Photo credit: Keith Allison
Tom Brady started off slow in the preseason game the Patriots had last night against the Carolina Panthers. He had two interceptions in the first quarter of action and was looking shaky out of the gate. You have to wonder if all the off the field distractions from “deflategate” are starting to get to the future Hall of Fame quarterback. Randy Moss said it best when he said “Tom is human” just like everyone else. With the NFL forming a witch hunt and smear campaign against Brady anyone would be feeling the pressure a little bit. Yet Tom Brady was able to block out the two interceptions he had early and the distractions of Roger Goodell and the NFL. Finishing his limited action off with a touchdown pass to Scott Chandler. More importantly showing that he can still persevere through the adversity, just like he could in his younger years. Like many other aging quarterbacks in the league Brady must constantly go out and show he can still play at a high level. This is a league where you are only as good as the success you’ve had recently and while Garoppolo won’t take Brady’s spot. He still needs to maintain a high level of play not only for his personal legacy, but also for the Patriots future success. With his suspension looming over the team Brady will also have to stay sharp away from the team. While some players might regress missing action Brady likely will be on a mission to overcome this challenge. The guy has been a winner his whole life and is a world class competitor. After having his personal life sabotaged and picked apart by the media all off-season. Brady is going to do his best to get his revenge. The only downside is that revenge might night even be possible until week 5.
Charity of the day: Veterans Assistance Foundation
Go donate! www.vafets.org
Photo credit: Darrell Thomson
Julio Jones is good enough to be the cornerstone of a franchise flat out. While in four years of action he has managed to only go over a 1,000 yards receiving twice. One of those years he didn’t catch a 1,000 yards he was hurt, and the other time he was a rookie. The former University of Alabama player is a phenomenal asset for the Falcons and vital piece of Matt Ryan’s personal success. At 6’3 220 pounds Jones is the ideal size for an NFL wide receiver. He has the ability to go up above defenders and make a play on the ball. He also has the speed running a 4.39 40 yard dash to blow pass defenders and take the top off the defense. Julio is also a great yards after catch receiver similar to how Terrell Owens was. On several plays during the 2014 season Julio was able to break a tackle and take the ball for an additional gain for his team. Jones most impressive move on the field seems to be his back shoulder fade though. Him and Matt Ryan clearly have put in a significant amount of time on this particular throw. Now on Sundays they are using it to expose opposing defenses and look for that play to continue to have success in 2015. While Ryan and Jones are completing passes on the field, it is now up to Arthur Blank to open his check book and put together a contract that rewards Jones for his contributions. The two sides have both insisted that they are getting closer in negotiations. And a deal may be imminent before the regular season starts. Look for that deal to be in the 70 million ball park maybe just shy of 70. Dez Bryant received a 5 years 70 million dollar deal from the Cowboys and you would have to expect Julio’s contract would be just shy of that deal. Regardless Jones is worth the money.
Charity of the day: Food for the Hungry
Photo credit: Ed Shipul
Drew Brees looked better than ever last night against the New England Patriots. Dicing the Patriots defense up for 8 out of 10 passes and 2 touchdowns strikes. On one particular forty five yard touchdown strike Brees was able to connect with receiver Brandin Cooks who beat his defender on a double move. Cooks had a heck of a night hauling in 4 receptions, 117 yards, and a touchdown for the Saints. Showing that he can be an effective weapon for the Saints offense and hopefully minimize the lost of Jimmy Graham a little bit. Still much of the Saints offensive credit must go to Brees. One thing you notice right away when watching Brees play is the way he is able to lead the Saints offense. He takes command not only in a leadership role but his consistency on the field shows he is dedicated to many facets of his game. His field vision is better than nearly every other quarterback in the league and that is why he was able to pass for 5,000 yards in a season 4 different times. A feat that no other quarterback in NFL history has done, and a feat that Tom Brady and Peyton Manning have only done once each. The numbers don’t lie. When you watch Brees drop back you are watching arguably the best pure passer of all-time. Brady is the best in terms of Super Bowl wins. Brees is the best pure passer ever, period. His pocket presence is better than everyones. His throws are darts that are on the money every time. He also does a great job of being deceptive in where he is going with the ball. Doing a great job of looking off defenders then coming back and making the backside defense pay on throws. Keep an eye on Brees this year as he looks to add his 5th 5,000 passing yards season to his resume. And maybe his second Lombardi trophy if he keeps playing like this.
Charity of the day: Environmental Working Group
Go donate! www.ewg.org
Photo credit: Keith Allison
Matt Ryan or “Matty Ice” as they like to call him in Atlanta, is having an excellent career with the Atlanta Falcons. At 30 years old Ryan is entering his eighth season of NFL action. No longer a young player looking to prove his value, Ryan is now an NFL veteran who is entering his athletic prime. With those development years in his rear view mirror Ryan’s best football still might be ahead of him. A pretty strong case since Matt Ryan had arguably the best five year start of any NFL quarterback ever. Don’t believe us? Well, check the stats. In a five year span to start their career no one has more wins than Ryan with 56, no one has more fourth quarter come backs with 16, and no one has more game winning drives with 23. So while Ryan isn’t the best QB ever he does have some very key accomplishments that he can be proud of. Another big factor of Matt Ryan’s game is when you watch him you notice the discipline that he has put into his craft. He is outstanding with his body position such as keeping the ball high and the shoulders cocked. His footwork is impeccable and he always does a great job of stepping up in the pocket. He also does a phenomenal job of seeing the field and looking off defenders before making a throw. And when it does finally come to Ryan throwing the football. It’s like poetry in motion. Most of his throws are fluent, with perfect mechanics, and all of his balls have good zip on them. Maybe this is why he was able to put up 181 touchdowns and only 91 interceptions. Which is 33 more touchdowns than fellow 2008 draft classmate Joe Flacco has put up (148). If Ryan finishes the back end of his career anything like he started. He should certainly finish as one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time in terms of wins. He also should be a lock for the Pro Football Hall of Fame some day. You have to tip your hat to that .
Charity of the day: Coalition for the Homeless