Is a Josh Norman holdout on the horizon?

Photo credit: AAron Ontiveroz / Denver Post

Author: Jon Kuzma

With news coming out of Carolina that Josh Norman still hasn’t signed his franchise tag, one has to wonder if the 5th year defensive back is ever going to sign? After having his best season as a pro in 2015 which included 4 interceptions and 2 defensive touchdowns. Norman feels it’s in his best interest to sign a long term deal and get taken care of, rather than just caving in and accepting the 1 year franchise tag contract. Norman has worked very hard the past four seasons to develop himself into a marquee player. Which he finally obtained when he was in the running last season for defensive player of the year. Norman did a great job of going toe to toe with some of the best wide receivers that the National Football League has to offer and many times he came out on the winning side of the battles. Now it’s clear that Norman wants to be compensated like an elite cornerback and in order to get the contract Norman deserves he will have to be stiff in his business negotiations. Maybe that means holding out a few games to relay to the team that he serious about getting what he is due. One thing is for certain Carolina needs Norman on the field in a Panthers uniform if they want to get back to the Super Bowl and have a shot at winning the Lombardi Trophy in 2016. Norman has shown a knack for breaking on routes and being able to make big defensive plays for the Panthers. Losing those ball hawking skills in the defensive passing game would definitely be a regression for this football team and it would be in the Panthers best interest to find some kind of agreement with Norman. This could end up being a disaster if it isn’t addressed sooner rather than later and the situation is something to look out for heading into next season.

Charity of the day: American Sexual Health Association

Go donate! www.ashasexualhealth.org

Has Chip Kelly made the necessary adjustments to become a successful coach in the NFL?

Photo credit: Ezra Shaw / Getty Images Sport

Author: Jon Kuzma

Chip Kelly is a very talented football coach that is something we can all agree on. The problem lies in the way he handles NFL talent though. Kelly whose style is philosophically better suited for the college level, had a hard time getting NFL personnel to buy into his approach. In order to make the evolution that he needs to make personally Kelly must learn how to cultivate relationships on a level that is more than football. Players want to feel that their coach is truly in their corner, and it was clear in Philadelphia that several players didn’t feel that way when Chip Kelly was their head coach. Kelly alienated more than just players during his time as the Eagles coach too, he also frustrated staff members and front office workers. Which ultimately led to his ousting and then eventual signing with the San Francisco 49ers. Kelly gets a fresh start but it will be up to the coach to look in the mirror and make the necessary personal changes that he must do in order to succeed in the National Football League. The 49ers just kicked out Jim Harbaugh a couple of seasons ago because he was an overbearing coach. If Kelly doesn’t work harder to connect with people he could find himself in a similar situation. The 49ers were a team that struggled to find their identity in 2015 and they have no room for internal conflict taking place. If Kelly fizzles out this time, there might not be another team knocking at the door looking to hire him. It’s safe to say it’s now or never for Chip Kelly and his roster is seriously lacking talent. Don’t be surprised if things don’t go well for Chip again. This will be a true test of how good of a coach he is and it’s an against the odds story. The situation is certainly something to keep an eye on in 2016.

Charity of the day: American Brain Tumor Association

Go donate! www.abta.org

The Atlanta Falcons are doing everything they can to be a contender in 2016:

Photo credit: Scott Cunningham / Getty Images Sport

Author: Jon Kuzma

The Atlanta Falcons had a heck of an offseason, first they landed Alex Mack and Mohamed Sanu. Which gave the team a significant upgrade to the offensive side of the ball. Then just a day ago they signed Courtney Upshaw away from the Baltimore Ravens. The move helps the Falcons improve their defensive front and will give the team a chance to put some sacks on the board in 2016. In order to do so, Atlanta must get more production out of Upshaw who never really lived up to expectations during his time with the Ravens. Upshaw was highly praised coming out of the University of Alabama. Yet he only recorded 5 sacks in his first 4 seasons of professional football. The Falcons are hoping that a fresh start and a new home will help rejuvenate Upshaw’s game and you have to give credit to the team for taking a shot on the pass rusher. All of those offseason upgrades are expected to come in and get the Falcons one step closer to the postseason in 2016. After the team started red hot in 2015, they eventually cooled off and came just shy of making the playoffs. Now with more talent around Matt Ryan offensively, the Falcons should be that much more dynamic and they are hoping they can challenge the Carolina Panthers in the NFC South. That won’t be an easy task considering the fact that the Panthers made it to the Super Bowl last season. However anything can happen in the NFL and we’ve seen teams who are competitive one season, really stumble the following year. Carolina might be too talented to allow that to happen. That is why the Falcons are trying to gain ground on them by making moves in free agency. A good draft would be the final touches to the Falcons roster and expect the team to improve on the defensive side of the ball. A few different mock drafts have the team taking a linebacker and don’t be surprised if the Falcons land a player like Darron Lee out of Ohio State. Doing so makes the team much more complete on both sides of the ball and would significantly improve Atlanta. Regardless this team has had an outstanding offseason.

