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Los Angeles Rams Blog

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Turf Show Times - All Posts #7and9bullshit...has ended!

  • Random Ramsdom, 10/19
    by Brandon Bate on October 19, 2019 at 10:59 am

    Photo by Chris Williams/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images Los Angeles Rams headlines for Saturday, Oct. 19 Ramsey practices, projected to play vs. Falcons | ESPN Los Angeles Rams coach Sean McVay said Friday that he anticipates cornerback Jalen Ramsey and running back Todd Gurley to play Sunday against the Atlanta Falcons. Rams’ Gurley looks set to play against Falcons | Los Angeles Times It remains to be seen whether new Rams cornerback Jalen Ramsey will play Sunday against the Atlanta Falcons, but all signs point to star running back Todd Gurley returning to the lineup. Todd participated in a limited fashion today, we’re optimistic that he’s going to be able to go. Jalen did a nice job and we’re working through figuring out exactly what that looks like, but we’re anticipating him playing as well. - Sean McVay on Friday Falcons’ Trufant out for Rams game in Week 7 | Atlanta Journal-Constituation The Falcons’ pass defense will be without its No. 1 cornerback Desmond Trufant when they face the Rams at 1 p.m. Sunday at Mercedes Benz. Inside the Jalen Ramsey trade | Sports Illustrated Los Angeles landed yet another big-ticket player in exchange for first-round draft picks. How did the deal go down? Rams GM Les Snead breaks down the trade. Two 1st round picks and a 4th round pick is an offer hard to refuse | Pro Football Talk It’s easy to say that a player won’t be traded. It’s much harder to say “no” to a major trade offer. Game preview: Rams, Falcons look to end lengthy skids | Rams’ official site Both teams are looking to snap extended losing streaks, as the Rams are in the middle of a 3-game skid compared to a 4-game stretch for the Falcons. How the Falcons will beat the Rams | Falcons’ official site AtlantaFalcons dot com writers weigh in and what the Falcons will need to do in order to earn their second win of the season. Young returns to his “backyard” after trade from Ravens to Rams | Rams’ official site New Rams LB Kenny Young is a native of New Orleans, Louisiana, though he could almost count Los Angeles as a second home. Ramsey likes Rams’ culture | Rams’ official site The Rams are no stranger to acquiring big names and welcoming unique personalities into their locker room near the trade deadline, and this week was no exception. McVay says Falcons record is really misleading | Falcons’ official site It was not long ago that the Falcons traveled to Los Angeles for a wildcard playoff matchup against the Rams, leaving with a well-earned 26-13. A lot has changed since then, however, and the Rams (3-3) now come to Atlanta for a game against the Falcons (1-5) that both teams need to win. McVay, Snead commend Peters for “unbelievable” response to trade | Rams Wire For the second time in just over a year, Marcus Peters has to pack up his bags and move to a new city to play for a new team. The Los Angeles Rams traded him to the Baltimore Ravens on Tuesday, making this his third team in three seasons. Henderson’s role could grow in Week 7 with Rams’ RB’s banged up | Rams Wire Without Todd Gurley available last week, the Los Angeles Rams leaned on Malcolm Brown and Darrell Henderson. It led to a somewhat successful day on the ground, but the running back situation heading into Sunday’s game against the Falcons is looking murky. 3 biggest causes for concern for the Rams vs. Falcons | Rams Wire After facing the 49ers and Seahawks in the last two weeks, the Rams catch somewhat of a break in Week 7. They’ll take on the 1-5 Atlanta Falcons on the road this weekend, which might seem like an easy matchup but is hardly that. 5 trade targets for the Rams prior to the deadline | NFL Mocks The Los Angeles Rams currently sit at 3-3, with seriously concerning losses to inferior opposition. What acquisitions can be made to change the tides? 5 concerns still surrounding the Rams after the Ramsey trade | Ramblin Fan Despite the excitement surrounding the Jalen Ramsey trade, there are still concerns surrounding the Los Angeles Rams. NFL defense rankings through Week 6 | Pro Football Focus Using expected pointed added (EPA — the expected number of points the offense should expect to score on the next scoring play given the down, distance and field position), we present to you the ranking of all 32 defenses by EPA allowed per play through Week 6. Ryan poised to make history against Rams on Sunday | Pop Culture Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan has a chance to do something no other NFL player has done in history when the team takes on the Los Angeles Rams at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on Sunday.

  • Rams-Falcons: Bold Predictions
    by Sean Wilkinson on October 18, 2019 at 11:24 pm

    Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images It’s been a tough month for Los Angeles Rams fans. The real Jared Goff shows up No, I’m not talking about the Goff that throws for 500+ yards.No, I’m not talking about the Goff that throws for 78 yards I’m talking about the Goff that has averaged roughly 275 yards per game and had 60 TDs to 19 INTs in his first two seasons under McVay. Goff will commit ZERO turnovers and throw for two touchdowns with a pedestrian box score, but lead the Rams to victory. The Rams defense forces FOUR turnovers This is all about kicking the Falcons when they’re down. Falcons QB Matt Ryan has been prone to turnovers in the past, and Aaron Donald will terrorize him all day. Bonus: Donald and newly acquired cornerback Jalen Ramsey will account for at least two of the Falcons turnovers. All three phases score John Fassel’s special teams units have often been a spark for the Rams in recent years. I think they find a way to score a TD early in the game. Whether it is in the form of a patented Johnny Hekker fake punt or a return TD by JoJo Natson..... I think they score on Sunday.

  • Five Rams to watch
    by Sean Wilkinson on October 18, 2019 at 10:39 pm

    Photo by Michael Zagaris/San Francisco 49ers/Getty Images Injuries drive this list, but there’s a hint of excitement to be had this week - and not just because of the flashy acquisition of Jalen Ramsey Between injuries and trades, the Los Angeles Rams team that takes the field this weekend will look completely different than the one that was fielded just a short few weeks ago. This was the Rams' starting defense less than three weeks ago. Amazing.— Rich Hammond (@Rich_Hammond) October 16, 2019 That’s a rough pill to swallow as Rams fans. Our favorite team has been blessed with incredible health the last few years, but 2019 has not been so kind. The injuries have had a drastic impact on Sean McVay’s normally potent offense. With sub-par play along the offensive line, the offense has struggled mightily over the Rams three game losing streak. The combination of injuries and poor performance made selecting most of these players simple. Jared Goff Goff’s struggles have only increased the scrutiny around him. Many still question his extension. We all (rightfully) question his ability to perform when under duress. How Goff responds to his worst game as a professional will tell us a lot about his composure and ability to lead a team out of a rut. David Edwards The rookie out of Wisconsin will get his first NFL start on Sunday after Joseph Noteboom was lost for the season with a torn ACL. The 2019 5th round pick is quick on his feet and should be able to reach the second level when asked, but at this point I’m just hoping he’s not another Jamil Demby. Taylor Rapp Rapp will take over for the (also) injured John Johnson III. He has already seen a bit of action this season and has compiled 26 tackles and a pair of passes defensed. He will have big shoes to fill as Johnson has played at a Pro Bowl level for Wade Phillips, and will likely look to veteran Eric Weddle to help him through his first start. Troy Hill Speaking of injuries..... Hill will fill in for Aqib Talib as the latter hit the injured reserve list this week with a rib injury. He was somewhat of an enigma with Rams fans early in his career, but has developed into a solid corner over the course of the past year. Nonetheless, there is a difference between being the 4th or 5th CB on the depth chart and starting. Let’s see how he responds now that the security blanket is gone. Jalen Ramsey I deliberately saved Ramsey for last. He is one of the best CBs in the game and the Rams just delivered an armored truck’s worth of draft capital to the Jacksonville Jaguars to acquire him. This move terrifies me because the Rams gave up so much for him. It’s hard to justify the transaction given how top-heavy the Rams roster is, but it will still be fun to watch him in horns.

  • Rams-Falcons injury report clears Gurley, Ramsey
    by 3k on October 18, 2019 at 8:52 pm

    Los Angeles Rams RB Todd Gurley prior to a Week 5 game against the Seattle Seahawks, Oct. 3, 2019. | Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images LB Clay Matthews is out while RB2 Malcolm Brown is listed as doubtful. The Los Angeles Rams are headed to ATL to take on the Atlanta Falcons in Week 7. They’re doing so with their star running back and newest cornerback per the injury report: RB Todd Gurley and CB Jalen Ramsey are both good to go, but backup RB Malcolm Brown is doubtful so he’s unlikely to play. And who knows what balance Head Coach Sean McVay will strike (a) in terms of the run/pass disparity and (b) to share the burden between Gurley and rookie RB Darrell Henderson, Jr. As for the Falcons, they got good news across the board except for one very crucial corner: Over at the Falcoholic, the SB Nation community for fans of the Falcons, they had this to say about missing CB Desmond Trufant (spelling error on the injury report aside): The Falcons defense is bad. Very bad. Indescribably bad. It will now be missing one of their top defenders against the Los Angeles Rams and their inconsistent but lethal offense. It was suggested the Falcons would move Isaiah Oliver out of the starting lineup after Trufant returned. That is not happening so the struggling Oliver will start across from rookie Kendall Sheffield. The Rams have arguably one of the top wide receiver trios in the NFL with Connor Kupp, Robert Woods, and Brandin Cooks, forcing teams to produce three quality defensive backs to try to keep them in check. With Damontae Kazee still struggling at nickel, this has the makings of a disaster. That’s right, another disaster. Trufant may have had a few bad plays but has still been the best player in the secondary this season. His loss will be huge. Atlanta’s best hope is to pressure Jared Goff or else he could become the third player to win the Offensive Player of the Week against the Falcons defense in as many weeks. If you have any of the Rams pass catchers in fantasy football, I’d strongly recommend you starting them regardless of your other options. Inactives will be out roughly an hour prior to kickoff.

  • Rams-Falcons: Matchups to watch
    by Sosa Kremenjas on October 18, 2019 at 7:30 pm

    Photo by James Gilbert/Getty Images Could the L.A. Rams’ mercurial superstar addition at corner suit up? If so, all eyes will be on that matchup. The Los Angeles Rams will oppose the Atlanta Falcons in Week 7, providing them a premier opportunity to end a three-game losing streak. The Rams will look to get back on track, prior to beginning a stretch of three straight road games, returning back home in Week 11. Week 7 poses an absolutely vital game for the Rams, because they’re already multiple games back from the NFC West divisional lead. Let’s jump into the matchups to watch: Rams’ secondary versus Falcon’s receivers The Falcons boast one of the best trio of receivers in the league in Julio Jones, Calvin Ridley, and slot receiver Mohamed Sanu. The Rams’ secondary is in a major transitional phase as the starting unit will only return ONE player who started just two weeks ago. Marqui Christian will line up at safety with Eric Weddle, and Troy Hill will make his second start at cornerback, alongside Nickell Robey-Coleman and potentially the newly added Jalen Ramsey. If Ramsey plays, he’s likely to travel with Jones, providing one of the most exciting matchups you’ll see in 2019. The Falcons’ passing attack is 2nd in the league in passing yards per game with 317.8. QB Jared Goff versus Falcons’ secondary Conversely, the Falcons’ secondary is terrible, allowing 271.8 passing yards per game, which is good for 28th in the league. The unit will be missing cornerback Desmond Trufant, leaving the struggling unit shorthanded. Jared Goff has struggled in 2019, particularly in Week 6, but this defense gives Goff the perfect opportunity to rebound after putting together a historically bad game. OG’s David Edwards/Austin Blythe versus DT Grady Jarrett Rookie fifth-round pick David Edwards will draw his first NFL start (or game action for that matter) at left guard. Austin Blythe continues to struggle at right guard, giving Grady Jarrett every reason to lick his chops. Jarrett is one of the best defensive tackles in the league, but he hasn’t registered a sack since Week 2. The interior trio for the Rams are sure to have their hands full. WR’s Robert Woods/Cooper Kupp versus CB Isaiah Oliver/S Damontae Kazee Robert Woods and Cooper Kupp are the two most productive receivers on the Rams’ roster, and they get a dream matchup opposing Isaiah Oliver and Damontae Kazee (nickel). Oliver becomes the Falcons’ #1 cornerback with Trufant ruled out, displaying just how weak they are at the cornerback position. Woods and Kupp have every opportunity to run freely all afternoon, giving Goff many options to target. S Taylor Rapp versus TE Austin Hooper Austin Hooper is off to an incredible season as he leads all tight ends in receptions and is second to only Travis Kelce in yards. The Rams will likely have multiple guys rotate in coverage, though Taylor Rapp should receive majority of the coverage on Hooper. Rapp is having a solid rookie season as he’s allowing a 70% completion rate, six yards per target, and a 85.2 rating when targeted.


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Arizona Cardinals Blog

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Using the Arizona Cardinals signing Charles Clay-based yesterday, their third veteran putting your signature on in this offseason before the free company period has even began, this tells us something.

The Arizona Cardinals are trying to stay competitive, but not placing any position as locked within.
They signed Robert Alford to some three-year deal, but that was a lot more out of necessity of having a competent entire body at the cornerback position than anything. Alford allows the Cardinals to keep to shop for corners, but doesn’t capital t make it a glaring hole like it continues to be for the last six offseasons.

