Your #NFL Weekend Update + #Superbowl50 Forecast

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Daniels helps Denver punch ticket to Super Bowl 50

In the 17th and quite possibly the final edition of “Manning versus Brady,” it was Peyton Manning and the Broncos emerging victorious over Tom Brady and the Patriots in the AFC Championship Game. Manning completed 17 passes for 176 yards and threw two touchdowns, both to tight end Owen Daniels. Daniels caught a 21-yard touchdown pass in the first quarter and a 12-yard TD pass in the second quarter, and those were his only two receptions of the game. Daniels tied the NFL postseason record for receptions in a game, all of which went for scores, last done by the Colts’ LaVon Brazill, also against the Patriots, in the 2013 playoffs.

Daniels is the fourth player to catch two touchdown passes from Peyton Manning in a playoff game. The previous three did so for the Colts against the Broncos: Marvin Harrison and Brandon Stokley in the 2003 playoffs and Reggie Wayne a year later.

Rare struggles for Patriots’ offense

Though a late touchdown pass from Tom Brady to Rob Gronkowski made the final score close, it was a day-long struggle for the Patriots on offense. Brady completed 27 of 56 passes, marking the first time in his professional career that he completed fewer than half of his passes in a postseason game. The 29 incomplete passes on Sunday were also a career-high for Brady in a postseason game.

The Patriots as a team converted two of 15 third-down attempts, good for just 13.3 percent. That’s New England’s lowest third-down percentage in a postseason game under Bill Belichick. The last time the Patriots converted a lower percentage of third downs in a postseason game was Super Bowl XX – New England lost to the Bears, 46-10, and were 1-for-10 (10%) on third downs.

Panthers pound Cardinals in NFC Championship

The Panthers are headed to Super Bowl 50 after overwhelming the Cardinals, 49-15, in the NFC Championship Game. The 49 points by Carolina are the second-most scored by a team that clinched a berth in the Super Bowl – the Bills scored 51 points in the AFC Championship Game in January 1991 against the Raiders. The Panthers, who forced seven turnovers in their blowout victory, are the second team in the last 20 postseasons to score at least 49 points and record seven or more takeaways in a postseason game. The other team to accomplish that feat in that span is the Jaguars, who racked up 62 points and forced seven turnovers in their divisional round victory over the Dolphins in January 2000.

nullSuperman Cam is clutch for Carolina

Cam Newton put up an MVP-like performance in the Panthers’ victory, throwing for 335 yards and two touchdowns while also running for a pair of scores. Newton is the fourth quarterback to total multiple touchdown passes and touchdown rushes in a single postseason game. Otto Graham had two such games for the Browns in back-to-back NFL Championships (1954 and 1955). The other two players to do so prior to Newton were Jay Cutler (Jan. 2011 against the Seahawks) and Colin Kaepernick (Jan. 2013 versus the Packers).

nullPalmer ties ignominious record in loss

Carson Palmer struggled against the mighty Panthers defense, throwing four interceptions and losing a pair of fumbles. Palmer’s six turnovers are tied for the most turnovers by a player in a postseason game. The last player to turn the ball over six times in a postseason game also did so in a Panthers-Cardinals matchup – Jake Delhomme had five interceptions and lost a fumble for Carolina in January 2009 against Arizona.

A first look at Super Bowl 50: Denver Broncos vs. Carolina Panthers

LAS VEGAS – The Carolina Panthers will go to San Francisco favored by more than a field goal to win the Super Bowl for the first time in franchise history.

Oddsmakers didn’t even wait until the Panthers finished off the Arizona Cardinals to install them as favorites for the game against the Denver Broncos on Feb. 7. At most books, the Panthers were a 4-point pick, though the early line varied, with the over/under settling in at 45.

Five Quick Hits

* I wish there had been more time in between games on Sunday. The nail-biter in Denver ended minutes before kickoff in Carolina, and if the game had gone into overtime, that creates a conflict for viewers.

* Even if you DVR the NFC Championship Game while you watch the end of the AFC Championship Game, good luck avoiding the scroll at your bottom of your screen, telling you that it’s 17-0 Carolina before you’ve even switched over. There should be a hour, minimum, between the conference championship games. Probably one and a half. I’d rather watch a pre-game show for 15 minutes than miss the first drive of the NFC Championship Game.

* Anyone else catch Rob Gronkowski complaining to the back judge near the end of the early game? He mimed that the Broncos had basically attempted to murder him, on a play that rightfully drew no penalties. Hey Gronk, there’s another sport where crying and faking does draw penalties. It’s called soccer. Either sign with the New England Revolution, or grow up.

* Cam Newton is an all-pro QB and league MVP, and he played great on Sunday. But I’ve never seen a quarterback so willing to throw a 4-yard pass on 3rd-and-10.

* Congratulations to this year’s finalists for the Walter Payton Man of the Year Award: Anquan Boldin, Eli Manning, and Ben Watson. Boldin is the favorite. This is the second year in a row he’s been a finalist. Thomas Davis, who won last season, had also been a finalist for the second year in a row.

