Alex Smith’s reign is coming to an end in Kansas City, the Chiefs will add a quarterback in the draft:

Photo credit: Dilip Vishwanat / Getty Images Sport

Author: Jon Kuzma

Alex Smith has been the quarterback of the Kansas City Chiefs for 4 seasons but Smith’s reign is going to be coming to an end shortly. After 11 total seasons in the National Football League Smith has only thrown for a career high of 23 touchdowns in a single season and that isn’t good enough to win a Super Bowl. The Chiefs have acknowledged that their growth is limited to by Smith’s inability to produce and keep in mind Smith has never thrown for 4,000 yards in a single season either. When you factor in Drew Brees has been able to throw for 5,000 yards in a single season 5 different times, you can begin to see how big the gap is between elite quarterbacks and Alex Smith. Andy Reid knows that his window to win a Super Bowl will get smaller after Eric Berry, and Justin Houston lose a step. That means Reid has to find a replacement for Smith quickly and the 2017 NFL Draft will be the perfect place to find that player. If the Chiefs can get any of the 1st round quarterbacks that would be a great pick up for this team, that player could then push Smith for the starting job. While Alex Smith might have one more season left in him as a starter, if one of the rookie quarterbacks is clearly the better option Reid will play the better player. Why have another early playoff exit with Smith if another player can take your team further? That’s what the Chiefs’ thinking is behind close doors and Reid is just publicly backing Smith because he is a stand up coach. So now that the Chiefs are looking to move past Alex Smith that leads us to ask who could potentially be Smith’s successor? Pat Mahomes is one quarterback in the 2017 Draft who the Chiefs could be targeting and out of Mitchell Trubisky, Deshaun Watson, and Pat Mahomes Mahomes is the only quarterback who ever threw for over 5,000 yards in a single season. That premier production throwing wise is exactly what Kansas City is lacking and should give the Chiefs franchise the push it needs to get to the top. Smith on the other hand could look to continue his career elsewhere but the veteran quarterback might walk away from the game instead. Smith is entering his 12th season and at some point you have to step away from pro football if you’re an aging player. So we will see how things pan out for Smith if the Chiefs do indeed go another route at the QB position. Regardless though Smith has played in the NFL for over a decade and that’s a lot more  than most people can say.

Charity of the day: Veterans Assistance Foundation

Go donate! ww.vafvets.org

With Brock Osweiler gone who is going to be the starting quarterback for the Houston Texans?

Photo credit: Jayne Kamin- Oncea / Getty Images Sport

Author: Jon Kuzma

Now that the Houston Texans have moved on from an under-producing Brock Osweiler one has to wonder who will be the Texans starting quarterback in 2017? The Texans only have two quarterbacks on their roster at the moment (Tom Savage, and Brandon Weeden), however neither of those players are the long term answer for the Texans. In order for Houston to stay atop the AFC South they need a player that they count to be the number 1 guy as far as the quarterback position goes. Right now there are a few different options that the Texans can go but they need to make some kind of acquisition to put this team in a better position to succeed. Right now Jay Cutler, Colin Kaepernick, and Robert Griffin are all free agents and all three of those players were a starter a some point last season. Any of those three guys would be an upgrade over what Houston has and it’s kind of alarming that the Texans haven’t made a push for somebody. While it’s very possible the Texans front office could sign someone before training camp starts there is one other option Houston has. The Draft is coming up this month and there is definitely going to be a few quarterbacks that could elevate the Texans quarterback situation. Mitchell Trubisky, DeShaun Watson, and Pat Mahomes are all players who are 1st round talents who could be day 1 starters in the National Football League. Houston could prefer to go with one of those younger rookies over signing the free agents mentioned above, so we will which route Houston goes with in time? Keep in mind though Dak Prescott was a star after being drafted in the 4th round last year. Which means there is a possibility the Texans could land someone later on in the draft who can produce. While those chances of success are much slimmer Prescott does prove that some guys do slip through the cracks and drop a little bit in the draft. Maybe going after a player like DeShone Kizer later on in the draft could give the Texans what they need. Going with Kizer would still be a better choice than what Houston has on their roster and sometimes in the right system an overlooked player can make a splash. So there certainly a lot of question marks surrounding the Texans QB situation and it’s definitely something football fans should keep an eye on as we head into the draft and toward training camp. Houston needs to find a way to get better passing wise and after coming up short in back to back playoff appearances the quarterback position will be key to this team’s overall progression.