It doesn't imply that the Cardinals won't pursue the Bradley Roby or Steven Nelson in free agency, or take a look at a Trayvon Mullen or Amani Oruwariye in the 2019 NFL Set up.
Brooks Reed is a nice insurance coverage if Markus Golden moves together, but also gives them a veteran tone of voice to help out if Nick Bosa or Josh Allen find themselves since the top pick.
Clay gives the Cardinals a move tight end having the ability to be productive in the passing online game. Yet, it would also never preclude them from grabbing a tight finish early in the draft if and when they move ahead from Jermaine Gresham.

Yet, in case Noah Fant or Jace Sternberger are available in the draft, they'd suit nicely in Kliff Kingsbury's brand new offense.
They’ re veteran insurance plans, but they aren’t even posing as long term answers. They’ re simply pieces to a puzzle that is simply trying to make sure it has all the items this time before Steve Keim attempts to put it together.


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Tennessee Titans Blog

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Music City Miracles - All Posts An SB Nation Blog for Tennessee Titans Fans

  • Titans vs. Chargers: How to watch, game time, TV schedule, online streaming, radio, info on tickets
    by Jimmy Morris on October 19, 2019 at 12:03 pm

    Photo by Martin Leitch/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images Buy tickets to Titans vs. Chargers from StubHub HERE! The Titans take on the Chargers at Nissan Stadium on Sunday in a game between two of the more disappointing teams in the NFL to this point. The Chargers had Super Bowl aspirations in what might be Philip Rivers’s last season with Los Angeles. It hasn’t worked for them to this point. The winner of this game will have life for another week. The loser of this game can pretty much start looking toward the trade deadline and start their 2020 draft preparation. Of course the big news with this Titans this week was the switch to Ryan Tannehill at quarterback. They are hoping that gives them a spark on offense. What You Need To Know Date: October 20th, 2019 Game time: 3:05 PM CST Location: Nissan Stadium, Nashville, TN TV channel: CBS Coverage Map: 506 Sports Announcers: Ian Eagle, Dan Fouts Radio: 104.5 The Zone (Nashville), Titans Radio in MidSouth Streaming: Fubo | GamePass (audio only until after game) Titans record: (2-4) Chargers record: (2-4) Odds: Titans -2 Enemy blog: Bolts from the Blue Twitter: @TitansMCM Facebook: Please Like us!

  • Questions that Need to be Answered
    by Justin Graver on October 19, 2019 at 1:26 am

    Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports What exactly is wrong with the Titans’ offense? When a team is struggling in the NFL, it opens the door for questions to be asked. At 27th in total yards per game, 27th in points per game, and with just 7 points in the last ten quarters, there’s no question the Titans are struggling. Many of the questions I would like to ask relate to the Titans’ current coaching staff, particularly on offense. At the end of the Tennessee Titans’ 2017 season, GM Jon Robinson and owner Amy Adams Strunk made the somewhat-controversial decision to fire a head coach who had just won the franchise’s first playoff game since 2003. Believing that Mike Mularkey and his offensive coordinator Terry Robiskie had hit their “ceiling” as a staff, Robinson pulled the plug and brought in a new regime that was meant to elevate this team from “good to great.” Since then, the Titans have a record of 11 wins to 11 losses. Many would argue that the talent on the roster has been vastly improved since that 2017 season, especially on the offensive side of the ball, yet an improvement in the win column has not followed. The only receiver left on the roster from 2017 is Corey Davis. The only one even left in the league is Taywan Taylor, who was a healthy scratch for the Browns last weekend. The receiving corps has since been filled out with high-priced free agents and high-round draft picks. The result of such investments? The Titans have passed for just 1,126 yards through 6 games, fourth-fewest in the league and less than a handful of teams who have already had their bye week. In contrast, through 6 games of 2017, when the talent and coaching were supposedly worse, the Titans had passed for 1,224 yards with Matt Cassel starting a Week 5 game against Miami. On the offensive line, the Titans moved on from players they believed to be “weak links.” Josh Kline was cut and Quinton Spain allowed to walk while former 2nd-team All Pro guard Rodger Saffold was brought in for big money, and for good reason. In 2018, Saffold was 3rd among all guards in ESPN’s “pass block win rate,” holding his blocks for at least 2.5 seconds on 87.4% of snaps. He was part of a Rams’ line that ranked 1st overall in adjusted line yards running to the left, and he earned PFF’s 6th-best run-blocking grade among guards last year. But in six games this season, Saffold has already given up 5 sacks—that matches the amount he allowed from 2016-2018 combined. And he has been a liability in the run game, as well. If Saffold puts gets even a hand on #51 and gets him off balance, Henry has a chance to get a big gain here. #Titans— Tres Winn (@TresWinn) October 15, 2019 Taylor Lewan is a Pro Bowl left tackle capable of being one of the best in the league. Jack Conklin looks healthy again and has shown flashes of dominance. But both have been marred by inconsistency. The Titans offensive line in 2019 is on pace to allow 77 sacks, which is not only the worst pace of the past few coaching staffs but in fact a league-record pace... The Titans are on pace to break an offensive record!!!At their current rate, the 2019 Titans will allow 77 sacks, breaking the 2002 expansion Texans record of 76! Record setting offensive football folks!— Mike Herndon (@MikeMiracles) October 14, 2019 The Titans are also leading the league in negative plays, which is a huge part of their 29th-ranked offense according to Football Outsider’s DVOA ranks. #Titans get shut out by the #Broncos 16-0.-Offense has scored 7 pts in last 8 quarters-3 INTs & 7 sacks today-Lead the NFL in negative playsForget #goodtogreat, #Titans offense needs to go #badtomediocre.— Tatum Everett - FOX17 (@tatumeverett) October 13, 2019 Derrick Henry is suffering from extremely poor blocking, with the 2nd-worst yards-before-contact per carry at 0.8 and the 6th-best yards-after-contact per carry at 2.8. Derrick Henry is averaging 0.8 yards before contact per carry. No one else with more than 35 carries is averaging under a yard before contact— ProFootballReference (@pfref) October 16, 2019 Meanwhile, Quinton Spain, who was let go for the “upgrade” of Rodger Saffold, is performing at a high level in Buffalo. Spain is a monster. Look at him refit his left hand inside the frame and turn the DT.— Cover 1 (@Cover_1_) October 15, 2019 I don’t think this is a talent issue. I don’t think it’s fair to criticize Jon Robinson for bringing in underperforming players like Rodger Saffold and Adam Humphries. Given their history of success at the NFL level, I find it hard to fault the general manager for failing to get the most out of these additions. Which brings me to my first question: what gives? How is a team full of proven, talented players performing at such a subpar level? Could it be a coaching issue? If you want to blame Jon Robinson for failing to build a coaching staff that prioritizes offensive production, that’s a fair criticism. The Titans offensive staff does not have a ton of coaching experience, particularly offensive coordinator Arthur Smith in his first year as a playcaller or coordinator at any level of football, and offensive line coach Keith Carter, who is in just his second year as an offensive line coach. Quarterbacks coach Pat O’Hara is only in his 5th season as an NFL coach. The groups for which these three coaches are responsible seem to be struggling more than others: quarterback, offensive line, and well, the offense as a unit. These coaches may be intelligent, but having knowledge is different from having the ability or experience to teach what you know. Experience certainly isn’t everything, and plenty of first-time coaches and playcallers have found success in this league. The Titans need to find out, and quickly, if this offensive coaching staff is capable of elevating their players. At this point, it doesn’t appear they can. Which brings up my next question, what can the Titans do about their struggling offense right now? Are there any midseason fixes? Well, the change from Marcus Mariota to Ryan Tannehill could answer some of these lingering questions. For one, we will get a chance to see if this offense can sustain drives at a better rate and avoid negative plays so much simply by changing out the quarterback. Has Marcus Mariota been holding back his supporting cast, or is it the other way around? We may finally find out. It’s hard to separate the coaching performance from the players’ performance, but this will give us an opportunity to see things a bit clearer. This particular stat about the offensive line may indicate a quarterback problem more than a blocking problem: Presented without comment.— Mike Herndon (@MikeMiracles) October 18, 2019 While that may excuse part of the alarmingly high sack total, it doesn’t really explain the poor execution in the run game. That said, Derrick Henry has faced an 8-man-or-more box on the 3rd-highest percentage of carries in the league behind only Alexander Mattison and Frank Gore with 38.05% of his carries coming with 8+ defenders in the box. Which leads to my next question, will a new quarterback and a possibly more threatening passing game push defenders out of the box and allow more space for the running game? Derrick Henry has had 21 rushes that have gone for negative yards - that is the most in the first 6 weeks of a season since former Chiefs RB Larry Johnson in 2007.The Titans also lead the league with 40 punts.— Allan Bell (@AllanBell247) October 17, 2019 I’m not sure of the answer to that question, but I believe that to be the staff’s mentality behind the quarterback switch. A variable must be changed in order to evaluate the other parts of the offense. Quarterback is the most important and obvious variable that can easily be changed at this time. But I have another question... What if that doesn’t work? What if Ryan Tannehill comes out and the offense is just as bad? It’s certainly a possibility given a statistic like this one: QBs with the highest percentage of negative plays (sacks, fumbles, INTs) yesterday:1. Ryan Tannehill2. Marcus Mariota3. Josh Rosen4. Jameis Winston5. Jared GoffLowest:1. Kyler Murray2. Ryan Fitzpatrick3. Dak Prescott4. Lamar Jackson5. Case Keenum— Sheil Kapadia (@SheilKapadia) October 14, 2019 That brings us back to coaching... If things don’t improve once Ryan Tannehill steps in, that will leave little variables left to change. We already know that at least 3/5 of the offensive line can play well in the right situation, we’ve seen them do it at different points throughout their careers. We don’t know that Art Smith can coordinate a successful offense. We don’t know that Keith Carter can coach a competent offensive line. In his 22 games as @Titans OL coach, Keith Carter’s OL has allowed 76 sacks (avg of 3.45 sacks per game)— Austin Lewis (@austinlewistn) October 13, 2019 I don’t know what else could change midseason. Mike Sullivan, the Titans assistant offensive line coach, has many years of experience coaching offensive lines in the NFL. Perhaps you could promote him, but why is his presence not helping already? Is it all Mike Vrabel’s fault? Ultimately, the blame for all problems with a team’s performance should fall on the head coach. And perhaps Vrabel is to blame for hiring Arthur Smith in favor of a more experienced offensive coordinator option. But Mike Vrabel is a defensive minded head coach. And the defense has been excellent in Vrabel’s tenure. Not only is it performing well as a unit, but we’ve seen pretty much every contributing member of the defense improve their individual play over the past 22 games. Vrabel deserves credit for that as much as he deserves blame for the struggles on offense. The Titans defensive coaching staff seems to be full of teachers that consistently work to improve the abilities of the players in their position groups. I wish I could say the same about the offensive staff. If the offense doesn’t improve with Tannehill, there is no reasonable explanation for Arthur Smith to return in 2020, especially if the team plans to select a quarterback early in next April’s draft (and I expect they will). They can’t give such an unproven and struggling coordinator the reigns to a rookie quarterback, that’s just irresponsible. The ultimate question if the team continues on its current trajectory is... will Mike Vrabel return in 2020? Based largely on what he did in 2018 in a year of extreme adversity, I would expect Vrabel to be back next season barring a catastrophic collapse over the rest of the season—meaning the defense finally breaks and the Titans start getting blown out on a weekly basis. I don’t think that will happen, but he must be held accountable for the offense regardless. Allow me to entertain a possible worst-case scenario... say the Titans do draft a QB in 2020. Say Vrabel is retained but the team continues its slow-starting nature, continues to perform inconsistently week to week, and the offense continues to struggle. Then what? Do you fire Mike Vrabel midway through or perhaps after the 2020 season? That’s the same treatment Marcus Mariota received when Ken Whisenhunt was fired in 2015. It’s actually been surprisingly common for NFL teams to fire their head coach within a year of letting that coach draft the team’s new franchise quarterback in this era where teams are relentlessly chasing the “next” Sean McVay. Just looking at the past five years, eight different teams (a quarter of the league) have made such a change. 2018 Browns draft Baker Mayfield No. 1 overall and fire Hue Jackson after 8 games Jets draft Sam Darnold No. 3 overall (trade up) and fire Todd Bowles at the end of the season Cardinals draft Josh Rosen No. 10 overall (trade up) and fire Steve Wilks at the end of the season 2017 Bears draft Mitchell Trubisky No. 2 overall (trade up) and fire John Fox at the end of the season2016 Rams draft Jared Goff No. 1 overall (trade up) and fire Jeff Fisher after 13 games2015 Bucs draft Jameis Winston No. 1 overall and fire Lovie Smith after the season Titans draft Marcus Mariota No. 2 overall and fire Ken Whisenhunt after 7 games 2014 Raiders draft Derek Carr No. 36 overall and fire Dennis Allen after 4 gamesThat brings up another question I’ve wondered about... Is it a death knell for a quarterback to have his head coach fired during or after his rookie season? Probably not. But it’s certainly not the ideal way to find early success with a young quarterback. So the Titans will be in quite the pickle here soon if things don’t turn around. There are enough important decisions looming this offseason without adding a bunch of questions about the coaching staff. The next few weeks should be pretty telling about how deep the problems run with this current Titans’ team. Hopefully, we’ll get answers to some of these outstanding questions...