Charity of the day: American Brain Tumor Association

Go donate! www.abta.org

The Titans should trade down and add more picks in the draft:

Photo credit: Alex Goodlett / Getty Images Sport

Author: Jon Kuzma

The Titans have the first overall pick in the 2016 draft and there are many different approaches the team could take with that pick. The consensus seems to be that the Titans will draft Laremy Tunsil out of Ole Miss, and while adding a talented offensive lineman like Tunsil would be a good pick. The Titans have too many positions lacking talent and in order to be competitive sooner rather than later. The team will need to do more than just draft Tunsil with the first overall pick in the draft. Instead the Titans should trade down to the middle of the first round and try to land an extra pick in the second or third round. Doing so would give the team an extra pick that could be used on a top 3 round player. Everyone knows the players in the top 3 rounds of the draft are the most talented players coming out and if the Titans could also add another late round pick on top of the incoming 2nd or 3rd they got for trading down on the number 1 pick. That could be potentially be 2 extra draft choices in the 2016 draft rather than just the Tunsil pick. An extra 2nd round draft pick and a 5th round draft pick could turn into another lineman and wide receiver, both positions the Titans desperately need. It’s moves like turning 7 draft picks into 9 draft picks through trades that help turn franchises around. We’ve see the Patriots constantly do this and look how well it’s panned out for them. If you’re Jon Robinson that has to be in the back of your mind and Robinson went as far as saying that the Titans would entertain trade offers for the pick. When your roster is depleted of talent you have to think outside of the box and be creative in your approach. Settling on just drafting Tunsil won’t get the job done for this team in 2016 and let’s see if Robinson has the moxy to pull the trigger and get a deal done.

Charity of the day: Circle of Friends for American Veterans

Go donate! www.vetsvision.org

What’s happening around the league: offseason edition volume 2.

Photo credit: Michael Chang / Getty Images Sport

Author: Jon Kuzma

Patrick Robinson signs with the Colts:

After discussions with the Dallas Cowboys Patrick Robinson decided the best fit for him would be with the Indianapolis Colts. The Colts gave Robinson a 3 year $14 million dollar contract to help upgrade their secondary. The move will help improve the Colts defense against the passing game and Robinson will line up against some top tier wide receivers in the league and do his best to keep them all in check. Robinson finished the 2015 season with only 1 interception but was he highly coveted in this free agency and that is a testament for the respect he has earned throughout his time in the league.

Carson Wentz making a compelling case to be the number 1 quarterback taken in draft:

Carson Wentz impressed scouts today at his pro day and the quarterback made a solid case to be the number 1 quarterback taken off the board in April. While early on it was Jared Goff who was blowing away scouts, now it’s Wentz who seems to have taken the momentum in the competition to be number 1. Wentz stated today that he really wanted to show scouts that he can throw on the run, and draft expert Mike Mayock stated that he believes Wentz is the most pro ready quarterback in the draft. Will Cleveland still take a quarterback at that number 2 spot now that they landed Robert Griffin? Only time will tell but give credit to Wentz for showing up and saying and doing all the right things. Most importantly though, give him credit for being a talented football player on the field and showing that he can come in and potentially win some football games for a team. Wenz threw for 17 touchdowns and only 4 interceptions in his final season at North Dakota state. Also showing he can be very efficient as a passer and he really did a great job of taking care of the football and limiting turnovers.

