Here at the TMFL Network we like to span the league and take the temperature on various topics the league has given us. Today we grabbed 7 journalists and asked them 7 questions. We hoped to get their hot takes and maybe even some insight on the team they make a living covering. The 7 journalists joining us in this edition are… Y.U. Duckin – DawgsByNature L. “Lengua Larga” Lipscombe – The Houston Houstonian Donovan McNabb – BleddingGreenNation Phillip Simms – NY Times Leon Maryland – BloggingTheBoys Jack Sparrow – FoolsGoldBlog Wayne “Bone Crusher” Hardnet – The A-Town Stomp “We Ain’t Never Scared” EDITOR’S NOTE: Questions were sent to journalists in middle of Week 2 and had until Week 3 conclusion to answer. Timeliness of stats may vary 1. The Color Rush unis are here for the 2016 season. How do you feel about them? Any inside info on whether or not your team will be wearing them outside of the NFL mandated Thursday Night Football broadcasts? Y.U. Duckin - I really like them. It’s too bad the TNF game is against the Ravens and their color rush unis are purple. The clash will prevent the Browns from wearing them during the broadcast. However, it’s rumored that the Browns may trade and reach out to the Bengals and coordinating a color rush game with them seeing as their color rush unis are black and white. There’s also word spreading that the Browns may reach out to the Chargers and coordinate something for their Christmas Eve showdown. I’ve definitely got my fingers crossed in hopes we’ll see them. Lengua Larga - In Houston we're a big fan of the color rush Unis. The Texans will be wearing the Color Rush or the Battle Red Unis in every game this season. Donovan McNabb - Love the idea of the color rush uniforms. It brings a new fresh culture to the NFL. It's seen widely in college with the major brands all fighting to gain favor in stores. The Eagles uni are very similar to years past with an all black set up. Nothing to noticeable with changes but the other teams across the league have some cool set ups. The Eagles will wear the cool rush uniforms all night home games. Phillip Simms - Well ya know, call me old fashioned but I just don't see the appeal in the color rush uniforms. I just think it takes the focus off the important thing, the product on the field. Leon Maryland - Cowboys color rush jerseys are basically the same from last year with out the blue stripe on the pant legs. It's a nice clean look that plays homage to one of our classic uniforms. Talking with owner Jimmy Johnson after the reveal he told me that they plan on wearing them mostly in rivalry games. Jack Sparrow - A little variety never hurt anybody. It's nice to see different looks on the field and the NFL makes tons of money of yet another item to sell. The Bucs will look to wear their color rush unis in a primetime division game in the future. Bonecrusher – Sweet new Unis are always welcomed here in the A-town. Its nice to have many options and with the all red look I definitely see the Falcons utilizing the color rush unis more than just the Thursday night game. Although, some Flacons fans are a little salty after seeing the uniforms of some of the other teams. There are some pretty sick Unis out there now. 2. How are the rookies in your market handling their first few weeks in the league? Are there any currently laying low that might make a splash later into the season? YUD - The Browns are starting 3 rookies currently (Coleman, Schobel, Ogbah) with the potential of a 4th entering the starting lineup soon (Nassib). Safety Derrick Kindred is also seeing time in the safety rotation with Ibraheim Campbell and Ricardo Louis is seeing time on the field in 5 wide sets. All seem to be up for the jobs they’ve been given with Coleman improving by leaps and bounds in almost every practice. With as much as the Browns are asking out of the defensive trio of Schobel, Ogbah, and Nassib it would not shock me if we eventually see some (if not all) of them hit a wall as the season grinds along. Something that sprung from camp was Cody Kessler unseating Josh McCown as the backup quarterback and Josh seemingly embracing it calling himself the “team grandpa” when I talked to him last week. When the inevitable RG3 happens, look for Cody to potentially make a splash. Who knows, he might even get the keys to the cars if the Browns don’t have a successful first half of the season. LL - The Texans are seeing 4 rookies get significant playing time. 1st rd pick Will Fuller is getting a lot of looks in the passing game and doing a lot with them. He already has 3 TD catches on the season, tied with DeAndre Hopkins for team lead. Stephen Anderson is getting a good amount of PT as an UDFA TE. His speed is above average for a TE but he needs to develop. Tyler Ervin is contributing in the return game and getting a few touches at RB. Newberry is playing DE opposite Watt after being claimed off the waiver wire. He had his 1st sack in the Texans W2 matchup. The curious missing rookie in all of this is WR Braxton Miller. He hasn't done anything to not get more work, but all the other receivers just do something a little better than him. Rumors are swirling that the Texans are willing to trade him if the right offer comes in. DM - Carson Wentz has played very well through 2 games. Rookie RB Wendell Smallwood has also looked good in his limited amount of snaps. Given R. Mathews injury history Wendell could make a big splash down the road for Philly. PS - The Giants have three rookies seeing significant playing time this season. Marshaun Coprich has been a surprise beating out Jennings