Can Ryan Fitzpatrick get back on track?

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Author: Jon Kuzma

The New York Jets had a rough outing against the Kansas City Chiefs Sunday. The Jets lost the game 3-24 but maybe the thing most concerning for the Jets is the fact that starting quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick threw 0 touchdowns passes and 6 interceptions on the day. That was a completely disastrous performance from New York’s signal caller and Fitzpatrick has to get better if the Jets want to make something happen this year. A couple weeks ago against the Bills Fitzpatrick looked good but that wasn’t the case against the gritty Chiefs defense. Just about everyone in a Kansas City uniform picked off Fitzpatrick and he looked nowhere near the player who threw 31 touchdown passes a season ago. Fitzpatrick has a season total of 3 touchdowns and 7 interceptions in 2016 for a lackluster quarterback rating of 59.3. That is certainly not good enough to get the job done in the National Football League and the Jets at this point have to feel good about not offering Fitzpatrick the contract he really wanted in the off-season. New York’s front office was reluctant to overpay Ryan Fitzpatrick and so far their concerns seem to have some merit behind them. It might be a little early to suggest Geno Smith take over the starting quarterback job but if Fitzpatrick has another game like he did against the Chiefs, the cries to start Smith will intensify. Right now if you’re a Jets fan you have to ask yourself “will Ryan Fizpatrick play like this again”? It’s hard to say whether he will get better or not but it appears Fitzpatrick is on pace to regress from his season totals from a year ago. That isn’t what the Jets wanted to hear but Fitzpatrick already has about half the interceptions he threw all of last year. The stats don’t lie and Fitzpatrick will have to play a lot better if he wants to keep being the starting quarterback of the New York Jets. Keep in mind this team has 4 quarterbacks on their roster so they have a number of options at the position moving forward.

Charity of the day: Operation Homefront

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The Dolphins got the first win of the Adam Gase era with a 30-24 win over the Browns:

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Author: Jon Kuzma

The Miami Dolphins have been struggling under new Head Coach Adam Gase but Miami finally got their first win of the 2016 season with a 30-24 win over the Browns. In that game starting quarterback Ryan Tannehill led the way with 319 passing yards 3 touchdowns and 2 interceptions on the night. Even though Tannehill did turn the ball over twice, it was a good outing for the QB considering he went over the 300 yard passing mark and he threw 3 touchdowns strikes. That was good enough to get the job done for Miami and give credit to this team for being able to outlast Cleveland in overtime. Every football game is a battle but when the game goes into overtime it takes even more discipline and even more effort to get the victory. The Dolphins were fortunate that the Browns missed a potential game winning field goal attempt in overtime. A play that would have been a huge relief for Hue Jackson and company but in the end it was Jay Ajayi (a guy who was in the dog house at the start of the season) who won the game for Miami. Ajayi and Gase had friction when Gase decided starting Arian Foster would be the best move for this football team. However three weeks into the season Gase found out that Ajayi could be a player that could make life much easier for him. Ajayi proved that when he punched in an 11 yard game winning touchdown run and now Miami at least has some good momentum going in their favor. After being upbeat about the Gase hiring all off-season, all that optimism went out the window when Miami looked disastrous on the field. Now hopefully Miami can at least be competitive the rest of the season but truthfully this was a small win against the Browns. Cleveland isn’t that great of a team so it’s clear Miami has a long way to go before they are a winning football team in the National Football League.

Charity of the day: Operation Homefront

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The Redskins get their first win of the season against the New York Giants:

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Author: Jon Kuzma

The Washington Redskins were the best team in the NFC East last season but they entered week 3 with an 0-2 record. The Redskins were taking on the New York Giants who were 2-0 on the year and the match up didn’t seem like it was in Washington’s favor. In the end though the Redskins were able to come from behind and edge out a 29-27 victory over the Giants. The key for the Redskins down the stretch was the ability to get takeaways against the Giants offense. Eli Manning had the Giants in scoring positing in the 4th quarter when Quinton Dunbar intercepted a pass in his own end zone. That play could have easily been a touchdown for the Giants and possibly put the game out of reach. However Dunbar made a tremendous one handed interception which kept the Redskins hopes alive. The Redskins eventually took the lead late in the fourth because of a couple of Dustin Hopkins field goals. Which left Manning with a chance to be a hero on the final drive for New York. That was until Redskins rookie linebacker Su’a Cravens jumped a dump off pass to Shane Vereen and that second interception of Eli Manning in the 4th quarter sealed the deal for the Redskins. Other notable performers in the game for Washington were Kirk Cousins who finished the game with 296 passing yards and 2 touchdowns. Those touchdowns were thrown to Desean Jackson and Jamison Crowder who made up most of Washington’s offense. Odell Beckham Jr. had the best day for the Giants he recorded 7 receptions for 121 yards. While rookie receiver Sterling Shepard continued his hot streak recording another touchdown reception. Washington will head to Cleveland to take on the Browns next week. The Giants on the other hand will be pitted against a very tough Minnesota Vikings team on Monday Night Football.

Charity of the day: Prevent Cancer Foundation

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Vikings shutdown Cam Newton and the Panthers to improve 3-0 on the year:

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Author: Jon Kuzma

This just in the Minnesota Vikings defense is outstanding. After shutting down the Green Bay Packers last week the Vikings had a new task in week 3 containing the league’s Most Valuable Player Cam Newton. The Vikings were able to do that holding Newton to no touchdown passes and 3 interceptions. That was good enough for Minnesota to snap Carolina’s 14 game home field winning streak and now it’s looking like the Vikings are serious Super Bowl contenders. Harrison Smith led all Vikings defenders with 6 tackles and a sack. While Terence Newman, Trae Waynes, and Tom Johnson all had an interception. Mike Zimmer’s defense is the back bone of this football team and they are as fundamentally sound as you can get. Offensively Sam Bradford recorded 171 yards and 1 touchdown for the Vikings. That 1 touchdown pass was to Kyle Rudolph who also had 7 receptions and 70 yards on top of that touchdown catch. The Vikings also got a huge special teams play from punt returner Marcus Sherels when he recorded a 54 yard punt return for a TD. On the opposite sideline the Panthers only had 1 touchdown in this game and that was on a Cam Newton 3 yard run. Defensively Luke Kuechly was the top defender for Carolina he recorded 13 tackles in a defensive effort that only gave up 22 points. Ultimately though the Panthers offense was kept under wraps and the Vikings defense has emerged into a game changing force over the first 3 weeks of the season. At this point in the year it seems like the Panthers are slightly regressing, on the other hand the Minnesota Vikings are clearly trending upward. Not bad for a franchise who lost their starting QB to a knee injury just before the season started. The Vikings have to be very pleased to be 3-0 at this point and give Mike Zimmer a ton of credit for the work he has done in Minnesota during his tenure.

Charity of the day: Prevent Cancer Foundation

Go donate! www.preventcancer.org

Andy Dalton has been playing at a high level for the Cincinnati Bengals:

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Author: Jon Kuzma

The Cincinnati Bengals have one of the toughest schedules early on in the season but Andy Dalton has elevated his play despite the stiff competition. Dalton leads all passers with 723 yards on the season and is clearly the focal point of the Bengals offensive attack. The Bengals love to air the football out and Dalton does a great job of facilitating this team’s passing attack. Even though the Bengals lost 2 quality receivers in Mohamed Sanu and Marvin Jones, Dalton has picked up the load by getting Tyler Boyd and Brandon LaFell involved. Obviously this team is still led by AJ Green when it comes to catching the football but Boyd and LaFell have done a great job of becoming Dalton’s 2nd and 3rd option. That has really kept this offense afloat after the departures of Sanu and Jones and this team will be even better when they finally get Tyler Efiert back from an ankle injury. That will be a huge piece of the puzzle for Dalton because Eifert works the middle of the field well and can bail Dalton out of a jam. Tyler Eifert was one of the most productive pass catchers in all of football a season ago so this is a player the Bengals need healthy and you can only imagine the numbers Andy Dalton is going to put up when number 85 suits back up. Regardless give Dalton credit he makes quick decisions and has the arm strength/accuracy to deliver strikes right on the money. Dalton was a player who was often criticized in the past but the last couple of years this guy has really emerged into a promising quarterback and the Bengals missed A.D last year in the playoffs (Dalton was sidelined with a thumb injury). This year offers Cincy another opportunity to make a deep postseason run and they will need Dalton healthy and playing well in order to make that happen. It’s safe to say Andy Dalton is the key to the Bengals success and he has grown into an outstanding player.

