NFL GridIron Gab Daily Digest

NFL GridIron Gab Daily Digest

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Raiders Fall in Preseason to 49′ers 17-3

Posted: 21 Aug 2011 08:44 PM PDT

The Oakland Raiders fell to the San Franciso 49?ers 17-3 Saturday night in their second pre-season game of the 2011 season. Oakland was without many key players (Louis Murphy, Run DMC, Jacoby Ford) and that list may have grown with starting QB Jason Campbell going down with a possible concussion and new TE Kevin Boss suffered a knee injury. JC was injured late in the 2nd quarter on a scramble and appeared to take a knee to the helmet. The Raiders' moved the ball well at times, but still had trouble finding the end zone. Finishing drives has to continue to be a point of emphasis for Oakland.

Raiders coach Hue Jackson, still searching for his first win as coach of the silver and black, didn't blame the injuries for the poor performance. "That has nothing to do with tonight," Jackson said. "Tonight we didn't play Raider football. We didn't play like a Raider. That's just the truth. Let's call it like it is."

After losing 24-18 to the Cardinals in its preseason opener, Oakland didn't exactly make any strides the second time out. The Raiders, who have struggled to find the end zone once they're close, have only scored one touchdown in eight trips inside the 30 this preseason.

“I think we are still knocking some rust off," defensive tackle Richard Seymour said. "It is good to get out here and work with our teammates, but we still have a lot of work to do."

The game was also marred by violence. There was at least one fight in the lower bowl of the stadium during the game, which is not uncommon at any sporting event, let alone one between rivals. But afterward, word began spreading quickly of another incident outside.

Two men were shot and injured in the parking lot, according to police. The victims are a 20-year-old man who is expected to survive and a 24-year-old man who is in a hospital with what authorizes said were life-threatening injuries. The 49ers released a statement that they were aware of an incident and police were investigating.

Up next for the Raiders is a Sunday night match up in Oakland against the New Orleans Saints..

Vikings Hold Down Former QB Jackson and Hawks in 20-7 Win

Posted: 21 Aug 2011 08:41 PM PDT

Tarvaris Jackson played poorly as the Seahawks new starting quarterback on Saturday, as the Vikings defense was able to hold both him and Sidney Rice in check.

Donovan McNabb led the starting offense on one efficient drive resulting in a field goal, while the starting defense came up big on a couple of occasions including a goalline stand that was reminiscent of the WilliamsWall in their prime.

Marcus Sherels created the night's biggest highlight when he nabbed a tipped Tarvaris Jackson pass and returned it 64 yards for a touchdown. This came after it was Sherels himself that gave the ball to Seattle via a muffed punt.

The Vikings other touchdown came with just over two minutes left in the game when running back Tristan Davis sprang for a 35 yard touchdown on his only carry of the evening.

Raheem Brock had an early sack against the suspect Vikings offensive line, but the line seemed to get it together a little, and no other sacks were registered for the remainder of the game. Adrian Awasom was the only Vikings player to get a sack of his own, although they managed to get consistent pressure throughout the evening.

This game, which the Vikings won 20-7, was a step in the right direction for the Vikings and gives them something to build on as they get ready for their first home game of the preseason against Dallas.

Dolphins Give Us Reason To Cheer in 2011

Posted: 21 Aug 2011 08:39 PM PDT

The 2011-12 NFL season is almost here, and with that brings yet another season full of questions needing to be answered by our Miami Dolphins. Whether we like it or not there are only two more pre-season games to endure before that Monday night game against the rival New England Patriots is upon us.

You see, whether Chad Henne is throwing interceptions or touchdowns, whether our offensive line is paving running lanes the size of Jupiter, or failing to create any space at all, the Miami Dolphins are OUR team. They are the team that we have chosen to root for, and for many of us, the team we have chosen to delve our heart and soul into.

The chances are that if you're reading this blog on a daily basis, that you also scour the web, like myself, for any morsel of Fins news. Your a die-hard, through and through. You spend your nights after a loss wondering how OUR team is going to turn their season around. You spend all of training camp thinking about the promise OUR team may or may not show this year. Knowing the Dolphins, they'll tease us a little bit at first, then show their true colors around October.

While other teams are thinking Super Bowl run, I'm just along for the ride that OUR team gives us every year.

Because you see unlike other facets of life, the Miami Dolphins are not going anywhere. There is a pretty good chance that they will always be OUR Miami Dolphins. High school and college come and go. For some, wives come and go. Children grow up and move out of the house. But the beauty of the Dolphins is that they will always be there for us, whether inflicting pain or joy upon us.

