NFL Camps Opening + Capsule for Chiefs, Redskins and Vikings + Baseball Report

THE NFL CAMPS ARE OPENIN’ UP AND WE CHECK IN ON LEAGUE-WIDE

NEWS & NOTES…PLUS OUR SUMMER TEAM-BY-TEAM CAPSULES CONTINUE WITH THE CHIEFS, REDSKINS & VIKINGS…THE BASEBALL REPORT: WEEKEND NEWS & NOTES

By Jim Hurley

How’s this, NFL fans?

The Hall of Fame Game is now less than two weeks away—the New York Giants at Buffalo Bills kicks off the preseason menu on Sunday, August 3rd in Canton— and by the end of this week each/every one of the league’s 32 teams will be entrenched in camp.

Hot-diggity-dog!

No doubt we’ll have a slew of things to report on during training camps but let’s just saunter around the NFL for a moment or two with some topical news as we dig deeper into the dog days of July:

Might as well start with the two teams that will be in action in the aforementioned Hall of Fame Game as word filtered out this past weekend that Giants’ two-time Super Bowl-winning head coach Tom Coughlin is no sure thing to keep his job beyond the 2014 should this NFC East club fail to make the post-season for the fifth time in the past six years.

In fact, co-owner John Mara refuted “hot seat” talk in an interview with the New York Post, but interestingly enough Mara was quoted as saying when asked if Coughlin has earned the right to name when he leaves because of those Super Bowl championships in 2007 and 2011?

“Does anybody ever earn that right?” asked Mara. “That’s just not the way this business is in this day-and-age.”

The Giants did ink Coughlin to a one-year extension this past February but you can put it in cement that if these Jints finish 8-8 or worse and don’t make the playoffs, then the Coughlin Era will end and all the talk about Bill Cowher or Nick Saban coming to be the next coach of the NYG will heat up in earnest…

Meanwhile, word from Bills-land is that DT Marcell Dareus was placed on the Active/Non-Football injury list this past weekend after head coach Doug Marrone told Facebook followers that Dareus had failed his physical.

Marrone belives Dareus will shape up soon enough one year after he registered 7½ quarterback sacks en route to a Pro Bowl appearance but it’s hard to ignore the off-the-field hijinks that the D-lineman’s been up these days as he was arrested for drug charges in May and three times in June he was cited for drag racing-related incidents.

Gotta feeling both Coughlin and Dareus will be “central characters” for the NBC broadcast in a couple of weeks, eh?

Note…

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Plus, the Football Season is right around the corner with the NFL Hall of Fame Game just the start of all the summertime action—can’t wait!
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NFL TEAM-BY-TEAM GLANCES
Hey, it’s summertime and that means the annual Jim Sez reports on all 32 NFL teams with our quick-hitter looks continuing today with the Kansas City Chiefs, the Washington Redskins and the Minnesota Vikings… and do check out our quickie pointspread ditties here too.

KANSAS CITY —Okay, so the folks who have closely watched WR Dwayne Bowe’s career can call him a number of things but one thing they won’t call him this summer is fat.

The veteran pass catcher—who generally has played in the weight neighborhood of 222-to-225 pounds—reports to Chiefs camp tipping the scales at just 212 pounds after a strict off-season diet that featured fish and veggies.

Bowe hopes it all translates into a bigger stat season one year after he collected 57 catches for 673 yards and just 5 TDs. Now, the soon-to-be 30-year-old Bowe wants to get back into the good graces of head coach Andy Reid and QB Alex Smith—yes, Bowe actually said he’s feeling “explosive” these days and so maybe he will be a more desired target in 2014.

Pointspread Notes—Last year’s Chiefs snagged a 7-2 ATS (against the spread) road mark overall but one of those pointspread setbacks was the painful 45-44 loss at 2-point home underdog Indianapolis in that wild-and-memorable AFC Playoff Wild Card Game. Note that Kansas City’s 11-19 versus the vig in divisional affairs while dating back to the start of the 2099 season.

WASHINGTON— Let the record state the Redskins have not won a game since November 3, 2013 (see Washington 30, San Diego 24 in overtime) and so no wonder the Jay Gruden Era is being greeted with such silliness in some parts.

The ‘Skins lost their final eight regular-season games a year ago including setbacks of 21, 35 and 14 points and don’t let the rankings fool you as last year the D.C. crew finished 10th league-wide in offense even though Washington didn’t score more than 27 points in any of the final eight games.

Quarterback Robert Griffin III recently told assembled media folks that RB Alfred Morris remains the key to this attack—Morris is averaging a haughty 4.7 yards a carry and he’ scored 20 touchdowns in his 32 NFL games but RG3 believes he’ll also be a major factor as a pass receiver out of the backfield—but then again, we’ve heard that one before, right?

Pointspread Notes—If you go back to the start of the 2006 season, you’ll see the ‘Skins have not won a playoff game during this time and they’re also a hauntingly bad 25-36-4 ATS at home (a .410 winning rate).

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MINNESOTA—Hey, fantasy league owners, listen up!

The Vikings have more-or-less promised second-year WR Cordarrelle Patterson that he’ll get plenty of touches this season after scoring in each of the team’s final five games a year ago. The speedy Patterson is expected to be a central figure in offensive coordinator Norv Turner’s attack this year after the former Tennessee Vols star caught 45 balls while averaging 14.3 yards per catch to along with 12 rushing attempts for 158 yards.

Note Patterson also registered 43 kickoff returns including two bring-backs for touchdowns—wonder if the special teams department will “take a hit” if Patterson’s getting in more reps on offense. Stay tuned.

Pointspread Notes—You might not remember but the Vikings did cover seven of their final nine games a year ago including that strange 26-26 tie at 5 ½-point fav Green Bay. Still, dig a little deep into the pointspread archives and you’ll uncover the fact Minnesota’s a rock-solid 7-2-1 ATS in its last 10 showdowns against NFC North rival Detroit.

THE BASEBALL REPORT
Here’s some musings from a just-completed weekend of baseball as everyone got back to work following the All-Star break:

So, maybe the defending World Series champion Boston Red Sox (46-52) are not out of the playoff chase just yet.

John Farrell’s club sits in a veritable tie with Tampa Bay in the basement of the American League East, but that three-game sweep over Kansas City was an instant elixir for a Beantown bunch that didn’t do a whole lot right the first three-plus months this season.

In Sunday’s dominant 6-0 win against the anemic Royals (they scored a grand total of five runs in the three-game set), the Bosox got the stellar starting pitching they’re used to getting from All-Star LHP Jon Lester (10-7) who threw eight shutout innings with 8 Ks and 2 BBs plus table-setters 3B Brock Holt and LF Daniel Nava combined for four hits and three RBI.

If we prematurely “buried” Boston, we apologize!…

Finally, the San Diego Padres still have not thrown a no-hitter in their 46-year history although classy Cuban RHP Odrisamer Despaigne sure made a run at it in Sunday’s eventual 2-1 win against the New York Mets.

Between Despaigne’s “blooper” pitchers and scintillating control, the Mets had no chance until a 2B Daniel Murphy double with two outs in the eighth inning.
The shutout was gone a batter later when 3B David Wright singled but after 7,264 games in team history there’s still not a single no-hitter credited to a Padres pitcher.

Where have you gone, Clay Kirby?

NOTE: Get more NFL Team-by-Team Reports in the next edition of Jim Sez as we bring you the Houston Texans, the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Atlanta Falcons plus there’s more MLN Notes too!

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