Why newcomer Jabrill Peppers will pack a punch in the New York Giants secondary:

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Author: Jon Kuzma

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The safety position is somewhat unique because those players line up 9 yards off of the ball and sometimes it’s hard to evaluate their impact.



Sure it’s easy to see when Eddie Jackson or Tyrann Mathieu intercept a pass but there’s other things the last line of defense must accomplish. Whether it’s a touchdown saving tackle or flying up in run support those are plays that can change the outcome of games. Which is why Jabrill Peppers will be so good for New York. Peppers is an elite athlete and he’s exactly what the Giants need in their defensive backfield. He’s very versatile and a big hitter. The former Michigan alum is also a willing tackler and you’ll see him get down and dirty on game day. This guy basically has a linebacker’s mentality but his athleticism is off the charts. It’s so impressive that Jabrill Peppers can also double as a return man on special teams. So Dave Gettleman is smart for making Cleveland throw him in the Odell Beckham Jr. trade. It’s an acquisition that can provide some great returns and the Browns could regret shipping Peppers out. Especially if he has the breakout season that he’s capable of. Peppers is easily one of the most physically gifted players on the field at all times.

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Jabrill Peppers will pack a punch for the New York Giants defensive backfield.

Shaping up. The Detroit Lions know they’re going to get the best out of Jarrad Davis in 2019:

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Author: Jon Kuzma

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Former first round pick Jarrad Davis started to put it all together in his second NFL season. The Detroit Lions linebacker recorded 100 tackles and 6 sacks proving how valuable he can be for Matt Patricia’s defense. You can see right away how physically gifted Davis is.



Not very many 240 pounders are able to move as well as this guy does and he’s everything you want in today’s era. Stopping the run is fundamental no matter what level of football it is. Jarrad Davis goes a step further and he lays some pretty heavy blows on opposing ball carriers. That ends up striking fear in the offense and you’ll see some teams start to clam up a little bit. Once that happens the Lions have a much better chance of winning the game. It should also be noted that Davis is very strong against the pass too. Receivers think twice about running crossing routes against him because those can turn into devastating hits over the middle. Because of the speed that each guy is moving at it’s almost like witnessing a car accident. The final part of Davis’ game that we have to talk about is his ability to rush the passer. He’s got a knack for slicing through the offensive line and those sacks help Detroit get off the field on passing downs. So when Jarrad Davis takes down Aaron Rodgers, Kirk Cousins, or Mitchell Trubisky on 3rd and 10 those are drive killers that keep points off the board. You just can’t say enough good things about Davis and his third year should be truly special.

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Detroit Lions linebacker Jarrad Davis is shaping up.

Taking command. San Francisco 49ers linebacker Fred Warner is earning a larger role on defense:

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Sport Author: Jon Kuzma

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Every rookie has high expectations when they’re entering the NFL. These are individuals who had success at every stop before they became professional athletes. Yet it’s so difficult to transition to the next level because the competition gets even harder.


That didn’t prevent 49ers rookie linebacker Fred Warner from bursting onto the seen though. The former third round pick recorded 124 tackles in 2018 and he did that while filling in for Malcolm Smith. Reuben Foster also got cut halfway through the season so Warner’s emergence couldn’t have come at a better time. What he essentially did was turn a weakness into a strength. Clearly John Lynch hit on this mid-round selection and a lot of Warner’s success can be traced back to his instincts. This is a player who can shoot through the gap’s so quickly and it seems like he’s always making plays in the offensive backfield. It all starts with a good read step which is used to build momentum. Then Warner collides with running backs and lays it all out on the field for his team. By proving himself Fred Warner has gained (defensive coordinator) Robert Saleh’s trust. Therefore the young defender is stepping into a leadership role in 2019 and now San Francisco expects him to set an example for everyone else. Producing a large output made that possible and the 49ers also added Kwon Alexander to make their run defense even stingier. Together those two should be able to deflate their opponents morale. They’ll also join Deforest Buckner, Richard Sherman, and Nick Bosa as the core of this group.

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Fred Warner is taking command of the 49ers defense.

The Denver Broncos defense can be elite because Bradley Chubb is living up to his potential:

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Author: Jon Kuzma

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Let’s make one thing clear the Denver Broncos are Von Miller’s team. Miller is easily the best player on this roster and it all starts and ends with him. However it was the addition of Bradley Chubb which really took this group to the next level.


