Moving Clay Matthews back to outside linebacker is a good move by the Packers:

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Author: Jon Kuzma

The Green Bay Packers have decided that moving Clay Matthews back to outside linebacker would be the best move for their football team. Matthews played inside linebacker in 2015 and while he was still productive at the position, his talents are best suited at the outside linebacker position where he can do what he does best rush the passer. Moving Matthews back outside should result in at least a 10 sack season from the former USC linebacker and that added pass rush will go a long way for the Packers defense. It will also keep Matthews out of the middle of the field where he frequently has to engage offensive lineman. Hopefully that will prevent Matthews from taking as many shots and will also keep him healthier in the long run. Matthews is clearly one of Green Bay’s best players and when you pair him along with Julius Peppers on the edge. Bad things are going to happen to opposing quarterbacks. With the NFL becoming such a pass first football league lately, those two players are critical for Green Bay’s success. If they want to get back to the Super Bowl they will have to be able to dominate defensively. The first step in that direction is optimizing Clay Matthew’s talents and that is ultimately why were are seeing this move take place. Kenny Clark will be able to come in and control both A gaps so that means you can use other linebackers in the middle spots. The Green Bay Packers front office and coaching staff clearly recognized this and you’d have to think Matthews is happy about the move. Outside backer is a much more finesse position than the insider linebacker spots. Which require players to be tougher and fill holes in the running game. Truthfully Clay Matthews should have never even played inside backer but that is what the team felt like they needed to do at the time. That is the past though and this is now, keep an eye on the impact this position change has on Clay Matthews and the Packers in 2016.

Charity of the day: Grameen Foundation USA

Go donate! www.grameenfoundation.org

Mike Thomas is looking good in New Orleans:

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Author: Jon Kuzma

The New Orleans Saints got a heck of a football player when they drafted Mike Thomas in the second round of the 2016 Draft. Thomas was Ohio State’s best wide receiver and now he will look to successfully make the transition over to the professional level. So far in Saints OTAs Drew Brees has been impressed with the development of Mike Thomas. Stating that the two have worked after practice on numerous occasions and are developing a trust. That is good news for the Saints who released Marques Colston this off-season. The team is hoping that Thomas can come in and minimize the lost of their franchise leader when it comes to receiving. If Brees and Thomas keep meshing well that very well could be in the team’s future and expect Thomas to continue to have success on the football field in 2016. Ohio State was loaded with talent last year and Mike Thomas was still one of the team’s best players. The Saints got an absolute steal drafting him in the second round, and he will provide a good boost for this offense. In practice Brees and Thomas have been in a rhythm as well. Brees stated that on one played he signaled to Thomas to run a certain route. While the two had never discussed that route or even practiced it. The two executed it on the fly without even having to talk it. That natural chemistry between the quarterback and wide receiver position bodes well for the Saints in 2016. When you pair Mike Thomas along with Brandin Cooks you begin to see that the Saints are in the best shape they’ve been in a couple years receiver wise. That is great news when you have one of the best quarterbacks in the league and the Saints had a terrific off-season when it’s all said an done. They are definitely a team that trending upward.

Charity of the day: Grameen Foundation USA

Go donate! www.grameenfoundation.org

Jared Goff is winning over teammates and impressing in Los Angeles:

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Author: Jon Kuzma

The Los Angeles Rams went all in when they traded up to draft Jared Goff number 1 in the 2016 NFL Draft. Now with team OTA’s going on for the Rams, Goff has been living up to expectations in Oxnard California. Goff has shown great poise in the workouts and also has been praised for his quick release. Teammate Todd Gurley stated that he likes Goff’s composure calling him a laid back leader who seems to understand the game well. That is exactly what the Rams need to take the next step in the National Football League and it will be fun to watch Gurley and Goff headline the new Los Angeles Rams offense. First Jared Goff will have to beat out the other quarterbacks during the off-season workouts and prove that he is the best option for this football team. While everyone expects him to be the starter in week 1, he still has to come out and earn his job like all the other players. With Nick Foles and Case Keenum still on the roster you’d think Goff would be able to beat those guys out. Especially since it appears Foles could be departing the team. That leaves last year’s starting quarterback (at the end of the year) Case Keenum in Goff’s path for the starting job. Keenum went undrafted while Goff was the number 1 pick in the draft so it’s clear who is the more talented player there. So things are certainly looking good for Jared Goff and if he continues to keep raising the bar for this team good things are coming for the Los Angeles Rams. This is the rebirth of the Rams in Los Angeles and Goff is the perfect pick to lead this franchise back into limelight. Expect big things from Goff and the Rams in the near future