and Vereen at HB and Eli Apple as expected is learning quickly behind DRC and Jenkins. The rookie getting the most praise is 2nd Rd pick Sterling Sheppard. Everything I'm hearing out of camp has been positive on this kid and look for him to make some big plays this season. LM - The cowboys have been trying to get Ezekiel Elliot going on the field and he's been a little inconsistent, but overall I've been told the coaching staff is happy with his progress so far and expect him to only get better as he adjusts fully to the pro game. Off the field they are talking about giving him Dez Bryant's old security team to make sure he isn't doing anything to damage the star. We know he's a good kid, but he has that buckeye education so sometimes he makes choices like going into a dispensary with no intention of breaking rules, but doesn't realize the impact of a photo popping up on TMZ. On defense the cowboys are playing 2 rookie cbs Ian Wells and Anthony Brown. The coaching staff has been raving about Wells play on the outside, but got bad news that he will be out for the next 6-8 weeks with a ruptured disk. Anthony Brown will most likely take the outside role in nickel now. The staff have complete faith in him after his performance earlier in the year against the giants. JS - The biggest rookie in town, CB Vernon Hargreaves, has yet to make his presence known on the field but coaches have said he is quickly picking up the defense. Two players on the DL are making an impact early in the season also. DE Noah Spence has been limited to passing downs but has shown the upside people talked about recording 1 sack and a couple hurries in 2 games. DT Vernon Butler who was actually a 1st round pick claimed through waivers, has also made an impact. He not only has helped in the running game but also gotten to the QB once this season already. WH – Starting three rookies on defense, the Falcons are going to have their woes. Early on there have been a lot of misreads and over pursuing by the young guys, but the ceiling is high for all three. Deion Jones, the rookie out of LSU, has already made his presence felt at MLB. He currently leads the team with tackles and already has 3 sacks through 3 games. He is strong and athletic and already shows veteran leadership while out there on the field. Keanu Neal, Atlanta's first round pick, has one INT on the season, but has yet make his presence be felt against the run game. We are all awaiting that crushing blow against a division foe, after hearing how physical Neal likes to play the game. Austin Hooper is the one rookie who is still learning his way through the team playbook. Right now he is only used in a few formations and as a run blocking TE. As he gets used to the playbook I would expect him to shine later in the season. 3. Turnovers seem to be extremely high across the league early on, what do you attribute that to? YUD - For as much as the rule changes in recent years have benefited wide receivers and the passing game, dominant defense line play and penetration still causes chaos. I feel like that is exactly what you are seeing in the increased number of turnovers this year. Now of course the Browns completely bunk my theory by not committing a single turnover and RG3 being one of the most hit QBs in the league. Robert has had (for lack of a better term) the benefit of seeing most of his sacks coming, so he’s tucked the ball nearly every time and has not tried to force anything. Expect to see Robert and the Browns start taking more risks as they try and get this offense out of neutral. LL - As we all know there are 2 kinds of turnovers: fumbles and interceptions. The vast majority of fumbles are coming from QBs just holding on to the ball a little too long. Guys need to recognize pressure and get rid of the ball faster. Now interceptions are a bit different. At least half of the INTs are from QBs throwing balls into tight coverage. Sometimes the DB covering makes a great play and snatches it, other times the covering DB is able to knock the ball free from the WR and another DB is there for the free gift. The other half of the INTs are from "The Maddening". That's the uncontrollable effect of a QB throwing a ball to a WR and missing him by 5+ yds. Bow this wouldn't be so bad if he didn't always miss the WR by throwing right to a defender. This is the kind of occurrence that makes a user want to break a control. Brock had 2 such picks in their Week 2 match-up with the CPU Chiefs. DM - Early season blues and players learning their offensive playbooks adds to a lot of the interceptions. The defense also isn't slow to help the adjustment for players learning. They force sack fumbles and can blanket receivers forcing bad throws. We'll see turnovers decrease I'm sure as players settle into their offensive play calls. PS - Well ya know, for the Giants I attribute the turnovers to the big headed bastard Eli Manning. The guy is feast or famine and his clueless expressions are just icing on the cake for me. How he is still in the league and my son Chris isn't puzzles me. LM - I think with the competition committee getting rid of the (Madden) tuck rule has led to more qb fumbles that either end up in a turnover or lead to a down and distance that the defense can sit back and attack the ball. It also leads to qb's trying to get the ball out faster. JS - It is just people adjusting to the new year and their new teams. That combined with the QB fumbles being much higher this year is going to result in some inflated numbers until people get the ball out sooner. – Turnovers are definitely high in the league right now. I attribute the INTs to teams constantly looking for the deep ball and forcing throws when its not there or staying in the pocket too long waiting for the play to come open. There are a lot more sack fumbles throughout the league this year because defenders have learned to go for the strip sack more instead of the crushing hit on the QB. QBs staying in the pocket longer than necessary is a must at times to hit a big play on a defense, but it is not something I would recommend on an every down basis. 