Over the last four months, we have become junior experts on labor law, simply by having a horse in this NFL lockout race (that horse is called “actual football”). And if there is one certain thing we have learned about labor law, it’s that there are two stages of deals: “done” and “not done.” Despite growing optimism over the last few weeks, the NFL still resides in that latter category, and until all the major parties finally put their John Hancocks on a finished product, there’s still a chance things can go awry. But we’ve also learned that ebbs and flows happen: positives can happen on bad days and negatives can happen on good days. So despite what we would call a “bad day” in labor negotiations yesterday, some interesting stuff went down.
Crazy day in lockout talks… Yes, we felt it too. At about 6 p.m. Central (the talks are taking place in Minnesota), when the NFL and NFLPA had already been meeting for nine hours, reports started to leak to the media that the talks had suffered a major setback, concerning the owners asking [...]
So, the NFL schedule got released last night. Whoopee. Forgive me for not getting too excited about it, but I have never been the type to get worked up about the release of a schedule, even in a normal year. Obviously, this year, there is a lot more uncertainty surrounding when or where games will be played, even with the final schedule released. But to credit the NFL, there are a lot of interesting games to look at in the time being. We’ll look at some of the finer aspects of the schedule today, and we’ll try to avoid making “clever” lockout jokes about the schedule that every would-be comedian on Twitter has deemed appropriate. Hey, “comedians:” STFU. Your jokes are old, not clever, and brutally unfunny.
If you've made a lockout-related joke about the NFL schedule, may we suggest this delicious beverage to calm your nerves?
Anyway, here are some things we noticed about the schedule (and other people have done a fine job writing about):
The league has made a concerted effort to honor not just New York City but Washington D.C. as well on the 10th anniversary of September 11, 2001, which happens to coincide perfectly with Week One [...]
Apparently fans are not the only ones bored with lockout news, as coaches are talking and giving some tidbits about their teams for the 2011 season. Meanwhile, players like Chad Ochocinco have apparently gotten sick of football altogether.
Everybody loves Todd Haley … Perhaps no coach has angered fantasy owners more than the Chiefs’ Todd Haley, who utilized
Chief HC Todd Haley enjoys an evil laugh as fantasy owners complain about his use of Jamaal Charles.
the combination of Thomas Jones and Jamaal Charles to lead the NFL’s #1 rushing offense in 2010 but frustrated fans with the inconsistency of Charles’ involvement and his unwillingness to publically praise the star RB. Well, naturally, Haley was effusive in his praise of Jones and confirmed that the 32-year-old will be back on the Chiefs in 2011. Said Haley: “He’s the epitome of the same guy every day. We’ve got a little plan for Thomas that I’m excited about getting to. I’m excited to have Thomas back. He’s a big part of what we’re doing.” I’m sure anyone who owns Charles in a keeper league is thrilled. It makes perfect sense to use a rotation, as Charles is not suited to carry the ball 20+ [...]
Obviously, the lockout has prevented a steady stream of news from sneaking out of NFL land, but Wednesday still saw an important meeting of the NFL competition committee, which recommended several rule changes for the 2011 season and beyond. Here is a brief rundown of the rules suggested.
The biggest change would be moving the kickoff up to the 35-yard line, and moving touchback start points from the 20 to the 25. The committee believes that serious injuries can be avoided by marginalizing the kickoff, which is tough to argue. But how will a team like the Chicago Bears, so dependent on star KR Devin Hester, feel about the rule changes? We can’t imagine they’re thrilled.
Wedge blocking, of the two or three-man variety, would be banned on returns. The competition committee banned three-man wedges last season, but teams were able to scheme around the rule changes with two-man wedges. This rule will seek to change that.
The committee has recommended expanding instant replay. If passed, the new replay rules would require a replay official to watch every scoring play and determine if the correct call was made, as opposed to a coach having to use a challenge flag on a pivotal play. [...]
Extended CBA talks have begun, and as they continue for this week, there will not be much else to talk about in the NFL world. Despite the extension, there will not be any roster moves, so we are stuck anxiously waiting for a deal to hopefully get done.
Back to mediation … Representatives of the NFLPA and the league reconvened in Washington on Monday for Day 12 of mediation and the first day since extending the deadline a week. Not surprisingly, there wasn’t much news to report, and we should get a greater sense of what’s going on as the week progresses – just like last week. The closer we get to the deadline, the more pressure there is for the two sides to act. Perhaps the most important thing to watch will be whether or not the NFL actually opts for more financial transparency and opens its books. The National Football Post’s Andrew Brandt says an agreement hinges on the word “risk.” So, once again, we sit here and wait and hope for the best come Friday.
Benson could stay in Cincinnati … While QB Carson Palmer apparently wants nothing more than to leave the Bengals, RB
Bengal RB Cedric Benson [...]
With the 2010 season in the books, we now move on to what should be a very interesting off-season. Speculation on the labor deal, free agency, and further coaching changes are in full swing, so let us take a look at the latest news from around the league.
Royal clicked better with QB Kyle Orton in their second year together, but his role will probably never be as big as it was when Jay Cutler was under center.
Eddie Royal undergoes hip surgery … and could be out for up to six months. While he could return for OTAs in May (if they take place), the recovery may end up keeping him sidelined even longer. Despite the injury, Royal didn’t miss any games in 2010 and caught 59 balls for 627 yards and 3 TDs playing primarily out of the slot. Royal is entering his fourth season in the league and the final year of his rookie deal.
Darrelle Revis wants Chad Ochocinco … to join him as a member of the New York Jets. Revis said he’s been in Ochocinco’s ear during the last week and believes the veteran receiver could do well as a Jet. However, Ochocinco [...]