Welp, any hope you had that the 76ers would be the next destination for NBA superstar LeBron James is out the window. King James signed a 4-year, $154 million deal with the L.A. Lakers this weekend.
More disrespect is right up our alley—although the Eagles are currently 5-1 favorites to win the NFC title in 2018, according to the leading Vegas sports books, Tony Romo (now of CBS Sports) says hold the phone. In Tony’s view, the Green Bay Packers are the team to beat.
I get part of what Tony’s thinking is— it’s tough to repeat as NFC champs, and also Aaron Rodgers is back at full strength for the Pack.
Brian Jones (no, not that Brian Jones, founder of the Rolling Stones long dead from a mysterious drowning in his own swimming pool back in the late ’60’s) writes for 247 Sports and had this to report on Tony’s opinion about the Packers’ resurgence:
“Romo believes the Packers will bounce back in a big way thanks to the return of Aaron Rodgers and the new additions they made to the roster. The former Dallas Cowboys quarterback was recently in Wisconsin for his annual football camp at Burlington High School and he talked to reporters about how he loves the Packers in 2018.
“I think the Packers probably got better more than any team I saw this offseason,” he said to WTMJ in Milwaukee. “The Jimmy Graham thing is a big deal, people don’t understand. You’re going to see old school Jimmy Graham. You pair him with Aaron Rodgers, you’re going to see a little bit of a different animal. In the red zone, that will be almost unstoppable. If the secondary is a little bit better, I think they’re the team to beat this year.”
This is where Romo loses me. I really like him as a knowledgeable color commentator on CBS broadcasts. But I do not like his overestimation of the declining abilities of Jimmy Graham, who is but a shadow of his glory days with Drew Brees and the Saints.
Romo mentioned the addition of Graham as being a big reason for the Packers being the “team to beat.” Meh. Maybe, just maybe the other Packers free-agency signings will be a bigger key to their success. It starts with defensive lineman Muhammad Wilkerson who signed with the Packers shortly after Graham. Wilkerson played under Packers defensive coordinator Mike Pettine when he was with the New York Jets and he helped Wilkerson become a Pro Bowler. With Wilkerson, Kenny Clark and Mike Daniels on the defensive line, it will be hard for opposing running backs to gain yards against the Packers defense. I will give Romo that point.
Brian Jones also quoted Romo as saying: “Another important signing for the Packers is cornerback Tramon Williams. Originally a member of the Packers from 2006-2014, Williams is a consistent cornerback who is coming off his best seasons, recording two interceptions and 12 passes defended with the Arizona Cardinals. Along with his ability to make plays in the passing game, Williams brings leadership to the cornerback position, which is something the team needed since losing Sam Shields two years ago.”
Okay. Sounds reasonable. Just don’t try to sell me on Jimmy Graham’s being the difference in a showdown between the Packers and the Eagles.
Meanwhile, Eagles LB Nigel Bradham gets basically a slap on the wrist and will miss the first game in 2018 after being suspended for a weird assault incident in 2016 (or was it the concealed weapon in his airline luggage?)…
Again, I don’t understand the NFL’s arbitrary discipline policy regarding code of conduct. Why did this case take two years to adjudicate?
The suspension is interesting since Bradham has been cleared from an aggravated battery charge involving an incident at a South Florida hotel in July of 2016. The Philadelphia Eagles linebacker expected to be cleared of the charges after the prosecution was deferred last June.
Bradham reportedly beat up a cabana boy over an umbrella dispute at a South Beach Hotel a week before Eagles training camp was set to begin that year. According to officials, Bradham punched the worker in the face while someone in his group allegedly smashed the worker with a glass bottle.
Bradham stayed out of trouble for six months, somehow closing the case permanently. The charge against Bradham was a second-degree felony, which could have resulted in up to 15 years in prison if Bradham was found guilty. Bradham released a statement on Twitter, apologizing to Eagles fans regarding the incident:
“I would like to apologize to my fans, coaches, teammates and the entire Eagles organization for the 1-game suspension. This stems from a July 2016 incident and the matter is now resolved. I look forward to giving it my all this season and helping the team win another Championship.”
Bradham also was booked with a second-degree misdemeanor for a concealed weapon in Miami on October of 2016, three months after the aggravated battery charge. He was released on $500 bail.
Bradham started 15 games for the Eagles at outside linebacker in 2017, compiling 88 tackles, eight pass deflections, a forced fumble, a fumble recovery, and an interception. He graded 21st amongst all outside linebackers by Pro Football Focus, with a 80.6 mark.
Nigel must have a very good lawyer. Perhaps even more relevant, the NFL Disciplinary Committee is slow-moving and wildly inconsistent. Time’s yours, Troy Vincent!