4. What’s been the biggest veteran surprise at the facility so far this season? Anyone playing better than expected or maybe the reverse, playing worse than anticipated? YUD - It’s definitely taken Josh Gordon a little while to get his sea legs under him. He’s struggling getting off the line in bump coverage, but he’s been forcing newcomer Marcus Burley to give him “the Seahawk treatment” in every practice and Josh has been showing signs of improvement. Editor’s Note: for those unaware, the Seahawks are notorious for doing everything they can to destroy receivers at the line of scrimmage to disrupt timing in an offense. Marcus Burley spent the last couple seasons with Seattle before coming to Cleveland when the Browns claimed him on waivers after he was one of Seattle’s cutdowns to get to 53. LL - The biggest surprise of the early season in Houston is the OL play. It's been surprising both ways. First in the run game. They have been absolutely atrocious. Too many times guys are releasing to the 2nd level just as the RB is getting the ball. Which means too many plays have DL in the backfield. Conversely, they have been extraordinary in the passing game. Thru 2 weeks, the Texans are top 5 in pass attempts per game, but have yet to give up a single sack. DM - Fletcher Cox is earning his money early on. While still young in age, Cox is one of the senior leaders on this young Eagles team. His constant disruption in the pass and running game has really lifted the defensive unit. PS - JPP really has all 7 1/2 of his finger prints on everything the Giants have been doing so far. Who knows maybe his play will lead the Giants to the Super Bowl and he can get fitted for a bracelet or pirate hook, because a ring would be a waste without a finger to put it on. LM - The vets everyone talked about all offseason are the 2 making the most noise this season so far. Both Dez and Romo look fully healed and are lighting it up on the field. Dez has put on a show the 1st 3 games and Romo is playing like a man with something to prove. It will be exciting to see if they can keep it up JS - CB Alterraun Verner has begun to show why he was highly hyped a few years back. He was demoted from #1 to #4 when the team signed Grimes and drafted Hargreaves but has earned the nickel spot and looked solid through 2 games. WH - I want to say Terrance Knighton because of his 73 yard fumble recovery for a TD. He showed a lot of youth in that sprint to the endzone, but has done absolutely nothing since that play. Instead I will talk about the vet that caused that fumble that enabled Knighton to scoop and score. I am talking about Dwight Freeney. Freeney's stats are not wowing by any means, but its what he has done on the very little snaps he plays. Freeney was brought in for his leadership and to play on situational downs. In his small sample size he has a forced fumble and 2 sacks. 5. What area has already shown itself as being a priority for improvement? Any known plans of addressing it before the trade deadline? YUD - Offensive line in a big way. Starting quality offensive linemen aren’t traded too often as their market value varies between front offices and the two sides often come to a stalemate. The Browns are loaded with draft picks and no doubt will look to improve the line there and possibly via free agency. LL - The Texans defense thrives on DL play. The loss of Watt in the 1st Quarter of the week 1 matchup with the Bears is tough. The Texans are in heavy talks looking to acquire a substitute DE before their Week 5 matchup with the Titans. DM - From watching film, the birds need to definitely make offensive line and defensive back a priority. Being tight with Brian Dawkins who's now working in the front office, I doubt the birds make a move for either of these positions. They want to see what the young guys can offer on the field before auctioning off talent or draft picks. PS - The rookie coach has struggled with game planning and consistency. You cant trade a coach but hopefully they put it together. LM - I would say kicker, but I think it's just mental and he will get over it. I don't see the cowboys making a deal as Jimmy Johnson seems pleased with the team so far, but I would look for the cowboys to go after a wr that can play opposite of Bryant. They really wanted to see how twill would do in the roll, but he's been hurt and will be out for at least 4 more weeks. Another thing against him is it's a contract year for him and I'm not sure Jimmy Johnson wants to pay his asking price without knowing how well he would do. On defense I would expect them to look for dbs and pass rushers. The cowboys will most likely be looking to kick Brandon Carr and Claiborne out the door as soon as their cap hits become lower. JS - We have without a doubt the poorest OL in the league. Winston can't even complete a PA without being sacked and Martin and Sims are getting no help creating running lanes. I have no info on if the team is doing anything to address this glaring hole but I certainly hope so. WH - The guard spot has been an issue for the team since week one. The guys are getting to their blocks a tad late and are struggling to maintain contact long enough for RB to get through. A trade for a young up and coming Guard or a solid vet could be in the works, but I highly doubt the team will go in that direction. The other area of concern is at the DE spot. All DEs have failed to set the edge and have allowed huge runs to get to the outside. Neither starter has even come close to recording a sack. Freeney is the lone DE to sack the QB. Vic Beasley looks really fast at LE, but gets bullied at times by stronger linemen. Beasley is here to stay, for now, and the other DE spot will likely be addressed in FA or the draft. 