Lavonte David was one of the lone bright spots for the Buccaneers defense. The talented outside linebacker was making plays in every phase of the game:

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Author: Jon Kuzma

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Lavonte David had a pretty good year in 2017 despite the fact that Tampa Bay had the worst defense in the entire league. David recorded 101 tackles, 5 forced fumbles, and 1 defensive touchdown and this type of play has been consistent throughout the 7th year linebacker’s career. The University of Nebraska product has averaged an impressive 127 tackles per season and the Buccaneers know they have one position on their defense that they can count on to make plays. David should also benefit big time from having Vita Vea in front of him to take on blockers. Truthfully this could be David’s best season yet because now he has talent around him which will make life easier for the veteran LB. At 28 year olds old Lavonte David is going to have several years ahead of him still and Tampa Bay has to utilize that time wisely. Everyone knows Jameis Winston, Mike Evans, and O.J Howard can bring a lot to the table offensively. It’s all going to come down to how many stops the Buccaneers can get on defense? If this team continues to be near the bottom of the defensive rankings then all of that offensive talent means nothing. The National Football League is all about preventing your opponent from reaching the end zone and three out of the last five Super Bowl winners have had top tier defensive play (Seahawks, Broncos, and Eagles). If Lavonte David can get the other players on the Bucs defense to buy into something bigger than themselves that’s when you’ll see this unit ascend to something greater. It’s going to start with Tampa Bay’s leaders which means Gerald McCoy, Jason Pierre-Paul, Kwon Alexander, and the rest of those guys have to set the tone. It’ll be amazing how much this organization improves when all 11 players are swarming to the ball and playing with a high motor. Expect Lavonte David to be at the forefront of all that success because really he’s been this ball club’s x-factor since joining the team back in 2012.

Charity of the day: Fisher House Foundation

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Terrell Owens is training for an NFL comeback. The 44 year old Hall of Fame receiver believes he can still help a team out:

Photo credit: The Sporting News

Author: Jon Kuzma

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Terrell Owens is no longer blackballed from the Hall of Fame but now the elite pass catcher has set his eyes on a new goal. Owens has been working out profusely with the desire of making an NFL comeback. This is no surprise to many football fans because T.O has stated plenty of times that he believes he can still play at a high level. However the dedication Owens is showing with his training regimen is what really stands out about this latest resurgence. Julio Jones and Owens have been spending time together fine tuning each others craft. Obviously the main challenge for Terrell Owens will be getting some team out there to buy into signing a player who only has a couple of seasons left in the tank. Jaromir Jagr played in the National Hockey League at 46 years old and Kurt Warner even considered a return to football this season at 46 too. One thing working against Owens though is the fact that he was outspoken during his playing days. While he’s most likely more mature at an older age some teams might not want to take on any risk as far as the locker room goes. At the same time if Owens can help a team out why wouldn’t they at least bring him in for a try out? The Arizona Cardinals don’t have many competent pass catchers on their roster and Owens might be able to catch a few passes opposite of Larry Fitzgerald. Really it’s going to come down to some franchise willing to even consider the possibility of adding Owens to their roster. Based on the fact that teams have been reluctant to do so in the past it’s unlikely they change their minds now. Although we’ve seen players unretire many times and have success. The NFL doesn’t seem too fond of taking risks on players who don’t fit their consensus.

Charity of the day: Fisher House Foundation

Go donate! www.fisherhouse.org

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The New York Giants have a franchise player in Saquon Barkley. There are so many different facets to Barkley’s game:

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Author: Jon Kuzma

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The early reports coming out of Giants minicamp are Saquon Barkley is as good as advertised. Barkley is being praised by members of New York’s organization for having a wide range of skills. The former Penn State alum has made a name for himself by being a game changing football player and clearly those traits are going to be just as useful against the best defenders in the world. One thing we need to really appreciate is how much effort Barkley puts into his craft in order to be great? Everyone of Barkley’s Nittany Lion teammates said he worked harder than anyone else on their team and was the leader in that locker room because of it. The Giants are lucky to have a player with this kind of mindset because he’ll immediately bring a positive energy to this franchise’s morale. We all know New York struggled from a culture stand point last season and Barkley isn’t going to let that fly. Some people might wonder how much of an impact one rookie can have on players that are older than him? Barkley isn’t just any rookie though. Most of the Giants players know they brought in a once in a generation running back who can handle the workload far better than most people his age. Due to that there’s a real possibility Saquon Barkley can be a lightning rod for success in the Big Apple. His approach to the game is going to influence everyone from the top of this roster all the way down to the 53rd man to be better. Dave Gettleman drafted Barkley second overall in the NFL Draft because he knew there was something special about this kid. From here it’s about putting it all together on game day but you have to believe with everything number 26 has accomplished in the past there shouldn’t be any problems for the Giants top draft pick. The City That Never Sleeps is going to love this guy because he is cut from a different cloth.