  • All-22 Review: Titans offensive struggles continue as Marcus Mariota is benched for Ryan Tannehill
    by Mike B. Herndon on October 18, 2019 at 4:33 pm

    Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images The end of the Mariota era in Tennessee was sad to see, but could Tannehill help bring the Titans offense back to life? The All-22 Review is a recurring feature here at Music City Miracles breaking down the tape from the previous week’s Titans game. The focus will vary depending on where the action on the field takes us, but the idea is to bring insights that may have been missed on the TV broadcast. Ready or not, here we go. Ryan Tannehill is the new starting quarterback in Nashville after a terrible performance from Marcus Mariota in Denver led to the coaching staff pulling the plug in the third quarter after a 7 for 18, 63-yard, 2-interception performance from their long time starter. I’m not going to get too deep into my thoughts on the end of the Mariota Era in Tennessee here, if you want to read them, I wrote at length about them here. It’s a sad day for all Titans fans regardless of whether you were a staunch Mariota supporter or a fan that was already ready to move on from 8. Seeing your team effectively admit that they no longer believe in the guy that was supposed to be the franchise quarterback... again... is always tough to see. The Titans are 2-4 and in a deep hole in both the division and wildcard races. If you want to toss in the towel on the hopes of a miraculous run to the playoffs, I can’t blame you. However, making the move to Tannehill gives me at least a flicker of hope. It’s not like the team needs its offense to put up 40 points a game. The Titans defense has made it clear that if the offense can put up at least 20 points, they’ll have a chance to win most games, including all six of their games to this point. If Tannehill can just get this offense to roughly league average, this team can still win a lot of games between now and Week 17. Can they win enough to get into the playoffs? Maybe, maybe not. I’m not going to do a deep dive on the stats for this All-22 since the numbers are all pretty awful at this point and we all know that there are multiple reasons for that. So let’s just jump into the tape and see what went wrong and if there is anything we can take from Tannehill’s relief performance that could give some hope for this Sunday and beyond. Alright, so let’s dig into Marcus Mariota’s performance and what pushed Mike Vrabel to make the call to the bench for Ryan Tannehill. The first play of the game was designed to be a play action throwback screen to Derrick Henry, but the play fake here isn’t fooling anyone. Watch the Broncos linebackers. One barely reacts to the run threat and the other — who has Henry in man coverage — just follows Henry right to the screen. The throw itself really isn’t bad, but Henry just drops it. The big running back’s lack of ability to haul in even simple screen passes at times is frustrating. NFL Game Pass Many have wanted to see more RPO concepts in the Titans offensive attack and there are a few. Here is an example from the Broncos game. Mariota is reading the end man on line of scrimmage here. If he follows Jonnu Smith out to the flat or sits outside, Mariota gives to Henry on the dive. If he crashes down the line to play the run, Mariota can pull the ball and throw to either Smith in the flat or A.J. Brown running a quick stop route. With the EMLOS (End Man on Line Of Scrimmage) in conflict and just one Broncos linebacker in the area, the Titans have Denver in a spot where they have two defenders to cover three responsibilities — run contain, Smith, and Brown — which is advantage Titans, obviously. Here, Mariota sticks with the safe play and gives to Henry on the dive to pick up three. However, I’m not sure that’s the right read. The EMLOS isn’t crashing down hard, but his body weight is clearly leaning inside at the mesh point. Smith is already a couple steps past him and there is no way he can recover to get in position to challenge a pass. The only defender who can get to Smith — the off ball linebacker on that side — has to fight through a rub from Brown and kinda gets caught in no man’s land between Smith and Brown, but not really covering either of them. If Mariota pulls this ball, it’s likely an easy completion to the pass catcher of his choice for more than the 3 yards Henry ended up with on the ground. NFL Game Pass Alright, so let’s get to the first sack of the game. Yet again, this became an issue for the Titans against Denver. It’s 3rd and 7 on the first drive following the two plays above. Finding themselves in 3rd and long continues to be an issue for this team because of their lack of success on 1st and 2nd down. However, the Titans don’t do themselves any favors on 3rd downs either. Let’s break this one down piece by piece because this play design is a total mess. The Broncos walk up both of their linebackers and give the Titans offense a 5-man rush look. Von Miller — by far the Broncos most dangerous rusher is lined up across from Taylor Lewan — but for some reason the Titans ask Adam Humphries to chip on the right side and slide their entire protection right, leaving Dion Lewis to pick up one of the blitzing backers one-on-one. Lewis gets overpowered which creates near immediate pressure on Mariota. However, my bigger issue here is that there are no quick options available for the quarterback in the event of a blitz. Every single route goes past the sticks, and while I get that they’re trying to get the ball downfield to pick up the first down, it’s also where defenders are expecting routes to be run and they take some time to get there. Delanie Walker — running an out route at the sticks from the slot towards the bottom of the screen — actually gets open, but the pressure in Mariota’s face from Lewis’ man keeps him from being able to make a play. Bad play design, bad protection call. NFL Game Pass It’s no secret that Mariota had one of his poorest games from an accuracy standpoint in this one. I’m not sure exactly what happened with this throw. It just looks like an out and out misfire, but misses like this on 3rd and 3 are a killer for an offense that struggles to pick up 3rd downs as is. I also think it’s worth pointing out that Mariota has always had a tendency towards locking onto Delanie Walker on plays like this where he is essentially choosing his matchup. That makes sense because the veteran tight end has long been the Titans best and most reliable pass catcher. However, his tendency to lock onto Walker may no longer be warranted. It’s not that Walker is playing poorly, but guys like Corey Davis and A.J. Brown — who gets very open underneath on the shallow cross here — are just as capable as Walker of winning one on one, maybe even more so, and they offer much greater value after the catch. NFL Game Pass Another misfire came on the next drive on 2nd and 6. This time it’s a play action look with the Titans looking to take a shot downfield, but it’s not there so Mariota smartly moves to his check down option with Henry in the flat. I don’t know if he was expecting Henry to keep running towards the sideline or if this is just another poor throw, but it’s a bad miss of a wide open receiver. Henry likely picks up the first down or at least gets close if this is a catchable pass. Instead, it sets up the 3rd and 6 where Humphries gets tackled just short of the line to gain and the Titans punt... again. NFL Game Pass One thing that Arthur Smith seems to struggle with through six games is his ability to anticipate coverage calls and get the Titans in the right play for the defense. Some of this is credit to the defensive playcaller. Broncos head coach and defensive guru Vic Fangio fooled the Titans multiple times on Sunday with his coverages. Here, the Titans are expecting man coverage on 3rd and 4 and throw a swing pass to Dion Lewis that is designed to get him outside with space to work with. However, the Broncos are in zone, which means none of the defenders turn and run with the receivers downfield. All eyes are in the backfield and that leaves Lewis trying to run through about six Broncos defenders with predictable results. NFL Game Pass Mariota was all over the place in this game. Here, he misses Corey Davis on an out route by a mile. It looks possible that Mariota was expecting a different route here, but given the way his accuracy looked throughout this game, I lean towards this just being a poor throw. NFL Game Pass It wasn’t all bad from Mariota in this game. There were, of course, a few bright spots. Here is one of them on a 3rd and 7. Mariota finds Humphries in a tight window and drills it in there and his receiver rewards him with a tough contested catch. NFL Game Pass However, Mariota got back to bad habits just two plays later. The Titans go to one of their favorite shot plays on 2nd and 12 after a two yard loss by Henry. Mariota has a nice pocket from the offensive line and plenty of room to step up and cut the ball loose. Tajae Sharpe (spotlighted) is coming open — not wide open, but open enough — in the middle of the field, but instead of throwing, Mariota pulls the ball down and looks to run, eventually running into a sack and setting up a 3rd and 13. This is pull your hair out quarterback play for an offensive coordinator and it’s stuff like this, far more than the two interceptions, that got Mariota benched in my opinion. NFL Game Pass Here is another infuriating snap from Mariota. It’s 3rd and 13 — this is the very next play after the one above — so the Titans need a chunk here. It’s going to be very difficult to convert no matter what they do, however, the Broncos choose to drop nine into coverage and rush two. Really, Von Miller — originally lined up near the 40-yard line mark on the near side — isn’t even rushing, he’s just spying as he has four Titans blockers between him and Mariota. The other rusher, to the top of the screen, is doubled by Conklin and Davis. Nobody is anywhere near Mariota or threatening to get anywhere near Mariota. Of course, no one is open initially either, but instead of waiting for a receiver to find a hole in the Broncos zone coverage, Mariota flees the protection of a heavily fortified pocket and gives Miller and angle to chase him down and force a throwaway. Maybe nobody would have gotten open and he would have had to throw it away anyways, but Mariota never gives his receivers a chance here. NFL Game Pass More missed opportunities here. It’s 1st and 15 after a false start by Nate Davis — who had a disastrous game as he continues to deal with rookie growing pains — but the Titans still have a chance to get things going here. It’s late in the first half and despite the horrible start from the offense, Tennessee is down just 6-0. Once again, the Titans get Tajae Sharpe open on a crossing route. He’s not wide open — Sharpe’s struggles to create big separation remain — but he’s open enough for NFL purposes and there is a lot of room for a pass to be fit over the linebackers and under the safeties. Mariota is looking right at him, but chooses not to cut it loose, eventually fleeing the pocket and throwing the ball away, setting up 2nd and 15. NFL Game Pass Let’s take a look at the third and final sack of Mariota in this game. This one comes on 3rd and 8, and once again, the Titans don’t have a single quick option available to their quarterback. Does Arthur Smith not realize that Corey Davis and A.J. Brown are two of the better after the catch receivers in the NFL? Does he also not realize that his offensive line has been struggling to hold up in obvious passing situations? Mariota has no chance between the play design and Nate Davis getting wrecked by Derek Wolfe. The good news for the Titans offensive line in this game was that Rodger Saffold and Jack Conklin all played well, particularly in pass protection. The bad news is that Davis remains a major work in progress. This shouldn’t come as a surprise from a rookie offensive lineman — if you look at the other rookies starting elsewhere around the league, the results are largely the same with the exception of Saints rookie center Erik McCoy — but through six games, the Titans are getting worse right guard play than they got from Josh Kline the last two years. It will be interesting to see if they let Davis play through it or consider going to a now healthy Kevin Pamphile at some point. NFL Game Pass Here is the first interception. I don’t think this one is on Mariota. It’s 1st and 10 with good field position late in the half and the Titans are trying to get a late score to get on the board. He starts looking left, but the coverage is good there so he works back left. For some reason Tajae Sharpe stops his route after clearing the middle linebacker. Mariota throws as if he expects Sharpe to keep running through the window. Typically, receivers are coached to set down in windows against zone and keep running against man. I think Sharpe sets down too quickly though and it allows Chris Harris to swoop in for the pick. NFL Game Pass The first drive after the half saw the Titans get good field position and quickly move to midfield with a 5 yard run from Henry. A run for no gain set up a 3rd and 5, but the Titans once again couldn’t convert. Mariota has Adam Humphries open quickly, but doesn’t pull the trigger and eventually ends up fleeing the pocket and throwing the ball to A.J. Brown on the sidelines, but he can’t quite haul in what would have been a fantastic catch. NFL Game Pass The second interception is largely not on Mariota either. It’s 3rd and 9 after a batted down pass on 1st down and then a 1 yard run by Dalyn Dawkins on 2nd down. The Broncos blitz again, and the Titans run ridiculously long developing routes again, though this time they at least have Delanie Walker flaring out late as a check down. Maybe Mariota should have taken the check down here, but pressure comes almost immediately as a good inside stunt from the Broncos causes confusion between Ben Jones and Nate Davis. Mariota does brilliantly to elude the pressure — one of the few times he’s made guys miss in the pocket this year — but he chooses to just throw a ball up for grabs to Darius Jennings of all people. He doesn’t get enough on it (looks like his arm gets hit as he releases) and it allows the safety to cut underneath and make the pick. NFL Game Pass That would be Mariota’s last play in this game. Despite the timing, I don’t think he really got benched because of the interceptions. I think he got benched because the Titans finally fell behind by two scores after this drive and the coaching staff had no faith that he could rally them late based on what he’d shown all game. The missed opportunities that resulted in sacks or throwaways are what really irk me about watching Mariota this year. The inconsistent accuracy is another issue — and one that seemed to be getting worse this year — but passing up open receivers within the structure of the offense is going to handicap any offense. When you do that in an offense that has offensive line issues and play design issues, it becomes the total disaster that we’ve seen far too often in 2019. Ryan Tannehill made his debut on the next series and immediately Corey Davis and A.J. Brown were noticeably more involved. His first drive started with a negative run for Henry and then a quick 5 yard out to Davis, setting up this 3rd and 6. The Titans spread things out and give Tannehill a chance to choose his matchup. He chooses A.J. Brown versus Chris Harris. Harris is trying to jam Brown, but the rookie gives him the club and knocks him to the ground. Tannehill hits him in stride and Brown shows off that run after catch ability that we are quickly becoming very familiar with. Of course, the play gets called back for an OPI on Brown, and maybe the rookie got a little carried away with his release off Harris’ jam, but he can’t help how strong he is. Either way, it’s encouraging to me to see Tannehill looking for Brown right away in a big spot. NFL Game Pass Unfortunately, Tannehill showed some of the same tendencies that Mariota did when it comes to missing open receivers. Here, he’s facing a tough 3rd and 16 situation, but the Titans actually manage to get Adam Humphries pretty wide open. Tannehill just doesn’t take the shot and dumps it down to Walker instead. NFL Game Pass The Titans quickly got into Broncos territory on their next drive, but on 1st and 10 Tannehill takes a sack. There really isn’t anyone open here, and it looks like there is some confusion between Lewan and Henry picking up the rush, but Tannehill has to throw this thing away instead of taking a 10 yard loss on 1st and 10. NFL Game Pass On the next drive, the Titans worked their way down to the red zone for the first time, but they got to a 4th and 4 situation and with the score being 13-0 with just 9:07 remaining in the game, they chose to go for it. Tannehill misses a couple early opportunities to hit Walker or Lewis on quick in-breaking routes. Instead, he holds the ball and eventually takes a sack on 4th down which is a cardinal sin for a quarterback. Sidenote: Not to make excuses for this dreadful offense, but the Broncos defense was very grabby during this game — both in the secondary and on the defensive line — and largely got away with it. Here, you can see Corey Davis get grabbed at the top of his corner route (Davis is the receiver lined up tight to the right tackle pre-snap). It’s not the reason the offense looked awful, but it certainly didn’t help. NFL Game Pass Tannehill did have some really good moments as well though and it’s enough to have at least some optimism about him moving forward. Here, he throws a strike to hit Humphries up the seam, showing off the accuracy and arm strength that make him dangerous. NFL Game Pass Tannehill showed good timing and accuracy when he did cut the ball loose on time. Here, he hits A.J. Brown on a nice out route on the sidelines. Mariota targeted Brown or Davis on just 3 of his 18 attempts, completing just 1 of those passes for 13 yards. Tannehill targeted those two on 6 of 16 attempts, completing 4 for 46 yards. If you want some hope for the Titans offense making meaningful steps forward under Tannehill, I think it lies in the thought that he will unlock Davis and Brown. NFL Game Pass Here is a play where Tannehill really didn’t have a shot. Nobody is open and Lewan gets stuck with a punishing long arm move from Von Miller to create the sack. Miller is still a great player and Lewan mostly played pretty well in this game, but he got bullied on this one. NFL Game Pass Tannehill would bounce back later in this drive with a beautiful strike to Anthony Firkser for his first catch of the year. This is a great throw against tight coverage and an even better catch by Firkser, who we have come to expect to make these types of plays. The officials whistle him down at the 11 yard line even though he was not touched by a defender until after his knee was back up off the ground. The Titans should have had this 1st and goal at the 2 instead of 1st and 10 at the 11. Again, it didn’t make a difference in the likely outcome, but the Titans probably score from the 2 if the ball is placed there. NFL Game Pass Here is the final sack of Tannehill. It’s 2nd and 14 after a penalty backed them up. Corey Davis gets open quickly, but Tannehill seems to be waiting for Walker to come open behind him. Walker does get open, but by the time the tight end is coming free, pressure is arriving on another sloppy handling of a stunt between Ben Jones and Nate Davis. NFL Game Pass Tannehill would be picked to seal the shut out a few plays later, but at least he threw the ball on that 4th down. I don’t know whether the Titans offense will improve under Tannehill. There are certainly other problems. The running game didn’t get going in this one — though it was closer than it might have looked on first watch — and there are still offensive line problems and scheme problems. As I said above, the best case for an improved performance with the new QB is that he might get Davis and Brown involved more often. We will see how Tannehill looks with a full week of practice reps against the Chargers. I’m hoping that we see him start to get more into a rhythm and provide the spark that Mike Vrabel said he’s looking for. Even if you’re ready to pull the plug on this Titans season, I’m tired of watching bad offense. Let’s see what the new guy can do.

