Whats happening around the league: Week 14

Eagles at Redskins 10/04/15

Photo credit: Keith Allison

Author: Jon Kuzma

Chip Kelly says he handled trading Lesean McCoy the wrong way:

Chip Kelly admitted that he didn’t do a great job of handling the situation when he traded running back Lesean McCoy to the Buffalo Bills. Apparently Chip stated “the money was too high” when asked about McCoy and a big reason they traded him for Kiko Alonzo was it was a good move salary cap wise for the Eagles. Kelly went on to acknowledge that he never got the chance to speak to McCoy because the deal was processed by the league sooner than expected. So by the time Kelly heard about the transaction it was the same time McCoy was hearing about the deal. Looking at Kelly’s statements it almost feels like he didn’t have enough respect for McCoy to tell him they were even negotiating a deal that included him. However Kelly tried to save face by saying “I’d still shake his hand” and he “regretted the way he handled it.” It’s easier to look back now and say I should of did it this way or that. Kelly should of been a man and told McCoy straight up he was thinking about dealing him. As much as I’m a Chip Kelly fan football wise. He seems to have a constant pattern or irking his players with his methods. Not a recipe for success in the NFL.

Julian Edelman returns to practice for New England Patriots:

The New England Patriots star wide receiver Julian Edelman returned to practice after missing several weeks with a broken bone in his foot. Edelman was rumored to look out of game form however due to the injury. Many witnesses reported that the Patriots receiver was having trouble in and out of cuts. Showing that the foot isn’t necessarily a 100% yet and it still could be some time before he makes it back to the starting line up. Still the fact that Edelman showed up and participated in practice is a good sign for things to come.

Rumors leak out of Philadelphia about Demarco Murray being unhappy:

We first heard that Demarco Murray was trying to be cut by the Philadelphia Eagles so he could return back to the Dallas Cowboys and continue his career where it all started. Now we are being told that Eagles might be looking to potentially deal Murray in the offseason. With Murray, Matthews, and Sproles in the Philadelphia backfield the position is clearly overloaded. The team went heavy at the running back position and it seems to have caused some conflict chemistry wise. Murray is unhappy and seems to be a bad fit for that scheme. So what would be the point of the Eagles keeping him? Look for both parties to part ways in the future, that is unless they can resolve their issues.

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Charity of the day: Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors

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Cardinals soar past Vikings 23-20 in Thursday Night Football:

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Photo credit: Todd Jones

Author: Jon Kuzma

The Cardinals and Vikings played each other in a quality Thursday Night Football match up. The game showcased two teams going back and fourth punch for punch all night long. As most football fans are probably aware, football is a momentum game. Almost in the way that boxing was a momentum sport. Teams have to capitalize on that momentum in order to achieve success in the game of football. This game was just one of those matches where every time a blow was given to a team. The team responded by giving a blow right back. The scoring started early and often where the teams combined for 17 points in the first quarter alone. Which included a Chandler Catanzaro field goal and a John Brown touchdown for the Cardinals and an Adrian Peterson touchdown for the Vikings. In the second and third quarters the action really slowed down. Only a Blair Walsh field goal was scored for the Vikings. While Michael Floyd was able to grab a 42 yard touchdown pass from Palmer. The scoring picked up again in the fourth quarter when each team was able to hit a field goal early on. Giving another field to Blair Walsh’s and Chandler Catanzaro’s season stats and at the same time making the game 20-13 with the Cardinals leading. With 10 minutes left in the fourth Teddy Bridgwater was able to lead the Vikings down field on a 11 play 88 yard drive. Which was capped off by a 7 yard touchdown reception by Mike Wallace compliments of Teddy Bridgewater. With four minutes left in the game however it was David Johnson who would step up and be the hero. The young Cardinals running back was able to beat the Vikings defense both on the ground and through the air catching the football. Johnson touched the ball on four plays of that final drive. Showing that this Cardinals offense can rely on him when they need him to make a big play down the stretch. The Cardinals would go on to close out the game 23-20 and clinch a playoff spot. A heck of a run so far in Bruce Arians third season as the head coach of the Cardinals. Give him and Palmer a ton of credit for the Cardinals accomplishments. They look like an unstoppable force heading into the playoffs.

