Leonard Floyd had 7 sacks in his first pro season but concussions have been a problem for the outside linebacker:

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Author: Jon Kuzma

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Leonard Floyd is an outstanding pass rusher for the Chicago Bears. Floyd was drafted 9th overall by the Bears in the 2016 NFL Draft and Floyd repaid the Bears by recording a ton of sacks for a first year player. That output should have Chicago fans ecstatic about Floyd’s future but there are some medical concerns swirling around the former Georgia Bulldog. Floyd suffered two concussions during his rookie season and the second concussion took the Bears linebacker nearly two months to recovery from mentally. Another concussion would put Floyd’s career in serious doubt because at some point you have to weigh the options between football and a healthy life. This is an issue that the whole entire league is dealing with right now and so many past players have been crippled by long term mental effects. If Floyd wants to continue his playing career he has to find a way to keep his head protected and he should also seriously consider going to see a neurologist to evaluate the current condition of his brain. If that doctor determines that Floyd should sit out half the season or the whole 2017 season to properly heal. That should definitely be a recommendation that Floyd should listen to especially since his first two head injuries had some lingering effects. Look we all want to see Leonard Floyd on the field and producing big time results. The fact is though, we need to be conscious about the long term effects football can have on the body. If Floyd should weigh his options and decide he ultimately wants to go with the gladiator approach and keep playing. At least we know that he has done his research and really assessed the situation. We all have tough choices to make in life and you can’t blame a guy for choosing to follow his dreams. On the opposite side of the argument if Leonard Floyd chooses to walk away from the game forever because he wants to salvage a healthy life. You can’t blame him for that choice either, we all have our own path to walk in life.

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Laremy Tunsil proved he was the real deal in his rookie season, he is looking to maintain that success in 2017:

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Author: Jon Kuzma

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Laremy Tunsil was supposed to be the number 1 pick overall in the 2016 NFL Draft but the Tennessee Titans traded that pick away to the Los Angeles Rams who opted to go with Jared Goff instead. Tunsil’s draft night got turned upside by that trade but there was also some concerns about his character when a video of Tunsil smoking a gas mask was released moments before the draft started. That caused Laremy Tunsil to slip a number of spots on draft night before the Miami Dolphins eventually selected him with the number 13 pick. Many Miami fans had mixed feelings about the pick but fast forward one year later and the people of Southern Florida have nothing but high praise for the former Ole Miss offensive lineman. Laremy Tunsil started in fourteen out of sixteen games and the only reason he didn’t start in the other two games is because he was sidelined with an ankle injury. It’s obvious that as long as Tunsil is healthy he is a shoo-in to start for the Miami Dolphins and this ended up being an outstanding pick for Adam Gase’s football team. Tunsil held down the left guard position all season long opening holes and getting dirty in the trenches. Now with Braden Albert no longer with Miami, Tunsil will slide out to the left tackle spot and play his natural position. Don’t expect Laremy Tunsil to skip a beat during that transition, there is a reason this guy was regarded as the best player in the 2016 draft by a number of NFL insiders. Tunsil shows up everyday and works hard which is the real reason he has had so much success on the football field. As long as number 67 is on the field Miami will be have a presence upfront that can impose his will on defenders.

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Dak Prescott will have to be extremely focused to continue where he left off in 2016:

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Author: Jon Kuzma

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Dak Prescott was drafted in the 4th round of the 2016 NFL Draft but Prescott has been a playmaker for almost his entire football career. After dominating at Haughton High school (Louisiana) where he threw for 39 passing touchdowns and ran for 17 rushing touchdowns as a senior. Prescott enrolled at Mississippi State University where he went on to claim 38 school records. Dak Prescott also threw for 70 touchdowns and ran for 41 touchdowns during his time in Starkville, proving just how dynamic of a football player he truly can be. That caught the attention of the Dallas Cowboys and really the rest is history. Now entering his second season Prescott is coming off a year where he threw for 23 touchdowns and only 4 interceptions as rookie. By hitting the ground running Prescott was able to build up his confidence but he will have to work twice as hard to maintain that success. NFL defenses know the caliber of player that Dak Prescott is now, that will cause them to draw up new schemes to stop the 23 year old quarterback. So Prescott has to be committed to his own development and not rest on his laurels. The Cowboys success will be a direct result of what Ezekiel Elliott and Prescott are able to do on the football field, which means both of those guys have a tremendous amount of pressure on them. Now the good news is both Elliott and Prescott have big time playmaking abilities. That should help them stay poised when they are facing some of the league’s best defenses but nothing can be taken for granted. Just because you had success last season doesn’t mean you’re automatically guaranteed success the following year. We’ve seen plenty of teams in the NFL win the Super Bowl and then fail to make the playoffs the very next year. The Cowboys in-division opponent the Washington Redskins even won the division back in 2015 before falling to 3rd place in 2016. So the Cowboys have to be very conscious not to regress but these guys are so talented that they most likely don’t even think about those things. Elliott and Prescott know they are one of the hottest young tandems to hit the league in a very long time. Both players were vital in the resurrection of the Dallas Cowboys and these guys have all the confidence in the world in their skill set. Ultimately that’s what makes them so damn good and as long as Dallas has Elliott and Prescott the future will be bright.

