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Wednesday, July 27, 2011

NFL Offseason Notes and thoughts:

AFTER THE FIRST WEEK:

Ok, I fell into the rabbit hole that is responsiblities on the weekend.  I know, I know, horrors, but it is what it is.  So, now I am going to tell you what I think of the rest of the first week.  Most of the big moves should be done, and it sure has been fun to watch.

On second thought, let's do a summary to this point.  Get us all up to speed.

49ERS:
The Niners haven't made a lot of noise this off-season, but there a couple items of note.  First, they are re-tooling their linebacking corp a bit with Takeo Spikes heading to SoCal to play for the Chargers with Aldonn Smith coming in.  You add in Manny Lawson's undecided status, and they have a gap to fill there.  Second, they have released a couple of name veterans, including Nate Clements and Brian Westbrook who have fought injuries the past few years. 

They have done some really good things around rookies though, both draft and free agent.  First the Draft Picks which stood out:

KENDALL HUNTER: The next shot at the change of pace back they have been looking for the past few years.
COLIN KAEPERNICK: They think this guy will be their QB of the future.
ALDON SMITH: Their new starting OLB.  He can really rush the passer.
RONALD JOHNSON: They need a second WR to go with Crabtree, and Johnson was the man at USC.
CHRIS CULLIVER: They need a cornerback, and Culliver is well regarded coming out of South Carolina.  he is big, fast, athletic, and is experienced all over the defensive backfield.  The only concern here is his durability.

And next, the Rookie Free Agents:

IAN WILLIAMS: Williams was expected to be picked up in the draft, so getting him as a rookie free agent is a steal.  He is the immovable object that can be used in the 3-4 to keep your linebackers running free, which is a beautiful thing with linebacking talent like Patrick Willis around.
JEREMIAH MASOLI:  I love this gamble.  The Niners need QB competition and Masoli is talented and cheap.  I don't know if he is accurate enough to lead a passing game at this level, but it'll be cheap to find out and we know he will compete.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Can the NFL punish them?

So, here is the question I got from a friend of mine, and it kind of got me thinking.  "How do you think the NFL should handle this Pac-Man thing?"  By "Pac-Man thing", of course, he means Adam Jones' latest arrest.

Of course, Jones' history of arrests make him the poster child for the NFL players' penchant for acting outside the law, and he was on a publicly recognized short leash when he was reinstated.  So, that means that his career is over since he got arrested again right.......?

Well, maybe it should, by all fairness to the players who represent their league honorably and act as upstanding members of the community that so many of seem to forget that they are actually part of.  You know, that one that all their fans and customers live in to???  Yeah that one.  The problem with punishing him as a player is hat this summer, he was not a player.  He was not being paid, he was not a part of any group that had any contract that would make it beholden to the NFL.  So, can the NFL punish them? 

It's an interesting question, and I think that ETHICALLY, the league would have trouble doing it since they had broken ties with the players, forcing the temporary dis-bandment of the players' union.  However, MORALLY I think that the league would be perfectly justified in treating Pac-Man the same way that Maurice Clarett was treated.  Persona Non-Grata, whether it's official or not.

To be frank, there are a lot of guys who are talented enough to be playing professional sports who lost their chance because they couldn't act in such a way to preserve their opportunity to earn the kind of money that can set up a family for generations.  (Yah Yah, I know they all just blow the cash, but that's their own fault.)  The fact that Pac-Man made it through college before he imploded, rather than falling apart in High School should not make him any different than the players that every one of us knows who blew their shots.

Additionally, after this off-season, and example may not be the worst precedent to set for the players.  If you are going to have the opportunity that these guys are getting from playing this game, risks or not, it is not out of line to expect them respect the community they are living in.