Nick Sundberg defends Brandon Meriweather at the expense of Ray Rice

Brandon-Meriweather-RedskinsWashington Redskins safety Brandon Meriweather has been suspended for the first two games of the regular season for an illegal hit on Torrey Smith. Meriweather is a known head-hunter, and the league noted that the hit on Smith was his “sixth violation of unnecessary roughness rules relating to his hits to defenseless players and impermissible use of the helmet.”

Despite the fact that Meriweather has been a dangerous player throughout his career, several of his teammates came to his defense after the punishment was handed down. Redskins long snapper Nick Sundberg wondered how Meriweather’s suspension is the same length as Ray Rice’s.

Washington cornerback DeAngelo Hall said that Smith ducked rather than Meriweather aiming high and urged his teammate to keeping playing the way he has been.

“Keep hitting,” Hall said Monday. “I’ll pay the fine.”

[Related: Martellus Bennett wants to punch 'scumbag' Brandon Meriweather]

Meriweather, who knocked Eddie Lacy out with a vicious helmet-to-helmet hit last season, has always been a dirty player. The hit on Smith was borderline, but he no longer gets the benefit of the doubt.

As for the Rice comments, the league is going to hear that a lot. The NFL has been heavily criticized for only giving Rice a two-game ban after he was seen dragging his wife out of an elevator, which is why the league is considering harsher punishment for future offenders.

GIF via @cjzero

Oakland Raiders voted least desirable team to play for

Darren McFadden RaidersAt one time, the Oakland/Los Angeles Raiders were among the more successful NFL franchises. The silver & black was feared. “Just Win, Baby” meant something.

That seems so long ago.

The Raiders won three Super Bowls from 1976 to 1983. However, their last playoff appearance came in 2002. Since then the team has become known for draft picks that haven’t worked out (like Darrius Heyward-Bey and JaMarcus Russell) and a revolving door of head coaches.

The Raiders name has apparently lost some of its luster among players, if a poll conducted by ESPN is to be believed. The network asked current players to insert a team name into the following sentence:

“The only way I’d play for [team name] is if they doubled my salary.”

23% of those who responded chose the Raiders. The Buffalo Bills (19%), Cleveland Browns (16%), Jacksonville Jaguars (9%) and Green Bay Packers (6%) followed. I guess playing on the frozen tundra in Green Bay can be considered a turnoff to some.

Veteran fullback Marcel Reece strongly defended the franchise upon finding out the results.

“I would play for this team if they paid me half of what they pay me, and I have taken pay cuts to stay. I guarantee you, if half those guys would have the opportunity to come play for this franchise, they’d be on board. They’d get it,” Reece said via ESPN.

Fans also haven’t been choosing the Raiders as a team for positive reasons lately.

Dimitri Patterson was unhappy with place on Jets’ depth chart

Dimitri-PattersonDimitri Patterson was suspended by the New York Jets indefinitely for not showing up to the team’s preseason game on Friday night and going AWOL until meeting with the team on Sunday. Now we know why he was upset.

The New York Daily News reports that Patterson was dropped on the team’s depth chart after dealing with multiple injuries over the past month. He apparently was unhappy about being dropped and did not show as a result.

“It’s safe to say that I’ve never been in a situation where a player has not shown up for a game,” Jets head coach Rex Ryan said Monday.

The Jets now have to decide what they will do with Patterson, who signed a 1-year, $3 million deal with the team in April. Patterson was signed to be one of the team’s starters, but they may no longer feel he should be a part of the team after his no-show.

Sarah Palin sides with Mike Ditka in Redskins name debate

Sarah Palin Mike Ditka

Sarah Palin has weighed in on the Washington Redskins nickname debate, and unsurprisingly the former Alaska governor and vice president nominee sides with Mike Ditka in believing the nickname should stay.

Palin shared her thoughts on the nickname after being inspired by political commentator Rush Limbaugh, who predicted that Ditka could be fired by ESPN for voicing his support of the nickname. Palin expressed disappointment with the notion that Ditka could be fired and went on to defend the Redskins name.

[Previously: Mike Ditka bashes liberals, thinks Redskins name debate is stupid]

Here’s what she wrote on her Facebook page Friday:

Nothing should surprise us lately; but when the Politically Correct Police bust Ditka, they hope the silent majority will cower under leftist control. My goodness, Ditka merely spoke his mind. This accomplished and esteemed coach knows there are big issues to be addressed in America today; there’s no intent to offend by referring to a team by the name they’ve proudly worn since day one and chose with pride in our native ancestry and obviously had absolutely no intent to insult; and the liberal media’s made-up controversies divide our country. The government’s intent to force any owner of anything, in this case an NFL entity, to change a name is the antithesis of the American way of working through differences. Ditka said he actually likes the Washington Redskins, and he’s a man full of commonsense and admired patriotism. Still, I must disagree with Coach Ditka after reading his full statement:

“What’s all the stink over the Redskin name?” Ditka said. “It’s so much [expletive], it’s incredible. We’re going to let the liberals of the world run this world. It was said out of reverence, out of pride to the American Indian. Even though it was called a Redskin, what are you going to call them, a Proudskin? This is so stupid it’s appalling, and I hope that owner keeps fighting for it and never changes it, because the Redskins are part of an American football history, and it should never be anything but the Washington Redskins. That’s the way it is. It’s been the name of the team since the beginning of football. It has nothing to do with something that happened lately, or something that somebody dreamed up. This was the name, period. Leave it alone. These people are silly — asinine, actually, in my opinion.”

