#NFL100Memories – 10/100

My First Game: Saints vs Chargers – By Tim Monk (@Tim_MonkF10Y)

Date: 26th October 2008

Venue: Wembley Stadium

Your first ever experience of live NFL action. You never forget it.

Despite what was the washout between the Dolphins and the Giants in it’s inaugural year, the International series returned in year 2 with the then San Diego Chargers taking on the New Orleans Saints.

At this point, i was still in the early days of following this great sport to the point where i still didn’t really have a team. I ended plumping for the Dallas Cowboys and the rest is history (check out NFL100Memories #3 for more on that).

I mention this as there were plenty of people, and there still are, that go to these International Series games and don’t support a team. Primarily because they are new to the sport and trying something new. Wembley is not known for partisan crowds or hostile atmospheres, it’s a more of a celebration about a sport that is growing and will continue to do so, even if they do send the Dolphins over anytime in the next few years.

Does it add to the experience? In some ways, yes. There’s nothing like turning up to a game and getting heckled for wearing a Tony Romo Dallas throwback jersey (Jacksonville vs Philadelphia last year) . But if you are a fan of either of the two teams in the fixture, it probably doesn’t…purely because you aren’t surrounded amongst you fellow tribe.

To this particular game, the tailgate was #OK. It’s one of those that because you’ve not been there or seen it before, it passed as something more than acceptable to the whole experience; You didn’t mind queueing up 45 minutes to see if they had any International Series game balls left or just ending up having to get a measly lanyard or a scarf.

After the tailgate, popped in to the local bookies as you do, with all the “regulars” befuddled at the invasion of weird looking sports goers who weren’t wearing England football tops. Placed a bet on winning margin, first TD scorer. The usual. Went for New Orleans to win by 7-12 points at 7/2. more signifigance to that later.

Game itself was very entertaining. Stereophonics had the honour of opening the entertainment, just so happen to be a band I was listening to at the time so happy days.

Image Credit: Getty Images

A few magical plays by Brees saw my winning margin bet currently towards the end of the game. I thought my bet was in when a late Philip River’s drive ended in an interception Jonathan Vilma. Saints could not get a first down, it was 4th and 2 from the New Orleans 26. 14 seconds left on the clock. Surely this is all over… but wait, WHY ARE THEY NOT PUNTING?!?! Drew Brees stays on the field and the 4th down play is in the history books as a Drew Brees run “up the middle” for -26yards. Safety. A bloody Safety.

I couldn’t believe what I had just seen! On a side note, imagine having that on your fantasy team!

A return from Darren Sproles on the ensuing kick saw Philip Rivers have a Hail Mary chance to sneak the win. But unfortunately Vincent jackson and the boys couldn’t haul it in and give the Saints what they deserved for ruining the ultimate game day!

Pick It Apart; Johnathan Abram

The Draft is in the books and the dust has settled. But how well did your team do in the first round?

We are taking a look back at every selection in the first round and giving you the lowdown on the pick; Was it a reach? Was it a steal? We’ll tell you and give you the impact for fantasy football….

Pick: #27

Player: Jonathan Abram

Drafted by: Oakland Raiders

Grade: B-

Analysis:

This pick is of course the Dallas Cowboys’ pick that was sent to Oakland for Amari Cooper midway through the 2018 season.

I’m not sure Lee would’ve been so kind on the grade on as few levels. Firstly, the player level. Surprising the Abram was taken here consideringhe was a 2 star recruit, kept transferring back and forth from Georgia to Jones County and finally Mississippi State. Secondly, the positional value. Safeties are not in vogue at the moment in the NFL. It’s all about linebackers and pass rush. The back end… not so much. It’s true in the NFL and in horse fancy dress costumes.

Abram managed to produce in his final year, with a team leading 93 tackles and made the 2018 First team All-SEC. He also had the title of the hardest hitting safety in College. We’ll see about that if he gets a chance to run towards CJ Anderson.

His qualities are more in stopping the run game and many question his abilities to cover for an extended amount of time. He has sideline to sideline abilities and pursuit speed is pretty decent, as told by his 4.45 40 yard dash at the combine. Spending a pick on someone who will want to effectively play as an extra linebacker this high is questionable but with that being said, would actually be a decent tight end match maker. He doesn’t have the greatest vision or playmaking skills, illustrated by just 2 opportunisitic interceptions in College. He also doesn’t look the most comfortable in zone coverage and will be most effective when being used in blitzes or any time he is asked to go forward. He is known also for his leadership skills, something in which Chuckie likes on his team.

Jon Gruden and Mayock obviously have plans for him, as they do Clelin Ferrell otherwise it would be nonsensical to pick him here. He’ll be an instant starter on team lacking on defensive talent (if only they had someone like Khalil Mack..). He’ll be a physical, tough and hard hitting addition to the NFL (which can bring durability concerns) and it’ll be interesting to see how he puts his mark on some opposing players.

Overall, I am not sure the pick here at 27 will be justified and probably could have waited til pick 40 at the very least.

Fantasy Football Impact:

None, absolutely none. Oakland are a poor defence, you wont be drafting them. Maybe some deep IDP league appeal.

Podcast 26 – Britball Week Part 3 – Behind the scenes

Roger Goodgroves joins us to take a peek behind the curtain in the British American Football game.

Having perhaps the smoothest voice I have ever heard , we talk about his experiences as an official and what it takes to become an official here. What groups try and support the game and how we can support them.

He also gives us an insight into the Britball scene over the past few decades and the major changes it has seen. He can be found on social media @rogergoodgroves. We will be getting Roger on over the course of the season to break down some big officiating calls too!

Next stop, Manchester!