Brandon Marshall and Darrelle Revis were at odds today at Jets camp:

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Author: Jon Kuzma

It’s not everyday that you see two of a team’s best players nearly fighting it out, today at Jets camp spectators got to see that. Brandon Marshall and Darrelle Revis were flat out battling all day long at practice today. The two trash talked each other at the line of scrimmage, the two trash talked each other on the sidelines, and the match up was extremely physical on every single play. Revis was doing a great job of jamming Marshall at the line and frustrating the receiver. On the opposite side of the ball Marshall was able to get behind Revis for an 80 yard touchdown. The competition couldn’t of been higher and while some people would of been frustrated by this camp battle, it will only end up being a good thing for the Jets heading into the season. As a coach you want your players battle tested and that is exactly what Marshall and Revis were doing. They were pushing each others limits and making sure that both players elevate themselves. While things weren’t completely positive, especially when Marshall took a swing at Revis. Head Coach Todd Bowles praised the competition and stated that football is a chippy sport. Bowles went as far as to praise Marshall for trash talking Revis because he said players should do anything they can to get an advantage on the field. Bowles is right, the on the field battle are so intense in the NFL that players are looking to not only dominate opponents physically. They also trying to crack their opponents mentally as well by getting under their skin. If a player can’t handle that emotional turmoil in practice they will be in a lot of trouble come game day. Revis certainly understands this and that is why this situation will likely blow over. The veteran defensive back is a key piece for the Jets defense and is one of the top corners in the league. It will take more than trash talk to derail Darrelle Revis but as long as the two keep the competition clean it will be a great test of both players.

Charity of the day: Child Find of America

Go donate! www.childfindofamerica.org

 

The New York Giants add depth by signing Leon Hall:

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Author: Jon Kuzma

The New York Giants have been working hard all off-season to upgrade their defense and now the team has signed Leon Hall to boost their secondary. The Giants who had one of the worst defenses in the league last year will get some much needed depth with the Hall signing. Hall had 2 interceptions last season and can still provide some production heading into his 10th season. Hall should blend nicely with the additions of Janoris Jenkins and Eli Apple to the defensive backfield and the team is certainly more talented this year on the back end of the defense. That will hopefully will translate into more passes defended for the G-men and New York fans have to be much more optimist than they were just a year ago. When you also factor in the Giants added Oliver Vernon and Damon Harrison to bolster their pass rushing efforts you can see why the Giants will likely improve their defensive ranking in 2016. There is much more talent on the field on the defensive side of the ball and that should mesh well with the Giants potent offense. The team is definitely closing the gap between Redskins and their selves. So the NFC East should be very interesting this upcoming season. Hall and company can help eliminate the tough receiving threats in the conference and that wasn’t the case for the Giants in 2015. So clearly signing Leon Hall was a good move for this team,  although we aren’t sure what kind of role he is going to play. However it’s been rumored Hall will likely play in a nickel position because he works well in the slot. That means Eli Apple could get bumped down the depth chart but truthfully that will give the young rookie time to learn behind Hall and the other DB’s on the team. Essentially making this signing another good deal for the New York Giants. Give Jerry Reese some praise he did well this off-season.

Charity of the day: National Breast Cancer Coalition Fund

Go donate! www.breastcancerdeadline2020.org

Josh McCown is on the trade block:

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Author: Jon Kuzma

Josh McCown was the starting quarterback for the majority of the Browns games last year and it appears he is on the trade block entering the 2016 season. McCown who threw for 12 touchdowns and only 4 interceptions in 2015 has been talked to by the Browns front office about some potential trades. It appears the Dallas Cowboys are interested in McCown and that option could be the insurance policy that the Cowboys need for quarterback Tony Romo. If the Cowboys are willing to compensate the Browns enough that would benefit their youth movement future. You’d have to think they would take this trade and continue that philosophy of new faces, new regime. The Browns are clearly trying to completely change as much as they can from last year to this year and that is why it’s likely that the team will ship McCown to the Cowboys. Hue Jackson has already committed to starting Robert Griffin and that couldn’t be any more evident in the fact that Griffin has seen all the first team reps at Browns camp. Maybe Jackson planned on trading McCown all along, but one has to wonder if that is a good move? Especially since McCown was clearly the best quarterback on the team last year. It will be up to the Cowboys to make an offer the Browns can’t refuse to make this deal happen. That should be somewhere around the lines of a 5th round pick. While McCown doesn’t have that many years ahead of him. The Cowboys needs someone in case Romo goes down again, that way their whole season doesn’t go down the drain. In exchange that pick will be another young player for Hue Jackson and the Browns. So that should be a win for both sides involved and it seems likely this deal will get done.