* Get an early look at the 2016 Super Bowl commercials.

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The Ghost of Christmas Future

Super Bowl 50: Carolina Panthers vs. Denver Broncos
Santa Clara, California
February 7, 2015

For the third year in a row, the top seeds from both conferences will meet in the Super Bowl. But this result wasn’t as likely as that stat would imply. The hottest teams coming into the playoffs were the Chiefs (on a 10-game win streak), the Cardinals (who lost a 9-game streak with a half-hearted Week 17), and the Seahawks (whose last four wins came by a combined 139-32). The Panthers had a tough road to the big game, and the Broncos just didn’t look particularly intimidating at the end of the regular season.

This is the first Super Bowl for both head coaches, though both have been to Super Bowls in other capacities. The Broncos’ Gary Kubiak becomes the seventh head coach to make a Super Bowl in his first year with the team, joining Don McCafferty, Red Miller, George Seifert, Bill Callahan, Jon Gruden, and Jim Caldwell. Additionally, Peyton Manning will become the oldest QB to start a Super Bowl, breaking the record held by his employer, John Elway.

CAROLINA ON OFFENSE

Denver has a great defense, but this is a bad matchup. The Broncos thrive on pressure, but Cam Newton’s running ability means he can evade pass rushers, and he’ll run through openings if you leave them. The Broncos will get some sacks, but their pressure won’t have the same effect it did against the Patriots. Denver’s pass defense is better than its rush defense, and Carolina is one of the most balanced offenses in the league, with a good ground game. New England prefers to throw, which played to Denver’s strength, but if Mike Shula is smart, I’d expect the Panthers to run about 50% of the time, more if they get a big lead. I’d also look for some sort of trick play to break things open.

The Broncos need to contain the rush, while preventing big plays downfield: make Newton throw short and intermediate passes, string together long drives. He’s capable of that, but the Broncos can’t get run over on the ground, or killed on sudden, momentum-generating big-play strikes. The Broncos have won with their defense all year, and they’ll need a low-scoring game if they’re going to win, so giving up a 50-yard TD would be devastating. Force the Panthers to work the ball down the field, preferably through the air, and hope you can force a couple of turnovers.

DENVER ON OFFENSE

This still seems weird to say about a Peyton Manning offense, but the Broncos are best when their offense is smart and conservative, with an emphasis on ball control. You expect to see what the team has shown its last few games. They’ll stick with the run, mostly grinding out short gains to keep the defense honest, and probably break a long one at some point. Manning has to take a few shots downfield, but his role is more to find the right plays and pick up first downs on 3rd-and-6. The priority is avoiding turnovers. The Broncos aren’t going to win a shootout, and they’re not expecting to win with explosive offense; they want big plays from their defense.

Carolina’s priority is probably to prevent Denver from establishing its run game and getting into a rhythm. Don’t make mistakes, and force Manning to win with his arm. The Panthers are effective ballhawks, as we saw in the NFC Championship Game, but they probably don’t need to force turnovers as long as they’re solid throughout the game. They need to be creative enough that Manning doesn’t pick them apart with his calls at the line, but they don’t need to be aggressive, exactly. Luke Kuechly and Josh Norman are terrific players, but Carolina’s most important defender in this game might be Kawann Short. Manning can’t overcome a good interior pass rush.

SPECIAL TEAMS

This might be a small advantage for Denver, which has a slightly better kicker, slightly better punter, and a more consistent return game. For the Broncos to win, they’ll probably need an edge from special teams: a big return or a blocked kick or something.

THE FORECAST

The three best teams in the NFL this year were all in the NFC: the Panthers, Cardinals, and Seahawks. The Panthers have already beaten the other two, pretty handily, and they’re 4-point favorites to win Super Bowl 50. Denver has a great defense, though, and you should never underestimate great defensive teams in a championship. The Broncos were in the Super Bowl two years ago, so they have Super Bowl experience, which the Panthers do not – not that it matters a damn. And it’s widely assumed that this will be Manning’s last game. I hate to imply that players don’t always perform at their peak, especially in a game of this magnitude, but sometimes you see a little more when emotions are running high. Who’s to say the Broncos don’t find something extra to help the Sheriff ride off into the sunset?

All the intangibles point in Denver’s direction. But the Panthers are a better team. They have a good defense, too, as their seven takeaways against Arizona would attest, and they have an offense that scores more points. Their ground game plays away from Denver’s strengths, and interior defensive pressure could radically disrupt Manning’s gameplan.

Source: Sports Central NFL – Super Bowl 50 Preview

Brock Osweiler leads Broncos over Patriots; more #NFL Week 12 | The MMQB with Peter King

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This was toward the end of Denver quarterback Brock Osweiler’s second start in the NFL on Sunday night—his first against a 10-0 team led by the greatest quarterback in football today—as flurries swirled near the Rockies. The wind chill, 19 degrees, made even the diehards think three-and-a-half hours outside was just about enough.

