Tag Archives: lesean mccoy

2019 NFL Preview: AFC East

NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS

KEY ADDITIONS: WR Demaryius Thomas, TE Benjamin Watson, LB Jamie Collins, TE Lance Kendricks, OL Jermaine Eluemenor, WR Antonio Brown

KEY DEPARTURES: TE Rob Gronkowski, DE Trey Flowers, OT Trent Brown, DT Malcolm Brown, QB Brian Hoyer, WR Cordarrelle Patterson, TE Dwayne Allen, CB Eric Rowe, WR Chris Hogan, DE Adrian Clayborn

DRAFT: 1st round: WR N’Keal Harry, Arizona State   2nd round: CB Joejuan Williams, Vanderbilt   3rd round: DE Chase Winovich, Michigan   RB Damien Harris, Alabama   OT Yodny Cajuste, West Virginia   4th round: G Hjalte Froholdt, Arkansas   QB Jarrett Stidham, Auburn   5th round: DT Byron Cowart, Maryland   6th round: P Jake Bailey, Stanford   7th round: CB Ken Webster, Ole Miss

SUMMARY: The evil empire returns for another campaign but this year without a key cog: tight end Rob Gronkowski. Gronk is a Hall of Famer but had lost a step this past season. Still, in the game’s biggest moments, Gronk showed up. Even a down year for Gronk was an elite year for most players. It’s hard to replace that talent.

The two tight ends they brought in to replace Rob, former Patriots Benjamin Watson and newcomer Lance Kendricks, have both been suspended for the first four games of the season, leaving Matt LaCosse starting.

2018 first-rounder Isaiah Wynn likely starts at left tackle after missing his rookie year with injury. Patriots captain and center David Andrews has been placed on season-ending IR with blood clots, so the Patriots may end up plugging in former Raven Jermaine Eluemenor at center.

Still, the Patriots offensive line is stout, as it always has been since the arrival of Belichick and Brady. Touchdown Tom has been sacked 35 or more times only four times in his career, the most recent in 2017. In ’16? 15 times. In ’18? 21 and longtime offensive line coach Dante Scarnecchia.

Demaryius Thomas joins the Patriots on his retirement tour while Josh Gordon returns after rebuilding his mental health. Despite all the missed opportunities and lost time, Gordon offers upside.

Sony Michel broached the 1,000 plateau in his rookie year and behind a strong offensive line, should put up numbers this year.

Stephon Gilmore had an All-Pro nod last year in Foxborough and the defense finished 7th in points against (20.3)

New faces arrive but the Patriots continue on. Mark down another division championship and a strong chance at another Super Bowl trip.

Oh, and as I write this, AB just signed with the Patriots. Sounds like the season’s over already. The Patriots current depth at receiver reads: Antonio Brown, Julian Edelman, Josh Gordon, Demaryius Thomas, N’Keal Harry, Phillip Dorsett.

New faces arrive but the Patriots continue on. Mark down another division championship for Belichick/Brady and a strong chance at another vacation to the Super Bowl.

Even if Antonio Brown’s dive into madness continues and he ends up not playing a snap for the Patriots, New England, these things are assured. If he does, God help us all.

FANTASY PLAYER TO WATCH: James White

White finished 2018 with 87 receptions, good for 15th-best in the league and third-best among running backs (McCaffrey, Barkley). Last year, he had a career-high 123 targets (19th best). I don’t like taking players off career years but White’s target share is consistent and the Patriots always scheme him into the game plan. Sony Michel and Julian Edelman are also on my board this year but White has done me well three years running and I don’t see a reason to back off him now.

SCHEDULE     PROJECTED RECORD: 13-3

Week 1: vs. PIT   Week 2: @MIA   Week 3: vs. NYJ   Week 4: @BUF   Week 5: @WAS   Week 6: vs. NYG   Week 7: @NYJ   Week 8: vs. CLE   Week 9: @BAL   Week 10: BYE   Week 11: @PHI   Week 12: vs. DAL   Week 14: vs. KC   Week 15: @CIN   Week 16: vs. BUF   Week 17: vs. MIA

NEW YORK JETS

KEY ADDITIONS: LB C.J. Mosley, RB Le’Veon Bell, WR Jamison Crowder, C Ryan Kalil

KEY DEPARTURES: G James Carpenter, CB Buster Skrine, QB Josh McCown, CB Morris Claiborne, WR Jermaine Kearse, RB Isaiah Crowell

DRAFT: 1st round: DT Quinnen Williams, Alabama   3rd round: DE Jachai Polite, Florida   OT Chuma Edoga, USC   4th round: TE Trevon Wesco, West Virginia   5th round: LB Blake Cashman, Minnesota   6th round: CB Blessuan Austin, Rutgers

SUMMARY: The Jets did something very New York-like this offseason: they bought everything.

Between top-three adds C.J. Mosley, Le’Veon Bell and Jamison Crowder, the Jets spent $166 million. C.J. Mosley was an excellent linebacker in Baltimore and was a must-have. Bell, off a vacation year, is a wildcard with dangerous upside and Crowder, with a stable quarterback, has a chance to return to form. Ryan Kalil moves to center from Carolina and Quinnen Williams, a player with HOF talent, enters the middle of the defense. Quinnen likely makes life easier for Leonard Williams, the former USC first-rounder, and All-Pro safety Jamal Adams.

The Jets lack depth at receiver (Robby Anderson/Quincy Enunwa/Crowder/Josh Bellamy) and Mosley is a linchpin in the linebacker corps. The corners are relatively thin behind Trumaine Johnson. That lack of depth put the Jets in 29th for points against last year. The additions on both sides of the ball should improve that number. Hard to imagine it being much worse but how much better can it be?

Teams that build through free agency generally don’t succeed. Teams are determined by their drafts and the Jets are notoriously bad at drafting. Their future will be determined by Darnold’s sophomore season.

He didn’t look like a third overall selection last year (2,865 yards and a 17/15 split) and was showed up by Baker in a worse situation (3,725 yards and a 27/14 split). Darnold needs to make dramatic improvement in 2019. Hopefully Adam Gase doesn’t sabotage the effort.

Despite being better, the Jets likely miss on the playoffs due to a tough schedule (AFC North/NFC East).

FANTASY PLAYER TO WATCH: WR Jamison Crowder

I have no interest in taking a running back one year older and one year removed from football. Bell has high upside, sure, but with a pick that high in the draft, I want to know what I’m getting. There’s no knowing what Bell puts out there in 2019 and for that reason, I’m taking Crowder. The Jets D/ST should be improved and may make a splash or two but I’m going to put my faith in Darnold’s improvement and Crowder’s upside (59/67/66 receptions in his first three years).

SCHEDULE     PROJECTED RECORD: 7-9

Week 1: vs. BUF   Week 2: vs. CLE   Week 3: @NE   Week 4: BYE   Week 5: @PHI   Week 6: vs. DAL   Week 7: vs. NE   Week 8: @JAC   Week 9: @MIA   Week 10: vs. NYG   Week 11: @WAS   Week 12: vs. OAK   Week 13: @CIN   Week 14: vs. MIA   Week 15: @BAL   Week 16: vs. PIT   Week 17: @BUF

BUFFALO BILLS

KEY ADDITIONS: C Mitch Morse, WR Cole Beasley, WR John Brown, TE Tyler Kroft, RB T.J. Yeldon, RB Frank Gore, CB Kevin Johnson, G Jon Feliciano, G Quinton Span

KEY DEPARTURES: RB LeSean McCoy, DT Kyle Williams, G John Miller, TE Charles Clay

DRAFT: 1st round: DT Ed Oliver, Houston   2nd round: OT Cody Ford, Oklahoma   3rd round: RB Devin Singletary   TE Dawson Knox, Ole Miss   5th round: LB Vosean Joseph   6th round: S Jaquan Johnson, Miami   7th round: LB Darryl Johnson Jr., North Carolina A&T   TE Tommy Sweeney, Boston College

SUMMARY: The Buffalo Bills basically cleaned house on their offensive line this offseason. Oklahoma tackle Cody Ford will start while free agent acquisitions Mitch Morse, Jon Feliciano and Quinton Span all slot in with the returning Dion Dawkins.

