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  • An outlook of the Washington Redskins season
    by Michael Kist on June 17, 2019 at 3:48 pm

    Eye On the Enemy Extra with Mark Bullock... The Washington Redskins enter the 2019 NFL season with more questions than answers. At least that’s how we saw it on The Kist & Solak Show #99, where we continued our Eye On the Enemy series by focusing on Washington. To help bring clarity to specific questions we had about the Redskins, I spoke with Mark Bullock of The Athletic DC for a special Eye On the Enemy Extra! One of the major questions we had was regarding a recent report that starting left tackle Trent Williams wanted out of town. This would be a huge shot to the offensive line as they’ve recently lost a key depth piece in Ty Nsekhe when he walked in free agency to the Buffalo Bills. How much stock should we take in those rumors though? “Yesterday it was reported that Redskins LT Trent Williams was skipping this week’s mandatory mini-camp due to a contract dispute. It was reported that he wanted a new deal or a trade. Williams has two years left on his deal worth $24 million with no guaranteed money. Fans and pundits had a field day with what that meant for the Redskins, Williams’ worth, the cost of injuries, and the meaning of life.” - Scott Jennings, Hogs Haven With only one “insider” claiming Williams refuses to play for the Redskins, Bullock downplayed the rumor, while adding there are legitimate grounds for Williams to be upset. The medical staff in Washington has been among the worst in the league in recent history and Williams has been particularly banged up. Still, the expectation is that Williams will be back with the Redskins, perhaps with a shiny new contract. Another question that popped up on The Kist & Solak Show #99 was the status of free safety Montae Nicholson. We were perplexed by the lack of playing time in 2018 after an excellent 2017 campaign. In fact, he was my top free safety in the NFC East entering 2018. “... even with a small sample size of only 8 games played, Montae Nicholson made enough of an impact to vault in front of a thin group. The 4th round selection out of Michigan State was rock solid in coverage for the Redskins; on 190 passing plays he was targeted 7 times, allowing 3 receptions for 22 yards, and 1 touchdown while also collecting 1 interception for a NFC East low 0.12 yards per coverage snap. That number puts him top 5 in the NFL among safeties that played at least 25% of their teams defensive passing snaps.” - Michael Kist Bullock cited scheme fit, injuries, and a failed experiment with HaHa Clinton-Dix as reasons for Nicholson seeing the field less, but expects him to regain his starting spot this upcoming season. We cover all that and much more, including how Bullock views the tumultuous front office, on an Eye On the Enemy Extra: Washington Redskins edition! Listen to it on the media player below or click here the player doesn’t load. New to podcasts? Check out our guide on how to listen to BGN! FLY EAGLES FLY! […]

  • 3 under the radar areas the Eagles can improve
    by Dave Mangels on June 17, 2019 at 3:00 pm

    Get better every day “Get better everyday” is a mantra that coaches and players alike use in the summer. Improvements come in all shapes and sizes, and today we’ll look at three areas that the Eagles could improve on that may not be high profile but certainly would help them win games. Coincidentally, they cover the offense, defense, and special teams. Offense: Stop fumbling Sheil Kapadia touched on this last week: According to SportRadar, Eagles running backs have fumbled 38 times since [Duce] Staley took over in 2013. That’s second-most in the NFL. On a percentage basis, they’ve fumbled on 1.35 percent of their touches during that span, which ranks fourth-worst. Last season the top 32 running backs by carries fumbled on 0.7% of their touches, half the rate of the Eagles under Staley’s tenure. Unfortunately for Staley and the Eagles, there’s no one player skewing the results for everyone else. Five running backs have fumbled on at least 1% of touches under Staley: Jay Ajayi (1.1%), Corey Clement (2.1%), Ryan Mathews (2.0%), Wendell Smallwood (1.1%), and Darren Sproles (1.5%). There have been successes though, as LeGarrette Blount was excellent at 0.5%, and LeSean McCoy’s 0.7% in his two seasons with Staley was solid. That may be one reason why they traded for Jordan Howard. Howard has just 5 fumbles on 850 touches, a 0.6% rate. However Miles Sanders fumbled on 3.2% of his touches in college. Staley has his work cut out for him. Defense: 1st downs Finding the first domino that fell is the key to fixing problems. Being good on first down isn’t the reason why defenses are good on third down, but it sure helps to avoid third and short if you’re not giving up yardage on first down. In 2017 the Eagles defense gave up just 4.33 yards per play on 1st and 10. On the ground they gave up just 3.5 yards per attempt, and in the air they were suffocating, averaging just 5.5 yards per pass attempt for a 77.1 passer rating. They made QBs play like Blaine Gabbert on first down. As a result, just 21% of third downs were of 3 or fewer yards, and they gave up a first down or touchdown on 1st or 2nd down on 3% of plays. 2018 was comparatively a disaster, averaging 6.68 yards on first and 10. There were no bright spots. They gave up 5.0 yards per carry. QBs averaged 8.5 yards per attempt and a 96.8 rating. The rate of short 3rd downs increased to 29%, and they gave up a first down or touchdown on 1st or 2nd down on 7% of plays. Special teams: Penalties Good or bad special teams gains or costs you “hidden yards.” It’s the same for penalties, so when you combine the two, it’s magnified. Eagles special teams struggled in 2018, and one reason was penalties. In 2017, Eagles special teams committed 0.79 penalties for 7.26 yards per game. In 2018 those rose to 0.94 penalties for 8.83 yards per game. Less than a penalty a game may not seem like much, but the Eagles ST penalty rate increased 15% and the yardage they gave up increased by even more. If that happened on offense or defense, it would be crippling. The Eagles were fortunate that none of the special teams penalties cost the Eagles a game in 2018. But they may not be so lucky in 2019 if they don’t improve. […]

  • Three Eagles make PFF’s list of the 50 best NFL players heading into the 2019 season
    by Brandon Lee Gowton on June 17, 2019 at 2:23 pm

    Lots of love for the trenches. Pro Football Focus recently unveiled their top 50 players heading into the 2019 NFL season. A total of three Philadelphia Eagles made PFF’s list. Here’s a look at the rankings, along with some thoughts. BRANDON GRAHAM 41. Edge Brandon Graham, Philadelphia Eagles: Sacks don’t tell the whole story for any player in the NFL, and no player epitomizes that more than Graham. He’s only recorded double-digit sacks in PFF’s system once (2017) but has been as consistent as they come from an overall pressure and pass-rush grade standpoint. He has recorded 45 or more pressures in six of his last seven seasons in the NFL and has earned 81.0-plus pass-rush grades in five of them. I think some might be sleeping on Graham heading into 2019. There’s no denying that Philly’s Super Bowl hero didn’t have his best season in 2018. Graham’s four sacks ranked tied for fourth lowest in his career. But it was apparent that Graham wasn’t operating at 100% last season. He had ankle surgery last May and he missed most of training camp ahead of the 2018 campaign. And even in a “down year,” Graham still finished last season with the most quarterback hurries of any edge rusher. He also ranked 27th out of 109 edge rushers in PFF’s pressure rate. The Eagles are clearly counting on Graham to bounce back or else they wouldn’t have re-signed him to a three-year contract worth $40 million back in March. There’s reason to believe the 31-year-old will age well considering his game is based on power and not just speed. Graham should also have a lot of tread left on the tires considering he didn’t become a full-time starter until 2015. The Eagles really need Graham to continue to be a force off the edge in 2019. JASON KELCE 24. C Jason Kelce, Philadelphia Eagles: Kelce’s four-year overall grade (91.1) ranks fourth among the 94 interior offensive linemen with at least 2,000 offensive snaps played since 2015, and his 93.4 run-block grade ranks first among the same group of qualifiers. Most recently, Kelce earned a career-high 88.0 pass-blocking grade in addition to his 80.7 run-blocking grade in 2018. He also earned a 94.6 run-blocking grade throughout the Eagles’ Super Bowl run in 2017, a single-season mark that ranks first in the PFF era (2006-18) among qualifying centers and one that landed him PFF’s top run-blocker award in 2017. From PFF’s Mike Renner following Kelce’s stellar 2017 campaign: “A combination of Pederson scheming more to Kelce’s strengths and Kelce getting stronger flipped the All-Pro switch once again inside the Eagles center. He’s been dominant in the run game, from the first snap to the last, with only one sub-par graded game all season.” It’s easy to take for granted just how good Kelce has been for the Eagles. He’s critical to their success. You can make the case he’s the team’s most irreplaceable player outside of Carson Wentz. Think back to any point Kelce has missed time. The Eagles had their worst season in recent history when Kelce tore his ACL in 2012. The team had their worst defeat in recent history when Kelce got hurt early into the Eagles’ 48-7 loss to the Saints. The Eagles are fortunate to not have lost The Bearded Wonder to retirement this offseason. FLETCHER COX 4. DI Fletcher Cox, Philadelphia Eagles: It’s a shame that Cox plays in the same league as Donald; he’d be the unanimous decision for top defensive interior if it weren’t for the Rams superstar. Cox’s pass-rush win rate in 2018 (20.9%) is the fourth-best single-season mark of any defensive interior in the PFF era. And his 91.2 pass-rush grade this past season, another career-high for the big man, also ranks inside the top 10 among qualifiers since 2006. From PFF’s Austin Gayle in his latest feature on Cox comparing him and Donald: “Among the 125 interior defensive linemen with 500 or more pass-rush snaps since 2015, Donald ranks first in pass-rush grade (95.9), total pressures (375) and pass-rush win percentage (22.1%). Cox ranks second behind Donald in all three metrics. And the trend continues, as Donald led all at his position in pass-rush grade in each of the past four seasons (2015-18). Cox ranked second two of the years (2017 & 2018) and third in another (2015).” Cool to see Cox getting recognized as one of the league’s very best players. Cox had a strong season last year despite playing next to guys like Haloti Ngata, Treyvon Hester, Bruce Hector, and “T.Y. McGill.” Now Cox is primarily going to be lining up next to the likes of Malik Jackson and a healthy Timmy Jernigan. Teams aren’t going to be able to double Cox as easily. And if they do, Jackson and Jernigan should be able to take advantage. The Eagles’ interior pass rush unit has the potential to be incredibly disruptive. ... Eagles players who notably missed PFF’s list include: Carson Wentz, Lane Johnson, Zach Ertz, Malcolm Jenkins, Brandon Brooks. Who got snubbed the worst? […]

  • Joe Douglas has a lot of good things to say about Doug Pederson and Howie Roseman
    by Alexis Chassen on June 17, 2019 at 1:50 pm

    The new Jets’ GM briefly remarked on his time in Philly. It hasn’t been long since Joe Douglas left the Eagles front office and took the General Manager position for the Jets. He joined NFL Insider Adam Schefter to talk about his new opportunity, why he made the move, and a few other Eagles tidbits. On how his family felt about being “uprooted” and having to move, he told Schefter: “I think they’re excited, I really do. We were able to make a lot of really great friends in the Philadelphia area, living in South Jersey, and we’re going to miss some of those people but the good news is we’re only an hour and a half away.” Douglas was also asked to reflect a little bit on his time with the Ravens, Bears and, of course, the Eagles, and specifically what he learned from guys like Doug Pederson and Howie Roseman. “Just the way Doug handled his first year. We started off 3-0, things were looking great, we lost some guys, we hit some pot holes along the way, we finished the season 7-9 and the way that he attacked that offseason and how he was able to unify the team with his messaging. And the type of guy he is, he’s as genuine and authentic of a person as you’ll ever meet. He’s a guy who says what he means, and means what he says, and players believe in him and they believe in his aggressive mindset, and so I love how he managed the team. And Howie, can’t say enough great things about how, the moves that Howie made to position that team. You talk about the Carson Wentz trade, you talk about all the home-grown players when he came back he re-signed to make the locker room feel like a safe place, the additions that we were able to add to that team, the culture we were able to build in that locker room. I feel like it all came together in that 2017 season and it really made that a special year.” Schefter went on to joke that given the right amount of money, Howie would be willing to trade one of his kids. And while Douglas wouldn’t go that far, he did elaborate on Roseman being a family-first kind of guy. “It was great to have a person that you work with that believes in that, that believes in a lot of the same things you do. If there was ever an issue with family, it was family first all the way and that was awesome.” Douglas later mentioned that he prepared for his interview with the Jets by watching a lot of game tape in order to be able to discuss some of the intricacies of the team. He did note that the film study came after he spoke with Howie Roseman about the opportunity. The new General Manager admitted that the whole situation is pretty surreal and he’s been doing a lot more talking than he’s used to — which also includes opening up to Albert Breer at Sports Illustrated as well. And while he’s excited for the opportunity, it wasn’t that easy for him to make the decision to leave this Philly team, according to Albert Breer: “I really feel like that franchise, that football team, they’re firing on all cylinders,” Douglas said. “It’s as deep of a team as I’ve ever seen there. And that’s including the ’17 team. There’s a lot of good going on. And so that made it a really tough decision.” When talking to Breer, he echoed that same sentiments he made to Schefter about Howie Roseman wanting to prove to the players that there was stability in the locker room following the Chip Kelly era. “[Roseman] knew the building was fractured,” Douglas said. “He knew that the players needed a safe harbor. And he wanted to send a message to the homegrown players that if you do right, you’re going to be cared for—we’re not going to throw the baby out with the bathwater. And I think that went a long way.” Douglas also mentioned to Breer that the Eagles had previously shown interest in Avery Williamson as a 2018 free agent, and liked a lot about tight end Chris Herndon ahead of the 2018 NFL Draft — who was taken by the Jets in Round 4. So, Douglas may be moving 90 minutes north, but there’s still love between him and the Eagles organization, especially Howie Roseman. That’s a relationship that was built on respect and will continue in that fashion even as he takes a new post with the Jets. […]

  • The Linc - Eagles players vote Dallas Goedert as most impressive player from spring practices
    by Brandon Lee Gowton on June 17, 2019 at 12:44 pm

