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Thursday September 16 2021
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Doc's NFL Notebook

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It was open season for critics of the Oakland Raiders when they sent away two first-round picks for quarterback Carson Palmer at the trade deadline.

Yes, starting QB Jason Campbell got hurt. Yes, the Raiders were 4-2 at the time and are chasing their first playoff berth since a time when "Friends" was still on the air. Still, it was two first-round selections for a developing team. And it was for Palmer, 31, who was 19th in the NFL in passer rating last year. Instead, Bengals management got a king's ransom for someone who refused to play football for their team, and the Raiders went for broke on a quarterback who ranked 22nd in passing yards per attempt in 2010. Should we mention that Oakland already used their 3rd- and 4th-round selections in next year's draft to pick up Terrelle Pryor and Jason Campbell? We shouldn't.

A Bit Of Footie
If any of the four major sports were to consider a European team, the most feasible would be the NFL, given its one-game-a-week schedule. The seat of British government is already working to make that possibility into a reality. On the heels of October's Bears-Bucs game in London, The Parliament of the United Kingdom formed an "all-party parliamentary group" (think congressional committee) on football. The NFL has already played five regular season games at Wembley Stadium, and one of the APPG's goals is to "support the pathway to having eventually a UK-based NFL team." Last year, 49ers owner John York said of a Super Bowl or full-time team in London, "both seem likely to happen." So gear up for the Pittsburgh Steelers vs. the London Werewolves, it may be sooner than you think.

Colts In The Stable
The Indianapolis Colts were certainly slowed by the neck injury to that Manning fella. But the team's 0-7 start cannot be blamed on the offense alone. The Colts' defense was nothing short of awful through October. Through Week 6, Indy ranked 28th in DVOA, an advanced metric created by Football Outsiders, which was actually worse than their offensive ranking. Despite boasting two star pass rushers in Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis, the unit was still 30th in the league in yards allowed. But the masterpiece of poor defensive play came in Week 7 at New Orleans, when the Colts gave up 557 yards and 62 points to the Saints, tying most points allowed in a game since the 1970 merger. Unless Peyton can play linebacker, Indy has more troubles ahead.

He Gets No Respect
For a man whose name is Ndamukong, you would think "Roddy" would be an easy name to pronounce. But always expect the unexpected when you're talking to Lions DT Ndamukong Suh. Atlanta WR Roddy White told reporters he "can't respect" Suh for allegedly taunting quarterback Matt Ryan after the QB was hurt in an October game. Suh responded, "Do I need Rodney White's respect? No. Leave it at that." Yes, Rodney. Like Dangerfield. The former Nebraska Cornhusker also called Ryan's injury "karma" for the dirty play of Atlanta's offensive line. The second-year tackle is becoming somewhat of villain in the league, considering his brash comments and hits like a preseason slam of Cincinnati QB Andy Dalton that drew a $20,000 fine. That's Andy. Not Addy.

A Fine Point
Teenage girls weren't the only people racking up huge phone bills last month. Steelers safety Troy Polamalu had to pay a $10,000 fee to Goodell Wireless in October. photo by Chuck LeClaireQuite a roaming charge. Polamalu drew a fine from the NFL for using a team doctor's cell phone to call his wife from the Pittsburgh bench and tell her he wasn't badly injured after a "very mild" concussion against Jacksonville. Using cell phones on the sidelines is prohibited during games, so maybe Polamalu should have used a landline and make sure the offensive coordinator forward the message along. For the record, Houston DE Antonio Smith was fined less ($7,500) for pulling off the helmet of a Ravens player before an "altercation" in the same week of action.

Chris-appear
Titans RB Chris Johnson had the most high-profile holdout of the NFL offseason (besides the owners), only returning to his team in September after sealing a four-year, $53.5 million extension. But Johnson's heavier wallet seems to have slowed him down through the season's first two months. After Week 7, the Tennessee back was dead last among qualified rushers with an average of 2.9 yards per carry. To be fair, Johnson may improve later on in the season. Five of his first six games came against defense in the top half of the league in DVOA. But if he can't pull himself out of last in yards per carry, Tennessee may have guaranteed $30 million to the wrong guy.

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