Charity of the day: National Breast Cancer Coalition Fund

Go donate! www.breastcancerdeadline2020.org

Myles Jack is rising to the occasion in Jacksonville:

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Author: Jon Kuzma

The Jacksonville Jaguars got a steal when they drafted Myles Jack in the 2nd round of the 2016 NFL Draft. The Jaguars had planned on taking Jack with their 1st round pick only to pass up on that opportunity and have Jack still waiting there for their next pick. The slide was frustrating for Myles Jack who stated he was “humiliated” by the event. However it might have been a blessing in disguise for the rookie linebacker. Jack now has a “I’m going to show the world” mentality and that means his production will likely soar. He has already looked great all off-season and now we just got news that he will be sharing time with the starting defense in practice. So far Myles Jack has excelled in anything that has been asked of him and that is why we are seeing him getting starting unit reps as a rookie. His speed, instinct, and ability to read plays has been as good as advertised. Now it will be about continuing to go out there and do it day in and day out. That consistency is was what makes great players in this league and if Jack can fulfill those expectations. He will no doubt see time at the sam linebacker position. Which means he will be on the side of the field that always has an extra blocker in run formations and Jack will have to extremely physical this upcoming season. The Sam blocker has to shed blockers in situations where he is out manned at the point of attack. Jack’s athleticism and tenacity should do well in that role. Overall you have to be excited about watching all this good young talent in the National Football League and it’s because of upcoming talents like Myles Jack. He’ll be a lot of fun to watch.

Charity of the day: Prevent Blindness

Go donate! www.preventblindness.org

James Jones and Dwight Freeney have both found homes:

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Author: Jon Kuzma

Today two notable free agents signed contracts for the 2016 season and those players are James Jones and Dwight Freeney. Jones signed with the San Diego Chargers and the former Packers receiver could come in and essentially be the 3rd receiver in this offense behind Travis Benjamin and Keenan Allen. Jones finished last season with 890 yards and 8 touchdowns so he can still give the Chargers a little bit of production. It will be up to quarterback Philip Rivers to develop a bond with Jones and those two will both benefit from good cohesion. Jones is 32 years old so if he does play well with the Chargers this season it’s definitely an opportunity to prove his worth when it comes to a contract in 2017. So right now the best course of action for Jones is to get in the best shape of his life and make sure he puts a specific focus on his athleticism. If Jones can get a step quicker and go the extra mile to prepare his body physically that’s when you will see him excel in this role. That should be Jones main objective and hopefully he has been taking his training serious this off-season. As far Dwight Freeney goes, he signed with the Atlanta Falcons. Freeney had 8 sacks last season with the Arizona Cardinals and now is hoping to have a similar impact with the Falcons. Atlanta gets an aging pass rusher who is still quite productive, but the biggest thing is Freeney mentoring the younger players on this roster. Including Vic Beasley who would benefit greatly from learning the Dwight Freeney spin move. So this a good move for the Falcons talent wise and we are lucky as football fans to get another season of Dwight Freeney. This guy has been an absolute competitor his entire career and he will give it one more go in 2016. Congratulations to both player.