    Philadelphia Eagles news and links for 6/17/19. Let’s get to the Philadelphia Eagles links ... Eagles spring wrap-up: Lingering questions and the locker room decides which player impressed most - The AthleticCornerback Jalen Mills: “Who impressed me? Dallas Goedert. In that red zone, he crazy. He’s dangerous in the red zone.” [...] Informed that he received the most votes of any player on the team (seven), more than twice that of the next-closest players (Hawkins, Ostman and Michel), Dallas Goedert delivered a brief victory biceps flex and a deflective laugh. “I’ve had a pretty good spring,” he said. “It’s cool to be recognized like that, so I appreciate my teammates.” Let’s remember some minicamp guys - BGNYou’d be excused if you have never heard of, let alone can recognize, Marken Michel. Sony Michel’s brother was an undrafted free agent from UMass in 2016 who got cut from Vikings camp and spent the next three years in Canada. He’s a 5’11” wide receiver. He wears #80, which was last seen looking weird on Jordan Matthews, and before that was given to such luminaries as Markus Wheaton, Adam Zaruba, and Ronald Johnson. He shouldn’t stick out. He should be just another warm body for late round pick developmental players to get some reps against. Eagles OL coach Jeff Stoutland’s many thoughts on OT Andre Dillard - PhillyVoiceOn what he has seen from Dillard in spring practices: “Consistent improvement. He improves every day. He’s exactly what he was when we evaluated him. He’s just smooth, a great athlete. A lot of people have asked me, or said, ‘His weakness is run blocking.’ I’ve heard that a million times. I kind of needle him with that a little bit. But I don’t necessarily believe that. Because a player was not asked to do that in college doesn’t mean that he’s deficient in that area. We do a lot of things here where we combination block. If we’re going to combination block, one of the important factors is for the trail player to get hip-to-hip, shoulder-to-shoulder. Well, to be able to do that, you have to be able to close the distance, and man can he close the distance. And that was on the video that we analyzed before the draft. You saw how fast he got into the guard, how quickly he surfaced that double-team block. That’s part of run-blocking -- a huge part of it.” Interesting Angle - Iggles BlitzThe Eagles are heavy at CB. The 2017 starters, Ronald Darby and Jalen Mills, are working their way back from injuries. The team still has high hopes for Sidney Jones, who is healthy this spring and playing well. Avonte Maddox showed tremendous potential last year and is someone the Eagles definitely want on the field. Rasul Douglas started 12 games over the past two years and could push for a starting role this season. Cre’Von LeBlanc came out of nowhere to have a terrific season in the slot last year. His ability to play inside makes him a valuable DB. The Eagles need to keep five CBs. That means someone could be dealt. The flip side is that the team had to deal with all kinds of injuries last year. Howie Roseman may not be in a rush to trade anyone, especially with Darby and Mills still on the mend. If Roseman does want to deal someone, the Jets make a lot of sense. Lawlor: Stability remains a hallmark of Eagles organization - PE.comCarson Wentz recently signed a four-year extension with the Eagles. The talented young quarterback has high expectations for himself and the team. One of the reasons is that this is his fourth season and quarterback is a position where experience really matters. Beyond just general experience, this will be Wentz’s fourth season in the same scheme. It will be his fourth season playing for the same head coach. He knows the playbook, but also has a strong relationship with the man calling the plays. They are very much on the same page and that has helped Wentz to develop into the star player who he is. Players need stability if they are to develop and reach their full potential. Teams need stability to win games. The Jets Got Their Man. What Now for GM Joe Douglas and Gang Green? - MMQBLeaving Philly wasn’t easy. And it wasn’t just because there were some pratfalls waiting for him 90 minutes north in Jersey. It was also because of where the Eagles are, which both promised to insulate his place as a hot young executive and provide chances to compete for championships. “I really feel like that franchise, that football team, they’re firing on all cylinders,” Douglas said. “It’s as deep of a team as I’ve ever seen there. And that’s including the ’17 team. There’s a lot of good going on. And so that made it a really tough decision.” Generating Buzz: 3 NFC Deep Sleepers to Monitor Heading into Camp - RotovizOf the new guys, Sanders finished his college career with 32 receptions for 193 yards. Howard’s struggles as a pass catcher are well documented, even though Eagles coach Duce Staley claimed to not be aware of the issue. Howard is one of only 16 RBs with at least 500 rush attempts in the last three seasons. Only four of the 16 have fewer receptions than Howard. None of them have a lower catch rate than Howard’s 66 percent. Darren Sproles has struggled with injuries in the last two seasons, and at the time of writing, he is not on the Eagles roster. Enter Boston Scott. PFF On How Data Is Changing NFL’s Present And Future - FMIAWe think the NFL now has a plethora of reasonable starting quarterbacks outside of the true superstars and any number of them can create top-10 production in any given year. Mid-tier quarterback production is more dependent on playmakers and scheme than ever before, so mid-tier quarterbacks need mid-tier contracts. The 7 best moments from ‘Hard Knocks’ we hope the Raiders can live up to - SB NationThe Oakland/soon-to-be Las Vegas Raiders were announced as the subjects of HBO’s Hard Knocks, much to the delight of NFL fans everywhere. The Raiders have always been one of the more newsworthy organizations in NFL history, whether it be for good or bad reasons. Prior to their headline-grabbing moves this offseason, it seemed like the Raiders would have been the right choice for next year’s show, when their move to Las Vegas is set to begin. And yet, this couldn’t come at a better time for them. With characters like Jon Gruden, Antonio Brown, Vontaze Burfict, and Richie Incognito, the Raiders were a slam dunk choice. ... Social Media Information: BGN Facebook Page: Click here to like our page BGN Twitter: Follow @BleedingGreen BGN Manager: Brandon Lee Gowton: Follow @BrandonGowton BGN Radio Twitter: Follow @BGN_Radio […]


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  • Which undrafted rookies have the best chances of making the Patriots’ roster?
    by Bernd Buchmasser on June 17, 2019 at 7:00 pm

    Will New England’s streak of undrafted rookies on the 53-man team stay alive? In 2004, the New England Patriots started a streak is active to this day: every single season over the last fifteen years, at least one undrafted rookie survived roster cutdowns to make the club’s opening day team. From players such as Ryan Allen and Brandon Bolden to obscure foot-notes in franchise history like Steve Maneri and David Herron to superstar cornerback Malcolm Butler, New England has a proud history of undrafted players. Will this streak be kept alive in 2019? With the Patriots having one of the deepest teams in the NFL, the natural reflex would be to say ‘no.’ The club’s track record and the list of rookies added via free agency this season vis-a-vis the current roster construction, however, may create a different outcome — and in turn make it sixteen straight years with at least one of them making the team. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves just yet. First, let’s take a look at this year’s contestants: TE Andrew Beck, RB Nick Brossette, WR Ryan Davis, SS Malik Gant, OC Tyler Gauthier, LB Terez Hall, FB Jakob Johnson*, WR Jakobi Meyers, CB D’Angelo Ross, OT Tyree St. Louis, WR Gunner Olszewski *International player Including Jakob Johnson, who was assigned to the Patriots through the NFL’s International Pathway Program and does not count against the 90-man offseason roster limit, the reigning world champions have eleven undrafted rookies on their roster. Some of which at positions of strength, others with a comparatively unclear picture ahead of them on the depth chart — the latter is the group most likely to survive cutdown day. This, in turn, means that the chances of some members of the undrafted rookie class do look worse than they do for others. Take the aforementioned Johnson, for example, who is behind arguably the NFL’s best fullback in James Develin. For him to make the team, Develin would have to suffer a significant injury (or Bill Belichick decide to bring back the T-formation just for the thrill of it). If everything goes according to plan, however, Johnson won’t make the 53-man squad. Based on the current roster, the chances also do not look particularly good for running back Nick Brossette, linebacker Terez Hall, and defensive backs Malik Gant and D’Angelo Ross. That does not mean they won’t be able to make it, of course: the Patriots will keep a player around if they see value in him, no matter how deep a position is — just think of sixth-round rookie Tom Brady as the fourth quarterback in 2000. When it comes to the question atop this article, however, we will have to eliminate these five men from the equation; they face an uphill climb steeper than others. This leaves six players: TE Andrew Beck, WR Ryan Davis, OC Tyler Gauthier, WR Jakobi Meyers, OT Tyree St. Louis, WR Gunner Olszewski All six men are playing positions currently unsettled: the Patriots have a new-look tight end depth chart following the departure of Rob Gronkowski, have no roster locks at wide receiver beyond Super Bowl MVP Julian Edelman and first-round investment N’Keal Harry, and currently view their starting left guard — Joe Thuney — as the best option at left tackle until Isaiah Wynn and Yodny Cajuste return from injury. Tyler Gauthier, an interior offensive lineman from Miami, might actually play on the deepest of the positions listed above. On paper, New England has ample depth at the guard spots and at center, but Thuney’s role on the team and the question marks at tackle make for an interesting dynamic moving forward. Under normal circumstances — i.e. Wynn returning to start at left tackle, Thuney moving back inside — Gauthier will get lost in the numbers game. This leaves five players, and every one of them has a solid argument for making the team beyond the depth at his position: TE Andrew Beck: Primarily as a blocking tight end. Has adequate size to improve as a target in the passing game but lacks functional athleticism and route-running savvy. WR Ryan Davis: Led Auburn in receptions (69, for 546 yards) and touchdowns (5) in 2018. Lined up all over the formation, but projects primarily as a slot receiver at the next level due to his combination of quickness and size. Also has experience as a punt returner. WR Jakobi Meyers: A bigger slot receiver that brings quickness and ball skills to the table. Was productive during his final season at N.C. State and caught a team-high 92 passes for 1,047 yards and 4 touchdowns. WR Gunner Olszewski: Developmental college cornerback that was productive on special teams. Lacks size and experience at wide receiver, but has the athletic skills to make the move. OT Tyree St. Louis: Brings plenty of experience — he started 34 straight games to end his college career — and versatility to the table, as well as an intriguing frame. Needs to improve his technique as a longer-term project. All five players listed above are developmental options to a certain degree, with Olszewski in particular being a project at this point in time. A similar label can be attached to Beck and St. Louis as well, however, given their college careers. Meyers and Davis, meanwhile, are more polished but still need plenty of work to compete at the next level. Realistically, all five men are candidates for the practice squad and would benefit from time to work on their skills. So, who does have the best chance of making the 53-man team in late August? That depends on what you are looking for: when it comes to competition or the comparative lack thereof, players like the five listed above might have the best chance. When it comes to collegiate production, maybe Malik Gant or Terez Hall could return to the equation. When looking at a potential special teams role, Andrew Beck might have a solid chance. As things stand right now, Beck, Davis and company appear to have the best odds. Ultimately, however, it all comes down to performance over the next months — this will dictate whether or not 2019 will be the sixteenth straight year of an undrafted rookie finding himself on the Patriots’ opening day roster. […]

  • Patriots reveal what their 2018 Super Bowl rings mean to them
    by Bernd Buchmasser on June 17, 2019 at 3:00 pm

    Related: Watch the Patriots players react to receiving the biggest Super Bowl rings ever Earlier this month, the New England Patriots officially closed the book on the 2018 season: at a party at team owner Robert Kraft’s home, the club handed out the championship rings earned for beating the Los Angeles Rams 13-3 in Super Bowl 53. The rings are the biggest that have ever been created for such a purpose, but their actual value goes far beyond the 422 diamonds they have been made out of. “When I look at the ring, I think about the people that made this possible — starting with the guys in that locker room. I truly felt like we had a brotherhood,” team captain and special teams ace Matthew Slater told at the ceremony when speaking about the ring’s meaning to him. “This ring is a testament to the character of the men in that locker room over the 2018 season. When I look at this ring, that’s what I think of.” Slater is not the only man on the club to see the ring as representation of the squad that were the 2018 Patriots — a team that had to face its fair share of doubters on the way to capturing the franchise’s sixth Vince Lombardi trophy. “This is just a culmination of a tremendous amount of hard work done by an incredible group of people,” offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels pointed out. “Each ring is special because it’s that team’s ring,” continued New England’s offensive signal caller, who has been a part of all six championships brought back to the Northeast by the Patriots. McDaniels also went on to speak about the mystique of the Patriots organization and what the underlying foundation of its success is: “People oftentimes wonder what the magic and the mystery is of our organization, and it’s just the people we had.” Fellow offensive assistant Dante Scarnecchia, who won five Super Bowls as the Patriots’ offensive line coach, sees the ring as more of a manifestation of memories collected over the course of what was almost a year towards ultimately (re)capturing the title. “It’s not so much the ring for me — it’s the memories that you keep drawing back on through out the season,” said the 71-year-old, who is back in his role for 2019. The memories Scarnecchia spoke of are of course not just tied to the games themselves, but also to everything that led up to them — the countless hours of preparation from spring to early February to get to that final hill to climb. “You just go back to the time of all the practices that you put in, all the hard work. You think about the brotherhood, the bond you built with the guys on the team,” said 2018 rookie running back Sony Michel. Michel, who scored the lone touchdown of Super Bowl 53 when he found the end zone from two yards out in the fourth quarter, was not the only first-year Patriot to call himself a champion at the conclusion of the season. Danny Shelton, for example, was also new on the team: New England acquired him via trade from the Cleveland Browns in the offseason to play a rotational role along the Patriots’ interior defensive line. “Coming from an 0-16 season with the Browns the year before, and making it to the Super Bowl and winning one of these... I can say that I earned it with my guys,” said the former first-round draft pick, who was re-signed by New England earlier this offseason. Shelton was not the only ex-Brown on the Patriots’ 2018 roster, though, as one of his former teammates also went the literal worst-to-first route from Cleveland to the Super Bowl. “Just a great feeling, and it means the world when you talk about career,” said cornerback Jason McCourty. One of four defenders to play all 65 snaps in the title game, the veteran earned his first Super Bowl ring — an accomplishment made even more special by the fact that he did so alongside his twin brother: Devin McCourty, who obviously already owned two championship rings entering the 2018 campaign. Also earning his first Super Bowl ring was fellow starting defensive back Stephon Gilmore, who like the McCourtys did not leave the field even once against the Rams. The soft-spoken cornerback, who was arguably the NFL’s best in 2018 and made the game-clinching interception against Los Angeles, spoke about his feelings heading into the celebration event: “I couldn’t wait to see the ring, and the ring is more than what I expected,” Gilmore said. “It’s a great feeling to be a Super Bowl champ.” “It’s been a dream of mine ever since I was a little boy to have a Super Bowl ring and to help a team win a Super Bowl. It really is a dream come true,” added defensive lineman John Simon. Like the aforementioned Sony Michel, Danny Shelton and Jason McCourty, Simon also earned a ring in his first season with the Patriots — and like all three of them, he will get a chance to add to his collection this upcoming season. The same also holds true for one of the most experienced players on New England’s roster — but one that was not with the team when it won its previous Super Bowls: Brian Hoyer left the Patriots in 2012 only to return in 2017, capping his time away with two title-game losses. In his third try, however, the 33-year-old finally earned his first championship and the ring that is the mark of a winner in the NFL. “I look at this and everything in my career, the ups and downs, it’s all worth it,” said Hoyer, who also spent time with six teams before re-joining the Patriots midway through the 2017 season. “It took me ten years to get this ring, and I told those other guys: if my first one is the biggest one, I’ll be happy.&rdquo […]

  • New England Patriots links 6/17/19 - Caserio case continues; Predicting who’s primed for 2019 breakout
    by Marima on June 17, 2019 at 2:30 pm

