Jadeveon Clowney has gotten better every year since entering the NFL back in 2014. Next season we could see Clowney make a run at the sack title:

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Author: Jon Kuzma

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Jadeveon Clowney’s progression has been impressive since entering the NFL in 2014. After a dreadful rookie season in which Clowney only played in 4 games and recorded a lackluster 7 tackles for the whole year. The former South Carolina stand out took a big step in his second season of action suiting up for 13 games and putting up 4.5 sacks. While that was still considered below expectations those first two years of pro football really were the turning point for a player who was once regarded as one of the most promising physical specimens to ever enter the league. During 2017 Clowney came out a different player recording 9.5 sacks, 59 tackles, and 2 forced fumbles which were all career highs. It’s clear the Texans pass rusher is much more confidant these days and that has led to him absolutely blowing past some offensive lineman. Clowney definitely gets the job done with speed at the NFL level, he can shoot gaps quickly. It’s hard for offensive tackles to match up with the 25 year old (Clowney) because you can’t pass block what you can’t touch. The other big part of the former number 1 overall pick’s game is the fact that he has gotten better at producing clutch plays. Whether it’s an interception in the playoffs or coming up with a fumble recovery against the Patriots. Jadeveon Clowney has found a way to make an impact at the right time. All these past experiences will serve as stepping stones for number 90 moving forward. The future is definitely bright and it seems like the Rock Hill, South Carolina native will finally get to challenge Chandler Jones, Von Miller, and the other big sack producers for the title of best pass rusher in the league. It’s so imperative Clowney starts quickly out of the gate in 2018 because that will motivate him to play up to potential for the rest of the season. That will be the challenge for Bill O’Brien’s staff this off-season they have to make sure Clowney is ready to go from day 1 once camp rolls around.

Charity of the day: National Council on Aging

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It’s time to look back and fully appreciate DeAngelo Hall’s 15 year career. At one point Hall was one of the most feared cornerbacks in the league:

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Author: Jon Kuzma

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DeAngelo Hall’s career is winding down and what a run it was for the former Virginia Tech defensive back. Hall came into the NFL back in 2004 as a first round pick (8th overall). The Falcons selected him and he responded by providing a number of big plays for Atlanta’s defense. In fact Hall made a name for himself by rising to the occasion during big time games. It seemed like this guy was always intercepting a pass and taking it to the house or scooping up a fumble and punching it in for a defensive touchdown. Eventually Hall spent a year with the Raiders before winding up back on the East Coast with the Washington Redskins. During those days DeAngelo Hall recorded 3 Pro Bowl appearances, 4 interceptions in a game (tied NFL record), and the 2005 NFL’s Fastest Man Award. That’s on top of the 814 tackles, 43 interceptions, and 5 defensive touchdowns he’s amassed overall as a pro football player. Not many people can look back at their career and see that type of production or longevity. While Hall’s last four years weren’t as impressive, what he did early on his career really solidified his body of work. There’s a chance some team could still offer the veteran a contract but it seems unlikely just because Hall’s body has been breaking down of recent. The longtime Redskin’s ACLs aren’t what they once were and that’s pretty important if you plan on covering some of the fastest athletes on the planet. Still though DeAngelo Hall was truly one of the most entertaining players to watch at one point. Nobody can take that away from him and it will be interesting to see what comes next in his sports career? There’s already been some whispers that he plans to take a front office role with Washington.

Charity of the day: National Forest Foundation

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The fact that the Jaguars are recruiting free agent quarterbacks is somewhat unfair to Blake Bortles:

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Author: Jon Kuzma

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Blake Bortles has had an up and down career but lately he has been flying high. After taking the Jaguars to the AFC Championship game you’d think Bortles would have won over some of his doubters. However it appears the Jacksonville Jaguars are still skeptical. There’s been rumors floating around the NFL that the Jaguars could be in play for free agent Quarterback Kirk Cousins. That’s not exactly ideal for team morale because if Cousins doesn’t end up coming it puts Blake Bortles in a tough situation. Now to be fair Bortles is a professional and he understands that the business can be murky at times. Still, after how well the former UCF alum played in the postseason you would figure he’d get more respect. Blake Bortles didn’t have a single turnover in the playoffs and that was big considering ball security has always been the knock against him. Having success on the big stage like that will go along way for the 25 year old’s confidence and things are definitely trending in the right direction for Bortles. The Jaguars haven’t had the roster talent in the past to be successful like they do now and they were one game away from going to the Super Bowl. If this front office makes the right adjustments this off-season that will be the key to getting over the hump. The Jags pass defense was ranked number 1 in the league but that was largely because their defensive line recorded 55 sacks. If you watched the Steelers and Patriots playoff games there was some holes in the secondary which could be patched up. A.J Bouye is frequently praised for his defensive back play but against those elite teams he got exposed. It feels like Jacksonville needs another star corner opposite of Jalen Ramsey more than they need a new quarterback.