Charity of the day: Innocence Project

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Saquon Barkley is a franchise player and his future is bright.

The Vikings can always count on Harrison Smith to make big plays for their defense. Smith has made a living by intercepting passes and scoring defensive touchdowns:

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Author: Jon Kuzma

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Harrison Smith has been a highly respected football player ever since his Knoxville Catholic High School days back in Tennessee. Smith earned the 2006 Gatorade Football Player of the Year in Tennessee and that led to a Notre Dame scholarship and the emergence of everything we see now. With 309 tackles, 7 interceptions, and 28 passes defended in South Bend the NFL assessed Harrison Smith and deemed him worthy of a 1st round pick. Then in 2012 the Minnesota Vikings drafted the former Irish standout with the 29th overall selection and it’s safe to say Smith has lived up to expectations. Now three Pro Bowls, 17 interceptions, and 4 defensive touchdowns later Smith is easily one of the best defenders in the entire National Football League. Not many players have the type of impact this guy has and it’s because of his ball hawking abilities. Smith does such a great job of reading quarterback’s eyes and then diagnoses the play so quickly. From there it’s about responding and number 22 for the Vikings can break on the football with amazing closing speed. So many times that has ended with Smith going the other way for six points for Minnesota and Mike Zimmer knows he has an x-factor on the backend of his secondary. At 29 years old the 7th year safety has plenty of gas left in the tank and there’s a reason he signed a $51M dollar contract back in 2016. It’s because Smith is a premier player and it’s not easy to match this kind of output. The quarterbacks in the NFL do everything they can to avoid turning the football over but Smith still finds a way to consistently disrupt the passing game. That comes from preparation in the form film study and a unique athleticism (4.57 40 yard dash and 19 bench press of 225 pounds). All of which combine to make a very exciting defensive back.

Charity of the day: Innocence Project

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NFL offseason: These five teams made the most noise while the games weren’t being played

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Author: Jon Kuzma

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Los Angeles Rams- The Rams loaded up by trading for Marcus Peters and Aqib Talib. Those moves help solidify Los Angeles’ secondary and will blend well with Wade Phillips’ aggressive style. It’s very possible Peters and Talib will end up being the best cornerback tandem in all of football. A title Talib has held a couple of times in his career and he seems to be the common denominator of those pairings. Then when you add Ndamukong Suh next to Aaron Donald it’s easy to see this team is one of the favorite to win the Super Bowl.

Chicago Bears- Chicago did well especially when it came to adding players who can catch the football. Allen Robinson is coming off a major knee injury but has shown a lot of promise in the past. Robinson and Mitchell Trubisky will be one of the main attractions in the Windy City. The Bears also added Trey Burton and Taylor Gabriel to play a secondary role alongside of Robinson. Trubisky should benefit greatly from all of those new weapons at his disposal.

Jacksonville Jaguars- The Jaguars added one of the best offensive lineman in free agency when they signed Andrew Norwell away from the Carolina Panthers. Norwell goes from blocking for Cam Newton to opening up holes for Leonard Fournette. Jacksonville’s offense as a whole will benefit greatly from that. Then there was the additions of Austin Seferian-Jenkins and Donte Moncrief who both might substantially improve from the change of scenery. Jacksonville did very well when it came to attracting talent and then they selected Taven Bryan in the first round to bolster an already stacked defensive line.

Cleveland Browns- Everyone talks about Kirk Cousins to the Vikings but the Browns added three good players in Jarvis Landry, Carlos Hyde, and Tyrod Taylor. Then Cleveland added Baker Mayfield in the draft which is enough to land the Browns in the number three spot. This ball club might not be a playoff contender this upcoming season but they did get a lot better and deserve some praise for that.

Green Bay Packers- Green Bay was looking rough heading into the offseason. Then the Packers turned their luck around by signing Jimmy Graham and Muhammad Wilkerson. Graham is coming off a ten touchdown season and could be even better if Aaron Rodgers stays healthy. Muhammad Wilkerson is getting a little bit older but always seems to find a way to make positive contributions. It feels like that was a good haul for the Cheeseheads and now they’ll have a chance to compete in the NFC North.

There you have it another NFL offseason in the books. The Rams stole the show this year but the Bears and Jaguars both made significant upgrades too. Expect each team to put up more a few more Ws in the wins column and it just goes to show how much a team can improve from making the right roster acquisitions.

Charity of the day: Bat Conservation International

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