Removed from that, I’m rather unmoved by the Bills roster. Buffalo had one of the weakest receiving cores in football for Josh Allen’s rookie year. This offseason, they bring in John Brown and Cole Beasley as well as TE Tyler Kroft, all of whom were complimentary players on their former teams. These receivers won’t be able to bail Allen’s out of precarious situations. I’m already not high on Josh Allen. Wasn’t at the draft either. His offensive situation isn’t helping that stance.

While the defense may not jump out on paper, they were solid last year. They finished middle-of-the-road in points against (23.4) but second in yardage allowed (4,706). When a team on paper outperforms expectation, it is a result of players overachieving or coaching. I’m more inclined to give some praise to coach Sean McDermott, though it would be wrong to not applaud efforts from the unit, specifically Tre’Davious White, Lorenzo Alexander, Tremaine Edmunds and the defensive line.

In addition to an inept passing game, LeSean McCoy is now gone, headed for the Midwest. The Bills were right to alleviate a contract that had run its course but now are left with journeyman Frank Gore, rookie Devin Singletary and Jaguar T.J. Yeldon. The Bills offense has to come from somewhere. It’s hard to believe they could be any worse (30th yardage, 31st pass, 30th points) but if the Bills can’t replicate 2018’s ninth-best rushing attack, they might be. The Bills season depends on it.

FANTASY PLAYER TO WATCH: Bills D/ST

With the offense as dead as a Buffalo winter, the defense is the only place to turn. They were the seventh-best defense in standard ppr last session. As they say, no one circles the wagons like the Buffalo Bills.

SCHEDULE     PROJECTED RECORD: 6-10

Week 1: @NYJ   Week 2: @NYG   Week 3: vs. CIN   Week 4: vs. NE   Week 5: @TEN   Week 6: BYE   Week 7: vs. MIA   Week 8: vs. PHI   Week 9: vs. WAS   Week 10: @CLE   Week 11: @MIA   Week 12: vs. DEN   Week 13: @DAL   Week 14: vs. BAL   Week 15: @PIT   Week 16: @NE   Week 17: vs. NYJ

MIAMI DOLPHINS

KEY ADDITIONS: QB Ryan Fitzpatrick, QB Josh Rosen, CB Eric Rowe, WR Allen Hurns

KEY DEPARTURES: DE Cameron Wake, OT Laremy Tunsil, WR Kenny Stills, LB Kiko Alonso, OT Ja’Wuan James, WR Danny Amendola, RB Frank Gore, G Josh Sitton, S T.J. McDonald, DT Akeem Spence, QB Ryan Tannehill, DE Robert Quinn

DRAFT: 1st round: DT Christian Wilkins, Clemson   3rd round: G Michael Deiter, Wisconsin   5th round: LB Andrew Van Ginkel, Wisconsin   6th round: T Isaiah Prince, Ohio State   7th round: FB Chandler Cox, Auburn   RB Myles Gaskin, Washington

SUMMARY: The Dolphins finished 7-9 which is rather impressive considering their offense had a ppg of 19.9. Teams under 20 don’t normally fair well but one way or another, Miami managed seven wins.

They’ll be lucky to make half of that this year. The good news is that Miami is trying to tank for Tua. It would be very concerning if they were trying to compete and ended up being that bad.

With pretty much every possible tradeable asset gone, the Dolphins are a bare bones roster. A receiving core of bust DeVante Parker, Albert Wilson, Allen Hurns and Jakeem Grant will not scare anyone. The offensive line is relatively unknown and the verdict is still out on Kenyan Drake. Mike Gesicki could return to his Penn State form and provide a spark?

Xavien Howard and former Pat Eric Rowe will cycle in the corner spots with long-timer Reshad Jones at safety. The defensive line will be carried by Clemson first-rounder Christian Wilkins.

FANTASY PLAYER TO WATCH: QB Ryan Fitzpatrick

Miami’s passing offense finished 30th last year but Fitzmagic has come to town. As we saw last year in Tampa, Fitzmagic hasn’t died yet. He still has some magic left in the beard. The issue with magic is that it’s entirely unpredictable. Don’t draft Ryan but pay attention to his performances. He could go off at any minute. Be ready to jump on the train.

SCHEDULE   PROJECTED RECORD: 3-13

Week 1: vs. BAL   Week 2: vs. NE   Week 3: @DAL   Week 4: vs. LAC   Week 5: BYE   Week 6: vs. WAS   Week 7: @BUF   Week 8: @PIT   Week 9: vs. NYJ   Week 10: @IND   Week 11: vs. BUF   Week 12: @CLE   Week 13: vs. PHI   Week 14: @NYJ   Week 15: @NYG   Week 16: vs. CIN   Week 17: @NE

AFC NORTH   AFC WEST   AFC SOUTH  NFC NORTH   NFC WEST   NFC EAST   NFC SOUTH   Playoff Predictions   Preseason Power Rankings

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2019 NFL Preview: AFC West

KANSAS CITY CHIEFS

KEY ADDITIONS: S Tyrann Mathieu, DE Frank Clark, DE Alex Okafor, RB LeSean McCoy, RB Carlos Hyde, CB Morris Claiborne, CB Bashaud Breeland

KEY DEPARTURES: S Eric Berry, C Mitch Morse, CB Steven Nelson, DE Justin Houston, RB Kareem Hunt, CB Orlando Scandrick, WR Chris Conley, RB Spencer Ware, S Ron Parker, LB Dee Ford

DRAFT: 2nd round: WR Mecole Hardman, Georgia   S Juan Thornhill, Virginia   3rd round: DT Khalen Saunders, Western Illnois   6th round: CB Rashad Fenton, South Carolina   RB Darwin Thompson, Utah State   7th round: Nick Allegretti, Illinois

SUMMARY: Patrick Mahomes last year was nothing short of magical. In all my years watching this sport, Mahomes’ 2018 was right up there with the best I’ve witnessed. Incredible arm talent and more importantly, the patience and methodical nature of a war room maestro, Mahomes looked not like a season vet but an all-timer.

But now is a new year, a chance to reflect and to look forward. The Chiefs offense was among the league’s best which overshadowed a disastrous defense, a weakness that eventually revealed itself (2nd-last in total yardage). Many staples of the franchise left this offseason, including franchise safety Eric Berry and pass rusher Justin Houston. In a bizarre move, the Chiefs decided to move on from Dee Ford but then send a boatload of picks to Seattle for Frank Clark. I’m sorry but the difference between Ford and Clark is not a first, second, swap of thirds and a five year, $104 million contract. Few players ever live up to trades that lopsided and Clark isn’t even on the Mount Rushmore of his position. That’s the type of package you send for Khalil Mack, not Clark.

But that’s what Kansas City is rolling with. Backs LeSean McCoy and Carlos Hyde boost a run game that will need to make up the difference in Mahomes regression. I expect Mahomes to be great once again and among the league’s most efficient passers. Average and even above average players are not capable of Mahomes’ 2018. Only the truly gifted are. This guy’s for real.

But yes, there will be regression. I find it unlikely Kansas City repeats a 35 points per game pace but a rejuvenated defense with a new coordinator should make the Chiefs a more complete team, a unit who will have a chance to demonstrate it during a soft first-half schedule where Kansas City plays their toughest games at home. They also just signed star receiver Tyreek Hill to an extension.

Now, if they can just exercise those playoff demons.