Charity of the day: Physicians for Social Responsibility

Go donate! www.psr.org

RG3 signed with the Cleveland Browns today:

Photo credit: Sandra Dahdah / Getty Images Entertainment

Author: Jon Kuzma

It’s official Robert Griffin signed with the Cleveland Browns today and Hue Jackson gets a quarterback under his reign. Griffin was all smiles after inking his 2 year contract worth $15 million dollars which included $6.75 million dollars in guaranteed money. The contract is perfect for the Browns because if Griffin does end up starting and has a strong performance. The Browns will then retain Griffin for an extra season at a cheaper price than if they signed him on a one year deal and had to re-sign him after that strong first year performance. On top of that Griffin won’t be able to skip town and go else where after a single season like he could if he did indeed sign a one year deal. Griffin even went as far to state that he would take “a rookie quarterback under his wing” showing that Griffin’s upbeat attitude was a big reason that he received another contract from a professional football team. The Browns might be a team that is near the bottom of the barrel but holding out and risking missing out on a contract was something Griffin was not willing to do. It’s a smart move because essentially Griffin keeps his pro football career alive rather than rolling the dice and hoping another team signs him later on. Almost similar to Hue Jackson and how he took the Cleveland job rather than waiting around for another team to sign him. Now Jackson and Griffin will do all they can to restore the Browns franchise together. It’s no surprise that Jackson inked Griffin because he had very high praise for the former Baylor quarterback after the two met with one and other. Griffin will get some fine tuning from being under Jackson’s command, who is an offensive master mind. The Browns should be a better team next season and Robert Griffin the 3rd very well could be the Browns starter week 1 when the season rolls around. It’s a good pick up for both sides and the Browns get a step closer to eliminating their quarterback woes.

Charity of the day: Physicians for Social Responsibility

Go donate! www.psr.org

Landing Rueben Randle was a solid move for the Philadelphia Eagles

Photo credit: Al Bello / Getty Images Sport

Author: Jon Kuzma

It’s a very common occurrence to see players sign with a team that is in the same division of their former team. Rueben Randle is a another example of this taking place in the NFL, Randle signed with the Philadelphia Eagles after starting his career with the New York Giants. Randle who is often criticized for under producing is a good signing for the Eagles because he had a good season last year. A lot of people want to talk down on Randle’s game but you have to keep in mind he caught 8 touchdowns and 797 receiving yards in 2015. That was the most touchdowns in a season Randle ever recorded and you can see that he is slowly developing into the player the Giants were hoping he would be. Too bad the Eagles lured him away and now will pair him along with Sam Bradford in hopes of putting a better offensive product on the field. At 6’2 208 pounds Randle gives the Eagles a chance to put up some production through the air. It’s clear new head coach Doug Pederson has a vision of what he would like to see on the field and he is sticking to the script when executing that plan of action. The Eagles seem like they are going to be a much more conventional offense rather than Chip Kelly’s unique uptempo offense that the Eagles used last season. That should bold well for Philly since it was becoming overwhelming clear that the players for the Eagles were becoming burned out with Chip Kelly’s philosophies and the coach himself. Putting a player like Randle who averaged 5 touchdowns a year over his 4 seasons of NFL action in that offense. Should really help the Eagles put a little more talent outside on the edges of that offense and it gives the team a big possession receiver oppose to those undersized quick receivers that Philly always likes to use. Don’t listen to the naysayers making false claims about Randle, this was a good pick up for the Philadelphia Eagles and they became a better football team today.

Charity of the day: National Wildlife Federation

Go donate! www.nwf.org

Goodell’s bias against the Patriots makes him nearly unfit to lead:

Photo credit: Mike Lawrie / Getty Images Sport

Author: Jon Kuzma

Good leaders are taught to be impartial in every decision they make. They are taught to put aside their own personal bias and make the best decision for the group or organization’s sake. So when you heard that the Patriots won their case against the NFL when it came to deflating footballs and cheating the integrity of the game. You figured the NFL would back off in their stance against Brady and the Patriots. That clearly wasn’t the case with Roger Goodell though when he decided to reject Robert Kraft’s letter to obtain their docked first round pick back from the Deflategate Scandal. Goodell continues to radiate dislike for the New England Patriots organization and continues to cast the team that helped build the modern day NFL in a bad light. Which is completely unfair to the New England Patriots, especially since they won a decision in court over Goodell and the NFL which should of put that unfair biased to rest. With the New England Patriots being the poster boy of successful franchises in the league and Goodell being an overbearing authority figure. It’s clear the two sides have been on path to collide for sometime. Goodell just has too big of an ego not to be in control of everything and the Patriots were just a little too big for Goodell’s constraints. Not in the sense that the Patriots cheated on the field, but in the sense that the Patriots popularity wise were much greater than Goodell, and that never seemed to sit well with the commissioner. On top of that the Patriots were the measuring stick for excellence in the league and that naturally gave the team a confidence that the commissioner didn’t like as well. It’s safe to say Roger Goodell might be slightly jealous of the New England Patriots. It’s crazy to think you would be writing about jealousy at such a high level of professional sports but that is exactly the reason why commissioner Goodell doesn’t like Robert Kraft and the Patriots. Goodell should of gave the team their draft pick back because the team won their court case, it was the right thing to do. Instead the commissioner didn’t even think about giving that pick back and acted like he did. We all knew an adamant no was coming, that is why this was such a good opportunity for Goodell to step up and right his wrongs. In the end it was just another letdown for the commissioner and it’s time the league starts looking at moving on.