    Daily news and links for Monday TEAM TALK Paul Perillo and Megan O’Brien debate which newcomer stood out the most during minicamp. Erik Scalavino gives us the joint practice dates with the Detroit Lions. Angelique Fiske reports that with Monster Jam taking over Gillette Stadium this past Saturday, some Patriots and their families climbed up for a ride. Patriots All Access: Inside the ring ceremony; Minicamp recap; the state of the team heading into final break before Training Camp; More. (19.14 min. video) All Access One-on-One: Brandon Bolden. (3.02 min. video) Happy Father’s Day! The Harmons, Develins and Gilmores share Father’s Day messages for their dads. (1 min. video) LOCAL LINKS Mike Reiss shares some quick-hit weekend thoughts: Benjamin Watson from ‘The New Dad’s Playbook’: Love is everything; Nick Caserio’s place with the Patriots moving forward; More. Steve Balestrieri (PatsFans) Sunday Patriots news, AFC East notes: Thoughts on the Caserio mess with Houston; More. Ryan Hannable says Nick Caserio is staying in New England, but adds it doesn’t necessarily mean the situation is over. Tom E. Curran and Phil Perry’s Patriots 3 & Out: Why would Nick Caserio even want to leave for Texans? Henry McKenna (PatriotsWire) 4 thoughts on the Nick Caserio saga: Could Texans still land him in 2020? Mike Reiss reports that one day after trading TE Michael Roberts to New England for a conditional 2020 7th-round pick, the deal was rescinded because conditions weren’t met. The Lions then waived Roberts, who didn’t pass his physical with the Patriots. Evan Lazar puts out another installment of Patriots Playbook: The ‘Wham’ play-action design. David Latham (LastWordOnSports) Tom Brady, Peyton Manning, and the aging quarterback. Nick Briscoe (PatriotsWire) 6 Patriots primed for breakout seasons in 2019. 1. TE Ryan Izzo. David Latham, Daniel Barletta (LastWordOnSports) Days to kickoff countdown: No. 92, Ray Agnew, Ferric Collons - No. 83 Wes Welker. John Rooke Thinking Out Loud: New England sports fans, it’s time to appreciate our lot in life. NESN shares Tom Brady showing his Dad some love in touching Father’s Day Instagram photo. Mike D’Abate (FullPressCoverage) Profiles: From father to son. /Good read. Robert Alvarez (PatsFans) Tom Brady celebrates Brazilian Valentines Day. Sean Sylver relives the most crushing losses in Boston sports history. /’I’ll take “Gut punches” for $500, Alex’. Trailer (YouTube) Showtime’s ‘100% Julian Edelman’ official promo. (30 second video) NATIONAL NEWS NFL Nation (ESPN) The surprise offseason standout for all 32 teams. Patriots: Jamie Collins. Mike Florio (ProFootballTalk) Report: Nick Caserio has a contractual provision that keeps him from leaving New England. Mike Florio (ProFootballTalk) Does the Caserio clause comply with league rules? Mike Florio (ProFootballTalk) Can Patriots salvage their relationship with Nick Caserio? /Yeesh... Florio needs some ‘Drama’mine. Sarah Barshop (ESPN) Sources: Pats drop grievance as Texans move on. Mike Florio (ProFootballTalk) Why aren’t the Texans hiring a G.M.? Robert Mays (The Ringer) Coaches’ power is increasing—and the appeal of the GM job is changing because of it. Albert Breer (SI) Monday Morning QB: The Jets got their man. What now for GM Joe Douglas and Gang Green? PFF Analysis Team (SI) Guest FMIA: Pro Football Focus on how data is changing NFL’s present and future. Conor Orr (SI) Morning Huddle: If mandatory minicamps are so important, why do teams skip the last day? Bucky Brooks ( Two-point conversion: Julio Jones among top five NFL players who SHOULD get paid; Plus, a look at DJax’s familiar role. Travis Durkee (Sporting News) NFL news and notes: Patrick Mahomes, Mitchell Trubisky, Baker Mayfield make minicamp headlines. Kristopher Knox (Bleacher Report) Every NFL team’s biggest X-factor for 2019. Patriots: Michael Bennett. Brad Gagnon (Bleacher Report) Glaring NFL roster holes that could affect 2019 season. Patriots: Tight end. Albert Breer (SI) In Praise Of ... the game of football. Kalyn Kahler (SI) In Praise Of ... Football hype videos. mrmilholen (TitansWire) Could the Titans trade TE Jonnu Smith to the Patriots? Jeremy Bergman ( Memorable NFL stadium farewells: Patriots, Chiefs lead top 10. Zach Brook (NBC Sports Washington) NFL sends out update on new pass interference rule. Andrew Brocker (Independent) NFL 2019: Win total over and under tips for new season including New England Patriots, Cleveland Browns and Dallas Cowboys. Ashley Munson (TheGruelingTruth) A quick dive into the brand new Dolphins. Manish Mehta (NY Daily News) Joe Douglas and Adam Gase can turn the Jets into winners… if they work together. Manish Mehta (NY Daily News) Jets WR coach on Sam Darnold: ’He’s a f---ing dude with a f---ing arm. And he’s accurate as sh---.” /Eh... wake me when he’s accurate as f---. John Murphy (BuffaloBills) 5 ways the Bills offense made progress this offseason. 1. Second year improvement from Josh Allen. Nick Filipowski (WIVB4) Jordan Poyer: “The sky is the limit” for defense and offense. MMQB Staff (SI) If you could start an NFL team with one non-quarterback, who would you pick? Gallery ( Celebrating Fathers Day - The fathers and sons of the NFL. Instant Debate ( Which NFL fan base is most deserving of a championship this season? Mike Florio (ProFootballTalk) Pat Bowlen’s passing may force HOF to change its ring/jacket policy. Cody Benjamin (CBS Sports) Top NFL players by jersey number: Ranking 1-99 for the league’s 100th season. Doug Farrar (TouchdownWire) Slideshow: The NFL’s 11 best edge defenders. Albert Breer, Jenny Vrentas, and Conor Orr (SI) The MMQB NFL Podcast: Unraveling the Texans’ GM drama. (44 min.) EXTRACURRICULAR Isaac Rochell (ESPN) Social media detox: Chargers’ Isaac Rochell implores us to take notice. Matt Yoder (Awful Announcing) Former Pro Bowl CB DeAngelo Hall is NFL Network’s latest addition. […]

  • An upset Nick Caserio could spell trouble for the Patriots
    by Pat Lane on June 17, 2019 at 2:00 pm

    The Texans were blocked from even talking to the Patriots executive. The Houston Texans have ended their pursuit of Nick Caserio, so he is staying with the New England Patriots. This is obviously huge for the team, as Bill Belichick has said many times how important he is to the team. The saga got me thinking about Caserio, though: the job he does in New . England, and how the team might be effected moving forward. First of all, Caserio has an absolutely terrible contract. It’s wild to think that he can’t even talk to another team, as has been reported. You wonder if he was totally on board with that when he signed his deal. The big question now is whether he’s upset about the situation. If he is pissed that the Patriots wouldn’t let him talk to Houston, and feels kind of trapped, one would assume that would impact his performance. If he holds Belichick responsible, it could erode the important relationship that they have built over the years. Even if it’s only in the back of his mind, if any part of him was thinking of leaving, that might have an impact on his job. For someone who, other than Bill Belichick, might be the most important staff member on the team, that is not good news. Especially since they already lost a ton of assistant coaches and staff members. The revelation that the Patriots’ staff members do so much more work than anyone else in the league, mostly because they have so few staff members, surprised me. Obviously, I didn’t doubt how hard they worked, but knowing that they have so many different jobs to do is interesting. Caserio, for instance, is the de facto general manager, but also helps out coaching, and is in Josh McDaniels’ head set on game days. That’s a lot of hats for one guy to wear. That also means the Patriots seriously rely on his expertise, and him being pissed at the few people above him could spell serious trouble. Or maybe there are others in the organization who are upset at the way the Patriots handled this, and it effects their jobs. The trickle-down effect from this could be endless. Then again... everything could be totally fine. Maybe Caserio had no interest in going to Houston in the first place, and wants to at least stay through this season until his contract runs out next year. Even if there is some tension, the Patriots have shown the ability, time after time, to put that aside and work together to win football games. If you need me this summer, I’ll be in the corner telling myself everything will be all right. Hopefully — and if we’re being honest, probably — everything will be just fine, and the Patriots will once again be competing for a championship at the end of the season. That optimism hasn’t failed us yet, partly because of staff members just like Nick Caserio, who go above and beyond for this team. Pat is a host of The Patriot Nation Podcast Interact with him on Twitter @plane_pats […]

  • Patriots roster breakdown: CB Stephon Gilmore
    by Bernd Buchmasser on June 17, 2019 at 11:00 am

    Arguably the NFL’s best cornerback, Gilmore returns for another season as the Patriots’ number one. The New England Patriots, who will be off until training camp starts in late July, currently have 90 players on their active roster. However, only 53 of them will be able to survive the cutdowns on August 31 and ultimately make the team. Over the course of the summer, we will take a look at the players fighting for those spots to find out who has the best chances of helping the Patriots defend their Super Bowl title. Today, the series continues with one of the best defenders in all of football. Name: Stephon Gilmore Position: Cornerback Jersey number: 24 Age: 28 Experience: 7 Size: 6’1, 200 lbs. 2018 review: Stephon Gilmore entered the second season of the five-year, $65 million contract that he signed with the Patriots during 2017’s free agency with high expectations. After all, he established himself as a true shutdown cornerback over the second half of the 2017 campaign. A reliable and durable defensive back with a knack for the big play, he regularly showed his abilities to cover the NFL’s best offensive weapons one-on-one. 2018 was a continuation of that, and more. Gilmore appeared in all sixteen of the Patriots’ regular season contests and was on the field for a combined 1,014 of New England’s 1,043 defensive snaps (97.2%) — the most of all Patriots defenders and a clear improvement over his 77.0% playing time share a year earlier. What also improved was his performance as he became even more consistent as a coverage player than he already was in 2017. Gilmore proved himself a cornerstone of the Patriots’ defense and the club’s top cornerback from week one on. Looking more confident than during his first year in the system, the 28-year-old surrendered only 37 pass completions on 90 targets during the regular season for just 403 yards, four touchdowns and two interceptions. He also registered a sack, two forced fumbles, and one recovery. In short: Gilmore was the playmaker he was paid to be. Playing some outstanding football as a press-man boundary defender also capable of guarding zones or playing from the slot, Gilmore finished the 2018 regular season as the highest-graded cornerback in the NFL by advanced analytics website Pro Football Focus. On top of it, he was also named a first-team All-Pro for the first time in his career, and showed why he very much belonged in the conversation of the best cornerbacks in the NFL right now. The playoffs were further confirmation of that: Gilmore rarely left the field during the Patriots’ three postseason games, and missed only three of his club’s combined 188 defensive snaps (98.4%). His durability was not his only strength: going against some of the best the league had to offer last season — from Keenan Allen to Sammy Watkins to Brandin Cooks — Gilmore was able to elevate his game even further. With the exception of a coverage breakdown against Allen in the divisional round and a long pass given up to Watkins in the AFC title game, Gilmore was essentially in lock-down mode all postseason long. Overall, he surrendered just 4 receptions on 16 targets for 133 yards. He did give up a touchdown, yes, but he also came away with two interceptions — the second of the which the game-clincher in Super Bowl 53. It doesn’t get much better than that. 2019 preview: Entering the third year of his contract, Gilmore’s role is set in stone: he will again serve as New England’s number one cornerback and thus allow the Patriots to essentially remove one offensive player from the equation. Consequently, the two-time Pro Bowler will therefore rarely leave the field again and form the core of New England’s secondary alongside safeties Devin McCourty and Patrick Chung. Gilmore brings an impressive athletic skill set to the table and has shown the ability to function well within the Patriots’ secondary and its coverage schemes — whether they dictate him to play his speciality, man-to-man, or to line up in zone. Barring injury, Gilmore should therefore be expected to play more than 95% of New England’s defensive snaps yet again while oftentimes (but not exclusively) going against the most talented and physically imposing wide receivers the Patriots will face. Last year, Gilmore was up to this task and showed that he was capable of standing up to whichever challenge he faced. And if judged by the few open practices so far this spring, 2019 should be more of the same: the veteran cornerback will continue to be one of the NFL’s true shutdown cornerbacks and live up to his $9.17 million salary cap hit — a number that was slightly brought down earlier this offseason by converting parts of Gilmore’s salary to a signing bonus. The contractual change — the second within the last nine months — should not be seen as anything more than a business decision, though: Gilmore is still the Patriots’ best coverage player, and arguably also the best cornerback in all of football. […]


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Big Savings at ProFanGear with Fanatics.comCalling all New Orleans Saints Fans. Thanks for visiting this news blog site.Shop the newest New Orleans Saints fan gear at If you are looking for gear click the link to Shop for New Orleans Saints Gear. I’ve teamed up with Fanatics to connect my readers with the best selection of officially licensed New Orleans Saints fan gear out there. If you purchase through my links, I will earn a commission that will support the work I do on this site. New Orleans Saints fans bookmark this page and keep up with the latest Saints news and happenings. Thanks again for visiting.



Canal Street Chronicles - All Posts Home of the Who Dat Nation...where pigs fly and hell has frozen over.