Charity of the day: Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors

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The two top AFC North teams will square off when Steelers meet Bengals:

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Photo credit: SteeleCity Hobbies

Author: Jon Kuzma

The game of the week in week 14 certainly has to be the Steelers vs the Bengals. The match up will showcase two top tier offenses going head to head. The Steelers had to overcome missing personnel all season long and still have managed to be one of the most dynamic offenses in the league. Now with Martavis Bryant back up and running on all cylinders the team adds that much needed second option. We know Roethlisberger and Antonio Brown are going to produce week in and week out. When Bryant is going as well it gives the Steelers that wide out that can go deep and create big plays behind the safeties. Together the tandem give Roethlisberger the best chance to win in a long time. On the opposite side of the ball the Bengals offense has been no slouch either. Andy Dalton has played phenomenal this year throwing for 25 touchdowns and only 6 interceptions. Dalton’s poise has been a big reason the Bengals have been one of the most dominant teams in the AFC. When you factor in the weapons he has around him like A.J Green and Tyler Eifert you understand why this Bengals passing attack is so feared. Don’t be surprised if they are able to gash the Steelers defense through the air when the game is on the line. The x-factor of the match up seems to be the Bengals defense. Both of the offenses are good, however the Bengals defense is truly special. With Atkins, and Dunlap upfront they can get pressure early and often. Making it a nightmare for opposing quarterbacks. Look for that to be the difference maker in this match up.

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Charity of the day: Wounded Warrior Project

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Reflecting back on the Herms Edwards outburst:

Author: Jon Kuzma

Herm Edwards had an emotional outburst on NFL live yesterday. The former New York Jets and Kansas City Chiefs head football coach sounded off when discussing the LeSean McCoy and Chip Kelly situation. Stating that “it’s not even about the game of football any more.” “It’s about the media and all this other non-sense” coach Edwards said. Everything he said in those statements rang true. The media today is more focused on matters like are Chip Kelly and Lesean McCoy friends? Instead of how are the two teams going to match up this weekend? No one can argue with coach in that sense and he is absolutely right. We need to make the game more about football and less about drama and pro wrestling like story lines. Unfortunately that is not how the NFL sees the game today. The NFL is a business and the NFL will do whatever it can to sell tickets and merchandize. That is why press conferences are mandatory and players like Marshawn Lynch make statements like “I’m just here so they don’t fine me” to the press. All of these discussions, and media updates keep the NFL machine churning revenue. So the angles of players personal lives are always going to be used to market the game in today’s era. One point that coach Edwards seemed to be undervaluing is the fact that it truly is a different era today. Trey Wingo and Darren Woodson tried to tell coach Edwards it’s different and even though Edwards acted like he was hearing it. He wasn’t really hearing it. It’s a digital age of media and information. Every single player has a microphone in their face. They are all tweeting and updating Facebook statuses constantly. There are so many different avenues to voice your opinions in today’s world it makes it much tougher to balance the teams’ goals and the individual player’s goals. In the past those voice outlets were’t even available so it’s hard to compare the past eras to today’s era. Does that give modern era players the right to throw out all values, absolutely not. It’s just much harder to have that old school mentality when the world has evolved past that point in time. For better or worse that is the world we live in today. It’s up to the media and people following the game to adapt with the times. Coach’s points should be echoed throughout the league, we do need to get back to that hard nosed football mentality. We will just have to do it with more cameras, microphones, and social media updates in our faces.

