Weekend Update and Training Camp Notebook

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THE JIM SEZ WEEKEND UPDATE: OUR NFL TRAINING CAMP NOTEBOOK

LET'S GO 'ROUND THE LEAGUE AND CHECK OUT WHO'S MAKING THE NEWS ...

THE BASEBALL REPORT: THREE BIG NAMES THAT COULD BE TRADE BAIT

By Jim Hurley:

The always-popular HBO show Hard Knocks is once again featuring the Cincinnati Bengals who claim there will be lots to analyze and dissect in this 2013 training camp - but who knew that just when camp began mega-talented wide receiver A.J. Green would suffer what appeared to be a hyperextended left knee?

Green suffered the injury when attempting to track down a sideline throw from QB Andy Dalton with Bengals' DB Terence Newman providing downfield coverage on the play.

Afterwards, Green indicated to Bengals' brass that he believed he would be fine but keep in mind that the last time this happened to the former University of Georgia star it took him two weeks to fully recover. Just sayin'!

Hey, speaking about the Hard Knocks series that will air its first installment on Tuesday, August 6th, this reality sports documentary show has produced seven seasons of fun TV since 2001 - remember there was no show last year amidst all the lockout junk - and just to refresh your memory here's the teams that have appeared on Hard Knocks since the show's start:

2001 - Baltimore Ravens
2002 - Dallas Cowboys
2007 - Kansas City Chiefs
2008 - Dallas Cowboys
2009 - Cincinnati Bengals
2010 - New York Jets
2012 - Miami Dolphins
2013- Cincinnati Bengals

Okay, so while the Cincy Bengals become reality TV "stars" this summer, there's plenty of other NFL News/Notes making the rounds in the early days of camp ...

The Philadelphia Eagles - attempting to rebound from last year's 4-12 SU (straight-up) season that cost head coach Andy Reid his job - opened their first full day of camp on Friday and there was QB Michael Vick operating with all the first-teamers on offense.

Hey, that actually does qualify as "big news" considering that there was plenty of off-season reports that Eagles' rookie head coach Chip Kelly might allow former starter Nick Foles to get the first crack with the first-teamers. Note that former USC signal-caller Matt Barkley ran some plays with the team's third-stringers and so - at least for the time being - Kelly is letting Vick know that it's his job to either win or lose this summer.

According to ESPN reporter Sal Paolantonio, Vick ran the up-temp/quick-paced offense with great precision and no question one goal for Kelly here is to have Vick - or any of his quarterbacks, for that matter - release the ball quickly after Vick was sacked 28 times in just 10 games last year while the other Philly slingers were sacked 20 times in all ...

Meanwhile, camp has just begun but already St. Louis Rams head coach Jeff Fisher has made it be known that he's searching for a No. 1 running back to take charge from the trio of Daryl Richardson (the presumed starter), Isaiah Pead and Zac Stacy.

Keep in mind that last year the Rams' Steven Jackson - now a member of the Atlanta Falcons - toted the ball some 257 times for 1,042 yards (a 4.1 yards-per-carry average) with 4 TDs and that marked nearly 63 percent of St. Loo's total rushing attempts in 2012.

"I've usually had a guy," stated Fisher regarding a numero uno running back dating back to his time with Tennessee and RB Chris Johnson. "We may not end up with a 'bellcow' like we had last year with "Jack" ... (but) one of them may emerge and carry it 350 times this year, we don't know."

In case you were wondering, last year Richardson rushed the ball 98 times for 475 rushing yards (a 4.8 ypc average with 0 TDs) for the Rams while Pead had 10 carries for 54 yards for St. Loo and Stacy played his final season at Vanderbilt ...

Finally, the news for Cortland (N.Y.) wasn't great on the second day of camp as new CB Aaron Berry was lost for the 2013 season after suffering a knee injury in practice.

Berry was considered a front-runner to play the dime cornerback spot and add some depth to a position hard hit by the pre-NFL Draft trade of CB Darrelle Revis to Tampa Bay. Gotta believe now there is a bit more sense of urgency for first-year GM John Idzik and "lame duck" head coach Rex Ryan to ink first-round draftee CB Dee Milliner (Alabama) who is expected to be Revis' heir apparent at the cornerback spot opposite veteran Antonio Cromartie.

