The Jets look better than we’ve given them credit for, their defense absolutely dominated the Tennessee Titans in a 7-3 win:

Photo credit: Michael Reaves / Getty Images Sport

Author: Jon Kuzma

The New York Jets have been the laughing stock of the league all off-season but it’s clear New York is ready to change the perception of their football team. Behind an outstanding defensive performance led by Leonard “Big Cat” Williams the New York Jets held the Tennessee Titans to just 3 points. A lot of people will say “oh it’s preseason and it doesn’t count” but the Titans played a lot of their starters and were flat out overmatched by Gang Green’s defense. Williams leveled Marcus Mariota early on and then the rest of the Jets defenders got in on the pass rush fun. When the game was finished New York had compiled 8 sacks on the night by 8 different players. It’s safe to say Todd Bowles’ team was blitzing from all angles and one hit in particular by Julian Stanford knocked Titans back up quarterback Alex Tanney out of the game (temporarily). It was obvious from watching the Jets hammer Tennessee that not only do they have a strong defense line and good linebackers. This team also has exceptional depth in their front seven which should be able to get the job done in the regular season. The struggle for this team is going to be whether or not their offense can put enough points on the board to match their stellar defense? The Jets should have addressed their offense in the draft but at least they have one side of the ball that is competent and can get the job done. NFL Insiders thought New York was going to be a train wreck this year but it feels like this team is better than the assessment we’ve given them. It just goes to show that the offseason hype can be very misguided at times and we were all wrong about the Jets, this team could finish with 5-8 wins rather than going 0-16 or 1-15.

Charity of the day: Project Concern International

Go donate! www.pciglobal.org

Landon Collins looks like he is in mid-season form, he should be in the running for the Defensive Player of the Year award:

Photo credit: Ronald Martinze

Author: Jon Kuzma

The New York Giants lost to the Pittsburgh Steelers 20-12 in week one of the preseason but one player stood out for the Giants and that was Landon Collins. Collins looked outstanding leading the Giants in tackles against the Steelers, the third year safety out of Alabama recorded 5 combined tackles. On one particular play Collins came up in run support and completely leveled a Steelers running back. It’s plays like that which highlight Collins’ playmaking ability and it just goes to show that this guy can do it in every phase of the game. Landon Collins actually led the Giants in tackles last year and he had 5 interceptions. So it’s obvious Collins sets the tone in run support and he can also play the pass as good as anyone else on the roster. Now with a season more of experience under his belt Collins enters the 2017 as one of the most complete defensive players in the entire league. You’re talking about rare talents like J.J Watt, Von Miller, and Khalil Mack. The fact that a defensive back like Collins can be mentioned in the same conversation with those other guys who are all front seven players says a lot about the type of player Collins has become. If Collins can improve on his stats from a season ago that will provide a huge impact for the New York defense and the Giants could be a serious Super Bowl contender. Last year this team came up short against the Green Bay Packers but as this team becomes more cohesive they should be even better. Remember most of this players on this defense were assembled one year ago, so they are in the process of gelling as we speak. If the other guys on the defensive side of the ball can elevate their game, then Landon Collins should do his part in the leadership role he has assumed with this team. There’s no doubt the Giants are in good hands when Landon Collins is the alpha of their defensive group, all this guy does is make big plays.

Charity of the day: Nature Conservancy

Go donate! www.nature.org

Buffalo Bills make a pair of trades that ultimately land them Jordan Matthews and an extra couple draft picks:

Photo credit: Icon Sportswire

Author: Jon Kuzma

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When first hearing the news the Buffalo Bills have traded Sammy Watkins and third year cornerback Ronald Darby most football fans immediate reaction was those were dumb moves. However after looking deeper into the trades it’s easy to see why the Bills pulled the trigger on these two deals. Sammy Watkins was underachieving in Buffalo and he never really hit his stride after an illustrious career at the University of Clemson. In the end the Bills wanted to get out of that contract they had with Watkins so they shipped their top wide receiver to the Los Angeles Rams. In return the Bills received a 2nd round pick and E.J Gaines, which will help the Bills eliminate the loss of Darby and it’s gives the team a high draft pick to build for the future. The Bills then shipped Ronald Darby to the Philadelphia Eagles in exchange for Jordan Matthews and a 3rd round draft pick which gives Buffalo a receiver right now to replace Watkins and another draft pick for the new regime’s vision. It must be noted that both of these draft picks are in 2018 so they will be put to good use immediately and the Bills got good enough players back where the drop off in talent won’t implode their team. Those moves will give new Head Coach Sean McDermott a chance at competing next season and if you’re a Buffalo fan this is finally some good news for your team. If Jordan Matthews and E.J Gaines can also raise their level of play that would go a long way in changing the culture surround the Bills right now. So it will be up to those two guys to be laser focused on their training and preparation heading into the upcoming season. The bottom line though, this wasn’t a terrible deal for Buffalo and it could actually end up being a good or great deal if those draft picks are used correctly.

