The second week of the NFL's 2016 preseason schedule kicked off on Thursday night with six games, which included a Pennsylvania showdown featuring the Pittsburgh Steelers and Philadelphia Eagles and a rematch of last season's memorable NFC Wild Card round matchup between the Minnesota Vikings and Seattle Seahawks.
Here are six players who played shined during Thursday action:
QB Robert Griffin III, Cleveland Browns
It was only five possessions in an August preseason game, but Griffin III showed flashes of his former self on Thursday night in Cleveland. Many NFL expert picks are projecting that Griffin will play well for the Browns this season and his performance in Week 2 supported that belief. He threw a pair of beautiful touchdown passes, scrambled three times for 36 yards and finished with a nearly perfect passer rating of 154.2. His two passing scores were sublime. On Cleveland's second series, Griffin III tossed a perfect deep ball to beat Pro Bowl cornerback Desmond Truant for a 50-yard touchdown to Terrelle Pryor. Later, he capped off a 62-yard scoring drive by hitting tight end Gary Barnidge for a 29-yard score against impossibly tight coverage near the sideline. These are the obvious steps forward the Browns were hoping for when they gave RG3 a second lease on life as an NFL starting quarterback.
RB Jeremy Langford, Chicago Bears
Who needs Matt Forte? Langford was electric as the Bears starting running back in New England, rushing for 55 yards and a score on just eight carries. He busted off an impressive 34-yard run in the first quarter, which the young back helped set up by cutting back and accelerating up field on a designed stretch play. Langford finished off the drive when he eluded a would-be tackler at the line of scrimmage and sprinted into the end zone from five yards out. Forte might have been the engine that drove the Bears offense for many years, but it's clear Chicago has something in Langford. He looks like a big play waiting to happen every time he touches the football.
QB Jimmy Garoppolo, New England Patriots
The Patriots can feel a little better about the first four games of the regular season after Thursday night. Garoppolo started in place of Tom Brady and put together a strong performance, completing 16-of-21 passes for 181 yards and one touchdown against the Bears. He led three different scoring drives in the second quarter, including a seven-play, 57-yard march in the two-minute drill. His 16-yard touchdown to AJ Derby and the ensuing two-point conversion to Chris Hogan gave the Patriots a 17-11 half time lead. If nothing else, Garoppolo's night was a confidence booster for a young quarterback expected to keep New England afloat during the first month of the season.
WR Marvin Jones, Detroit Lions
There's nothing like balling out against your former team. In his second preseason game since leaving Cincinnati this offseason, Jones showed the Bengals what they'll be missing. He made four catches on five targets for a game-high 65 yards, including a nifty 32-yard reception early in the first quarter. The big play came from new quarterback Matthew Stafford, with Jones adjusting to his sideline throw and getting both feet in bounds to complete the reception. Jones and his unique ability to create separation and contort his body near the sidelines could make him a valuable (and common) target for Stafford in the Lions' likely high-volume passing attack.
RB Eddie Lacy, Green Bay Packers
The old Eddie Lacy looked like he's back for Green Bay. The big (yet still slimmed down) Packers running back played only one series against the Oakland Raiders, but Green Bay fed him nine carries, including a pair of goal line looks. He turned his opportunities into 45 yards and a score, with 20 of his yards coming on one impressive run off the left side. Lacy will never be a small running back, but quickness and an ability to finish runs through contact can combine to make the former second-round pick a handful for opposing defenses. Both attributes appear to be back for Lacy as he continues his attempt to shake off a sluggish, out-of-shape 2015 season.
RB LaGarrette Blount, New England Patriots
The demise of Blount as the Patriots' lead back has been greatly exaggerated. Given 11 early carries against the Bears, Blount produced 69 yards and a score. He also busted off a 21-yard run, and found the end zone when he made a subtle move to the outside and then plowed through a Bears linebacker at the goal line. New England will likely lean heavily on Blount early in the 2016 season, especially with Garoppolo under center for the first four games. The Patriots will be just fine if the two produce like they did on Thursday night.no comments
To be a fan of a club like Manchester United is one of my life's greatest pleasures. I get to share great moments with my immediate friends who watch the match with me, great moments with the 75,000 fans packed into the beautiful colossal stadium and great moments with all 350 millions supporters worldwide. At the helm for every one of my memories of United has been the bespectacled magician from Scotland. He's been a man whose drive inspires me to chase my dreams everyday, whose kindness has inspired many tributes and seemingly questionable traits taught me that protection of your friends and family irrespective- of how right they were or wrong they were-is first priority. I've never been a prouder fan of a sports club than United and much of that identity has come from our leader. I will miss him for the rest of time, he is the man who for the first 20 years of my life has been an ever present inspiration. By the time the next person to manage this long has come and gone I would be 46 at least, I will never forget the man who has given me so much joy, and so many memories. Thank You Sir Alex
Scale is here
5, 1 that Lewandowski will wait and 10 that Rooney or Hernandez will leave. I can't see our boy leaving.