The 2018 first round pick is also a pass rushing specialist. While Miller gets the job done with his quickness. Chubb is more powerful and tends to rely on his bull rush. Even though their styles are different Chubb was still effective as a rookie recording 12 sacks. Offenses can’t leave one-on-one blocking on Chubb or they’ll end up getting overpowered. So that creates a predicament when it comes to pass protection because Von Miller is also a huge threat. Having to account for both guys puts you in between a rock and a hard place because sooner or later one of those players will break loose. It’s not just the sacks that teams have to worry about either. Chubb is getting very good at coming down the line and stuffing runs that are away from him. Meaning that he can make his opponents somewhat one dimensional and that plays right into Denver’s favor. The Broncos actually want teams to pass because they have all of the tools to consistently win those battles. They’re licking their chops when quarterbacks drop back and this is one of the main reasons they’re a sleeper team. Talent wins games and you could see the strides this group was making a year ago. With Chubb’s progression 2019 could be even better and the worst of Denver’s struggles are in the past.

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Denver is getting better because Bradley Chubb is living up to his potential.

 

A star is born. The Los Angeles Chargers know Derwin James can change the safety position forever:

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Author: Jon Kuzma

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Every once in a while a great safety comes along that completely breaks the mold. We saw it back in 2004 when Sean Taylor blew us away with his physicality.



We kind of witnessed it again when Eric Berry and Earl Thomas brought their ball hawking abilities to the league. However Derwin James is different than all of those other guys because he’s so versatile. Last year the Los Angeles Chargers lined him up all over the place and it seemed like James excelled whether he was deep, in the box, in the slot, or on the edge. Which is rare because usually a player is only good in one of those phases of the game. That wasn’t the case with the rookie and his numbers prove it. James recorded 105 tackles, 3.5 sacks, and 3 interceptions in his first campaign and it’s rare that you see someone hit the ground running like that. Obviously it’s possible because James has some exceptional instincts and the athleticism to execute his reads. And when you add that to all of the other talented players Los Angeles has it makes for a very dangerous defense. People forget Joey Bosa was hurt for most of last season but that group still held up well (9th ranked in total defense). It’s because James came in and minimized a lot of their weaknesses and they should be even better with a healthy Bosa and the additions of Jerry Tillery and Nasir Adderly. Collectively all of those pieces will be demoralizing for opposing teams and James should build on the momentum he was able to establish in 2018. He’s not as big of a hitter as Taylor was but Derwin James is probably better when it comes to making tackles for a loss. Not to mention he can blitz and get after the quarterback. So it’s almost like having another linebacker who can also cover like Berry and Thomas (who were free safeties). The blend of it all is what makes James who he is.

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Derwin James can change the way the safety position is played forever.

A healthy Devonta Freeman will be everything the Atlanta Falcons hoped for. Their offense has another gear when he’s on the field:

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Author: Jon Kuzma

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The Atlanta Falcons caught a bad break last year when Devonta Freeman went on injured reserve with a groin problem.


Freeman only ended up playing in two games in 2018 and that was so tough for this team to overcome. Yeah Tevin Coleman eliminated some of the issues the Falcons had running the ball but there‘s a reason Freeman has always been the ace. It’s because he’s so much better as the lead back and the results prove that. Freeman has 30 career rushing touchdowns and Coleman only has 18. So the running game is way more effective when Atlanta is handing the rock off to number 24 and he’s just an exciting ball carrier to watch. You’ll notice right away that Freeman is a shorter player but he has a low center of gravity. Therefore it’s hard to get a solid hit on him and then there’s his agility. Whether it’s juking, spinning, or changing directions it seems like this guy has a variety of ways to break defenders down. Those are plays that this offense lacked for most of this past season and they should be much more balanced with their workhorse back in the fold. Why go with an air raid approach when Dirk Koetter can call runs and let Freeman work his magic on the ground? It’s safer to go that route and then Matt Ryan will have those playaction plays to work off of. That seems like the best course of action down in Georgia.

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Devonta Freeman’s return will be everything the Atlanta Falcons hoped for.

It’s unlikely that Brett Favre willl be coming out of retirement but could he make an NFL roster if he did?

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Author: Jon Kuzma

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Brett Favre made a shocking announcement on his Instagram account yesterday by saying that he’ll come out of retirement for the 2020 season. We know now that Favre was hacked or at least that’s what he’s telling people. However this would be one of the biggest sports stories ever if it did come true and it’s fun to debate whether or not Favre could actually make a roster?


The two biggest hurdles would be the loss of reaction time and how well Favre would hold up against those massive NFL hits? When you get older your quick twitch muscles don’t fire as quickly and mentally you’re not as sharp. Obviously that’s somewhat of a general statement because each situation should be case-by-case depending on how well that particular human being has held up over time. Clearly Brett Favre is very gifted and that’s why he was able to play until 41 years old. Some guys get eight years off and feel a little bit rejuvenated. And luckily for Favre he doesn’t play running back, wide receiver, or cornerback where it’s all about speed and athleticism. So it’s possible if Brett Favre could throw the ball well enough maybe he could make the cut as a backup. The other concern is how would his body hold up when he does get nailed? When you’re 50 years old the injuries you suffer don’t heal as quickly. Also you have to wonder if he can absorb a blitzing 240 pound linebacker’s shot and get up the following play and give everything he has? Those are the things we’d have to wait and see about but it would still be awesome to watch. If Brett Favre went out there and had success at his age it would be one of the sport’s greatest comebacks.