While for quite some time after the lockout continued, and the Dolphins failed to make a move for the marquee player I was looking for, I thought whether all of the pain myself and others have suffered throughout the years was all worth it. But the fact of the matter was that during all of those Sundays and (sometimes) Monday's, I could forget about everything else but the Dolphins. They provided me with a three hour outlet from the rest of the world, and will continue to do that. Looking forward to Sunday's was how I got through school every day, and Sunday's were a sacred day for me. It was what I lived for during the fall and winter. There is simply nothing like knowing everything there is to know about your team, and nothing like looking forward to Sunday.

And with that, another season is on the way. The pre-season games provide enough for us to talk up or worry about in our wait for the real games, the regular season.

Training camp provides us just a good enough look at our team to gather a consensus in our mind on how the team will shape up for the approaching season.

But now, halfway through pre-season, all of the hype that the lockout brought with it, all of the waiting can now be over, because on that Monday night, we will all sit down and gather around the big screens to watch OUR Dolphins kickoff their season.

I have a mixed outlook for the season. Personally I think our chances at the play offs ride and die with Chad Henne. We have finally surrounded him with an adequate team, a speed back, a bruiser, solid (hopefully) offensive line, and one of the leagues best defenses and receiving corps. So why not think play offs with that?

If we crumble this season, then we have the draft and free agency to look forward to, and even more time to scour the web looking for Dolphins nuggets.

Whatever happens this season, there is always next year, and there is always something to look forward to, whether it is the coming Sunday, or the ever looming draft and off-season. The Dolphins will always give us something to cheer, or boo about. They will always keep us coming back for more, and while some say they simply cannot take it anymore, they surely don't mean it, I know this because I said it after the Monday night game against the Colts in 2009. I said it after the primetime debacle against the Pats last season. But I'm still here, ready more than ever for the season to start, and to cheer them on.

So with that, what's your outlook on the team this year, and with the season approaching fast, are you feeling the same level of anticipation as I am lately?

Go Fins!

Packers: The Front Seven Defense

Posted: 21 Aug 2011 08:01 AM PDT

Legendary senior writer jclombardi previews Packers defensive front seven.

DT Raji Credit: Mike Roemer AP.

For 2011 NFL season, two issues are the replacement of impact pass rusher DE Cullen Jenkins and the full-time starter at the other OLB position across from pass rusher OLB Matthews. After two preseason games, the question of an adequate pass rush is a good one. In the Cardinals game, the issue was glaring without the presence of OLB Matthews or DE Neal. DE Wilson played well trashing OL Colledge on several plays. Then, he left with a possible concussion. Backup DE Wynn did an adequate job against the running game and was the best rusher with two knockdowns. If Neal and Wilson stay healthy, the Packers defensive line will be fine with Raji, Pickett and Neal starting games and Wilson, Wynn, and Green backing them up.

Meanwhile, the reviews for OLB Zombo and OLB Walden were mixed performances. OLB Zombo has improved his overall skills beyond his bull rush.  He had an overall solid game.  In contrast, OLB Walden didn't do enough to earn the starting job.  Yet, neither got consistent strong pressure nor a sack. The competition for this starting OLB position just got more interesting for opening day season.

Cardinals and WR Larry Fitzgerald Agree on 8-Year; $120 Million Dollar Deal

Posted: 21 Aug 2011 06:44 AM PDT

Larry Fitzgerald has committed his long-term future to the Cardinals by signing a new eight-year deal with the franchise. Terms of the deal have not been officially released but the contract is thought to be one of the most lucrative ever signed in the history of the NFL.

Fitzgerald could reportedly earn as much as $120 million over the course of the deal, with $47 million of that money guaranteed to him. His average of $15 million per season puts him below only elite quarterbacks such as Peyton Manning and Tom Brady and above all other wide receivers.

The 27-year-old, who claims to hate the business side of sports, says he did not use his position as the team’s star attraction to get what he wanted from Cardinals owner Bill Bidwell.

“I’m not one to hold a hammer over anybody’s head,” Fitzgerald told his team’s official website.

Fitzgerald insisted he "hates this part of sports," but he certainly has made a boatload of money. This is the third major contract he has signed, and he doesn't turn 28 until August 31st.

"Growing up, since I was 7 years old, this has been the game I love and something I have been so passionate about," Fitzgerald said, "and to have to talk about it on the business side is a little bit uncomfortable. But I am really happy to put it behind us and it wouldn't be possible if it wasn't for the Bidwill family's hard work in making this thing happen."

The Cardinals had said they wanted Fitzgerald's new contract wrapped up by the start of the regular season, and they made it with two weeks to spare.

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