It's Week 3 of the preseason, the most important week and the dress rehearsal as we near real football. Sure, we are not going to see anything too complicated, but we will see starters on the field for half or more of the game. Some players have a lot to prove this week.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers raised some eyebrows when they traded up to land a kicker in the second round of the 2016 NFL Draft. I laughed as I exclaimed that was a bit high for a kicker. I was quickly corrected with "but he never misses!". Strike that, now Robert Aguayo, the Buccs rookie kicker has missed more than once in his first two NFL games. To add to the hype, Buccaneers GM Jason Licht, claims he thinks his new kicker was a first round talent.
Aguayo was highly praised for his work in college but so far in the NFL he is terrible. Not only did he struggle in real game action (missing two field goals and an extra point) he has also been terrible in joint practices with the Cleveland Browns. He missed two more field goals today.
This could all amount to nothing. This kid could right the ship and deliver in the NFL for a long time. Or, like many kickers, he could fade into the abyss that so many college kickers fall into after not panning out in the NFL. The major difference for Aguayo is he will do it with second round money.
By now, you probably have heard that Tim Tebow is going to try out for Major League Baseball. Next Tuesday a closed tryout is scheduled in Los Angeles and all 30 professional MLB teams have been invited. At least 20 are expected to show up.
I have to be honest, that's what I expected. After all, baseball is a business and a player like Tebow could be a fan draw. Now, I have no hope that Tebow will be good enough to ever wear the threads and play for a major league ball club, but there are a ton of guys with questionable ability that still are chasing dreams in the minor leagues. The difference between them and Tebow is that he has a recognizable name and will fill seats. Michael Jordan also made a similar play in trying to become a pro-ball player.
The real question is if Tebow would be willing to put in the kind of effort and sacrifice that almost every other minor league player experiences. Can Tebow honestly take a very modest salary, travel on a stinky bus and play in front of dozens of fans to chase a dream that has little shot of panning out for a 29-year-old former high school baseball player? I doubt it.
Another work stoppage
Steelers guard Ramon Foster is the team's rep for the NFL Players Association. After his latest discussions with the group he has a strong message for his fellow teammates: "Save Money". You see, the NFLPA is gearing up for yet another battle with the NFL around several issues they have problems with that they agreed to in their last contract negotiations. Most surround the drug policy, punishments, post career care and insurance.
The Steelers should be concerned with the drug policy as currently two of their best players are suspended for violating it. Beyond that, this should be concerning for fans of the NFL. The fact that we are discussing a potential work stoppage in 2021 (when the current CBA expires) says a few things. First, there is such a disconnect, that the posturing is already starting. So over the next few seasons, we will be bombarded with subtle propaganda that supports either the league or the players as we try to enjoy a game. Second, the amount of time is going to give the respective parties quite an opportunity to dig in. This means the likelihood of an agreement this time around that doesn’t impact real games is probably not good. Lastly, the players that are going to be most affected by this are the ones who are not even in the league yet. It's tough to save NFL money when you have not yet made it into the NFL.
It is hard as a fan to find sympathy with either group here. Of course we side with the players when someone from our team catches a punishment. We do enjoy when other teams are affected though. This will be something that may disrupt football and in the end, the group that will take the hardest hit is the fans. However, this is not a consideration with either one of the battling parties.
Banged up tight ends
As Bengals fans we are frustrated with the health of Tyler Eifert. When he is on the field, he is an outstanding talent, but, he seems to always be flirting with the injury line. Another fan base that shares these concerns is the Baltimore Ravens. Baltimore has a very good tight end in Dennis Pitta, however, he also has issues staying on the field.
Last season Pitta was lost for the year due to a broken hip. This season, the team was excited to get his timing down with Joe Flacco as he is a much needed weapon in that offense. However, plans quickly change when Pitta got into a practice fight with Kamalei Correa. Pitta suffered a broken finger and his timetable for return is unknown. Like Bengals fans, Ravens fans can’t catch a break.
With what you have seen from Tyler Boyd so far this preseason, is he a legitimate replacement for what the Bengals lost in Marvin Jones?