NFC Notes: Hardy, Crowder, Falcons

NFL News
September 3, 2015

Earlier today, we heard that the Tom Brady decision by Judge Richard Berman had prompted Greg Hardy‘s camp to reconsider whether or not to challenge his own suspension in court. The Cowboys defensive end appealed his 10-game suspension and had it reduced to four games, but there was a belief that he and the NFL Players Association would consider a lawsuit for anything over two games.

According to Jason Cole of Nerdy Football (via Twitter), it has seemed all along as if Hardy would rather not go to court over the suspension, preferring that the issue is laid to rest instead. The NFLPA, on the other hand, would like to fight the ruling.

As we wait to see which side wins out, let’s check in on a few more odds and ends from around the NFC….

  • An NFL spokesman has told Alex Marvez of FOX Sports (Twitter link) that Washington receiver Jamison Crowder won’t face league discipline stemming from a domestic violence accusation on social media.
  • Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff appeared on SiriusXM NFL Radio last night, with Marvez and Gil Brandt speaking to him about the team’s extension with Julio Jones, how player evaluation has changed under Dan Quinn, and the club’s up-and-down offensive line. D. Orlando Ledbetter of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution provides a transcript of some of the GM’s more notable comments.
  • In the wake of Dimitroff’s comments, Ledbetter published a second AJC story wondering aloud if it was a mistake for the Falcons to cut veteran linemen Sam Baker and Justin Blalock.
  • Andrew Kulp of CSNPhilly.com examines whether or not the Eagles should have any interest in trying to acquire Robert Griffin III, who is a candidate to be traded or waived by Washington.

Community Tailgate: How Will Patriots, Brady Do In 2015?

NFL News
September 3, 2015

We’re still a week away from the start of regular-season battles on the NFL gridiron, but there’s no offseason when it comes to debate amongst fans. This summer, we launched a new series here at Nerdy Football known as the Community Tailgate. What’s the Community Tailgate all about? Well, it’s pretty simple. Every weekday, we’ll highlight one of the top stories going on in the NFL. Then, in the comment section below, we want you to weigh in and let us know what you think.

Of course, while the debate may get spirited, we ask that it all stays respectful. If you need a reminder of our rules, please check out our commenting policy. Basically, we ask that you refrain from inappropriate language, personal insults, and attacks. Speaking of commenting: we’ve made it much easier to leave a comment here at Nerdy Football. You are no longer required to be a registered user – simply put in your name, email address, and comment and submit.

On the NFL’s final day of preseason games, it was an off-field story that stole all the headlines, as Judge Richard Berman announced his decision on the DeflateGate case, vacating Tom Brady‘s four-game suspension. While the NFL has already appealed Berman’s decision, the league didn’t seek an injunction or push for an expedited schedule, so the appeals process will almost certainly drag on through the end of the year. That means Brady appears free to play in all 16 regular season games for the Patriots this season.

When a four-game suspension loomed for Brady, there was speculation that the Patriots’ string of consecutive division titles could come to an end. Now that he has been cleared to play, the Super Bowl MVP will enter the season with a little extra motivation, and that’s certainly worked out for him and the Patriots in the past — in the midst of the SpyGate controversy in 2007, the Patriots went 16-0, led by Brady’s 50 passing touchdowns.

Brady is eight years older now, but he hasn’t shown any signs of slowing down, and the Patriots did win Super Bowl XLIX in February. Betting site Bovada.lv has adjusted its forecast for New England, giving Brady the third-best odds to win the MVP – behind Andrew Luck and Aaron Rodgers – and assigning the Pats the second-best odds to come out of the AFC, behind the Colts.

What do you think? Will Brady and the Patriots come out firing like they did back in 2007? Will a stressful offseason have an impact on their play on the field? How do you see the 2015 season playing out for Brady and the Patriots? Weigh in below in the comments section with your thoughts!

Dwayne Bowe On Browns’ Roster Bubble?

NFL News
September 3, 2015

Back in March, the Browns signed wide receiver Dwayne Bowe to a two-year deal worth $9MM guaranteed. What might not be guaranteed, according to one person in the know, is his roster spot for 2015. On the Browns’ radio network earlier tonight, color commentator Solomon Wilcots said that he spoke to coaches who indicated that Bowe needs to deliver tonight in order to make roster (via 92.3 The Fan’s Anthony Lima on Twitter).

Bowe, 31 in a few weeks, missed nearly three weeks of training camp with a sore hamstring and it seems as though the coaches are less than thrilled with what they’ve seen out of him since his return. Still, one has to wonder if Bowe is actually on the roster bubble or if talk of him being a roster casualty is more of a motivational technique for the veteran wide receiver. It would be shocking to see the Browns release Bowe and pay him millions without ever taking the field in a game and, besides, the Browns already coughed up a lot of dough to release Phil Taylor from his deal.

The veteran was part of the underachieving and record-setting group of Chiefs wide receivers that managed to go the entire 2014 season without catching a single touchdown pass. It was the third straight mediocre season for Bowe, who has averaged approximately 59 receptions and 743 yards per year since 2012, on the heels of back-to-back 1,100-yard seasons in 2010 and 2011.

Jason Pierre-Paul Expects To Play Early This Season

NFL News
September 3, 2015

Jason Pierre-Paul plans to return to the Giants next week and expects to be able to play early on in the season, Dan Graziano of ESPN.com tweets. Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (on Twitter) adds that the Giants will examine JPP’s hand to determine when he’ll actually be able to get back on the field.

Eagles want to get Sproles more involved

Fantasy Football, NFL News
September 3, 2015
Eagles hinting at more two-back sets in 2015?

The coaching staff has consistently said they want to get Darren Sproles involved more, and you saw why on Sam Bradford’s first touchdown pass against the Packers.

“We’d like to get him the ball steadily and consistently, and he certainly is a unique, outstanding player,” OC Pat Shurmur said. “We just need to make sure we get him the ball, and we have a plan to do that.”

The more you use Sproles, the more you can use him as a decoy as well. He draws a lot of attention from defenses, which is why I expect to see more two running back sets this season. (Philly Mag: Birds 24/7)

Nerdy Football Analysis: The Eagles have spent a bit of time talking up Sproles this summer despite the additions of DeMarco Murray and Ryan Mathews, even floating out the idea of using him in the slot. Some beat writers have a suggested a 65/30/5 split (Murray-Mathews-Sproles) for the Eagles’ backfield, although it is extremely like Sproles will see heavy action in two-minute drills, third-down situations or whenever the team is trailing late.