FANTASY PLAYER TO WATCH: RB Damien Williams

I generally avoid players coming off career years because a regression to the mean often follows. It would be difficult for Mahomes or Tyreek to play better than they did last season. Kelce is a top-three tight end but also going as early as the second round and Watkins was unplayable last year. That leaves Williams. A few weeks ago, I was much more confident in this pick but in the last week, the Chiefs have added LeSean McCoy and Carlos Hyde to their running back group, likely reducing Williams workload. Still, Kansas City is full of offensive talent that’s highly sought after by fantasy players and Damien Williams is the one player that’s falling down draft boards. Williams will still get an overwhelming share of the targets in passing situations and McCoy and Hyde may play complimentary roles. Williams may not be the safest bet on the team but he offers the most bang for your buck.

SCHEDULE     PROJECTED RECORD: 12-4

Week 1: @JAC   Week 2: @OAK   Week 3: vs BAL   Week 4: @DET   Week 5: vs. IND   Week 6: vs. HOU   Week 7: @DEN   Week 8: vs. GB   Week 9: vs. MIN   Week 10: @TEN   Week 11: vs. LAC   Week 12: BYE   Week 13: vs. OAK   Week 14: @NE   Week 15: vs. DEN   Week 16: @CHI   Week 17: vs. LAC

LOS ANGELES CHARGERS

KEY ADDITIONS: QB Tyrod Taylor, LB Thomas Davis

KEY DEPARTURES: WR Tyrell Williams, CB Jason Verrett, S Jahleel Addae, DT Corey Liuget, TE Antonio Gates

DRAFT: 1st round: DT Jerry Tillery, Notre Dame   2nd round: S Nasir Adderley, Delaware   3rd round: OT Trey Pipkins, Sioux Falls   4th round: LB Drue Tranquill, Notre Dame   5th round: QB Easton Stick, North Dakota State   6th round: LB Emeke Egbule, Houston   7th round: Cortez Broughton, Cincinnati

SUMMARY: The Chargers were never able to put it together in San Diego but have been great since their move to L.A., going 9-7 and 12-4 since the relocation. It’s just unfortunate timing since Kansas City’s rebuild is now a full-powered racecar. The Chiefs have a ton of firepower and the defense should improve.  If the Chargers wanted a shot at a division crown, it was last year.

Melvin Gordon is holding out but the Chargers are right not to make a move. Gordon has averaged a sub-4.0 ypc three of his four years and only broached 1,000 once. That’s not elite production and therefore does not command an elite salary.

Future HOFer Antonio Gates is gone for the Bolts, meaning Hunter Henry has extra responsibility this season.

Keenan Allen is one of the league’s best route runners and the Bolts are lucky to have Austin Ekeler and Justin Jackson in the backfield during Gordon’s absence. The Chargers return most of their starters from a top-ten defensive unit, though Derwin James’ season is up in the air.

The team will go where Rivers does. Philip is looking to improve his playoff win:children ratio and has had a renaissance the last few seasons. He’s been reliable. Does he have another year in him? And how many wins can coach Anthony Lynn steal?

FANTASY PLAYER TO WATCH: QB Philip Rivers

Rivers isn’t a Hall of Fame quarterback but he is an above average regular season passer. He’s thrown for minimums of 4,286 yards and 28 touchdowns each of the last six campaigns. His usage will likely go up during Gordon’s holdout. I got Rivers in the 15th round in one of my drafts following an 11th place finish last year. He’s a steal who can spot in as a starter on a regular basis.

SCHEDULE     PROJECTED RECORD: 10-6

Week 1: vs. IND   Week 2: @DET   Week 3: vs. HOU   Week 4: @MIA   Week 5: vs. DEN   Week 6: vs. PIT   Week 7: @TEN   Week 8: @CHI   Week 9: vs. GB   Week 10: @OAK   Week 11: vs. KC   Week 12: BYE   Week 13: @DEN   WEEK 14: @JAC   Week 15: vs. MIN   Week 16: vs. OAK   Week 17: @KC

DENVER BRONCOS

KEY ADDITIONS: OT Ja’Wuan James, CB Kareem Jackson, CB Bryce Callahan, RB Theo Riddick

KEY DEPARTURES: C Matt Paradis, CB Bradley Roby, G Billy Turner, G Max Garcia, LB Shaquil Barrett, LB Brandon Marshall, LB Shane Ray

DRAFT: 1st round: TE Noah Fant, Iowa   2nd round: OT Dalton Risner, Kansas State   QB Drew Lock, Missouri   3rd round: DT Dre’Mont Jones, Ohio State   5th round: LB Justin Hollins, Oregon   6th round: WR Juwann Winfree, Colorado

SUMMARY: Things could go poorly for Denver fast, facing Chicago, Green Bay and the Chargers in their first five games but with tough games come opportunities to prove oneself. I’m very interested by new coach Vic Fangio and what he plans to do with this squad. The Bears defense last year reminded Chicago of their glory days. Can Fangio utilize Von, Chubb and company to similar standards?

And what of Joe Flacco’s retirement tour? Does he has a little fire left in him?

And is Lindsay a one-hit wonder or a true starter?

How does Emmanuel Sanders return from his Achilles?

There’s just a lot of questions for this team and the only sure thing is that Noah Fant is going to catch a lot of drags from Flacco.

FANTASY PLAYER TO WATCH: RB Phillip Lindsay

I could have put Fant here given the quip above but Lindsay was a great get for my fantasy squads last year. Lindsay was one of nine backs over 1,000 in 2018 on a 5.4 clip. That clip is unsustainable and Lindsay seems destined to regress if only Joe Flacco weren’t his quarterback. I project Joe to be basic nourishment at most and starvation at worst. The worse Flacco plays, the more opportunity for Lindsay. Who do you got your money on? Lindsay or Joe?

SCHEDULE     PROJECTED RECORD: 7-9

Week 1: @OAK   Week 2: vs. CHI   Week 3: @GB   Week 4: vs. JAC   Week 5: @LAC   Week 6: vs. TEN   Week 7: vs. KC   Week 8: @IND   Week 9: vs. CLE   Week 10: BYE   Week 11: @MIN   Week 12: @BUF   Week 13: vs. LAC   Week 14: @HOU   Week 15: @KC   Week 16: vs. DET   Week 17: vs. OAK

OAKLAND RAIDERS

KEY ADDITIONS: WR Antonio Brown, OT Trent Brown, WR Tyrell Williams, S LaMarcus Joyner, LB Vontaze Burfict

KEY DEPARTURES: TE Jared Cook, OT Donald Penn, RB Marshawn Lynch, S Reggie Nelson, WR Martavis Bryant, WR Seth Roberts

DRAFT: 1st round: DE Clelin Ferrell, Clemson   RB Josh Jacobs, Alabama   S Johnathan Abram, Mississippi State   2nd round: CB Trayvon Mullen, Clemson   4th round: DE Maxx Crosby, Eastern Michigan   CB Isaiah Johnson, Houston   TE Foster Moreau, LSU   5th round: WR Hunter Renfrow, Clemson   7th round: DE Quinton Bell, Prairie View

SUMMARY: I will have a feature upcoming about the Antonio Brown saga in Oakland so I’m not going to spend time discussing it here. Just know as of this morning, Brown is no longer a member of the Oakland Raiders.

Oakland went all in on free agency this season, splurging more than $150 million on tackle Trent Brown, receiver Tyrell Williams and safety LaMarcus Joyner. That is a ton of money to put into three players and it seems favorable that one if not all of those contracts age poorly.

As for season outlook, I can’t say I’ve seen anything to flip my stance. Three first rounders is nice but the likely misuse of those picks, especially Ferrell at four when he was projected much later, bothers me.

Carr was my 2016 MVP choice back when fourth-quarter comebacks were his daily supper but since that leg injury, he hasn’t found the same form. He’s been mediocre while soaking up a sizable portion of Oakland’s cap space. If the Raiders want to go anywhere before Vegas, he needs to get back on track. 19 touchdowns on a cap hit of $20+ the next three years isn’t going to cut it.

