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Cincinnati Bengals Blog

Big Savings at ProFanGear with Fanatics.comCalling all Cincinnati Bengals Fans. Thanks for visiting this news blog site.Shop the newest Cincinnati Bengals fan gear at ProFanGear.com If you are looking for gear click the link to Shop ProFanGear.com for Cincinnati Bengals Gear. I’ve teamed up with Fanatics to connect my readers with the best selection of officially licensed Cincinnati Bengals 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. Cincinnati Bengals fans bookmark this page and keep up with the latest Bengals news and happenings. Cincinnati Bengals News and Gear. Thanks again for visiting.

 

 

  • The Orange and Black Insider Bengals podcast: 6/25 livestream

    by Anthony Cosenza on June 25, 2019 at 9:56 pm

    This week, Anthony and John play a version of “Would you rather…?” in a Bengals’ coaching scenario, as well as examining the fallout of the Jonah Williams news. We’ve hit a bit of a lull in the NFL schedule, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t things to talk about. Training camp is around the corner and polarizing opinions on the 2019 outlook of the Cincinnati Bengals are plentiful. This week on The Orange and Black Insider, John and Anthony play an interesting game of “Would you rather…?” as it pertains to the Bengals’ coaching situation. Was the right move to wait until the 2019 offseason to move on from Marvin Lewis, or should the big hook have been brought out immediately after the 2015 Wild Card loss. Hindsight is a beautiful thing. That statement can also be applied to the Cincinnati Bengals and their first round picks. Jonah Williams is the latest in an unbelievable string of injuries to top picks for the team, as it looks to cope with his being out for the entire 2019 season. What does it mean for the club going forward? Can they recover from this loss? Join us live, or download the program through one of our many channels! If you’re unable to join us live for here at Cincy Jungle or YouTube every episode, all Orange and Black Insider content is available here on CJ, the Stitcher, Spotify and Google Play Music apps, our YouTube channel, as well as through Megaphone and, as always, on iTunes! You can tweet us @BengalsOBI or get in touch with us via email at theobinsider@gmail.com. Thanks for listening and go subscribe to our channels! […]

  • Jonah Williams has shoulder surgery and likely out for entire rookie season

    by Jason Marcum on June 25, 2019 at 6:31 pm

    Well this kinda really sucks. The Cincinnati Bengals have likely lost their first-round pick for the season, again. On Tuesday, the team revealed that Jonah Williams underwent shoulder surgery and will likely miss his rookie season. Per Bengals.com: The club confirmed that rookie left tackle Jonah Williams underwent left shoulder surgery Tuesday to repair a torn labrum that is likely to sideline him for the entire season, but he is expected to make a full recovery. He sat out the June 11-13 mandatory minicamp after getting injured the week before in practice. And here is a statement from Zac Taylor: “We look forward to Jonah being a major contributor in the future, and know that he won’t let this injury deter him from still being an important part of this team. We’re confident in our offensive line personnel as we head into training camp, and we believe they can do their part in helping this team achieve its goals.” Bengals first-round picks are officially cursed. Williams will almost certainly join the likes of John Ross, Billy Price, William Jackson and Cedric Ogbuehi as top picks that end up missing part, if not all of their rookie seasons due to injury. Alas, the Bengals will now rely on Cordy Glenn at left tackle. Glenn briefly moved to left guard after Williams took over the left side during OTAs. Losing the 11th overall pick before he plays a down of football is never ideal, but we’re all used to it by now since the Bengals have the worst luck when it comes to their top picks missing significant time as rookies. Also…really Hobson? Credit to @TampaBayTre for pointing this lede out. Sign the author up for a career in politics: pic.twitter.com/e7AgzfkgCO— Ted Nguyen (@FB_FilmAnalysis) June 25, 2019 Not even Lance Armstrong could spin this hard— Trevor Sikkema (@TampaBayTre) June 25, 2019 Super Bowl 54 champs baby! […]

  • Bengals viewed as long shots to make NFL playoffs

    by Jason Marcum on June 25, 2019 at 5:49 pm

    The Bengals rank near the bottom of the NFL in terms of playoff odds. It wasn’t that long ago when the Bengals were making five straight trips to the playoffs. But after how the last three years have gone, it feels like ages ago when Cincinnati was last competing in the postseason. Might that change in 2020 under first-year head coach Zac Taylor? The oddsmakers don’t seem to think so. The latest odds from Caesars Palace (via Bleacher Report) have the Bengals getting the third-worst odds to make the playoffs, ahead of only the Dolphins and Cardinals. NFL playoff odds are out pic.twitter.com/NSquyVUehz— B/R Betting (@br_betting) June 24, 2019 Despite having one of the NFL’s ‘easier’ schedules, no one outside of Cincinnati seems to think this is a team capable of making the playoffs next season. On one hand, Cincinnati still has several of the key players who carried this team to five straight playoff trips, including A.J. Green, Geno Atkins, Andy Dalton and Carlos Dunlap, not to mention promising young talents like Joe Mixon, Jessie Bates, William Jackson, Tyler Boyd and Sam Hubbard. However, there’s always going to be doubts when you’ve got a first-time head coach (Zac Taylor), a first-time offensive coordinator (Brian Callahan) and a first-time defensive coordinator (Lou Anarumo). The offensive line and linebackers are also major question marks that could turn into crippling weaknesses again. At the end of the day, taking the ‘prove it’ approach with this team is the best way to go. The Bengals have a lot of potential, but they need to prove they’re capable of harnessing it before we start talking about playoff contention. Do you think the Bengals will make the playoffs this coming season? […]

 

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Minnesota Vikings Blog

Big Savings at ProFanGear with Fanatics.comCalling all Minnesota Vikings Fans. Thanks for visiting this news blog site.Shop the newest Minnesota Vikings fan gear at ProFanGear.com If you are looking for gear click the link to Shop ProFanGear.com for Minnesota Vikings Gear. I’ve teamed up with Fanatics to connect my readers with the best selection of officially licensed Minnesota Vikings 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. Minnesota Vikings fans bookmark this page and keep up with the latest Vikings news and happenings. Thanks again for visiting.

 

 

Daily Norseman - All Posts The Purple and Gold Standard

  • Good Morning Gjallarhorn - ep 056 - A Big Fan of Morning Football
    by Luft Krigare on July 18, 2019 at 12:39 pm

    Ted, Drew, and Dave are back again talking Minnesota Vikings football in their own special and unique way. Good morning Horners! Let’s light this candle for today’s show. Ted, Drew, and Dave are back again talking Minnesota Vikings football in their own special and unique way. The show promises to be full of laughs, some analysis, and of a couple stories. We are your Daily Norseman morning show. There is a wide range of topics discussed from the soon to be camp battle where young Second Lieutenant Austin Cutting will battle his way to take the long snapping job from Kevin McDermott. Drew may not care so much, but we know Dave does and we suspect you do too. Photo by Stephen Maturen/Getty Images Chad Beebe giving fans good feels going into 2019.Briefly, Kyle Rudolph’s extension provided both money and mentorship to the young Irv Smith Jr. and Ted talked about rubbing oil all over something when thinking about Chad Beebe. Then the gang got into discussions about positions on the team that seem to be thin in depth. Are the positions of the secondary, wide receivers, running backs, quarterbacks actually thin? We talked about solid depth in many of the groups, to include the offensive line for the first time in a long time. We quickly rattled through the roster to see who might make those last half-dozen spots on the final 53. Why, because Drew stated that the top 46 or 47 players are already penciled in place, and all the rookies not drafted in the first few rounds, the UDFAs, and even some of the non-starting veterans will be competing for those final spots on the roster. Then it was off to one of Drew’s requested segments, the predictions. Questions like will Laquon Treadwell make the squad? Will he beat the over and under of 2.5 touchdowns that Las Vegas is showing him at? What will be the team’s overall win record? Could it be that Ted, in his initial thought of 8-5-3, be actually feasible? The records led in the discussions about the rest of the division. Will the Chicago Bears be transitioning? How about the Green Bay Packers being extremely bad? And are the Detroit Lions the same team as always? It’s very much looking like the Vikings success will depend on quarterback Kirk Cousins and how he plays, but will his yardage total, and those box office stats be key? Selecting an over and under of 4500 yards, what would you prefer? Who’s going to lead the team in sacks? Does Dalvin Cook go over a 1,000 yards on the season? Who has the most receiving yards? Who leads the team in interceptions not named Kirk Cousins? These are just some of the questions we try to answer, and we’re looking forward to yours in the comments below. There was one last question if the Vikings play as we want them to and go all the way to glory never seen before by us, what would their rally song be? Dave, Drew, and Ted discussed it but couldn’t come up with a firm answer. We need your help on this one. Like, subscribe, and ring that damn bell! Then shout SKOL! As always, enjoy the watch! BREAKING NEWS!!! The Daily Norseman and the Climbing The Pocket Network are joining forces to create a one-stop-shop for Vikings podcasts delivered to your eardrums daily. This collection of shows promises to deliver the top independent voices covering the Vikings from every angle. Subscribe below: Click here for iTunes Click here for Stitcher Click here for iHeartRADIO Click here for YouTube Click here for Google Play Music You can follow GMG hosts Dave at @Luft_Krigare and Ted at @purplebuckeye. Unfortunately, Drew is behind the power curve and doesn’t have a Twitter handle… yet. […]

  • Minnesota Vikings News and Links: July 18th, 2019
    by just_rob on July 18, 2019 at 8:00 am

    Thorsday Open Thread Good Morning! I’m off service and not working for the next seven days, I have a thrilling week of getting the honey-do list taken care of while I’m off. Speaking of not thrilling, the Vikings pre-sale ticket thingy was a bust for me, I did get in and find some sweet endzone tickets but I looked and could have purchased them for less on the secondary market. We’re on the home stretch for the start of training camp, as I see Vikings related news during the day I’ll post it, if you see Vikings news on the twitterz or elsewhere that I didn’t see feel free to post in the comments. Meanwhile we’ll carry on with our news and links open thread full of beer recommendations, nap strategies, crock pot and smoker recipes. Drop by for some fan wisdom, snark and go ahead and have another coffee, it’s Thorsday. Around the DN since our last open thread: Ted says the proposed 18 game schedule is really dumb...Ted is correct. Fifteen Minutes with Flipmazzi - 202 - Touchdowns Vikings news from other sources: From Vikings.com Wobby sat down with wide receivers Coach Drew Petzing about how his transition to coaching the team’s wideouts has gone, how the offensive staff has come together so far, the high-end duo of Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen, how the position group looks once you get past those two, including what to expect from second-year WR Chad Beebe, and more. Lunch break: Diggs-Thielen ranked 2nd-best WR Duo by NFL.com League news: From NFL.com NFC North training camp preview: Key players, battles to watch. Daniel Jeremiah’s instant-impact rookies. (list invalid as it did not include Garrett Bradbury) Broncos among four teams reporting for training camp yesterday. Making the Leap: Lamar Jackson’s 2019 play will sway doubters. Cardinals cut OT Desmond Harrison after arrest warrant. State of the Franchise: Miami can rise on D, but what about QB? We come to today’s media selection: Letterkenny Problems: “Hockey Players” Again, we all know the rules, but in case someone is new:-No discussion of politics or religion-No feeding of the trolls-Leave the gender hatred at the door-Keep the bad language to a minimum (using the spoiler tags, if you must)-Speaking of which, if discussing a newer show or movie, please use spoiler tags-No pictures that could get someone fired or in serious trouble with their employer-If you can’t disagree in a civil manner, feel free to go away-While navigating the open thread, just assume it’s sarcasm.With that, the beer light is on and the bar is open. Belly up & tie one on. Don’t forget to tip your waiter, try the grilled cheese and Welcome Aboard! […]

  • An 18 game schedule is really dumb
    by Ted Glover on July 17, 2019 at 2:17 pm

    Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports Just another bad idea in the Roger ‘Bud Selig’ Goodell era If you’re not aware, the NFL and the NFL Players Association (NFLPA), the union that represents players, are having preliminary talks to discuss a new collective bargaining agreement (CBA). The current CBA runs out at the end of the 2020 season, and with the history of acrimony between NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, the players, and NFLPA President DeMaurice Smith, a lot of people (myself included) feel a strike or lockout is a real possibility. But, some good news on that front. The league and the player’s union will be entering into three consecutive days of talks, beginning today, in an attempt to hammer out a new agreement and prevent a work stoppage. One of the things that has been floated by the NFL was moving to an 18 game regular season schedule, but restricting players to 16 games. In the pantheon of bad sports decisions, this might be the worst. If not the worst, it would definitely make a top 10 list. I can’t even begin to break down why, but I’m going to try. For one, it basically ruins the competitive playing field for the NFL. As Mike Decourcy said in The Sporting News, it’s an ‘affront to competitive logic that never has been attempted in any major American team sport, and neither in any of the world’s top soccer leagues.’ Theoretically, every game would be compromised from a competitive standpoint, at least to a point, by every team. Some coaches would want to rest their star players early in the season, some would want to rest them late; some in the middle. Some would have no idea what the hell to do. I’m looking at you Matt Patricia. The mothership said that those two extra games would feel like preseason. It could, depending on how many guys you sit, but I don’t think it would be that bad, although the product would still be diminshed. For example, you could sit Kirk Cousins but not Dalvin Cook, Adam Thielen but not Stefon Diggs. Still, though, that puts the Vikings at a tremendous competitive disadvantage, just as it would if the Packers have to sit Aaron Rodgers and Davante Adams twice, the Lions having to sit Matthew Stafford and...someone else who is good on their roster twice, or the Bears benching Khalil Mack twice. But not Mitchell Trubisky, amirite? And for units that really require practice reps and cohesion to come together and work well, like an offensive line, this is an utterly horrid idea. For fans of the Vikings, this should send a cold shiver down your spine. I’m not a math wizard, but if you stagger the two games for every starter so that no two starters are out for the same game, the regular starting offensive line will play together as a unit exactly...carry the one...find the coefficient of ‘my goodness is this just dumb’...and you have six games, I think. Might be less, could even be a negative number. And that’s assuming no injuries. Which never, ever happen to Vikings linemen. Or any other team, for that matter. As a fan, it dilutes the product even more. There is some bad, bad football that’s played week in and week out in the NFL, and having to sit two players, to include your marquee guys, makes this problem even more pronounced. Combine it with the ridiculously bad officiating that we see in every game, every week, it feels like a recipe for a product that would be unwatchable. And I want to watch the stars play. This season, the Vikings play in Kansas City. I’m seriously thinking about getting tickets and making the drive to see them play in person. What if that was the week the Vikes sat Dalvin Cook, or Harrison Smith, or the Chiefs sat Patrick Mahomes? 70,000+ fans didn’t come to watch Chad Henne, they came to watch Patrick Mahomes light it up, although I would be more than content with watching Henne throw for a buck fifty and three picks. That’s not really the point, though. Sitting Mahomes for two games gives the KC opponents a tremendous competitive advantage, one that the other 16 teams they play don’t get. And seriously, you need to sit kickers, punters, and long snappers twice? That just seems really stupid. For the NFL, this is just naked money grab, because I guess the NFL can’t have too much of that. If this were to somehow be agreed to, there would probably be two less pre-season games, which hurts guys trying to make the back end of the roster. The counter to that is that you would almost have to certainly increase the rosters from 53 players to...let’s just say 60 for arguments sake. But to counter THAT, you now have six or seven guys on a roster that normally would be on the practice squad or not even in the NFL, and the product that has made the NFL the Goliath in American Sports is diluted even more. I don’t want to see a work stoppage, but I don’t want to see this become part of the NFL landscape, either. I do want to see a new commissioner, though. […]

  • Fifteen Minutes with Flipmazzi - 202 - Touchdowns
    by Luft Krigare on July 17, 2019 at 12:12 pm

    Flip takes us through some of the exciting moments of 2018 as we look towards 2019. As we slide day after day one step closer to actual Minnesota Vikings football activities, we sit down Flip. Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images Adam Thielen catching touchdowns in Green Bay.It’s time to get hyped! Flip celebrates the best moments of the 2018 season, even though some “fans” are trying to pretend there weren’t any. From the fourth quarter explosion in Lambeau Field, to Kevin Stefanski’s beautiful debut at US Bank Stadium, the Vikings had plenty of highlights. Deep ball strikes, critical runs and game-breaking turnovers. Touchdowns. Get comfortable with 2018 and excited for 2019. Get all the purple energy you need, here! Enjoy the show will Flip, and know that your coffee not be cold by the time you finish. SKOL! And if you haven’t followed Flip already, you can do it here: @Flipmazzi BREAKING NEWS!!! The Daily Norseman and the Climbing The Pocket Network are joining forces to create a one-stop-shop for Vikings podcasts delivered to your eardrums daily. This collection of shows promises to deliver the top independent voices covering the Vikings from every angle. Subscribe below: Click here for iTunes Click here for Stitcher Click here for iHeartRADIO Click here for YouTube Click here for Google Play Music […]