  • Saints GM Mickey Loomis on Michael Thomas, AD, and more
    by Chris Dunnells on June 17, 2019 at 1:00 pm

    Some fun quotes here from the Saints general manager. New Orleans Saints General Manager Mickey Loomis appeared recently on Mad Dog Sports Radio on XM Radio. Loomis was asked questions about the recently extended Cam Jordan, the current status of contract negotiations with Michael Thomas, and about the organization of which he previously oversaw, the New Orleans Pelicans. On Michael Thomas: ICYMI: @AdamSchein asks Saints GM Mickey Loomis if the team has had any conversations with star WR Michael Thomas on a new deal— Mad Dog Sports Radio (@MadDogRadio) June 13, 2019 Adam Schein: “Anything brewing, anything cooking with Michael Thomas in terms of conversations, negotiations on a new deal?” Mickey Loomis: “Yeah, listen, we’ve had some conversations, and I like keeping that close to the vest until there’s something to report. Look, we love what Mike’s done for us. He’s a fantastic player, one of the best at his position in the league, and hopefully we can keep him as a Saint for a longtime as well.” Schein: “Now I know you want to keep it close to the vest, but is it just fair to say you had some conversations, are they ongoing conversations? Is this a re-occurring conversation?” Loomis: “Yeah I think again, we’ll just keep that to ourselves Adam, but, it’s fair to say we’ve had some conversations.” On Anthony Davis and Zion Williamson: ICYMI: @AdamSchein asks Pelicans EVP of Basketball Operations Mickey Loomis about the latest with Anthony Davis & the importance of winning the NBA draft lottery— Mad Dog Sports Radio (@MadDogRadio) June 13, 2019 Adam Schein: “What can you tell us about the latest with Anthony Davis? What’s the latest in terms of the trade conversations, is there a time-frame for a resolution on Anthony Davis?” Mickey Loomis: “Yeah, look Adam I think you need to call David and ask him that. That’s his bailiwick now, and so I’m going to leave that to him.” Schein: “And he has the ability to do whatever’s best for the organization?” Loomis: “Absolutely. That’s the model we believe. We believe in hiring an executive vice president general manager, and empowering them to make those decisions.” Schein: “Now I know we haven’t had the draft yet, but can you hit home for me and the listeners, getting the number one pick, winning the lottery, I think Zion is going to be unbelievable. Can you describe what that meant winning the lottery for the organization and for the city?” Loomis: “I think more than anything [pauses] this last season was a downer, and all the activity around Anthony was a downer for our fans. And so, to win the lottery and have a player available as exciting as Zion just re-energized our city relative to basketball. David Griffin hire, winning the lottery, all those things have just built excitement and re-kindled the fire around the Pelicans, and it’s tangible. I’m sure you’ve seen a few of the YouTube videos and things like that, that have happened around our city and so it’s been exciting. Look, I asked David if he thought Zion could play Tight End or D-End for us so maybe we can get a little double duty out of him, he’s that explosive of an athlete. I was saying to [Griffin] it felt very similar to when we drafted Reggie Bush in 2006. There was an excitement about that, that energized our city at a time that we needed it after Katrina, and this feels a lot like that.” Great stuff here. Check out Mad Dog Sports Radio - you can follow them on Twitter @MadDogRadio - for more great interviews! […]

  • Jared Cook the Saints’ biggest “X-factor” in 2019
    by Chris Dunnells on June 16, 2019 at 3:00 pm

    There’s a wide range of possibilities for the veteran. When we’re talking about “X factors” for the Saints in 2019, we’re not talking about the player who lines up in the “X” position as a pass catcher. No, instead we’re talking about the player who steps up for the team in a big way to make a difference at the position from the year before. Think Baker Mayfield for the Browns, George Kittle for the 49ers, or Jason McCourty for the New England Patriots in 2018. When Bleacher Report named the biggest X-factor type player for the Saints in 2019, they went with veteran tight end Jared Cook: Jimmy Graham last played for the New Orleans Saints in 2014. With all due respect to decorated veteran Ben Watson, 2014 was the last year in which the team had a dangerous receiving threat at the tight end position. Watson had just 400 yards and two scores in 2018. The offseason addition of Pro Bowler Jared Cook, however, could change this. Cook racked up 896 yards and six touchdowns with the Oakland Raiders last season, despite being the only pass-catcher opposing defenses had to focus on. With the Saints, he’ll be the No. 2 target behind Michael Thomas, and he’ll have the potential to change the way the passing attack operates. It’s hard to argue too much with the rationale here. If Cook could be just a fraction of the player Jimmy Graham was in the New Orleans Saints offense, the Saints offense will be on another level in 2019. This is a Jared Cook fan account now.#ProBowlVote + @JaredCook89#RaiderNation | #PITvsOAK— Oakland Raiders (@Raiders) December 9, 2018 Inject this into my veins now, please. […]

  • Alvin Kamara & Teddy Bridgewater trade jerseys at minicamp, Saints sign Rishard Matthews [Podcast]
    by Deuce Windham on June 14, 2019 at 1:39 pm

    Minicamp wraps up with a little bit of fun. Camp Bodies or nah? The Saints have brought in a lot of players in the past month to add both veteran leadership and young bodies to the roster as training camp closes in. One of those players, Rishard Matthews, did enough in his tryout in mini-camp to earn a contract. Podcast Topics: -Alvin Kamara & Teddy Bridgewater swap jerseys for laughs-Drew Brees is back! -Marshon Lattimore starting preseason camps looking strong-Signing of Rishard Matthews, releasing Travin Dural, and what it means for the other receivers on the roster.-Will Cameron Meredith make the team? There are multiple ways to catch your favorite Saints podcast! You can watch it on YouTube (to see the live comments from Who Dat Nation) or download it on iTunes/Google Play/Spreaker. As always, thanks for listening. Want to help keep the podcast on the air and film studies coming out? Consider becoming a Patreon sponsor. Whatever amount you wish to donate per month (1 dollar? 5?) helps us tremendously! […]

  • Why the New Orleans Saints could win it all, Part VI: Defensive Line
    by Chris Dunnells on June 14, 2019 at 1:00 pm

    The Saints defensive line was surprisingly effective in 2018. Bringing back a series of pieces from the past three years, we’re going to check each position group on the New Orleans Saints and discuss how they improve the Saints’ chances of making a run in 2019. On to the first position group on defense: the defensive line! To view previous parts, see below: Part I: Offensive Line Part II: Running Backs Part III: Tight Ends Part IV: Wide Receivers Part V: Quarterbacks The New Orleans Saints defensive line made massive strides in 2018 from years past. In fact, come the end of the 2018 season, the SB Nation mother ship ranked the Saints defensive line among the NFL’s best, saying this: New Orleans finds itself on here after a few solid draft choices. Cameron Jordan is an elite defensive end. Sheldon Rankins has developed into one of the most disruptive defensive tackles in the league in his third season. Other players, like David Onyemata and Marcus Davenport, have been solid for the Saints as well. The Saints lost Alex Okafor in free agency to the Kansas City Chiefs, and Sheldon Rankins went down in 2018 to the same injury which sidelined Okafor in 2017, a torn Achilles. On top of that, David Onyemata is likely going to miss the first few games of the 2018 due to a to-be-determined suspension for possession of marijuana. So here’s why they’re better in 2019: Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images To compensate for the loss of Okafor and the injury to Rankins, the Saints brought in a host of bodies to fill out the defensive line. The Saints signed former first round pick and two-time Super Bowl champ Malcom Brown from the New England Patriots to play defensive tackle in place of Rankins. The Saints also signed former second round pick Mario Edwards Jr to play in rotation at defensive end. Mario Edwards isn’t likely to take the majority of the snaps left behind from Alex Okafor, though. No, those snaps will likely be given to 2018 first round pick Marcus Davenport, as big things are expected from the big fella in 2019. After the Saints traded up for Davenport in the first round of the 2018 NFL Draft, the Saints had to be patient with him last year as injuries hindered his growth. Davenport missed three games last season due to an injured toe, but when he was on the field, he was more than impressive. Davenport saw his snap counts grow week to week as the season progressed (when he was healthy). For instance, in Week 1, Davenport was on the field for only 34% of the team’s defensive snaps (compare that to someone like Cam Jordan, who typically averages over 90% of the team’s defensive snaps per game). By the time Week 17 came, Davenport was on the field for over 72% of the team’s defensive snaps, a significant increase from the start of the season. This increase in snaps is part of the reason why the Saints are not as worried about the loss of production from Alex Okafor signing with the Chiefs. Between Marcus Davenport and Cam Jordan, the Saints have a pair of complete defensive ends the likes of which the Saints haven’t seen since the Jordan/Galette or the Cam Jordan/Will Smith days. As Davenport (and Onyemata and a healthy Rankins) continue to grow, the Saints defensive line will continue to be among the NFL’s elite. […]

  • Saints add Rishard Matthews to receiver mix, waive Travin Dural
    by John J. Hendrix on June 13, 2019 at 9:14 pm

    Rishard Matthews is joining the Saints, and that’s something to be excited about. Rishard Matthews is no longer available. According to ESPN’s Field Yates, the free agent wide receiver has been picked up by the New Orleans Saints following his three-day tryout at the team’s mandatory minicamp this week. The team waived LSU product Travin Dural in a corresponding move. Matthews had some impressive moments out of the gate during the open portion of practice to the media and fans, which included some touchdown grabs and good one-on-one reps. 2018 was a year he’d like to forget, as he was ailed by a hamstring injury with the Jets, which ultimately forced him to go on injured reserve. Before that, he asked for his release from the Titans due to a lack of playing time and targets. Pairing up with Drew Brees and with Cameron Meredith still not at practicing levels, Matthews is certainly in a prime spot to move up the depth chart and has a real shot at making the 53-man roster. He’ll turn 30 in October. […]


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Washington Redskins Blog

Big Savings at ProFanGear with Fanatics.comCalling all Washington Redskins Fans. Thanks for visiting this news blog site.Shop the newest Washington Redskins fan gear at If you are looking for gear click the link to Shop for Washington Redskins Gear. I’ve teamed up with Fanatics to connect my readers with the best selection of officially licensed Washington Redskins fan gear out there. If you purchase through my links, I will earn a commission that will support the work I do on this site. Washington Redskins fans bookmark this page and keep up with the latest Redskins news and happenings. Thanks again for visiting.



Hogs Haven - All Posts Home of Washington Redskins Fans Since 1679

  • Daily Slop: Redskins Media Links Roundup
    by Philip Hughes on June 17, 2019 at 2:16 pm

    A collection of Redskins articles from around the web Dwayne Haskins Has Shown Steady Improvement This Offseason, But There's Still 'A Long Way To Go'The Redskins' first-round quarterback showed flashes of brilliance and spells of mediocrity during rookie minicamp, OTAs and veteran minicamp over the past month. For Defensive Lineman Daron Payne, There's Always More Work To Be DoneFollowing an impressive rookie campaign, Payne has frequented Redskins Park since January and will continue training at the team facility ahead of training camp at the end of July. Redskins QB Discussion: Dwayne Haskins vs Case Keenum vs Colt McCoy | What Should They do?The NFL Live crew talks about the Washington Redskins quarterback situation and if Dwayne Haskins should start week 1. Redskins Name Carlyle Neyazi As Executive Director Of The Washington Redskins Charitable FoundationIn her previous role as the Senior Director of Development and Special Events for the Foundation, Neyazi was responsible for fundraising and marketing of the team’s philanthropic efforts. Landon Collins glad to finally tackle Giants RB Barkley - NFL.comLandon Collins wasn't allowed to lay a finger on Giants RB Saquon Barkley last year, but the newly signed Redskins safety is now being paid handsomely to do just that twice a year. New push to put former Redskins running back Larry Brown in the Hall of Fame - The Washington PostLarry Brown went from an eighth-round pick to an MVP. There's a competition brewing among the Redskins defensive linemen, per Daron Payne | NBC Sports WashingtonWhile sitting down with Larry Michael on Redskins Nation, Daron Payne explained that some key members of the defensive line have a bit of a bet going for the 2019 season. Redskins Weekly Ep. 4 | Dual Hall of Famer Joe Gibbs, Trent Williams, No Hard Knocks & MoreJust taking a look at some Washington Redskins articles from across the internet over the last few weeks and of course, giving opinions... Giants-Redskins rivalry about to get heated: 'It's going to be crazy' - NFC East- ESPNBetween Landon Collins switching teams and the Daniel Jones vs. Dwayne Haskins debate from the draft, this division rivalry now has some extra juice. Josh Norman's offseason: Blue Angels, Rio Grande, helping others - NFC East- ESPNThe outspoken cornerback revels in his wide-ranging adventures and serving others, and scoffs at the idea that he's just "a controversial guy." All-Analytics Team: Patrick Mahomes, Aaron Donald dominate - NFL.comCynthia Frelund looks to the numbers to fill out a roster of analytics all-stars. What makes Christian McCaffrey such a dynamo for the Panthers? Why is Chris Jones so important to the Chiefs? Social media raises security red flags for NFL teamsWith social media offering vast swaths of data about players – from their home to whereabouts in real time – teams have been pounding home the focus on info security. It may never be more important than the next month. […]

  • The Daily Twitter: 17 June 2019
    by Bill-in-Bangkok on June 17, 2019 at 4:00 am

    News, links to articles, updates and more from DC area writers and national sports journalists The Daily Twitter will be posted at the beginning of every day (at midnight in Washington, DC). The goal is to give readers a handy spot to check the Redskins beat writers & bloggers, and national sports journalists to keep up on the latest news about the Redskins, the NFL, and sports in general, along with a smattering of other things. NFL News twitter feed: Tweets from Redskins twitter feed: Tweets from Ryan Kerrigan is all grown up. Today, he celebrates his first Father's Day.— Grant Paulsen (@granthpaulsen) June 16, 2019 Happy #FathersDay— Washington Redskins (@Redskins) June 16, 2019 As a rookie, #Redskins Daron Payne finished with 25 run stops. That was good for 10th best among all interior defensive lineman. #HTTR— PFF WAS Redskins (@PFF_Redskins) June 17, 2019 ⚫️ B L A C K O U T ⚫️#HTTR #Redskins @ChrisThompson_4— DC Sports Experience (@DCsportsXP) June 16, 2019 Counting down the Sundays till football is back— Washington Redskins (@Redskins) June 16, 2019 Graduate of THE Stanford University! We made it— Bryce Love (@Blovee_20) June 16, 2019 CAVE MAN WALK. I do this drill of re-setting into stance after each step to teach blockers to keep their knees bent when they step. This drill doesn’t allow them to STAND UP and play HIGH. Gavin Watts and Brady Huegen, Brees Central IL— Paul Alexander (@CoachPaulAlex) June 16, 2019 Rams are in no hurry to give Sean McVay the contractual adjustment he deserves— ProFootballTalk (@ProFootballTalk) June 16, 2019 An old @dallascowboys scout once shared this story. During pre-draft interviews, coach Tom Landry had his scouts make a note every time a player mentioned their dad. Landry felt players with strong relationships with their dads were better equipped to handle the NFL. #dadsmatter— Jim Nagy (@JimNagy_SB) June 16, 2019 If you had mid-June in the "when does Aaron Rodgers make his first passive-aggressive comment about his new coach?" office pool, congratulations— ProFootballTalk (@ProFootballTalk) June 16, 2019 Never give up!— Buitengebieden (@buitengebieden_) June 15, 2019 Well we need somebody. Give him a one year prove it deal and see what he can do.— Fkn' HAWKE (@Fkn_Hawke) June 15, 2019 Give a raise to the person who suggested this. Awesome.— Grant Paulsen (@granthpaulsen) June 17, 2019— Dwayne Haskins, Jr (@dh_simba7) June 16, 2019 Block or charge? ‍♂️⚽️ ‍♀️ (sound on. happy father’s day )— Rex Chapman (@RexChapman) June 16, 2019 Low battery— Buitengebieden (@buitengebieden_) June 16, 2019 […]

  • Does 2019 UDFA DE Jonathan Bonner have a chance to crack the deep DL unit in Washington?
    by Bill-in-Bangkok on June 16, 2019 at 1:00 pm