  • Report: Titans have reached out to Dolphins about Kenyan Drake
    by Jimmy Morris on October 18, 2019 at 2:24 pm

    Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images Some guy named Neal Driscoll on Twitter is reporting that the Titans have reached out to the Miami Dolphins about the possibility of trading for Kenyan Drake. Lions, Buccaneers, and Titans are three teams that have talked to Miami regarding Kenyan Drake.— Neal Driscoll (@NealDriscoll) October 18, 2019 We know that Jon Robinson has a history of kicking the tires whenever a player is rumored to be available. My guess is that there is nothing more to this than that. Of course I love Drake as a player, but why would you give up a pick to get a back-up running back- especially when you already paying Dion Lewis a lot of money to play the role that Drake would presumably play here. It will be interesting to see if the Dolphins are ultimately able to move Drake. My guess is that the best they will be able to do is a 3rd day pick. Even that is more than the Titans should be willing to give up for him. *I love any excuse to use an Alabama picture as the header for an article!

  • Titans News: Big Jeff!
    by Robert Greenlaw on October 18, 2019 at 11:00 am

    Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports The Titans first round pick is practicing and not on the injury report! Both are good news for the Titans who could use Big Jeff’s interior pass rush help to generate a rush with just 4. Derrick Henry is ready to go and the Titans need to get him going if they are going to have any sort of success the rest of this year. Kenyan Drake has been rumored to be moved by the deadline and the Titans are an interested party, reportedly. Ryan Tannehill is 29th in the QB Index. It is really weird not to see Marcus on that list. Gil Brandt ranks the top 8 defenses in the NFL. Somehow the Titans do not make the list. Stranger still, they don’t make the honorable mentions.


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Big Cat Country - All Posts Stand United, Duval Til We Die

  • Week 7 odds: Bet your mortgage on the Falcons
    by Ryan Day on October 18, 2019 at 7:05 pm

    Photo by Jennifer Stewart/Getty Images We’re through six weeks of NFL play and we’re dead even on money. It’s time to play catch up! How does Week 7 look and what are the best games to throw some money at? Let’s check it out! Note: I used Bovada’s odds on Friday afternoon. Atlanta Falcons (+3.0) vs. Los Angeles Rams This is going to be a shootout and I don’t think Jared Goff has the firepower to match up with Matt Ryan and the Falcons offense. Bet on the Falcons to win outright. San Francisco 49ers (-10) at Washington Washington is going to get a lot worse before they get a lot worse. Bet on the 49ers to win in a blowout. New Orleans Saints (+3.0) at Chicago Bears How did Chicago lose two players — Kyle Long and Akiem Hicks — to injured reserve on their bye week? Bet on the Saints to win in outright. Jacksonville Jaguars (-4) at Cincinnati Bengals Cincinnati has several starters on both sides of the ball ruled out with another marked as doubtful. Jacksonville needs a get right game. I’m going to be sick. Bet on the Jaguars to win by a touchdown. Overall: 12-12-0 Bet Your Mortgage: 3-3-0

  • Marqise Lee and Geoff Swaim ruled out vs. Bengals
    by Ryan Day on October 18, 2019 at 6:46 pm

    Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images The Jacksonville Jaguars have ruled out wide receiver Marqise Lee and tight end Geoff Swaim against the Cincinnati Bengals this Sunday. Wide receiver Dede Westbrook is questionable with a shoulder injury. Two players are OUT for Sunday's game against the Bengals.Full @farahandfarah Injury Report ⤵— #DUUUVAL (@Jaguars) October 18, 2019 Should Westbrook also be ruled out, it would leave DJ Chark, Chris Conley, Keelan Cole, and C.J. Board as the only healthy receivers available for the Week 7 matchup. On the other side of the ball, the Bengals have already ruled out seven players with an eighth, defensive end Carlos Dunlap, as doubtful. Those players include: LT Cordy Glenn WR A.J. Green CB William Jackson CB Dre Kirkpatrick DE Carl Lawson RG John Miller LT Andre Smith That’s the starting wide receiver, the top two left tackles, the top two cornerbacks, the starting right guard, and a starting defensive end. If the Jaguars end up losing this game, it would mean a lot of people need to be fired. Go Jaguars.

  • Nick Foles could return to practice next Wednesday
    by Brian.Fullford on October 18, 2019 at 5:52 pm

    Douglas DeFelice-USA TODAY Sports How soon is now? The question of what the Jacksonville Jaguars should do upon the return of Nick Foles should begin to take a greater focus of attention. According to ESPN Jaguars beat report Michael DiRocco, coach Doug Marrone thinks Foles will be able to return to practice the Wednesday after the Jaguars visit Cincinnati. Jaguars coach Doug Marrone says he thinks QB Nick Foles will be able to return to practice on Wednesday, which keeps Foles on track for a potential return on Nov. 17. Foles has been our since Week 1 with a broken collarbone.— Michael DiRocco (@ESPNdirocco) October 18, 2019 Nick Foles was injured in the Jaguars week one loss to the Kansas City Chiefs when ex-teammate Chris Jones tackled him, breaking Foles’ left clavicle. Foles completed a 35-yard touchdown pass to D.J. Chark on the play. Foles was placed on IR the day after he sustained the injury. Under NFL rules he is unable to play for at least eight weeks, and is eligible to return for the Jaguars’ Week 11 game at Indianapolis November 17. Whether he is ready to play physically, or needed to play will play out in the coming weeks. Gardner Minshew has filled in nicely for Foles, compiling a 2-4 record while claiming four Pepsi Rookie Offensive Player of the Week awards. There has been speculation about what the conditions should be to grant Foles the starting position, including the Jaguars record, Minshew’s overall play, and whether the Jaguars will make the decision that Minshew is the team’s future at the quarterback position. Expect this topic to become a daily consideration, especially if Minshew can lead the Jaguars to a three game winning streak.

  • FanPulse: Fan confidence is down after being up after being down after being up after...
    by Ryan Day on October 18, 2019 at 4:45 pm

    Many of you here at Big Cat Country began voting on various things concerning the Jacksonville Jaguars matters across the NFL this offseason. This is part of SB Nation’s FanPulse tool, which sends weekly questions to the city’s most plugged-in and dedicated Jaguars fans via email. If you are interested in joining the Jaguars’ FanPulse, please sign up here. Are you confident in the direction of your team? With sixth round rookie quarterback Gardner Minshew looking like a... well... sixth round rookie quarterback last week, it’s time for Jacksonville Jaguars fan confidence to take another dip. It’s not all that unexpected though and I thought confidence would be a bit higher with Minshew looking good more often than he’s looked bad. Who is the leader in the NFL MVP race as of today? Pat Shurmur? Who the heck voted for Pat Shurmur?

  • Jaguars vs. Saints: Week 6 sack analysis
    by Ryan Day on October 18, 2019 at 4:31 pm

    Photo by James Gilbert/Getty Images Jawaan Taylor had a tough time with Cam Jordan. The Jacksonville Jaguars offense was abysmal last week against the New Orleans Saints, specifically sixth round rookie quarterback Gardner Minshew looked like... well... a sixth round rookie quarterback. His offensive line didn’t fare very well either, allowing two sacks on 29 pass attempts and just 3.1 yards per carry on the ground So who was responsible for both of those sacks? Let’s take a look. Sack #1: 2nd & 10 at JAX 29, 0:26 in 2Q (Shotgun) G. Minshew sacked at JAX 21 for -8 yards (C. Jordan) This is at the end of the first half with the game tied 3-3. The Jaguars were obviously looking for quite a big gain to get them closer to a field goal and a halftime lead. As you can see all the receivers ran routes that took them 15-20 yards downfield. In this situation, Jawaan Taylor has to hold his block a little longer to give Gardner Minshew and the receivers time to get far enough downfield. I don’t know what Leonard Fournette’s pass protection assignment is on this play, but it looks like he’s staying focused on helping the interior. That means it’s Taylor’s job to hold the block and he just doesn’t get it done. Fault: Jawaan Taylor Sack #2: 3rd & 10 at NO 10, 3:56 IN 3Q (Shotgun) G. Minshew sacked at NO 14 for -4 yards (C. Jordan) Jawaan Taylor gets shoved out of the way by a bull rushing Jawaan Taylor and Gardner Minshew is almost immediately on the run to his left. I would have liked to have seen tight end Seth DeValve help in this situation on Minshew’s blind side as it looks like his primary and secondary reads are to the left side of the field. A route to the left by DeValve is a lot less valuable than helping to seal off that side of the line. But as the play looks to be called, it’s Taylor’s responsibility once again. Fault: Jawaan Taylor Summary It was a day to forget for almost everyone on the offensive side of the ball. Up next: The New Orleans Saints!


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Stampede Blue - All Posts An Indianapolis Colts blog

  • Colts Final Week 7 Injury Report: 3 ruled out, Hooker is doubtful, Nelson now questionable for Sunday
    by Matt Danely on October 18, 2019 at 8:15 pm

    Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images The Indianapolis Colts have been up and down with their injury reports throughout the season. Lately, the team has been filling up the list, and the defense has been represented significantly more than the offense. Yesterday we saw that Justin Houston and Eric Ebron were added to an already packed practice report, with Ebron out due to illness and Houston suffering a calf issue. One of the highlights was that safety Malik Hooker was limited after being a non-participant for several days in a row after suffering a knee injury. This may be some good news in regards to Houston’s availability for Sunday. Justin Houston likely will be able to play.— Joel A. Erickson (@JoelAErickson) October 18, 2019 Earlier in the day the Colts announced that Tyquan Lewis, Kenny Moore, and Parris Campbell were all ruled out for their Week 7 matchup with the Houston Texans this Sunday. Who's in and who's out for #HOUvsIND?— Indianapolis Colts (@Colts) October 18, 2019 Obviously, Moore is a massive blow for the secondary, and Lewis is being sorely missed up front for a defense struggling to stop the run aside from their Week 5 win in Arrowhead. And now the team has released its final injury report leading into Week 7, and there’s more potentially terrible news only 48 hours before gametime. Quentin Nelson has now been added to the report with a hip injury. Not only has Nelson been added to it, but he’s being listed as questionable which could be catastrophic for an offensive line that hasn’t had a starting member miss a snap all season thus far. The final injury report for #HOUvsIND.— Indianapolis Colts (@Colts) October 18, 2019 Pierre Desir hasn’t practiced all week, but is somehow being listed as questionable, along with Houston who didn’t practice for the second straight day. Ebron was back to being a full participant today, and though it doesn’t appear that he’ll suit up Sunday, Hooker has at least been given the doubtful designation which seems like a significant sign that he’s headed in the right direction for the near future. Anthony Castonzo, Denico Autry, T.Y. Hilton, and Jabaal Sheard didn’t practice today as they were given their ‘old man’ rest days. Clayton Geathers didn’t practice today either after he’d not participated Wednesday, but his designation today was also listed as a rest day after being a full participant yesterday. Most notably, the Colts’ pass rush options, as well as their secondary are in a bit of a pickle heading into this week’s AFC South matchup with a very dangerous Texans’ offense. Here’s to hoping a couple of the recent signings on the defensive line, Quincy Wilson, Shakial Taylor, and Ben Banogu can step up in a major way for those who will be sidelined in this pivotal midseason matchup.