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Could Brett Favre make an NFL roster if he came out of retirement?

So much potential. Don’t be surprised if Jaire Alexander ends up becoming the NFL’s next great cornerback:

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Author: Jon Kuzma

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Playing cornerback in the National Football League is so tough because it takes an unbelievable amount of athleticism to be good. It’s a position that has to react instantly and it’s very difficult to cover an NFL wide receiver even when you’re doing everything right.


However every once in a while you‘ll see a rare talent like Green Bay Packers cornerback Jaire Alexander. The 2018 first round pick made a name for himself at Louisville and then he backed that up by running a 4.38 40 yard dash at the NFL Combine. So right away that lets you know just how physically gifted Alexander is and he can outmatch the players he ends up covering. The Packers defense is lucky to have an individual with that much potential because he can eliminate some of the opposing teams’ best weapons. You’ll notice this right away when you watch Alexander play and it’s incredible how he rarely gives up any separation. He might not always be able to intercept the pass but it seems like Alexander is always there to break up the completion. Sooner or later those plays are going to turn into takeaways and that’s when we’ll see this guy start to fulfill his true potential. Right now the best corner in the league is Stephon Gilmore. Although Alexander could take over that title someday and it’s because there’s not many people that have the instincts and closing speed Jaire Alexander possesses. It’s easy to see the direction his career arc is heading and don’t be surprised if he makes huge strides in his second year. Alexander knows how high the stakes are and there’s no denying that he wants to be great. From here on out it’s about putting it all together and finding a way to consistently make an impact for his team.

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Don’t surprise if Jaire Alexander becomes the league’s next great cornerback.

Big play capabilities. It appears that Carolina Panthers wide receiver Curtis Samuel is heading for a breakout season:

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Author: Jon Kuzma

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The Carolina Panthers knew they were getting a dynamic player when they drafted former Ohio State wide receiver Curtis Samuel. This team took Samuel in the second round and he’s always had big play capabilities. So when Samuel struggled in his rookie season due to a left ankle injury it was definitely concerning.


However Carolina never lost faith in the young pass catcher and ultimately that faith has been rewarded. With 494 yards and 5 touchdowns in his second year of action Samuel finally gave us a glimpse of what he can bring to this offense. It looks like that was just the beginning too because he’s been lighting it up at the teams off-season practices. Defenders are having a tough time keeping up with Samuel and it’s because of his speed. This is someone who is very capable of going deep on every single snap. You’ll notice that he loves to run fade and post routes. The other thing Curtis Samuel does really well is make people miss when the ball is in his hands. Which is why the Panthers love to use him on reverses. What that does is take advantage of the defenses pursuit and uses their flow against them. If Samuel has the ball in the open field you can almost guarantee some fireworks are going to fly. It’s almost like watching a punt returner do his thing just because he’s so fast and so shifty. At the end of the day the combination of D.J Moore and Samuel are going to be extremely explosive. Carolina finally has the weapons they’ve been lacking out wide. Now Cam Newton has to step up and get them involved. There’s no excuses anymore and new owner David Tepper is expecting positive results.

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The Cleveland Browns are better off tapping into Baker Mayfield’s tenacity. They need to unchain their quarterback and let him restore their franchise to greatness:

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Author: Jon Kuzma

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Whether it’s a work environment, relationships in your personal life, or even in sports there’s always politics. Every team has it and sometimes there’s dynamics in play off the field that can make-or-break a team.


Jealousy is always one of those things and when you gain a lot of power there will always be detractors and some of them can even be your teammates. It’s real and it happens even if you believe it or not. So when a report came out of Cleveland that Baker Mayfield was receiving a lot of pushback from the other Browns players you have to question why that’s happening? Obviously some of the team’s other leaders felt like Mayfield handled Duke Johnson’s situation poorly. The 2nd year quarterback was harsh when speaking about Johnson and his desire to be traded but if Cleveland really wants to be at their peak level they shouldn’t be reeling Baker Mayfield in. This is a player who is at his best when he channels his emotions and uses them to elevate his play. This franchise hasn’t had competitive fire like that in a very long time and when you’re trying to cook something up you need to bring the heat. Almost all of the older generations will absolutely hate that approach but we don’t live in the ho-hum era anymore. Mayfield is a new school kind of guy and he wears his emotions on his sleeve. It’s better to get out of his way and let him do it his own way because he’s the reason this team has any hope right now. The 2018 1st overall pick is the lifeblood of this organization and it’s sad that the rest of the other individuals in this locker room are losing sight of that.

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The Cleveland Browns are better off taping into Baker Mayfield’s tenacity.

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