He thinks the name should always be Washington Redskins, as a source of pride? Take the word “Washington” out and I’ll agree the team name is a great source of pride.

Yes, that’s Sarah Palin saying “Washington” is the most offensive part of the Washington Redskins name. Wait til the liberal media gets a hold of that one!

For what it’s worth, Ditka later said he could understand changing the name if American Indians found it offensive, but that they shouldn’t change it just because liberals declared it offensive. No word on Ditka’s opinion if he found out some were lobbying for the change on behalf of American Indians who told them the name was offensive.

Helmet smack to Shutdown Corner

Report: Mark Sanchez has no interest in playing for Rams

Mark-Sanchez-A-Justin-Bieber-FanFor whatever reason, Mark Sanchez to the St. Louis Rams has become a popular rumor over the past 24 hours. Sam Bradford is out for the season with another torn ACL, and journeyman Shaun Hill is currently the Rams’ best option at quarterback. Plus, Sanchez’s old offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer is calling the plays in St. Louis this year.

The problem is Sanchez didn’t exactly thrive under Schottenheimer, despite reaching back-to-back AFC Championship Games. Schottenheimer is a run-first OC who is very different from the inventive Chip Kelly.  That’s probably one reason Sanchez reportedly has zero interest in being trading to the Rams. Via USA Today Sports:

But if Sanchez has anything to say about it, there’s “no chance” he’d abandon his fresh start as a backup under coach Chip Kelly with the Philadelphia Eagles for a shot to rejoin Schottenheimer and play in St. Louis, a person with knowledge of Sanchez’s thinking told USA TODAY Sports on Sunday.

At age 27, Sanchez has time to reboot his once-promising career. There’s no reason to rush into a situation like the one in St. Louis, where he’d be trying to get in rhythm with new teammates at the same time the Rams are preparing for a season opener that’s just two weeks away.

Sanchez said Monday that he highly doubts a trade to St. Louis is on the table.

“I think they would say something or my agent would say something,” Sanchez said, via CSNPhilly.com’s John Gonzalez. “If those people aren’t talking to me about it, I seriously doubt it’s happening.”

The interesting thing is that Sanchez is only 27 and is firmly planted behind Nick Foles on the Philadelphia Eagles depth chart. He stands virtually no chance of starting this season if Foles stays healthy, and he certainly won’t be taking Foles’ job in the future if Foles continues to play well.

Wouldn’t Sanchez rather start somewhere, even if it means reuniting with an OC he didn’t really see eye-to-eye with? Apparently not, and it doesn’t really matter. The Rams sound like they’re set on giving Hill a shot.

H/T Eye on Football

Richard Sherman: Fantasy football is reason for illegal contact emphasis

richard-sherman-cancer-adIf you have watched any NFL preseason action, you know that the league is placing an emphasis on illegal contact and defensive holding this year. There have been a ton of defensive holding calls over the past few weeks, sometimes to the point where the games have been painful to watch. Richard Sherman thinks fantasy football is the reason for that.

During a chat with NBC’s Josh Elliott that aired on Sunday Night Football, Sherman was asked for his thoughts on what many have deemed the new NFL.

“You know, when the fantasy football numbers need to be what they need to be, the league needs to do what it needs to do to get it done,” he said. “This is a money-driven league. Whatever sells the tickets is gonna sell the tickets.”

But, of course, Sherman isn’t worried about how it will affect him on a personal level.

“I don’t think it affects our game at all,” he said. “If you look at the statistics, the way the preseason is going, it’s rarely ever affected us in a game.”

There is a common belief that the Seahawks are actually the reason the NFL told officials to start emphasizing illegal contact. Seattle’s dominant, but physical, play on defense resulted in a 43-8 victory over the Denver Broncos in the Super Bowl — the third largest margin of victory in Super Bowl history. The NFL would have liked a much closer game.

The NFL also wants to see more scoring, and fantasy football is one of the reasons for that. Heck, there’s a fantasy football lounge at the San Francisco 49ers’ new stadium. In many ways, Sherman is right. The officials will likely ease up a bit when the regular season starts, but they’re clearly going to favor the receiver more than they have in the past.

Video via The Big Lead

Michael Sam sack on Johnny Manziel, celebration causes Twitter user to lose bet

Michael Sam money gesture

Michael Sam’s sack on Johnny Manziel and subsequent “Money” celebration caused one Twitter user to lose a bet he made that was impossible to enforce anyway.

A guy on Twitter who goes by “Fisher King” sent the following tweet before Saturday’s preseason game between the Rams and Browns:

Fisher King wasn’t the only one who was saying stuff about Sam sacking Manziel that night; many other pundits were begging for it to happen so there would be an “internet meltdown” which never actually happened.

So how did the Fisher King guy react after the sack?

Fisher King wanted to make good on his promise but knew the drinks proposition was unrealistic. Instead he turned to a more reasonable payoff — donating to a charity of Sam’s choice.

Head to Page 2 to read what happened next.

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