Charity of the day: Homes for Our Troops

Go donate! www.hfotusa.org

Hard work earns Tyrann Mathieu a 62 million dollar contract extension:

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Author: Jon Kuzma

Tyrann Mathieu has walked the walk ever since becoming a pro back in 2013 and now the Arizona Cardinals are compensating the fourth year player handsomely. News out of Arizona is the Cardinals signed a contract extension with Mathieu that will pay him $62 million dollars over the course of 5 seasons. That is top dollar for a safety and it will also make Mathieu the highest paid safety in the league. The Cardinals gave Mathieu this contract even as he is recovering from an ACL tear. However Mathieu has bounced back from numerous injuries in the past and he just keeps getting better and better. There is a reason Tyrann Mathieu is the highest paid player in the league, it’s because the guy flat out works his ass off. You don’t bounce back from these major injuries unless you are dedicated to rehabilitation and we all should praise Mathieu’s focus. This is one of the best stories in the National Football League right now. A player who has gone through challenges in life just like any other person. Except Mathieu always bounces back when faced with adversity. He is putting together a legacy that is going to certainly put a lot of dollars in the Arizona Cardinals pocket and that is why it was a no brainer to reward this guy with a big contract. Mathieu will be the face of this franchise for years to come and he is also transitioning from a young player into a savvy veteran. That is bad news for opposing offenses and the legend of the honey badger lives on. He should embrace that moniker because it’s a symbol of how triumphant he truly has been and we wish Tyrann Mathieu nothing but success in the future.

Charity of the day: Homes for Our Troops

Go donate! www.hfotusa.org

Michael Thomas continues to impress at Saints camp:

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Author: Jon Kuzma

Former Ohio State Buckeye wide receiver Michael Thomas has continued to look stellar at Saints practices and that is great news for New Orleans. The Saints drafted Michael Thomas in the second round hoping he could provide an impact for this offense. So far Michael Thomas has been hands down the best player at Saints camp and he seems to be outperforming expectations up to this point. Thomas is a 6 foot 3 212 pound receiver who has a knack for making plays. One things Thomas told the media he takes pride in is his ball skills and being able to make grabs despite being closely covered. It’s those skills that made him such a productive receiver for Ohio State and now he will team up with Drew Brees looking to continue his dominance. The NFL defensive backs Thomas faces will be much more talented but he is no slouch himself. This is player who could come in and produce 1,000 yards receiving as a rookie. Not many players are capable of doing that but he is definitely a rare specimen and that works in his favor. The hype Michael Thomas has been receiving is a result of his cumulative hard work and many NFL execs believe his game will translate over to the regular season. That could make Thomas a steal for your fantasy football team and you could get him later on in the draft making him a great value pick. Not a bad option for a guy on your bench and if he does produce in the regular season you could easily move him to the starting line up. Right now it’s about waiting and seeing if Thomas can be the same player when the official games start. So far he has given us no reason to doubt that he will be. Mike Thomas appears to be the real deal thus far.

Charity of the day: Global Fund for Women

Go donate! www.globalfundforwomen.org

Chandler Jones has been receiving high praise from the Cardinals organization:

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Author: Jon Kuzma

The New England Patriots made as a shocking move when they traded away Chandler Jones to the Arizona Cardinals and now Jones appears to be making a splash in the desert. Cardinals players have been raving about Jones since he joined the team and Jones appears to be a huge piece to the Cardinals defense. Last year the team recorded 36 sacks and in order to bolster that production the team acquired Jones in exchange for Jonathan Cooper and a 2nd round draft pick. Now Cardinals players believe Jones can be the x-factor for this defense as they head into the 2016 season. Patrick Peterson and Tyrann Mathieu both believe Jones is a 20 sack player and if he plays at an optimal level he could easily be north of 12.5 sacks. Especially since he now plays in the NFC West and the teams in that conference aren’t known for their stellar offensive line play. So Chandler Jones has a great opportunity to be an elite football player for the Cardinals and he is also playing for his next contract. That means Jones will be hungrier than ever and that could be why the Patriots moved him. Jones will likely receive a mega-contract when he signs his next deal and maybe the Patriots wanted to avoid that financial commitment. Regardless though it was good move for the Cardinals to acquire Jones because at the end of the day he makes this roster much more talented. The Cardinals are the closest they’ve been in a long time to winning a Super Bowl. With the additions of Robert Nkemdiche and Chandler Jones the Cardinals will be in great shape to make a run. Now it’s about going out there and executing on the field. Chandler Jones will do everything he can to ensure that happens.

