Thursday Training

Arizona Cardinals:

2014 DVOA rank: 22nd

Key additions: Mike Iupati (OL), DJ Humphries (OL)

Key subtractions: Antonio Cromartie (CB), Darnell Dockett (DT)

One thing to know: While they had a great record last year, the advanced stats said the Cardinals weren’t as good as 11-5 indicates.  Will they hit the ground running? Coach Bruce Arians likes to attack through the air, but the Cards — NFC’s worst running team in 2014 — need better balance. Bolstered O-line, healthy Andre Ellington and rookie David Johnson offer hope.

Atlanta Falcons:

2014 DVOA rank: 20th

Key additions: Adrian Clayborn (DE), O’Brien Schofield (LB), Vic Beasley (rookie, LB)

Key subtractions: Osi Umenyiora (DE)

One thing to know: They had the worst defensive DVOA in the league last year. Any improvement could make them interesting.  Will Matt Ryan get any help? He and WR Julio Jones weren’t responsible for last year’s struggles. But if the Falcons don’t run the ball better and begin stopping anyone defensively, another ugly autumn awaits.

Buffalo Bills:

2014 DVOA rank: 9th

Key additions: LeSean McCoy (RB), Matt Cassel (QB)

Key subtractions: Kiko Alonso (LB), CJ Spiller (OL)

One thing to know: If the Bills are going to be the sleeper that a lot of people think they’ll be, either Cassel or E.J. Manuel is going to have to really improve from how they played last year.  Who emerges from the three-way quarterback battle? If Matt Cassel, EJ Manuel or Tyrod Taylor proves an effective game manager, Rex Ryan has the defense plus run game formula that equaled two AFC title game trips with the Jets.

Carolina Panthers:

2014 DVOA rank: 25th

Key additions: Shaq Thompson (rookie, LB)

Key subtractions: Greg Hardy (DE)

One thing to know: With continuing cap issues, they weren’t able to improve their dismal offensive line (and for some reason they didn’t do so in the draft either).  Will they get enough blocking? They look OK inside, where star C Ryan Kalil is the anchor. But will now-healed and now-paid Cam Newton get capable protection off the edges, and will RB Jonathan Stewart find room outside?

Cincinnati Bengals:

2014 DVOA rank: 13th

Key additions: Michael Johnson (DE), Cedric Ogbuehi (rookie, OL)

Key subtractions: Jermaine Gresham (TE)

One thing to know: Without many impact additions, it’s going to be on Andy Dalton to improve to the point where this is a team that can win a game in the playoffs.  Do they have the talent (and has it progressed enough) to be more than a one-and-done playoff team? They did little in free agency, and the draft might not offer immediate help. Hard to envision a quantum leap under the circumstances.

Cleveland Browns:

2014 DVOA rank: 23rd

Key additions: Dwayne Bowe (WR), Randy Starks (DT), Tramon Williams (CB) Danny Shelton (rookie, DT)

Key subtractions: Jordan Cameron (TE), Brian Hoyer (QB)

One thing to know: They still don’t have a quarterback, which is all that matters.  Any reason to believe they’ve closed the gap on the AFC North? Mike Pettine’s a heckuva coach, and his defense should be better in Year 2. But the offensive skill players don’t remotely compare to their counterparts elsewhere in the division.

Dallas Cowboys:

2014 DVOA rank: 6th

Key additions: Greg Hardy (DE), Byron Jones (rookie, CB)

Key subtractions: DeMarco Murray (RB), Anthony Spencer (DE)

One thing to know: Avoiding a Dez Bryant disaster was their biggest move of the offseason.  Can they overcome the loss of DeMarco Murray? RBs Darren McFadden and Joseph Randle can likely provide a decent run game behind the sterling O-line. The challenge is moving the chains to shield a defense that allowed 5.8 yards per play in 2014.

Denver Broncos:

2014 DVOA rank: 2nd

Key additions: Shane Ray (rookie, DE), James Casey (TE)

Key subtractions: Julius Thomas (TE), Orlando Franklin (G), Terrance Knighton (DT), Manny Ramirez (C), Rahim Moore (S)

One thing to know: It was a rough off-season in Denver. The Broncos went all-in in 2014 and had to make some financial sacrifices as a result.  Is this Peyton Manning’s final rodeo and, if so, do the Broncos have enough horsepower to get him a second ring? That question might boil down to patchwork O-line and how quickly players synthesize Gary Kubiak’s playbook.

Green Bay Packers:

2014 DVOA rank: 3rd

Key additions: Damarious Randall (rookie, DB)

Key subtractions: Tramon Williams (CB), AJ Hawk (LB)

One thing to know: Don’t read too much into their lack of key additions. The Packers never sign free agents, and it has been a wildly effective strategy.  Are they over their NFC Championship Game meltdown in Seattle? New team, new season, yada, yada. But if the Pack want to vie for a Super Bowl 50 berth from the safety of Lambeau Field, they can’t afford an early season hangover.

Houston Texans:

2014 DVOA rank: 19th

Key additions: Brian Hoyer (QB), Rahim Moore (DB), Vince Wilfork (DT), Kevin Johnson (rookie, DB)

Key subtractions: Andre Johnson (WR)

One thing to know: They had one of the worst QB situations in the league in 2014. They’re hoping Hoyer will give them some resemblance of stablity.  Brian Hoyer or Ryan Mallett? Experience and unproven potential, a microcosm of the Houston roster in many ways. But make no mistake — this team can make some noise if someone quiets the QB conundrum.

