Horses in the stable: The Saints one two punch is going to be stellar this season

Photo credit: Wesley Hitt / Getty Images Sport

Author: Jon Kuzma

We’ve seen some pretty good one two punches in the league when it comes to running backs and the Saints new running back tandem is certainly one to be feared. Recently the New Orleans Saints signed Adrian Peterson to a two year $7 million dollar contract and the Saints plan on pairing Peterson with Mark Ingram. Ingram rushed for over 1,000 yards in 2016 but there’s no doubt that Peterson will cut into a portion of Ingram’s offensive touches. That competition between both players should bring out the best in both Ingram and Peterson, which will ultimately yield great results for the Saints running game in 2017. Each guys is a load when running the football and this is a good acquisition for the Saints when you consider the pressure it’s going take off Drew Brees. Now the Saints can trust their running backs and cut down on the hits that Brees takes throughout the season. Not to mention handing the ball off to Adrian Peterson is always a high percentage football play, especially if Peterson can recapture his top form. Adrian Peterson has ran for 11,747 rushing yards over the course of his professional career. That’s good enough for 16th of all time and if Peterson has a 1,000 yard season in 2017 he could jump all the way to 9th of all time. The Saints are $7 million dollars invested in Peterson so you know they want the veteran running back to get back to that elite level and the change of scenery should surely help A.P. This tandem definitely can compete with the Titans running back duo of DeMarco Murray and Derrick Henry. Those Tennessee guys are really good but if the Saints play their best brand of football they are really going to impose their will on defenses in 2017. This was a great football move by New Orleans front office and now the Saints have a chance to play smash mouth football. That change in philosophy should give the Saints a huge boost on gameday.

Charity of the day: Direct Relief & Direct Relief Foundation

Go donate! www.directrelief.org

NFL scouts need to plug in the tape, Dalvin Cook is hands down the best running back in the 2017 NFL Draft:

Photo credit: Streeter Lecka / Getty Images Sport

Author: Jon Kuzma

The 2017 NFL Draft is only one day away and it’s surprising to see how much blatant disrespect Dalvin Cook is getting evaluation wise. Cook was a much more productive back at the collegiate level than Leonard Fournette or Christian McCaffrey and it’s sad to see him get treated so unfairly. While Fournette was failing to rush for a 100 yards against Alabama in all three contests, Cook was rushing for 4,464 career rushing yards and absolutely destroying opponents. Not only that but plug in all three players game films and watch them play. You will be impressed with Fournette’s power but if you really watch all three player’s films you will notice Cook is the biggest home run hitter. McCaffrey can get it done on punt returns and swing passes but if you think he will be better between the tackles than Cook you’re sadly mistaken. Dalvin Cook had the most success out of all three players from the “tailback position” for a reason and it’s because he is flat out better than those other players at the running back position. Cook can shift on a dime and he finishes off most runs by crossing the goal line for six points. Cook’s speed at the second level allows him to easily slip past defenders and he accelerates so quickly in the open field. McCaffrey ran the fastest 40 yard dash out of all three players but Cook runs the football more fearlessly. Dalvin Cook won’t hesitate at the next level like McCaffrey will and you better believe that will result in a big difference in rushing production. It already made a big difference at the collegiate level and remember Cook scored 46 career touchdowns in college. That’s 25 more than Christian McCaffrey and 6 more than Leonard Fournette. So Cook is better in total yardage than McCaffrey and Fournette. Cook is better in the rushing touchdowns category than McCaffrey and Fournette. So why isn’t Dalvin Cook the best running back in the 2017 NFL Draft? The answer is really quite simple and it’s politics. There’s a lot trends that the general managers in the league like to follow and usually none of these G.M’s have the courage to reject the status quo. In this case if you’re looking for a running back the consensus says go for Christan McCaffrey or Lenoard Fourtnette but the consensus is wrong. Dalvin Cook is the best running back in the draft.

Charity of the day: Direct Relief & Direct Relief Foundation

Go donate! www.directrelief.org

Martavis Bryant is conditionally reinstated by the NFL and that is great news for the Pittsburgh Steelers:

Photo credit: Helen H. Richardson / Denver Post

Author: Jon Kuzma

The Pittsburgh Steelers got some good news when Wide Receiver Martavis Bryant was conditionally reinstated by the National Football League. After spending the entire 2016 season on the sidelines due to a suspension stemming from marijuana use and missed drug tests. That was a huge restriction on the Steelers offense because when Bryant is on the field he adds another dynamic opposite of Antonio Brown. If the Steelers want to win the Super Bowl they need Martavis Bryant in the mix and this is exactly what Steelers Nation needs to close the gap on the New England Patriots. Bryant is a great vertical receiver and he can help put points on the board quickly. With Roethlisberger in what could be his last year of pro football, Pittsburgh needs everyone healthy and eligible to play in order to compete at their highest level. That means Martavis Bryant has to stay focused throughout the season and find away to avoid any mishaps. We are talking about a player who was able to score 14 touchdowns in just 2 seasons of action. That’s a lot of production that Pittsburgh missed out on when Bryant wasn’t on the field and don’t make any mistake about it, this is a huge addition to get Bryant back. The final steps to being completely reinstated involve Bryant seeing a clinician and planning out his time away from football. Still this is a step in the right direction for the young wide receiver and now it will be up to Bryant to have the self discipline to avoid all the personal demons he is facing. There might not be anymore opportunities after this for Bryant so he knows he has to make the most of the situation. Bryant will also face a number of drug tests throughout the year so he has to be on his best behavior to prevent another suspension from happening. Overall though this is great news for Bryant and the Steelers.

Charity of the day: National Federation of the Blind

Go donate! www.nfb.org

San Francisco 49ers: All signs point to Mitchell Trubisky with the number 2 pick

Photo credit: Grant Halverson / Getty Images Sport

Author: Jon Kuzma

The San Francisco 49ers have been weighing all their options with the number 2 pick in the 2017 NFL Draft. With draft night just 48 hours away the Niners have received a number of phone calls about the number 2 overall pick and Niners General Manager John Lynch has stated the team is exploring all options. Lynch has also indicated that it would take a lot for the Niners to trade the pick away and the rookie G.M also made it clear that the 49ers’ organization all have a unified agreement about who is the best player for the 2nd pick overall. You could kind of get the vibe from Lynch that Mitchell Trubisky was the 49ers first choice because the 49ers want “a cornerstone type of player.” With San Francisco hiring an offensive minded coach in Kyle Shanahan, adding a “cornerstone” quarterback to the roster would be the best move for the 49ers organization at the moment. All signs have pointed to Trubisky being the top quarterback in the draft and as long as Cleveland takes Myles Garrett, expect to see Mitchell Trubisky in San Francisco next season. Right now the only quarterbacks currently on the 49ers’ roster are Brian Hoyer and Matt Barkely. While it might be tough for Trubisky to beat those guys out from day 1, eventually Trubisky would be able to surpass both Hoyer and Barkely. Now if Mitchell Trubisky truly is a spinning image of Andrew Luck and he ends up being the real deal. Trubisky could be a day 1 starter and he could instantly breathe life into this 49ers team. Especially when you factor in Kyle Shanahan’s understanding of offensive systems and schemes which will play a huge role in Trubisky’s development. Cleveland isn’t going to pass up on Myles Garrett and that will open the door for San Francisco to draft Mitchell Trubisky. That will too sweet of a deal for the 49ers to pass up and it also should be mentioned that the 49ers only have 2 quarterbacks on their roster. They’re a little light at that position for a reason.

Charity of the day: National Federation of the Blind

Go donate! www.nfb.org

LeGarrette Blount got left out in the cold by the New England Patriots:

Photo credit: Patrick Smith / Getty Images Sport

Author: Jon Kuzm

LeGarrette Blount had a terrific year for the New England Patriots recording a league high 18 rushing touchdowns and helping the Patriots become World Champions. While Blount only had 31 rushing yards in the Patriots 34-28 win over the Falcons in Super Bowl LI, it’s pretty clear Blount had a huge role in building up New England’s championship confidence but apparently the Patriots felt their star running back was expendable. New England signed Mike Gillislee today to a 2 year $6.4 million dollar contract and that must mean that the Patriots felt Blount’s asking price was far too high. After having a career high season production wise, Blount likely wanted more money than the Patriots were willing to give up and Belichick decided that Gillislee for a cheaper contract was the better choice for the Patriots. That move essentially left LeGarrette Blount out in the cold and now Blount has to find a new team to play for in 2017. If the Oakland Raiders can’t get Marshawn Lynch to come out of retirement, then the Raiders would be a perfect landing spot for LeGarrette Blount. Oakland has the cap space to sign Blount to a decent contract and they are competitive enough where the addition of Blount could lead this team to a Super Bowl. The Raiders will certainly be a team that is weighing the option of adding Legarrette Blount and don’t be surprised if Oakland chooses to go with Blount over Lynch. Blount is a year younger than Lynch (Blount is 30 and Lynch is 31) and he is coming off his best season of action. That could ultimately sway Oakland in Blount’s direction, so keep an eye out whether the Raiders make a move for last year’s best running back in terms of scoring touchdowns. Blount would be a huge addition for the Oakland Raiders and Reggie McKenzie will be hot on the trail shortly.

