Ian Rapoport | Tags: NFL, Alex Smith, Cincinnati Bengals, Dallas Cowboys, Detroit Lions, Dez Bryant, Hakeem Nicks, Jon Beason, Ndamukong Suh, New York Giants, Oakland Raiders, Rolando McClain, San Francisco 49ers
A quick and random spin through what the heck happened in the NFL this week …
Here’s what’s up:
1. It was painful to read about and watch Raiders LB Rolando McClain’s apology or whatever for his recent off-the-field issue. McClain was sentenced to 180 days in prison, though he’s appealing. And instead of saying he was sorry for his behavior or acknowledging he needs to change his ways, he said he was sorry for bad publicity. Um… what? Bad sign. McClain has not been what the Raiders expected on the field, but off the field, it’s a bigger issue. When he goes home to Decatur, Ala., bad things follow him. It’s time for the Raiders to keep him on the West Coast and keep him out of trouble.
2. This summer, Lions DT Ndamukong Suh will take part in a dating show called, “The Choice.” Actually, it’s already been filmed. So, why would Suh participate in a dating show? Well, this comes after he was suspended last season for a stomping incident and faced a ton of bad publicity. Will this help? Will the general public see him in a better light? That’s what his people are banking on. It’s clear he’s remaking his image. We’ll see if it works. Well, let Suh explain it. “You’ll just have to wait and see,” Suh said. “No particular reason why I went on it. Just some fun. I enjoyed it.”
3. The Cowboys have enduring their share of bad news this offseason, with injuries to a whole bunch of their rookies. But they got some good news, too. It’s something that may surprise you. WR Dez Bryant moved around the corner. As he said in the locker room Wednesday, “I’ll be moving close around here. I live in DeSoto, Texas.” So, Bryant is now living by Valley Ranch, which means he’s in town during the offseason. His coaches have already noticed a difference in him being around them. He’s strong, he’s more directed, he’s watching film. He’s on track. If anyone needs to be around the team, it’s Bryant. Great sign for his 2012.
4. I feel like I’m supposed to be outraged by the Bengals announcing on Friday that they are keeping the rights to LB Brandon Joiner. Cincy has been linked to some bad dudes, and it was known for years as a home for those who ran afoul off-the-field. This Joiner deal seems to be another case. The Arkansas St. linebacker was on probation when he was convicted on two counts of aggravated robbery and one charge of felony drug possession for an incident in 2007. He may spend 2012 in jail. And yet, the Bengals aren’t renouncing his rights. For some reason, I think it’s kinda cool. They are apparently enamored with his community service and believe he’s changed. They could easily have just walked away. Who would have blamed them? Yet they think he’s different from what the appearances are, and so they are sticking with their guy. It’s nice when a team doesn’t do the easy thing, just what they feel is the right thing.
5. The Giants suffered a serious blow earlier in the week when WR Hakeem Nicks broke a bone in his foot. He could be out for 12 weeks, and he may not start the season on time. Forgive me if I barely shrug. And it’s not just because they happened to draft NFL-ready WR Rueben Randle in the second round after assigning him a first-round grade. It’s because after last year, when injuries threatened to ruin the Giants, I have a hard time getting worked up about anything like that. Not only did they survive their injuries and defections from free agency, they thrived. They proved themselves as a team that will simply carry on, injuries or not. That’s how strong coach Tom Coughlin’s support system is. So, ho hum, another injury. Whatever. They’ll be fine.
6. Word to the wise … and 49ers QB Alex Smith. Just don’t mention other people. It’s easy. Talk about yourself all you want. You are confident? Cool. You should be. You did better last year. But don’t mention anyone else. Because then you end up ripping Cam Newton, causing one of the scariest dudes to want to fight you. And after Smith said that passing yards don’t mean much, I can’t blame Panthers LB Jon Beason for coming after Smith and saying Smith’s stats “would’ve gotten u cut if Peyton decided to come 2 San Fran.” It was a shot. Ah, I wish the teams played each other this year, but they don’t. One other thing: It’s cool how much love Newton has generated from teammates after just one year. That seems to be working out fine.
7. I’ve written a ton about the Mike Jenkins trade situation, and I’m sure it’s probably too much for some of you. Sorry. I’m just fascinated by the NFL trade market. It seems almost impossible to guess trade value, and whatever it is, everyone always seems to think the price isn’t big enough. Like when Randy Moss was traded (both times). Or when DeMeco Ryans was traded. Great players with big salaries/off-the-field concerns go for mid-round picks, some of whom end up getting cut. Mediocre quarterbacks go for a first-rounder plus whatever else. It’s crazy. As one wise man told me once, NFL trades are like houses. The market price is whatever someone will pay. So, I am incredibly curious to see, if Jenkins is traded, what is the price. At this point, I couldn’t even guess.
8. I loved the owners votes on rule changes earlier in the week, as colleague Jeff Darlington explained. A couple of no-brainers. The best one is the change that allows a player who was injured really earlier in the season or in preseason to come back. For the Patriots, C Dan Koppen could have returned for the playoffs. Think about how big that would have been. Season-long IR never made sense to me. I mean, I guess teams could stash guys on IR for roster spots, but forcing guys to miss a season seemed too severe. If they can come back, they should have a chance to do what they do to earn a living. Now, at least one can. Good change.
9. After the holiday weekend, I’m headed to two new spots. Minnesota on Wednesday and New Orleans on Friday. Both should be interesting, even if the Saints are mostly defined by who isn’t there. That really changes things. So much has swirled around them this offseason, but no one who anyone talked about will be on the field. That’s kinda odd. As for Minnesota, I have no idea. They could be one of the real bounce-back teams, they could be terrible again. Can they cover well enough? Can Christian Ponder develop? Can Adrian Peterson come back strong on his reconstructed knee? It all begins this offseason …