NFL Off-Season Rules Have Become Ridiculous

Jobs that require high performance from mind and body require extra effort to achieve individual and team success.

Yet, the NFL has become an enterprise that limits the amount of time a player and thus a team can devout to their craft. Striving for excellence was outlawed in the league’s labor agreement that was signed in 2011.

On Monday, the last batch of NFL teams will begin their nine-week off-season programs. That group includes the Chiefs, who will gather at the team’s facility in the Truman Sports Complex for the first time since the loss in the first round of the playoffs back in early January. Teams with new head coaches got a jump on their start date, opening two weeks ago. All of the clubs are limited in the amount of organized team activities (workouts, meetings and no-pads practices) they can hold.

Other than these nine weeks, players are not allowed to meet with their team’s coaching staff. They are not allowed to go into the team’s facility and run through a physical workout under the direction of team trainers or strength coaches. They can get treatment for injuries and ailments that they carried out of the 2013 season, but that’s the only active involvement allowed under the rules between players and the team.

Think about that for a minute in another context – a bright young cello player works with one of the top orchestras in the country. But his practice time is limited by rules developed by the cello players union. He must go months at a time without playing his cello or listening to recordings of his performances. Does that make better music? Does that make any sense, for the musician or his employer?

Would other professions or business put up with similar rules limiting the search for achievement? …Read More!

Some Easter Egg Notes On The Chiefs

Enjoy the holiday weekend folks and remember the Chiefs off-season program starts on Monday. It’s the first step in the 2014 NFL marathon and comes on the same day when they stage the Boston Marathon.

Now, on to some notes, quotes and informational nibbles from the Chiefs and pro football:

One more step ahead for Bowe

The case of the City of Riverside vs. Dwayne Bowe was walked off the legal agenda this week when the Chiefs wide receiver took a plea bargain, agreeing to guilty charges of defective equipment and littering instead of speeding and marijuana possession.

Bowe wasn’t even in the courtroom when it all went down on Wednesday. He paid $610 in fines and the marijuana charge was dismissed completely. It was all a product of Bowe being stopped on November 10th last year while driving home from the airport with two friends. He was clocked at 48 miles per hour in a 35 mph zone and was stopped by Riverside police, who subsequently found marijuana in the car.

On the legal docket, Bowe has cleaned up the matter, but that does not necessarily clear him when it comes to possible NFL discipline. Commissioner Roger Goodell has wide-ranging powers to fine and suspend players for conduct detrimental to the league. A plea deal does not lessen the possibility of action out of the NFL office. …Read More!

On The Surface, All’s Quiet In The Chiefs Draft Room

It went down last week at the Chiefs facility in the Truman Sports Complex and reverberations were felt a thousand miles away in Georgia. Down in the ATL, former general manager and now assistant G.M. of the Falcons Scott Pioli’s head had to be spinning and belching smoke.

Why? Pioli’s successor John Dorsey and the Chiefs invited media members to a conversation about the upcoming 2014 NFL Draft. The session provided background on the team’s draft preparations and carried one limitation – comments by Dorsey were not to be reported publicly. The meeting went down in the Chiefs draft room on the second floor of their offices. It’s where Dorsey, head coach Andy Reid and the team’s hierarchy will gather to select six draft choices on May 8-9-10.

In four seasons running the franchise into the ground, Pioli banned the media from the second floor of the building and did not allow the locals to even know where the draft room was located, let alone step inside. It wasn’t just the media either but many of the people on the Chiefs payroll. Pioli’s insecurities and poor decisions made it imperative that he operated in the shadows. Thankfully for Chiefs fans, those problems now belong to the Falcons.

Dorsey does not share those personality defects, so bringing a group of scribblers, golden throats and hairdos into the draft nerve-center for a chat was nothing for him to worry about. The Chiefs did cover up their current draft ratings and all Dorsey revealed is that once final evaluations are completed, the team will have approximately 150 players for consideration on their draft board. That’s a pretty standard number for most teams. …Read More!

Aldon Smith’s Waste Of Talent, Career & Life

Aldon Smith has as many mug shots as action photos in last eight months

He is 24 years old and despite fame and fortune, Aldon Smith is still acting like a troubled teenager.

The local kid out of Raytown and the defensive end for the San Francisco 49ers can’t seem to get out of his own way, adding another chapter to what is now a two-year rap sheet of trouble. Smith was arrested at the Los Angeles International Airport on Sunday, his third legal entanglement in the last eight months. Upset when he was selected for a secondary security check, Smith reportedly told a TSA agent that he had a bomb. He was allowed to walk away, but was then arrested at his gate as he waited for his flight.