Charity of the day: National Forest Foundation

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Baker Mayfield’s stock is soaring at the right time. Some analysts have predicated Mayfield could even go number 1 overall in the NFL Draft:

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Author: Jon Kuzma

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Oklahoma’s Heisman winning Quarterback Baker Mayfield has been shooting up NFL draft boards and some analysts even have him going number 1 overall to the Cleveland Browns. Hue Jackson is desperate to change the culture in Ohio after going 0-16 this past season. One huge advantage of drafting Mayfield is this kid is on another level when it comes to charismatic leadership. Mayfield can infuse energy into the Browns and help set a new tone for everyone in that locker room. It all starts with the QB position in the National Football League and trickles down from there. DeShone Kizer struggled at the helm for this franchise in 2017 throwing for 11 touchdowns and 22 interceptions. New General Manager John Dorsey won’t want to settle for that kind of production which is why we’re seeing Cleveland assess several different quarterbacks leading up to the draft. Mayfield’s collegiate production was off the charts throwing for 14,607 yards, 131 touchdowns, and only 30 interceptions. It’s not every year you have a player coming out of college with so much upside, the question is whether or not Mayfield can shake the off the field antics? While some people close to the former Sooner have said that reputation is unfair and Mayfield is actually an introvert who minds his own business. There was still the suspension that came from the Kansas game when Mayfield did a profanity laced gesture towards the Jayhawks’ sideline. If the Austin Texas native (Mayfield) can eliminate those mistakes from his game that would cure some of the doubt NFL insiders have about him. Now Cleveland could end up going another route with the first overall pick but there’s still a chance they could get Mayfield with their second first round pick which is the 4th selection. The next two teams after that are the Broncos and Jets who also need a competent QB who can lead their team. So don’t expect Mayfield to make it past the top 6 spots in the draft because the Oklahoma stand out continues to impress every step of the way.

Charity of the day: National Forest Foundation

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The Steelers hands are tied they have to franchise tag Le’Veon Bell because it’s the best move for their football team:

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Author: Jon Kuzma

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With less than one month until free agency begins the Steelers have to be nervous about taking the Le’Veon Bell decision all the way down to the wire. Even though Bell publicly stated that he would consider sitting out if Pittsburgh franchise tagged him, really the Steelers don’t have any other option. With only $7 million dollars in cap space Pittsburgh is very limited when it comes to free agency spending. When you look at the numbers the Joe Haden contract is really hurting the Steelers books. Haden is eating up almost $12 million dollars in cap space and he only produced 20 tackles and 1 interception in 2017. Trimming the fat of overpaid players who are under-producing will help get the financial side of things in order. Regardless though Bell will have to be tagged because it’s the best option available for the team. Ultimately that move will swallow up all of Pittsburgh’s remaining cap space but if you take Le’Veon Bell out of the mix the Steel City is no longer a Super Bowl contender. There’s not going to be many free agents coming to Pennsylvania unless Kevin Colbert (G.M) can somehow shakes things up. Even though that’s the case it will still be a successful off-season for the black and yellow if they retain Le’veon Bell. He’s a big part of their nucleus and it’s hard to fathom that Pittsburgh would be better if they let go of their star running back. It’s just too risky of a move to gamble and think someone else can come in and fill Bell’s shoes. Franchise tag him, he won’t be happy about it but eventually everything will cool down and Pittsburgh will get back to football. That leaves the draft to make a few more adjustments and it looks like that will have to come on the defensive side of the ball. Pittsburgh couldn’t stop the run in the postseason and that will be their achilles heel until it’s addressed with either a stout nose tackle or an inside linebacker who can plug holes in those running lanes.

