Cam Newton makes a brief appearance in the Panthers preseason game vs the Jaguars, throws for a touchdown pass:

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Sport Author: Jon Kuzma

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Cam Newton only threw two passes in the Panthers 24-23 win over the Jaguars but one of those passes went to Kelvin Benjamin for a touchdown. As most football fans probably know Newton has been very limited at Panthers’ practices and it was good to see the former M.V.P return to the field. Newton has been rehabbing a surgically repaired shoulder but everything looked fine while Newton was on the field and this offense gets uplifted to another level when their franchise quarterback is in the starting line up. At 6 foot 5 inches 245 pounds Cam Newton is a rare blend of size and extraordinary athleticism. Not many quarterbacks in the league can overwhelm defenses from a physical stand point like Newton can and when this guys is playing at an optimal level he is nearly untouchable. Newton had his worst statistical season ever last year posting career lows in completion percentage and quarterback rating. It will be up to the Panthers QB to get back to his 2015 form and find that groove which makes him such an electrifying player. The Panthers have a lot of speed on their offense with new comers Christian McCaffrey and Curtis Samuel. If Newton can play at the level we know he is capable of, then there’s no reason this offense can’t put a ton of points on the board. The main thing Newton is going to have to do is steer clear from the frustration that he battled for most of the 2016 season. Cam Newton’s body language was terrible last year and it hindered his ability to lead this football team. With 52 other guys in the locker room looking to Newton for guidance he has to be able to refrain from those leadership letdowns and keep his anger in check. It’s football there’s going to be times Newton is hit and feels wronged by the referees. The goal for Newton and the Panthers has to be avoiding the feeling that the team is unraveling, which is exactly what will happen if emotions aren’t kept in check. There’s an old saying in football that states “the most important play is next play.” Newton has to keep that phrase in mind as he tries to recapture his top form in 2017.

Charity of the day: Leukemia & Lymphoma Society

Go donate! www.lls.org

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Jay Ajayi scores 2 touchdowns in the Dolphins preseason game against the Eagles, expect a monster year from the Miami running back:

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Author: Jon Kuzma

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The Miami Dolphins got a big night out of Running Back Jay Ajayi and if Ajayi can continue to run like this big things are coming for the Dolphins running game in 2017. The Eagles have a good defense and still couldn’t slow Ajayi down, it just goes to show that the Dolphins emerging star isn’t a 2016 fluke. After rushing for 1,272 yards and 8 touchdowns a year ago many NFL insiders were interested to see if Ajayi could sustain that high level of production? It appears the 24 year old ball carrier is exactly what he seemed he was last year and to be honest Ajayi is Adam Gase’s workhorse. It takes a tough player physically to take over 200 hundred handoffs a year. When you think about how hard the NFL hits are and how many Ajayi will take over the span of 16 games. It’s clear Ajayi’s success is as much a testament of how tough he is, as well as the amazing skill set this guy provides the Dolphins’ offense when ball is in his hands. Everybody in Miami’s locker has great respect for Jay Ajayi and how can you not when stop and watch this guy play? Number 23 for Miami is always breaking tackles and getting a ton of yardages after contact. Those plays breathe life into Miami’s momentum during games and we all know NFL games are a lot like a boxing match. There’s so much back and fourth energy between both teams when that first kickoff takes place. Ajayi can wear down opposing defenses and keep a lot of that good energy on Miami’s side. Right now if you’re a betting man you have to believe Ajayi will once again go over the 1,000 yards rushing mark, if he does that would be the second time he has done it in his career (back to back years). It’s safe to say Jay Ajayi is one the league’s hottest up and coming running backs right now.

Charity of the day: Leukemia & Lymphoma Society

Go donate! www.lls.org

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It’s only the preseason but Derek Barnett leads the league with 3 sacks, the Eagles have to be happy with their 1st round pick:

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Author: Jon Kuzma

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Eagles 1st round pick Derek Barnett leads all preseason performers with 3 sacks and Philly is looking like a genius for drafting the former Tennessee star. After making the All-SEC team three different times Barnett played his way into the first round. The Eagles selected Barnett with the 14th pick in the draft and now everything that made this guy a star in college is translating over to the pros. Barnett is extremely gifted with his hands and he uses them to disengage offensive tackles. It wasn’t clear whether Derek Barnett was going to be able to use that approach at the professional level but so far the Eagles rookie has overwhelmed offensive lineman and made a number of big plays. Maybe the most surpassing thing about Barnett is the fact that he is only 21 years old. That means the young defensive end has a long career ahead of him and if he is already performing at this high of a level the future is extremely bright for Barnett. It’s very possible we are looking at one of the league’s next superstars when we watch Derek Barnett play and he should fit nicely into Jim Schwartz defensive scheme. Schwartz wants to trust his front four defenders to create havoc and put pressure on opposing quarterbacks. In order to do that the defensive ends in that scheme have to be able to turn the corner and get upfield. Barnett has shown that he very capable of doing that and now offenses in the league have to identify where number 96 is lined up before every snap. If team’s don’t key on Barnett he is going to make them pay and this is exactly what the Eagles needed to make a push for NFC East supremacy. Defense wins championships in the National Football League and Philadelphia got a huge boost when they added the pass rushing phenom to their roster. Expect Barnett to put up a boatload of sacks during the regular season.

Charity of the day: Doctors Without Borders USA

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The Tennessee Titans have been giving Derrick Henry a ton of handoffs in the preseason, hoping to prime the running back for the regular season:

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Author: Jon Kuzma

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Derrick Henry might be the number 2 running back in Nashville but that doesn’t mean Henry isn’t part of the game plan. In fact it’s safe to say the exact opposite is true, Henry is so valued by the Titans that they are giving their young running back a ton of handoffs in the preseason hoping to prime him for the regular season. Henry is a bigger running back weighing 247 pounds and when you have a heavier ball carrier it takes more training to get that player in game shape. Titans Head Coach Mike Mularkey understands this and that’s why he has handed Derrick Henry the ball 24 times over the first 2 preseason games. The idea is to get Henry in top form heading into the season and when DeMarco Murray needs to be spelled a finely tuned power back will enter the game. That’s the perfect recipe for success for the Titans because by the time Murray comes out of the game the defense will be tired. A well rested Derrick Henry will then overwhelm fatigued defenders and it’s small game plans like this that help teams get an advantage during the chess match that is pro football. Henry ran for 490 yards and 5 touchdowns last year so he is very familiar with what it takes to be successful in this league. It’s almost to sad to see Henry in back up role because he could easily start for a number of different teams. However it’s a blessing for the Titans because they have one of the most talented offensive backfields by far. Murray and Henry will be tasked with taking the pressure off Marcus Mariota and that shouldn’t be a problem with the Titans gifted offensive line. The group collectively is the reason there is a smash mouth mentality in the Music City and that will definitely be a big factor in this team’s success during the 2017 season. It should be a lot of fun to watch.

Charity of the day: American Red Cross

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The Cowboys have brothers Jaylon Smith and Rod Smith on their roster, both of them have been making a name of their selves:

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Author: Jon Kuzma

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Everybody knows about Cowboys Linebacker Jaylon Smith. After setting the college football world on fire with his stellar play Smith was drafted by the Cowboys but couldn’t play his first year because of nagging knee injury. After an entire season on the sidelines Jaylon Smith is back on the field for the Cowboys and the 22 year old defender looks to be recapturing his old form. Smith played in his first game since the knee injury and you could just see the tenacity that this guy brings to the game. The Cowboys got a premier talent when they drafted Jaylon Smith and there’s no ceiling on just how good the young linebacker can be. Smith has great closing speed and his motor is always running. That combination of speed and power makes Smith a player to keep an eye on and there’s no doubt the Cowboys will get plenty of big plays out of number 54. The story doesn’t end there though because Jaylon Smith has a an older brother that is also on the Cowboys roster. Rod Smith is a former Ohio State Buckeye who was signed as an undrafted free agent in 2015 by the Seattle Seahawks. Seattle picked Smith up as a fullback and asked him to put on 10 pounds to play the position more effectively. Ultimately that transition didn’t go that smoothly and later that year the Cowboys claimed Smith off waivers to fill a roster opening. The fact that Rod Smith and Jaylon Smith both wound up on the Cowboys at the same time is truly remarkable and now older brother Rod is really coming alive. In the last couple of preseason games the Cowboys have let Rod Smith take snaps at running back and the 25 year old has done a great job of making defenders miss. Rod Smith has actually looked better than Darren McFadden has this preseason and now the Cowboys have to seriously consider adding Rod Smith to their regular season roster. It’s clear the guy can make plays and why not keep Jaylon Smith’s older brother if he has shown more than some of the other high profile running backs? That would definitely be good for Jaylon’s overall happiness and it’s not like the team it taking a hit from a talent stand point. Overall though you have to like this story because it’s so rare. The Panthers also have a pair of brothers in Ryan Kalil and Matt Kalil but it just doesn’t happen that often. The Cowboys are very fortunate to have the Smiths.

Charity of the day: American Red Cross

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