Did you realize that last year's Jets team finished up with only 11 interceptions during that ugly 6-10 season? The leader in that category a year ago was none other than Cromartie with three total picks.

Hey, just a pointspread stat note (or two) to chuck your way. Sometimes the way ends a season the prior year suggests just how a team will begin the following season and so take these pointspread stats into consideration for a moment here ...

  • The Carolina Panthers (7-9) covered their final four regular-season games a year ago including pointspread wins against divisional rivals Atlanta and New Orleans ...

  • The Cleveland Browns (5-11) failed to cover their final three regular-season games in 2012 and that included a 17-point loss to Washington, a 22-point loss in Denver and a 14-point loss in Pittsburgh ...

  • The Kansas City Chiefs (2-14) lost their final four regular-season games against the vig including three games in which KC scored 7 points or less ...
    The aforementioned NY Jets dropped their final three regular-season games to "the number" including a season-ending 19-point loss in Buffalo ...

Jim Hurley and his Network of Handicappers and Bloggers will be banging out loads of Major-League Baseball Winners all summer long and so check with us right here online or via our toll-free telephone # of 1-800-323-4453 after 1 p.m. Eastern time for weeknight action, and after 10 a.m. ET for Saturday/Sunday/Holiday Winners. Plus, the NFL Preseason is right around the corner with the annual Hall of Fame Game this year between the Miami Dolphins vs. the Dallas Cowboys on tap for Sunday evening , August 4th. Go ahead and pile up the greenbacks while you're kicking back this summer of 2013!

THE BASEBALL NOTEBOOK: TRADE DEADLINE CHATTER

It remains to be seen whether or not we're gonna have a busy Major-League Baseball Trade Deadline - the pre-weekend move to acquire LF Alfonso Soriano by the offensively-starved New York Yankees from the Chicago Cubs was noteworthy but hardly an eyebrow-raising move, if you know what we mean - but here we've gathered up three big names that might be "trade bait" even though we haven't seen the mass media make a major note of any of these guys. Let's see if one, two or all three of 'em get shipped to new destinations between now and the deadline on Wednesday, July 31st:

EDWIN ENCARNACION, 1B - Hey, the Toronto Blue Jays may not want to admit it, but this season's "shot" with the North-of-the-Border crew having entered its weekend series against Houston with a dismal 46-55 record that makes 'em 14 games back of AL East-leading Boston and 10 games behind the league's second wild card team Baltimore. Encarnacion has 26 HRs and 75 RBIs to go along with a .525 slugging percentage and the fact is the Jays could ship him to a contender and pick up a few nice pieces for their future. Don't discount a possible swap with Texas (that's providing the Rangers don't re-acquire INF Michael Young from Philadelphia or some other "cheaper" bat) and keep the Pittsburgh Pirates in play here too as they could send a young arm or two to Canada.

JIMMY ROLLINS, SS - Is it possible that the Philadelphia Phillies will start knocking down their veteran-flavored team these next few days and thus bid farewell to their longtime shortstop? Okay, so the 34-year-old Rollins ain't what he used to be but still he has 20 doubles, 31 runs batted in and 34 walks in 400-plus plate appearances this year and he could be a real nice fit across the Keystone State with the Pittsburgh Pirates who could use some veteran leadership in the locker room and a little more punch at shortstop where Jordy Mercer and Clint Barmes are nice players but no Cal Ripken!

CLIFF LEE, LHP - Hey, let's stay right there with the fadin' Phillies and examine what's ahead for this one-time Cy Young award winner.
No doubt Lee - who's moved around plenty in recent years but wound up on two different occasions with the Phils - is a valuable chip and despite some public denials by GM Ruben Amaro, Jr. we could well see Lee get shipped out West where the Los Angeles Dodgers could have some young kiddy talent available. If the Dodgers could pull off a deal for Lee (10-4, 3.05 ERA and fresh off an All-Star Game berth) than Don Mattingly's rotation would look like this: Clayton Kewshaw (9-6, 2.01), Lee, RHP Zack Greinke (8-3, 3.49), LHP Hyun-Jin Ryu (8-3, 3.25) and RHP Ricky Nolasco (6-9, 3.72 but mainly with Miami).

Think any MLB starting rotation is better than that? The answer is nope!
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