    Probably not I’ve been doing player profiles of one sort or another for Hogs Haven for a few years now, and I’ve developed a certain rhythm to the process. I start with a working headline that has key information like name, position, height, weight and school. Next I find a photo of the player to put on the front page. Often, I don’t do anything else with the profile until I’m about to write it — which may be weeks or months after I first create the article blank, headline and photo — but when I am ready, I go to google and type in the player's name and the words “player profile”. Sometimes, if I don’t get immediate returns, I try variations, like “draft profile” or adding the name of a website such as Hogs Haven or 247 Sports. With College Undrafted Free Agents, there exists a wide range in terms of the amount of information that pops up on simple searches. For example, when I did my Google search on Donald Parham last week, I had so many hits that my first task was to sort through them and eliminate the least useful ones. Today, I initiated the search for Jonathan Bonner, and Google immediately challenged my spelling, so I checked. Yep... I had it right. There were a few search returns, but they were all the basic ‘accumulator’ sites that simply grab information off of the web with the player’s name on it. I even got a few returns among the top-10 for players with different last names, which is never a good sign. In the years that I’ve been putting together player profiles, I don’t think I’ve ever run into a black hole like the one I initially hit for Jonathan Bonner. I have a few facts for him, and I can infer a couple of things, but all I really know is that, outside of his own Twitter account, he doesn’t have a big footprint in the world of digital sports reporting - especially for a player from a major program like Notre Dame. Click this link to access all 2018 and 2019 Undrafted Free Agent profiles on Hogs Haven Let’s start with a couple of measurables for Bonner: He’s listed on at 6’4” and 295 pounds. He played on the defensive line at Notre Dame for four years, accumulating 64 total tackles. The Herald-Bulletin ran a story about the Fighting Irish Pro Day, and listed Bonner’s results. A graduate senior in 2018, Bonner recorded 64 career tackles for Notre Dame. He was a regular fixture on a defensive line in 2018 that featured a rotation of Jerry Tillery, Julian Okwara, Daelin Hayes and Khalid Kareem. Bonner ran the 40-yard dash in 4.96 seconds, which would’ve ranked in the top 10 of non-edge rushing defensive lineman at the Combine. He had a 32 1/2-inch vertical jump and ran the 20-yard shuttle in 4.69 seconds. Jonathan Bonner full pro day results There is very little in the way of news about Bonner — perhaps not so surprising for a guy who averaged 16 tackles per season in his college career. The one significant mention I did run across was on the SB Nation Fighting Irish site, One Foot Down. In the fall of 2017, Jonathan Bonner had announced that he would be leaving football behind and move on to other things in his life. He had a change of heart, and decided to play his final year for the Irish, and just like that... Notre Dame had their starting defensive tackles set for the season. There are two key ideas here. I’ll address the second one first. The article mentions that the ND starting tackles were ‘set’ once Bonner decided to return to school in 2018. It’s probably worth mentioning that the other DT was Jerry Tillery, who was drafted 28th overall by the Chargers. Bonner had the blessing of being on the field with an extremely talented position-mate, and the curse of being on the field with a guy that would always outshine him. The other key idea from that article is that Bonner initially “announced that he would be leaving football behind and move on to other things.” It’s not unusual to see a player toying with the idea of quitting the sport as a ‘red flag’ — after all, love of the game is usually seen as a key driver to success. The article doesn’t say (and I couldn’t find any other source that gave a reason) why Bonner announced that he was done with the sport, but I think his Twitter feed might offer a clue. Hello everyone! Please check out this GoFundMe that my sister created for our mother who is battling cancer. Peace and Blessings.— Jonathan Bonner (@The_Realest55) December 1, 2017 In a 2017 GoFundMe tweet, Bonner describes his mother as a “two-time survivor of breast cancer” and says that she was “battling” the disease again. I don’t know for a fact, but I wonder if Jonathan Bonner thought about giving up football because of his mom’s battle with cancer. Perhaps it felt like there were too many competing priorities, and something had to give. Whatever the reason, Bonner eventually made the decision to play in 2018, and appeared in 13 games. The Fighting Irish were undefeated and ranked #3 in the nation for the final five games, eventually suffering their only loss to the eventual national champion Clemson Tigers in the Cotton Bowl. Bonner was not signed in the initial UDFA frenzy immediately after the draft; instead, he was invited to the Redskins tryouts, and was signed as part of the ‘second wave’ of rookie UDFAs in mid-May. The Redskins currently have 11 defensive linemen in camp. Jay Gruden usually keeps 6 DL on the 53-man roster, though that number dropped to just 5 players at times in the 2018 season. Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports As I mentioned in a recent article, the team seems to have a solid core of 5 defensive linemen that are virtual locks for the roster: Payne, Allen, Ioannidis, Settle, and Brantley. That leaves 6 players competing for one probable roster spot, and perhaps one more practice squad position. The competition is fairly even. The Redskins have former first-round pick, Marcus Smith, who was on the 53-man roster last season. They also have Andrew Ankrah, who was a standout in the AAF spring league earlier this offseason. The depth chart is rounded out by JoJo Wicker, who spent the 2018 offseason with the Lions, as well as two more 2019 UDFAs, Austin Maloata from Austin-Peay and the Marshall Thundering Herd DE, Ryan Bee in addition to Bonner. The competition looks fairly evenly matched, with a mix of rookies and young veterans, though Jonathan Bonner’s pedigree as a defensive player on one of the four college teams playing for a national championship a few months ago could give him a leg up. He may not have been a star, but his situation as a 4-year player in an elite college program may be more appealing than the pedigree of players from less inspiring programs like Marshall and Austin-Peay, or former pro-football castoffs. To figure out what Jonathan Bonner brings to the table in Washington, I have enlisted the help of a film analyst who has volunteered to give his take on the Redskins UDFAs. James FitzGerald (@GMDfitz7765) is a former college player, high school coach, and an avid college football fan who has spent hours in the film room watching opponents and his own teams. His analytical skill adds depth to these profiles that I can’t supply on my own. Let’s see what he has to say. Fitz’s film review Film Watched: Notre Dame v. Michigan and Wake Forest Bonner effectively fills gaps and clogs holes at the line of scrimmage. He knows his assignment and preforms what he asked to do, using his length to shake off blocks and fill his gaps. Bonner is patient, and he does not over pursue the ball carrier. He is more than willing to let the play come to him, as opposed to trying to make a great play happen and leaving a wide open hole at the line of scrimmage. But there are reasons why this player from a top college program went undrafted. He loses too much ground against the down block because he doesn’t move his feet to lose as little ground as possible. Also, he is not a pass rush threat. It just is not part of his game, and NFL teams are expecting interior defensive lineman to participate in the pass rush more and more. He does have a swim move and a rip move, but he often finds himself out of position when he uses them. Another issue is that Bonner makes the easy move to the backside of the lineman too often. When he does this he is out of the play and the running back runs by him. Coaches will want him to work toward the play and beat the block instead of going around it. How would he fit with the Redskins? The Redskins defensive line is already solid. I do not see a spot for Jonathan Bonner on the 53 man roster, and there is little reason — given the Redskins depth at the position — to keep him on the practice squad. Bonner will have to make a lot of noise in this unit during training camp and the preseason to make the team, and I just don’t see him doing that. He will be cut after preseason. A taste of player’s Twitter feed: Here we go! #HTTR— Jonathan Bonner (@The_Realest55) May 12, 2019 ROSTER MOVES: #Redskins sign DE Jonathan Bonner, G Jerald Foster, DB Deion Harris, DL Austin Maloata and RB Craig Reynolds. The team also waives RB Russell Hansbrough, DB Joshua Holsey and T Roubbens Joseph.— Washington Redskins (@Redskins) May 13, 2019 #LinemenAppreciationDay Today we celebrate the men who go to work in the trenches every day. #GoIrish ☘️— Notre Dame Football (@NDFootball) April 18, 2019 Jonathan Bonner ran a 4.96 in the 40-yd dash, which would’ve ranked 10th among non-edge DL at NFL Combine. He bested Boston College’s Zach Allen (5.00), Clemson’s Christian Wilkins (5.04) and Dexter Lawrence (5.05), and Ohio State’s Dre’Mont Jones (5.12)...#BertschyBits— Michael Bertsch (@NDsidBertschy) March 20, 2019 The guys had an early Christmas gift waiting for them after practice today. #GoIrish #BeatTigers— Notre Dame Football (@NDFootball) December 15, 2018 The most selfless man on the team who puts his head down and works every single day earns the Humble and Hungry Echo. Our guy, @The_Realest55, embodies all these qualities and we're proud to present the Echo to him. #GoIrish ☘️ #NDEchoes18— Notre Dame Football (@NDFootball) December 8, 2018 Congrats on your degree from the University of Notre Dame Jonathan Bonner!!So proud of you @The_Realest55— Mike Elston (@CoachMikeElston) May 20, 2018— Jonathan Bonner (@The_Realest55) February 21, 2018 Hello everyone! Please check out this GoFundMe that my sister created for our mother who is battling cancer. Peace and Blessings.— Jonathan Bonner (@The_Realest55) December 1, 2017 […]

  • The Daily Twitter: 16 June 2019
    by Bill-in-Bangkok on June 16, 2019 at 4:00 am

    News, links to articles, updates and more from DC area writers and national sports journalists The Daily Twitter will be posted at the beginning of every day (at midnight in Washington, DC). The goal is to give readers a handy spot to check the Redskins beat writers & bloggers, and national sports journalists to keep up on the latest news about the Redskins, the NFL, and sports in general, along with a smattering of other things. NFL News twitter feed: Tweets from Redskins twitter feed: Tweets from The Rundown is a new podcast with @GabeAHenderson and staff writer @kylefstackpole. They discuss how the #Redskins draft class has looked throughout OTAs and minicampEpisode 1:— Washington Redskins (@Redskins) June 15, 2019 Washington led the way in team tackling grade last season in the NFC East!— Pro Football Focus (@PFF) June 16, 2019 Junior Galette (@JovaisG) on Trent Williams:“This guy isn’t a guy that comes every draft class.” ... “There hasn’t been a guy to come out like him since our draft class.” (2010). “You give the guy what he wants because of what he is to the team.”— Redskins Realm (@SkinsRealm) June 14, 2019 Daron Payne reveals that a few members of the #Redskins' defensive line have a competition going for 2019:— NBC Sports Redskins (@NBCSRedskins) June 15, 2019 When @DhaSickest in yo store and you can’t get no work done ‍♂️ ‍♂️— bitchimindenver (@camwwonalfonz) June 15, 2019 Joe Gibbs has achieved success on the football field and on the racetrack as a team owner. What's his secret? Gibbs talks to The Athletic's @jeff_gluck about leadership, teamwork and how he answers those who ask “How do I become successful?”— The Athletic Motorsports (@TheAthleticAUTO) June 15, 2019 Should former @Redskins running back Larry Brown be in the Hall of Fame? @mayorvincegray thinks so. Here's @Snide_Remarks making the case.— Express (@WaPoExpress) June 15, 2019 Updated 2019 NFL Cap Space #NFL— (@nfltrade_rumors) June 15, 2019 Cowboys TE Rico Gathers Suspended One Game #Cowboys— (@nfltrade_rumors) June 15, 2019 Jason Witten is bald as hell and looks like Stone Cold Steve Austin— Ric Butler (@Ric_Butler) June 14, 2019 Cardinals’ HC Kliff Kingsbury says he used fake social media accounts to monitor players at Texas Tech:— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) June 15, 2019 Vikings have $211M in cap charges for 2020, led by a whopping $31M for Kirk Cousins— ProFootballTalk (@ProFootballTalk) June 15, 2019 Full 25 minute long chat with Kevin Costner here:— Rich Eisen (@richeisen) June 15, 2019 Coming Soon!!!— O.J. Simpson (@TheRealOJ32) June 15, 2019 O.J. Simpson comes to Twitter, and he has "some gettin' even to do" (he actually says that)— ProFootballTalk (@ProFootballTalk) June 15, 2019 I see that the unrepentant murderer just joined Twitter. Can everyone do me a big favor? Please follow Ron Goldman’s sister, @KimEGoldman She should have more followers than that monster. Please RT— Yashar Ali (@yashar) June 15, 2019 As expected, Natasha Cloud spoke to reporters after the game on behalf of the team, only about gun violence in DC. Nobody else spoke.“Tonight didn’t go as planned. But we’re talking about a game, the loss of a game. There are a lot more losses going on within our community.”— Lindsay Gibbs (@linzsports) June 15, 2019 As much as I love the construction of Cleveland’s front office, Highsmith has earned it. And if we’re being honest, Eliot Wolf should get an interview too.— Dan Kadar (@MockingTheDraft) June 14, 2019 Top basketball recruits say you can't help but notice #UVA's national championship. And it dispels the myth that the Hoos' style can't win in March.“A lot of people doubted them. Tony Bennett didn’t listen to the critics. He just trusted what he does.”— Mike Barber (@RTD_MikeBarber) June 14, 2019 This is insane.— Mike Jones (@ByMikeJones) June 15, 2019 "Anthony Rendon might be even more valuable to the Nationals than Bryce Harper was... That said, a trade of Rendon is possible."What are some early trade talks happening around baseball? @Ken_Rosenthal breaks them down:— FOX Sports: MLB (@MLBONFOX) June 15, 2019 Max Scherzer's last 5 starts: 1.06 ERA, 34 innings, 49 strikeouts, 6 walks, 4 earned runs.He passed two Hall of Famers on the all-time strikeout list with another 10 punchies tonight.— Grant Paulsen (@granthpaulsen) June 15, 2019 Block or charge?— Rex Chapman (@RexChapman) June 15, 2019 […]

  • Ranking the NFC East, 2019: Edge Rushers
    by Bill-in-Bangkok on June 15, 2019 at 9:00 am