6. The commissioner made a surprising announcement just before the end of the preseason by pardoning all suspended players who had suspensions lasting less than the full season. What was the reception in the team facility when the news broke? YUD - It’s no secret that Berea was buzzing when the commissioner made the announcement. The team was in the practice facility when the news broke and Josh [Gordon] about broke down right there. He’s been waiting for this day for awhile and after finding out it got moved up by a full month put him over the moon. Hue even commented to the media members attending the practice that seeing as his team was directly impacted by this decision, he can only express gratitude for the decision. LL - The Texans were disappointed in the revocation of all partial season suspensions. This organization prides itself on being upstanding and not having those kinds of guys in the locker room. While others out there have crossed the line with rules, getting off without penalty teaches no lesson. Next thing you know, the commissioner office will be encouraging bounties to be instituted. DM - This was a good move to balance out the miracle work these trainers provided. Some of these injured players should be tested for HGH. Players listed as out for 8 weeks were healed over night. PS - Well ya know, that commissioner he... he just isn't a very smart guy. He puts all the money into deflate gate and then it's his balls that deflate when under pressure. Maybe we need a Wells report to tell us what happened to commissioner Republican's balls. LM - The team felt the move was a bit odd. After being so strict and handing out harsh penalties it seemed like their was a level of hesitancy when it was announced that lane Johnson was suspended for 10 games. Some in the organization feel that when news broke on the controversy surrounding Tony Romo with reports stating cowboys are giving him shots to play( reports that are denied by cowboys officials) that it gave the commissioner a excuse to clear all non year suspensions. While the cowboys were glad to get all their defenders back they feel they were prepared to play without them. JS - We had no major suspension nor did any of our division rivals so it didn't really matter to me. We had no dog in the fight WH - We didn't care one way or another. When the Falcons beat teams we want them at full force. No need for excuses with a full roster. 7. What is going to be the recurring theme you’ll find yourself and fellow media members in your market covering the rest of this season? YUD - This was the recurring theme in our nation’s capitol and I don’t see this changing here in The Land. RG3’s health. Between his playstyle and the number of hits he has already taken this year, it’s something us in the media are going to be continuously reporting. Also watching Kessler in practice to project if he’s going to be ready for the eventual time he’s going to get is something our readers are likely to expect a lot of this year. LL - This season will be all about Wins. The Texans already find themselves in 4th place at 1-1. All other teams in the division have started 2-0 (talk about Un-Sim). The Texans have to Win to get in. This will be THE toughest division in all of TMFL. DM - I foresee Home Field Advantage and turnovers being a common theme through out the rest of this season. There's just a lot of learning and adjustments in year one so teams who should get this win may take an unexpected loss. It's going to shape year one up to who can secure home field, and who takes care of the ball... This team will have a clear path to the big game! PS - I think game time and network availability is going to be a major question this year. It is early in the season so we did see a prime time Asia kick off in week 2, but I think going forward people will be less likely to make those sacrifices. LM - Hopefully we keep getting to talk about how the resurgence of Romo and Dez are leading to wins. The biggest underlying theme will be watching Romos health and the ability of this o-line to keep him clean. Romo is the biggest factor in how far they go and from reports the cowboys have hired a quality training staff to keep him in the best shape possible. JS - I think people are going to see some parity this season as contenders fall back a few steps and some teams win a few games they probably shouldn't. I can also almost guarantee we will see a couple more emotional flare ups during games. WH - Injuries will definitely be a recurring theme because the injury bug has struck the league pretty hard early this season and I'm sure their will be some big name losses throughout the season. Teams will have to adjust and it will be interesting to see if teams utilize their practice squad or free agency to quick mend their roster after an injury Luckily there hasn't been a devastating injury to a falcons star yet this season, knock on wood.