Charity of the day: Wounded Warrior Project

Go donate! WWW.WOUNDEDWARRIORPROJECT.ORG

Cam showing he can do it at any level:

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Photo credit: Parker Anderson

Author: Jon Kuzma

First it started at Westlake high school in Atlanta Georgia. Cam Newton was a highly recruited athlete who received offers from every prestigious college in the country. Then in college after a short stint at the University of Florida. Cam decided he would enroll at Blinn College in Texas, a top tier junior college college that was known for their excellence on the gridiron. There Cam Newton would lead the Buccaneers to a junior college national championship. After that season Newton Transferred to the University of Auburn, where he would go on again to win a national championship. This one being much more respectable since it was at the NCAA division 1 level. Fast forward to now, Cam’s is in fifth year as a pro and the Panthers are 12-0. Newton is inching closer and closer to doing what he done at every level before now, succeed. With the Panthers being the only undefeated team left in the NFL. They are certainly a Super Bowl contender and a team to be reckoned with. It’s not just Cam’s his ability to beat you with his arm, which he has done by throwing for 25 touchdowns and only 10 interceptions. It’s also his ability to beat you with his legs as well. Cam has rushed for 7 touchdowns and nearly 500 yards on the ground. Truly making him the NFL’s best version of the dual threat quarterback. When you also factor in that the guy is a remarkable leader as well he deserves to be recognized as a complete football player. The Carolina Panthers were heading towards long term football irrelevance before drafting Cam Newton 1st overall in the 2011 draft. From there its been nothing but uphill for the Panthers. Proving that Cam Newton can get it done at any level of football. It will be interesting to see how far he can take this Panthers team?

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Charity of the day: Global Hunger Project

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Winston shows he truly is a winner by turning the Bucs back into a contender:

Buccaneers at Redskins 10/25/15

Photo credit: Keith Allison

Author: Jon Kuzma

Jameis Winston is showing why the Tampa Bay Buccaneers chose to take him number 1 overall in the 2015 draft. Winston has been outstanding for the Buccaneers this year inspiring a football team that was depleted of hope just a season ago. The Buccaneers only won 2 games in all of 2014, and now in 2015 they are 6-6 in the middle of a playoff hunt. The team has been completely different from the get go. Winston’s leadership was on display from day one as he approached every early season practice with his youthful attitude. With his naysayers campaigning against him, Winston never once got caught up in the “noise”. Instead he was as cool as ever throwing for 17 touchdown passes and only 11 interceptions. Pretty impressive when you consider players usually struggle their rookie season. In fact the great Peyton Manning finished his rookie season with 26 touchdowns and 28 interceptions. If everything keeps going in Winston’s favor he should be able to have a more productive year than Manning did his rookie year. A huge accomplishment when you compare the two at the early point of their careers. One other thing that stands out with Winston is the fact that he hasn’t turned the ball over that much for rookie standards. Usually young players have a hard time adjusting to the speed of the NFL level. Meaning quarterbacks tend to throw more interceptions early on in their career opposed to when they become veteran players. Winston has shown football experience far beyond his age and that is exactly what sold GM’s in the league that he was the true number 1 pick. Now with the Buccaneers one game behind the 7-5 Seattle Seahawks in the wild card hunt. It will be up to Winston to lead this team to the promise land. If the past has taught us anything about Winston and pressure. It’s that he always rises to the occasion during the big moment.

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Charity of the day: Global Hunger Project

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Cowboys survive MNF match up against Redskins 19-16:

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Photo credit: S.P Ablab

Author: Jon Kuzma

Who would of thought that after 13 weeks of NFL action the NFC East division would still be wide open? Three teams in the division are tied for first place and the Redskins who dropped last night’s match up against the Cowboys in overtime are coincidentally still in the lead of that division. The team who beat them the Dallas Cowboys are in last place in the NFC East but are only one game out of the division lead. Meaning the team that does win the NFC East still might have a top ten draft pick this off-season, showing just how crazy this year has been. The game itself was no different, neither team could really get going offensively and due to the lack of touchdowns the field goal kickers had their selves a nice little showdown. In fact the first 18 points in the game were scored by either Dustin Hopkins or Dan Bailey. Showing just how important placekicking can truly be to a pro football team. The deciding factor outside of the kicking game came down to the fact that Dallas was able to win in almost every phase of the game. The Cowboys passed for more yards, rushed for more yards, and caught more yards than the Redskins did. Additionally they were able to come up with more sacks and tackles for loss on defense. Showing that the Cowboys are still a tough team to beat even without Tony Romo in the line up. The Redskins on the other hand stumble in a game that they certainly should of won. The team entered the game with a chance to widen the gap of their division lead with a win last night. Instead they now drop back into a three way tie with the Eagles and Giants. The Desean Jackson -7 yard punt return and fumble ended up haunting this team. In a game that is so close one play can be the difference maker. That play will surely haunt Jackson and the Redskins for some time to come. They have to shake it off quickly however if they plan on clinching the division down the stretch. It’s still anyones for the taking.