Charity of the day: Alaska Conservation Foundation

Go donate! www.alaskaconservation.org

Marshawn Lynch agrees to terms with the Oakland Raiders, a huge step in Beast Mode’s return to the gridiron:

Photo credit: Ronald Martinez / Getty Images Sport

Author: Jon Kuzma

Marshawn Lynch has agreed to terms with the Oakland Raiders and it’s becoming more evident that Lynch will indeed play in 2017. After missing the whole 2016 season that’s great news for Best Mode’s fans and Lynch has certainly grown into a fan favorite over the course of his career. Lynch has a big time anti-establishment type of personality but at the same time he is extremely loyal to his teammates. That makes Lynch always a favorite in the locker room and just having this guy on your roster can uplift your team’s morale. The other 52 players on the roster know that they are going to get Marshawn Lynch’s all every time he steps on the football field. That sets a great precedent for the other players on the team and it also helps the other guys raise their own level of play. So Marshawn Lynch is an emotional lightning rod for the team he plays for and that’s why the Raiders were compelled to agree to some kind of terms with Lynch. The interesting part of this deal is the fact that the Raiders still have to trade with the Seahawks to acquire Marshawn Lynch. Apparently the Raiders feel like they can make that trade happen however don’t be surprised if Seattle tries to raise the price on Lynch. Even though the Seahawks aren’t getting anything from a retired Marshawn Lynch they still have to feel shorted by the fact that Lynch will play for the Raiders and not them. That could cause Seahawks General Manager John Schneider to try to throw a wrench in Lynch’s plans to un-retire. So keep an eye out on whether or not the Raiders can smoothly acquire the rights to Lynch or if they have to overpay for the veteran running back’s services? That factor will have a big outcome on whether or not Lynch can officially sign with the Raiders and get back on the football field in 2017. Expect the Seahawks to aim high in that trade with a 3rd round draft pick but the Raiders will only want to give up a 4th or 5th. So the trade itself is where football fans should be focusing their attention. Especially if you’re a Raiders fan and don’t want to give up too much to bring Marshawn Lynch in.

Charity of the day: Trust for Public Land

Go donate! www.tpl.org

Football fans will forever be in debt to Dan Rooney’s contributions to the game:

Photo credit: Jeff Haynes / AFP

Author: Jon Kuzma

Everyone knows that the Pittsburgh Steelers are one of the best franchises in all pro football with a league leading 6 Super Bowl victories. What most people don’t know is just how the Steelers were able to amass all of those Vince Lombardi Trophies. The Steelers were able to become the most successful franchise is all of pro football because of their leadership and much of that leadership stems from the Rooney family. Art Rooney might have founded the Steelers back in 1933 (known as the Pittsburgh Pirates initially) but Dan Rooney eventually succeeded his father and kept Art’s traditions alive. Dan Rooney learned the ins and outs of the football industry while working for his father and that helped polish Rooney for his own time as team President. During that era (1975-2002) Dan Rooney was able to hire Chuck Noll as head football coach and Rooney also led the Steelers to 15 division championships, 8 AFC Championships, and an NFL record 6 Super Bowl Championships. It was a hell of a run for the Steelers owner but maybe more impressive was Rooney’s ability to connect with people. Dan Rooney was never too big for anyone and was known as a man who constantly helped other people. Rooney was often regarded as a champion of diversity and he opened doors for so many NFL staff members, players, and coaches. Not only that but league commissioners such a Pete Rozelle, Paul Tagliabue, and Roger Goodell all took advice and were mentored by Dan Rooney. So with news coming out of Pittsburgh today that Mr. Rooney has passed away, one has to understand how great of a man we truly lost. Rooney will forever be known for his humility and his ability to make every person feel included and important. It’s that approach that helped build the Pittsburgh Steelers into what they are today and so many people have been blessed to know Dan Rooney. Next time you’re watching a Steelers football game remember what that team truly stands for. Grace, humility, inclusion, and hard work all contributions from Dan Rooney and the Rooney family. He will certainly be missed not only in the football community but by fans, friends, and loved ones.