Two minutes into overtime. Denver 24, New England 24. Third-and-one, Patriots’ 48-yard line.

In the huddle, Osweiler called two plays; coach and play-caller Gary Kubiak told Osweiler before the play, “You get us the best one.” Osweiler would give a signal once he saw how the Patriots aligned on defense. As the huddle broke, the quarterback told running back C.J. Anderson, “Hey man, just go. Make a play.”

Osweiler got to the line, under center, and surveyed the New England front. He was going to run C.J. Anderson to the weak side (that was his first call in the huddle) but saw something he didn’t like there—maybe an unblocked Rob Ninkovich hovering on the quarterback’s right. Whatever, he switched to a strong-side sweep to the left. “KILL! KILL! KILL!” he called, arms stretched out parallel to the ground. To the left, tight end Vernon Davis and a strong blocking wide receiver, Bennie Fowler, got ready to seal the left side for Anderson.

“It’s a wide toss,” said left guard Evan Mathis, “and if the play goes the way it’s designed, there should be one of our guys on every one of theirs, except for the deep safety. Then the back’s got to make that guy miss.”

“OMAHA!” yelled Osweiler.

(Hey! Isn’t that Peyton Manning’s cadence-starter? Well, it was.)

“Set!”

altx-logo-white_SMALLAnderson, seven yards deep in a classic tailback position, bolted left and took a pitch from Osweiler. Mathis was right. There was a hat-on-a-hat throughout the left end, right tackle Ryan Harris going out to sweep away cornerback Malcolm Butler, Davis eliminating safety Devin McCourty, and, most impressively, center Matt Paradis sprinting out after snapping the ball and cutting down linebacker Jonathan Freeny. The only player left, just as Mathis said, was safety Duron Harmon, angling to the sideline to push Anderson out at the 30-yard line.

“My job,” Anderson said from Denver near midnight, “was just run to the open space, then make the guy miss.” Hugging the sideline, Anderson did that. For the last 30 yards he was all alone, and the Patriots weren’t unbeaten anymore, and there was some mystery in the AFC.

And then there was one: Carolina, the only undefeated team left in the NFL entering December.

If you’re New England, the only worrisome thing is the condition of tight end Rob Gronkowski, who went down in agony with an apparent right knee injury late in the game. But Adam Schefter reported the injury wasn’t believed to be serious. If it isn’t, the verdict in Denver isn’t that big a loss. The Patriots (10-1) played without both top wideouts, with a makeshift offensive line, without impact linebacker Jamie Collins, and without breakout back Dion Lewis. A crucial turnover was made by an undrafted free agent, Chris Harper, the seventh wide receiver to play for the team this year; he dropped a punt, and Denver recovered and later scored. The Patriots don’t play a team better than 6-5 in the last five games, while the 9-2 Bengals and 9-2 Broncos play each other Dec. 28. Denver also is at Pittsburgh in three weeks. So New England is still very much in control of home field throughout the AFC playoffs.

But Denver has to feel reborn this morning. With Manning playing so unreliably—14 interceptions in his last six games—Osweiler’s efficiency in his two starts and his 2-0 record should ensure he’ll keep the job as long as he continues to play low-error football.

Every year the NFL produces a story or two or three as good as this one. The Osweiler story will be told a lot in the coming weeks … a 6-foot-8 Montana kid who turned down a basketball offer from Gonzaga to play quarterback at Arizona State. He caught the eye of Denver football czar John Elway before the 2012 draft and got picked late in the second round to learn the pro craft behind Manning. It was Manning who sat upstairs Sunday to watch the New England defensive tendencies and came down to the locker room at halftime to spend a few minutes spilling what he’d seen to Osweiler.

Osweiler is quite sure of himself. He threw a few 95-mph fastballs Sunday through the snowflakes, and you can see that the moment is not too big for him. He does have to learn to throw the ball away instead of taking big sacks; one of those cost Denver a possible field goal Sunday night.

Brock Osweiler is 2-0 since taking over for an injured Peyton Manning.

Photo: Andy Cross/Getty Images

“Even when he wasn’t starting,” Mathis said from Denver on Sunday night, “he was getting a lot of reps this……(continue reading)

Source: Brock Osweiler leads Broncos over Patriots; more NFL Week 12 | The MMQB with Peter King

How to Stop Worrying and Just Draft!