  • Colts fan and Stampede Blue community weekly Q&A — Week 7 ANSWERS
    by Elliot Singh Denton on October 18, 2019 at 8:05 pm

    Photo by Bobby Ellis/Getty Images Every week, Colts fans and Stampede Blue readers can submit their Colts questions to have a chance of them being answered in our weekly Q&A. Missed out this week? Don’t worry, you can get involved next time by submitting a question when the Q&A post goes up in the comments section, in the Twitter replies or on the Facebook post comments. Let’s jump straight into this week’s questions: Mpasley7 (Stampede Blue Comments): Do you think Leonard’s career is going to be affected by concussions? This is his second already and it took him much longer to return. Do you think it will affect his aggressiveness going forward? Answer: With the recent attention given to concussions it can be worrying when a player gets more than one concussion or is out with a prolonged absence with a concussion. I don’t think Leonard’s career with be affected by his concussions unless there are more concussions in a short space of time or a really prolonged absence from one. Then again, ex-NFL linebacker Chris Borland seemed to retire out of the blue due to concern for head trauma. Mr. Too Proud (Stampede Blue Comment): Every year there are about 4 to 6 coaches on the hot seat. Do you see one of our assistants as a fit for any of the teams that may be available? Also, is there a player on the roster you think we could use better or that deserves some more play time. Answer: Current coaches some may say are on the hot seat could include; Dan Quinn from the Falcons, Freddie Kitchens from the Browns, Adam Gase with the Jets, Jason Garrett with the Cowboys and the vacant job in Washington. Both Nick Sirriani and Matt Eberflus were on head coaching radar last year and Eberflus was interviewed by the Cleveland Browns last year. If the Colts continue to be successful this year then it would not surprise me to see Sirriani and Eberflus on teams shortlists this year. The current trend is offensive minded head coaches getting the shout over defensive minded coaches, and how the Colts offense has been doing this year I could see Sirriani’s name hotting up. Khari Willis has put on an excellent showing this year and showed that he belongs in the starting line up. Willis should be the team’s starting safety opposite Hooker. Rock Ya-Sin has slowly but surely stepped up each week and now is deservedly starting in the teams nickel defense. Ya-Sin hasn’t made the splash plays many fans want, but he’s been a steady and physical presence on defense. Bobby Okereke has improved week by week and played well in Darius Leonard’s absence. He had a breakout game against the Chiefs, making several plays including good coverage and recovering a fumble. Okereke deserves more snaps when Leonard does return from injury, maybe the coaches start him at MIKE linebacker over Anthony Walker? Keep an eye out for Ben Banogu this week. With Kemoko Turay on injured reserve, Banogu will be getting a spike in snaps. Hopefully, Banogu takes advantage of this opportunity and plays well and shows the league what Chris Ballard saw when he drafted him in the second round in April.

  • Film Room: DeAndre Hopkins is still a Force
    by Faraz Majid on October 18, 2019 at 5:45 pm

    Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports The Indianapolis Colts are coming off a bye week and should be well rested and ready to go. At least, I hope that statement holds true — because they have a formidable division foe rumbling in to their arena this Sunday, in the form of the Houston Texans. We all know how well Deshaun Watson has been playing, but people have been wondering – what’s going on with DeAndre Hopkins? Sure – those are mostly his fantasy owners that expected him to be the best receiver in the game yet again, but still, there are those that detract — and let me assure you (or warn you) that Hopkins is still a beast to be reckoned with. I went through every target that Hopkins saw against the Chiefs, Panthers and Saints and the results are as follows: Slant Routes The slant has been Bill O’Brien’s flavor of choice for DeAndre Hopkins and I don’t blame him. Hopkins can be a run after catch fiend with his size and relentlessness, to go along with his strong hands and aptitude in 50-50 balls. Let’s start in Kansas City where Hopkins shows one of his favorite post-catch moves. Hopkins starts stacked with Will Fuller (the Texans have done this a lot – especially against the Chiefs) with Fuller on the line of scrimmage. Hopkins attacks the press aggressively, allowing him space to make a quick cut inside for the slant route. Once he catches the ball, he sticks his foot in the ground and changes direction right as he catches it – this is one of his favorite moves after he hauls in the ball. This next design came on a 4th down to seal the game for the Texans with 2 minutes left on the clock. Again, Hopkins lines up in a stack formation with Fuller, but gets to be the receiver on the line of scrimmage this go-around. Hopkins gives the corner a great jab step to the right and swim moves back inside for a slant route to get open in the middle of the field. Also, Deshaun Watson is really good (watch the 2nd clip). Hopkins doesn’t deal with press coverage here, which allows him to focus on finding the soft spot in the zone (a skill Hopkins is great at). Well, he would have been successful in his endeavor if not for a blatant grab by Shaq Thompson. I guess that’s one way to stop Hopkins – grab him and attract a 5 yard penalty, rather than let him loose for more yardage. Here’s another stack formation, but this time with Duke Johnson. Hopkins fakes a block and delays his release from the line of scrimmage, which gives him space to operate. He gets open on the slant and does the catch and reverse move he is so fond of, which fools the defender initially, but he is still able to bring down Hopkins with a shoe string tackle. This isn’t the best route by Hopkins, and it’s a great read by James Bradberry. Despite that, Hopkins still comes up with the grab — an important play to remember lest we forget that he’s a big receiver with a strong build that can make impressive plays Here’s a clip of Hopkins catching a touchdown on his favorite route. He takes a few steps forward to feel out his defender, gives a jab to the outside and pushes his defender in the chest to help create separation. He also does a great job of making sure he creates space between himself and the underneath defender, which gives Watson a pocket to throw in to and that’s six points for Houston. Finding Open Space Hopkins particularly has a knack for finding open spaces in zone coverage and is also apt at fooling defenders who are helping on him over the top, both of which could turn in to real problems for the Indianapolis Colts defense. This first clip is a simple play – Hopkins runs a quick hitch and gets tackled for a short gain. However, a few things stand out – Hopkins makes sure to stop his route just in front of the underneath defender and drifts towards the open area of the field as well, away from the linebacker that is in his vicinity. This allows Hopkins to catch the ball and potentially make up some yards on the ground. Now, he doesn’t get much here – but this is still a beneficial demonstration of how hard he is to bring down, even for a linebacker — so the smaller Colts unit is really going to need to be on their tackling game, as they were against the Chiefs. On this play, it looks like Bradberry is covering on Hopkins’ side of the field with another deep safety assisting over the top. Hopkins runs straight for the safety and pivots slightly towards the inside to give the impression of a post or deep in route – the safety bites. This allows Hopkins to get free over the top, even with a sprinting Bradberry closing in on him, he has plenty of space for the ball to get to him. However, Watson throws the ball just a little off target – and if he had set his feet, he may have connected with Hopkins for 6. This is another example of Hopkins uncanny sense of where the zone is weakest. Hopkins is running a drag here but stops his route short, right in between the 2 underneath defenders. As the ball gets to him, he slowly backs up while securing the catch — a pretty savvy play to create extra yards while maintaining possession. The play action provided a noticeable boost on this play and Hopkins finds himself wide open deep down the field once again. This one results in an incomplete pass (again), because of a short throw, but it is a good reminder of how stats don’t always tell the full tale. Hopkins begins by running a crossing route, which the safety seems to be accounting for but once Watson escapes the pocket, Hopkins, whether by design or improvisation, turns up field and gets behind the safety. Hopkins is wide open but, again, Watson throws him too short. Here, Hopkins is a little bit delayed by the strong press, which may have ended up being a blessing in disguise. Though he is thrown off his route a bit, he recovers quickly due to his strength, and slants his route towards the middle of the field in between the safety, the corner and the linebacker. This gives Watson plenty of space to complete a pass to Hopkins for a big gain and a nice diving reception. This one is against man coverage and on a game winning drive — where we get to watch Hopkins give yet another deadly double move. This time the safety seems to be lost, staring at Watson in the backfield, which gives Hopkins the space he needs to operate. The faux deep out route catches Lattimore off guard, as he is certainly expecting them to attempt to stop the clock with a throw to the boundary. However, Hopkins makes a pivot upfield and hauls in a nice grab over his shoulder for a huge gain in a ginormous moment. Also check out this pinpoint accuracy from Watson under pressure – this kid is special. Hopkins is Human With all that said, Hopkins has shown more human moments this year than we saw from the 2018 version. Let’s run through a few plays where he didn’t exactly earn his money (by standards that go beyond mere mortals). This first one is a fly route with the cornerback pressing up at the line of scrimmage. The corner gets his hands engaged on Hopkins and Hopkins is unable to put a move on him. This also allows the corner to shade him towards the safety. This results in over the top help and a lack of separation, which essentially results in a throw away. Here, Hopkins gets a nice cushion and runs a slant route right towards pay-dirt. He would have easily scored a touchdown here but he loses focus on the ball while bringing it in and drops it. This moment made my jaw drop, as dropping the ball wasn’t in Hopkins’ vocabulary in 2018. In this screen grab, Hopkins gets pressed inside his shoulders by the defensive back and is unable to recover from it. The press also opens up a window of opportunity for the safety to come over and help over the top of Hopkins. Watson forces it to Hopkins and it results in an interception. There are catches that are hard to make and dropping them shouldn’t land you on a blooper reel. However, that threshold exists for people that aren’t at the stratosphere of a DeAndre Hopkins. Admittedly, this is a tough pass to bring down but it is one we’ve seen Hopkins make time and time again. Hopkins runs a nice post route, where he cuts the defenders face and is open near the middle of the field. Watson throws it and it’s a little high but Hopkins has the radius to complete this. He gets his hands on the ball, away from his body but ultimately drops the throw. Conclusion Hopkins is still a scary specimen to deal with and, despite his numbers not being as high as some expected, he has still been getting open and making plays. He has had some unfortunate circumstances to deal with in terms of inaccurate throws as well as errors of his own in the shape of uncharacteristic drops, combined with the receivers around him becoming more productive players (i.e. Will Fuller if he didn’t drop the ball so damn much). Still, Watson is a exquisite quarterback and Hopkins is still playing like an elite receiver. The Colts need to continue their newfound ability to make tackles, as Hopkins is a big man to bring down. They will also need to make sure they are aggressive at the release with Hopkins and are able to win that battle more often than not – which should, in turn, allow the corner to guide Hopkins towards their safety help. Finally – who knows? – maybe Hopkins continues his erroneous 2019 ways, and helps the Colts out with a drop or two. Don’t hold your breath on that one, though.

