Off the top, DeMarco Murray (hamstring) has been ruled out of play today by the Eagles.
And, Eric Decker is also out with a knee injury so the Jets, with Chris Ivory questionable, meet the depth test today. Note that the team defense will start at full strength with Darrelle Revis set to start, but these first two paragraphs make the battles of the green and white--Jets and Eagles--interesting.
It's Brandon Weeden time, of course, as Tony Romo joins Dez Bryant on the out-for-a-while list. Similarly, Drew Brees, is out with shoulder issues, and Luke Kuechly is still recovering from a concussion, meaning the Panthers defense is a star lite, as is the Seahwks, still sans Kam Chancellor (and any wins).
The Bears are terrible, for sure, but maybe with Jimmy Clausen replacing the injured Jay Cutler, some movement towards the future can be seen? But, with Alshon Jeffery out, maybe Matt Forte (and a lot of carries) is the only guy to play against the Seahawks, who want a win, and will do so big at the expense of the Midway Monsters.
Le'Veon Bell is back and ready to run! Start him.
Cleveland is oddly sitting Johnny Manziel in lieu of Josh McCown. I do like McCown, and wish the Bears had simply signed him a year-and-a-half back and let go of Jay Cutler, but that is crying over de-inflated footballs. Manziel is as close to a future as the Browns will get right now at QB. His team is not going to the playoffs, so he can have a chance to play and mature as a litmus of whether Johnny Football is a future starter or just another Luke McCown.
With Murray down, Darren Sproles becomes an interesting cheap flex play.
Yogi Berra: The Yankee stalwart and back-to-back AL MVP passed away this last week. Obviously, there has been a ton
written about Yogi, his wonderful aphorisms, and his surprisingly smart and great play. I did meet Yogi once (I have a ball he signed) but most of what I learned about him pesonally, I got from Charlie Silvera, Yogi's back-up from 1948 to 1956.
Charlie got just a full season of play during that span--a little over 541 at-bats--and had a decent line of .282-1-52 and I asked him once if he would have rather been a starter on another team rather than the Yankees bench guy? "Fuck no" was what the then 85-year-old said, noting that playing with Mantle and DiMaggio and Ford was one thing, but that he also paid for his San Francisco home, which he referred to as "the house that Yogi built." RIP Yogi, and thanks for the play, the laughs, and the memories.
Mat Latos: Released by the Dodgers in the throes of a pennant race despite nabbing him as part of a trade deadline swap suggests that Latos was another guy with tons of talent, but not a lot of delivery. He also reminds us how tough it is to make it.
Dylan Bundy: Not exactly Latos with respect to play, but Bundy again went on the 60-day and I fear we will never really get a chance to see what he could do. Professional sports is a tough nut.
Again, remember you can play against us at the Mastersball 50-team 50/50 Challenge and you can follow me @lawrmichaels.