  • Minnesota Vikings News and Links: July 17th, 2019
    by just_rob on July 17, 2019 at 8:00 am

    Photo by Steven Ryan/Getty Images Hump Day Open Thread Good Morning! It’s Hump Day and my Friday, a fact I’m sure is only interesting to me. I’ll be looking for that email from Vikings.com today, I did send an email yesterday and got a canned “so you’re interested in season tickets” response. Training camp will be upon us soon which is sure to spark more spirited debates on who the 4th WR should be and “we need a backup long snapper.” Meanwhile, time to carry on with our news and links open thread full of beer recommendations, nap strategies, crock pot and smoker recipes. Drop by for some fan wisdom, snark and go ahead leave work early, it’s Hump Day. Around the DN since our last open thread: Roc Thomas suspended for first three games of 2019 season notes Chris. Skoldiers - 045 - Offseason Recap Pt 2 - Coaching and Offense hosted by Ed and Mike. Vikings news from other sources: From Vikings.com Wobby addresses fan comments and questions, including the excitement level surrounding year two of Kirk Cousins as a Viking, how the team could use the team’s tight ends in 2019, the battle for the backup QB spot, the push to get Jim Marshall into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, and more. Adam Zimmer teaching the linebackers hows and whys with examples of Eric Kendricks and Anthony Barr. Training Camp Primer: How might one change on the line affect the Vikings defense? Lunch break: NFC North bunched together in ESPN’s future power rankings. From Matthew Coller at SkorNorth.com ranking the Vikings position groups by most intriguing in camp. League news: From NFL.com Ranking NFL’s best WR duos. Golden Tate: Matthew Stafford is ‘best QB I’ve played with’ Ex-Eagles special teams captain Chris Maragos retires. AFC South training camp preview: Quarterback questions loom. We come to today’s media selection: Metallica - Smoke On The Water Again, we all know the rules, but in case someone is new:-No discussion of politics or religion-No feeding of the trolls-Leave the gender hatred at the door-Keep the bad language to a minimum (using the spoiler tags, if you must)-Speaking of which, if discussing a newer show or movie, please use spoiler tags-No pictures that could get someone fired or in serious trouble with their employer-If you can’t disagree in a civil manner, feel free to go away-While navigating the open thread, just assume it’s sarcasm.With that, the beer light is on and the bar is open. Belly up & tie one on. Don’t forget to tip your waiter, try the monotony and Welcome Aboard! […]

 

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Green Bay Packers Blog

Big Savings at ProFanGear with Fanatics.comCalling all Green Bay Packers Fans. Thanks for visiting this news blog site.Shop the newest Green Bay Packers fan gear at ProFanGear.com If you are looking for gear click the link to Shop ProFanGear.com for Green Bay Packers Gear. I’ve teamed up with Fanatics to connect my readers with the best selection of officially licensed Green Bay Packers 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. Green Bay Packers fans bookmark this page and keep up with the latest Packers news and happenings. Thanks again for visiting.

 

 

Acme Packing Company - All Posts Where "Draft and Develop" isn't just a philosophy...it's a way of life.

  • Will Aaron Jones break out in Matt LaFleur’s passing game? Not so fast
    by Peter_Bukowski on July 17, 2019 at 7:45 pm

    Aaron Jones is an electric back, but don’t expect Matt LaFleur to make him a staple of the passing game. | Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images Much has been made of Matt LaFleur potentially adding his running backs to the passing game in a way Mike McCarthy was reticent to employ. Would that even be a good idea? The clips inevitably go viral on Green Bay Packers Twitter. Aaron Rodgers gets to the top of his drop, doesn’t like what he sees, fires the ball to Aaron Jones who scampers for a first down. Why didn’t Mike McCarthy employ Jones more as a receiver? Why was Rodgers so reluctant to check the ball down instead of throwing it away or taking the sack? Such questions plague this offense under the previous administration, ones purportedly answered by play-action disciple Matt LaFleur. His former boss Kyle Shanahan is one of the most effective designers in the league at getting his backs big plays in the passing game. Problem solved right? Even after signing Dion Lewis and making him a major part of the offense however, the Titans rarely involved the running backs in the passing game on early downs. In fact, only two teams did it less often, the Texans and the 49ers, the second of which happens to be the brainchild of the aforementioned Shanahan (h/t to The Athletic’s Ben Baldwin for the stats). Using Estimated Points Added, or EPA for short, the 49ers were fourth in the league when they threw to backs on first and second down despite not doing it particularly often. The Texans were 29th and the Titans were 24th. In other words, despite being high efficient when the 49ers threw to their backs, they didn’t do it very often. This is both by design—shot plays to backs can’t be called that often—and necessity. Despite San Francisco’s relative efficiency here, throwing to running backs simply isn’t as efficient as throwing to receivers or tight ends. In fact, only two teams were able to match the average NFL EPA for receivers and tight ends when they were throwing to their backs. This may seem intuitive, but the numbers bear it out: If you’re going to throw it to someone, throw it to someone whose primary job it is to catch and run with it. The Packers under LaFleur will certainly throw it to Jones and Jamaal Williams on checkdowns and screens. There will also be some Shanahan wrinkles with running back seam routes and leak plays designed to create confusion on defense, leaving the back wide open for a big play. But it shouldn’t be the staple of the offense and, based on what we know about LaFleur along with his coaching pedigree, it’s also unlikely to be. Whether those are related isn’t relative to the outcome, though it’s an interesting question worth asking. Does a team like Green Bay, who employs in-house analytics staff, look at these numbers, ones that show throwing to the running back is simply less efficient than throwing to receivers and tight ends, and take that information and use it to create game plans? They should, but do they? This question becomes even more interesting considering the Patriots throw to their backs more than any other team in the league on early downs, yet they are one of the teams on the forefront of analytic usage. Here’s the fundamental truth of this conversation: what so many have called for, this author included, is not necessarily to incorporate Jones or Williams more into the passing game in a dedicated fashion. What they really want is for Rodgers to be willing to take his medicine went the deep shot isn’t there, check it down, and live to fight another down. There will be schemed plays to get the running back involved, potentially even shot plays. But don’t expect this offense to suddenly resemble the Steelers with Le’Veon Bell or the Andy Reid Eagles with Brian Westbrook. Based on what we know about running backs in the passing game, that’s the smart way to build this or any offense. […]

  • Packers 2019 roster predictions: Kyler Fackrell returns to backup role after breakout season
    by Jason B. Hirschhorn on July 17, 2019 at 5:00 pm

    Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports Despite recording double-digit sacks in 2018, Kyler Fackrell should see less work as the result of the Packers’ offseason additions at his position group. Since the conclusion of the 2018 season, the Green Bay Packers’ roster has changed significantly. A large group of free agents, draft picks, and undrafted rookies will come to training camp to challenge for roster spots and roles on the team’s 53-man roster. Over the next two weeks, Acme Packing Company will break down the roster position by position and reveal our compiled predictions for the 53-man roster. The arrival of head coach Matt LaFleur means a heavier emphasis on tight end than in the Packers’ recent past even if most of the personnel remains intact from a season ago. The team will likely continue turning over the position in coming years, but expect some familiar faces to see the majority of the action until that process unfolds. Starter: Za’Darius Smith, Preston Smith Providing for health, Za’Darius Smith and Preston Smith will enter the regular season as the Packers’ top edge rushers. Defensive coordinator Mike Pettine will shift either or both inside in obvious passing situations, so their status as starting outside linebackers is a bit misleading. Still, both Smiths will receive every opportunity to set the edge given the massive contracts they signed during the offseason. Backups: Rashan Gary, Kyler Fackrell, Reggie Gilbert Two of the Packers’ top backup outside linebackers underscore the improved depth at the position. Kyler Fackrell lead the team in sacks a season ago and Rashan Gary arrived in Green Bay as the No. 12 overall pick. In most circumstances, either would start or at least compete for the opportunity to do so. However, the arrival of Za’Darius and Preston Smith allows both to fall into reserve roles. Meanwhile, Reggie Gilbert seems decently positioned to take a spot behind them. *** Released: Kendall Donnerson, Greg Roberts, Randy Ramsey The trio of Kendall Donnerson, Greg Roberts, and Randy Ramsey each offer considerable potential despite entering the league as late-round picks or undrafted free agents. Donnerson scores as one of the best athletes in Green Bay at any position, Roberts offers a strong athletic profile as well, and Ramsey comes in with plenty of experience from his time at Arkansas. Accordingly, if any or all miss the final cut, they could realistically end up on the Packers’ practice squad. […]

  • Packers 2019 training camp roster: Za’Darius and Preston Smith anchor new OLB group
    by Jason B. Hirschhorn on July 17, 2019 at 3:00 pm

    Patrick McDermott-USA TODAY Sports No position group on the Packers experienced a larger makeover than the outside linebackers, which saw the departure of longtime pass rusher Clay Matthews and the arrival of two high-priced free agents and a first-round draft choice. Since the conclusion of the 2018 season, the Green Bay Packers’ roster has changed significantly. A large group of free agents, draft picks, and undrafted rookies will come to training camp to challenge for roster spots and roles on the team’s 53-man roster. Over the next two weeks, Acme Packing Company will break down the roster position by position and reveal our compiled predictions for the 53-man roster. Though the Packers poured a considerable amount of resources into refreshing their defense, no position group experienced more turnover than the outside linebackers. After a decade headlined by Clay Matthews, the edge rushers will now primarily feature two high-priced free agents and the team’s top draft pick from this past April. Such a shakeup would attract considerable attention on any roster. But for a franchise as steady as Green Bay, those additions represent a genuine sea change. Za’Darius Smith Experience: Four seasons2018 stats: 45 tackles (10 for loss), 25 QB hits, 8.5 sacksHow acquired: Signed as unrestricted free agent in 2019 As the headline addition of the Packers’ offseason, Za’Darius Smith finds himself tasked with improving a pass rush that ran cold at times in recent years. While not a household name -- Smith played a limited role during his first three seasons with the Baltimore Ravens prior to a breakout 2018 campaign -- he has the ability to pressure the quarterback from a number of places along the defensive front. That versatility not only attracted the Packers’ attention, but it bodes well for his ability to perform well in Mike Pettine’s defense. The Ravens frequently kicked Smith inside during obvious passing situations, allowing him to better exploit his quickness against less athletic interior offensive linemen. That trend should continue in Green Bay, where Pettine also likes to shift his pass rushers around to create mismatches and maximize his personnel. Preston Smith Experience: Four seasons2018 stats: 53 tackles (five for loss), 16 QB hits, four sacksHow acquired: Signed as unrestricted free agent in 2019 Like his more heralded new teammate Za’Darius Smith, Preston Smith arrives after a promising but not consistently productive career in Washington. The latter Smith’s pass-rush production fluctuated over his four-year career, producing eight sacks during his rookie and third season while falling below five in his two other campaigns. The Packers apparently believe he can generate pressure more consistently in their defense and demonstrated that faith with a four-year, $52 million contract that includes $16 million fully guaranteed. The Packers officially list Smith as an outside linebacker. However, as with their other major free-agent pass rusher, Smith will also see a significant amount of work as an interior defender where his athleticism can overwhelm slow-footed guards. At times, Green Bay might play both Smiths inside with other players filling the voids along the edges. Rashan Gary Experience: Rookie2018 stats (at Michigan): 38 tackles (6.5 for loss), 2.5 sacksHow acquired: Selected in first round of 2019 NFL Draft The selection of Rashan Gary with the No. 12 overall pick surprised many observers. While Gary possesses top-shelf physical tools and pedigree, he never quite lived up to expectations during his career at Michigan. Part of that, at least according to Green Bay’s front office, results from the manner in which the Wolverines used Gary, but injuries also played a role. Gary enters the NFL with a shoulder injury that could eventually require surgery. While all those factors made Gary a head-scratching draft choice, he does fit what Pettine desires from his pass rushers. Gary’s size (6-foot-4, 277 pounds) and versatility should allow him to line up all across the defensive front and create mismatches. That should also help the Packers get Gary on the field with Za’Darius and Preston Smith at the same time, potentially creating a premium pass-rush personnel package that will keep opposing coaches up late at night. Kyler Fackrell Experience: Three seasons2018 stats: 42 tackles (12 for loss), 12 QB hits, 10.5 sacksHow acquired: Drafted in third round of 2016 NFL Draft After a quiet two seasons in the NFL, Kyler Fackrell delivered far and away his best year as a pro. His 10.5 sacks led all Packers defenders and more than doubled his career total prior to that point. That leap turned Fackrell into an unlikely fan favorite (as well as his “Sackrell” nickname). But that production might well prove misleading. Fackrell turned nearly all of his quarterback hits into sacks, a conversation rate that appears destined for a harsh regression. Fackrell also notched most of them during two games, each against putrid NFL offensive lines. In his 14 other contests last year, he produced just 2.5 sacks and 20 total tackles. Reggie Gilbert Experience: Three seasons2018 stats: 38 tackles (four for loss), eight QB hits, 2.5 sacksHow acquired: Signed as an undrafted free agent in 2016 Ignored for the first two years of his career, Reggie Gilbert became a preseason sensation in 2018 and earned a regular role in the Packers defense. He registered career-best marks in nearly every statistical category and appeared in every game. Still, Gilbert faces longer odds to make the 53-man roster again given the additions Green Bay made this offseason. Kendall Donnerson Experience: One season2018 stats: (None)How acquired: Drafted in seventh round of 2018 NFL Draft In Kendall Donnerson, the Packers have a low-risk, high-reward lottery ticket, one that spent most of his rookie season on the practice squad. If Donnerson can convert his robust athleticism into on-field ability, he could push for playing time down the road. Greg Roberts Experience: Rookie2018 stats (with Baylor): 33 tackles (eight for loss), three sacks, two pass breakupsHow acquired: Signed as an undrafted free agent in 2019 After a four-year wait, Greg Roberts finally became a featured member of Baylor’s defense this past season. His productivity, though unspectacular, suggests he could become an NFL backup and special-teams contributor. Roberts earned a spot on the 2019 edition of Acme Packing Company’s UDFA prospectus. Randy Ramsey Experience: Rookie2018 stats (with Arkansas): 32 tackles (seven for loss), three sacks, one fumble recoveryHow acquired: Signed as an undrafted free agent in 2019 Randy Ramsey arrives in Green Bay after starting multiple seasons for Arkansas. Though his physical gifts pale in comparison to the likewise undrafted Roberts, Ramsey has a much longer track record of production. He appeared in this year’s UDFA prospectus. […]

  • Wednesday Cheese Curds: Don’t count out Jimmy Graham
    by Kris Burke on July 17, 2019 at 2:40 pm

    Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports The veteran tight end could flourish under Matt LaFleur When the Green Bay Packers decides to bring back tight end Jimmy Graham for a second season, the move wasn’t exactly popular among the fans. That might seem kind of crazy when you look at Graham’s all-pro resume but last season was a disappointment for both him and fans who had expectations of him lighting up the scoreboard with Aaron Rodgers at quarterback. He only caught two touchdowns, which tied for the lowest total of his career. Since so many thought he’d be a big red zone threat, this made Graham a somewhat popular cut candidate this offseason even after just one offseason. Now with Graham back in the fold and with a new offense being installed by head coach Matt LaFleur, there is actual reason for optimism regarding the veteran tight end. First, his returns bring some much needed consistency to the tight end position which has been in flux ever since Jermichael Finley’s neck injury in 2013. The Packers have tried various players at the position and Graham could have been the second one year wonder after the Martellus Bennett fiasco but general manager Brian Gutekunst decided to bring him back to see what he could do in LaFleur’s offense. It’s that new offense that is the other reason for hope that Graham will have a bounce back season. LaFleur’s offense stems from the scheme the Denver. Broncos ran under Mike Shanahan and that means Graham will he lining up all over the field. He could be in line, in the slot, out wide or part of a trips formation. He’s a big target for Rodgers and while his skill set may not be what it once was, defenses will still need to account for him and a healthy Rodgers should benefit the veteran tight end. You can read more on Graham’s 2019 season outlook plus a young marketing genius catches the eyes of law enforcement in today’s cheese curds. Countdown to Camp: Jimmy Graham’s return provides options at tight end—Packers.com The tight end position is arguably in the best shape in years with Graham plus Marcedes Lewis, Robert Tonyan and rookie Jace Sternberger but make no mistake that Graham is TE1 and could be in for a comeback season under LaFleur. Preston Smith can look forward to making Washington regret not matching Packers’ offer—PackersNews.com We here at APC are big fans of revenge games and a Preston Smith Revenge Game against Washington would be a great story. NFL Shop selling ‘inverted’ Green Bay Packers jersey—Packers Wire Anyone else think this should be the team’s third jersey? Throwbacks are cool especially for a history rich team like the Packers but this just looks too good not to see the field. Randy Moss helping train a Green Bay Packers receiver—The Viking Age Bitter Vikings fans are bitter that Randy Moss has spent time mentoring Marquez Valdes-Scantling. If MVS has the breakout season many think he could, would that change Packers fans’ perception of the hall of fame WR? Doubtful. Kid selling ‘ICE COLD BEER’ gets police attention—FOX 11 Glad the cops got to the root of the problem and didn’t punish the kid who likely has a future in marketing. […]