At the end of a bumpy road, Oakland is outmatched by better management and athletes in their own division. Improvement? Likely. Playoffs? Rather dim. A road schedule featuring Minnesota, Green Bay and Houston is just brutal.

Also, their defense was hot garbage last year and I haven’t seen enough improvements to think they’ll be a spring chicken now.

FANTASY PLAYER TO WATCH: WR Hunter Renfrow

I do not like putting high draft stock in rookies. With the exception of Saquon Barkley last year, most rookies going in early rounds struggle to meet expectations. Josh Jacobs is not an outstanding back prospect when compared to draftees in year’s past. Jacobs wasn’t a standout at Alabama. His usage rate will be high but in this case I’m concerned about the quality of that usage. With Antonio Brown’s departure, acquisition Tyrell Williams moves to the #1 spot. That’s not great for an offense who’s already thin at receiver. However, Renfrow was a standout slot receiver at Clemson and is now in position to move into that slot in Oakland. He’s going undrafted so there’s no need to take him in your draft but keep your eye on him.

SCHEDULE   PROJECTED RECORD: 6-10

Week 1: vs. DEN   Week 2: vs. KC   Week 3: @MIN   Week 4: @IND   Week 5: vs. CHI   Week 6: BYE   Week 7: @GB   Week 8: @HOU   Week 9: vs. DET   Week 10: vs. LAC   Week 11: vs. CIN   Week 12: @NYJ   Week 13: @KC   Week 14: vs. TEN   Week 15: vs. JAC   Week 16: @LAC   Week 17: @DEN

AFC NORTH   AFC EAST  AFC SOUTH   NFC NORTH  NFC WEST   NFC EAST   NFC SOUTH   Playoff Predictions   Preseason Power Rankings

 

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One Team, One Jersey: Buffalo Bills

With the beginning of a new year comes the beginning of a new series. I’ve spent hundreds of hours (not an exaggeration) enthralled in game film sessions, reading player profiles, scrounging through stat sheets and scanning the histories of all the NFL franchises. I hope you enjoy it as much as I have. Welcome to One Team, One Jersey.

As a jersey collector and connoisseur, I am constantly expanding my repertoire and so I thought I should probably expand my search to all the teams of pro football. Buying every jersey I want would be too expensive though. Picking one for each team is reasonable and so became the idea that is One Team, One Jersey.

If you could only have one jersey from each NFL team, who would it be? There are a few ground rules:

The player you choose must have played for that team more than any other AND must have been on that team’s roster during the 2017 season.

Aside from that, it’s up to you what you prioritize: character, statistical production, championships, a combination of the three. Your call.

Who will you choose?

Following the sad exposition that was talking about the Oakland Raiders before the new regime, we now move to the desolate tundra of Buffalo, a franchise that has also been mired in mismanagement for decades. Before this past season, the Bills last playoff game was in 1999 when Doug Flutie was quarterback. Yes, this Doug Flutie.

To be honest, I used to have a Doug Flutie Bills jersey that I sadly outgrew and it’s one I’d like to bring back to the collection. He was a fan favorite in Buffalo and as we all know, completed one of the greatest upsets in sports history. I always felt that Flutie had been slighted because of his stature and took that to heart, that people diminish you for things that are inconsequential to your ability. I’d respect a Flutie jersey but for this series, we need to pick someone current.

Buffalo has made a habit of building their roster through free agency for years and so picking a jersey for the Bills will be no easy task. There was Drew Bledsoe, T.O., Kyle Orton, Percy Harvin, Charles Clay and Kelvin Benjamin.

While the Bills have had some blunders in the draft as well (J.P. Losman, E.J. Manuel, John McCargo, Aaron Maybin),  the ones that they did hit on they’ve repeatedly decided not to keep, such as Marshawn Lynch, Donte Whitner, Paul Posluszny, and more recently, Stephon Gilmore, Marcell Dareus, Cordy Glenn and Ronald Darby. They actually have a propensity to trade away players selected with high draft picks.

Those last moves I mentioned had to be done to help start this new rebuild, but it is a story we’ve seen before and fairly recently with Buffalo as well. Historically, teams that don’t draft well in the NFL don’t do well and teams that build their teams through free agency on a regular basis don’t do well either.

The Bills have seemingly given up on the franchise player. They shouldn’t. It got them this guy.

With few franchise players to choose from, LeSean McCoy is the obvious choice. The six-time Pro Bowler spent three of those years in Buffalo, but McCoy spent most of his career in Philly and I myself still view him as an Eagle. He has not lost a step since he was traded for linebacker Kiko Alonso during Chip Kelly’s demolition of the Philly roster. Man, that trade was a doozy for Philly, wasn’t it?

He’s been the lead man on one of the most imposing ground games in football and remains the same slippery runner that he was when he was drafted out of Pittsburgh in 2009. By the way, what an awful draft class 2009 was.

The deciding factor, for me, is that McCoy might be the best running back the Eagles ever had. He currently holds the franchise record for rushing yards. So, as of now, that takes McCoy off the table.

Perhaps no jersey embodies the Buffalo Bills as well as quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick. Watch some lowlights and you might come to grasp a morsel of the type of torture that Bills fans have had to go through. Fitzpatrick was a serviceable quarterback in Buffalo and as I wrote years back, he was improving at the time.

Jokes aside, it really is hard to find a jersey on this team because of the insane amount of roster turnover. Linebacker Preston Brown had 281 tackles in his last two seasons but left for Cincinnati. As I said earlier, Darby and Dareus are gone and left tackle Cordy Glenn wasn’t an exceptional tackle before being traded to Cincinnati. Tyrod Taylor played most of his career in Baltimore and wouldn’t have been eligible anyway. That leaves us with only two real options.

Five-time Pro Bowl defensive tackle Kyle Williams is the longest tenured Bill, having been with the team for his entire 12-year career. As I believe I mentioned before, I have a lot of respect for a player who stays with one franchise and does all he can for the betterment of the team. Players like these also become staples of their community and childhood idols.

Tre’Davious White was one of the strongest rookies last season, starring as a number one corner for Buffalo. Someone that looked more geared for a slot position did better than expected on the outside but whether his production is sustainable is still a question mark. White doesn’t have the same burst or speed that got Marshon Lattimore a Defensive Rookie of the Year. He didn’t demonstrate the explosiveness in college to be able to play strong off coverage, but Tre’Davious White is the future in Buffalo.

My pick: Tre’Davious White. My jersey: Home Blue.

Image result for tre'davious white jersey free use

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Time to Take The Bell Down

Image result for leveon bell poster free useI’m done.

We all should be.

There’s only so much nonsense you can take before the phrase “I’ve had it up to here” should be utilized.

Le’Veon Bell has reached that point.

On the off-chance you’re still living under a rock in 2018, Le’Veon Bell is a professional football player, specifically, a running back, in the National Football League who plays for the Pittsburgh Steelers. He’s very accomplished, carries superior talent and has become possibly the best in the world at what he does and so has asked to be paid as such. So far so good.

I, as well as most, completely sympathize with someone’s efforts being rewarded. We want to see our work and time appreciated and for us to be compensated as such. That is perfectly reasonable.

