Well, we’ve found out for certain now that Indianapolis Colts’ owner Jim Irsay was NOT tweeting about Maurice Jones-Drew. I wrote a column on exactly why he wasn’t, and wow…I was actually right! Better circle the calendar…I got one right!
Seriously, it wasn’t that much of a mystery to figure out. Had the Colts been a young playoff team already and with just a few holes left to fill, I could see them making such a trade. I should have voiced my opinion about the real target, who turned out to be who I had in mind – Miami Dolphin CB Vontae Davis. Followers of HBO’s Hard Knocks knew he was having difficulty in training camp, and the Colts’ biggest hole on the entire team is at corner.
Irsay wound up trading a 2013 second-round pick and a conditional 6th rounder for Davis, who was a late first-round pick back in 2009. Davis has played about as he was labeled out of Illinois – a very tough, very physical corner (how many 205 pound corners are there?) that plays well in run support and is a very hard hitter and sure tackler. The downside was that he has “mental lapses” where he’d just plain be out of position on a given play. He’s a supreme athlete, however, and a change of scenery could propel him into the Pro Bowl. He has the talent; does he have the desire?
It’s evident there are still some players on the Dolphins that probably “won’t fit” Head Coach Philbin’s “style” here – that being vanilla, quiet types. MLB Karlos Dansby has always been outspoken and while he held back from his normal antics, he and Reggie Bush both voiced concerns. Bush said “it’s tough” when asked about the trade and losing a formerly valuable defender. Dansby expanded on that a bit – nothing huge, but one thing we do know about Joe Philbin is he doesn’t like players talking to the media off-the-cuff. That’s fodder for another article, however.
The New York Jets and St. Louis Rams swapped troubled offensive tackles. Wayne Hunter was traded to the Rams for 2nd-overall pick Jason Smith. Rams’ OC Brian Schottenheimer knows Hunter from his own time in New York. Smith has had his struggles and never was the anchor left tackle that they had hoped he’d become since drafting him in 2009. They’re basically trading troubled tackles – tha’ triple “T” – hoping that the change of scenery will benefit both players.
The Steelers lost rookie RG David DeCastro to season-ending MCL or ACL damage, I forget. Does it matter? He’s done for the season, but holdout WR Mike Wallace reported to camp today – finally. He signed his RFA tender at $2.75 million for the season, which means the Steelers get the guy for the season at a bargain price but likely made an enemy.
In a case of winning the battle, but losing the war, the Steelers held firm on his contract demands, which probably left a bad taste in his mouth. When Wallace becomes an UN-restricted free agent after this season, look for him to be in colors other than the black and gold Steelers’ in 2013. The Steelers were, in their defense, under a lot of cap pressure this offseason so they had their reasons. Signing Antonio Brown to a long-term deal while leaving Wallace to twist in the wind didn’t help matters, either.
The offensive line woes continue in Cincinnati. They lost left guard Travelle Wharton for the season in their first preseason game and it appears that center Kyle Cook will miss a significant amount of time, if not the entire season, with an ankle/foot injury. He sustained it in the loss to the Packers Thursday night and has been sidelined with a walking boot since undisclosed MRI results were returned.
You can still have a short passing game with a patchwork interior offensive line…3-step drops and out, almost all timing patterns…but having an interior running game with inexperience on the inside is extremely difficult. They lost their LG and C and are starting a rookie, ex-Seminole Kevin Zeitler, at right guard. It doesn’t bode well for the Bengals’ season, facing the Steelers and Ravens’ defenders twice each.
It also shouldn’t help their fantasy values/numbers, and puts even more pressure on their good but young defense as well. This season will be a big test for Marvin Lewis and his troops already.