The biggest “football” headline this week involved the altercation between rap mogul Sean “Diddy” Combs and current UCLA and former New York Jets strength and conditioning coach Sal Alosi (of the infamous sideline tripping incident). Subsequently, a former Jets team chiropractor leaked a letter to Diddy’s camp regarding a previous “fistfight” Alosi had with Darrelle Revis.
I don’t know if Diddy is a “helicopter dad” or if he assaulted UCLA coaches. I don’t know if Alosi is abusive to players or prone to confrontation. I do know if you are part of the team, what happens within the team should stay within team walls and leaking information to outside parties is just not right.
The chiropractor who reportedly revealed information about Alosi is no longer associated with the Jets and will likely never be associated with another NFL team. Last year, Bears offensive coordinator Aaron Kromer admitted to being a reporter’s source for negative information related to his quarterback and was fired at the end of the season. I was critical of Jameis Winston’s attorney saying his client was “not ready to be an NFL player off the field”.
This chiropractor apparently wrote a 2010 letter to the Jets complaining about Alosi’s abusive behavior, the Revis “fistfight” and issues involving her towel and water use. I am not saying this letter to Jets brass was improper. People should speak up when something is not right and especially if it is illegal. What shouldn’t happen is leaking information in apparent retribution because you don’t like someone.
What happens inside team walls is sacred. There are strict laws related to what medical personnel may reveal about a patient. However, I am talking about rules of decorum for a locker room here. What happens there should stay behind closed doors. Giants punter Steve Weatherford apologized for violating that rule by posting a video of Prince Amukamara being dumped into a cold tub by Jason Pierre-Paul.
After a team gives up 35 points, no offensive player can say “we lost because the defense couldn’t stop anyone”. I would never say publicly a player was soft or didn’t want to play though injury.
In my two decades in the NFL, I know my fellow medical colleagues wanted to be considered part of the team. To be part of the team, one needs to act like you are on the team and adhere to rules and decorum. I once witnessed a team physician bringing golf clubs while traveling on the team plane to a road game and that did not go over so well.
Even when you are done with a team, what happened in your time there should remain confidential. I certainly relate my experiences in this column but usually without names attached. If I relate a specific story, I have obtained permission from those involved. Some people have suggested I should write a tell-all book and my answer is always no.
It is not right that the chiropractor leaked information to Diddy’s camp regarding Alosi. What happens in the locker room should stay in the locker room, especially for medical personnel.
(In this slowest news month of the NFL season, I will only be writing abbreviated columns. Enjoy the down time before the season starts.)
Follow David on Twitter: @profootballdoc
Dr. David Chao is a former NFL head team physician with 17 years of sideline, locker and training room experience. He currently has a successful orthopedic/sports medicine practice in San Diego.
Notre Dame has had a long list of notable tight ends leave South Bend and make it onto an NFL roster, and Brock Wright could follow when his time with the Fighting Irish is done.
Brian Kelly and his staff landed their second commitment for the 2017 recruiting class this weekend, as the elite tight end gave a verbal pledge to the program.
The 6-5, 230-pounder from Cy-Fair High School (Cypress, TX) is arguably the best tight end in his class, and he had offers from major programs such as Alabama, Georgia, LSU, Oklahoma and UCLA, among many others. Wright’s father played at Texas Tech, and the other major programs in the Lone Star State were after his commitment as well.
Wright is listed as a four-star prospect by Rivals.com, and he is considered the eighth-best player in the state of Texas by the 247 Composite.
It will be interesting to see how quickly Wright can get on the field in South Bend. Alize Jones will be a junior, Durham Smythe will be a redshirt senior, while Nic Weishar and Tyler Luatua will be true seniors when Wright arrives in 2017. So there will be quite the logjam at the position. But Wright possesses a rare size-speed combo for the position, and he has great hands and blocks very well.
Dave Miller, the college football editor for the National Football Post, is on Twitter @Miller_Dave.
Throughout the remaining months until the start of the college football season, I will be highlighting teams that have caught my eye and give my outlook on how I feel they will do this upcoming season. I will be starting off with the North Carolina Tar Heels.
Every year, the Tar Heels are predicted to be the winner of the ACC, and every year, it seems they fall well short. Last season, UNC finished the season with a 6-7 record (4-4 in conference). They then were defeated quite soundly by Rutgers in the Quick Lane Bowl. The humiliation continued as not a single player from their team was at the NFL Combine, nor were any of their players drafted. Let’s see how this team is shaping entering the 2015 season.