Indianapolis Colts:

2014 DVOA rank: 12th

Key additions: Andre Johnson (WR), Frank Gore (RB), Todd Herremans (OL), Trent Cole (DE), Phillip Dorsett (WR)

Key subtractions: Cory Redding (DE), Reggie Wayne (WR)

One thing to know: The Colts went all-in with the Gore/Johnson signings. Will they have enough defense to compete?  Can they beat the Patriots? Andrew Luck and Co. must overcome the same bugaboo Peyton Manning’s Colts had to surmount nearly a decade ago. Otherwise, Indy certainly has the potential to be Super.

Jacksonville Jaguars:

2014 DVOA rank: 32nd

Key additions: Dante Fowler Jr. (rookie, DE), Julius Thomas (TE), Dan Skuta (LB), Jermey Parnell (OL)

Key subtractions: Cecil Shorts (WR)

One thing to know: Their bad luck continued when Fowler had a season-ending injury in OTAs. They’re still one of the two worst teams in the league.  How deep is owner Shad Khan’s patience? The Jags are 7-25 under GM Dave Caldwell and coach Gus Bradley, though the duo has laid a promising foundation. But three or four wins may not mean a stay of execution in 2015.

Kansas City Chiefs:

2014 DVOA rank: 10th

Key additions: Jeremy Maclin (WR), Ben Grubbs (OL), Marcus Peters (DB)

Key subtractions: Dwayne Bowe (WR)

One thing to know: Their passing game was anemic in 2014. They didn’t get a single touchdown catch out of a wide receiver.  Who will ease RB Jamaal Charles’ burden? Solid defense led by $100 million man Justin Houston can be counted on do its share. But QB Alex Smith, LT Eric Fisher, WR Jeremy Maclin and TE Travis Kelce must step up on offense.

Minnesota Vikings:

2014 DVOA rank: 24th

Key additions: Mike Wallace (WR), Terence Newman (CB), Trae Waynes (rookie, DB)

Key subtractions: Greg Jennings (WR)

One thing to know: They might be the trendiest sleeper pick in the NFL, which makes them not much of a sleeper at all.  Will Adrian Peterson break from the gate quickly? Past history suggests certainly yes. But he has basically missed a full year and must find rhythm with coordinator Norv Turner and QB Teddy Bridgewater.

New England Patriots:

2014 DVOA rank: 4th

Key additions: Brandon Gibson (WR), Malcom Brown (rookie, DT)

Key subtractions: Darrelle Revis (CB), Vince Wilfork (DT), Shane Vereen (RB), Kyle Arrington (CB), Tom Brady for four games? (QB)

One thing to know: Bill Belichick’s off-seasons always look like head-scratchers and end up turning out fine, but this one might be different with Tom Brady’s status. But aside from that, who’s going to stop the pass? The Pats parted with their four top corners and seem in danger of reverting to the defense that ranked 25th or worse from 2010-13.

New Orleans Saints:2014 DVOA rank: 17th

Key additions: Dannell Ellerbe (LB), Max Unger (OL), CJ Spiller (RB)

Key subtractions: Jimmy Graham (TE), Kenny Stills (WR), Ben Grubbs (G),Curtis Lofton (LB)

One thing to know: During an off-season when many thought they’d try to start the rebuilding process, they loaded up again to make one last run with Drew Brees.  Can they cut the load on Drew Brees’ arm? Defense was atrocious in 2014, and the Saints have had only one top-10 run game once since 2009 Super Bowl season. But they’ve taken steps to address both areas amid life after Jimmy Graham

New York Giants:

2014 DVOA rank: 21st

Key additions: Shane Vereen (RB), Ereck Flowers (rookie, OL)

Key subtractions: Antrel Rolle (DB)

One thing to know: With little cap flexibility to make moves, this team will be roughly the same as it was last year.  Are they OK in the trenches? The NFC’s worst defense against the run last year doesn’t look markedly improved, and DE Jason Pierre-Paul is now something of an unknown. The bigger concern is how an overhauled O-line will hold up.

Oakland Raiders:

2014 DVOA rank: 29th

Key additions: Amari Cooper (rookie, WR), Nate Allen (DB), Curtis Lofton (LB), Dan Williams (DT)

Key subtractions: Denarius Moore (WR)

One thing to know: Oakland was one of the biggest-spending teams in free agency, but it’ll be the development of Derek Carr at QB in his second year that dictates how much better they get.  Is RB Latavius Murray the real deal? A 6-3, 230-pound freight train who showed ability to break off 90-yard TD runs could also be flash in the pan. The answer might determine whether Oakland leaves the AFC West basement.

Philadelphia Eagles:

2014 DVOA rank: 7th

Key additions: Sam Bradford (QB), DeMarco Murray (RB), Kiko Alonso (LB), Byron Maxwell (CB)

Key subtractions: Nick Foles (QB), Lesean McCoy (RB), Jeremy Maclin (WR)

One thing to know: The Eagles might be the league’s biggest wild card. No one would be surprised if they won anywhere from six to 12 games.  Can Sam Bradford stay healthy? He’s nearly two years removed from his last regular-season snap and now joins an offense that exposes QBs to many occupational hazards. But if Bradford stays upright, look out.

