The Giants hint that they could part ways with Odell Beckham Jr. Which wouldn’t be the smartest move for New York:

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Author: Jon Kuzma

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The New York Giants have made it clear that they are sick of answering questions about Odell Beckham Jr. and his behavior but the fact remains that Beckham isn’t expendable. The talented wide receiver missed most of last year and the Giants had a terrible season with a 3-13 record. Clearly the absence of Beckham had an extremely detrimental impact on this offense’s scoring output. Which is why it’s hard to understand New York’s position on Beckham. Yes to some degree Owner John Mara has a legitimate reason to be upset with Beckham’s behavior. However it feels like this organizations is hinting that an Odell Beckham Jr departure could be happening in the near future. That’s not a smart football decision and somehow both sides have to sit down and compromise. Whether that’s by having a meeting and hashing out each sides frustrations or finding some other conclusion. The fact remains that Beckham needs to stay in New York and they have to find a way to make him feel comfortable. All these other distractions aren’t good for the team but Beckham has to hold himself accountable too. The talented wide out hasn’t done a good enough job of keeping his hands clean. The sideline outbursts have become too common and the latest video of Beckham smoking marijuana doesn’t help either. Despite that this guy is one of the best receivers in all football and his impact is undeniable. Mara can’t downplay Beckham’s abilities and he shouldn’t risk alienating the prolific pass catcher. Going through the grind of an NFL season and having to respond to the New York media is enough to deal with already. Right now it seems that the Giants have a rift on their hands and it’s something that could unravel as time goes on. If Mara wants to trade Beckham he better at least act like everything is on the up and up or he’s just driving down Beckham’s trade value anyway. No team wants to bring aboard a trouble maker and if the schism between New York and Beckham gets too bad other teams will know the Giants are desperate to move on from number 13. Both hurt New York’s leverage in trade negotiations.

Charity of the day: Brookings Institution

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Adam Thielen is one of the great stories around the league. Thielen went from an undrafted free agent to one of the best receivers in the NFL:

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Author: Jon Kuzma

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If you followed Adam Thielen’s story you have to impressed with the stand out Minnesota receiver. After putting together a stellar career at Minnesota State University Thielen didn’t receive an invitation to participate in the NFL Combine. Instead of letting his dreams slip away Thielen decided to take matters into his own hands and attend a regional combine which is essentially a free agent try out for NFL teams. Thielen impressed at that event with a 4.45 40 yard dash and a 6.77 three cone drill. Ultimately that led the Minnesota Vikings to extend Adam Thielen an actually try out at Winter Park with the team. Even though Thielen didn’t initially make the cut he was signed to the practice squad. The big thing about that was Thielen had a chance to play in a few of Minnesota’s preseason games and by performing well again it became clear that this prospect was special. In 2014 Thielen made the Vikings 53 man roster and that had to be such a huge accomplishment for a player who was undervalued coming out of college. Things didn’t initially go smoothly when the new pro got called up either. In fact Thielen didn’t become a real contributor until his third season in the NFL when he recorded 976 yards and 5 touchdowns. That was followed by this past season when number 19 hauled 1,276 yards and 4 touchdowns. Obviously Mike Zimmer would like to see the total number of touchdowns improve but from a yardage stand point Adam Thielen is one of the best in the biz. Now the Vikings have a real shot at winning a Super Bowl especially when you take into account that Kirk Cousins will be the QB for this franchise this upcoming season. Things are clearly looking good for the Vikings and make no mistake about Adam Thielen is a big reason why.

Charity of the day: Brookings Institution

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The best running back tandem on the planet is the real reason the Saints are a true Super Bowl contender:

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Author: Jon Kuzma

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Lets be honest the New Orleans Saints shouldn’t have lost to the Minnesota Vikings in the NFC divisional round. A fluke play cost the Saints there chance at a Vince Lombardi Trophy (if they beat Philly) but New Orleans is going to be fine as long as they have their two elite running backs in the offensive backfield. In fact the tandem of Mark Ingram and Alvin Kamara is easily one of the best one two punches we’ve ever seen at the pro level. Ingram is the lead back and does a great job of wearing down defenders. Obviously Ingram has been exceptional in that role because he recorded 1,124 yards and 12 touchdowns this past season. That was Ingram’s best year ever as a pro and it really helped this offense take the next step. The other key component was New Orleans other Running Back Alvin Kamara. Kamara is much more of a scat back than Ingram but he fits into this offensive group because he is so effective on passing downs. We all know Drew Brees is going to throw the ball a lot and Kamara is a dynamic player coming out of the backfield on swing passes. Then when it comes to running the ball Kamara is a flat out slasher who always seems to find day light. When you blend both players styles together it’s a lot for opposing defenses to prepare for and it can simply overwhelm teams. It should also be noted that Kamara rushed for 728 yards and hauled in another 826 yards through the air. So the versatility of both players really helps the Saints form their identity on game day. Having both ball carriers is also huge for Drew Brees as he gets older. When you can win games by handing the ball off it sure makes life easier for a 39 year old quarterback.

Charity of the day: Wildlife Conservation Society

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Alex Smith’s growth can’t be praised enough. Smith proved he was one of the best quarterbacks in the league last year with Kansas City:

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Author: Jon Kuzma

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Alex Smith came into the National Football League as the number 1 overall pick in the 2005 draft. While Smith was very highly coveted coming out of the University of Utah that success didn’t immediately translate over to the pro level. In fact Smith’s rookie season was disastrous with the then 49ers QB throwing for 1 touchdown and 11 interceptions. Even in 2007 Smith finished with 2 touchdowns and 4 interceptions for the year proving he wasn’t ready for the big time. So to go from that type of player who couldn’t even throw for more touchdowns than interceptions. To what Alex Smith is now which was a 26 touchdown and 5 interception caliber of player just shows how far the arc of Smith’s career has come. This guy transformed from an underachiever to an absolute superstar and that’s evident in the 3 Pro Bowl appearances. Smith also led the entire NFL in 2017 with a 104.7 rating. Those accolades tell the story and the Redskins got a heck of a player when they traded a 3rd round pick and Kendall Fuller for Alex Smith. The idea is that Smith can come to Washington D.C and hold down the QB spot for the next five years or so. The good news for the Redskins is quarterbacks are playing longer these days. Tom Brady is 40 and Drew Brees is 39. Alex Smith is currently 33 years old so he could actually play several more seasons if he continues to play well. Washington brought in Paul Richardson to help out a little bit with the aerial attack too. The other key factor will be how much Josh Doctson can bring to the table? Doctson started to come alive last year after a tough rookie year. If Doctson can take that next step Smith should be able to really flourish with Doctson, Richardson, and Jamison Crowder out wide.

Charity of the day: Wildlife Conservation Society

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T.J Watt is coming off an impressive rookie season and he has the chance to be really special in year two. Pittsburgh will blitz their talented outside linebacker frequently:

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Author: Jon Kuzma

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T.J Watt is entering his second season of professional football and he is coming off an outstanding rookie season. Watt recorded 54 tackles, 7 sacks, 1 forced fumble, and 1 interception in his first year in the big leagues. It’s also exciting for the team when a rookie can make an impact from day one. The Steelers got that kind of production out of Watt and now the 23 year old Wisconsin native has a chance to solidify himself as one of the best pass rushers in the entire league. Most players make huge strides from their first year to the next and Watt should be no different. At 6’4 252 pounds with top notch agility T.J Watt is a force coming off the edge of the defense and he can rattle opposing quarterbacks quickly. Not only that but Watt plays better when the stage is bigger too. That was evident when the former 1st round draft pick recorded a sack against everyone of the Steelers AFC North division opponents. Pittsburgh is hoping that their up and coming outside LB can maintain that high level of output and force some turnovers along the way. The Steelers have such a talented ball club but they have to improve defensively if they want to get back to being a true Super Bowl contender. That means this organization needs to sure up their run defense because we know Watt is going to help shut down the pass. Ryan Shazier went down and then teams started to run wild on the Steele City’s defense. It would be nice to see this team add a middle line backer who can plug up those holes inside the tackles. Then Pittsburgh should flip T.J Watt back and forth on each side of the defense while blitzing him 90% of the time. That’s going to force opposing offenses to adjust to wherever Watt lines up which can be a hassle to deal with. Overall though you have to like what you see out of number 90 for the black and yellow. T.J Watt seems to be a rising star in the NFL and he’s been a hell of a draft pick for the Pittsburgh Steelers so far.

Charity of the day: Wildlife Conservation Society

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