Charity of the day: Alaska Conservation Foundation

Go donate! www.alaskaconservation.org

Stefon Diggs has been the most productive wide receiver in the NFL so far:

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Author: Jon Kuzma

Last year football fans caught a glimpse of Stefon Diggs and the player he could be in the National Football League. Diggs recorded 720 yards and 4 touchdowns in his first year of pro football and really burst onto the scene for the Minnesota Vikings. Now in his second season of action Diggs is picking up right where he left off and Diggs has actually been the most productive wide receiver in the entire league after the first 2 games. Diggs has hauled in 285 receiving yards and 1 touchdown in those two contests showing how vital he is to this Vikings offense. Number 14 has drastically improved for that purple football team and now with Sam Bradford in the mix there could be even more opportunities for Diggs to shine. Bradford is much more polished than Teddy Bridgwater is and the Vikings are hoping that experience will lead to more completions for this offense. So expect Stefon Diggs to get a boost from having a more mature quarterback and truthfully this guy just goes and gets it when the football is in the air. Against the Packers last week Diggs was able to work the middle of the field for several receptions and then he consistently made defenders miss when the ball was in his hands. One thing that really stood out while watching that film was the fact that Diggs was reading the defense and then finding the soft spots in Green Bay’s zones. So Stefon Diggs is not only an athletic football player but he is also a very smart football player. He knows how to beat teams with his speed and receiving skills, however he can also get the job done with his savvy and football I.Q as well. When you have a player that is that fundamentally sound the future is bright for him and Stefon Diggs will continue to impress as the season moves forwards. It’s certainly a lot of fun to watch!

Charity of the day: Cancer Research Institute

Go donate! www.cancerresearch.org

The Seahawks offense has been nonexistent over the first 2 weeks:

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Author: Jon Kuzma

The Seattle Seahawks lost a lot of key offensive lineman the last couple of off-seasons and now the results are really starting to show in the team’s offensive production. Over the last two weeks the Seahawks have only scored 15 points and when you average 7.5 points a game offensively that is a bad indication of the offensive talent on your roster. The Seahawks have started to regress ever since they alienated Marshawn Lynch and passed the torch to Russell Wilson. Lynch used to be the heart and soul of this team but they thought Wilson could handle that responsibility. Now the Seahawks don’t have Lynch’s game changing ability to keep them in football games and Lynch clearly wanted the Seahawks to know his worth. That is why he chose to retire and now the truth is coming to light who really was the most important player on Seattle’s offense. The other big factor for this team is the fact that players like Max Unger and James Carpenter were lost through trades and free agency. That has caused Seattle to look alarmingly unimpressive in the first 2 games and it looks like it’s going to be a long year for Russell Wilson. Seattle’s defense is still good they have only surrendered 19 points in both those games but if Wilson and company don’t get it going they will have no shot in the NFC West. Seattle is on verge of really sinking to the bottom of that division and now they will take on the San Francisco 49ers this week in another in-division contest. The 49ers are trending upward with new Head Coach Chip Kelly at the helm, while the Seahawks are trending downward and are beginning to look like ruins of the former Super Bowl champions. The Seahawks desperately need this win for morale reasons and things could really get ugly if they lose this game. Wilson is also playing through an ankle injury so that complicates things, so it’s essentially gut check time for Pete Carroll and the troops.

Charity of the day: Cancer Research Institute

Go donate! www.cancerresearch.org

New England’s defense blanks the Texans in a 28-0 win:

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Author: Jon Kuzma

The New England Patriots defense was the story of Thursday Night Football as the Patriots improved to 3-0 with a win over the Houston Texans. New England shut the Texans out and when your defense doesn’t give up any points it’s impossible to lose the game. It’s very rarely that we see professional football teams shut out with all the talent on the field but the Patriots rattled Brock Osweiler and everything fell into place from there. Jamie Collins led the way defensively for the Patriots he recorded 14 total tackles and an interception. Collins was everywhere defensively for New England and was by the biggest contributor in New England’s dominant defensive showing. Jabaal Sheard also had a big night for the Patriots the defensive end was able to record 2 sacks along with 3 tackles. Most of the pressure on Osweiler came from Sheard and that also made life much easier on the Patriots. The other big story for New England was rookie quarterback Jacoby Brissett getting the win in his first ever start. Brissett looked solid for the team and the Patriots didn’t skip a beat starting their 3rd string quarterback. On one play Brissett scrambled for a 27 yard touchdown and you could almost feel Bill Belichick smirking as he unleashed a mobile quarterback for the first time since coaching the Patriots. Clearly there is nothing the Patriots can’t do on the football field and they can win no matter who is in the line up. For the Texans, Lemar Miller had a decent game recording 80 rushing yards. While DeAndre Hopkins hauled in 56 receiving yards on the night. New England will take on the Bills next week and the Texans face off against the Colts.

Note* LeGarrette Blount also had a huge night rushing for 105 yards and 2 touchdowns.

Charity of the day: Innocence Project

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Matt Forte is flourishing in his role with the Jets:

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Author: Jon Kuzma

The New York Jets were upbeat when they landed Matt Forte to replace the Chris Ivory departure and so far Forte has been living up to expectations. The Jets offense looked extremely well last week in a win against the Bills and a lot of that was due to Matt Forte’s efforts. In that match up Forte rushed for 100 yards and 3 touchdowns giving the Jets offense everything it needed to handle the Bills defense. In a game in which the Bills won both times last year the Jets got their revenge and look like they could be a dangerous team the rest of the season. If this offense can keep performing at the level they did against the Bill that will be a lot for opposing teams to handle. Quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick looked great against Buffalo and was slinging the football all over the place. Fitzpatrick clearly got a huge boost from having Forte run the ball so effectively so clearly those two players benefit one and other. If Fitzpatrick can consistently complete passes that causes the defense to back up a little bit and opens running lanes for Forte. On the other hand if Forte can run the ball effectively that causes defenses to creep up and that is when Fitzpatrick will be able to find more windows to throw to. So far that has been the story on the field for New York and give credit to Matt Forte for rising to the occasion with his new team. 196 yards and 3 touchdowns are great stats over the first 2 games and if Forte keeps at this pace he will certainly be heading back to the Pro Bowl and maybe more importantly the Jets could be heading back to the playoff. Before that happens the Jets will have to win a lot of football games starting with the Kansas City Chiefs this weekend. Not an easy task especially since the Chiefs lost last weekend and will be hungry for a win.

Charity of the day: Innocence Project

Go donate! www.innocenceproject.org

Browns rookie receiver Corey Coleman will be sidelined for an extended period of time with a hand fracture:

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Author: Jon Kuzma

The Cleveland Browns had a major letdown today at practice when standout rookie Wide Receiver Corey Coleman went down with an injury to his hand. X-rays later revealed that Coleman’s hand had been fractured and that is about the worst news possible for Cleveland. Coleman was sensational in the Browns last game hauling in over 100 yards receiving and 2 touchdowns. Coleman was on his way to becoming a star in this league even as a first year player but now it appears those plans will be halted until he can get back on the football field. Losing Coleman means the Browns will lose their most productive wide receiver and it’s been a rough start to the season for Cleveland. First Robert Griffin was sidelined with a shoulder injury and then back up quarterback Josh McCown also got banged up. Then 2 days ago the Browns were also notified that starting Defensive End Carl Nassib also broke his hand. So the Cleveland Browns are battling a lot of injuries to key players and the last thing they wanted to happen was have their 1st round pick from this off-season also go down. Head Coach Hue Jackson is certainly facing some challenges in first year at the helm with the Browns, and it won’t get easier now that players are starting to drop left and right. Jackson is learning first hand just how tough it is to win in Cleveland but many still feel he is the right guy for the job. Jackson is facing a string of bad luck but the owners and front office still expect him to win football games and keep this team competitive. Which means Jackson has to impress us in some ways before the end of the year to avoid the pressure from building up against him. No coach wants to be on the hot seat after just 1 season with a team.

Charity of the day: Conservation Fund

Go donate! www.conservationfund.org

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