Charity of the day: Animal Welfare Institute

Go donate! www.awionline.org

Allen Hurns: undrafted all the way to a $40 million dollar contract

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Author: Jon Kuzma

The Jacksonville Jaguars got a big time player when they signed undrafted free agent Allen Hurns to their roster in 2014. Hurns was an outstanding receiver at the university of Miami and his efforts in Coral Gables helped him land the opportunity with the Jaguars. Since joining Jacksonville Hurns has done nothing but overachieve. His rookie season he hauled in 600 yards and 6 touchdowns and he was able to improve those numbers in his second year recording 1,031 receiving yards and 10 touchdowns. Those are elite level stats and it’s clear that Alex Hurns is a much better player than his undrafted status suggests. The Jaguars front office clearly recognized this and that is why the team inked Hurns to a 4 year $40 million dollar contract extension today. The move will keep Hurns in Jacksonville till 2020 and more importantly it will keep Bortles’ second most impressive receiver in the fold for the long haul. Allen Robinson is the best receiving option on the team and together with Hurns they make up a very dynamic receiver corps. Blake Bortles also elevates those two players with his exceptional play as well. Those 3 players have such a huge impact on that organization and are big part of why the team started to gain some positive momentum. They were rewarded for those efforts by landing a wealth of talent this off-season and now Hurns and company will have a better shot at winning than they’ve ever had. Keep an eye on whether or not Allen Hurns continues his dominance on the football field. Another 1,000 yard season would go a long way for his personal legacy and if you’re a fantasy football team owner Hurns could be a great addition to your roster come draft time. Especially since you can get great value for him by drafting him later on.

Charity of the day: Unbound

Go donate! www.unbound.org

Demaryius Thomas is still getting the job done for the Denver Broncos:

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Author: Jon Kuzma

The Denver Broncos got an outstanding player when they drafted Demaryius Thomas in the 1st round of the 2010 Draft. Since then Thomas has put the team on his back and has consistently been the Broncos best receiver. Who ever wins the Denver starting quarterback position will come into a winning environment because of players like Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders. Both guys get the job done and will provide more than competent weapons on the edges for when Paxton Lynch rises up and seizes the job. That group could be very dynamic and the Broncos would be in a lot worse shape if they didn’t have Demaryius Thomas making plays for this offense. Thomas hauled in 1,304 receiving yards and 6 touchdowns in 2015. Those are big time numbers and while you’d like to the see the touchdown total a little higher, you still have to respect the 1,300 yards. That means Thomas was consistently putting up 100 yard receiving games week in and week out for Denver, showing how dependable this guy can truly be. When you watch film on Thomas you are even more impressed. Thomas can beat you with a fade up the sideline and he can beat you with post route. He also can beat you by faking a post and then quickly running a flag route. Not to mention you can throw a bubble screen to Demaryius Thomas and the guy is great after the catch with the ball in his hands. Some that makes him a possession receiver and a yards after catch type of player. Showing that Demaryius Thomas can do just about anything on a football field. He is leader of the Denver Broncos receiving corps and a spectacular football player when it’s all said and done.

