Walter Thurmond might be the next player to call it quits early:

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Author: Jon Kuzma

Walter Thurmond is a talented safety who played for the Philadelphia Eagles in 2015. After having his best season as a pro last season in which he recorded 71 tackles and 3 interceptions. You would think Thurmond would be eager to land his next contract and get back to work. Thurmond apparently has different plans however. The 6th year defensive back is contemplating an early retirement like so many other players are in today’s era. With so much information coming out recently about concussions and CTE, Thurmond is weighing his options before making a premature commitment to playing in 2016. What is most notable about Thurmond’s situation is the fact that several teams have expressed interest in the defensive back and have offered him contracts. In fact it’s been reported that Thurmond has passed on offers that are north of $4 million dollars per year. Showing that Walter Thurmond has prioritized his health rather than just a big payday. Some things are bigger than football like being able to play with your kids later on in life and Walter Thurmond has certainly given this decision a lot of thought. If he does indeed retire he will be another player on a long list of athletes who walked away from pro football before their time was up. Players like Calvin Johnson, Patrick Willis, and Jarod Mayo all walked away from the game with plenty of gas left in the tank. In order to help limit the amount of injuries they will have to endure in their playing days. With so many past NFL players in rough shape from playing the game for an extended period of time. Many future players are taking notice of the ailing former players and are making a conscious decision to weigh their options oppose to just playing because that is what everyone else does. Walter Thurmond appears to be just the next guy in line and you really can’t blame him because at the end of the day you have to do what is best for yourself. The Eagles would of liked to re-sign this guy but appears that maybe no team will. You have to respect the guy’s ability to make the right decision regardless of how tough it is. Walking away from millions is never easy.

Charity of the day: March of Dimes Foundation

Go donate! www.marchofdimes.org

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Jameis Winston will look to continue right where he left off in 2016:

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Author: Jon Kuzma

Jamies Winston was outstanding as a rookie in 2015. Most quarterbacks struggle their first year in the league, such was the case with Peyton Manning and Blake Bortles but Winston was a whole different story. Winston finished his rookie season with 22 touchdowns, 15 interceptions, and 4,042 passing yards. Showing that he could be productive right out of college which has been so difficult for so many other QB’s. On top of that Winston managed to improve the Buccaneers by 4 wins from 2014 to 2015. Showing that he clearly has the team trending in the right direction. What is even better news for Winston is most players make their biggest strides in growth from their first year to their second year in the league. That means Jameis Winston might be leaps and bounds better his second season around for the Bucs. With so much praise coming out about how high Winston’s football IQ was last offseason. Those gifts were clearly on display in 2015. Now that he actually understand the speed of the NFL game, don’t be surprised to see Winston flat out flourish next season. Bortles was outstanding his second season, showing how much growth he gained in just one year. Winston was better as a rookie and might have an even bigger jump in development his sophomore season. If that does indeed happen the Buccaneers should be around 8 wins next season and if they get it right in the draft that number could be even higher. The quarterback position is so important because it dictates what the offense is going to do. In fact a quarterback can audible and change the play at the line of scrimmage. So in many ways the quarterback position is a mental game as much as it is physical one. Jameis Winston excels in both categories and that is why he was one of the most impressive rookies all last season. It will be a big year for Jamies Winston in 2016, you can just feel it coming. The question is whether or not the team itself can have a big season?

Charity of the day: Operation USA

Go donate! www.opusa.org

The Seahawks have lost a lot of talent over the last two off-seasons:

Photo credit: Ronald C. Modra / Sports Imagery

Author: Jon Kuzma

The Seattle Seahawks were Super Bowl champions in 2014 but a lot has changed since that championship run. The Seahawks have seen a plethora of talent walk out of the door over the last two seasons in a somewhat mass exodus. With Seattle being up for so long, it’s only natural that sooner or later the team must come down. That happened when the team overspent on Russell Wilson and left the team depleted at other positions on the field. It also set bad precedent because the defense and Marshawn Lynch had been the sole reason the team won back in 2014. After that contract was signed by Wilson, chemistry issues started to pop up across the board for this football team. That eventually led to a questionable culture being built around Seahawks camp and as a result of that players like Max Unger and James Carpenter end up leaving in 2015. Now Bruce Irvin and Russell Okung are the most notable players to skip town this year. All that talent that walked out the door particularly on the offensive line has spelt regression for the Seattle Seahawks. It’s clear the plan was to build around Russell Wilson and that was evident when the team handed him a big contract and then traded for Jimmy Graham. The problem is football will always be a running game first and foremost. Losing that many keep pieces on that offensive front made the running game worse. In 2014 the Seahawks were the number 1 rushing team in the NFL in terms of yards per game with 172 yards per game. After losing Unger and Carpenter the team ranked 3rd in the league with 140 yards per game. Some might not think that is a big drop but it clearly can be the difference between making it to the Super Bowl and losing in the divisional round. Keep in mind the Seahawks barely slipped by the Vikings in the wildcard as well. So clearly the team was running at an optimal level when they were playing fundamental football, running the ball, and using those key offensive lineman upfront. Now with Okung departing, you’d have to think that the Seahawks will drop even lower than 3rd in the league when it comes to running the football and that would likely result in an even worse team in 2016. Look Pete Carroll is a great coach if anyone can turn it around it’s him. However a coach can’t go onto the field and sack quarterbacks for you like Bruce Irvin could. A coach can’t protect the Russell Wilson in the passing game like Russell Okung could. These losses sooner or later could start adding up for the Seahawks. Now with emerging threats in both the 49ers who landed Chip Kelly, and the Rams who are playing in a whole new city. The Seahawks very well could see their team fall to the back of the NFC West for the first time in awhile. It all started with that bad Russell Wilson deal.

Charity of the day: Operation USA

Go donate! www.opusa.org

Football players: Jalen Ramsey is an amazing draft prospect:

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Author: Jon Kuzma

Each year we are blown away by players entering the NFL draft and this year is no different. One of the top players determined to show off their abilities heading into the draft in April, is Florida State defensive back Jalen Ramsey. Ramsey is receiving high praise from NFL executives around the league who feel he is one of the most talented cornerbacks in the draft. Ramsey was a star at Florida State and recorded 22 defended passes during his time in Tallahassee. Now at the combine Ramsey posted a 4.41 40 yard dash and 14 reps of the 225 pound bench press. Showing that Ramsey has a unique ability to out run opposing wide receivers while also having the strength to press them as well. It’s that combination that helps make Ramsey such a talented defender and it’s also a big reason while he’ll likely be the top defensive back taken in the draft. Ramsey also has the confidence as well, he recently campaigned to the Tennessee Titans that they should take him 1st overall in the draft because he is “the best overall player.” It’s that belief in himself that allows Ramsey to operate at such a high level on the football field. Now Charlie Casserly recently spoke up and stated that Ramsey is a better prospect than Patrick Peterson was when he was coming out. It’s that positive feedback that helps Ramsey continue to gain respect from team’s front offices and don’t be surprised if Ramsey goes higher than expected in the draft selection process. At the end of the day the guy can flat out play and every team can use an elite cover guy. With NFL wide receivers being better than ever, Ramsey will give a team a chance to neutralize those receiving threats. Keep an eye on Ramsey next month and where he ends up. The team that selects him won’t be disappointed and it will be a pleasure to watch this guy play come next season.

Tag- football players :Jalen Ramsey

Charity of the day: Animal Welfare Institute

Go donate! www.awionline.org

Can the Bengals mature and be the team they are supposed to be?

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Author: Jon Kuzma

The Cincinnati Bengals are a very talented football team. They have marquee players like Geno Atkins, and Vontaze Burfict but if they want to truly mature and be the football team they are supposed to be. Then the Bengals first and foremost must become more disciplined. Burfict and Adam Jones are outstanding football players but they have to keep the mental aspect of the game in mind, especially when the emotions and stress are running high. Some might say that the Bengals can’t win with these guys because they put their selves above the team in some of the most crucial moments. Like when Burfict clobbered Antonio Bryant and then right after Jones lost his cool in the playoff game against the Steelers. Those mental meltdowns are what destroy this football team and with Marvin Lewis working so hard to get that club there, it’s a complete disrespect to their head football coach. While it’s clear the front office didn’t feel comfortable giving those two players up, one has to wonder if not changing anything was the right move? Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results is the definition of insanity. While adding new players to the mix such as Karlos Dansby who the Bengals intend to sign shortly will help. At the end of the day it will take the Bengals being selfless on defense and playing for the team, and another big factor will be having a healthy Andy Dalton on the field once the postseason rolls around. If this team can listen to their head coach’s guidance and really buy into that philosophy then they will have a chance to overcome those hurdles. If they continue to play with raw emotion and not with their heads than they will be right back where they were last season. Coming up short in games they could of won.