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Chargers Wide Receiver Mike Williams always seems to bounce back from adversity, this time will be no different:

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Author: Jon Kuzma

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The Los Angeles Chargers got a heck of a player when they drafted Mike Williams 7th overall in the 2017 NFL Draft. While Williams hasn’t been able to practice yet due to a back injury he endured during rookie camp, there still has to be a positive outlook when observing the first year receiver. Mike Williams missed almost the entire 2015 season at Clemson with a neck injury but Williams bounced back the following year with over 1,300 yards and 11 touchdowns. That was a much more serious injury than Williams is dealing with now and that’s why it can’t be that much of a concern for the Chargers. New Head Coach Anthony Lynn has recently stated that Williams is “falling behind” because of all the time he has missed but keep in mind Williams should be back for the regular season. That’s ultimately where Mike Williams will truly make his mark and last year Joey Bosa missed 4 games before finishing the season with 10.5 sacks. So it’s still very possible that Williams gets back on the field and produces some big results for the Los Angeles offense. The thing that concerned Philip Rivers the most is the fact that the Chargers use a lot of no huddle formations where receivers are expected to know the ins and outs of the offense on the fly. You learn those plays from the reps you get in practice and that’s why it would be best for Williams to be a sponge at practice regardless if he is participating or not and soak up as much information as possible. We all know Mike Williams can make plays on the football field, that was on full display at Clemson and it was also one of the reasons Williams was a top 10 draft pick. Williams just has to continue to be a student of the game and develop a deep grasp of the mental side of the professional level. Everything is much more complex in the NFL and even the play calling terminology can overwhelm some younger players. It will be up to Williams to show he is competent enough to handle those things because sometimes players have to mature to make it happen. The Chargers really need an instant impact from Mike Williams though if they want to be competitive in 2017. The expectations are always higher when you’re a 1st round pick.

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Washington Redskins Receiver Jamison Crowder has earned his stripes by making a number of big plays:

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Author: Jon Kuzma

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The Washington Redskins like what they’ve seen out of Jamison Crowder over his first two professional seasons. After drafting Crowder in the 4th round of the 2015 NFL Draft out of the University of Duke, Crowder has done nothing but turn heads with his outstanding play. Crowder has been able to record 9 receiving touchdowns since joining the Redskins and it’s clear the young receiver has a knack for making big plays. Despite all of the production that Jamison Crowder has had, he only started in 15 games so far. Now with the departures of DeSean Jackson and Pierre Garcon that opens the door for Crowder to be a full time starter. Which should result in a ton of output for the emerging receiver. Not only is Crowder an effective receiving threat he also has had some success as a punt returner as well. Last season Crowder took a punt return to the house for a Redskins touchdown and those special teams plays can be the difference between winning and losing games. Special teams are 1/3 of the game and the Redskins know they have a chance to compete in the return game when Crowder is fielding punts. So essentially you have a player in Crowder that can catch a ton of passes and he can make big plays in other facets of the game. All of those different skill sets show firsthand why the Redskins are so high on Crowder and the 24 year old receiver should get even better with time. Each repetition offers Crowder a chance to improve his game and he has already shown the NFL stage isn’t too big for him. Those past performances have helped Crowder earn the respect of Redskins Head Coach Jay Gruden and expect this guy to be on the field for almost every snap in 2017.