  • ILB Roster Predictions: Blake Martinez provides a steady hand at one starting spot
    by Shawn Wagner on July 16, 2019 at 5:00 pm

    Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images The veteran should help ease in a fellow starting middle linebacker this season. In 2019, the Green Bay Packers’ roster looks very different from how it appeared at the end of the 2018 season. A large group of free agents, draft picks, and undrafted rookies will come to training camp to challenge for roster spots and a role on the team’s regular season 53-man roster. Over the next two weeks, Acme Packing Company will break down the roster position-by-position and reveal our compiled predictions for the 53-man roster. As alluded to in the roster preview earlier today, the Packers’ inside linebacker unit has been in flux the past couple of seasons with injuries, late additions, and undrafted players influencing the position. While a last-minute acquisition could be in play again this summer, Green Bay’s current group of middle linebackers makes up one of the most inexperienced positions of any on the roster. One thing the Packers have going for them, however, is the return of Blake Martinez, a model of stability since the 2017 season. His veteran leadership should provide a steady hand to the youth on the roster, including a young player seeking a starting role. As APC’s roster predictions continue, the inside linebacker position keeps four potential contributors. Starters: Blake Martinez, Oren Burks No surprises here. Martinez returns for his fourth season in a green and gold uniform as one of the better defenders on the roster. His work in the weight room this offseason should help him only improve against the run after compiling 144 total tackles a year ago. A 32-game starter the past two seasons, Martinez has been a solid, steady player in the middle of a defense that added notable players both behind and to the sides of him via free agency and the draft. Is Burks ready for a starting job? On paper, he is the most likely inside linebacker ready to emerge into that role and the Packers could sure stand to benefit from an ascension into even a dependable depth role. The former third-round pick has the athletic traits to become a playmaker in time, and reliability from Burks in coverage and reading the field could help free Martinez to blitz the passer more routinely. If Green Bay cannot re-sign Martinez after this season, the 2019 season becomes even more valuable in Burks’ development. Backups: James Crawford, Ty Summers APC writers are banking on growth from year one to year two for Crawford to maintain his spot on the active roster. A core special teamer in 2018, Crawford’s time in the offseason should help prepare him for a larger role on the defensive side of the ball. While fans can count on safeties assisting in the box on passing downs, Crawford should also help provide depth inside. As a recent draft selection, Summers seems destined for a similar role as Crawford a season ago. The TCU standout fits the mold of former picks Martinez and Jake Ryan, but adds a higher level of speed and athleticism. His ability to help the special teams units while improving his knowledge of the defensive system will be imperative to earning a final roster spot. This site’s writers feel he will be able to do just that. Released: Curtis Bolton As of now, APC writers believe Bolton will be the odd man out in the final cutdown. However, Bolton is seemingly a prime candidate for the practice squad as a potential special teams contributor while he grows into a defensive asset. But if Defensive Coordinator Mike Pettine is looking for a potential pass-rush specialist from his inside linebacker group, Bolton, a player who flourished in that role at Oklahoma last season, could win a spot with an opportunistic preseason. As in any year, training camp injuries and setbacks could also open a door for an undrafted player like Bolton to find a way on to the 53-man roster. […]

 

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Detroit Lions Blog

Big Savings at ProFanGear with Fanatics.comCalling all Detroit Lions Fans. Thanks for visiting this news blog site.Shop the newest Detroit Lions fan gear at ProFanGear.com If you are looking for gear click the link to Shop ProFanGear.com for Detroit Lions Gear. I’ve teamed up with Fanatics to connect my readers with the best selection of officially licensed Detroit Lions 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. Detroit Lions fans bookmark this page and keep up with the latest Lions news and happenings. Thanks again for visiting.

 

 

Pride Of Detroit - All Posts A Detroit Lions blog by Lions fans, for Lions fans.

  • Lions notes: Matt Patricia under average pressure in 2019
    by Mansur Shaheen on July 18, 2019 at 9:31 pm

    Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports The coach’s seat is not the hottest entering 2019. Much has been already said about Matt Patricia’s status in Detroit. The former New England Patriots defensive coordinator’s first year of establishing the “Patriot Way” in 2018 was a rocky 6-10 season, and we are all watching to see if the team can get it together in year two. NFL Network’s Jason La Canfora realizes the pressure on Patricia, but believes that a lot of other coaches are dealing with even more strain in 2019. La Canfora ranked all 32 NFL head coaches by how “hot” their seat is entering the season, and the Lions coach came in 15th. The writer said: Matt Patricia’s first season at the helm saw the team drop substantially and the passing game fall apart. Matthew Stafford makes mega bucks but they ran the ball a ton. The success rate of Belichick assistants is well established. He didn’t exactly endear himself to the local fans and media in Year One. Houston Texans head coach Bill O’Brien leads off the list at No. 1. Bleacher Report NFL asked their panel of writers to predict the winners of each division in 2019. The NFC North projects to be one of the most competitive in 2019, with three teams receiving votes to end up on top. The Lions were the one team that no one voted to finish first, though. The Lions had some of their players reenact the plot of Disney blockbuster “The Lion King” with stuffed animals to hilarious results: Lions theatre presents to you:You can thank us later. pic.twitter.com/oxZovKrwMc— Detroit Lions (@Lions) July 18, 2019 The Big Lead’s Liam McKeone ranked who he believes to be the Top 50 players in the NFL at the moment. Only one Lion made the list, and surprisingly it’s Matthew Stafford at No. 49. Pro Football Focus gave some props to defensive tackle Damon Harrison Sr. on Twitter today, as their numbers show him as one of the most surefire tacklers in 2018: @snacks doesn’t miss tackles pic.twitter.com/6rB1J5nUUP— PFF (@PFF) July 18, 2019 […]

  • 2019 Detroit Lions roster rankings: 50-41
    by Jeremy Reisman on July 18, 2019 at 3:30 pm

    Photo by Jorge Lemus/NurPhoto via Getty Images These are your Lions players that will fight for a spot on the gameday rosters. As we head towards training camp, no players will have more to prove than those in the middle of the roster. Many of the players featured in our Detroit Lions roster ranking countdown from 50 to 41 will not only have to prove they’re worth a spot on the 53-man roster, but they’ll need to justify being part of the game plan, too. Before we jump in, be sure to catch up in our countdown: Players 89-81 Players 80-71 Players 70-61 Players 60-51 50. LB Miles Killebrew (High: 42, Low: 62) Last year: 36 Killebrew continues his slide. Just two years ago, we considered Killebrew the 20th best player on the roster. Now, he’s firmly on the bubble. I list him as a linebacker, even though he’s continued to be listed as a safety on the official roster. But he only practices with the linebackers, and Detroit has a surplus of safeties. Killebrew doesn’t really fit the mold of a big linebacker, so he’ll have to prove his worth on special teams, as he has done for the majority of his career. 49. RB Ty Johnson (High: 42, Low: 61) Everyone loves a skill position draft pick. Ty Johnson does, admittedly, bring some intrigue. His speed is undeniable, but where exactly would that fit into the Lions’ gameplan? Could he simply be a kick returner with some home-running hitting potential on offense? Does he possess enough versatility as a runner to be worth not only a 53-man roster spot, but a gameday roster spot as the team’s kick returner? This will be an extremely important training camp for Johnson, because the competition in the running backs room is tough. 48. CB Mike Ford (High: 39, Low: 67) Last year: 66 Mike Ford takes one of the biggest jumps of anyone on the list. The reasoning likely has to do with the fact that Ford unexpectedly got some playing time last year after Detroit figured out their outside cornerbacks on the roster weren’t playing so hot. Though he originally didn’t make the roster and was delegated to the practice squad, Ford was promoted in November and ended up starting four games for Detroit. His performance wasn’t exactly good (49.0 PFF grade), but it was a step up from some of the other players on the Lions’ depth chart (see: Teez Tabor). 47. WR Travis Fulgham (High: 37, Low: 65) Another rookie skill position player, Travis Fulgham enters a crowded receiver room. Detroit’s top three receivers are pretty much set with Marvin Jones, Kenny Golladay and Danny Amendola. Jermaine Kearse likely has the leg up on WR4. Beyond that, who knows? It’s unclear how many receivers the Lions will carry, but Fulgham will have to prove he’s more valuable than the likes of Tommylee Lewis, Andy Jones, and Brandon Powell, among others. Fulgham has a few things working in his favor: youth and size. 46. EDGE Austin Bryant (High: 38, Low, 58) It’s a little surprising to see the Lions’ fourth-round pick this low on the list, but that may have to do with the fact that not much is expected of Bryant in his rookie year. He didn’t practice much at all during OTAs and minicamp due to pectoral surgery, and his role on the team is likely already filled by Devon Kennard. Bryant could potentially start training camp on the Physically Unable to Perform list, although linebackers coach Al Golden made it sound like he was close to practicing back in May. 45. S Charles Washington (High: 40, Low: 51) Last year: 51 The Lions will face an extremely tough decision with Charles Washington this year. As previously alluded to, the Lions have a pretty crowded safety room. And while Washington has proven to be an extremely valuable commodity on special teams, he’s yet to show himself capable of playing safety if the team is in a pinch. That being said, both general manager Bob Quinn and head coach Matt Patricia have made it clear they value special teams more than most, and that could lead Washington to another year on the roster. 44. S Andrew Adams (High: 33, Low: 58) Adams is one of those players Washington will be competing against for a final roster spot. Adams, too, bring special teams value, but has a lot more experience on defense. He started 13 games as an undrafted rookie in 2016 and had a career-high four interceptions with the Buccaneers last year. And at $920,000, he’s a pretty cheap option to take Washington’s roster spot this year. At this point, you have to think he has a leg up. 43. LB Jalen Reeves-Maybin (High: 30, Low: 55) Last year: 29 Reeves-Maybin has some work to do to prove he’s worthy of a roster spot this year. Although the Lions aren’t particularly deep at linebacker, the former fourth-round pick was a much better fit on the team under the previous coaching staff. The Lions like their linebackers big and strong, and Reeves-Maybin has always been the quicker, faster type. That being said, he’s apparently put on some extra weight this year and still brings some special teams value. I wouldn’t count him out just yet. 42. WR Andy Jones (High: 37, Low: 59) Last year: 74 Maybe the biggest leap of all came from Andy Jones last year. Jones started the year on the PUP list, and was almost immediately waived when he finally came back from injury. Then after a short stint on the practice squad, the Lions brought Jones up and he ended up starting the final three games of the season. Though he only had 11 catches for 80 yards and a score, some believe he showed enough to be given a real chance in 2019. The early returns are positive. While Marvin Jones and Kenny Golladay sat out OTAs this past spring, Jones consistently played with the first-team offense and looked somewhat comfortable. Still, he has a ton of work to prove he’s worthy of a roster spot. 41. TE Logan Thomas (High: 34, Low: 54) After the release of Michael Roberts, it appears Logan Thomas is firmly the team’s third tight end. In fact, I would argue his roster spot is pretty close to a lock at this point. The quarterback-turned-tight end showed promise at his new position in Buffalo but is still very much a work in progress. […]

  • Detroit Lions first training camp practice now open to ALL
    by Jeremy Reisman on July 18, 2019 at 2:39 pm

    Photo by Steven King/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images Now everyone can watch the Lions open up training camp! When the Detroit Lions first announced their 2019 training camp schedule, the first practice was set to only be available to media and season-ticket holders. On Thursday, the Lions announced a change. That practice will now be completely open to the public: FIRST TRAINING CAMP PRACTICE ON THURS, 7/25 NOW OPEN TO ALL FANS! Check out the updated schedule for 2019 Detroit Lions Training Camp presented by @RocketMortgage: pic.twitter.com/aK23jXah0t— Detroit Lions (@Lions) July 18, 2019 You need not RSVP. You need not purchase a ticket. Simply show up to Allen Park—ideally early enough to guarantee a spot (gates open at 8:30 a.m. ET)—and enjoy the show! And for those season-ticket holders that already RSVP’d for the opening day of camp, the Lions haven’t forgotten about you. There will be reserved seating available for season-ticket holders available until 10 a.m. ET. If you want more information on how to visit training camp, the Lions website has a list of frequently asked questions that should have you covered. As a reminder, here are the full dates of open practices for Lions training camp (gates open at 8:30 a.m. ET each day) Thursday, July 25, 9:30 a.m. ET Friday, July 26, 9:30 a.m. ET Saturday, July 27, 9:30 a.m. ET Sunday, July 28, 9:30 a.m. ET Tuesday, July 30, 9:30 a.m. ET Wednesday, July 31, 9:30 a.m. ET Thursday, August 1, 9:30 a.m. ET Sunday, August 4, 9:30 a.m. ET* Patriots joint practices Monday, August 5, 9:30 a.m. ET* Tuesday, August 6, 9:30 a.m. ET Wednesday, August 7, 9:30 a.m. ET *Only available for season-ticket holders […]

  • Report: Agent of Damon Harrison, Darius Slay to meet with Detroit Lions this week
    by Jeremy Reisman on July 18, 2019 at 12:22 pm

    Photo by Cindy Ord/Getty Images for Thuzio Will the Lions get a deal done for both before the start on training camp next week? All has been quiet on the Damon Harrison Sr., Darius Slay front. The two sat out OTAs and minicamp last month in the hopes to start negotiations on a new contract. Though the two have a couple years remaining on their respective deals, their guaranteed money is out and they’re likely seeking some long-term security beyond a potential lockout in 2021. But according to Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press, there could be some movement on negotiations coming soon. According to Birkett, Drew Rosenhaus—the agent for both Harrison and Slay—is set to meet with the Lions sometime this week. It comes as little surprise that general manager Bob Quinn has waited this long to start talking about a potential new contract. Since becoming the Lions general manager back in 2016, he has waited until the summer to get all contract extensions done. But the one thing he hasn’t done yet is extend a player with multiple years left on their deal. Whether Quinn is willing to make an exception for Slay and Harrison remains unknown, but this meeting certainly seems like a step in the right direction. Slay and Harrison have not given any indication whether they are willing to continue their holdout into training camp. Both players risk being fined $40,000 a day if they are no-shows. Both are due to report next Wednesday with the first practice scheduled for the following day. […]

  • Detroit Lions rookies reporting to training camp
    by Jeremy Reisman on July 18, 2019 at 12:00 pm

    Photo by Michael Wade/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images The rookies are coming to town. Though the first practice session isn’t until next week, the Detroit Lions training camp officially opens Thursday. As I type these words, rookies are beginning to report to the Lions’ training facility in Allen Park to begin the festivities. This won’t be the first time the Lions’ coaching staff will get an up-close-and-personal look at their brand-new rookie class, but it will be a chance to see how serious these players took their month off after OTAs and minicamp back in early June. The rookie class is, of course, led by the Lions’ eighth overall pick, tight end T.J. Hockenson. Like any top-10 pick, expectations are high for the rookie. Earlier this week, NFL Draft analyst Daniel Jeremiah called Hockenson the best blocking tight end he’s ever scouted. Considering Detroit’s struggles at the tight end position last year and their commitment to running the ball this season, Hockenson will undoubtedly be an integral part of this team’s offensive game planning from Day 1. The rest of the draft class may not be expected to contribute quite so quickly, but players like second-round linebacker Jahlani Tavai and third-round safety Will Harris will certainly play a role this year. And don’t forget about the Lions’ intriguing undrafted rookie class. Players like guard Beau Benzschawel and defensive end Malik Carney have a chance to impress and perhaps earn a spot on the team’s 53-man roster. It’s an exciting time for the Detroit Lions and fans alike! Welcome to training camp, rooks! […]

 

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New York Jets Blog

Big Savings at ProFanGear with Fanatics.comCalling all New York Jets Fans. Thanks for visiting this news blog site.Shop the newest New York Jets fan gear at ProFanGear.com If you are looking for gear click the link to Shop ProFanGear.com for New York Jets Gear. I’ve teamed up with Fanatics to connect my readers with the best selection of officially licensed New York Jets 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 York Jets fans bookmark this page and keep up with the latest Jets news and happenings. New York Jets News and Gear.Thanks again for visiting.

 

 

Gang Green Nation – All Posts And the home of the Jets!