Last season, the rushing game for the Tar Heels wasn’t exactly the best. Senior QB Marquise Williams led the team in rushing with 783 rushing yards and 13 rushing touchdowns. As of now it looks as if RB T.J. Logan will be the main back for UNC this season. He had a below average season with close to 600 rushing yards and three rushing touchdowns. In the passing game, Marquise Williams had a great season throwing for over 3,000 yards and a low TD/ INT ratio. The best news for Williams is that WRs Ryan Switzer and Mack Hollins are going to be there to catch passes. The junior receiver Switzer is a consistent pass catcher who is going to be someone to watch heading into next year’s draft. The offensive line is returning with eight players who have experience, and they will, without a doubt, hope to open some better running lanes up and reduce the high sack total they allowed last season (26 sacks). The best news about the O-Line squad is that pretty much all of them have experience on the line, which provides great depth for UNC. It must be a comfortable situation for the Heels, knowing that if one of their big guys goes down, they can replace him and not skip a beat.
The defense for the Heels struggled greatly last season, giving up on average 497.8 yards per game (which ranked 9th worst in the NCAA) and also allowing around 39 points per game. The front seven are going through some changes in the off-season, as DC Gene Chizik is switching from a 4-2-5 defense to a 4-3. This change is causing some position changes for players. Something has to be done to slow down the rushing attack, as UNC gave up on average 240.5 rushing yards per game last year (ranked 120th in the NCAA). In order to get this high average down, they will be relying heavily on a sophomore D-Tackle named Nazair Jones to keep the holes plugged up. Two senior linebackers, Shakeel Rashad and Jeff Schoettmer, also will be providing some great leadership to this defense. The pass protection for UNC was rough the first part of the season, but they improved throughout the season. In their final seven games, they were able to hold each opponent to under 300 yards passing. This season, they have an even more experienced squad and should be more consistent through the whole entire year.
Strength of Schedule Rating: 4 out of 10
Schedule wise for the Heels, it is a fairly soft schedule. They avoid the major powerhouses like Clemson, Louisville, and Florida State. The only truly tough games on the schedule are a neutral site game against South Carolina, which will be held in Charlotte, NC, and a road game against Georgia Tech. To me, there are no excuses for a bad season from the Heels. The schedule seems to be pointing in their favor, and their roster has matured greatly from last season. However, I don’t feel they will be conference champs or even the ACC Coastal Division Champs. The Coastal Division is very competitive and there are better teams than UNC. A bowl game should definitely be in their future, and they should probably finish the season with a winning record.
Three 2016 NFL Draft Prospects to Watch:
#12 QB, Marquise Williams, Senior—6’2”, 220 lbs
#3 WR, Ryan Switzer, Junior—5’10”, 180 lbs
#10 LB, Jeff Schoettmer, Senior-6’2”, 235 lbs
Over the last few seasons, the Panthers have had to make some tough salary cap decisions and by doing so, have had to let go some players who have been productive. While going through that harsh exercise, they still have been competitive and have been able to reach the playoffs. If they weren’t a member of the weak NFC South, the playoffs would have been an afterthought, but, still, they got in and were competitive. With the salary cap problems behind them, the Panthers can look forward to continued growth.
The Panthers are solid at the quarterback position with Cam Newton. The Panthers management showed how they feel about Newton when they gave him a new multi-year contract extension earlier this month. Newton has shown improvement every year he has been in the league and has grown as a leader. This being only his fifth year in the league means he can still improve, and the sky is the limit as to how good he can become.
The backup will be capable Derek Anderson. While you don’t want Anderson to be a full time starter, he can win some games if he has to play.
The Panthers had to make a decision during this offseason as to who the running back would be. They chose Jonathan Stewart over veteran DeAngelo Williams. Stewart fits offensive coordinator Mike Shula’s offense a little better.
With this being Stewart’s eighth year in the league, the Panthers have to hope rookie Cameron Artis-Payne is a capable backup. If he plays like he did at Auburn last year, that shouldn’t be a problem. Veteran Mike Tolbert, a powerful inside runner and a reliable receiver, will be the fullback. Tolbert also plays some as a single back.
Wide Receivers and Tight End
Going into the 2014 season, the receiver corps was a huge question mark. Last year’s first round pick Kelvin Benjamin had a huge rookie year and hopes to build on that. Opposite Benjamin will be this year’s second round pick, Devin Funchess from Michigan. Funchess began his career as a “move” tight end but just played wide receiver in 2014. He is capable of doing both. Both Tedd Ginn Jr. and Jerricho Cotchery will find playtime as the third receiver.
The tight end position is in good hands with Greg Olson and Ed Dickson. Olson is almost like a big wide receiver, and when he is paired with Benjamin and Funchess, it could create some big-time matchup problems.
