Start with the fact the NFC East doesn’t have a clear favorite.
All of the teams in the division are flawed, but NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock sees one has having the most potential to win the title.
McCloughan, Gruden have same vision
“I’m probably most impressed with Washington,” Mayock told Pat Kirwan and John Clayton on Movin’ The Chains. “I think (general manager) Scot McCloughan and (coach) Jay Gruden are kind of tied at the hip philosophically and I think they’re building something where they have the same vision. I think they arrived a year ahead of time in a weak division last year, and I would believe they’re the team to beat. And I don’t think they’re going to beat themselves. I think they’re going to be a tough out, because Kirk Cousins will take care of the football.”
After that, Mayock doesn’t see a whole lot to like in the NFC East.
Without Romo, ‘who knows’ with Dallas
“With Tony Romo out and the uncertainty … let’s face it, with Romo in the game, that offensive line, Ezekiel Elliott, Dez Bryant, you’d think they can score some points,” Mayock said. “The defense is average at best. So, without Tony Romo, who the heck knows what’s going to happen there.
“And then you look at the Giants and they spent all that money in free agency on the defensive side of the ball, yet I watched the tape of that Jets-Giants (preseason) game last week, and let me tell you something, that Jets front just thoroughly dominated the Giants front in the first half. Eli Manning had no time to throw the ball, there was no run game whatsoever. Even though they were No. 6 in points last year, you better protect Eli. And right now, the Giants, to me, look like a very average team at best.”
Eagles have plenty of depth concerns
Aside from what he sees as good depth on the defensive line, Mayock isn’t all that impressed with the Philadelphia Eagles. He says the team has “depth concerns throughout.” He considers cornerback and wide receiver as being particular trouble spots.
“So, I think this division is wide open, with the favorite being Washington,” Mayock said.
Eric Dickerson: ‘Rams never should have left LA’
Hall of Fame running back Eric Dickerson can hardly contain his excitement over the Rams’ return to Los Angeles.
As a member of the team that played there prior to its move to St. Louis, Dickerson takes great pride in seeing all that is being done to make the Rams’ second go-around in LA even better than the first — beginning with the construction of a state-of-the-art stadium in Inglewood, Calif.
Dickerson shares his perspective as part of a special two-hour program, “The History of the Rams,” debuting Friday at 7 p.m. ET (4 p.m. PT), on SiriusXM NFL Radio Channel 88. Alex Marvez will host the show, which will replay Sept. 3 (6 a.m. ET and 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT), and Sept. 4 (8 a.m. ET and 6 p.m. ET/3 p.m. PT).
‘Glad to have our team back’
“First of all, it’s great for the city, the City of Inglewood,” Dickerson said. “It gives the city notoriety. The stadium that they’re going to build in Inglewood is going to be fabulous. It’s going to give them jobs, I just think it’s great for Los Angeles, the city itself, for sure. Having pro football back in town for players like myself, the guys who played for the Rams, we don’t have to go to St. Louis anymore. We’re glad to have our team back in town, a team that we played for here, in LA, it just means a lot.
“For the team, itself, all you can say is that they never should have left here. They should have always been in LA. And it showed, the first preseason game of the year when they played the Cowboys and they had 89,142 people at the game. That just shows you how the teams have changed and the NFL has changed and how people feel about the Rams.
‘Just keep winning’
“I just hope they keep winning, they win. It’s all about winning here in LA. You’ve got to win football games to keep a crowd.”
The program will also feature interviews with Rams Hall of Famers Kevin Greene, Jackie Slater, and Jack Youngblood, along with Rosey Grier, a member of the Rams’ famed “Fearsome Foursome” in the 1960s; former Rams All-Pro quarterback Roman Gabriel; broadcaster Dick Enberg, longtime NFL front-office executive Gil Brandt, and former Rams public-relations executive Rick Smith.
Fred Taylor sets record straight on NFL medical tweets
Sometimes, 140 characters doesn’t allow enough space to communicate thoughts clearly and accurately.
