Week 5 NFL Power Rankings: Cleveland brings up the rear

NFL Power Rankings

32. Cleveland Browns (0-5), Last Week: 32

Brandon Weeden, Trent Richardson and the Browns may not win until Week 14 by the looks of their upcoming schedule. They do however welcome back Joe Haden. 

Five Weeks down, 12 weeks to go in the 2012 NFL season. Through nearly the first third of the year, the Minnesota Vikings, St. Louis Rams, Green Bay Packers, and Detroit Lions are the true surprises of the season. The Vikings and Rams, two teams which combined for six victories in 32 games a year ago, have already combined for seven victories in ten games. The Packers and Lions finished in the top half of the NFC North division a year ago, and

sit on the bottom half of the NFC North division in 2012.

These surprises are the reason why it is easy to love football: any team has a chance in any game.

Here are the Goat’s Week 5 NFL Power Rankings:

31. Tennessee Titans (1-4)

Last Week: 31

Maybe letting go of Jeff Fisher wasn’t the best option for the Titans

30. Jacksonville Jaguars (1-4)

Last Week: 29

Is Blaine Gabbert honestly the best quarterback the Jaguars have?

Last Week: 30
29. Oakland Raiders (1-3)

Hopefully the bye week will help the Raiders’ chances in Atlanta on Sunday

28. New Orleans Saints (1-4)

Last Week: 26

The Saints finally get their first win of 2012 under interim for the interim head coach Aaron Kromer. 

Read more…

NFL hands down bounty suspensions, again

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has altered the suspensions of three of the four players who were disciplined as a result of the league’s investigation into the Saints’ bounty program.

The player who got the best result was Browns linebacker Scott Fujita, who already had the shortest suspension and has now had the largest reduction to his suspension: Fujita’s suspension has been reduced from three games to one, the league has announced.

Defensive end Anthony Hargrove’s suspension has been reduced from eight games to seven games. Hargrove, who is currently a free agent, will be credited for having served his suspension during the first five games of this season. If he signs with a team, he will have to serve the final two games of the suspension before he can play for that team.

For Jonathan Vilma, who was suspended for the entire year, the suspension remains unchanged in the sense that he will not be permitted to play at all this season. But the NFL has altered Vilma’s suspension by allowing him to collect his pay for spending the first six weeks of the season on the Physically Unable to Perform list. The NFL had previously planned to suspend Vilma without pay for all 17 weeks of the season. Read more…

Marques Colston slowed by foot injury

Marques ColstonSaints wide receiver Marques Colston has seven receptions for 120 yards through two weeks of action. While those numbers would be respectable for your typical NFL receiver, they’re not quite up to Colston’s standards.

Interim coach Aaron Kromer suggested that a foot ailment that landed Colston on the Weeks One and Three injury reports has been adversely affecting his play.

“[That] wasn’t Marques Colston in the game,” said Kromer, per Nakia Hogan of theNew Orleans Times-Picayune. “You could say that hindered us a little bit, he didn’t run as fast as he normally does.”

The Saints, who lost Robert Meachem to offseason free agency, have also been playing without deep threat Devery Henderson. Henderson suffered a Week One concussion and did not play in Week Two.

While New Orleans’ passing offense hasn’t rushed out of the gates like it normally does, quarterback Drew Brees is optimistic that the coaching staff and players will solve the problems. Read more…

Fantasy Football receivers to grab in the middle to late rounds

With the start of the regular season under 10 days away and as the biggest Fantasy Football draft weekend of the season draws near, here are some additional tips for you to consider.

This list of wide receivers are made up of mid to late round players that can fill your WR2 and WR3 slots. In fact, two receivers below will begin the season as the WR1. They all currently tier four and above receivers.

Darrius Heyward-Bey-Raiders: With more and more defenses keying in to Denarius Moore, I think that DHB who is more consistent than Moore, will reach that higher level this season. His tremendous speed and versatility will make him QB Carson Palmer’s favorite receiver especially with Jacoby Ford not being a reliable option and TE Brandon Myers not a real receiving threat. Drafted #7 in 2009 he had a top 10 like last four games of 2011, and could be poised for a breakout year.

Devery Henderson-Saints: After the Saints let WR Robert Meachem go in the off-season to San Diego, it allowed Henderson to slip into the WR 3 slot and thus be the lone recipient of deep passes from Drew Brees. We were never fans of Meachem so we think the 30-year-old veteran will have a breakout year. If you remember Henderson had back-to-back 100 yard games at the beginning of last season so there is reason to believe he can return to his ’09 form. Read more…

TTR’s Game Changers – NFC South


Christian Petersen / Getty Images

Join us as TTR Game Changers takes a tour through all 32 teams, identifying one player from every squad that I believe has a great chance of being a game changer in 2012.  To see the full series click here.

