Draft King Analysis|
September 4, 2015
Lou Pickney, DraftKing.com
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In a major development with considerable implications on the upcoming NFL season, a federal judge yesterday vacated the punishment administered to Tom Brady by the league for his alleged connection with the Deflategate scandal.
Brady, 38, faced a four-game suspension that was set to go into effect in Week 1 of the regular season. In many ways, the Brady punishment felt like a double-cross against the Patriots, who didn't fight the major penalties dished out by the league, most notably the vacating of their 2016 first-round pick. To outsiders, that had the look of a quid pro quo type situation: the Patriots agreeing not to fight the sanctions with the belief that Brady would be okay.
There are plenty of breakdowns online about the decision, as well as what might happen long-term. But for now it looks like Brady will be good to go for the NFL season-opener in six days, an awkward situation on a night that is normally overwhelmingly positive for the league.
The NFL preseason is now over, and now the waiting game is underway. Tough decisions are being made by every team on who to keep and who to cut. For the players on the bubble, it has to be especially difficult. Even if you make the initial final cut, any of the hundreds of players being released from other teams could potentially take your spot.
Here in Nashville, enthusiasm for the Titans is as high as it has been in many years, in no small part due to the presence of rookie QB Marcus Mariota. As I've written on here many times, it's important to remember that the NFL doesn't sell football -- it sells hope. And, for the first time in a long time, there's reason to be bullish for Tennessee's long-term chances.
The big news out of the Thursday evening (and Friday morning with Colorado/Hawaii) college games was the injury to Arizona LB Scooby Wright. He left the game in the first half last night with a left knee injury that left the Wildcats holding their breath in what turned out to be a shootout with Texas-San Antonio that Arizona won 42-32.
At this point it's unclear exactly what is wrong, with Wright's MRI being performed this afternoon. But it's not believed to be a torn ligament, which could have knocked him out for the entire season.
Wright, who won the 2014 Bronco Nagurski Award as the nation's top defensive player, posted some incredible numbers last season: 163 tackles, including 27 tackles for loss and 15 sacks. He's the leader on defense for Arizona and will be missed by the Wildcats for however long he is out.
It's unclear what to read out of TCU's 23-17 win at Minnesota. TCU QB Trevone Boykin picked apart the Gophers defense with 26-for-42 passing for 246 yards to go with one TD and one interception, but the Gophers kept it close until the final gun. As always, overreaction to early season stats is not advisable.
What a brutal decision for Colorado grads/fans in the Eastern Time Zone early this morning who had to work a normal schedule today: miss your team's opening game, or stay up for a battle that didn't kickoff until 1 a.m. EDT. USC grad transfer Max Wittek is now the starting QB at Hawaii, and while his 19-for-38 passing wasn't outstanding, his three touchdown passes against zero interceptions were impressive.
Of course, it's a reality check for Hawaii next weekend, as the Rainbow Warriors head to Columbus to take on defending national champion Ohio State, who will have star DL Joey Bosa (and three others) back from suspension. But, for now, Hawaii can celebrate its win over a P5 conference opponent.
Speaking of the Buckeyes, while the college season began last night, the main event for week one will take place in Blacksburg on Labor Day: Ohio State at Virginia Tech. I was there in person in Columbus last year when the Hokies came into Columbus and knocked off the Buckeyes, and my Ohio State friends are certainly anxious to see the Buckeyes gain revenge.
Along with the allure of Ohio State being the defending national champion, there is intrigue about several elements in play: Braxton Miller moving to wide receiver, how the defense will perform without Bosa, and in particular what the plan will be at quarterback with both J.T. Barrett and Cardale Jones on the roster.
Speaking of Jones, he had to be hospitalized earlier this week with a severe migraine. I can empathize, as I suffered from migraines for 14 years before finally finding a solution last year from Dr. Thomas Bea in Columbus. Being migraine-free for the past 12 months has been an incredible blessing.
It's difficult to articulate just how horrible migraines can be. They are dehabilitating, a horrific inescapable pain that pulsates from inside of your head. Migraines can (for some people) strike at any time, creating a psychological torment on top of the physical pain.
You fear going to a sports event or concert without your rescue medication. You worry about having a migraine hit at an inopportune time, like at a wedding or during a flight. You even feel dread when you fall asleep, not knowing if you are going to be awakened in the middle of the night with a freight train-level migraine.
In short, here's hoping this will be a one-time only problem for Jones.
On the Virginia Tech side, one player to keep a close watch on is CB Kendall Fuller, who currently projects as a first-round talent. The Hokies' defense was particularly impressive against the pass last year in Columbus, but it will be a tall order for all involved to replicate that performance.