Charity of the day: National Wildlife Federation

Go donate! www.nwf.org

RG3 to the Browns is looking more and more realistic:

Photo credit: Patrick Smith / Getty Images Sport

Author: Jon Kuzma

Robert Griffin the 3rd apparently met with the Cleveland Browns organization and seem to be impressed with the quarterbacks state of mind at this point in time. Browns new head coach Hue Jackson stated that Griffin owned up for his shortcomings in Washington and really had a great interview with the team. The positive feedback could be a sign of Griffin’s maturity and a step in the right direction for the 4th year quarterback. After fizzling out in Washington and eventually losing his job to Kirk Cousins, Griffin remained optimistic about his future and that could be a huge factor in him landing his next gig. That opportunity looks like it very well might be with the Cleveland Browns and Hue Jackson is an outstanding offensive play caller who could certaintly help Griffin get his career back on track. In fact even though Griffin lost his job, he still has managed to throw for 40 touchdowns and 23 touchdowns over those 3 seasons that he has played. Showing that in the right circumstances he could certainly become an effective football player again. The key for Griffin will be working on his foot work, making sure he sticks to his footwork when the pressure is in his face, and taking the next step when it comes to reading the defense. In the NFL playing quarterback is as much as a mental battle as it is a physical battle. If Robert Griffin can understand the responsibility that comes with being a quarterback mentally he could easily improve his situation. While the Browns are the laughing stock of the league, they are trending in the right direction under Jackson and maybe Griffin can help turn around that team. It won’t be easy by any means but that isn’t to say it can’t happen. It will be interesting to see if the Browns do indeed sign Griffin and if they do, whether or not the draft a quarterback in the draft next month? If they do than that says Griffin is an insurance policy to either Wentz or Goff. If they don’t then maybe Jackson believes Griffin can lead his football team moving forward.
Charity of the day: CARE

Go donate! www.care.org

Dallas Cowboys solve their running back issues by signing Alfred Morris:

Photo credit: Ronald Martinez / Getty Images Sport

Author: Jon Kuzma

The Dallas Cowboys had a need at the running back position but the team did all they can to eliminate that problem today by signing Alfred Morris. Morris comes to the the Dallas Cowboys from the Washington Redskins. So the Cowboys effectively hire a guy away from their NFC East rival the Redskins, and at the same time get a player who has rushed for 4,713 rushing yards and 29 touchdowns over the course of his career. The risk for the Cowboys is the fact that last year Morris has his worst year as a professional only rushing for 751 yards and 1 touchdown in 2015. When you put Alfred Morris next to Darren McFadden in the Cowboys backfield though, you suddenly have a position that is now a strength on this team. When entering the offseason it was clearly a weakness. So it was a great move for the Dallas Cowboys to sure up their running game and it’s a great opportunity for Alfred Morris because he will get a fresh start in the league. Sometimes a fresh start can be rejuvenating for an athlete and running behind that strong Dallas offensive line has to excite Alfred Morris. When you combine how good the Cowboys truly are upfront with a great athlete like Alfred Morris good things are certainly going to happen. One thing is for sure when it comes to the game of football Alfred Morris can play the game. He has had big time success in this league and that bolds well for Dallas, especially since they should be leaning on the running game while Tony Romo gets back in form. Jerry Jones has to be thrilled about this acquisition and suddenly the Cowboys are making moves in the right direction again. After a lackluster 2015 season they will get all their players healthy again in 2016 and will get a chance at trying it all over again.

Morris will earn $3.5 million on the 2 year contract. He can make up to $5.5 million if he excels on the field.

Charity of the day: Global Fund for Women

Go donate! www.globalfundforwomen.org

1 154 155 156 157 158 206