Mancini is a wbanker with a silent B. The reasons we've won the title according to him are; city's injuries, failing to sign 4 players, the African cup of nations, not having enough attacking talent at city and people fearing us. I guess the hardest thing to say is you're better than us.
Good, Rio is a legend at United and more broadly in English football. He is a fantastic player still and will continue to produce. What a man.
No stories about transfers that I could find yesterday, again if you need to see the scale refer to here.
3 Van Persies, I think that this is probably true. While a quality player ultimately we don't need another striker, whilst Bayern are clearly the biggest club in Germany and are a defnite destination for most of the elite players of the Bundesliga. Having said that it is eminently possibe Lewandowski moves again and perhaps then we will sign a long rumoured target.
Selfishly I hope England move on. Unselflishly I don't doubt for one second Rio is amongst the top 2 centre backs in England. His performances this season have been consistenly good and occasionally exceptional (Real Madrid @ Bernabeau, Liverpool @ Anfield) with a smattering of games where his age was exposed. I hope Rio gets what he wants, whether that is a call up or a prolonged career with the Red Devils to fill out the burgeoning trophy cabinet with an FA Cup winner's medal. Rio's a legend and should be treated as such.
If you don't get the scale refer to yesterdays post.
1 Van Persie. Look an offer implies that an inquiry is successful from one club to another. I think that PSG probably inquired about Rooney but realistically we told them where they could take their offer. Rooney is not going anywhere.
Anderson part-exhange for James Rodriguez
5 Van Persies. I think this is as likely to happen as not. We have a need in central midfield which won't be helped by Andotaur leaving, but Rodriguez is a player and undoubtedly we need some wingers beyond those we have now who have been at best poor this season as a unit. I kind of hope we get Rodriguez without parting with Anderson who has shown flashes of forward drive from midfield which is always useful to have.
Kevin Nolan wants Fergie over for Dinnerhttp://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/sport/football/4890901/Liverpool-fan-Kevin-Nolan-is-big-admirer-of-Man-Utd-boss-Alex-Ferguson.html
Interesting way to extend an invitation...
Hey guys, it's been a while, uni blah blah busy blah. Anyway this is a new series that I want to start contributing to the Stretford Roar. Essentially I'm going to leech off of the work of others and try to track stories and transfer rumours as they unfold concerning United while also commenting on their likelihood or just about their content in general. My scale is going to be called the Van Persie scale, because of how improbable his transfer was. The scale will be 1-10 Robins with 10 being the most improbable and 1 the leastand hopefully I'll nail a couple of predictions so I can pretend that I know something about football. So without further ado let's begin:
Rooney to Sign New Manchester United Dealhttp://www.independent.co.uk/sport/football/premier-league/wayne-rooney-to-sign-new-manchester-united-deal-instead-of-joining-psg-8574261.html
1 Van Persie. Look, Rooney is going nowhere, his value is not at it's peak, he's a required player and it's tough for me to reconcile the comments Rooney has made over and over again about staying at Manchester United, how much he loves the club etc. with him leaving. While he has the one faux pas about the contract negotiation breakdown, he has played almost a decade at the club, won 4-hopefully soon to be 5- league titles and made 400 appearances. I could see his role changing at the club maybe playing more midfield, but the key point is, at the club- our club- Manchester United.
Wayne Rooney and Nani set to Sign with PSGhttp://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/sport/football/4889393/Wayne-Rooney-and-Nani-transfer-PSG-set-to-sign-Man-United-strikers-in-the-summer.html
10 Van Persies for the fee, 3 for Nani, 10 for Rooney. On Rooney, see paragraph above. Nani has been an almost permanent dissapointment over the last year and a half and was set to leave to zenit in the summer only to make absurdly high wage demands to avoid leaving. I thought he was going to be special but unfortunately his form has faded and his style of play is not conducive to anything but flashes at the moment. I would be sad to see him go but his contract is almost up and will probably leave this summer. Claiming both for 40m quid would be a steal for PSG though and an indictment of our negotiating skills. Not a year ago Rooney alone would command 30+m unlikely he has lost that much value given inflation, player market etc.
Non transfer story:
Wilshere Desperate to Stop United winning the Title at the Emirates http://www.mirror.co.uk/sport/football/news/arsenal-jack-wilshere-wants-stop-1834161
Don't worry Jack-we're desperate to win it before then, hopefully we can both get our way, although you will have to give us a guard of honour onto the pitch. Bit like how your team defended during 8-2 really.