Charity of the day: World Vision

Go donate: www.worldvision.org

 

Roger Goodell’s passive approach on team relocation should be the final straw for his role as commissioner:

Photo credit: Streeter Lecka / Getty Images Sport

Author: Jon Kuzma

With news breaking out today that the city of St. Louis is suing the NFL one has to wonder how this is all going to fall on Roger Goodell? Goodell has recently allowed the Rams to leave St. Louis, the Chargers to leave San Diego, and the Raiders to leave Oakland. Now that St. Louis is suing the NFL, you have to believe that eventually San Diego and Oakland will follow suit. That means the National Football League could potentially have three different lawsuits on their hands all of which will be for substantial amounts of money. While the league would be able to survive all those financial setbacks these court cases are going to be another black eye for the NFL. All of the owners are responsible for allowing these relocations to happen, but at some point the commissioner needs to step up and intervene. That’s why Goodell was given the job in the first place and his passive stance on relocation is certainly going to come back and bite him in the ass. To turn your back on three cities that have supported NFL teams for over a hundred years is not only a bad move for the league but it should be the reason for massive personnel changes in the league’s front office. Also the owners all got significant relocation fees for approving these deals which makes the voting process awfully partial. For example the Rams and Chargers each had to pay a $550 million dollar relocation fee for moving to Los Angeles. That money is then divided among the other owners in the league and the players don’t get a penny of those funds. With over a $1 billion dollars on the table between the Chargers and Rams alone what owner is going to reject collecting those relocation fees? The answer is very few, between the Rams and Raiders relocation voting the outcome was 61 votes approving the moves and only 3 votes opposing. So clearly not many of the owners were thinking about the fans around the league and it’s obvious that the money means more than the fans when it comes to these NFL owners. The NFL can’t have sustainable product with this kind of mindset and that’s why this blunder should be the last of the Roger Goodell era. Business has to be about connecting people and uplifting spirits. The NFL has shunned that model for a “profits at all cost mentality” and now the league needs new leadership to get their mission back on track. This is a pivotal moment for the league as whole and we will see what path they choose? A clean slate has to be the best option and that means getting rid of Roger Goodell first and foremost.

Charity of the day: United Methodist Committee on Relief

Go donate! www.umcor.org

You can compare Philip Rivers to Tony Romo all you want but the truth is Rivers is a much more gifted player:

Photo credit: Leon Bennett / Getty Images Sport

Author: Jon Kuzma

With Philip Rivers recently discussing the fact that he has been often compared to Tony Romo it’s only right that we weigh in on the quarterback debate. While both Romo and Rivers took over as full time starters in the 2006 season, only one of those players is still in the National Football League (Rivers). That proves that Philip Rivers wins in the longevity category but that isn’t the only phase of the game that Rivers was better than Romo. Philip Rivers has thrown for 45,833 passing yards over the course of his career and will improve on that total as he continues to play. That’s compared to Tony Romo’s 34,183 career passing yards, which shows a 10,000 yard gap between Rivers and Romo’s production. Not only that but Rivers was also able to throw for 66 more touchdowns passes (Rivers’ 314 to Romo’s 248),19 more wins, and 3 more playoff appearances. So truthfully when you’re comparing Philip Rivers to Tony Romo, it’s a landslide victory for Rivers. Rivers was statically better in so many different ways and those numbers tell the true story of both players. That’s not to say that Romo didn’t have some positives going for him though most notably less interceptions and a higher quarterback rating. Which means if Tony Romo wasn’t hurt as often as he was he could have pushed Rivers stats wise. However the fact that Romo was indeed injured so often is just another reason that Rivers was a better player. Rivers has a bigger frame standing 6’5 in contrast to Romo being 6’2. Rivers was tougher and played with more fire than Romo did. So basically it’s easy to see Rivers is the better player when you really do your homework and there is a reason Phillip Rivers is ranked 12th all time in total passing yards. It’s because the guy is very passionate and his combustible personality has yielded great results on the football field. Romo is a very good football player but he just doesn’t stack up against Rivers when it’s all said and done.