If you haven’t followed Bell’s saga because you’ve been under that rock, here’s a synopsis:

  • Bell is drafted in the second round of the 2013 NFL draft, the second back taken off the board.
  • Bell suffers a mid-foot sprain in his second preseason game, missing the first three weeks of the season. Despite that, Bell breaks legend Franco Harris’ rookie franchise record for yards from scrimmage (1,259).
  • Bell has a stellar 2014, finishing second in rushing yards and scrimmage yards behind DeMarco Murray, leads all backs in receiving and earns his first Pro-Bowl nod. Bell hyperextends his knee in the final contest of the regular season, missing the playoffs.
  • Bell is arrested with then-teammate LeGarrette Blount on DUI and marijuana possession charges. He’s suspended two games.
  • Bell’s 2015 season ends after suffering a torn MCL.
  • Bell sleeps through an alarm and misses a third drug test, which ends in another suspension, this time for three games.
  • Bell suffers a groin injury late in divisional round, leaving him mostly inactive for the Steelers’ championship loss against New England.
  • In 2017, Bell is named to his third Pro Bowl and amasses nearly 2,000 scrimmage yards.
  • Days before the team’s playoff match with Jacksonville, Bell says he would consider retiring if the Steelers placed the franchise tag on him for a second consecutive campaign. The previous offseason, Bell turned down a five-year contract that would have paid him an annual average value, or AAV, of 12. It included 30 million for his first two seasons and 42 for his first three, an unprecedented evaluation for a running back. Even Adrian Peterson’s extension back in 2011, a first-ballot Hall of Famer, had an AAV of 9.6. Bell turned down 12.

There are a couple of things you should take note of in the above section:

  1. Le’Veon Bell is good at running back.
  2. Le’Veon Bell has disciplinary issues.
  3. Le’Veon Bell has an injury history.

Now that we’ve got that out of the way, let’s take a look at some headlines:

“LE’VEON BELL REPORTEDLY WANTS $17 MILLION A YEAR”

“LE’VEON BELL WANTS TO BE PAID AS TOP RB AND NO 2 WR”

“LE’VEON BELL WANTS $17 MILLION A YEAR FROM STEELERS LIKE ANTONIO BROWN”

 

I wish I could say I laughed when I saw these. I really do.

I didn’t.

You see, reader from under the rock, Le’Veon Bell has an ego.

That’s fine. He’s Le’Veon Bell. He’s really good at running back.

However, I’m talking about Le’Veon Bell’s ego. Le’Veon Bell’s ego is huge. Le’Veon Bell has been surrounded by people who tell him he’s God’s gift to the world.

This is also fine. Parents tell this to their children every day before they send them off to school, usually to try to give them a much-needed boost of confidence but ostensibly because they have no idea how to parent. They figure if they make them confident, everything will fall into place.

Bell is a product of what happens when this parenting technique goes horribly wrong. Le’Veon believes himself to be so talented that he rationalizes he should be paid as two different people, both a top running back and a two-spot receiver, but also believes he’s worth as much as the league’s best pass catcher, Antonio Brown. Now, reader under a rock, feel free to google Antonio Brown on YouTube to get to know the guy a little bit. I actually talked about him in my One Team, One Jersey series, where I talk about each football team and decided what jersey I would want from that team. (Insert shameless plug here).

Despite the fact that one more slip-up in the drug department could warrant a long-term suspension and Bell’s struggle to play a full 16-game spread, both of which are rather large red flags, Bell thinks he’s worth $17 million a year.

 

Rather than mock Bell for another couple paragraphs, I’m gonna give him the benefit of the doubt. It’s what any sportswriter or fan should do. Let’s take a look at the evidence and give the guy a fair trial, shall we?

Let’s take a look at salary cap figures, just to get an idea of how good Le’Veon thinks he is.

Prior to this offseason, the largest cap hit for any running back in the league was LeSean McCoy at 8.95. Even after all of the signings this spring, Jerick McKinnon’s 2018 cap hit is 10.5 after signing a four-year, $30 million deal to become the starting tailback of San Francisco. His AAV? 7.5. A reminder that Bell is asking for 17.

The highest AAV for a running back is 8.25. That number belongs to Devonta Freeman, who in August signed a five-year extension for $41.25.

A reminder: Bell wants an AAV of 17.

In 2018, only two backs will have an AAV of 8 or more: Freeman and standout LeSean McCoy. Add McKinnon and you get the only three who are making more than 7 per. Le’Veon Bell will play on the franchise tag and will make $14.5, meaning he’s making more than double the pay of almost every running back in professional football. If he had signed that extension, that five-year, $60 million offer, Bell would be making more than double what every running back in the league is making with the exception of the three above plus Leonard Fournette, Ezekiel Elliott and Lamar Miller. (Fournette and Elliott are still on their rookie deals.)

For context, learner under the rock, the running back market has not increased over the last few seasons. It is cemented in stone at this point that only the very best running backs see close to no depreciation once they hit 30. Backs touch the ball more than any player other than a quarterback and take a lot of punishment because of it. Due to that, most backs are out of the league once they near or surpass 30 years of age. Only the gridiron gods can keep their game together and even then, sometimes those generational talents begin to fade away.

This is why Bell wants paid so much. He knows what we all do: his career will end before most other athletes from his draft class because of the position he plays.

With that said, Bell wants double the next guy. His latest evaluation of $17 million AAV means he believes he’s worth double any back in the NFL. It takes an extraordinary amount of arrogance to make that claim, but it’s only arrogance if it’s not true. So let’s find out if it is.

 

In five seasons, Bell has amassed 5,336 yards rushing and 2,660 yards receiving for a net total of 7,996. He’s accomplished this in 62 games for a per game average of 128.96 yards, a statistic that Bell has paraded around a number of times to prove his worth. That 128.96 is one of the best numbers in NFL history, currently at the top of the list, though many, including me, doubt that number’s sustainability. Hall of Fame players have seen similar numbers in their early years before seeing their numbers teeter off on the back-end. The great Jim Brown is right behind Bell at 125.5 and not only did he play in a less organized era when football was still very rudimentary, Brown retired at 29. We never got to see his play diminish. Even Barry Sanders, who retired at 30, posted 118.9 in his career, an incredible achievement that hasn’t come close to being duplicated. The closest are Terrell Davis and Adrian Peterson, who posted 113.9 and 112 respectively.

It is hard for any analyst to look at the players on this list, all of the greats, and believe the argument that Bell is greater than all of them.

Let’s pretend for a moment he is. Let’s compare him to some of the other younger talents in the NFL.

Taking a look at a player’s first few years, the same as Bell’s career length at this juncture, should give us an idea of how comparable or incomparable he is.

 

Le’Veon Bell 62 games, 62 started 5,336/2,660/7,996/128.96/128.96 (rushing/receiving/total/yards per game/yards per game started)

Devonta Freeman 61 games, 43 started 3,248/1,582/4,830/79.18/112.33

LeSean McCoy 74 games, 60 started 5,473/2,127/7,600/102.73/126.66

Frank Gore 73 games, 60 started 5,561/1,841/7,402/101.40/123.37

 

Adrian Peterson 73 games, 66 started 6,752/1,170/7,922/108.52/120.03

LaDainian Tomlinson 79 games, 79 started 7,361/2,292/9,653/122.19/122.19

Edgerrin James 65 games, 65 started 6,172/2,019/8,191/126.02/126.02

 

If we look at three comparable players from his current era, we see Bell’s numbers are comparable to even someone like Frank Gore, who during his early years played in the garbage fire that was San Francisco. While Bell’s receiving numbers are higher than any player’s on this list, there have been players who have done more on the ground in recent years and some by a wide margin. An additional five to ten yards simply doesn’t make you worth double the next guy. It’s just basic economics.

I also compiled a list of three Hall of Famers (James should get in sooner rather than later) and you’ll see his numbers are comparable.

“Wait, how can even Devonta Freeman, who hasn’t done anything crazy special in his career, still be putting up numbers in the same ballpark as LT? And how did Frank Gore average a little under five yards less in his first five years than Le’Veon Bell?”

Honestly, it’s because the difference between a very good and great running back often aren’t chasms apart. While the game has evolved away from the run game, the best backs in the league can still get it done. Look no further than LeSean McCoy, who has made a great career into a possible Canton trip. Look no further than Edgerrin James, who put up Bell-level production while Peyton Manning was performing surgery on NFL defenses. Look no further than Frank Gore, who played with a new offensive coordinator literally every season and still put up Pro-Bowl level numbers.

Le’Veon Bell has been gifted a top-five offensive line, Hall of Fame quarterback and the best receiver in football.