Charity of the day: Animal Welfare Institute

Go donate! www.awionline.org

Algonac Michigan is a great place to live or vacation:

If you’re looking for an affordable city with a ton of upside look no further than Algonac Michigan, Algonac is a city located on the St. Clair River and it’s a great place for boating. All summer long boaters head out on the water looking to escape their everyday routine on land. While Algonac is small town (about 4,000 people) it offers a lot of freedom because there isn’t many people to compete with. That means the people who reside in Algonac have a low stress lifestyle and truthfully what’s better than that? Christ-Craft boats were also founded in Algonac Michigan. The first mass produced speed boats helped make Algonac Michigan the boating capital that it is today and you can see first hand how much boating plays a role in the city’s culture. Algonac is also known for St. John’s Marsh which is home to a variety of different wildlife animals. Often times people will kayak the canals of the marsh hoping to catch a glimpse of nature in it’s purest form. Algonac also has summer festivals and a boardwalk where you can relax and kill time. Proving once more that Algonac is a great place not only to spend your time but also to live. Overall Algonac Michigan is a great time and if you’re in the Detroit area come up north and check it out. You’ll fine a lot of friendly people in this city who have no problem lending you a helping hand. There is also a number of businesses in the boardwalk area that can help you find any items you’re looking for. Additionally Algonac has a couple of ferry’s that can take you to Russell Island, Wapole Island, and Canada. So head on out to Algonac Michigan and explore the many different options the city present and enjoy one of the best cities in St. Clair County!

Blaine Gabbert took Colin Kaepernick’s job for a reason:

Photo credit: Ezra Shaw / Getty Images Sport

Author: Jon Kuzma

Blaine Gabbert emerged as the San Francisco 49ers starting quarterback last season for a reason. That reason was mainly because Gabbert is a much more talented traditional passer, which essentially fit coach Jim Tomsula’s offense better than Colin Kaepernick did. Now with Chip Kelly being the new coach of the Niners one has to wonder if the odds are tilted in Kaepernick’s favor? While it’s easy to see that Kaepernick would be a good fit for Chip Kelly’s system, don’t go thinking he will beat out Gabbert for the starting job. Even though Kaepernick’s running skills mesh well with the zone read playbook. It will be Gabbert who seizes the job again in San Francisco. At the end of the day Gabbert is a much more talented passer than Kaepernick is. So the running aspect of Kaepernick’s game won’t be enough to surpass Gabbert because a quarterback must be able to pass the football first and foremost. Kaepernick was so poor passing the football in 2015 that instead of trying to negotiate his trade out of the Bay area. He should of been doing everything he can to work on his mechanics, establish his footwork, and become a much more proficient passer. Kaepernick only had a 59% completion percentage in 2015 and he had trouble developing rhythm and timing with his wide receivers. On the other hand Blaine Gabbert completed 63% of his passes and had a respectable 86.2 passer rating. Chip Kelly might respect Kaepernick’s skill set but he will ultimately choose the player who gives him the best chance to win in San Francisco. That choice is clearly Blaine Gabbert and don’t be surprised when Gabbert retains his role as the team’s starting quarterback. There just is too much at stake to trust on Colin Kaepernick’s shoulders and Kelly isn’t gong to risk striking out on a guy who struggles to make the NFL level throws. On top of that is seems like Gabbert also handles being a professional better than Kaepernick so this decision will be easy for the new 49ers head coach.

Charity of the day: World Vision

Go donate! www.worldvision.org

It’s time for the Packers to become more aggressive in free agency:

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Author: Jon Kuzma

The Green Bay Packers are a team that has always played by their own rules when it comes to offseason activity and transactions. The Packers have a philosophy of “building through the draft” rather than signing free agents who are often times overpriced. The draft philosophy is good because it keeps the payroll from eating up all the cap space that comes with signing NFL free agents. That is clearly the pro’s of the build through the draft philosophy, the cons are the fact that the Packers don’t land enough big name talent to put around Aaron Rodgers, and there isn’t enough new talent injected in the team like there would be if the team were active in both free agency and in the draft. That is why so many teams do their best to combine both acquisition periods to improve their team in the offseason. The Packers landed Jared Cook today a Tight End who will certainly add to the Packers core but one signing will not be enough to make up for the gains that the Arizona Cardinals made this offseason. The team who was already talented enough to knock off the Packers last season. Green Bay’s General Manager Ted Thompson should have around $9 million dollars in cap space after adding Cook to the roster. It would be nice to see him do his best to add another player to the mix, and really put a product on the field that can compete in the deep postseason. Maybe signing a guy like Louis Vasquez who started 15 out of 16 games for the Denver Broncos just last season would be a good fit. Doing so would add a little protection for Rodgers who was often harassed last year by opposing defensive lineman. Also signing Vasquez wouldn’t be that big of a commitment financially, which we know Green Bay hates to make. Keep in mind Vasquez was also an All-Pro in 2013 and maybe being in a sound system like the Packers have, he can return to top form. These are just a few suggestions but one thing is for sure the Packers need to pick it up a little bit when it comes to being proactive in the free agency period. You have to take risks to get to the top and the Packers have been alarmingly conservative of recent.

Charity of the day: World Vision

Go donate! www.worldvision.org

Is a Josh Norman holdout on the horizon?

Photo credit: AAron Ontiveroz / Denver Post

Author: Jon Kuzma

With news coming out of Carolina that Josh Norman still hasn’t signed his franchise tag, one has to wonder if the 5th year defensive back is ever going to sign? After having his best season as a pro in 2015 which included 4 interceptions and 2 defensive touchdowns. Norman feels it’s in his best interest to sign a long term deal and get taken care of, rather than just caving in and accepting the 1 year franchise tag contract. Norman has worked very hard the past four seasons to develop himself into a marquee player. Which he finally obtained when he was in the running last season for defensive player of the year. Norman did a great job of going toe to toe with some of the best wide receivers that the National Football League has to offer and many times he came out on the winning side of the battles. Now it’s clear that Norman wants to be compensated like an elite cornerback and in order to get the contract Norman deserves he will have to be stiff in his business negotiations. Maybe that means holding out a few games to relay to the team that he serious about getting what he is due. One thing is for certain Carolina needs Norman on the field in a Panthers uniform if they want to get back to the Super Bowl and have a shot at winning the Lombardi Trophy in 2016. Norman has shown a knack for breaking on routes and being able to make big defensive plays for the Panthers. Losing those ball hawking skills in the defensive passing game would definitely be a regression for this football team and it would be in the Panthers best interest to find some kind of agreement with Norman. This could end up being a disaster if it isn’t addressed sooner rather than later and the situation is something to look out for heading into next season.

Charity of the day: American Sexual Health Association

Go donate! www.ashasexualhealth.org

Has Chip Kelly made the necessary adjustments to become a successful coach in the NFL?

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Author: Jon Kuzma

Chip Kelly is a very talented football coach that is something we can all agree on. The problem lies in the way he handles NFL talent though. Kelly whose style is philosophically better suited for the college level, had a hard time getting NFL personnel to buy into his approach. In order to make the evolution that he needs to make personally Kelly must learn how to cultivate relationships on a level that is more than football. Players want to feel that their coach is truly in their corner, and it was clear in Philadelphia that several players didn’t feel that way when Chip Kelly was their head coach. Kelly alienated more than just players during his time as the Eagles coach too, he also frustrated staff members and front office workers. Which ultimately led to his ousting and then eventual signing with the San Francisco 49ers. Kelly gets a fresh start but it will be up to the coach to look in the mirror and make the necessary personal changes that he must do in order to succeed in the National Football League. The 49ers just kicked out Jim Harbaugh a couple of seasons ago because he was an overbearing coach. If Kelly doesn’t work harder to connect with people he could find himself in a similar situation. The 49ers were a team that struggled to find their identity in 2015 and they have no room for internal conflict taking place. If Kelly fizzles out this time, there might not be another team knocking at the door looking to hire him. It’s safe to say it’s now or never for Chip Kelly and his roster is seriously lacking talent. Don’t be surprised if things don’t go well for Chip again. This will be a true test of how good of a coach he is and it’s an against the odds story. The situation is certainly something to keep an eye on in 2016.

Charity of the day: American Brain Tumor Association

Go donate! www.abta.org

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