That’s what former NFL running back Fred Taylor said was the problem with a recent series of posts on Twitter in which he revealed he had found from longstanding issues during a recent medical examination and raised the question of whether the NFL’s doctors intentionally overlooked them to deny benefits to him and other former players.
‘Never said doctors or NFL hid injuries’
Taylor joined Ross Tucker and Booger McFarland on the Opening Drive to clarify the tweets.
“I never said the doctors or the NFL hid any injuries,” Taylor said. “I did say they were overlooked and they weren’t discussed. And how this all came about, the NFL, they give you five years of insurance once you retire. You have five years max insurance with the option to expand via COBRA. So what I attempted to do was fly to Chicago prior to my health insurance expiring, which expired midnight (Sept. 1). I said, ‘Let me get all the MRIs done, as well as X-rays done, to see where I am.’ I just wanted to create a baseline of things, so over the years I can see if things are deteriorating at a certain pace or what may have you.
“The findings in Chicago were pretty surprising. After I discussed the findings with the doctors, (one of them) mentioned I had some arthritis in certain areas that I knew about: knees, for example; ankles, this, that, what may have you. So I knew about these things. What I didn’t know about was a partial labrum tear and a clavicle fracture that was sustained at some point. I didn’t wake up out of the bed and it just appeared. I hadn’t done any physical activity since retiring, so I don’t know where those particular injuries came from.
‘League has been good to me’
“But this isn’t about me versus the league or me versus any team. To be honest, the league has been good to me. The league office, Tracy Perlman and her team, the NFL Legends, they’ve all been great in their initiative to make the game better and create some resources for former players. So, in all fairness to the league, they have made a conscious effort to try and improve the game and the integrity of the game.”
Taylor just wanted to express his concern over health matters that “sort of came out of the blue” after his insurance expired, and the limits available through the much more expensive COBRA insurance that is available after a former player’s regular insurance coverage expires five years from the time of his retirement.
“I’m 40 now and I’m fortunate because I played 13 years,” Taylor said. “Let’s think about the guys that the (career) life spans are about three years. If they come in at 23 and make it to 27 and five years after that, they’re covered, that’s 32. And then, even if you say their COBRA’s going to last for 20 years, they’re at 52, they’re still not eligible for Medicare. Their pension isn’t going to kick in without penalty until 55. Same with the annuity and the 401K.
‘It’s about guys before me’
“It’s about guys before me that set the tone, that improved the game. I want to be one of those players that says, ‘This shouldn’t happen again.’ I’m not looking to get paid from the NFL. As a matter of fact, due to me not being able to use 141 characters, in the line of duty part. I was denied over the course of a year and a half and I finally did received the line of duty, yet it’s a lot of hurdles and loops and obstacles you have to go through.”
Kirwan bullish on Bengals’ Tyler Boyd
Pat Kirwan thinks the Cincinnati Bengals’ passing game is going to be just fine without Marvin Jones and Mohamed Sanu catching passes from Andy Dalton.
That’s because Kirwan believes rookie Tyler Boyd, the Bengals’ second-round draft pick from Pittsburgh, is immediately ready to step up to the role of being an effective No. 2 target behind A.J. Green.
Boyd an ‘acrobat’
“That guy’s going to land up fulfilling the role of Marvin Jones/Sanu, and he’s going to do a great job doing it,” Kirwan said while co-hosting Movin’ The Chains with Jeff Rickard. “Acrobat.
“He’s going to get the off coverage. What happens when you’re the back-side guy — and Golden Tate found out what it was like to have Calvin Johnson on the other side for a year or two — they’re going to roll that coverage into Green and you’re going to get a lot of nice routes.”
Dalton won’t hesitate to look Boyd’s way
Routes that Dalton won’t hesitate to look for if Green isn’t open.
“The thing about Dalton is, look how many balls he fed to Sanu and Marvin Jones,” Kirwan said. “He understands, when there’s certain kind of coverages, to walk right away from Green and I think Boyd’s going to land up having a big year.”