Short post today, but if you remember back in July, I participated in several mock drafts – I know it was early, it was for research.  Well now there is even more information, but stunningly, people still are not drafting QB’s, it’s RBs.  Re-read that post here 

With our staff working long hours in the dungeon to get our new site up and running, I thought I would revisit this topic again for some of you that still play in “season long” leagues and give you ancropped-logo_1260147_print-1-e14180934753933.png idea where guys are being drafted, on average.  In the infinite space of Fantasy Football, it all means nothing really, because, I’m sure we all have that guy in our league that selects all Denver Broncos, or better yet Tim Tebow – you know who you are!  At the end of the day, we could tell you with certainty, this guy is ranked here and it won’t matter because your plan of taking Roethlisberger in the 8th round (ADP) is blown up, when he is taken with the 17th overall pick, by a guy who already has a QB – I’ve seen it a hundred times.  So R-E-L-A-X, you’ve read enough fluff, watched even more and when it comes down to it, none of it means anything unless you can fleece that guy in a trade that puts you over the top – and isn’t that were the fun really is anyway?  But just in case, here is the Average Draft Position for PPR and non-PPR, after last night’s perfect lineup, a night of ‘STROS:

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PPR NON-PPR
Player Pos Team ADP Player Pos Team ADP
Adrian Peterson RB MIN 2.7 Eddie Lacy RB GB 2.3
Le’Veon Bell RB PIT 2.9 Jamaal Charles RB KC 2.3
Eddie Lacy RB GB 3.4 Adrian Peterson RB MIN 3.0
Jamaal Charles RB KC 3.7 Antonio Brown WR PIT 4.3
Antonio Brown WR PIT 3.9 Odell Beckham Jr. WR NYG 7.7
Marshawn Lynch RB SEA 8.2 Le’Veon Bell RB PIT 8.3
Odell Beckham Jr. WR NYG 9.8 Marshawn Lynch RB SEA 8.3
C.J. Anderson RB DEN 9.9 Rob Gronkowski TE NE 9.0
Rob Gronkowski TE NE 10.1 Dez Bryant WR DAL 10.7
LeSean McCoy RB BUF 10.6 LeSean McCoy RB BUF 11.3
Dez Bryant WR DAL 10.8 DeMarco Murray RB PHI 11.7
Matt Forte RB CHI 11.9 Demaryius Thomas WR DEN 12.0
Julio Jones WR ATL 12.8 Julio Jones WR ATL 12.3
DeMarco Murray RB PHI 13.4 Calvin Johnson WR DET 13.3
Demaryius Thomas WR DEN 14.1 Arian Foster RB HOU 15.0
Jeremy Hill RB CIN 14.5 Matt Forte RB CHI 15.7
Calvin Johnson WR DET 16.0 Jordy Nelson WR GB 15.7
Jordy Nelson WR GB 16.8 C.J. Anderson RB DEN 16.7
A.J. Green WR CIN 20.0 Andrew Luck QB IND 17.7
Justin Forsett RB BAL 21.6 Jeremy Hill RB CIN 17.7
Alshon Jeffery WR CHI 23.4 A.J. Green WR CIN 18.7
T.Y. Hilton WR IND 24.9 T.Y. Hilton WR IND 21.7
Randall Cobb WR GB 25.5 Justin Forsett RB BAL 25.3
Andrew Luck QB IND 25.9 Randall Cobb WR GB 26.3
Lamar Miller RB MIA 27.0 Jimmy Graham TE SEA 26.7
Mark Ingram RB NO 29.8 Lamar Miller RB MIA 27.0
Aaron Rodgers QB GB 30.0 Alshon Jeffery WR CHI 27.0
Melvin Gordon RB SD 30.8 Latavius Murray RB OAK 28.3
Mike Evans WR TB 31.9 Melvin Gordon RB SD 29.7
Frank Gore RB IND 32.3 Aaron Rodgers QB GB 30.0
Jimmy Graham TE SEA 33.8 Mike Evans WR TB 30.3
Latavius Murray RB OAK 34.0 Mark Ingram RB NO 32.7
Kelvin Benjamin WR CAR 34.2 Frank Gore RB IND 33.0
DeAndre Hopkins WR HOU 35.7 Andre Ellington RB ARI 34.3
Brandin Cooks WR NO 35.8 Alfred Morris RB WAS 35.0
Jordan Matthews WR PHI 36.5 Jordan Matthews WR PHI 36.7
Emmanuel Sanders WR DEN 37.4 Brandin Cooks WR NO 38.0
Andre Ellington RB ARI 38.4 Kelvin Benjamin WR CAR 38.0
