Keenan Allen is a player everyone should keep their eye on this season. The Chargers receiver is going to bring a ton of big plays to the table:

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Author: Jon Kuzma

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Keenan Allen really made a name for himself last season when he recorded 1,393 yards and 6 touchdowns. Yea the production is nice but it’s Allen’s craft that makes him such a special player. This guy only ran a 4.71 40 yard dash which is slower than most of the other elite receivers. However Keenan Allen is so smooth from a route running standpoint that he can rival just about anyone at his position. A lot of that is also because Philip Rivers and Allen have ironed out all the wrinkles when comes to their rhythm and timing. Between the route running and the connection both those players have it’s become a field day for Allen every time the Chargers line up. One thing that really stands out is Allen’s hands. It seems like this guy never drops a pass and that’s so huge when you’re trying to play in the NFL. Even when Keenan Allen was contested and had to show off his extension to grab a pass he still would finish those plays with a catch. The consistency is what people have to marvel at. Whether it’s getting open or always making the tough snag it just shows Keenan Allen is a gamer. Then the last thing you have to be aware of if you line up across from number 13 for LA is his success in the yards after catch category. Keenan Allen can flat out make defenders miss. On one play against the Dallas Cowboys Allen shook four defensive players and took it to the house for a score. Those are the highlights that stand out to the Chargers coaching staff and it’s also why they are so committed to getting Allen involved. Just plug in the film and watch Keenan Allen play and you’ll be amazed. He’s the receiver who is wearing long sleeves in 90 degree Los Angeles weather but for whatever reason it works out for him.

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Keenan Allen has been all business lately. The Chargers receiver is geared up and ready to this season.

Devin Funchess is due for a breakout season. Every year he has gotten better and now it’s looking like he’ll put it all together:

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Author: Jon Kuzma

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After lighting it up for a couple seasons at the University of Michigan the Panthers drafted Devin Funchess in the second round of the 2015 draft. Funchess has taken a little bit of time transitioning from a college tight end to an NFL wide receiver but at this point Carolina has to be happy with Funchess’ progression. Last year Devin Funchess recorded 840 receiving yards and 8 touchdowns. This guy has always been a good red zone target but now he’s solidifying himself as a player who can contribute on every single down. Obviously the concern is the fact that Funchess has never recorded a 1,000 yard season but he’s trending in the right direction and it’s only a matter of time. It’s very possible this is the year and that’s going to be huge for Cam Newton. We know Carolina’s running game will be in good shape with C.J Anderson and Christian McCaffrey in the offensive backfield. The real weak point has been the receivers and too much was asked of Funchess after Kelvin Benjamin was traded. Well now the Panthers have Torrey Smith and D.J Moore to play a secondary role to Funchess. However Devin Funchess still has to be the alpha of that bunch and live up to the responsibilities that comes with being a number one receiver. If Funchess can do that then there’s a great chance Carolina can end up being a Super Bowl contender. If not then this team will likely underachieve. It’s also a big year for Funchess’ personal legacy because he is at a crossroads in his career. He has to show that he is capable of being an elite player in this league because those are the receivers who last in the NFL. The weak get weeded out so quickly and Devin Funchess has to prove he is cut from a different cloth.

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Devin Funchess is due for a breakout season and it’s going to be a lot of fun to watch.

The Baltimore Ravens have a dynamic running back in Alex Collins. Collins had an extremely productive season a year ago and now he is looking to build on that success:

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Author: Jon Kuzma

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If you’ve followed Alex Collins throughout his collegiate days at Arkansas it should come as no surprise that this guy is an outstanding football player. Collins rushed for three consecutive 1,000 yard seasons with the Razorbacks and totaled 3,703 yards and 36 touchdowns against some tough SEC opponents. For some reason though Collins fell all the way to the 5th round of the 2016 draft and that’s when the Seattle Seahawks selected him. For whatever reason things didn’t work out in the state of Washington (they said Collins had fumbling issues) and that ended up being great news for the Ravens. In his first season in Baltimore Collins rushed for 973 and 6 touchdowns as the top ball carrier in John Harbaugh’s system. That was a huge relief for their football team because Collins came out of no where and established a running game. Without that it’s hard to believe the Ravens would have won 9 football games last season and now they’re on the cusp of being a contender again. The offense as a whole will be better this season so less will be asked of Alex Collins. The good news is that means he’ll be well rested when the team does call his number. Ultimately that will lead to some big plays and remember Collins gets the job done with his speed. He’s a very explosive runner and does well running to the outside. Not many guys can outrun the pursuit and turn the corner. Alex Collins is one of those guys and he has some home run hitter ability. If there’s enough daylight this guy can take it to the house whether it’s 50, 60, or 70 yards. It’s almost to the point where you’re wondering how did Seattle overlook him but every season some players slips through the cracks. Luckily for the Baltimore Collins fell right in their lap.