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Charity of the day: NAMI

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Week 14 Power Rankings

Seahawks at Redskins 10/6/14

Photo credit: Keith Allison

Author: Joey Carr

1. Carolina Panthers

2. Cincinnati Bengals

3. Arizona Cardinals

4. Denver Broncos

5. New England Patriots

6. Pittsburgh Steelers

7. Kansas City Chiefs

8. Green Bay Packers

9. Seattle Seahawks

10. New York Jets

11. Minnesota Vikings

12. Indianapolis Colts

13. Houston Texans

14. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

15. Buffalo Bills

16. Washington Redskins

17. Atlanta Falcons

18. New York Giants

19. Philadelphia Eagles

20. Chicago Bears

21. Jacksonville Jaguars

22. Oakland Raiders

23. Miami Dolphins

24. San Francisco 49ers

25. Baltimore Ravens

26. New Orleans Saints

27. Tennessee Titans

28. Dallas Cowboys

29. Detroit Lions

30. St. Louis Rams

31. San Diego Chargers

32. Cleveland Browns

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Charity of the day: NAMI

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What Happened to the Atlanta Falcons?

Falcons at Ravens 10/19/14

Photo credit: Keith Allison

Author: Joey Carr

It all started off so good; a new head coach was taking the reigns, all of the receivers were back healthy, and the defense looked like it was finally going to do some damage and help out their quarterback. And for a while, it looked like the Falcons were, at last, back to being a team atop the league standings like we’ve grown accustomed to in years past. They were 5-0, scoring a plethora of points game in and game out, and causing turnovers like it was their job (well it is their job but last year you would of thought that the Atlanta D were just a bunch of guys found on the street if you didn’t know any better). Things were going perfectly for new head coach Dan Quinn to start the season; but then, something happened. It wasn’t one specific aspect of the game or one player, but games started to go south for the Falcons real quick, and suddenly, they find themselves at 6-6, losing 5 straight and getting outplayed in most of their recent games. So what happened to the Atlanta Falcons?

Teams make mistakes. It’s what every sports team in the world does. Some make fewer than others, and those that make less, usually go on to win Championships. However, the 2015 Atlanta Falcons have made more costly mistakes than any other NFL team this year. Now I’m not talking about a fumble here and an interception there, no, the mistakes made by the Falcons are the definition of costly. For example: Matt Ryan and the offense have 8 red zone turnovers, the most in the league. Ryan has also thrown 13 interceptions and lost a few fumbles to go along with those picks. Not exactly the stats you want from your quarterback if you have any hope of making a playoff run, which looked like a possibility for the Falcons in the first few games.

However, let’s not get too carried away with the Dirty Bird’s fall from grace, as their 5-0 record may have been padded just a bit.

If you take a look at the Falcons schedule during their 5 game win streak, it’s very obvious that it would’ve taken a lot of mistakes to not be undefeated. They played a bad Eagles team, a clueless Giants squad, a Tony Romo-less Cowboys, a Texans team with no quarterback yet, and the Redskins, a game which they could’ve lost if not for a trip by a receiver that led to a pick-six in overtime. So, while they did go 5-0, it was mostly due to mistakes by the opposing team and a soft schedule. However, the Falcons still have the easiest schedule in all of football. Yet, they are currently on a 5 game losing streak. So what can they do to turn the tide and secure a wildcard spot? Be smart with the football.

