It has been nearly six months since the last real NFL action on the field, and has been your typical off season. Scouting, rookie combine, tryouts, the draft, free agency, retirement, rule changes, and, of course, your typical handful of arrests/citations. I speak for all of us football geeks when I say “thank god THAT’s all over” as our favorite teams, players and coaches report back to work. All 32 teams are scheduled to begin Training Camp various days throughout the week. Here is a quick recap of major news this offseason:
Shortly after winning the Super Bowl, the Baltimore Ravens traded away Anquan Boldin to the Super Bowl losing Niners, released Bernard Pollard, Ray Lewis retired, Ed Reed was not resigned, and relocated to Houston to join the Texans. Paul Kruger left for the Browns, Dannell Ellerbe signed with Miami, and Joe Flacco was handed a FAT contract, and they added a pass rusher in Elvis Dumerville. And most recently, Jacoby Jones shows up to training camp without being able to pass the physical. They did a great job in the draft, but those are some huge holes to fill.
Brian Urlacher also retired, as the aging veteran could not get a deal worked out with Chicago, and same can be said for James Harrison, as he leaves Pittsburgh and joins the Bengals. Mike Wallace joined the Dolphins, who broke the bank in free agency by also adding Dannell Ellerbe, Chris Clemons, Phillip Wheeler, Brent Grimes and Dustin Keller. The Packers work out a HUGE deal to lock up Aaron Rodgers long term, but lose Greg Jennings to the Rival Vikings, who also had a good looking draft.
The Arizona Cardinals attempt to upgrade by hiring head coach Bruce Arians, another former member of the Steelers coaching staff, resign Rashad Johnson, and add Rashard Mendenhall, Drew Stanton, Yeremiah Bell, Jerraud Powers, Carson Palmer and Josh Cribbs.
The Patriots lose Wes Welker to free agency, and Aaron Hernandez to the State of Massachusetts, as he was arrested without bail in a murder investigation, but add Danny Amendola and Adrian Wilson. They also add Tim Tebow, whom the NY Jets released after drafting College hype Geno Smith, and signing David Garrard, only to add more to the quarterback controversy on the green side of New York. Meanwhile, the blue side of New York has worked out terms with Victor Cruz, after losing Osi Umenyiora to the Falcons, who have also signed Stephen Jackson, and Tony Gonzalez for another year.
Along with the Arizona Cardinals, the Eagles find a new head coach, Chip Kelly, after they part ways with Andy Reid, who found a job quickly in Kansas City, and now has Alex Smith as his quarterback to mold. Doug Maronne finds a head coaching job in Buffalo, The Bears fire Smith and hire Marc Trestman, Cleveland hires Rob Chudzinski, San Deigo MikeMccoy,and Jacksonville Gus Bradley.
With the start of training camp, and pre-season right around the corner, the Hall of Fame game between the Dolphins and Cowboys less than 2 weeks away. We can now start to scout our favorite team’s rookies, and newly acquired free agents, as well as players for our fantasy teams. Here is goodbye to the dreadfully long 6 month off season, and hello to being just a few steps away from Kickoff weekend with friends, family, good games, good times, and good food.
SGN Chief Correspondent Anthony Andrews