten games. It’s already started to show and has shown for some time.
3) This quarterback “controversy” in Philadelphia is obscenely stupid
Look, I realize that some people are going to always think poorly of Michael Vick. That’s fine. But he’s the Philadelphia Eagles quarterback. Providing he doesn’t get injured, the mere suggestion that Nick Foles is going to “win the starting job” is one of the silliest things the sports channels have tried to sell you all year. If Michael Vick is the backup, he’s the most expensive backup in the history of any professional sport. Anytime the casual fan even suggests benching a guy I just want to tell everyone to take a deep breath and remember how much money is at stake here. For every backup quarterback that’s ever came in and replaced a quarterback and played better, there are a hundred and fifty backups who haven’t done so. Which leads me to my next point – let’s just say for the sake of this argument that Vick struggles the first three weeks and they start Foles week four. If he plays “OK” or “so-so”, which guy do you think they are going to go with in week five? Nick Foles or the guy with the hundred million dollar contract? If you answered Nick Foles, you have no idea how sports works at all. It’s a business. If the Eagles go down, it’s at Vick’ expense. Plus, his situation is very unique because if he does fail, the media will try to make a moral lesson out of the whole thing and I’m sure if the Eagles are out of playoff contention they will have no problem assisting with that.
4) Cam Newton obviously has worked with someone who can help him talk to the media
It was only one interview, but the difference between the way that Cam Newton spoke to Sal Palantonio after the Eagles game showed me that he can at least sort of control himself and won’t end up like Ryan Leaf. And good for him – it might even change his attitude on the field. Cam Newton was sort of in Justin Bieber mode last year, where someone needed to smack him around a bit and explain to him what the press was there for. If he can get a winning attitude to match that winning smile, he’ll probably have a lot more money in his pocket because he’ll get more endorsement deals.
5) We can probably skip putting Chris Berman and Trent Dilfer together as a broadcasting team from this point forward
And you can probably add (‘or separately’) to the rest of that sentence. I watched the Chargers/Bears game for a as long as I could possibly stand. At one point towards the end of this game, Dilfer actually said “Players…”, then he paused and said “Develop”. I thought I could here the brain cells in the back of my head screaming their lungs out begging me to kill them all. I think Berman is past his age of effectiveness at this point, and pretty much everyone in the country has had it with Dilfer. What’s even wore is that Jon Gruden is part of the usual ESPN NFL broadcast team, and although he is a great coach I can’t wait for the day where he’s out of the booth.
Maybe none of this stuff will matter. But if any of it turns out to be an issue at least it will look like I know what I’m talking about.