  • Stampede Radio: Colts vs Texans Week 7 Game Preview
    by Chris Blystone on October 18, 2019 at 3:00 pm

    In this episode, the guys take a look at the latest injury updates before diving into the upcoming divisional match-up between the Houston Texans and the Indianapolis Colts. They look at how the Texans offense matches up with the Colts defense on the ground and through the air. They talk about what the Colts need to do to limit Deshaun Watson’s effectiveness and slow the balanced attack from the Texans. Then they take a look at the Texans defense and how it has changed, as well as how they are likely to be impacted by injuries to their defensive backfield and whether Jacoby Brissett and T.Y. Hilton can take advantage of it. They talk keys to the game and each list what they think needs to happen to make this a Colts win and a big step forward on the road to playoff relevance. Last, they go over their previous bold predictions before making some new predictions ahead of this game. Stampede Radio Jersey Giveaway To enter you simply need to do the following: Follow us on Twitter @SB_Podcasts, @chrisblystone, @NFLscheme, and @jimcampbell81. Retweet this podcast link which will be pinned on the Stampede Blue Podcasts twitter account. Write a review of the podcast in iTunes, Stitcher, or wherever you listen and subscribe to the podcast! Once you’ve done that, you’ll head here to submit your name and email, as well as two screenshots, one validating that you’ve subscribed and one that shows your review. Please subscribe, rate and review the channel anywhere you listen to podcasts. If you want to grab a phone case from our sponsor, Skinit, head here and use the code “stampede” to get 25% off. Follow our hosts on Twitter: @chrisblystone | @NFLscheme | @jimcampbell81 Stampede Blue Podcast Links: Apple Podcasts | Stitcher | Megaphone | Google | Spotify

  • Colts News: Malik Hooker returns to practice
    by Brett Mock on October 18, 2019 at 10:51 am

    Photo by Frederick Breedon/Getty Images Colts Thursday Notebook: Malik Hooker Returns To Practice | WFNI ESPN 107.5 / 1070 The Fan | Indy's SportsCenterOn Thursday, the Colts had their third practice of the week. What did we learn from the Colts hitting the practice field again? Return Of Darius Leonard Comes At Important Time | WFNI ESPN 107.5 / 1070 The Fan | Indy's SportsCenterThe return of Darius Leonard this week comes at a critical time for the Colts as they take on Deshaun Watson and the Houston Texans this Sunday at Lucas Oil Stadium. Colts Daily Notebook: Malik Hooker Returns To Practice; Colts Prepare For Deshaun Watson, DeAndre HopkinsThe Indianapolis Colts on Thursday put in their second of three days of practice to prepare for Sunday’s AFC South Divisional showdown against the Houston Texans. What all did we learn on the day? Colts say, ‘Keep watching,’ big plays are comingThe Colts haven't dialed up many long balls this year, but there's reason to believe they will soon. Colts believe rookie Ben Banogu can replace Kemoko Turay's pass rushThe Colts drafted Ben Banogu and Kemoko Turay a year apart, three picks apart in the second round, for the same purpose: To sack the quarterback. Colts DE Kemoko Turay (leg) to 'constantly work my butt off' after gruesome leg injuryTuray suffered a dislocation, a torn deltoid ligament and a fractured ankle while sacking Patrick Mahomes against Kansas City. While Kemoko Turay mends, Ben Banogu must step up for Colts | FOX59INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – As the Indianapolis Colts emerge from their bye week and take dead aim on what could be a defining meeting with the Houston Texans Sunday at Lucas Oil Stadium, it’s worth pausing and considering a couple of their young defensive ends. One is going. A road well-traveled: After figuring it out, cornerback Pierre Desir has found a home with the Colts – The AthleticBefore Desir reaches the practice field and lines up on Sundays, he goes back to the days he was cut and soaks in the disappointment. Indianapolis Colts Fantasy Preview: T.Y. Hilton track record suggests strong performance against Houston TexansIt's the Indianapolis Colts and Houston Texans this Sunday in a matchup of two exciting teams who always seem to make big plays against each other. Here's what you should expect from some of the Colts players on your fantasy football rosters this week. Indianapolis Colts Rookie Watch Week 7: Parris Campbell remains out, Ben Banogu steps into larger roleIt’s time for the Week 7 version of the 2019 Colts Rookie Watch, where we take a look at the stats and highlights to track the progress of each rookie on the Indianapolis Colts’ roster. COLTS MEDIA Always have to watch out for paparazzi on team photo day…— Indianapolis Colts (@Colts) October 17, 2019


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  • Three And Out: Texans-Colts Predictions
    by HoustonDiehards on October 18, 2019 at 9:00 pm

    Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports The BRB staff assembles to predict Sunday’s divisional showdown between the Texans and Colts from Indianapolis. It’s way past time for us to get the horrible taste of last year’s home playoff defeat at the hands of the Colts out of our mouths. The Texans (4-2) will try to do so Sunday, as they visit the Colts (3-2) in an important early divisional matchup. This would be a great time for Bill O’Brien to show us all that the last couple of weeks have not been some kind of mirage in the desert. Following two impressive wins, it would be very O’Brien-Era Texans for them to lay an egg on offense Sunday. So let’s hope things are not only better, but they are set to stay better. Here’s how the BRB staff predicts Sunday’s game: Tim: Texans 28, Colts 24. This is predicated on the idea that Bill O’Brien won’t try to fix what is so clearly not broken. I have trepidation about the Texans’ secondary, but I’m not sure that Jacoby Brissett is the guy to take advantage of it (though T.Y. Hilton most certainly is). I’m also wary of yet another new starting offensive line and Ka’imi Fairbairn (who I thought would definitely have been cut after last week’s foibles). Those concerns are allayed by Deshaun Watson. If O’Brien lets DW4 be DW4 again, the Texans will notch another impressive road victory. Matt Weston: Texans 30, Colts 20. The Colts’ offense is all run the ball, and let Jacoby Brissett game manage. They’re up against one of the better run defenses in football. If D.J. Reader can tie up the interior and allow Benardrick McKinney and Zach Cunningham to run free, the Colts will struggle. This would be a great game for J.J. Watt to actually play the run. The only concern is T.Y. Hilton of course. He loves playing the Houston Texans more than anyone loves anything in the world. He can demolish them again this week, but it would require for Brissett to throw it downfield. Parris Campbell is super fast too. Maybe they finally use him as the deep threat he was imagined to be. Indy’s defense has been dramatically worse than its been last season. I regret my post. They’ve had two dominant games against the Chiefs and Titans, but teams have been able to run the ball straight ahead against them, especially with Darius Leonard out, and they haven’t covered as well as you’d expect on the outside. The pass rush has been crappy. They’ll struggle to win their one v. one matchups against Houston’s offensive line. All of that being said, Matt Eberfulus absolutely pantsed Bill O’Brien in the Divisional Round last season. The Colts outplayed and outschemed Houston’s offense, funneled the ball to where they wanted it, and made plays from there. It’s been back to back wild ‘Wait, this is the Houston Texans? This is the thing we’ve been bleeding on the floor for over the last five years is here,” performances from them. Half my chest is cut open. I’m not fully there. I need to see another week before I shut off my brain and go all in on 2019 Superbowl Houston Texans. They’re better than the Colts in nearly every way. They absolutely should win by two possessions. What’s that at the door? Why is my phone ringing? Oh god, I’m so scared. BFmf’nD: Texans 31, Colts 27. For now, I am giving BOB the benefit of the doubt that he’s finally seen the light regarding Deshaun Watson’s skillset. We should have seen this version of Watson since he came into the league, so it’s a disappointment from that standpoint. Now, however, this is a legit competitive team. That said, we haven’t played a decent defense since Carolina, and with all their injuries, we won’t play one against the Colts. As long as we are prepared for a day full of slot corner blitzes, we should come out on top, but by only one score, natch. TexanRevJ: Texans 34, Colts 17. It almost seems too good to be true but the Texans are the class of the AFC South. While it’s almost impossible to be confident in division games because the teams know each other so well, I’m going with the Texans because they’ve looked like one of the best teams in the NFL over the last two weeks. Jacoby Brissett is fine for a replacement-level QB but he isn’t going to win the game for the Colts. That being said, I wouldn’t be surprised to see T.Y. Hilton have a big game against our depleted secondary. With Bradley Roby out and Jonathan Joseph questionable, Hilton could be in for another big day against the Texans. The Colts have way more team depth than we do but at the moment I believe in Bill O’Brien and the direction that he has this team headed. Assuming the Texans pull out the win, this team has the talent and opportunity to put together a nice win streak as we make our way to a week 10 bye. Kenneth L.: Colts 27, Texans 24. Look I know we have Texans fever, but not much has changed in the ways of Texans vs. Colts. Without Bradely Roby I’m afraid no one on the team has the skill and speed to keep up with TY Hilton. We will probably be placing double coverage with Lonnie Johnson and Justin Reid. That’s really the only matchup that matters for Sunday. Texans should be able to contain Marlon Mack and Eric Ebron, but until we keep Hilton under 100 yards and two TDs in a game, nothing else matters. Matt Burnham: Texans 30, Colts 26. There is no Andrew Luck anymore. Deshaun Watson is playing at a super high level and I don’t see the Colts defense containing him enough. The formula they used to beat KC will not work and you won’t see that enormous time of possession discrepancy. Bottom line, I just don’t believe in the Colts. I don’t believe in Jacoby Brissett. This Texans team feels different. I think they will make Brissett try to win with his arm and it won’t happen. DeAndre Hopkins will have his best game since the MNF opener. Mike: Colts 27, Texans 24. I *want* to believe Houston can beat the Colts and do it soundly. Looking at both teams, I can’t find a statistically verifiable reason who Houston shouldn’t take this game to set themselves as the unchallenged leader of the AFC South. But, I’m still not quite sure what Houston team is going to take the field. Will it be the one who struggled to do anything offensively against the San Diego Chargers? Or the one who destroyed the Atlanta Falcons? Colts fans might feel the same way. Will we see the team that beat the Kansas City Chiefs or the one that lost to the Oakland Raiders? At the end of the day, my predictions haven’t gone too well this year, so I’ll work with that and pick the Colts in the hopes I’m wrong again. No matter what happens, it should be a close, back and forth game, most likely coming down to the last team to have the ball. Kenneth O.: Texans 31, Colts 20. I totally get that this game has trap written all over it. The Texans are still on a high from one of their most significant wins in recent history. However, this is a division rival, not a football team that the Texans play every 4 years. The Texans won’t sleep against the Colts like they did against Carolina. Plus the Texans are 3-1 in the last 4 games in Indy. I’ll ride the wave this week and say the Texans will get it done! Please use the comments section to leave your prediction, and above all else - GO ASTROS (and also enjoy the game Sunday)!

  • Texans-Colts Broadcast Information
    by Tim on October 18, 2019 at 7:00 pm

    Photo by Jeffrey Brown/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images Can the Texans make it three impressive performances in a row? Your Houston Texans have looked like every bit of a contender the last two weeks. Now it’s on to Indianapolis for a big divisional game and Houston’s first meeting with the Colts this season. The last time the Texans were at Lucas Oil Stadium, it sparked a nine game winning streak, thanks in large part to Frank Reich’s refusal to accept a tie. What will happen in this chapter? Tune in to find out. Kickoff Time: 12 p.m CDT on Sunday, October 20th. TV Broadcast: CBS. Radio Broadcast: Sports Radio 610 (AM), 100.3 (FM), and SXM 231. NFL Game Pass also provides an audio streaming service. Online Streaming: Viewers in the U.S. can use the NFL Mobile app if they have a Verizon subscription. Anyone else can use the NFL Game Pass subscription service to watch the game. Opponent Blog: Stampede Blue. Twitter: @battleredblog. Facebook: Sure, you like us. But do you really, really like us? NFL Network Replay: To be determined. In terms of what we'll be doing on game day itself, expect "Countdown To Kickoff" to post at 8 a.m. CDT on Sunday, with the first open thread for the game posting promptly at 11:45 a.m. CDT. We'll add live open threads each quarter after that, and then we'll have a post-game reaction thread as soon as the game's over.

  • Houston Sports Ministry of Information Preview - Indianapolis Colts
    by UprootedTexan on October 18, 2019 at 5:00 pm

    WE ARE AT WAR WITH INDIANAPOLIS. WE HAVE ALWAYS BEEN AT WAR WITH INDIANAPOLIS. This is only source of information guaranteed by Houston Sports Ministry of Information to be factually accurate and informative. You read now. Rise for People’s Anthem of Houston Texans: Comrades! We are happy to report our glorious Houston Texans, which football world revolves around, was victorious over loathsome and wholly inept Kansas City Chiefs! Is little to be impressed with over last week’s game, however. Chiefs were allowed, we presume by flag-happy referees who hate Motherland and probably stomp on teddy bears of children for own sick amusement, to score 24 points against vaunted Texans defense; while our offense, mighty juggernaut which inspires equal parts horror, dread, and awe in our enemies, only scored paltry 31 points. Is pitifully low number of points compared to 54 points scored against Jacksonville and 82 points against Carolina. Dip in offensive production cannot stand, and indomitable Hero of Texans Offense, Field Marshal Deshaun Watson has given word that such weak performance by offense will not happen again. We stand in great admiration of Houston’s football heroes!While great adulation is due to Field Marshal, we must not forget to show people’s gratitude to Carlos Hyde, who strangled life out of lifeless Chiefs defense one monstrous run at time. This now put to rest any thought that Chiefs are any match for People’s Football Team of Texas! In fact, Texans’ dominance over Chiefs has had such demoralizing effect that weakling Mahomes gave up in middle of irrelevant Thursday Night game immediately afterwards! Is one thing you can count on, comrades—that people, and sports teams, of Mother Houston will never quit! But this is no time for self-congratulation. To do so is to fail to put team first, and the Texans are too clever, too humble, and too great for such a shallow act. Let us now look forward to the next week and the next opponent, if you can call them that. The horse children of Indianapolis. While we at Ministry, who are never wrong and have never told lie, condemn Mahomes as weak-willed quarterback who can’t even finish game, we have nothing but scorn for horse children’s former quarterback, who couldn’t even be bothered to pull himself out of bed by bridle at beginning of season, abandoning his team, city, and possibly what little amounts of hygiene he ever possessed in first place. Andrew Luck retired before season began, giving horse children no time to find suitable candidate to replace him; instead, baby horses have settled on literal slab of meat to call plays on field. Coward, for there is no other word for him, Andrew Luck should consider himself extremely fortunate; typically when horse comes out lame and can’t perform, horse gets shot. Texans quarterback doing something as unthinkably selfish as this would at least have decency to sit down in middle of Hermann Park and light himself on fire to atone for misdeeds. But Ministry of Information supposes not everybody is cut out to be Texans quarterback. From this day forward, all right-thinking fans and players of Houston Texans when referring to former Indianapolis quarterback shall call him Coward Andrew Luck and Neckbeard of Shame. He should be remembered for nothing else. Instead of Coward Andrew Luck and Neckbeard of Shame, horse children will have literal slab of beef called Jason Brisket (or something like that; Ministry has deemed correct name of quarterback immaterial to missive) calling plays under center. Would be easy to dismiss this team out of hand as broken relic of inglorious past that should be erased from existence under normal circumstances. If this happened to New York Jets or Minnesota Vikings, game would not have significance it does. Why? Because Motherland demands justice against those who have wronged it—past, present, and future. And none have wronged Mother Houston more than fascist Reich. Is incumbent upon all those loyal to football loving fans and players of Houston Texans to stand against corrupt and despicable Reich at all times. Why? Leaving aside football crimes he’s committed against Houston, for which Roger Goodell refuses to read petition to have him drawn and quartered live on national television, his philosophy on football is antithetical to easy-going coaching style of glorious leader Comrade Marshal Bill O’Brien. In previous victory by Texans, child horses went for it on fourth down for no good reason other than to appease fascist Reich’s vanity. He sacrificed good of team, fans, everything simply because he wanted to show he was right. Coaches have important duty to do what is best for team and fans, not for self. We regret that fascist Reich may never learn this. As there is little to concern ourselves with in passing game, save for T.Y. Hilton, who is merely figment of media’s imagination designed to make Texans look bad, brunt of horse children’s offense will come from Marlon Mack, who is, in fact, fish. Much like in classic cartoon show “Animaniacs” where chicken pretended to be human, wearing human clothes and doing human activities, so goes Marlon Mack, or his full given name: Marlon Mackerel. While most teams would struggle to hold onto and tackle something as slippery as fish, stout Texans defense is more than able to defend against run, so much so that most teams don’t even bother running after about five minutes of game time. On offense, Texans should be able to move ball with little difficulty. Only possible issue is baby horse linebacker, Darius Leonard, who has never quite been same since he and Blowfish split up in the 90s. During playoff game, where Texans were wrecking shop against baby horses, only sore spot was Leonard, who insisted on causing problems for offensive line, usually by reciting lyrics from first CD, “Cracked Rear View.” This match-up will be different! Our offensive line, now stronger, more virile and built for luxury as well as power, will be outfitted with headphones that will cancel out mediocre 90s band music and replace them with Slayer lyrics; that is, when they aren’t receiving instructions from Field Marshal Watson. This game will be blowout and yet another substantial victory for Mother Houston and all loyal fans of Houston Texans. GLORY TO MOTHER HOUSTON! TO INEVITABLE TRIUMPH OF TEXANS, LEAD US ON!

