Saturday, October 10, 2015

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Last year, the New Orleans Saints were one of the best teams in football no one ever talked about. Finishing the year ranked fourth in Football Outsiders’ DVOA, the Saints were one of the few teams that fielded a top-ten offense and defense by nearly any measure: DVOA, points, opponent-adjusted points, yards per play, and so on.

Though it was a down year (for them) offensively, they were still a dangerous team—one that normally rode the tails of a masterful offense driven by Drew Brees and designed by Sean Payton—now with the support of a Rob Ryan defense and all that entails.

Unfortunately as the Saints’ season has unfolded, they’ve seemingly fallen apart on defense while their offense has dragged the team forward, a surprising development given their free agency profile; they added more than they lost.

The defense lost Roman Harper and Malcolm Jenkins, which sounds worse than it was: Roman Harper played just over 350 snaps for them and Jenkins was the most underperforming member of the unit… unless you count Tom Johnson, who they also got rid of. Though it would have been interesting to see how the defense would fare with Will Smith, his departure also couldn’t really be considered a loss given the fact that he didn’t play in 2013.

To make up for those minimal losses, they added a top-tier safety in Jairus Byrd, and in Smith’s absence Junior Galette was promoted to a full-time starter last year, gaining a nice four-year contract from the Saints this year for his troubles.

Adding three draft picks and two undrafted free agents to the defense should help with its depth, too.

But for all the benefit the New Orleans Saints got on paper for their defense, it still has yet to pay dividends. They’ve given up the second-most points in the NFL, and though one of those teams are the high-flying Falcons, the other are the offensively anemic Cleveland Browns.

All that said, that doesn’t make it an easy matchup for the Vikings.

In order to have a chance against a team that is far better than their record, Minnesota will have to put together a game plan that takes the defense seriously and has answers for their potent offense.


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According to the Star Tribune, Hennepin County is seeking protection for Adrian Peterson’s child:

Hennepin County filed a court petition Friday seeking protection forAdrian Peterson’s 4-year-old son after his alleged abuse by the Vikings running back.

The petition asked a judge to approve a safety plan for the child, including that Peterson not have any unsupervised or unauthorized contact with the child, and that he cannot use any “corporal punishment and/or physical discipline.”

The county also asked for any proceedings in the child protection matter be postponed until Peterson’s criminal charges are resolved.

The child’s mother has been “fully cooperative” with Hennepin County child protection and has not allowed any contact between Peterson and the boy, following a request made by the county, the petition said.

According to the petition, Peterson admitted during interviews with child protection and law enforcement authorities in Texas that he twice hit his 4-year-old son, once with a belt and once with a switch.

The belt detail is new to me (the child in previous interviews with the police referenced the belts, but this is the first I’ve heard Peterson mention them), but nothing is out of the ordinary here. The mother has cooperated with the request. According to Hennepin County attorney Mike Freeman, this was automatically triggered as part of an investigation:

“State law requires us to file an action in child protection court when charges are filed in criminal court alleging serious injuries against a child living in Hennepin County,” Freeman said. “Our own internal investigation has revealed that the injuries were serious enough to meet the legal threshold and, as a result, we have filed a Child in Need of Protection and Services petition (CHIPS) in Hennepin County District Court this afternoon. Due to state privacy laws, as well as the understandable desire of the mother to protect her child’s privacy, we will not comment further on this petition.”

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In the wake of the coverage of the multiple incidences of domestic violence among NFL players, the NFL has announced a multi-year, multimillion dollar commitment to the National Domestic Violence hotline.

The Ray Rice video saw a large increase in calls the hotline received in a short period of time, highlighting a problem that programs like the hotline suffer from: resources. Last year, the hotline didn’t have enough staff to answer 77,000 calls. The hotline’s press release below:

AUSTIN, TEXAS – The National Domestic Violence Hotline (the Hotline) is pleased to announce that the National Football League (NFL) has committed to providing significant resources to the organization that will allow the organization to virtually answer every call, chat and text from domestic violence victims, survivors, their loved ones and even abusers for the next five years.

