Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Football. Finally

With the Phillies on hold until October, pro football finally takes center stage.

Football. Finally

Mark Herzlich was an all-state player at Conestoga High before joining the Giants. (David M Warren/Staff Photographer)
Mark Herzlich was an all-state player at Conestoga High before joining the Giants. (David M Warren/Staff Photographer)

With Labor Day out of the way, the kids back to school, and the Phillies on hold until October, the pro football season is finally front and center.

Mark Herzlich and Pat Devlin have found places in the NFL and Herzlich will be on the active roster when the New York Giants tee it up against the Washington Redskins on Sunday at FedExField in Landover, Md.

But the Giants have been making more news about who’s not available than who is — the team announced Tuesday that linebacker Jonathan Goff will miss the season with a torn anterior cruciate ligament.
Goff, in his fourth season out of Vanderbilt, suffered the injury during Monday’s practice. He had 80 tackles and one sack last season, as the Giants finished 10-6.

The Giants were 10-6 last season and just missed the playoffs but they’ve been battered all summer. Starting cornerback Terrell Thomas, backup linebacker Clint Sintim (both ACL injuries) and defensive tackle and second-round pick Marvin Austin (torn pectoral muscle) all also are gone for the year.

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First-round draft pick Prince Amukamara, a cornerback, will miss at least the first month with a broken foot. Defensive end Osi Umenyiora is coming off knee surgery and will miss at least the first week and probably more.

ESPN reported that the team is planning to sign Kawika Mitchell, who played on the Giants Super Bowl champion four years ago, to replace Goff.

Herzlich, a linebacker from Conestoga High and Boston College, is ticketed for special teams at the moment.

"I love special teams,” he told SI.com’s Peter King. "I always have. So that helped me [in training camp].

"But really, we had a bunch of young guys at linebacker competing for jobs. I just played like I played when I was trying to make the team at BC. Work hard every day, leave the facility, get back around 9:30, study my plays for an hour and a half, then get up and do it again the next day. Before you can play the way you know you can play, you've got to learn the system so you're playing, not thinking.”

Linebacker remains the thinking man’s position.

LEE ROY SELMON, RIP. An interesting footnote on the great Lee Roy Selmon, who died Sunday in Tampa: the Hall of Fame defensive lineman was the founder of the South Florida football program that went to South Bend on Saturday and embarrassed Notre Dame.

DEVLIN, BRACKETT WITH DOLPHINS. Devlin, the quarterback from Downingtown East and Delaware, joined Herzlich as an undrafted free agent this summer.  He was cut on Saturday by the Miami Dolphins but resigned on Monday to the team’s practice squad.

Former Penn State tight end Brett Brackett also was signed to the Dolphins practice squad.

THE END FOR A SUPER BOWL HERO. Among the 1,184 players cut over the weekend was the Saints’ Chris Reis.  You’ll remember him as the guy who recovered the onside kick at the start of the second half of Super Bowl XLIV, leading to the Saints' rally to beat the Colts two seasons ago.

AND SPEAKING OF THE COLTS... The team on Tuesday said four-time league-MVP Peyton Manning — who has never missed a start in his NFL career — is doubtful for Sunday's game at Houston because of soreness in his back. Manning, who has started 227 consecutive games, is recovering from neck surgery last May.

Former Penn Stater Kerry Collins, a graduate of Wilson High in Berks County, is on deck to start against the Texans.

The team also said former Ohio State criminal, ah coach, Jim Tressel won’t begin his consultancy until the Colts’ seventh game.  Former Buckeyes’ quarterback Terrelle Pryor was suspended for five games after signing with Oakland, a sentence from the NFL equal to the suspension assessed by the NCAA had Pryor returned to OSU.

THE END FOR GARRARD. The Jacksonville Jaguars released quarterback David Garrard, a move that will save the franchise $9 million in 2011, but was tabbed a "purely football" move by the team. Really?  How's the swamp land along that St. John's River, folks?  Got any buyers in mind?

Coach Jack Del Rio said Luke McCown will start with rookie Blaine Gabbert backing him up.

In three preseason games Garrard completed 50 percent of his passes for 216 yards, with no touchdowns and an interception. He was sacked three times.

AND THE WINNER IS ... The undoubted name of the year in the NFL is Houston rookie Mister Alexander, a linebacker from Florida State who was signed to the Texans practice squad.

Contact Don McKee at dmckee@phillynews.com

Inquirer Sports Writer
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About this blog
Don McKee arrived at the white Inquirer building the same month (August of 1974) that Richard Nixon departed the White House, but claims no connection. He has covered Penn State football, the Flyers of Fred Shero, the Eagles of Dick Vermeil and backed up several beats. After 25 years covering high school sports in three cities and two states, he says the only teams he is allowed to root for are Conrad Weiser High School and Penn State, his two alma maters. LIKES: Straight talk. HATES: Spin doctoring and mindless devotion to conventional wisdom. Reach Don at dmckee@phillynews.com.

Don McKee
Don McKee Inquirer Sports Writer
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