Eagles acquire Dorial Green-Beckham in a trade with the Titans:

Photo credit: Wesley Hitt / Getty Images Sport

Author: Jon Kuzma

The Philadelphia Eagles were committed to getting better at the wide receiver position and now the team has likely done so. The Eagles traded offensive lineman Dennis Kelly to the Tennessee Titans in exchange for former second round pick Dorial Green-Beckham. Green-Beckham has been an underachiever during his time with the Titans however Philadelphia is hoping a change of scenery will benefit him. The Titans operated out of shotgun a lot last year while the Eagles will be a more conventional offense. Maybe the pro style offense will be a good fit for Green-Beckham and Kelly should help the Titans as they themselves transition to a more conventional offense after adding Demarco Murray and Derrick Henry. Kelly will bulk up the Titans offensive front while Green-Beckham is expected to make a few plays on the edge for the Eagles. Sam Bradford should benefit from this deal and the Eagles are hoping for a big year out of Green-Beckham to boost Bradford’s production. Last year Green-Beckham recorded 549 receiving yards and 4 touchdowns and if he can double that output in 2016 the Eagles will have successfully pulled off a big time deal. The only thing that is kind of baffling about this trade is the fact that the Eagles were willing to give up Kelly. Even though Dennis Kelly only started a couple of games last season, Philadelphia is going to be without Lane Johnson for a majority of the year. Kelly might have provided some depth for the Eagles in Johnson’s absence however the team ultimately thought Green-Beckham could do more for them. That is why the Eagles inquired about Dorial Green-Beckham and in the end Philadelphia does get better at the wide receiver position with this move. Keep an eye on whether or not Green Beckham lives up to the expectations with the Eagles, something he struggled to do with Tennessee.

Charity of the day: Planet Aid

Go donate! www.planetaid.org

Dez Bryant is healthy and poised for a big year:

Photo credit: Joe Robbins / Getty Images Sport

Author: Jon Kuzma

After missing a significant amount of the 2015 season Dez Bryant is 100% healthy and ready to make an impact for the Dallas Cowboys. Bryant looked good in the Cowboys first preseason game hauling in a couple of receptions and a touchdown pass. What stood out most about that performance was the fact that Bryant looked good in and out of his cuts and seems to be completely healthy. Good news for the Cowboys who struggled with injuries last year and missed Bryant’s production. The Cowboys offensive unit as a whole looks very impressive and that stellar offensive line should give Bryant plenty of time to get open. If Romo can comeback and play at a high level that should mean huge results for all of the Cowboys wide receivers but Bryant will definitely be the most productive. Bryant has 59 touchdown receptions over his career and is a big play waiting to happen. When you factor in the Cowboys running game should be pretty good this year as well, you begin to see how much that could benefit the passing game. Defenses will have to prepare for a balanced offensive attack from the Cowboys and that will keep them honest. Defenses will also be reluctant to play man coverage against the Cowboys as well because that will result in Bryant being single covered, a match up that is clearly tilted in the offense’s favor. So keep an eye on Dez Bryant and how well he plays in the regular season. If he can be a shade of the player he was during the 2014 season that will produce big results for the Cowboys. The team is hoping for at least 10 touchdowns from Bryant and with Elliott forcing those linebackers to creep up it’s very possible. Bryant truly is the x factor in this offense and both Romo and Bryant could be Comeback Player of the Year candidates in 2016.

Charity of the day: Save the Children

Go donate! www.savethechildren.org

Saints will lose Sheldon Rankins for an extended period of time:

Photo credit: Joe Robbins / Getty Images Sport

Author: Jon Kuzma

The New Orleans Saints drafted Sheldon Rankins in hopes of boosting their defensive line production but that doesn’t seem to be the case now. Rankins broke his fibula during a goal line drill at Saints practice and it’s looking like Rankins could be out for the entire season. Rankins will undergo surgery this week and that could result in the rookie being place on injured reserve. The good news is the National Football League will allow an injured reserve-recall this year, meaning a player may return from IR. That means if everything goes well the Saints could potentially get Rankins back later on in the year but this is still a huge setback for this team. The Saints defense has struggled a lot over the past couple of seasons and Rankins would of given this team some tenacity on the defensive front. Now the 12th pick in the 2016 Draft will head to the operating table and then follow that with rehab. Not the way he planned on this season playing out and it will be up to Cameron Jordan to make up for what this team will be missing without Rankins. Not easy to do when you consider Rankins is a 6 foot 2 305 pound interior defensive lineman. Jordan prefers to play on the edge and it would be ideal to have these two players on the field at the same time. Now New Orleans finds themselves out of a 1st round pick for at least most of this season and hopefully Rankins will be able to make a speedy recovery. You hate to see anyone’s career fall apart due to injuries however that is part of the game and something a player has to be careful to avoid. Rankins needs to take it slow, make sure he is fully healed and then do everything he can to get back on field. Unfortunately it doesn’t seem like that will happen anytime soon.