Alfred Morris RB WAS 38.6 Carlos Hyde RB SF 39.7
Carlos Hyde RB SF 41.7 Joique Bell RB DET 40.3
Joseph Randle RB DAL 41.9 Emmanuel Sanders WR DEN 40.7
T.J. Yeldon RB JAC 43.8 T.J. Yeldon RB JAC 42.3
Arian Foster RB HOU 44.7 DeAndre Hopkins WR HOU 43.3
C.J. Spiller RB NO 45.4 Drew Brees QB NO 45.0
Sammy Watkins WR BUF 47.5 Sammy Watkins WR BUF 45.3
Jonathan Stewart RB CAR 47.8 C.J. Spiller RB NO 45.7
Todd Gurley RB STL 48.5 Martavis Bryant WR PIT 46.0
Drew Brees QB NO 49.6 Golden Tate WR DET 51.0
Joique Bell RB DET 50.1 Joseph Randle RB DAL 51.3
Golden Tate WR DET 52.8 Todd Gurley RB STL 53.3
DeSean Jackson WR WAS 53.2 Jonathan Stewart RB CAR 53.7
Jeremy Maclin WR KC 54.8 Michael Floyd WR ARI 56.0
Keenan Allen WR SD 54.8 DeSean Jackson WR WAS 56.3
Amari Cooper WR OAK 55.2 Peyton Manning QB DEN 58.7
Martavis Bryant WR PIT 55.7 Amari Cooper WR OAK 58.7
Tevin Coleman RB ATL 57.5 Jeremy Maclin WR KC 58.7
Andre Johnson WR IND 57.7 Travis Kelce TE KC 59.7
Travis Kelce TE KC 59.8 Mike Wallace WR MIN 62.0
Peyton Manning QB DEN 60.8 Andre Johnson WR IND 62.7
Julian Edelman WR NE 61.3 Keenan Allen WR SD 62.7
Greg Olsen TE CAR 63.8 Tevin Coleman RB ATL 65.3
Chris Ivory RB NYJ 68.2 Greg Olsen TE CAR 65.7
Giovani Bernard RB CIN 68.7 Eric Decker WR NYJ 65.7
Mike Wallace WR MIN 69.8 Matt Ryan QB ATL 66.3
Rashad Jennings RB NYG 70.2 Rashad Jennings RB NYG 66.3
Matt Ryan QB ATL 71.3 Brandon LaFell WR NE 66.3
Jarvis Landry WR MIA 71.9 Kevin White WR CHI 69.0
Vincent Jackson WR TB 74.2 Vincent Jackson WR TB 69.7
Brandon LaFell WR NE 75.0 Ben Roethlisberger QB PIT 70.3
Kevin White WR CHI 75.7 Matthew Stafford QB DET 73.3
Shane Vereen RB NYG 75.8 Terrance Williams WR DAL 74.3
Allen Robinson WR JAC 76.7 Bishop Sankey RB TEN 75.3
Eric Decker WR NYJ 76.8 Jarvis Landry WR MIA 76.0
Ben Roethlisberger QB PIT 77.8 DeVante Parker WR MIA 77.0
Charles Johnson WR MIN 78.2 Eli Manning QB NYG 77.3
Martellus Bennett TE CHI 79.2 Allen Robinson WR JAC 77.7
Bishop Sankey RB TEN 81.2 Chris Ivory RB NYJ 78.3
Michael Floyd WR ARI 81.4 Cam Newton QB CAR 80.3
Brandon Marshall WR NYJ 83.2 Charles Johnson WR MIN 80.7
Duke Johnson RB CLE 83.9 Martellus Bennett TE CHI 81.7
Ameer Abdullah RB DET 85.3 Giovani Bernard RB CIN 82.7
Nelson Agholor WR PHI 85.6 Darren McFadden RB DAL 83.0
Roddy White WR ATL 85.7 Coby Fleener TE IND 83.0
Larry Fitzgerald WR ARI 86.1 Larry Fitzgerald WR ARI 85.0
Russell Wilson QB SEA 87.1 Julian Edelman WR NE 85.3
LeGarrette Blount RB NE 87.1 Ryan Tannehill QB MIA 86.0
Torrey Smith WR SF 87.7 Shane Vereen RB NYJ 87.0
Darren McFadden RB DAL 89.2 Ameer Abdullah RB DET 87.7
Ryan Tannehill QB MIA 90.5 Kenny Stills WR MIA 88.7
Eli Manning QB NYG 91.4 Zach Ertz TE PHI 90.0
Terrance Williams WR DAL 91.8 Russell Wilson QB SEA 90.7
DeVante Parker WR MIA 92.2 Duke Johnson RB CLE 92.3
Matthew Stafford QB DET 94.4 Brandon Marshall WR NYJ 93.0
Zach Ertz TE PHI 94.4 Kendall Wright WR TEN 93.3
Jordan Cameron TE MIA 96.2 Nelson Agholor WR PHI 93.7
Cam Newton QB CAR 97.5 Roddy White WR ATL 94.3
Devonta Freeman RB ATL 99.2 Torrey Smith WR BAL 95.3
Breshad Perriman WR BAL 101.8 Darren Sproles RB PHI 96.0
Ryan Mathews RB PHI 102.8 Tony Romo QB DAL 97.7
Delanie Walker TE TEN 105.5 Jordan Cameron TE MIA 98.7
Tre Mason RB STL 105.8 Breshad Perriman WR BAL 102.7
Kendall Wright WR TEN 105.8 Dorial Green-Beckham WR TEN 103.3
Tony Romo QB DAL 105.9 Denard Robinson RB JAC 105.3
Julius Thomas TE JAC 106.3 Devonta Freeman RB ATL 108.0
