Tyrell Williams went from undrafted free agent to 1,000 yard receiver in his second professional season with the Chargers:

Photo credit: Wesley Hitt / Getty Images Sport

Author: Jon Kuzma

Los Angeles Chargers Wide Receiver Tyrell Williams has had a unique journey since turning pro back in 2015. After recording 8 touchdowns and just shy of 1,000 yards in his final year at Western Oregon University, Williams was then signed as an undrafted free agent and was added to the Chargers receiving group. While Williams didn’t see significant action in his rookie season, after learning the ins and outs of the game Williams had an explosion of production in his second season. Williams recorded an impressive 1,059 receiving yards and 7 touchdowns in 2016, that was the most yards by any receiver on the Chargers roster and it’s clear Williams is fit for a lead role with the team. Now with Keenan Allen returning from injury and Mike Williams added to the roster, the Chargers will have a deep line up of receivers that can help Philip Rivers get the job done. Most people probably expect Allen to be the Chargers most prolific receiver in 2017 but keep in mind the tides can turn quickly in the National Football League. Keenan Allen hasn’t had 1,000 yards since 2013 and there’s a very real possibility Tyrell Williams could be the more dynamic receiver out of the two this upcoming year. Without doubt Williams has been much more valuable recently and that’s largely because Allen missed most of the season in the Chargers final year in San Diego. In order for the Chargers to be at their best they need both Allen and Williams playing at a high level, Los Angeles would also get a huge boost if Mike Williams and Dontrelle Inman can be significant contributors. Regardless though, with those four players the Chargers have their most talented group of pass catchers they’ve had in a long time and this group is set to take the league by storm when the regular season rolls around. Things are definitely looking up for Los Angeles.

Charity of the day: Humane Farming Association

Go donate! www.hfa.org

Tamba Hali and the Chiefs could be headed in separate directions after Hali’s disapproval of his playing time:

Photo credit: Peter G. Aiken / Getty Images Sport

Author: Jon Kuzma

Kansas City Chiefs Outside Linebacker Tamba Hali recently took to Twitter to express his frustration with his lack of playing time during the 2016 season. Hali was most notably upset with the fact that he only played seven snaps last year in the playoffs against the Pittsburgh Steelers. With Hali recording 89.5 career sacks during his time in Kansas City it’s easy to see why the veteran pass rusher is upset. Tamba Hali has played his entire eleven year career with the Chiefs and has always been regarded as one of the league’s top sack producers. Now with Hali disgruntled it will be interesting to see if the Chiefs front office decides to part ways with the 33 year old defender? Kansas City has an emerging star in Outside Linebacker Dee Ford, the player who is mainly responsible for replacing Hali. That clearly has led to some friction within this organization and now Tamba Hali is wondering if there is a future for him with the Chiefs? Clearly if Hali stays in Kansas City his role is going to be tremendously downsized unless there is an injury to Justin Houston or Dee Ford. While that might not be the ideal case for Hali, ultimately that’s the reality of the situation. Therefore Hali might want to part ways with the team but if you’re the Chiefs you definitely want to keep this guy for depth reasons. Injuries can happen quickly and letting a talented player like Tamba Hali walk away could come back to hurt the Chiefs later on. Kansas City won’t get a lot of trade value for Hali because he is entering the twilight of his professional career. However if the Chiefs can get even a 7th round draft pick in return for Hali that would be better than just releasing the 11th year man out of Penn State. So Kansas City has to make a decision regarding Hali soon and it will be interesting to see the approach the Chiefs take?

Charity of the day: Humane Farming Association

Go donate! www.hfa.org

The Jaguars are loaded on the defensive side of the ball but will that translate into more than three wins in 2017?