Pittsburgh Steelers:

2014 DVOA rank: 8th

Key additions: DeAngelo Williams (RB), Bud Dupree (rookie, LB)

Key subtractions: Jason Worilds (LB), Troy Polamalu (CB), Brett Keisel (DE)

One thing to know: The Steelers defense from the late 2000s has been completely turned over. This is now an offense-first team.  The offense is Super Bowl-caliber, but is it good enough to carry a defense in transition? New coordinator Keith Butler brings his own style, but he can only hope he has adequate pass rush and coverage from inexperienced group.

St. Louis Rams:

2014 DVOA rank: 18th

Key additions: Nick Foles (QB), Nick Fairley (DT), Todd Gurley (rookie, RB)

Key subtractions: Sam Bradford (QB), Zac Stacy (RB)

One thing to know: The defense is so good that even a league-average performance out of Foles would put them in line for a playoff spot.  What will they get from new QB Nick Foles? It’s not fair to expect the guy who posted a surreal 119.2 passer rating two years ago. But Foles must capably diversify an offense that has been too one-dimensional of late.

San Francisco 49ers:

2014 DVOA rank: 11th

Key additions: Darnell Dockett (DT), Torrey Smith (WR), Reggie Bush (RB)

Key subtractions: Jim Harbaugh (coach), Justin Smith (DL), Chris Culliver (CB), Frank Gore (RB), Michael Crabtree (WR), Mike Iupati (OL), Perrish Cox (CB), Patrick Willis (LB), Chris Borland (LB)

One thing to know: Nobody had a worse off-season than San Francisco. They’re now in full rebuilding mode.  Who’s the boss? Jim Harbaugh, Frank Gore, Patrick Willis, Justin Smith — all strong leaders, all gone. If this team suffers an identity crisis under rookie coach Jim Tomsula, a depleted roster could be of secondary concern.

Seattle Seahawks:

2014 DVOA rank: 1st

Key additions: Jimmy Graham (TE), Cary Williams (CB)

Key subtractions: Byron Maxwell (CB), James Carpenter (OL), O’Brien Schofield (LB), Max Unger (C)

One thing to know: The Seahawks addressed their biggest weakness in the Jimmy Graham trade, but they had to sacrifice depth to do so.  Can they continue managing distractions? The track record shows they know how to cope with significant drama. This year, it starts with contract issues for mainstays Russell Wilson, Bobby Wagner and Michael Bennett.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers:2014 DVOA rank: 30th

Key additions: Jameis Winston (rookie, QB), Henry Melton (DT)

Key subtractions: Adrian Clayborn (DE), Josh McCown (QB), Michael Johnson (DE), Dashon Goldson (DB)

One thing to know: The Bucs defensive unit was quietly not terrible last year. If Winston can turn them into a merely bad offensive team rather than the worst offensive team in the league, things could be looking up.  How will rookie Jameis Winston handle the spotlight? Given his troubling off-field detours at Florida State, it may be a more relevant concern than his ability to run the Bucs offense, a huge challenge by itself.

Tennessee Titans:

2014 DVOA rank: 31st

Key additions: Marcus Mariota (rookie, QB), Brian Orakpo (DE), Hakeem Nicks (WR), Perrish Cox (DB)

Key subtractions: Jake Locker (QB), Kamerion Wimbley (LB)

One thing to know: Marcus Mariota was the last 2015 draftee to sign his rookie deal, but he’ll be there for training camp.  Is Marcus Mariota up to the NFL challenge? He’ll surely get more than a 16-game audition, but the Titans know they bypassed some intriguing opportunities to replenish the franchise had they dealt the right to draft Mariota.

Washington Redskins:

2014 DVOA rank: 28th

Key additions: Chris Culliver (CB), Terrance Knighton (DT)

Key subtractions: Brian Orakpo (LB), Ryan Clark (DB)

One thing to know: The reports on Robert Griffin III don’t sound great!  Is Robert Griffin III the guy? No way the fourth-year passer collects $16 million in 2016 if he’s subpar in 2015. With Kirk Cousins and Colt McCoy in walk years, team could be back at square one under center in six months.

AFC Training Camp Notes

Training Camps are about to start and here are some news/notes/rumors from last week for each AFC team that I could find.

AFC EAST

NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS

QB: Tom Brady’s appeal has been heard by Roger Goodell. How much longer do we wait to hear his suspension has been reduced?

RB: Travaris Cadet, James White and Dion Lewis are battling for the pass-catching job in New England.

WR: Brandon LaFell has been spotted in a walking boot with an undisclosed injury.

TE: The Pats cut both Tim Wright and Fred Davis.

MIAMI DOLPHINS

QB: Ryan Tannehill has been seen playing much smoother in his second season in Bill Lazor’s offense.

RB: Rookie Jay Ajayi has been impressive and might push Lamar Miller for touches.

WR: First-round pick DeVante Parker had foot surgery to replace a screw in the foot he broke last season. He is expected to be ready for Week 1.

TE: The Dolphins plan to use Jordan Cameron more vertically to stretch the seam this season.

NEW YORK JETS

QB: Geno Smith is the starter this season as the QB1 and will get at least a month to prove himself.