Kenny Stills WR MIA 107.2 James White RB NE 108.7
David Johnson RB ARI 108.3 Philip Rivers QB SD 109.3
Anquan Boldin WR SF 109.9 David Johnson RB ARI 110.3
Marques Colston WR NO 112.8 Delanie Walker TE TEN 111.3
Coby Fleener TE IND 113.1 Seattle Seahawks DEF SEA 112.7
Isaiah Crowell RB CLE 113.2 LeGarrette Blount RB NE 114.3
Philip Rivers QB SD 114.1 Victor Cruz WR NYG 114.3
Darren Sproles RB PHI 114.2 Anquan Boldin WR SF 117.3
Knile Davis RB KC 118.0 Carson Palmer QB ARI 119.3
Victor Cruz WR NYG 119.6 Julius Thomas TE JAC 120.7
John Brown WR ARI 120.5 Ryan Mathews RB PHI 121.0
Tom Brady QB NE 120.6 Isaiah Crowell RB CLE 121.7
Dorial Green-Beckham WR TEN 121.7 Eddie Royal WR CHI 121.7
Doug Martin RB TB 121.9 Joe Flacco QB BAL 122.7
Danny Woodhead RB SD 124.5 Tre Mason RB STL 122.7
Pierre Garcon WR WAS 125.5 Pierre Garcon WR WAS 123.7
Jason Witten TE DAL 126.8 Marques Colston WR NO 124.3
Charles Sims RB TB 129.2 Derek Carr QB OAK 127.3
Eddie Royal WR CHI 134.5 John Brown WR ARI 127.3
Seattle Seahawks DEF SEA 135.1 Tom Brady QB NE 128.0
Joe Flacco QB BAL 136.8 Larry Donnell TE NYG 128.0
James White RB NE 138.0 Jason Witten TE DAL 129.3
Michael Crabtree WR OAK 139.8 Teddy Bridgewater QB MIN 129.7
David Cobb RB TEN 143.2 Vernon Davis TE SF 130.3
Steve Smith WR BAL 145.5 Fred Jackson RB BUF 133.7
Vernon Davis TE SF 147.1 Doug Martin RB TB 134.0
Roy Helu RB OAK 147.5 Charles Sims RB TB 136.3
Houston Texans DEF HOU 150.5 Andy Dalton QB CIN 137.0
Buffalo Bills DEF BUF 150.8 Houston Texans DEF HOU 139.3
Montee Ball RB DEN 151.5 Buffalo Bills DEF BUF 140.3
Denard Robinson RB JAC 152.7 Colin Kaepernick QB SF 142.0
Brian Quick WR STL 152.8 Roy Helu RB OAK 143.0
Doug Baldwin WR SEA 153.2 Michael Crabtree WR OAK 143.3
Stevan Ridley RB NYJ 153.5 Jordan Reed TE WAS 144.7
St. Louis Rams DEF STL 154.2 Danny Woodhead RB SD 145.0
Teddy Bridgewater QB MIN 154.2 St. Louis Rams DEF STL 145.3
Carson Palmer QB CIN 155.1 Brian Quick WR STL 145.3
Tyler Eifert TE CIN 156.3 Stephen Gostkowski K NE 147.3
Davante Adams WR GB 156.5 Arizona Cardinals DEF ARI 147.7
Andre Williams RB NYG 156.9 Jameis Winston QB TB 148.3
Reggie Bush RB SF 157.5 Reggie Bush RB SF 148.3
Kyle Rudolph TE MIN 159.3 Andre Williams RB NYG 148.7
Stephen Gostkowski K NE 161.1 Mychal Rivera TE OAK 148.7
Owen Daniels TE DEN 162.8 Owen Daniels TE DEN 149.7
Percy Harvin WR BUF 162.9 Jay Ajayi RB MIA 151.3
Cody Latimer WR DEN 163.2 New York Jets DEF NYJ 152.7
Alfred Blue RB HOU 164.1 Percy Harvin WR BUF 155.7
Jay Ajayi RB MIA 164.4 Steve Smith WR BAL 156.0
New York Jets DEF NYJ 164.5 Knile Davis RB KC 157.0
Cody Parkey K PHI 166.7 Mason Crosby K GB 157.3
Arizona Cardinals DEF ARI 167.5 Denver Broncos DEF DEN 157.7
Mason Crosby K GB 167.6 Justin Tucker K BAL 157.7
Dan Herron RB IND 169.0 Cody Parkey K PHI 158.0
Rueben Randle WR NYG 169.0 Cincinnati Bengals DEF CIN 158.3
Stevie Johnson WR SD 170.8 Steven Hauschka K SEA 159.3
Larry Donnell TE NYG 171.3 New England Patriots DEF NE 159.7
Sam Bradford QB PHI 171.4 Austin Seferian-Jenkins TE TB 159.7
DeAngelo Williams RB PIT 171.5 Dan Bailey K DAL 160.0
Terrance West RB CLE 171.5 Connor Barth K DEN 160.7
Carolina Panthers DEF CAR 171.9 Doug Baldwin WR SEA 160.7
Fred Jackson RB BUF 172.2 Stevie Johnson WR SD 161.0
Colin Kaepernick QB SF 172.5 David Cobb RB TEN 161.3
Denver Broncos DEF DEN 172.9 Tavon Austin WR STL 161.7
Jordan Reed TE WAS 173.9 Cecil Shorts III WR HOU 162.0
