Thursday, March 22, 2012

NFL News and Notes

Saints Bounty Penalties

Needless today, I was a bit shocked when I got in the car yesterday afternoon and heard sports talk hosts here in Chicago talking about the biggest story of the day.

Gregg Williams was suspended indefinitely by the NFL
Not that I was shocked that they were talking about the biggest story of the day, but I was shocked to hear what it was. 

The NFL has suspended former Saints’ defensive coordinator Gregg Williams (now with the Rams) indefinitely, head coach Sean Payton for the entire 2012 season, GM Mickey Loomis for eight games, and linebackers coach Joe Vitt for six games. 

These are unprecedented actions, but then again, we’re dealing with an unprecedented situation.  Plus, we know that Commissioner Roger Goodell loves to make an example of people to try and deter others from taking the same action.

That’s just it, though.  Multiple former players have come out and said that stuff like this goes on everywhere, it’s just the Saints that got caught.  But what compounded their issue was not stopping this bounty program when the NFL directed them to.  As Jeff Duncan points out in today’s New Orleans Times-Picayune, the blame falls squarely on those in charge of the Saints.

I don’t think the NFL could afford to NOT level stiff penalties against those involved.  As many have pointed out over the last 24 hours, player safety is a paramount issue in the league right now, and the NFL must do all it can to emphasize the issue.

I have no problems with any of the penalties.

Tebow Traded

Say the name Tim Tebow, and everyone stops talking, their ears perk up, and they listen.  With Peyton Manning taking over the starting role in Denver, Tebow became expendable.  The Jets, of all teams, traded for Tebow yesterday not once but twice.  I’m not a Jets fan (Bear Down), but if I were, I wouldn’t like it. 

The Jets are already almost a laughing stock in the NFL because of the inconsistencies of Mark Sanchez and Rex Ryan’s feet—er—mouth.  I don’t think they need the added attention of Tim Tebow.   That being said, maybe they can effectively vary their looks on offense with Tebow coming in to run the wildcat.

Bears Sign Michael Bush, Matt Forte Feels Disrespected

Today the Bears announce they signed running back Michael Bush to a four year contract.  Matt Forte promptly tweeted: There's only so many times a man that has done everything he's been asked to do can be disrespected! Guess the GOOD GUYS do finish last.... 

The Bears have placed the franchise tag on Forte, which will guarantee him just under eight million dollars.  They also had Marion Barber and Khalil Bell on the roster before they signed Bush.  The general consensus is that they’ll release Barber, partly because of the mental gaffe he had at the end of last season.  As for the franchise tag, Forte has said that he’s OK with it, as long as the two sides continue to work towards a long term deal.  He’s apparently taken the Bush signing as a bad sign for his contract situation.

What Matt Forte must get over, and “Pay Forte” supporters must get over, is that while he’s been highly effective in his four year career, running backs aren’t what they used to be even five years ago.  The position is becoming less and less of a position where guys are effective for longer than five or six years.  The Bears are right to be smart about what they do with Forte. 

By signing Michael Bush, they are PROTECTING Matt Forte!  Forte should be THANKING the Bears for signing a guy who rushed for nearly 1,000 yards last season.  By signing another effective rusher, they are trying to extend the NFL life of Matt Forte!  They should still lock up Forte, but if I were Phil Emery, I wouldn’t give him anything longer than a three year deal.  

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