  • Deshaun Watson Is The NFL MVP Favorite
    by Matt Burnham on October 18, 2019 at 3:00 pm

    Photo by David Eulitt/Getty Images It is a close call, but the Texans quarterback leads the way. The race for the NFL Most Valuable Player Award is a tight one. As one would expect, several quarterbacks are in the lead. It’s basically a quarterback award. Russell Wilson, Patrick Mahomes, and Deshaun Watson are the three major candidates thus far. Let’s go through a quick summary of each of their cases. Russell Wilson: The Seattle Seahawks quarterback has led his team a surprising 5-1 start and has yet to throw an interception. He is tied for second in the league with 14 passing touchdowns and boasts a 124.7 passer rating; that leads all quarterbacks. At 5-1, Seattle has won every game by one possession except for their September 29th victory in Arizona. This tells you that the Seahawks are a flawed team that should not be in this position, yet they are because of Wilson’s heroics. Patrick Mahomes: As the reigning MVP who put up 5,000 passing yards and 50 touchdowns last year, the second-year starter set the bar astronomically high. Over the first four games of the season, he looked to be on pace to have equal or better statistics this season. Unfortunately, the Kansas City Chiefs’ defense is a mess. They have lost their last two games to the Colts and Texans, both of whom dominated time of possession and played the best defense possible for Patrick Mahomes. They kept him off the field. The Chiefs cannot be a threat unless Mahomes is able to lead their offense to 30 points every game. And now he will probably be sidelined for at least three weeks after dislocating his knee cap. Deshaun Watson: The year started off with both a bang and a disappointment. That kind of sums up the Texans franchise in a nutshell, right? Watson put up an incredible performance in New Orleans on Monday Night Football and outplayed Drew Brees. He followed that up two weeks later with a thrilling comeback victory in Los Angeles against the Chargers. Since then, he has been nothing short of spectacular. His cleats from the Week 5 performance against the Falcons were sent to Canton and his road victory in Patrick Mahomes’ house was brilliant despite four dropped touchdown passes. Right now, the vote should go to Deshaun Watson. There are three reasons why he deserves the nod over Wilson and Mahomes. Watson has been asked to overcome a horrendous offensive line prior to the last two weeks. His adversity levels and the beating he has taken in the pocket trumps that of both Wilson and Mahomes. He has been asked to run for his life while making spectacular plays to ignite the Texans. Patrick Mahomes had the best offensive of this bunch the first three weeks of the season. Wilson has benefited from a rushing attack that is coming off a league leading season in 2018. The “Wow!” factor has been more present in Watson’s game this year than any other quarterback. That matters, right? Part of sports is being able to tell exciting stories. The 2019 NFL season does not exist without some of Watson’s amazing plays. In Week 1, we saw his two-play, 75-yard touchdown drive to take the lead with 37 seconds left. In Week 3, we saw his off-balance, cross-body pass to Jordan Akins that led to a touchdown. In Week 5, everything he did to the Atlanta defense was phenomenal. Last week, his rushing touchdowns, especially the last one, were intricate in beating the Chiefs at Arrowhead. The “Wow!” factor has to matter when it comes to these awards. They are part of the storytelling and the history. Watson’s team might be the best of the three. Let us start with the Chiefs. First of all, Watson’s Texans have the tiebreaker over the Chiefs if they were to finish with the same record. Having a first-round bye in the NFL Playoffs has been crucial to making a Super Bowl run; no team since the 2012 Baltimore Ravens has made a Super Bowl without a first-round bye. No MVP since Adrian Peterson of that same year has won the award without his team earning a bye. The deciding factor may be that both the Texans and the Chiefs have to square off against the New England Patriots. The difference is that Watson gets to host the Patriots on Sunday Night Football while Mahomes must travel to New England, a place that has been hell for opposing quarterbacks since the turn of the century. As for Russell Wilson, his team may not even be the best in their own division. His team is also a few lucky breaks away from 3-3. The San Francisco 49ers look poised to win that division with their suffocating defense and gashing running game. If not for Greg Zuerlein’s missed field goal in Week 5, the Seahawks and Los Angeles Rams would be tied at 4-2 with the Seahawks sitting in third place in the NFL West. Let’s not split hairs too much, though. The bottom line is that Watson’s team is in position to have a better record and/or seed than the Chiefs. The Seahawks right now are a Wild Card team winning by the skin of their teeth. Wild Card teams usually do not have MVP winners on their squads. If we go by precedent alone, Watson has the advantage. Watson is on pace for 32 passing touchdowns (it would be 42 if his receivers did not have four drops in Kansas City). He is on pace for 13 rushing touchdowns. The last quarterback to boast a similar stat line was Cam Newton in 2015, when he threw for 35 touchdowns and ran for another 10. Guess who won MVP that season? Look, I am not here to be a biased NFL fan with tunnel vision on topics like this. I am here to make credible arguments and defend my positions. Outside of Mahomes being the national media darling and Wilson being the likable veteran who finally deserves the honor, I have not seen an argument that feasibly puts either above Watson despite both being great. If the NFL season ended right now, Watson should be the 2019 NFL Most Valuable Player.

  • Battle Red Radio: Texans-Colts Preview
    by Matt Weston on October 18, 2019 at 1:00 pm

    Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images Week Seven. Texans-Colts. Ravens-Seahawks. Saints-Bears. Eagles-Cowboys. Oh look, It’s an old friend. Share a drink, a look, a kiss... Oh no, it’s startin’ again. It’s Week Seven in the NFL. In this episode, we prepare for the Houston Texans beating the Colts by ten points and supplanting themselves as 100% Super Bowl contenders (25:50), talk about whether the Seahawks can throw the ball better than the Baltimore Ravens can run the ball, TEDDY BRIDGEWATER 4-0 (about to be 5-0) FRANCHISE QUARTERBACK, and #HOWABOUTTHEMSADBOYS. Let’s start the show. Here is the direct link. The embedded player is below. You can subscribe on Android/Google here. You can subscribe/listen on Spotify here. You can subscribe/listen on Stitcher here. Please subscribe and write a lovely review that gives us that FIVE stars out of FIVE rating we deserve. Keep that in mind when you download the episode this week. Thanks for staying awhile and listening. Enjoy the show while you do whatever it is that you do.


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  • The O.J. Howard Trade Spectrum
    by Evan Winter on October 18, 2019 at 7:23 pm

    O.J. Howard has not had the impactful 2019 season that most thought he’d have. | Photo by Joe Scarnici/Getty Images Navigating the landscape for a potential trade. It hurts that I even have to write about this. Over the past couple of weeks, speculation has risen concerning O.J. Howard’s future with the Buccaneers. His name has been linked in several trade scenarios and a few of them seem plausible when placed under the spotlight. Howard is one of the younger, more athletic tight ends in the league, but for some reason, the Bucs haven’t used him like Dirk Koetter did from 2017-2018. Sure, Howard has been on the field a lot more this year, but in terms of receiving production, the cupboard has been bare. He’s only in the third year of his rookie deal, which means he will be a bargain over the next two seasons. In fact, his 2020 salary is slated at $1.97 million and will likely increase to about $9-$10 million if his fifth-year option is approved the year after. (For context’s sake, Ja’Wuan James was the 19th overall pick in the 2014 NFL Draft and made a little over $9.3 million in 2018.) So (I cringe as I type this) if the Bucs were to let Howard go for some reason, where could the team get its best bang for the buck? And what scenarios do they need to avoid like the plague? Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times reported on Thursday that the Bucs have no interest in trading Howard, but as we all know, things can change quickly in the NFL. So, let’s explore the best, worst, and “meh” trade options if the Bucs decide to move Howard. I’ll take that deal all day.... Obviously, any deal that yields a high pick (picks) or marquee player is preferred, but when you look across the NFL, there aren’t many players that want out of their current situations or teams that want to deal productive players. Picks, picks, picks: Any deal with a litany of picks - and high picks - at that, would be welcomed, here. Howard is a young, up-and-coming player. It’s hard to find his type of talent at his current cost. The Bucs would need to replenish the cupboard with lots of cheap, young, and talented players if they decide to let Howard go. Multiple draft picks would the best way to do just that. But how many teams would be willing to give multiple draft picks for potential at a position that while very useful, is not a premier position in the NFL? Bears CB Kyle Fuller + 3rd-5th round pick(s) for Howard + 4th-7th round pick(s): I know, this sounds crazy. Why would the Bears trade a corner that has 9 interceptions in his last 21 regular season games? Well, the salary cap has a lot to do with that. The Bears currently have just $12 million in cap room for 2020, which currently has them at 28th in the league. Fuller and Trey Burton will count over $26 million toward the cap next season. The Bears could gain close to $19 million in cap room if they were to make this trade for Howard and cut/release Burton. Hell, they could even keep Burton and still create upwards of $6 million in cap next year. This would give Matt Nagy and Mitchell Trubisky a Travis Kelce-type athlete at the tight end position, which would only help the young quarterback grow. Chicago also has enough pieces on defense to supplant the loss of Fuller. Hmmmm, let me think on that one.... As always, there are trade offers that are very tempting, but require some thought and research. Dolphins CB Xavien Howard for Howard + 3rd-5th round pick(s): Despite being one of the highest-paid corners in the league, Howard is also one of the more underrated/unknown corners. He’s one of the best corners in the NFL, as well. Maybe that’s because he plays for Miami, but that’s another topic of conversation for another time. This would be tempting. X (to avoid confusion with OJ) would be a perfect fit for Todd Bolwes’ defense. He’s big, physical, and fast. He would be perfect on the outside, which is what this team needs in a bad way. He’s still young at 26 and if his play doesn’t live up to his salary (he’s due close to $24 million in 2020 and 2021), then the Bucs can cut bait with minimal penalty after 2021. Miami has obviously shown a willingness to let go of their best players and they need a tight end. If this trade scenario were to come into play, it’d be worth the attention, at the least. What?! Hell. No. There are some proposals out there that are just bad. Whether it’s the player, pick compensation, or both, some trades really make you wonder about the brain capacity of those pulling the strings behind the trades. Redskins LT Trent Williams + 3rd-5th round pick(s) for Howard + 2nd-4th round pick(s): According to SB Nation’s Hogs Haven, there are some whispers floating around that the Redskins could be in play for Howard. Redskins in play for Bucs' TE OJ Howard (Alabama) at the trade deadline, I'm hearing— Hogs Haven (@HogsHaven) October 14, 2019 This would be an idiotic trade if it were to happen. Williams is 31 and would count around $13 million toward the cap in 2020. He’s also up for a new deal after that. The Bucs will need a new right tackle after this season. Demar Dotson’s career is winding down quickly. Why would the Bucs swap out one aging tackle for another, except the new tackle is three times more expensive? Plus - and I cannot be any clearer, here - WILLIAMS IS A LEFT TACKLE. WHY WOULD YOU TRADE AWAY A POTENTIAL SUPERSTAR IN HOWARD JUST TO PLAY THE GUY YOU ACQUIRED AT A DIFFERENT POSITION?!?! It’s also very likely that the Redskins require a high pick in addition to Howard. Remember, they turned down the Patriots’ offer of a first-rounder for Williams back in August. Unless the Redskins offer another player (a preferably younger player) or a boatload of picks, the Bucs shouldn’t touch this one with a 30-foot pole. Any type of deal with the New England Patriots: Howard’s name has been used in the same sentence with the Patriots over the past few days. Yea, screw that. We know how trades with the Patriots go. You give them all the goods and you’re left with nothing but a kick to the goods. Kick rocks, Pats.