Charity of the day: Operation USA

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Cam Newton showed he is upholding his end of the bargain all season long. The Panthers have to get some wide receivers around him to bring out the best in everyone:

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Author: Jon Kuzma

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Despite a big performance from the tight end and running back position it was pretty obvious that the Carolina Panthers missed Kelvin Benjamin when the playoffs rolled around. Cam Newton played extremely well throwing for 349 yards, 2 touchdowns, and no interceptions in a NFC Wildcard loss to the Saints. In that contest Greg Olsen had a 100 receiving yards and Christan McCaffrey had over 100 receiving yards out of the backfield as well. It’s kind of shameful that the Panthers didn’t have enough talent at the receiver position to keep up with those two players. In Devin Funchess’ defense at least he was hurt during that game and trying to do every he could to play through the pain. The rest of the cast though are mostly undeveloped players and it was clear that is the weakness for this football team. Carolina can’t afford to sign a second rate player to play opposite of Funchess they need someone that can bring it on every down. Sammy Watkins would be a great fit for this franchise and keep in mind Watkins went to the University of Clemson. So he has some good history in the Carolinas and it’s closer to his home in Fort Myers Florida. After the Panthers ink Watkins they should focus on bringing in as many competent lineman as possible. The Saints exposed Ron Rivera’s offensive line for 4 sacks in that playoff match up. When you have a great quarterback like Newton then protection upfront has to be a top priority. LaAdrian Waddle and Andre Smith are two options who are not only affordable but could wind up packing a big punch in the trenches. The cherry on top of all this would be Carolina moving up to select Calvin Ridley. Imagine how dynamic this offense would be out of spread formations with Watkins, Ridley, and Funchess out wide? That’s the type of talent that will help this ball club get over the hump in the NFC. It will be up to the front office to go out there and execute the vision.

Charity of the day: Operation USA

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The Arizona Cardinals are fortunate to get Larry Fitzgerald back. Now they have to put the other pieces in place:

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Author: Jon Kuzma

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Arizona Cardinals Wide Receiver Larry Fitzgerald will return for his 15th NFL season and he’ll approach some outstanding milestones next fall. Fitzgerald (15,545) will likely pass Terrell Owens (15,934) for second place on the all time receiving yardage board. If the 34 year old Cardinals receiver achieves that feat only Jerry Rice (22,895) will have more yards. It’s just such a huge boost for this offense to get back one of the most prolific receivers ever. Expect Fitzgerald to continue to produce but there are some questions about who is going to be the quarterback in the desert? A.J McCarron just won a grievance over the Bengals and will available through free agency. Sam Bradford is another option that could end up suiting Arizona well. Bradford could probably be signed somewhere in the $8-10 million dollars range. It would be ideal if the birds could sign Kirk Cousins or McCarron but it’s a long shot that ends up happening. Going with Bradford would give this team a competent player at QB the question is whether or not he can stay healthy? The only other option out there is Jay Cutler, who might not be bad choice considering he was at least healthy all of 2017. Regardless of who Arizona chooses to sign and play under center there’s still a need for a couple of wide receivers. This team has been struggling at the wide out position since Michael Floyd left town. To make matters even worse Jaron Brown and John Brown are both free agents as well. Arizona has $22 million dollars in cap space available and you have to figure a QB will be at least $10 million. Then this team needs a pair of pass catchers out of that remaining $12 million. Danny Amendola and Donte Moncrief might be enough to keep this team competitive. The Cardinals should then select Orlando Brown in the draft who they can instantly start on the offensive line. That should cut down on the 52 sacks this franchise gave up last season. You can see from these moves that the offense needs to be completely revamped. One thing is for certain Larry Fitzgerald will be huge for production and morale when this organization gears up in August.

Charity of the day: Center for Community Change

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A.J McCarron just got a step closer to becoming the Cleveland Browns starting quarterback. McCarron won a grievance against the Bengals today effectively making him a free agent:

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Author: Jon Kuzma

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A.J McCarron just won a grievance against the Bengals which results in McCarron becoming a free agent next month. The grievance was over McCarron’s first year in Cincinnati in which the former Alabama QB was on the non-football injury list for a banged up shoulder. Tightness in his throwing arm prevented McCarron from participating in most of his team work outs that year (2014) and we know now the league is indeed counting that season as a year of service. It’s somewhat of interesting ruling considering McCarron was only active for the last three games of 2014 however an arbitrator ruled that was enough to knock one year off the former Bengal’s contract. Ultimately that meant McCarron fulfilled his contractual obligations to Cincinnati and now he can sign with any team he would like. The Browns already tried to trade for A.J McCarron during the regular season before forgetting to submit the proper paper work for that trade to the league. Hue Jackson used to be the offensive coordinator for the Bengals and that past rapport with McCarron makes Cleveland a likely destination for the soon to be starter. It’s possible the 27 year old could sign with Denver, Arizona, or Buffalo. Really it’s going to come down to the highest bidder or whether or not a past relationship with Jackson can swing a deal? McCarron is holding all of the cards on this one but don’t be surprised if he stays in the state of Ohio. There’s nothing like a great support system in the NFL and this guy knows what he is getting if he goes to play for the Browns. Even though Jackson and company have struggled tremendously over the past two seasons. A new competent quarterback will give them a much better shot at competing. If Cleveland does land A.J McCarron they will at least win a game in 2018. That’s a good start for that organization.

Charity of the day: Center for Community Change

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Marcus Peters is the best corner in all of football and don’t let anyone else tell you differently:

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Author: Jon Kuzma

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There’s always a debate about who is the best cover guy in all of football and that causes a lot of familiar names to be brought up. Richard Sherman and Patrick Peterson are always in the discussion, so are newcomers like AJ Bouye. The bottom line however is Marcus Peters is the best corner in all of football and truthfully we’ve never seen a cornerback as dynamic as Peters is in the Chiefs’ secondary. In three pro seasons Marcus Peters has amassed 19 interceptions and has never recorded under 5 INTS in a season. During that same time Sherman has recorded 8 interceptions, Peterson had 6 picks, and Bouye had 9 interceptions. The ability to cause takeaways is the measuring stick of the defensive back position and cornerback’s value are determined by how many times they can intercept passes. Peters doesn’t get nearly the recognition he deserves for all the success he has had and it’s a shame because this guy has been better out of the gate than Deion Sanders, Charles Woodson, and Mel Blount. From a production stand point the gap between Peterson and everyone else is huge, so to imply another DB is better is flat out irresponsible. That leads one to ask what makes Marcus Peters so much better than his competition? When you plug in the tape it becomes obvious the Chiefs stand out has great field awareness. Peters always understands where the wide receiver is and he can close space quickly. The confidence the former University of Washington alum shows is outstanding and he is a good enough athlete where he can win most jump ball situations. By combining all that fluidity with a skill set that is almost on par with a receiver’s. It becomes clear why Marcus Peters has had so many interceptions and that’s because he is physically and mentally superior. It’s hard to understand how Peters has flown under the radar with the highlight reel career he has put together? Honestly it doesn’t make any sense.

Charity of the day: Center for Community Change

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The Seattle Seahawks should make a run at Isaiah Crowell. Pete Carroll can’t settle for a lackluster running game again:

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Author: Jon Kuzma

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Last off-season the Seahawks signed Eddie Lacy for $4.2 million dollars per year and that move didn’t pan out at all considering Lacy rushed for less than 200 yards for the entire season. Not only that but Lacy didn’t record a single rushing touchdown in all of 2017 either. Pete Carroll can’t afford to have such a sluggish running game again and that’s why he should use that $4 million dollars to sign Isaiah Crowell. Crowell could probably be signed for $3.5 million dollars and will easily put up better stats than Lacy did. When you take into account that Mike Davis, Thomas Rawls, Chris Carson, and J.D McKissic all failed to rush for over 300 yards for the year too it becomes evident that Crowell could be the lead back out in Seattle. We’re talking about a player (Crowell) who was consistent on an abysmal Cleveland team. The Browns only had one win in their last two seasons but Crowell was still able to rush for 1,805 rushing yards during that time. The Seahawks have a much better team than they do in Northeast Ohio and that should result in even great production if Crowell does sign with Carroll’s team. This addition alone could be enough to take Seattle from the 23 ranked rushing offense to somewhere around the 15th ranked ball club. It’s small improvements like that which can pay big results for a team and it will also be huge for Russell Wilson. Wilson led the Seahawks with 586 rushing yards last season and that’s not exactly ideal. It would be much better if a running back was this franchise’s leading rusher and Carroll will aim for that goal next fall. There’s so many other facets of this offense that will start to click once Seattle can establish a presence on the ground and control the time of possession. We call that fundamental football and it’s the way every organization should strive to play.

Charity of the day: YMCA

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