  • Jets Podcast – Offseason Recap

    by Jets_Dan on June 29, 2019 at 6:59 pm

    This is the Jet Life – Ep. 38 This episode covers all of the mayhem and activity between the start of the draft and today. Mike Maccagnan’s final draft, the circus surrounding his firing, Adam Gase’s brief power trip and the restructuring of a strong front office are all covered in this timeline episode. Also a look ahead at what’s to come in training camp. […]

  • New York Jets Flight Connections 6/29/19

    by MacGregor Wells on June 29, 2019 at 10:51 am

    Good morning, GGN! Do you hear that? No? It’s the sound of no Jets knuckleheads getting in trouble so far in the dead time before training camp opens. Fingers crossed the Jets keep this up. Here are your links to the Jets this glorious last Saturday morning in June: Brian Costello – Jets best players 2019 countdown: Can Brian Winters survive an overhaul? Manish Mehta – Top 20 Jets Countdown: No. 16 RT Brandon Shell Randy Lange – Can Le’Veon Bell Break Curtis Martin’s Jets YFS Record? Chris Trevino – USC’s Edoga officially signs with New York Jets Stephen Smith – New York Jets 2019 Player Profile: Jamison Crowder Jetsfix.com – How many current Jets will still be with the team in 2024? Darryl Slater – Ranking 2019 NFL Draft picks likeliest to make biggest impact as rookies Darryl Slater – NFL Draft 2020: Alabama’s Tua Tagovailoa, Oregon’s Justin Herbert, Georgia’s Jake Fromm (and who else?) among early top 20 prospects to watch Darryl Slater – Who are top 2020 free agents to watch? Early look at players likely to get paid Jetsfix.com – Analysis: Run success rates based on personnel grouping Robby Sabo – The great New York Jets Mount Rushmore debate James Cunningham – Jets Early Roster Preview: Safeties Luke Easterling – Jets QB Sam Darnold has high hopes for rookie teammate Chuma Edoga Luke Easterling – Jets RB Le'Veon Bell says new offense loaded with potential, excitement Luke Easterling – Jets QB Sam Darnold working hard to improve mechanics, technique Tyler Greenawalt – Jets legend Mark Gastineau finished treatment for colon cancer Sam Neumann – Former Jets QB Boomer Esiason elected to New York broadcasters Hall of Fame Here are your missed connections from yesterday. Here’s the thread about nothing, why not stop by and say hello? Enjoy the weekend everybody. […]

  • Gang Green Nation Highlight Reel (June 19th-June 25th)

    by jnetys on June 28, 2019 at 7:15 pm

    Our readers’ and writers’ contributions to this site are a major reason why Gang Green Nation is the best Jets blog in the history of Jets blogs. No contribution, big or small, should go unnoticed. That’s why we’ll highlight some of the best comments and FanPosts on a weekly basis. Without further ado, I bring to you, Gang Green Nation’s Highlight Reel for the past week: Top Fanposts: The Trade for Trent: Douglas’ First Move as GM krunchy313 suggests that Douglas should improve the Jets’ O-line by trading for Trent Williams Jets that Got Away: James Farrior Jets Mets Devils Nets 16 looks back on James Farrior’s career as a Jet and Steeler. Top Comments: On Aaron Rodgers being single: If I was in my early 30’s making $30m a year playing football the last thing I’d want to do is be married and tied down. Sounds like an awful life to be single, rich and have no responsibility, poor guy. -jbigs07 On Ty Montgomery’s fit in the offense: Montgomery was made for Gase’s offense A RB who was a WR and can do absolutely everything in the passing game gives Gase so many options. He’s like a kid in a candy store. Montgomery, Bell, Anderson, Enunwa and Crowder are the top 5 receivers on the team. Bell and Montgomery are going to go out wide or in the slot and beat up on safeties and LBers. Those are things Powell can’t do. If I had to guess I’d say Powell who has no guaranteed money is the guy who gets cut. -newman104 On Trenton Cannon’s role with the team: Completely disagree about Cannon He was probably the most important special teams player on this team last year, and the turnaround by the special teams unit was largely because of his addition. Giving him 0% chance of having a roster spot is completely ignorant to his ability as a special teams player… where he saw most of his action anyway. Is he gonna be a starting running back? Of course not. Is he gonna stick as a special teams player, I say absolutely. We may have a new head coach and GM but we have the same exact special teams coach and he lost a couple of his most consistent players (and another if we assume Peake is gone as well). -onecrazymoflo On the Tom Brady vs. Peyton Manning Debate: I get the Brady support, he’s been great for a long time, and won more than anyone. For me though, it’s Peyton. Peyton did more than Brady on the field, carried a bigger load on offense, and lifted teams that didn’t have the depth or defensive talent the Patriots always had. Also Peyton didn’t have the best coach and GM of all time on the sideline. -Arun Krishman On the Tom Brady vs.Peyton Manning Debate: If we were to just look at both guys offensively and what they did in terms of talent on offense, how can you not say Brady is better. He consistently turns scrubs into pro bowlers, Edelman, White, Branch, Welker, Hogan, and numerous others. That one year he had Randy Moss and set TD record. I dunno but If I had to pick one of Brady and Manning to start a franchise, I’m going with Brady. -FlightGreen On the argument that Tom Brady is the best QB of all time: I think Brady is a great QB… I think Belichick is a great coach. I think they’ve had an amazing run…. but there’s too many shady things for me to anoint them, or anyone of them, the greatest. Most others brought up in conversations don’t have allegations of ball tampering, evidence of spying, accusations of signal stealing, rules we’ve never heard of (the tuck rule) being trotted out in the middle of playoff games, and refs almost always taking their side on dubious calls (ASJ’s TD two years ago for example), on their side. I could keep going… but there’s just too much water under the bridge with the Pats to proclaim them #1… it’s just not fair to those who’ve played the game the right way. Give me Montana, Young, Elway, Manning, Marino, I don’t care… but putting a Pat at the top is turning a blind eye to far too much in opinion. And I’m not a long time Pat hater like many Jets fans might be. I just think you have to factor all of this BS into the equation. -Red G Green On Ezekiel Elliott’s high number of touches in his early career: Dallas did this with Demarco Murray. NE does it. Smart teams do They run their cheap young RBs into the ground and then let them walk and get overpaid somewhere else when there’s little to no tread left on their tires. -NamathFreaksOutCallingAllegreFG On the state of the Jets roster: Looking at the two articles I think… … the roster is pretty top heavy. I think we have a solid stock of top tier (or high tier) talent with Darnold, Bell, R. Anderson,Crowder, Herndon, Beachum, L. Williams, Q. Williams, Mosley, Adams, H. Anderson, Johnson (at least on paper). there are some additional players with large potential upsides like Osemele, Montgomery, Polite, May. So I think the top part of the roster looks decent. Where this team gets into trouble is depth. We don’t have any on this roster. Our strongest position groups, the defensive line and the ILBs are the only units that has some sort of depth, assuming that players like shepperd, fatukasi, cashman and burgess / hewitt are serviceable when called upon. With the current roster I think every other group pretty much will need the starters to play huge amounts of snaps for the team to be competitive. Douglas definitely needs to be a magician to prop out the middle level and back end of the roster to make the jets compete. -acpe21 So there you have it, Gang Green Nation’s Highlight Reel. Want to be featured next week? Just keep doing what you do, and more importantly, keep being who you are—after all, YOU’RE what makes Gang Green Nation so great!

 

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Miami Dolphins Blog

Big Savings at ProFanGear with Fanatics.comCalling all Miami Dolphins Fans. Thanks for visiting this news blog site.Shop the newest Miami Dolphins fan gear at ProFanGear.com If you are looking for gear click the link to Shop ProFanGear.com for Miami Dolphins Gear. I’ve teamed up with Fanatics to connect my readers with the best selection of officially licensed Miami Dolphins 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. Miami Dolphins fans bookmark this page and keep up with the latest Dolphins news and happenings. Thanks again for visiting.

 

 

  • The Splash Zone 6/22/19: Miami Miracle Nominated For ESPY

    by Kdog92 on June 22, 2019 at 9:00 am

    Welcome to the Splash Zone, the quickest way to get your day started off right. We bring you a rundown of Miami Dolphins news from the last 24 hours. One of the greatest plays I have ever witnessed, I will never grow tired of watching the Miami Miracle. The 2018 season was lackluster, but beating the Patriots in that fashion sort of made up for it. The play has been nominated for an ESPY, an ESPN award which fans can vote for. So go vote for one of the most memorable, thrilling Dolphin plays in history. You can check out that story here, and the rest of the day’s round-up below. Miami Dolphins' Miami Miracle nominated for ESPY play of the year – Sports – The Palm Beach Post – West Palm Beach, FLWas Kenyan Drake's Miami Miracle touchdown, stunning the New England Patriots in what was easily the highlight of the 2018 Miami Dolphins season, the best play in the world of sports last year? We'll soon find out. Dolphins Offseason New event in Sunrise to determine NFL’s fastest man | Miami HeraldFormer NFL receiver Chad OchoCinco will host a competition at the BB&T Center in Sunrise on June 29 where 28 NFL players vie for a $1.1 million prize to see who is the NFL’s fastest man in the 40-yard dash. Phinsider News You May Have Missed Miami Dolphins News 6/20/19: Josh Rosen, A Football Life – The PhinsiderWelcome to the Splash Zone, the quickest way to get your day started off right. We bring you a rundown of Miami Dolphins news from the last 24 hours. A Miami Dolphins’ Podcast -Phinsider Radio: The dead season of the NFL, Marino vs Brady, New Throwbacks, Family vacations, and more! – The PhinsiderListen. Subscribe. #FinsUp Maurice Jones-Drew: Kenyan Drake is a bottom-five starting NFL running back – The PhinsiderFormer NFL star Maurice Jones-Drew believes Kenyan Drake is among the league’s least impressive starting running backs. Miami Dolphins 90-in-90 roster breakdown 2019: Jerome Baker – The PhinsiderAs we continue our look at the Dolphins roster, today we look at the defensive side of the ball with linebacker, Jerome Baker. The second year player is coming off a good rookie season and… 2019 Fantasy Football: How the Dolphins’ QB competition could impact your fantasy football season — Ryan Fitzpatrick vs Josh Rosen – The PhinsiderHow will the Dolphins’ QB competition impact your fantasy football leagues? […]

  • Friday Night Random Live Thread: Victory Of The Week Vol. 356

    by James McKinney on June 22, 2019 at 12:00 am

    Once again we have another work week (for most of us) in the books. That means it’s time for the Victory Of The Week post. This is where you come and tell us what your victory/accomplishment/ect. of the week is/was. Your victory can be something small that you are just happy with or something huge and life altering. This is your post so you decide what you want to share with the rest of the gang. Remember as always this is an open live thread meaning any subject is on the table outside of religion and politics per the site rules. Please try and keep your pics to a maximum of four per person in any live thread. Also, try your best to keep things as close to PG as possible as we are on the front page. So, tell us what is your victory or accomplishment for this week? […]

 

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  • 10 Most Important Bears of 2019: #3 The kicker
    by Lester A. Wiltfong Jr. on July 18, 2019 at 2:00 pm

    Ryan Pace (probably): “How are you on field goals 43 and in?” | Photo by Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images For the 11th straight year, I’m bringing you who I believe will be the ten most important Chicago Bears for the upcoming season. At #3 is the kicker (whoever that may be), so GM Ryan Pace better hope he gets it right this year. While a member of the Chicago Bears, Robbie Gould made 85.4% of his field goals. Since the Bears parted ways with him before the 2016 season, Chicago kickers have gone 76%. It has been a parade of ineptitude that went from Connor Barth to Cody Parkey with a little Mike Nugent and Cairo Santos mixed in. The Bears went through an exhaustive kicking try out this offseason and they’ve settled on two contenders for training camp, but you can bet they’ll be watching the waiver wire looking for any better options that could pop up. The way it stands now, Bourbonnais will have Elliott Fry battling Eddy Pineiro for the right to kick for the defending NFC North champs. Fry was last seen kicking in the AAF where he made all 14 of his field goals, and Pineiro was last a member of the Oakland Raiders where he missed all of 2018 while on injured reserve. Neither of these guys have stood out this offseason according to the beat writers that have been allowed to cover the team, but kicking is a weird discipline. All it could take is a tweak here or there and all of the sudden they become money. Sometimes all it takes is putting in the extra work to get that muscle memory firing to become NFL worthy. This is why the percentages from NFL kickers almost always jumps up from when they were in college. Gould only made 53.8% of his field goals as a senior at Penn State, but has gone on to a fantastic NFL career. Baltimore’s Justin Tucker has been over 90% as a pro for seven years, but as a senior at Texas he only made 81% of his FGs. Free agent Matt Bryant, whom some Bears’ fans want to see come to Chicago, was 80% at Baylor in 1998, but as a pro for the last 17 years he’s kicking at an 86.2% clip. Either Fry or Pineiro could win the job for the Bears and go on to a splendid career, but with the team sitting in a legit Super Bowl window this is a big gamble. General manager Ryan Pace has done a fantastic job rebuilding the Bears since the Phil Emery / Marc Trestman era, but the one glaring gaffe on his resume has been figuring out the placekicker position. You can bet his pro scouts will be all over the 31 other teams just waiting to pounce if anyone decent is cut loose. I’m putting the kicker position at #3 on my list this year, but this could very well also be Pace as he’s tasked with getting the job done right this time. […]

  • Are there 13 head coaches better than Matt Nagy?
    by Lester A. Wiltfong Jr. on July 18, 2019 at 12:00 pm

    Photo by Patrick Gorski/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images According to NFL.com, the Chicago Bears head coach comes in at number 14 among his peers. When it comes to compiling these “best of” NFL lists, it’s all usually based on one man’s opinion, so I don’t get to riled up about them. Occasionally one will pop up that really pisses me off, but I can usually see the subjective reasoning behind them. The real point of these lists are to get a commentary going with fans, so if that’s the end game, then this latest from NFL.com Analyst Elliot Harrison is going to spark some talk amongst Chicago Bears’ fans. Harrison recently ranked the head coaches in the NFL and he had Chicago’s Matt Nagy in 14th place. Most of the head honchos on the list have had much more success than Nagy, so making an argument for them isn’t very difficult. Here’s who they have ahead of the proprietor of Club Dub. 1) Bill Belichick, New England Patriots 2) Pete Carroll, Seattle Seahawks 3) Sean Payton, New Orleans Saints 4) Andy Reid, Kansas City Chiefs 5) Doug Pederson, Philadelphia Eagles 6) Sean McVay, Los Angeles Rams 7) John Harbaugh, Baltimore Ravens 8) Anthony Lynn, Los Angeles Chargers 9) Mike Tomlin, Pittsburgh Steelers 10) Mike Zimmer, Minnesota Vikings 11) Dan Quinn, Atlanta Falcons 12) Frank Reich, Indianapolis Colts 13) Ron Rivera, Carolina Panthers And here’s what he said about Nagy at 14. Matt Nagy more than delivered in his first year as the Bears’ head coach, taking Chicago to the postseason for the first time since the 2010 season. What’s interesting about Nagy is that his side of the ball is offense, and prior to getting hired by the Bears, he was known for his work with quarterbacks in Kansas City. Yet, it was Vic Fangio’s defense that did most of the heavy lifting to get Chicago to the playoffs. A head coach does much more than run one side of the ball, though. In fact, some of them don’t do that at all. They run the office, in some respects. Nagy clearly set a tone in the building, so to speak, which should not be taken lightly. Nor should Nagy’s work with Mitch Trubisky, who showed improvement from Year 1 to Year 2. Why is Reich ahead of Rivera but not Nagy? Well, Nagy has yet to achieve postseason success and had stronger personnel than Reich did in 2018. Each guy on the list above Nagy has had a taste of postseason success, so I’m fine with this ranking. The only thing that will get Nagy a boost in these head coach rankings is winning in the playoffs. Are you guys good with Nagy’s placement this year? […]