Charity of the day: Hope For The Warriors

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NFL boycotters are fighting a losing battle. Pro Football is here to stay and there’s no changing that:

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Author: Jon Kuzma

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There seems to be more people choosing to hop on the boycott the NFL trend and it’s kind of absurd when you think about it. The National Football League was founded in 1920 and since then the sport has been rising in terms of popularity and revenue. People are acting like there’s a legitimate shot that they can erase the NFL but it’s simply untrue. We’re approaching the hundred year mark of pro football and that should tell you how strong the shield truly is. There’s 32 billionaires that are dedicated to making the vision work and that’s not including all the sponsors, season ticket holders, and fans who will support the league no matter what happens. It’s funny too because the only time the anti-NFL coalition gains any momentum is in the offseason. Once the games start to be played that bandwagon loses all of their passengers. There’s just so much action on the field and it makes for one of the best spectator events there is. It’s very unlikely the entertainment side of the NFL ever goes out of style and keep in mind the last 9 Super Bowls have each brought in over 100 million viewers . There’s no shortage when it comes to pro football’s following and when you also factor in that sports gambling is legal now too. It’s really going to add to the popularity of the sport because now fans can wager on their favorite teams every single Sunday. The NFL is heading in one direction and it’s upward. If that wasn’t true then the contracts wouldn’t be getting bigger and bigger each year. Not to mention some of the best athletes in this country choose to play football over any other sport. All of these facts and points tell the truth. The NFL is fine and they aren’t nervous about their future whatsoever.

Charity of the day: VietNow National Headquarters

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The NFL boycotters have no shot at overthrowing the league.

The Minnesota Vikings continue to re-sign their top defensive players. This time Danielle Hunter agrees to a five year $72 million dollar contract:

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Author: Jon Kuzma

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The Minnesota Vikings continue to re-sign their top defensive talent. First Eric Kendricks and Harrison Smith inked long term deals and now Danielle Hunter agreed to a five $72 million dollar extension. Now Mike Zimmer will have three of his brightest defensive stars for the foreseeable future and there’s clearly been a pattern when it comes to this ball club. The Vikings wants to put all their eggs in the defensive basket. The idea is defense wins championships and so far that philosophy has yield some pretty impressive results. Zimmer is 39-25 since joining Minnesota and that’s revived their brand. By committing to Danielle Hunter the Vikings believe they can rush the passer for the next five years. Hunter has recorded 25.5 sacks over the past three seasons and when you average 8.5 sacks a year that usually leads to a big time payday. The thing that stands out most about Hunter’s game is the fact that he so fast off the edge. So many times on film this guy just ran by the offensive tackle lined up against him and took down the quarterback. Everything is quicker with Danielle Hunter and that includes his spin move. Number 99 for Minnesota can spin offensive lineman out of their shoes and they can’t keep up with the 23 year old (Hunter). Then there’s the strength and even though Hunter is all about beating people with his burst. He can still bull rush and push opposing tackles right in the quarterback’s lap. Which proves this guy is more than a one trick pony. His game is versatile and that’s why the Vikings decided to pay him the big bucks. It feels like this defense is going to be good for a very long time and that’s something this organization has to be pleased with. The future is definitely bright for that purple team from the NFC North.

Charity of the day: VietNow National Headquarters

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The Vikings have been re-signing all of their top defensive players. Danielle Hunter is the latest.

The Patriots are cheaters narrative isn’t fair to New England at all. They’ve earned their success every step of the way:

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Author: Jon Kuzma

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Bill Belichick and Tom Brady have their fair share of haters and enemies. There is a growing anti Patriots movement that seems to want to undermine the accomplishments New England has achieved but nobody can deny their legacy. The Patriots have been the greatest modern day football dynasty that we’ve seen. Before them you’d have to go back to the 49ers of the 80s and 90s or the Steelers in the 70s to even come close. Still with the sport being commercialized more than ever and with all the pressure that comes with succeeding in the world today. New England has consistently rose to the occasion and defied all expectations. Due to that this organization has taken on a lot of criticism. Most of the claims against the Patriots are minor though and the real reason the team from Foxborough catches so much flak is because nobody wants to see them on top anymore. Everyone wants to see someone else win for a change but the problem is Bill Belichick executes better than most other coaches. When you pair his brilliant x and os with Tom Brady’s nearly prefect clutch rating. It makes a formula that’s been successful at the professional level for the last eighteen years. Don’t let anyone put a dent in their reputation this team is phenomenal from an execution standpoint. They rarely shoot themselves in the foot and outside of Aaron Hernandez they haven’t had too many off the field issues. Even though New England has done all of these amazing things there’s still some people out there that want to see them fail. It just goes to show that you can never make everyone happy and the Patriots shouldn’t have to. They’ll just go out there and continue to have an overwhelming amount of success and everyone else just has to deal with it. Either that or they can find a way to beat the Patriots on the field, which rarely seems to happy.