RB: Stevan Ridley is recovering from ACL surgery and may not be ready for training camp.

WR: Brandon Marshall is living with new best friend Geno Smith in order to build chemistry.

TE: Zach Sudfeld tore his ACL and is on IR.

BUFFALO BILLS

QB: The starting job is still very much up in the air. Not only are E.J. Manuel and Matt Cassel battling but Tyrod Taylor is also in the mix as well.

RB: LeSean McCoy is expect to see well over 300 carries this season.

WR: Sammy Watkins is still recovering from offseason hip surgery and is just now beginning to inch closer to full strength.

TE: Bills’ rookie TE Nick O’Leary is likely to win the TE2 job and play a role in two-tight end sets.

AFC NORTH

PITTSBURGH STEELERS

QB: Ben Roethlisberger believes this is the best supporting cast he’s ever had on offense.

RB: Le’Veon Bell has not had his appeal heard yet and is not sure when it will be heard. However, he’s optimistic his three-game suspension will be reduced or even overturned.

WR: Martavis Bryant has added 10-pounds of muscle.

TE: Rookie Jesse James could be the long-term replacement for veteran Heath Miller.

CINCINNATI BENGALS

QB: Backup A.J. McCarron has played exceptionally this offseason and the team may only keep two QBs because of how good he’s looked.

RB: Jeremy Hill believes he’ll split touches with Giovani Bernard again this season.

WR: Marvin Jones is finally back and fully healthy after missing all of last season with foot and ankle injuries, and a portion of OTAs with a hamstring issue.

TE: Rookie C.J. Uzomah has been a standout in camp and is the favorite to be the TE2 over Tyler Kroft and could even push Tyler Eifert for the starting job.

BALTIMORE RAVENS

QB: The Ravens have brought in Matt Schaub to back up Joe Flacco.  If you are a Ravens fan you hope Schaub never plays.

RB: Justin Forsett is expected to play a larger role in the passing game this season.

WR: Kamar Aiken is the favorite to win the WR2 job as Breshad Perriman continues to struggle with drops.

TE: Dennis Pitta has yet to be medically cleared for team drills.

CLEVELAND BROWNS

QB: Josh McCown is the heavy favorite to win the Browns’ starting job.

RB: Rookie Duke Johnson has been the most impressive back in camp and has been lining up out wide in certain formations.

WR: Taylor Gabriel has been the Browns’ best wideout this offseason.

TE: Rob Housler will more than likely be the starting TE in Cleveland this season.

AFC SOUTH

INDIANAPOLIS COLTS

QB: Andrew Luck has already built quite the rapport with free agent WR Andre Johnson.

RB: Rookie Josh Robinson has a real shot to emerge as the RB2 this season and the eventual starter in the future.

WR: Rookie Phillip Dorsett has shined this offseason and is expected to play a significant role in the offense right away.

TE: Dwayne Allen missed the offseason conditioning program due to the same bulky ankle he dealt with last season.

HOUSTON TEXANS

QB: Head coach Bill O’Brien still isn’t ready to choose a starting QB. Neither Brian Hoyer nor Ryan Mallett has done much to separate themselves from the other.

RB: Arian Foster is having the healthiest offseason he’s had in years.

WR: Nate Washington has been a standout this offseason while rookie Jaelen Strong is yet to impress.

TE: C.J. Fiedorowicz is fully recovered from a knee procedure in January.

JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS

QB: Blake Bortles has worked hard on his mechanics and fundamentals this offseason.

RB: Rookie T.J. Yeldon is not only the favorite to start but will likely see feature-back touches.

WR: Since returning from the foot fracture he suffered last season, Allen Robinson has been “unbelievable” in camp.

TE: Marcedes Lewis is expected to see his role reduced to primarily being a blocking TE.

TENNESSEE TITANS

QB: Second-overall pick Marcus Mariota will be the starting QB this season and has impressed his coaches thus far. The offense will be modified to fit his skill set.

RB: Rookie David Cobb could emerge as the RB1 this season. The team recently cut the Titans’ other big back, Shonn Greene.

WR: Rookie Dorial Green-Beckham has struggled with hamstring injuries this offseason and has fallen significantly behind.

TE: The Titans added Anthony Fasano to backup Delanie Walker.

AFC WEST

DENVER BRONCOS

QB: Peyton Manning has seen his practice reps reduced under new head coach Gary Kubiak in order to keep him fresh. Team is expected to transition to a slower paced run-heavy offense this season.

RB: C.J. Anderson is still atop the depth chart, but the Broncos are expected to deploy some sort of committee with Montee Ball as a close second in touches and Ronnie Hillman mixed in as well.

WR: Demaryius Thomas still has not signed his franchise tender and could have a lengthy holdout. Also, Emmanuel Sanders has admitted he expects to see his production take a hit in the new offense.

TE: Rookie Jeff Heuerman tore his ACL during rookie minicamp.

SAN DIEGO CHARGERS

QB: Despite multiple rumors of Philip Rivers’ days with the Chargers being numbered, he says he wants to finish his career in San Diego.

RB: Danny Woodhead is fully recovered from a broken leg he suffered last season and looks to be back to form.

WR: Malcom Floyd has insisted on multiple occasions that he’s “all in” and this will be his last season as a pro.

TE: Antonio Gates wants and is expected to see both his snaps and practice reps reduced this season. Ladarius Green is the likely beneficiary.