Being annoyed about airport security checks does not make Smith any different than many other travelers these days. But he again showed his immaturity and inability to control his temper by failing to deal with his situation as an adult. That was visible before when he was arrested in September for driving under the influence and marijuana possession. It was there again in October when he was charged with three felony counts of illegal possession of assault rifles.

Smith went off to rehab, missed five games last year, returned and he was looking to the future. Right now, his 2014 season is suddenly in danger. More importantly, his life is at a crossroads. Over at Mizzou, wide receiver Dorial Green-Beckam got booted off the team for a series of behavior problems that finally overpowered his talent. His choice now is to mature and smarten up.

It may be time for the 49ers or NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell to do the same with Aldon Jacarus Ramon Smith. It’s time to grow up. …Read More!

Bengals, Panthers, Vikes & Pack In Chiefs Pre-Season

The Chiefs opponents for the 2014 pre-season were announced Wednesday and among the four games Andy Reid’s club will face three division champions from last year and a nationally televised game.

That comes on Sunday, August 17th, when they visit Charlotte to play the Carolina Panthers, the top team in the NFC South in 2013. The game will be broadcast by FOX-TV with kickoff set for 7 p.m. CDT.

They will travel to Green Bay to finish up the pre-season schedule. Home games are against Cincinnati and Minnesota at Arrowhead Stadium. The Packers finished in the top spot in the NFC North and the Bengals won the AFC North.

Actual dates and times have not been finalized for three of the four games. The regular season schedule should be released sometime by the end of April.

Here’s how the August schedule breaks down: …Read More!

NFL 2014 Pre-Season Television Schedule

Date

Game

Net/Kickoff (CDT)

Sunday, August 3 New York Giants vs. Buffalo
Hall of Fame Game / Canton, Ohio
NBC / 6 p.m.

Week 2 (August 14-18)

Thursday, August 14 Jacksonville at Chicago ESPN / 7 p.m.
Sunday, August 17 Chiefs at Carolina FOX / 7 p.m.
Monday, August 18 Cleveland at Washington ESPN / 7 p.m.

Week 3 (August 21-24)

Friday, August 22 Oakland at Green Bay CBS / 7 p.m.
Saturday, August 23 New Orleans at Indianapolis CBS / 7 p.m.
Sunday, August 24 San Diego at San Francisco FOX / 3 p.m.
Sunday, August 24 Cincinnati at Arizona NBC / 7 p.m.

Movie Imitates NFL Life – Sort of

Fake Chiefs GM Brent Reichert talks with fake Cleveland GM Kevin Costner in Draft Day

On Thursday the movie Draft Day will hit theaters around the country. The film will give the ladies a chance to ogle Kevin Costner, who is the big Hollywood star in this production. It also gives the guys a chance to ogle Jennifer Garner, one of the co-stars. And, it will give football geeks a chance to drool over an early taste of the NFL Draft.

The real 2014 NFL Draft remains a month away, the selection meeting pushed back two weeks this year for reasons that have nothing to do with football and everything to do with image and entertainment, words that are very important in fueling the money-making engine that is the NFL.

Although the NFL did not make this film, the league had its say in all aspects of the production, including approval and rejection of various plot elements and the like. The movie’s director Ivan Reitman had little trouble admitting the fingerprints of the league office were all over his work.

“We needed their cooperation,” Reitman said last year. “We couldn’t make up team names the way certain films have and create our own league or our own draft, because then the film really wouldn’t have any power. It wouldn’t have the energy that the story had.” …Read More!

Not Much Still Sitting At Safety In Free Agency

A month into free agency in the NFL and the talent pool that remains has been picked over pretty thoroughly. Many of the players that are still looking for homes are older, coming off injuries or disappointments in their previous stops.

We checked out the wide receivers earlier; now on the other side of the football are the safeties and the choices there are pretty slim. Here’s a collection of safeties and one potential safety that are available:

Mike Adams (fs), 33 years old, 5-11, 200 pounds, 11th season. Last season in Denver, Adams played in 16 games with seven starts and 702 snaps. He contributed one interception and 75 total tackles for the AFC champion Broncos. Over his career with San Francisco, Cleveland and Denver, he’s played in 146 games (73 starts), 13 interceptions, 538 total tackles, five sacks, four fumbles forced and nine recovered fumbles.

Champ Bailey (fs), 36 years old in June, 6-0, 192 pounds, 16th season. Injuries limited Bailey’s play time in the Denver defense to just five games with 25 total tackles during the 2013 season. At cornerback his entire career since entering the NFL as a first-round selection in the 1999 NFL Draft by Washington, Bailey has played 215 games (212 starts), with 52 interceptions including four returned for touchdowns, 920 total tackles, three sacks, seven forced fumbles and six recovered fumbles. …Read More!