  • The Bear’s Den, July 18, 2019
    by Ken Mitchell on July 18, 2019 at 10:00 am

    Sox trade RHP Matt Nagy to the Cubs for a player to be named later and cash | Photo by Quinn Harris/Getty Images Today is the last Thursday before the Thursday before training camp starts... BEAR DOWN, CHICAGO BEARS, BEAR DOWN!!!! BEARRRSSSS Zeglinski: Matt Nagy and the burden of expectations – The Rock River Times - A good, personable Bears coach in front of a good, personable Bears team in Chicago is the equivalent of a beloved Pope making a visit across the pond. Both make numerous appearances at sporting events (and other public gatherings, of course). Both note the intangibles behind the legends in their professions. Both are revered in incredibly delicate terms. Most importantly, both have a similar and relatively untouchable celebrity status in the Midwest. Bears WR Cordarrelle Patterson puts Super Bowl win in the past - Bears Wire - Chicago Bears free-agent WR Cordarrell Patterson has moved on from his Super Bowl win with the Patriots Chicago Bears pass rush ranked No. 10 in NFL by Pro Football Focus - Bears Wire - The Chicago Bears pass rush was ranked 10th in the NFL by Pro Football Focus, despite the presence of Khalil Mack on the edge. We gave @ChicagoBears head coach Matt Nagy the Statcast treatment for his first pitch at Wrigley! ⚾️ : https://t.co/ewSoAyZNHs pic.twitter.com/RHhekVs4Ls— Cubs Talk (@NBCSCubs) July 17, 2019 Chamberlain: Avoiding this one penalty explains success of Bears offensive line - Bearmaven - The Bears don’t hold, and it helped explain how inconsistent passing and running games could get to the end zone. Chamberlain: Bears need to see Adam Shaheen’s developmental period end quickly - Bearmaven - The Bears have the makings of a decent tight end group, but it hinges on Adam Shaheen’s production. Training camp position preview: Receivers - ChicagoBears.com - When the Bears report to Olivet Nazarene University in Bourbonnais for the start of training camp next week, they’ll do so with one of the NFL’s deepest and most talented receiving corps. Matt Nagy Threw An Absolute Rocket Strike Before the Cubs Game - Bleacher Nation - Our coach throws nothing but gas. New Bear Cordarrelle Patterson On Last Year’s Super Bowl Win: “That Don’t Mean (Bleep) To Me” - Bleacher Nation - Cordarrelle Patterson is all-in with the Bears and their championship dreams. Medina: Getting to Know the 2019 Chicago Bears - Quarterbacks - Bleacher Nation - It’s Mitch Trubisky’s world. We’re just living in it. Hughes: Gambling on Young Legs is Risky Business for Pace, Nagy - Da Bears Blog - When one peruses NFL.com for statistical information regarding the only two kickers on the current Bears roster – Eddy Pineiro and Elliot Fry – one is met with a disconcerting sentence: POLISH SAUSAGE PFT 2019 storyline No. 8: Is Father Time closing in on Drew Brees? – ProFootballTalk - The Saints have had, over the past two years, heartbreaking exits from the postseason. Coach Sean Payton has expressed confidence that they’ll be able to return to 0-0 and climb once again. Vic Fangio: A little improvement from Von Miller goes a long way – ProFootballTalk - In his first press conference after being hired as the Broncos head coach, Vic Fangio said he thought linebacker Von Miller had room to improve and that message hasn’t changed over the last six months. Free agent Rashard Robinson suspended for 10 games - NFL.com - Former 49ers and Jets cornerback Rashard Robinson has been suspended 10 games with a substance abuse violation after missing several tests, per NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport. KNOW THINE ENEMY Daniel Jeremiah: Detroit Lions TE T.J. Hockenson is the best blocking TE I’ve ever evaluated - Pride Of Detroit - That’s some seriously high praise for the Lions’ first-round pick. An 18 game schedule is really dumb - Daily Norseman - Just another bad idea in the Roger ‘Bud Selig’ Goodell era Will Aaron Jones break out in Matt LaFleur’s passing game? Not so fast - Acme Packing Company - Much has been made of Matt LaFleur potentially adding his running backs to the passing game in a way Mike McCarthy was reticent to employ. Would that even be a good idea? IN CASE YOU MISSED IT ON WINDY CITY GRIDIRON Sunderbruch's NFC North Roster Comparison: Linebackers - Windy City Gridiron - The Bears have a tradition at linebacker, and they have a pair of impact-level players trying to live up to that tradition. How does the entire corps stack up in the division? Wiltfong's 10 Most Important Bears of 2019: #4 Akiem Hicks is still underrated - Windy City Gridiron - For the 11th straight year, I’m bringing you who I believe will be the ten most important Chicago Bears for the upcoming season. Next up at #4 is the engine that makes the defense go, Akiem Hicks. Wiltfong: Talking Bears, Media, and Chicago Sports with Author Paul M. Banks - Windy City Gridiron - In this episode of T Formation Conversation, Lester interviews long time Chicago media member Paul M. Banks about the state of sports media today, the legacy of Jay Cutler, the Bears’ Top 100 player lists, Sharknado, Mongo and more. WCG CONTRIBUTORS BEARS PODCASTS & STREAMS Windy City Gridiron Podcast Channel which includes Bear With Me from Robert Schmitz, Bears Over Beers featuring Jeff Berckes & EJ Snyder, and T Formation Conversation from Lester A. Wiltfong Jr.; Steven’s Streaming Twitch Channel from Steven Schweickert; and Robert Zeglinski’s The Blitz Network THE RULES Windy City Gridiron Community Guidelines - SBNation.com - We strive to make our communities open and inclusive to sports fans of all backgrounds. The following is not permitted in comments. No personal attacks, politics, gender based insults of any kind, racial insults, etc. The Bear’s Den Specific Guidelines – The Bear’s Den is a place for Chicago Bears fans to discuss Chicago Bears football, related NFL stories, and general football talk. It is NOT a place to discuss religion or politics or post political pictures or memes. Unless otherwise stated, the Den is not an open thread, and profanity (including profanity only stated in pictures) is prohibited. Click on our names to follow us on Twitter: WCG Contributors: Jeff Berckes; Patti Curl; Eric Christopher Duerrwaechter; Kev H; Sam Householder; Jacob Infante; Aaron Lemming; Ken Mitchell; Steven Schweickert; Jack Silverstein; EJ Snyder; Lester Wiltfong, Jr.; Whiskey Ranger; Robert Schmitz; Robert Zeglinski; Like us on Facebook. […]

  • NFC North Roster Comparison: Linebackers
    by Josh Sunderbruch on July 17, 2019 at 10:00 pm

    Quinn Harris-USA TODAY Sports The Bears have a tradition at linebacker, and they have a pair of impact-level players trying to live up to that tradition. How does the entire corps stack up in the division? Chicago has a special relationship with linebackers. Some of the true Chicago legends played linebacker--George, Butkus, and Urlacher to name the most obvious, but the list is long. Once upon a time, off-the-ball linebackers were the heart of a defense, and they helped to define a defense in a way that currently falls to edge rushers and hybrid ‘safety-backer’ types. The actual number of linebackers who see the field varies dramatically, regardless of whether or not the system is designated a 3-4 or a 4-3, because as I mentioned in the Interior Linemen article, the concept of a Base Defense is more or less antiquated. The true base defense in the NFL these days is a Front 6 in some combination (with five defensive backs on the field). This distinction matters slightly less in this series, though, because the entire position group will be evaluated, not just the nominal starters. First, though, I feel the need to give some context. For 2018, an off-the-ball linebacker led the entire league with 38 defeats. This was actually the fourth time that linebacker, Luke Kuechly, was in the top ten. Another off-the-ball linebacker came in second with 37 defeats, and that was Darius Leonard. Leonard, who was named a 1st-team All-Pro, was a rookie last year, having been drafted 36th overall. At this point, I have to point out the following gem from Bleacher Report just after the draft: “The Indianapolis Colts’ selection of South Carolina State linebacker Darius Leonard with the fourth pick in the second round was one of the draft’s worst moves. They took four second-rounders, so they had plenty of room for error, but this one stands out as a head-scratcher.” Yikes. Justis Mosqueda probably wants that call back. I can’t pretend that I had any idea exactly how good Leonard was going to be, but I did like Tremaine Edmunds, also taken in the 2018 draft. Edmunds had 23 defeats (7th for his position), which was still 4 more than any linebacker in the NFC North. In short, the truly dominant linebacker play in the league is not in the NFC North at the moment. That might change for 2019, however. 1). Minnesota Not listed on Football Outsiders’ defeats total for 2018 is 4-time Pro Bowler Anthony Barr of Minnesota. He only played in 13 games in 2018, and despite some potential for him to move on, he is back in Minnesota. He is supported by Erik Kendricks and (occasionally) Eric Wilson. Kentrell Brothers and 5th-round draft pick Cameron Smith round out the linebackers that are probably most notable in this group, but I might be selling Ben Gedeon short. One way or another, the Vikings basically have one excellent linebacker (Barr), one pretty good linebacker (Kendricks), and some solid depth around them. Interestingly, Pro Football Focus thinks that Barr and Kendricks are the fifth-best linebacker tandem in football. That seems generous to me, but I have to admit that I’m not willing to give PFF any money to read the rest of their list. By most measures, the Vikings have a slightly stronger one-two punch than the Bears, but they also have just a bit more depth than Chicago. Either one would probably be enough for me to make excuses and move the Bears up to #1. Both, together, and I just have to be honest. 2). Chicago After too long in absence, Chicago has developed a solid one-two punch with their off-the-ball linebackers, and as someone accustomed to watching Urlacher and Briggs, that just feels right. Roquan Smith held his own in the middle of the pack for linebackers with 18 defeats (the same as Green Bay’s Blake Martinez and one less than division-leading linebacker Jarrad Davis). In other words, he’s an impact player, but he’s not a star yet. Smith is likely to continue developing, and right now he is already very good, but he’s not on Barr’s level. Nor, for that matter, is Danny Trevathan. Trevathan was a versatile chess piece for the Bears last season, and he has left his own mark on the defense. In fact, Trevathan is a good answer to Minnesota’s Kendricks. As a simple head-to-head with Kendricks, Trevathan holds his own. Over the last four years (since Kendricks came into the league), the Viking has played in 7 more games. In that time, Trevathan only trails him by 3.5 sacks and a Pick-6. He also has 7 fewer quarterback hits. He does have an extra interception, but his total passes defended is down by 1. When adjusted to a per-game basis, however, the two are functionally on the same level. Trevathan’s on-field leadership is probably enough to make up any difference, though a Minnesota fan might disagree. Unfortunately, after their starters, Chicago’s choices thin out dramatically. Kwiatkowski is a serviceable enough rotational piece, but Joel Iyiebuniwe really only intimidates people trying to spell his name correctly. There are a number of players with little to no experience on the roster churning around behind these two, but they are more likely to make for good camp stories than to make an impact on the field. So Chicago has two very good linebackers and very little behind them, and their best linebacker has yet to prove that he can hold his own with Minnesota’s best. 3). Detroit Detroit’s 2017 first-round pick, Jarrad Davis, managed 19 defeats (19th for his position), which was still enough to put him in first place among linebackers in the NFC North, one ahead of Blake Martinez and Chicago’s own Roquan Smith (18 each). Davis led his defense in snaps played, as well, being on field for 98.89% of the plays. The Lions maintained a solid linebacker rotation, though, with Devon Kennard and Christian Jones on the field 88% and 65% of the time, respectively. Kennard is probably a step above a journeyman player, having been transplanted from the Giants and recording 7 sacks in his first season for the Lions. Jones is familiar to Chicago fans as a guy who manages to play decent football most of the time, but in his first season with 16 starts, he did not exactly cause Fangio and Nagy gnash their teeth in regret for letting him go. I am sort of curious to watch the development of Jahlani Tavai. He had a late-round grade on him from most of the sources I saw that graded him at all, but the Lions took him early in the second round. In short, the linebackers for the Lions consist of a remarkable newcomer, a pair of replacement-level contributors, and a rookie who might have been overdrafted. That’s not enough to place them in the top half of the division, unless one of their prospects really emerges soon. 4). Green Bay Blake Martinez has outplayed his draft position, and while he has not yet earned a Pro Bowl nod, he is a really solid player. After Martinez, the Packers fall back on Reggie Gilbert and Antonio Morrison. Um...okay. Beyond that, Green Bay invested so heavily in improving their edge rushers that they left themselves very little room to improve an already thin linebacker corps. There are some prospects who might develop (Ty Summers comes to mind), but this is a group that is going to need the improved edge rushing unit, and the secondary, to get some work done. Given that Green Bay ran Dime or Dime+ defense over 40% of the time in 2018 (down from 42% in 2017), it’s obvious that the roster is constructed to work without depending on linebackers. Next up is safety, where things get really interesting. Note: All stats come from Football Outsiders and Pro Football Reference unless otherwise noted. When possible, I used roster information directly from the teams’ own websites. […]

  • 10 Most Important Bears of 2019: #4 Akiem Hicks is still underrated
    by Lester A. Wiltfong Jr. on July 17, 2019 at 7:00 pm

    Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images For the 11th straight year, I’m bringing you who I believe will be the ten most important Chicago Bears for the upcoming season. Next up at #4 is the engine that makes the defense go, Akiem Hicks. I know Akiem Hicks finally received some national recognition by making the Pro Bowl, but the big Chicago Bears defensive tackle still doesn’t get the credit he deserves for being one of the absolute best in the game today. The more I watch Hicks play, the more impressed I become, and the more I realize just how important he is to the Bears’ defense. If football is won and lost in the trenches, then Hicks is the the engine that makes Chicago's defense go. Bears’ GM Ryan Pace calls him the “catalyst” for what they've built defensively in Chicago. Everything starts up front and Hicks can do it all. As a run defender, he’s equally adept at playing in one-gap or two-gap scheme. He has the agility to get past blockers, but also the strength to hold the point of attack if doubled. There’s nothing that makes me more giddy than seeing Hicks absolutely engulf ball carriers with his 6’5”, 332 pound frame, but with his quickness and tenacity, he’s also of the best interior pass rushers around. If you haven’t watched this video of Hicks yet, take the time and do it. You’ll come away smarter and with a deeper appreciation of what big #96 brings to the team. Hicks has played the best football of his career during his three year run in Chicago. During that time he hasn’t missed a game, starting all 48 of his appearances, and he has averaged about 55 tackles a year, around 8 sacks per, 18 quarterback hits, and 13 tackles for loss each season. He not only fills the stat sheet, but he does all the little things you need a defensive lineman in a 3-4 defense to do. He’s a regular contributor on special teams and he’ll even answer the call on offense if needed. Hicks is a leader through and through for the Bears, both on the field and off and that’s a big part of why he’s number four in my 10 Most Important Bears of 2019. […]

 

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  • 90 players in 90 days: CB Ryan Lewis
    by Sean Murphy on July 18, 2019 at 7:00 pm

    Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports The short-lived starter at CB2 is clinging to a roster spot in 2019 The second cornerback position for the Buffalo Bills was a disaster in 2018. The team couldn’t quite find the right player, and they had three different plans blow up in their faces before they finally went with the undrafted rookie who ultimately solidified the spot. Heading into the 2019 season, the team has improved its depth in the defensive secondary significantly. As a result, some of those players who competed for a starting role last season will merely compete for a roster spot this season. In our latest installment of “90 players in 90 days,” we profile one such player. Name: Ryan Lewis Number: 38 Position: CB Height/Weight: 6’0” 185 lbs. Age: 25 (26 on 4/15/20) Experience/Draft: 2; signed as UDFA with Arizona Cardinals following 2017 NFL Draft College: Pittsburgh Acquired: Claimed off waivers on 9/2/18 Financial situation (per Spotrac): Lewis enters the final year of a two-year deal he signed last season. The total value of the contract is $1,050,000, and there are zero guaranteed dollars. Lewis carries a cap hit of $570,000 if he makes the roster this year. 2018 Recap: Lewis spent the offseason and preseason with the New England Patriots, but he was waived when teams cut down to their 53-man rosters on September 1. Buffalo claimed him on September 2, then released him on September 12 and re-signed to the practice squad. They promoted him to the active roster on September 18, and he started the game against the Minnesota Vikings on September 23. That game was the first of three consecutive starts for Lewis, but halfway through the third game, Lewis was benched in favor of Phillip Gaines. After having played on 137 defensive snaps through those three games, Lewis played on only 13 defensive snaps for the rest of the season. He finished the year with 15 tackles, 3 pass breakups, and 2 forced fumbles in 7 games. Positional outlook: Lewis finds himself on the outside looking in with Buffalo’s revamped secondary. Tre’Davious White is the one obvious starter, while veterans E.J. Gaines and Kevin Johnson will battle second-year man Levi Wallace for the starting job opposite White. Taron Johnson should remain the top slot corner. Lafayette Pitts is a valuable member of the Bills’ special teams, and the club also has Cam Lewis and Denzel Rice in camp fighting for spots. 2019 Offseason: Lewis has participated in all offseason activities to date. 2019 Season outlook: Chances are good that the Bills will cut Lewis when the preseason comes to an end, as he fell out of favor fairly quickly with head coach Sean McDermott and defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier last year. With so many new faces at the position, Lewis would have to outplay some veterans whom the Bills invested more money into in order to justify making the roster. It’s more likely that Lewis is starting over next year. […]

  • Camp preview: Bills significantly upgrade interior o-line
    by Sean Murphy on July 18, 2019 at 4:00 pm

    Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports The Bills significantly upgraded the interior of their offensive line this offseason. The Buffalo Bills had a problem along the offensive line. The Bills lost three of the five starters from the 2017 season opener coming into the 2018 season. Cordy Glenn, Richie Incognito, and Eric Wood all started that victory over the New York Jets to kick off the 2017 season, and none of the three were with the team to begin offseason activities in 2018. The Bills already had in-house replacements for Glenn and Incognito, permanently making Dion Dawkins the left tackle and re-inserting John Miller into the lineup at guard. They signed Russell Bodine to play center. They thought that the offensive line would allow the team to run a smash-mouth, run-oriented offense. Narrator: Well, they thought wrong. The Bills struggled to move the ball at all, partly due to poor quarterback play for most of the season, but also due to issues with protection. Buffalo’s leading rusher was Josh Allen, the team’s rookie quarterback. The top two running backs on the depth chart, LeSean McCoy and Chris Ivory, combined to carry the ball 276 times for 899 yards—a brutal 3.26 yards-per-carry average. What did they do about it? They signed six free agents and drafted a potential starter along the offensive line. They threw all they could at the wall and now we get to see what will stick. With the biggest addition coming at center, we’ll start our offensive line preview with the interior linemen. Mitch Morse Contract status for 2019: Signed four-year deal this offseason; $10.94 million cap hit ($20.4 million if cut) Age: Turned 27 on 4/21/19 2018 playing time: 11 games (11 starts), 678 snaps (64.88% of offensive total), 60 ST snaps (12.96%) for the Kansas City Chiefs Key 2018 statistics: 4 penalties, 0 sacks allowed for Kansas City Chiefs Signed to the largest contract for a center in NFL history, it’s fair to say the Bills have high expectations for Morse coming over from the Chiefs. He helped mentor Patrick Mahomes over the last two years, and Buffalo is hoping he can do the same for Josh Allen. Spencer Long Contract status for 2019: Signed a complex three-year deal this offseason; $3.94 million cap hit ($1.3 million dead cap if cut) Age: 28 (Turns 29 on 11/8/19) 2018 playing time: 13 games (13 starts), 805 snaps (80.42% of offensive total) for the New York Jets Key 2018 statistics: 4 penalties, 3.5 sacks allowed for New York Jets After a down year dealing with a wrist injury in New Jersey, Long was optioned for release by the Jets. In Buffalo, he has lined up as first-team guard throughout the spring, so he seems to have the inside track to a starting spot. He also provides center depth, a key handcuff for Morse who has missed 14 games over the last two seasons. Wyatt Teller Contract status for 2019: $633,530 cap hit ($190,593 dead cap if cut) Age: 24 (25 on 11/21/19) 2018 playing time: 8 games (7 starts), 475 snaps (44.85% of offensive total), 27 ST snaps (6.15%) Key 2018 statistics: 5 penalties, 0 sacks allowed The second of Buffalo’s fifth-round draft picks in 2018, Teller slid into the starting lineup and was adequate in his first taste of NFL action. While it is certainly impressive that a rookie fifth-rounder was able to crack the starting lineup, the ineffectiveness of the unit as a whole is the greater reason for the coaching staff’s willingness to give Teller a chance. Also, the team dropping out of contention allowed Teller to slide in and gain experience. His spot in the starting lineup is by no means assured in 2019. Quinton Spain Contract status for 2019: Signed this offseason; $2.05 million cap hit ($200,000 dead cap if cut) Age: 27 (28 on 8/7/19) 2018 playing time: 15 games (15 starts), 856 snaps (86.82% of offensive total), 49 ST snaps (11.69%) for the Tennessee Titans Key 2018 statistics: 5 penalties, 1 sack allowed for Tennessee Titans The former multi-game starter for the Titans, Spain languished in free agency for a long time before signing in Buffalo. He’s been hurt for a large chunk of spring workouts, so it’s tough to say where he’s going to slot in. Within the contracts they gave out this offseason, they aren’t paying him as much as the other two free agent guards. Jon Feliciano Contract status for 2019: Signed this offseason; $3.45 million cap hit ($3.9 million if cut) Age: Turned 27 on 2/10/1992 2018 playing time: 13 games (4 starts), 227 snaps (21.79% of offensive total), 57 ST snaps (12.87%) for Oakland Raiders Key 2018 statistics: 3 penalties, 0 sacks allowed for Oakland Raiders A spot starter for the Raiders, Feliciano was never able to make the next step into Oakland’s starting lineup. Buffalo signed him early in their free agency process and gave him a hefty pay bump, making him the second-highest paid guard on the team. His cap hit will go up if he’s cut, and Buffalo sank a significant amount of guaranteed money into his contract. It’s likely he’ll be on the roster because of it. Vladimir Ducasse Contract status for 2019: $2,083,334 cap hit ($83,334 dead cap if cut) Age: 31 (32 on 10/15/19) Playing time: 10 games (9 starts), 563 snaps (53.16% of offensive total), 28 ST snaps (6.38%) Key statistics: 4 penalties, 0 sacks allowed Ducasse began 2018 as the team’s starting left guard, moving over from the right side after Richie Incognito was released in the offseason. Ducasse was who we thought he was, mixing in solid play with poor moments throughout the season. He was replaced in the starting lineup by Teller after the bye week. With only $83,334 in dead cap money, the Bills could certainly decide to part ways with the veteran; however, the fact that they haven’t means it’s entirely possible that the coaching staff wants to keep him around as insurance. Russell Bodine Contract status for 2019: $2.875 million cap hit ($500,000 dead cap if cut) Age: Turned 27 on 6/30/19 Playing time: 10 games (10 starts), 588 snaps (55.52% of offensive snaps), 5 ST snaps (1.14%) Key statistics: 3 penalties, 0 sacks allowed Bodine signed with the Bills last offseason, after having started all 64 games of his NFL career with the Cincinnati Bengals prior to this season. Of course, he missed the second half of the 2018 season due to a leg injury—the first time he has missed time due to injury as a professional. Bodine was not great, but he was the best the team had. With Morse in the fold and Long able to play both guard and center, Buffalo won’t have a need for Bodine unless there is an injury to one of those two free agents. His days in Buffalo appear to be numbered. Positional Outlook The Bills saw a dire need on the interior of their offensive line and responded. They didn’t do projections with rookies, either. Instead they went with proven NFL talent. They signed four interior linemen with starting experience to pair with the three players already on the roster with starting experience. All seven will compete at the start of training camp for three starting spots and two backup roles. That means two players will likely be on the outside looking in when final cuts are announced, and the Bills will be better for it. […]

  • All-22 analysis: Buffalo Bills 2018 interceptions
    by Skarekrow on July 18, 2019 at 2:00 pm

    Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports Are interceptions more often the result of luck, or a skill that can be replicated? Buffalo Rumblings dares to ask the tough questions! The obsession with turnovers continues! We’ve already looked at the hard data and dove part of the way into the question of whether defensive players can reliably create more forced fumbles. So while we’re at it, let’s peruse the entire catalog of 2018 Buffalo Bills interceptions and see how much skill played a part over luck. Method Just like with forced fumbles, we turn to the All-22 video to classify the cause of all 16 interceptions that benefited the Buffalo Bills in 2018. As was the case before, if a play couldn’t be definitively attributed to a skill from a defensive player it was chalked up to luck. For interceptions I went with three types of skills that could be replicated or counted on with some consistency. Tipped passes, pressure interceptions, and interceptions that resulted from play awareness were considered skill-based. Tipped passes Tipped passes were considered skill based only if a member of the Buffalo Bills tipped the ball, like Tremaine Edmunds does here. It’s pretty wild how high up he goes in the passing lane with essentially no vertical at the point of contact. When an offensive opponent tipped the ball, it was chalked up to luck. Pressure Pressure interceptions resulted from bad passes caused by one or more of the Bills rattling the quarterback. Here Trent Murphy almost has the sack which causes Deshaun Watson to roll right. Lorenzo Alexander brings pressure as well and this pass is way off target. Awareness So called “awareness” interceptions generally include a component of luck. Most often it’s a semi-errant pass (errant passes were marked as “luck”). On this play for example the ball is a little further ahead of the receiver than you’d like to see. Since there’s a shot it’s caught if Taron Johnson doesn’t make a play on it we give credit to Johnson for seeing that the ball is off target and cutting off the receiver. Luck Most of the lucky breaks were nothing more than a terrible throw or decision from the quarterback. There’s really no reason this throw is that far and even less reason that it may as well have been aimed at Tre’Davious White all along. The Results The person ultimately intercepting the ball is not often the person creating the opportunity. This is in contrast to your forced fumble data which was strictly based on who created the opportunity. This led to a difference in the table, where the blue column is the player who caught the ball and the reddish columns indicate who created the opportunity. Another contrast is that the most common cause of interceptions is luck with seven of the 16 attributed to this factor. Whether it was miscues by Tom Brady and his receivers, the Jaguars tripping over themselves to hand the ball over, or a very lucky bounce after a jarring Tremaine Edmunds hit, there were a lot of interceptions that simply can’t be called skill based. I was surprised at the lack of interceptions that were tipped by the Bills. It was more common that an opponent’s butterfingers put the ball up for grabs. Buffalo will look to improve their pass rush which could help increase pressure based interceptions. Awareness picks could go up for similar reasons. A lot more analysis would be needed to really get a handle on interceptions and their correlation to skill and technique. But the preliminary look suggests it’s just as good to be lucky as it is anything else. […]

  • Power ranking the Bills on one-year deals based on potential 2019 impact
    by Adam Nannini on July 18, 2019 at 1:00 pm

    Photo by Billie Weiss/Getty Images Who is going to make their mark on the team? The mark of a good general manager is not simply whether he brings talent to a team, but whether he acquires that talent at a good value. Buffalo Bills general manager Brandon Beane has done a nice job thus far in his tenure of securing solid talent at a reasonable price and, for most NFL teams, this value is often best exemplified in one-year free-agent contracts. In 2019, the Buffalo Bills made a number of value free-agent acquisitions in the offseason, some who are new and some who are returning for a year. Why does a player sign up for a one-year contract? Often, there are injury concerns by the team signing the player or said player may wish to have a “prove it” year, as it were. This year, Beane picked up eleven important one-year contracts, and below is a power ranking of their potential impact for this season. One-year free agent power rankings 1. LB Lorenzo AlexanderIn 2018, 35-year-old Lorenzo Alexander had an excellent statistical year: two interceptions, nine passes defended, two forced fumbles, 6.5 sacks, and 74 tackles (the most in his career). But Alexander’s importance this year is not so much his stats. No, there are two qualities he brings to the Buffalo Bills that they need desperately in 2019: leadership and versatility. Alexander is the elder statesman on the Bills, and with the retirement of “heart and soul” team leader, Kyle Williams, Zo is going to need to step up in that role. Also, since the Bills did little to improve their defensive end room, Alexander’s ability to both play outside linebacker and defensive end in certain situations offers some great defensive flexibility for Coach McDermott and Leslie Frazier. 2. CB Kevin JohnsonKevin Johnson was selected in the first round (16th overall) in 2015 by the Houston Texans out of Wake Forest University. This signing is the ultimate boom or bust free agent for the Bills this season. Johnson has top-end talent, but he is injury-prone. In his four years with the Texans, he only started a total of 18 games, and he only managed to play in 35 of Houston’s 64 games. Brandon Beane invested heavily in the second cornerback position opposite Tre’Davious White. Head coach Sean McDermott has a way of bringing out the best in defensive backs. If Johnson can stay healthy this season, the Buffalo Bills will have a secondary to be reckoned with. 3. G Quinton SpainQuinton Spain comes over from the Tennessee Titans, where he played for four years. This young man is massive at 6’ 4” and 330 lbs. Spain is a solid pass protector, having played left tackle while at West Virginia, but his real strength is as a road-grading run blocker. He’s strong at the point of attack, and his value will be measured by the success of the power run game and the holes he opens for the Buffalo Bills’ AARP backfield, allowing for a more balanced attack. Spain may be the replacement for Richie Incognito the Bills lacked in 2018, and he may well become LeSean McCoy’s best friend. 4. DE Eli HaroldEli Harold played outside linebacker for Virginia in college, and he’s spent his NFL career playing linebacker for both the San Francisco 49ers and the Detroit Lions. The Buffalo Bills picked up Harold with the intent of converting him to a defensive end. Harold is long and lean and, in his bit parts in the NFL, he’s shown some ability to pressure quarterbacks. While Harold is not going to push for a starting role, he’s extremely important on this Bills team that did little to address their pass-rushing needs in the offseason. If Harold can turn into a solid fourth defensive end, it would be a giant boon for McDermott’s defense. 5. RB Frank GoreFrank Gore is a known commodity, but at the age of 36, can the Bills really hope for much production from him? Gore is that rare running back who seems to show no signs of age. Last year, on a struggling Miami Dolphins team, Gore averaged 4.6 yards per carry—his best since 2012—and he ran for a total of 722 yards on the season. Those 722 yards would have made him the leading running back on the Bills in 2018 by over 200 yards. Gore has been content to be more of a role player in recent seasons, but if he can bring his consistency to the Bills in 2019, paired with the veteran McCoy and the rookie, Devin Singletary, the Bills’ rushing attack will be much improved. 6. CB E.J. GainesE.J. Gaines is a known commodity for the Bills, having played opposite Tre’Davious White in the famous “end the drought” season. Gaines isn’t flashy. He’s a solid zone cornerback, but he lacks high-end talent. Like Kevin Johnson, he also has had injury problems throughout his career, as he has only played in 43 of a possible 80 games since entering the NFL in 2014. Still, should Kevin Johnson not work out or if Taron Johnson doesn’t live up to the team’s hopes at the nickel spot, Gaines represents excellent depth at the position, and McDermott will make the most of having him. 7. DT Jordan PhillipsThe Bills drafted Ed Oliver to start at the three technique at defensive tackle, but McDermott’s defense utilizes a lot of rotation for players, keeping them fresh. Phillips is built more like a one technique at 6’6” and 341 lbs., but Harrison Phillips seems slotted right now to back up Star Lotulelei, and Jordan will back up Ed Oliver. Oliver and Jordan Phillips offer extremely different body shapes and sizes with Oliver more undersized and quick. If Jordan Phillips can make a difference in stuffing the run this season against excellent backs like Zeke Elliot, Le’Veon Bell, Saquon Barkley, etc., he will provide great help to an already stingy Buffalo Bills defense. 8. T LaAdrian WaddleMr. Waddle may not be quite as famous as Mrs. Waddle in Buffalo, as the latter helped Del Reid to raise a great deal of money for a children’s advocacy center in Nashville, TN in response to the famous “Titans fans buying votes for the best fan base Twitter poll controversy” of 2019. While Mrs. Waddle has endeared herself to Bills Mafia, LaAdrian represents solid depth at the tackle position for Buffalo, something the Bills lacked in 2018. It’s unlikely Waddle challenges to start this season, but Beane and McDermott can take comfort that they have depth at an important position. 9. RB Senorise PerryComing from the Dolphins, Perry played on two-thirds of Miami’s special-teams snaps in 2018, and his 12 special-teams tackles tied him for 13th in the NFL. Perry may have a difficult time making the 53-man roster because of Buffalo’s stacked running-back room, but if he does, it will certainly be because of his special-teams abilities. Perry is a good returner and an excellent gunner. Special teams was a weakness for the Bills in 2018, leading to the firing of special-teams coach Danny Crossman. If he makes the team, it’s unlikely Perry will see any snaps in the backfield, but he may make great contributions on punts and kickoffs. 10. DE Eddie YarbroughIf Yarbrough makes the team in 2019, and there is no guarantee of that, this will be the season he will need to step up and contribute as a solid role player. Yarbrough is known for his work ethic and is well-liked by the coaching staff, but in the past two seasons, he’s only had a single sack and eight QB hits (only one last season). Yarbrough represents the sort of high motor, blue-collar, trust the process type players, but motor without a baseline of talent can equal a sweaty man with no results. He’s been on the Buffalo Bills for two seasons, and it stands to reason that Beane and McDermott might go with a defensive unknown over a failing known and cut Yarbrough before the season. Time will tell. 11. LB Maurice AlexanderAs a converted safety, Maurice Alexander has been solid on special teams in his NFL career. McDermott, a fan of the “big nickel” defensive package, may try to utilize Alexander in that role on defense, though it’s more likely that his main contribution would be on special teams. It doesn’t seem likely that Alexander makes the final roster with players like Rafael Bush, Siran Neal, and Vosean Joseph all more likely to make the final cut. Still, if Alexander does make the team, he, like Perry, may help the Bills as a special-teams ace. […]

  • Low Madden ratings to serve as motivation for Tre’Davious White, Buffalo Bills
    by John Boccacino on July 18, 2019 at 12:00 pm

    Photo by Brett Carlsen/Getty Images White says he feels the team “was robbed” in the video game’s rankings Athletes are always searching for extra motivation, and for Buffalo Bills cornerback Tre’Davious White, the release of the annual Madden video game ratings has provided extra incentive heading into the 2019 season. On an appearance Tuesday on NFL Network, White, who said he isn’t much for video games, expressed his frustrations over how Madden’s video-game designers assigned their ratings for the Buffalo Bills. “I feel like they robbed us on a lot of our guys, man,” White said on NFL Total Access. Safety Micah Hyde received the highest overall ranking for a Bills player from the popular video game (an 86), followed by White (85). Seeing how poorly Hyde was graded by Madden drew the ire of White, who felt Hyde should have at least received a rating in the 90s. “He’s one of the best safeties in the game,” White told Syracuse.com. “From the last two years, him and Jordan Poyer, I pretty much think those guys are the best safety duo in the NFL. If you just look at the numbers and the way those guys take the ball away.” White said Madden was particularly harsh when it came to rating second-year quarterback Josh Allen (a 74), who ranked 28th among quarterbacks and only beat out Joe Flacco, Case Keenum/Dwayne Haskins, Kyler Murray, and Eli Manning among Madden’s ratings for projected starting quarterbacks this year. Safety Jordan Poyer (80), running back LeSean McCoy (82), and linebacker Lorenzo Alexander (82) were among the other Bills with below-expected ratings in the video game, according to White. “We got Shady at an 82, which is very disrespectful. Then you got Josh Allen at a 74, man,” White said. “It’s something that those guys are pretty much gonna take it into the season. That’s the extra motivation that we need to get the acknowledgement that we deserve.” Whatever it takes to inspire and motivate White, Bills fans will take it—even if it comes in the form of virtual rankings on Madden. […]