Frank Gore played with Antonio Bryant and pre-resurrection Alex Smith.

Hell, if we take out Gore’s rookie year, when he started only one game and show just his second through fifth seasons, when he started every game he played in, his stat line looks like this:

Frank Gore 59 games, 59 started 4,953/1,700/6,653/112.76/112.76

112 yards per game behind the San Francisco 49ers line of the mid 2000’s is incredible value. A player of Bell’s talent is almost expected to mimic those numbers behind a great offensive line.

For transparency’s sake, what if we needle some of these stats down to make a more accurate sample size.

LeSean McCoy 58 games, 56 started 4856/1819/6,675/115.09/119.20

At 115 yards per game, McCoy was at a per game average slightly behind Barry Sanders, yet was only paid $8 million in AAV. Why is that? Let’s take a closer look.

 

McCoy, in 2017, put up 1,586 yards from scrimmage. That means McCoy was paid $4,886.51 per yard by cap hit. Not a bad pay-day.

Todd Gurley won Offensive Player of the Year last season, accruing 2,093 yards. Still on his rookie deal, that means Gurley was paid…$808.24 per yard?

This, lad under the rock, is called the salary cap.

You see, to make the playing field fair, the suits instituted a salary cap, meaning there was a limit put in place to what a team could spend on its players. This led to a more competitive board and to new philosophies regarding team building. One of those philosophies is not spending a bazillion dollars on one player.

When it became apparent how difficult it was to find an excellent passer, teams assigned higher value to that position, the same way that teams starting pouring money into the left tackle spot after Lawrence Taylor killed Joe Theismann. (You probably don’t get that reference. Sorry. Here’s a link.)

So when teams started to find their running backs slowing down and coupled that with the evolution of pass-happy offenses, executives, and therefore the market, determined the running back position was less valuable.

In the 2016 season, Aaron Rodgers piled a total of 4,797 yards during a year in which he was paid $12.6 million, which means $2,626.64 per yard. By cap hit? $4065.04. For those who struggle with math, $4,065 is less than $4,886. Don’t worry. Bell’s number figures to be a lot higher than that.

 

A base salary of $17 million in 2018 would put him sixth in the NFL in AAV behind Kirk Cousins’ new deal, Aaron Rodgers, Matt Ryan, DeMarcus Lawrence and Ezekiel Ansah. (It’s worth noting that Lawrence and Ansah are also playing on the franchise tag this upcoming season.)

Not only that, if Bell made $17 million in cash in 2018, that would put him one spot outside the top 25 highest-paid players in the NFL, a majority of which came from this most recent offseason. (If you don’t know, human under the rock, the offseason is when teams pay exorbitant prices to get players to join their team). McKinnon’s new signing will earn him $12 in 2018, good for 62nd in the league in total net earnings. To get to the next back, you have to scroll for half of your lifespan all the way down to 246, where LeSean McCoy’s $6.325 sits.

Which means, using our math skills, that Bell is looking to make nearly triple what LeSean McCoy is making despite averaging about ten more yards a game on a far better offensive unit.

I guess you have to ask yourself: Is ten more yards worth an additional $11 million?

No. No, it’s not.

Is it worth the additional $9 million in AAV Bell is looking for?

No. No, it’s not.

At 1,946 scrimmage yards last year at the figure Bell wants, he would have been paid $8,735.87 a yard by cap hit. Why would anyone pay nearly $9,000 a yard when they can get the same production for less than $5?

Yes, third-down yards carry more value. Yes, fourth-quarter yards carry more value. Sadly, I don’t have the resources to look at those numbers. Given the numbers at our disposal, is it possible Bell is worth that much more than the next guy?

No. No, it is not.

This isn’t rocket science, my new friend. It’s basic math.

It’s now come to my attention that you probably don’t understand that expression. My apologies. Will have to get to that later.

To make matters worse, Bell has picked up a shovel and started digging his own grave with social media, accusing fans and the media of painting him as a villain. It was one of the most tone-deaf uses of social media yet displayed in 2018. No one was bashing Bell’s performance. They were tortured by his unabated greed. As one media member commented, “Look down, Le’Veon. You’re the one holding the paintbrush.”

Le’Veon has not only made his tenure with the Steelers continuing beyond this season as improbable as a lottery winner, he’s also tarnished his reputation and image by decrying those who believe his numbers to be inaccurate, even if they are, factually, inaccurate. General annoyance with his antics has turned into the type of frustration a parent has when they’re forced to watch their child ignore their advice and run their head into a wall. I’m completely done with Le’Veon and so is much of this city. Annoyance has transformed to rage and now dissolved into complete apathy. I don’t care about Bell and I can’t wait when he’s off this roster.

I hope you’ve enjoyed escaping from under the rock, my new friend. The only one that’s still under there now is Le’Veon.

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2017-2018 NFL Preview: AFC East

NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS 

GET: WR Brandin Cooks, CB Stephon Gilmore, TE Dwayne Allen, RB Mike Gillislee, LB David Harris, WR Phillip Dorsett, CB Johnson Bademosi, DE Cassius Marsh, RB Rex Burkhead, DE Lawrence Guy

LOSE: RB LeGarrette Blount, LB Jabaal Sheard, LB Rob Ninkovich, OT Sebastian Vollmer, TE Martellus Bennett, DE Chris Long, CB Logan Ryan, DL Kony Ealy, RB Tyler Gaffney, TE Rob Housler, WR Andrew Hawkins, QB Jacoby Brissett, LB Marquis Flowers

RE-SIGNS: LB Dont’a Hightower, CB Malcolm Butler, DL Alan Branch, OL Cameron Fleming, CB Duron Harmon

DRAFT: 3rd round: LB Derek Rivers, Youngstown State     OT Antonio Garcia, Troy     4th round: DE Deatrich Wise Jr., Arkansas     6th round: OT Conor McDermott, UCLA

SUMMARY: New England has a scary roster. They lost some big names: Blount, Sheard, Ninkovich, Vollmer, Bennett. They added some big names: Cooks, Gilmore, Allen, Harris. The scariest name of all? Tom Brady. Brady’s revenge came to fruition and it was very sweet. The greatest of all time cannot be overlooked and should not be doubted. The Patriots are once again the surest bet in the AFC East and most likely to represent the AFC in the Super Bowl. Stephon Gilmore and Malcolm Butler should be one of the strongest corner duos in football. The receiving core has taken a hit. Julian Edelman will miss the season, putting Brandin Cooks in a more pressurized situation. Brady will be more than up to the task, with a healthy Gronkowski returning. The rushing game will likely dimish and I’m interested to see how Belichick adjusts, but it’s improbable that it causes any significant problems. New England has always been productive at substituting screens for the running game. If New England matches their 15.6 points allowed per game last year, they’ll be unstoppable.

Brady, Cooks, Chris Hogan and the Patriots defense, against a weak AFC East, should all thrive.

SCHEDULE     PROJECTED RECORD:13-3

Week 1: vs. KC   Week 2: @NO   Week 3: vs. HOU   Week 4: vs. CAR   Week 5: @TB   Week 6: @NYJ   Week 7: vs. ATL   Week 8: vs. LAC   Week 9: BYE   Week 10: @DEN   Week 11: @OAK   Week 12: vs. MIA   Week 13: @BUF   Week 14: @MIA   Week 15: @PIT   Week 16: vs. BUF   Week 17: vs. NYJ

BUFFALO BILLS

GET: S Micah Hyde, WR Jordan Matthews, CB E.J. Gaines, FB Patrick DiMarco, G Vladimir Ducasse, K Steven Hauschka, LB Gerald Hodges, CB Shareece Wright, LB Ramon Humber, WR Andre Holmes, RB Joe Banyard

LOSE: WR Sammy Watkins, CB Ronald Darby, CB Stephon Gilmore WR Robert Woods, CB Corey Graham, LB Reggie Ragland, RB Mike Gillislee, K Dan Carpenter, WR Anquan Boldin, S Aaron Williams, OT Cyrus Kouandjio, WR Dezmin Lewis, WR Marquise Goodwin, WR Justin Hunter, QB E.J. Manuel

RE-SIGNS: QB Tyrod Taylor, LB Lorenzo Alexander, C Eric Wood, WR Corey Brown, P Colton Schmidt, FB Mike Tolbert, WR Brandon Tate

DRAFT: 1st round: CB Tre’Davious White, LSU     2nd round: WR Zay Jones, East Carolina     G Dion Dawkins, Temple     5th round: LB Matt Milano, Boston College     QB Nathan Peterman, Pittsburgh     6th round: LB Tanner Vallejo, Boise State

SUMMARY: The Bills have done what any smart team would do at this point: trade assets for picks and get ready for the future. The AFC East has already been won.