NFL Almanac – April 3

Free agents

Atlanta – gave offer sheet to restricted free agent S Rafael Bush of New Orleans. The Saints now have five days to match the offer; if they don’t match the Falcons offer, New Orleans will not receive any compensation.

Baltimore – signed TE Owen Daniels (Houston).

Chicago – G/T Eben Britton re-signed.

Cincinnati – signed S Danieal Manning (Houston). …Read More!

Off-season Program Dates Set For Chiefs

The Chiefs off-season program will begin on the day after Easter and finish up four days after Father’s Day.

So much of the timing and structure of the spring and summer work by NFL players is controlled by the labor agreement between owners and players. Andy Reid put his schedule together for his second Chiefs team under those parameters.

On Monday April 21st, the team’s strength and conditioning program will begin. The players will lift and run for the next five weeks, with classroom work added near the end of that time.

A rookie mini-camp will start on Saturday, May 24th for three days over the Memorial Day weekend. Rookies, first-year players and others in for tryouts can take part.

Tuesday, May 27th begins the OTA portion of the off-season, as the team will be on the field for 10 practices that are scheduled to last just under two hours: May 27-28-29, June 3-4-5 and June 10-11-12-13.

That leads into the team’s mandatory mini-camp that starts on Tuesday, June 17th for the first of three practices that will wrap up the off-season program.

Pickings Slim Among Remaining NFL Free Agents

The only way to describe most of what’s left among free agents in the NFL would be the lame, old and unproductive.

It’s a full month into the 2014 season and what talent there was in this year’s free-agent class has long been spoken for by league teams. Right now, it would not be nice to say clubs are scratching the bottom of the barrel for talent, but it would be very close to the truth. Consider the Pittsburgh Steelers, a team that eschewed the free agent shopping experience for years signed oft-injured, oft-unproductive wide receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey to a contract. Last year with Indianapolis, Heyward-Bey had 29 catches in 16 games for just 309 yards and one TD catch.

By design the Chiefs have worked only the fringes of free agency as they’ve tried to find veteran help to plug into several positions of need, like wide receiver, safety and offensive tackle. The results are mixed at this point, but there’s time between April and the regular-season to add seasoned pros.

However, the pickings are very slim right now. There was a surprise option in the past week when DeSean Jackson was released by Philadelphia, but the Chiefs sat out that chase and Jackson signed with Washington.

There will be moments in the coming three months when other veterans will become available. Like all but a handful of top shelf free agents, those players will come with baggage – injuries, age and low production. It’s hard to see how the Chiefs will find anything at this point.

For example, here are the top players remaining at a position where the Chiefs can use some help – wide receiver: …Read More!

NFL Almanac – April 2

Free agents

Denver – signed C Will Montgomery (Washington), 1-year deal, $ unknown.

Detroit – signed QB Dan Orlovsky (Tampa Bay), 1-year deal, $ unknown.

Houston – CB Elbert Mack re-signed, 1-year deal, $ unknown. …Read More!

NFL Almanac – April 1

LATE TUESDAY NIGHT UPDATE: WR DeSean Jackson has agreed to terms with the Washington Redskins and he’s expected to sign a contract Wednesday morning in D.C. The Skins were the first and it turns out only visit that Jackson made after being released late last week by the Philadelphia Eagles.

Players signed

Arizona – signed S Eddie Whitley, 2 years, terms unknown.

New Orleans – re-signed OLB Parys Haralson, 1-year deal, $1 million.

New York Giants – signed OT Charles Brown (New Orleans), terms unknown.

New York Jets – signed CB Dimitri Patterson (Miami), 1-year, $3 million; signed WR Jacoby Ford (Oakland), terms unknown.

Pittsburgh – signed CB Brice McCain (Houston), 1-year, $730,000.

Tampa Bay – signed TE Josh Baker (NW Missouri State), 1-year deal, $495,000; signed FB Jorvorskie Lane, 1-year deal, $495,000.

Players released

Oakland – G Mike Brisiel.

NFL Almanac – March 28 thru 31

Players released

Houston – FS Danieal Manning (failed physical).

Philadelphia – WR DeSean Jackson.

Free agents

Atlanta – CB Robert McClain re-signed as a restricted free agent, 1-year, $1.43 million.

Denver – OT Winston Justice re-signed, 1-year deal, $1.18 million.

Houston – signed FS Chris Clemons (Miami), 2 years, $2.7 million. …Read More!

