Submitted by Jim Hurley on Saturday, August 1, 2015 at 10:32 AM
JIM SEZ: IT'S NFL "Q&A" TIME AND WE TACKLE PLENTY OF HOT TOPICS
PLUS OUR COLLEGE FOOTBALL NOTEBOOK AND MLB TRADE NEWS/NOTES
By Jim Hurley:
The NFL summer training camps are getting into full-blown mode but it's a whole lot of noise happening off the practice fields that has been making news the past few days/weeks and so we figured it was a good time to pose some questions and get you the pertinent answers too ... so welcome to today's NFL "Q&A" session:
Q: Will the just-signed four-year, $87.6 million contract of Seattle QB Russell Wilson serve to unite or divide the two-time defending NFC champion Seahawks?
A: Well, probably depends on whom you ask as we watched a couple of twitter responses from Seattle players on the NFL Network and S Kam Chancellor was ecstatic for his buddy Wilson while LB Bobby Wagner offered up a cryptic response about not the club now not being able to sign everyone. Okay, so Seattle is in that modern-day NFL dilemma of trying to pay everyone that's been a big part of the team's recent successes but that's merely impossible and there's a sneaking feeling that $$$ issues could undermine Seattle this year as they shoot for a third consecutive Super Bowl berth.
Q: Will/should the New York Jets suspend star defensive lineman Sheldon Richardson for this 2015 season following his latest legal problem?
A: Don't think the Jets will - or should - suspend Richardson for his second legal mishap this summer. Remember he tested positive for marijuana and thereby suspended for the first four games of this 2015 campaign and then two weeks later police reports in the St. Charles/St. Louis area clocked him at driving 143 mph with a 12-year-old inside the car along with an automatic weapon and more marijuana. Gut feeling is the Jets will tack on a four-game suspension to his current four-game absence thus making him ineligible to play until the team's ninth game of the year. If anything else turns up on Richardson in the foreseeable future, than he'll be a goner for '15 and likely on the trade market to boot. Remember the Jets are super-deep along the defensive line and so not likely new GM Mike Maccagnan and rookie head coach Todd Bowles will stand for any more hijinks by Richardson.
Q: Are 2015 expectations simply too high right now for the likes of the Buffalo Bills and the Minnesota Vikings?
A: In a word, yes ... and yes!
Let's take the Bills first here as this whole Rex Ryan hysteria has gotten a tad out of hand with a club that hasn't made it to the post-season since 1999. The Bills did add do-everything RB LeSean "Shady" McCoy (1,319 yards rushing last year for Philadelphia) but there remains - and what else is new - major quarterbacking issues even with Matt Cassel signed in the off-season and that schedule is a killer even though it appears the Bills will play against a Tom Brady-less New England team in a Week 2 home game (see three straight road games in Weeks 10-11-12).
As far as the Vikings go, well, the return of whipper-snapper daddy RB Adrian Peterson no doubt is gonna bolster a ground game that last year ranked a better-than-you-thought 14th in the NFL (112.8 yards per game) but everyone's just assuming that second-year QB Teddy Bridgewater will make monstrous strides and that the passing game will greatly improve after being ranked 28th (averaged 202.8 ypg) in the NFL a year ago but consider Minny didn't beat a single team with a winning record last year and this season's sked features seven games against 2014 playoff teams.
Q: What teams have real reason to fear an extra-special slow start this year because of a difficult schedule?
A: You can put the Baltimore Ravens right at the top of the pack as John Harbaugh's club opens with back-to-back road games in Denver and Oakland before the Ravens return home for a Week 3 tilt against Cincinnati and then it's back on the road in Week 4 at Pittsburgh and that game's on a "short week" (see Thursday night). The Kansas City Chiefs, Philadelphia Eagles and Detroit Lions also play three of their first four games this year on the road and note Detroit's early-season road games are at San Diego, at Minnesota and at Seattle ... ugh!
Folks, Jim Hurley and his Network of Handicappers and Bloggers want to welcome you to the start of the 2015 Football Season. Okay, so it all actually begins next Sunday, August 9th with the NFL's annual Hall of Fame Game between the Pittsburgh Steelers versus the Minnesota Vikings and there's another four weeks of money-making NFL Preseason Games that follow while the College Football campaign swings into gear in early September. Also, take note that America's #1 Handicapper continues to bang out lots of winners in Major-League Baseball these days and all you need to do is check in either right here online or via our toll-free telephone # of 1-800-323-4453 any time after 1 p.m. Eastern time for the weeknight action, after 11 a.m. ET for weekday games and after 10 a.m. ET for Saturday/Sunday/Holiday Winners and get all the Football & Baseball winners ... can't beat that, right?
THE COLLEGE FOOTBALL NOTEBOOK
Did you happen to see a "sleeper" or two among the Top 25 Coaches Poll that we posted in yesterday's Jim Sez?
Scan down to #14 UCLA - a team that finished 10-3 a year ago - and you see a legit national title contender that might be better off with Jerry Neuheisel at quarterback than they were with Brett Hundley. Consider the Uclans have a veteran/terrific offensive line, a Heisman Trophy hopeful with RB Paul Perkins (a Pac-12 best 1,575 yards rushing) and this defense starring ILB Myles Jack (who also plays a little running back) figures to be leaps-and-bounds better than last year's unit that ranked a mediocre 64th nationally in overall "D".
One other potential "sleeper" is #17 Georgia Tech who - as we informed you in yesterday's post - finished 2014 on a seven-game pointspread winning streak and Paul Johnson's team could be a major poll-climber if the Yellow Jackets could happen to win at Notre Dame on September 19th. Just check out G-Tech's schedule and a win in South Bend could be part of a 4-0 start before visiting Clemson.
MLB TRADE WRAP-UP
A funny thing about Baseball's Trade Deadline: Two teams that were alleged to be big "buyers" and "sellers" - that's the New York Yankees and San Diego Padres, respectively - instead sat on their hands as Friday's 4 p.m. ET witching hour came and went.
Heck, word was the Yankees were hot on the trails of a couple of relief pitchers in San Diego RHP Craig Kimbrel and/or Cincinnati LHP Aroldis Chapman but Yanks' GM Brian Cashman didn't pull the trigger on any deal as he didn't wish to part with any of his gold-plated prospects - somehow and some way the fact the Yankees didn't land a much-needed starting pitcher nor one of those aforementioned relievers will come back to haunt the AL East squad before we get to the finish line of this regular season.
As far as the Padres, well, gotta believe Thursday's rather miraculous 8-7 come-from-way-behind win against the New York Mets energized this club and maybe got San Diego GM A.J. Preller thinking his club can make a run at a wild card and so the likes of Kimbrel and OF Justin Upton and OF Matt Kemp (among others) were not dealt and Preller actually imported lefty reliever Marc Rzepczynski from Cleveland, so go figure.
In a week that featured change-of-address slips for the likes of LHP David Price (to Toronto), RHP Johnny Cueto (to Kansas City), SS Troy Tulowitzki (to Toronto), LHP Scott Kazmir (to Houston), LHP Cole Hamels (to Texas), OF Carlos Gomez (to Houston) and OF Yoenis Cespedes (to the Mets) there were the Yanks (okay, they acquired utility man Dustin Ackley from Seattle) and Padres basically taking a pass.
Thanks for chiming in, guys!