Dak’s Back

Dak Prescott is back, and made a great touchdown throw to Dez Bryant to open up scoring in the preseason contest against the Indianapolis Colts at AT&T in Dallas. The Cowboys hung on to win the game 24-19.

Prescott went 7 of 8 and had a perfect passer rating of 158.3, and it was about as good of a start as one could have hoped for.

He showed some chemistry with Dez Bryant on the touchdown throw. Bryant had two big catches for 55 yards. He also had a nice play-action roll out throw to Jason Witten. These three are going to do some work.

Rave reviews are saying one should be delighted by Prescott’s preseason debut. He showed he may be able to produce some offense without Ezekiel Elliot in the offense.

Also of note – Elliott’s former coach Urban Meyer has some concern about his former running back.

Bucs lose a snoozer to Colts in Naptown

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[Gamebook]

This is one of those games to me that when the Buccaneers barely miss the playoffs, you look back and see that the Bucs had a very winnable game they were a part of and couldn’t come away with. Jameis Winston went 20 of 36 for 245 yards, a touchdown and an interception I somehow missed.

Winston made many of the throws you’re starting to become accustomed to seeing him make at the NFL level. They aren’t high RPM-type lasers, but rather just really good winning throws.

In the end of this 25-12 loss on the road though; the Buccaneers just showed the mark of a team that could not finish.

Monday Night Thriller: Carolina Panthers 7-0 for first time in Franchise History

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[Game book]

[Cat Scratch Reader] [Charlotte Observer] [Cam Newton Highlights]

[Newton TD to Olsen] [Newton TD to Brown]

For the second week in a row, the Panthers have a big primetime win in Charlotte wearing the beautiful black uniforms. This one ended up being a thriller.

Cam Newton was 16 of 35 for 248 yards, 2 touchdowns, and an interception on the rainy night. But again, stats are just telling part of the story for Newton.

The Panthers blew a 23-7 lead because Ron Rivera was coaching this game like he was up 30. The game went into overtime at 23-23, and the Colts won the toss. After Vinatieri hit a long field goal, Newton and the Panthers drove right down the field and tied the game (it should have ended on a Ted Ginn long pass on one of the most beautiful throws I’ve ever seen Cam make).

After Graham Gano tied the game at 26-26, Luke Kuechly ended up with an interception that all but set the Panthers up for the win.

There have been so many big wins in Cam Newton’s career that I’ve enjoyed. This wasn’t the greatest, but rather another in a long string that I’ve really enjoyed. Newton and the Panthers have won their last 10 regular season games. They’re 11-1 in their last 12 overall.

They have an identity. The biggest of the three comes on Sunday at 1:00 PM in Charlotte with the Green Bay Packers coming to town. This is clearly a game in which will decide home-field advantage in the NFC. This is a crucial, crucial game in the career of Cam Newton.

The Greatest Colt ever rides off into the sunset

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Reggie Wayne was painful to watch at times this year. He literally looked like he hurt when he ran at times. One time this season he caught a long pass from Andrew Luck and he should have scored. Instead of turning the extra gear on and getting in the end zone, he got caught from behind and tackled at the one. It was then that I knew Reggie’s days were truly numbered. That we were watching the decline of one of the great ones.

It’s even a sadder conclusion that it turns out Wayne wanted to come back to the Colts. The Colts had to tell him “no”.

Here’s what the Colts GM had to say about the hard decision, a pure football decision:

“Everyone knows the greatness and history associated with number 87,” Grigson said in a statement released by the team. “He truly is one of a small handful of players who really define the Colts as an organization. He was already a Hall of Famer in the making when Chuck (Pagano) and I arrived in Indianapolis in 2012, but no one has contributed more, on the field and in this building, to our turnaround, our continued growth, and our overall success since then.

“Reggie was the catalyst that sparked and ignited the team during our comeback against Green Bay in 2012. His gritty performance that day and that entire challenging season infused us all with the belief we could overcome any obstacle. His dedication and the example he set are second to none. We wish him nothing but the best in whatever new endeavor he pursues.”

Wayne had 13 catches for 212 yards that day and the game winning touchdown when they beat Green Bay in Indianapolis – the game I call the ‘CHUCKSTRONG’ game.

Jim Irsay on Wayne:

“Reggie is one of the greatest men to ever wear the horseshoe, and we have been blessed to watch him play for the past 14 years. When he first took the field with us in 2001, we knew this day would eventually arrive. That reality is one of the things that makes pro football such a tough business. We feel this decision is in the best interests of the team and for Reggie as it will allow him to seek a better opportunity for playing time elsewhere if he so chooses. Reggie is beloved by the Colts organization and our fans and he will always be a part of the Colts family. I look forward to the day in the near future when our great number 87 enters the Colts Ring of Honor and the Pro Football Hall of Fame.”

