Off the Snap: Chip Kelly got off light at Oregon?
Catching you up on the latest must-read news and analysis from around the web….
• Chip Kelly all but escaped punishment from the NCAA’s investigation into the Oregon football program — the “penalty” against him only kicks into effect if he leaves the Philadelphia Eagles for a college job in the next 18 months.
And Yahoo’s Pat Forde takes exception to that outcome, with Kelly basically walking while his former team deals with punishment. The scenario is similar to the one that saw Pete Carroll jump ship from USC for the Seahawks just as NCAA sanctions came down on that program. (Forde, in fact, refers to Kelly as “Pete Carroll without the national titles.”
• If Robert Griffin III is healthy to start in Week 1 (a big “if”), could it spell the end of the line for Rex Grossman with the Redskins? It might, according to CSNWashington.com, which points out that the Redskins may carry a fourth tight end and kickoff specialist this year — both moves that would reduce further the roster spots available for Grossman.
Grossman has been with the Redskins since Mike Shanahan took over as coach in 2010, even posting a 6-10 record as a starter. He re-signed with the team this offseason, at one year and $960,000.
Obviously, carrying just two quarterbacks would be a gamble for the Redskins in light of how RGIII’s 2012 season ended. But going down that road also would signal rather clearly that Griffin’s fully healed from his knee injury.
There’s always the possibility that Washington could bring Grossman back in a pinch, too. The 32-year-old QB did not attempt a pass last season and any free-agent market for him would be slim to nil.
• The Cleveland Browns are hoping first-round pick Barkevious Mingo can deliver results as a key piece of their new 3-4 defense. No. 2 overall selection Luke Joeckel and No. 11 D.J. Fluker say that the Browns have nothing to worry about.
“Mingo’s a great player. He has a good work ethic and he’s a guy with a high motor,” Fluker told Mary Kay Cabot of The Plain Dealer. “He works hard, he’s strong and he’s fast off the edge.”
Joeckel, who like Fluker battled Mingo during the SEC schedule, echoed those sentiments: “”He’s a freak athlete. He’s long, he’s fast, he’s got a good jump on the ball. He improved a ton from the first time I played him to last season. When I played him as a freshman, he was long and rangy and by the time I played him again my junior year, he got a lot stronger and he had some power moves to him also.”
Mingo is attempting to unseat Jabaal Sheard as a starter at outside linebacker for Cleveland. Even if he cannot do that, the rookie should see ample pass-rush opportunities as a situational player.
• Tom Brady has about two months to figure out who will be catching his passes come the regular season, a mystery that became even more complicated with Aaron Hernandez’s arrest and subsequent release on Wednesday.
The NFL Network’s Brian Billick says that if Brady can repeat his 2012 performance, in which New England led the NFL in points scored, despite the losses of Hernandez, Wes Welker and (for at least a short time) Rob Gronkowski, he deserves the utmost praise.
“If Tom Brady can pull this off and come anywhere close to that level of productivity, they ought to at the end of the season just slam dunk him into the Hall of Fame,” Billick said. “Forget five years after he retires. Just do it at the end of the season.”
• The NBA Draft takes place Thursday night, with a bevy of underclassmen ready to hear their names called. ESPN analyst Jay Bilas would prefer there be less young players in the draft, though, and he’s calling for the NBA to adopt the NFL’s standard — there, players must be three years removed from high school before they can be drafted.
• And, finally, there’s some actual live football on TV tonight, with the Montreal Alouettes and Winnipeg Blue Bombers kicking off the CFL season on the NBC Sports Network at 9 p.m. ET.
Here’s a full 2013 CFL preview, in case you need a quick primer on that league. The Alouettes are current Bears coach Marc Trestman’s former club, and that roster features a few players that at least college football fans might recognize, like former West Virginia star Noel Devine and ex-Houston receiver Tyron Carrier.