Game Blacked Out in SD
Typical of the slipshod way the NFL and the TV networks handle preseason telecasts, there's been a last-moment schedule change - The DirecTV grid has replaced the 10 pm ET telecast of Cards vs. Chargers (preseason game #4) with regular network programming.
I'm guessing that the game was blacked out due to lagging ticket sales. Fans will have to turn to a paid-for I-Pad App or wait until the replay of the game is aired later in the weekend (close-to or after the final cutdown date) on NFL Network.
This is one more example of insane thinking on the part of the executives who represent the networks, League and its teams. Think about it: We have this preseason game that only a small, hard-core segment of football watchers care about. Most of the starters will be benched. The game doesn't count in the standings. It's all about some 3rd stringer from Dingaling University battling a second stringer from Big Moose College for a backup roster spot. You'd think these smart suits would figure out that (1) blackout policies shouldn't apply "because this isn't a "real" football game and shouldn't be expected to be a sell-out; (2) a small, loyal group of local and out-of-town fans (who, incidently, buy obscene amounts of merch) really want to watch this game "in real time" before the final cuts; but (3) are far from large enough to be considered a "mass market." Therefore, (4) there must be a way to air the game at discounted ad rates so that it at least matches standard Thursday night programming in revenue so that they can air the game without risking financial exposure. By changing the schedule less than a week before game-date, a lot of hard-core fans from coast to coast (who, no doubt, had planned their long Labor Day weekend around watching the game) will now have to change their weekend plans accordingly. It's nuts!
Memo to The Suits: I'm told this problem has a lot to do with arcane contracts drawn up at the dawn of the Single Wing. Take a look at this rat's nest and put together a more rational way of dealing with unsold seats, broadcast rights, blackouts etc. (End of rant).
Kelly a Card
Cards signed FA defensive tackle, Tommy Kelly. To make room for Kelly, the Cards dropped newly signed FA defensive lineman, Ryan McBean (thereby demonstrating that just because they just signed you doesn't guarantee you job security). Kelly was signed by the Raiders as an UFDA in 2004. His bio indicates flashes of potential interspersed with years of underachievement. At Oakland, he got to play next to stellar inside defensive line leaders and mentors as Warren Sapp and Richard Seymour. He was released by the Raiders in March, 2013 and picked up by the NE Patriots, but wound up on IR in Game #8 and was released by NE a couple of days ago. His best years were between 2008 and 2012 when he appeared in all 16 games during the five-year stretch, with high-marks being 60 tackles in 2010 and 7.5 sacks in 2011.
He can play all D-line positions and would probably fit best in a Darnell Dockett type UT/RDE hybrid role. He should add veteran leadership to the Cardinal lockerroom; the only major questions being the state of his knee and what he has left in the proverbial tank. Based solely on the limited information I have, I like the signing - it should represent a net-improvement over McBean in filling a backup role for the spot vacated by Dockett.
Preseason Game #4 - What I'm Looking For:
Tues. Aug. 26 - BA has already announced that (1) he doesn't plan to play his starters and (2) rookie QB, Logan Thomas, will get all the snaps. Guys coming off injury rehab (most notably, Tyrann Mathieu, Kevin Minter and Alameda Ta'amu) will probably be a game-day decision (but, as I see it, in every case, it looks better than 50-50).
So on Thursday night, we'll be focusing on (a) Logan Thomas, (b) how good our returning-injured look and (c) who's winning (or losing) roster battles.
QB looks set at 3.
WR figures to be pared down from 8 players to 6, with (assuming BA doesn't throw us a curve ball and drop Ginn) Buckner, Golden and Powell fighting for a final roster spot.
TE needs to go from 5 to 4, with Hardy most likely to be whacked though Niklas isn't 100% home-free.
OL figures to top out at 9 offensive linemen (which means we'll have to shed 4 players). Five linemen (Palmer, Estes, Blake, Steen and Potter) figure to duke it out for one remaining open spot.
DL - We traditionally keep 6. This season, I think we keep 7; which means dropping 3. On the bubble: Gaston, Tupou, McBean, Stinson (Bottom line - at least one good guy will probably have to go).
LB - We're currently carrying 13 and figure to get down to no more than 7 or 8 - which means wholesale pruning of some pretty good players (but you can't keep everyone). Most vulnerable: Tracy, Jonathan Brown, Carson, Okafor, Benard and Demens. Demens has gotten the most quality playing time and looks safest. Okafor has drawn favorable comments by the coaches and would seem to be "next safest."
DB - Currently at 14; we figure to get down to 9 or 10. Six guys (Whitley, Legree, Walters, Teddy Williams, Taylor and McCann) figure to be fighting for the last one or two open spots.
ST - We're set at 3 (including long snapper).
BA cautions that who we keep or cut may, at least in part, be influenced by injury, so we'll just wait and see. Meanwhile, we should never forget that jobs and careers are at stake; (this ain't fantasy football).
Cards Cut Feely, Starks & 11 Others
Mon. Aug. 25 - "Coach wants to see you - oh yeah, bring your playbook": Ryan Lindley QB, Damien Thigpen RB, Reggie Dunn WR, Kevin Ozier WR, Tom Drahelm C, Max Starks T, Justin Renfrow DT, Jo Jo Dickson LB, Keenan Clayton, LB, Derrell Johnson LB, Brandon Sermens CB, Ohrian Johnson S and Jay Feely. As predicted, two established veterans (Feely - who lost his duel with Chandler Catanzaro- and Starks) were let go. Next cutdown will be the biggie and will take place after the final preseason game Thursday vs. the Chargers.