Charity of the day: Save the Children

Go donate! www.savethechildren.org

Melvin Gordon showed he is maturing as a football player in the Chargers first preseason game:

Photo credit: Fredrick Breedon / Getty Images Sport

Author: Jon Kuzma

The San Diego Chargers won’t say it but they were let down by Melvin Gordon’s production during his rookie season. The former University of Wisconsin running back was spectacular in college but when Gordon went pro he really struggled to adjust to the speed of the game. Gordon was given 184 rushing attempts in 2015 and he didn’t record a single rushing touchdown. That had to be a concern for Chargers brass and that is a lack of production for a 1st round pick. Fortunately for Gordon 2016 is a new year and another opportunity to prove his worth as a football player. Gordon’s touchdown drought came to an end when he recorded a catch in the flats which he turned into a 44 yard touchdown in the Chargers preseason match against the Titans. After not scoring at all in 2015 that had to be a huge relief for Gordon and while it wasn’t during the regular season, Gordon still has to gain a ton of confidence from that play. Melvin Gordon is a player who has very high goals so you know he is eager to respond and this could be an up year for him. The extra motivation to respond to last season will be a factor in the spike of Gordon’s production and the Chargers offense will get a huge boost if he can continue to make plays like he did in that preseason game. Great news for San Diego since they had the 31st ranked offense in the league just a season ago. So things are finally starting to look up for Melvin Gordon and you have to be happy for the guy. He works hard everyday and things didn’t go his way, but he kept working at it and finally things are looking brighter. You have to respect Melvin Gordon’s resilience and he will be much more experienced his second time around.

Charity of they day: Prevent Cancer Foundation

Go donate! www.preventcancer.org

The Cowboys vs Rams preseason game gave us a good glimpse of both teams:

Photo credit: Josh Lefkowitz / Getty Images Sport

Author: Jon Kuzma

The Los Angeles Rams were able to edge out the Dallas Cowboys 28 to 24 in the first football game back in Los Angeles since 1994. While it was a preseason game and sometimes that isn’t the best indicator of how a team is going to be in the regular season. We still got a few clues about certain situations with each team. For example Jared Goff struggled during most of his reps and it looks like the rookie quarterback will need to sit a year behind Case Keenum for development reasons. Obviously the Rams would like to start Goff from day 1 but if Goff isn’t the best option for this team, Jeff Fisher is going to go with the player that can help him win some games. Right now Keenum seems like the ideal candidate to get the job done and now Goff has to be proactive and put in the work to eventually earn that job. Nothing is given in the National Football League and maybe the number 1 pick in the 2016 Draft believed he would thrive out of the gate on pure talent. Clearly that isn’t going to be the case and he should take offense to the fact that he was shown up by Dallas rookie quarterback Dak Prescott. While Goff completed just 4 out of 9 passes for no touchdowns and 1 interception. Prescott was the opposite completing 10 out of 12 passes for 2 touchdowns and 139 yards. We know now that the Cowboys don’t need to trade for a second string quarterback because Prescott appears to be a better option due to the fact he already on the roster, the team won’t have to give anything up for him, and he can indeed produce on the football field. Prescott showed off all the tools that made him such an impressive quarterback at Mississippi State. A perfect insurance policy for the Cowboys and now if Romo goes down again the sky won’t fall for Dallas. Finally the last thing that was obvious in this match up is the fact that Dallas’s o-line is outstanding. The Cowboys are stout upfront and they kept Prescott well protected all night. That is be great news for Romo as he returns from his shoulder injury and it is also great news for Ezekiel Elliott who will be responsible for handling the Cowboys rushing attack. Having a great offensive line makes life much easier for an offensive unit and the Cowboys are definitely going to win in the offensive trenches in 2016. Those are a few things you can pick up whether it’s a preseason game or not.