Charity of the day: The Y.M.C.A

Go donate! www.ymca.net

The Tennessee Titans are on the cusp of doing something special in the AFC South:

Photo credit: Stacy Revere / Getty Images Sport

Author: Jon Kuzma

The Tennessee Titans made huge strides from the 2015 season to the 2016 season. In 2015 the Titans were abysmal and recorded a 3-13 record, 2016 was the exact opposite though the Titans improved to 9-7 and were suddenly playing winning football. That’s because Head Coach Mike Mularkey has came in and put an emphasis on fundamentals (running the football, and playing solid defense) and it’s also because Titans General Manager Jon Robinson has done an excellent job maneuvering for the Titans. Robinson robbed the Los Angeles Rams blind when he traded the number 1 pick in the 2016 Draft for 5 of the Rams’ draft picks. Those picks will be used to shape this roster to Mularkey’s vision and these picks aren’t the only trick up the Titans’ sleeve. Tennessee also had a terrific off-season signing Logan Ryan, John Cyprien, Sylvester Williams, and Tim Lelito. Those players should help boost Tennessee’s overall talent level, which should give this team exactly what it needs to make a push for the AFC South title. Last year the Houston Texans (AFC South Champion) and Titans tied record wise with both teams finishing 9-7. So far the Titans have had a much better off-season and that should be enough to give this team the edge when the regular season rolls around. Keep in mind the Texans lost Brock Osweiler as well, and now Houston doesn’t know who their starting quarterback will be come week 1? All of those factors benefit the Tennessee Titans and now you have to believe that this team is best in their division. Roster wise they have the best players and when it comes to football philosophy the football goods have to appreciate the Titans’ smash mouth approach. Demarco Murray and Derrick Henry are two outstanding running backs who set the tempo for this team, those two players alone can overwhelm a defense. The ground game will be the recipe for success in Nashville and Marcus Mariota will have to evolve while handing the ball off. For Mariota that means staying healthy above all because when he is on the field he usually does make plays. However Mariota has missed five games in two years so he has to get a little bit tougher and he has to find a way to stay on the field. If Tennessee plays their cards right they should be in the playoffs when the season comes to an end and they could be a serious contender. Remember they had 9 wins last year and that was before the Titans made a series of great roster moves.

Charity of the day: Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors

Go donate! www.taps.org

Desmond Trufant is today’s big winner after inking a $69 million dollar contract extension with the Atlanta Falcons:

Photo credit: Kevin C. Cox / Getty Images Sport

Author: Jonathan Kuzma

Desmond Trufant was entering his 5th and final year of his rookie contract which was slated to end after the 2017 season. In order for the Falcons to keep Trufant from reaching free agency they decided re-sign the 26 year old cornerback to a 5 year contract extension. That deal will pay Trufant $69 million dollars with $42 million of that money being guaranteed. This is a terrific deal for Trufant and now only 2 cornerbacks in the league will make more money than Atlanta’s star corner (Josh Norman and Patrick Peterson both make more). With Atlanta nearly winning the Super Bowl last year, the Falcons needed to keep morale high and retain their best players. Thomas Dimitroff achieved that goal by re-signing Robert Alford in December and now by re-signing Desmond Trufant. Those two moves should solidify Atlanta’s secondary which will keep the Falcon’s Super Bowl hopes alive. When you also factor in that Dimitroff was able to bring in Dontari Poe on that defensive front, it becomes obvious that Atlanta is pushing all their chip in the middle of the table and is taking on a Super Bowl or bust mentality. Last year helped this team build up a championship confidence, now the Falcons are ready to give everything they have to make sure the mission gets completed this season. Keeping Trufant happy certainly helps the morale of this football team, which is a little bit more good momentum for Atlanta. Now this team has to stay healthy and go out and execute on the football field. Atlanta has a couple year window to potentially hoist a Vince Lombardi Trophy which is a lot more than most of the teams in the league can say. Give credit to Arthur Blank, Thomas Dimitroff, and Dan Quinn for guiding this team in the right direction. Ever since those three have been working together this team has been a contender.