    Hogs Haven looks at all four teams in the division in an effort to identify the best and the weakest of the NFC East The draft is done, the free agents have been signed, the coaches have met their players. Now there’s not much to do but wait for training camp. While we wait, it seemed like it might be fun to evaluate and rank the NFC East position-by-position. Last off-season, Hogs Haven published articles that focused on ranking position groups and head coaches in an effort to identify what the division would look like in 2018. This year, we’re going to look at the division again, but we’re gonna try to ramp things up a bit by adding some film analysis to some of the position group reviews. Click here to read the other “Ranking the NFC East” articles in this series This article has 4 sections: A very brief positional overview of where each of the 4 teams is at with the edge rusher position, but with a little extra focus on the Redskins. A simple film review of 7 of the top edge rushers in the NFC East this season: Ryan Kerrigan, Ryan Anderson, Montez Sweat, Demarcus Lawrence, Lorenzo Carter, Derek Barnett, and Brandon Graham. A list of the top of the depth chart (4-5 players) for each of the 4 teams in the division. Some poll questions focused on identifying the best edge rusher in the division, as well as the teams with the strongest and weakest pass rush groups in the division. Let’s start with the brief review. Positional overview Last year, Olivier Vernon led the Giants with seven sacks, but he is now in Cleveland, along with his teammate Odell Beckham Jr. This leaves Lorenzo Carter, who was second-best of the team’s edge rushers in 2018, with 4 sacks, as the returning edge-rushing sack leader for the New York team. The rest of the Giants’ edge rushing unit seems to be made up of mid-to-late round draft picks, street free agents and college free agents. This group, to my eye, has the appearance of the Redskins’ 2018 wide receiver corps - some average talent, backed up by unproven talent. I just don’t see enough proven pass rush power across the front seven of the Giants to create any consistent problems for opposing offensive coordinators, although they have spent a number of draft picks here (particularly on the defensive interior). This defense may even regress from the rather paltry 30 total sacks they accumulated in 2018. Conversely, the Eagles looked stacked in the pass rush department — a statement that seems to be true every year. We highlight the two first-round picks, Barnett and Graham, in the film room, below, but didn’t do film review of former 2nd-round pick, Vinny Curry...or last year’s 4th rounder, Josh Sweat...or this year’s 4th rounder, Shareef Miller. The Eagles were second in the division in sacks behind the Redskins last year, amassing 44 sacks. When you look at the inside of the defensive line and see Fletcher Cox and Malik Jackson backed up by Tim Jernigan, it’s easy to see why Eagles fans are feeling good about their ability to put pressure on the passer (again) this season. The Redskins have gotten consistent production from Ryan Kerrigan for eight seasons now. Kerrigan has never missed a game, and he has produced between 7.5 and 13.5 sacks per season every season. In fact, his only year with less than 8.5 sacks was his rookie year. Kerrigan has had some good partners over the years, including Brian Orakpo, Preston Smith and Junior Galette, but this season may give the Redskins the best weapon they’ve had yet in Montez Sweat, a 6’6”, 260 pound package of speed and muscle that should up the ante for Washington’s opponents in 2019. The Redskins, like the Eagles, are already possessed of a strong interior pass rush, with Jon Allen, Matt Ioannidis and Daron Payne combining for 20.5 sacks in 2018 alone. With the entire young 5-man interior DL group returning with another year of experience, and the addition of Montez Sweat in place of Preston Smith, who left in free agency, the Redskins seem primed to improve on the division-leading 46 sacks they logged last season. The Cowboys boast a big-money pass rusher in Demarcus Lawrence, who just finished a season on the franchise tag, and was rewarded with a 5-year, $105m contract, though he regressed from a division-leading 14.5 sacks in 2017 to 10.5 sacks in 2018. Lawrence really made his reputation in a single 9-game stretch to open the ‘17 season in which he accumulated 11.5 sacks in 9 games. He has added just 13.5 sacks in the last 23 regular season games he has played for the Cowboys, and has just 34 sacks in 5 seasons with Dallas. However, it was revealed in October of 2018 that Lawrence had been playing through a torn labrum for 2 years, and he finally got surgery to correct the injury after signing his extension this offseason. It will be interesting to see what he produces following the surgery and the big contract. Randy Gregory and Tyrone Crawford ranked 2nd and 3rd on the team in 2018, combining for another 11.5 sacks. Of course, Gregory has, once again, been suspended by the NFL — this time for an indefinite period of time. The Cowboys traded for Robert Quinn this off-season — Quinn’s second time being traded in as many years. He has compiled 15 sacks over the past two seasons, and 24 over the past 4 years. Of course Taco Charlton was a first-round pick in 2017, but he has just 4 sacks in his NFL career to date. All in all, this Cowboy defense doesn’t look to have the ingredients for a fearsome pass rush in ‘19, but if Lawrence and Quinn can revive some of their past magic, they could do some damage, and possibly match the 39-sack total (3rd in NFC East) they put up in 2018. The film room: Andrew’s analysis In this section, we’ll offer a look at a few of the top players in the division, with an analysis of their styles, skills and limitations written by Andrew York, who has volunteered to help me with this series. Andrew is a self-taught film analyst with a pretty impressive resume. He has a PhD in Experimental Particle Physics and has spent several years doing research with the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at CERN, and now does R&D work as a US government contractor. He will put that analytical brain to work this off-season helping to analyze some of the top players in the NFC East. Let’s see what Andrew thinks about some of the NFC East’s top running backs. He will look at 7 players, in order: Ryan Kerrigan Ryan Anderson Montez Sweat Demarcus Lawrence Lorenzo Carter Derek Barnett Bandon Graham Ryan Kerrigan, Washington Redskins Ryan Kerrigan is one of my favorite Redskins. He always seems like a positive, consistent, reliable force on the team and achieves consistently high production every year. As a result, it is very difficult to remain objective in this film analysis, but I will do my best. Ryan Kerrigan has an explosive first step and great ability to cover short distances quickly to get a tackle or sack, but in space, most quarterbacks can run away from him due to his limited speed. He also has great field awareness, keeping his eyes on the ball throughout a play and adjusting to get to the ball carrier whenever possible. His primary pass rush move is a bull rush, and he can transmit a lot of power from his base to his inside arm to stand someone up and walk him back before making a play on the ball carrier. Perhaps his most impressive trait is his consistency. He will always perform his assignment and is always ready to capitalize on the mistakes of the opposing team. In addition, he is an excellent tackler and good in run defense. He also has an uncanny ability to turn sacks into strip sacks and was the Big Ten’s all time leader in forced fumbles as a senior in college. However, Kerrigan is not as versatile as some of the NFL’s other top OLBs. If he can’t win with a bull rush, he does not have very elite bend to win around the edge (he can’t get as low as, say, a player like Von Miller). He also does not have a wide array of counters to defeat an opponent if he doesn’t win on first contact. And lastly, he is neither very fast nor very good in coverage. Overall, Kerrigan is a consistent, dependable, productive player, but not an elite player who forces teams to gameplan against him. He bullies lower-tier offensive tackles consistently, and most of his production comes against them, but he struggles against the upper-tier offensive tackles of the NFL, and, in my film review, I never saw him double-teamed, although this could also be due to the amount of respect opposing offenses showed the Redskins players who make up the interior of the DL. Ryan Kerrigan Redskins vs Cowboys, Week 7 | NFL 2018 on YouTube Posted by Bill Chula on Wednesday, June 5, 2019 [5:51] Kerrigan does a great job bull-rushing La’el Collins. It looks like Kerrigan explodes so quickly off the line that Collins doesn’t really have a chance to get set, and Kerrigan uses his inside (right) hand to stand Collins up and walk him back, then does a good job shedding him to make the sack. I saw plays like this in multiple games. Posted by Bill Chula on Friday, June 7, 2019 [8:01] One of the highlights of last year. Kerrigan is initially successfully blocked by Cowboys TE Geoff Swain, but then Swain abandons the block to act as a quick read for Dak. Dak takes a long time scanning the field, failing to see Swain get open or Kerrigan closing in on him until it’s too late. Kerrigan does a great job keeping his eyes on the QB, shows decisiveness to immediately rush him when an opening appears, and shows great short-area quickness closing that distance so quickly. This play also showcases Kerrigan’s ability to punch the ball loose on a sack (allowing Preston Smith to get the defensive TD). Ryan Kerrigan Redskins @ Eagles, Week 13 | NFL 2018 on YouTube Posted by Bill Chula on Friday, June 7, 2019 [6:28] Kerrigan gets stonewalled by Lane Johnson and taken out of the play completely. This is what it looks like when he attempts a bull rush, but the opposing tackle is stronger, longer, and able to set his base. Posted by Bill Chula on Friday, June 7, 2019 [7:10] Having had no success with the bull rush, Kerrigan tries to rush around the edge, but gets walled off by Lane Johnson and held in place until it’s too late to make a play. Kerrigan shows no counter moves (hand fighting and/or a spin move) to redirect inside and make a play on the RB. I saw this too often against very good offensive tackles. [37:55] Kerrigan breaks off to cover Ertz and easily could have given up a big play if not for an overthrow by Wentz. He doesn’t look especially nimble side-stepping at the line, doesn’t do a good job jamming Ertz at the line (which is realistically the only way he could have won this matchup), and doesn’t flip his hips quickly enough, nor mirror Ertz well enough, to keep pace with him once Ertz begins his route. Overall, Kerrigan looks stiff and lacks nuance in coverage. He is much better with his hand in the dirt, and several plays like this helped me understand Mark Tyler’s insistence that the Redskins switch to a 4-3 defense where he wouldn’t have coverage responsibilities. Ryan Anderson, Washington Redskins Ryan Anderson was a controversial Redskins draft pick in the 2nd round of 2017. Although he was a starter at Alabama with good college production, he lacked many of the athletic measurables that are typical of high-level NFL players at the OLB position. He has short 31.5” arms, he ran a slow 40 time, and his vertical jump and 3-cone time do not indicate good explosion or agility respectively. However, he was known by his Alabama teammates as a tone setter, a player who took every play seriously and demanded seriousness during practice. He was also noted for his strength, aggression, and his ability to set a physical edge. Anderson was virtually invisible on the Redskins defense in his rookie year. Teams typically prefer their strongside (left) OLB to be a physical edge-setter who is good against the run, the role for which Ryan Anderson is best suited. However, the Redskins already have a starting LOLB in Ryan Kerrigan, so it was always going to be tough for Anderson to get playing time. Anderson reportedly slimmed down and sped up in his second year, earning more snaps as a rotational LOLB. After watching tape of Anderson in 2018, I think he is a very Rudy-like player who I find myself wanting to root for. His short arms make it hard for him to stand a tackle up and drive him back in the manner of Ryan Kerrigan. Nor does he have Kerrigan’s ability to close short distances quickly to make a play. But what he lacks in physical ability, he makes up for in effort. He is a very smart and technically sound player who does a great job scanning the backfield and keeping his eyes on the ball so that he always knows when he can make a play, even if he’s currently being blocked. He is strong and keeps his hands active so that they don’t get locked up, making him available if the play comes to him. And although his short arms make it tough to win on a bull rush, he shows very good technique and effort bending around the edge to get to the QB. Most notably, he never quits on a play. Football is a taxing sport, and even the best players often make decisions about when they are no longer involved in a play so they can rest and conserve energy. I never saw that from Ryan Anderson. He is always trying to hustle towards the ball and maintains his assignments until the whistle blows. Although I think he only displayed backup-level ability in last year’s tape, he is a very reliable backup who could be very effective if he could somehow take a leap forward athletically. It’s not likely to happen, but he’s someone I find myself rooting for. Ryan Anderson Redskins vs Cowboys, Week 7 highlights | NFL 2018 on YouTube Posted by Bill Chula on Friday, June 7, 2019 [7:13] Anderson is slow in his get off, but keeps his hands from getting locked up and keeps his eyes on the ball, so that when the play shifts in an unexpected direction, he is able to break free and run to Dak for the sack. I would describe most of Anderson’s big plays as “opportunistic” like this one, but those opportunities are only possible because he keeps his eyes on the ball and never gives up on a play. Note that La’el Collins seemed to decide this play was over while Anderson was still fighting. Ryan Anderson Redskins @ Eagles, Week 13 | NFL 2018 on YouTube Posted by Bill Chula on Friday, June 7, 2019 [10:10] Anderson times the snap well and is the first player off the line. He tries bull rushing Lane Johnson and is ineffective, as Johnson is able to use his long arms to keep Anderson at bay. Anderson keeps his eyes on the ball, sees Wentz trying to get around the edge, and uses his strength and active hands to break free to intercept. Wentz redirects inside and Anderson can’t quite get there before Wentz makes the pass. Anderson effectively sealed the edge and kept Wentz on his toes, never giving up on the play. However, it’s evident here that Anderson’s short arms put him at a disadvantage in bull rushes, making it tough for him to stand someone up and get them off balance. Posted by Bill Chula on Friday, June 7, 2019 [41:24] Anderson gets fooled by one of the league’s best TEs. Ertz blocks and engages just long enough for Anderson to think he’s acting primarily as a blocker. Anderson gets past him and realizes his mistake quickly by keeping his eyes on the ball. He turns around to pursue Ertz and manages to tackle him from behind before he gets to the goal line. Anderson gave up the play, but didn’t quit on it, and managed to stop Ertz from scoring. The Redskins would go on to make a goal line stand on this drive, made possible by Anderson’s effort in salvaging this play. Montez Sweat, Washington Redskins Shaquan Montez Sweat is long, strong, and blazing fast, filling the Redskins’ need for a speed rusher to play on the right. Some athletes test well at the combine, but their athleticism isn’t visible on tape. That is not the case for Sweat. His length is evident in how easily he can stack blockers with his punch, hitting them hard in the body and forcing them up while they can’t reach Sweat’s body for a return punch. It is also evident in his tackle radius, as it often looks like he reaches out with tentacles to tackle someone who thought they were already past him. His strength is evident in the way he can hold blockers in place while he diagnoses a play, then throw them aside to get into the backfield. His speed is evident in the plays where he explodes off the line of scrimmage so quickly that he runs past an OT unblocked. It is also evident in his ability to tackle ball carriers from behind. But there is more to Sweat than his athletic gifts. When I watched him play, I was also struck by his intelligence and effort. He was very good at diagnosing the play and finding the most efficient route to the ball carrier. In addition to that, he never quit on plays, even if the play was breaking away from him. I think that combination of intelligence and effort bodes well for his ability to develop in the NFL. His ability to develop will be important, because the only real weakness that I saw in him is that he is still very raw in several aspects of his technique. He doesn’t use many counter moves and he doesn’t get low when bending around the edge. I don’t think it’s that he can’t do these things, but simply that he hasn’t needed to in order to succeed in college. It’s difficult to develop a counter when your first move wins most of the time. But that won’t cut it in the NFL, where many of his opponents will be as athletically gifted as he is. Also, Sweat played 4-3 DE in college, so he has no real experience in coverage. Lastly, it’s worth noting he has a very long, thin body for an edge defender, though he is still deceptively strong, as shown in the clips below. He has a lot of room to fill out his frame and looks to have the kind of body that can add muscle easily. A year or two in an NFL strength and conditioning program could make him truly, scarily strong. Montez Sweat Mississippi State vs Auburn | NCAA 2018 on YouTube Posted by Bill Chula on Saturday, June 8, 2019 [1:20] Really watch this play. Sweat rushes up to engage the RT, but all the while keeps his eyes on the ball in the backfield. He uses his long arms to hold the RT at bay while he diagnoses the play. It’s a run fake where the fake goes towards him. Sweat isn’t fooled by it, and as soon as he diagnoses the play, he sheds the RT and breaks towards the QB who kept the ball. He doesn’t get there, but he keeps running until the whistle is blown. This shows not only his strength and length in throwing aside a starting RT like a used tissue, but also his intelligence in recognizing the play and hustle getting after the ball even when he has little chance to make a play in time. Posted by Bill Chula on Saturday, June 8, 2019 [4:25] Sweat explodes so quickly past the Auburn RT (I felt so bad for him this whole game) that the tackle can’t get set and has no leverage to hold him. Sweat does a great job of using his long inside arm to keep the RT at a distance and redirects quickly around the edge to get the sack. This shows not only Sweat’s explosion and speed, but also his quick bend around the edge (even though he didn’t have to bend very low). This was a very typical play for Sweat, who often exploded so quickly past an OT that he went unblocked or poorly blocked into the backfield. Montez Sweat Mississippi State vs Alabama | NCAA 2018 on YouTube Posted by Bill Chula on Saturday, June 8, 2019 [1:26] Sweat bull rushes Jonah Williams (taken #11 overall in the 2019 draft) and stands him up with his long arms while he diagnoses the play. Then Sweat sheds Williams and runs around him to get near the ball carrier Najee Harris, wrapping Harris up in his long, tentacle-like arms. Not many players could show the length and strength to stack and shed Jonah Williams so easily, nor the tackle radius to grab Najee Harris from so far away. Posted by Bill Chula on Saturday, June 8, 2019 [5:33] Alabama double teams Sweat to take him out of this play. I wanted to include this as an example because there were many plays where I saw Sweat getting double teamed by an opposing offense or otherwise schematically getting taken out of the play (designed short passes behind him, run plays to the opposite direction, etc). Forcing a double team is a win for the defense because it opens up opportunities elsewhere on the field, and forcing opponents to game plan against you is the mark of an elite player. Demarcus Lawrence, Dallas Cowboys Demarcus Lawrence (along with Ryan Kerrigan) has been one of the most productive edge rushers in the NFC East the last 2 years. I haven’t chosen to show a clip of a Demarcus Lawrence sack in the film study below, but that doesn’t mean he hasn’t produced them. Although Lawrence’s early years were somewhat muted due to injury and usage, he really broke out in 2017 with 14.5 credited sacks. He followed up with another 10.5 sacks last year. I really didn’t know much about Lawrence going into this film analysis other than his production. After watching a lot of Lawrence on film, I think he is another very good, but not quite elite edge rusher who is an interesting contrast to Ryan Kerrigan. Kerrigan is more explosive and seems to have more power on his initial punch to knock a tackle back and get him off his base, whereas Lawrence has more fluidity to get past an OT around the edge and displays more counters if he doesn’t win on first contact. Lawrence is also very much an effort player who keeps trying to work his way into a play and be disruptive even if he isn’t able to get a sack or tackle. Overall, I think Kerrigan is a better athlete and shows more ability to bully lesser athletes and win on first contact, but Lawrence shows more ability to work past some of the best RTs in the NFL using effort and counters. As a 4-3 DE, Lawrence isn’t asked to play a role in coverage. Demarcus Lawrence Cowboys @ Redskins, Week 7 highlights | NFL 2018 on YouTube Posted by Bill Chula on Saturday, June 8, 2019 [4:23] This is an obvious passing play as it’s a Hail Mary at the end of the 1st half. It’s clear that the Redskins are essentially having Bibbs help double team Lawrence in order to seal the right side. I wanted to include this as an example of teams double-teaming Lawrence because there were several examples I saw through my film review of teams double-teaming Lawrence in long passing situations or finding other ways to game plan against him, and this is the mark of a great player. Demarcus Lawrence Cowboys vs Eagles, Week 14 highlights | NFL 2018 on YouTube Posted by Bill Chula on Saturday, June 8, 2019 [4:01] Lawrence is grabbed and held in place by Lane Johnson, completely taken out of the play. I just wanted to include this to show that the best RTs in the NFL are still able to stonewall Lawrence, though few RTs have the length and strength of Lane Johnson. Posted by Bill Chula on Saturday, June 8, 2019 [7:28] That being said, Lawrence uses a nice spin move here to get past Johnson, although he isn’t quite able to get to Wentz in time to affect the pass. Plays like this show his ability to keep working past an OT if he doesn’t win on first contact. Posted by Bill Chula on Saturday, June 8, 2019 [9:18] Lawrence isn’t able to get past Johnson, but shows good awareness and effort jumping up to try to block the pass. I saw a lot of effort plays like this one from Lawrence, he never stops trying to be disruptive and make a play on the ball. Lorenzo Carter, New York Giants Over the last 2 years, the Giants have completely overhauled their edge rushing unit, trading away established veterans like Olivier Vernon and Jason Pierre-Paul and replacing them with journeyman veterans and mid-round picks. One of those mid-round picks is Lorenzo Carter, taken in the 3rd round of the 2018 NFL draft. I didn’t know much about Lorenzo Carter before doing this film breakdown. I expected to see a below-average starter struggling to adjust to NFL strength and speed. Instead, I saw a natural starting LOLB who looked more prepared to start than our own Ryan Anderson, taken in the 2nd round in 2017. Carter was a 5 star HS prospect recruited by Georgia, though he never lived up to those expectations in college, failing to gain more than 5 sacks in a season. It’s not clear why he couldn’t put it together in college; he certainly has the athletic gifts to do so. He tested well at the combine, and has amazing reach with 34” arms (2nd only to Montez Sweat, at 35 3/4”, of the players mentioned in this article). Carter’s athleticism showed up on tape last year. He has good (not elite) acceleration and very good ability to time the snap and bend around the edge. In addition, his long arms were visible on tape, as he did a great job using that length to keep opposing RTs at a distance, occasionally standing them up to get past them and displaying a rare tackle radius. The only real problem I saw was lack of play strength. Carter is a very tall, long-limbed player who doesn’t look like he’s filled into his frame just yet. However, a year or two in an NFL strength and conditioning program could do a lot for him. Lorenzo Carter Giants @ Falcons, Week 7 highlights | NFL 2018 on YouTube Posted by Bill Chula on Wednesday, June 12, 2019 [1:40] Carter does a great job using his long arms to stand up the opposing RT, at one point stiff arming him while working around the edge to eventually pull in Matt Ryan for a sack. This play shows off Carter’s long arms, effort, awareness (keeps his eyes on the ball the whole time), and tackle radius. Posted by Bill Chula on Wednesday, June 12, 2019 [4:30] Carter explodes so quickly off the LoS that the RT can’t get set and gets poor leverage, allowing Carter to bend around the edge and almost get to the QB. Carter shows good timing of the snap and bend in this play, looking like a very natural edge player. Posted by Bill Chula on Wednesday, June 12, 2019 [10:24] The only major weakness I saw in Carter is lack of strength to win with pure power. Carter attempts a bull rush here, but isn’t able to use his length to stand the RT up, and doesn’t have the strength to win with power. Lorenzo Carter Giants vs Cowboys, Week 17 | NFL 2018 on YouTube Posted by Bill Chula on Wednesday, June 12, 2019 [2:38] Carter does a good job keeping his eyes on the ball and faking outside, only to cut inside, using his long arms to stand up La’el Collins and almost get to the QB, forcing Prescott to get the ball out quickly. Derek Barnett, Philadelphia Eagles Derek Barnett didn’t have the best combine, but was known in college for being a hard worker and a technician. Drafted by the Eagles at #14 overall in 2017, Barnett has been a consistent presence on the right side of the Eagles defense for two seasons. Barnett is a bit of a brawler as an edge player. Ever since college, he has won with active, powerful hands and unrelenting effort. He doesn’t have the quickest feet, but he times the snap well and is often one of the first players past the line of scrimmage as a result. He uses his active hands to keep opposing OTs from gaining purchase on him as he moves in a roughly straight line towards the ball carrier. He doesn’t have great bend around the edge, nor does he have explosive athletic traits to close the gap quickly and win with speed. If he can’t win with his hand-fighting, he will try to win with persistence, as Barnett will rarely give up on a play. Derek Barnett Eagles vs Colts, Week 3 highlights | NFL 2018 on YouTube Posted by Bill Chula on Monday, June 10, 2019 [1:44] Barnett does a good job swiping away the hands of the LT. Although he is double-teamed by the RB and LT, he manages to split them and get past them using his active hands, though he can’t get to the QB in time for a sack. Posted by Bill Chula on Monday, June 10, 2019 [9:10] Barnett explodes so quickly past the LT that the LT can’t get set and gets poor leverage, allowing Barnett past for a sack. Barnett shows good timing of the snap to explode quickly after the whistle and good use of his interior hand to pin the LT in place while he bends around the edge. Derek Barnett Eagles @ Titans, Week 4 highlights | NFL 2018 on YouTube Posted by Bill Chula on Monday, 10 June 2019 [8:49] This is what it looks like more often than not when Barnett cannot win with his hands. Barnett is at the top of the screen, rushing against LT Taylor Lewan, who does a good job tying Barnett’s hands up and getting inside him, standing Barnett up and stopping his progress. Posted by Bill Chula on Monday, June 10, 2019 [11:50] Unable to win the hand fight, Barnett attempts to spin inside, but it is an undeveloped spin move and he doesn’t get any penetration with it. Barnett shows a willingness to use counters, but is still not very developed in that area of his game. Brandon Graham, Philadelphia Eagles Brandon Graham is a very similar player to Derek Barnett, or should I say that the other way around given Graham’s time in the league? Graham also wins with strong, active hands and relentless pursuit of the ball carrier. Graham also does not have the most elite athletic traits, but makes up for it with grit and tenacity. Graham also has a history of college production that far exceeds his athletic measurables. There are some differences between Graham and Barnett, however. Graham is built like a bowling ball, 2” shorter than Barnett, but 9 lbs heavier at the Combine weigh in. Graham also seems a bit more polished in his various pass rush moves (which you’d expect, given his 7 additional years of NFL experience), but doesn’t quite have Barnett’s agility. And, lastly, Graham mostly lines up on the defensive left (opposite the RT), while Barnett mostly lines up on the right (opposite the LT). Brandon Graham Eagles vs Colts, Week 3 highlights | NFL 2018 on YouTube Posted by Bill Chula on Tuesday, June 11, 2019 [1:44] Graham does an excellent job shedding the hands of the RT and redirecting to get pressure on the QB. Graham beats his block through strong, active hands and relentless pursuit forwards. Posted by Bill Chula on Tuesday, June 11, 2019 [4:28] Graham a great job exploding quickly past the RT before he’s set and bending around the edge to get to the QB, although Luck steps up in pocket to avoid him. Graham displays good timing of the snap to get quickly around the edge, even though he doesn’t have the best bend or acceleration to get around the edge. Brandon Graham Eagles vs Cowboys, Week 10 highlights | NFL 2018 on YouTube [2:10] Graham rushes and stands up Tyron Smith with his bull rush and active hands, then works his way back to be in in the area when Amari Cooper is tackled. Graham shows on this play his constant hustle and desire to be around the ball carrier. A look at the top of the depth chart for each team Of course, no position group consists of just one or two players. In a sport that is as physically demanding as football, one in which player injuries are common, the unit depth is as important a factor as the skill of the star players. Here, we’ll take a look at the top of the depth chart for each team — the pool of players from which the ones on the final 53 seem likely to be chosen. Not all the players listed will make the team, and I might easily miss — especially for the Redskins’ division rivals — players who will make the Week One roster, but this list should give some idea of the relative depth of the four positional groups. Eagles Brandon Graham Derek Barnett Vinny Curry Josh Sweat Shareef Miller Giants Lorenzo Carter Kareem Martin Oshane Ximines Markus Golden Cowboys Demarcus Lawrence Robert Quinn Taco Charlton Joe Jackson Dorance Armstrong Redskins Ryan Kerrigan Montez Sweat Ryan Anderson Jordan Brailford […]