Atlanta Falcons – I believe that this year the Atlanta Falcons take the crown of the NFC South away from the Saints, even if it is only for this season. Atlanta will be putting the reigns of the offense in Matt Ryan’s hands more than ever this season and it could produce some real fireworks. Matt Ryan was a Top 10 quarterback in most major statistical categories in 2011, and he will have more weapons to work with in 2012. While some of those weapons are past their prime, two young players on their offense have not even reached their prime yet. I expect Jacquizz Rodgers to make a significant impact this season, as people will realize that he is a capable inside runner as well as a scat back. But it will be the continued development of Julio Jones that will make this team a scary offense. Jones’ main goal will be to take care of his body so he can play in all 16 games, if he does expect him to have Pro Bowl numbers this season, in only his second year as a pro. Roddy White may garner more targets and receptions, but it will be Jones that is the more dynamic player in the ATL.  Read More…

Knocking out Kolb would have netted Ellis 1,500

2012 Pro Football Hall of Fame Game

When defensive tackle Sedrick Ellis dragged down Arizona quarterback Kevin Kolb, causing him to leave the game with what turned out to be a bruised chest muscle, Ellis accomplished a $1,500 “knockout” in the now-defunct vernacular of former Saints defensive coordinator Gregg Williams.  (If Kolb had returned, it would have simply been a $1,000 “cart-off.”)

It’s a great opportunity for the league to use its various media platforms to send a clear message to all media and fans that this is precisely the kind of play for which the Saints were punished:  A clean, legal hit that resulted in an opponent leaving the game.

The fact that the league didn’t pounce on the opportunity to let us all know that this is exactly what the league punished the Saints for makes us even more curious as to whether the league hopes to avoid the debate that would arise from punishing teams and players for giving other players a little extra cash for simply doing their jobs.

Ellis is paid to chase down quarterbacks and to apply clean, legal hits to them.  Ellis has a clear incentive to knock the starting quarterback out of the game.  (Although in this specific case the Saints may have been better off facing Kolb instead of John Skelton.)  Throwing a little extra money to Ellis — the NFL equivalent of the helmet sticker — doesn’t create any less incentive to hit the quarterback and hope he can’t continue.

The league defines such incentives as bounties, even if the incentive to apply clean, legal hits in a  way that induces injury nevertheless exists. Read more here…

Jimmy Graham uses altitude training for pre-camp edge

New Orleans Saints tight end Jimmy Graham jumps to dunk the ball over the crossbar after scoring a touchdown against the Detroit Lions in the third quarter during their NFL NFC wildcard playoff football game in New Orleans

Jimmy Graham soars over opponents on a regular basis.

So it’s no surprise the Saints tight end is getting some pre-training camp work in at altitude.

Graham has spent part of the last two summers in Steamboat Springs, Colo.

“The week before (training) camp I make sure I’m in Steamboat,”Graham told Luke Graham of the Craig Daily Press. “It’s to get those extra red blood cells. I can tell a big difference.

“Camp in the NFL — what you do in the offseason helps you survive camp.”

Graham lives in Miami in the offseason, and spends plenty of time there working out with former “U” alumni such as Ray Lewis, Andre Johnson and others. The South Florida heat is one thing, as well as the humidity of Metarie, La., where he’ll report to training camp soon.

But heading to the ski resort town has become part of his ritual, for two or three weeks of running and lifting, along with hiking and mountain biking (logging at least three hours and 25 miles a day). Read more here…

2012 NFC South Season Preview

cam_newtonThe NFC South has been ruled by New Orleans in recent years, with Atlanta periodically fighting for the throne. Although Atlanta overtook New Orleans in 2010 to win the division title, 2011 was a return to normal for the division as the Saints went 13-3 and reclaimed the division. Offseason turmoil on multiple fronts for the Saints might mean that the NFC South sees a new power emerge.  Read More…

Lots of evil in the New Orleans Saints organization?

Mike Karney says there is a lot of evil in the New Orleans Saints organization and it’s just starting to catch up with them.

The former fullback was targeted as a bounty during a 2009 game when he was a member of the St. Louis Rams. Karney took it as a compliment, according to Jeff Duncan of the New Orleans Times-Picayune.

“I’m not mad about it,” Karney told Duncan. “I love it.”

Karney played for the Saints from 2004 through 2008 and was released on the night of the rehearsal dinner for his wedding. He says he cannot recall anything out of the ordinary about a 2009 game against the Saints. No cheap shots. No one going for his knees. But evidence exists that he was targeted in a slide show, according to Duncan, who provides a compelling story.

Read more here…

Brees frustrated with Saints lack of effort

2012_NFL_Free_Agent_Quarterback_Rankings_Drew_Brees_SaintsGetty Images

Saints quarterback Drew Brees has been waiting all offseason to get a long-term contract done, and he’s getting sick of waiting. Brees said in an interview with WWL radio that he’s growing increasingly frustrated with what he sees as the Saints dragging their feet in getting a new agreement worked out. “This is a big time for our team, especially when you look at what’s happened in this offseason, missing our head coach, Sean Payton,” Brees said. “There should be a sense of urgency and yet it seems like there’s not.” Read more here…

Video: Saints and Brees running out of time


Over the weekend, our pal Mike Triplett of the New Orleans Times-Picayune updated the Drew Brees contract situation, writing that the chances of Brees and the Saints working out a new deal before the launch of OTAs next week are closer to none than slimOn Tuesday, Triplett made a return visit to PFT Live to discuss the Brees situation, which soon could become more significant to the Saints than the ongoing bounty brouhaha. Read more here…