 

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  • Ravens News 7/18: TC preview, roster rankings and more
    by Vasilis Lericos on July 18, 2019 at 12:00 pm

    Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports Mark Andrews has a chance to be a key contributor for the Ravens’ offense in 2019 and beyond - Zoltan Buday It is well-documented how much the Baltimore Ravens relied on tight ends in the second half of the 2018 season after they replaced quarterback Joe Flacco with rookie Lamar Jackson. In fact, Baltimore used three or more tight ends at the third-highest rate in the NFL in that period. While tight ends Nick Boyle, Hayden Hurst and Mark Andrews all had solid seasons — they all finished in the top-35 among tight ends in overall grade — many tend to lump them together instead of looking at what they can offer individually. As a matter of fact, Andrews — a third-round pick in 2018 — has flashed enough skill to get the Baltimore fans’ hopes up, and he has a chance to be a key contributor for the Ravens’ offense for years to come. RANKING THE NFL ROSTERS: #16 - #9 - Brad Kelly 16. BALTIMORE RAVENS The strength of Baltimore’s team is obvious, as their secondary is one of the best in the league. With Marlon Humphrey, Jimmy Smith and Brandon Carr, the Ravens have one of the best cornerback trios around the NFL. Somehow, Baltimore might have even stronger safety play with Earl Thomas and Tony Jefferson. In today’s passing league, with how vital the secondary is, this talent and depth is a massive boost to their roster. Not to be outdone, their defensive line has potentially dominant run defender Michael Pierce. Their pass rush took a hit with the free agent losses of Za’Darius Smith and Terrell Suggs, but Matthew Judon has 15 sacks over the past two seasons and Tim Williams has flashed when he’s been on the field. Offensively, the Ravens roster is heavily titled towards the running game. With Mark Ingram and Gus Edwards in the backfield running behind offensive lineman like left tackle Ronnie Stanley, right guard Marshal Yanda and promising second-year right tackle Orlando Brown, they’ll be able to pound the rock next season. Quarterback Lamar Jackson is a dynamic weapon in the run game, and easily has the talent to progress as a passer in his second season. Their wide receiver core improved through the NFL Draft with the addition of first-round pick speedster Marquise Brown. Training Camp Position Breakdown: Inside Linebackers - Clifton Brown Best Battle The competition between Young and Board will be interesting. The Ravens hope it will push both players to new heights. Mosley was an extraordinarily consistent player, but Young and Board are part of the transition to a potentially faster defense. Under the Radar At least one undrafted free agent has made the Ravens’ 53-man roster for 15 straight seasons, and it has often been an inside linebacker. Keep an eye on Otaro Alaka, an undrafted rookie from Texas A&M, who made some impressive plays during OTAs. AFC North training camp preview: Time of transition at hand? - Tom Blair Baltimore Ravens Most important position battle: pass rusher. Baltimore ranked first in yards allowed, second in points allowed and fifth against the pass last season despite finishing 11th in sacks (43). And no individual player reached double-digits in sacks in 2018. Newcomer/player returning from injury to watch: Marquise Brown, wide receiver. The Ravens haven’t had a 1,000-yard receiver since Mike Wallace in 2016. They will likely continue to lean heavily on the ground game with running threat Lamar Jackson under center, but the speedy Brown has the potential to form an electrifying connection with his athletic quarterback. Even if he’s not given as many touches in Baltimore as other premier receivers around the NFL, the Oklahoma product -- who racked up 18.3 yards per catch and 17 total touchdowns in two seasons with the Sooners -- could make his mark as Charm City’s first legitimate star receiver since Steve Smith. […]

  • 5 ways the Ravens can help Lamar Jackson avoid the sophomore slump
    by Sage Morander on July 17, 2019 at 2:00 pm

    Lloyd Fox/Baltimore Sun/TNS via Getty Images How can the rest of the team step up to help Jackson adjust in year two? In his first full year as the starter, Jackson confronts the added pressure of being the face of the franchise and still has plenty of room to grow to prove that his unique skillset translates in the NFL. For Jackson (and ultimately the Ravens) to succeed, he will need support from all areas to fend off the sophomore slump and lead Baltimore to back-to-back AFC North titles. Below are five ways the rest of the team can propel him forward: #1 Coaches: Open up the playbook It was apparent in Baltimore’s loss to the Chargers in the Wild Card that the Ravens staff did not have confidence in Lamar’s throwing abilities. A dismal 11.4 QBR in that game would make anyone weary of an aerial attack. However, if Baltimore is going to develop an offensive rhythm and keep Jackson healthy, he simply cannot come close to his average of 17 rush attempts in his seven regular season starts. In his first season as offensive coordinator, Greg Roman will need to prove he trusts Jackson to complete more than quick, short yardage passes. #2 Receivers: Build a rapport early Another offseason, another new look receiving corps. Rookie first rounder Marquise “Hollywood” Brown will be tasked with making an immediate impact, despite still recovering from foot surgery in January. As the only familiar faces, Willie Snead IV and Chris Moore must be sure hands for Jackson. Receivers must adjust to playing for a run heavy attack in a pass happy league. If the Ravens struggle offensively in the first few games of the season, it will be critical for wideouts to not point fingers at Jackson for their lack of production. #3 Tight ends: Extend drives with physicality Tight ends were always a favorite target of Flacco’s and should become a source of comfort for Jackson as well. In the 2018 draft, Baltimore doubled down on the tight end position, and now is the time for a pay off. Looking to play in his first full NFL season, Hayden Hurst has the opportunity to prove he was worthy of being selected at 25th overall. Mark Andrews flashed great potential in his rookie season, averaging 16.2 yards on 34/50 catches. #4 Defense: Create turnovers In 2017, the Ravens led the league with 22 interceptions in the regular season. Last year, Baltimore dropped all the way to 18th in the league, with just 12. Despite the large amount of talent departing this offseason, the defense will have to win the turnover battle to generate easy wins for a maturing offense. #5 Special teams: Shorten the field Finding a reliable return man has been elusive in recent years. In 2018, Chris Moore handled the majority of returns, ranking 15th in the NFL at 22.3 yards per kickoff return. With Moore likely to take on a larger role as a receiver, Baltimore may be looking for other people to fill his shoes. If Jackson can start drives with favorable field position, he will have a better chance to see success. […]

  • Madden 20 Player Ratings: Analyzing the Ravens defensive position groups
    by Frank J. Platko on July 17, 2019 at 1:00 pm

    Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports EA officially released their launch player ratings for every team. How does Baltimore’s defense stack up? The league’s No. 1 ranked defense from 2019-20 has a different look this season, both in real life and in video game version. Here are the Ravens’ top-five rated defensive players and players whose ratings should be higher, followed by a position-by-position look at how their defense stacks up in Madden 20. Earl Thomas (95) Michael Pierce (92) Brandon Williams (86) Marlon Humphrey (85) Jimmy Smith, Tony Jefferson (84) Biggest Lowballs: Marlon Humphrey, Matthew Judon, Patrick Onwuasor, Kenny Young The highest rated Raven in @EAMaddenNFL: none other than @Earl_Thomas❗️#Madden20 pic.twitter.com/GzNwfpniBI— Baltimore Ravens (@Ravens) July 15, 2019 Defensive Line Michael Pierce: 92 Brandon Williams: 86 Willie Henry: 75 Chris Wormely: 71 Daylon Mack: 67 Zach Sieler: 64 Baltimore’s stout defensive tackle duo represent two of the team’s highest-rated players once again. Recency bias would tell you Michael Pierce’s overall is too high, but don’t forget just how good he’s been the past two seasons. Pierce’s 92 rating represents a bump from last year’s edition of Madden and Brandon Williams remains in the mid-to-upper 80’s range. Two names to watch are Willie Henry and Chris Wormely, as they’re both projected to player bigger roles on the Ravens defense this season. The two Michigan products are solid bets to see an overall boost as the 2019-20 campaign goes on, as is rookie Daylon Mack. Outside Linebacker Matthew Judon: 81 Pernell McPhee: 79 Tim Williams: 74 Shane Ray: 73 Tyus Bowser: 72 Jaylon Ferguson: 70 From a Madden standpoint, losing Terrell Suggs and Za’Darius Smith, both of which possess 83 overall ratings this year, hurts. However, Baltimore is in better shape than the ratings above suggest. In my estimation, Matthew Judon is rated too low. He should somewhere in the mid 80’s but has a great chance of getting there as the season progresses. Recent free agent signing Pernell McPhee is the team’s second highest-rated OLB at 79, which is a bit surprising given his lack of success over the past couple seasons. Tim Williams and Tyus Bowser are rated appropriately given their performance through two NFL seasons, and former first-round pick Shane Ray would likely be rated higher had injuries not limited him last year. Jaylon Ferguson, aka the “Sack Daddy”, comes in at a 70 overall which, while relatively low, is fair for a rookie lacking great athleticism. With that being said, Ferguson’s overall should climb to the mid-to-upper 70’s by season’s end. Middle Linebacker Patrick Onwuasor: 74 Kenny Young: 71 Chris Board: 59 Madden’s ratings would suggest the Ravens have one of the worst starting MLB groups in the league, which obviously isn’t the case. Patrick Onwuasor is rated entirely too low in my opinion, especially after a breakout second-half of the 2019-20 season and impressive playoff performance. “Peanut” is a better all-around player than his rating suggests and figures to climb the player ratings significantly this season. Same goes for second-year linebacker Kenny Young, who should probably be around a 74-76 overall as opposed to a 71. Former UDFA Chris Board, a special teams ace last year, is set to play a significant role on defense this season, so look for his overall to increase as well. Cornerback Marlon Humphrey: 85 Jimmy Smith: 84 Brandon Carr: 81 Tavon Young: 77 Maurice Canady: 71 Anthony Averett, Justin Bethel, Iman Lewis-Marshall, Cyrus Jones: 67 Baltimore’s cornerback corps is the deepest position on their roster, maybe the deepest position group in the entire NFL and, you guessed it - the team’s best position group in Madden 20. Even so, EA lowballed some of their corners a bit with their ratings. Jimmy Smith (84) and Brandon Carr (81) are rated pretty fairly, but Marlon Humphrey should definitely be higher. Humphrey is tied for the 19th-best cornerback rating in the game despite a borderline top-10 campaign last year, and he should definitely be rated higher than some of his teammates, such as Brandon Williams. Tavon Young, a 77, is also rated a bit low considering he’s one of the league’s top slot corners. Like the remaining five names listed above, however, Young still has room for growth and could therefore see his rating improve in 2019-20. Free Safety Earl Thomas: 95 DeShon Elliott, Chuck Clark: 65 Baltimore’s highest-rated player in Madden 20 is newcomer Earl Thomas, whose 95 overall is also tops among all safeties in the game. Thomas’ zone coverage (98) and awareness (96) rating speak to his on-field abilities in real life and will make him a fun player to use in game. Behind him on the depth chart are youngsters DeShon Elliott (65) and Chuck Clark (65), both of whom are set to make their mark on special teams next year. Elliott, however, might carve out a legit role on defense given his standout play thus far in the offseason. Elliott has high upside and it’d be surprising if he’s not rated in at least the 70’s by season’s end. Strong Safety Tony Jefferson: 84 Anthony Levine Sr: 76 Tony Jefferson is the ninth highest-rated strong safety in Madden 20, and his 84 overall rating is pretty fair all things considered. Nobody will mistake Jefferson for a dynamo in pass coverage, but his hit power (85) and play recognition (93) ratings are solid. Anthony Levine Sr. is actually four overall points lower than he was in Madden 19, which is a bit surprising given how he finished the 2019-20 season. 76 may be a tad bit low but it’s hard to be too picky considering Levine is a rotational player as opposed to a full-time starter. Users can deploy Levine at linebacker, too, which the Ravens intend on doing a lot this season. […]

  • Ravens News 7/17: Locker room leaders, HC rankings and more
    by Vasilis Lericos on July 17, 2019 at 12:00 pm

    Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports 2019 NFL head coach power rankings: Who follows Bill Belichick? - Elliot Harrison 7) John Harbaugh, Baltimore Ravens The pundits have been keeping a steady pour of haterade on John Harbaugh over the last couple of seasons. Never mind that Harbaugh, like Andy Reid, made an extremely difficult decision at quarterback last year, switching from Joe Flacco to Lamar Jackson in a move that pushed the Ravens to the postseason for the seventh time in his 11 seasons in Baltimore. The Ravens have done plenty of damage once reaching the playoffs during the Harbaugh era, as well, going 10-6 with a Super Bowl win and two AFC Championship Game losses. Whether he can sustain such success will be dependent on the performance of Jackson, as well as how NFL defenses adjust to the dynamic quarterback the second time through the batting order, so to speak. Defensive coordinators adjust. So do players. PFF ranks all 32 run defenses ahead of the 2019 NFL season - Michael Renner 10. BALTIMORE RAVENS There are few more impactful run-defending duos in the NFL than defensive tackles Brandon Williams and Michael Pierce. Williams has long since established himself as one of the league’s best nose tackles, but Pierce may have surpassed him at this point. The fourth-year defensive tackle has seen his run-defense grade improve from 81.4 as a rookie, to 87.9 in 2017, to 92.0 last season. Top 100 players in the NFL: Aaron Donald, Patrick Mahomes fight for top spot in 2019 rankings - Jared Dubin T-46. Earl Thomas, S, Ravens The last image we saw of Thomas on the field was him flipping off his own sideline after the Seahawks refused to pony up for a contract extension and he then broke his leg in the fourth game of the year. Before that, he was hands down the best safety in the NFL, just like he always is. The only thing preventing him from finishing higher on this list is his age (30) and suddenly-concerning injury track record. 48. Marshal Yanda, G, Ravens If Yanda is no longer the single best offensive lineman in all of football, it’s not because he’s slipped all that much. Set to turn 35 years old later this year, Yanda is obviously not quite at the peak of his powers anymore; but he has as good an argument as anybody not named Zack Martin for the title of the game’s best guard. These Ravens Will Be the Locker Room Leaders - John Eisenberg There’s Marshal Yanda, the rugged veteran guard. Coming off his seventh Pro Bowl season, he is a career Raven who sets an ideal example with his work ethic and toughness. The organization also has been impressed by the leadership capabilities of running back Mark Ingram II, who seems quite comfortable in an out-front role. All-Pro safety Earl Thomas has commanded the highest respect from the moment he set foot in the Under Armour Performance Center. And he’ll have help on his side of the ball from Patrick “Peanut” Onwuasor, who has been challenged by the coaches to shoulder a larger leadership load; and also veterans such as Brandon Williams, Tony Jefferson and Brandon Carr. Biggest Questions for Rookies Heading Into Camp - Clifton Brown Will an undrafted rookie make the Ravens’ roster for the 16*th* straight year? Several undrafted rookies have a chance to stick, such as defensive tackle Gerald Willis and wide receivers Sean Modster and Antoine Wesley. The wide receiver battle will be interesting to watch, because the Ravens will likely keep no more than six receivers and Snead, Brown, Boykin and Chris Moore are not going anywhere. That doesn’t leave much wiggle room for an undrafted rookie, but Modster and Wesley made plenty of plays during minicamp. They will need to continue that during training camp to have a realistic chance to stay. […]

  • Matt Judon among the best pass rushers of the 2016 NFL Draft
    by Kyle P Barber on July 16, 2019 at 2:00 pm

    Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images No. 146 is a standout from the 2016 class Back in 2016, the Ravens need for a top-tier edge rusher was steadily growing. After a dominant performance by Terrell Suggs and Elvis Dumervil in 2014 in which the tandem combined for 29.0 sacks, the following year was not a repeat. Terrell Suggs played only a single game as he suffered a torn Achilles and Dumervil produced only six sacks after his 17.0 sack season the year prior. The entire 2015 season eventually collapsed, as Joe Flacco suffered a torn ACL and there became a rotation of quarterbacks, including Ryan Mallett, Matt Schaub and Jimmy Clausen. At seasons’ end, the franchise finished 5-11, earning them the sixth overall pick in the 2016 NFL Draft. This was a small positive as the need for pass-rusher, as I previously stated, was growing. Both Dumervil and Suggs were aging and they needed to groom a player now, rather than later. At the top of the list was none other than Ohio State superstar, Joey Bosa. Baltimore was inching towards him as a top selection, as both the Philadelphia Eagles and Los Angeles Rams had their sites set on a pair of quarterbacks at first and second overall, leaving the Ravens to secure one of Ezekiel Elliott, Jalen Ramsey, Laremy Tunsil or Bosa. We all remember how it played out. Baltimore never gets a chance to pick the star edge prospect, as the then-San Diego Chargers take him with the third overall pick. This is a story with a good ending, though. A story where the Ravens had their cake and ate it, too. While the team was searching for pass rushers, Baltimore was also desperate for a left tackle to protect Flacco after the season-ending injury, which led them to picking LT Ronnie Stanley at sixth overall. Then, 140 picks later, they swipe up a Division-II standout from Grand Valley State: DE Matt Judon. Fast-forward three years later and Judon is among the best in his position, and the numbers are impressive. Third in sacks, trailing only Yannick Ngakoue and Joey Bosa Second in tackles for loss, trailing only Bosa Second in combined tackles, trailing only Bosa Third in QB Hits, trailing Ngakoue and Bosa Many fear if Judon can take the next leap in his dominant play as Suggs headed off to Arizona this offseason. My advice: I recommend not betting against No. 99. […]