KANSAS CITY CHIEFS

QB: The coaches want Alex Smith to be more aggressive and take more shots down field this season.

RB: Jamaal Charles has slimmed down and intends to play for six more seasons. Knile Davis believes he’s every bit as talented as Charles.

WR: Rookie Chris Conley has made a serious push for a starting job this offseason.

TE: Travis Kelce has been a star in camp and is playing with aggression and confidence.

OAKLAND RAIDERS

QB: After suffering a significant injury to his right ring finger in OTAs, Derek Carr avoided surgery and is back to being a full participant in practice.

RB: Latavius Murray is expected to see a heavy workload and is in line for a breakout season.

WR: Amari Cooper has been touted as the real deal this offseason.

TE: Rookie Clive Walford has been outstanding and is now the favorite to beat out Mychal Rivera for the starting job.

 

Tomorrow will be a look at the NFC.

Are You Ready 4some…

Hi, my name is still Logan Cartwright and I still drink rum with ER nurses at night – but in one particular way, I am a New Man, a different man, a more dangerous man than the last time we talked – and that was a few weeks ago, right?

It was sometime after midnight on the 4th, when we went outside the bunker to work on our own fireworks display, that could scare the snot out of the neighbors.  They all know us as gentle, fun-loving people with goofy timing, but would never in their wildest dreams expect to be blasted out of bed before sunrise for no good reason – maybe it was the Rum splashed with Jameson and ginger, maybe it was the idea that THIS is what John Adams meant by continuous celebration – they believed only a vicious idiot would do something like that – and they knew I was no idiot.

Summer is always a wild time for me and this summer has been and will be anything but calm and relaxing.  I’ll spending most of my time dealing with wild and interesting, but importantly huge things – and they will happen very soon – we are all in for an extremely fast season – Football is only 8 weeks away!

We all feel more comfortable in the fast lane and so today is no different – we are gonna break down some of the pre-season’s biggest off-season moves and what that might mean for your Fantasy Football team and what that might mean for your FD game.

SAINTS:

If you paid any attention to them last year you might have found yourself curiously confused as what you witnessed.  Was this the end of the Payton-Brees profilic offense?  Had time finally caught up?  Did they really just lose the division like that and lose to Atlanta twice?!  Yes!  It was painful – sure they scored points, gained yards like nothing was statistically different – but wins were choked away by unforced errors on offense.  The defense was horrible and it is hard to think it will improve more than 10 spots this year.  But the stunner was trading a basketball-playing-marshmallow, to gamble on a more dynamic running offense.  CJ Spiller, Max Unger should help Brees-us, but…

SEAHAWKS:

Yes the ‘Hawks get Jimmy Graham and already that is an upgrade at wide receiver – but it seems people are over-selling the importance a TE is going to bring.  Sure Jimmy can catch, but jimmy gets rubbed out often and no one confuses Jimmy with a real game-changing TE in Gronkowski.  If you keep drinking the kool-aid, you’ll find yourself going overboard thinking the Seahawks will resemble anything like the Patriots two TE sets.  Having said that, Russell Wilson was third overall in pts/game on FanDuel and adding Jimmy should help an offensive coordinator that has always wanted a tight end that can catch – now we wait and see.

Revis-Island pt.Deux:

The Jets’ issue was not defense and Revis decided that he could go home again – $$$ doesn’t hurt either.  Todd Bowles will be able to keep offenses guessing knowing that Cromartie and Revis can run with any WR – but time seems to against that idea in my opinion and didn’t Richardson get busted and miss 4 games?  To consider the Defense, you have to look at the other side of the ball and believe that it is in Geno’s hands.  If he plays well, so will the defense – if he has not evolved, then nothing changes for Jets fans.

RUNNING BACKS:

A lot of them moved around –

  • Shane Vereen to the Giants
  • CJ Spiller to the Saints
  • Lesean McCoy to the Bills
  • Demarco Murray and Ryan Mathews to the Eagles
  • Darren McFadden to the Cowboys

You know only a few of them are going to make any significant impact – the rest are just bargain-bin additions.  We know it was a foregone conclusion that Jerruh Jones was gonna sign a Razorback – and nothing in the past says that McFadden will be anything close to what DeMarco Murray was for Dallas – but I dare you to say that to a Cowboys fan – in fact do, just to see their face and listen to the logic that they won’t miss a beat.

SUH:

Is making a lot of scratch, so much that he might run the ball at the goal-line or throw a pass.  But if the Dolphins were 24th against the run and SUH is believed to be one of the best run-stoppers – then you have to believe that the Dolphins will finish higher.  I don’t see it.  You know my thoughts on SUH from the last article I wrote when he signed with Miami.  The Dolphins averaged 8.38pts/game last year – I see no change, ok, maybe Suh gets them another .5/game – is that worth 100+million?

 

 

We are all in for a wild ride the next few months – so good luck and drink all the cold beer you can get your hands on for as long as necessary to guarantee victory.  Send me your football questions and look for the new baseball DraftKings page on Tuesday in the RotoCanon tab – Shaka

*Your Team* is DiRTy

I’ve just been handed an urgent news story – great Odin’s Raven – every team cheats?  I know, I know – it puts you in a glass case of emotion with nothing to drink but milk on a hot day – poor choice.  So, your team has shown, that it’s plan, 60% of the time to win a Superbowl, works everytime – as long as it cheats.  Says so right here on the label and thanks to YourTeamCheats.com we have all the gate-y-ness exposed – it’s science.

