Jadeveon Clowney must produce this year to avoid bust whispers:

 

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Jadeveon Clowney recorded only seven tackles in 2014. Seven tackles and he was the first overall pick in the 2014 draft. While maybe it’s unfair at this point to wonder if Clowney is indeed a bust. It’s clear that if he doesn’t produce more this year that there will be some validation to those “bust whispers”. The Texans are depending on this guy to come in and add another element to this defense next to the best player in the league in JJ Watt. Together the tandem playing together at an optimal level could be a dynamic pairing that could wreak havoc on opposing offenses for years to come. But in 2014 JJ Watt was the only partner in that duo that was holding up his end of play. It’s simple in order for Clowney to have success he must be on the field. While a major injury is something you can’t plan for, if there is even a chance you can play. You should play if you’re in Clowney’s shoes to prove that you’re committed to the Texans. They took Clowney number one overall to prove they’re committed to him, now it’s time that he proves he’s committed to them. Really to live up to expectations Clowney should register at least 7 sacks this year. While even if he has five you can say that is a start. We are talking about the number one overall pick here. Seven sacks from a number one overall pick is a legitimate goal. We all know the guy was a star in college but there were also some concerns with the guy’s character. As an outsider looking in on the situation one thing that quickly stands out is no matter if he plays or not, the guy is the center of attention. So he has no repercussions if he doesn’t play. The jury is still out if Clowney is a real football player at this level and is serious about playing in the National Football League. Maybe a couple months from now we will look back and laugh at this post for ever being written. Only time will tell.

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It’s time for RG3 to prove his worth to the Redskins:

Buccaneers at Redskins 11/16/14

Photo credit : Keith Allison

Robert Griffin the 3rd was a highly coveted rookie coming out of the University of Baylor. With an exceptionally smooth release and quick feet, the quarterback was the second overall pick in the 2012 draft with only Andrew Luck being drafted ahead of him. In fact the Washington Redskins chose Griffin over future NFL stand outs Luke Kuechly, Bruce Irvin, Russell Wilson, T.Y Hilton, and a list of other notable pros. A testament of just how much the Redskins believed in Griffin when he was coming out of college. Since then though Griffin has been inconsistent and injury prone for most of his career. He has played in just 37 games out of the expected 48. Where as Andrew Luck has played in all 48 games. Also the touchdown pass comparison between Luck and Griffin is also a notable factor. Griffin has posted up 40 total touchdown passes over his three year career, while Luck has posted up 86 total touchdown passes. It’s clear Luck has been over twice as good as Griffin in terms of production. He has even been nearly a fourth better at staying on the field (injury free) than Griffen as well. It’s hard to believe that some NFL executives around the league even had a doubt as to which quarterback was better in that draft, and the Redskins are finding that out the hard way. While each season the lights get a little bit more dim for RG3, it must be stated that he does have potential. He was taken number 2 overall in the first round for reason. When RG3 plays at an optimal level he can be a positive force for his team. In order to consistently play at that level though, he must make the transition to a traditional pocket passer and stop relying on his feet so much. In a system that focuses on rhythm and timing and quick throws Griffin might be able to have some success. It will be up to him to learn to trust himself from within the pocket and he must also be willing to take leadership more seriously off the field. Quarterback is a position where you have to be able to make calls at the line of scrimmage, pre snap reads, and checkdowns down the field. Much of this is learned in the film room while putting in the extra hours of research in order to be great. If Griffin really wants to prove his worth to the Redskins, he must show he can excel at those intangibles. Regardless its now or never for RG3.

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Tim Tebow is a perfect fit in Chip Kelly’s scheme:

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Photo Credit: Todd Shoemake

Will Tim Tebow makes the Eagles roster? No one knows the answer to that question except Chip Kelly and maybe Eagles Vice President of Football Operations Howard Roseman. Tebow came into the Eagles preseason game today as the fourth quarterback on the Eagles depth chart. Meaning he is likely the quarterback who will get cut when it comes time to trim the roster down. But after a standing ovation from the Philadelphia fans and a good showing from Tebow after a two year hiatus from football, things might have changed when it comes to Tebow’s future. The former University of Florida quarterback showed that he runs the read option offense very well, maybe even better than some of the other QB’s on the Eagles roster. A good sign for the left handed quarterback who was always exceptionally mobile. That mobility seems to get rewarded in Kelly’s system because a quarterback who can run adds a whole other dynamic to the zone read system. This is why quarterbacks such as Russell Wilson, and Cam Newton have had so much success. Their abilities seem to mesh better with the zone read system than say a traditional pocket passer quarterback. So why would it makes sense for the Eagles to keep three traditional pocket passers, instead of two traditional pocket passers and a mobile guy like Tebow? Some critics would say because Bradford, Sanchez, and Barkley are better than Tebow. Yet we all now Chip Kelly can be off the wall in his decision making. With Tebow being such a good fit in Kelly’s scheme it will be interesting to see if he makes this team or not. Don’t be surprised if he does.