 

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Big Blue View - All Posts Your place for year-round New York Giants discussion and information

  • Giants receivers prepare for life without Odell Beckham Jr.
    by Patricia Traina on July 18, 2019 at 3:00 pm

    Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports Look for the ball to be spread around more in 2019 In case you’re still in denial, yes, the New York Giants really did trade Odell Beckham Jr., their most productive and consistent receiver in years, to the Cleveland Browns. Since entering the NFL as the No. 12 overall pick in 2014, Beckham has recorded 1,000-yard seasons in all but 2017, that year being his injury-shortened campaign. That’s consistent and productive. But this isn’t about Beckham. Instead, this is a look at how the Giants plan to replace Beckham in their lineup. The answer is they don’t. Players, coaches, and fans all believe that a player is replaceable, but what is being replaced is the production. Beckham’s on-field departure is both a blessing and a curse for the Giants. It’s a blessing because there is no longer the need to feed one guy the ball a dozen or so times per game. Moving forward, the Giants are going to spread the ball around, which is not necessarily a bad approach given their collection of different receiving targets. On the flip side, not having Beckham is a curse because he entertains the crowd with his play, with or without the other 10 guys on offense supporting him. The question is not necessarily who will be the “next Beckham,” but rather how they plan to generate Beckham’s production. Will the receivers, who in 2018 accounted for 42.1 percent of the team’s total receiving yards (a decline from the 55 percent yardage contribution rate they had in 2017), keep that pace? Or will the running backs (13.9 percent in 2018) and tight ends (15.1 percent in 2018) see their contributions increase? It’s undoubtedly going to be an interesting statistic to analyze at the end of 2019 because it will tell us a lot about the direction this offense is headed. The Projected Depth Chart Starters: Golden Tate, Sterling ShepardBackups: Corey Coleman, Russell Shepard, Darius Slayton, Cody Latimer, Bennie Fowler, Alonzo Russell, Brittan Golden, Alex Wesley, Reggie White Jr. Last year, the Giants didn’t have a designated third receiver, instead auditioning a different guy every week, that partially due to injury and partly to performance. That’s not likely to change this year either, as coach Pat Shurmur seems more concerned with matchups between receivers and defensive backs than he does pecking order at the position. Let’s look at some of the receivers not named Sterling Shepard and Golden Tate who have a good chance of landing on the 53-man roster. They have Corey Coleman, a former first-round pick of the Browns, and Darius Slayton, this year’s fifth-rounder, who are the guys capable of slicing the top off the defense. Both should make the team barring injury, but it will be interesting to see if the Giants keep both for the long term. There will probably be a competition between Russell Shepard and Cody Latimer for a spot at the bottom of the “depth chart,” with the winner likely to be decided by his special teams play. Shepard was a core special teams player last year while Latimer was primarily a return specialist who needs to hang onto that role if he wants a roster spot. At the very bottom of the depth chart, can Bennie Fowler, a late-season pickup last year, hold off youngsters Wesley, a premium undrafted free agent, and White? In short, the receiver position is going to be very competitive, especially once you get past projected starters Sterling Shepard and Golden Tate. The big question Will the Giants have a 1,000-yard receiver? This goes back to the question of how the Giants will replace Beckham, who seemed to rack up those 1,000-yard seasons with ease. A better question to contemplate is whether the Giants need to have a 1,000-yard receiver to be successful? According to Pro Football Focus, of the five Giants receivers who had at least 15 pass targets, the reception percentage ranged from 55.6 (Russell Shepard) to a team-best 68.8 (Latimer). Sterling Shepard and Beckham finished tied for second with a 64.7 percent catch rate. And there was a total of 13 dropped balls from the Giants receivers alone in 2018. The 1,000-yard receiving seasons for individuals are nice, but a team whose receivers are catching 65 percent or better of the catchable pass targets is a lot better. While some of that lies on the quarterback, it does take two to record a reception. Another reason why the Giants probably don’t need to have a 1,000-yard receiver to be successful has to do with predictability. How many times in the past was it evident that Beckham was going to be the intended target? Well if the fans watching from the stands or on television knew it, don’t you think the opposing defense knew it and adjusted the coverage accordingly? So just think how much less predictable the Giants offense stands to be if the coaches feature a different “receiver” in the weekly game plans. […]

  • Film study: In his 14th season, can Antoine Bethea really be a center fielder at safety?
    by Matt_Williamson on July 18, 2019 at 2:00 pm

    Antoine Bethea | Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images Bethea brings leadership and knowledge, but can he still do the job physically? A sixth-round draft pick in 2006, Antoine Bethea has gone on to have a very successful career. He joined the New York Giants this past offseason, his fourth NFL team. Recently turned 35 years old, Bethea played his past two years with the Arizona Cardinals, but the rebuilding Cardinals released him for salary cap purposes. In Arizona, Bethea’s 2017 season was clearly superior to what he put on tape last year although he did log more than 1,100 snaps in his 13th NFL season. In New York, Bethea reunites with defensive coordinator James Bettcher from their time together with the Cardinals. Obviously, Bettcher has a great understanding of what Bethea brings to the table, but there is a wrinkle here that we must explore. Bethea has done the best work over his long career close to the line of scrimmage. For a defensive back, he uses his hands very well to disengage from bigger blockers and is a very reliable tackler. This isn’t to imply that Bethea has only been a box safety and brings little in the way of coverage skills. That isn’t the case. In fact, Arizona used him in the deep patrol plenty last year. There have been times over Bethea’s career where he was amongst the best players at his position in the entire league. With Jabrill Peppers now in the fold, Bethea is going to have to play much more of a traditional free safety role in Bettcher’s attacking scheme. The reality is, Bethea, considered a very high character guy and a strong leader, really has his most value as a mentor to Peppers as well as an on-the-field leader to this young secondary. From his new traditional free safety spot, Bethea should excel at aligning the rest of New York’s defense as well as communicating trends and keys to his teammates. Matt’s Film Clips vs. Rams on Dec. 23rd 1st Quarter: Second-and-10 with 6:04 Remaining: Bethea shows great recognition with a deep route and breaks up a TD vs. Falcons 2nd Quarter: Second-and-10 with :19 Remaining: It wasn’t a play that just about any safety would get to, but you do see Bethea’s limited range on this TD vs. Chiefs 1st Quarter: Third-and-10 with :42 remaining: What Giants might expect in 2019: Bethea allows the catch, but makes a solid tackle and doesn’t allow a big play But what should we expect from Bethea in coverage? Of course it was a long time ago, but as a college prospect coming out of Howard University, Bethea ran a sub 4.40 40-yard dash at the NFL Scouting Combine. His jumps and change of direction testing were also impressive at just under 6-feet and 196 pounds. However, even early in Bethea’s career, he didn’t exactly play like a safety with truly elite speed. But considering how much time he spent in the box, Bethea was certainly a plus athlete for this role and closed on the football very well. As mentioned above, Bethea also has played far off the ball plenty in his career and his athletic prowess certainly helped him succeed in this regard. However, after studying him on film, Bethea doesn’t run all that well any more and isn’t going to be an overly rangy deep defender in his new role. What Bethea does have is smarts and experience. He rarely wastes steps, takes very good angles to the ball, isn’t easily fooled by quarterbacks and has an excellent recognition of scheme and what an offense is trying to do to attack his defense. He is historically a playmaker and we did see plenty of Bethea around the football once again in 2018. Maybe most importantly on the field, Bethea should use his guile to limit big plays and keep the action in front of him. If Bethea logs more than 1,000 snaps as a 16-game starter for New York this coming season while bringing an immense presence in the locker room and on the field from a mental standpoint, the Giants should be very happy with this acquisition. That being said, it is pretty obvious that Bethea is a short-term placeholder and he most likely will be exposed throughout the 2019 season because of his declining skillset. He’s a true professional, but is miscast if playing a lot of deep middle coverage or even in a Cover 2 shell. Bethea should provide more to the Giants from a cultural standpoint than as a productive football player during his time in New York and that has quite a bit of value for where this team is overall right now. […]

  • Giants’ 90-man roster: Chad Wheeler ready to compete for right tackle job
    by Ed Valentine on July 18, 2019 at 12:30 pm

    Chad Wheeler vs. Dallas last season. | Photo by Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images Giants signed Mike Remmers as likely replacement for third-year tackle There is an assumption that Mike Remmers, signed as a free agent this offseason by the New York Giants, will supplant Chad Wheeler as the team’s starting right tackle. Wheeler, though, isn’t conceding. Here is what Wheeler told the New York Post during the spring: “Just a very competitive battle,’’ Wheeler predicted. “I’m going to bring my best, he’s going to bring his best. We’re gonna let the chips fall where they fall.’’ Let’s focus on Wheeler as we continue player-by-player profiles of the 90-man roster that will soon report to training camp for the Giants. The basics Height: 6-foot-7Weight: 312Age: 25Position: Offensive tackleExperience: 2 How he got here Wheeler signed with the Giants as an undrafted free agent in 2017, playing in 11 games with five starts. He began 2018 as the team’s swing tackle, but became a starter in Week 3 when the Giants thankfully ended the Ereck Flowers era. Wheeler wasn’t Flowers, which was cool. He also wasn’t good, which was uncool. Wheeler ranked 58th among 61 qualifying tackles graded by Pro Football Focus. Only five tackles gave up more than the 43 pressures he allowed, and his PFF pass-blocking efficiency score was 53rd among 58 tackles with 364 or more pass-blocking snaps. Wheeler’s run-blocking grade was lowest in the league among 61 tackles. It’s no wonder, then, that the Giants — who concentrated heavily on defense after selecting quarterback Daniel Jones No. 6 overall in the 2019 NFL Draft — turned to free agency in an effort to upgrade the right tackle spot. 2019 outlook Remmers has played both guard and tackle during his seven-year career. He has acknowledged, though, that tackle is where he is best. “I have the absolute most experience there, from high school, to college, to pros. I have the most experience at tackle,” Remmers said in the spring. “Last year I played all guard, the year before that mainly tackle and a few games at guard. It was different playing guard, I feel like my experience there will help me though going back to tackle. I feel like I learned a lot there but I am looking forward to playing tackle again.” Back to that assumption that Remmers will be the starter at right tackle. He did have offseason back surgery that kept him out of spring practices. He is expected to be ready for training camp, but the question of his health will linger until he is on the field showing he is ready to play. Before the Giants signed Remmers, offensive line coach Hal Hunter was asked about right tackle. His answer then should still hold now: “The best players are going to play. Who are the best players? They are the players that play the best,” Hunter said. “What I’m saying, is that just because you’re a veteran player, a rookie, a second year player, if you are the best player at that position at any time, we owe it to the organization and the team for you to be in that line up. We all compete. We know and understand that. “Whoever the best player is should play.” Could Wheeler still end up being the Giants’ best option at right tackle? Odds are that won’t be the case, but that scenario can’t be viewed as impossible. Should Remmers, as expected, be the starter then Wheeler would likely return to the role of swing tackle, the primary backup to Remmers and Nate Solder. […]

  • Giants news, 7/18: Baker Mayfield’s shot at Giants fans, 18-game schedule, more
    by Ed Valentine on July 18, 2019 at 11:05 am

    Baker Mayfield Sorry, folks, it’s another Beckham-related headline Good morning, New York Giants fans! Baker Mayfield takes shot at Giants fans In supporting Odell Beckham Jr., Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield took a swipe at Giants fans in a piece published Wednesday on ESPN. “He’s here to work, and he wants to be surrounded by people who love him and support him and allow him to be himself,” he says. “He’s here to play in front of fans who actually care, who will actually show up to every game and pack the stadium and love him for who he is.” Sigh. I’m not even going to comment. More headlines Ex-Giants captain Jonathan Casillas on, Odell Beckham, Eli Manning, Landon Collins, injury prevention and possible ‘mistake that could haunt franchise’ | nj.com Casillas didn’t like the decision to let go of Landon Collins. Like many before him, he said that whether Eli Manning can still succeed or not comes down to the ability to protect him. Welcome to Eli Manning's last Giants stand No matter how Gettleman tries to spin it, the Giants are in rebuilding mode with a 38-year-old quarterback. You can’t always have your cake and eat it too. This isn’t about 2019 for the Giants as much as it is about 2020. You don’t need 20/20 vision to see that Daniel Jones will be the Mann. There will likely be little outrage this time whenever Manning is instructed to pass the torch to Chosen Jones and stand next to Shurmur on the sideline, more likely an acknowledgment that time waits for no man, or Manning. NFL 2019: Which teams are under the most pressure? All 32 ranked by who's feeling the most heat | CBSSports.com Considering the national narrative about the Giants’ offseason, it’s no surprise to find them No. 2 on this list. NFL schedule 2019: Predicting every NFL team’s record | SI.com Conor Orr calls the Giants “almost impossible to evaluate,” then predicts they will go 6-10. Why the NFL should flush the idea of an 18-game schedule down the toilet | SBNation.com Geoff Schwartz calls the idea of an 18-game season with players allowed to play in only 16 games “a garbage proposal.” Student leaders from around the country joined @Giants DL @DalvinTomlinson to get inspired, give back to the community and impact healthy eating and physical activity in their schools. #FuelGreatness @FUTP60 pic.twitter.com/TZ5IPS1xQx— NFL (@NFL) July 18, 2019 BBV Mailbag Have questions about the Giants? E-mail them to bigblueview@gmail.com, and the best ones will be answered in an upcoming mailbag. This will be the final mailbag before training camp begins, so let’s make it a good one. Thanks! BBV Podcast You can find and subscribe to Big Blue View radio from the show’s home page. You can find all the shows on our Big Blue View Radio Hub Page. You can also find the shows and subscribe on all your favorite podcast apps: Apple Podcasts | Google Podcasts | Pocket Casts | Spotify | Stitcher | RSS […]

  • Giants’ 90-man roster: UDFA Alex Wesley competing for wide receiver spot
    by Ed Valentine on July 17, 2019 at 4:00 pm

    Alex Wesley | Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports Former 400-meter runner trying to go from track star to NFL player Corey Washington. Amba Etta-Tawo. Ben Edwards. Roger Lewis Jr. Anthony Dable. Darius Powe. Marcus Harris. Jawill Davis. What did all of these former New York Giants have in common? At one point or another they, or at least fans of the Giants, thought they were destined to be the next Victor Cruz. To be the next undrafted free agent to become a superstar wide receiver for the Giants. Well, none of them ever became that. In fact, none of them ever became much of anything in the NFL. That’s because doing what Cruz did isn’t easy, and it doesn’t happen very often. Heading into training camp, the Giants have two wide receivers — Alex Wesley of Northern Colorado and Reggie White Jr. of Monmouth — who hope to be the next Cruz. Today we focus on Wesley as we near the end of our player-by-player profiles of the 90-man roster the Giants will bring to training camp. The basics Height: 5-foot-11Weight: 190Age: 23Position: Wide receiverExperience: 0 How he got here During the beginning of his collegiate career at Northern Colorado, Wesley was known as a track guy who played football. In 22 games from 2014-2016 he caught only 44 passes, albeit seven of them for touchdowns. Meanwhile, in 2014 and 2015 Wesley was the Big Sky Conference outdoor champion in the 400-meter dash. That changed over Wesley’s final two seasons. In 2017, he caught 55 passes for 1,010 yards (18.4 yards per catch) and six touchdowns. He backed that up in 2018 with 57 catches for 1,050 yards (again 18.4 per catch) and four scores. That production and a 4.45 40-yard dash at the NFL Scouting Combine weren’t enough to get Wesley drafted. The Giants wanted him badly enough that they gave him a $15,000 signing bonus and $85,000 in guaranteed money. Only linebacker Josiah Tauaefa ($15K bonus, $95K guaranteed salary) got more among undrafted Giants. 2019 outlook The Giants obviously don’t have Odell Beckham Jr., but they do seem to have excellent depth at wide receiver entering training camp. Golden Tate, Sterling Shepard, Cody Latimer, Darius Slayton and probably Corey Coleman should be considered roster locks. Solid cases can be made for veterans Bennie Fowler and Russell Shepard. Then, of course White and second-year man Alonzo Russell are around. Wesley seemed to have a quiet spring — White made more splash plays. He will have to step up his play in training camp and the preseason to earn a roster spot. […]

 

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