Were you too busy cutting the lawn or working outside? On the road and need to catch up on the latest NFL preseason storylines? Then look no further. This is the second edition of “The 7th Report Weekly Recap”. All of the NFL preseason information you can consume is located below. In addition to the latest news and observations, at the end of each recap, I include a Def Pen Sports “mini-mailbag”.
If you want your questions answered in the “mini-mailbag”, tweet them to @the7threport. I select a few questions each week to answer and provide thoughtful analysis and insight on.
Enough of the mailbag talk – what did you miss?
Support of White Teammates
In my most recent interview with The Dan Patrick Show’s own Todd Fritz, I asked him “Will more white teammates show support of their black teammates?” He was very adamant about how important it is for others to feel supported in the cause, regardless of their feelings on the matter. This weekend we saw three white players publicly support their black teammates.
The first to do it – Chris Long of the Philadelphia Eagles.
America will only be as great as our standards 4 it. If you love something, improve it. Seek progress as passionately as we’ve received this pic.twitter.com/5GKcuvdb0P
— Chris Long (@JOEL9ONE) August 20, 2017
— Malcolm Jenkins (@MalcolmJenkins) August 18, 2017
Everyone took notice. Even one of Long and Jenkins former teammates, James Laurinaitis.
— James Laurinaitis (@JLaurinaitis55) August 18, 2017
Chris Long wasn’t done with his statements on the matter. He made sure to get one last tweet in before falling asleep.
And btw I don’t presume to be a star in our game or the fight for equality but there’s room for everyone in it. Love you twitter! Goodnight!
— Chris Long (@JOEL9ONE) August 20, 2017
Long wasn’t the only white teammate to provide support. Seahawks offensive lineman Justin Britt, who recently signed a very lucrative extension, supported teammate Michael Bennett in his silent protest.
“Justice will not be served until those who are unaffected are as outraged as those who are”
-Ben Franklin pic.twitter.com/MSRtHDVRBe
— Justin Britt (@JustinBritt68) August 19, 2017
Staying out west, during the Oakland Raiders NFL preseason game, Derek Carr was seen putting his arm around Khalil Mack during the national anthem.
Derek Carr placed his right hand on Khalil Mack’s jersey for entirety of national anthem tonight. pic.twitter.com/hlt2LGqtL2
— Michael Gehlken (@GehlkenNFL) August 20, 2017
Three white teammates openly supporting their black teammate’s protests during NFL preseason games. It appears we are making progress in the right direction.
Update: Ezekiel Elliott
The NFLPA (National Football League Players Association) released the statement below on August 15 regarding Ezekiel Elliott’s appeal. The hearing will take place on August 29. However, once the hearing is complete, there is no set timetable for a decision by the NFL.
— NFLPA (@NFLPA) August 15, 2017
Whether the NFLPA believes Zeke is guilty or not, it is their job and responsibility to come to the defense of one of their players. One day after the NFLPA appeals the six-game suspension for Ezekiel Elliott, the NFL releases a perplexing statement.
New NFL statement pic.twitter.com/KJ64RDHVB2
— Brian McCarthy (@NFLprguy) August 16, 2017
Nearly two hours later, the NFLPA releases a statement of their own.
The public statement issued on behalf of every NFL owner is a lie. The NFLPA categorically denies the accusations made in this statement. pic.twitter.com/OFOGQY91Ai
— NFLPA (@NFLPA) August 16, 2017
What does all of this mean?
The NFLPA appealed the six-game suspension as they are required to do. Out of the blue, the NFL attacks the NFLPA, almost provoking the organization to retaliate in a similar fashion. They do not. Only saying the NFL has “stooped to new lows”. At this juncture, Zeke has three possible outcomes.
- The appeal is rejected and Ezekiel Elliott serves his six-game suspension, returning in week eight against the Washington Redskins on October 29.
- The suspension is lessened to four games and Ezekiel Elliott returns against the Green Bay Packers in week five on October 8.
- Once the appeal is heard, the NFL takes an entire season to make a decision and Ezekiel Elliott plays until a decision is made. Once the decision is made, regardless of what week it is, he will serve his suspension, if that is the decision.
Now, we wait until August 29.
Aaron Donald Holding Out
One of the biggest storylines from this past week is news of Aaron Donald announcing that he is prepared to not only hold out the entirety of the NFL preseason, but the regular season as well. Per Adam Schefter:
Rams DT Aaron Donald’s holdout is threatening to last into the regular season, per league sources. One source… https://t.co/C3Lk4M1aQz
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) August 17, 2017
Aaron Donald is viewed around the league as the best interior defensive lineman. He is unquestionably the best player on the Los Angeles Rams roster. The faster the Rams extend him, the better their team becomes.
Aaron Donald dominates like no other against the run and as a pass rusher pic.twitter.com/EFcKSEK5M1
— Pro Football Focus (@PFF) August 18, 2017
Stand-Outs in Week 2 of the NFL Preseason
Here are my two standouts from week two in the NFL preseason. The biggest positive standout player was Christian McCaffrey and the sore thumb was Blake Bortles. McCaffrey has shown the ability to make plays at a high level. Blake Bortles, not so much.
Boy, this guy can play. It appears the Panthers are using him correctly as I have been advocating all along that he was the best weapon in the 2017 NFL draft.