Here is a sampling of the ongoing league-wide issues:

Tamper-gate (ongoing) flags

TEAM: All 32 NFL Teams

SEVERITY:scale

SUMMARY: Tampering with free agents is rampant, it’s laughable and it is against the rules (PDF). It’s so bad across every team in the league that the NFL had to create a three-day legal tampering period. However, tampering still regularly occurs long before that annual three-day window opens. On March 9, 2015 the league once again felt compelled to warn all 32 teams about not tampering.

Why is tampering considered a problem? Because tampering with players still under contract makes it difficult for clubs to re-sign their own talent. It also puts those few teams that actually follow NFL guidelines at a distinct disadvantage. In many cases, contract agreements are in place days before any negotiations are allowed to begin.

This isn’t fair, it isn’t legal, and it is blatant cheating by the teams who engage in the practice.

VICTIM: The entire league

PUNISHED? No but…

PUNISHMENT: NFL commissioner and former Jets public relations intern Roger Goodell is doing all he can to curtail and punish the “commonplace” practice, although it admits that there is so much tampering that it is hard to police it all.

The CheatPoints earned for this leaguewide cheat is for all of this team’s tampering incidents that have gone undiscovered or unproven. If specific instances are discovered, they are punished on top of this leaguewide penalty.

AWARDS EARNED:Everyone Was Doing It!

CHEATPOINTS EARNED:+ 4.0

Headset-gate (ongoing) flags

TEAM: All 32 NFL Teams

SEVERITY:scale

SUMMARY: it’s a common complaint around the NFL. In late, close games, the helmet communicators of visiting teams suddenly “malfunction” and stop working. It has been accepted as standard practice in the league. Are you on the road and the game is close? Then you are going to have problems with your headset.

In recent years, the Patriots have accused the Colts of doing it and the Jaguars have made the same charge of the Patriots. The Redskins accused the Buccaneers of disabling their headsets, and Tampa Bay accused Dallas. The Giants openly bragged about doing it way back in 1956. The charges go on and on and on.

VICTIM: The entire league

PUNISHED? No

CHEATPOINTS EARNED:+ 4.0

Spy-gate (until 2006) flags

TEAM: All 32 NFL Teams

SEVERITY:scale

SUMMARY: Stealing your opponent’s signals has always been common and never been illegal.

Said former Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Bill Cowher, “We had people that always tried to steal signals. Stealing someone’s signals was a part of the game, and everyone attempted to do that.” Admitted former Dallas Cowboys head coach Jimmy Johnson: “When I came into the NFL, back in 1989, I talked to a Kansas City scout and he said, ‘Here’s what we do, we videotape the opposing team’s signals and then we sync it up with the game film.’ So I did it.” Bragged, former Denver Broncos head coach Mike Shanahan: “Our guy keeps a pair of binoculars on their signal-callers every game, with any luck, we have their defensive signals figured out by halftime. Sometimes, by the end of the first quarter.”

NFL commissioner and former Jets public relations intern Rodger Goodell confirmed this himself in 2008, saying that the issue was not stealing signals, that is allowed “and it is done quite widely.” The issue is where and how you record them. If you chose to videotape them, then (after 2006) you have to do that from a league approved location. If you hire lip readers, they can do it from your coaches lap, if you want.

After 2006, examples of allowed videotaping locations are: the luxury boxes, media booths and other enclosed spaces. Expressly prohibited locations are the sidelines, the field, locker rooms, the coaches booth or any other place accessible to team coaches and staff. The point of the rule is to not allow the footage to be useful in the current game.

Prior to the September 6, 2006 memo and, 2007 follow up, from NFL head of football operations Ray Anderson, there was no league restriction on filming location, which is the reason the memo was sent.

Many NFL head coaches have downplayed the significance of the practice, saying that attempting to decipher opponent’s signals was a long standing practice andentirely common throughout the league.

VICTIM: The entire league

PUNISHED? No

PUNISHMENT: NFL commissioner and former Jets public relations intern Rodger Goodell suggested that the responsibility was on teams to conceal their messages, not on the ones trying to steal them. During his news conference before the 2007 Super Bowl he said that any coach who did not expect signals to be stolen was “stupid.”

Prior to 2006, every NFL team is assumed to have done it, but none of them broke a rule. You can’t punish something that is not prohibited. Filming from the sidelines was not prohibited until 2006 and filming your opponent’s signals from approved locations has never been prohibited, even today.

AWARDS EARNED:Everyone Was Doing It!

CHEATPOINTS EARNED:+ 0.0

Scraps-gate (ongoing) flags

TEAM: All 32 NFL Teams

SEVERITY:scale

SUMMARY: Sign an opponent’s recently-cut player to your practice squad to get intel on their plays, signals and tactics. This is not illegal and is a leaguewide practice.

Said one player, who chose to remain anonymous as he was still in the league as of 2015, “If teams have an opening at a certain position, they might not be looking for perhaps the best player to fill it on their practice squad. Instead, they might go for someone who has access to the opposing team’s playbook.”