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Ndamukong Suh already making his presence felt in Miami:

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Photo credit: Jeffrey Beall

Just one game into the preseason and several snaps for him personally, Ndamukong Suh is already making an impact for the Miami Dolphins. The highly sought after free agent who signed with the Dolphins after leaving Detroit has already been the talk of Dolphins mini-camp and he finally got to showcase those talents in a live game against the Chicago Bears. Just as he always has done in the past, Suh terrorized the opposing offensive line causing panic and frustration. The Bears even had a false start during that set of plays because opposing offensive lineman are simply intimidated by Suh upfront. Suh was able to sack the opposing quarterback 8 and half times in 2014 with the Detroit Lions. Based on the fact that he is entering into his prime now in Miami, those numbers might be even better. The guy has been a force throughout his entire career, and doesn’t show any signs of slowing down anytime soon. While his time will be limited the rest of the preseason, he rarely comes off the field in the regular season. He also plays a position which puts him in the middle of the action every single play. A good situation for the Miami Dolphins. The defense will surely be better in Miami this season and most of that will start upfront with Suh.

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Buzz around the NFL: Steelers offense looks ready to roll

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Photo credit: SteelCityHobbies

Ben Roethlisberger completed 3 passes out of 3 attempts in the Steelers preseason game which included a 45 yard bomb to Martavis Bryant. The Steelers quarterback looked poised and the offensive line did a great job of giving Roethlisberger time. The offense seems to be picking up right where it left off from last year where the team posted 33 combined passing touchdowns and a 1300 yard rusher in Le’Veon Bell. With another year under all of those players belts that offense should be even more potent, and even more dynamic this time around. Back up quarterback Landry Jones even looked good in his preseason action, throwing for 328 yards in both games combined. A sign that the whole unit collectively is strong. Even the players down the depth chart are playing their role and contributing to this team. This is why the offensive ceiling has been so high for this team over the last two years. They’re playing with cohesion and that has led to them firing on all cylinders. You also can’t fail to mention that they still have Antonio Brown who was flat out electrifying last year on the football field, posting 13 receiving touchdowns. Brown has been an x factor for the Steelers ever since he got there from Central Michigan University. Markus Wheaton is another player that is notable of mentioning for this offense. He contributed 53 receptions and 644 receiving yards last year for Pittsburg. He is a player that can clearly help out Ben Roethlisberger when he is in a jam, and is another vital piece of that puzzle in the Steel City. Look for this team to be clicking in the regular season, this is despite the fact that they struggled in these preseasons games in terms of wins and losses. In the regular season those starters will be on the field longer and will be able to make that impact that is needed. This team should be a lot of fun to watch on sundays once week one rolls around.

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All eyes on Kelvin Benjamin in 2015:

Panthers at Ravens 9/28/14

Photo credit: Keith Allison

Kelvin Benjamin started off the preseason just like he did last year, effectively. The star receiver for the Carolina Panthers grabbed 3 receptions for 36 yards and showcased his great body control on a 2 yard touchdown pass from Cam Newton. On that play Benjamin drove Bills rookie cornerback Ronald Darby upfield and then did a comeback easily out jumping the defender for six points. The rhythm and timing between Newton and Benjamin looked good and it might be an indicator that Benjamin is going to improve beyond that already outstanding 1,008 receiving yards that he put up in 2014. At 6’5 245 pounds Benjamin is also a match up problem for most cornerbacks in the NFL. He is bigger than just about anyone he lines up against. Now on the speed side of things running a 4.61 Benjamin is step slower than most defenders. Yet he has improved in route running and overall awareness in terms of the game. Those two factors should help him get even better in 2015. Another thing that stands out when you watch film on Kelvin Benjamin is his ability to also go up above defenders and use his height to his advantage. Several plays in 2014 he was able to go up and out jump two defenders and make a big play for his team. That combination of all those abilities make Kelvin Benjamin one of the best receivers in the NFC south and a great choice for fantasy football owners in 2015. Look for this guy to have another big year.

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Ameer Abdullah One of the Big Winners in Early Preseason Action:

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Photo credit: Instagram @ameerguapo

With the preseason on its way like every year there is a few athletes who stand out and make us wonder. Will this success translate to the regular season? As most football fans know the preseason is a time when a team’s bottom end players get more playing time. The exhibition matches in preseason are essentially used as a measuring stick for some guys who will or will not make a team. So when a player does have success in the preseason you always have to ask. Is this the result of playing against lesser competition? Fortunately for the Detroit Lions it appears they may have found a rising star in rookie Ameer Abdullah. Abdullah out of the University of Nebraska showed exceptional skills in college and those skills seem to be making the transition over to the pro level. Abdullah had a strong showing against the New York Jets in the Detroit Lions first preseason game racking up 67 rushing yards on 7 rushing attempts. On one particular counter run play to the right Abdullah was able to slip inside of the contain man for the Jets defense and take the run an additional 45 yards up field. The play greatly captured Abdullah’s burst, vision, and ability to evade tacklers on the field. If he is able to put up this kind of production with only 7 rushing attempts, imagine what he could do if he was given 20? The prospect of that production has to please the Lions front office and they aren’t the only one’s who have been keeping their eyes on Abdullah. He has been receiving much praise from executives around the league and has even landed himself on the front page of NFL.com. The performance surely will help him gain popularity and look for him to make a push for the starting job over Joique Bell for the Detroit Lions. A task that will not come easy, but will happen if Abdullah keeps exceeding expectations like this.

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