Charity of the day: Unbound

Go donate! www.unbound.org

Ryan Fitzpatrick will reportedly sign a 1 year contract worth $12 million with the Jets

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Author: Jon Kuzma

The New York Jets and Ryan Fitzpatrick have been negotiating a contract for far longer than either side would have liked to. After 4 months of contact talks lingering over the New York Jets football team, sources around the league have learned that Ryan Fitzpatrick would be open to signing a 1 year contract for $12 million dollars. That one year contract would give Fitzpatrick the best option in terms of maximizing payout from the Jets and even though Fitz deserve a little more it still is the most he was going to get out of New York. The good news is Fitzpatrick will be able to test free agency again in 2017 and if he has a good season that could mean a chance at another big payday. The bad news for the Jets is he could very well bail on the team after having a big year and they won’t have him for the long duration like they would of if they just paid the guy what he deserved. At the same time though if Fitzpatrick busts in 2016 on the field, the Jets won’t have to be tied into a contract that they weren’t comfortable with signing to begin with. So the situation has a lot of different angles and variables, which is the main reason New York took their time to think out the process. Truthfully the team should be rushing to sign Fitzpatrick for $12 million because they will significantly drop off if he isn’t on the team’s roster. Geno Smith or Christian Hackenberg are no where ready to lead yet and the Jets got really lucky that Ryan Fitzpatrick didn’t sign elsewhere. If this deal does materialize it will be great news for Jets fans and gang green will have their best chance of success since the early Rex Ryan days. Now it’s all about putting the ink on the bottom line and actually making it happen!

Charity of the day: Scholarship America

Go donate! www.scholarshipamerica.org

The Jimmy Graham experiment didn’t go as well as expected for the Seattle Seahawks in 2015:

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Author: Jon Kuzma

The Seattle Seahawks got a heck of a football player when they traded for Jimmy Graham. Graham is a big time tight end and he was supposed to pair along nicely with quarterback Russell Wilson. While Graham showed signs of promise by hauling in 605 receiving yards, his 2 touchdown receptions were much less than expected. Now in year 2 Graham will try to grow within his role the team and optimize his production. He will do that by staying healthy and working on that chemistry with Russell Wilson. If the two can establish a rhythm in the passing game that would go a long way in the teams NFC West efforts. Graham can work the middle of the field well but Wilson works better extending plays. Both Wilson and Graham will have to understand how each other react to certain situations. After a year of playing together you have to think that a lot of those wrinkles are worked out. We will see if that results in a spike of Jimmy Graham’s offensive output and it will certainly help that he is more comfortable in Seattle now. Compared to how he was when he was first traded to Seattle and had to meet all the new faces in the locker room. Now with Marshawn Lynch gone the Seahawks might have to rely more on the passing game and that also could be a good sign for Graham. This team depends on Russell Wilson’s legs to make plays for them in their offensive passing game. So that is going to be a big portion of the offense. That means more targets for Graham and ultimately more results for the Seahawks tight end. While Jimmy Graham didn’t do as well as everyone expected in 2015, it’s clear the days ahead are much brighter and he will only get better in this upcoming season for Seattle.

Charity of the day: Scholarship America

Go donate! www.scholarshipamerica.org

Gerald McCoy is about as tough as it gets when it comes to interior defensive lineman:

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Author: Jon Kuzma

That Tampa Bay Buccaneers defense all starts upfront with Gerald McCoy. McCoy is a defensive tackle who overwhelms opposing offensive lineman on every single snap. In fact McCoy was so good in 2015 that he earned the ranking of 63rd best player in the league in the NFL’s Top 100 poll which measures the leagues best 100 players. McCoy had 8.5 sacks in 2015 and those are big numbers from a player that is an interior defensive lineman. McCoy showed an unusually quick burst and was constantly in the offensive backfield. Those abilities make him such a key piece to the Bucs defensive efforts and it always helps when you win in the trenches. Gerald McCoy makes that possible for Tampa Bay and outside of quarterbacks, defensive line is the most important position on the field. When you have a great defensive line it allows you take away the opposing team’s running game. You also consistently get pressure on opposing quarterbacks which drastically improves the defensive team’s chances of winning. McCoy is the foundation of those things for Tampa and he makes everyone else’s job on that defense easier. Buccaneers defensive backs don’t have to cover as long when Gerald Mccoy is on the field and the linebackers are better protected when Mccoy is going as well. That is because McCoy is constantly drawing double teams and that leaves one other player on Tampa’s defense unaccounted for. So you can see just how many ways Gerald McCoy has an impact and keep an eye on whether or not he can improve his 63rd ranking by having a big year. If that happens the Buccaneers chances for success will greatly increase and we will see if they can gain some ground in the NFC South. The team will improve with Winston’s growth and McCoy has to handle things on the opposite side of the ball. Expect him to continue to do so and the Buccaneers are certainly trending upward right now.