The Bills’ top four receivers from last year are all gone (Woods, Goodwin, Watkins, Hunter). The Bills’ top two corners (Gilmore, Darby) are both gone. They’ve infused youth into their lineup, saved some cap space and gained future considerations. They’re now in the best position of the three AFC East teams to surpass New England once Brady retires. If he retires.

Buffalo still has a capable defensive line, although they finished 29th against the run last year. That number should change with Panthers defensive coordinator Sean McDermott coming in to coach the Bills. Micah Hyde is a nice addition to the secondary. Buffalo still sports a strong offensive line that hosted the best running game in the league last year, with an average of 164.4 a game. The issue is, with no receivers to fear on the outside, teams will likely stack the box against Buffalo this year, making it hard for LeSean McCoy to replicate his 5.4 average, 1,267 yards and 13 touchdowns.

I think Buffalo will still surpass the Dolphins, narrowly, but they simply can’t contend with New England.

LeSean McCoy won’t rack the numbers up like he did last year, but is likely to run a lot this season.

SCHEDULE     PROJECTED RECORD:6-10

Week 1: vs. NYJ   Week 2: @CAR   Week 3: vs. DEN   Week 4: @ATL   Week 5: @CIN   Week 6: BYE   Week 7: vs. TB   Week 8: vs. OAK   Week 9: @NYJ   Week 10: vs. NO   Week 11: @LAC   Week 12: @KC   Week 13: vs. NE   Week 14: vs. IND   Week 15: vs. MIA   Week 16: @NE   Week 17: @MIA

MIAMI DOLPHINS

GET: S T.J. McDonald, QB Jay Cutler, LB Rey Maualuga, LB Lawrence Timmons, CB Alterraun Verner, C Ted Larsen, DE William Hayes, TE Julius Thomas

LOSE: OT Brandon Albert, DE Mario Williams, DT Earl Mitchell, DE Jason Jones, CB Ifo Ekpre-Olomu, DE Dion Jordan, TE Jordan Cameron

RE-SIGNS: DE Cameron Wake, LB Kiko Alonso, WR Kenny Stills

DRAFT: 1st round: LB Charles Harris, Missouri     2nd round: LB Raekwon McMillan, Ohio State     3rd round: CB Cordrea Tankersley, Clemson     5th round: G Isaac Asiata, Utah     DT Davon Godchaux, LSU     6th round: DT Vincent Taylor, Oklahoma State     7th round: WR Isaiah Ford, Virginia Tech

SUMMARY: The Miami Dolphins are trending down. Ryan Tannehill has lost his right to the title “franchise quarterback.” Adam Gase may be the only person associated with the Dolphins excited about the arrival of Jay Cutler.  Starting corner Tony Lippett and Tannehill are done for the year. A young receiving core has promise and Jay Ajayi will have a chance to prove he’s not a fluke. The offense was ninth in rushing last year, a number heading downhill with Cutler behind center fresh off shoulder surgery. They were 26th with Tannehill in the aerial attack category last year. Cameron Wake had a third of Miami’s sacks last year (30.0, ranked 23rd). There’s a lot of pressure on a lot of individuals on this team. I’m not buying it.

Jay Ajayi’s the surest bet, though Jarvis Landry is worth WR2 consideration.

SCHEDULE     PROJECTED RECORD:5-11

Week 1: vs. TB   Week 2: @LAC   Week 3: @NYJ   Week 4: vs. NO   Week 5: vs. TEN   Week 6: @ATL   Week 7: vs. NYJ   Week 8: @BAL   Week 9: vs. OAK   Week 10: @CAR   Week 11: BYE   Week 12: @NE   Week 13: vs. DEN   Week 14: vs. NE   Week 15: @BUF   Week 16: @KC   Week 17: vs. BUF

NEW YORK JETS

GET: G Brian Winters, CB Morris Claiborne, DE Kony Ealy, S Terrence Brooks, QB Josh McCown, OT Kelvin Beachum, WR Jermaine Kearse, K Chandler Catanzaro, RB Jordan Todman, TE Chris Gragg, DT Mike Pennel

LOSE: DT Sheldon Richardson, QB Ryan Fitzpatrick, WR Brandon Marshall, CB Darrelle Revis,  C Nick Mangold, WR Eric Decker, OT Breno Giacomini, S Calvin Pryor, S Marcus Gilchrist, LB David Harris, K Nick Folk, WR Devin Smith, CB Dexter McDougle, QB Geno Smith

RE-SIGNS: LB Bruce Carter

DRAFT: 1st round: S Jamal Adams, LSU     2nd round: S Marcus Maye, Florida     3rd round: WR ArDarius Stewart, Alabama     4th round: WR Chad Hansen, California     5th round: TE Jordan Leggett, Clemson     DE Dylan Donahue, West Georgia     6th round: RB Elijah McGuire, Louisiana-Lafeyette     CB Jeremy Clark, Michigan     CB Derrick Jones, Ole Miss

SUMMARY: No team lost more notable names than the New York Jets this offseason. Management tried to remove every one of their franchise staples. They were mostly successful.

Let’s not sugarcoat it. The New York Jets are gonna suck. They had the worst turnover differential in the league last year (-20) and were one of five teams to finish with at least a -10 (Rams, Browns, Jaguars, Bears). They also scored 17.2 ppg, third-worst in the NFL. Quincy Enunwa is out for the year, leaving second-year receiver Robby Anderson as the number one target opposite Jermaine Kearse. Matt Forte is nearing the end of his career but might still have a little game left. Neither Bryce Petty nor Christian Hackenberg looks to be the answer at quarterback. Muhammad Wilkerson and Leonard Williams should provide some entertainment on the defensive line, but it’s gonna be hard to find other success points.

No fantasy assets here.

SCHEDULE     PROJECTED RECORD:2-14

Week 1: @BUF   Week 2: @OAK   Week 3: vs. MIA   Week 4: vs. JAC   Week 5: @CLE   Week 6: vs. NE   Week 7: @MIA   Week 8: vs. ATL   Week 9: vs. BUF   Week 10: @TB   Week 11: BYE   Week 12: vs. CAR   Week 13: vs. KC   Week 14: @DEN   Week 15: @NO   Week 16: vs. LAC   Week 17: @NE

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Tim Sports Report for 2016 NFL Week 6

Top 5

  1. RB Jay Ajayi 25 carries for 204 yards, 2 TD vs. PIT

Second Dolphin to run for 200 yards and 2 TDs in a game

2. WR Odell Beckham Jr. 8 receptions for a career-high 222 yards, 2 TDs, Fmb vs. BAL

3. QB Tom Brady 29/35 for 376 yards, 3 TDs, 140.0 passer rating vs. CIN

4. RB LeSean McCoy 19 carries for 140 yards, 3 TDs vs. SF

5. QB Matt Ryan 27/42 for 335 yards, 3 TDs, INT, Fmb, 102.8 passer rating vs. SEA

Worst of the Worst

5. Seven teams with double-digit penalties this week.

4. QB Aaron Rodgers 31/42 for 294 yards, TD, INT, Fmb, 90.8 passer rating vs. DAL

3. Blatant pass interference call missed in ATL vs. SEA

2. Steelers implode again

  1. Carolina drops another, now four straight

Steelers Recap

The Steelers game was another implosion, demonstrating the debacle we saw in Philly was not a one-time occurrence. There are real problems with this team and now with Ben gone for at least two weeks, the future for the Steelers is hazy at best.