Charity of the day: Pancreatic Cancer Action Network

Go donate! www.pancan.org

Aaron Rodgers 40 touchdown passes were the most in all of football last year:

Photo credit: Streeter Lecka / Getty Images Sport

Author: Jon Kuzma

While Drew Brees, Matt Ryan, and Kirk Cousins all threw for more yards than Aaron Rodgers, not one quarterback in the league had more touchdown passes than Rodgers. Green Bay’s quarterback set the pace last year with 40 touchdown throws and it’s Rodgers ability to deliver the ball from any angle that makes him so dangerous. Rodgers can step up in the pocket and unload a strike with his ultra quick release or he can throw off his back foot and let his accuracy complete the pass. That combo of skills makes the Packers starting quarterback extremely lethal from the pocket and watching Rodgers throw is about as fluent as it gets. Aaron Rodgers also understands that he has to move the pocket at times and he can buy time with his feet. By changing his own location on the field he can allow receivers to get separation and make plays downfield. Playing with Aaron Rodgers is a wide receivers dream because he can deliver the ball with zip and he understands the game so well. Hot routes and check downs come easy for Rodgers and he can read any coverage you throw at him. All of these little intricacies of the quarterback position help make up the most gifted touchdown passer of the 2016 season (Rodgers), which is also the reason the Packers won the division and made the playoffs. Green Bay was 4-6 record wise before Aaron Rodger put this team on his back and willed them to the postseason. Green Bay should have had a fork stuck in them but Rodgers’ poise and leadership was instrumental during those trying times and number 12’s confidence never wavered. It’s been a lot of fun to watch Rodgers emerge as an elite quarterback in the National Football League and he heads into 2017 with 36,827 career passing yards and 297 career passing touchdowns. So Rodgers has been extremely prolific over the duration of his 12 year career.

Charity of the day: Center for Community Change

Go donate! www.communitychange.org

Steelers fans can breathe a sigh of relief, Ben Roethlisberger is coming back for the 2017 season:

Photo credit: Patrick Smith / Getty Images Sport

Author: Jon Kuzma

The Pittsburgh Steelers made it all the way to the AFC Championship game last year but eventually fell short to the New England Patriots. That left Ben Roethlisberger questioning his future but the veteran quarterback announced today that he does plan on playing in 2017 and Roethlisberger also stated “Steeler Nation will get my absolute best.” That statement feels like this will be the 35 year old quarterback’s last season and it also tells you Ben Roethlisberger is putting his total focus towards winning the Super Bowl this season. The Steelers have easily one of the most talented teams in the AFC and with Martavis Bryant potentially coming back that could be enough to get this team over the hump. It won’t be easy with the upgrades the New England Patriots have made but the draft gives the Steelers a chance to gain a little ground. If they can nail their first three picks and bring in players that contribute in 2017, that will give the Steelers the best shot at dethroning New England. The other factor will be what kind of year can Ben Roethlisberger put together production wise? If Ben Roethlisberger can out work everyone else and prepare himself to play at a career best type of level. That would be the ultimate recipe for Steelers success and it would a perfect way for Ben Roethlisberger to ride off into the sunset. Regardless of how Roethlisberger’s career plays out he will go down as one of the better quarterbacks of all time. Roethlisberger has won two Super Bowls and thrown for 46,814 passing yards over the course of his career. 306 of those passes have went for a touchdown so it’s clear Roethlisberger is a unique talent and he will be known for his size and strength at the QB position. A 6’5 241 pounds Roethlisberger has the ideal NFL quarterback frame, which has helped him shed defenders and keep numerous plays alive. Ben Roethlisberger has always played the game that way and he has uplifted the Steelers franchise. Any time a quarterback brings a pair of Lombardi Trophies back to their team’s city that player deserve a lot of recognition and Roethlisberger will try to get one more be fore he calls it quits.

Charity of the day: Center for Community Change

Go donate! www.communitychange.org

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