Being smart with the football doesn’t just mean not turning the ball over, it also means to make smarter throws and come up with better plays on offense. Atlanta possesses possibly the best receiver in football in Julio Jones, but yet they seemingly refuse to throw the ball more than 20 yards downfield to him. Jones, who stands taller than most cornerbacks and safeties in the league, has proven that he is perfectly capable of catching the long ball and being a deep threat. In my mind, he’s just a taller Randy Moss, and we all saw how Moss was at going deep. Jones can be a

Randy Moss-caliber long ball receiver, but offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan, known as the “QB Killer” for his misusing of the skills of NFL quarterbacks, has to trust Matt Ryan throwing the ball and Jones’ ability to catch it. The, “Throw it to Julio a yard short of the first down every time except when Devonta Freeman is open” method of offense might’ve worked against sub-par defenses, but when a solid defense stands on the other side, that method goes out the window, and the Falcons are left scrambling. Due to this play calling, Matt Ryan has not looked like himself these past couple of games; he’s making far too many mistakes and costing his team games almost single-handedly.

Matty Ice is a good quarterback. He’s one of the better play callers in the league, but he’s probably not going to get the Falcons to the Promise Land like Atlanta thought he would when they drafted him. However, he’s too good of a quarterback to replace; it’s an extremely sticky situation that the Falcons find themselves, but it’s the situation that they’ve gotten themselves in, and somehow have to find a way to win with Ryan as their quarterback. A dynamic run game would be a start, and it seems like they’ve found a forceful and speedy back in Devonta Freeman and, along with the quick Tevin Coleman, should help the Falcons out tremendously in the years to come. Another thing that all winning teams need is a trustworthy defense, and that’s not what Atlanta has. They possess a capable defense that sometimes can’t make the plays they need to win games. Take the latest game against Tampa Bay: The Bucs had 3rd and 20 and were down by 4; Jameis Winston started scrambling and it seemed like he ran into a cluster of Falcons that were surely going to tackle him; of course they didn’t and Winston ran for 20 yards, eventually leading to a Tampa touchdown and another Atlanta loss. If the Falcons make that tackle, the game is probably over, but they couldn’t make the play, and it’s another L in the loss column for ATL.

If the Falcons want any chance at making the playoffs they need to do three things: Win out, which might prove difficult as they play Carolina twice; they need to stop making so many costly mistakes on both sides of the ball, and the offense must start trusting the arm of Matt Ryan and the ability of Julio Jones. If they can go 9-7 this season, which means only losing once more, and start to turn things around offensively, they should be in good position to make the playoffs and maybe even make some noise come January.

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Charity of the day: Veterans Support Foundation

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Gang green is the king of NY after Jets top Giants 23-20:

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Photo credit: Marianne O’Leary

Author: Jon Kuzma

Ryan Fitzpatrick is a heck of a football player. There we said it, while some might argue differently no one can deny the impact that he has had for this New York Jets team. After the Jets were only able to win 4 games in all of 2014, the team is now sitting with 7 wins in 2015 and they are a legitimate playoff contender. Much of that success can be contributed to Fitzpatrick’s efforts. After managing to stick around the NFL as a journeyman, Fitzpatrick finally learned how to win at the NFL level. When you factor in the additions of Brandon Marshall, James Carpenter, and Darrelle Revis. You also have a Jets team with much more fire power than last year as well. How would that translate against the New York Football Giants? The New York team that has been better of recent. Apparently pretty well, after the Jets almost suffered an internal meltdown in the match. The team managed to battle back at the end of the game and eventually were able to knock off the Giants in overtime. Of course that was after the Jets were able to overcome a 10 point deficit with 9 minutes left in the game to even force overtime. Randy Bullock from there was able to give the Jets the go ahead 3 points that would eventually win them the game. One thing that stands out after reflecting back on the match is the duo of Eric Decker and Brandon Marshall. The Jets receivers both had over a 100 yards receiving. Both showing that they can make a play on the edge when their team needed them to. That was the difference in this game where on the opposite sideline Odel Beckham Jr. was the only playmaker for the Giants who could really get it going. It must also be noted that the Jets defense took away the Giants rushing game as well. Effectively making the Giants offense one dimensional. Just another reason the Jets were able to walk away with a victory Sunday. For 2015 they earned the right to be the king of New York.

Charity of the day: Veterans Support Foundation

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