The Panthers went into the the offseason looking to shore up the offensive line, and it looks as if they have. The tackles going into camp will be free agent signee Michael Oher and Mike Remmers. Remmers will be challenged by Nate Chandler, who started 11 games a year ago, and rookie Daryl Williams from Oklahoma, who the Panthers selected in the fourth round. Williams has a lot of upside, and I look for him to be the starter before the season is over.
At center, the Panthers have four time Pro Bowler Ryan Kalil leading the group. The guards will be last year’s third round pick Trai Turner and Andrew Norwell. Norwell was an undrafted free agent a year ago and really came on strong to start nine games. The main backups will be former starter Amini Silatolu and Jonathan Martin.
With Ron Rivera as the head coach, the Panthers will always be strong on defense. They have one of the better defensive lines in the NFL, especially at defensive tackle. The Panthers play with a four man rotation at defensive tackle, and all four are capable of starting in the NFL. The two starters are Kewann Short and Star Lotulelei. Both have the capability to become stars in the league. The two backups who get plenty of playtime are Colin Cole and Dwan Edwards.
The leader of the defensive end group is veteran Charles Johnson, who was slowed a bit by injuries last year. Opposite Johnson will be last year’s second round pick Kony Ealy from Missouri. Ealy started slow as a rookie but played well towards the end of the year. The Panthers have three solid backups in Mario Addison, who had 6.5 sacks a year ago, Wes Horton, and Frank Alexander. Alexander may be the most talented of the group but is slowed by off field issues.
With the drafting of Shaq Thompson from Washington in the first round, the Panthers may have the most athletic group of linebackers in the NFL. In the middle is Pro Bowler Luke Kuechly, who is quickly becoming the best Mike in football. He has rare instincts to go along with an outstanding competitive nature. At Will, Thomas Davis is back. Davis has overcome injuries in the past but still plays at a high level.
Thompson gives the Panthers a player who is half linebacker, half strong safety. Because of his athleticism and coverage skills, he gives the Panthers a chance to be very creative with their nickel packages. Rookie David Mayo will be a hit on special teams while he learns, but he will be a starter in the future. A.J. Klein is more than reliable as a backup and can come in and start in case of injury.
The Panthers brought in former Bear Charles Tillman to play one of the corner spots. When healthy, Tillman is still one of the better corners in the NFL. The problem is he hasn’t been able to stay healthy for a full season in some time. He also brings rare leadership to the locker room. Josh Norman, who came on last year, will start at the other corner.
The depth at corner will come from Bene Benwikere and Melvin White. Both have started games and have upside.
Second year man Tre Boston had his moments as a rookie and should improve. The other safety is veteran Roman Harper, who is near the end of the line, but his top instincts keep him on the field. Kurt Coleman and Colin Jones provide the depth.
The NFC South will be improved in 2015 (how can’t it be?), and it is sure to be a division that is quarterback strong with Drew Brees, Newton, Matt Ryan and rookie Jameis Winston. The Panthers have the best defense in the division, and if the key players stay healthy, Carolina will challenge for the title. With his their receiving corps getting stronger, the Panthers should be able to put more points on the board and help out the D.
Follow Greg on Twitter @greggabe
Gary Patterson and his staff at TCU have already managed to put together one of their strongest classes ever for the 2016 recruiting class, and now the Horned Frogs have landed a pledge from one of the best quarterbacks in the 2017 cycle.
In-state product Shawn Robinson from John H. Guyer High School (Denton, TX) gave a commitment to Sonny Cumbie on Friday night. The Class of 2017 product is one of the most notable pledges in the school’s history.
The 6-2, 198-pound dual-threat signal-caller had offers from several major programs, including Alabama, USC and Oklahoma. While the recruiting game usually features a ton of twists and turns — even in the hours leading up to National Signing Day in some cases — the commitment of Robinson further underscores just how strong the TCU brand is becoming on the recruiting scene. It also hurts Texas, which was considered a strong contender for Robinson’s commitment. Of course, nothing will be set in stone until National Signing Day 2017.
Robinson, who grew up in Fort Worth and has shades of Trevone Boykin in his game, was named the Class 5-6A MVP as a sophomore after throwing for 2,800 yards and 33 touchdowns against just five interceptions. Rivals.com ranks him as a four-star prospect.
It will be interesting to see how the quarterback situation develops for TCU over the next few years, as the Frogs will welcome former Texas A&M signal-caller Kenny Hill this summer and already have Foster Sawyer and Grayson Muehlstein entering 2015 as redshirt freshmen. In addition, Brennan Wooten is scheduled to sign in 2016.
Dave Miller, the college football editor for the National Football Post, is on Twitter @Miller_Dave.