Charity of the day: Coalition for the Homeless

Go donate! www.coalitionforthehomeless.org

Adrian Peterson is in negotiations with the New Orleans Saints for a 1 year $3 million dollar contract:

Photo credit: Christian Petersen / Getty Images Sport

Author: Jon Kuzma

Finally we are gaining a little bit of clarity into Adrian Peterson’s situation. After talking with the New England Patriots, and Tampa Buccaneers about possible contracts. Peterson has now emerged as a leading candidate to sign with the New Orleans Saints. NFL insider Ian Rapoport has reported that Peterson is in negotiations with the Saints and it looks like the sides are closing in on a 1 year $3 million dollar contract. That’s a huge pay reduction compared to the $14 million a year that Peterson was making in Minnesota but it gives Peterson a chance to keep his NFL career alive. Peterson has had 2 seasons in the last 3 years where he has had under 100 yards rushing for the entire season. That was too inconsistent for Minnesota to commit to especially since Peterson was going to count for am $18 million dollar cap hit against the Vikings. Minnesota’s loss looks like it’s going to turn into New Orleans gain and if Peterson can come out and get back into his top form. Then the Saints are going to get a terrific football player at a very cheap price who could yield big returns in the end for the black and gold. Mark Ingram was the Saints leading rusher last season with 1,043 rushing yards for the year. Tim Hightower was second on the team with 548 yards and 4 touchdowns. With Hightower’s departure to the San Francisco 49ers that left a whole on the Saints running back depth chart and Peterson should fill that void nicely. All A.P would have to do is be better than the 548 yards and 4 touchdowns that Hightower put up last year and that would be a positive impact for this football team. Keep in mind if Adrian Peterson has a career year though, Ingram could be the guy who finds himself on the sidelines watching the game unfold. So this is great news for New Orleans and keep an eye out while this deal materializes.

Charity of the day: Coalition for the Homeless

Go donate! www.coalitionforthehomeless.org

The Miami Dolphins would be wise to move on from Ryan Tannehill in 2018:

Photo credit: Rob Carr/ Getty Images Sport

Author: Jon Kuzma

The Miami Dolphins are entering their 6th season with Ryan Tannehill on their roster and truthfully Tannehill hasn’t produced enough to elevate this football team. Tannehill is a good quarterback but the Dolphins need a little bit more to truly put this team over the hump. You have to remember Miami fans were privileged enough to watch Dan Marino operate back in the 80’s and 90’s. There is such a big gap between Dan Marino and Ryan Tannehill that the fans in Miami know they deserve better and Tannehill has had more than enough time to prove himself. The Dolphins have a contractual out with Tannehill in 2018 which would pay the veteran signal caller $39.5 million dollars. It would be wise for Miami to exercise that option and find Tannehill’s successor in this upcoming draft. While overall Ron Jaworski has stated that this quarterback class is below average, there still has to be a player coming out this year with more upside than Tannehill. Miami should aim for a player that has great quarterback mechanics, who is fluent in their drop back and someone who has a great leadership presence in the locker room. That player could sit behind Tannehill until his time is done and that would serve as a development year for Tannehill’s successor. While Miami shouldn’t commit to drafting a quarterback in the first round, if Davis Webb is available in the 2nd round the Dolphins should certainly draft the California quarterback. Webb is a much more natural passer than Ryan Tannehill is and you can see that in Webb’s delivery. Tannehill throws the ball with his hand a little bit over the top, whereas Webb has a quick release that is more fluent. Tannehill is a little bit runner than Webb is but keep in mind you want someone who can throw the football at the QB position. So Webb could be a better player in the National Football League when it’s all said and done which means Miami has to take a chance on him in the 2nd round if he is still on the board. Expect Miami’s front office to remain committed to Tannehill for the long haul but they will be making a mistake if they do go that route. They have to get better at the QB position to take the next step.

Charity of the day: Parkinson’s Disease Foundation

Go donate! www.pdf.org

Jaylon Smith is expected to be a full go at NFL training camp this year:

Photo credit: Icon Sportswire

Author: Jon Kuzma

The Dallas Cowboys took an exceptional player with the number 34 pick in the 2016 NFL Draft and that player is former Notre Dame Linebacker Jaylon Smith. Smith was widely considered the number 1 player in the 2016 NFL Draft but that was before Smith suffered an ACL and LCL tear in the Fiesta Bowl. That injury caused Smith to slip to the second round but the Cowboys knew if Smith is healthy, he has a ton of upside. Jaylon Smith recorded back to back 100 tackle seasons in 2014 and 2015 for the Irish. That production shows that Smith can be an elite competitor but the 21 year old linebacker missed his entire rookie season recovering from that knee injury. That means Smith will have to spend 2017 getting acclimated to the pro game’s speed but the good news is Smith runs a 4.44 40 yard dash. When you combine that acceleration with Smith’s 6’2 223 pound frame. You can see why the Cowboys drafted Jaylon Smith so high despite the fact that he was medically unfit to play for the entire 2016 year. Now Smith will be a full go in training camp and we have to keep an eye on how his recovery goes. Smith was suffering from drop foot which causes his toes to drag at times. That could hinder Jaylon Smith’s reaction time which is an imperative trait at the line backer position. If Jaylon Smith has to lift his knee up higher than normal like most people suffering from drop foot have to do. That will cause Smith to be a step slow when playing sideline to sideline. So in order for Jaylon Smith to be the player he has to be, he needs to be the best version of himself health wise. Regardless it’s a step in the right direction just getting back out on the field and the Cowboys have to be thrilled about that.

Charity of the day: Veterans Support Organization

Go donate! www.theveteranssupport.org

Reuben Foster has had a string of bad luck over the past 4 months:

Photo credit: Stacy Revere: Getty Image Sport

Author: Jon Kuzma

Life was all good for Reuben Foster just 5 months ago. Foster had led the Crimson Tide to their second consecutive National Championship appearance and Foster had also been named the Dick Butkus award winner which is given to the top linebacker in the nation. Everything seemed to be going Foster’s way and his momentum seemed unstoppable. Soon after though the Crimson Tide fell short to the Clemson Tigers in that National Championship game and since then everything started to unravel for Foster. A couple months later Foster was sent home from the NFL Scouting Combine because he got in an argument with one of the doctors evaluating his health. That was a black eye for Fosters stock and brand, especially since Foster didn’t get to showcase his talent to NFL scouts. Foster also missed out on meeting with NFL personnel and make no mistake about it those are missed opportunities for the top linebacker in the 2017 NFL Draft. While many NFL insiders have predicted that Foster’s draft position will drop because of the mishap, a new allegation has come to light against Foster. The NFL has recently released news that Foster failed a drug test at the Combine as well. Apparently Reuben Foster submitted a diluted drug test and by NFL standards that is a “failed drug test.” That means Foster likely drank as much water as he possibly could hoping to water down his urine and that’s another letdown for Reuben Foster. Now teams are going to label this guy a “bad apple’ which could mean Foster drops significantly come draft day. It’s hard for an NFL team to take a risk on Foster when they aren’t sure whether or not he will be eligible to play? It’s safer for those same teams to draft someone else, someone with less risk and less red flags. Even though Foster is an outstanding player his off the field antics are certainly a concern, so if Foster is serious about playing in the NFL he has to address those setbacks. If he can do that there is no doubt he will make a mark in the NFL because when it comes to being on the field, Foster is a terrific talent. Let’s hope he gets the message and gets it back on track because if not Reuben Foster will be a whole lot of wasted potential.

Charity of the day: PCI-Media Impact

Go donate! www.mediaimpact.org

Tom Brady and Donald Trump’s cuddly relationship could be over after Brady skips championship White House visit:

Photo credit: Steve Nehf / Denver Post

Author: Jon Kuzma

It’s no secret that Tom Brady and Bill Belichick were Donald Trump supporters during the election but apparently Gisele Bundchen is having the final say with Brady. Bundchen was extremely displeased with Brady’s support for Donald Trump and during the season Brady had to answer media questions about the political rift in his household. Brady was adamant that it was in his best interest to avoid discussing politics and that’s why it was a serious red flag when Brady skipped the Patriots championship White House visit today. Brady stated that he is missing the White House visit with President Trump due to family matters, which is a way of Brady saying Gisele is getting her way. While Tom Brady might be making a good move for his family, it’s a move that is definitely questionable. Brady clearly supports Trump but Bundchen is making him censor his support for the 45th President. That has relationship issues written all over it and if Brady doesn’t stand up for his manhood now disaster is looming around the corner in the future. Not only that but now Brady is going to lose a powerful ally in President Trump. In fact Trump didn’t even mention Brady’s name one time during the celebration and it’s pretty clear that Brady and Trump’s friendship is officially in jeopardy. With so many people opposing Trump at the moment the President is supposed to be able to lean on his friends for support. Brady wasn’t there for Trump when the President needed him and don’t get it confused this is a black eye for Brady’s personal brand. If you abandon your friends when things get tough that sets a bad precedent for the future and it shows that your loyalty has limitations. Brady has gotten a whole lot of confidence and perks in life from being constantly glorified, he would be wise to be conscious of his moves and make better decisions in the future. Trump deserved better from Tom Brady and it’s a weak move overall for the Super Bowl M.V.P.

Charity of the day: National Hemophilia Foundation

Go donate! www.hemophilia.org

1 2 3 118