Photo credit: Icon Sportswire

Author: Jon Kuzma

The Jacksonville Jaguars had a lot of buzz swirling around their franchise last off-season but once the regular season ended the Jaguars finished with a 3-13 overall record. Now after signing several key defensive players including Calais Campbell and A.J Bouye the Jaguars are once again gaining praise for being an up and coming team. Truthfully it’s hard to believe in Jacksonville because last year when we started to give this team a little bit more respect they had a complete meltdown and defensively Jacksonville finished 25th in the league surrendering 400 points. As much Calais Campbell, A.J Bouye, and Barry Church upgrade the talent level on the Jaguars defense, you have to realize this team is competing against bad culture. Jacksonville is seriously lacking in the prestige category and there hasn’t been good pro football in Northeast Florida since 2007. So while it’s easy to get excited about the big time acquisitions the Jaguars have made this off-season, you also have to keep in mind football fans were feeling the same way when this team added Malik Jackson and Tashaun Gipson last summer. Now the good news is Jacksonville is improving through their cumulative efforts. They took a big step by building a nucleus of talented young players such as Jalen Ramsey, Yannick Ngakoue, and Myles Jack. Hopefully the additions of Campbell, Bouye, and Chuch will blend well with the guys from last year and help this team soar to new heights. The pieces are certainly there but ultimately Jacksonville has mesh their talent and find some kind of cohesion. The best teams in the National Football League are the ones who trust each other and all buy into the same goals. The Jaguars need to gel and then everything else will fall into place from there. It’s time for this franchise to go from pretender to contender in 2017.

Charity of the day: Pathfinder International

Go donate! www.pathfinder.org

Former NFL Running Back O.J Simpson is granted parole after 9 years in prison, Simpson was serving time for robbery charges:

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Author: Jon Kuzma

Former Buffalo Bills and San Francisco 49ers Running Back O.J Simpson has been granted parole after nine years behind bars. Simpson was serving time for his role in a sports memorabilia robbery which took place in Las Vegas back in 2007. During those events Simpson led a group of men to a hotel room and then proceed to take a number of sports collectables that featured Simpson’s appearance. After stuffing numerous pillowcases full of sports merchandise, Simpson then tried to get away with all of the stolen goods. Eventually Las Vegas authorities were notified about the actions that had transpired and Simpson began a criminal trial on September 16th 2007. When it was all said and done a Nevada District Court convicted O.J Simpson on 10 counts of kidnapping, robbery, and burglary with a deadly weapon. Simpson received a 33 year maximum sentence with possible parole after 9 years. Now we know now that Simpson did indeed receive that parole after nearly a decade in prison and it will be up the 70 year old to change the way he goes about life. Simpson has history of violence and crime so the former pro football player has to find a way to keep his hands clean and contribute to society positively. Remember Simpson was a once in a generation talent during his NFL career, and he recorded an impressive 11,236 rushing yards and 61 touchdowns. Maybe if Simpson can get back to sports and do something he truly passionate about, that will lead him down a better path in life. Simpson could try his luck in sports media or even try to be an analyst for the National Football League. While it’s unlikely the NFL itself or any major network hires O.J Simpson there is still some opportunity to start his own business and use technology to broadcast his thoughts and opinions regarding the league. Those suggestions might be a stretch for O.J Simpson now but anything is better than relapsing back into a life of crime and going back to jail. We will see how O.J Simpson handles himself now that he has been given another chance at freedom? The Hall of famer needs to make the to most of this opportunity.

Charity of the day: International Rescue Committee

Go donate! www.rescue.org

The Chiefs sign Patrick Mahomes to a 4 year $16.4 million dollar contact, the rookie will bide his time behind Alex Smith:

Photo credit: Icon Sportswire

Author: Jon Kuzma

The Kansas Chiefs drafted a rocket armed quarterback in the 2017 NFL Draft and that player’s name is Patrick Mahomes. Mahomes was a stand out at Texas Tech University and during his time in Lubbock the former Red Raider was able to throw for 93 career touchdowns passes. Those accomplishments were enough for several NFL teams to take notice and in the end it was the Chiefs who decided to trade up to draft Mahomes. Kansas City gave up two first round picks (2017, 2018) and a 3rd round pick (2017) to move up to the 10th spot overall and select Patrick Mahomes. Now Andy Reid’s team has their quarterback of the future and if you plugged in the tape on Mahomes you know first hand how talented this guy is. There’s film flowing around the internet right now of Patrick Mahomes throwing an 80 yard pass and that highlight specifically shows off the rookie’s arm strength. With Alex Smith struggling in the arm strength department, Mahomes will be a great change of pace and you better believe the vertical passing game will be arriving in Kansas City shortly. All Patrick Mahomes has to do is bide his time behind Smith and do his best to get a little bit better each day. While most NFL insiders believe it will be a couple seasons before Mahomes cracks the starting line up, the fact is the Chiefs continuously come up short with Smith at the helm. If Mahomes can conduct the offense better than Smith can throughout training camp and practice that could ultimately compel Reid to give the 21 year old signal caller a try. Remember Mahomes is an ace when it comes to throwing the football and it’s rare that a player enters the league with the raw talents the Tyler, Texas native possesses. Mahomes can roll left or right and deliver laser strikes with pinpoint accuracy, he can also throw off his back foot and connect on fade routes in perfect stride. There’s really no sense of wasting those talents on the bench for the next two seasons and this offense will take the next step when Patrick Mahomes takes over the reins full time.

Charity of the day: International Rescue Committee

Go donate! www.rescue.org

The Hershel Walker trade helped propel the Cowboys into a dynasty, should the Cardinals explore a similar opportunity with David Johnson?

Photo credit: Kevin C Cox / Getty Images Sport

Author: Jon Kuzma

If you believe in the old adage “buy low and sell high” then there is no better time to trade away David Johnson if you’re the Arizona Cardinals. Johnson scored an impressive 20 touchdowns last season (16 rushing, 4 receiving) and right now every team in the league would overpay for Johnson’s services. That makes the Cardinals third year running back a perfect sell high opportunity and think about how much Arizona would get back in return if they did deal Johnson? While getting rid of your best player is always a risky move the Cowboys employed a similar strategy back in 1989 when they traded away superstar Running Back Hershel Walker for five players and six draft picks. All of those pieces eventually built the Cowboys into a dynasty and Dallas ended up winning three Super Bowls in the 90’s (1993, 1994, 1996). The reason it’s imperative that the Cardinals pull the trigger on this deal now is because if Johnson flops this upcoming season or has a down year for whatever reason, then all of his trade value ends up going out the window. Will it be tough for Cardinals’ fans to see Johnson wearing another jersey and having success? Absolutely, but there’s no doubt that this would be the best 0ption for a depleted Arizona roster and the move could essentially propel the team to new heights. The Cardinals can’t play their cards conventionally because they are too far behind the upper echelon teams in the league. In order to make Arizona a contender again they have shake things up and overhaul this roster with young talent who will make the Cardinals’ future bright again. The team should also explore any kind of value they could potentially get in a trade for Larry Fitzgerald as well. Fitzgerald is clearly lacking motivation and he deserves to be freed from Arizona which has squandered much of his career. Eventually pro football is a business and these transactions would help Bruce Arians get closer to being competitive again. The last thing thing Arizona wants to do is go into the season and not make any changes, they just don’t have what it takes to get it done at the moment so there’s no sense of sticking to the script.

