The Olympics only roll around once every four years, so we don’t blame you at all for tuning out all other sports and turning your full attention to the performances of Michael Phelps, Simone Biles, Usain Bolt and others. But while you were watching the action in Rio for more than half of August, NFL training camp and preseason got into full swing.
There have been breakout rookies, some injuries, roster moves and the other kinds of unique and weird stories that the NFL seems to produce more often than any other organization, for better or worse.
In just two weeks, the Carolina Panthers and Denver Broncos will play a rematch of Super Bowl 50 in the NFL’s regular season opener and that’s plenty of time to get caught back up on everything you missed. We’re here to help.
Did I miss anything crazy?
Not really. The Hall of Fame Game was cancelled, but that’s always kind of been a mess. When the Minnesota Vikings beat the Pittsburgh Steelers in the 2015 Hall of Fame Game, 14-3, players had plenty to say about the field conditions at Tom Benson Stadium in Canton, Ohio.
“It sucked,” then Steelers safety Will Allen told the Beaver County Times. “They should have never had us in those field conditions.”
So it shouldn’t be that surprising that a year later it was still a mess and the NFL didn’t put the Green Bay Packers and Indianapolis Colts through the dangers of playing in even worse conditions. The field was “hard as concrete” with a “tar-like” midfield logo, so the Hall of Fame Game was called off and … really, hardly anyone cared, with the exception of a few fans who traveled to see the game.
Otherwise, it has been a relatively normal August. There were questions about whether or not the NFL contacted Donald Trump about the presidential debate schedule or Adele for the Super Bowl halftime show, but other than that, it’s been the usual amount of football drama.
What kind of football drama?
Oh you know … a couple holdouts and some irritated coaches.
Kansas City Chiefs safety Eric Berry still isn’t happy about how his contract negotiations went during the offseason, which ended with him stuck on a one-year deal under the franchise tag. It was expected that he’d sit out the entire preseason and the Chiefs just hope he’s back in time to get in good shape for regular season action.
The more bizarre holdout is Joey Bosa’s absence from camp with the San Diego Chargers. Once upon a time, a highly drafted rookie sitting out would’ve been completely normal — the Oakland Raiders didn’t agree to a deal with Jamarcus Russell until a few days after Week 1 of the 2007 season.
But then the rookie wage scale was implemented in 2011 and deals with draft picks became really easy. Not easy enough for the Chargers, apparently.
Bosa still hasn’t arrived to camp, his mom is fed up and it all seems pretty silly when the total amount of money for the contract is already decided.
Any big roster moves happen?
The Philadelphia Eagles made the blockbuster trades of March, shipping Kiko Alonsoand Byron Maxwell to the Miami Dolphins and DeMarco Murray to the Tennessee Titans.
It was the Eagles who made the most interesting trade of August too, acquiring wide receiver Dorial Green-Beckham from the Titans. The 6’5 second-year receiver racked up 549 receiving yards in 2015 and is already near the top of the Philadelphia depth chart.
Other than that, rosters are mostly set by August. A few teams patched up holes with veteran signings, though. The Seahawks added guard Jahri Evans, the Dolphins signed cornerback Chris Culliver, the Saints signed cornerback Cortland Finnegan, the Eagles signed linebacker Stephen Tulloch and the Colts signed cornerback Antonio Cromartie.
Who got hurt?
Unfortunately, once football seasons starts, someone is going to get hurt. It’s unavoidable, but most teams have managed to avoid anything too serious and we haven’t seen a Jordy Nelson-esque loss in preseason yet (knock on wood).
The biggest name to go down for entire 2016 season before it even began was Billslinebacker IK Enemkpali, who suffered a torn ACL in a preseason game. Rookie linebackers Reggie Ragland of the Bills and Bronson Kaufusi of the Ravens are also expected to miss the entire 2016 season.
Other than that, there were smaller tweaks like the triceps injury suffered by Patriots linebacker Rob Ninkovich, which should keep him out of action for the first couple weeks of the regular season.
Oh, if you didn’t already know, Dak Prescott set the world on fire in the last couple weeks. That’s really the most important thing to know about August: Dak, Dak and a little more Dak.
The rookie Cowboys quarterback completed 22 of 27 passes in his first two preseason games with four touchdowns and no interceptions. It was impressive enough for Jerry Jones to call off the search for a veteran backup and ease the concerns of fans who are no longer convinced that Tony Romo can get through a season without injury.
Among the others who have impressed in preseason are Browns receiver Terrelle Pryor, Seahawks quarterback Trevone Boykin and Saints receiver Michael Thomas.
The regular season is just a couple weeks away and, if you’ve been watching nothing but the Olympics in the month August, you’re in luck — you really didn’t miss a whole lot.
Now you’re all caught up, but buckle up because two more weeks of preseason and roster cuts are on the way.