“Let’s say we’re playing the Jaguars in seven days and you want to know more about their playbook. From time to time teams will sign people off of practice squads. You don’t have to put them on active roster so if there’s a need for more depth at linebacker and you’re playing Jacksonville, there would be more of a chance to sign a linebacker off the team you’re about to play’s practice squad and hoping that the person you’re about to sign will divulge information about the playbook.”

VICTIM: The entire league

PUNISHED? No

PUNISHMENT: Not illegal.

AWARDS EARNED:Everyone Was Doing It!

CHEATPOINTS EARNED:+ 0.0


So what have we learned, well we have learned a lot, (Cheaters win, and three of the biggest cheats are in the AFC – with the Broncos being the worst of them all) and if you want to see for yourself – click on your teams’ icon and go directly to YourTeamCheats.com to find out all the little dirty secrets in your teams closet.  Then write your congressman and tell him/her that the media needs to slander every team, not just the Patriots.

BUFMIANENYJBALCINCLEPITHOUINDJAXTENDENKCOAKSDDALNYGPHIWASCHIDETGBMIN

ATLCARNOTBARISFSEASTL

CHEATSCORES
NFC EAST NFC NORTH NFC SOUTH NFC WEST AFC EAST AFC NORTH AFC SOUTH AFC WEST
DAL – 20 CHI – 20 ATL – 28 ARI – 13 BUF – 16 BAL – 35 HOU – 16 DEN – 49
NYG – 35 DET – 28 CAR – 20 SEA – 25 MIA – 22 CIN – 16 IND – 37 KC – 16
PHI – 28 GB – 27 NO – 23 SF – 31 NE – 25 CLE – 13 JAX – 12 OAK – 27
WAS –37 MIN – 23 STL – 14 TB – 25 NYJ – 40 PIT – 46 TEN – 20 SD – 19

Nose in the DiRT

Merry New Year

Quick and DiRTy – The Armed Forces Bowl – Houston is down 21pts with 6 minutes left in the 4th quarter to Pittsburgh – they begin on their own 17 yard-line – Houston scores a touchdown with 3:41 left to play – Onside kick is recovered by Houston – Houston then scores another touchdown with 1:58 to play – Houston, down by 7, successfully recovers their SECOND onside kick – scores a touchdown and converts for 2pts to take the lead 35-34 over Pitt with 54 seconds left.  Houston scores 29pts and racks up over 290 yards in the 4th quarter to beat Pitt 35-34.  Another amazing finish for this terrific bowl-season.  If you followed our bowl picks you would see that we are 69.6% of the 33 bowl games played with 5 remaining.  No other site – that we have seen – is over 60% accuracy.  Of the 8 games we provided, that had a probability of 80% or more – we are currently 5-of-7 with Washington left to play, for 71.4% accuracy overall.


after this bowl season it looks like the SEC West has cable

SEC West – After being called the most dominant division in all of college football – they ended up being a joke this bowl season, (while we are telling jokes, someone tell Les Miles that he supposed to let Leonard Fournette touch the ball more than 11 times against Notre Dame – seriously?!! – and develop a damn QB!!!).  The entire Gulf Coast got embarrassed and for most of 2015 everyone can tell SEC-fan to shut it.  Does it mean the end of an era?  Maybe not, but instead lets applaud the selection committee and applaud the brilliance of a 4 team playoff – because the beauty of it all is what we witnessed yesterday.  Think about it, the BCS would have given us Alabama v FSU and likely another title in a flawed system.  It is possible to conceive that if we would have done the right thing at the start of this millennium the southern dominance would not have been so dramatic, or maybe this is just a hiccup.


Congratulations to…

Everbody Duck!

Oregon – started slow and then ran away with it, thanks to FSU who turned the ball over 5 times in 20 minutes and then did their best impression of a flight-less bird that likes its head in the sand.  After the game, some “student-athletes” chanted and gesticulated their immaturity when they chanted “no-means-no” to the tune of the Seminole-War-chant making fun of Jameis and his rape-allegation.  The move comes off as idiotic as the Preacher that spews fire and brimstone about the evils of homosexuality and drugs – only to be found in a gay massage parlor soliciting sexual favors for meth.  The irony would be, however, that these players are punished more for this than Jameis was.  On a lighter note, the sagacity of college football fans is on full display here: (click for more)

Memes1

Ohio State – the last time two coaches met in a bowl game with multiple National Championships was in 1977, also in the Sugar Bowl and also Ohio State v Alabama.  However, this time it was Ohio State with the victory.  It also means that Nick Saban is terrible with Alabama in the Sugar Bowl and his overall record is 8-8 in bowl games (he is perfect however in the Sugar Bowl when LSU is involved).  Meanwhile, Urban Meyer is 8-2 in bowl games and has yet to lose a conference game in the BIG (not)10.  If Urban wins against Oregon, who do you say is the better coach – you would have to say it goes to Urban with what he did at Utah, Florida and now THE Ohio State, 3rd string QB, etc.., right?!  You could tell that when Ohio State finally scored a touchdown – also an amazing catch – that the (low)tide had changed, and every SC fan was all-to-familiar with that offense from Lane Kiffin, #DejaVu.  No SEC or ‘bama apologists can take away what happened – a third-string QB made Alabama look slow and proved to be better than any QB the Tide have.  The BIG (not)10 made a statement yesterday – now it’s on to Dallas and it is gonna come down to which team plays better D.