Game of the Week: Vikings at Eagles

Two powerhouse defenses is sure to be a fun watch and Philly could very well pull the upset. I’m taking Minnesota but the Eagles have the tools to surprise.

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Tim Sports Report for 2016 NFL Week 3

Top 5

  1. QB Trevor Siemian 28/35 for 312 yards, 4 TDs, 132.1 passer rating vs. CIN

First quarterback to throw for 300 yards and 4 TDs without an interception in his first road start.

2. Vikings record eight sacks, pick Cam three times in road win against Carolina.

3. WR Marvin Jones 6 receptions for 205 yards, 2 TDs vs. GB

4. QB Aaron Rodgers 15/24 for 205, 4 TDs, 129.3 passer rating vs. DET

5. RB LeSean McCoy 17 carries for 110 yards, 2 TDs vs. ARI

Worst of the Worst

5. Cody Parkey misses three field goals, including potential gamewinner for Cleveland.

4. San Diego chokes away a lead again.

3. QB Carson Palmer 26/50 for 287 yards, 4 INTs, 36.0 passer rating vs. BUF

2. Steelers suffer worst loss since ’89.

  1. QB Ryan Fitzpatrick 20/44 for 188 yards, 6 INTs, 18.2 passer rating vs. KC

Steelers Recap

I don’t want to talk about it. I really don’t. It was one of the worst Steelers games I’ve seen. The offense was lost and the defense confused and battered. I couldn’t even watch the whole game. The idea that an offense as talented as the Steelers couldn’t score even one touchdown against Philly is disturbing. I’m not in panic mode but if they suffer a second loss like that, it speaks to a larger problem that needs to be addressed.

Game of the Week: Panthers @ Falcons

Not a lot of games jump up from the schedule but this one does. Matty Ice is dropping some bombs. Carolina is on their heels, but will it play out that way? I got Atlanta in an upset.

 

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Tim Sports Report for 2013 NFL Week 14

Top 5

1. QB Jason Campbell 29/44 for 391, 3 TDs, 116.3 QBR vs. NE

2. QB Josh McCown 27/36 for 348 yards, 4 TDs, 141.9 QBR vs. DAL

3. RB LeSean McCoy 29 carries for 217 yards, 2 TDs vs. DET

Set franchise record for single-game rushing

4. QB Drew Brees 30/42 for 313 yards, 4 TDs, 124.4 QBR vs. CAR

5. WR Marques Colston 9 receptions for 125 yards, 2 TDs vs. CAR

Worst of the Worst

1. QB E.J. Manuel 18/33 for 184 yards, 4 INTs, 7 sacks, 31.2 QBR vs. TB

2. Lions fumble 7 times, lose 3, allow 28 4th quarter points to lose to Eagles

3. Patriots win after bad pass interference call, onside kick recovery vs. CLE

4. QB Joe Flacco 28/50 for 245 yards, 3 TDs, 3 INTs, 64.2 QBR vs. MIN

5. Redskins destroyed at home 45-10 vs. KC

Steelers Recap

The Steelers had one of the best comeback wins in the history of the franchise…only to have it taken away because Antonio Brown had stepped out of balance short of the endzone. I’m not going to lie, everyone on my dorm floor was screaming their lungs out and running up and down the hall, only to return to our rooms to see the replay. I felt like part of my soul died on that play, it was such a tragedy. That play, to an extent, was a visual representation of the Steelers’ season this year. There have been huge wins against the Ravens and Lions, and then there have been the huge disappointments, against the Raiders and the Vikings, and overall, it feels like we missed our chances by that much. The AFC is weak right now, and the fact that we were even in the conversation for a playoff spot is a testament not to how lucky we are, although some credit could go to that, but to how well our team battled adversity this year. After starting 0-4, plenty of my friends said the Steelers would go 4-12, but I refused to believe it. My Pittsburgh pride stood strong and while not entirely objective, I felt it was unfair to count them out just yet. We went 5-2 afterwards, beating the Ravens and Lions at home, despite disappointing losses to the Raiders and Patriots. This has not been the best season for the Steelers, but I’m proud of them for not giving up when the door of future opportunity was teasing them to do so.

Two tough losses against the Ravens and now the Dolphins has the Steelers on the backs of their heels and three must-win games up ahead. The Bengals in Pittsburgh is possible, but I don’t see it happening. Andy Dalton finally got back on the horse this past week against the Colts after struggling in his past couple games and the Bengals defense is still top-10 if not higher. I’m going to have to pick the Bengals in this one, but you can bet I’ll be rooting for the Burgh all day.

Game of the Week: Ravens @ Lions

The Ravens are fighting for the wild-card spot while the Lions try to hold off the Bears for the NFC North title. The Lions looked terrible in Philly, although I think that is partly because their passing attack was hampered by the Hoth-like weather. The Ravens, however, have no excuse for their pitiful performance against the Vikings, one that required a last second touchdown to win. Flacco has looked terrible this year after signing his lucrative contract. Rice hasn’t been much better, so I’ll take the Lions yet again in my game of the week.

 

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Tim Sports Report for 2013 NFL Week 1

Top 5

1. QB Peyton Manning 27/42 for 462 yards, 7 TDs, 141.1 QBR vs. BAL

2. WR Anquan Boldin 13 receptions for 208 yards, TD vs. GB

3. QB Colin Kaepernick 27/39 for 412 yards, 3 TDs, 129.4 QBR vs. GB

4. WR A.J. Green 9 receptions for 162 yards, 2 TDs vs. CHI

5. RB LeSean McCoy 31 carries for 184 yards, TD vs. WSH

Worst of the Worst

1. Ravens Rookie CB Brynden Trawick runs into Pro Bowler Jacoby Jones on punt return. Jones has a sprained MCL and could be out 4-6 weeks.

2. Broncos LB Danny Trevathan picks off Ravens QB Joe Flacco, runs back to the Baltimore 1 and drops the ball before scoring the touchdown. It was ruled a touchback.

3. Titans returner Darius Reynaud steps back into the endzone on the opening kickoff and kneels, giving Pittsburgh a safety.

4. Giants allow six turnovers and two defensive touchdowns.

5. QB Brandon Weeden 26/53 for 289 yards, TD, 3 INTs, 48.4 QBR vs. MIA

Steelers Recap

The Steelers lost to the Titans on Sunday 16-9 in a disappointing game. It was easily one of the worst Steeler games I have ever watched. They were 4-13 on third down and ran 53 plays for 195 yards, a 3.7 ypp. The Steelers defense played decent according to the box score but in reality played horrible. The defense got picked apart on numerous occasions by the Titans passing attack and when your defense is getting torn apart by Jake Locker, you know your team has problems. Roethlisberger got sacked five times, and Pro Bowl center Maurkice Pouncey, defensive playcaller linebacker Larry Foote, and newcomer runningback LaRod Stephens-Howling are all out for the season. They can’t run the ball nor do they try enough, and Ben is playing behind one of the worst lines in football. This line actually looks worse than last year’s. Against Cincinnati on Monday Night, I give the Steelers about a ten percent chance of victory, odds I’m not willing to take.

Game of the Week: 49ers @ Seahawks

The Seahawks running game was stifled against the Panthers last week as they scraped by with a 12-7 win. Meanwhile, the combination of Kaepernick and Boldin stunned all of the Packer faithful as the 49ers cruised to a solid victory over Green Bay. The 49ers look for real, but the Seahawks don’t. They’re going to have to prove themselves in this game. I’m taking the 49ers.

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