It’s a bit of surprise that Spiller remains available for the taking. He was cut by the Saints last week despite an encouraging offseason and plenty of work with the first-team offense during preseason action.
Spiller was unable to recapture pre-injury form throughout last season, averaging a career-low 3.1 yards per carry following arthroscopic knee surgery.
Other cities that have expressed interest in hosting the draft include Atlanta, Chicago, Canton, Dallas, Denver, Jacksonville, Los Angeles, Philadelphia and cheap jerseys and Pittsburgh.
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said in April that the draft likely will leave Chicago in 2017. The event had been held in New York City for 50 consecutive years (1965-2014) before it moved to Chicago in 2015.
He insisted in public that this team was not like last year’s, the one that started 6-1 and then collapsed to finish 8-8, but he was looking for something beyond what showed up in the statistics, the better speed on defense, or Vic Beasley’s mounting sack total.
Those were promising signs for the future, but they hadn’t averted the disasters of the prior two weeks, the losses to Seattle and San Diego in closely contested games that Atlanta had led late. There had been late interceptions in each of them, but those could be explained away by a quarterback pressing to make a play to save his team — his sometimes undisciplined team that got mind-numbing penalties at the worst moments, that could not stop an opposing offense.
Green Bay has, as head coach Mike McCarthy said after the Packers’ latest loss, its “ass against the wall.” The sixth defeat on the season was the Packers’ fourth straight, and also the second consecutive dreadful performance in the secondary.
The Packers have allowed 670 yards and seven touchdowns through the air in their last two games, surrendering 89 points to opponents in two road defeats. It’s a far cry from Packers teams of past years that put up plenty of points on offense and relied on veterans such as Charles Woodson and Tramon Williams to lock it down on defense. Instead, they’re too often left watching various defensive backs end up chasing opponents in vain or with their faces full of turf as the other team finishes in the end zone.
He put his team in full pads last Wednesday at practice and got after it, old school. They worked on their inside run game: blocking schemes, technical points of where to hit mesh points and holes, things like that. One goal was to see if Lacy, demoted to the second team, would step up and regain what he’d lost.
This wasn’t just for the offense. McCarthy wanted to get his defense set for Adrian Peterson. To make sure players understood the discipline they’d need to play with to prevent Peterson from breaking off any long runs. To dominate the Vikings’ right side, their preferred sweet spot when it comes to running Peterson.
The Packers looked collectively hungover to start the game. With eight seconds remaining in the first quarter, Aaron Rodgers had one completed pass and the Packers were being outgained 231 yards to 17 yards. Mike McCarthy’s team couldn’t get off the field on defense, consistently shot themselves in the foot with penalties, muffed a punt leading to a touchdown and Rodgers threw two interceptions. The muffed punt led to a Titans touchdown putting the Packers down 35-10, the largest first-half deficit in any game started by Rodgers, per NFL Research. The Packers’ offense came to life for a spurt in the second quarter — with Rodgers tossing 13 straight completions at one point — but couldn’t keep pace with the magnificent Mariota.
Matt Barkley continues to earn money. In his fourth start, Barkley threw darts through the cold weather, making several pinpoint passes early and great reads down the field late. As it has been in his previous two losses, close wasn’t good enough for Barkley. The quarterback marched the Bears on a potential game-winning drive. A holding penalty backed the Bears up on first-and-goal, and a third down pass was knocked down in the end zone. The Bears settled for a chip-shot field goal to tie the game, but gave Rodgers too much time to drive for the win.
Barkley (30 for 43, 362 yards, two touchdowns, three interceptions) deserves praise for making throws in tight windows as the Bears stormed back from a 17-point deficit. Barkley’s turnovers put Chicago in that hole to begin with. After a stellar first half, Barkley committed turnovers on the first three possessions of the third quarter. Julius Peppers had a strip sack, followed by back-to-back Ha Ha Clinton-Dix interceptions, including one on a pass Barkley sailed high over the middle. Barkley earned himself years of NFL contracts with heady play. His turnover spree, however, displays why he’s not considered a franchise cornerstone.