Charity of the day: Medical Teams International

Go donate! www.medicalteams.org

Reggie Nelson has been the most productive safety in the league over the past couple seasons, he hasn’t even come close to losing a step at 33 years old:

Photo credit: Dylan Buell / Getty Images Sport

Author: Jon Kuzma

Oakland Raiders Free Safety Reggie Nelson is still one the league’s most exciting players at 33 years olds. Nelson has made a name for himself ever since being drafted in the first round of the 2007 NFL Draft by the Jacksonville Jaguars. While Nelson was a good player early on in his career he didn’t really take off as an elite safety until his time with the Cincinnati Bengals in 2010. During Nelson’s run with the Bengals he never had a season where he didn’t record at least one interception and Nelson compiled an impressive 23 interceptions total during his six season tenure with Cincinnati. Those takeaway skills Nelson showcased with the Bengals caught the attention of his former coach Jack Del Rio and ultimately it was Del Rio who made a push to sign Reggie Nelson with his current team the Oakland Raiders. On April 6th 2016 the Raiders officially signed Nelson and he was brought in to be a ball hawk on the back end of the Silver and Black’s defense. While Del Rio certainly believed in Nelson because the veteran safety had 7 interceptions in his younger days as a member of the Jacksonville Jaguars (Del Rio and Nelson were in Jacksonville together). There’s no way the Raiders head coach could have known just how good Nelson would be when he actually got to Oakland. Reggie Nelson started his Raider days off with an instant bang recording 13 interceptions over his first two seasons and now Nelson is the standard in which all free safeties in the league measure themselves. Now that Nelson is entering his third season with the Raiders expectations are extremely high and NFL betting odds have predicted Reggie Nelson will have a tremendous impact again in 2017. Oakland is one of the front-runners to win the AFC this upcoming season along with other top tier teams like the Patriots, Steelers, and Chiefs. If Oakland wants to surpass those other guys they will need another big season from Reggie Nelson and truthfully there’s no telling how long this guy can play for? Most 23 year olds don’t put up the kind of production that Reggie Nelson does so it’s safe to say number 27 for the Raiders can play as long as he wants to. There’s no way Oakland is going to push Nelson out the door anytime time soon, he is just too good of a player when it all comes down to it and it’s safe to say Oakland is lucky to have Reggie Nelson roaming their secondary.

Charity of the day: Alzheimer’s Association

Go donate! www.alz.org

James Harrison is still knocking people out cold at 39 years old, expect the big hits to keep coming at least for one more season.

Photo credit: Rob Carr / Getty Image Sport

Author: Jon Kuzma

Pittsburgh Steelers Linebacker James Harrison is known for being the league’s toughest defender and even at 39 years old Harrison still plays at an extremely high intensity. Harrison was signed as an unrestricted free agent back in 2002 by the Steelers and that low risk acquisition ended up yielding big returns for Pittsburgh’s roster. James Harrison has been to an impressive 5 Pro Bowls throughout his career and he also was the league’s Defensive Player of the Year back in 2008. Remember no team wanted Harrison and that was evident back in the 2002 NFL Draft when every team passed on him coming out of Kent State. To come from being undrafted and then cut four different times all the way to Defensive Player of the Year is such a huge progression and all of that happened because James Harrison never stopped working towards his dreams. Harrison entered the league at 240 pounds but now walks around at 270 pounds and that’s because this guy is a work out phenom. Harrison is up at the crack of down every morning in the weight room making sure he doesn’t lose a step to these younger up and coming linebackers. The five sacks that Harrison recorded last year prove he still has some gas left in the tank and it will be interesting to watch number 92’s sack total as he gets up over the 40 years of age mark. If there’s no dip in Harrison’s sack production there’s really no reason that they he has to stop playing pro football. However with Ben Roethlisberger’s future in question, the Steelers chances of winning a Super Bowl might not be high beyond 2017 which could cause Harrison’s future to come in doubt. As soon as Pittsburgh isn’t competitive anymore James Harrison will probably shut it down. There isn’t anything left for Harrison to accomplish on the football field and it’s highly unlikely he would want to continue his career for another team. Still though you have to tip your hat to maybe the grittiest player of the modern era, James Harrison has brought his “A-game” every week since joining the National Football League.