  • SB Nation FanPulse: Confidence dips to a season low following consecutive losses
    by Gil Arcia on October 18, 2019 at 1:00 pm

    Photo by Tottenham Hotspur FC/Tottenham Hotspur FC via Getty Images No surprise here. The confidence level from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers fan base has dipped to a season low following the team’s second straight loss last Sunday in London at the hands of the Caroline Panthers. As you can see in the graph below, Bucs fans are really down as the team is on a bye week. Head coach Bruce Arians and his staff will have to figure some things out this week. Many issues have come up in the last two games from several phases of the game that if they want the fans to gain any kind of confidence, they need to show large improvement coming out of the bye week. The graph shows the confidence level from the fans reached 67-percent entering Week 1. Then it dropped to a 17-percent confidence rating heading into Week 2 before going back up to 65-percent. After a 20-percent confidence level going into Week 4, Bucs fans were a comfortable 75-percent before the Saints game but the loss to New Orleans brought that down to 41-percent. After Week 6, the confidence level is at a 15-percent. The rest of the NFC South confidence level from their fans are as follows: Saints - 91%Panthers - 84%Falcons - 2% And this week’s ZERO confidence level goes to.... Titans fans. Ready to sign up as a Bucs Nation FanPulse participant? CLICK HERE. Also, check out the SB Nation FanPulse hub where you can see other polls from past and present FanPulse results for the rest of the NFL.

  • Bucs add former third rounder to active roster
    by Gil Arcia on October 17, 2019 at 4:10 pm

    Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images The young receiver was promoted up from the practice squad. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers announced today the team has signed wide receiver Amara Darboh to the 53-man active roster from the practice squad. Darboh (6-2, 219) played in 16 career games with the Seahawks after being drafted in the third round (106th overall) by Seattle in the 2017 NFL Draft out of Michigan. The Freetown, Sierra Leone, native has recorded eight receptions for 71 yards in his career. He spent the 2019 offseason and preseason with the Seahawks. Darboh will wear No. 83 for Tampa Bay. Tampa Bay’s active roster stands at 52. In addition, the Buccaneers signed OLB Kahzin Daniels to the practice squad. Daniels (6-4, 240) originally entered the league as a college free agent with Tampa Bay this offseason, remaining with the team through Week 3 of the 2019 preseason. He was named second-team NCAA Division II All-America in his senior season at Charleston, after playing 40 collegiate games and recording 161 tackles and 31.5 sacks, setting the school’s all-time sack record. The Newark, New Jersey, native will wear No. 41 for Tampa Bay. The Buccaneers’ practice squad remains at 10. (Courtesy of the Buccaneers Communications Department.)

  • Is Bruce Arians Willing To Rebuild This Franchise?
    by Evan Winter on October 17, 2019 at 2:57 pm

    Bruce Arians wants to win now in Tampa Bay, but that may not happen as quick as he wants it to. | Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports He may have to make some philosophical changes if he wants to turn things around in Tampa Bay. Last year, former Buccaneers head coach Dirk Koetter said that “everyone on the field should be fired” heading into a Week 5 bye. Not much has changed a year later, except the fact that the Bucs are actually putting heads on the chopping block. Granted, it’s only been two players - and both were backups/reserves - but the cuts have led to speculation as to who the Bucs may release if they consider more moves. Names like Bradley Pinion and Breshad Perriman have found themselves to be topics of conversation, among others. Something tells me you don’t want to worry about job security during your week off, but this is probably common for most 2-4 teams. It’s been an interesting turn of events over the last 2-3 weeks. First, the Bucs pulled off a major upset in Los Angeles and looked like they were starting to bloom under Bruce Arians. It only took a week for that to change, however, as Arians was calling players “soft” after an ass-whipping in New Orleans. Tampa Bay then pulled off its worst performance of the season in London, a 37-26 loss to the division rival Panthers. The Bucs are back in familiar territory, which is a sub-.500 record and questions surrounding the roster. But for Arians, this isn’t too familiar. He’s used to winning and he’s used to winning a lot. This roster has a myriad of issues. Poor offensive line play, a severe lack of depth, and inconsistent quarterback play are just the ones at the top. There’s only so much a coaching staff can do with the players they have on paper. There’s only so much that can change in one season. But this staff obviously had a hand in shoring up this roster, so you have to ask: how much is this staff to blame for the current spot the Bucs are in? The Bucs neglected the offensive line in both free agency and the draft, knowing they had a shaky starting five - outside of Ali Marpet - and little to no depth. Arians said after the draft that the secondary was “fixed”, which is certainly not the case. They decided to keep a fourth tight end in Tanner Hudson - who is only a receiving tight end - even though they don’t utilize tight ends in the passing game, instead of an extra offensive lineman. Perennial practice squader Bobo Wilson was kept on the 53. T.J. Logan is somehow still on this roster. Arians and co. are responsible for all of these decisions. All of these decisions were made after months of evaluations, except for Logan, who is just a guy that Arians has a feel for - which may be the worst reason to keep someone on a NFL roster, but I digress. Don’t get me wrong, this isn’t an indictment, by any means. It’s simply an observation. You can evaluate and judge a player’s abilities on tape all day, but it’s a different story once the pads are on in person. It also makes a tremendous difference to see how players react in real game situations, as opposed to watching in hindsight on tape. It’s clear that this staff wanted to tailor the roster toward their “win-now” mindset, but it’s clearer that this roster needs more help than they imagined. Tampa Bay needs a lot of help and it needs it fast. The best way to achieve this is through the draft. But that means bringing in youth. That means rebuilding. Does Arians want to rebuild? Would he want to rebuild? It’s a fair question considering the fact that he wants to “win now”. That usually doesn’t happen when you bring in an influx of young players, but that may be the Bucs’ best scenario for getting back to the top. The free agency thing seldomly works, and it’s by far the easiest way to put your team in a financial hole. Look no further than this year’s free agency for an example. Thus far, Arians has been very committed - stubborn, almost - when it comes to running this ship, which is fine when you have a coach with his pedigree. But the results aren’t showing on the field right now. Would he be willing to change some of his MO in order to help get this team on track? He came to Tampa Bay because he thought he would have a capable starter in Jameis Winston. He’s said that drafting offensive linemen means that “you’re drafting for the next regime”. It’s pretty clear that he wants to avoid roster holes in those regards, but he may not have that luxury after this season. Only Arians knows the real answer to that question and his actions will certainly reflect how he feels about the situation. Only time will tell how he plans on fixing this franchise. Hopefully that time is sooner rather than later.

  • JPP shares picture being back at practice
    by Gil Arcia on October 17, 2019 at 2:00 pm

    Photo by Cliff Welch/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images The veteran DE has been working hard to get back on to the field. After suffering a serious neck injury from a car accident during the offseason, Jason Pierre-Paul began his 21-day practice window earlier this week. The Buccaneers are hopeful for his return soon, and as The Athletic’s Greg Auman points out the goal is for him to play against Tennessee next week. Auman also shared the veteran’s Instagram post which featured a picture from the practice fields of Tampa Bay’s training facility. Jason Pierre-Paul returned to practice this week, even while the Bucs were off during bye week. Hope is he can play next week in Tennessee. From his Instagram:— Greg Auman (@gregauman) October 17, 2019 It seemed long a long shot at first that the Bucs’ 2018 sack leader would return to football activities this season. While he has healed quickly from the initial diagnosis, here’s hoping both sides aren’t rushing him back. But if he is in fact 100-percent, the Tampa Bay defense will certainly be glad to have him on the field.


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Carolina Panthers Blog

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


  • Panthers 2019 season opener countdown: 64 days to go

    by MickSmiley on July 6, 2019 at 12:00 pm

    Let’s check out number 64 on the Panthers roster as we count down the days left until the season opener. There are only 64 days until the Carolina Panthers kick off the 2019 season, so let’s take a closer look at the player currently wearing No. 64 for the Panthers — guard Dorian Johnson. Dorian Johnson, Guard Bio Height: 6’5” Weight: 305 lbs Age: 24 years College: Pittsburgh Experience: 1 year Anybody up for a reclamation project? Let’s hope running game coordinator John Matsko and assistant offensive line coach Travelle Wharton are. Dorian Johnson had a stellar four-year college career at Pittsburgh which culminated with First Team All-America honors in 2016. His college performance and NFL potential led the Arizona Cardinals to select him in the fourth round of the 2017 draft but just as soon as the Cardinals invested in the former Pitt Panther, they cut him. As a rookie he “had such a poor camp that he passed through waivers and was signed to the PS (practice squad).” That’s never a good sign when a fourth round pick doesn’t even last until the beginning of the regular season. Johnson didn’t languish long on the Cardinals practice squad before he was plucked away by the Houston Texans and put on their 53-man roster in October 2017. That arrangement lasted less than one month before he was once again cut and signed to the Texans practice squad. In January 2018 the Panthers signed him to a reserve future contract, released him during final roster cuts, then signed him to the practice squad. He was activated from the practice squad in late December 2018 but did not appear in any games for the Panthers. After two years in the NFL, Dorian Johnson has spent time on three different practice squads but has yet to see the field in a regular season game. Making the Panthers 53-man roster in 2019 will be a stretch for Johnson, let alone finding any playing time. The Panthers currently have eight guards on the roster including incumbent starters Trai Turner and Greg Van Roten. Not only does Johnson need to battle five other guards to make the roster but there is also the possibililty that tackle Daryl Williams moves inside while backup center Tyler Larsen has also played some guard in the past. Dorian Johnson can only ride on his resume as a recent fourth round pick for so long. The odds are probably against him sticking with the Panthers this year but if there was ever a time for him to reclaim his career, that time would be now. […]

  • CSR Weekend Warriors: Put me in coach, I’m ready to play today

    by Bradley Smith on July 6, 2019 at 12:00 am

    Here’s a fresh weekend open thread just for you. Welcome to the weekend! Feel free to use this thread to hang out over the weekend and chat about whatever you want (just make sure you follow the ToS… the rules still apply here) with anyone who decides to stick around. Anyway, see y’all Monday. Have at it, you animals. This is now an open thread! […]

  • Panthers 2019 season opener countdown: 65 days to go

    by Bradley Smith on July 5, 2019 at 12:00 pm

    We’re counting down the days until the Panthers kick off their 2019 season, and there are 65 to go. We’re 65 days away from the Carolina Panthers 2019 season opener, so that means today’s countdown piece is devoted to No. 65 on the roster — offensive tackle Dennis Daley. Dennis Daley, Offensive tackle Bio Height: 6’6”Weight: 325 lbsAge: 22 yearsCollege: South CarolinaNFL experience: Rookie Dennis Daley was selected in the sixth round (No. 212 overall) by the Panthers in the 2019 NFL Draft and is expected to compete for a reserve spot on the offensive line during training camp. Here’s a brief recap of his college career, courtesy of the Panthers’ team site: Played two seasons at South Carolina after transferring from Georgia Military College. Started 23 of the last 24 games. Played left tackle in 2018 and second half of 2017 after beginning season at guard. Started the first seven games of the 2018 season and was back in the lineup for final five games after an ankle injury. Invited to Senior Bowl at end of 2018 season. Played in 12 games with 11 starts in 2017 for South Carolina. SEC Academic Honor Roll. Transferred from Georgia Military College where he started in 2016 and 2015. Daley is officially listed as a tackle by the team, but he can also play guard so there’s a good chance that he makes the 53-man roster based on his versatility. He’ll get a lot of action during the preseason — likely at both tackle and guard — to see where he fits on the depth chart and whether or not he needs some time on the practice squad before being a part of the roster.



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Falcons Grass

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It’s from the post-June 1 release of Ryan Schraeder. As we mentioned a week or so ago, the Falcons just picked up about $6.45 million in cap space for the summer. When they let go of longtime right tackle Ryan Schraeder, the team designated him as their lone 2019 post-June 1 cut, allowing them to realize some savings just in time to bolster the team further ahead of training camp. The decision couldn’t have been an easy one—Schraeder had been rock solid for years before an extremely shaky 2018—but the team made it and invested in Kaleb McGary as a late first round pick at the position, setting him up as the logical successor. The cap space figured to be a plus for Atlanta as they navigate Julio Jones and Grady Jarrett contract talks, but it’s also available if they want to add to the roster. Four NFL teams will receive cap space tomorrow as a result of previous post-June 1 releases:* Chiefs: $9.55M (Eric Berry)* Panthers: $7M (Matt Kalil)* Falcons: $6.45M (Ryan Schraeder)* Bears. $1M (Cody Parkey)— Field Yates (@FieldYates) June 1, 2019 There’s evidence that’s exactly what they’ll do. Gerald McCoy appears to be out of reach, as he’s yet to visit with Atlanta, but there are capable defensive linemen like Derrick Morgan lingering on the market and the team just cleared a roster spot by releasing safety Afolabi Laguda on Saturday. With the new space, it would be surprising if the Falcons didn’t add a veteran to the roster between now and the end of the week, and my money is still along the defensive front. I know the Falcons added John Cominsky, but their fourth defensive end over the past several seasons has always been an experienced veteran with some run-stopping acumen, which makes me think that part of the roster isn’t quite finished yet. And Schraeder? He’s looking fit and trim, and hopefully is having a great time whether he decides to continue his career or retire.


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