If Will Fuller can stay healthy he has a ton of upside. Fuller is more explosive than most of the defensive backs he lines up against:

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Author: Jon Kuzma

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Third year Texans Receiver Will Fuller has been making a name for himself by simply running past defenders. Fuller ran a 4.32 40 dash at the combine back in 2016 so there isn’t many cornerbacks that can match up with him. It’s going to take opposing team’s top cover guy to guard Fuller and that’s still going to be a tall task. Will Fuller works the vertical passing game so well and its almost defensive suicide to line up in press coverage against the Texans speedy receiver. If the defensive back misses their bump attempt the former Notre Dame standout is going deep for six. It’s just way smarter to play soft coverage against this guy and let him catch all the underneath stuff. Really the only knock against Fuller is the fact that he has missed eight games over his first two years. There’s definitely some durability concerns which is mostly due to Will Fuller only being 185 pounds. When Fuller is in Houston’s line up though it changes the outcome of football games and his 7 touchdowns last season make that clear. If Fuller can record 7 touchdowns in ten games it’s frightening how good he can be once he becomes a full time player. It also has to be concerning to the Texans that DeShaun Watson’s year was cut short due to an ACL tear. When you step back and look at this situation Houston has a lot of health problems which can end up destroying their dreams. If Watson or Fuller can’t go then this team doesn’t have a shot at living up to their potential. Which means the team doctors and the training staff are going to have to work their magic and make sure they keep a close eye on these banged up skills players. The Texans future will depend on it.

Charity of the day: Fisher House Foundation

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Broncos’ defense clamps down 49ers offense, even with 6 starters on the sidelines:

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Author: Jon Kuzma

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The Denver Broncos are known for having one of the better defenses in the National Football League and the San Francisco 49ers found that out first hand. Denver had 6 starters out of their starting line up but still managed to goose egg the 49ers for the first half of action. Eventually Kyle Shanahan was able to get a touchdown in the 3rd and 4th quarter but the fact the Broncos were able to handle the Niners so easily is a testament of their defensive talent. Everyone knows Shanahan is one of the brightest offensive minds in the league but Denver is so much more superior when it comes to the overall roster talent. A lot of the Broncos number 1 guys didn’t suit up but San Francisco couldn’t find a rhythm on the ground or through the air. When Denver gets Von Miller, Derek Wolfe, and T. Ward on the field that defensive output will significantly improve, which has to be extremely frightening for NFL offensive coordinators. It’s so hard to get in a groove offensively because it takes another level of cohesion. Typically offenses take much longer to get going than a good defense, which is exactly why defense is key to success in this league. Each team has a greater chance of being a dominant defense than being a high powered powered offense, so you better make the most of that opportunity and optimize your defensive play. The Broncos have been doing that better than most teams in the league for the past couple years and now all this franchise needs it Trevor Siemian to step up and make some magic happen. Von Miller and company will keep points off the board, we all know that. It’s up to Siemian to get the guys on the offensive ball to believe in him and Denver has to get some continuity on offense. It’s the only way they will get back to Super Bowl contention.

Charity of the day: The YMCA

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Marcus Williams is ready to prove the Minnesota Miracle was a fluke. Williams seems committed to bouncing back from that letdown:

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Author: Jon Kuzma

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The New Orleans Saints played a good enough game to beat the Minnesota Vikings in the NFC divisional round of the playoffs last year but that’s when the Minnesota Miracle took place. Case Keenum completed a pass along the right sidelines to Stefon Diggs and Marcus Williams had a shot to make the tackle and advance the Saints to the next round. Instead Williams whiffed on the hit and Diggs was off to the races for a game winning touchdown. Most people will remember Williams botching that play but people forget he had a pretty good season up to that point. Williams recorded 4 interceptions as a rookie and showed a ton of promise the whole year. Now after having his football reputation drug through the mud Williams plans on coming back better than ever. That’s been apparent early on at Saints training camp. Marcus Williams has been a ball hawk and Drew Brees even went as far as comparing Williams to Ed Reed. While that might be a stretch it still says two things about Williams. First Brees believes in the safety enough to praise him and build up his confidence. It also proves Williams is a very good defender and the future Hall of Fame quarterback knows his team will need the emerging defensive back at some point. It’ll be interesting to see how Marcus Williams responds to all this adversity because he has a chance to really set the record straight. If he overcomes the Minnesota Miracle and becomes one of the better safeties in the league people will talk about how much the 21 year old endured? On the other hand if Williams confidence is forever tainted by that one bad play it could hold this guy back for a very long time. Nobody wants to see that though and it’s just another great story line as we head into the new season.

