It’s almost football time which means the return of our weekly NFL feature, From the Press Box or as you guys call it Crap that is Happening to Lesser Teams and as I call it, Bringing Religion to the Savages.
As always, I will be here to keep you up to date on some of the events from around the NFL.
The week has been filled with troubling news stories in the non-NFL world, so I wanted to kick things off with a positive one from around the sport we all love.
This morning the Dallas Morning News had a piece on Dallas Cowboys defensive tackle Amobi Okoye.
A 2007 first-round pick by the Houston Texans, Okoye never lived up to his billing. Some of that might have been his age (the article says that at 19 he was the youngest player ever taken in the first round), but sometimes teams miss and it appeared that Houston had—badly.
He was cut in 2011 and had two seasons with the Chicago Bears before he was diagnosed with anti-NMDA encephalitis. Okoye had seizures which nobody could pinpoint the cause of. He ended up in a medically induced coma, which is when doctors discovered the encephalitis.
When Okoye woke up he had lost 78 pounds, was at times unable to speak clearly (instead spouting gibberish) and was confined to a wheelchair.
According to the article, Okoye doesn’t remember anything that happened from March 15 to Aug. 7 of 2013.
And here we are. Maybe Okoye doesn’t stick (though with that defensive line he has a good chance) and maybe, as the article wonders, a guy who recovered from a brain disease isn’t going to be able to play a game where concussions and other brain traumas are common.
Still, you have to cheer for a guy who has fought his way back into the league after a disease which probably would have decked most of us.
Here’s hoping Okoye has a tremendous season.
I’ve been pretty impressed with what I’ve seen of Blake Bortles so far, but the Jacksonville Jaguars are probably still going with Chad Henne in Week 1, and that’s for the best.
As much as people criticize the receiving corps in Carolina, the Jags might have one even worse. Of course, unlike the Panthers, they didn’t let a bunch walk and not replace them with anything but complete inexperience or aging vets.
No, Jacksonville just has a bunch of guys suspended and hurt. It’s more bad luck than bad management (and if we’re honest, we have no idea how bad it will be in Carolina—it could work out fine).
A lot of what is left isn’t very high quality and there are enough questions along the rest of the offense to where I can see some hesitancy to put a quarterback who is very raw out there in a bad situation.
I’m all for letting a quarterback fail—I don’t think there is any harm in that—but why set him up to fail.
Last season, Geno Smith ended up the starting quarterback in New York and that’s exactly what the Jets did to him. A lot of the lack of talent was because of injuries to the wide receivers, but is it really unfair to say a group whose best two players were truculent (and hurt) Santonio Holmes and pan-handed Stephen Hill was bad?
No, it’s not.
So while Bortles is looking good—maybe good enough to throw under center in an actual regular season game—the rest of the offense needs to be in better shape if they want him to succeed.
Speaking of injured wide receivers—
Gather round kids, we’re ending this with a bedtime story.
Once upon a time, Dwayne Bowe was believed to have the ability to become one of the premiere receivers in the NFL.
Then the evil dragon Inconsistency attacked and poor Sir Bowe was unable to put up good numbers on a week to week or year to year basis.
Some thought that it was his quarterback, and it’s true he lacked one with the requisite talent to help him, but largely it was Bowe who was afflicted by inconsistency.
And now his finger is “shot” according to Kansas City head coach Andy Reid (per ESPN.com).
And fantasy football players gave up and left.
That’s more a nightmare than a bedtime story, sorry.
According to the article (and Reid), Bowe’s finger has been “thrown out of place about 15” times. I’m not sure what “thrown out of place” means but let’s assume it’s coach-speak for “dislocated” in which case, ouch. Having broken or dislocated every finger on both hands at one point or another, I can tell you that it can be tough to do much of anything when that happens—forget when it happens 15 times.
This has led to many a dropped pass in camp and has to concern Chiefs fans going into the season given that the next man up is Donnie Avery or AJ Jenkins.
If this is a team which will battle with the Denver Broncos and San Diego Chargers for the AFC West title, they need their receivers to be on point.
Hard to do that when you can’t actually point, much less catch a football, because your finger is messed up.
That’s it for this week folks, we’ll see you next week and every Friday from here on out.
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