Charity of the day: Nature Conservancy

Go donate! www.nature.org

Mitchell Trubisky sets the night on fire, the 2nd overall pick looked extremely sharp in his preseason debut:

Photo credit: Jonathan Daniel

Author: Jon Kuzma

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The Chicago Bears planned on Mike Glennon being their starter for the 2017 season but Glennon threw an interception on his first drive in the Bears preseason game. While Glennon looked out of sync and lackadaisical, rookie Quarterback Mitchell Trubisky was the exact opposite lighting up the Broncos defense with each throw. Trubisky showcased perfect mechanics, a big arm, and the ability to get first downs with his legs. Not only that but the Bears rookie QB looked years beyond his experience operating from the pocket and that’s everything you look for in an NFL quarterback. With the speed of the defense being so overwhelming at the pro level teams need a quarterback who can rely on his arm strength to dissect a defense. Trubisky finished the game with 18 completions out of 25 passing attempts for 166 yards and 1 touchdown. Trubisky also had another big time throw to Rueben Randle on the goal line, that play should have been Trubisky’s second passing touchdown on the night but Randle didn’t give a good enough effort to get in the end zone. It’s not often you see a rookie quarterback perform this well out of the gate and the fans around the league have been buzzing about Mitchell Trubisky. The Bears look like geniuses for drafting this guy and it’s pretty obvious that Mike Glennon is going to have a shot reign as the Bears starting quarterback. The National Football League is all about the best players winning the starting jobs and being on the field. There’s no sense in marching Glennon out onto the field if Trubisky gives Chicago a better chance to win from day one. It was an electrifying game from the former North Carolina Tar Heel and now Bears fans have something to really be excited about. It’s a been awhile since the Windy City has been trending upward in football.

Charity of the day: Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund

Go donate! www.fallenheroesfund.org

The trio of Joshua Dobbs, Antonio Brown, and Le’Veon Bell could be a dynamic group for the Steelers once Ben Roethlisberger retires:

Photo credit: Don Juan Moore / Getty Images Sport

Author: Jon Kuzma

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With Ben Roethlisberger announcing that his playing days are winding down at the end of last season, it became obvious that the Pittsburgh Steelers needed to find a successor for their starting quarterback. The Steelers drafted Joshua Dobbs in the 4th round this past season and the team seems adamant about handing the reins to Dobbs over Landry Jones. Jones is under contract until 2018 but make no mistake about it this team loses a gear when Jones is on the field. That leaves an opening for another quarterback on the roster and Dobbs is the young guy who offers a completely different skills set than Roethlisberger or Jones. Dobbs is a better athlete than the other Steelers QBs specifically when it comes to the speed department. Grouping Dobbs along with Antonio Brown and Le’Veon Bell could launch this team to new heights. Mainly because there will be too many explosive players on the field for opposing defenses to contain all of them. Now obviously to play quarterback in the National Football League you have to play be able to throw the football first and foremost. Roethlisberger and Jones are better at throwing the football than Dobbs but if the rookie can close the gap in the throw power and throw accuracy department. That will give the former Tennessee quarterback the best chance to be the number 1 guys when Roethlisberger does step away. Joshua Dobbs will have to come out and prove that he is a better candidate to lead this team in the preseason games coming up. When you can opportunities like that where you get to showcase your talent, you have to make the most of it in this league. Dobbs knows he has to make an impact and leave no doubts to who is the better back up quarterback on the roster. It will be interesting to see if he rises to the occasion or struggles when the Steelers take on the New York Giants tomorrow night?

Charity of the day: Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund

Go donate! www.fallenheroesfund.org

Panthers beat Texans 27-17 in their first preseason game, Kelvin Benjamin got the party started with an early touchdown catch:

Photo credit: Grant Halverson / Getty Images Sport

Author: Jon Kuzma

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The Carolina Panthers won their first preseason game 27-17 and Kelvin Benjamin had a great night catching a touchdown then relaxing for the rest of the game. Benjamin showed that he is still a playmaker for the Panthers offense and expect a big year from the veteran receiver. DeShaun Watson also saw a significant amount of playing time in this match up and don’t believe what the media tells you, Watson looked rough mechanically. DeShaun Watson struggled from the pocket and the Texans often called bootlegs to take advantage of the rookie’s mobility. Still it was pretty obvious that Tom Savage is the better choice for Houston right now and Watson has to improve in the accuracy department to win the starting job down the road. Watson finished the night with 179 yard and 1 rushing touchdown but it was clear he would struggle against NFL starters. The other big topic of the night was Christian McCaffrey and how he is going to transition to the NFL ranks? To be honest McCaffrey looked explosive rushing for 33 yards on 7 rushing attempts but the rookie running back did seem a little overwhelmed by the contact. At the pro level the hits are so much more massive and it’s tough to make it as an undersized running back. A lot of the 200 pound running backs don’t last in this league and you have to wonder if McCaffrey is going to have the build to endure all the punishment that an NFL running back’s body takes? McCaffrey might be better off as a 10-15 carries a game type of player but it’s hard to envision this guy becoming a work house / every down back. Damiere Bryd probably had the best night overall for either team, the Panthers receiver hauled in 2 touchdown passes and 98 receiving yards. Joe Webb also impressed for Carolina tossing for 2 touchdowns and 128 passing yards. On the opposite sideline the Texans running game did look like it could pack a punch this upcoming season. D’Onta Foreman and Alfred Blue both ran hard setting the tone for the Texans offense. When you add Lamar Miller into that running back group it’s easy to see the Texans could be lethal on the ground. Finally Braxton Miller caught a quick 3 passes before being yanked for the rest of the game. Miller looks like he has progressed and could help alleviate the loss of Will Fulller. In the end though the Panthers were too much for the Texans and Carolina improves to 1-0 for the preseason. It was a good start for Ron Rivera’s football team.

Charity of the day: Bowery Residents’ Committee

Go donate! www.brc.org

Brian Hoyer has won another starting quarterback job, this time he will take over the San Francisco 49ers:

Photo credit: Icon Sportswire

Author: Jon Kuzma

VenueKings.com

Brian Hoyer has been an NFL journeyman for most of his pro days playing for six different teams over his nine year football career. However there’s almost something you almost have to admire about Brian Hoyer. This was a player who was undervalued and wrote off so many times in his career yet Hoyer’s resilience has allowed him to always bounce back and that’s why you have to respect how much Hoyer has refused to quit. At any point the 31 year old quarterback could have thrown in the towel but he always went out there and competed which says a lot about Hoyer’s character and will to persevere. Clearly Kyle Shanahan has taken notice of Brian Hoyer’s game because this is the second time Shanahan has selected Hoyer to lead his offense. Brian Hoyer and Kyle Shanahan spent time together in Cleveland while one was player and the other was coach for the Browns. During that time Shanahan started Brian Hoyer in a number of contests and that knowledge of Kyle Shanahan’s system is what made Hoyer such an appealing candidate as the starting quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers. Hoyer has also started for the Houston Texans so he has definitely seen a lot of reps as a starting QB in the National Football League, which makes Hoyer a much more valuable candidate than say a rookie entering the league. Not only that but early reports out of the Bay Area are Hoyer has been winging the football at 49ers practice much better than the quarterbacks who were with San Francisco in 2016. It’s looking like Hoyer is still progressing as a quarterback himself and with almost nine NFL training camps under his belt with variety of different coaches Brian Hoyer has spent plenty of time refining his skills. The question is whether or not Hoyer will be with the 49ers beyond the 2017 season? The rumor around the league is San Francisco wants Kirk Cousins to be their starting quarterback. That means Hoyer has to play great in 2017 and set himself up for another job in future, in case the 49ers decided to go a different route.

Charity of the day: Bowery Residents’ Committee

Go donate! www.brc.org

Jonathan Allen has dominated at Redskins practices, it’s obvious why Allen won the Nagurski, Lombardi, and Bednarik awards last year at Alabama:

Photo credit: Icon Sportswire

Author: Jon Kuzma

HeatAndCool.com

Jonathan Allen had one of the most dominant seasons of collegiate football ever at the University of Alabama winning the Bronko Nagursk Trophy, the Rotary Lombardi award, and the Chuck Bednarik award. Those accolades are given to the best defensive player in the country and the fact that different football organizations all came to the conclusion that one guy (Allen) was a clean sweep for all these honors should tell you everything you need to know about Jonathan Allen’s game on the football field. This is one of the most decorated college football players to ever enter the pro ranks and Allen has done nothing but impress since arriving in Washington D.C. The rumors out of our nation’s capital are Allen has been abusing second and third string offensive line to the point where Redskins media personnel have suggested putting Allen in a one on one against anyone but a starter is unfair. The Redskins finished 28th in total defense a season ago, so they definitely need Allen to come in and have an immediate presence. So far Jonathan Allen has lived up to the hype and it’s really a shame this guy had a free fall on draft night. It’s obvious some of the NFL executives get too caught up on NFL combine results and sometimes you need just plug in the game tape and watch these guys play. If you did that with Jonathan Allen you recognized a player who has great football I.Q and a relentless motor. Allen isn’t just a guy that plugs holes and uses brute force, he truly has great football instincts that allows the former Alabama alum to finish a lot of plays and create a ton of turnovers. Allen has the same playmaking ability that Vince Wilfork did as a defensive lineman and it’s rare that one of your defense front players can intercept passes and return fumbles for touchdowns. Those type of plays give Jonathan Allen another gear and Washington will definitely improve on their 28th overall defensive ranking now that Allen is controlling the line of scrimmage for them.

Charity of the day: DonorsChoose.org

Go donate! www.donorschoose.org

Dalvin Cook has seized the starting running back job for the Minnesota Vikings, that’s surprising considering Latavius Murray is on the roster:

  Photo credit: Icon Sportswire

Author: Jon Kuzma

HeatAndCool.com

While it was pretty obvious that Dalvin Cook was better than a 2nd round draft pick, it is still
a surprise to hear that Cook has already emerged as the Vikings starting running back. Latavius Murray was also signed by Minnesota this off-season and Murray recorded 12 touchdowns a season ago. You’d figure that Murray would put up a much better fight for the job but then again Murray does have some lingering health issues. Obviously that has setback the former Oakland Raider and Dalvin Cook has done enough to win his Head Coach Mike Zimmer over. Zimmer has made it clear he anticipates Cook getting a large portion of the offensive touches and if you’ve followed Dalvin Cooks’ playing career you understand exactly why. Cook was the all time leading rusher at Florida State University and with all the talent that the Seminoles have produced it’s easy to acknowledge how big of an accomplishment that is. Even before college Cook ran for a ton of yards in high school and was named Mr. Florida, and that’s such a big achievement with all of the talent coming out of the Sunshine State each year. When the NFL combine rolled around and every athlete was auditioning for NFL teams, Cooks put on a show finishing as a top 10 performer in both the 40 yard and bench press drills. So clearly Cooks gets it done with a unique combination of speed and power but maybe the best thing you can say about Dalvin Cook is his game gets better as the stage gets bigger. The clutch element that is a trait of Cook allows him to rise to the occasion when the pressure is on. Minnesota thought that would be a perfect skill set to pair with their outstanding defense on the other side of the ball and now Mike Zimmer feels like he has a formula for success. You can’t praise the rookie Cook enough, it’s not easy to win an NFL starting job right out of the gate.

Charity of the day: National Council on Aging

Go donate! www.ncoa.org

Vince Wilfork retires from the National Football League after 13 seasons of action, Wilfork will be remembered for his freakish athleticism at the defensive tackle position:

Photo credit: Icon Sportswire

Author: Jon Kuzma

HeatAndCool.com

There’s not many 400 pound men that could do what Vince Wilfork did during his 13 seasons on the football field. While Wilfork’s playing weight is listed at 325 pounds if you ever seen this guy there’s literally no chance that he has ever made that weight. In college the Miami Hurricanes listed Wilfork at 338 pounds and that should tell you firsthand that someone at the pro level was bluffing when they listed Wilfork at 325 but make no mistake about Vince Wilfork was easily one one of the most athletic big men to ever come through the NFL. It all started at the 2004 NFL Draft when a then 340 pounds Wilfork ran the 40 yard dash in 5.08 seconds. Now to put that in perspective Vince Wilfork exactly tied Philip Rivers with a 5.08 40 yard dash and even beat Tom Brady who ran a 5.28. NFL Network’s Rich Eisen even gave a 40 yard dash an attempt and ran 6.02, which would have been right around the slowest of all time. So you can see just how gifted athletically Vince Wilfork is and he made it happen with such a bigger frame than anyone else. That translated into a player who could plug up two gaps on a single play and Wilfork was a guy who consistently took on on doubles teams. Wilfork finished with 16 career sacks but his huge impact was in the turnover department. Vince Wilfork was one of the highest turnover forcing defensive lineman of all time with 12 fumble recoveries and 3 interceptions. Wilfork even has scored a defensive touchdown on fumble recovery back in 2011. There’s no doubt this is a player who got it done in multiple phases of the game and Wilfork did all of that with a great attitude and a constant smile on his face. It’s been a pleasure to watch the veteran defensive lineman dominate on the football field for more than the last decade.

Charity of the day: National Council on Aging

Go donate! www.ncoa.org

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