Sorry, couldn’t book Beyonce, Bruce or Bruno for the 2016 Daily News halftime spectacular, but the show must go on. In a 16-game season played over 17 weeks, the true midway point came last Wednesday, one of the few nights the ratings-challenged and suddenly overexposed NFL doesn’t play.
By Monday night, each of the 32 teams will have played eight games — 15 have played seven, 16 have played eight and one has played nine — so this is the time to hand out the midterm awards.
Derek Carr, QB, Raiders
It’s bad enough for Roger Goodell that he might be handing the Lombardi Trophy to Robert Kraft and the Super Bowl MVP Trophy to Tom Brady on Feb. 5 in Houston — it would ease the tension if he handed them deflated footballs instead — but Patriots lovers lobbying for Brady (12 TDs, 0 INTs, 330 yards passing per game) to be halftime MVP is insulting to the players who were not suspended for the first four games.
Carr’s hero is Brett Favre. That’s why he wears No. 4. He’s got some of the old gunslinger in him but takes better care of the Duke. Last week in an overtime victory against the Bucs, he attempted 59 passes and didn’t throw one interception. He had four TDs and threw for 513 yards (tying Phil Simms for ninth most — Norm Van Brocklin holds the record with 554 ) and would have been the first QB to surpass 600 yards if the Raiders, in honoring their flag-filled past, didn’t set an NFL record with 23 penalties for 200 yards (third most). Carr has 17 TDs, just three INTs and a 6-2 record. Runner up: Matt Ryan, QB, Falcons
Jason Garrett, Cowboys
It just can’t be easy when the owner wants to be the coach and actually thinks he is the coach and since he pays the bills, who is going to tell him he’s not? Garrett hasn’t had to make a decision on Dak Prescott vs. Tony Romo just yet — Romo was throwing fastballs in 11-of-11 drills last week — but one slip-up by Prescott and Jerry Jones will be storming Garrett’s office to get his favorite player back on the field. Garrett needs to change the locks. Runner up: Jack Del Rio, Raiders
If you allow Bill Belichick to keep Brady and Gronk and then flip-flop rosters with the winless Browns, the Patriots would be 6-2 and the Browns would be 2-6. Listen, he’s not a great guy and trading Jamie Collins to the Browns was cruel, he’s still a top-three coach — although I could easily make a case that even with four Super Bowls titles he’s left a couple on the table. New England was 3-1 with Jimmy Garoppolo and Jacoby Brissett and is 4-0 with Brady. Runner up: Seahawks
MOST SUPRISING TEAM
Remember, since making the Super Bowl in 2002, they’ve have had 11 losing seasons, two 8-8 seasons and not one winning season. They are 5-0 on the road for the first time since 1977. Three road games have been in the Eastern Time Zone and two in the Central Time Zone. They just came off back-to-back victories in Jacksonville and Tampa and it helped they stayed at a luxury hotel in Sarasota between games and practiced 20 minutes away in Bradenton rather than flying back to Oakland. Runner up: Cowboys
MOST DISAPPOINTING TEAM
Crybaby Cam’s defending NFC champs are just 2-5. They were 15-1 last year. They surpassed last year’s loss total in the third week. Runner up: Colts
(Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
Ezekiel Elliott, RB, Cowboys
He leads the league with 799 yards behind that great offensive line. Elliott is on pace for 1,826 yards. Eric Dickerson set the rookie record with 1,808 for the Rams in 1983. By the way, after Tennessee’s DeMarco Murray did nothing in Philly last year following a year in which he led the NFL in rushing with Dallas in 2014, he is second with 756 yards. Runner up: Dak Prescott, QB, Cowboys
Joey Bosa, Chargers
Typical of the stubborn Chargers, they fought Bosa all summer on his contract and he didn’t sign until Aug. 29. Then he suffered the usual holdout hamstring injury, costing him the first four games. He’s made up for lost time. In just four games, he has four sacks, 16 pressures and 11 hits on the QB. San Diego may not be 3-5 if they didn’t fight Bosa on meaningless contract issues. Runner up: Deion Jones, LB, Falcons
MOST DISAPPOINTING ROOKIE
Jared Goff, QB, Rams
The overall No. 1 pick hasn’t taken one snap even though the Rams’ starting QB is Case Keenum and he threw four INTs against the Giants in London. Meanwhile five rookie QBs have started: Carson Wentz, Paxton Lynch, Jacoby Brissett, Cody Kessler and Dak Prescott. Runner up: Laquon Treadwell, WR, Vikings
BEST FREE AGENT SIGNING
Josh Norman, CB, Washington
He has brought an attitude and toughness if not interceptions (just one) to the defense. Runner up: Janoris Jenskins, CB, Giants
(Eric Christian Smith/AP)
WORST FREE AGENT SIGNING
Brock Osweiler, QB, Texans
Here’s what the QB-starved Texans have received in return for a four-year, $72 million deal including $37 million guaranteed: Nine TDs, nine INTs and he is ranked ahead of only Blaine Gabbert and Ryan Fitzpatrick. Runner up: Malik Jackson, DT, Jaguars
NFL’S BIGGEST ISSUES
— Concussions: The crisis continues. Cam Newton says he doesn’t feel safe, so how many parents are going to allow their sons to play high school football in 10 years if CTE is winning the race against innovative solutions to the problem?