Charity of the day: Breast Cancer Fund

Go donate! www.breastcancerfund.org

NaVorro Bowman is still playing at a high level in the National Football League:

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Author: Getty Images Sport

San Francisco linebacker Navorro Bowman is still getting the job done at inside linebacker for the 49ers. Bowman is entering his 7th season of professional action and will look to keep playing at a high level which he has done his entire career. Last year Bowman recorded 116 career tackles and that was coming off an injury that sidelined him for all of 2014. That just goes to show that not only is Bowman a tremendous player, but he also has the toughness and grit to battle back from adversity. The 49ers got a great leader when they drafted Novorro Bowman in the 3rd round of the 2010 Draft and he has given the team a lot of production over those 6 years. You have to remember this is guy who is 242 pounds and runs a 4.59 40 yard dash. That allows him to flow from sideline to sideline and make a lot of big plays for this defense. He can bench press 225 pounds 26 times as well. So if a blocker does get their hands on Bowman he is usually able to use his strength to disengage the blocker and finish the play. When you combine all those skill sets together his speed, tenacity, and ability to read plays you begin to see why NaVarro Bowman is one of the best inside linebackers in the league. Now with Chip Kelly at the helm for the 49ers it will be up to Bowman to set the tone for Kelly’s defense. DeForest Buckner will certainly help add to that group and together all of these talented players will be tasked with getting the job done for the Niners. With the Cardinals winning the division last year they are the team setting the bar in the NFC West. It will be up to the newly led Chip Kelly 49ers and Navarro Bowman to eliminate that gap. We will see how they do when the season roll around.

Charity of the day: Breast Cancer Fund

Go donate! www.breastcancerfund.org

The Navy made the right move by allowing Keenan Reynolds to play in the NFL:

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Photo credit: Jon Kuzma

Former Navy quarterback Keenan Reynolds was drafted by the Baltimore Ravens in the 6th round of 2016 NFL Draft. However in order to play in the National Football League the former Midshipmen quarterback first had to get approval from the Naval Academy to defer his service. In the past we have seen the Army deny Caleb Campbell a former Detroit Lions draft pick a chance to play in 2008. The Navy at end of the day though made the right move and allowed Reynolds the chance to play and he will look to be on the Ravens roster when week 1 rolls along. That won’t be easy considering that Reynolds will have to go through a position change moving from quarterback to wide receiver in the pros. Yet the Ravens saw enough in Reynolds to draft him and that is a good sign of his athletic ability. There has even been some discussions about putting Reynolds at kick-returner and letting him make a play for the team that way. Reynolds ran a 4.57 40 yard dash so he isn’t slow by any means and when the season rolls around we will see if he can put it altogether and be a complete player. This guy overachieved big time at Navy rushing for 3 straight seasons of over 1,000 yards. Now the Ravens are hoping those skills translate over to the pro level and if they do the Ravens are getting a heck of a football player with a late round pick. Ozzie Newsome is getting a lot of value with this pick and look for the Ravens to incorporate this guy into the mix a few different ways. Maybe even throwing a pass on a reverse or something along those lines. The Navy also made the right move letting Reynolds play because it shows other prospects coming out of the Navy that they will get that same opportunity. That makes the Navy a more desirable location for future players and their program might get a boost from this move. Keep an eye on Keenan Reynolds in 2016.

Charity of the day: Arbor Day Foundation

Go donate! www.arborday.org

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