New England Patriots DEF NE 174.2 Devin Funchess WR CAR 162.0
Justin Tucker K BAL 174.6 Adam Vinatieri K IND 164.0
Josh Hill TE NO 174.8 Green Bay Packers DEF GB 164.7
Miami Dolphins DEF MIA 175.2 Josh Hill TE NO 165.3
Austin Seferian-Jenkins TE TB 175.2 Blair Walsh K MIN 166.3
Derek Carr QB OAK 175.9 Jay Cutler QB CHI 166.3
Connor Barth K DEN 176.6 Stevan Ridley RB NYJ 167.0
Adam Vinatieri K IND 177.3 Dwayne Allen TE IND 167.0
Steven Hauschka K SEA 177.3 Matt Asiata RB MIN 167.3
Dan Bailey K DAL 178.4 Caleb Sturgis K MIA 167.7
Jameis Winston QB TB 179.1 Dwayne Bowe WR CLE 167.7
Jay Cutler QB CHI 181.2 Carolina Panthers DEF CAR 168.0
Andy Dalton QB CIN 181.5 Tyler Eifert TE CIN 168.0
Phillip Dorsett WR IND 182.5 Branden Oliver RB SD 168.3
Matt Bryant K ATL 183.2 Sam Bradford QB PHI 168.7
Cecil Shorts III WR HOU 183.6 Rueben Randle WR NYG 169.0
Allen Hurns WR JAC 183.7 Antonio Gates TE SD 169.3
Jaelen Strong WR HOU 184.3 Kyle Rudolph TE MIN 169.3
Green Bay Packers DEF GB 184.8 Mohamed Sanu WR CIN 169.7
Markus Wheaton WR PIT 184.9 Cody Latimer WR DEN 170.3
Caleb Sturgis K MIA 186.2 Eric Ebron TE DET 170.7
Devin Funchess WR CAR 186.2 Phillip Dorsett WR IND 170.7
Kenny Britt WR STL 186.8 Ladarius Green TE SD 171.7
Dwayne Bowe WR CLE 187.1 Chris Johnson RB FA 172.0
Dwayne Allen TE IND 187.3 Miami Dolphins DEF MIA 172.3
Marvin Jones WR CIN 188.4 Baltimore Ravens DEF BAL 173.0
Kansas City Chiefs DEF KC 190.8 Jace Amaro TE NYJ 174.3
Mychal Rivera TE OAK 191.9 Kenny Britt WR STL 174.3
Justin Hunter WR TEN 192.5 Steve Smith WR BAL 175.0
Cameron Artis-Payne RB CAR 192.8 Kansas City Chiefs DEF KC 175.7
Heath Miller TE PIT 195.2 Dan Carpenter K BUF 176.3
Blair Walsh K MIN 195.2 Greg Zuerlein K STL 177.7
Marcus Mariota QB TEN 196.5 Matt Bryant K ATL 178.0
Indianapolis Colts DEF IND 198.0 Philadelphia Eagles DEF PHI 178.7
Greg Zuerlein K STL 198.2 Matt Prater K DET 179.0
Eric Ebron TE DET 198.3
Nick Foles QB STL 198.6
Shaun Suisham K PIT 199.2
Branden Oliver RB SD 199.5
Andrew Hawkins WR CLE 199.6
Cincinnati Bengals DEF CIN 199.8
Rob Housler TE CLE 200.5
Charles Clay TE BUF 201.1
Philadelphia Eagles DEF PHI 201.2
Antonio Gates TE SD 201.8
Maxx Williams TE BAL 202.0
Zac Stacy RB NYJ 202.9
Jonas Gray RB NE 203.0
Jace Amaro TE NYJ 203.3
Travaris Cadet RB NE 203.4
Pierre Thomas RB FA 203.7
Donte Moncrief WR IND 203.9
Robert Woods WR BUF 203.9
Jared Cook TE STL 204.2
Blake Bortles QB JAC 204.3
Khiry Robinson RB NO 204.5
Matt Prater K DET 204.8
Alex Smith QB KC 204.8
Matt Jones RB WAS 204.9
Detroit Lions DEF DET 205.0
Josh McCown QB CLE 205.2
Jerick McKinnon RB MIN 205.7
Ladarius Green TE SD 207.7
Brian Hartline WR CLE 207.8
Theo Riddick RB DET 208.2
Robert Griffin III QB WAS 208.3
Marquess Wilson WR CHI 208.5
Dan Carpenter K BUF 208.5
Devin Smith WR NYJ 208.8
Cole Beasley WR DAL 209.2
Chris Polk RB HOU 209.3
Tavon Austin WR STL 209.5
Baltimore Ravens DEF BAL 209.7
Ronnie Hillman RB DEN 209.8
Nick Novak K SD 209.8
Jermaine Kearse WR SEA 210.0
Tyler Lockett WR SEA 210.2
Chris Johnson RB FA 210.4
Josh Huff WR PHI 211.9
Greg Jennings WR MIA 213.6
Malcom Floyd WR SD 213.9
Minnesota Vikings DEF MIN 214.5
Matt Cassel QB BUF 215.1
Riley Cooper WR PHI 215.3
Stedman Bailey WR STL 216.7
Reggie Wayne WR FA 217.0
Cleveland Browns DEF CLE 217.5
James Starks RB GB 220.7
Robert Turbin RB SEA 228.2
Javorius Allen RB BAL 228.5
Lance Dunbar RB DAL 228.5
Mohamed Sanu WR CIN 229.4
Cairo Santos K KC 231.7