It's September now and while to many this is the change of seasons from summer to autumn, or in our case winter to spring, it also represents the beginning of Football finals (Australian Rules and Rugby League) both sports which I follow quite strongly also. I love my teams with a passion and at this time of year when inevitably someone asks "Why do you yell at the TV? It won't change anything." I always tend to consider why I do yell. Why do my teams mean something to me? Why do I, through thick and thin, find a way to follow my team(especially United)? Why does it mean so much to me to see our Reds put it on the line for 3 points?
Firstly, I think I care because United are always there for me. United are my escape. When I was studying for exams the few breaks I did take coincided with the games of the team. When I moved from Australia and didn't have much to do on weekends, United were always constant, always there. Since I've been young, United have been there for every week (except for the rubbish international breaks) and I know I'm not the only one who feels the irrepressible excitement in the lead up to a game. I know also that the club know that they are there for an escape, to paraphrase Sir Matt, the club is there to entertain, to give the workers who see the game a break from the drudgery for 90 minutes of performance. The reason I began to love United is it's ever present provision of a break, an escape for entertainment irrespective of global location.The so called Cultural Elite get their galleries and theatres, I'm happier with the theatre of dreams below.
Further to my first point I love the club because of what it stands for in its permanence. Founded in 1878, the club is 134 years old now, it's an institution, a living monument, a so far neverending story with heroes and villains, peaks and troughs and true never say die attitude. We all know that the club has come back from the brink several times, Munich most notably but also through several near bankruptcies and we've come back stronger. I love United because I love a great story and without a doubt my favourites are the stories of past heroes: Cantona's puffed out chest, Best's magic which'll still be turning God's head in heaven, Sir Bobby's magic performance in the European Cup final in 1968 where he was so dehydrated by the end of the match he didn't even celebrate that night and more recently the stories of comebacks recently past where your three esteemed contributors were reduced to embracing and jumping around at 3 in the morning and the heartbreaks which turned one of us into Sammy Kuffour and the other two of us into stunned silence. It's history and magic make United for me my favourite club in the world. That's why I still love United.
The third main reason I love the club is that at least a part of it belongs to me. Believe me when I say the players on the field have taught me about everything that really gets you somewhere in life. These guys aren't heroes in the same way that a Doctor is, nor a fireman, not even a nurse, but the simple fact is to make it a top club they embody heroic qualities we can all aspire to. If you talked to any footballer at United I'd have to believe there'd be a few common qualities to their stories, persistence, hard work, commitment and sacrifice will all have been involved at some point. So no, they don't save lives, but is it wrong to attach significance to the qualities which their careers promote? I think not and it's another aspect of United I appreciate. It's not easy to get there nor to stay there and they put everything on the line each week for us fans and the glory we can help give them. It's worth asking whether a trophy would mean as much to these men without the crowd's adulation and appreciation we give these guys? They play for us and in return all I can do is support them unconditionally. That's why I will always love United.
So yes, I wonder why I yell at the TV, why it means so much to me to see the reds get up, why at 3 in the morning I find the energy to jump around with my boys in the kitchen. I will wonder why I struggle to reconcile between my head and my heart that "it's only a game" and I will wonder why I'll never stop watching but with United I don't think the answer is going to change. The club, without realising it has always been there for me so the least I can do is do it in return. Barça say they're more than a club, and they're right, but United to me is a religion, Old Trafford its temple and as the great Sir Matt said, Manchester my heaven.
United were back in the swing of things at Old Trafford today. It was, beyond a measure of a doubt, typical United. Perhaps not United at their devastating best, but it was typical. Scintillating football, but with enough drama to make sure we were biting our fingernails till the end of the game.
While Fulham took the lead with 3 minutes on the clock, United responded with a swagger not seen since the middle of last season. The intent was there, this was a United team pissed off at the prospect of a defeat, let alone a second consecutive one. Soon after the early concession, Robin van Persie justifies his 91 volleys rating on FIFA 12 and strikes a cross with that famous left foot of his into the goal. My words do not do this goal justice. If access to a video of the goal is impossible, it will end up in some highlight reel this week, and probably at the end of this season.
With United finally settled into a rhythm the electric Kagawa got himself a first goal as well. Some great play had been happening in our attacking third and United's second came after a Cleverley shot, which was destined for the bottom corner, bounced to the onside Kagawa who only had to tap in his first goal in front of the Old Trafford crowd. That was followed by a goal by Rafael, a header at the near post after a sumptious cross by Young. Fulham did get on the board again after a a misunderstanding between Vidic and De Gea led to an own goal by our captain.
Some of United's play going forward was beautiful. Often, Fulham's defence was split open by a Kagawa through ball or a Valencia sprint. The effort was there tonight, definitely more than was on display at Goodison Park last weekend.