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With Sean Lee, Jaylon Smith, and Leighton Vander Esch the Cowboys have a set of linebackers that can suffocate opposing offenses:

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Author: Jon Kuzma

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While the Dallas Cowboys haven’t had the best offseason losing Dez Bryant and Jason Witten. They did get better on the defense side of the ball with the addition of Leighton Vander Esch who the Cowboys drafted in the first round of this past draft. They now have three talented linebackers in Sean Lee, Jaylon Smith, and Vander Esch all who have great instincts and their own unique strengths. Vander Esch in particular has been compared to Brian Urlacher and that’s quite the compliment for the rookie. Part of that is due to the fact that both player have a similar mold. Urlacher and Vander Esch are both 6 foot 4 inches and they have a tenacity that seems to run parallel in one another. Let’s be honest though Vander Esch has a long way to go before he can live up to that comparison but it’s definitely a good sign early on in his career. Then there’s Jaylon Smith who after missing all of the 2016 season came back and showed a few glimpses of promise last year. The former Notre Dame standout have a ton of upside and everyone has to remember he is still getting familiar with his rehabilitated knee. As Smith completely heals from that setback he’ll be even better and that’s something everyone in Dallas is upbeat about. The Cowboys knew drafting Smith was a long term approach but now that risk seems to be panning out. The final person in this linebacker group is Sean Lee and he’s perhaps the most important. Lee has been an x-factor for this defense since 2010. When Lee is on the field Dallas always has a chance to win because they consistently find a way to keep points off the board. When you combine all three of these guys together though that’s when things really get scary. The Cowboys have some serious firepower on defense and that’s going to be tough to match up with. It’ll be really nice if they can find a way to have all three of those players on the field at the same time.

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The Cowboys have three talented linebackers that can suffocate opposing offenses.

Quenton Nelson is already making a name for himself in Indianapolis. The Colts’ rookie is a lock to start at left guard:

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Author: Jon Kuzma

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Well it hasn’t taken very long for former Notre Dame Guard Quenton Nelson to make an impact for the Colts. The 6th overall selection in the 2018 Draft is lighting it up for Indianapolis in practice. You can already tell that there’s isn’t going to be much penetration from the left side of the line and that will be huge for Andrew Luck. Luck is returning from an nagging shoulder injury and Nelson was the perfect pick for this organization. Jacoby Brissett was absolutely hammered when he was under center for most of last season (sacked 52 times). Luck wouldn’t hold up in those conditions and Nelson will instantly cut down on the pass rush. Not only that but Quenton Nelson is a earth mauler when it comes to run blocking. Whether it’s driving back the guy lined up across from him or pulling and getting out on the edge. Nelson consistently shows up and adds some nastiness upfront. You want players like this who aren’t afraid to get dirty. That take no prisoners mentality is exactly what the Colts need to turn things around. Keep in mind they have a new head coach in Frank Reich who is an offensive minded coach. By going with Nelson it makes the offensive execution as whole so much easier. It all starts with those hogs upfront who impose their will on defenders. This could honestly end up being the best rookie in the entire 2018 class. A lot of times quarterbacks, pass rushers, and running backs end up going higher than offensive lineman. Make no mistake about it though Quenton Nelson is a rock solid pick and it’s going to show on game day. In short yardage situations defenses better send blitzes right at Nelson because it’s going to be a run play right behind him. The scary thing is a lot of times the Colts are still going to win in those situations.

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Quenton Nelson is a lock to start this upcoming season.

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

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

Cameron Jordan anchors the Saints’ defense and it’s because he never takes a play off:

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Author: Jon Kuzma

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New Orleans Saints Defensive End Cameron Jordan is a handful for offensive lineman and that’s one of the main reasons he’s the most important defensive player for the Saints. If you plug in the game film and watch Jordon play it’s amazing how much effort he gives to get off blocks. Some players concede when a guard or tackle engages them but Jordan tries to whip blockers off of him. Then the 3x Pro Bowler pursues ball carriers with a relentless tenacity. Which usually results in a tackle for loss and it’s not much different in the passing game either. Jordan can swim to the inside or work a spin move while rushing off the edge. Usually he’ll end up right in an opposing quarterback’s face and then finishes the play with a sack. In fact Cameron Jordan recorded 13 sacks in 2017 and you better believe that helped lead New Orleans to several wins. Now if the Saints want to take the next step and they should be able to because their roster has improved. They’ll need Cameron Jordan to play lights out and really generate some pressure. Based off everything we’ve seen in the past there’s a very good chance that’s going to happen. Jordan seems to overmatch his opponents from a strength standpoint and it’s hard for teams to line up against this guy. The only shot offensive coordinators are going to have is game planning for Jordan and trying to avoid running at him. You also have to chip Jordan with running backs and tight ends on pass plays but even then number 94 still might wreak havoc. So you can see just how important Cameron Jordan is when it comes to this franchise’s success. We’ve attached his tape below so you can see for yourself. Just look at how well he consistently sheds blocks. 

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Cameron Jordan never takes a play off and that’s why he’s such an impact player.

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