August means "Real" Football Season not far away
Last updated 8/2/2022 at 1:35pm
The month of August has sneaked in amid a nationwide heat wave which will test all football players from the high school level, colleges and the National Football League to work hard but most important keep hydrated during this month of training for opening day.
The NFL greeted all of their candidates for those precious 53-man rosters of the league’s 32 franchises who all claim to be undefeated and hopeful of making the playoffs and then Super Bowl LVI.
I will take a look at the Lone Star State’s two NFL franchises—the Houston Texans and the Dallas Cowboys—who both need to improve immensely to be better than they both were last season.
The Texans will not have the Deshaun Watson albatross on their shoulders anymore and can get on with a normal summer training camp like the others always have. No more hoping that Watson will change his mind and decide to play in Houston.
No more paying him a million bucks or more to be is his street clothes while the team tries to focus on the opponent and the game plan the coaching staff has drawn up.
The Watson Sideshow no longer exists so General Manager Nick Caserio and Head Coach Lovie Smith can focus strictly on having the best 53 players ready for the 2022 season which begins the second weekend in September.
The team has decided to put all their eggs in second-year quarterback Davis Mills’ basket and hopefully come up with a running game to offset the passing game, which was the only offense the Texans had last season.
Caserio hopefully beefed up the offensive line with free agents, trades and the draft with focus on the tight end position. The defense has at least four question marks—defensive end, linebacker, cornerback and safety—and will be the focal points for the coaching staff.
There will be three very important dates weighing on the minds of both the coaching staff and the players—Aug. 16 when the roster is cut to 85 players, Aug. 23 when the roster is cut to 80 players and finally Aug. 30 when the roster is cut to 53 players.
The Cowboys will go as quarterback Dak Prescott goes. At then end of last season Prescott was almost even with Arizona’s Kyler Murray in quarterback rankings by evaluators at NFL.com, ESPN, Pro Football Focus and The Athletic at 8 and 9 best in the league, according to an article in Sunday’s Houston Chronicle.
Both quarterbacks will be carrying their respective teams on their shoulders, but that’s pretty much where the similarities end. Prescott devotes most of his time to breaking down and studying films while Murray is being forced by the Cardinals to spend four hours per week of independent film study in his new contract.
The Cowboys’ running game was not up to par last season, mainly because Ezekiel Elliott was hobbled for much of the season with various injuries that didn’t necessarily keep him out of the game, but stymied him from playing his normal running back position.
The Kansas City Chiefs always seem to be in the hunt when playoff time rolls around and this year should be no exception. Although they traded superstar receiver Tyreek Hill, they picked up JuJu Smith-Schuster and Marquez Valdes-Scantling in free agency which should fill the void adequately.
With Tom Brady back at quarterback, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers should also be a team to be reckoned with. Although they lost tight ends Rob Gronkowski to retirement and O.J. Howard to free agency and have a new head coach in Todd Bowles, this team has enough talent to send Brady into retirement with another Super Bowl appearance.
And you can’t ever sell Aaron Rodgers short despite losing his favorite target Davante Adams to free agency. The Green Bay Packers did pick up wide receiver Sammy Watkins and also should be around at playoff time.
A team that may not be around in January is the Cleveland Browns, who found out Monday morning that high-dollar quarterback Deshaun Watson has been suspended for the first six games by retired Federal Judge Sue L. Robinson, who was asked by the NFL to be its discipline officer.
She contends there was not enough evidence to justify an indefinite suspension or a fine. The NFL has until tonight to appeal the ruling in writing, although it was accepted by the NFLPA union. However, there was a stipulation that Watson is forbidden from getting a massage from anyone not part of the NFL.
Veteran quarterback Jacoby Brissett will lead the team in their first six games—at Carolina, vs. NY Jets, vs. Pittsburgh, at Atlanta, vs. LA Chargers and vs. New England.
KWICKIES…Former PGA member Davis Love said Monday that the LIV plans to sue the PGA next week to allow their players to participate in this year’s FedEx Playoffs. He wonders why the LIV hasn’t sued already. In last weekend’s tournament on Donald Trump’s course in Bechminster, N.J., LIV tour founder Phil Mickelson was heckled on the first tee with someone shouting that Mickelson now works for the Saudi Royal Family. Phil finished the three rounds 17 shots behind winner Henrik Stenson.
While on the subject of golf, Utah native Tony Finau won his second consecutive PGA Tour event, running away with the Rocket Mortgage Classic Sunday by five strokes. He became the first player in three years to win consecutive PGA Tour events in the regular season.
If someone asks who has the most valuable franchise in sports, the answer is the Dallas Cowboys, who have a $620 million advantage over the second place New York Yankees.
And speaking of the Yankees, their slugger Aaron Judge became the second-fastest player in major league history to reach 200 career home runs and was the first this season to reach 40 homers. He has 42 in games through Sunday and is on pace to hit 67 by October. Judge is tied with Sammy Sosa and is two behind Barry Bonds and Mark McGwire for the most homers in MLB history before Aug. 1.
The San Francisco 49ers have agreed to an extension to wide receiver Deebo Samuel for three years, worth up to $73.5 million with $58 million guaranteed.
Although not many major league baseball trades were announced last weekend before yesterday’s trading deadline, there were a couple of non-significant deals announced with the LA Dodgers bolstering their bullpen by obtaining right-hander Chris Martin from the Chicago Cubs for infielder/outfielder Zach McKinstry. The Tampa Bay Rays got left-handed hitting outfielder David Peralta from Arizona for 19-year-old minor league catcher Christian Cerda. The St. Louis Cardinals traded shortstop Edmundo Sosa to Philadelphia for left-hander JoJo Romero.
JUST BETWEEN US…The Houston Astros had a very quiet weekend as far as trading before yesterday’s deadline was concerned, but they enter the month of August 12 games in front of second-place Seattle in the AL West Division and are completing the final game of a three-game series with the slumping Boston Red Sox 1:10 p.m. today at Minute Maid Park. Yordan Alvarez leads the majors with an OPS of 1.087 and is second in the AL with 30 home runs and is third with 70 RBIs, after delivering a walk-off game-winning single in the bottom of the 10th inning Sunday as the Astros beat Seattle 3-2 to win three-of-four from the Mariners last weekend. During the month of July, second baseman Jose Altuve reached base in 23 of his 26 games, hitting .294 for the month.