Aside from van Persie's stunning volley, Rafael turned in a display that justified the new number on the back of his shirt. An attacking outlet, as well as a tenacious defender, the Brazilian was all over the right wing. Kagawa too impressed with his ability to pick out a pass and make space.
Despite all the positives that can be drawn from this game, United has to contend with the fact that Rooney will be out of action for a month. A freak accident involving Hugo Rodallega's cleats left a large gash on Rooney's right thigh.
Still, the depth United have in attack means that this injury will hopefully not derail our title challenge before it begins.
We were hurt. In the optimism that was born out of an 8 point lead at the top of the Premier League table, United had a hand firmly on one arm of the famous trophy, before the grip was torn away by a Sergio Aguero goal in injury time against a 10 man QPR.
The offseason brought hope, even if we didn't pick up Hazard or Lucas, the players we did bring in felt like the right ones to bring the trophy back to Old Trafford. Powell, Kagawa, and Robin van Persie. A rival's scalp, but a trump card as well.
Fast forward to Goodison Park, and again United were disappointed.
So here we were, with Japan's premier playmaker, last season's winner and runner-up for the golden boot, as well as a young team hungry for success after tasting bitter defeat last season. With the stars aligned and United seemingly in place to dominate a cash-strapped Everton side, they were instead met with an immovable force as the talisman that is Marouane Fellaini headed his Everton team to a winning start to the season.
So how can the first game of the season, met with so much anticipation and hope, end in disaster? 10 minutes into the game and United fans could already sense that things were not going to plan. Everton were chasing every ball, marking every man. They just wanted it more than us. I wouldn't call it a lack of desire, there's no doubt in my mind that we want the title back from City badly. The game caught United by surprise and the result was, if unwanted, fair.
You can blame the referee, the lack of defenders, the need for Kagawa and van Persie to gel with the team - but when it comes down to it, you know when you play badly. United know that they have themselves to blame for this loss. And Sir Alex will know this as well. I wouldn't want to be the players at Carrington this week (Well actually, I'd give a whole lot to be a player at Carrington). They'll be drilled by the backroom staff and will hopefully we'll see it pay off against Fulham this weekend.
But either way, it's glad to be posting again and hopefully we'll be able to see United follow up the disappointing result with a win.
In the past few hours, there's been an explosion of stories online about the signing of Nick Powell. From what I gather, the transfer is imminent, with Powell scheduled for a medical sometime today or tomorrow. With the fee starting at £2 million, rising to £4 million depending on add-ons and future fees, it seems like we're getting a good deal here for an exciting young attacking midfielder with plenty of potential. Definitely more exciting news on the transfer front for United, coming just over a week after the prospective Kagawa deal was announced. So props to our front office for dipping into the transfer market and addressing the issues that were so apparent last season. But the question must be asked, are we getting close to overkill in midfield?
So what can Nick Powell do for United? After a quick Youtube scouting session, it seems that he's a creative attacking midfielder with an eye for goal. Some of the ones he's scored in the past have been absolute belters (albeit in League 1). If Kagawa was signed to provide an attacking spark, Powell will be there to bring in goals from the midfield. Not to mention, the kid is 18 and has plenty of years in him to develop under some of the ebst coaches in the world, alongside some of the finest players in the world. But his signing does provide a few problems.
With the Kagawa deal almost done and dusted, the Powell deal leaves us in somewhat of an excess of central midfielders. With Scholes, Carrick, Anderson, Cleverley, and Fletcher all able to play in the middle, the addition of two more players in that area leaves us with potentially 7 players who are able to occupy two roles in our midfield. Not to mention, we have cover in those positions in the form of Giggs, Jones, and Park. Could this be an error in judgement by Sir Alex and his team? Of course not, this guy is a managerial genius.
What I think is happening is the gradual phasing out of the old generation and the introduction of younger players to the main stage. With guys like Scholes and Giggs ever so close to the end of their careers, its only right that we don't rebuild after they leave, but retool while they're still around. The experience they have to offer other players is invaluable. Not just on the field, but their professionalism and conduct off of it as well. So taking over this mantle of elder statesmen in the immediate future will be Carrick and Fletcher. But even then, Sir Alex might have been considering the health of Darren Fletcher, who has been unavailable for most of last season with the worsening of his ulcerative colitis.
So say Scholes and Giggs leave after the end of 2012-2013, and Darren Fletcher decides to call it a day as well. That leaves us with Carrick, Anderson, Cleverley, Kagawa, and Powell in the middle. All hungry to keep winning titles, all with a year of Scholes and Giggs helping them. They'll be in good stead for the season after.
So thoughts? Could this be Sir Alex looking into the future with a keen eye for what needs to be done? Or are United's staff starting to panic over a potential shift in the power structure of the Premier League?no comments