Charity of the day: Alzheimer’s Association

Go donate! www.alz.org

The Eagles have made enough upgrades this off-season to make a push for NFC East supremacy:

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Author: Jon Kuzma

The Philadelphia Eagles were surprisingly better than most people thought they would be in 2016 and since then they’ve made a lot of upgrades to their football team. The Eagles signed Alshon Jeffrey, Torrey Smith, and LeGarrette Blount to solidify their offense but those were just a few of the acquisitions this team has made. Philadelphia also signed Chance Warmack away from the Titans to bolster their offensive front. Warmack started in 48 games for the Titans and brings with him a wealth of offensive line experience. Expect Chance Warmack to be leading the charge for the Eagles in the trenches and there’s no doubt this guy will open holes for Blount and company. The Eagles also traded for Timmy Jernigan to plug into one of their defensive tackle positions and we all know Jim Scwartz gets a lot of his defensive talent. Jernigan will help bring a lot of defensive pressure from the A and B gaps, which should help this group be even better than a year ago. That might have been enough for most teams but keep in mind Philadelphia also signed Chris Long, and Patrick Ramsay to act as role players in Philly’s 4-3 defensive scheme. So when you step back and look at all these moves you can really see just how much effort Howie Roseman and the front office have put in from 2016 to now. Keep in mind this was 7-9 football team last season so they really weren’t that far removed from having success in this league. On top of everything that has been stated  the Eagles also added some key players through the draft too. Derek Barnett (DE) and Sidney Jones (CB) are both young stand outs who could provide a big impact early on in their careers. It’s safe to say that the Eagles are looking the best they’ve looked talent wise since Andy Reid was taking Philly to the Super Bowl. Doug Pederson was extremely lucky to inherit this team at perfect time and now it looks like the second year coach will have a chance to be a playoff contender in his sophomore season.

Charity of the day: HIAS

Go donate! www.hias.org

Dave Gettleman lost some key players over the last few seasons but he was slowly starting to redeem himself:

Photo credit: Scott Cunningham / Getty Images Sport

Author: Jon Kuzma



With the Carolina Panthers announcing they’ve fired General Manager Dave Gettleman it was easy to see why the Panthers were frustrated. Gettleman had lost Josh Norman, Kony Ealy, and DeAngelo Williams over the past three off-seasons and those were key players to the Panthers overall success. Even though those players departures hindered Carolina’s immediate chances to compete, believe it or not Gettleman was slowly starting to redeem himself with some good football moves. The most notable acquisitions Dave Gettleman made to the Panthers roster were the drafting of Christian McCaffrey and Chris Samuel too extremely fast rookies who are certainly going to help Cam Newton open up the offense. Those two players were solid draft picks by Gettleman and it was clear what the former general manager’s plan was. Gettleman wanted to avoid overpaying for pricey free agents such as Josh Norman, and then he wanted to add affordable players that can provide a significant impact. That’s why an older Julius Peppers was brought in to solidify the pass rush, and a cheap (less than $2 million dollars) Charles Johnson was signed to add to the wide receiver group. By not breaking the bank and aiming for players who can elevate the team Gettleman put together a roster that was very efficient. It’s no secret Gettleman rubbed a lot of players the wrong way with this strategy but that will happen when you’re pinching every dollar which Dave Gettleman did. Then there was the big free agent splash in Matt Khalil, who signed with Carolina to play with his brother Ryan Khalil who starts for the Panthers at center. Adding Matt Khalil significantly bolsters the offensive front and now Newton should have much more time to operate on drop backs. All of those additions were roster upgrades and it’s easy to believe that the Panthers are a better football team heading in to 2017. Still it was clear ownership resented letting go of some of those marquee players and that was likely the underlying reason why the team decided to part ways with their overwhelmingly successful G.M. It just goes to show that one rough patch can destroy an entire career, Gettleman should have been more conscious of how detrimental letting key players like Josh Norman go could be. Now the Panthers will be looking for new leadership to turn the page on the Dave Gettleman era.

Charity of the day: HIAS

Go donate! www.hias.org

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