Charity of the day: HIAS

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The Baltimore Ravens secondary recorded more interceptions than any other team in football. Eric Weddle led the way with six picks all by himself:

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Author: Jon Kuzma

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One of the most important parts of playing defense in the National Football League is the ability to cover all the receivers that you’ll have to go against. The Baltimore Ravens did the best job of doing that and they were led by Pro Bowler Eric Weddle. Weddle hauled in 6 interceptions, recorded 1 defensive touchdown, and forced a pair of fumbles. So not only did he show off his remarkable ball hawk skills he also made an impact in other phases of the game. There’s no doubt he is the leader of this group and it all starts with Weddle being able to step up and be someone the Ravens can rely on. The next standout performer is Brandon Carr. Carr joined Baltimore after nine seasons with the Chiefs and Cowboys. Despite being an older cornerback Brandon Carr proved his worth by snatching 4 interceptions last year. Between Weddle and Carr you have a couple of veteran players who are setting the tone for some other good cover guys. Jimmy Smith, Tony Jefferson, Lardarius Webb, and Marlon Humphrey are all key parts of the equation which makes it apparent that the Ravens are really deep when it comes to the defensive back position. Eventually Humphrey should step up and become a quality cornerback too and that’s definitely one of the story lines to look out for with this team. Really though it all starts with Weddle and Carr because they’ve proven they can compete at higher level than everyone else on this roster secondary wise. Can they repeat that big season and not lose a step now that they are coming off of that strong 2017 performance? Sometimes handling success is a whole different challenge but the main reason these defensive backs are getting so many opportunities is because the pass rush upfront has been stirring things up. It all starts there but give credit to Weddle and company because they converted those chances into takeaways.

Charity of the day: National Wildlife Federation

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The Baltimore Ravens secondary are great at defending the pass. They had more more interceptions than

Luke Kuechly and Bobby Wagner are competing to be the best linebacker in the league. Right now Kuechly holds a slight advantage stats wise:

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Author: Jon Kuzma

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There’s a lot of great players throughout the National Football League but when it comes to the linebacker position nobody is better than Luke Kuechly and Bobby Wagner. Kuechly is a former Boston College standout and the 2011 ACC Player of the Year. Eventually Carolina drafted Kuechly in the the first round of the 2012 NFL Draft and the talented middle linebacker has been to 5 Pro Bowls since joining the Panthers. With 818 career tackles and 15 interceptions the 27 year old (Kuechly) is the standard for linebacker play and everyone else is playing catch up. Bobby Wagner isn’t that far behind though and what a career he’s had. Wagner has recorded 778 tackles, 15.5 sacks, and 8 interceptions since joining the Seahawks as a 2nd rounder back in 2012. Keep in mind both players have been in the NFL for six seasons so it’s awesome to be able to compare them. Wagner is a little bit better at rushing the passer but he’s lacking in the tackles and interceptions department. Kuechly also put up a defensive touchdown in 2015 too, so really that little bit of production has been the difference between both guys. One thing is for certain though you would take either player if you were starting a team from scratch. Both defenders consistently show up and change the outcome of football games. It’s not just the physical abilities and being tougher than everyone else either. Luke Kuechly and Bobby Wagner can diagnose plays just by the formation the offense lines up in. Then those players immediately begin to communicate to their teammates what’s going to happen. So the Panthers and Seahawks have exceptional field generals as well who help from a leadership perspective. Not many people can have that kind of impact and there’s a reason Kuechly and Wagner are the best in the business. It comes down to technique, athleticism, football IQ, and leadership

Charity of the day: Food and Water Watch

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Luke Kuechly and Bobby Wagner are competing to be the best linebacker in the league.

With Jameis Winston facing suspension it’ll be up to Ryan Fitzpatrick to keep Tampa Bay afloat:

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Author: Jon Kuzma

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News broke out today that Jameis Winston is facing a three game suspension for allegedly groping a female Uber driver. With Winston out of the starting line up the quarterback responsibilities will fall on Ryan Fitzpatrick. Fitzpatrick is no stranger to being a number one quarterback in the NFL he’s spent time with more than a handful of teams (Jets, Bills, Texans, Titans, Bengals, and Rams). His best year though was back in 2015 with New York when he threw for 3,905 yards and 31 touchdowns. If Fitzpatrick can regain some of that magic he had three years ago then the Buccaneers might have a chance to keep things close. In order to do that the journeyman signal caller (Fitzpatrick) will have to trust Mike Evans. It seems like the fade route is going to be a throw that tandem will have to rely on. Ryan Fitzpatrick can throw towards the sidelines pretty well and Evans is a match up nightmare for defenders. So that could be one play that really ends up putting quite a bit of points on the board. Other than that you have to look out for O.J Howard over the middle. Fitzpatrick is also good at stepping up in the pocket and Howard is going to be open on posts quite often. Between those two routes there’s enough to get it done on offense. The only problem is Tampa Bay has a brutal schedule over their first three contests. They’ll take on the Saints, Eagles, and Steelers without Winston and if they come out of that stretch 1-2 then they are lucky. It definitely paid off re-signing Fitzpatrick but he is going to be in a tough spot this season. This is a huge hit for the Bucs because now they’ll to start the year off behind the eight ball. Which definitely isn’t what Head Coach Dirk Koetter envisioned when he started game planning for the year.

Charity of the day: ProLiteracy Worldwide

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Jameis Winston is facing suspension and that means it’s Ryan Fitzpatrick time.