Charity of the day: Children’s Defense Fund

Go donate! www.childrensdefense.org

Devin Funchess is ready for a breakout season:

Photo credit: Patrick Smith / Getty Images Sport

Author: Jon Kuzma

Former stand out University of Michigan Tight End Devin Funchess has successfully made the transition to a pro wide receiver for the Carolina Panthers and now Funchess looks ready to make his mark on professional football. Funchess has looked outstanding all off-season and even though he saw limited reps in the Panthers preseason game against the Ravens. It was only because the team wants to preserve Devin Funchess in order to have him ready to go by time the regular season rolls around. Even today at Panthers practice Funchess was dominating the defense and that leads Head Coach Ron Rivera to believe Funchess is ready to become an elite talent in the National Football League. As a rookie last year Funchess was able to haul in 5 touchdowns and 473 receiving yards for the year. That production should be almost twice as high in his second year of experience. Devin Funchess is a guy that has a big frame and is remarkable agile for his size. When you factor in that Funchess can make the big time catch and has sure hands you begin to understand why he has been a special player his entire football career. Even at the University of Michigan and at Harrison High School in Farmington Hills Michigan, Funchess dominated as a receiving tight end. Now he is a full time wide receiver in the NFL and he is match up problem for undersized defensive backs who are trying to cover him. This guy will be a huge help for Cam Newton this year in the passing game. A guy like Devin Funchess is a quarterback’s best friend because you can trust a player of that caliber to make a play when the pressure is on. Cam Newton has already expressed high praise for Devin Funchess time and time again, so expect those two to really sync in and make some amazing plays for this offense in 2016.

Charity of the day: Children’s Defense Fund

Go donate! www.childrensdefense.org

Teddy Bridgewater and Charles Johnson both look good in Vikings win over the Bengals:

Photo credit: Joe Robbins / Getty Images Sport

Author: Jon Kuzma

Minnesota Vikings key players Teddy Bridgewater and Charles Johnson both suited up for the Vikings preseason match up against the Cincinnati Bengals. Both players looked pretty good in the win and Head Coach Mike Zimmer has to be happy with his quarterback and wide receivers cohesion. Bridgewater looked sharp completing 6 out of 7 passing attempts for 92 yards and a touchdown pass. Bridgewater finished the day with a 158.3 passer rating and that will be exactly what the Vikings need from the quarterback position to balance out Adrian Peterson’s ferocious rushing attack. Together those two players have such an impact on this offense and if the running game and the passing game is clicking for the Vikings they will be tough to beat in 2016. On the receiving end of Bridgewater’s passes was Charles Johnson a 4th year player who is really starting to develop into a fine football player. Johnson finished the day with 49 yards receiving and a touchdown reception so clearly he is progressing and now Johnson could be an effective receiving threat in this Minnesota offense. When you add Johnson in with Stefon Diggs and Laquon Treadwell you can begin to see that this offense has several guys who can catch the football and move the chains. Treadwell finished the game with 4 receptions for 41 yards himself so the rookie wide receiver seemed to look good out of the gate. Great news for Bridgewater since he will be tasked with facilitating the offense through the passing game. A solid wide receiver is a quarterback’s best friend and now the Vikings have Johnson and Treadwell to keep defenses honest. This is the most talented the Vikings have been since they came up short against the Saints in the NFC Championship back in 2010. Now the Vikings will roll into 2016 with a brand new stadium and they will have a very talented football team to make sure they keep plenty of fans in the stands.

Charity of the day: National Kidney Foundation

Go donate! www.kidney.org

 

Carson Wentz’s preseason debut showed some good and some bad:

Photo credit: Mitchell Leff / Getty Images Sport

Author: Jon Kuzma

Carson Wentz was the reason the Philadelphia Eagles decided to trade up to the number 2 spot in the 2016 NFL Draft. Wentz was a promising young quarterback and the Eagles front office wanted to get their quarterback of the future. After hearing Philadelphia make statements that Wentz won’t even dress during the regular season we finally got a chance to see what Wentz was made of in the Eagles first preseason game. The Eagles took on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers yesterday and Wentz was good in some areas while struggling in others. For example Wentz looked good when it came to decision making, and standing strong in the pocket. The rookie quarterback showed some poise while playing quarterback and it was clear he was going through his progressions and trying to find the open windows. Wentz also showed good mechanics and did a good job of transferring the kinetic energy fluently throughout his throws. That made for a pretty sharp looking young passer and there is definitely a lot of things to be upbeat about when it comes to Carson Wentz. As far as the mistakes go for Wentz, he did try to force a few throws. Wentz also misfired on a few passes as well so he still needs to improve on his accuracy a little bit. Finally his stats overall weren’t that impressive finishing with 12 completions on 24 passing attempts for no touchdowns and 1 interception, only throwing for 89 yards total in the contest. So clearly Wentz needs more professional experience and that comes with getting reps in practice and games. With Chase Daniels struggling in the preseason match up maybe Wentz can steal a few more reps away from Daniels and further his development. It just seems like a waste to not dress Wentz at all in the regular season because this guy will come along a lot sooner if the Eagles keep him in the mix. We will see how the team handles Wentz’s situation moving forward.

Charity of the day: National Kidney Foundation

Go donate! www.kidney.org

Schaub and Robinson shine in Falcons preseason opener:

Photo credit: Kevin C. Cox / Getty Images Sport

Author: Jon Kuzma

The Atlanta Falcons started out the 2016 preseason with a 23-17 win over the Washington Redskins. The Falcons looked good in the match up and were able to outperform the Redskins in total yards 359 to 234. Matt Schaub was a huge contributor to Atlanta’s offense and the veteran quarterback was able to record 197 passing yards and 10 completions out of 15 passing attempts. That was impressive and he really set the tempo for Atlanta in this win. On one particular throw Schaub was able to find Aldrick Robinson for a 42 yard strike and that was pretty much how the night went for the Falcons. Schaub and Robinson would connect on two more passes which would result in Robinson finishing the game with 3 receptions for 118 yards. Robinson who was drafted by the Redskins and played his first four seasons with Washington wasn’t even playing professional football last season. He was signed to the Ravens last year on a future contract before being carted off the field last June with a knee injury. Robinson was eventually released by the Ravens in August and Robinson was essentially out of football. Now after a year of rest Robinson has clearly found a home with the Falcons and if he continues to look this explosive he will certainly have a career in the National Football League. Robinson showed a great burst and that deep ball threat speed will blend in well with what Matt Ryan and this offense want to achieve. Keep an eye on whether or not Robinson can keep playing at this high of a level, if he does he could be that 3rd receiver behind Julio Jones and Mohamed Sanu. As for Schaub he will be a great back up if Ryan were to go down. Football is a violent game and Schaub will always be one play away from playing. He is a pretty good insurance policy for the Falcons at the quarterback position and it’s always good to have a plan b when it comes to quarterbacks. The Falcons will take on the Cleveland Browns August 18th in their second playoff game. Kickoff is slated for 8:00 P.M eastern daylight time.

Charity of the day: National Council on Aging

Go donate! www.ncoa.org

The Giants are a sleeper team heading into the 2016 season:

Photo credit: Elsa / Getty Images Sport

Author: Jon Kuzma

All off-season we’ve talked about how much better the Oakland Raiders and Jacksonville Jaguars have gotten. One team that hasn’t got the recognition they deserve is the New York Giants. The Giants have made several acquisitions this off-season to improve their football team and now New York is looking the best they’ve looked since 2011 when they won the Super Bowl. Give General Manager Jerry Reese credit he brought together several key players that will play a big part in the overall plan. Players like Olivier Vernon, Janoris Jenkins, and Damon Harrison are all expected to come in and give this defense a boost. Then the Giants added Leon Hall on top of those players to upgrade the secondary. So clearly Reese was committed to putting a talented defensive product on the field and no doubt about it Reese achieved that goal. New York also added some good young talent through the draft as well landing Ohio State’s Eli Apple and Oklahoma’s Sterling Shepard. Both players are dynamic rookies that could eventually contribute to big blue’s future. So the Giants have clearly came a long way in one off-season and now it will be up to this to team to make it happen on the field. The Jets were the kings of New York last season and you know the Giants have to be excited about taking that crown back. The two teams won’t actually meet on the field in the regular season so the king of New York will be decided by whoever has the better record. The Jets won’t go down easily but this isn’t the same Giants team from a year ago. If Eli Manning can play his best football then there is no limits for this football team. It will be up to the role players to rise to the occasion as well. If that happens the Giants will improve greatly upon their 6 wins that they had just last season.

Charity of the day: National Council on Aging

Go donate! www.ncoa.org

 

1 125 126 127 128 129 201