1) How's this for a recruiting tool?
Together Everyone Accomplishes More pic.twitter.com/oVaBU4dvo4— Burton Burns (@UACoachBBurns) June 12, 2015
That tweet was sent out by Alabama's running backs coach and if I was a high school prospect with NFL dreams, it would be hard to say no to the Crimson Tide.
2) When pass catching tight end Jimmy Graham was traded to the Seattle Seahawks, NFL analysts wondered how his skill set would translate in a more run heavy offense. We won't know how he looks until the pads come on at Seahawk training camp, but he certainly is confident.
"Listen, man, I'm 270 pounds. I can block anybody I want to," he said. "It's all about want-to. We'll see come this first Sunday."
Graham's run blocking in New Orleans will never be confused with Brandon Manumaleuna's, but he's quite serviceable in that aspect of his game. He may not be driving anyone 10 yards off the ball, but he's big enough to shield defenders away from the running lanes. And besides, if Graham stays healthy it'll be his receiving skills that most help that offense.
3) Devin Hester is back to wondering about his role on offense.
Before the 2013 season, Hester decided that he didn't want to play in Marc Trestman's offense with the Chicago Bears, and instead he would focus on just his return game. That was also Hester's final season as a Bear. Part of the reason he went to the Atlanta Falcons in 2014 was the chance to get back involved with an offense, but now the Falcons have a new offensive coordinator in Kyle Shanahan, and Hester is still feeling out his role.
"It's still up in the air right now," Hester said of his role on offense. "We're just figuring out the offense, figuring out who fits best in what positions and what routes we're running. We're all fresh right now in the new offense, so we're trying to figure out who can run the best routes. Toward mid-training camp, you'll be able to tell."
Hester signed a 3 year deal worth $9 million to be more than just a return specialist, so I would expect Shanahan to figure out something for him to do offensively.
4) Professional sports teams hoist banners for a number of reasons. League Championships, Conference Championships, Division Championships and if you're the Indianapolis Colts, you hoist a banner for losing the 2014 AFC Championship game.
5) Tight end Tim Wright caught 54 balls as a rookie in 2013 for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, then was traded to the New England Patriots along with a 4th round draft pick for guard Logan Mankins. Wright managed 26 catches for the Pats last season, but they still decided to waive him. He ended up being awarded to the Bucs because the NFL waiver wire system begins with the team with the worst record.
In all, ten different teams put a waiver claim on him, Tampa Bay, New York Jets, Chicago Bears, Atlanta Falcons, Cleveland Browns, New Orleans Saints, Miami Dolphins, Kansas City Chiefs, Pittsburgh Steelers and the Detroit Lions. With so much interest in Wright, I'm surprised the Patriots couldn't flip him for a low draft pick.
6) Thought number Six today is reserved for the only Six on my mind. The Chicago Blackhawks are playing in Game Six tonight, with a chance to win their 3rd Stanley Cup in Six years. Yeah I know it's not NFL related, but it's Chicago related, and it's the biggest thing going on in Chicago right now.
7) Brandon Marshall was a good influence on the Chicago Bears locker room, until he wasn't, and so far it's all smiles with the New York Jets. He's been living with his quarterback Geno Smith to help build their chemistry.
"We're growing every single day," Marshall said. "I look at it like a little brother. Rooming with him has really speeded up that process. We look at each other a different way. It just makes you want to fight that much harder. We have our ups and downs as far as trying to learn the offense -- he wants me to look for a back-shoulder and I'm running down the field -- but I've got to say, in the last two weeks, we've made a pretty significant jump. We're starting to see the game the same way. It comes from hours and hours of communication, or walking through it at the house."
If we're to believe the report, Marshall picked the Jets as the team he wanted to play for when the Bears decided to shop him, and his biggest reason was the desultory Jets QB.
"I was really shocked at the intelligence, how smart he was," Marshall said. "I had known him as a player from afar. I didn't know his football IQ was so high. He had crazy passion. When I talked to him, I fell in love with the conversation. I said, this is a real opportunity, we have a great defense, great pieces on offense. If we can come together and gel, we may not be the best in Year 1, but if we can be effective and not turn over the ball, we can be in every game."
If New York's offense can find a rhythm they could double last year's win total.
8) Forbes has revealed the World's Richest Athletes and I was surprised at the 1st NFL player to pop up on the list. Checking in at #11 is the Pittsburgh Steelers' Ben Roethlisberger, with $48.9 million in earnings this year.
There are only two other Chicago athletes on the list. Jon Lester of the Chicago Cubs is 19th with $34.1 million in earnings and the Chicago Bulls' Derrick Rose is 20th with $33.9 million. For the full list click here, and to just see the NFL players you can click here.
9) Seattle Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman is no stranger to controversy, but his latest dust-up is much ado about nothing.
Sherman shoots out a Tweet claiming football players are unmatched in the amount of mental preparation they must go through, so naturally a debate arises. Race car driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. shot back at Sherman claiming that "drivers at 200 mph inches from each other takes it to a whole new level."
There's no denying that driving a car that fast takes a lot of skill, but does it really require more mental preparation than playing in the NFL?
10) NFL.com ranked the running back position groups for all 32 teams and they put the Chicago Bears near the middle of the pack.
14. Bears: Matt Forte, Jacquizz Rodgers, Ka'Deem Carey, Jeremy Langford, Senorise Perry
The Bears were one team I moved up and down this list. Forte's yards per carry dipped from 4.6 to 3.9 last season, but his 102 catches set an NFL record for backs, breaking Larry Centers' mark of 101 grabs in 1995. After Chicago finished 27th on the ground in 2014, we expect coach John Fox to give a backup runner a bigger role than Marc Trestman did.
We've talked about Fox's penchant for using multiple players in the backfield, so I have a feeling that either 2nd year pro Carey or the rookie Langford will break out as a legit #2 behind Forte this season. I wouldn't be surprised to see both young players earn reps under offensive coordinator Adam Gase.
What are some things that has grabbed your attention in the last week?