Fourteen years, and one of the greatest pro football players I’ve ever seen is just a chapter in the history books. It sucks seeing the great ones get old and go. I had hoped for one more year somehow; that would allow Wayne to go out on his own terms as a Colts player. Thanks for all the wonderful Sunday memories. Can’t wait to see this guy get into the Hall of Fame.

I hope Reggie Wayne Gives us one more season

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Reggie Wayne becomes a free agent on March 10, and the early word is that he’s unsure if he’s played his last game in his career.

I can’t imagine Reggie Wayne retiring wearing another team’s uniform. I can’t imagine that he’s got more than a year left but he should be given a final year from the Colts front office to go out on his own terms and basically serve as a mentor to the Colts’ young receivers on teaching them how to carve out Hall of Fame careers and be great professionals.

I’ve got a lot of good Reggie Wayne memories through the years. He’s one of the best I’ve ever seen. Father Time catches up to everyone sometime. It looks like he’s ran down one of the greatest ever. But I wouldn’t bet against Wayne wearing blue for one more season and surprising everyone on his production and effectiveness.

I’ll never forget the Thursday Night a few days before Christmas that Reggie Wayne almost kept Peyton Manning in Indianapolis and Andrew Luck going to another team in the NFL. He had eight catches for 106 yards and a touchdown from Dan Orlovsky. He did everything he could to bring home a win to Indy that night. He didn’t care about future draft picks or records or anything like that.

The guy is a winner and I need one more year to say goodbye.

How Grantland would address keeping Andrew Luck happy

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I read this entire article over at Grantland by Robert Mays, something I do more rarely these days with a straight commission job and a three month old baby.

Mays talks about how they would address the Colts, the current state of the roster, how Indianapolis got to the current state, and where they could be headed.

Above all – Mays draws parallels between Lebron James early in his tenure with the Cleveland Cavaliers and how the Colts have a once in a lifetime ‘generational’ talent in Andrew Luck. As the years roll by without a championship, time feels like it is ticking by quickly. I’m happy with the Colts progress to an AFC Championship appearance but it’s not going to get any easier to take the next step in 2015 with the way the NFL manufacturers winners and only two teams can play in the Super Bowl.

Still, Mays points towards the Colts ability to spend money this off-season and a full arsenal of draft picks at Ryan Grigson’s disposal.

I don’t know exactly what the Colts should do. I feel like they need to hit on a great offensive lineman in this draft. They need to find something that works at running back, but I don’t necessarily want it in the first round. I’m not really as sold on the talent at receiver as others. I like the weapons in Hilton, Allen, and Fleener just fine. I know Moncrief has upside, but I don’t think his ceiling is that high and I see him as more of a three or four receiver. Who knows about Hakeem Nicks. I honestly would love to see the Colts somehow get Jaelen Strong; and I want this kid badly. He’s probably the guy I would like to see them take most in the first round if he’s there. I’m tempted by Dorial Green-Beckham, but realize he has some character issues which the Colts will probably avoid with the rash of things that have plagued them recently. Plus, a guy who I thought had superstar upside Da’Rick Rogers was released after getting arrested for DUI. That was a bummer for me because I thought Luck could have turned him into a star but football first was not the priority with the kid.

If the Colts could snag Andrus Peat out of Stanford, I think that’s a home run type pick. They’ve had such good luck (no pun) with Stanford players. I think that would make Andrew Luck happy.

Draft some corner with athletic upside late and they’re obviously going to have to heavily address the defensive line, but I’m hoping someone like Suh (pipe dream) or Worilds (expensive) is bought in free agency no matter the price. Those are the things that Super Bowl caliber teams have to do while the window is open.

If Devin Funchess falls to the third round, give him a look as well. With the way the Colts play Fleener out wide, I think Funchess fits into the equation in that manner as well. I am very concerned with the weapons around Andrew Luck and if this draft is all about tooling the talent around him and addressing the defense through free agency and undrafted free agents, I think that’s the best way to approach 2015’s roster build.

Trent Richardson’s Future with Colts in Doubt

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ProFootballTalk debates the future of Trent Richardson in a Colts uniform in the video above. I know that Richardson has been a complete disaster for Indianapolis; but man I just can’t shake off what I saw when he was at Alabama. I was certain he would be the best back in the NFL since Adrian Peterson.

Mike Florio says it will hinge on the grievance he will file in regards to the two-game suspension. If the suspension sticks, his guaranteed salary is none for 2015. Florio says it the Colts win the grievance, the Colts will part ways with Richardson.

Still just 23 years of age, I remember where I was the day the Colts made the deal for Richardson. I thought it would further not only his career but give Andrew Luck a weapon that he could reach the Super Bowl with in a short amount of time.

Richardson has scored just six rushing touchdowns for the Colts since that time.