Indianapolis is a middling team statistically (15th offense, 20th defense last season). Management gambled the team's 2014 first draft choice on Trent Richardson in hopes he was the final piece of the puzzle. Instead, he played like a piece of the rock, averaging 2.9 yards per carry, leaving the Colts without a first choice in one of the strongest drafts in many moons. Indianapolis has five straight wins versus division rival Tennessee, part of a 10-1 stretch against the Flaming Thumbtacks. The Colts have lost four straight to the Patriots, all games played at New England. So circle Nov. 16 on the calendar, when the Patriots travel to Indiana.
Jacksonville: Some 52,000 people came to the Jaguars' stadium just to watch the new scoreboard unveiled. Most likely the crowd was not told that Jacksonville taxpayers paid $43 million for the scoreboard and miscellaneous stadium improvements, while Jax billionaire owner Shad Khan contributed only $20 million. Obviously diverting public money to an NFL owner's private profit is more important than improving Jacksonville public schools.
The Jaguars went into training camp with a league-high $28 million in unused salary cap space. Perhaps Khan's plan is to milk the franchise, and Jacksonville taxpayers, for maximum profit while exerting minimum effort to improve the team. Soon Jax fans may be yelling, as in the Star Trek movie, "KHANNNNNNNNNNN!"
Jersey/B: The struggles of rookie quarterback Geno Smith -- nine more interceptions than touchdown passes, 66.5 rating -- are well known. All Jets passing stats were terrible in 2012. Jersey/B was last in the league in aerial touchdowns at 13, an amazing 42 fewer than Denver. One reason is that the Jets used a second-round draft choice in 2012 on wide receiver Stephen Hill, who did little in college but ran a 4.36 40 at the combine. Hill has done little in the NFL. Two picks later, Chicago chose Alshon Jeffery, who was super productive in college but ran a 4.48. Jeffery is already a Pro Bowl player. Hill has measurables, Jeffery performs. Players who perform are what Jersey/B needs.
Maybe free-agent acquisition Chris Johnson will perform. He's already declared himself a "first-ballot Hall of Famer," though it's not even certain he will start. Johnson's attitude fits right in with the Jets, whose coach, Rex Ryan, says boasting is "who we are." Ryan declares of himself, "I'm not saying I'm the best of all time," though he does hope you'll say that. Ryan boasts to Dom Cosentino that "my defenses work, period." He doesn't add that the Jets were 20th in scoring defense in 2012, 19th in 2013.
The Awful Missouri Shooting: Civil unrest in Missouri regarding a shooting by police was worsened because local authorities initially refused to disclose the name of the officer who fired. Law enforcement officers sometimes commit crimes against the innocent; sometimes must defend themselves in ways that initially appear to be crimes; and sometimes simply make horrible mistakes under the pressure of their duties. Which was the case in Missouri remains to be determined. But not disclosing the name of the officer who fired -- that is, of the person who under any other circumstances would be called the suspect -- is the behavior of a dictatorship, not of a democracy.