“We have never had the funding needed to meet the demand for our services from those seeking help with domestic violence and dating abuse. Last year, because of this lack of resources, more than 77,000 calls went unanswered. Recent domestic violence incidents involving NFL players pushed the capacity of our organization to unprecedented levels,” said Katie Ray-Jones, president and chief executive officer of the National Domestic Violence Hotline. “Because of this long-term commitment by the NFL to provide The Hotline with much-needed resources, our services will finally be accessible to all those who need us when they bravely take the first step to find safety and live a life free of abuse.”

Immediately following the release of video last week showing former Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice punching his then-fiancé in an elevator, the Hotline’s call volume increased by 84% and has remained higher than normal with spikes happening after each new report about domestic violence charges against NFL players. As the controversies continue, the Hotline has been unable to answer nearly 50 percent of the calls, chats and texts.

“Our decision to enter into a long-term partnership with the NFL will help us immediately increase our ability to hire additional advocates, improve our infrastructure and provide more education about domestic violence that affects one in four women and one in seven men in their lifetimes,” said Maury Lane, chair of the board of the National Domestic Violence Hotline. “It is important that we answer their calls.”

Of those who reach out to the Hotline for help, 95% are experiencing emotional and verbal abuse including degradation, insults, humiliation, isolation, stalking, and threats of violence against themselves and their children and loved ones. Often, the abuser threatens suicide. More than 70% are experiencing severe physical violence and say they’ve been slapped, choked, punched, pistol whipped and beaten. This physical abuse has resulted in bruises, cuts, miscarriages, broken bones. Nearly 10% of those reaching out to the Hotline for help have experienced sexual violence. They’ve been raped, exploited, sexually coerced, even forced to get pregnant in order to keep them tied to their abuser.

The National Domestic Violence Hotline is a non-profit organization established in 1996 as a component of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA).

Operating around the clock, confidential and free of cost, the Hotline provides victims and survivors with life-saving tools and immediate support. Callers to the hotline 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) can expect highly trained advocates to offer compassionate support, crisis intervention information and referral services in more than 200 languages. Visitors to can find information about domestic violence, safety planning, local resources, and ways to support the organization.

The Hotline relies on the generous support of individuals, private gifts from corporations and foundations and federal grants. It is funded in part by Grant Number 90EV0407/03 from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)/ Family Violence Prevention and Services Program, a division of the Family and Youth Services Bureau in the Administration for Children and Families. Its contents are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of the Administration for Children and Families or the U.S. Department of HHS.

UPDATE: Jerome Simpson has been released by the Vikings, per a statement from them

The circus continues with the Vikings. Nearly done with his suspension with the Vikings, he found himself in trouble again. From Matt Vensel at the Star Tribune:

The Vikings receiver was cited July 7 on charges of marijuana possession, open bottle and violating a limited drivers license, according to Hennepin County Court records.

He has a Nov. 3 court appearance.

ESPN was first to report the news. The team has not issued a comment.

Simpson is serving a three-game suspension by the NFL for violating the league’s substance abuse policy, stemming from a drunken-driving arrest last season.

Simpson was arrested Nov. 9 but avoided jail time in January after pleading guilty to careless driving and third-degree drunken driving. Simpson was placed on a one-year probation and ordered to perform 120 hours of community service.

This is Simpson’s second suspension from the NFL. He previously was suspended for three games when he first signed with the Vikings in 2012 related to a drug arrest in September 2011 while he was a member of the Cincinnati Bengals.

Dude might be gone soon.

UPDATE: Hennepin County probation was unaware of the citation.


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I’ve written a number of Adrian Peterson articles this week that ended up getting deleted forever.  To be honest, I’m kind of shell-shocked and am just going to try and push forward, for now.  I’m hoping you find that somewhat refreshing.

During today’s media circus at Winter Park, coach Mike Zimmer revealed that linebacker Chad Greenway has suffered a broken hand, and his status is in question.  Zimmer said he is hopeful that Greenway will be able to play.  I’d source this report with a link, but the press conference was aired on pretty much every channel on my TV, so take your pick.

Right tackle Phil Loadholt (ankle), cornerback Xavier Rhodes (groin), and defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd (shoulder) were also mentioned by Zimmer.  He seemed particularly optimistic that Rhodes and Floyd will be good to go for the upcoming game in New Orleans.

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