Cleveland Reloaded: The Browns won’t be the laughing stock of the league anymore

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Author: Jon Kuzma

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It’s been a rough two years for the Cleveland Browns. Ever since Hue Jackson took over this team they’ve struggled going 1-31 under his command. Truthfully though it wasn’t just the coaching staff that has disappointed in Northern Ohio this roster seriously lacked talent as well. Finally after going through the worst stretch of football in NFL history the Browns have turned a corner and that’s evident when you look at the players they have now. Josh Gordon has a chance to be the best receiver in the league and he’s past all of his off the field issues. Then Cleveland lands Jarvis Landry in a trade and even though people don’t want to give the former Dolphins receiver his dues. Landry has been one of the best receivers in the NFL in terms of hauling in the football. The Tight End David Njoku is a rising star and showed a ton of promise in his rookie season last year. Those top three targets will definitely help move the chains through the air and that’s without mentioning Corey Coleman who can also contribute more than a couple touchdowns per year. So talent wise there’s much more going on for Jackson and this offense and it’s going make for an exciting brand of football. It doesn’t matter who is under center those weapons are potent enough to overpower defenses. When is the last time you could say that about the Browns? It’s beens a long time and that alone tells you things are trending upwards for this ball club. One of the other story lines to watch out for is who will solidify themselves in the alpha dog role? It’s going to come down to Josh Gordon vs Jarvis Landry. While Landry could maintain that consistency which has made him great in the past. You have to believe Josh Gordon will end up being the team’s number one wide out if he stays out of trouble. His talent is unmatched and the rumor is Gordon is in the best shape of his life. Number twelve will be back to his dominate ways and that’s going to help the Browns win several games in 2018.

Charity of the day: Marine Mammal Center

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Cleveland won’t be the laughing stock of the league anymore.

The Patriots and Packers have a lot of tension within their organizations. Both teams are already facing morale issues:

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Author: Jon Kuzma

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Two interesting story lines heading into the 2018 season is the Patriots and Packers current state of affairs. In New England we heard all throughout the end of last season that there is friction between Bill Belichick and Tom Brady. Then there was the Super Bowl when Brady threw for 500 yards and Belichick basically blew the game by benching Malcolm Butler. That situation can’t sit well with Brady and that’s why we saw the future Hall of Fame quarterback skipping any voluntary workouts. Brady is sending a message to Belichick that he’s the real reason the Patriots have had all their success. The two sides are clearly fed up with each other and New England could seriously unravel at some point.

The Packers find themselves in very similar circumstances. Aaron Rodgers is upset that the Packers have made some huge changes to their football team without consulting him first. You’d think with everything Rodgers brings to the table that Green Bay’s front office would be more inclined to involve him in the decision making process. That hasn’t been the case and it’s really a letdown because Aaron Rodgers should have a lot more pull within that organization. Trading away Jordy Nelson and letting go of Alex Van Pelt (quarterback coach) are moves which directly impact Rodgers ability to do his job. Which could end up being Mike McCarthy’s downfall once the games start being played.

So you have two different scenarios which are actually closely related in terms of where the rift has begun? The blame really seems to fall on the coaching staffs who aren’t doing their due diligence when it comes to getting feedback from their players. It’s hard to rule with an iron fist in today’s NFL because professional players feel they’re above the high school coaching mentality. If Bill Belichick and Mike McCarthy don’t evolve in terms of how they treat their players things might end up breaking down before the year is over. It’s definitely something you’ll want to keep your eye on.

Charity of the day: Marine Mammal Center

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The Patriots and Packers have morale issues.

Is Andrew Luck’s career over? We’re at the start of mini-camp and Luck still hasn’t thrown a football:

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Author: Jon Kuzma

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Andrew Luck has been out of the picture and hanging out behind the scenes for the last year with the Colts. We all know Indianapolis is a tough team to beat with Luck on the field but lately his status has been a distraction for this organization. Everyone wants to know if Andrew Luck is alright and whether or not he’s going to play anytime soon? The truth is Luck has yet to throw a regular sized football and that tells you he is further away then the Colts would like to admit. It’s going to take at least a couple of months for the 28 year old QB to get back to his regular self as far as throwing the football goes. All of the muscles in his shoulder (deltoids, traps, biceps, and triceps) must get their range of motion back and the strength to deliver the ball with velocity. When Luck is healthy the reps he receives in practice help him fine tune his accuracy and throwing power. Right now though Luck is far from healthy and he’s in the recovery stage. Which automatically drops the Colts quarterback to at least 50-75% of what he is normally capable of doing arm wise. So Jacoby Brissett is probably a better option than throwing Luck to the wolves where he could further injure his nagging shoulder. All of this brings us to our next point which is Indianapolis has a very big problem on their hands. Suddenly Luck’s future is in serious doubt because he can’t seem to get back on the field. Another whole season on the sidelines isn’t going to sit well with anyone in the front office or with this fan base. At the same time though it doesn’t seem like Andrew Luck is ready and why should he rush back to meet our demands which will only put him in danger. The two sides have contradicting agendas and the biggest underlining factor is Luck doesn’t seem in good enough shape to go. Which could wind up being another whole season down the drain.

Charity of the day: Planet Aid

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Andrew Luck still hasn’t thrown a football.

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