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Four keys to a Cowboys playoff victory over the Seahawks

by Michael Strawn on January 4, 2019 at 3:00 pm

Breaking down how the Cowboys can walk out of the playoff game on Saturday with a win. The Cowboys home playoff tilt will soon be upon us (yay!). Let’s look at the keys to a victory for the good guys. Obviously, scoring more points than the opponent is the best and simplest way to victory, but to reach that goal? Well, winning the turnover battle is always a good start, as there’s a strong correlation between that and victory on the scoreboard. But what are the more subtle things Dallas can do to insure the team advances and keep the 2018 season going? Get an early lead We outlined earlier how during the Cowboys’ five game win streak they rarely faced a deficit and played most of those games with a lead. The Cowboys’ formula for success works much more efficiently when the team has a lead; further, the team isn’t well-equipped to come from behind. Thus, the Cowboys are going to need to continue a trend they’ve enjoyed throughout the season: outscoring the opponent in the first quarter. Dallas (15th) and Seattle (12th) rank about the same in points scored in the first quarter of games (4.8 and 4.9 respectively). Dallas, however, is the stingiest team in the NFL at allowing first quarter points, surrendering only 1.5 points per game. Seattle ranks 14th, giving up 4.4 points per game. Just as Dallas wants to “stay ahead of the sticks” (not fall into long down-and-distance situations) they’ll want to “stay ahead of the scoreboard” as well. This will allow them to keep running the ball aggressively, keep the Seattle defense honest and play a balanced offensive game. On defense, a lead allows the Cowboys defensive line to play more aggressively. Perhaps more importantly, data shows that teams playing from behind simply make more turnovers than teams playing in a tie game or with a lead. Win the red zone battle We all know Dallas has not executed well in the red zone. They rank 29th overall, converting only 48% of red zone opportunities into touchdowns. Seattle, by contrast, ranks 8th scoring touchdowns on 65% of RZ opportunities. Defensively, both teams rank in the top seven of the league (Dallas 7th at 51% and Seattle 4th at 49%). In short, Dallas is going to have to flip the script in this area if they want to succeed. There’s three three keys for the team’s success in the red zone: Execute – too often the team simply hasn’t done the simple things. Dropped passes. Penalties. Blown assignments. Precise execution is the simplest means to red zone success. Utilize the tight end – nowhere has Dak Prescott missed Dez Bryant and Jason Witten more than near the goal line. Tight ends become viable targets in the cramped quarters near the goal line. Fortunately both Blake Jarwin and Dalton Schultz have been allowed entry into the circle of trust late in the season and give Prescott viable red zone options. Noah Brown also seems like a sneaky option that might prove fruitful in the scoring area. Use Dak Prescott’s legs – no quarterback has more rushing touchdowns the last three seasons than Dak Prescott. He’s a legitimate scoring threat running the ball, especially inside the five-yard line. Dallas hasn’t used him aggressively in such situations but should. The Carolina Panthers make no effort to hide how they use Cam Newton in such situations and it’s been effective for them; Dallas should do the same with Prescott. Win the quarterback battle Speaking of Prescott, he’s simply going to have to be better than Russell Wilson. That’s no easy feat as Wilson has quietly put up his best season, throwing for career-highs in touchdowns, yards per attempt, touchdown percentage and passer rating. He’s also battle-tested, having played in twelve playoff games, winning eight of them. But Wilson will turn the ball over, having thrown eight interceptions in his last seven post-season games. Dak, as we know, has only one playoff game under his belt. But what a game it was. He threw for 300+ yards, three touchdowns and put up a 103 passer rating in the team’s 34-31 loss to the Green Bay Packers in 2016. He also ran for a two-point conversion in a game where he led the team back from an 18-point deficit (only to have the defense come up short in the end). Dak has also proven to raise his game when the stakes are high, compiling an elite passer rating in close games. Saturday night’s outcome could very well come down to which quarterback is able to make a big play out of nothing, something both have proven adept at over their careers. Slow the Seattle rushing game Again, this is easier said than done. But the simplest way to disrupt the Seahawks offensive plan is to slow their league-leading rushing attack. Seattle has averaged 173 yards rushing since week three, when they racked up 113 yards against the Cowboys. Dallas ranks 5th in the league in rushing yards allowed and 4th in yards per carry. The Cowboys must limit the number of explosive runs (those of 10+ yards), something the Seahawks have been able to do against virtually every team. If the Seahawks run for 140+ yards Dallas has almost no shot of winning this game. In fact, the Cowboys defense is likely going to have to limit the Seattle ground game to 110 yards or less, something only one team (Carolina) has done since week two. If Dallas can manage to do at least three of the four above, they should have a high chance of winning and giving Cowboys’ fans only their third playoff victory since 1996. […]