 

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.

*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

3rd Stone from the Sun

It’s hard to watch your heroes fall and attempt to hang on to long.  Age always wins.  It’s painful to watch the iron-will that made them great, now betray them by whispering sweet-nothings of recapturing past glory – regardless of the broken pieces or body parts required.  We remember painfully as Ali, Unitas, Namath, et al – were terrified to let go.  Maybe it’s the ego that imprisons the spirit to hold on, until the crowd clamors for the towel to be thrown in.

Hopefully, the star gets to fade out on their own terms – recognizing the end and to hang ’em up.  Hopefully they are not being forced out and told in a public forum that the organization hopes you retire – like the Steelers are doing to Polamalu.  It comes off like an intervention on Celebrity Rehab with Dr.Drew – except more public-ness and shame to a once great safety.

Sometimes these athletes reach an epiphany – they were shown a sign and for Peyton I think this is it.  When a grown man wears a swim shirt to the pool – it’s time.  We all know when it happened, when we realized howling at the moon was no longer the same.  We knew we were no longer our younger-cooler selves when we looked for clothes that had more to do with comfort than style, and for a good price.  So for Peyton to eschew sunscreen this way, here’s your sign – It makes you wonder if he was wearing socks with his sandals while he was eating his chicken parm sandwich – He might be you, right now, reading this in your fuzzy bear slippers – he’s your dad in black socks, dress shoes and bermuda shorts, he’s already got one foot in his comfy pants.

We’ve seen the greatness that is Peyton Manning degrade before our eyes.  Last year his legs gave out.  We have witnessed his arm strength sitting almost on “E”, and unless he fills up on stem-cells – there will be no more left in the tank.  But he passed his physical, gave up $4m and said he is coming back to play for his 18th season!  Even at $15m, is he worth the scratch?  Does the $4m help the Broncos improve the team anymore than what they did last year?  Is there anyone out there that truly believes he can win a Superbowl this year – on this team?!

The Broncos are acting like the pusher – just another hit, you know you want it – Peyton should have bowed out by now, but his ego will not let him and the Broncos are enabling him.  Hopefully he has one more good season left and does something great, beyond another 1st round playoff loss.  Hopefully we do not attest another broken hero.  Father Time warns you – he even helps you pick out the sweatpants, if you would just relax and let go – it won’t hurt a bit.

 

Is this the end of the Percy Harvin experiment in New York and did the Jets just trade for another headache?  Word is the Bears have traded Brandon Marshall to the Jets (pending a physical) for a late round pick – likely the one they would have given to Seattle if Harvin were still on the team – making this the 4th team for Brandon and soon to be 3rd for Harvin.  It still doesn’t answer the question of how the ball gets to the WR, #GenoSmith.  Plus, Brandon Marshall is older than Harvin and just as injury prone.  It smacks of, the same ol’Jets.  Word is also that the Eagles and Jets have already hand-shaked a deal for the Jets to take Mariota with the 6th pick, only to deal him to Philly.  Not sure how Philly does that considering how much Washington gave up for RGIII – or maybe the Chipster is following Ditka‘s plan – when he traded EVERYTHING for Ricky to wear a dress.

 


 

Deep in the Phillipine wilderness lived a soul that believed one day he could fly.  That one day he would dare majestically and change the game of basketball forever.  Maybe change the game was to much – maybe dare to change dunk contests forever.  He has emerged from the jungle primeval as the flying minion, with a dream to combine 3 one-of-a-kind dunks into one glorious explosion for human excellence.  The Flying Minion believed he could parlay this success of worldwide reknown into a starting role as point guard extraordinaire for the Washington Generals – at least I hope he wasn’t serious.


“YOU NEVER TALK TO BLACK JESUS LIKE THAT.”

– MICHAEL JORDAN


 

…and now a public service announcement


 

 

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