Submitted by Jim Hurley on Tuesday, July 24, 2018 at 12:00 AM
THE NFL CAMP REPORT - WHAT WE'RE WATCHING THIS WEEK ...
BASEBALL NEWS & NOTES: HALL OF FAME TALK
It may be hot. It may be sticky out there ... but the National Football League is open for business and camps are open all 'round the league where they play for pay. Finally, some real football talk!
Gotta say that we're paying particularly close attention to the quarterback battles in places such as Buffalo and Miami and the New York Jets - ahh, all AFC East teams and all teams that keep dreaming the big dream that somebody out there can finally KO quarterback Tom Brady and the New England Patriots one of these days.
So, here's what we are hearing so far ...
Right now, the Buffalo Bills' depth chart lists A.J. McCarron, Nathan Peterman and rookie Josh Allen (Wyoming) as the #1-2-3 guys on the team depth chart but - let's face it - everyone's gonna have eyes glued this camp season on the 6-foot-5, 240-pound Allen who had his accuracy questioned as a collegian and now must show some real pocket toughness. And do keep in mind there's an "under construction" sign out front regarding the offensive line where LT Cordy Glenn was dealt to Cincinnati and where LG Richie Incognito currently is listed as "retired / free agent". So, Allen may be best served to sit at first but let's keep tabs on 'em throughout camp as the Bills swing into play here on July 25th at St. John Fisher College in Pittsford, NY.
Now, let's chat Miami Dolphins: They claim oft-injured QB Ryan Tannehill will be the starter with the much-travelled Brock Osweiler sitting there as the top back-up but remember right now that Tannehill is just 10 months removed from reconstructive knee surgery after sitting out the entire 2017 season. Tannehill showed decent mobility in the team's OTAs but insiders say Miami is far less than 100 percent sure that this former Texas A&M star will survive the whole season and so keep in mind the likes of David Fales and Bryce Petty also are worth watching this camp season while the Fish get all heated up at the Baptist Health Training Facility in Davie, FL.
Then there's the New York Jets - a team that has not been to the playoffs since the back-to-back (losing) trips to the AFC Championship Games in 2009-2010. The J-E-T-S are placing their future on the right arm (and head) of rookie QB Sam Darnold of USC fame. Sure, Darnold's getting the kid gloves treatment so far while NYJ has 'em third on the team's current depth chart behind Josh McCown (18 TDs / 9 INTs and a decent 94.5 QB Rating last year) and second-stringer Teddy Bridgewater who last saw action back in the 2015 season with the Minnesota Vikings (see 3,231 yards passing with a modest 14 TD passes). If Darnold lights up the world in camp at the Atlantic Health Training Center in Florham Park, NJ beginning on July 26th, then we could have some out-of-the-box controversy coming from this AFC East squad that's a better-than-you-think 22-20-6 ATS (against the spread) during the three-year tenure of head coach Todd Bowles. P.S., no question that the head coach "likes" McCown but in a perfect world he wants to see Darnold starting sometime before we get to the midway point of this upcoming season.
Jim Hurley and his Network of Handicappers and Bloggers keep winning big with Major League Baseball action every day - get all the MLB winners this week online or 1-800-323-4453. And remember the NFL Preseason swings into action with the annual Hall of Fame Game between the Chicago Bears and the Baltimore Ravens - that's Thursday, August 2nd at 8 p.m. ET (NBC) in Canton.
BASEBALL NEWS & NOTES
We shall divert away from this here-and-now 2018 Major-League Baseball season and get you our input on this weekend's Hall of Fame Class that gets welcomed aboardv in Cooperstown this Sunday, July 29th:
Vladimir Guerrero, OF/DH - One of the most dangerous hitters in the past 25 years, he should have been a slam dunk first-ballot guy but wasn't.
Trevor Hoffman, RHP - Yes, the most popular pitcher (starter or reliever) in San Diego Padres history but this closer was a tad overrated in our book.
Chipper Jones, 3B/OF - A great clutch hitter who wreaked havoc on the NL East for much of his career, we'd rank 'em as one of MLB's 10-best hitters in the last 40 years.
Jack Morris, RHP - Forget those analytic nerds, this guy won 254 games and was a superstar hurler for a huge chunk of his career ... should have been in the HOF years ago.
Jim Thome - 1B/DH - Great Bunyan-esque home run hitter but not too sure he was a lead-pipe cinch but voters love 600-HR guys, right?
Alan Trammell, SS - Thank goodness the veteran committee folks got this one right as the long-time Detroit Tigers' infielder should have been a lock 15 years ago.
Meanwhile, the argument rages on regarding some of the other great stars of yesteryear and so we'll go on record to say that New York Yankees 1B Don Mattingly and Detroit Tigers 2B Lou Whitaker both deserve induction - and let's hope the committee folks give RHP Luis Tiant a longer look next time. In Tuesday's "High Heat" show on the MLB Network a case was made for long-time St. Louis Cardinals/New York Mets 1B Keith Hernandez and one-time Baltimore Orioles/California Angels 2B Bobby Grich but - even though both are among are all-time favorite players - neither did enough to make the Hall of Fame.
NOTE: NFL Camps continue to open all around the league and we have all the updates in this week's Jim Sez!