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Martellus Bennett has been gelling with Aaron Rodgers at Packers work outs, the duo could be very dynamic this season:

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Author: Jon Kuzma

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The Green Bay Packers got a huge addition to their offense when they signed former Patriots Tight End Martellus Bennett. Bennett comes to the Packers after scoring 7 touchdowns in 2016 and so far everything has been smooth sailing for the 30 year old pass catcher. One thing that has to be noted is the fact that Aaron Rodgers and Bennett are developing a great bond at Packers work outs. The two have been exceptional with their rhythm and timing which has resulted in a lot of big catches in practice. Green Bay is hoping that synergy translates to the field on game day which should result in a lot of additional points for the Packers offense. Green Bay had Jared Cook last season at the tight end position but Cook only scored 1 touchdown the entire regular season. The Packers are hoping that Bennett can offer a little bit more production and it’s hard to bet against the newly acquired hybrid player. While Cook’s output has been waning the last two years, Bennett on the other hand has revived his career. In fact Martellus Bennett has given the New England Patriots organization a lot credit stating that “they helped him become a better player.” By progressing from an awareness stand point that should help Martellus Bennett contribute a number of big plays to the Packers and once again Green Bay will be a serious contender in the NFC. After falling a game short of the Super Bowl last year the Packers are hoping Martellus Bennett can provide enough spark to help this franchise get over the hump and Rodgers should benefit greatly from having a gifted tight end who can block and catch passes. Ultimately that’s going to give this football team a lot of opportunity that they missed out on a season ago and what a great signing for Green Bay. Expect Rodgers to defend his title as the league’s leader in touchdown passes and Bennett should improve on his totals from a year ago as well.

Charity of the day: Medical Teams International

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Leonard Williams is an emerging star for the New York Jets, he was a Pro Bowl nominee a season ago:

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Author: Jon Kuzma

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The New York Jets knew they were getting a rare talent when they drafted Leonard Williams in the 1st round of the 2015 NFL Draft. However Williams has made such strides from then until now that the Jets still have to be surprised by Williams’ development. After showing glimpses of greatness as a rookie, Williams rose to the occasion in his second season and recorded 7 sacks. That ultimately helped Williams secure a Pro Bowl bid and now the future is as bright as ever for the 23 year old known as “Big Cat.” A few things that have to be noted about Leonard Williams’ game is the fact that first and foremost Williams can play anywhere upfront. Last year the Jets moved Williams to the nose tackle position and he didn’t skip a beat taking on multiple offensive lineman on every snap. That versatility allows Williams to play either inside or outside which is a huge bonus for the Jets. New York knows they can put Leonard Williams at nose tackle or defensive end and still get a rush, that’s such a huge uplift for this team because the Jets can use a variety of defensive fronts to put Williams in favorable match ups. Not only that but Williams was able to record 131 tackles over his first two professional seasons. That state line shows how well Williams’ motor is on game day and this guy never takes a play off. New York might be struggling with a roster depleted of talent but Williams is certainly setting a strong precedent for the other 52 players in the locker room. By playing with so much heart Leonard Williams can inspire his teammates and motivation is such an imperative quality to a football team’s success. It’s obvious that Leonard Williams is becoming the leader the New York Jets envisioned when they drafted him back in 2015 and it’s been a lot of fun to watch the third year player emerge into an elite competitor. Whether it’s a bull rush, a swim move, or a rip move you know Leonard Williams is going to get pressure in the offensive backfield and stir up a ton of chaos. That’s really what it’s all about when you’re playing the defensive line position.

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Chiefs fire General Manager John Dorsey and then sign Head Coach Andy Reid to a contract extension:

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Author: Jon Kuzma

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The Kansas City Chiefs have been busy lately making changes to their staff. The most notable of all those moves is first and foremost the fact that Kansas City has decided to fire General Manager John Dorsey. With the Chiefs recently releasing Jeremy Maclin you have to wonder if Chiefs CEO Clark Hunt felt like Dorsey jeopardized Kansas City’s chances for 2017 success? While Maclin had a down year in 2016, completely discharging the veteran receiver could have a negative impact on the Chiefs quarterback situation. It’s unknown whether that was the final straw for John Dorsey but there really hasn’t been any other significant moves that would compel Hunt to fire Dorsey after 4 and half years. It feels like getting rid of Maclin hurts the Chiefs chances at winning a Super Bowl in 2017 and that’s why Kansas City’s higher ups decided to part ways with their G.M. That wasn’t the only move the Chiefs recently made either, the franchise also decided to sign Head Coach Andy Reid to a contract extension. For those of you who don’t know Reid has quietly been one of the best coaches in the entire NFL. Clark Hunt understood this better than anyone else and that’s why the Chiefs have decided to re-sign Reid before his original contract with the team ended at the conclusion of the 2017 season. Reid led the Chiefs to their first division title since 2010 and there really isn’t any other candidates available on the coaching market that could have came in and fulfilled Reid’s shoes. While the details of how long Reid’s new deal is are still unavailable, one thing is for certain and that is the fact that the Chiefs are at their best with Andy Reid roaming the sidelines. Believe it or not Reid is especially well liked within his own locker room and by many players around the league. Ultimately that gives the Chiefs a chance to recruit marquee players to Kansas City and Reid always gets the most out of his players. Not many coaches could have done the things that Andy Reid has done in such a short time in Kansas City. Due to that Coach Reid has been rewarded with a new contract which will keep him around for the foreseeable future.

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Derek Carr has lived up to the hype ever since he stepped on the field for the Oakland Raiders:

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Author: Jon Kuzma

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With news coming out of the Oakland area that Derek Carr has signed a 5 year $125 million dollar contract extension the Raiders have to be very pleased with inking their star quarterback to a long term deal. Carr is now the NFL’s highest paid player and truthfully it’s an honor that the 26 year old quarterback has earned. Derek Carr has thrown for 11,194 passing yards, 81 touchdowns, and just 31 interceptions showing that he has the ability to thrive as a franchise quarterback. With the Raiders closer than ever to Super Bowl contention General Manager Reggie McKenzie knew Carr was the key to maintaining success. If the Raiders let negotiations continue to persist they would have jeopardized the team’s overall morale and nothing would have been worse for this franchise than a disgruntled Carr. Ultimately that could have put the Raiders momentum at risk and that’s why the deal got done before the preseason even started. Now the Raiders can avoid all the distractions that were swirling around Carr and his contract, which will give this team a chance to focus even more on their on the field execution. That’s the formula for success for Oakland and now the Raiders will have Derek Carr when they eventually make the move to Las Vegas. From a football stand point there is no way the Raiders could have made a splash in a new market without Carr. There isn’t any other quarterback on their roster that has the instincts and moxie that can deliver big results like Derek Carr does. So really there wasn’t any other options for Oakland and now Carr’s contract will serve as a reference point for other quarterbacks in the league looking to secure a long term deal. Matthew Stafford and Kirk Cousins are two players in particular who will use Derek Carr’s agreement to dictate their own offers. It will be interesting to see if either of those players can top Carr’s $125 million dollar payday?

Charity of the day: Pancreatic Cancer Action Network

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The Panthers would be wise to re-sign Greg Olsen the first chance they get, Olsen has been one of the best tight ends in the league:

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Author: Jon Kuzma

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Greg Olsen recently hinted that he could sit out training camp in hopes of landing a new contract with the Carolina Panthers. Olsen has been a stellar pass catching tight end for almost his entire professional career and after coming off three consecutive 1,000 yard seasons Olsen believes it’s time to be compensated. There’s no doubt Greg Olsen deserves a new deal but the tough part for the Carolina Panthers is going to be determining what length of contract Olsen deserves? At 32 years old Olsen is entering the back nine of his career but the veteran tight end is adamant he can play for at least five or six more seasons. While most players believe they can play longer than they really can it’s probably safe to say Olsen will be effective for at least three more seasons. The thing the Panthers want to avoid though is signing Olsen to a big contract and then having him regress with a lot of time left on that deal. So that’s why it feels like a shorter contract would be in the best interest of the Carolina Panthers. A two year deal would be ideal for the Panthers but Olsen will likely want more security than that. That’s why it almost feels like a three year contract is imminent for both sides. That length would keep Olsen under contract to 35 years old and then the Panthers could reassess the situation from there. If Olsen did start to drop production wise at least a three year contract won’t completely destroy the Panthers finances moving forward. When it’s all said and done though Cam Newton needs Olsen to haul in passes and the Panthers should avoid any conflict with their talented pass catcher. Carolina is a good place at the moment and the last thing they want to do is destroy their morale heading into the season. So expect Greg Olsen to get a new contract very shortly.

Charity of the day: Feeding America

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