— Declining Ratings: The Cowboys-Eagles game on Sunday night was trampled by Game 5 of the World Series. The TV numbers are down for the NFL all over. Maybe it’s the wild election year, too many nights of games, too many bad games, a blah season, too many penalties, the Colin Kaepernick anthem protest… it’s probably all of it. Goodell has a big problem to fix.
— No Fun League: This is not the first time the league has legislated fun out of its game. It’s okay for Gronk to spike the ball and there is no flag for the Lambeau Leap, but Vernon Davis gets 15 yards for shooting a jump shot over the goal post. Does this make sense? Lighten up, Park Avenue people.
SUPER BOWL LI
Seahawks 31, Patriots 28
This time Russell Wilson runs it in.
LAY OFF, MOM
Annie Apple, media correspondent and mother of Eli Apple, has strong opinions about how the Giants mishandled the Josh Brown situation and has written about her gruesome history of dealing with domestic violence earlier in her life. But I think she’s doing her son a disservice by continuing to criticize the Giants. Annie has her media job because her son is an NFL player and now she has created an awkward situation for Eli in his first year at his place of employment. Is that what a parent is supposed to do? She became a media star at the draft because she has lots of personality and her son was a first-round pick. The Giants deserve to be criticized for mishandling the Brown mess, but why would she do anything to jeopardize her son’s career? It’s not right. Actually kind of selfish.
Belichick obviously wanted Collins off his team immediately. It was a surprise because Collins was considered one of the Patriots’ best defensive players. He’s only 27. But he apparently was freelancing too much and some reports say he was responsible for Owen Daniels’ two TD catches in last season’s AFC Championship Game. The Patriots will get a third-round compensatory pick in 2017 (this is the first draft comp picks can be traded) if the Browns have one or else it will be fourth-round pick in 2018. Collins will be a free agent after the season. If the Patriots had kept him — he’s going to get a big contract — then they would have likely received a third-round compensatory pick in 2018 if they didn’t sign him. This shows how badly Belichick wanted to get rid of him. The Browns will try to sign Collins or they could franchise him. If Collins is looking for sympathy, he can call Lawyer Milloy, Richard Seymour, Logan Mankins, Randy Moss, Mike Vrabel, among others, who have been dumped by The Hoodie.
Giants GM Jerry Reese’s job is not just picking the players in the draft and free agency — his mistakes over the year have him on the hot seat — but he’s also the football voice of the organization. His arrogance and indignation being asked Josh Brown questions last week is indefensible. Reese somehow manages to get away with speaking to the media just three times during football season: At the opening of camp, during the bye and one day after the season. George Young and Ernie Accorsi, his two more talented predecessors, made themselves available all the time. They preferred to be asked questions so the Giants’ point of view could be presented. Reese needs to reassess and become more accountable.
Would the Jets be better with first-round LB Darron Lee, second-round pick QB Christian Hackenberg and fourth-round pick CB Juston Burris or Miami’s Laremy Tunsil, who is starting at guard, will eventually be a tackle and is going to be a big-time star? Answer: Tunsil. Once Tunsil’s stock fell after the bong video surfaced 13 minutes before the draft, the Jets called when the Giants were on the clock at No. 10. The Giants didn’t want to touch Tunsil, although they sure could use him. The Jets at No. 20 were not scared off. They offered their first- and second-round picks. Jimmy Johnson’s legendary draft value chart said a fair trade required the Jets to add their fourth-round pick. The Jets refused. No deal. The Giants turned it down and picked Eli Apple. The Jets will get their first look at Tunsil on Sunday in Miami.
Source: NY Daily News Headlines Sports News