Cowboys vs. Seahawks Wild Card playoff game: How to watch, game time, TV schedule, online streaming, radio

by Dave Halprin on January 4, 2019 at 2:00 pm

Information on the Dallas Cowboys Wild Card playoff game, including the game time, TV channel, how to stream the Cowboys-Seahawks game online, radio, odds, announcers, predictions, and more! NFL playoffs and the Dallas Cowboys – that’s about as good as it gets. This Saturday night the Cowboys will host the Seattle Seahawks in one of the NFC Wild Card games for the right to move on to the Divisional round. Earlier this year, the Cowboys traveled to Seattle and were solidly defeated by the Seahawks 24-13. But as everyone who follows the Cowboys knows, that was a different team. The addition of Amari Cooper, the change of offensive line coach, the growth of the young players on the roster have all helped to transform this team. The defense is playoff-caliber and the offense can now reach that level, just doing it on a consistent basis has been tricky. Last week’s win over the Giants was a confidence boost for Dak Prescott, and revealed Blake Jarwin as a possible weapon in these playoffs. The Cowboys game plan was a little different and turned out to be wildly successful. This week, they get a rested Ezekiel Elliott back on the field. Dallas is riding momentum and has home-field advantage. The Seahawks counter with Russell Wilson who is so tough to contain and a Seahawks team that has improved as the season rolled on. These are two evenly matched squads. The season is on the line Saturday night. What You Need To Know Important links: Cowboys depth chart | Roster Date: Saturday, January 5, 2019 Game time: 8:15 PM EST Location: AT&T Stadium, Arlington, TX TV channel: FOX Coverage Map: 506 Sports Announcers: Joe Buck, Troy Aikman, Erin Andrews, Chris Myers Radio: 105.3 The Fan | Full listings | Westwood One | SIRIUS: 88 (WW1), 82 (Sea), 83 (Dal) | XM: 88 (WW1), 226 (Sea), 225 (Dal) Streaming: Fubo | GamePass (audio only during game) | FoxSportsGo Cowboys record: (10-6) Seahawks record: (10-6) Odds: Dallas -1 Prediction: Dallas 23 – Seattle 21 Enemy blog: Field Gulls Twitter: @BloggingTheBoys Facebook: Please Like us! […]

Cowboys news: Why Dallas needs Amari Cooper to be a difference-maker against Seahawks

by Michael Sisemore on January 4, 2019 at 10:00 am

Amari Cooper made a huge impact on the Cowboys season, now they need him to be the difference on Wild Card weekend. Which version of Amari Cooper will face Seahawks on Saturday? – Todd Archer, ESPNAmari Cooper has been a huge difference-maker for the Cowboys but has had a quiet close to the season. Will he heat back up this weekend? The Seahawks play a lot of single-high safety, which creates one-on-one matchups similar to what Cooper faced against the Eagles. “There’s a lot of excitement because there’s a lot of opportunity,” Cooper said. “When teams play two-high, kind of gets more difficult to catch passes over the top and things like that.” The arrival of Cooper in an October trade from the Oakland Raiders helped change the trajectory of the Cowboys’ season. He gave Prescott an outside threat the quarterback did not have in the first seven games. A passing game that was stagnant now had some juice. Amari Cooper was the Cowboys’ missing piece and now they need him more than ever vs. Seattle – Kate Hairopoulos, SportsDayAmari Cooper has turned around the season. The Cowboys deemed the 24-year-old, two-time Pro Bowler their missing piece and worthy of the 2019 first-round draft pick they gave the Oakland Raiders to get him. When the trade was made Oct. 22, the Cowboys were 3-4. The 7-2 finish to the regular season and wild-card playoff game Saturday night against Seattle at AT&T Stadium — another chance for a franchise starved for postseason success — seemed almost fantastical at the time. Amari Cooper hopes to be the difference this time vs Seahawks – Clarence Hill, Fort Worth Star-TelegramThe last time these two teams met in week three of this season, the Cowboys had no idea who could make plays in the passing game. “They brought me here to make plays,” Amari Cooper said. “I believe I can do that … Very excited to get things rolling.” Cooper was not with the Cowboys when they lost to the Seahawks, 24-13, on Sept. 23 in Seattle. Dak Prescott had his worst game of the season, completing 19 of 34 passes for 168 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions for a passer rating of 54.5. Tight end Geoff Swaim led the Cowboys with five catches. But most glaring was the lack of weapons Dallas had on the outside. Cole Beasley was the top wideout with three catches for 46 yards. It prompted the trade for Cooper during the bye week that jump-started the passing game. Cooper has 53 catches for 725 yards and six touchdowns in nine games with the Cowboys. The yardage was more than all but seven receivers in the league. Flip Side: How will the Seahawks choose to cover Amari Cooper? – Bryan Broaddus, Dallas CowboysThe question for Seattle is how to deal with Cooper. Dallas Cowboys WR Amari Cooper vs. Seattle Seahawks CB Shaquill Griffin Amari Cooper is an accomplished route runner while Griffin is one of the best corners in the league when it comes to playing the position. Griffin will test Cooper when it comes to his release off the line. Griffin is a square player that shows the ability to use his hands and feet in order to maintain balance and positioning initially in the route. Where receivers have had some success against Griffin has been at the top of the route. Griffin doesn’t have the power to hang in there when a receiver bullies him. This is how you get separation on him as Allen Hurns did back in week three. Cooper is physical enough to present the same type of issues for Griffin. But where Cooper is different than Hurns is that he can win much earlier in the route, which will put Griffin in chase mode. Cowboys, Seahawks figure to focus on runs of Elliott, Carson – Staff, FOX SportsThe Seahawks travel to Dallas hoping to bring their top-rated run offense on the road but the Cowboys have the league’s leading rusher. Two heavyweight ground games set to battle it out for NFC supremacy. Ezekiel Elliott won his second NFL rushing title in three seasons for a Dallas offense that has been defined by the ground game for several years now. Seattle takes the league’s No. 1 rushing offense into a wild-card playoff against the Cowboys on Saturday night, led by Chris Carson, but with more help from others than your average pro backfield . While receiver Amari Cooper’s impact on the Dallas passing game was dramatic following a midseason trade, and Seattle’s Russell Wilson again finished among the NFL leaders in touchdowns passing, both teams figure to try to control the second postseason meeting between these franchises with their running backs. There is a lot at stake for the Cowboys, but these two guys are auditioning for their future – DannyPhantom, Blogging The BoysThe Dallas Cowboys have a lot on the line when they play the Seattle Seahawks in Saturday’s wild card game, but it’s even more important for these two guys to have a strong showing. It’s been a roller-coaster ride when it comes to watching this Cowboys offense. Sometimes they are flying down the field, but then other times they sputter. The performance of Dak Prescott has a big correlation to whether the team wins or loses which seems to make sense – he’s the quarterback. But it matches up pretty tightly with Dak as the Cowboys have won every game where he’s had a passing rating above 100 (8-0). Every game. Simply put, if Prescott can play a good game, the Cowboys just don’t lose. Dak has an impressive 32-16 record over his first three seasons in the league. He’s had a winning record every year since coming into the league. There aren’t a lot of quarterbacks who can say that, but the QB lining up on the other side of the field on Saturday, Russell Wilson, is one of them. What chances do the Dallas Cowboys have of keeping Kris Richard? – Kristi Scales, SportsDaySince Black Monday that saw multiple NFL coaches lose their jobs, Kris Richard has been atop many organizations list. Can Dallas sway him to stay? Following his Wednesday press conference, Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett was asked if defensive backs coach Kris Richard had any job interviews lined up this week in advance of the Cowboys’ Wild Card playoff game. Garrett confirmed that, because of the short work week with the game being on Saturday, Richard will not interview this week with teams that have head coaching vacancies. Garrett would not speculate on whether Richard will interview in the week following the Wild Card game. With eight head coaching jobs available, I think it’s going to be tough to keep an up-and-comer like Richard, in spite of the NFL’s so-called turn towards wide open, creative offenses and many team’s desires to hire “the next Sean McVay”. Defense still wins in this league (ask Baltimore and the Cowboys). And Richard is definitely a hot commodity. The folks here inside The Star, particularly his colleagues on the Cowboys’ coaching staff, continually sing his praises. 3 & Out: This Cowboys-Seahawks playoff matchup is about two mentally tough teams – Rob Phillips, Dallas CowboysThe Cowboys and Seahawks are two battle-tested teams that win games despite their deficiencies, it’s perfect for the playoffs. You can make the argument that Saturday’s wild-card matchup at AT&T Stadium features the two most playoff-prepared teams in the NFC field. Here’s why: I went through all 32 teams’ schedules, and of the six NFC teams left standing, the Seahawks have played the most games (seven) decided by three points or less. The Cowboys are right behind them with six, including two overtime thrillers – the second-most in the league behind Cleveland (four). Three biggest reasons the Cowboys’ defense continued its transition into a team strength this season – Jon Machota, SportsDayThe Cowboys had a Top-10 defense in their last playoff debut in 2016 but were ousted by the Packers. Here’s why this youthful defense is now ready-made for the postseason. The average age of the 11 starters on the Cowboys’ 2016 defense was 26. The average age this year is 24 and ½. One of the areas where the youth has taken over most is at linebacker. Sean Lee and Anthony Hitchens were very good in 2016. Lee had a career year. But neither were as athletic as Jaylon Smith and Leighton Vander Esch. The Cowboys have also gotten noticeably younger in the secondary with Jones and Chidobe Awuzie basically replacing veterans Orlando Scandrick and Brandon Carr. 2018 Wild Card: Two similar teams collide with Seahawks at Cowboys – Who do you got?, Seahawks.comThe opinions on the outcome between this weekend’s playoff game between the Cowboys and Seahawks are pretty evenly split. Six experts think the Cowboys will win, while five experts pick the Seahawks to win. Field Yates, ESPN NFL Insider: These teams are similar stylistically, as both want to run the football on offense. The Seahawks led the NFL in total rushing yards and rushing attempts, while Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott led all players in rushing yards and rushing attempts. This might prove to be a low-scoring affair, but the difference-maker is the home-field edge; the Cowboys — catalyzed by a young and improving defense — have won seven of eight games at home this season. […]

Cowboys regular-season awards, plus playoff and Kris Richard discussion

by Dave Halprin on January 4, 2019 at 5:00 am

We’re covering multiple Cowboys topics on out latest shows. There so much to talk about concerning the Cowboys that we needed three shows to cover it all. Talkin’ The Star: Let’s Hand Out Some Awards! The Talkin’ The Star crew is back and ready for the playoffs! But before they can break it all down, they must hand out their regular season awards! Make sure you get ready for Wild Card weekend with your favorite dudes. The 75O: How Can The Cowboys Beat The Seahawks? It’s the first episode of The 75O in 2019 and we’re getting ready for a Cowboys playoff game! Check out our latest episode as 2-Time Super Bowl Champion Tony Casillas (@tccasillas) and RJ Ochoa (@rjochoa) break down everything you need to know ahead of Saturday’s tilt between the Cowboys and Seahawks. There are a few keys to the game for both squads, and we’ve got them all. Let’s get it. OchoLive: Kris Richard Lurkers | Managing Expectations | Left Guard Hopes Whaddup World! The Cowboys will host the Seahawks in the playoffs on Saturday, and it’s going to be quite the treat. Before then, many teams have asked to interview Cowboys secondary coach, and pseudo defensive coordinator, Kris Richard, about potential head coaching opportunities. How possible is it that he leaves? What would it all mean? We get into that and the upcoming showdown with Seattle all on today’s episode. Huzzah! […]

Darren Woodson and Jimmy Johnson left out of Pro Football Hall of Fame’s 15 finalists for 2019

by RJ Ochoa on January 4, 2019 at 1:00 am

Two Cowboys legends will not be entering the Hall this year. We’re inching closer and closer to the Super Bowl, the playoffs starting this weekend being the proof, and that means that we’re nearing the announcement of a new Pro Football Hall of Fame class. On Thursday night the Hall announced a list of 15 finalists that the committee will pick from when they decide on the Super Bowl’s eve and Cowboys fans everywhere were hoping that this would be the year for Darren Woodson and/or JimmyJohnson. Unfortunately, that is not the case. Neither Darren Woodson nor Jimmy Johnson were chosen as one of the 15 modern-era finalists. These are the people the Hall prioritized over Woodson and Johnson Altogether there were five defensive backs included in this year’s group of 15: Steve Atwater, Champ Bailey, Ty Law, John Lynch, and Ed Reed. From a coaching standpoint Don Coryell and Tom Flores were on the list. This means that the HOF values all of these players/coaches over Darren Woodson and Jimmy Johnson. That doesn’t bode well. Getting into the HOF is a tricky process. It involves having had one of the more incredible careers in the history of the game, but there’s an element of politics involved as well. Both Johnson and Woodson have gone on to have post-football lives that feature them prominently around the game as analysts, it’s hard to imagine why their accomplishments aren’t enough. Recent Cowboys Ring of Honor inductee Gil Brandt was announced previously as a contributor finalist for the Pro Football Hall of Fame, so he’s on the ballot regardless. It appears as if he will have a bust in Canton a year’s time from now, but it will indeed be at least another year before we know whether or not Woodson or Johnson will get one of their own. […]


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