A look at where Christian McCaffrey lined up in the first half pic.twitter.com/k3rLbmf5Ib
— Pro Football Focus (@PFF) August 19, 2017
Did you miss his highlights from the Titans NFL preseason game? We’ve got you covered.
— Def Pen Sports (@DefPenSports) August 19, 2017
Oh man. A perfectly executed screen. Good things happen when McCaffrey touches the ball pic.twitter.com/1VLZybFUYF
— Billy Marshall (@BillyM_91) August 19, 2017
It has been tough sledding for Bortles. So many high expectations that he may never live up to. When comparing him to other NFL quarterbacks, he sits near the bottom tier.
Now that everyone seems to realize how bad Blake Bortles is, here are the QBs who were as accurate and less accurate than him last season. pic.twitter.com/wvVwkQfzPX
— Cian Fahey (@Cianaf) August 18, 2017
To show how much of an outlier season 2015 was, below are the downfield numbers to prove it.
— Ian Kenyon (@IanKenyonNFL) August 18, 2017
His play has been so abysmal, that head coach Doug Marrone, per Adam Schefter, said the starting quarterback position is “up for grabs”.
Jaguars HC Doug Marrone said his team’s starting QB job is up for grabs, waiting for Blake Bortles or Chad Henne to win it.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) August 18, 2017
At this point, the Jaguars best interest is to start Chad Henne. Then in the 2018 draft, look to grab a top quarterback. There will be a plethora of them.
More NFL News
When it comes to the news of the NFL preseason, there are plenty of stories to go around. A couple of those headlines are the Sean Smith allegations, the story of Le’Veon Bell rejecting the Steelers contract, and NFL great Anquan Boldin retiring after signing with the Bills two weeks ago.
Let’s start with Sean Smith (CB of the Oakland Raiders). He was arrested on Thursday for beating his sister’s boyfriend last month. He currently faces felony assault charges. Late Thursday night, according to Los Angeles state records, Smith was released on $80,000 bail. He is scheduled for a hearing on September 29 in Pasadena, California. If found guilty, he faces up to seven years in jail.
According to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Le’Veon Bell was offered a five-year deal on the July 17 trade deadline. In that five-year deal, each year averaged just over $12 million and included $30 million guaranteed in the first two years. He currently is franchised tagged, which is $12.12 million guaranteed for one season. However, because he has not signed the tag, he is not able to participate with the team. Bell is reportedly asking for $15 million a year based on his pass catching contribution and running ability. In retrospect, Devonta Freeman of the Atlanta Falcons recently became the highest-paid running back at $8.25 million a year. How long will Bell hold out?
On August 7, it was reported that Anquan Boldin signed with the Buffalo Bills. Yesterday, on August 20, he informed the organization that he is retiring from the NFL.
— Def Pen Sports (@DefPenSports) August 21, 2017
Per Jim Trotter, NFL reporter for ESPN –
Statement from Anquan Boldin on his decision to retire: pic.twitter.com/z19jekK33R
— Jim Trotter (@JimTrotter_NFL) August 21, 2017
The Buffalo Bills, his former employer, publicly supported his decision to retire.
Statement from GM Brandon Beane on Anquan Boldin. pic.twitter.com/G8k6Tx0HUN
— Buffalo Bills (@buffalobills) August 21, 2017
Can I blame the guy for not finding his identity in the game of football? Absolutely not. If he wants to go make a difference in this world, why should we stop him?
The 7th Report: Mini-Mailbag
Ask and you shall receive! Here are the top questions in the second edition of the “The 7th Report Weekly Recap: Mini-Mailbag”.
Who are currently your College football playoff teams? And is a 4-team Playoff the end result or do you see future changes.
— Jake Mackey (@papasquat1425) August 17, 2017
HH: In no particular order Alabama, Ohio State, Florida State, and Oklahoma. I think these teams are the most talented teams in the country with some of the best head coaches’ is the business. Head coaching is crucial in NCAAF.
I do see future changes to the current format. I’m not sure if that includes and expansion to eight teams, or not. It wouldn’t surprise me if there was a shift towards “minor league football”. I think some of these teams could leave the NCAA, especially the Power 5 schools and make their own league. We are very far from that, though.
What’s the best name of a minor league baseball team?
— Ben Hansen (@Benson_Four_3) August 17, 2017
HH: The best minor league team name, in my opinion, is the Montgomery Biscuits. I grew up in the south and I love the idea of mixing baseball and biscuits. Although, the Lehigh Valley IronPigs are a tough team name to ignore.
What’s your outlook for the Rams this year?
— Matt Brashear (@mbrashear15) August 18, 2017
HH: The Los Angeles Rams are much improved from last season. Jared Goff, albeit it’s the NFL preseason, has looked much more comfortable and poised. It is very evident that Goff and head coach Sean McVay have worked very closely in the offseason to master this offense. They also have given him weapons to work with as well as a very formidable defense. Although, they better extend Aaron Donald quick. He is not a player you want holding out.
I see them finishing above San Francisco in the NFC West, but below Arizona and Seattle. They are in a rebuilding stage and there is no reason to force the rebuild. The team has much better leadership now that Jeff Fisher is gone so the future looks bright.
Who is the best player to draft #1 overall ?
— Chase Simpson (@csimp21) August 21, 2017
HH: In fantasy football? David Johnson – without question. He will do it all for you.
If you want your NFL preseason questions answered in the “mini-mailbag”, tweet them to @the7threport. See you in week three!