DeSean Jackson Update – Saturday

This is the first, and maybe the only, DeSean Jackson Update that will be produced here.

The free agent wide receiver is drawing a lot of attention around the NFL, not only in front offices and coaching suites, but among other NFL players and fans.

Jackson won’t be signing this weekend; he’s going to do the whole tour thing, starting on Monday in Washington with the Redskins.

Apparently, one place he will not visit is Kansas City. NFL.com reported Saturday evening that the Chiefs had checked out the situation with Jackson and are not a suitor for the Pro Bowl receiver.

If true, that’s why we won’t waste our bytes and your time with more DSJ updates. Beyond the rumor about the Chiefs non-interest, there were plenty of other items just 24 hours after the Eagles released Jackson:

– He will visit the Redskins reportedly on Monday, as Washington has made it plain they are very interested. …Read More!

DeSean Jackson: Is The Talent Worth The Risk?

After being released on Friday by the Philadelphia Eagles, wide receiver DeSean Jackson is available to sign with any NFL team.

The Chiefs are interested in acquiring his services.

Should they be?

Absolutely.

But – there always seems to be one of those in these situations – it is ground the Chiefs must tread carefully if they are going to get into the DeSean sweepstakes. There are a host ofΒ issues that must be dealt withΒ if Jackson is going toΒ call Arrowhead home. Here are the most important questions seeking answers for the KCC to get together with DSJ:

Q: How good is Jackson as an NFL wide receiver?

A: Very good; sometimes very, very good. One of the league’s most electric receivers, Jackson is a big play waiting to happen every time the ball reaches his hands. He played 87 games (86 starts), grabbed 356 catches for 6,117 yards and 32 touchdown passes. That’s 17.2 yards per catch and a touchdown on every 11 receptions. He was selected for three Pro Bowls (2009-10-13) and over the last six seasons, Jackson ranked third in average yards per catch and 10th in receiving yardage. Those numbers make him an elite NFL receiver. …Read More!

NFL Almanac – March 27

Free agency

Miami – agreed to terms with RB Knowshon Moreno (Denver), 1-year, $2.5 million.

Philadelphia – agreed to terms with QB Mark Sanchez (NY Jets/released), 1-year, terms unknown.

Seattle – signed CB Phillip Adams (Oakland), 1-year deal, terms unknown.

Tennessee – signed DE/OLB Shaun Phillips (Denver), 2 years, $6 million.

Washington – OLB Brian Orakpo signed his franchise player tender of 1-year, $11.5 million; re-signed CB E.J. Biggers, 1-year deal.

New contracts

New England – agreed to a 3-year extension with DT Vince Wilfork for $22.5 million.

NFL Almanac – March 26

Free agents

Chicago – signed DE Jared Allen (Minnesota), 2 years, $32 million, $15.5 million guaranteed.

New Orleans – re-signed QB Luke McCown, 1-year deal, $955,000.

St. Louis – signed QB Shaun Hill (Detroit), 1-year deal, $1.75 million.

Tampa Bay – signed WR Louis Murphy (NY Giants), 1-year deal, $730,000.

NFL Meetings Wrap Up With More Changes

On Wednesday the NFL spring meeting came to an end in Orlando, Florida with ownership voting for several rules changes, while they tabled other proposals and voted down several ideas.

It was a rule already on the books that got the most attention during the final hours of discussion – taunting. Last season, stopping taunting by players was a point of emphasis with the officials. That factor helped push the number of taunting penalties from nine (2012) to 34 calls last season.

“We are going to clean the game up on the field between the players, in-your-face taunting, those types of things,” said Tennessee head coach Jeff Fisher, a member of the league’s competition committee. “It’s all in the book; it’s all under unsportsmanlike conduct. There is no change in the rule. We are going to enforce the current rule. …Read More!

NFL Will Start Flagging End-Zone Dunks in 2014

It’s good that Tony Gonzalez got out of the NFL when he did.

His signature move of dunking over the crossbar after scoring a touchdown was outlawed on Monday by the league owners meeting in Orlando, Florida. Now, it will be a 15-yard penalty and a healthy fine from the league office.

That was just one of several items the league’s owners voted on at the Ritz Carlton Resort in the Florida sunshine.

There was not a new rule added; rather it’s a new interpretation of an old rule where the football can’t be used as a prop. The change came not because of Gonzalez and the former Chiefs tight end’s signature move after a score. The impetus of the change was due to a dunk by New Orleans tight end Jimmy Graham last November that forced a delay in a game at Atlanta because the goal post was knocked askew. The Georgia Dome grounds crew was forced to come out and level the crossbar. …Read More!

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