Doug Marrone – for having a phenomenal contract.  Doug left the Bills because of a clause in his contract that gave him a 3-day period to opt out at the end of the regular season if the Bills were sold while he was the coach.  Even better was the absence of another clause that no matter what happens, the Bills still have to pay him $4 million for 2015.  Who knows what the reasons exactly are or what he may have said to Bill Polian to keep him from taking over the GM duties in Buffalo – but I will go with his contract and the rumor that he asked for an extension for his assistants and himself, and on both counts, he was told no.  That makes it a no brainer for me when you consider further that the Bills do not have a 1st round draft pick and no QB – at least one that was not benched for Uncle Rico – and a love for all things New York.


My knees and my back…

Being 30 is hard, especially when you have to carry so many people.  Maybe now Cleveland can figure out how to get Kevin Love going and play up to expectations – or maybe this team already is playing to its realistic potential and Lebron just needs a break to see where his talents are going geaux next year.  Anyway, when I heard about his two-week stay-cation because of his knees and his back – I went straight to this classic:


NFL Playoffs

It never gets old…

with the playoffs approaching, here are some things to consider:

Cardinals Arizona_whitetail_ntc120 @ Carolina_6n_120 Panthers 01/03 04:35 PM ESPN Rain 50f Drizzle 3m ENE

CAR -6.5 (38)

This seems like a classic trap scenario – The public is all over the Panthers and why not?  Arizona has not scored a rushing TD in their last 7 games and averages only 1 TD/game offensively.  Factoring in that the Carolina D has returned to being excellent the last few games and you wonder how Arizona is going to score.  But, you should never question the power of TEAM and the belief that it is US against THEM and regardless of Ryan Lindley or Logan Thomas, it is still (s)Cam Newton and Ron Rivera without a playoff victory.  The numbers say this game is close and the Panthers win by 2.5, but I’m gonna take the Fightin’ Bruce Arians and the points.

FanDuel considerations: Larry Fitzgerald, Greg Olsen, J.Stewart, Cam Newton

Vegas consideration: tease the OVER and Arizona plus 6.5

Numbers say: CAR 21  AZ 18


Ravens Baltimore_ntc120 @ Pittsburg_ntc120 Steelers 01/03 08:15 PM NBC Nrain 44f Light Rain 9m SSE

PIT -3 (45)

This game comes down to each teams Passing Defense and their ability to limit aerial touchdowns.  9 of the last 13 games these two teams have played have been decided by 3pts or less.  So this is likely to be another came that is close and comes down to field goals.  It is expected that Leveon Bell will not play and so that makes it more important for BigBen to throw that pig-bladder all over the yard.  I trust Ben more than Flacco, but I trust Harbaugh and the rest of the Ravens, (who have more recent success) more than I trust Tomlin and the rest of the Steelers.  The numbers say Ravens win and that’s where I will side.

FanDuel considerations: Antonio Brown, Martavis Bryant, J.Forsett, Torrey Smith, Flacco

Vegas consideration: BAL plus 3 and tease the OVER

Number say: BAL 23  PIT 20


Bengals Cinncinnati_6n_120 @ Indianapolis_6n_120 Colts 01/04 01:05 PM CBS Dome DOME 20m WSW

IND -3 (49)

Jeremy Hill is trucking 6.5 YPC the last 3 weeks and seems to have given the Bengals greater toughness on the offensive side of the ball – when motivated.  Andrew Luck is 31-19 against the spread and Indy smoked them the last time they played.  But, teams playing again in the playoffs after beating the other by more than 2 TD’s, are 10 games below .500 the next time.  So do you trust Dalton enough with that running game to beat the Colts?  This time around expect the game to be closer but the Colts still win.

FanDuel consideration: Andrew Luck, TY Hilton, Jeremy Hill, Sanu, Dwayne Allen

Vegas consideration: tease INDY and tease the OVER

Numbers say: IND 25  CIN 21


Lions Detroit_6n_120 @ Dallas_6n120 Cowboys 01/04 04:40 PM FOX Clear-day 40f Clear 10m NNW

DAL -6.5 (48)

You could say that if this was a road game for Dallas it would be a gimme, considering they were 8-0 on the road this year.  The public is all over Dallas but look who they have played to finish the year and it’s a bit of fool’s gold.  Not to say that Dallas is not good, because they are, (they might be the best overall team) but Detroit has an excellent D that could take advantage of Dallas’ home struggles.  But it still comes down to who do you trust at QB – Stafford or Romo – and although you might say it is a toss-up, the numbers validate Romo.  This should be close but Dallas wins the game and Detroit is the right play with getting 6.5.

FanDuel consideration: DeMarco Murray, E.Ebron, Dez Bryant, Golden Tate

Vegas consideration: Detroit plus 6.5 and tease the OVER

Numbers say: DAL 24  DET 21


Possible lineup combinations for FanDuel

#1

Big Ben

Demarco

J.Hill

Golden Tate

Steve Smith

Sanu

Olsen

Bailey

Bengals


#2

Flacco

j.Hill

j.Stew

Ant.Brown

Mi.Floyd

Steve Smith

Olsen

Nugent

Bengals


#3

Cam

Herron

Bush

Ant.Brown

Calvin Johnson

Torrey Smith

Witten

Bailey

Lions