Charity of the day: Global Fund for Women

Go donate! www.globalfundforwomen.org

With NFL teams back to work it’s beginning to feel like football season:

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Author: Jon Kuzma

It feels good getting updates from around the league about the events happening at NFL training camps and soon the 2016 season will be here. That means 32 teams will start with a clean slate hoping to achieve the greatest feat in sports, winning a Vince Lombardi trophy. While this year teams will compete to win Super Bowl 51, the love of football started along time ago for me personally. You have to go all the way back 1994 and the Pontiac Silverdome to understand where the inspiration to play, coach, and write about football came from. On that day my aunt and uncle had taken my cousin and I to a Detroit Lions football game and we witnessed one of the most dominant performances I’ve ever seen in live person. That performance was turned in by none other than Detroit legend Barry Sanders who rushed for 110 yards and 2 touchdowns to help the Lions defeat the Vikings 41-19 that day. From that moment on I always had a deep appreciation for the game of football and I was a life long Barry Sanders fan. Although Barry eventually walked away from the game, I still didn’t loose the admiration I had for the league itself. My very first book report in school was about Jerry Rice and how he was the most gifted wide receiver to ever live. My interest soon almost turned into an obsession when I researched past NFL greats and soaked up the games rich history. That led to knowledge on Hall of Famers like Ray Nitschke, Deacon Jones, and Jack Lambert. All players who helped pave the way for the NFL we see today, which has become the most commercialized sport in the world I might add. Without their contributions none of this happens here today in the present era. When is the last time you seen a new rookie defensive end say “ I want to be Deacon Jones great!” It doesn’t happen and it really should. Regardless though there is one moment along my football journey that stands out to me. That is when I watched on the NFL network how football was nearly outlawed back in the early 1900s and how Teddy Roosevelt stepped up and practically saved the sport. Apparently there were many players dying during participation and many newspapers were calling for the sport’s death penalty. Ultimately Roosevelt swayed us away from that decision to help us learn how to take on adversity. Roosevelt talked about how the game tested men’s character and prepared them for the hardships faced in life. Which led me to reflect on my own personal playing experience and coaching experience. Everything Roosevelt said was true, football did make you more responsible and structured. It did test you by making you face challenges and by teaching you to persevere through the tough times. So when we are starting a new football season and people say this sport is brutal and this sport needs to end. Remember football is built into America’s culture and helped us become the nation we are today. You can’t tell me that a league in which every single team is worth a billion dollars isn’t playing a major role in our economy and the value of the league as a whole is worth more than $60 billion dollars. The NFL is bigger than ever and it’s because of those past greats, it’s because this is a team game, and in the end it’s because it’s the greatest sport on earth. I wish all the 32 teams a safe road to the Lombardi trophy and lets have a great year as we enter the NFL’s 97th season. It truly is a blessing that we get to take part in this game.

Charity of the day: Pancreatic Cancer Action Network

Go donate! www.pancan.org

The Kansas City Chiefs took a huge risk on Eric Fisher:

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Author: Jon Kuzma

With news coming out of Kansas City that the Chiefs signed offensive tackle Eric Fisher to a 4 year $48 million dollar contract one has to wonder if Fisher is worth this kind of deal? The former number 1 overall draft pick has stumbled at times since being drafted by the Chiefs and this deal certainly surprised a few around the league. The Chiefs are betting on Fisher and hoping he will emerge into a player worth this kind of contract. However right now at this moment Fisher is a little below those expectations. Fisher lost his starting job at one point last season and there has been rumors for some time that he wasn’t getting the job done for Andy Reid. Fisher has been no where near the level of what a first overall pick in the draft should be producing and at times it seemed like the two sides might part ways after Fisher’s initial contract. We know now that won’t be the case and now it will be about Fisher rising up to the challenge and becoming a staple of this offense line for the next 6 years. The good news for Eric Fisher is he is only 25 years old and still has plenty of time to become the player Andy Reid envisioned. Fisher will have to become much more aggressive to do so and he really has to unleash that bruiser mentality. Everyone knows coach Reid wants to run the ball and control the tempo. The Chiefs need Fisher to set the tone upfront and become a special player. Fisher will also be tasked with keeping defenders off quarterback Alex Smith. So there is a lot of responsibility that is falling on Fisher’s shoulders and we will see how he responds to the challenges. The first step for him will be starting every football game in 2016. Especially since the Chiefs paid him.

Charity of the day: Student Conservation Association

Go donate! www.thesca.org

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